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Tag: Time Management

6 Ways Smart Tech is Impacting the Office Environment

Smart technology is all the rage. We have “smart” phones, “smart” homes, and “smart” appliances. As smart tech continues to evolve, there’s no wonder that it has impacted the office environment.

Tools such as cordless phones that work with smartphones and intelligent VoIP hubs only begin illustrating the new smart workplace. Behind the scenes, intelligent routers and automated data management workflows provide just a shadow of things to come.

You don’t have to wait for the future to enjoy the benefits of smart tech in your company. Get a glimpse of what’s possible by learning about the following ways a smart workspace can impact your business.


Already, Office 365 and Google Docs have allowed you to work with people around the world to edit documents. Cloud-based file sharing apps enhance that collaboration.

Now, smart tech has enhanced collaboration via screen sharing, allowing multiple people to work together on the same workstation. Meanwhile, virtual reality enables people to work together in 3D spaces to design and build everything from buildings to entire cities.

Most of all, smart collaboration technologies will permit you to draw from global labor pools. As a result, you can access world-class talent while building highly functional distributed teams.


Smart tech is allowing companies to move away from traditional email correspondence and telephone conversations. Already, consumers have grown to expect to interact with their favorite brands across multiple channels.

Now, you can get communications packages that unify all your communications within a single interface. Tools such as live text or video chat, for example, enable customers to choose how they contact your firm.

Smart technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are now automating communications. Thanks to chatbots and similar tools, you can let “virtual” agents handle basic service requests, saving your human agents for advanced tasks.

Home Offices

Smart tech has dramatically increased the capabilities of home offices. Thanks to the ubiquity of the cloud, you can slash overhead by hiring remote home-based workers rather than traditional employees.

As long as remote workers have internet access, they can connect with the same communications and collaboration tools they would use in your facilities. Your remote employees often show a higher level of job satisfaction and often produce more than their office-bound peers.

Small operations such as home-based businesses can also benefit from smart tech. By relying on innovative cloud solutions, a one-person operation can have the same capabilities as a global enterprise.

Time Management

Modern time management apps can “learn” your behavior and automatically update your schedule, helping you to get more done in less time. Thanks to artificial intelligence and advanced algorithms, smart tech can also help you prioritize your tasks.

Smart time managers can automate employee scheduling across multiple shifts and locations. When you have the right app in place, employees with smartphones can directly enter and edit their availability information.

If you normally use spreadsheets and manual data entry to calculate hours and wages, smart tech can help. Many time management apps will automatically populate your accounting and payroll apps with relevant data, saving time and improving accuracy.


Call center software can now monitor customer interactions, including voice conversations to tell you when a customer is becoming agitated. Such systems can also assess agent performance and provide training recommendations.

Furthermore, smart tech can help you assess customer sentiment after every interaction by providing targeted surveys and follow-up emails. Similarly, you can use smart tech to identify upselling opportunities that can enhance the customer experience that you provide.

Smart tech can also improve customer satisfaction and retention through personalization. For example, social-media-aware CRM systems can learn about your contacts and use that data to craft targeted email messages.


Thanks to smart tech, you can now exercise greater control over your network, workstations, and other IT resources. For instance, smart routers can proactively monitor network traffic and almost instantly disconnect suspicious activity.

Smart technologies are also improving antivirus and anti-malware applications, helping them to uncover threats before they become fully understood. Soon, intelligent apps will eliminate the need for virus definition databases and their associated updates, further improving your online security.

Smart tech can even improve the physical security of your company. Biometric devices can control access to every section of your facility, helping to reduce the damage caused by thieves and snoops.


In conclusion, smart technology is transforming the way people work. By embracing this trend, you and your business can work smarter, faster and thereby achieve a satisfying work-life balance.


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Writing as a Business: When to Quit Your Day Job Redux

Over the last couple of years, I have had some serious personal life changes and challenges, and that meant a transition from freelance writing full time to a full-time job, a part time job, and then leaving that day job altogether. Part of that had to do with my personal motivation and income, the rest had to do with listening to others and giving in to a certain amount of fear about not making it.

The thing is, the market changed as did my motivation to write and how much I wrote, and that made all the difference. I did not adapt (at first) to new opportunities in the freelance world, and I did not write nearly as much on a daily basis. When I first got back to writing copious amounts of non-fiction content, it was for someone else.

