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750 Words: A blogging tool to help you write faster

By | habits | No Comments

The purpose of 750 Words is to provide accountability for people who want to write at least 750 words a day. It’s an awesome site created by Buster and Kellianne.

The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia CameronIt’s a digital tool for keeping “morning pages,” a technique recommended by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. Her recommendation is to start every day with “stream of consciousness writing.” She recommends writing three pages of longhand, or the equivalent of about 750 words.

750 Words is a community of writers where (digital) writing is the main goal. It’s not about socializing or promoting your blog or books. It’s all about writing and tracking your progress over time.

I’ve known about it for several years, but didn’t get serious about it until recently. I’m so glad I finally did. My writing speed has improved dramatically.

Why use 750 words as a blogging tool?

When you write here, no one is watching. You enter the space, write without any judgment, and watch your progress build over time.

It’s a tool that can free you up to write faster. If you’re having trouble meeting your blogging goals, this is the solution you’ve been seeking.

Start with a clean slate every day

Each day when you log in to 750 Words, you begin with a blank page. You don’t have to click here or there to get to your blank page. It’s the first thing you see. It’s so simple that even the technically challenged can manage it.

You get a quick overview of your stats for the current month. If you start writing, but don’t reach the 750 goal, you get a slash mark for the day. If you exceed 750 words, you get an X in the box for that day.

You see today’s date and you’re ready to get started. Here’s a sample from a writer at ProfHacker:

750 Words ProfHacker writing sample writer's bootcamp

This screenshot from 2010 shows that there were 263 patrons at the time. Today the site has more than 3300 members.

Connect with your readers

Blogging is about producing interesting content that other people find entertaining or otherwise useful. Because there’s no “publish” button in 750 Words, you feel free to say what’s on your mind in an honest and courageous fashion.  The faster you write, the more authentic you’ll be.

This is a great tool to knock out a blog post draft in 10-15 minutes. By staying liquid and real with your writing, you’ll attract more readers. If you over-edit, you can come across too stiff or sterile.

750 Words mindset writing introvert positive uncertain thinking future

One of the benefits of having a blog is that you can go back and make edits at any time. There’s no need to spend too much time making sure every sentence is perfect. You can always go back and make changes tomorrow.

Generate content you can use later

As you’re writing from your stream of consciousness, you’ll come up with interesting memories, cool quotes, and good ideas. These are useful sentences and paragraphs you can add to your growing database of content.

This is a great way to get your thoughts in writing and generate a bunch of blog post ideas day after day. I usually write more than 750 words. As soon as I complete my daily entry, I copy/paste my text from 750 Words to Evernote so I can easily search for keywords later.

Daily practice helps you write faster

It provides you with statistics telling you how fast (words per minute) and how much (total number of words) you write on any given day. You compete with yourself to become a more productive writer. Here are some sample stats from Marian Schembari. On this day she wrote 78 words per minute and completed her 750 words in 10 minutes. Are you tracking your writing speed?

750Words Marian Schembari words per minute distractions

Get in the habit of writing every day

If you want to be a successful writer, the daily boxes and occasional badges motivate you to establish the daily habit of writing. Here’s what it looks like when you write every day of the month.

Kristen Grainer writing streak 750words badges

Notice that it took Kristen 12 minutes to write 750 words on this day. Since all the boxes are complete with an X, it means that she wrote every day in June. Check out Kristen Grainer‘s beautiful blog at Shutter & Spice.

Get some insight into how you’re feeling

In addition to providing statistics on your writing habits, you also get colorful pie charts on some of your overall feelings based on what you wrote. The faster you write, the better. This gives you insight into what topics you may or may not want to handle today.

750 words Feeling Pie Charts concerned about

Get a good idea of what’s on your mind

After you’ve completed your words, you get a visual picture of what topics were on your mind. On this day, I had an intention to write about my education. Based on my word cloud, I can see that I stuck to my topic.

 

frequently used words word cloud doctor lorraine haataia 750 words

 

If you don’t write with a specific intention, you can do some free writing and find out later what was most on your mind that day. It’s a fun discovery tool either way.

Connect with other bloggers

Although 750 Words isn’t designed for networking, you can see user names of other members and, in some cases, connect with them through social media. You can also keep an eye on 750 Words Facebook page for updates and ideas.

