THAT OLD BUGABOO, PROCRASTINATION

 

 

 

 

Who has never procrastinated? It’s not always a bad thing, but most often, it is. Here are some ideas on how to cope:

PROCRASTINATION CAUSES AND TIPS FOR OVERCOMING:

  • Overwhelm (break the task down into small parts)
  • Task is unpleasant (hold your nose and get it done—probably best to tackle the whole thing at one time, if you can)
  • Space is too disorganized (take 15 minutes a day to deal with it)
  • Perfectionism (learn to tell yourself “good enough” when something is good enough. Being perfect is impossible)
  • Difficulty making decisions (not making a decision is a decision to keep the status quo. Is that what you really want?)

HABITS TO OVERCOME PROCRASTINATION:

  • Do your most important task first every day when your resistance is lowest. Later, it has built up because you keep thinking about it and putting it off.
  • Check in with a friend on progress (perhaps you both have a similar problem; discuss what you’ve accomplished or not)

MAKE A PLAN:

  • Use the five-minute rule. Tell yourself you’ll only work for five minutes on whatever-it-is. You can do five minutes! Usually that will be enough to make you continue
  • Schedule your day, daily
  • Try to stick to your plan as much as possible, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get to everything every day
  • If you work at home, tell your family what your plan is and ask them to help you make it work
  • Learn how to get rid of distractions (that would be another post, but examples are to turn off electronic devices, close your browser, and shut the door to your office, if you have one

Here’s an example of my own plan:

DAY OF WEEK TIME OF DAY ACTIION AMOUNT OF TIME
Monday 8:45 Exercise 10 min.
9 am Current writing project 1 hour
10:30 Exercise 10 min
1:30 Marketing 1 hour
300 Exercise 10 min.
3:15 Housework 30 min
4:00 Marketing/social media 1 hour
7:00 Short story brainstorm 1 hour
8:30 Marketing 1 hour
Tuesday 8:45 Exercise 10 min.
9 am Current writing project 1 hour
10:30 Exercise 10 min
1:30 Marketing 1 hour
3:00 Exercise 10 min.
3:15 Housework 30 min
4:00 Marketing/social media 1 hour
7:00 Short story brainstorm 1 hour
8:30 Marketing 1 hour
Wednesday 8:45 Exercise 10 min.
9 am Current writing project 1 hour
10:30 Exercise 10 min.
1:30 Marketing 1 hour

Sorry about the wonky chart formatting. Can’t get rid of it, so it’s the best I can do. I think it’s good enough!
For more in-depth ideas, check out Dr. Patrick Keelan

Use action plans to achieve your resolutions in the New Year…and at any other time

And there’s Lifehack:

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/29-ways-to-beat-procrastination-once-and-for-all.html

Procrastination is a problem for most of us at one time or another. Learn the reasons for yours and how best to deal with it. Good luck!

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SETTING UP YOUR WINDOWS DESKTOP

Screen shot of my desktop will not load into this post. Tried about a dozen times; no go. Anyway:

Did you know you can:

Quickly change the size of your icons?
•    Right click on an empty space on the Windows 10 desktop.
•    Select “View.”
•    Choose your size preference.
Place shortcut icons for documents, spreadsheets, and other files you’ve created onto your desktop?
•    Click Start or go to File Manager.
•    Choose Documents.
•    Browse for the document or file you want to make a desktop shortcut.
•    Right-click the name of the document, point to Send To, then click Desktop (Create shortcut).
•    A shortcut for that document or file will then appear on your desktop.
You can put things in your Start Menu so that some programs will be quickly ready to go when you choose their icons?
•    Go to your start menu.
•    Pick anything there you want to be able to get quickly from your desktop.
•    Choose pin to start menu. (I admit, this doesn’t always work for me, and I have no idea why. I think it mainly happens with programs that are not Windows programs.)
Do you know what the Task Manager can do for you and how to locate it?
•    Right click on your icon toolbar.
•    Choose Task Manager.
•    Highlight a program you want to stop running because it hung up.
•    Click on End Task.
Do you know how to uninstall programs you don’t use, especially those that do something annoying such as using pop-ups to tell you something “needed” to update them or whatever?
•    Go to your Start menu.
•    Type in Uninstall in the search bar.
•    Pick the program you want to use. (I put an icon for this function up on my desktop so I don’t have to go through all this each time)
•    Highlight the program you want to uninstall and allow the proram to do so.

