Forget Your Alarm, Indulge Your Weekend Passion, and Enjoy Peaceful Sleep — Daily Quote

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The biggest weekend perk is the chance to sleep late. I may have a delayed sleep phase disorder. It is a phenomenon where an individual ends up falling asleep after the standard bedtimes of most folks. For years, I believed I suffered from insomnia. Aren’t we all supposed to nod off at 10 pm and rise eight hours later? The problem is, I hit my second wind around nine and don’t become tired enough to relax and fall asleep until well after midnight. But having to conform to social norms requires me to set my alarm for 5 am.

Thanks to technology, I have monitored, logged, and tracked my sleep schedule. When I am left to wake without the aid of an alarm clock, my regular cycle lasts six hours and twenty minutes. I routinely start projects after nine in the evening and often continue until one or two in the morning.

Despite what most might think, staying up late does not mean I am wasting time watching tv or playing video games. Instead, these are great opportunities for grocery shopping, doing laundry, cleaning the house, and writing. If I am on a roll, I may opt to work past what I consider my usual bedtime and finish when others are waking. This situation leaves me with a tough decision — do I try to get some sleep or push to stay awake?

The beauty of the weekend is I can allow my natural circadian rhythms to dictate my schedule. The added benefit is, my endless list shrinks, I complete multiple items, my mood improves, and I don’t feel as exhausted. I appreciate my morning coffee more, and the world feels a little less annoying.

What do you enjoy most about weekends?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Ditch the Gloom and Doom, Find Your Silver Lining, and Create a Shinning Future — Daily Quote

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I’m an optimist. I can’t bear to contemplate the gloomy and unpleasant alternative – those pessimists are way too depressing. As a child, I remember watching people spout gloom and doom. They predicted the sky’s falling and swore we were going to hell in a handbasket. I trembled in my shoes, cowered under my covers, and prayed the boogeyman wouldn’t creep from under my bed to carry me into the night. Each morning the sun arrived to banish the darkness, and a brilliant blue sky buoyed my hope.

Their predictions rarely came true, and I learned to dismiss their warnings. Perhaps I was precocious when I challenged the status quo and dared to seek the silver lining. I looked for evidence to discredit their opinions. I imagined a brilliant future filled with opportunities and smooth sailing. Not that I don’t have negative thoughts or feel depressed, overwhelmed, and discouraged. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, recognizing negative thoughts, confronting them, and challenging their validity puts you on the path to optimism.

Life can be awful, scary, and uncertain. But the fact is, change is constant. There is a saying that everything comes to pass, but nothing comes to stay. So, I can focus on the negative and drown in misery, or embrace joy, celebrate rainstorms, appreciate the smell of every rose in the garden, and concentrate on creating the brightest future I can imagine.

What excites you about tomorrow?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Through Your Darkest Days, Your Dearest Friends Prove More Valuable than Diamonds — Daily Quote

It's not that diamonds are a girl's best friend, but it's your best friends who are your diamonds. It's your best friends who are supremely resilient, made under pressure, and of astonishing value. They're everlast

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about life post lockdowns, isolation, and moving past the trauma inflicted by an invisible virus. I don’t dwell on negative issues, as I prefer to focus on the improvements that will carry forward from this experience. For starters, I never see myself returning to a daily office work environment. The joy of ditching the commute and avoiding the interruptions caused by someone poking their head into my office to ask a “quick question” is on the top of my list. Working from home resulted in a huge productivity increase.

I’m not the only one who observed this phenomenon. An attorney friend of mine mentioned his firm mandated they continue to conduct most business via virtual meetings. They will hold all client meetings and many court appearances via secure video conferences. The firm noticed a significant drop in non-billable hours because of reduced travel and wait times when a judge’s docket ran long.

I also intend to carry forward my lockdown fashion sense. Comfy clothes and running shoes now rule my closet. I banished items with cumbersome buttons, attack zippers. Any garment that threatened to strangle me disappeared.  Anything that left marks, welts, or other lasting impressions went bye-bye.

Grocery shopping, or any retail store, always imparted an impending feeling of dread and the thought of wasting precious hours I might have spent in better ways. The convenience of online ordering was tolerable pre-virus, but many businesses rose to the occasion. Deliveries are outstanding and curbside pickup is genius. When I discovered my local liquor store promised to deliver my order in under two hours, I figured I would never need to leave my home again.

But isolation, I will gladly leave behind. Through everything, I missed my friends most of all. Text messages don’t let me see body language, Zoom calls can’t replace personal contact, and nothing replaces a hug. An understanding pat on the back is priceless. Impromptu hip bumps create joy, and nothing says love, like throwing popcorn at each other. Those things matter. My friends are my diamonds. Each one is uniquely cut, and while none of them are flawless, they reflect spectacular rainbows of color. Surviving this ordeal has made me value them even more.