Should you use 750 Words?

Write Fast Bryan Hufford bookThis is an awesome tool I highly recommend. Regardless of how busy you are with other activities in your life, this tool can help you get more focused on your writing.

If you want to be a consistent and successful blogger, 750 Words can help you establish three essential habits necessary for being a productive blogger:

  • write daily
  • write fast
  • edit later
funny to do list cartoon

10 productivity tips for a smarter to do list

By | habits | No Comments

Do you have a to do list with hundreds of items you can’t seem to get done? Each time you add another item to your list you have good intentions. But at a subconscious level, you know you’re just adding one more thing to a growing list of things that don’t get done. If this sounds familiar, don’t despair. Here are ten tips that will help you check more things off your list each day:

  1. Choose an app you can access on multiple devices. I’m currently using Appigo Todo while my husband favors Todoist. If you partner a lot with friends or family to get things done, you’ll love the collaborative features in Wunderlist. Or perhaps you fancy something even more social like Listography? Whatever you do, be sure to choose a tool that has a user-friendly interface on your computer, smart phone and any other devices you use regularly.ListographyLogo
  2. Begin each item with one action word (a verb). This makes it easy to identify what you need to do: CALL to reschedule massage; TALK to a stranger; REPAIR flat tire on bike; LEARN how to make homemade sauerkraut.
  3. Break projects down into doable chunks of time. As an author, it doesn’t do me any good to have a task like “write eBook.” It makes much more sense to make this a project and then list the various tasks such as “write chapter 7” and other similar action items as subtasks of this project.
  4. Schedule time on your calendar to complete items with deadlines. If you have an important deadline, it’s ok to keep it visible on your to do list, but it’s even more important to make sure that you’ve blocked out ample time to complete it.
  5. Avoid duplication. It doesn’t make sense to put “unload dishwasher” on your to do list because you can see when the work needs to be done. The same rule applies to housework or email. When your bath mirror becomes spotted enough to bother you, clean it. If you have rules and features set up to manage your email effectively, then you’ll have visual cues in your inbox and folders to let you know when you need to work on replies.
  6. Tweak and customize your list until it works well for you. The best to do apps are full of features that allow you to filter and sort so that you see what you want to see when you need to see it. Adjust tabs, colors, priority levels, repeat functions and other tools regularly to be sure you’re seeing and doing the things that matter most.
    CartoonToDoList

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  7. Ignore your to do list one day a week. Putting things on your to do list can give you a peace of mind that you won’t forget to do important things. But it’s also crucial to give yourself time to do things spontaneously or choose to do things that aren’t on your list.
  8. Review your to do list once a week. Update tasks that are partially complete, add clarity to tasks you entered on the fly, re-prioritize most important tasks for the upcoming week, and delete as many tasks as possible that are least important.
    funny to do list make vanilla pudding

    don’t forget to add funny things to your to do list

  9. Evaluate your overall effectiveness and productivity every month. Some people have a tendency to be very focused in their work and social ventures while others have many interests and thrive on the stimulation of new ideas. If you have the feeling that you’re never getting enough done, it may mean that you need to find ways to simplify your life and stop doing some things that aren’t important to ensure that you have enough time to do the things that are most essential. Reflect on what old habits may be holding you back and what new habits you want to establish.
    list of things to start doing

    list of things to start doing

  10. Read your mission statement every morning and every evening. If you don’t already have a mission statement, begin by writing something simple. As a writer and continuous improvement expert, my mission is to provide tips to improve people’s lives. Although it’s common to hold a number of roles at any given time, it’s important to make sure that the things you put on your to do list support your main purpose and biggest responsibilities. Knowing that you’ve accomplished your most important tasks and projects allows you to rest well with a sense of fulfillment at the end of each day.

It’s time to change your personal policies and procedures

Looking for more ways to increase your productivity? Buy this terrific book by S.J. Scott now . . .