Do you know that “right clicking” on things (icons, toolbars, the desktop itself) brings up menus that allow you to pick or change things so they’ll work better for you?

There are so many options, I suggest your try this yourself, especially when you want to do something in particular, but are not sure how to make it happen.

I hope this is helpful!

 

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CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY OR DO—YOU MAY END UP IN MY NEXT NOVEL

I never thought I used actual people in my short stories and novels, but a few readers claim to “recognize” someone. That always surprises me.

Then I decided to use one woman’s particular circumstances and ended up using some of her personality in the character in my novel, A Broken Life, and even her dog. She loved it. Thank goodness.

A friend gave me a tee shirt that said, “I’m A Writer. Everything you Say or Do may end up in my Novel.” Next thing I knew, people were staring at my chest, then smiling.

Anyway, finally, a stranger said, “So, I’m going to be in your next novel?”

“Yes,” I replied. “Thank you very much.”

She laughed. As she walked away, I asked, “What’s your name?”

She laughed harder. Thank goodness.

https://www.zazzle.com im_a_writer_anything_you_say_or_do_maybe_used_in_a_t_shirt-235114230802496612

This led me to a hunt for other tee shirts for writers. They’re everywhere! Amazon. Café Press. Zazzle.

“I’m a writer. What’s your superpower?

“Save a writer. Buy a book.”

“I’m a writer. (No, really.)”

“Writer’s block. When your imaginary friends won’t talk to you.”

Anyway, putting real people you know in a novel can be explosive. Pat Conway said: “When The Great Santini came out, the book roared through my family like a nuclear device. My father hated it; my grandparents hated it; my aunts and uncles hated it; my cousins who adore my father thought I was a psychopath for writing it; and rumor has it that my mother gave it to the judge in her divorce case and said, “It’s all there. Everything you need to know.”

But what Anne Lamont said should probably be on a tee shirt you wear right after a new novel or short story comes out using real people as templates: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

So there.

What I really want is the mug that says, “Go away. I’m reading.”

https://www.zazzle.com/go_away_im_reading_coffee_mug-168942890660892017

 

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MY JUNE, 2017 PICK FOR BEST PRODUCT

I want to recommend a free program called “Pocket.” Because it’s one of my favorites, ever.

https://getpocket.com/about

Why I love it:

You see something on-line you want to read later, and Pocket grabs it for you so you can read it anywhere: on your phone, tablet, PC, laptop. I tried to capture their icon, but couldn’t find a way to do it. It’s a white arrow on a red shield. All you have to do is click on that shield on your brower’s toolbar and the article you want to read later is saved.

  • It does NOT include all the sidebars, ads, and other extraneous stuff, just the article.
  • If you want to see the whole article, it puts the link up in the right-hand corner when you open the article. That way you can go and share it on places like Facebook. And read comments, because it strips them, too.
  • You can change some settings. My favorite is one that has a black background with a white font. This cuts way down on screen glare!
  • You can change the font size.
  • It has a long list of “recommended” articles—probably those that get the most clicks.
  • You can sit in a more comfortable chair to read longer pieces.
  • You can delete them, make them a favorite. or archive them.

My only problem with it is that I save way too many article to read later, and that cuts into my novel reading. But I am able to keep up with the news, save how-to-write-better posts, and find quirky things to share on Facebook and Twitter.

https://getpocket.com/about

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LUCKY 7 QUICK CLEANING TIPS

1) QUICK DUSTING:

Use your hairdryer to “dust” lampshades and curtains.

2) CLOSETS:

Add hooks on the backs of closet and maybe even bedroom doors to hang up various items. For example, the one on the back of your bedroom door could hold your robe, either just overnight or all the time. You can hang scarves, handbags, and of course clothes, on the other hooks in closets. Or maybe an outfit you wear for certain occasions, such as gardening, cleaning house, or loungewear.

3) TILE FLOORS:

Use toothpaste to remove black scuffs.

4) DISPOSAL:

Run used coffee grounds through the disposal to eliminate odors.

5) COOKING:

Use time while waiting for the water to boil or something to cook a while before it needs stirring or other attention, to clean up—load the dishwasher, wipe counters, empty the trash, scrub the sink, straighten out items in a drawer, etc.