In the meantime, I started my own business (again) this time Unbound Media, LLC. I started with a small plan that has moved forward to something else that now is a much longer-term plan, although I am sure our company focus will change over time just as my personal one does.

For now, there are about six writers that create content for me from time to time, and others that come in and out at will. Some make good money, others have their own businesses and work for me as a side gig for an extra stream of revenue. It has not been easy, but over the last few months it came time to leave the day job (part time at that point) behind, but I put it off at first, and worked way too hard instead. This was partly out of fear.

So as I get back to the writing as a business posts on this blog and reignite some things I have let languish for far too long, I thought I would start with one of the most common questions I get asked (since I have left and returned to having day jobs a number of times over the last 9 years or so). When is it time to leave your day job?

As a freelancer who writes both fiction and non-fiction and also edits along with now running my own company, I think I have some answers, but boiled down to the simplest one, it simply depends.

You’ve Already Started a Business

We covered this topic early in this series, but let me just say this one lesson again: if you have written a book and it has been published, whether traditionally or you have self-published, you have already started a small business. You need to market that book. If you self-publish, you also need to distribute it, and to a certain extent this applies if you are traditionally published as well (that is another topic for another blog post on another day).

You will, if you continue to write, go through the processes of business that include production, distribution, and marketing. However, there is more to writing for a living than that, at least in my case.

I also do freelance non-fiction writing including a lot of web stuff and content for company and individual blogs and even some link building writing, although with a few exceptions I don’t do the rest of the link building process. (Outreach, placement, etc). I also have to go through the process of production (writing), distribution (getting the material to the client) and marketing (of my services that are unrelated to fiction).

As a third prong of income I employ other people who also write for me and my clients (production), distribute that writing for them (getting it to clients) and market (sharing that I have access to more than just my time for writing). All of this sound familiar and repeated?

From the start in this series, I have talked about production and touched on the first part of distribution for authors of books. But the same principles apply across the rest of business. Every stage takes time, and it may be time to quit your day job when it starts to interfere with the time you have for any one of these processes.

But wait. You can’t quit your day job without money, right?

Your Business is Making a Profit

Step one is to save money. The advantage I have as both an author and a freelance writer is that I am creating two different things: I have a service industry, a company that writes content for websites and blog content for clients for various uses and I also create a product, books, that continue to sell and make me money long after I have finished the work of producing and distributing them (or at least making sure they are available to a wide audience).

However, you don’t need to have both (although it is a good idea). If you have one or the other, you can leverage them to make money. Once your business is making you almost as much as you are at your day job, and you feel like if you were spending more time on your business it could easily pass those numbers, it is time to quit your day job.

A word of warning here: know what your earning needs are and what your earning potential really is. Don’t guess. If you earn $2,0000 a month from your day job, consider dropping to half time when your business is making $1,000 a month. When you are approaching $1,800 a month, you might consider quitting your day job as long as your business is growing in a way that will enable to you to make up that difference.

Also, don’t forget to add intangible benefits like health insurance and other factors in there. Don’t forget the increased taxes you will pay. Really to replace your $2,000 a month day job, you will need to make more like $2,800 from your business after your expenses.

You’re Both Fed Up and Passionate

A point will come with your business where you start to resent the time you are spending at your day job no matter how much you like it. For the most part, I loved my most recent day job, although there were some definite drawbacks. But it got to the point where I would be working, and that day job would interrupt my work, and with less profitable work.

At the same time, I was growing increasingly passionate about what I was doing and could do, and less passionate about my day job. I knew I was at a place of great potential, and my day job was interfering with the expansion I needed to really grow the business.

You’re Ready to Face Your Fear

Notice I did not say you were free from fear. Good luck with that. If you get over that one completely, let me know. I said when you are ready to face your fears. Starting off on your own with no safety net of a day job is scary to say the least. There is no formula for you or those around you not to be afraid.

Get over it. Face your fear and jump. You are ready to quit your day job when you are really ready to do this. In fact, do it before you are ready. When the numbers add up, when you are growing, just do it. Jump. You will be fine.

I’ve talked about this topic before. Several times. And I have lived through it myself. When is it time to quit your day job? It depends, but it might just be now.

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7 Ways Being Minimalist Is Great for Your Health

The minimalist lifestyle is about consciously choosing less in order to have more. That means getting rid of some belongings that you aren’t really using, making your to-do list shorter as some of the things on it aren’t important, not having too many people in your circle as that takes away your energy, and even reducing the number of thoughts in your mind that you have at any moment of the day so you can have some peace and relax.

