Risk Succumbing to Sunday’s Seductive Vibe, and Allow Your Mind Space to Pursue Nothing — Daily Quote

SUNDAY – The day I planned a lot but actually do nothing. Lovely Goyal

It isn’t my fault. Sunday has a seductive vibe, and it entices us to ditch driving ourselves toward attaining the ultimate nirvana of productive bliss. Giving in to those impulses is easier when you are stuck inside, hiding from 90+ degree heat, 60% humidity, and the threat of severe thunderstorms. Nobody will blame you for wanting to kick back, relax, unwind, get lost in silly cat videos, and cue a binge-watching session of the just-released season of your favorite guilty pleasure.

It never fails. As you ease into forgetfulness, the evil voice in your head begins. No matter how hard you try, the whisper cuts through everything else. “You could be working, accomplishing something important,” it goads you. But just because you could be working doesn’t mean you should be. We humans are not machines and not designed for 24/7 output.

We are visionary beings, tailor-made to absorb multiple forms of data, assemble the impart bits, discard the insignificant, and devise a survival plan. If we want to create monumental work, we must occasionally leave our desks, observe, engage in life, and indulge in new and stimulating experiences. The human brain wants variety. As critical at gathering input is indulging in periods of idleness to allow our unconscious brain to process masses of unrelated information to problem solve and assemble disparate facts into novel ideas.

Sundays make me want to think about doing something productive but instead spent my time staring out of the window. I can enjoy the view, watch the wind play with the leaves on the trees, and anticipate the coming storm. I let my mind wander. Daydream. Do you remember how?

How do you spend your Sundays?           

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Courting Magical Mr. Mojo and the Sensational Sounds of the Infamous Groove Kid — Daily Quote

theres-no-magic-for-getting-into-the-groove...-just-banging-away-at-it.-sometimes-the-lyrics-come-first-sometimes-the-music.-phil-collins

I can feel it coming. A monumental shift floats in the night air tonight. The season of suffering, fragmented concentration, reduced productivity, and the resulting irritability, fatigue, and sheer exhaustion are waning. Deep sleep and meditation impart their restorative powers. Rain washes away the grime, promising brighter days. Our hearts knew the situation was temporary, and the best strategy is to ride the rollercoaster — to go with the flow.

At first, the sound is faint, feeling more like a dream than anything tangible. I tumble from my bed, shower, and put on pretty clothes that make me feel human. The beat is slow, but it holds hope and unanswered possibilities. My morning coffee helps me open my eyes, and I focus on the tasks I need to complete. The pulsation strengthens, and the intensity grows.

I access my document, reread yesterday’s smattering of words, and hold my breath. I lean into what terrifies me. My fingers gravitate to the home keys, and they bang sentences into existence. Faltering steps gradually find solid footing, and emotions amp up to levels I had almost forgotten. I have climbed from the pits. The sun shines, the music swells, drums kick out an unrelenting cadence, and the story flows effortlessly onto the page. My wayward friend Mr. Mojo has returned.

“We are back in the Groove, Kid.”

How do you survive the low points in your writing?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Risk Abandoning Your Outdated, Ineffective, and Motivational Killing Practices and Dare to Live — Daily Quote

If showing up in a robe and tiara with a box of wine is wrong, then maybe I don’t fully comprehend how Casual Friday actually works. Anonymous

It’s a good thing I work from home. I have developed an unwavering attachment to my extra supportive running shoes and my cushy oh-so-comfortable slippers. The endless parade of trendy, office appropriable, break room conversation starters that pinched my feet and left my poor toes scrunched, crunched, and blistered is a relic of the past. I also ditched the professional upper management, somber-colored straight jackets. Their structured waistbands, buttons, and zippers gouged, poked, and scratched me relentlessly as I tried to focus on my work.

It doesn’t imply I have let everything slide into an unkempt, I-just-rolled-out-of-bed aesthetic. With all my meetings now on camera, I needed a new set of rules. Nobody expects you to wear a suit when you work from home, and casual, contemporary, polished, and put-together is the name of the game. So where does that leave us on Casual Friday? Does such a thing exist anymore, or has the tradition gone the way of Vertical Silos, Annual Performance Reviews, Micromanaging, and basing compensation on “potential” rather than results?

