Motivation Productivity

Tips for Staying Inspired Every Day

Life can throw us curveballs, and it’s easy to feel drained or demotivated at times. However, finding inspiration in our daily lives can make a significant difference. Here are some tried-and-true tips to help you stay inspired and motivated every day.

1. Cultivate a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is the belief that our abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication, hard work, and learning. It’s the understanding that challenges, setbacks, and even failures are stepping stones towards improvement rather than barriers to success.

In 2023, the concept of a growth mindset remains as relevant as ever. With the rapid pace of technological advancement and evolving job markets, adaptability and a willingness to learn are crucial skills.

I recommend watching “The Power of Believing That You Can Improve” by Carol Dweck, the psychologist who coined the term “growth mindset”. In this video, she delves into the science behind this mindset and how it can fundamentally change the way we approach challenges.

2. Set Clear Goals

Setting clear and well-defined goals is akin to plotting a course on a map. It provides you with a specific destination, a clear path to get there, and a sense of purpose that propels you forward.

Breaking Down Goal Setting:

The process begins by envisioning what you want to achieve, whether it’s a career milestone, a personal accomplishment, or a fitness goal. It’s crucial that these goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). This ensures that your goals are concrete and realistic.

Furthermore, breaking these larger goals into smaller, actionable steps is key. This makes the path forward less daunting and provides you with clear checkpoints to track your progress.

Book Recommendation – Goal Oriented Planner:

I recommend any book that encourages you to jot down three distinct goals each day. This simple practice is a powerful tool in steering your efforts towards your meaningful accomplishments. Whether you’re aiming for professional milestones, personal growth, or fitness achievements, a goal-oriented planner can be your guiding light. It keeps you on track, ensuring your aspirations are met, and provides a structured framework for success.

This “Yop & Tom Undated Goal Planner” is a great example. It includes inspiring quotes along the way!

3. Find Inspiration in Nature

Take a moment to connect with the natural world. Whether it’s a sunrise, a blooming flower, or the tranquility of a forest, nature has a way of rejuvenating our spirits.

For me, embracing nature has been a true lifesaver. I’m an avid hiker and I cherish the countless nights I spend camping out under the open sky. Thankfully, in Scotland, this is easily accessible, and it’s usually safe. While the weather can be a bit challenging at times, that’s all part of the adventure.

Being out in nature clears my mind like nothing else. It’s like a mental reset. Escaping from the bustle of city life and the hum of technology is a welcomed break. In the quiet of the outdoors, surrounded by the natural world, everything seems to fall into place.

4. Practice Gratitude

Take a moment each day to reflect on the things you’re grateful for. This simple act can shift your perspective and help you appreciate the beauty in everyday life.

Here are some popular methods of consciously practicing gratitude in your life:

  1. Gratitude Journal: Just take a few minutes each day to scribble down three things you’re grateful for. It could be as simple as that perfect cup of coffee in the morning, a kind word from a colleague, or the soothing sound of rain.
  2. Mindful Reflection: At the end of the day, take a beat to think back on what made you smile or warmed your heart. Put your phone away for a time and have meaningful conversations with your family and/or friends, or meditate focusing on what you enjoy about your life right now.
  3. Say Thanks: Don’t hesitate to let others know when you appreciate them. It could be a quick message, a thank-you note, or just a warm smile. Doing these things makes a bigger impact than you’d think!
  4. Gratitude Jar: Picture this – a physical jar or digital (Excel Sheet) ‘jar’ where you throw in little notes of appreciation. When you’re feeling a bit down, just go through those notes and remind yourself of all the good stuff in your life.
  5. Nature Appreciation Walks: Next time you’re out in nature, taking advice from the previous tip, really take a moment to soak in the surroundings. It’ll help and it’s similar to that post-gym workout feeling!
  6. Family Gratitude Time: Get the whole crew involved! Maybe share what you’re thankful for during dinner or before bedtime. It’s a great way to spread some good vibes.

5. Surround Yourself with Positivity

Surrounding yourself with positive influences, whether it’s uplifting people or motivational content, can have a profound impact on your outlook.

