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Good morning everyone! Welcome to week three of the Journey to Magnificence – February 25-March 3, 2018. Last week’s installment can be found here. Last week didn’t really go the way I thought it would. A bunch of webinars and free but time-limited video trainings popped up to take over the time I would have otherwise spent on paid-but-access-whenever courses. This isn’t a bad thing, by any means, but it goes to show how sometimes (all the times) the best-laid plans get tossed around like confetti and candy at a kid’s piñata party.
Courses of the Week
- 21 Day Self-Care Challenge (still going…finishing on 3/4/18)
- Jonathan Milligan’s Fast Track Lab 7 day free trial
- Ruth Soukup’s Blogging Made Simple free video course
- A while back, I signed up for Mariah Coz’s 5-Day Email Course Challenge, where you create a 5-day email course in – unsurprisingly – 5 days. I did a basic outline during the challenge, but then kinda just forgot about it. Well, this week I’m picking it up again to create a free 5-day email course for subscribers on managing stress!
It looks a little more focused this week. At least, that’s the plan. Keeping in mind what I just said about plans and confetti.
Day 15 – Mark Manson Tells It Like It Is
A new book this week! I’m reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson. I think I might be able to read a book a week at this rate. That’s in line with what successful people do: read a lot. This is great for me not only because I love reading, but also because I want to be successful.
I chose to block out times at work where I can go to a conference room and focus on the things I might otherwise get distracted from if I stayed at my desk. That’s the downside of being in a cubicle instead of an office, but personally, I love being able to socialize with coworkers if I want to. Sometimes I just have to focus without distractions to get things done!
I think spending some blocks of time in a conference room by myself (without my phone) will me help get through a lot more than I would otherwise.
There are 300 more words in the “Love Yourself First” post idea (written in Cold Turkey Writer). It’s moving along nicely, in my opinion – I’m looking forward to editing it into a post pretty soon!
Today I started getting into the Fast Track Lab videos. So far it looks like Jonathan’s teaching style is very straightforward and easy to follow. That’s always good! Additionally, he made the videos available for download, which is super cool and will make it less of a rush for me to figure out if I want to become a full-fledged member later.
I spent the early afternoon getting last week’s post ready to go, including finishing up the edits in Scrivener, moving the draft over to WordPress, cleaning it up, creating the images in Canva, and then scheduling it. I also dusted off my Hootsuite account (a social media scheduling tool) and scheduled posts to go out after the post went live. In fact, I’ll do the exact same thing next Sunday for this post!
That’s what a routine looks like.
Day 16 – My Virtual Forest is Gonna Grow So Big This Week
This morning’s stint in CTW put another 300 words into the “Love Yourself First” post idea. Really moving along! I think I have to do some more research outside of the writing time for this, considering when I use CTW literally the entire computer is blocked until I hit that word count.
No Googling allowed during those sessions.
On Day 15 of the 21 Day Self-Care Challenge, Eileen has you conduct an experiment. Do something just once, to see how it works out for you. It doesn’t have to be something that has a long lead time, like committing yourself to a 30-day challenge or a 6-week course. Her suggestions are all small things that you literally only have to do once, just to test it out.
In keeping with the theme from yesterday’s “One Thing” idea I’m going to block my phone off for at least 2 hours to focus on work this afternoon.
Conclusion: I was able to focus for a really long time on my work by blocking my phone with the Forest app and listening to a 2-hour music compilation on YouTube by Pandora Journey. Epic music helps me work better.
Just look at all those virtual trees!
I did a little bit of self-promo in some Facebook groups today, requested to join a couple more, and spent some time commenting in my mental health groups. It’s starting to feel more like a habit to pop in there and scroll through looking for posts I can comment on, and when I do I try to make it valuable for the poster.
Today I scheduled a month’s worth of “writing & blogging appointments” on my calendar to force myself into either getting stuff written, go through courses, give social media some attention, or just anything that I need to do to move my blog in the right direction.
I got the first email for the 5-day email course drafted and ready for editing! Yay!
Day 17 – “Plans and Confetti” Must Have Been a Prediction or Something
Well, 100 words is 100 words. Only got 100 words out this morning, but my mantra is that it’s better than doing nothing at all!
Day 16 of the 21 Day Self-Care Challenge is about connecting a picture, or image, to the “One Thing” we chose two days ago. Since mine is on a block of focus time, I’m picturing the cover of Cal Newport’s Deep Work hovering wherever I go, reminding me that in order to extract exceptional work and great ideas, I need to work deeply.
I spent nearly three hours this morning in a conference room, without my phone, just working. And I got a lot done! It was nice to be without the usual distractions of my phone, coworkers talking, and construction noises upstairs. (They’re remodeling the third floor.) It was also nice not having people walk past my cubicle to shanghai my attention for something else. I usually have headphones in, so often this shanghai-ing goes against what I thought was the unspoken rule of “don’t bother me, I’ve got headphones in.”
I’ve trained myself to not be bothered by it because most of the time there is value in talking with whoever is popping over for a chat.
Sooo…remember what I said about plans and confetti?
Yeah, that happened today.
My car wouldn’t start when leaving work, so I got home two hours late and had to cancel an appointment. Of course, the last thing I want to do tonight is be focused on writing or blogging, so what do I do? Focused on writing and blogging! I still made time to watch the recap of a Jeff Goins webinar and watch the first video in the Blogging Made Simple series with Ruth Soukup. Even though the rest of my nicely laid plans were in confetti pieces on the floor of the Uber driver’s front seat.
