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The Best Ways to Parent When You’re Not Feeling Like Your Best Self

  • April 22, 2019

You’re reading The Best Ways to Parent When You’re Not Feeling Like Your Best Self, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Becoming a parent means taking on the equivalent of three full-time jobs with no vacation or paid sick leave. And on top of it all, you still have to make it into the office each day to keep a roof over your family’s head. Throw in preparing meals, changing diapers and wiping snotty noses, and it becomes easy to see why so many moms live in a perpetual state of exhaustion.

As much as you may normally manage to balance your professional and family lives, you’re only human. You get sick, you get tired, you get overwhelmed just like anyone else. But you can’t simply hang up your mom hat and call it a day. Here’s how to cope the next time you suffer from a raging migraine, your toddler tosses your iPhone into the aquarium or you’ve plumb had enough.

Identify the Problem

Often we feel angry without knowing the root cause of the emotion. The first step in managing feelings means evaluating why you’re so cross. Maybe your toddler did spill his milk on the rug, but does that justify flying off the handle?

Chronically feeling irritable means something in your life lacks balance. Maybe you feel resentful of your spouse for constantly “forgetting” to do his share of household chores. Maybe you received a performance review at work that you considered unfair.

Identifying the underlying cause of what irritates us permits us to attack the real problem, not blow up at those we love over minor irritations. And simply making a plan to address the pressing matter provides relief.

Have a Heart-to-Heart

Even children as young as two understand basic emotions such as anger, fear and worry. And they learn how to express these difficult emotions appropriately (or inappropriately) from their parents. Children raised in homes where frequent shouting and emotional abuse occurs regularly carry these habits into adulthood where they pass these behaviors on to their own children.

Discuss worries and cares with your children in an age-appropriate manner, and allow them to contribute ideas for solving problems calmly and rationally. Even when you struggle with mental health conditions that sometimes impact your behavior, let the little ones know of your condition. This teaches them sensitivity toward those with similar illnesses in the future.

Take the Pressure Off

Some days leave us all feeling like a teakettle ready to whistle. Generally, we bring undue stress unto ourselves by demanding perfection when “okay” will do fine.

No matter how much of a stickler your mother-in-law may be for cleanliness, that doesn’t mean you have to make the house spotless before she visits. And even if you and your family maintain healthy eating habits, indulge in the occasional drive-thru visit or delivery pizza after a particularly trying day. I promise, the kids won’t mind!

Ask for Help

Every mom needs a helping hand from time to time. Whether you need help keeping up with house cleaning or a mental health day to restore your inner peace, reaching out shows strength. And it beats the pants off of trying to manage everything yourself!

Moms with friends who have children of similar ages can take turns supervising play while the other enjoys much-needed peace and quiet. While only 42 percent of playgrounds have separate areas specially designed for kids five and under, those living near such facilities can enlist trusted teenagers to take younger siblings out to play. Those lacking such amenities should contact their local parks and rec department to request such fenced areas.

Cultivate Adult Friends

I don’t know about you, but I have a limit for how much baby talk I can tolerate before wanting to scream. Maybe because I make a living with words, merrily chirping, “here comes the airplane!” repeatedly when trying to coax my youngest to eat makes me want to jam a pencil in my ear, so I don’t have to listen to my own voice.

Moms need other moms as friends. Period. If you’re the gregarious sort, simply strike up a conversation with another woman watching her kid at the park. More introverted moms can meet friends online first through apps like Peanut, which was created specifically for mom-to-mom connections. Build yourself a tribe and enjoy returning to adult conversation.

Plan Some Time Alone

I’ve been the introverted bookworm type since I was barely out of diapers, so the toughest thing I’ve had to adapt to as a mom of two is having a pair of mini-me’s chattering away at me constantly, even when I’m on the toilet.

I don’t just need alone time to write — I need alone time to keep from ending up in a padded cell with a funky jacket that buttons up the back. Luckily, my hubby knew this about me long before we married (part of the initial appeal of our relationship included having separate interests instead of expectations of being together every moment of every day). When he realizes I’m going into sensory overload, he gets the kiddos out of the house, or at least into the backyard, so that I can catch a break.

Focus on Why You Love Your Family

Even on the toughest days, our families provide an unconditional source of comfort, acceptance and understanding. Honor the love you feel for those near and dear by taking care of your own needs, too. Every super mom needs to shrug off her cape now and then!


Jennifer Landis is a mom, wife, passionate freelance writer, and the blogger behind Mindfulness Mama. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.

You’ve read The Best Ways to Parent When You’re Not Feeling Like Your Best Self, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

How to Find Your Dream Job: 5 Tips You Can Use Right Now

  • April 20, 2019

To find your dream job, you need to invest more time and effort. Sending out resumes and cover letters won’t be enough to get you the job you’ve always wanted. Being persistent when you don’t get any response won’t help either.

For an effective job search, you need a careful and well-planned strategy.

If you aren’t sure how to do that, here’s a quick guide on how to find your dream job.

Define your job search criteria

The first thing that you need to define is the criteria for the job you are looking for. You need to be clear about your job priorities because it will help in focusing your research.

When you know your motivations, it will be easier for you to find opportunities that are perfect for your ambitions and skills. It can be the salary, job position, or company culture.

Although defining the criteria for your job search is essential, you still need to make sure that there is enough room for flexibility. If you are too rigid with your criteria, you can end up sacrificing your dream job for some mundane things.

Create a list

writing a list

 

Once you have defined the criteria that you are looking for, you need to use them to search for available jobs and make a list. Prioritize them according to their desirability and when you have a list, you’ll find it easier to organize and keep track of the jobs.

Read job descriptions

When you are searching for a job, make sure that you read every job description. It may feel like a time-consuming activity, but it will actually save you more time in the future.

When you read job descriptions, you’ll be able to know which jobs fit your skills, education, and experience. By knowing which jobs you qualify for, you’ll have more time to focus on them and you’ll spend less time on irrelevant jobs.

Create an attractive resume and engaging cover letter

short resume

Your resume and cover letter play an important role in getting the attention of potential employers. They are your way of introducing yourself and convincing them that you are the best candidate for the position.

Instead of sending out the same resume and cover letter, create multiple versions. Make sure that you only send out resumes that speak about the requirements for the jobs you are applying for.

See Also: 5 Tips To Making Your Resume Cover Letter Stand Out

Activate referral network

It is important to create a network because it will expose you to a lot of job opportunities.

There are a lot of opportunities that are not advertised and if you do not have a referral network, you won’t even hear about them. You should take some time to attend conferences, events, lectures, and industry-related seminars so that you can build a good network that will keep you informed about the best positions and opportunities.

When you are looking for a job, you should let people know that you are looking for employment. This way, you’ll be one of the first people they’ll think of when the hiring process begins.