I have always loved motivational videos, I go through spells within the year where I get proper into watching videos to help inspire me. It’s usually during a low time, and I really think watching motivational videos helps.

Here’s a good example of the type of motivational videos I’ve watched in the past since I’m down the motivational video rabbit hole:

Tony Robbins is a world-renowned life coach, author, and motivational speaker, celebrated for his dynamic and transformative approach to personal development. I’ve always loved watching his videos.

If you’re looking for more motivational videos, you could easily search this on YouTube and find something tailored to you. It’s always positive, or the impact on life if you listen will be.

6. Engage in Creative Activities

Creativity is a powerful force that allows us to express ourselves and tap into our unique perspectives. Engaging in creative activities is not only enjoyable but also essential for personal growth and well-being. The key here is to follow your own path of enjoyment, to find what truly sparks your passion and allows you to lose yourself in the process.

For me, it’s the outdoors that truly ignites my creativity. The feeling of being outside, immersed in nature, is a wellspring of inspiration. Whether it’s the rush of wind against my skin on a hike or the simple beauty of a blooming flower, nature fuels my creativity in ways that are truly special. There’s an innate connection between the natural world and the creative spirit that’s hard to put into words, but it’s undeniably powerful.

Additionally, being active and keeping busy is another avenue that sparks my creativity. The movement, the rhythm, and the physicality of activities like hiking and camping invigorate not only my body but also my mind. It’s during these moments that ideas flow freely and new perspectives emerge.

7. Stay Active and Prioritize Health

Keeping the body moving and nourished isn’t just about physical well-being. It’s a cornerstone for a positive mental and emotional outlook. This year, this aspect has been a significant focus for me, and the results have been nothing short of amazing.

Dedication to a balanced diet and consistent exercise routine has led to a remarkable transformation. The combination of proper nutrition and pushing my limits at the gym has resulted in significant changes – shedding body fat and gaining lean muscle. It’s a testament to the power of consistent effort and the impact it can have on one’s physique and overall well-being.

But it’s not just about lifting weights. Cardiovascular health plays a crucial role in the equation, especially when the goal is fat loss. Incorporating regular cardio sessions into my day has been key. Whether it’s a brisk morning run or an evening bike ride, these activities not only contribute to calorie burning but also elevate overall fitness levels.

This journey has taught me that health isn’t a destination, it’s a continuous process. It requires dedication, smart choices, and the willingness to push past limits. The rewards, however, are boundless – increased energy, mental clarity, and a positive mindset that spills over into all aspects of life.

Remember, the path to a healthier you is unique. Find what works for you, be it weightlifting, yoga, or even dancing. The important thing is to move, nourish, and honor your body. It’s a journey worth every step.

8. Seek New Experiences

Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things can open your mind to fresh perspectives and ignite a sense of wonder.

Ever thought of turning each day into a mini adventure? It’s not just a concept; it’s a way of life that infuses magic into the mundane. The key is to proactively seek out new experiences, to consciously craft moments that leave a lasting mark.

Here’s a simple tip: break away from routine, even if it’s just for a brief hour. Take a different path to a familiar destination or explore a nearby place you’ve never been. It’s amazing how a slight detour from the norm can lead to surprising discoveries. Whether it’s a hidden café, a tranquil park, or a charming street, these small deviations can lead to big memories.

Embracing the new isn’t just a hobby, it’s a way of life. It’s a reminder that every day is an opportunity to uncover something amazing, to challenge the boundaries of what we know, and to revel in the magic of discovery.

9. Meditate

Take time for introspection. Whether through meditation, journaling, or quiet contemplation, this practice can bring clarity and inner peace.

I’ve personally experienced the benefits of meditation, and it’s a game-changer. It’s like a reset button for the mind, a chance to declutter thoughts and find clarity amidst the chaos. With consistent practice, it nurtures a sense of inner peace that resonates throughout the day. It’s a practice that not only grounds us but also empowers us to navigate life’s twists and turns with a steady hand.

Meditation is a gateway to self-discovery. It’s a journey inward, where we can explore the depths of our own consciousness. Through regular practice, we cultivate a profound sense of self-awareness, gaining insights into our thoughts, emotions, and patterns of behavior. It’s a transformative process that leads to a greater understanding of ourselves and our place in the world.

