Excel Bar Graphs

These days, everyone and their mother has “Microsoft Excel” listed as one of their skills on LinkedIn. So you probably already know that Excel is a powerful tool for data analysis, manipulation, and visualization. Working in Marketing Analytics, I literally use Excel every single day. (In fact, you might have noticed that I’ve been AWOL on the blog recently — I’ve been so busy with work that all I can even think about is Excel.) Some people are “Excel Wizards”, using tons of shortcuts and fancy formulae. If that’s you, more power to you! But in the end, it’s the output that matters: how will you communicate your work to an audience of colleagues or clients? Often you’ll present your findings in a series of charts or graphs. And when I see a professional slide deck full of ugly, unpolished, or even default-style Excel bar graphs (or any graphs), it drives me up the wall.

I want to help you. Continue reading

Goal Check-In for 2016

I don’t mean to scare you, but there are only 70 days left in 2016! Boy, does time fly!

This year has been jam-packed for me so far, and I’ve undergone quite a bit of change. When I first started blogging last December, I had no idea whether I would be able to stick it out for longer than a couple of weeks. But hey — here we are!

One of the first posts I wrote back in January was a list of goals I wanted to achieve this year. I’ll be honest: I had forgotten almost all of them before starting to write this post. In the interest of transparency, let’s take a look back at the goals I decided were so important at the beginning of this year, and see where they stand so far.

1. More Steps per Day on my Fitbit

I have a confession to make. I lost the charger for my Fitbit back in August…and I haven’t used it since.

Yes, I know, it’s awful. I fully intended to buy a new charger and get back into it, but I got so used to life without it. Plus, having a more demanding work schedule was making it much more challenging to stick to step-count goals. Still, though, I should probably go buy a new charger.

However, the intention behind this goal was to focus on a healthy lifestyle. I’ve been practicing yoga fairly regularly, which is a step in the right direction, at least.

2. 8 Hours of Sleep

This goal is still a priority for me, though I haven’t been very successful with it. Heading to bed as early as is necessary for 8 hours of sleep (i.e. 10pm) is a huge transition. I think I’ve made improvements — but I guess I don’t really know without my Fitbit tracking my sleep. Hm.

3. Read More

I’ve read a bit more this year than last year, I would say. I’m currently in the middle of three non-fiction books, and bouncing between them depending on what I’m in the mood for. I haven’t found time for fiction recently, though, thanks to a little friend called Netflix…

4. Knit a Pair of Socks

In January, I was really into knitting. Like, a lot. But almost immediately after writing my list of goals, I basically stopped knitting altogether and moved onto something else. I daresay it has joined the Hobby Graveyard. I think I would be amenable to retiring this goal altogether for this year. Maybe some other time!

5. Improve my Technical Skillset

My progress in regards to this goal has gone in an entirely different direction than I had anticipated. While I didn’t end up taking a course in programming, which was the original idea, my transition to a new department at my company has led to the development of some bomb Excel skills. Plus, I wrote the book on using our database interface for standard queries. (Literally — I made a training guide. It’s only 30 pages, but still.) So while it’s a little off-track compared to the January intent, I’d say this goal could be counted as a success.

6. Keep Blogging

I’ve made it this far. Only 70 days to go! Obviously my post frequency has decreased a tad, but that’s just a product of a busy life and blogging authenticity.

7. Identify my Dream Job?

The real purpose of this goal was to do some soul-searching and try out some new things. I made a change to my career path this year, and it was definitely a valuable decision. Beyond that is still a work in progress.

8. Track and Plan my Goals

I was pretty good about this early in the year, but I fell off the wagon over the summer. Honestly, I think that’s okay at this stage in the game. I have some vague targets and I’m not letting everything in my life go wild, but I don’t think the rigid goal structure I’d originally conceived would be very helpful for me right now. Keeping track of these goals (or what’s left of them) for the next 70 days should be good enough for 2016!


What goals did you set for 2016 — and how will you achieve them in the next 70 days?

Time for an Upgrade: My New Google Nexus 6P

I’ve had my good old Samsung Galaxy S III for three years now. For me, having the same device for three years or more is pretty standard, especially when it comes to phones. In fact, my Galaxy was my first-ever smartphone, so that gives you some indication of how slow I am to catch up to the mobile trends. If I could, I would probably stick with the same device forever. But with all of the apps and processes I’m running all the time, my battery life was terrible and the phone was so slow. Time for an upgrade. Yesterday, I picked up a brand new phone: a Nexus 6P!

