Social Media, you’re looking at me

How do we get anything done when the call of tweets, grams and posts are all around us? My phone beeps at me telling me someone liked a picture I posted to Instagram and my iPad buzzes if Idris Elba posts absolutely anything on twitter.

Shhh I say; I’m writing, Idris, I’ll get to you in a minute – said no woman ever.

There had to be a solution.  In January I resolved to fix all the holes in my WIP and that wasn’t going to happen if I was reading Stephen King’s tweets, even if they are brilliant.  Can he write a boring shopping list, I wonder? No probably not.

De-socialising my computer was the answer.

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This little zone is social free. To prevent any penetration of the online world I do not log into Twitter, Instagram or WordPress on this computer. If I want to check these sites I  have to go through the process of putting in my email and remembering the various passwords I used on each.  Who wants to do that? There is no quick bookmarks for these sites like there is on my lap top,  there is no easy way to get social on this monster. It’s a working beast. It’s my zone. It has Scrivener and Spotify and that’s about it.  As soon as my writer self sits down it thinks write, not social. The brain really is trainable.

AND IT WORKS!!

It’s a cute little zone.

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It usually has a cup of coffee but I drank it 🙂

The social side, which I enjoy very much is no longer holding me back. That’s on all the other devices. Phone, iPad and laptop are very social.

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Here is the social zone hanging out around the lounge.  The addictive bullet journal (bujo for the initiates)  is waiting for me to finish my writing. My lap top is the fun online space. It has none of the responsibility of the desk top.  I think the big one resents its fun little cousin so I keep them apart.

And there you have it. My solution to getting work done. It took some will power but now it’s habit and I will do a post on the book I read that helped me implement habits soon, but now it’s time to write.

Happy Monday!

 

 

 

It’s tabs for me

 

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It’s time to admit that I’m addicted.  Not to the nightly tipple or a secret stash of chocolate. I’m talking tabs people. Little dividers that I’ve devised to help me find all the little notes I leave in…well  notebooks.

It started with the diary or more accurately , my bullet Journal.  I’m never satisfied with the store brought ones. Some things will work and other parts won’t, so I made a little black and white number to sit on my desk and track my writing. Nothing out-landish about that, you say.

But it didn’t stop.I’ve gone overboard, there’s no denying it.

You know how it is when you’re on the move and an idea pops into your head. A line here or there. A lightbulb moment. A bit of dialogue that sings. Oh the time spent thumbing back through notebooks for that priceless spark that would make the paragraph come together.  In an attempt to find those little gems we all scribble down I took to my current writing project notebook and before you can say rainbow card-stock it looked like little tongues were poking out at me. This miraculous idea would see bits of coloured paper scattered across three rooms, sticky tape on the bottom of each foot in the household and a fiendishly happy mother writing on tiny rectangles and flipping through the results.

This has grown.  This has become a movement. This is now a revolution.

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It soon included  general notes. Now it’s recipe books, shopping lists, to do lists….it’s changed my life. OK that’s over the top but it’s safe to say I’m spending less time flipping through a book saying where did I write that….

 

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Productivity

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A week ago I opened my email to the usual long list of blogs, articles and distractions and thought why do I do this each and every morning? I really should go straight to the WIP and get started. I can be distracted for hours combing through the words of others rather than writing my own. A morning can drift by and before I raise my head for a cup of tea, I’ve done absolutely nothing.

In a world of apps I knew there had to be something that could cure me of distractionitis – I’m patenting that word by the way – so I browsed the app store, through the thousands of productivity apps they offered, looking for something simple that didn’t have a lot of settings or options and something that would track my progress. I’ve always been a star chart kind of girl.

After trying a few, I came across the Pomodore.  The theory is that we work better if we divide our tasks into manageable chunks of time – 30 minutes being the optimum. 25 of those minutes is used for focused work and the last 5 for a rest before we switch to a new task or keep going. The plan is to get away from the computer and move around for 5 minutes. After 4 pomodore’s, a longer break of 30 minutes is recommended.

The App I downloaded is called Pomodore One by Vojto Rinik. It’s absolutely free and very simple.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 2.08.57 pmThat’s what it looks like on the desk top. It sits very unobtrusively behind your work, your menu bar, what ever suits you,  doing it’s thing for 25 minutes.

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You can see it here counting down at the top of my menu bar.

For that 25 minutes, I write and for 5 minutes I make a cup of tea, use the loo and walk around a bit.  I can decide to do another 25 minutes or not. Of course a physical timer would work just as well ( though the ticking would drive me nuts.)  A stop watch, a phone timer or your microwave are going to work.

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When the 25 minutes is up,  it dings ( so you need your volume up) and it begins at 5 minutes, giving you another ding when that rest period is up.

I like the app because it sits at the top of the screen doing it’s thing and I need only lift my eyes up every now and then. It’s amazing how quickly the 25 minutes goes by and when I take my 5 minute break my mind is jumping with ideas ready for my next pomodoro.

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I can easily see how much work I’ve done during the week and yes, I can see where all my time has gone.  So rather than thinking about working, I’ve been writing in 25 minute chunks and it’s paying off.

I love the simplicity of this app.  This is going to be too regimented for some, but for those of us who love our star charts and progress bars it’s fun.

Have you an app that is helping you work?  Please share it.