Tricks I’ve learned but don’t always use

Last week I wrote about “how I do it all, or not” and promised to follow up with tricks I know that help (but don’t always use) in today’s post.

Tricks I know but don’t always use

#1 Put my own agenda first

Something I was reminded of recently is that if I start my day with email, I end up focused on other people’s needs and desires — not in the energy that will help me fulfill my bigger dreams.

It’s when I put my own work first — either my writing or other “big” tasks for the day — I’m much happier and get more accomplished.

#2 Pick out the big three

I’ve also learned that if I can start off by picking the 3 big tasks that need to be completed in a given day and focus there first, the day works out for the best.

The challenge is that usually one or all of those three things is hard and triggers resistance. It’s all too easy to want to procrastinate about them, which means other things tend to expand as a way off putting of those hard things, like when I suddenly feel that it’s critically important to organize my digital files or purge my inbox.

Facing the music and doing those tasks, whatever they are (e.g. writing a challenging section of my script or making an uncomfortable phone call) is something I work on every single day.

#3 Be clear about what you need to let go

To make all of what I do happen, I’ve given up a lot.

When I had my son, I stopped volunteering so much of my time. I hired more help for my business and gave up doing so much of it myself.

When I started writing, I gave up watching so many movies and episodic programs.

Now I still watch television, but it’s very focused (and often kid friendly). I watch one movie or show at a time, usually on some kind of streaming or DVD. I don’t have cable and we no longer get regular TV reception (can you even do that anymore?).

I also gave up a lot of late night internet browsing and started getting up early so I could focus on my writing.

Bottom line

I’m not always consistent — some day I’ll get around to talking about discipline and creativity and breaking rules — but I do find that when I use these tricks I’m much happier than when I don’t.

Your turn

What about you? Do you have tricks you don’t use but are happier when you do? You know I always love to hear from you.




Coming Attractions

~> August 30th. Register by August 30 for the next 4-week session of my “Just Do The Writing” Accountability Circle (starts September 3rd). For serious writers and for writers who want to get serious about their writing.

~> September 6th. Last day to register for the next Life Purpose Breakthrough Group happening on October 4th. These groups always sell out (only 3 spots remaining) so if you want to discover your life purpose through the remarkably accurate tool of hand analysis, sign up here now:


What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Working on my script, Progeny, with screenwriter Chris Soth after finishing the ProSeries.*

~> September 18 to 22nd. Heading to Hollywood for a ScreenwritingU* event to meet with producers and agents then staying on for the InkTip Pitch Summit.

~> Sacred writing time. Early mornings and Fridays.

~> Reading: Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince.


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  1. I’ve noticed there’s a game that can really improve my memory. It can be really taxing but its a good mental workout. How? Simple…points. Like golf, basketball, or any sport you will feel tired. And want to quit. Hour spent doing this may have you attacking your fridge. Yet the payoff is so good. Who doesn’t want to communicate with that someone who is SO knowledgeable. So for example, here’s what I do: lets say I’m watching a movie, you give yourself a score of zero. Every time you predict something correctly, you get 1 point. Whenever you fail you take 1 away. Voila…game! This can be adjusted, but its better to keep it basic for the beginning go around. After that you can make it more sophisticated if you so wish. Numbers in the -100s will hurt the pride a bit though, your ego will feel a bruise too and since your memory is obviously important despite what some may have you say ,the ensuing performance boost will make you feel like you desire a lottery ticket! This isn’t for kids yet since i don’t know if watching power rangers has any capability beyond redicyulous sugar cravings. But it can be very rewarding to realise you don’t need to take annoying recall exams : After all, _that_ guy sure didn’t…

  2. Hi Jenna,
    Yes the big three things to do for the day, and focusing on what’s most important (for me) first, I’ve heard these from other sources and it’s good to be reminded of them, since they are super helpful to making progress toward goals. Thanks for the reminder : ) -k

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