Looking into phones for the first time in three years was pretty rattling. They’re so darn expensive now! My first thought was to look into the Galaxy S7 as a natural step up, but the price tag wasn’t very attractive. Instead, I started doing my research into which Android phones out there were the best bang for your buck.

First of all, I’ll mention that I’m not an Apple person. At all. So the allure of the new iPhone 7 was completely non-existent in this search. Plus, my entire life is integrated into Google apps at the moment, so it makes sense to keep everything accessible.

My major concerns when looking for a phone were processing power and battery life. Camera quality was more of a cherry on top than a deal-breaker, considering the not-so-great quality of my current phone camera. But beyond all of that was the price, to be honest. I wanted to be relatively caught up in terms of technology without breaking the bank. And while the successor to my current phone was pretty much top-of-the-line, I couldn’t justify the monthly plans and/or the up-front fees with any provider I came across.

Luckily, as a long-time Rogers customer (because I never change phones, hah), I was offered an extra 3G of data for free. It’s a similar plan to my current one, with $50 down for the Nexus 6P. Totally reasonable for my purposes, and it met my criteria as well. Score!

Now that I have my Nexus 6P, I’m excited to start using and customizing it. All of my apps were copied directly from my old phone to the new one, thanks to Google. (Yes, even Neko Atsume, haha!) I will say that the size increase from the S III is a bit extreme, especially with my tiny hands, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it!

Honestly, because of all the software updates needed, I haven’t had much time to play around with my Nexus since I picked it up. If I develop any strong opinions on this phone, positive or negative, I’ll be sure to review in a follow-up post. But for now, I just want to say that I’m so glad to finally have a new phone. (And hey, now I can download Pokémon Go for real! Not that anyone is playing it anymore…)

What’s your smartphone of choice for 2016?

Todoist — My New Favourite Productivity App

Sometimes I discover something that gets me so excited that I have to share it with the world — and Todoist is one of those magical finds!

As a checklist addict, I’m always on the hunt for solid productivity tools. I love my physical Erin Condren planner, obviously, but there are limitations to the power of paper. When it comes to collaboration and recurring events, digital is the only way to go. My coworkers and I use Trello for assigning tasks and keeping track of the goals for the week, but Trello has some serious deficiencies that impact my workflow:

  • No checklists. Once you create a card (or a to-do item), it’s either there or it’s not. You can create checklists within the card, but there is no way to mark the entire card as complete. You can archive, but those closed tasks will no longer be easily accessible for historical purposes.
  • Limited nesting. In Trello, there are three tiers: lists, cards, and checklists. Beyond that, you’re SOL. And as I mentioned, they don’t all have the same functionality.
  • No recurrences. This one is a killer, especially in a department like mine, with lots of weekly or monthly tasks to remember.

The recurrences issue was what drove me to seek out a new tool for keeping track of my daily, weekly, and monthly tasks at work. (Full disclosure: This issue came to light because I forgot about a weekly action item…)

Enter Todoist.

Todoist is a checklist app for smartphone and desktop (plus a browser plugin). Side note: the Android app looks just like the Gmail app! There is a premium version, but for the sake of this review, I’ll stick to the free features (since I’m not that dedicated yet!). You can add tasks with due dates and priorities, make them recurring, and assign them to “projects”, i.e. folders. You can also add collaborators to your projects, so that your friends, family, or coworkers can view and edit your lists together. Here are some of my favourite features:

View by Project or by Upcoming Due Date

A lot of checklist apps have calendar views in addition to categorical views. I like Todoist’s approach in particular, because the by-date arrangement is still formatted like a checklist to give you that consistent experience.

Indentation: Sub-Projects or Sub-Tasks

At any point, you can “indent” a task or project so that it falls under the category of the one above it. And, of course, you can drag it up or down so that the item is assigned to the right parent. Parent Projects are helpful if you want to be able to view multiple lists at once, but still have them broken down by subcategory.

Todoist: Nested Checklists

Pretty neat, huh? The colours indicate priority levels, so you can sort by those as well. (Side note: this is not my real to do list…)

Recurring Tasks

Yay! There is now an easy way to set up those pesky repeated tasks, without having to select any dates by hand. You can easily set up recurrences by typing something like “Every Wednesday” or “Daily at 3pm” or even “Every 5 days starting July 5th” into the due date slot. Todoist will interpret your request accordingly. It’s actually pretty fun to test the limits of the Quick Add date selector.

