On Writing: Secrets of Ultra-Productive People

I make a conscientious effort everyday to be as productive as I can be and I’m always reading articles on how I can do better.

I came across this little gem in entrepreneur magazine but when I read it I interpreted  it as a motivation to stay in writing form. Like business, I think many of us who want to one day be printed authors, need to look at our writing like a start up business. A start up we need to wake up everyday and be prepared for. I don’t think preparation hinders creativity but definitely helps to foster and strengthen it.

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/248063+
1. They Never Touch Things Twice
Productive people never put anything in a holding pattern, because touching things twice is a huge time-waster. Don’t save an email or a phone call to deal with later. As soon as something gets your attention you should act on it, delegate it or delete it.

I agree, I can’t tell you how many times a great line or great idea has come to me and I have said I’ll get to it later only to have it lost when the day is over.

2. They Get Ready for Tomorrow Before They Leave the Office
Productive people end each day by preparing for the next. This practice accomplishes two things: it helps you solidify what you’ve accomplished today, and it ensures you’ll have a productive tomorrow. It only takes a few minutes and it’s a great way to end your workday.
“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” –Benjamin Franklin

Preparation, preparation, perpetration. I have been resistant to setting a writing schedule but most great authors I love say they swear by them. Great, if I can write extra but I’m going to start incorporating a time just for my fiction writing and my blog writing. I need to change my mindset to think of all of my writing like its my business and business needs more attention than a spare twenty mins in my day.

3. They Eat Frogs
“Eating a frog” is the best antidote for procrastination, and ultra-productive people start each morning with this tasty treat. In other words, they do the least appetizing, most dreaded item on their to-do list before they do anything else. After that, they’re freed up to tackle the stuff that excites and inspires them.

MMMMM, I know I need to set a time to edit at least once a week.
4. They Fight The Tyranny Of The Urgent
The tyranny of the urgent refers to the tendency of little things that have to be done right now to get in the way of what really matters. This creates a huge problem as urgent actions often have little impact.

ugggh I hate when I sit down to write and all of a sudden I see a spot on the floor and then jump up and decide I HAVE to mop the floor RIGHT THEN. Note to self: STOP DOING THIS!

If you succumb to the tyranny of the urgent, you can find yourself going days, or even weeks, without touching the important stuff. Productive people are good at spotting when putting out fires is getting in the way of their performance, and they’re willing to ignore or delegate the things that get in the way of real forward momentum.

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” –William Penn

  1. They Stick to the Schedule During Meetings

Meetings are the biggest time waster there is. Ultra-productive people know that a meeting will drag on forever if they let it, so they inform everyone at the onset that they’ll stick to the intended schedule. This sets a limit that motivates everyone to be more focused and efficient.

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” –Michael Altshuler

  1. They Say No

No is a powerful word that ultra-productive people are not afraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, they avoid phrases such as I don’t think I can or I’m not certain. Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.

I need to do better with this especially when it comes to not using social media and answering the phone when I’m working.

Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Learn to use no, and it will lift your mood, as well as your productivity. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! So True

  1. They Only Check E-mail At Designated Times

Ultra-productive people don’t allow e-mail to be a constant interruption. In addition to checking e-mail on a schedule, they take advantage of features that prioritize messages by sender. They set alerts for their most important vendors and their best customers, and they save the rest until they reach a stopping point. Some people even set up an autoresponder that lets senders know when they’ll be checking their e-mail again.

  1. They Don’t Multitask

Ultra-productive people know that multitasking is a real productivity killer. Research conducted at Stanford University confirms that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.

But what if some people have a special gift for multitasking? The Stanford researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers—those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance—were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another. Ouch.

Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.

  1. They Go off The Grid

Don’t be afraid to go off grid when you need to. Give one trusted person a number to call in case of emergency, and let that person be your filter. Everything has to go through them, and anything they don’t clear has to wait. This strategy is a bulletproof way to complete high-priority projects.

