How? Pretend you earn $100 a hour. You would need to work really hard and smart to earn that much an hour, right? This can work for you in two different ways.

One, you want to prove to yourself you’re worth $100/hour.

Two, you won’t waste your time wasting it, because if you do, you don’t get that $100 a hour.

So, the essential stuff gets done, the stuff you really, really want to do. And the non-essential stuff gets short shift.

Could this become a self-fulfilling prophesy? Let’s give it a whirl for six months and see what happens. Report back here. LOL

Good luck!


Two great ways to increase your productivity. One is to arrange your work space so that work flows around you, if not in a loop, at least in a semi-circle. This works for desks, kitchens, organizing a bathroom and for whole rooms, especially offices.

We’ll use an office as an example since so many of us have one, or at least a workspace that with good organization can help you speed your way through your tasks. A good arrangement for an office is to have anything incoming near the door, preferably into your inbox. There should be an empty space by your inbox for you to take something out of the box and place it on your work surface. Then, in a line, have your set-up to deal with paper. If it needs to be filed, either file it right away, or place it in a folder to be filed later. If it needs to be answered, like a letter, either answer it right away, or put in in another file folder. If it’s a bill, either pay it right away, or put it in a place you look at often. A red folder would work for this really well. If you want to read it later, have a box to put reading material into. A standing file holder on your desk will help you sort your inbox, then handle like tasks all at one time. Getting up to file a stack of papers, for example, or getting out the checkbook, envelopes and stamps for several bills can be more efficient than doing one at a time in a mixture.

Use this line-up for your bathroom. When you get up in the morning do you have to open five drawers and two cabinets to get everything out you need to deal with your face and hair? Put everything in a box and just pull it out every morning, then put it away. Simple. And easier to keep that one box clean inside than a bunch of drawers and cabinets. In your kitchen, put baking supplies and ingredients together, pots and pans near the stove, dishes close to the table where you eat, and so on. Remember the trick of creating a loop and see if it will help you arrange your workflow.

The second way to get loopy is to arrange your actual work into a mental loop. Get used to one thing following another. If you’re a writer, you write, then edit, then publish, then market. If you have written and published more than one book and plan to do more, it will help to get into a loop every day of doing each of those things. You might be writing a new book, editing an old one, getting yet another one ready to publish, including submitting, (either by yourself or with your publisher) and need to market everything you have going. So, when you’re fresh, you write new material. When you finish with that you always either edit, publish or market something else. Then pick the next thing and the next thing.

Most jobs can be broken down like this. Plan your days around the most important thing you have to do and work in the others in a special order that will work for you, mentally and physically. Do the hardest things when you are at your peak, and the easiest things when your energy lags.

Getting loopy gives your work and your day a sort of rhythm that eases stress (deciding what to do all the time and hunting for stuff or jumping from one thing to another is stressful) and helps you accomplish more.


If you write 1,000 words a day it can equal a lot a year. Here’s how:


If you write 1,000 words a day for six days a week for one year, you will have 313,000 words written by the end of the year.  Divide by four, and you will have four 78,250-word books in rough draft.

Your novel or nonfiction book may need to be a few thousand words more than that, but you can, no doubt, squeeze those words in before the end of the year.

Write a short story every month. = 12/year by writing 1,000/words or less one day a week.

Write an article every month. = 12/year when you have some extra time

At the end of one year you could have three novels, one non-fiction book, twelve short stories and twelve articles written.  This means that you have to do only two things:  Write 1,000 words a day, and edit 1,000 words a day, Monday through Friday, plus write and edit 1,000 words for your short story quota (could do 500 words in one story, and 500 in another, for example) every Saturday, and squeeze in that article when the mood strikes, but aim for one a month.



If you write 1,000 words/day, five days a week, you will have 261,000 words at the end of one year.  Divide by four, and you have exactly enough for four 65,250-word books.  Make one or two a bit shorter, and you can squeeze in a two-week vacation.

If you get most everything you write published, each will help sell the others.  Someone may read your nonfiction book and find out you wrote a mystery, so will try that out, or vice versa.  Someone may read a couple of your short stories or articles, see your bio, and decide to try one or more of your books.

The trickiest part is to keep up the pace and to make sure that if you edit out a whole chuck of one of your pieces that you also write enough words in that day to make up the deleted words.

Make up a chart for tracking how much you actually accomplish every day in a spreadsheet, and you will be amazed at how much you have done in just half a year.

Excuse me while I work on my second 500 words for the day. (But no, although I wish I could meet this goal, I haven’t yet. But there’s still time.)




Everyone knows it’s a great idea to keep a to do list. And many think that’s it. You just list everything you have to, need to, want to do, and cross off each item as you accomplish it.

And basically, that’s true. So, if you’re doing this and still not getting things done, what’s wrong?

There are a few hints about using a list you should know.

First, only use one list and one system. Do not have pieces of your list scattered all over on notepads, sticky notes, napkins and on the back of other people’s business cards. Carry a notebook with you and “capture” stray thoughts about what you want to add to your list. Then add those items to the list when you next look at it. You have to have everything listed so you can prioritize what needs to be done.

