The Lost Art of Letter-writing

Oh, my. I came across this TED video yesterday and as soon as I watched it, I knew I had to share it with you.

This short video made my cry. You see, in this video, Lakshmi Pratury talks about the letters her father for her before he passed away. Besides my compassion for her loss, her words touched me because they brought back some memories.

As someone who loves to write (no surprise there!), I used to write a lot of letters. Of course, those were the days before email, instant messages, and Twitter. In particular, I would write to one of my cousins almost weekly and I looked forward to her response. Then, when I spent time discerning a religious vocation (that may be a surprise to you!), I wrote my parents and family once a month and my friends a little less frequently. I tell you, I cherished the letters I received from my mom! They somehow got lost over the years, but I wish so much that I still had them. (Even today, I still insist on sending physical Christmas cards!)

This video reminds me that the need for the physical is important. Emails and the digital world is great (and I will never give them up), but there is something special getting a letter that someone took the time to write, fold and send through the snail mail. It sure beats bills and adverts!

Lakshmi Pratury wants to start an old fashioned letter-writing revolution. She plans to write for her son, and I think it is a great idea. So, I’m in. How about you? You in?

Online Productivity Tool: LeechBlock

I think I have “back-to-school” fever or something as I get ready to start homeschooling my son again because I have been thinking and/or writing about productivity a lot lately. LOL! One of the ways I am trying to streamline things is how I work online so that I am more focused and get more done.

Online Productivity Tool: Leechblock

For example, have you ever got online to work and thought to yourself, “Let me just check out Twitter for a minute,” only to look up and realize that you have been browsing for 20, 30, or more minutes? Surely, I can’t be the only one who has done this? Right? Well, one thing that has helped me is Leechblock.

What is Leechblock?

Leechblock is a Firefox add-on that you can use to temorarily block certain websites for a specified time-period – up to six sets of websites. For example, you can set Leechblock to block Twitter Monday – Friday, 9am-11am. Or you can set it weekly and Block Facebook every Tuesday from 2pm-3pm. Basically, you get to set what websites to block, and when to block them. You can set it up for however it works for you.

Benefits of Leechblock

I learned about Leecblock a few years ago through another blogger and have used it on and off since then. The main benefit is that it helps me stay focused. I know that I cannot access certain websites at certain times; therefore, I am more apt to use that time for its intended purpose, which for me, means writing.

Actually, I am also planning to use it with my son. He recently received a new-to-him computer (my husband’s older computer) to use mostly for school. We allow him to play games on it but as he starts fifth grade soon, I am planning to block the game websites he likes during the times he is supposed to be doing school. (Note: Leechblock is not a substitute for parental controls which we also have in place.)

What I like most about Leecblock is that it is simple to use and customizable. I have gone through long periods when I didn’t use the add-on and long periods where I use it every day. So, if you are looking to stay focused online so that you can get your next book or signature program completed, this add-on may be just the tool you need.

Speaking about productivity, what is your favorite productivity tool, either online or offline?