It’s time to change your personal policies and procedures

By | habits | One Comment

If you’ve ever worked for a company with established policies and procedures, you understand the concept of playing by the corporate rules and hidden commandments. These policies, procedures and unwritten rules are developed over time based on situations that come up in the normal course of business. Smart leaders know that if something frequently goes wrong at a particular point in the process, they need to change a policy or procedure to help ensure that the process flows better in the future.

cartoon 10 commandments

You can apply the same principle to your own life. In fact, you’ve already done so many times without thinking of it in these terms. As your personal life circumstances change, you make adjustments. And sometimes other people mold you to their ways, especially if you live or work with them.

You can probably recall a time not too long ago when either you or someone you know made a general statement about what they do or don’t do. Here are a few examples of personal policies or rules:

  • “I don’t eat bread,” says a celiac who knows it will make him sick.
  • “I always choose ground travel,” says the person who fears flying.
  • “I don’t eat meat,” says a vegetarian who feels more energetic when she avoids it.
  • “I can’t work until the kids start school,” says the mom who wants to stay at home with her children.
  • “I always wake up early,” says the person who works the early shift.

These are verbal declarations of informal policies that help you manage your life and keep it running as smoothly as possible. These policies give you a sense of control over your health, relationships and even your fears. Once you become conscious of your own personal rules or policies, you’ll start to notice them in others as well.

policies and procedures

Policies and procedures work together. If you decide to change one of the rules you live by, it’s likely to affect one or more of your procedures. If you’ve ever tried to change one of your rules, you may find it difficult to do so because you’re habitually conditioned to carry out procedures that support your unwritten policies.

If you know someone who has tried to quit smoking (incorporate a new life rule/policy), they’ll often say it’s hardest at specific times during the day (their normal procedures). Smokers take breaks together, have lunch together and have mini-processes in place to support their habit: purchasing cigarettes, stocking up to make sure they have enough with them for the day, bringing the right kind of outerwear to smoke outdoors and so on. Not only do they have to overcome the physical addiction, they also have to change their processes and possibly even face resistance from friends.

You have a series of mini-procedures you repeat on a regular basis. You may have a certain way of preparing your breakfast, getting ready for work, doing various tasks at work, doing the laundry, or relaxing in the evening.

Once you’ve fully adopted a procedure, you tend to go into “auto” mode. The good thing about this is that it allows you to effectively use your time. When you’re in “auto” mode, you can multitask by thinking or doing other things at the same time. It’s the same concept that people use to drive while talking on the phone or work while watching TV.

The not-so-good part about going into “auto” mode is that you can fall into repeating a procedure day after day even if it no longer serves you well. You start to do things automatically without considering whether or not you should continue doing the same things over and over again week after week.

If you’re happy with your life just as it is, keep doing what you’re doing. Chances are you’ll get the same results until circumstances change, and eventually they will. Just as there are no bad habits, there are no bad policies or procedures. They’re all effective in producing similar results as long as you’re somewhat consistent with them.

There’s No Such Thing as Bad Habits

Assuming you aren’t living in a constant state of bliss, you may want to make a conscious effort at evaluating some of the policies and procedures you’ve accumulated over your lifetime. Here are a few suggestions you may want to consider:

  • adjust your sleep time in order to have uninterrupted time to work on a goal
  • brainstorm ways to cut out time-consuming activities in your life such as social media or TV
  • upgrade and learn to use new tools that allow you to accomplish your work quicker and easier
  • schedule time in your days and weeks to complete your most important tasks
  • downsize your home to simplify your life
  • add more physical activities into your daily routine

Once you have this new awareness, you’re better positioned to evaluate which of your policies or procedures you want to modify. When is a good time to begin making these adjustments? The best time is now!

How to Get Happy Now Via Habits, Goals, and Resolutions

By now your inner voice is probably speaking to you . . . telling you what you need to change. What personal policy do you need to change? What procedure needs some editing? This might be the natural remedy you’ve been searching for. When you need some strength to work through adjustments, focus on the benefits you’ll gain after you make the change. Once you make a change, please come back and share your story.

If you’re not ready to edit your own life yet, begin by helping others who are eager to change.

change.org

How to get happy now via habits, goals and resolutions

By | habits, holidays, IMPROVE DAILY | 3 Comments

What are you looking forward to most in the upcoming weeks (or months)? Do you have any major goals you’re working toward? Whether I’m talking with an old friend or getting to know someone new, I like to ask these kinds of questions. It’s a good way to get to know people better.

happy here and nowThe way they answer is a gauge of their current state of happiness. Some people light up and describe in vivid detail the vision they’re executing. Others hunch forward and tell stories about of how and why their happiness has been put on hold indefinitely, often because of the noble sacrifices they’re making for others.