Honestly, some of my best days are the days where I have totally disconnected. SHUT IT DOWN!

“One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.” –Charles Richards

  1. They Delegate

Ultra-productive people accept the fact that they’re not the only smart, talented person in their organization. They trust people to do their jobs so that they can focus on their own.

  1. They Put Technology to Work for Them

Technology catches a lot of flak for being a distraction, but it can also help you focus. Ultra-productive people put technology to work for them. Beyond setting up filters in their e-mail accounts so that messages are sorted and prioritized as they come in, they use apps like IFTTT, which sets up contingencies on your smart phone and alerts you when something important happens. This way, when your stock hits a certain price or you have an email from your best customer, you’ll know it. There’s no need to be constantly checking your phone for status updates.

All of these are simply wonderful tactics to practice to keep us writing and creating.

Good luck

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On Writing: Conferences and Retreats

Last summer I traveled to Pennsylvania for a writing conference/retreat at Keystone College where I met Sonia Sanchez. It was a wonderful experience. For one, I drove myself. I travel quite a bit but never alone. In the summer I’m usually traveling with a pack of nine.I love big family vacations but it was great to drive in my car for six hours with just me and my thoughts.  Second, shaking hands with the awesome poet Ms. Sanchez was great but getting the opportunity to bond with other writers from across the country is inspiring. And last, I stretched out of my comfort zone which is something I’m always pushing myself to do and was proud of my little adventure, the things I learned, and awesome writers I met. I’m feeling the need to connect again…

Many cities offer these conferences and retreats across the country. Boston has one called Muse and Marketplace which I attended five years ago, just a day event because they can be pricey. Attending a three day event with food and board can cost up to five hundred dollars or more. Attending a full weekend is not in my budget this year so  I’m going to look around for next year.

Do any of you find encouragement by attending these events?

chapter one

On My Mind: It’s 3am

This is my witching hour I guess. I randomly wake up between 3 and 3:15am every morning. I was born Jan 3rd at 3:16am, I wonder if there is a connection.
Most times I run through a list of things I want to do that day and go back to sleep. Sometimes I write, read a book, or pull up a movie on Netflix.
Right now I have a silly Canadian horror series called Darknet running on the laptop. The. Acting. Is. Awful.

I’m reading a list of classes being offered by the Center for Women Entrepreneurs Providence. I was looking for a business planning class. Nothing in Providence but the Boston or Worcester office may have one. So finding one is added to my to do list…

Adding a bra fitting as well. This week I noticed my bras were a bit uncomfortable and I’m pretty sure I’ve been noticing this for awhile now. Yup, this is the random isht that runs through my head in the wee hours.

Thinking of ways to be more organized and productive during the week. I’ve been tackling two tedious task a day. The task that are small but I put off for no real reason other than I make it more difficult in my head. Once its done, I actually feel better than when I tackle the more complicated things.

keep-calm-and-be-inspired-at-3am

I wrote a post about a week ago about people supporting you.  It really does hurt when you see your circle get smaller of the people who are your ride and dies to the ones sitting on the sideline waiting to see you either succeed or fail.
Some surprise you.
Le sigh

I have some serious yard work to do in a few hours as well as power washing the house. I go back an forth about home ownership but this little house I bought on my own, for my children to grow up in has a serious soft spot for me. I don’t think I will ever sell this place. Ever.

yard work

Off to read till I fall back to sleep.
Since its actually morning I’ll sign off with Good morning blogging community.

Have a wonderful Saturday!

Shahidah

On Interior Spaces: A Place To Write

the-town-house-office

Remember when I said I work more productively when I plan, well I also work better when I have a quiet, clean, efficient space to create, pay bills, or think.