To get started you can try Headspace, it’ll guide you into meditation if it’s unfamiliar territory for you, as it was for me trying this some years ago.

10. Embrace Failures as Learning Opportunities

When life serves up a setback, it’s not a stop sign; it’s a detour guiding you towards growth. Don’t be discouraged by setbacks. Instead, view them as valuable lessons that contribute to your growth and resilience.

Think of it this way: every stumble, every wrong turn, is a hidden treasure trove of wisdom. It’s a classroom where life imparts its most profound lessons. These experiences build not only knowledge but also a special kind of strength, the kind that comes from weathering storms and emerging stronger on the other side.

Rewrite the narrative on failures. They’re not roadblocks; they’re the very foundation of success. Each misstep is an opportunity to recalibrate, learn, and ultimately, to grow. It’s in these moments of challenge that we find the raw material for resilience, setting the stage for a brighter, more empowered future.


OTube: A Random Video Sharing Site

I’m pleased to share with you my side project, It’s a random video-sharing site that’s been gaining some good organic traction from Google and Bing lately. It’s noticeably standing out in comparison to my portfolio of other websites.

The idea behind OTube is simple: to share random videos that I come across during my time browsing YouTube, as well as some old-school stuff, music, gaming, and whatever else comes to mind. I love diving deep into my memory of the golden age of the internet and sharing those gems with others.

One of the fun features of OTube is the affiliate (Amazon) store for random products. It’s not something I’m heavily promoting, but it’s a fun addition to the site. All products of course relate in some way to the published content.

While I’m not running ads on OTube at the moment, that’s the plan for the future. For now, I’m content to update the site on the side and see where organic traffic takes it. I’m excited to earn my first £1 from the site!

Now, I want to take a moment to mention a Google update that happened in the second half of 2022 regarding video content. The update focused on improving the quality of video content in search results, specifically targeting low-quality videos and spammy content. This update is great news for sites like Otub that focus on providing high-quality, random videos to users.

Overall, OTube is a fun side project that I’m passionate about. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes in the future and sharing more random videos & products on there. As well as updating here on how the traffic grows over these next months.

Thanks for reading!

AI Content Writing Career

Asking ChatGPT About Myself

I asked ChatGPT to write about Peter Whyte, and to my surprise, I actually got a great summary that is pretty accurate. It only includes one fib, that I am a frequent speaker at various SQL events. Maybe one day I’ll fill that gap!

Maybe this was generated based on a generic SQL Server DBA guy, but it’s still decent, and I feel happy that ChatGPT at least pretended to know who I am.

When I first asked ChatGPT who Peter Whyte was, the AI responded by telling me about a Canadian artist named Peter Whyte, who is known for his landscape paintings of the Canadian Rockies. However, when I asked specifically about Peter Whyte, the SQL Server DBA, the AI provided me with a detailed response about my expertise in managing and optimizing SQL Server databases.

So here it is, my description from ChatGPT!

Write about Peter Whyte (SQL Server DBA)

Peter Whyte is a SQL Server DBA (Database Administrator) who is known for his expertise in managing and optimizing SQL Server databases. As a DBA, his primary responsibility is to ensure that the SQL Server database systems are running efficiently and effectively, minimizing downtime and ensuring data integrity and security.

Peter Whyte has several years of experience in the IT industry, specifically in the area of SQL Server database administration. He has a deep understanding of the SQL Server database engine, including its architecture, configuration, and performance tuning.

In his role as a SQL Server DBA, Peter Whyte is responsible for a range of tasks, including database backup and recovery, database performance tuning, security management, and database design and implementation. He is also proficient in SQL Server clustering and high-availability solutions.

Peter Whyte is an active member of the SQL Server community and is a frequent speaker at various SQL Server events and conferences. He shares his knowledge and experience by writing technical articles and blog posts on SQL Server topics.

Overall, Peter Whyte is a well-respected and knowledgeable SQL Server DBA, with a proven track record of successfully managing and optimizing SQL Server databases for various organizations.

Career Finance

How much Tax do we pay in the UK

I thought I’d do a bit of a high-level Tax review for a UK PAYE employee like myself. I live in Scotland so this is scoped this end of town.