Postpone

Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. But that’s okay! Todoist has a built-in Postpone function that will shift your due date either one day or a full recurrence forward. You can always change the actual due date if you prefer, but this is a nice, quick fix that doesn’t make you feel so bad about yourself when you don’t accomplish everything you hoped to!

View Completed Tasks

This feature is pretty simple and neat. At the bottom of any project list, you can click a button to display all completed tasks. Plus, you can then uncheck them if you want to revive them on your checklist.


Now, of course, no app is perfect. But given the way I work and the features Todoist has, it’s a definite improvement over my previous system, or no system at all!

In short, I would definitely recommend you give Todoist a try at work, home, or both!

What are your favourite apps for getting things done?

U is for Universe

It’s been a year since I was last immersed in science and exposed to science-loving people at all times, and it has come to my attention that not everyone in the “real world” has thought as much about the universe as I have. Not only have many of my classes been focused on space science, but even the websites and resources I’ve come across over the years have deepened my knowledge of and interest in space. So, for those of you who haven’t spent years of your life studying the universe but still think it’s kinda cool, I’m sharing some of the websites that have helped me learn more about space, and even get involved in the science.

Scale: How Big is the Universe, Anyway?

A lot of people have a hard time thinking about the universe beyond our solar system. It’s easy to just say “Wow, it’s big”, but never really think about it.

Well, for starters, the observable universe is about 92 billion light-years across. And how big is a light-year? It’s the distance light can travel in one year; light travels about 300,000,000 metres in a single second, so… yeah, I definitely can’t fathom that size.

Rather than giving up, try checking out the flash site, The Scale of the Universe. It allows you to zoom in and out, from the Planck length (about 0.000000000000000000000000000000000001ish metres), up to the size of an average human, all the way up to the size of the observable universe (about 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 metres). It will give you a little taste of how big the universe really is, but actually with some context.

Space as a Canvas: Astrophotography

I’ve mentioned APOD, or Astronomy Picture of the Day, in a previous post. If you like space because it’s pretty (and it makes for a really impressive Pinterest board, tbh), this is definitely a site you’ll want to bookmark. And you might learn a thing or two from the descriptions on the photos, too!

Zooniverse Space Projects: Crowdfunded Astronomy

I’ll just take the summary of Zooniverse from their website, so they can explain for themselves why it’s so cool:

“The Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research. This research is made possible by volunteers—hundreds of thousands of people around the world who come together to assist professional researchers. Our goal is to enable research that would not be possible, or practical, otherwise. Zooniverse research results in new discoveries, datasets useful to the wider research community, and many publications.”

This is an opportunity for anyone — yes, literally anyone — to participate in science research in a gamified environment. My favourite Zooniverse projects are Planet Hunters, in which you help find planets around other stars as seen by the Kepler Space Telescope, and Galaxy Zoo, in which you help classify galaxies that have just been discovered by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

We live in a really cool time in history. Not only are we discovering new planets, stars, and galaxies, but some of the people helping to make those discoveries are non-scientists sitting at home in their PJs!


I hope you enjoy learning more about our universe from these sites, and others! Do you have any resources to share?

 U is for Universe — Milky Way

J is for JSON — Why Learn to Code?

As I worked toward my Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, it seemed reasonable that I would need to learn to code. Most physics isn’t done with a pen and paper (not the hard stuff, anyway). There are pre-existing programs and tools that can analyze and simulate pretty much anything, and if something doesn’t exist? That’s something you’ll have to code yourself.

In my four-year degree, I took four computation courses in four different programming languages: Java, C, Python, and MATLAB. (You may not have heard of MATLAB, but if you’re in physics or engineering, a good knowledge of MATLAB is super useful.) Each course was taught at an introductory level, so while I didn’t become particularly comfortable with any of the languages, I did get used to the idea of the type of thinking that programming requires.

Then I got a job in business, rather than in physics. I immediately assumed that unless I did my own programming on the side, those skills I had developed would go to waste. However, I’m here to tell you that’s not true. Even though I haven’t written a single line of code since I started a year ago, my coding experience has definitely come in handy. For example, I’ve been involved in some projects involving code written in JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation — hey, I know Java! That experience has helped me get a handle on the project and understand its nuances much more than I would have otherwise. Here’s why it might be a good skill for you to pick up, too.

