One of my long-term goals was to be a published author.
Today, I’m meeting with my teaching and writing buddy to support each other with our publishing projects.
My thoughts were that if I blogged everyday, I would already be in the zone, and that it would be easier to focus my time and energy into my manuscript.
(It feels nice to say that word.)
At this point, I do have a manuscript. It’s nowhere near as done as I thought it’d be. Here we are at August 11, and I think I’ve only been able to invest 4 real chunks of time into the book.
The process I’ve used thus far has looked loosely like this:
-Read a handful of e-books on writing your own nonfiction book.
-Bought a personalized book writing toolkit from Fiverr.com
-Narrowed my ideas down to the three biggest ideas I had. (all others are blog topics)
-Bought a notebook, and wrote one full page on what I wanted to book to be about
-Brainstorm chapter titles (The title creates the content)
-Worked to complete two pages of ideas for each chapter
-Transferred journal outline to Google Docs
-Started fleshing out individual chapters (taking note of where I need to do more research)
-Elicited feedback and motivational support from writing partners
Anxietyyyyyyyyy – is the name of the game. I’m hoping to push out the bulk of the narrative before I return to teaching in about 3 weeks. I know anything that’s not done by that point will take about 3 times as long to complete.
No I’m kidding, no anxiety. Looking back I’ve completed the most difficult pieces. The outline. Now I just need to go through and stream of conscious my way through the bulk of the writing process.
The most difficult pieces were coming up with the topic I wanted to write about, as well as outlining the book. I had to step outside of myself and find multiple outlines and examples to help me work on my own.
Today, my friend helped my by going through my outline, and providing me feedback on the sections that she thought were the most interesting and compelling. I talked her through my vision for the project. I was kind of embarrassed sharing my creative projects with her. But I was also happy to be sharing with someone that was even interested.
My book – Knowledge Hacking currently has 10 chapters. Do you like the name? ^_^ I’m very proud of the concept and can’t wait to complete.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any written projects you’re working on?
Yesterday a good friend asked me if I knew any solid time management and productivity strategies. I’m dumb horrible at giving coherent advice and assists on the spot. My brain just doesn’t work well on call like that, LoL. Plus I’m the King of awkward, so, it just never quite works out right.
But after a fairly productive day, myself, I tried to sit down and think of the real suggestions I WOULD recommend. Something about being a schoolteacher teaches you the value of 60 seconds. There’s been so many times when I’ve whirled into the building 10 minutes before the first bell and have had to construct my entire life, the students’, their worksheet and have it printed and ready to go without anyone knowing the wiser.
I’ve boiled the following strategies down from my own practice; hopefully some of these can help you too.
1) Goals: Come in with a goal, or set one first.
Goals are our internal road maps to tell us whether we’re getting close to completing what we initially set out for or not. Everyone’s goals will be different. Its also important to understand that there our goal(s) have different levels and therefore require different levels of commitment from us. For simplicity I’ve broken down our goals into 3 categories. BIG, MEDIUM, SMALL
BIG: Think of big goals as your long-term goals. What am I looking to accomplish in the long run? What is your end goal. Many times we start with this, but don’t do the work to break this big goal down even further into more manageable steps.
Examples: -My end goal is to… write a book.
-My end goal is to finish this new curriculum.
-Me end goal is to reach out to X amount of new clients.
-My goal is to participate in a fitness competition.
MEDIUM: Your medium goals are what I would consider your short term goals. I consider medium goals as roadsigns along the highway. They let us know whether we’re moving in the right direction toward accomplishing those big goals we’ve set out to tackle. I think of these more as weekly goals, and the small project goals we give ourselves.
Examples: -Completing 3 chapters in your book
-Drafting the first 2 units of your curriculum plan.
-Successfully making the gym 4 days this week.
-Adding 3 clients to your pipeline.
SMALL: THIS is where the magic happens. This is where your big goals either come true or don’t come to fruition. This is where you do the work to either get that project off the ground, or you let it die off. Small goals in my opinion aren’t really goals. They’re more how we manage our time to bring about change(s) in our life. Personally I generally set big goals, and then spend the bulk of my time thinking in the small goal section inching myself (via how I’m spending my time) closer and closer to the big goals accomplishment.