The benefits of living this way are amazing. You’ll now see 7 of them and they should be enough to inspire you to simplify your life in at least one way soon.

You reduce stress.

Stress is a big part of our lives, but it doesn’t have to be like that. The problem is that we all try to get everything done, we keep ourselves busy, we’re in a hurry all the time, we try to please everyone, to see improvement in every area of life, we expect a lot from ourselves and others, and we constantly worry about the future. All this turns our days into stressful events that we can’t enjoy.

The solution for that lies in minimalism. Remove anything you can that’s causing you stress in some way.

It’s indeed as easy as it sounds. Eliminate the negative from your life so you can have room for the positive. Leave your job if you have to if it’s taking years from your life and you simply don’t enjoy it. Stop caring about what others think and let go of your expectations. Slow down and see that you can still be productive but without the stress.

The best advice I heard about how to actually slow done was: what you are planning to achieve in 4 years, achieve in 6 instead. As simple as that.

You get more done.

Minimalism is about removing the non-essential so that you can be left with what’s important. One of these precious things is our focus.

Think about it. So many factors during the day are fighting for our attention. We’re distracted all the time by the variety of social media, opportunities, entertainment, people and activities which are not worth our attention.

Even when it seems like we’re focused on a project at work, in our head we’re going back to the past, planning something for the future, overthinking a situation, going through the tasks on our to-do list, or wondering about the outcome of an event. We’re wasting our attention. If you stop all that chaos in your head though, if you let go of the desire to get it all done and do it perfectly, you’ll get it back.

Once you have all your attention, you’ll be able to dedicate it to the task at hand, get it done much faster, and be less overwhelmed and stressed in the end.

You stop focusing on the material things in life.

Minimalism denies materialism. Belongings make us miserable. Just think about it. Nothing good comes from owning more. And as for all that you already have, it requires you to take care of it, fix it, replace or upgrade it.

Life’s so much easier if we give away all that we aren’t using and don’t need. Look around in your house and ask yourself how much of what you see you actually need to have this same quality of life. Make a plan on what to do with the rest but don’t keep it there anymore. You’ll have more freedom in your life without it.

Everything you do is more meaningful.

Our human nature drives us towards meaning. We seek it when socializing, working, traveling, even reading. We want to feel like our life counts, like we’re making the most of our time, and like we’re leaving a mark. All that can happen thanks to living a more minimalist lifestyle.

Your relationships are stronger.

Once you’re a minimalist, you’ll notice that you aren’t interested in spending time with random people anymore. Instead, you seek deeper connection, interesting individuals, like-minded souls.

That means making your circle smaller, but more quality. If the people you surround yourself with are positive, you will become so too.

You pay more attention to your health.

When you stop paying attention to unimportant things, such as what others think about you, what might go wrong in the future or what you don’t like about your past, you will start taking care of yourself more. Minimalists stop judging and blaming themselves, and instead find their true self and nurture that relationship. That itself helps them be a better partner, parent, and friend.

Your health involves your physical and mental well-being but also your spiritual development. When you have less negative and stressful factors in your life, you’re more likely to get in shape, get enough rest every day, turn to meditation, breathe more deeply, journal your thoughts, and more.

You get your time back.

One of the great things you can have more of once you turn to minimalism is time. Average people seem to always be doing many things at once, but never really having enough time, not to mention enough free time to do what they enjoy or just relax.

But that’s because half of their goals aren’t what they truly want, half of their daily tasks and chores are unnecessary and could easily be left behind, and half of their thoughts are distracting them.

Once you have your time back, enjoy it. Take a walk, exercise more, read great books, dedicate some of it to your personal development, build a new skill, have a new hobby, meet your favorite people more often.

These are the ways being a minimalist is great for every aspect of your life, especially your health. Are you ready to experience all these fantastic changes?

 Sarah Williams is a passionate life and dating coach who enjoys helping people see the beauty in life and use their inner potential. Check out her self-development blog Wingman Magazine for tips and entertainment.