Finding a good job that will keep you happy and satisfied requires patience and the right strategies. Sometimes, it can take years before you can find your dream job, so be patient and consistent. With a little work and discipline, you’ll be able to get the job that will make you really happy.

The post How to Find Your Dream Job: 5 Tips You Can Use Right Now appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Fund Your Holiday of A Lifetime

  • April 20, 2019

We all have a place in the world that we want to visit more than anywhere else. Usually, it’s a far-flung place, steeped in history and a culture that is the complete opposite to our own.

The one problem though is funding it. Holidays of a lifetime don’t come cheap and if you want to enjoy the most memorable of experiences, you’re not going to be able to scrimp.

There are many ways in which you can fund the ultimate getaway- from innovative ways to make money to playing the lottery and crossing your fingers.

Here’s our guide on how to save money for dream vacation.

Find The Best Value Credit Card

how to choose the best credit card

Credit cards are the most common way of funding a huge trip. Booking flights and accommodation by credit card is not only sensible in terms of finance but will also cover you more should anything happen to your booking.

Many of us just use the credit card we’ve got and don’t make the most of 0% interest offers or cards that offer travel rewards.

There are tons of great cards out there that’ll help to cut the cost of your travels. And paying on a 0% card makes good sense if you plan on paying the card off within the period the card is offering it.

You’ll find some great no interest credit cards on the market, perfect for high-value payments.

It’s well worth exploring if you’re planning on paying with a credit card. After all, nobody wants to be paying huge amounts of interest.

Secure a Loan

Another option is to secure a loan. If you can similarly get one with low-interest rates, it really can be a worthwhile move.

At various stages in our life, there are things we need to do. If it’s before you settle down with children, for example, a loan can give you that opportunity. It gives you the chance to pay your holiday back at a reasonable rate.

It’s an option many take but it can be difficult to acquire if you have bad credit. You also must be sure you can afford the monthly payments. Otherwise, you could end up in trouble.

Review Your Finances

start business budget

It’s likely we’re all paying more than we should be in one way or another, whether that be on our utility bills or the gym membership we haven’t used in over six months.

There are dozens of ways in which you can cut your daily running costs, and you really can save hundreds of dollars in the process.

One of the best ways to do this is by looking at utility bills and deciding whether you could save by switching provider. In some cases, you could cut costs by £300 which is a significant chunk in flight or accommodation costs.

Other methods include changing the way you travel to work, cutting branded products in your weekly shop, and selling anything you have wasted capital in.

Create a Plan

First and foremost, you should create a plan and map out your finances.

You’ll find this more helpful than anything else as it’ll allow you to break down your income and expenses and realistically budget and forecast how long it will take you to save.

This will then give you a clear idea of when you can take your holiday. It will give you clear dates of when you’re going and even the right time to book the trip.

It’ll help bring you a firmer purpose for saving and all in all, make it much more effective. Within the plan, if you can set up a direct debit plan for saving, this will also hold you in great stead and help avoid spending what you should be saving.

The post How To Fund Your Holiday of A Lifetime appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Indie Games Accelerator – Applications open for class of 2019

  • April 20, 2019

Posted by Anuj Gulati, Developer Marketing Manager and Sami Kizilbash, Developer Relations Program Manager

Last year we announced the Indie Games Accelerator, a special edition of Launchpad Accelerator, to help top indie game developers from emerging markets achieve their full potential on Google Play. Our team of program mentors had an amazing time coaching some of the best gaming talent from India, Pakistan, and Southeast Asia. We’re very encouraged by the positive feedback we received for the program and are excited to bring it back in 2019.

Applications for the class of 2019 are now open, and we’re happy to announce that we are expanding the program to developers from select countries* in Asia, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.

Successful participants will be invited to attend two gaming bootcamps, all-expenses-paid at the Google Asia-Pacific office in Singapore, where they will receive personalized mentorship from Google teams and industry experts. Additional benefits include Google hardware, invites to exclusive Google and industry events and more.

Find out more about the program and apply to be a part of it.

* The competition is open to developers from the following countries: Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

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7 Ways to Make Your Angry Wife Happy

  • April 20, 2019

If you’ve made your wife angry for some reason, you know how difficult it is to put a smile back on her face. While it’s true that each woman is different, a lot of wives like being showered with kindness and appreciation.

You need to do more than just say you’re sorry. You have to let her know how much you think about her, how happy your wife makes you, and how much you value her presence.

If you’re getting the cold shoulder, here are some ways to turn it around:

1. Do something amazing and lovable

Search out a special gift or throw a surprise party. Keep in mind, a beautiful flower a day keeps the quarrel at bay. This is the common and most usual technique to lift your partner’s spirits.

2. Treat her to a holiday

shopping-spree

If your pocket can take it, she will definitely enjoy a lavish cruise in gentle waters and blonde sunshine. Propose to take her out for shopping and be openly keen on the places your wife wants to explore.

If you’ve been spending too much time at work, a holiday would also benefit you.

See Also: How to be a Good Husband to Make Your Life a Bed of Roses

3. Write a romantic and sweet poem or love note for her

Romantic gestures don’t have to be expensive. If you can’t afford that luxury cruise, how about DIY-ing something your wife would love?

Handwritten romantic love letters never go out of style. Write down your most genuine and sincere feelings and they will be sure to reach her.

4. Plan dates around her interests

If she loves to watch movies, buy a ticket to a movie she’s been waiting to see. If she loves gourmet food, learn one recipe and try it out for a special dinner with just the two of you. Whether you succeed or not at whatever you plan, your wife will see your effort and be touched by it.

5. Be a good listener

good-listener

Some women (and men) suffer from feelings of neglect. Oftentimes, all they need is to know that one person loves them wholeheartedly and listens to them. Be that person for her.

When she encounters any troubles, pay attention carefully to your wife and show your concern by uttering sounds of solace. Put down your mobile phone and instead give her your 100% attention.

6. Keep your sense of humor

When a person is angry, she might not be in the mood for jokes or humor. However, avoid clashing with her temper too as this will not yield any positive results. Instead, bide your time and know when to lighten the mood around the house.

7. Do any household chores that your wife really hates

Think of a household chore that your wife REALLY hates to do. Maybe she hates to do the laundry or do the cooking. Now start doing those for her for a couple of days.

Though presents and holidays are perfect but expensive treats, consider that there other heartfelt ways to turn around your wife’s state of mind. A shower of love and affection and a truly affectionate heart is needed to make her feel happy.

See Also: 10 Behaviors That are Hurting Your Wife

The post 7 Ways to Make Your Angry Wife Happy appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Discover the Limiting Beliefs that Create Self-Sabotage

  • April 20, 2019

You’re reading How to Discover the Limiting Beliefs that Create Self-Sabotage, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Imagine walking toward a beautiful, white sand beach. The sky is clear, the sun warm. A soft breeze caresses your skin.