When is the best time to do something that makes you happy? The best answer is “now,” and “today,” or “ASAP.” Now is the only time you have and this is true every single day. Your life is happening now right in front of your eyes. Look around. It’s passing by even when you aren’t paying attention.

How about now? Many people miss the power of the present moment because they’re too busy lamenting over the past or projecting into the future. The more you can discipline your mind to stay in the present, to take actions now to design the life you want, the more likely you are to smile more and complain less.

You may admire others who have more money than you, travel more than you do, have better jobs, more fame, or bigger or better whatever. You may think you want what they have, but you really don’t know until you take the opportunity to experience it personally. You don’t know how well it will fit until you try it on or walk in their footsteps. If you did, it might surprise you.

goals list cartoon

Lots of people take time to check in with Facebook, TripAdvisor, Foursquare or Yelp, but forget to check in with themselves. When you feel your mood swinging up or down, make a conscious note of the trigger. Self Check-In. This is a good time to take a moment to reflect on what habits, goals or resolutions you need to make in order to create more emotional up-times in your life. You know you’re getting closer to happiness when you no longer notice the small things that are less relevant because you’re too busy doing what you love to do.

Choose a day of the week to note what habits you need to focus on in the upcoming week. If you have time to slow down and reflect on Sundays, for example, you can reflect back on what went well the prior week and what you want to do different in the upcoming week. Are there new habits you need to put into practice?

Meditation: The Answer to All Your Problems

It can take about 21 days to acquire a new daily habit, so don’t give up if you miss a day. Just pick up where you left off on the next day. Over time your new habit becomes so engrained in your subconscious that you begin to do it automatically. And eventually if you don’t do it, you miss the benefit it provides.

Reflect on your smaller short-term goals each month. Are you doing what you need to do on a daily basis? The first day of the month is a good time to begin tracking your progress throughout the month. If it’s the 10th day of the month, then you know you’re about 33% there.

You can also use your birthday as a milestone instead of going with the first of the month. It feels a bit more personal, even though it can take a little longer to calculate progress. If your birthday falls is on the 29th, 30th, or 31st, you may need to use the last day of the month as the fall-back date for the months that don’t include your number.

What do you think you need to do to be happier? Try a 30 day challenge. Check out this clip by Google Webspam team member, Matt Cutts . . .

Some people like to set New Year’s Resolutions. But you shouldn’t wait for the New Year to come around to kickoff a big goal unless you’ve been preparing yourself for it throughout the prior year. Most people don’t keep their New Year’s Resolutions because they aren’t in the habit of setting small goals all year long. They don’t have the habit of making and keeping promises they make to themselves. If you don’t set and accomplish small goals throughout the year, you’re not likely to accomplish big goals that you blurt out once a year.

goals high-definition daydreams

The most common type of New Year’s Resolution in the US relates to losing weight, exercising more or getting healthier one way or another. Most people have a general idea of what they need to do to be happier, but don’t have the mental will-power to do the day-to-day mundane things that ultimately lead to big results over time. Happiness is as much a journey as it is a destination.

One of the biggest problems with waiting until New Year’s Day to make a resolution is that it seems logical to set big goals knowing that you have the whole year to get it done. The year begins with a few procrastination jokes about why you can’t start yet. Your self-talk can go something like this, “I don’t have to do anything for the first month (or quarter) because there’s still plenty of year remaining.”

By the time the second and third quarter of the year roll around, the self-talk, however subtle, can turn into a self-defeating blame-game, “I can’t do this because of this or that family member,” or “I don’t have enough money,” or ” I’m too young or too old.” If you aren’t getting it done, you’ll find an excuse. This leads to feelings of unworthiness. Psychology Today

Are you happy?

People who keep their New Year’s Resolutions tend to set smaller goals year-round and, more importantly, they keep them. Their smaller goals support their bigger vision. They write down their goals and schedule the daily and weekly activities that direct them toward their ultimate vision.