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7 Tasks Your Small Business Should Outsource

Author info:

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Josh McAllister. He is a freelance writer and independent business consultant. In his free time, he enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his family. You can reach him on Twitter @josh8mcallister

Many entrepreneurs want to minimize overhead as much as possible and to accomplish this, they may try to tackle every task that needs to be completed. While entrepreneurs are typically very talented individuals, most are not a jack-of-all-trades. Even those very few individuals who have the skills and expertise to tackle most tasks successfully may not have the time to do so efficiently. The American Psychological Association indicates that multitasking can actually result in a 40 percent decline in productivity.

Outsourcing specific tasks to talented experts can help you to free up more time to focus on money-making activities relates to your operations. While you may spend some money hiring freelancers or contractors, you may enjoy a higher net profit as a result because of your own wise use of time.

Furthermore, outsourcing allows you to take advantage of the highly skilled insight and efforts of true industry experts. Remember that hiring subcontractors rather than full-time employees can help you to keep overhead low. This is because you do not have to pay subcontractors benefits like health insurance or deal with payroll taxes and other related expenses. These are some of the most common tasks many entrepreneurs should consider outsourcing.

1. Bookkeeping

Accounting and financial management tasks are critical to the success of your business, but it can take a lot of time to keep your books updated regularly. You simply cannot afford to neglect this important task. After all, you cannot possibly make sound financial decisions for your business if you do not know where you stand financially at all times.

A professional bookkeeper can complete these critical tasks more efficiently and accurately, freeing up your valuable time to work on other important tasks. As your operation grows in size and complexity, having a skilled and experienced bookkeeper becomes even more critical.

2. Payroll

Calculating and processing payroll regularly can be time-consuming and stressful, and it comes with legal rules and regulations that you are required to follow. These federal, state and local tax laws can change periodically, and it is up to you to understand and comply with these laws.

Calculating payroll can take hours of your time each week, and a simple mistake may lead to a tax audit and substantial fines. This is an area that you simply cannot afford to make a mistake in. With this in mind, it makes sense to outsource this task to a skilled third party.

3. Marketing

Your marketing efforts are directly linked to your sales numbers and overall profitability. You must successfully market your goods or services in a cost-effective way to remain on budget, but you must also actively maintain existing relationships and reach new customers.

Many entrepreneurs who keep marketing efforts in-house fail to follow through on marketing with consistency. They also struggle to produce amazing results. Outsourcing your social media marketing and content marketing efforts, for example, to a skilled professional may help you to improve your conversion rate and ultimately generate more revenue each year.

4. Customer Support

Depending on the type of business you run, you may find yourself dealing with customer support issues frequently. This can be a drain on your time or on other employees’ time.

While it is critical for you to keep existing customers happy with excellent customer service, your skilled in-house team also needs to actively recruit new customers.

If you choose to outsource your customer support needs to a third party, choose the company with care. Hiring a professional team that operates around the clock and that can provide dedicated service to your valued existing customers can benefit your company substantially.

5. Administration

With a very small business, administrative tasks may be relatively easy to keep up with. However, as your company grows in size, simple tasks such as answering phones and managing appointments can begin to take up a significant amount of your valuable time each day.

A virtual assistant can be hired to tend to these tasks, and he or she may also help with invoicing, collections, email management, database activities, direct mail campaigns, and more. While this can free up your own time, it can also make your company seem more professional and established to your business clients and partners.

6. IT Support

Technology is critical to most businesses, but it also is constantly evolving. You may not be able to afford to have your computers go down for long hours at a time, but you also may not be able to afford to hire an in-house IT expert to keep up with repairs, maintenance, and upgrades to your system.

Hiring a local consultant or contractor makes sense, and you can also save additional money by using an infrastructure as a service model. With this type of plan, your technological equipment and related systems are outsourced. Remember to choose a local IT contractor who can respond quickly, and look for a professional with experience handling cyber security issues for the best results.

7. Design

The image that you portray to customers and clients is affected by your design efforts. Everything from the photos you add to a brochure to the images in a blog, email campaign and more can affect your company’s brand and image.

Some entrepreneurs will use advanced design software programs with great results, but it can take time and effort to learn how to use these. Paying a skilled professional to do this work for you can help you enjoy fabulous results while also staying updated with the latest trends. Because you cannot afford to fall behind in the design of your marketing materials, e-commerce site and more, hiring a contractor makes sense.

Entrepreneurs today may be competing in a more advanced and complex marketplace, but they also have access to an exceptional range of outsourcing services. Not every task should be outsourced, so it is up to the entrepreneur to review the options and to make wise decisions that are best for the company. Ideally, you will outsource tasks that your own team is not well-equipped to handle. However, you should always weigh the pros and cons of hiring a contractor versus in-house employees.

