The Journey to Magnificence: Week Twenty-One

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Welcome to The Journey to Magnificence! This is week twenty-one: July 1-7, 2018.

I hope all my American readers had a great Fourth of July!

I capitalized on the time off work to spend on the blog, doing both writing and administrative work. In general, I feel like this week has been all right, especially in terms of my to-do lists. But I think I really knocked it out of the park on the writing part since all 5 of August’s Thursday posts got finished and scheduled!

Yay!

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What I Said I’d Do

  • Re-evaluating how much I can actually do in any given day, and cut out the to-dos that just don’t seem to get done.
  • Write a lot from Wednesday through Saturday to make the most of the holiday.
  • Finish Module 4 of Intentional Blog AND all their Action Steps
  • Make a plan for 30 Days or Less to VA Success

What I Actually Worked On

  • Got better at deciding which to-dos to actually DO
  • Scheduled the all 5 Thursday posts for August and got 2/3 of a post for September written

Sunday, Day 141 – So My Local Grocery Store is Getting a Bacon Bar…

“It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” Harry S. Truman

A lot of people get hung up on who gets the credit.

The most successful people don’t care who gets the credit as long as the idea, product, or solution gets visibility or acceptance. Their focus is on doing good work instead of how many people will praise them for their efforts.

Of course, credit is important for a lot of things, like creative work. That’s why plagiarism laws exist—because presenting someone else’s work as your own is wrong.

But on a team, does it really matter if you get the credit for the direction your idea takes everyone? Maybe, if you’re looking for a promotion.

Being more focused on performance over time is more likely to get a promotion than claiming credit for every little idea of yours that took off.

This morning Luna, our cat, got kicked out of the office twice before 7 AM. She’s not allowed behind the computer or to play with any kind of cord, yet decided to ignore all warnings and do so anyway.

She usually settles down mid-morning, and in the afternoons she’s delightfully cute when she curls up on my desk in the crook of my arm as I’m trying to work.

Sometimes she wins, and sometimes she gets moved.

Despite today getting taken up by housework, grocery shopping, and food prep, I still feel like I’m going to bed having accomplished something.

Just a short list of things I got done today:

  • Scheduled two of August’s Thursday posts
  • Wrote a bit for Medium posts
  • Listened to a webinar put on by Ron Friedman about getting more done in a day
  • Spent an hour and a half reading backlogged emails from Ramit Sethi
  • Viciously re-organized the bathroom drawers and cabinet.

When I summarize it like that, I feel less like I did nothing and more like I actually did something!

About that bacon bar…the grocery store across the street from us is apparently getting a bacon bar. I feel like I’m going to be dropping so much money on freshly-crisped specialty bacon every time I go shopping.

In fact, a bacon bar just gives me an excuse to go grocery shopping more often.

I’m positive that’s why they decided to do that…

Day 29 of Time Tracking, Complete!

Monday, Day 142 – Smashing My Work-Do List, Part 1

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.” Edward Abbey

The path to success is not a straight line. It looks remarkably like the trails Abbey describes. We must go through the struggle of solving our problems in order to reach the amazing view of success, and then start all over again. Our mountains of achievement get higher and higher the longer we stay on our paths.

Isn’t that a great visualization?

If our successes didn’t come from struggles we wouldn’t appreciate them as much.

Let us find the joy in the struggle and then appreciate the view it lends when we reach the summit.

My champagne moment for work this week was to get everything on my checklist done before going on vacation. Today went very well in that regard! I happily checked off all my to-do’s for today’s work and went home upbeat.

I’m finding Airtable to be a very useful tool to keep my blog posts, as well as other things, organized to the level I need.

I’m easily able to set a view to make it easy to find a particular post and copy the link.

Day 30 of Time Tracking, Complete!

Tuesday, Day 143 – Smashing My Work-Do List, Part 2

“When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.” Joe Namath

Demir & Carey Bentley of Lifehack Bootcamp are totally right that the element to being focused on anything is injecting fun into it.

They call this gamification—making your work into a game. Their game is called “The Sticky Focus Game” which is just writing our to-do’s on sticky notes and then spending 30-50 minutes at a time focusing on them.

At the end of those 30-50 minutes, we can crumple up the note and have physical evidence of our productivity.

It turns “getting shit done” into a game, which by nature is fun!

So Mr. Namath is totally on point when he says we can do amazing things by having fun.

And really, all we need is the confidence that we can do it.

Other than my half-hour of writing this morning, I didn’t get any blog work done because of back-to-back appointments tonight. First, a massage, and then dinner with the in-laws.

Both went well.

My masseuse continually finds all the “good” spots—by which I mean all the spots that are tight and tense and yet I’ve gotten so accustomed to them that I didn’t even notice until he stuck his elbow there.

As for my champagne moment for work, I hit that out of the park!

Everything on my to-do list got checked off and now I don’t have to worry about not having gotten something done before I take off for a week and a half.

That’s a great feeling.

Day 31 of Time Tracking, Complete!

Wednesday, Day 144 – Happy Independence Day, America!

“Style is a reflection of your attitude and your personality.” Shawn Ashmore

I’m not sure which style Ashmore is talking about here.

Fashion? Writing? Life?

In any case, it probably applies to all of the above.

Maybe we should pay attention to our styles—or pay attention to our attitudes and personalities. If we know any of these, we’ll be aware of the others and possibly be more prepared to explain any one of them.

When we say things like “it’s not my style” or “that’s not how I roll” we’re really just saying that the thing isn’t in line with our personality, attitude, and even our values. 

So we may have figured out a way to keep Luna, our obnoxious bean loaf, from scratching at the bedroom door after she gets kicked out (for pouncing on feet).