Next, it doesn’t have to be an actual list. One nifty way to handle your to-dos is to use index cards. They are handy because they can fit into a small space like pocket or purse, and they are more durable than paper. I have just recently come to this system because I have many recurring to-dos each day.

  1. I have a card all made up of routine tasks for each day of the week.
  2. And I have two other cards made up for things I want to do every day. One for work (writing) and one for household.
  3. Then I have a card where I list occasional things, like getting the tax stuff ready for the tax man, making a dental appointment, fun things like that. Those things I cross off as I do them. When the card is too full to add anything more, I transfer the undone things to another card and keep going.

All the other cards have the things I need to do daily in a semblance of the order I hope to do them in. So, I don’t cross off anything. I just look at them every so often to see how I’m doing.

If your routine isn’t so structured, then having a running to do list is probably the way to go. Just remember to keep it all on one list and look at it often during the day.

Using a to do list is the most basic and probably the most powerful thing, along with a calendar, you can use to organize your life. Do you have a to do list?


Planning and preparation are essential for getting things done, especially those things you really want to do.

Time management experts seem to be in two camps about when to do what.

One camp says to start your week by:

1.    Cleaning off your desk
2.    Clearing out your emails
3.    Checking your calendar/planner to see what’s coming up
4.    Review what you did last week to be sure something urgent doesn’t need to be done first
5.    Write out your to-do list for the day
6.    Prepare what you need to accomplish the tasks on your list (gather equipment, files, phone numbers, for example)
7.    Sketch out to-dos for the whole week.
8.    Do something hard as soon as you can after all this other stuff is done. This is now called eating the frog. If you get the worst, most unpleasant or most important task done every morning, it will set you up to have a great day. Read more about eating the frog in Brian Tracy’s book:

(Click on image to go to for more info.)

The other camp says to do most the above at the end of your week.

It wouldn’t hurt to do it both times. Especially if:

1.    Things pile up on or in your workspace on your days off
2.    Emails gather like dust bunnies on your days off
3.    Your memory isn’t what it used to be, so you need to check your calendar/planner again.
4.    You can probably skip the review either at the end of the week or the beginning of the week.
5.    To-do list could be done either day—your pick
6.    Same with preparation
7.    When you arrive at the beginning of your week and have your to-do list all ready, you can begin quicker, fresher
8.    Don’t leave anything hard, if you can help it, for the end of the week

One note about email. I do suggest checking it both end of work week and again at the beginning. Anything urgent should be handled right away no matter what day it is. And if you don’t check the beginning of every day, some of the work you planned to do may no longer be necessary. Definitely something to keep on top of.

This may seem a little overwhelming to do twice a week, but once you get into the habit of doing each thing, it won’t take long, and you’ll be glad you did.


I’ve talked about having a vision, if you’re a writer, for your career. I’ve talked about having a vision for your whole life in my organizing posts.

Because without a clear vision, your life and your career can become a scattered mess. One of the big lessons about meeting your goals is to learn how to say “no.”

When someone asks you to do something, or you yourself think you should do something to further your career or life goals, you need to make a decision about whether you should or should not do it.

Sometimes the best answer is “no.” All kinds of reasons for that. Perhaps if you do it, you won’t be able to do something else that you want to do or need to do is the biggest reason to say “no.” But there are other reasons. For example, you just don’t feel right saying “yes.” Or you know if you say “yes,” you will be stuck forevermore saying “yes” to the person who asked you. If it’s against your values, no question, you need to say “no” without hesitation.

no pase by jnegrete - icono de se�alizacion no pase detengase o alto

Sometimes the answer will be, “later” or “maybe later.” This is fine, but eventually you have to make a firm decision. I think women still have a bigger problem with saying “no” than men do. It’s a question of being assertive, of sometimes seeming to put yourself and your needs first. But if it has to do with your career and your happiness, why would anyone who loves or even likes you want you to take care of their needs ahead of your own?

Of course, all bets are off if the other person also puts your needs ahead of his about equally. Or if it’s a child who needs extra attention for some reason, someone who is ill, or an elderly adult.

So, it shouldn’t be an automatic yes or no. It should be thought out carefully. If you decide to say yes, then put your whole heart into it—do not begrudge the other person’s need and get sour about it. If you do, neither of you will be happy. If you do it wholeheartedly, both of you will be happy. But if you have been giving and giving to another who is hale and hearty, without that person giving back to you, it’s time to reevaluate your automatic “yes.”

Next week, When To Automatically Say “Yes!”


Once you wrap your head around the idea that time-management is really self-management, time management isn’t something outside of yourself, but an internal part of your very being.

If you procrastinate or waste time, you are not managing yourself and your life as well as you could be.

Instead of asking yourself what is often suggested by time management gurus: what’s the best use of my time right now, ask yourself: what’s the best thing I can do for myself right now?

This works together with thinking about your future self. If you do what’s in your self-interest for getting things done, your future self will thank you. Everything will fall into place. You will begin to automatically do the most important things when you are at your peak during the day or evening. And you will get the more mundane, easier-on-the-brain things done at other times. You will no longer procrastinate or waste time because you realize it’s not going to get you where you want to be.