Technology is everywhere in the workplace.

Whether you’re in Marketing, Finance, Business Development, Supply Chain, or anywhere else, you will come in contact with technology as part of your professional duties, even if it’s just a simple process improvement or website. The more comfortable you are with technology, the more likely you are to use it effectively within the context of your business. I’ve noticed that my non-IT colleagues with some sort of tech background are always the ones with the best ideas on how to use technology to meet their goals. And that’s just for a coffee shop!

Think like a programmer.

I currently work in a branch of the IT department at my company. However, none of the programming for the projects I coordinate is done in-house; we trust external vendors who know these products best. When starting a new project, it’s easy to just say, “I want the computer to do this!” and hope that the developers can figure out what the heck you’re talking about, and how to actually execute it. But if you are able to think through any potential issues from a computational perspective, anticipating complexities and perhaps circumventing them with alternate strategies, you can save a lot of back-and-forth over execution — or the nightmares that can ensue when someone outside your business makes a judgment call that doesn’t align with your vision, just to get the project done. The better you understand what the programmers can do and how they’ll do it, the better your end result will be.

Code your way to new opportunities.

Because technology is everywhere, you may find yourself qualified for roles and projects that you otherwise wouldn’t have been without some basic coding knowledge. This can be within your current workplace, or even beyond it. A LinkedIn profile for someone who knows how to code is a hot commodity! In fact, LinkedIn’s Top 25 Most In-Demand Career Skills list from this past January is very heavily biased toward technical skills. And guess what three skills conveniently show up on that list? Knowing how to code in Java, C, and Python. Now, obviously an employer would be looking for programmers with proficiency far beyond mine. But if it’s a company with a big focus on tech (which is pretty much all of them), then a well-rounded individual with soft-skill expertise and coding experience might be the perfect fit.

I’ll also mention that an understanding of basic code also helps with personal endeavours — like blogging! The structure of many programming languages is similar or analogous to many others, so picking up a bit of CSS/HTML that helps with blogging is a breeze once you’ve spent some time coding.


So what are you waiting for? Hop on over to Codecademy with me and learn some code!

 

Email Etiquette Part 2

In the few days since my last email pet peeves post, I’ve been even more aware of common trends popping up in my inbox that irk me. Not only that, but once my coworkers found out about the post, they shared some of their own pet peeves. And since my last list wasn’t anywhere near all-encompassing, I thought I might extend the list with some of the pet peeves we all agreed on – and even encountered this week, to our chagrin.

Not replying to the latest email in a chain

It’s pretty common to have a single email conversation go on for many days or weeks on the same topic, so it makes sense to keep everything together in the same thread. The problem occurs when you’ve got more than two people on the chain and things get a bit confusing.

Some email clients will display the entire chain of emails as a single item, so you just need to scroll up or down to see the rest of the chain. In others (such as the version of Outlook I use), there’s a little notification at the top telling you that the email you’re reading isn’t the most recent one in the conversation. So here’s my question: why do some people insist on responding to emails out of order? You end up with multiple conversations, all with the same subject line and same topic, but all talking about slightly different things. Talk about a nightmare.

No contact info in your signature

Many people have a professional signature for their work email accounts. Some only use them when starting an email chain (or responding for the first time in a chain), while others will sign their emails with a signature every time. Obviously, not everyone feels comfortable putting their office or cell numbers on every one of their emails in the form of a signature tagline, which is totally fine. My issue is when someone tells you in an email to call them – and they don’t have their phone number written anywhere in the chain. If the phone is your preferred method of contact, make sure your number is easily accessible. It’s just the right thing to do.

Thank you emails (?)

Now, to be clear, this pet peeve is only about a specific type of Thank You emails. I’m totally fine with closing the loop on a conversation and expressing your appreciation, or confirming that you received an email by thanking the sender. But if the “thank you” is unnecessary (e.g. the email was sent days ago, it was low priority, and it’s no longer on the sender’s radar) and will only further clutter their inbox, don’t bother with a one-line email. If you’d like, you can thank them next time you correspond.

Poor grammar & spelling

As a grammar nerd, this is one of my pet peeves in general. I’m a lot more lenient when it comes to emails than other forms of writing. Just don’t obscure the meaning of the email. For example, if you’re asking a question, write a full sentence, and don’t forget the question mark.

