I like the New York Times. I’m an online subscriber and try to read it every day. But sometimes The Times runs the most annoying articles and features. I’m not talking about the political pieces. If I didn’t agree with The Times Editorial Board in the matter of Donald Trump I probably wouldn’t be a subscriber. No, I’m talking about the times they try to humanize their paper. To help us out with the little things in life. To make us be more productive. To make us shine!
One of those types of articles popped up last week. 8 Delightful Tips for Living a Smarter Life in 2019. Enough to make you cringe, isn’t it? And to make it even more creepy, this is a “Greatest Hits” compilation of tips that have appeared in The Times throughout the past year. Since most Best Lists have at least 10 entries, I will assume that even the column editor Tim Herrera had a hard time finding many good tips in The Times from 2018.
So let’s take a look at what my favorite paper (sorry Trib) thinks are the best ways to make us live a smarter life–and how I feel about those tips and strategies.
- Only answer email once or twice a day. Oh, come on. In the business world, electronic communication is the lubrication that keeps things sliding along. Today a problem was brought to my attention. It took a round robin of emails to clarify the situation, identify the team that would need to work on it, and set up a meeting time that would work for everyone. If only one of those emails went out each day, we would have a better chance of putting Elon Musk himself on Mars before our issue was even addressed.
- Quit being the flaky friend. Not bad advice, but if you are the flaky friend, the one who will “say yes to everything, never mean it and when they show up, they’re late” you probably aren’t reading The New York Times anyway.
- Try a tipsy grocery store shopping trip. A recommendation to plan your social events around the wine bar at your local Whole Foods. Now, I can admire a well-stocked grocery store as much as anyone, and I have been known to make a lunch out of samples, but come on–do I want to tell my wife our Saturday night date is at Trader Joe’s?
- Can’make the party? Don’t apologize. Or according to Scaachi Koul, author of this tip, don’t even bother to say you won’t show up. Now it is possible this particular advice was given tongue-in-cheek, but she is Canadian, so I don’t think so! I’ll just be sure to keep Ms. Koul and any other non-responders off our future guest lists.
- Don’t worry about leaving the house at the same time as your partner. This is a recommendation that if half a couple likes to head for an event or outing early, while the other half prefers leaving at the last minute, rather than argue each part of the couple should just head out at their own preferred time. Barb and I do struggle with this at times, but leave separately? It’s advice that might work in Manhattan or Lincoln Park where anywhere is no more than a brisk walk or crowded subway ride away. But for suburban living…no way!
- Order a cocktail without annoying the bartender. I guess that one is for people who go to bars like The Aviary where you have to make a reservation two months in advance. Most people I drink with at the Mexican place down the street just ask for a Margarita. The only decision is salt or no salt.
- Listen to video game music while you work. Does this make sense to anyone over 20 years old?
- Just be a better listener. Ok, I can deal with this one. And may I ask you to be a good reader as well!
That’s it. Maybe by next year The Times will be able to come up with a full top ten list. In the meantime, what are YOUR tips for smarter living?
Wednesday’s Blog Comment of the Day: Saw Green Book yesterday. Sad funny and meaningful all at the same time. Excellent film. Marty Zak
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