Here is an example of a table of income tax, National Insurance, and VAT for a PAYE employee in Scotland:

Taxable IncomeTax RateNational InsuranceVAT (Spending)Total Tax
Up to £12,5000%12%20%32%
£12,501 – £14,58519%12%20%51%
£14,586 – £25,15820%12%20%52%
£25,159 – £43,43021%12%20%53%
£43,431 – £150,00041%12%20%73%
£150,001 and over46%12%20%78%

In this example, the table shows the different tax rates and the corresponding tax due for different ranges of taxable income, including National Insurance and VAT on spending. Keep in mind that this is just an example, and the actual tax rates and amounts may vary depending on your specific circumstances.

England Tax Compared to Scotland

This example is of income tax, National Insurance, and VAT for a PAYE employee in England:

Taxable IncomeTax RateNational InsuranceVAT on SpendingTotal Tax
Up to £12,5700%12%20%32%
£12,571 – £50,27020%12%20%52%
£50,271 – £150,00040%12%20%72%
£150,001 and over45%12%20%77%

UK VAT Rules

In the United Kingdom, VAT (Value Added Tax) is a tax that is applied to most goods and services that are purchased and sold within the country. The standard VAT rate in the UK is 20%, although some goods and services are subject to reduced or zero-rated VAT.

Goods and services that are subject to the standard VAT rate include:

  • Most goods and services sold by businesses, including goods imported from other countries
  • Most goods and services purchased by consumers, including those purchased online or by mail order

Goods and services that are subject to reduced or zero-rated VAT include:

  • Some essential goods and services, such as food and children’s clothing
  • Some exported goods and services, including those sold to customers in other EU countries or to customers outside the EU
  • Some services provided by charities, including fundraising events and educational services

It is important to note that the VAT rules and rates can change over time, so it is best to consult with a tax professional or refer to the relevant tax laws and regulations to determine the correct VAT rate for specific goods or services.

Income & Inheritance Taxes

In addition to income tax, National Insurance, and VAT, there are several other taxes that are applicable in the United Kingdom. Some of these taxes include:

  • Corporation tax: This tax is applied to the profits of businesses and corporations operating in the UK. The corporation tax rate is 19% for most businesses, although some businesses may be eligible for a lower rate.
  • Capital gains tax: This tax is applied to the profit or gain that is realized when an individual or business sells an asset, such as a property or investment, for more than the purchase price. The capital gains tax rate varies depending on the individual’s income tax bracket and the type of asset being sold.
  • Inheritance tax: This tax is applied to the value of an individual’s estate when they pass away. The inheritance tax rate is 40% for estates valued at more than £325,000, although some exemptions and reliefs may apply.
  • Stamp duty: This tax is applied to certain types of property transactions, such as the purchase of a property or the transfer of land or property. The stamp duty rate varies depending on the value of the property and the type of transaction.

Keep in mind, some of the above info is about to undergo changes.

UK Council Tax

Council tax is a tax that is applied to households in the United Kingdom. The tax is used to fund local government services, such as waste collection, road maintenance, and police and fire services. The council tax rate varies depending on the value of the property and the location of the property.

Each property is assigned to a council tax band, ranging from A to H, with A being the lowest band and H being the highest. The council tax rate for each band is set by the local council, and the rate is typically based on the value of the property relative to other properties in the area. The council tax is typically paid by the property owner, although tenants may be required to pay a portion of the tax if they are renting from a landlord.


OpenAI ChatGPT Benifits

I am slowly gaining a series of various AI-related blog posts. This time I’m blogging about the newly released OpenAI ChatGPT web app, which was released in the last weeks (November 2022).

ChatGPT is an AI chatbot that you can ask it anything, and it’ll output mostly correct answers with very detailed info (if you ask it to). It will ask you for more context/info and reiterate to generate a more informed response.

This AI is super intelligent, compared to current competitors. There’s a lot of hype. But, instead of all my descriptions on it, I’m going to ask Open ChatGPT to write a blog post on the benefits of using it. The output of that is below my bit.

The AI Art feature image for this post was created on NightCafe Studio using the DALL·E 2 model, using the “robot typing on a keyboard, colourful“. I have more, better images which I want to upload more of in future.

