Paula Plant – Writer, Globetrotter, Landlord

Paula Plant is a journalist-turned-blogger who helps people shatter limits, ditch the cubicle and live life on their own terms. She’s traveled to 30 countries, owns six rental property units, and hasn’t had an employer since 2008. Her blog, Afford Anything, is the gathering point for a tribe that refuses to say, “I can’t afford it.”

Good things to read.

The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg. Our daily actions are more guided by unconscious habits than we may realize, Duhigg writes. In order to change our behavior, we must focus on the triggers and cues that relate to our habits, rather than rely on willpower alone.

A Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs. I will read anything that A.J. Jacobs writes. He could write directions to the 7-Eleven on the back of a napkin, and I’d read it. Simply stated: Jacobs is hilarious. His blend of earnestness, candor and intelligence is rare in the world of humor writing.

So Good They Can’t Ignore You, by Cal Newport. This book argues a notion that I’ve long believed: passion is the result, not the cause, of doing hard work everyday. I’ve written about this concept on my own blog, and Newport articulates and expands this idea brilliantly in this book.

Good things to watch.

This is tough, because I don’t watch a lot of video. But here we go …

Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford Commencement Address. This graduation speech features no fluff, no filler, and no overhyped clichés. It’s pure, raw inspiration.

Legends of the Fall. This has been my favorite movie ever since I first watched it back in 1995, thanks to its brilliant character development, its rich setting (both in scenery and in history), and its themes of loyalty, freedom and duty.

Game of Thrones. Because it’s awesome. ‘Nuff said.

Good things to use.

Dropbox. Buy an upgraded account and use it to store every digital file you’ve ever created, including (especially) all your photos, videos and personal notes. Imagine how you’d feel if you lost all your data. Dropbox is cheap insurance. (And it’s much easier than backing things up to an external hard drive!)

An Adjustable Standing Desk. Sitting wrecks havoc on your body. If you perform work that requires you to spend 6-8 hours a day at a computer, invest in an adjustable standing desk. The more expensive versions allow you to adjust between sitting and standing. Alternately, if you want a cheaper version, just keep two desks in your office: one that’s standing-height and one that’s sitting-height.

Evoluent Mouse. I’m so in love with this mouse that I carry it with me on trips baggage limits be damned. Most computer mice require you to rotate your wrist into a palm-down position, which is unnatural. The Evoluent lets you rest your wrist in a handshake position, which puts less strain on the joint.

Connect with Paula on Twitter, @AffordAnything.

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