Comic Sans

Just don’t.


That’s all for now! Do you have any to add to this list?

Check out Part 1 of this post here!

Email Etiquette Pet Peeves

Hi friends! I’m on a train right now, heading from Kingston to Toronto after a work event. Because I’ve been out of the office, I’ve been checking, sorting, and replying to a number of emails. It’s got me thinking about some of the little things that are so common in emails that drive me a little bit nuts. Maybe you do some of these things when you email, or maybe you’ve noticed others doing them too!

Answering an email with a brand new one

I’m talking about not using the “Reply” button when replying. I’m not sure how this happens. I suppose if you had recorded the question elsewhere (like on a sticky note) and didn’t bother looking for the original message, this could happen… But on the receiving end, it can cause some confusion, especially if it’s not clear exactly what you’re responding to.

Fix it by: Hitting “Reply”.

Deviating from the email chain topic

This is the opposite of the above. Obviously, you can write an email about multiple topics, but if it’s part of an ongoing chain, it’s best to keep things separate and clear. This is especially helpful for someone like me – I store all of my old emails in folders based on topic, so it gets a little complicated when chains start fitting into lots of otherwise unrelated categories.

Fit it by: Creating a New Chain about the New Topic.

Mixing up CC: and To:

Okay, I’ll admit, this is just personal preference. When I receive an email, I find it very helpful to see whether I have been CC’ed (that’s “Carbon Copied”, for you Gen Zs) or actually addressed directly. This tells me whether I should read the email for my knowledge, or if I should be looking for action items or questions to answer. (Not to mention, I’m sure some people don’t expect to reply to emails if they’re only CC’ed – so if you’re asking them a question, you might not get an answer for a while.) Keeping with this, I will actually go out of my way to modify email chains such that only the intended recipient is listed under “To:”. Anyone else is CC’ed.

Fix it by: Using “To:” for People You Directly Address, and “CC:” for Others.

So, I have to ask: am I crazy? Or do these things bug you too? Either way, keep these in mind when you send your next email!

Want more email etiquette pet peeves? Check out Part 2 here!

Goals for 2016

The new year is finally upon us! Well, actually, it’s been upon us for three days now. I love using the new year as a fresh start for pursuing my goals, so I’ve spent the last few days composing a list of the goals I want to achieve in the coming year. Last year was pretty great, and I was able to accomplish many of the goals I’d set out for myself. But there were still many things on my list that I didn’t complete. The common trend in those unachieved goals was that there was no clear motivation behind them – they were just items on a to-do list that were never done. This year, I really hope to focus on the goals that will have a real impact on my life.

More steps per day on my Fitbit

I purchased a Fitbit Flex back in September, and I love being able to see how much exercise I get on a day-to-day basis. I’d like to be more consistent with increased activity levels this year so that I can improve my emotional and physical well-being. My realistic goal is 50,000 steps per week, but I’d love to hit 70,000 (the recommended 10k per day)!

8 hours of sleep

This one is so hard to stick to, especially when the rest of my household doesn’t have a fixed sleep schedule (that’s the boyfriend and the cat). I personally benefit in a lot of ways from getting enough sleep, so I’d like to make this a habit!

Read more

I used to be a voracious reader, but now I’m ashamed to admit that Netflix has taken over. Reading has all of the benefits of television for me, without the downside of lasting lethargy. I’ve already started making a list of books I want to read on my new Kindle (both fiction and non-fiction), and I hope to wean myself off TV as much as possible.

Knit a pair of socks

This one is a bit arbitrary, but I just got a set of circular needles for Christmas, and I want to tackle the quintessential knitting project!

Improve my technical skillset

I haven’t narrowed this down yet, but I want to become more proficient in technology. This might be in the form of a new programming language, a concept or course… I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

Keep blogging

As I mentioned when I launched this blog, I want to stretch my writing muscles, share my thoughts, and get to know myself a little better. I hope to post at least every other day and nail down what this blog is really about!

Identify my dream job?

I don’t want to jump the gun here, but if I don’t make it a goal, how will I ever achieve it? I hope to do some soul-searching and research in the coming year.

Track and plan my goals

I’ve got a really sweet planner (more on that later), so I want to use it! Creating mini-goals will help keep me motivated and on track to succeed.