You can hear the cheerful sounds of your friends enjoying themselves, having the time of their lives on this perfect day.

You are anticipating a long-needed, well-deserved break from the stresses of life!

Suddenly, a police officer appears.

“Do NOT go out on that beach,” his voice is quiet and ominous.

“Huh?” You cannot help but stop in your tracks, although you don’t see any evidence that what he says has any merit.

“I’m not kidding. Stay off that beach. You can’t go there. That would be a mistake.”

“But why?” you reply. Other people are over there. My friends are calling me. They seem to be really enjoying themselves.”

“No!” he commands. “You are not allowed.” He looks as if he is about to haul you away.

“But I haven’t done anything wrong,” you manage to mutter in confusion.

“Don’t be so sure of yourself. You don’t deserve to be out there having a good time like a normal person. I should cuff you right now! You’re scum, and don’t you forget it.”

And there went your perfect day…

Who is this mysterious officer bent on ruining your life? He is a symbol of your limiting beliefs.

What are limiting beliefs?

A belief is an experience of certainty. Beliefs are made of inner images, sounds and feelings. What you see, hear and feel on the inside forms the belief. The belief, perhaps along with other beliefs, serves as an attitude or “lens” through which you perceive the world.

If you were to perceive and respond to the world from the perspective of the police officer, you would experience the world in a very limited way. With the police officer’s attitude streaming through your mind and body, your options and capacity to enjoy life disappears.

How to Discover Which Limiting Beliefs Affect You

Here are some steps that will help you discover which limiting beliefs hold you back from the success, peace, and enjoyment that you desire.

1. Choose a goal or direction in life.

Make plans or set a goal. You need to determine a positive direction for yourself with a clear path forward.  This could be related to a new diet, career, a new business, or a new commitment of any kind. It doesn’t have to be complicated. A goal such as, I am going to exercise 30 minutes every weekday, is perfectly clear.

2. Move forward, full steam ahead.

Discovering which limiting beliefs affect you is not a cerebral process. It is a mind-body experience. You learn a lot (if you pay attention) en route toward your goals. Once you get yourself moving down the path, then you’ll get to discover which obstacles may be lurking there.

So, get moving. Go after what you want! Each day, exercise for 30 minutes!

3. Notice what happens next.

When moving down the path toward what you want, one of two things will happen:

  1. You will begin to experience success
  2. You will sabotage your success.

If you succeed, keep going! Each day you exercise, celebrate (not with a box of Twinkies, I hope) and plan to continue.

If you sabotage yourself by unnecessarily skipping your exercise sessions, you have now encountered your first obstacle. It is critical to treat the sabotage as a learning experience about your limiting beliefs.

At this point, you must discover the internal attitude that drove you to sabotage your plan. In other words, you need to find the belief.

Remember, beliefs are made of what you see, hear and feel on the inside. So, pay attention. In your moments of sabotage, what thoughts and feelings passed through your mind and body?

Therein lies your limiting belief!

Let’s say that after a couple of days, you blow it by watching TV instead of exercising. As you made that choice, what thoughts or feelings were passing through your consciousness? Below are some common examples:

• An inner voice: Ah who cares. I can’t do this anyway.

• A feeling in the solar plexus that says: I am not worth it.

• An image of a critical parent looking down his nose at you as if to say: You’ll just screw it all up eventually anyway.

The key is to relax, slow down and take yourself off auto-pilot. As you pay attention to your inner experience, you will discover the message. Within the message is the belief that drove your self-sabotage.

What next?

Now you know that you harbor a specific, limiting belief that prevents you from accomplishing your goal. This will not necessarily solve the problem, but it is a critical first step.

Imagine showing up to a life coach or and saying, “I have a goal to exercise, but believe I am not worth the effort required to follow it. I need to believe I am worth it.”


Mike Bundrant is an NLP trainer who integrates modern Zen practices into his work. For a free personal development mini-course, visit the iNLP Center.

You’ve read How to Discover the Limiting Beliefs that Create Self-Sabotage, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Sketch vs Figma, Adobe XD, And Other UI Design Applications

  • April 20, 2019

Sketch vs Figma, Adobe XD, And Other UI Design Applications

Sketch vs Figma, Adobe XD, And Other UI Design Applications

Ashish Bogawat

2019-04-19T11:00:16+02:00
2019-04-19T23:35:29+00:00

For a while now, Sketch has been the application of choice for many UX and UI designers. However, we have lately seen many new contenders for Sketch’s position #1 as a universal UI design tool. Two apps that I think stand out mostly from the rest (and that have made the biggest strides in their development) are Figma and Adobe XD.

This article is oriented towards user interface designers and developers. I’ll try to summarize my thoughts on how Figma and Adobe XD compete with Sketch and what unique features each one of them brings to the table. I will also reference some other alternative apps that are aiming to become leaders in the same niche.

Note: To profit from the article, you don’t need to have prior experience with Sketch, Figma, or Adobe XD. Still, if you have some experience with at least one of these apps, it will certainly help.

Table of Contents

The Sketch Competitors (And Where It All Started For Us)

A while ago, Adobe Fireworks was the preferred user interface design app for our entire team. Fireworks was flexible, easy to use, and with the help of many free extensions was fitting perfectly in our design workflow. When Adobe discontinued Fireworks, the only alternative we had left was Sketch. We made the switch (and it was an expensive one, considering we had also to move from Windows to Mac), but the gain in productivity was huge, and we never regretted the choice made.

For a while now, Sketch has been the application of choice not only for our team but for many other user interface designers. But in the last couple of years, a number of competitors started to seriously rival Sketch as the current tool #1. Given how rapidly these new competitor apps have improved, our team was tempted to try some of them out and even considered switching over. In this article, I’m hoping to give you a comprehensive comparison of the top contenders of Sketch in the UI design tools arena.

Although it feels like a week doesn’t go by without a new screen design app launching, only a few of them have matured enough to stand up to Sketch’s currently leading position. The two that I think come the closest are Figma and Adobe XD. Both apps have fully functional free versions — making the entry barrier for new users much lower.

XD has versions for Mac and Windows, while Figma supports Mac, Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS — pretty much any operating system on which a modern modern browser can be installed and run.

Sketch, Figma and Adobe XD logos

Comparing Sketch, Figma, and Adobe XD. (Large preview)

Figma

Figma is a web app; you can run it in a browser and therefore on pretty much any operating system. That’s one aspect completely in contrast with Sketch, which has been a Mac-only app. Contrary to my presumptions, Figma runs perfectly smooth and even trumps Sketch’s responsiveness in a number of areas. Here’s an example:

A lot has been said about how Figma compares with Sketch, but the race has only been heating up with the recent updates to both apps.

Figma’s success has the developers of Sketch reconsidering their native-only approach. The company recently raised $20 million to help it add more features — including a web version of Sketch app.