Benefits of ChatGPT by ChatGPT

OpenAI ChatGPT is a state-of-the-art natural language processing (NLP) model that can generate human-like responses to text input. It was developed by OpenAI, a leading artificial intelligence research institute, and has the ability to understand and generate a wide range of human languages, including English, Spanish, French, and Chinese.

There are several benefits to using OpenAI ChatGPT in a variety of applications, including:

  1. Improved conversation modeling: OpenAI ChatGPT has the ability to understand the context of a conversation and generate appropriate responses, making it a valuable tool for creating chatbots and other conversational AI applications.
  2. Enhanced language understanding: OpenAI ChatGPT is trained on a large amount of text data, which allows it to understand and generate a wide range of human languages and dialects. This can be useful for applications that require language translation or natural language processing.
  3. Increased efficiency: Because OpenAI ChatGPT can generate responses quickly and accurately, it can help improve the efficiency of processes that rely on natural language processing, such as customer service or data analysis.
  4. Reduced costs: Using OpenAI ChatGPT can reduce the need for human labor in certain applications, which can save money and resources.

Overall, OpenAI ChatGPT is a powerful natural language processing tool that can improve the accuracy and efficiency of a wide range of applications. Whether you’re building a chatbot, developing a language translation system, or conducting data analysis, OpenAI ChatGPT can be a valuable resource.


Artificial Intelligence Lettuce

It’s here, the post everyone has been waiting for. It’s Lettuce Art, by Artificial Intelligence. Assisted by Peter Whyte (Human).

This is really just another one of my random posts, but this can also introduce my AI Art Gallary area on my portfolio site here.

The AI Art generated below is created using Nightcafe AI Art Studio. To create an image we consume credits. You get 5 free credits per day and you will be rewarded with credits for using their platform – for example, publishing your own art & liking, following, or commenting on other people’s work.

Hope you enjoy this Lettuce content!

# Standard Lettuce Art
# Anime Lettuce Art
# Lettuce People

Standard Lettuce Art

AI Art, please create “Lettuce on a Table”. Seconds later, I have 4 images available. Some outputs can be very random/odd. It takes time to understand the best keywords and parameters.

At least the lettuce is in a bowl and more presentable in the first image.

Hmmm, delicious. Here are some large lettuce balls…

Anime Lettuce Art

AI Anime Art images generated by AI can be very crisp and clean. I’m really enjoying creating images with this theme template, although I don’t actually watch or know many anime shows.

I have an Anime Art Gallary Post for Dragon Ball art if you want to see more.

Lettuce People

Have you ever wondered what Lettuce-man would look like? Well here are some images created by AI, entering “Lettuce man” as the keyword for Portraits.

The last one really did not disappoint – love it! He’s the guy, his name is Lettuce-man.

AI Art

AI Art Gallary – Neon Sports Cars

Welcome to my AI Art Gallary. The theme of this post is my artistic Sports Car creations, maybe some of them will even be good for printing a canvas for hanging up in a room.

I do particularly like very colourful art. Neon-themed AI Art is turning out great and I’m exploring more in this area, by way of trying new keyword combinations when clicking to create the AI Art image.

Artistic Car-Themed Art

As ever, here are my creations based on the theme of this post (Cars/Underground).

Website Traffic Updates

Website Updates #2 – September 2022

This is my second post for Web Traffic Updates, which I’m using to track the progress of some of my ongoing website projects.

My current projects for this case study include:
# Site 1: Personal Blog
# Site 2: Personal Database & Software Blog
# Site 3: Independent Software & Tech Blog
# Site 4: Website Management & Digital Marketing
# Site 5: Affiliate Shop & Product Website
# Site 6: Video Content Website

Highlights (positive & negative) this month are:
– Site 2: Overall Traffic Increased by 10%
– Site 3: Got first 11 Clicks from Google
– Site 5 & 6: Gained their first Google Search Impressions

Screenshots provided on traffic within this blog post are for the full month of September 2022. The next web traffic blog post will be published during the first week of November 2022.

Geo Map Web Traffic

Site #1 – Personal Blog

The website you are looking at now.

