Fragmented Thoughts

A notebook for half-formed ideas and other things on the mind of Emma Cragg.

On my walk earlier today I was listening to an episode of Planet FPL. You'll often find me consuming this kind of content, especially towards the end of the week, as I make decisions about my Fantasy Premier League (FPL) team. Towards the end of this particular episode, one of the hosts reminds listeners to play your own game.

The reference here is to the tendency among FPL managers to fixate on, and even copy, the transfer and captaincy decisions that other managers make. Ultimately, however, the decisions we make about individual players have to be made in the context of our teams as a whole. Just because a manager ranked in the top 10 is transferring in a certain player, it doesn't mean that it's right for your team too.

Why am I writing about this? Well, often I find soundbites like this that are intended for a specific context actually have implications or applications in other areas of life. And today, for me, the reminder to play your own game is much needed advice for some business decisions I'm making. It made me realise that I've drifted off this path of late.

I've become caught up with what everyone else in the coaching industry is doing without really considering whether that's the direction I want to go in. And let me tell you readers, it is not. So from now on as I make choices for my business I'll be asking myself is this what you want to do or what you feel you should do?

This is day 35 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at

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Six weeks on from our last virtual weekend away we were on our imaginary travels again this weekend. Our destination for this trip was Amsterdam.

Once more, our plans involved exploring the history, culture and cuisine of our chosen destination. Some highlights included:

Where next, who knows?

This is day 34 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at

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Signs of Spring are certainly a recurring theme in these lists at the moment. Perhaps because the changing seasons are the only thing that differs from week to week at the moment.

Anyway, here's what's brought a smile to my face this week:

  • a sunny day after a week of grey
  • bullfinches on the bird feeders in the park
  • not just the sight of blossom but the smell, oh my the smell is intoxicating
  • the realisation that I'm so much into the running groove that I can even go out when I'm not really feeling in the mood for it
  • having the option to self-define sexuality and gender on the census

Tags: #gratitude

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If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. ...whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

When I saw these lines in a recent newsletter from James Clear it made me smile. They're from Mary Oliver's poem Don't Hesitate which we had as a reading at our wedding.

It's a poem that asks us to remember that among all the terrible things that happen in the world and amidst all our errors of judgment, there's still possibility. There's still joy if we take the time to notice and nurture it.

Here you can hear Don't Hesitate read in full.

This is day 33 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at

Tags: #poetry #gratitude #noticing

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Some weeks these lists are hard to write. Not for the lack of things to put on them but that other things happening in the world make each item feel insignificant. And then I remember, that's exactly why I write them.

So here's a selection of things that keep me smiling:

  • my parents got their first vaccine dose
  • planning a summer refresh for the yard, including making a scale drawing to try out options
  • an impromptu walk along the river with Izz
  • buds bursting and the first sign of blossom
  • a successful first foray into making chicken kiev

Tags: #gratitude

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Most newsletters come out on a schedule that suits the creator. Daily. Weekly. Fortnightly. Monthly. Occasionally.

What if you as the recipient could choose?

I currently send my newsletter weekly, with one issue per month as a round-up of links to things I've found interesting, appealing or useful. If I added a list of my writing from the month to the link round-up I would be able to give readers the option to receive the newsletter either weekly or monthly. Either way they would receive the same content but on a frequency they preferred.

Do you offer this option already? I'd love to see some examples.

This is day 32 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at

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My typical approach to journaling is writing a one-line summary at the end of the day. However, at the start of the pandemic I decided to write a little more occasionally. Below is my first entry in what I labeled my 'Coronavirus diary' from exactly a year ago...

It's difficult to know what to think about, and do in response to, the threat of Coronavirus. At the moment cases in the UK are limited, but we have to expect or at least be prepared for the level of outbreak countries like China and Italy have experienced.

At the moment, I'm still going about things as normal. But I do get the feeling that generally there are fewer people about (that may be just a coincidence, of course). At the weekend I played hockey and we still shook hands and shared food. I'm going in to the office every day on the bus. In the next couple of weeks I've got plans to go away for the weekend with my hockey team, attend networking events and talks, and meet clients. And at the start of April we're away for a week with the whole family. I'm beginning to wonder whether any or all of that will still go ahead.

Ahead of a co-working day I was due to attend today we were sent advice from Public Health England about the scenarios in which you would need to self-quarantine. People in my networks are starting to talk about the plans their organisations are making to move to remote working and distance learning. Some of these involve having trial days before it becomes a necessity to make sure any issues are ironed out in advance. Should the need arise, I'm fully able to continue my work from home.