What life improvements will you carry forward?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Fighting to Survive the Day and Solve the Challenges of Your Daily Fun Time — Daily Quote

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I have a set schedule. I write at nine every day. Rain, shine, I commit to two hours of writing and deliver a finished piece. First, I source and create an image and write my first draft before struggling through multiple edits, creating a title, proofreading, and scheduling a post. My timeline does not change. I find working with a rigid outline forces me into preconceived conclusions. But working without direction or a destination is a recipe for disaster. There is a delicate balance between writing without limits and writing with purpose.

Given too many choices and no expectations, I can’t decide, and my story goes nowhere. I need rules, constraints, guidelines, a theme, and a challenge. Restrictions like word counts, time limits, and main topics help create a puzzle to occupy my critical mind. Specific benchmarks quiet my inner censor and allow my subconscious brain room to play.

The hardest part is getting started. I stutter and fumble with the first sentence as I sift through possibilities and eliminate the pieces that don’t belong to the story I am telling. As my fingers type, I settle into a rhythm. Words sing, my thoughts coalesce, and surprises happen. I relax, I let go of self-consciousness, and the tale emerges.

The finished piece needn’t be “good,” whatever that is. Sometimes I get lucky, and readers connect with the concepts. Those two sacred hours are the best part of my day. My practice keeps me sane and makes me happy. I won’t be giving it up anytime soon.

What is your writing process?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Defend Your Week from Chaos by Preparing a Tight Schedule – Daily Quote

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I have a Sunday ritual. Sometimes I carve an hour from a lazy afternoon or as I watch a movie in the evening. The crucial point is, I never sleep until I finish, even if it means sitting in bed to plot my schedule. Turning the page on my calendar, I begin front-loading my week. Front-loading is placing my most important, time-sensitive, deadline-driven, most hated, or least fun chores on Monday and Tuesday.

I treat these two days as my crunch times. While my coworker’s transition from their weekend, I close my door, hit the ground running, and eat those nasty frogs. I focus on completing my project, but I don’t push beyond my peak productivity levels. When I feel myself fading, I switch to another task, or I take a break. Depending on the size and complexity of the assignment, it may leak into the latter part of the week. But my goal is to accomplish the bulk of the job as soon as it is workable.

Tasks assigned to Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday have less significance, and I often have nothing listed on Friday. This approach allows me to meet my deadlines with a polished presentation and absorb unexpected setbacks and emergencies. The big payoff happens when I complete my work sooner than I thought possible. In these found hours, I can launch new initiatives, develop pet projects, or reward myself, and coast into the weekend without guilt.

How do you organize your workweek?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Test Your Limits, Expand Your World, and Dare to Learn Something New Today — Daily Quote

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I was that strange kid who couldn’t wait to start school. No teacher taught me how to read. I learned before I ever went to kindergarten. I completed most of my homework while I sat listening to lectures. Extra credit work was fun, and I enrolled in every advanced placement class my school offered. As a result, A’s populated my report card. My lower marks reflected my associated boredom level. An instructor once reprimanded me for working ahead in a math workbook, even though the answers were correct. I didn’t stop. Her class was boring.

I love challenges. Cracking a code, solving a puzzle, or learning a new skill is exhilarating. Throw me in the deep end, and while I might thrash around and almost drown, chances are I will soon be swimming like Michael Phelps. A wise man enlightened me on the benefits of becoming a perpetual learner. He warned me that no one knows less than the person who thinks they know everything.

This weekend, I have been taking an online course, studying a topic I love. I am pushing my limits, forcing myself beyond my comfort zone to create new connections. It’s as scary as Nik Wallenda’s volcano walk. I am happier than most students on the first day of summer vacation.

Are you pushing your limits today?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Indulge Your Summer Binge Reading Obsession, Fuel Your Creativity, and Fill Your Daily Writing Sessions with Inspiration — Daily Quote

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It seems I am always writing. I have written in doctor offices, hospital rooms, and coffee shops. I have composed pieces during quiet moments while babies napped, while standing in countless lines, waiting for a mechanic to fix my car, sitting with the family watching tv, cooking and eating dinner, and while I listen to blaring music. None of those situations impedes my ability to concentrate or stops me from constructing sentences, forming paragraphs, and searching for unique word combinations. The more distractions, the more I write. My mind focuses, and I block the cacophony.

Reading, however, requires solitude and silence, and binge reading is my secret indulgence. Others might consider a spa day as self-care, but there is nothing I enjoy more than the luxury of reading a book from cover to cover. My idea of a glorious Saturday night is curling into my chair with a book. If I have selected wisely, I turn the pages, blissfully unaware of time passing. Time stretches as the pages turn. My thoughts surge, forming deep whirlpools of unconnected facts, and the well of inspiration fills. The only interruption is the sound of my pen scratching notes in the margins. Tired, inspired, I feel my neurons rewire themselves. In the early Sunday morning quietude, I grab a steaming cup of coffee, and I fill my notebook with ideas.

