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Posts Tagged ‘goals’

  1. How Did You Spend Your Time Last Year?

    January 22, 2017 by Diane

    Two coffee cups
    So, Holcomb, here we are.


    A brand new year.


    For you. For me, it’s 2017. But you knew that. You’re a smarty.

    High praise, coming from you. I mean, from me. In the future. So, how’s the outlook?

    Well, a year ago you were dickering with that short story. Rewriting it.


    Still dickering.

    Oh, no.

    Oh, yes. A year ago, you were spreading it around you’re rewriting that novel.

    I’m planning to blog about it! I’m going to declare my commitment, to all thirty-eight of my followers!

    Sixty-eight now. And you dropped the commitment.

    Yow. Scary word, commitment.

    You’re good at making excuses, too. That copywriting business you started? The one puttering along with one client?

    One GREAT client. He keeps me hopping year-round. He wants me for the whole next season, too.

    Agreed. A great client. But your plan is to get more than one client.

    One GREAT client.

    The plan is to beef up your clientele.


    You’ve still got the one.

    No networking?


    No notifying my LinkedIn contacts?


    No cold-calling, cold-emailing, making a list of places to contact?


    What the hell have you been doing for a year!?

    Not me, YOU.

    Me? I haven’t even begun. You’ve already been. What the hell took up all of your time?

    YOUR time. The Bachelor.


    The Bachelor. That stupid reality show. On Monday nights. The one that highlights women in their worst possible behavior.

    Oh, that. But it’s only on for a season, right?

    Then The Voice.

    Okay, so there goes Monday nights. What about the rest of the week? Surely I did something the rest of the week.

    The Voice was on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, too.

    Listen, you. I’m not letting you hijack my dreams with your stupid reality shows.

    YOUR stupid reality shows. YOU’RE the one choosing to watch them, escaping your own reality. I’m in 2017, remember? Hello! The view’s swell from here. And I’m finishing up the short story.

    No more dickering?

    One last dicker. That’s it. I’m sending it off to journals.

    And the novel?

    It’s either the novel or the blog. I haven’t decided which one gets my attention.

    And the copywriting? Please tell me you’re not shelving the copywriting business.

    Nope. Actually, I had a brilliant insight: If I want to be a successful copywriter, I need to act like one. So I’m putting on my copywriting hat, I’m rolling up my sleeves, I’m snapping on my suspenders. And I’m asking myself: Do copywriters watch The Bachelor? No. Do copywriters futz around on Twitter? No. Not unless they’ve finished their work for the day. Do copywriters blog about rewriting a novel rather than rewriting it? Not likely. Now, every day (except Sundays, when I rest), I’m doing one task on my list of tasks to do to be a legitimate copywriter. I’m already writing a marketing plan. I’m scouting around for networking groups. I’m applying for that Tax ID number. I’m…well, you get the picture. So you know what that means, Holcomb. You’ve got one year to get The Bachelor and The Voice and Twitter and the blog and anything else you’re distracting yourself with, out of your system.


    Got it?


    Ah, cheer up. The year isn’t a complete loss. You do get a business license and business cards. You find mentors. You become a founding member of the Jerry Jenkins Writer’s Guild.


    And you win The Liebster Award for blogging.

    The what?

    And you manage to write some decent blog posts.


    You’ll find out.

    Ah, c’mon. Give me a hint.

    See you in 2017.


  2. Book Review: The Secret to Peak Productivity

    February 7, 2016 by Diane

    The Secret to Peak Productivity

    If there’s a secret to peak productivity, I want to know what it is, because I’m overwhelmed by all the things I want to do, need to do, and would do if I had the time. So when I saw this book in the library, I snatched it and scurried home.

    The secret? A Productivity Pyramid based on a version of Maslow’s Pyramid. Who’s Maslow? The brainiac who spelled out the five levels to self-actualization, numero uno being our basic needs. Until those are met, we can’t move up the pyramid.

    The Productivity Pyramid works the same way. Until we master the first four levels, we can’t reach the fifth, the realm of possibility. And what are those five levels? Read on.

    Level 1: Physical Organization

    Are you a clutter bug? If so, you might not be as productive or relaxed as you could be if you had easy access to what you need when you need it, and a clear space for clear thinking. Luckily, I’m obsessive about neatness, so this step I’ve conquered. But if you’re not a neat-freak like me, have no fear: you can use the three T’s to sort the mess:

    • To toss: stuff you don’t need. Like greasy fast-food wrappers and expired coupons.
    • To do: stuff you need to take action on. Like…bills.
    • To keep: all that important stuff you need to file away. Like your 2001 tax return.