Every day is the beginning of a new year. Today is the first day of the upcoming 365 days. Consider birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. They can fall on any day of the year. When that day comes around the following year, it’s the beginning of a new year relative to that date. Every day is a good day to make adjustments to your habits and routines in order to create the relationships and environment that bring out the best in you. If something doesn’t go the way you want it to today, start over again as soon as the sun rises.

How to attain authentic happiness in 7 emails

It’s natural to want to move forward and experience life in a fuller way, whatever that means for you. It’s human nature to want expand your space, your influence, your desires and even your things. You can try to do this vicariously through TV, movies and even social media, but if you really want to make the most of your reality, you’ll reach your goals much quicker by spending less time wallowing in passive entertainment and more time taking action to help them to manifest in your life.

There’s No Such Thing As Bad Habits

If your current habits aren’t getting you where you want to go, start making changes today. Here are several things to consider as you make adjustments to your habits, goals and resolutions:

  • Connect with others who share your driving interests. Technology has made it easy to find people who share your passion. Search for clubs or MeetUps in your area so you can build friendships with like-minded friends.
  • Clarify your next steps. Not knowing what to do next is like a having a clogged drain in your brain. You feel stuck, but can’t seem to get past it. When this happens, you may need to get advice from a mentor or someone who has already done what you want to do. I use Todoist to track my next actions and daily tasks.
  • Decide what you need to subtract from your life. People often set goals that are too time-consuming or disruptive to their current lives without deciding what they need subtract. The hours of your days are already full, so you’ve got to let go of less important activities in exchange for the new. Subtraction, in itself, can often relieve you of financial and mental stress which may result in greater happiness.
  • Negotiate small ongoing changes with your spouse or loved ones. As you make changes to your life, you’ll often face resistance from those around you who don’t understand what’s going on. If you’re persistent about making adjustments on a regular basis, then people have time to adjust their own habits and attitudes as they see your progress.

Happiness is not accomplished by amassing a large number of things. If you’re passionate about gardening or animals, you may want to let go of some of the things you have in order to acquire some land. If you want to go off the grid, you may need to invest in a new home or a renovation to make this dream a reality. The same holds true of horseback riding, biking, or any other passion you have.

Let go of unnecessary possessions and self-defeating habits one by one in order to make more room for happiness. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Do it now.

Sick and tired of being held back by your fears? CLICK ON IMAGE to gain the mental power you need to achieve your goals. You can start living the life you've always wanted.

Sick and tired of being unhappy? CLICK ON IMAGE to learn how you can gain the mental power you need to be happy. You can start living the life you’ve always wanted.


 

 

 

 

There’s no such thing as bad habits

By | eating, habits | 6 Comments

Sarah Palin’s big gulp bad habit

You don’t have any bad habits. Think about it. You’re good at all of them. FJRC 

But you probably have some habits that you’d like to reinforce and others you’d like to escape. Wouldn’t it be nice of you could ward off some of your stress and pain by adjusting some of your habits? You’ll be happy to know that there is a natural remedy with positive side effects. The treatment involves two simple steps.

Step 1: Become a poet.

Make up affirmations that can help you maintain habits you want. Affirmations are easiest to remember when they’re short phrases that rhyme. Here are a few examples to consider.

I need an hour to shower. For some men, marriage is a three ring circus: engagement ring, wedding ring and suffering. CJ. Women often underestimate how much time it takes to get ready. They’ll tell their husbands 10 times that they’ll be ready in about 5 minutes.

If you’re always rushing around at the last minute or showing up late, then you may want to create some kind of affirmation so that you can avoid this extra stress in your life. If your husband says he wants to leave the house by 6 pm to go out for dinner, for example, this affirmation will remind you that you need to be stepping in the shower by 5 pm.

Have a tangerine instead of caffeine. How do you know if you’re addicted to coffee?

  • You’ll drive miles out of your way to get your fix.
  • You’re disappointed when you accept an offer for a brew, but get a beer.
  • You sleep with your eyes open.
  • You have a kid named Joe. Funny2.

I had most of these symptoms for years, but I finally got over my coffee addiction last year.