Adobe XD

Although an entire generation of designers grew up using Adobe Photoshop for design, it was never built with user interface designers in mind. Adobe realized this and started working from the ground up on a new app called XD. Although it took a while for XD to get up-to-speed with Sketch in terms of features, Adobe seems to have taken it very seriously in the last year. New features — and some of them quite powerful — are being added to the app almost every month, to a point where I can actually consider it a viable alternative at this point.

Others

Figma and Adobe XD are by no means the only contenders to Sketch’s leadership. Although it may seem like a new one joins the race every few weeks, some are clearly ahead at this point — just not in the same league as the ones above, in my opinion.

  • Framer X
    Although Framer started off as a code based tool for creating prototypes, they have been steadily adding design capabilities. The latest iteration is Framer X, which can be termed as a UI design tool with the ability to code interactions and animations for finer control and flexibility.
  • InVision Studio
    InVision started as the best way to share design mockups with colleagues and clients. Over the years though, they have added features to the app and also built Studio as a standalone app for UI design, prototypes, and animations. (Studio is probably based off of Macaw, which InVision bought in early 2016.)
  • Gravit
    This is another UI design app that has been slowly but steadily improving in the background. Corel bought Gravit a few months ago, which means we might soon start seeing it gain more features and traction within the community.

“Another up and coming category of apps in this domain are the ones that combine design and code to output actual production-ready code that developers can directly use in their apps. Framer X actually does this to an extent, but apps like Alva, Modulz, and Supernova take things one level further. I will not dig into these here because all of them are in very early stages of development, but I wanted to point them out because that’s where the future of UI design tools seems to be headed.”

As a design consultancy, we — me and my team at Kritii Design — end up adapting to whatever toolset clients use. I saw the gradual shift from Photoshop to Sketch over the years, but in the last year or so we have seen a sudden switch from Sketch to Figma. Sketch is still the dominant tool in most teams, but Figma — and even XD in some cases — have begun to find favor with larger teams. I’m yet to come across a group that prefers any of the other options, but I’m assuming that divergence is not very far.

Similarities And Differences

I’ve been a Sketch user for three years now and consider myself a power user. I’ve been trying Figma on and off for about a year now, but much more so in the last couple of months. Adobe XD is fairly new to me — about a month since I started experimenting with it. As such, the comparison below is based on my experience with all three apps. I’ll also include snippets about other apps that seem to do certain things better, but it’s mostly just those three.

User Interfaces

I will not get into the details of the user interfaces of each app because all three share an almost identical interface: layers panel on the left, the canvas is in the middle, properties panel on the right, and tools toolbar at the top. Safe to say Figma and XD’s interfaces are heavily inspired by what Sketch started with.

Note: The right panel (which lets you control the properties of the objects on the canvas) is called Inspector in Sketch app, Properties in Figma Design, and Property Inspector in Adobe XD. They all do the same thing though.

The Basics: Artboards And Pages

When you create a new file in Sketch or Figma, you are on ‘Page 1’ by default, with a plain canvas staring at you. You can create artboards on the page, or add more pages. You can choose from a bunch of presets (for iPhone/Android phones, or for the web), or just drag any size you need.

Adobe XD does not support multiple pages yet. Just a canvas that you can add artboards to. Given how large some of my projects can get, I find this extremely limiting.

Artboards in Figma are called frames, and they’re much more powerful than Sketch. While Sketch stopped supporting nested artboards a few versions ago, Figma actually encourages nesting of frames. So you can have a frame for the screen, and then frames for the header, footer, lists, and so on. Each frame can have its own layout grid and can be set to clip content when resized.

Nested frames in Figma

The header, list and tab bar are frames nested within a frame for the entire screen in Figma. (Large preview)

When you create a new document in Adobe XD, it explicitly asks you to choose from a preset list of artboard sizes. You can choose “Custom,” of course. The preset selection in baked in the way XD lets you preview the designs. Anything beyond the preset height scrolls by default. When you increase the height of the artboard, XD adds a marker to show the original height of the device frame.

Device height indicator in Adobe XD

A blue line shows the height of the selected device’s viewport to help position content appropriately ‘above the fold’. (Large preview)

One thing Sketch does differently from the other two applications is that it adds a ‘Symbols’ page that holds all your symbols by default. You can decide not to send symbols to this page when you create them, but I’ve never seen anyone doing that. It actually makes a lot of sense to centralize all the symbols, so they are easy to organize.

Summary

Sketch and Figma support pages and artboards, although Figma’s artboards (or frames) — are more flexible because they can be nested. Adobe XD supports only artboards.

Grids And Layout

All three apps let you overlay grids on top of the artboards. In Adobe XD, you can use a square grid or a column grid. Sketch allows for both at the same time, plus allows for columns as well and rows in the layout grid.

Figma lets you add as many as you want of each type — grid, columns, and rows. Another example of the attention to detail in Figma — when you set the gutter to 0, it automatically switches from showing filled columns to showing lines only.

Comparing layout grid options in the three apps.

Figma takes layout grids a step further by allowing grids on frames (which can be nested) as well as individual components. One interesting possibility with the latter is that you can use them as guides for padding when working with resizable components.

All three apps also let you set constraints to define how elements will scale or move when their containers are resized. Moreover, they all employ an almost identical user interface to set and manage those constraints. Figma was the first of the lot with this UI concept. Sketch followed and improved upon it in their latest release, and Adobe XD introduced the feature in September 2018.

Object resizing constraints in the three apps

The object resizing and constraints UI in all three apps. (Large preview)

In Figma, constraints work only on elements inside a frame, not groups (like in Sketch and Adobe XD). It is mildly annoying because you can set constraints, but they just don’t work when you resize the group. But Figma does actively encourage you to use nested frames which are much more powerful than groups. Another advantage with Figma is that when using layout grids, constraints apply to the column or cell the element is inside.

In Figma, layout constraints apply to columns when a layout grid is added.
Summary

All three apps let you use grids and column layouts inside artboards. Figma’s implementation feels more powerful because you can nest frames and therefore have separate grids for sections of a screen. Support for constraints in all three is pretty good and more-or-less at par.

Drawing And Editing Tools

Neither of these apps have the advanced vector tools like Adobe Illustrator or Affinity Designer. What you get are the bare basics — rectangle tool, ellipse tool, polygon tool, and a free form vector drawing tool. Plus boolean capabilities to combine and subtract shapes. For most user interface design needs, these are just fine.

That is not to say that you cannot create complex vector artwork in any of these apps. The images below represent what each app is capable of, if you’re willing to spend the time learning all of the tools and features.