Does reading fill your creativity tank?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Bad News About Waiting for Your Friday Night Drink — Daily Quote

10 am on Friday…all you can think about is wine. Anonymous

Some weeks drive me to drink. I admit it is a short trip, and no one really needs to twist my arm. Besides, I always opt for healthiest options. It’s true, and I even have the blessings from the Mayo Clinic website.

Among other things, they say red wine is full of antioxidants that may prevent coronary artery disease by increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or the “good” cholesterol while lowering the bad (LDL) cholesterol and helping prevent blood clots. The trick is selecting wine made from dark grapes. This is not a problem for me, as my tastebuds prefer a full-bodied Chianti Classico, a rich and oaky Merlot, the earthy flavors of a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, or Brunello di Montalcino. What can I say—Adoro i vini Toscani.

The health benefits don’t stop there. Thanks to the antioxidants like resveratrol, epicatechin, catechin, and proanthocyanidins, red wine may help regulate blood sugar, reduce the risk of cancer, fight the common cold, keep your memory sharp, and keep you slim. Wait, hold the presses. Keep you slim? According to researchers, piceatannol, a chemical converted from resveratrol, reduces the fat cells in the body by blocking the receptors that form the pathways required for immature fat cells to grow.

Red wine can also reduce the risk of depression and aid digestion. Moderate wine consumption is defined as a daily intake of 1 glass (150 ml) for women and 2 glasses (300 ml) for men. Ok, sorry, but I’m still stuck on the part where I drink red wine daily and grow fewer fat cells. Where is my wine glass?

How do you celebrate Fridays?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Close Your Eyes and Find Inspiration Within the World of Eigengrau — Daily Quote

To draw you must close your eyes and sing. Pablo Picasso

I love watching singers perform. As they close their eyes, they pull emotions from unfathomable depths, and I wonder if they notice the crowd swaying and singing with them. Emotions bubble to the surface, hearts soar, eyes fill with tears, and thousands of audience members connect to a collective, familiar feeling. Everyone at the concert transforms into your new best friend, even if you have never met them. Individual differences, petty grievances, and personal agendas dissolve as we recognize ourselves in the unlimited beauty reflected in the sea of humanity.

It’s not only singers but poets, painters, gardeners, writers, architects, bakers, and every creator who has ever lived who finds access to the source of inspiration by looking inside themselves. I’ve always wondered how we can feel, see, and sense more when we momentarily and voluntarily blind ourselves. How can we connect more fully with others when we block out the world and lose ourselves in the creative process?

Yet, even with our eyes closed, we still see. A kaleidoscope of colors, stars, lines, swirls, flashes, negative images of what we were viewing before shutting our eyes, and pulsations populate the darkened world. Scientists classify the many things we “see” collectively as entoptic phenomena and dismiss them as “visual noise” or “closed-eye hallucinations” or “phosphenes.” They speculate the retina in its resting state produces electrical charges that create the images.

The nineteenth-century psychologist Gustav Theodor Fechner baptized what our eyes observed when they remained closed, a color now cataloged in HTML as #16161d – Eigengrau. Fechner pulled from his Saxony German dialect to create a word that poetically illuminates that world. “Eigen” translates as “own light” while “Grau” means simply “gray.” It is the color of nothingness and everything. Somehow it seems fitting.

What do you see when you close your eyes?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Stop Holding Yourself Back, Own Your Desires, Take Daily Actions, and Live Your Dream Life — Daily Quote

A somebody was once a nobody who wanted to and did. John Burroughs

We all start somewhere. We each have 24 hours every day and seven days in the 52 weeks that create an entire year. If you checked in with most of us, you wouldn’t notice much difference from one year to the next. Minor changes, maybe. There is an updated hairstyle and the vacation to the family cabin we visit every summer. That, despite insisting this year, we will learn a new language, change jobs, lose weight and get fit, and start visiting those bucket list locations. Almost everything remains the same.

Except for our one friend. You know who I’m talking about. They backpacked through Vietnam, took up Jiu-jitsu, lost 20 pounds, and they are starting a new position on Monday where they will advance their career further by working with the big-name guru in their field. Yeah, I’m looking at my shoes too and wondering why I’m not as lucky as my friend.

Perhaps the reason I haven’t done those things is that I don’t want them enough. Yikes. Could it be true? Do we imagine it would be “nice” to learn French, or are we determined to do whatever it takes to speak the language like a native Parisian? It is a subtle distinction, but it creates a shift in the underlying mindset and increases your aspirations and your willingness to walk the walk.

Have you always dreamed of being a concert pianist? What is holding you back from your dream? We can’t control outcomes. There is no guarantee you will perform at Carnegie Hall, but taking ownership of your life means you can control the “doing.” Owning your dreams means taking action and aligning your daily, monthly, and yearly activities with your desires. You may fail. It’s a risk, but what have you got to lose? There is no rewind in life – taking risks generates rewards, and unforeseen opportunities materialize when you are willing to accept the worst that might happen.

What do you really want to achieve?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer