time management

Procrastinating on Your Writing? Try This

Metal_mechanics_type_221267_lI'm all over Steve Chandler these days.  I have no idea where I first heard of him, but I've been reading his book on time management, Time Warrior, and I've learned a lot.  Since I subscribed to his newsletter, I also got a free PDF (which I sent to my Ipad to be read on the Kindle app) of his book Wealth Warrior. Chandler talks a lot about mind set–but I guarantee you his stuff his different from the same-old, same-old you're used to reading.

Usually I dislike male business types making pronouncements about how I should do things, because they are just so, well, male, in their orientation.  (No offense to my beloved male readers, it's just that I prefer a more holistic female approach to self management, which is less rule-oriented and more dispersed.)  But Chandler's approach really resonates with me.

He talks a lot about action (and let me also make clear that he follows his own advice, having written 30 books).   What I really like about his advice is twofold:

1.  He emphasizes the benefit of taking the emotion out of your choices.  How many times have you whined about a task (writing, even), "I just don't feel like doing it."  Chandler says that "warriors" don't wait until they feel like doing something, they just freaking do it.  

2.  He talks a lot about the present moment, and taking the future out of your day.  In other words, we spend half our time thinking about how awful its going to be when we're engaged in whatever chore we don't want to do.  Thus, we're focused on the future, not the present moment.  But if I you just quit projecting yourself into the future and do the chore without emotion, you'll accomplish a lot.

And here's the tip mentioned in the headline:

Whatever it is you gotta do, commit to doing it for three minutes.  Three measly minutes.  This will accomplish one of two things:

–You'll at least have connected with the project for a bit.  Don't downplay the importance of this, because it creates momentum, and momentum is what gets books written.

–You'll most likely get wrapped up in what you're doing and work far longer than three minutes.  But, by telling yourself that you only have to work for three minutes, you've enticed yourself to the page.

I've used a variant of this, telling myself I only have to work 15 minutes, for years.  But I like the three minute idea even better.  Because, really, anyone can commit three minutes to something–even you. Right?

I encouraged a friend who was struggling with a paper for a class to commit to three minutes on it and she texted me an hour later saying the paper was done and sent in.  This little trick of the mind works, people.  I now use it on myself all the time.

Do you procrastinate?  How do you get yourself out of it?

Photo by clix.

Inspiration Friday

I'm starting a new feature today.  It is "Inspiration Friday," and because I am a right-brained creature through and through and I will get bored if I allow myself only one thing to post about, it is going to be a mish-mash.  A mish-mash with a common theme–something that has inspired me the previous week.  This might be a photo, a quote, a link to another blog post, or a round-up of all of these.  Or it might be something completely different.*


This week it is a book called 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, by Laura Vanderkam.  I saw this book at the Hudson Booksellers in the Nashville airport last week, didn't buy it, then got to the gate and sat there thinking about it and wished I had.  So I walked all the way back up the concourse to grab it and I'm glad I did.

Vanderkam looks at time management in a new way.  This book is not just nuts-and-bolts strategies to gain more time and be more efficient, it goes further than that to look at a bigger picture.  For instance, she examines the common assumption that we're all stressed for time and realizes that part of this is an illusion.  People who self-report on how many hours they work a week often skew the numbers up, for example.  So though it is commonplace to hear that successful people work 60 hours a week, in truth, the numbers are actually lower.

The author urges us to look at our "core competencies" and find ways to spend most of our working day performing them.  For me, my core competency is writing.  And yet there are days when I spend the bulk of my time emailing or calling or doing other jobs related to writing but not actually writing.  

I'm only halfway through the book and it has already had a big impact on me.  I'm currently reading a section called "Anatomy of a Breakthrough," about what it takes to achieve those fabled "overnight" successes.  Good stuff.  This is a book that I think is going to continue to influence me, and I recommend you check it out. 

And stayed tuned to find out what inspired me next week.  In the meantime, what inspired you this week?  Please tell.

*I promise, though, no clown pictures.  Like the one here, in case you need a reminder.  Or here.  Honest, that's it.  Except for this one.  Or this one.  Okay, really, I'm done now.   This blog is now a clown-free zone.

I snitched the photo of the book cover from Laura Vanderkam's website, but since I am promoting her book, I hope she doesn't mind too much.

Just Do It

I read recently that its the 20th anniversary of the Nike slogan, Just Do It.  I live in the Nike company town and went to school at the Nike company college, so of course this anniversary has extra special meaning for me.

Well, not really, but it always has been one of the most brilliant slogans ever written.

I thought of it the other morning when I was working on a project that seems to have dragged on for months.  Its an e-book that I’m writing and every time I feel like I’m making good progress on it, I realize I still have way more to do.

I was bemoaning my fate to myself, loudly and very dramatically, when the thought occurred to me.  Just do it. Quit whining and hand-wringing and just do it.   Use the energy that gets wasted on whining and worrying about it on writing.  (I used to tell my son this all the time–that if he’d use the time and energy he was wasting on complaining about having to clean his room on actually cleaning his room it would be done in a jiffy.  Well, maybe more like a week, but you get the drift.)

So I did.  And I got a huge chunk done rather quickly.  Tried it again this morning, and guess what?  It worked again. 

The e-book is almost finished (details to follow soon) and I’m excited about it.

So put aside your dislike of large corporate behemoths and join me in wishing Just Do It a very happy anniversary.