Examples of vector artwork in all three apps

Examples of illustrations created in all three apps. From left to right: Nikola Lazarevic in Sketch, Mentie Omotejowho in Figma, and Matej Novak in Adobe XD (check each link to see the originals). (Large preview)

Sketch has been my staple design tool for a few years now and I’ve never felt the need to go to Adobe Illustrator for any of the icons and the occasional illustration I needed in my designs. You get the usual rectangle, ellipse and polygon shapes, a bezier tool for everything else, and even a freeform line tool that probably only makes sense if you use a tablet/stylus.

Figma has an advantage in this department due to what they call ‘vector networks’. If you ever used Adobe Flash to draw, this will seem very familiar. Rather than try to describe it though, I’ll just show you what it does…

Figma’s vector networks in action.

Figma’s shape tools also feel a step ahead of Sketch. For ellipses, there is now the ability to easily carve out pies and donuts — a great feature for anyone who has tried to use Sketch’s dash settings to create donut charts. Corners of a rectangle can be dragged in to set the corner radius without bothering with the Properties panel.

Creating a donut chart in Figma.

Adobe XD falls behind here given it doesn’t even come with a polygon tool as of now. You also cannot align individual bezier nodes on a path, or change the roundness of these nodes — something we use very often to create smooth line graphs in dashboards.

Once you have added elements to your design, all three apps let you group them, arrange them above or below each other, align and distribute selected objects evenly, and so on.

One standout feature in XD is something called Repeat grid. It lets you create one item and repeat it in a list or grid, each with similar properties, but unique content. Figma’s answer to this is Smart selection. Rather than specify something as a list or grid, Figma lets you select a bunch of elements that are already a list or a grid, then arrange them by spacing them out evenly and easily sorting them via drag-n-drop.

Comparing XD’s Repeat grid feature with Figma’s smart selection.
Summary

Although none of the apps can hold a candle to the power of Illustrator or Affinity Designer when it comes to illustrations, they do provide an adequate enough drawing toolset for day-to-day UI design stuff. Figma’s vector networks place it ahead of the other two in terms of flexibility.

Symbols

All three apps support symbols — elements that all share the same properties and can be updated in one go. How they implement them though, changes quite dramatically from app to app.

  • Sketch
    In Sketch, converting something to a symbol will send it to a page called “Symbols” by default, creating an instance of it in place of the selected elements. This clear separation between the symbol and its instances is by design. An instance of a symbol can only be updated in certain ways — size, text, images; while nested symbols can be updated via the Inspector panel on the right. To edit the original symbol, you can double-click it to go to the “Symbols” page and make changes. Any changes you make there will be applied to all instances of the symbol.

“You can set it so that symbols don’t get sent to the separate page, but I don’t know anyone who does that. Symbols in Sketch are designed to live on their own page.”

Starting with Sketch version 53, you can now select elements inside a symbol instance and then use the Overrides panel to change the content for just that element. This is an improvement from earlier when you could only select the entire instance.

Editing a symbol instance in Sketch.
  • Figma
    In Figma, symbols are called components. When you create a component, it stays in place and is denoted as the ‘Master Component’. Copying it elsewhere in the design creates instances by default. Instances can be edited in a place like you would do with any other group, with the exception that placement of elements cannot be changed. You can change text, color, size and even swap nested symbols — all inline. This definitely feels more flexible than Sketch’s approach while at the same time putting adequate constraints in place as to not mess with the original component. For example, deleting the master component does not affect the instances. You can simply ‘recover’ the master component at any time and continue making changes.
Editing a component instance in Figma.
  • Adobe XD
    Adobe XD’s symbols are the least powerful at the moment. It does not have the concept of a master symbol and instances. Every instance is a clone of the symbol, so any changes to any instance is applied to all the others. They’re also extremely limited in what you can customize per instance — which is basically text and background images.

All three apps support reusing symbols across files.

In Sketch, any file can be added as a library, which enables you to add its symbols and styles to any other file you have open. Changes made in the original library document can be synced in the files that use those symbols, as long as you open them and click the notification.

Adobe XD takes a more simplistic approach for its ‘linked symbols’. Copying a symbol from one document to another automatically links the two. Changes made to the symbol in any document show up as notifications in the others, giving you the ability to review and apply them within the other documents.

Figma’s approach is a centralized repository of components called ‘Team Library’. Everyone on a team with the right access can add components to the team library. Any changes made to the components in the library show up as notifications, allowing you to review and update them in the files you have open.

Summary

All three apps support symbols, but XD’s version is so basic it might as well not exist. Figma’s approach to editing a symbol — or component — instance is much more intuitive and powerful than Sketch’s, although the latter has been catching up in recent versions. Both have strong library features for easy management and collaboration.

Styles

Styles are one of the most basic elements of a design system. The ability to save sets of element properties, apply them to multiple elements and apply changes across the boards, is extremely helpful when working on medium to large design projects. All three apps include support for styles, but the implementation varies a fair bit.

  • Sketch supports two style types — text styles and layer styles. Text styles include all font properties, color, and effects. Layer styles include fills, borders, and effects. As is obvious from the names, text styles apply only to text elements and layer styles to everything else. Starting with version 52, Sketch lets you override styles for elements inside of symbol instances. This is a huge upgrade to the utility of symbols in Sketch, eliminating a lot of hacky ways you would have to go through in the past for something as simple as changing icon colors inside symbol instances.

Layer and Text styles in Sketch

Layer and Text styles in Sketch. (Large preview)

  • Figma takes a dramatically different approach by making styles cascade. That means you can save styles for text (font, size, weight, line-height, etc.), colors or effects (drop shadows, blurs, etc.), and then mix and match them on elements. For example, the font properties and color on a text block are independently changeable. This makes it possible to have a different color for a word inside a paragraph, something you can’t do in Sketch.

Color, Text and Effect Styles in Figma

Color, Text and Effect Styles in Figma. (Large preview)

  • Styles in XD are limited to character styles for text elements. You can save colors and apply them from the library, but there is no way to save a set of characteristics (fill, border, shadow, and so on) as an individual style.
Summary

All three apps support text styles. Sketch also has layer styles that can be applied to non-text elements. Figma breaks styles down by characteristic and lets you mix and match them to get the result you need. It can be more flexible or too open-ended, depending on what your use case is.

Designing With Data

One of my most used Sketch plugins is Content Generator, which allowed me to quickly populate my designs with realistic dummy data instead of the usual lorem ipsum and John Doe and the likes. With the release of version 52, Sketch eliminated the need for that plugin by introducing built-in support for importing data. Now you can easily add realistic names, addresses, phone numbers, even photos in your design. A couple of sets are built in, but you can add more as you need.