What are your goals for 2016?

How I Quit Nail-Biting Using Apps

I’ll start this off by saying that it wasn’t easy. Nail-biting has been a 16-year habit for me (a solid 73% of my life), and an unpleasant one at that. For context, I’d say I was a middle-of-the-road addict: I would bite them right up to the nailbed, but usually not beyond. The exception was back in middle school, where a combination of stress and boredom really took a toll on my fingers. It hurt! Not to mention the hangnails, infections, and inability to scratch or grasp anything that needed nails. At that point, I knew it was time to stop, but I didn’t really know where to start. It was so ingrained in everything I did.

My thumb in July 2014. Ick.

My thumb in July 2014. Ick. And this is nowhere near the worst of it.

Like most people, the first thing I tried was straight willpower. It was just a habit, right? All I needed to do was not bite my nails. Simple enough – but not easy. I could last about a week or two this way (and only when I was really trying). But when it came time to clip my nails shorter so they wouldn’t break or tear, I’d just bite them off and start all over again. The second one of my nails had a jagged edge, I knew I was screwed. It took me a long time to finally figure out that I should carry a nail file with me, but even that solution wasn’t very effective since I was prone to forget about it.

Next I tried keeping my nails painted. A number of problems arose from this:

  1. It was hard to keep up – every time the polish started to chip off, I’d be back to biting.
  2. My job at the time only allowed clear nail polish, and since I couldn’t see it to remember it was there, I’d end up biting anyway.
  3. I ended up not minding the taste of it. Gross, I know, but that’s the truth.

Then there were the drastic measures: bandages on my fingertips, gloves everywhere all the time, that gross-tasting polish stuff. They all failed; none were consistent enough to actually make a lasting difference.

#nailspiration

#nailspiration

About a year ago, I started getting really excited about apps for everything – games and stores and fitness and organizing and finance and writing… and it occurred to me that there must be an app to help people quit nail-biting habits. When I sought them out, I found lots! But most of them didn’t suit my needs. In fact, many were general habit apps, and a lot of them tracked on a day-to-day basis. Back then, it had become so bad that I couldn’t even make it a day without biting my nails. It was pretty demotivating to see long streaks of “missed” days. Not to mention, if I happened to bite my nails in the morning, I would treat it like a free-for-all and end up biting them straight through the day – it would all look the same on a habit tracker anyway.

Much further down on the Google Play search list, I found a funny little app simply called “Nail Biting“, and it looks like this:

Nail Biting App

And that’s it. You open up the app and press the “I DID IT” button whenever you bite. To be clear, it was a little annoying to have to open the app every time (I would have preferred a widget), but because the app itself is so simple, the loading time was negligible.

The cool part, which ended up being the most helpful, was the granularity of the statistics:

nail biting app stats

Hourly! So exciting!

I used this app on its own for a few weeks. I did see my no-biting stretches increasing, but I still had some slipups now and then. Once I was able to go a day or two without biting, I added another app to the mix: HabitBull (the free version). This app has a lot of features and is good for lots of habits, which I won’t get into here.

This is my real progress back in April. The thought bubbles indicate comments I've added to those days.

This is my real progress back in April. The speech bubbles indicate that I’ve added comments to those days.

I would log my nail-biting in the Nail Biting app throughout the day, and then transfer the number of times in the day over to HabitBull before bed. I would also add comments to days when I filed or clipped my nails, since those were they days I struggled the most. It was the combination of mindfulness and accountability (in the form of red “missed” days) that made the difference. Plus, I love charts.

It took me a few false starts on HabitBull, but as of April 14th (260 days ago), I no longer bite my nails! I stopped using HabitBull in August; it was getting pretty tedious to record each successful day.

how I quit nail-biting in 2015 using apps — progress

Progress!

I should clarify: I no longer bite my nails. I still do, on occasion, pick at them, tear them, or randomly find that I’ve got my fingertip in my mouth after zoning out for a while. I’m working on those things. The longer I go without biting my nails, though, the easier the other pieces of the puzzle are to leave behind.

Unfortunately, I’ve also noticed that my nailbed doesn’t seem to be growing back. Every time I clip my nails, it sort of looks like I’m starting from scratch (though not nearly as gross). So a warning to you nail-biters out there: even if you quit, your nails may never be as good as new.

Do you have any nail-biting struggles or tips to share?

Happy New Year to all!