TIP #59: What are you going to start next month.

Tomorrow will be March 1st. We have already enjoy 59 days on this 2013. 59 opportunities to start something magical. So tomorrow is March 1st. What are you going to start doing? Read that book? Practice that language? Call Mom once a week? Wash the car once a month?
People wait for the first of January to begin things, the reality is that if you want you can use the first of every month to start something magical.
So, what are you going to start next month.

TIP #58: Learn your workflow. Don't self-sabotage it

If you had never spend time identifying your different workflows, there is a huge chance you may self-sabotage them. (if you have identify them, pay attention so you don’t do it)
Identify our workflows is hard, but important. A good workflow can help you accomplish so much, and when you are aware of it, you can even set measures to protect it.
I write every morning. I try to make that the first thing of the day. 4:30A.M. It took me a little bit to understand that if I leave not only the desk ready but a clear definition of what I am going to write that morning, what happen is I waste an incredible amount of time. I self-sabotage my workflow. I then get the great idea of go online, check stuff that I shouldn’t and more.
If instead everything is ready, I sit, and write. So I pay attention to those things and leave it ready. Pay attention to the Workflow so I can be more effective.

TIP #57: Do you know: What you want more of?

Do you want more money?, freedom?, time?, vacations?
Most people will answer yes to these, sound good to have more money, freedom, time and vacations. Are you sure? Do you really know what you want more of?
Most people want the image of something, they think more money, but don’t know for what or how much. Freedom, because they feel they don’t have enough, but they don’t know for what. They want more time, but will fill the one they are able to find with stuff they don’t care. They want to have more vacation, but don’t know what kind of vacation or where.
Honestly if you don’t know what you want, you will never get it. For example, imagine you want more Time. You work your calendar, your appointments and compromises and clear four hours every week. Victory! You are so happy, and what do you think will happen in a short period of time? You guess right, if will be full of new junk.
Now if instead you say, I want to found four hours a week to write. You do the same exercise, and work on your calendar and found those four hours. The difference is, if what you really want is to write, those four hours you will now protect them, and you will write.
The difference is not the four hours, is that in one case you knew exactly what you where looking for out of those hours. The same happen with Money, Freedom, and more… But until you know exactly what do you want more of and for what, you will never have it.

TIP #56: That Common Sense is uncommon

I spend a whole chapter on my book 25 Tips for Productivity explaining why, there is nothing more uncommon that the wrongly called: Common Sense.
We think on common sense things that we are familiar and used to and that seem so basic, the problem is that those things are based on our knowledge and experience and not in anything common. We expect that since our experience had show us how obvious that is, we think everyone have the same knowledge.
Be careful, avoid things that are common sense and never assume that because you think it is, that thing or action actually is. Always assume is not.
i.e. One of my favorite examples is the seatbelt on a plane. You get into a plane and before they indicate what you should do, you do it. They explain it on the hall and many get frustrated. It is obvious, it is common sense. In reality is not, it may be that you have the knowledge and experience, for some that’s a new experience.

TIP #55: WRITERS: You don't need Neil Gaiman's Gazebo

20130224-073042.jpgI want a gazebo like that. I would love to write on a place like that. Like and would love are interesting things, but dangerous when we confuse it with a need. You may like the Gazebo, you may love to have one like that but you don’t need one to write.
Writers, who are great procrastinators, (don’t ask how I know that) love to get excuses not to. We never have the perfect conditions and it is because the lack of those conditions that we don’t write.
The reality is that if you want to write, you will write. You don’t need Neil Gazebo to do it. You need to confront the fear that is producing the excuse to not write. Even if Neil himself come to your house and install his Gazebo there, you will not write.
Writing had nothing to do with Gazebos, or good coffee, or good software. Writing is about siting and have a conversation with your worst critic, yourself. Writing is about looking inside of your own soul, listen to the critic inside of you and suck anyway. I have never met a writer that sit and think the wonderful job they are doing. There is no space for that in your soul. (Don’t ask me why, but if you found the answer, please share it with me)
Regardless if you found the perfect software, the perfect coffee, the perfect paper with the perfect pen in the perfect gazebo, in order to write you need to look into your soul, listen to the critic inside of you and suck anyway.

