Category Archives: Organization

Part 3 in the 3-part series to Stop the Chaos

A Recap…

Step One:  Set Your Top 5 Life Priorities: in each area of your life, take stock in whom and what is important to you and fills your soul. Click here to see mine, as an example.

Step Two:  Write down Your Top 10 Goals: Specific Details on what you’d like to accomplish; measurable and with a deadline; that align with your Life Priorities.  Click here to see mine, as an example.

Today, we tackle > >

Step Three:  The Motherlode List: a long, ever-changing list of mini action steps for each of Your Top 10 Goals.

The Motherlode List is a big, hairy, time-consuming step, but absolutely necessary if you want to see results.  How else will you achieve each of those Goals to live the life according to your Priorities? Planning and Action!

The Action Steps on my Motherlode list would be…

 What I need to do and How I’m going to do it

Look at your goals. Some may require a bit of research first. Say, your goal is to publish your novel by x date. How are you going to get there? Well, of course you need to start with the obvious – have a finished novel : )

  1. Write novel
  2. Revise novel
  3. Woo beta readers with chocolate and get their feedback
  4. Revise novel again
  5. Subscribe to agentquery.com or similar Literary Agent search / book
  6. Research blogs, websites and Twitter feeds of authors you admire, and then their agents!
  7. Begin marketing your book
  8. Write Query letter
  9. Revise Query letter
  10. Send Query letter
  11. Continue marketing your book
  12. Upon inquiry, send manuscript – or sample chapters and/or synopsis to agent
  13. Sign book deal : )
  14. Start another round of revisions
  15. Continue marketing your book, go on tour, and make appearances
  16. Begin next novel

These Action Steps are just a rough outline and will be different for everyone.

Since most of these are a big action step in themselves, you’d break it down even further – into mini action steps and set a deadline for each mini action step.

For example, if you’re on the step Woo beta readers with chocolate and get their feedback, you’d probably  …

  • Start by identifying your readership.
  • Next, determine if anyone in your circle of friends or colleagues fit the bill
  • Then, decide of those above, whose opinion do you value? Are they avid readers of your genre? Do they have writing and /or editing skills? Would they provide constructive criticism?
  • Next, reach out to your selected beta readers: ask if they’d be willing to read and provide feedback on your novel. Consider your time line and ask if can they deliver feedback within that frame. (Offer chocolate in form of payment!)
  • Know what kind of feedback you are looking for. Character development? Plot holes? Verb usage, etc.?
  • Send ms in a format they prefer to read – pdf or hard copy, entire book or one chapter at a time, etc.

Get the idea?

Currently, my Motherlode List has 76 Action Steps! Yikes! Quite overwhelming. 

Except, as I review my Top Priorities daily I focus my energy like a laser beam, not a flood light. From my Motherlode List, I’ve prioritized deadlines by this week, this month, this quarter, this year.

Then I take it one week at a time, sometimes broken down by day. That’s it. I’m not looking ahead, I’m not getting buried. Yes, I struggle with distractions, I just have to keep my “eye on the prize!”

You’re up!

Instructions for you: Each week, review your Motherlode List, comparing it to your weekly calendar of commitments. Survey your available time or time you can make for your goals: ) Write down the action steps you can take this week. Feel the exhilaration of crossing.off.each.step. Slowly, you will conquer the chaos!

Don’t let me sweat it alone – share your progress with me!

**If you would like to see my Action List for my #1 Priority of Getting to and Maintaining a healthy size 4, SUBSCRIBE to this blog, and then respond here in the comments! I will email it to you! (Current subscribers, just drop me a line below!)

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“Magic is believing in yourself…”

“Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ~ 1749-1832, Poet, Novelist and Philosopher

 

When a process doesn’t work, you need to break it down and see where the fault line lies. I’ve been struggling with the “Commit to 3” practice. No kidding, right? I’m sure you can tell from my sporadic Monday postings.

So, let’s break it down: Am I  procrastinating because I just dread the things on my to-do list? Maybe a little, but some tasks are fun, like writing a new fight scene for my YA novel.  Maybe this is just another trait of being an ACOA – resisting authority – even if it’s by my own authority. That is very possible. {More on ACOA traits later; because it is a central theme in my novel.} Maybe these to-do’s aren’t very important on a daily or weekly basis and other, more pressing tasks take priority. Bingo!