    Level 2: Electronic Organization

    Are you overwhelmed by emails? Yeah, me too. What to do? The author suggests setting up electronic files to sort your emails into, which is highly appealing to those of us with OCD. Just make sure that all those filed emails aren’t piling up like invisible clutter. Also, limit the number of times you check your email, no matter how addicting it is to check. Three times, tops, should do it. I’ll add one more tip: unsubscribe to all those newsletters that you don’t have time to read. Like the one about how to submit queries to agents, when you haven’t even started writing your novel.

    Level 3: Time Management

    Here’s the step I want to master.  How does one get a handle on managing time? By utilizing the three P’s:

    • Plan: all the stuff you want, need, and have to work on. Of course, this could take a shit-load of time if you have a never-ending to-do list.
    • Prioritize: decide what’s most important, then next, and so on. Surfing the web probably doesn’t qualify as # 1, 2 and 3. Contrary to what you and I might think, we don’t need to know everything about everything on the internet, now.
    • Perform: commit to doing all that stuff, starting with the most important. Hint: it’s not Twitter.


    Level 4: Activity-Goal Alignment

    Here’s some interesting questions: Is whatever you’re doing, or adding to your to-do lists, or spending your time on, in alignment with your goals? Do you even know your goals? Hmm. This is another step I could brush up on.

    Level 5: Possibility

    More questions: What do you want to do or be? What’s the big picture of your life? Well… um…hmm. Time for the five E’s:

    • Enjoy: spend time doing what you loved to do but stopped doing. Sleeping doesn’t count.
    • Engage: spend time with people, friends, family, community. Yep, that means socializing, my fellow introverts.
    • Enable: spend time taking care of your health, home, and welfare. Get out of that chair for the love of God.
    • Evolve: spend time taking whatever you currently enjoy doing to the next level. That doesn’t mean more chocolate.
    • Explore: spend time seeking out new challenges. Yes, that means (gulp) stepping outside of your comfort zone.


    Now, you might be thinking: all of these action steps are well and good, but who’s got the time to do them? Just reading about the T’s and P’s and E’s makes my head spin.

    Well, I discovered one more tidbit of wisdom in the book. And it’s on the last page.

    Are you ready?

    Drum roll, please…

    Stop saying: “I don’t have the time.” Instead, say: “I had more important tasks on my list,” or “I have other priorities.” So that you’re living in the world of choice management, rather than time management.

    And that, my friends, is the biggest secret of all.

  3. Tips for the New Year

    January 3, 2016 by Diane

    Gone Fishing

    It’s time, once again, for me to take a break from my blog. But I’m leaving you with some handy tips to help you navigate 2016. Some of these nuggets of nuttiness, er, wisdom, I’ve posted before. Others are goodies I’ve discovered over the past year. Enjoy!

    Do you want to gain or lose weight? Curious about how many calories you’re scarfing down daily, and whether you’re getting the right amounts of vitamins, minerals, carbs, fats and protein? Check out Cronometer, a free web application for tracking your nutrition, health data, diet, exercise and biometrics (whatever the heck those are). It’s an eye-opening experience.

    Is this the year you start writing your novel? Need a support group, maybe some guidance? Sign on to Now Novel, a structured method to help you start and finish your masterpiece. You’ll be prompted with questions about mood, theme, character, plot and so on, guiding you to develop a blueprint of your novel. You’ll also have the opportunity to get feedback from other writer’s on the site, as well as give feedback. This might be just the nudge you need to reach your fiction-writing goal.

    Okay, you’re ready to warm up those writing muscles again, but you only have fifteen minutes a day to devote to your creativity. Here are fifteen writing exercises you can do in fifteen minutes. Set your timer!

    If you’re starting a blog this year, here are 8 tips about blogging from one who knows (and my nutty take on it all).

    Looking back at 2015, do you have any regrets? Any incomplete actions, unfulfilled dreams? Turn your regrets into intentions for 2016 in one easy step.

    Got stress? If not, I want to know your secret. But if you’re like me, reeling from the holidays (or is that holi-daze?), you need some easy stress busters. When I was riffling through some old files, I happened to come across a list of 52 proven stress reducers. I don’t know where they came from or who proved them, but I’ll share four with you now. Try one a week for the next month:

    1. Go to bed fifteen minutes earlier. If necessary, use an alarm clock to remind you.
    2. Every day, do something you really enjoy.
    3. If an especially unpleasant task faces you, do it early in the day and get it over with.
    4. Do something for somebody else.


    Last but not least, if you’re an introvert and you want to get out of your comfort zone and attend an event, I offer hope for introverts who feel like party poopers.

    Happy 2016!