External data source in Sketch

You can add and manage external data sets from Sketch preferences. (Large preview)

The Adobe XD team demoed some work-in-progress support for built-in functionality at Adobe’s MAX conference, but we don’t know when that will make it into the product itself. The one feature that has already made it in is the ability to drag-n-drop a TXT file onto an element in a repeat grid — or a bunch of images onto an image in a repeat grid — to populate all items in the grid with that data. What’s more exciting to me though, is the plugin ecosystem that is bringing in much more powerful ways of importing realistic and real-time data in XD. Case in point are the Airtable and Google Sheets plugins, which allow you to connect with the apps and pull in data from spreadsheets in real time.

Figma lags behind Sketch and XD in this regard. As of now, there doesn’t seem to be any way to populate realistic content inside elements in Figma, other than copy-pasting the bits of content one by one.

Summary

Adobe XD finally takes the lead with a much more capable API that lets you pull in live data, not just static data like Sketch does. Figma has a lot of catch up to do on this front.

Plugins And Integrations

This is where Sketch’s position as the most popular UI design application shines. With a huge library of plugins and new ones coming every few days, Sketch has no rivals when it comes to its ecosystem of plugins and integrations. From plugins for animation, prototyping and version control, helpers for managing text, styles, to connectors for popular apps, there is a plugin for everything you can think of. Here are some of my favorites:

Sketch RunnerQuick access to every tool and command inside the app, like Spotlight for Sketch.
Sketch MeasureFree, local alternative to developer handoff tools like Zeplin.
CraftA suite of super useful plugins, including prototyping, external data and library management. (You can read more about Craft for Sketch in Christian Krammer’s article “Craft For Sketch Plugin: Designing With Real Data.”)
AngleA quick way to add your designs to device mockups at various angles.
Artboard TricksA bunch of helpers for managing artboards in Sketch.

As the leader of the pack, Sketch also enjoys the largest list of integrations with third-party apps. Be it prototyping and sharing via InVision, developer handoff via Zeplin, version control via Abstract or Plant, most apps have direct integration with Sketch, with the ability to import, sync or preview Sketch files.

Plugin manager in Sketch

You can enable, disable, update and delete plugins from Sketch preferences. (Large preview)

Plugins in XD launched as recently as a few months ago, but things are already looking quite good. Adobe, with its marketing might, was able to get a lot of companies and developers onboard to launch their plugin ecosystem with a bang. Although not as vast as Sketch’s, the list of plugins for XD is pretty good and growing at a quick pace. Here are some highlights:

DribbblePost your designs to Dribbble right from inside XD.
Data PopulatorPull in live data from JSON files into your mockups.
Rename ItPowerful batch renaming for layers and artboards.
Content GeneratorGenerate random content for different elements in your design.
Airtable & Google SheetsBring real data from spreadsheets into your designs in real time.

The Airtable plugin I mentioned above is an example of app integrations that XD is quickly getting very good at. There are also integrations with usertesting.com, Cloudapp, Dribbble and more.

Plugin manager in XD

You can quickly browse and install plugins directly from inside XD. (Large preview)

As far as plugin management goes, XD does a much better job with a nice UI to find, read about and install all plugins. For Sketch, you need to find the plugin on the web, download it and launch the .sketchplugin file to install it. You can disable or remove them from the preferences screen, but not much else.

Figma falls short on the plugins front when compared to Sketch and even XD. It does not have a plugin API specifically, but Figma did open up some APIs for integrations with other apps earlier this year. Apart from built-in integration with Principle, Zeplin, Avocode and Dribbble, the result has been mostly things you can do with your files outside of Figma — like this PDF exporter, the ability to push assets from Figma to Github using Relay, and so on.

In March 2018, Kris Rasmussen from Figma said the following about the plans to add extensions:

“We have watched as our competitors added extension models which granted developers freedom at the expense of quality, robustness, and predictability. We’re eager to leverage the incredible collective brainpower of the Figma community in making our tool better, but we’re not going to introduce extensions until we are confident our extension model is robust. There’s no estimated date just yet, but we are actively exploring how to build this in a solid way.”

Summary

Again, Figma has some catching up to do on the plugins front, especially when compared to Sketch’s huge ecosystem, or Adobe’s powerful APIs and marketing might to get more developers onboard.

Prototyping, Interaction, And Motion Design

Sketch and Figma started off as static design apps, whereas Adobe XD launched with the built-in ability to link screens together to build low-fidelity prototypes. Figma added the prototyping functionality in mid-2017, while Sketch added prototyping in early 2018. As of today, all three apps let you create prototypes and share them with others.

Sketch and Figma’s prototyping tools were mostly limited to linking individual elements to other artboards on click/tap or hover, with a limited selection of transition effects. Figma just pulled ahead with the introduction of overlays in December 2018. This — combined with the fact that Figma’s frames are more flexible than Sketch’s rigid artboard structure — opens up the ability to prototype menus, dialog boxes and more. Both apps have support for other prototyping apps, though. Figma has an integration with Principle and Sketch with pretty much every prototyping tool out there.

While Figma lets you share the prototypes with a simple link (the perks of being in the cloud), with Sketch you need to upload your file to the Sketch cloud before you can share it with others.

Prototype controls in Sketch and Figma

Comparing the prototype controls in Sketch and Figma. (Large preview)

Adobe XD’s October 2018 release pushed it way ahead in the race when it comes to prototyping. It now does everything I mentioned above, but includes two more powerful features:

  • Auto-animate
    Where designers had to pull their designs into apps like Principle or After Effects to add motion design, some of it is built into XD now. It works by automatically moving elements with the same name when transitioning from one screen to another. This may sound simple, but the kind of effects you can generate are pretty spectacular.
Adding animations to prototypes using ‘Auto animate’ in XD.
  • Voice prototypes
    You can now trigger interactions in XD by voice commands, and even include speech responses to triggers. This is a huge addition that makes it easy to prototype conversational user interfaces in XD, something that is not possible in Sketch, Figma, or any of the leading prototyping apps out there.

If animation is important to you, one app to look out for is InVision Studio. It has a timeline based animation workflow, something none of the other apps on this list can boast of. Or if you’re comfortable getting your code on, Framer’s code based interaction model is definitely something to explore.

Summary

Adobe XD has the most powerful prototyping toolset of the three apps, with voice and auto animate leading the way. Sketch has rudimentary prototyping capabilities, but Figma’s implementation feels more seamless when it comes to sharing and gathering feedback.

Collaboration

Sketch and Adobe XD are traditional desktop apps — built for designers to work in isolation and share their designs when ready. Figma, on the other hand, was built for collaboration in mind, more like Google Docs for designers.

In Figma, multiple users can work on the same document at the same time. You can see colored cursors moving around the design when others are viewing or editing the design you’re on. This can take some getting used to, but in situations where we have multiple designers working on a project, this can be a godsend. The cherry on top is the ability to view the design from another designer’s perspective. Just click the user’s avatar in the header and you can see exactly what she is seeing and follow along.

Collaborative design in Figma, à la Google Docs.