6) SHOWER AND TUB:

Use a squeegee to wipe down the glass and tile after every use. Train the rest of the family to do the same. Only takes a minute. Get one you can hang with a short handle, and have a dedicated hook for it.

7) REMOVE ONION, GARIC, FISH ODERS FROM YOUR HANDS:

If you have a stainless-steel sink, rub your hands over it when finished chopping onions or garlic, or handling fish. If you do not have a stainless-steel sink, there are “stainless steel chef soaps.” To use, handle it just as you would a regular bar of soap to wash your hands. Available at Amazon, of course.

http://amzn.to/2qxCO2g

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ORGANIZING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS

Starting right now, for every image you plan to keep, if it’s digital, name it with the date and the people and/or places in it and batch load them to DropBox, to another on-line back-up storage place, or to one of the sites listed below. If you have printed photos, put the names, place, and date on the back using a gel pen as soon as you have them in your hand. I can’t emphasize how important it is to put crucial information on each image or photo. I had to throw out some that dated back to the 1800s that my mother and aunt kept because I had no idea who the people were, so they were useless to me. The same will happen with digital ones if they are not correctly named.

Next, upload your photos to a place like:

  • FLICKR flickr.com Easy sharing from almost any mobile device
  • PHOTOBUCKET photobucket.com Scrapbook builder. Add music and slide shows
  • SNAPFISH snapfish.com Encourages you to order prints and personalized gifts. Has private “group rooms” for family and friends to see your photos and leave comments
  • SHUTTERFLY shutterfly.com You can upload photos and have them made into greeting cards or calendars. Sign up and get 50 4×6 free prints
  • SMUGMUG smugmug.com/ Yearly fee, seems reasonable for what they offer, which is a lot
  • GOOGLE PHOTOES google.com Automatically finds and stores all the photos on your PC and Android devices

I’ve mentioned just a few of the highlights from each site. Frankly, it makes me want to upload my photos to several different sites in get all the unique features. Uploading to any of these sites can act as your backup for photos, which is another reason to use more than one site, in case one goes out of business or suddenly fails for some reason.

Figure out how you want to store printed images. Scrapbook or boxes? You might want to have a system of boxes to temporally store them until you put them in a scrapbook. The boxes can be labeled, for example by person, place, or date in order to easily place them in the book later. You may also wish to get all your print photos digitized. I’ve noticed that the prices for doing this have come down a lot lately.

Ideally, and if I had to do it all over again, I would keep a diary (so easy to do now digitally) and put the pictures on the diary pages every day. Later this could be made into a bound book you can give to people in the photos and keep for yourself.

AFTER THE STORY IS RELEASED

In your notes file (I explain what I put in that file later), I recommend you immediately input these items for easy reference as soon as you can after release of your work (hint—copy this list directly into your notes file and fill in the needed info). (Another hint, put each item on a separate line so you can double or triple click to copy it when needed instead of using your mouse or touchpad to capture it):

First put in the final word count.

Kindle

  • Price
  • ASIN: number
  • Date published
  • URL, regular and one shortened

Paperback

  • Price
  • ISBN-13 number
  • ISBN-10 number
  • Date published
  • URL(s), regular and one shortened for each store

Hardcover

  • Price
  • ISBN-13 number
  • ISBN-10 number
  • Date published
  • URL(s), regular and one shortened for each store

Short Story

  • Name of the publication
  • Date published
  • URL, regular and one shortened
  • Amount earned

For All

  • Long description.
  • One paragraph description, no longer than 1,000 words.
  • Another 500-word description.
  • A short, snappy “elevator pitch” you can use for ads and brochures. Maybe make up more than one.

When all this is in one place and you ask for a review, do an ad, have a sale or anything that needs quick access to these items, you’ll always know where they are. You can easily copy and paste where needed.

After you do all this, be sure to update the information on your website about your new publication and announce it to all your social media.

I use a “notes” document for quick reference while writing each story or novel. It contains:

  • At the top, space to put in ideas I have as I go and places I want to make changes later.
  • For both short stories and novels, a character name chart with first and last names in different columns so I can sort by first letter to be sure I’m not using first letters too often, their descriptions, and other important info about them. I fill this chart in as I go.
  • A timeline chart for novels with: Chapter #, Day of week, Time of day, Location, and chapter Summery. I fill these columns in when I finish each chapter. This can also be used for longer short stories, especially if the timeline is important.
  • Maps and other visual aids.
  • Research (I don’t do a whole lot—if I did more, this would be in a separate file with document names for each category).