Working for myself however I feel one step removed from it all. I'm not aware of a heightened sense of fear, or anyone significantly changing their day-to-day behaviour. At the weekend though teacher friends did mention that their schools are receiving phone calls from parents demanding when they're going to close and expressing concern that their children are being put at risk. I'll wait to take my lead from Good Space (where my office is located).

I think my mantra will be to proceed with caution, not panic. It's hard to stay calm though when all around you are losing their heads. The stockpiling of toilet roll, soap and pain killers has begun. I will admit to getting Izzy to buy a few extra tins in the last shop, just in case... although I think that's more a response to reading The Siege than it is to fears the supermarkets will be empty.

One useful thing I have seen is guidance from the World Health Organisation around what the actual symptoms of the virus are and how they're similar/different from the common cold and flu.

This is day 31 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at

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Over the weekend I read Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times by Katherine May. It's a mix of memoir, nature writing and (the good kind of) self-help.

Reading this now got me reflecting on both the experiences of the past year and my own period of wintering which marked the transition between an old life and the new.

I bookmarked a few pages to return to both for the ideas and rhythm of the writing.

The starkness of winter can reveal colours that we would otherwise miss. I once watched a fox cross a frosty field, her coat shining against the gloom. Walking in the bare winter woodland, I am also surrounded by astonishing foxy reds: the burnish of bracken, its dry fronds twisted to lacework; the crimson leaves left on brambles; the last remaining berries on honeysuckle; and orangey clusters of rosehips. The iconic holly, its boughs so thoroughly raided each Christmas. There is also the bright yellow of gorse on heathland, glowing on until spring comes, the stately evergreens, and the tangle of green leaves that remain unnoticed on the ground. Life goes on, abundantly, in winter, and this is where changes are made that usher us into future glories. (from p. 81)

Some people thrive on a little sleep deprivation, but I do not. I now know that I can achieve far more after nine hours than I can in the spare time afforded by a short night. Sleeping is my sanity, my luxury, my addiction. (from p. 86-7)

I clear the surface of my desk and make a pool of light with my lamp. I go off to fetch matches and light a candle. One light is steady and sure, the other uncertain and flickering. I open my notebook and work between these two poles. On balance, it's where I prefer to be: somewhere in the middle. Certainty is a dead space, in which there's no more room to grow. Wavering is painful. I'm glad to be travelling between the two. (from p. 94)

In our winter, a transformation happened. We read, and we worked, and we problem-solved, and we found new solutions. We changed our focus away from pushing through with normal life and towards making a new one. When everything is broken, everything is up for grabs. That's the gift of winter: it's irresistible. Change will happen in its wake, whether we like it or not. We can come out of it wearing a different coat. (from p. 140)

This is day 30 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at

Tags: #books #quotes #reading

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This week's list of little things:

  • my longest run of the year so far
  • finally finishing The Count of Monte Cristo
  • the moon
  • a restock of beer from the pub
  • first day warm enough to wear shorts

This is day 29 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at

Tags: #gratitude

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Over the past few weeks I've made a few changes to how I do things on my website and for my newsletter.

Cleaning up cookies

I've never used many services in the running of my website that require cookies to be set. I don't use sharing buttons or embed media from third party services, and I choose to use a privacy-friendly analytics tool with cookies turned off.

I gave the site an overhaul recently and part of that process was checking what cookies were set. The only ones listed in the report were those set by the cookie notification plugin I was using, which seems redundent when there's no other cookies to accept or reject...

So I've turned off that plugin and am pleased to report my site is cookie free.

No to spy pixels

I've also been following Dave Smyth's work on a new project, No To Spy Pixels, which aims to raise awareness, and encourage regulation, of what gets tracked when you open emails from mailing lists.

I use ConvertKit to send my newsletter which doesn't currently have the option to allow you to turn off tracking. However, following the launch of No To Spy Pixels, I went to find out if this was a planned feature and if not, to request it is added to the list.

I'm pleased that it is currently in development and I've joined the beta testing. From now on, my newsletter and other emails sent through ConvertKit won't track opens, location or device information. It's not yet possible to turn of link tracking, but I've requested this be added to the development. And I'm fully prepared to find an alternative email provider if I can't get this functionality.

This is day 28 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at

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