Going beyond collaborative editing, sharing your work is also more streamlined in Figma than in the other apps. You can either invite others to see or edit a design or simply send a URL to the design file or prototype preview.

Developers who are viewing the file can get specs for the design elements — a la Zeplin or Avocode — and export any image assets they need. The assets don’t even need to be set to export like in Sketch.

Note: For Figma designs, there are three levels of access: 1) owner 2) can edit, and 3) can view. We use “can view” to give developers access to all the specs, and the ability to export assets as and when they need them.

Figma also has a built-in commenting system which is important when reviewing designs with broader teams and clients. Today, I rely on a combination of Sketch and InVision to achieve this.

Sketch allows you to upload files to its cloud services, and then share a link for others to view. Ensuring that the latest version is in the cloud is up to you, though. This can be a big risk if you have developers working off of a design that may not be current. XD’s December 2018 release added the ability to save files to the cloud, and you can decide which files to save in the cloud and which ones locally. This addresses the problem with maintaining latest versions in the cloud.

Summary

This is where Figma’s web-based roots really shine. It leaves the other two far behind on the collaboration front with built-in sharing, commenting and the single-source-of-truth approach. Sketch and XD are adding sharing features at a good pace, but their file-first approach is holding them back.

Which One Is Right For You?

If you’re a user interface designer, you can’t go wrong with either of the three apps that I have covered here. Or the others that I touched upon just briefly. They all will get the job done, but with varying levels of productivity.

If a native desktop app is necessary for you, and you don’t care about a Windows — or a Linux — version, Sketch is the best bet right now. Adobe XD is getting better at breakneck speed, but it is not as good as Sketch yet for day-to-day design tasks.

If you’re on Windows though, or if motion design is part of your requirements, Adobe XD is your best shot. Sketch simply does not have any animation capabilities and it doesn’t look like that a Windows version could appear on the horizon any time soon. For animation, InVision Studio might also be something you can look at. And if you’re comfortable with code, Framer X provides the most flexibility of the lot.

For me though, at this moment Figma strikes the best balance between features, usability, and performance. Yes, you need to be online to use it (unless you have a file open, in which case you can edit it offline). No, it doesn’t have plugins or any animation capabilities. But if UI design mockups are your core requirement, Figma does a far better job for creating, sharing and collaborating with others than either Sketch or Adobe XD. It has a very generous free tier, it is available on any platform that can run a modern browser, and it’s very actively in development, with new features and updates coming in faster than I can keep up learning them all.

In my team, for example, there seems to be an even split between folks who prefer Sketch or Figma. I’m myself beginning to lean in on Figma myself, but also use Adobe XD every now and then for some quick motion design experiment.

And if you’re looking for an even shorter tl;dr summary — trust Meng To:

“My thoughts on design tools and why you should pick them.
Figma: collaboration and all-in-one
Sketch: maturity and plugins
Framer: code and advanced prototyping
Studio: free and animation
XD: speed and adobe platform”

References And Further Reading

Sketch

Figma

Adobe XD

Smashing Editorial
(mb, yk, il)

AOC Quit Facebook. The Media Bungled the Story.

  • April 19, 2019

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

Over the weekend, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced on a podcast that she was quitting Facebook as part of her efforts to cut back on her social media use more generally.

This was big news because the 29-year-old AOC is famous for her skilled leverage of these platforms to connect with her constituents and drive the national conversation on issues she cares about.

What captured my attention more recently, however, is the apparent disconnect between the way AOC explained her social media moderation and the way the national media reported the story.

My hometown paper, The Washington Post, for example, lumped AOC in with WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton and Steve Wozniak, noting:

“Both technologists parted ways with the social network amid a user boycott and as the company faced a congressional inquiry over the Cambridge Analytica controversy, when it was revealed that the political firm had improperly obtained personal information from millions of Facebook users.”

The same article then elaborated:

“After a rolling series of scandals involving the misuse of personal data, hateful content and misinformation, many Facebook users have also changed the way they use the platform”

Here’s the thing: misuse of personal data and hateful content were not the reasons emphasized by AOC for why she quit Facebook. She instead called social media a “public health risk” that too often leads to “increased isolation, depression, anxiety, addiction, escapism.”

I keep encountering this same mismatch between real social media users and the press coverage of these services when I’m out promoting Digital Minimalism.

The press coverage of our culture’s growing disillusionment with social media tends to focus — like the article cited above — on policy issues such as data privacy, or political issues such as the definition of hate speech.

By contrast, when you talk to actual users about their concerns with these services, they tend, like AOC, to instead talk about their addictive nature, and how this compulsive use keeps them away from activities they know are more meaningful.

When AOC mentions isolation, anxiety, addiction, and escapism, most heavy social media users know exactly what she’s talking about.

On the other hand, when the press reports on this issue, they’re more likely to turn their attention back to Cambridge Analytica — a phrase I almost never hear mentioned by the students, parents, teenagers, retirees, artists, coders, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and athletes I’ve been talking to about digital minimalism over the past three months.

Putting politics aside for the moment, we should applaud AOC for being so forthright about the complicated tensions generated by social media. These tools played a big role in her rise to national prominence, but they’re also diminishing the quality of her life (not to mention the quality of life of hundreds of millions of other users obsessively entangled with these apps). The issue here is not clear cut, but it also can’t be ignored.

To me, this is the real story about how the social media juggernaut is currently renegotiating its place in our culture.

I think we’ll all be better served once the national press recognizes this reality, and turns more of its attention from the spectacle of Mark Zuckerberg testifying about data privacy and AI-driven content review, and toward the more nuanced and more human issues encapsulated by the surprising story of a 29-year-old social media rockstar who finds it necessary to escape the very techno-world that made her.

In other words, the important story is not the fear that social media companies will improperly use our data; it’s instead the fear that they’ll subvert our primal drive to cultivate a meaningful life.

7 Ways Pets Affect Emotional and Physical Health

  • April 19, 2019

Emotional support animals are everywhere these days. And it’s gone way beyond just dogs, cats or bunnies. Now, people are finding support and help from everything, from snakes to turkeys as well.

Studies have found that pet owners are less likely to experience issues with depression and anxiety. They even have fewer problems with physical ailments like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. But what is it about animals that produces so many positive effects on us and on our lives?

Below are 7 benefits of owning pets:

1. Companionship

pet companionship

Loneliness is one of the most crushing feelings a person can experience. People who are lonely are more prone to depression, health issues, and even suicide.

Pets go a long way in reducing loneliness by providing companionship. The type of pet isn’t as important as the connection a person develops with that pet.

The presence of a pet when you are feeling lonely can, just by being there, helps push those feelings away. And, although they can’t talk back, talking to your pet can prove to be both calming and comforting.

2. Exercise

Although it can be difficult to walk a snake, many pets require regular physical interaction or exercise to maintain their health. This means that in order to keep them healthy, you will have move a bit, too.