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GUEST POST: Increase Your Focus By Improving Your Sleep Health

Bio: Sarah Jones is the editor of Feeling the repercussions of being an irregular sleeper for far too long, she decided to do something about it. She learned why sleep is so important and how to maximize it, and is now helping others who are struggling to find their right sleep routine.

Are you one of the many people who struggle to maintain their focus? Especially in today’s world where distractions are all around us, keeping your focus can seem like an uphill battle. As a fellow solopreneur, I understand exactly how important it is to keep momentum and focus each and every day which is why I’ve decided to share the techniques I’ve found with you.

Get Sleep, Stay Focused

For those of us who are managing our own business or our own schedule, there is one defining factor that can affect our overall performance and focus: our sleep. While it’s so great to not have a true quote, unquote boss, being your own boss means you are in charge of your schedule. Having a proper sleeping schedule, and maintaining it is a vital component to being able to stay focused during your working hours.

According to Memory Improvement Tips, when you are feeling tired, you will not be able to focus clearly, or even at all on even the simplest tasks in your day. Having a good night’s sleep is absolutely critical for your brain to strengthen the neural connections which are required for processing information.

When you are sleep deprived, even if it is just for one night, your attention span as well as your working memory will become impaired. Both of these factors play a key role in your overall concentration and focus.

Improving your sleep will naturally lead to an improvement in your focus and concentration. According to Healthy Sleep, when you cannot enter a REM cycle, your over-worked neurons will not be able to function properly and the information they carry will not coordinate appropriately. This stage is when we begin to lose our focus as well as previously learned information.

How Can You Improve?

To improve the amount and the quality of the sleep you are getting each night, there are several steps you can take:

Lose the Distractions

One of the most important things you can do to improve your sleep is to lose the distractions. Make sure that you have your phone turned off or away or silenced when you are getting into bed. Not to mention, ensure that you avoid watching TV or using the computer one hour before bed. The blue glow from these devices triggers our brains to think it is daylight and therefore, stay active, even when you are trying to wind down.

Exercise More

Take some time to exercise each day. Getting your body moving will help improve your mental clarity as well as making your body feel tired. When you work out regularly, you will begin to notice how tired you are when your normal bed time finally arrives. Not only will exercise bring you better sleep, you’ll be in better physical shape as well.

Avoid Caffeine

Watch your caffeine intake, especially at night. Be sure to limit your caffeine (and sugar!) during the day so that you can avoid the crash as well as avoid staying up too late. If you’re like me and you can’t go without your caffeine, just be sure to intake your caffeine at the start of your day so it does not keep you awake late into the evening when you should be sleeping.

Regulate Your Schedule

A major factor in getting improved sleep for improved focus is regulating your schedule. Wake up at the same time each day, even on holidays and/or weekends. This also applies to the time you go to bed. Aim to get to bed the same time each night and wake up the same time each morning. The rigidity of the sleeping schedule will train your body and your mind to prepare for winding down and getting to sleep.

The Final Word

With practice and effort, you will soon notice the improvement in your sleep. When your sleep improves, you will notice how your focus improves as well. Making sure you are feeling well rested will allow you to have mental clarity and high levels of focus during your day.

What other techniques do you use to improve your sleep? Be sure to share by leaving a comment below! We’d love to hear from you!

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Prepping for a Bike Race and Writing a Novel

So a few weeks back a friend challenged me to ride a bike race in the near future. It is 53 miles long, and at the time I was riding about 12-15 miles a day, most of that part of my commute. I decided to train for the race, in an attempt to do one thing: finish.

Aerial Course Overview – Rebecca’s Private Idaho from SCVP Cordovano Video Production on Vimeo.

Like any good citizen, I fired up Google to find a training plan, and I found one designed to prepare a cyclist for a 50+ mile mountain bike race. There was only one minor problem with every plan that I found.

They were 12 weeks long, and I had eight weeks until race day. I was reminded of the expression of stuffing 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag.

I was also reminded by my ever overworking mind that I also had to move during that time, and help another friend move. So some of my “training time” would be spent lifting boxes, a noble activity, but one that did not really count toward my goal.

With another self imposed writing deadline looming, one designed to get me back in the novel writing game, I realized the two were parallel for a number of reasons.

