how to work better.

February 22, 2016

how to work better | reading my tea leavesMy sister once told me to make sure I smile during interviews, even if they’re not on camera. You can hear a smile in a voice, she said, even if you can’t see it. And you know, I think the same is true of writing.

I had a different draft of this post written before the weekend. And when I reread it, instead of hearing a smile, I could hear a frown. The sense of exhaustion was palpable. Whatever battle with inertia or gloom or being hungry at 4:00 pm that I was facing when I wrote it, you could read about it between the lines.

And as much as those feelings were true in that moment, I decided to tackle the post again. This time, with a smile. 

Faye’s asleep. A new week’s not yet begun. I’m wearing raw honey smeared on my face which makes me look part shiny superhero and part gooey monster. The apartment’s about a million degrees because we’re on a Sunday night sourdough pizza kick and our steam radiator is still working overtime, bless her little heart. I’ve got a list of things to do tomorrow that’s about a mile long, and thank goodness. Nothing beats inertia like a good sprint in the opposite direction.

My point is: I got this. You do too.

Let’s forge ahead this week and tackle things one at a time. Let’s distinguish sense from nonsense. Let’s remember that even if we’re having a shit week, we’re not shit. That’s as simple as I can say it.

Sorry for swearing. to work better | reading my tea leavesPS. First installed on a wall in Zurich in 1991, this mural from artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss is currently being exhibited on the corner of Houston and Mott Streets in Manhattan. It’s a nice to thing to stumble upon and an even nicer thing to return to. To learn more about the work, visit the Public Art Fund.

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  • Reply Aimee February 22, 2016 at 9:22 am

    I LOVE the phrase/advice: distinguish sense from nonsense. I’m making it my mantra of the week!


  • Reply Katherine February 22, 2016 at 10:08 am

    I totally needed a message like this on a Monday morning – thanks, Erin! I’m due with my first baby in two weeks (!) and am finding it very difficult to focus during these last few days at the office. I may have to print this photo and slap it on my monitor!

    • Reply Erin Boyle February 22, 2016 at 10:15 am

      So glad! (I did the same thing!)

  • Reply Alyssa February 22, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Thank you so much for this, I teared up!

  • Reply Jen February 22, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Exactly what I needed to read this morning… thank you! Have a fabulous week! 🙂

  • Reply Kelsey February 22, 2016 at 11:15 am

    I really enjoyed (and needed) this post. I passed by this art installation on Sunday and thought I should save a picture of it so I could refer back as needed. And here you are, reading my mind and saving the day. Thank you for keeping this space on the internet so honest and inspiring.

  • Reply Mary Kate February 22, 2016 at 11:34 am

    “Do one thing at a time.” Sounds simple but it’s advice I never ever take. May have to print this out for myself as well! Thank you!

  • Reply Sarah February 22, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    This was such a pleasure to read. Thank you for being vulnerable and honest.

    When I first saw the installment in SoHo, I thought it was very cool. I didn’t know the history behind it. Thank you for sharing that.

  • Reply Liv February 22, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    ‘Even if we’re having a shit week, we’re not shit’. Yes! Thank you! Nothing like a good cuss word to get me motivated

  • Reply Emily February 22, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Thank you – I needed this. It’s been a shit week. It’s been making me feel like changing something in my life – nothing quite like having a baby in the hospital (thankfully on the mend) to make you reevaluate things.

  • Reply Heather February 22, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Thank you for sharing this encouragement. It is so what I needed today! February can be hard!

  • Reply Abigail Hobbs February 22, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Oh such good advice! I think that may become a new mantra for me: “Just because you’re having a shit day, doesn’t mean you are shit.” Such good advice!

  • Reply Natalie February 22, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Thank you for putting a positive spin on what has been the “Mondayest” of Mondays for me. A welcome reminder to just breath and take it one step at a time.

  • Reply Amelia February 22, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Love this. Thanks.

  • Reply Abbie February 22, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    “Even if we’re having a shit week, we’re not shit.” Made me smile and cry at the same time.

  • Reply Rita Tocta February 22, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Thank you for this! Have a great week!

  • Reply Jess | CityComfortsDC February 22, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Inspiring and true. It’s also good to have a little time to complain – just a little. I like this 🙂 All for saying things with a smile.


  • Reply Jessie February 22, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    I struggle with separating my actions/performance from my self-worth. Admitted perfectionist over here. I’m going to be repeating “i’m not shit” a lot, haha!

  • Reply Eddie February 22, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Thank you for this Erin. This week is another in an ongoing and seemingly endless march of shit weeks. I needed this. Amen x

  • Reply Sadie February 22, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    This is great, Erin. Thank you! Definitely turned my Monday in a new direction.

  • Reply Lydia February 23, 2016 at 7:16 am

    oof, it’s only tuesday and i’m already analyzing whether this is a “shit week” or not! one day at a time, do the smaller tasks that make you feel accomplished first, gather momentum like a snowball. phew!

  • Reply Helen February 23, 2016 at 9:55 am

    thank u for this post. I love that mural!!

  • Reply Ellen February 23, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Poetic (and beautiful) truths. Thank you, and also for the story of the piece.

  • Reply Meg February 23, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Hi Erin!
    I love this advice! Thank you. One thing at a time is so simple, but sometimes so hard. The mural, and the work by the Public Art Fund in general is beautiful.

  • Reply Shelly HW February 23, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Oh, what a nice thing to stumble upon on your blog today. I needed this. I read another section of your book last night. The section on too much clutter in the bathroom. I made the mistake of subscribing to a sample box once a month for two years. Yeah, drowning in samples at the moment. I do use “some,” but overall, it’s too much. I am not sure what to do as of yet, but birthdays, graduations, maybe Christmas could help sort them out.

  • Reply Fanny February 23, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Wonderful post! thanks a lot for your wisdom and beautiful pictures!

  • Reply Jennifer February 25, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Thank you for this post! I needed it and felt like a friendly pep talk.

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