I wasn’t scheduling to-do’s based on my overall goals. So, what are my overall goals?

With the help of my new Personal Trainer, Dani (check her out – she’s AWESOME!!), I discovered that I needed to write down my PRIORITIES for life, first. Or else fall into the chaos of mile long to-do lists with no real purpose.

Wanna do this together? Let’s go!

Step One: List your Top 5 Priorities for your LIFE . For example, look at each life category and list who/what is truly important to you and your happiness/fulfillment. Really give this some thought:

Family/Friends

Job/Career

Personal Health in Body & Mind

Spirituality/Humanitarianism

Finance

Home/Travel

 

Step Two: write down specific visions for your selected categories, what the ideal looks like to you. Use details. See my examples, below. (You may have several in one category and none in others, that’s fine – these are your priorities! )

Side Note: Don’t feel guilty if your list is heavy in the “you” category. Remember, when you are happy and well-balanced, you bring rewards to all areas and people in your life. I know that by reaching and maintaining a healthy weight will give me the energy and confidence I need to go after those other goals!

After several drafts, here is my final version:

My Top 5 Priorities for Life

  1. Reach and maintain a healthy size 4, with toned definition all-over.
  2. Have a home that is simplified and uncluttered, which will inspire creativity and be a safe haven for my family.
  3. Earn my full-time income and benefits through writing books, teaching workshops, speaking at events and having multiple streams of income (on-line platform? Rental space?)
  4. Have inner peace and balance, living in the present so I can be a supportive wife and mom.
  5. Financially secure with a healthy retirement savings and college funds for both boys, at the same time able to vacation four times/year.

What are yours? Share them here!!

Tomorrow, we’ll look at setting your Top 10 Goals, and how to make sure they align with your Top Priorities.

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Filed under Advice, Believe, Commit to 3, goals, Organization, procrastination, writers

5 prompt Friday

         Here we go again…

  1. The empty feeling in my stomach spread to my chest and head, threatening to pull me inside out.
  2. How do I say this to you?
  3. On her wrist was a bracelet made from multi-colored paperclips.
  4. His voice crackled through the walkie-talkie, “The Eagle Has Landed.”
  5. Are you ready to do this?

Have a story or prompt to share? Post it here : ) Happy writing!


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Tuesdays with…Christine Kane (on Peaceful Productivity)

 

Overcoming Overwhelm: 5 Secrets to Peaceful Productivity  

"inner peace"

by Christine Kane

Overwhelm is one of the toughest things my clients face.

No surprise, of course.

The people I work with – whether they’re in my Platinum Mastermind, or my Uplevel Your Business Program, or at one of my retreats – tend to have one thing in common:

They’re creative types with lots of great ideas and a deep desire to be of service in the world. (If you’re reading this, you’re probably that kind of person, too.)

Creative types are often challenged by the practical day-to-day stuff of life. To-do’s, organization, finances, getting things done. NONE of this comes easy! Overwhelm becomes a way of life.

Only problem is this:

Overwhelm leaves you emotionally drained, constantly feeling like you’ll never quite catch up.

As a creative person, you might have to accept that you’ll be overwhelmed on a regular basis, but you can also take a few practical steps to overcome overwhelm. Here are five secrets I’ve learned along the way that have helped me get back on purpose in my daily life.

1 – Get out of the weeds

If you’ve ever waitressed, then you know what it means to be “in the weeds.” So much is happening so fast that you can’t even pause to regroup.

Many of us live our whole lives like this! We wake up and just start reacting.

If this is you, then it’s time to get out of the weeds and into the habit of something I call Self-Summits.

A Self-Summit is a weekly 30-minute practice – Sunday’s are perfect! – during which you connect with your intentions, remind yourself of your goals, and get clear on your priorities. You look at the week ahead and:

  • List your top three priorities (not your 57 to-do’s!) for the week.
  • Get clear on upcoming appointments.
  • Schedule your work-out time, your writing time, your downtime, etc.