Instead of thinking about the things you have to do as being “tasks” or even “chores,” think of them as being part of who you are and who you want to become.

To accomplish this, you need to plan your life so that it gives you joy, so that almost everything you do makes you happy to be doing it, and gives you a sense of satisfaction when you’re finished.  Sometimes this will require an attitude adjustment. Maybe scrubbing the bathroom isn’t your idea of something that will make you happy, but if you think about how it will help you live in a healthy environment and gets you moving around (especially is you have a sit-down job), you may find yourself tackling the chore with a little more appreciation for the benefits of doing it, or even happiness that it’s giving you a break from something else when you need one. Not to mention you will be happier when it’s all done.

Just one example of how you can manage yourself in a better, happier, more productive way. Go through all the tasks you have listed on your to-do list and find a way to translate them from chores to happy pieces that make up your life.

Call it Life Management.


Who knew? Who knew there was a month dedicated to time management? It makes sense to have it in the second month of the year because this is the time those wonderful resolutions begin to weaken.

How was your January? Did you make some plans on how to spend your time to reach your goals for the year?

Here’s a quick recap on how best to manage your time.

  • List your goals.
  • Order the goals in importance, giving them A, B, C, and D ratings.
  • Plan to do your most important goals early is the day unless you’re a night person. Otherwise, plan your evening hours.
  • If you complete your A goals, move to B, then C. Decide if you really, really need to do most of the C and D ones.
  • If you have a sit-down job, resolve to get out of the chair at least every hour and move around for about ten minutes. If you stand a lot, take some sitting breaks regularly during the day.
  • Keep track of your time. You need to know how long things take in order to do a good job of planning in the future.
  • At the end of the day, pat yourself on the back when you accomplish all your A goals, put your feet up and read a good book. Or watch TV if you absolutely have to. <grin>

And basically, that’s it. My job is now done. But most likely I’ll be back with more tips as the year goes by. You are warned.


It is suggested that when you own or are working for a company and in charge of a team, you clearly define (and write down) the company’s mission, vision, guiding principles, strategies, and destination points. Then you assure that all employees understand and want to nail these key areas.

As a writer, you are probably the main employee. Do you understand all these targets?

For example, your mission is to write, right? Are you? Are you doing enough? This is one of the biggest decisions you will make about your writing career.

What is your vision? Leaving yourself out of the equation, what are you hoping your readers get out of what you write? Inspiration, knowledge, entertainment or something else? Once you know exactly what you want to accomplish, your writing will be more focused, and probably better.

What are your guiding principles? I hope you have a core set of values and that you do not go against them in your writing.

Have you researched and decided on some strategies you believe will help you achieve your goals? Things like a certain amount of time or word count every day, a certain amount of editing every day, a certain amount of marketing, time set aside to plan, to check yourself for where you are right now and what you could do to improve that position. Do you have people who can help you–an editor, beta readers, a critique group, a cover designer and formatter if you publish your own work? Support from family, friends and other writers?

What are your destination points? How long do you expect it will take to write, edit and publish your next piece of work? Are you the type who has to work on only one piece at a time, or can you work on several at a time? If you don’t think you can work on more than one, have you tried it? How do you think you can you increase your productivity? Take a calendar and enter a note on the dates you want to have finished each project.

Finally, look at the big picture. Are you happy with your mission—do you love writing? Are you determined to keep your vision clear and your guiding principles pure? Are your strategies realistic for you? And have you clearly marked your destination points?

Clarity in all things is important, as is nailing everything down. With pen and paper in hand, list these objectives and make sure you are clear about each one. With them in mind, your productivity should increase along with the satisfaction of moving your career along.

Create like an artist; act like a businessperson. In today’s world, this is pretty much a requirement to get noticed by your target audience.

Good luck!




Think hard about these questions to make your life better.

What are your top priorities in life? I imagine they include self-care (meaning everything from grooming to spiritual matters),

family and friends, work, your personal environment (home and office, if working outside the home, even car), and leisure time (which may include volunteer work). Anything else?

How would you list them in order of importance?

How much time would you say you need every day to tend to each one?

Have you ever sat down and made a chart or a list of everything you want to do every day to meet your goals?

Are there enough hours in the day to meet them?

What can you cut back on to improve what needs improvement?

How can you get the most important items done every day? Do you need help? Are you asking too much of yourself? Have you shared you goals with your family and friends so they understand when you can’t help them with their own needs and wants all the time?

When you look back on your life, what will give you the most pleasure to remember? Don’t forget your future self when setting up your goals!

When something comes up during your day that is not part of your goals, how do you handle it? Do you toss away your goals because someone asks you to do something else? Do you get wrapped up in someone else’s drama? Do you become distracted by phone calls, emails, other social media?

Do you allow for interruptions? And do you schedule time to do the things you love to do?

Once you have answered all these questions and written down your major goals in life, you will be on your way to a better life for yourself and those around you. When you consciously set out to do things, they are more apt to get done.

And the satisfaction from that is worth all the planning. Your future self will thank you.