I am re-designing my home and one of the rooms that need an update is my office space. Although, I daydream of a whole room as my office, honestly I write just as well at  the dining room table than my desk, but I still salivate over cool, eclectic, and pretty creative spaces like these:

Eclectic-home-office-e1369403918932

home-office-blue-eclectic-home-office-wall-and-pink-wood-table-feat-twin-white-cabinet-feat-lamp-ingenious-home-office-in-eclectic-blue-home-office-desk-accessories-home-box-office-logo-home-office-744x1024This blue and pink is gorgeous

Lively-Eclectic-Home-Office-with-brick-wallsThese chairs are theee businessssss!

office

white-console-desk  simple just hits the spot

contemporary-home-office White-eclectic-home-office Winsome-Timber-Frame-house-designs-Eclectic-Home-Office-Other-Metro

Not many distractions here and a poster of the world is ALWAYS a great idea for us daydreamers!

Writing is what is important. Doesn’t matter where you write or how pretty your space is just write.

On Birthdays: Malcolm X

quote-i-ve-had-enough-of-someone-else-s-propaganda-i-m-for-truth-no-matter-who-tells-it-i-m-for-malcolm-x-249354

How did I forget it was my favorite hero’s birthday today? le sigh…

I don’t know what this world or our community would be like if Malcolm had survived but I do very much wish he had lived long enough for me to understand him, march with him, and  feel his presence in the world.

A few things I love about Malcolm:

  •  He was always evolving. We all can learn and respect that one days situation does NOT have to be a lifetime situation. Malcolm evolved from a criminal to a world leader. Yes, world because people of color all over the world respect him.
  •  He was eloquent even when he was shredding someone to pieces. Rappers take note Malcolm used his words like swords without cussing or the N word and was the most powerful feared black man on the planet
  • He taught himself. When teachers told him he was not good enough because he was black he grew his intelligence on his own and learned. His mind didn’t shut down it kept seeking. We must know that not everyone wants us to succeed. It’s not their decision…it’s ours.
  • He was Muslim. When he fell out with Elijah Muhammad he took it upon himself to learn the religion. It was not a fad  or jailhouse religion for him.
  • He understood the need to be self efficient in our community.
  • His speeches are timeless. Ballot or the Bullet is on repeat in my house
  • FBI couldn’t catch him cheating….no shade just that when he turned his life around HE TURNED HIS LIFE AROUND.
  • Happy Birthday Mr. El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz!

    Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

    I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don’t believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn’t want brotherhood with me. I believe in treating people right, but I’m not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn’t know how to return the treatment.

    Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.

    America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem. Throughout my travels in the Muslim world, I have met, talked to, even eaten with people who in America would have been considered ‘white,’ but the ‘white’ attitude had been removed from their minds by the religion of Islam.

    No, we are not anti-white. But we don’t have time for the white man. The white man is on top already, the white man is the boss already… He has first-class citizenship already. So you are wasting your time talking to the white man. We are working on our own people.
    Despite my firm convictions, I have always been a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds. I have always kept an open mind, a flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of the intelligent search for truth.

    On Life: Not Everyone Will Support You

    Nothing is more disheartening when you turn to a friend or family member with your business plan or vision only to have them show little to no support. It’s a true bubble buster.

    It could be they are genuinely afraid of the risk you are about to embark on and don ‘t want you to be hurt in the process. They may just need to see how serious you are and then jump right on your wagon and become your biggest supporter.You learn pretty quickly who is really for you and who is not.

    I don’t mind the tough questions friends and family ask because the tough questions should illuminate flaws and help me make a better business plan.

    Genuine tough questions should make you think harder about your goals and how to logically and creatively attain them.

    Then there are the tough questions weighed down in simple negativity.When you tell people your goal is to step out and own your business, be a novelist, musician, actor, anything but work for someone else…

    EXPECT to be met by some ‘friends’ with the bitch face

    Image result for roll eyes

    There will be people who you think are close to you that don’t want to see you step out of the box they have put you in. Not everyone will support you and you have to be prepared to not get lost in their vision of your life. Recognize the toxic people in your life and either cut them out completely or limit your interactions.

    Staying focus on your goal is the most important and you have to believe in your goal harder than anyone.

    Not everyone will support you so you have to support yourself.