Speaking of Blogging Made Simple, Ruth lays it out very clearly what you need to do to really focus your craft. The video series is a lead in for her Elite Blog Academy, which I understand gets terrific results.
For now, though, the 2nd email in that 5-day email course will wait until tomorrow.
Day 18 – Still Puffin’ Along and Learning On the Way
Day 17 of the 21 Day Self-Care Challenge was another catch-up day, so I did day 18 instead! Now the days are lined up! Day 18 was simple. Rest in the knowledge that you are constantly being forgiven. This one is kind of big for me, because I frequently feel like I’m letting God down because of what I think, say, and do. Remembering that I’ve already been forgiven and am continuously being forgiven takes a weight off.
Well, today’s session in CTW consisted of me writing 300 words describing my car woes from last night. It came off more as a diary or journal entry than something truly creative, but it helped get it out of my head so I can think more objectively about it and not affix blame to anyone (especially myself) or anything.
Well, except the thing that failed.
In case you’re wondering, it needed a new fuel filter.
I did polish the first and second emails for the free email course tonight, and I’ll pick up again with email #3 tomorrow. That course is going to be on stressing less, which is something all of us need to do.
The second video in Ruth Soukup’s Blogging Made Simple course is about learning the four phases of being a successful blogger and how each phase builds on the previous phase. She uses Rosemarie Groner of The Busy Budgeter as a case study of someone who went through it step by step, without jumping ahead, and her business and blog basically exploded as a result.
Day 19 – Failure is the Last Stop Before Success
Day 19 of the 21 Day Self-Care Challenge is all about coming up with a word or phrase that will help reduce the amount of time it takes to get back on track after a mistake or something going wrong.
Eileen’s is “oh well.”
As in, if she doesn’t meet a goal for the day, oh well. Try again tomorrow. This can be powerful because it’s you giving yourself permission to be okay with failure, and without failure, we’d never move forward or progress.
There is a phrase that I come back to frequently, but it’s less about “bouncing back” than it is about taking comfort in the words.
“This too shall pass.”
It’s a message of hope in the bad times that the bad times will eventually end, and it’s a clarifying reminder in the good times to stay positive and keep striving with purpose because eventually, the bad times will return. It’s a cycle.
Another phrase I like is this:
“Well, that didn’t go as planned.”
I find myself saying this a lot. Sometimes it’s to myself, and sometimes it’s to a co-worker when I drop the fork I just grabbed. In both situations, it’s equally applicable, and that’s what’s great about it.
Say it, and move on.
So by this point, it’s starting to become a habit to write in Cold Turkey Writer every morning, with each session churning out about 300 words. Most, if not all of these, will eventually end up in posts. I figure that I don’t need to keep including an update on that.
That 3rd email in the 5-day email course on stress and mental health is BOOM done!
I have also continued watching the Fast Track Lab videos. Once I have watched more than just a couple I think Jonathan’s teachings will begin to cohere in my noggin and acted on soon.
Day 20 – White Chicks Sequel???
On Day 20 of the 21 Day Self-Care Challenge, Eileen asks us to think of something big and important that’s coming up soon and visualize the best way it could possibly go. Really visualize it – see it in your noggin. Scientifically speaking, visualizing reaching a result is just as effective as practicing. It’s how Conor McGregor can speak with confidence and precision about how he’s going to take down his opponents, sometimes even down to the round it takes place in and the method of execution. The more real you visualize it, the more real it will be.
This is amazing. It seems counterintuitive that imagining something is just as effective as practicing it, but it works. Probably not for things like playing instruments, which really does take practice, but it can psych you up for a speech if you haven’t given one already, and it might even help you swish a three-pointer for the first time.
Tonight consisted of filing taxes and a watching a movie! (Sometimes I feel like such an adult it’s ridiculous.) We watched White Chicks, as evidenced by the title for today. Apparently, the Wayans brothers are in talks for a sequel!
Day 21 – It Feels Like Sunday
Surprisingly, Day 21 of the 21 Day Self-Care Challenge is to share it! I’ve been doing that this whole time, which makes me feel right chuffed.
Yes, I sometimes like to speak like a Brit. I write Harry Potter fanfiction for fun; it kind of comes with the territory.
On the business side of things, I created an automatic email for new posts every Monday. That means subscribing will allow you to get a shortcut to the new posts right in your inbox.
Today was super busy. Driving, shopping, food preparation, laundry, finishing The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, editing this post, whew. It totally felt like a Sunday where I’m just in busy bee mode, doing all the things to prepare for the coming work week.
In a way, I think that it was good to do this, because it leaves me more time tomorrow to do other things, like work on this blog!
Okay, I’ve been putting off Mindset University due to all the other great stuff I’m consuming (and also my weirdly busy schedule). I’m committing to watching at least one video a day next week and taking the challenge to record my actions and feelings about them every thirty minutes as my schedule allows.
- Mindset University – one video a day, with Module 1 video on Monday and participating in the challenge from Monday through Friday.
- Women in Publishing Summit
- Fast Track Lab – the amount of content I was able to get out of this in just a week has been phenomenal, so I’m going to watch at least one of his videos a day for a while. And there are a lot of videos that I downloaded, so this might be something to keep me busy! I think when I get through what I’ve got I’ll be at a point where it would make sense to join as a full member when Jonathan opens enrollment again. For now, though, I appreciate the opportunity of a free trial and am quite grateful that the content is made accessible even if you’re no longer a member (as long as you downloaded everything!)
I hope that this journey is inspiring for you as much as it is for me! Writing every morning is helping my creative juices flow, and I think soon I’ll be putting out other content besides this weekly summary, as it were. Until next week!
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