Time is Short

There is only so much time in a day, and while I write every day, and way more than some people do, I need to allocate how much of that writing time is for Fiction. Because while writing for Huffington Post, Tweak Your Biz, and other websites is fun and helps pay the bills and spread the word about the other things I do, my new detective series is languishing, and fiction sales need the boost that only new work can give it.

Time management has become critical, but I have to be careful. To accomplish goals, I can’t set aside my other priorities. I have a family and other obligations, and neglecting them to write or ride is not the right thing to do, at least long term.

Time Resting is not Time Wasted

Did I mention that I tore a calf muscle playing basketball in March? You may not know much about cycling, but your calves play a big role. The tear (which happened a week before my wedding, making other things tough as well, like the honeymoon) is healed and pretty much rehabbed, but there are days when I get out of the saddle and realize how much it still hurts.

Writing muscles are much the same. I have been in a non-fiction, tech and business writing type mode, and while that is great, the fiction writing muscles need to be flexed, stretched, and exercised as well.

But rest sometimes allows those muscles time to heal. In fiction, ideas build up so words flow like water released from a dam. In cycling, muscles are ready to tackle a challenge and be pushed harder than if they were already tired.

Deadlines Motivate Me

I work well under the gun. When I have a deadline looming, I push myself and do some of my best work.

I also exercise more often, mainly because I feel like I have a purpose, a goal in mind. That goal makes it more important that I apply myself, since the last thing I want to do is fail because I did not put in the effort.

Setbacks Happen

You can only control your efforts and what you try to do. Accidents happen, and people and relationships are still more important than any goals you may have. These setbacks are decision points. Do you drop out of the race, or change your goal for completion of your novel? Or do you buckle down and work that much harder?

Handling setbacks without just giving up completely is the hardest part of endurance. Make no mistake, long distance biking and writing a novel have that in common. Both are endurance events.

There are other things you can compare to novel writing. All of them are tortuous and require strength, flexibility and endurance. Do you think training for a mountain bike race compares? What else do you think compares? Let me know in the comments below.

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NaNoWriMo: Time Management

“Diligence is the mother of good fortune, and idleness, its opposite, never brought a man to the goal of any of his best wishes.”

— Miguel de Cervantes

I sit here, at 4:47 a.m. knowing what can happen today, and what might happen, but not what will happen.

Oh, I have a plan. I always have a plan. Sometimes it is a good one, sometimes it isn’t, but it exists.

It all comes down to time management, something I vary between being good at, and totally sucking at. If you are super organized, never get distracted, and have no idea what I’m talking about, you don’t even need to read on. Besides, the rest of us hate you anyway.

self discipline

Discipline. Time management is about discipline. Making yourself do things, even if they are not what you want to be doing right at this minute. It is tough, and it sucks, because even when you work at home you have your favorite parts of your job and the things you wish you could put off until shortly after your death. Trust me, if you think any profession is exempt, you are sorely mistaken. If you like everything about your job, and can’t relate to this, see the above.


Eliminating Distraction. This is a control what you can control moment. Shut the door. Turn off the wi-fi. Threaten the children with death following slow torture. Threaten your spouse with withheld … well, whatever it is they usually want from you: sex, money, cooking, doing their laundry, sex (did I already say that?).


multitaskingDeal with interruption.
No matter how good you are, or how well you plan, distraction will inevitably come, multiple times a day. If you are the kind of person that has no distractions, ever, during your writing time, also see the above. Most of us have cats, dogs, kids, spouses, phones, and bladders. You can shut these out to an extent, but when the dog pukes in your shoes, or you have to vacate your bowls or empty the coffee you drank all morning you will need to get up from time to time. Unless you wear adult diapers and are not averse to dealing with rashes or dog puked in shoes.

Learn to open “browser windows” in your brain, and leave them open while you piss, let the dog in and out, strangle children (plot material), or cook dinner. You need to be able to go back to what you were doing after the interruption and pick up right where you left off.

Reward yourself. Keep your schedule for a week, and then take some time off, even an hour. Treat yourself to a latte or a giant cookie dough ice cream shake from Arctic Circle (if you are into that kind of thing). A bottle glass of wine or scotch or whatever you fancy, just give yourself something for all of your hard work.

Now get back too it. You’ve wasted enough time reading this blog. Write on! I will be right back after I spend some time in the throne room getting rid of some coffee, last night’s pumpkin cake, and some egg nog.

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