Examples: -Writing 500 words a day
-Building out one lesson that you know needs to get better in your curriculum
-Hitting the gym first thing in the morning before you have time to think of a creative excuse
-Doing market research during your free time to get you closer to landing that one new client
Process in action:
I’m looking to add content to my website. I work through the process going from BIG to SMALL. Check my Progress via the MEDIUM goal, all to make sure I’m on the right track to hitting my BIG.
Big Goal– Blog Every Day in August Small Goal – Write 1000 words every day! (writing more than 1000 on the days I’m feeling pumped) Medium Goal – Track the number of posts I’ve completed each week.
If all goes well I should be on my way to success. (See me in a week tho, LoL)
2) Clock: Time accountability (30 – 60 minutes)
We have to devote time to our goals. We do. We can’t expect anyone else to invest more time, energy, thoughts, sweat equity into anything we want more than ourselves. The best way I’ve learned to do that is with a timer. Generally I’ll give myself a 40 minute work period. During this 40 minutes I try to focus all of my energy on the task at hand. Not taking any phone calls, Not socializing. Just me myself working on whatever the small goal(s) of the moment are. By the time I find myself distracted, I have normally drifted off into the 45/50 minute range. Here, I give myself a 10 to 15 minute break to browse the internet or just not be focused. Then I start over again. Normally I give myself at least 3 good rounds of this when I’m working on a major project.
APPS: Phone Clock & Timesheet
Extension – I’ve read some experts that say doing this first thing in the morning gives you an AM productivity and confidence booster shot.
3) List: Progress accountability (3 things)
Know what you need to do. Lists are a great way to track yourself through some of the smaller tasks that will help you build to something bigger. I don’t use any fancy apps for this. I use whatever page currently has the most information I need on it. Write my list at the very top. I normally include 3 to 4 must complete items on my list. Anymore and we just play around doing all the easy stuff. Any less, and its not much of a list. As you complete, cross things off. It’s a great visual and physical habit to get into, and its easy to see what you’ve done across the different lists you’ll end up collecting. Stick to the list, if falling into a YouTube coma isn’t on your list…. Then you’ll know exactly where you went wrong when you wake up 5 video’s later.
NO APPS: mark up the paper you’re currently using, or small post it notes. Make your list visible at all times!
Extension – Learn how you can maximize your time. Build your own schedule around this concept.
4) Material/ Space: Material Accountability
Think about the materials, physical and space, that you as an individual need to succeed. I’ve provided a basic list below. Many of us are conditioned to sit in a desk/cubicle, in front of a computer/notepad when we work. As an educator, I see that that is not always the most conducive environment to pump out creative work, specifically when it may be only you holding yourself accountable. Check the following list to see what you may need to bring or have access to to really get in YOUR ZONE!
Materials: Post its, pens, pencils, markers, colored paper, white paper, laptops, desktops, white boards, chalkboards, internet, flash storage
Space: power outlets, chairs, personal work space, large work space
Hacks: Social Environments – Starbucks, Panera Break
Quiet/Spacious environments – Libraries, Your living room floor with tv turned off
5) Communication/Social Media: Communication Accountability
I’m the type that needs to tune everything out when I’m in what I call Workshop Mode, y’all might call it In the Zone. I believe in the power of energy and momentum throughout life. I feel like I’m my most creative and efficient when I am completely in tune, uninterrupted by people. When we allows ourselves to get sidetracked/distracted this takes us away from our most productive selves. It’s advantageous to experiment with different settings and boundaries until you find what’s optimal for you. Shy away from posting about what you’re doing on social media or to fam/friends while you’re doing it. (For instance. I’m not posting on my IG that I’m making a dope post right now.) I’ve read a few articles that say that productivity-killers like this give the user a false sense of accomplishment, causing them to work less hard to accomplish their goals.
(This is almost 3x as much as my 500 words for the day. My bad)
All things are accomplished through our explicit application of our time.
Time is a limited resource, but it’s one that we have the most control over.
Direct your time toward the accounts you want to fill, grow, and flourish within your life.
What did you think of these tips? Do you have any suggestions that we can add to the list?