Doing all of this as you go will save you time in the long run. And the file will be all set up for you to add the details of the story’s publication.

 

 

 

THE WRATH OF SHIVA By Susan Oleksiw REVIEW

THE WRATH OF SHIVA

By Susan Oleksiw

A fascinating read

First you have an amazingly described southern Indian setting,. Then you have fascinating characters from another culture, so well-drawn you feel they are real. And of course you have twisty plot to keep you turning those pages.

There’s the missing cousin. The servant who goes into trances. The money lender. And the demanding tour guide, among others. But best of all are the protagonist, Anita Ray, and her Auntie Meena.

This is the third novel I’ve read by Susan Olesksiw, and they have all been excellent. Highly recommended.

HOW WRITERS CAN USE THE OODA LOOP DURING ACTION SCENES

The OODA Loop is a “decision cycle” for observing, orienting, deciding, and acting, especially good in a potentially dangerous situation. It was developed by military strategist and United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd.

I learned about this because a neighbor described an encounter in a parking lot with someone who wanted to scam her into having him “fix” her tire. When she realized there wasn’t a think wrong with her tire, she brushed him off and went on her way. Then on the NextDoor forum for our neighborhood, she tried to describe the man and his vehicle. She had really not paid much attention to how he or his car looked, so couldn’t give much information. Someone else pointed out that she should Google “OODA Loop” and learn the process.

Knowing that I’m not very good at observing things either, I decided to look it up. I know I would have had the same problem with description as the other woman did.

And a big bonus for me is that it shows how my main character in a story can overcome the villain in a way I think the reader will buy into.

Not only did this seem like a good idea when not particularly threatened, especially if you’re a writer, it was an even better one when I looked further into it for when we are threatened. My search’s first page never mentioned women at all—just men, for example in combat and business (is there a difference?). And I thought women should be using it, too, for their own safety.

There is, of course, much more to it than simply telling yourself to observe, orient, decide and act.

You are getting a bead on your opponent’s intensions while masking your own intentions, which should be unpredictable.

The steps:

  • Observe—get information to determine what is really going and what you can do about it
  • Orient—how is the other person acting and reacting? (Okay, it took me a while to figure this part out, but I finally got it. The word “orient” didn’t quite do it for me.)
  • Decide–decide what to do about it
  • Act—unpredictably and faster than the “opponent” is best

Keep in mind that if you get out of a bad situation, you will probably want to tell other people about it, including sometimes, authorities who can arrest the other person. So when observing, take in as many details as you can, using all your senses—sight, sound, smell, and taste or feeling (hope it doesn’t come to those last two!).

If you’re a writer, having your characters perform these steps can be helpful. You can just use them to show the character acting, or you can have the character actually thinking (not naming the steps, of course) in this particular manner. Remember the opponent will also be going through a similar process, but not being aware of these steps could be a disadvantage.

Change the situation faster than the opponent can comprehend. Create confusion, uncertainty, chaos and panic so the opponent will over- or under-react.

Don’t you love finding something unexpected you can use to perhaps write better? I hope this helps us all.

 

 

FOUR QUICK TIME-SAVING TIPS YOU MAY NEVER HAVE CONSIDERED BEFORE
  1. Have only as many credit cards you need—one personal, one business. Think of all the time you’ll save when not dealing with more. The only exception would be for a store card or two where you visit at least once a month and get special offers and discounts for using that card.
  1. When preparing meals, do it near the sink to throw peelings into the disposal and put a trash can right next to you for other trash. If you can’t easily move your can, use a bowl to throw stuff in to be emptied later.
  1. Tickler file at home. If you don’t have much going on every month, just make a file folder for each month. Have a calendar in there that shows birthdays and other days you want to send out cards. Put the cards in that folder when you buy them. Stash tickets, invitations, letters you need to answer and anything else that you want to do in a particular month. I do that and keep a Google calendar on my computer for a quick glance to see what’s coming up, like doctor appointments. Using both the file and the calendar, I am usually on top of everything.
  1. Have a box (about shoe-box size) next to where you store your purses. When you want to change bags, put everything into the box and sort through it to arrange the new purse.