I Googled it, as one does, and determined that we should try playing with her right before her dinner, feeding her dinner right before we go to bed, and then ignore any dramatics she might act out after realizing we abandoned her with her food while we high-tail it into the bedroom.

We’ll see how it goes.

Being that it’s also Independence Day, she might be a little freaked out by the fireworks.

In any case, I spent most of today getting my unread email count from close to 800 or 900 (I can’t remember the exact number) all the way down to 561! The bulk of what’s left are emails from people whose courses I haven’t started yet through Work At Home School. I have gone through and marked the time-sensitive ones as read—like emails advertising enrollments for courses that I wasn’t interested in.

I also managed an hour of writing, both for tomorrow’s weekly email update for subscribers and for some Medium posts.

Day 32 of Time Tracking, Complete!

Thursday, Day 145 – Hiking Rattlesnake Ledge Again

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Maya Angelou

The only thing we can change is ourselves. And since many things are out of our control, if we don’t like them we should be changing our own attitudes. We get to decide how to react to things.

Are we going to be angry and upset about things we can’t change or control?

Are we going to worry and fret about things that haven’t even happened yet?

Or are we going to go with the flow and stop fighting against things we can’t change?

There are definitely things we CAN change by fighting, but they are few and far between despite what every activist weekend march would have you believe.

For many causes, it’s worth it.

But all we can truly control and change is ourselves.

Why not start there?

So that idea to keep the kitty from begging for attention at night?

It totally worked!

We got ready for bed, played with her, plopped her food down and sneakily went to bed, and she only did a few cursory wails and scratches before calming down and retiring to her cat tree by the window.

MAJOR cat parents win.

I actually repeated the process this morning by playing with her before setting her breakfast down. I left the office door open (which I don’t usually do in the mornings) and she didn’t do any of her usual bad behaviors like getting into the shredder or chewing on cords.

But she did get pretty bitey later and chomped on my hand when I was trying to give her pets.

In any case, the husband and I hiked Rattlesnake Ledge today. It was his first time up and my second. Unfortunately, we only made it about halfway up before my blood sugar revolted in a downward direction.

I had to sit for around 20 minutes and then we decided to return to the car.

I’m counting it as a win though, considering I met my step goal on the way down!

Day 33 of Time Tracking, Complete!

Friday, Day 146 – Jumping Forward

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.” Hans Selye

Attitude is everything.

Our attitudes can even make the difference between life and death. During World War 2, Viktor Frankl was imprisoned in one of the Nazi concentration camps. He attributes his survival to how he handled his attitude—by finding meaning and hope even through all the brutality he suffered. 

People with bad attitudes don’t live as long.

They drag others down, and so likely don’t have as many friends.

Parents are well-meaning when they say their children need “attitude adjustments” but miss the point—attitude has to come from within; it can’t be forced upon someone.

As for me, I’d rather be positive about things a majority of the time. What about you?

Today felt like a big win because I managed to finish and schedule the last three Thursday posts for August. This frees up my brainpower to write ahead for Medium, and brainstorm for Thursday posts for the last quarter of 2018. I’ll be writing those during August in batches.

So even though I spent most of the day being productive, the productiveness centered on what I just mentioned—the remaining Thursday posts.

Other than that, I’ve met my step goal for today and feel good about the rest of the weekend.

Day 34 of Time Tracking, Complete!

Saturday, Day 147 – A Forward Vision

“A positive attitude can really make dreams come true – it did for me.” David Bailey

This quote really speaks to me today because of some creative insight that came to me last night, which I talk about more below. What Bailey wants people to understand is that attitude is everything.

Our successes and our failures hinge on our attitudes.

If we have dreams (we all do) then we need to leverage our attitudes to get there.

Negativity and pessimistic thoughts only lead us off the path we want to stay on.

Before I went to bed last night I spent about 30 minutes thinking about a batching schedule for blog posts, post images, and pinning on Pinterest. With Tailwind I can schedule things out months in advance (handy). I thought about what it would be like to write furiously for one month to bust out posts for three months.

Pretty cool, right?

I feel really ambitious about things like this and more often than not I fail (or fall off) when I get there.

Josh and Jill Stanton of Screw the Nine to Five batch their content like this: spend one week creating twelve weeks of content so they can focus those twelve weeks on increasing their reach.

Now, since I have a full-time job I can’t take a full week to batch twelve weeks of content, but I can be more calculated about it.

If I want my Thursday posts to be around 1200 words, that’s about 513 words a day.

That’s barely anything.

In fact, during my 20-minute session in Cold Turkey Writer this morning, I wrote 809 words for a new post for September. That’s a majority of the post right there, in 20 minutes! It’s not polished—just a first draft—but it’s written.

If I can write 800 words in 20 minutes, it would really only take me 390 minutes to write 13 articles’ worth of content.

6.5 hours.

If I double down, what’s to stop me from pounding out more than 13 articles in a month?

In fact, once I hit 52 weeks with this series, I’m stopping it in favor of two focused content pieces a week, putting me at 8 or 9 articles a month, which would be writing up to 27 articles’ worth of content in one month.

13.5 hours for that.

That’s one Saturday of really intensely focused work.

In reality, it’s less than a half hour a day, and I already have a half-hour morning session every day to write.

So where does this leave me?

Having totally convinced myself I can do it.

Day 35 of Time Tracking, Complete!

What’s Next?

  • Next week (or, rather, this week since this is posting on Monday) I’m volunteering at a day camp for Type 1 diabetics, so any work I do will be in the mornings, and only briefly. At the very least I’d like to write for 30 minutes each morning.

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The Journey to Magnificence is a series of weekly summaries of my journey through courses and resources provided by or found through the Work at Home School, hosted and delivered by Caitlin Pyle.

If you missed a post or found this one first, the others can be found here:

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