This one practice does wonders for keeping you on track. Even if your week doesn’t work out exactly as planned, this is better than not having any plan at all!

2 – Project vs. Task

Is this your to-do list? –>

“Re-paint house. Create website. Write book. Eat healthy.”

If so, then it’s time to discern between a project and a task. A project is something big…like a website. It looms like a monolith on your to-do list, with its own foreboding theme song that plays every time you glance at it.

A task, on the other hand, is something you can actually complete. Like, “Write bio.” Or “Call Photographer.”

Learn to break down your projects into tasks during your Self-Summits, and you’ll reduce your overwhelm by at least 75%!

3 – Experience Completion

I often make my clients set their weekly goals so small that they laugh at me. I do this because most of the creatives I work with have never allowed themselves the bold luxury of simply experiencing completion.

When you experience completion, then you can maintain your motivation. When you are always running to keep up with your 73-item to-do list, then you are prone to overwhelm and burn out. Make your goals and your to-do list small so that you can revel in getting complete!

Think of completion as an essential vitamin that makes you immune to overwhelm!

4 – Set the Timer

This will sound so simple and stupid that you’ll think, “Yea, yea yea. Got it. A timer. Duh.”

But hear me out!

Let’s say you’ve scheduled 2 hours to write Chapter 4 of your book. Set the timer for 55 minutes, and write. Don’t go one minute over or under. Take a five-minute break. Then set your timer for another 55 minutes.

When the clock is running, you won’t be as tempted to go downstairs to put the clothes in the dryer, or see if the mail has arrived. It’s an effective mind game that keeps your butt in the chair and your focus on the task. Even my most skeptical clients have become believers in the timer.

5 – Eliminate All-Or-Nothing Thinking

Many creatives see only two options:

Either be fun-loving, chaotic, creative and spontaneous…

OR

Be a totally boring robot who never experiences love or joy.

This is called All-or-Nothing Thinking. It is also a “Limiting Belief.” It is downright untrue and even destructive, and it will keep you playing catch-up forever!

The trick to overcoming overwhelm is to play with these new habits. Tweak them so they work for YOU. Many people use all-or-nothing thinking as an excuse for not even trying. They give up on themselves way too quickly.

Don’t expect to be perfect when you first start digging out of overwhelm. But DO expect yourself to keep practicing these habits.


Christine Kane is the Mentor to Women Who are Changing the World. She helps women uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly LiveCreative eZine goes out to over 20,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at http://christinekane.com.

WANT TO SEE HUNDREDS MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE?

See Christine’s blog at ChristineKane.com/blog.

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3 Must-Have Online Tools for Fiction Writers

Guest post: Anna Miller

It’s a good time to be a writer; what with people’s interest in reading being kindled (pun unintended) again thanks to swanky e-readers like Kindle and the iPad, you stand a better chance of selling your book and earning quite a bit if you know how to weave a compelling story. But besides your skill and creativity, there are a few tools that you could add to your arsenal to further your success:

  • Dropbox: If you’ve ever lost all your saved work because you lost your laptop or forgot to take adequate backup measures, then Dropbox is just the magic application you need. All you need to do is download this free software (you can pay a nominal amount if you need more than 2GB of storage) to your computer, save your files to a folder named Dropbox, and your data is stored online automatically. It’s cloud computing at its best because you don’t have to explicitly upload your files each time you update or change them – Dropbox does all the updating if you’re connected to the Internet. Also, you don’t have to tote around your portable storage media when you travel – all you need to do is download Dropbox to any computer you’re using, and you can access your data from the cloud using your username and password.
  • WhiteSmoke T Gen: There are times when even the best writers make mistakes in both spelling and grammar because they’re pressed for time or because they’re so caught up in the story that they neglect the basics. This tool (click the link for a free demo) allows you to check spelling and grammar in both your documents and your emails. It also includes a thesaurus that suggests alternative words based on the context (an intelligent thesaurus) and features tools to enhance your style. The only drawback is that it’s not free.
  • Google Docs: Anything from the house of Google is certainly good if you’re looking for quality, and Google Docs does not disappoint. It allows you to collaborate on projects, send story transcripts to friends, editors and reviewers for their opinions and suggested changes, make changes from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection, share changes in real time, and store and upload documents from your notebook or PC. It’s a free application that works as long as you have a valid Gmail account, and it accepts most popular file formats including DOC, XLS, PPT, ODT, ODS, RTF and CSV.