There is no aim to monetise my portfolio site here. It’s a personal space to post whatever is on my mind, and the content that doesn’t fit anywhere else.

Active Since: January 2022
Post Count: 11 (+3)
Page Count: 8 (+0)

Pageviews: 272 (+150)
Users: 13 (+0)
Avg. Time on Page: 00:03:46 (+00:01:15)
Google Impressions: 42 (+4)
Google Clicks: 2 (-1)

Site 1 Web Traffic September 2022
Site 1 Google Search Impressions September 2022

50% of this ^ traffic is likely my own.

Site #2 – Personal Tech DBA Blog

My personal tech blog,
Technical guides and posts containing information on software including SQL Server, PowerShell, Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) & more.

Active Since: October 2018
Post Count: 154 (+16)
Page Count: 19 (+0)

Pageviews: 21,032 (+2,160)
Users: 7,853 (+1,005)
Avg. Time on Page: 00:00:34 (-00:00:07)
Google Impressions: 227,000 (-10,000)
Google Clicks: 5,140 (-410)

Site 2 Web Traffic September 2022

I gained a good amount of users and views this month. This was from a marginal increase in traffic from Bing, as I lost a bit from Google.

Site 2 Google Search Impressions September 2022

Site #3 – Independent Software & Tech Blog

Site 3 is an independent technical writing space focusing on Database & Windows engineering – more or less the same content as my personal DBA blog.

Active Since: May 2022
Post Count: 16 (+5)
Page Count: 3 (+0)

Pageviews: 142 (+102)
Users: 24 (+10)
Avg. Time on Page: 00:01:27 (+00:01:07)
Google Impressions: 600 (+557)
Google Clicks: 11 (+11)

Site 3 Web Traffic September 2022
Site 3 Google Search Impressions September 2022

Site #4 – Web Management & Digital Marketing

A website focused on offering website creation & management, and also general online marketing services.

Active Since: February 2022
Post Count: 4 (+0)
Page Count: 8 (+0)

Pageviews: 84 (+52)
Users: 35 (+25)
Avg. Time on Page: 00:00:32 (+00:00:21)
Google Impressions: 16 (+15)
Google Clicks: 0 (+0)

Site 4 Web Traffic September 2022
Site 4 Google Search Impressions September 2022

Site #5 – Affiliate Shop & Product Website

An Amazon affiliate shop with blog posts for product reviews & recommendations.

Active Since: September 2022
Post Count: 4
Page Count: 6

Pageviews: 344
Users: 15
Avg. Time on Page: 00:03:54
Google Impressions: 3
Google Clicks: 0

Site 5 Web Traffic September 2022

As ever, most of the above traffic is likely my own seeing as the website is so new. We have our first 3 Google Search impressions below.

Site 5 Google Search Impressions September 2022

Site #6 – Video Content Website

A video content website – essentially a place for me to categorise and post random videos anonymously on a site. I generate AI Art for each blog post featured image, trying my best to get the image to look as relevant as possible. This is my fun site.

Active Since: September 2022
Post Count: 29
Page Count: 5

Pageviews: 128
Users: 10
Avg. Time on Page: 00:04:20
Google Impressions: 37
Google Clicks: 0

Site 6 Web Traffic Update September 2022

The above traffic is mostly my own. The good thing here is seeing Google Search impressions so quickly.

Site 6 Google Search Impressions September 2022

AI Art

AI Art Gallary – Dragon Ball

Welcome to my AI Art Gallary. The theme of this post is Dragon Ball (DBZ) Art.

I’ve always loved the Dragon Ball series and have been testing various combinations in the AI. There are a few things I notice the AI does not recognise (yet). In this case with the Dragon Ball theme, it does not know who Piccolo is!

Dragon Ball Z Anime AI Art

Here’s my Dragon Ball themed AI Art, which is subject to change as I create new images and find new favourites.

AI Art

AI Art Gallary – First Exhibition

My AI Art Portfolio. I’ve been enjoying generating AI Art on a few websites, which I’ll share more details about in time.

Maybe consider this my original art exhibition of AI Art here 😉

The text used to generate each AI image is contained within the URL when you click one of the images below.