This extra exercise, whether through walks, play or other outings, can have a positive impact on your mental and physical condition. It has been shown that overall, pet owners are more likely to maintain a healthy weight. This probably has to do with the additional exercise that comes with owning a pet.

3. Social Interaction

Whether it’s the vet, the pet store or a park, pets can give us new reasons to meet people and be social. Just being forced into being around others who also have pets creates a common connection.

Being a pet owner automatically provides a topic for conversation and a sense of community with other pet owners.

4. Structure and purpose

Anyone who has ever felt lonely or depressed understands the lack of motivation and focus that can come along with those feelings, especially when it comes to caring for yourself.

Owning a pet requires you to focus on something else and maintain a certain amount of structure in caring for them. Even if caring for yourself is difficult, a pet needs you to care for them since they are unable to do so on their own.

5. Unconditional love

unconditional love

Your pet doesn’t care about what you look like, how much money you have, what your job is or anything other than being with you. They are happy just because you’re there.

This unconditional love can make us feel accepted and comforted in a way that nothing else can.

6. Calm

Playing with your pet or just being with it can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. This helps promote feelings of calm and relaxation. It also can help reduce stress hormones like cortisol, reducing inflammation within the body.

7. Overall Health

Forget eating an apple a day. Studies have shown that having a pet decreases visits to the doctor’s office, especially in older adults.

This goes beyond the additional exercise that pet owners are likely to get — although that certainly plays a role in staying healthy. The connection you develop with your pets and the love you feel can motivate you to adopt an overall healthier lifestyle so that you can care for them.

Although the benefit of pets and support animals is clear, it isn’t always feasible for everyone. Some people don’t have time, money or the space to own a pet of any kind.

Conclusion

In cases like this, there are alternatives. You can offer to walk or watch a neighbor’s pet, volunteer at an animal shelter or find out how you can assist organizations that specialize in support animals.

Just being around an animal, even for a short time, can have a profoundly positive effect on a person’s mental state and outlook. This is one of the reasons why so many hospitals are now utilizing support animals as part of their treatment.

See Also: Using Tech To Give Your Pet A Better Quality of Life

The post 7 Ways Pets Affect Emotional and Physical Health appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

7 Terrific Books That Can Make You Fall In Love With Math

  • April 19, 2019

So, you are a student who loves reading and writing.

You write essays, reviews, and stories. It’s not a problem for you to help peers with their academic papers and you are ready to read tons of books on different topics. Wouldn’t it be great to have reading and creative writing the only subjects in school?

But here come the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:

Physics, Economics, Chemistry, and…

MATH!

You wish you could fall in love with all those graphs and formulas, but merely a reference to exact sciences can set your teeth on edge. But what if I tell you that math can be exciting? More than that, it can become your favorite subject!

How?

Easy.

Just one word: read.

To be specific, read the most terrific books providing insights into the world of numbers and formulas. Once you turn to the last pages of the following books about math, you’ll never consider it boring or difficult again.

1. The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life by Jordan Ellenberg

Quote to think about:

“A basic rule of mathematical life: if the universe hands you a hard problem, try to solve an easier one instead, and hope the simple version is close enough to the original problem that the universe doesn’t object.”

Ellenberg shows how wrong you are when considering math as nothing but a dull set of rules to learn at school. Mathematics touches everything we do. It allows us to see the hidden structures underneath the chaotic surface of this world.

Armed with math, you can see the true meaning of information. This book provides insights to encourage your clear thinking about different areas of life. As the author says, doing math is like being “touched by fire and bound by reason. Logic forms a narrow channel through which intuition flows with vastly augmented force.”

2. A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar

Quote to think about:

“I’ve made the most important discovery of my life. It’s only in the mysterious equation of love that any logic or reasons can be found.”

Big chances are, you’ve watched the eponymous movie already. It is a biographical story of John Nash, one of the most brilliant mathematicians and a Nobel prize winner who suffered from schizophrenia. Despite that, he was able to elaborate on the game theory underpinning a large part of economics.

Sylvia Nasar describes John’s life, giving an interesting exposition of his mathematical ideas. His struggle with the disease and input in science deserve mentions and respect.

3. The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman

Quote to think about:

“No news is ever as good or as bad as it first seems.”

This book is a kind of the biographical story of Paul Erdős, a mathematician who lived and loved nothing but his subject. It consists of Erdo˝s quotations or paraphrases, which help readers understand his care and affection with everything related to math.

Paul Erdős loved to invent jokes, so you would definitely not be bored while reading the story about this interesting personality.

4. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Quote to think about:

“What did God do before he created the universe?”

Don’t say you never heard of the author and the book itself!

First published in 1988, this work has become a classic of scientific writing already. Professor Hawking tells about the origins and nature of our universe as well as predicts its further development.

Wormholes, time travels, satellites, and the fabric of space – you don’t have to be as smart in physics as a whip to get the author’s ideas.

5. Journey through Genius by William Dunham

Quote to think about:

“One of the genuine attractions of number theory is that conjectures simple enough to be understood by elementary school students nonetheless have been immune to the efforts of generations of the world’s best mathematicians.”

If you don’t believe that math theorems can be creative, this book is your must-read. The author takes each theorem and places it within the historical context.

Archimedes, Gerolamo Cardano, Georg Cantor… How did math influence geniuses? How did they prove theorems, and why did they do it after all?

This work by William Dunham is a rare combination of biography, history, and math.

6. The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Quote to think about:

“Missing a train is only painful if you run after it! Likewise, not matching the idea of success others expect from you is only painful if that’s what you are seeking.”

A black swan is a highly improbable event: unpredictable, carrying a massive impact, and easy to explain once after it has happened.

According to Taleb, black swans underlie everything about the world. But why do we not acknowledge them until after they happen? For years, the author has been studying how people fool themselves.

Read his book to have a look at the black swan theory and decide whether it stands to reason.

7. Letters to a Young Mathematician by Ian Stewart

Quote to think about:

“Unless you are genuinely interested in working with someone, don’t. It doesn’t matter how big an expert they are, or how much grant money the project would bring in. Stay away from things that do not interest you.”

Ian Stewart tells what he wishes he had known when he was a student. Philosophical and practical, he described subjects, including mathematics, with reasons why it’s cool, logic with its proofs, the beauty of mathematical thinking, and many others.

Written with easygoing humor, the book is worth reading by all means.

Are you among those in love with math already? Do you choose numbers over words, and would you read some actionable guides rather than fiction stories?

Then, your choice might be the ultimate lists of books about math to learn facts on the subject and get help with math topics.

Whatever you choose, remember:

There ain’t no such thing as boring subjects. There are professors who are unable to disclose the true colors of those subjects when they’re actually much richer than just black and white.

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