There are various other online tools for fiction writers, but these are the ones you’ll use most often and also find most useful.

By-line:

This guest post is contributed by Anna Miller, who writes on the topic of degrees online . She welcomes your comments at her email id: anna.miller009@gmail.com

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Topsy-Turvy: finding balance

{image courtesy of foresightculture.com}

 

What is that called when you receive a “message” at just the right time? You know, when things just become clear. An “Ah-ha” or “epiphany” or Kismet? A coincidence, a quinky-dink, fate? 

Well, the night after my husband and I had an argument, I received Christina Katz’s newsletter The Prosperous Writer in my inbox. The theme? BALANCE. Ah-ha! 

The argument between my man and me was about, again, my writing/computer time and how he feels like low man on the totem pole. Last on my list of priorities is how he stated it, actually. Ouch. It hurt me that I hurt him that way. But, where do you draw the line? If a deadline is looming, how do you shut off that “entrepreneur” part of your brain to get into sexy spouse mode? Or even carefree mommy-mode? That’s balance, people. Something I’m apparently lacking. 

Feeling like I’ve been turned upside down and around, my day job, my writing and teaching goals and my role as wife and Mom have come unhinged on the priority pole. Time to take a number. But, who/what comes in first? Of course, the P.C. answer would be “your kids!”  “your husband!” And that’s true. People relationships are the foundation for the rest of it. If my kids and husband aren’t as excited about my writing and teaching career as I am, well, I can still be successful, but lonely. And I imagine it’s not much fun at the top if there’s no one there to clink glasses with. 

Though, I’m not prepared to say goodbye to the writing and teaching opportunities that I have grown in the past several years. Maybe I do need to prepare to say, “let me get back to you.” For instance, now when someone presents me with an opportunity and asks, Hey, would you be interested in-  “YES!” I interrupt. Trigger-happy. I’ve gone through this before and paid for it by experiencing slight burnout and major attitude issues, including exhaustion, doubt and anxiety. Sound familiar to anyone else? 

Christina says that sometimes this imbalance is the best thing to set us straight again. And again. (in my case!) And remember my Year of Clarity? Quinky-dink? It’s time to reassess my goals in relation to my time and find that balance. How am I going to do this? Let me count the ways… 

  • Decide which projects I’m already committed to and note their deadline(s)
  • Figure out the timeline(s) leading up to these due dates, i.e. the amount of time I’ll need to prepare, edit and present or submit these projects, then break them into bite-size pieces
  • Discuss with my family how much time I’ll need per week to achieve these goals, making sure everyone is in agreement that I’ll be “unavailable” on certain evenings and that it won’t interfere with family obligations: band concerts, school open house, my husband’s work schedule.
  • Communicate! Write on our kitchen calendar the times I’ll be “working” and out of the house.
  • Stick to it. When I’m not on the calendar as “working” I need to release the responsibilities. Meaning? No checking emails. No updating Twitter. No researching online or checking in with my writing group.
  • Use my off days to: start a scrapbook with Sam, take David to the basketball hoops, cuddle with my husband, try a new crock pot recipe, play with Comet (my bird), read for pleasure, take a walk, have a movie night, play Rockband, etc.
  • Before I say “yes” to any more opportunities, I need to Stop. Drop. And Roll. Stop before speaking. Drop the idea by my family, considering how much time this will take from them. Roll it through my ultimate goals filter – does it fit within my plan for “Getting Known?” or is it just another to-do?

  

These steps will be a struggle for me, I know. But the first step is admitting there is a problem, in my case: imbalance. 

How about you? 

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Where is Your Focus?

“When you focus on what’s wrong, you get more of what’s wrong. Conversely, when you focus on what’s right, you get more of what’s right.”

Gina Mollicone-Long ~ Author of the newly released book Think Or Sink

Where is your focus this week?

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