TIP #54: Next time in…

This is another cool list, Next time in Chicago, Next time in Ikea, Next time in Indianapolis, Next time in Miami, Next time in Mexico City and more.
Some of this I don’t use in months or even years. My last trip to Mexico City was on 2008. The list have the restaurants I like, and people I care, and things that may be cool to bring as a present to people I know there. I even have a list of friends that live in Mexico City. I may or may not contact them, but in the next trip I can see the options, and decided.
As another example is our Next Time in Ikea list. We live four hours away from the closest Ikea. So when we see stuff that will be cool to check, we write it down. Next time we get there, we may or may not buy anything on that list, but the interesting thing is that most of the stuff on the list we already forgot that we add it to it.
i.e. I love go back to cities and eat on that incredible restaurant, I never remember names, but there are always on the Next time In… of the city I am visiting.

TIP #53: Create a list of Home Measures

I have learn that keeping a list of measures of your home. Furniture, Rooms, Windows and more.
This had take me years to do, it’s not that I went around the house making every measure, I had collect them over the years.
It is great when you see something that you think will fit, and be sure it will. Do you know of the table of your dining room is 50 inches or 62 inches?
Me, neither but if I open the list and check, I can confirm that the list said 60 inches.

TIP #52: Write down your excuses you are telling yourself?

Are you telling me to write the excuses am I telling myself? Why? Are you insane?
It may be, but no. Excuses are many times fears in disguise. At least many of my own are.
What happen when you begin writing them down is you begin notice the patterns and if you pay attention you will be able to noticed why you are telling you what, and if you are interested in do something about it.
So next time you tell yourself an excuse, stop and write it down. You don’t need to do anything else, the process of writing it down, one next to the other will trigger an interesting process. Be ready to listen to the truth behind the excuse, in many cases, the fear.
i.e. I told myself for years that I couldn’t write in Spanish. Honestly I was afraid of images that I allow people place in my mind as a kid regarding writing, and honestly took me a lot of effort to understood, identify the fear, and change the excuse to something good.

TIP #51: Writers: Learn to Type.

I have said that people in general need to learn to type. Everybody need to learn to type. For writers, learn to type is a most, it is the base of your business, you are in the business of writing, your job is not only create content but be effective doing it.
If you dream to write a novel of 65,000 words, and you type 20 words per minute, you will need almost fifty five hours typing (that’s for the first shitty first draft). Learn to type, let’s say 80 words per minute and you will only need less that fourteen. Yes, that’s forty hour less.
Buy a typing application. Spend fifteen to twenty minutes every weekday. Sooner you will be flying and smiling. If you use an iPad for example, learn to type on an external keyboard as well as the screen keyboard.
i.e. When people ask me how I am writing so much, the trick had nothing to do with time typing, I may type less than many. I just can do more words per minute than the average. This post has 200 words, and was typed in less than two minutes. (Corrections is another thing)

TIP #50: Do NOT finish that Book!

OK, I am an avid reader. I have said that I read more than 52 books per year. I also stop reading a lot of books. (no, they don’t count on the books read if I don’t finish them)
I am also a Writer. As a writer, I love that you grab my book and read it, but please, if you are not enjoying the book, don’t finish it. There are so many books out there.
Read with passion, read for pleasure, but don’t read books that you don’t enjoy and are not good for you. Even famous books. Only finish books that are going to ignite your passion to read and the pleasure of the activity.
i.e. One of my best friends never finish my second novel. The topic, the action, the speed wasn’t her style. I was so happy when she told me that she could not finish it because she wasn’t enjoying the book. She instead picked a book that she enjoy and loved. It had nothing to do with my book, or the story. Books are personal, and the relationship with them is too. So if the book is a NO, do NOT finish it!