My husband and I moved to China where it’s easy to find tea, but difficult to find coffee. I remember a day when we went to China Folk Culture Village. Instead of enjoying the park and the shows, I became increasingly agitated because I couldn’t get coffee. My afternoon irritation turned into a throbbing headache by the end of the day. That’s when I decided I’d better switch to tea if I wanted to survive in China. Not only did I make the switch to a healthier choice, tea, I also discovered the benefits of starting the day with lemon water and fresh citrus instead of caffeine. Health Ambition

I do not wine or dine after nine. When I eat or drink late in the evening, I always regret it. I don’t sleep well and I end up feeling sluggish the next morning. If you have an affirmation like this, you might be thinking, it doesn’t apply when you’re at a party, right?

Yes, it especially applies when you’re out late at night with friends or family! You know why married women are heavier than single women? In the evening single women check the fridge and decide to go to bed. Married women check the bed and decide to go to the fridge. RD

It’s my choice to feel happy or crappy. Although it’s possible to feel more than one emotion at a time, you usually have one that’s dominating. As soon as you recognize that you’re feeling crappy for whatever reason, immediately begin to think about something that will help you shift to positive thoughts.

“Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.” Albert Schweitzer

Turn off the light before midnight. If you’re staring at electronic devices until late in the evening, it will have a negative affect on your sleep. Your body needs darkness to produce melatonin which helps you sleep. Bright screens do the opposite.

The day is officially over at midnight, so unless you work the night shift, make sure you’re in bed well before midnight. But what if you just traveled through a few time zones? Then it’s even more important. You’re better off getting in bed before midnight to help you body adjust to local time. Good sleep isn’t a waste of time. It builds your immune system. It’s a necessary part of a long and healthy life. Sleep is the best of both worlds. You get to be alive and unconscious. JOL

Step 2: Train your brain the way you train a dog.

Steven Covey wrote about The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. You know the the habits: be proactive, begin with the end in mind and so on. But there’s one habit he forgot to mention: treat yourself like a dog.

Remember Pavlov’s dogs? Ivan Pavlov won a Nobel Prize in 1904 for his research with dogs. He showed he could train them to salivate by giving them some type of stimulus before they got fed. Whether he rang a bell or gave the dogs an electric shock, they quickly became conditioned to associate the stimulus with the food and they would drool even when the food didn’t follow.

People are like dogs. And advertising agencies know how to take advantage of this. They show you pictures of beautiful people having fun as they drink addictive high-fructose caffeinated soda, or sport overpriced designer clothes made in factories where employees are underpaid. You want to be a beautiful person having fun so you pull out your wallet for the soda and expensive clothes. But deep down you know you’re being duped.

My friend, Thomas Caddy, incorporates hypnosis into training programs he conducts through his company National Marketing Associates. Several years ago I took one of his classes and to this day I remember one of the great lessons he taught me.

He told me to imagine a habit I wanted to eliminate. Then he told me to picture something I feared or found completely repulsive and disgusting. He told me to incorporate all my senses. What did I smell, hear, see, taste and touch? In his captivating calm voice, he weaved connections between the two just like Pavlov did with the bells and the dog food. He taught me the tremendous tranquilizing power of association, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative.

Now when I consider of ordering a cup of coffee, I remember that throbbing headache I had in China and it’s easy to resist. Now that I’m decaffeinated I sleep better and I have more energy.

When I think about getting ready to go out with my husband, I think about how distressed I feel when I see him pacing around asking me if I’m ready to leave. Well, in that case, I assure him that I’ll be ready in five minutes.

Some people are lively, friendly and always on time. Some aren’t. Keep your habits in check. Some of them may become addictions. Some can destroy you, while others foster health and prosperity.

Do you have a habit you want to break? One you want to adopt? Or one you want to expand? Habit Factor

Not long ago, I told one of my friends about this technique. She said that everyone in her family got involved. Her six year old son came up with one for his little sister, “you’re a good tot when you poo in the pot.” And one for his dad, “we give a hoot when you toot in the car.” But she said that she and her husband were still trying to work out ones they could agree on. She didn’t like the first one her husband came up with, “mom should mop instead of shop.” And her husband didn’t like the first one she came up with on a Saturday afternoon, “do a chore instead of lay on the couch and snore.”

Be persistent. It may take several weeks or even months for you to change a habit. But you can make adjustments and continuously improve your life little by little each day, as long as you remember these two simple steps. Become a poet, and train your brain the way you train a dog.

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