Wonder Tools for a Good Morning
Start your day in a great way with some new resources
Hello! I’m Jeremy and you’re reading the Wonder Tools newsletter. I teach at CUNY’s Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, where we just completed the pilot term for the new Journalism Creators Program. Here’s the first cohort’s new collection of Medium posts about their new ventures.
Today I’m writing about some new resources to start the day in a positive way.🌼
Start your day with some musical sunshine 🌻- a YouTube playlist I made with some classical performances I like. If you prefer something jazzier, try Gary Walker’s morning jazz. (Mon-Fri 6-10am). Or explore global tunes on the World Music Network. I shared other spots for interesting music in a previous post, including Radioooo, which lets you pick a spot on the globe and listen to music popular there during a particular decade. If you’re getting down to work and want to simulate office chatter, Sounds of Colleagues provides ambience the coffee shop or office feel of working near other people.
As an alternative to the cacophony of morning headlines, wake up to pleasant news from the Sunshow Newsletter, which curates feel-good stories from sites like Squeekly and HealthyHappyNews to restore faith in humanity. Sunshow introduced me to Portuguese photographer Hugo Suissas, whose surreal photographs transform everyday things into surreal pictures.
Or read the terrific BrainPint, a curated weekly newsletter for the curious. The writer, Janel, reads 150+ pieces to boil down just the most interesting reads, and she has a great curator’s knack for finding good stuff. This week I particularly appreciated the article she found & shared about developing a personal advisory board complete with fans (who support you), sponsors (who open opportunities for you) and critics (who give you the frank feedback others avoid out of politeness).
Morning commute 🚙
Wander through international streets with virtual City Walks. You won’t smell the city bakery you love, but you’ll at least get the sights and sounds of a vacation week walk in one of your favorite places. Or enjoy a virtual morning drive through cities around the world with Drive and Listen. Take a breezy ride through Barcelona or Beijing while listening to local radio stations. (Thanks to my brother Jonathan for the tip).
If you like to plan on paper, pick from 60 free daily planner templates on Canva. Print any as is, or customize by adding boxes, lines, colors, images or whatever you want.
Pinterest is also full of printable daily planners like these. Rather than Googling, just scan through and find one that resonates.
If you prefer planning digitally, lots of apps help craft a simple tasks list. One clean one is Your Week, which is super-simple and free. No bells, whistles or distractions. If you’re planning longer term, TinyMonth lets you view the year ahead on a single page. You can then map out upcoming meeting dates and share a link so someone can see all the dates you've picked. Or you can copy the list of dates in text form to paste into an email.
I’m a fan of Tara Brach’s approach to meditation. Listen to this NPR episode of Life Kit for a quick dose of her RAIN framework. She has great sessions on the Calm app, including one I like for settling down to sleep 🛌. She also has a free self-guided course on mindfulness-at-work with Jack Kornfield available on the free Insight Timer app or on Brach’s site. If you’re looking for other options, here’s my pandemic toolkit for staying positive.
I like 7-minute workouts, especially during the winter. They’re a simple way for me to get at least some exercise, even on busy days when I have only an occasional break between Zoom marathons. This J&J Official 7 Minute Workout app is free on iOS and Android and has 22 preset workouts 🤸 designed by Chris Jordan, who originated the 7-minute workout. Some are easy for days when I’m tired. Others are brutal and much longer than 7 minutes. The app can play tunes from your phone’s music library while you work out. If you prefer, customize workouts by picking individual exercises you like.
Fabulous usefully guides you through daily routines based on habits you want to establish. Fabulous was developed by the well-known behavioral economist Dan Ariely at Duke University. The app aims to help you build healthy rituals into your life by creating positive associations for new habits. You can join in “challenges” alongside others focused on similar goals. It’s free to explore and $35 for an annual subscription. Works on iOS and Android.
Streaks helps you start mornings on a positive note. Track of up to 12 habits. Start by picking positive habits you want to stick to or negative habits you want to avoid. Pick cute icons if you like that kind of thing. At the end of the morning - or day - tap circles to mark habits as complete. You can set some habits to be automatically marked complete through Apple Health - when you use a mindfulness app, for example, or when you hit your target step count. It’s a $5 one-time purchase for iOS or Mac.
Have a great day,
p.s. You’re invited to tomorrow’s free Redefining Journalism Entrepreneurship conference - Friday, February 19 from 12pm to 3:30pm ET (or whatever part you’re interested in). I’m moderating the first panel, with inspiring independent journalism entrepreneurs: Darian Symoné Harvin, Cherie Hu, Erin Mikail, and Brian Morrissey. Register free here.