From a personal perspective, I never understood the time-honored requirement of eight hours in the office if the job only took me four hours to complete. And I will never forget my entry-level position, where my supervisor told me I should slow down because I was making the rest of the team look bad. What? Sad, but true. What I’m not sorry about is seeing outdated, ineffective, and motivational killing practices abandoned. Adopting methods that allow us to be human, encourage us to grow, and image life outside the status quo have taken far too long. Nobody flourishes in an environment where we are treated like mechanical cogs set in an automated world.

This Friday, I placed a crown on the shelf behind me and positioned my camera angle in a way that it almost looks as if I’m wearing it. The cardigan I pulled on over my “lounge-wear” t-shirt has a bathrobe vibe, and there is a box of wine on my desk. To be safe, I think I will keep the wine off camera.

How do you celebrate Friday?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Forget About Sexy, Turn Your Back on Useless Comparisons, Slow and Steady Spells Success – Daily Quote

true-progress-quietly-and-persistently-moves-along-without-notice.-saint-francis-de-sales

At the start of this year, when I set my plans and goals, I expected trouble reaching my word count goal. Living in the changing landscape of a pandemic while attempting to finish a house remodeling project, well, I figured things would not go according to my wishes. Nonetheless, I set aside time for writing every day and considered I’d won even if I only wrote for a few minutes.

Discouragement topped my list of feelings about my progress. Thoughts of “I have gotten little done” and “I am so far behind where I should be” were a recurring theme. But my fingers hit the keyboard, and I refused to abandon my commitment. Slow and steady isn’t sexy. We admire the overnight successes, the fastest runner, the first to publish, and those who hustle at lighting speed. I know I am none of those things.

This month when I sat to review my results and devise a plan forward, I decided to track and new matrix. Since June 2018, I have been recording my daily word counts in an Excel spreadsheet. Yes, I am that geek. For fun, I conducted a year-over-year and a month-by-month comparison. From the total words written standpoint, 2019 was my best year, while 2020’s total fell off a cliff. There is no surprise there.

The biggest shock came when I compared my 2021 YTD words with my 2019 word count through July. You could have knocked me over with a feather. My current year total is slightly ahead of 2019’s total through the same period. If I maintain this year’s daily word count averages, I will surpass my best year by 2%.

However, if you exclude my two lowest months for 2021—the two months I focused on finishing the remodel—something incredible happens. When I extrapolate for the rest of the year, I stand to beat 2019’s total by 25%. Without realizing it, I’ve been making slow and steady progress. The key has been persistence and an unwavering dedication to writing every day. I love numbers, and this new matrix has given my motivation the boost I’ve been needing.

Are you moving closer to achieving your goals?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Are Daily Reading and Writing Practices the Stepping Stones to Finding Yourself Magically Transformed? — Daily Quote

writing-is-literally-transformative.-when-we-read-we-are-changed.-when-we-write-we-are-changed.-its-neurological.-to-me-this-is-a-kind-of-magic.-francesca-lia-block.

I love magic. Books have always provided a ready source of the elixir I crave. The book doesn’t have to be a fantasy with wizards, witches, or supernatural creatures. Books about history sweep me away to another time. Treatises, opinion pieces, and even diatribes expose me to different points of view. It doesn’t matter if the author minted their words yesterday or hundreds of years ago. My perceptions are altered, expanded, and perhaps changed. Being willing to open my mind and consider a different perspective is a daily habit.

But often reading alone is not enough. Writing helps congeal thoughts, tightens reasoning and logic, and reveals contradictions. I am a barbarian who enjoys highlighting lines of text in an actual book. I also make notes in the margins with questions, references to something else I’ve read, or ideas I want to pursue.

Often this is not enough, and I feel compelled to handwrite a page or two where I explore my responses or run off onto illogical tangents. Occasionally, this sort of exercise leads me into full research mode. I feel this type of Free-writing can allow you access to your beliefs, concerns, and troubles we all have buried below the surface. Once they see the light of day, they demand acknowledgment, and the process begins anew.

Will you discover something magical today?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Don’t Quit, Review, Revise, Play to Your Strengths, and Win the Game — Daily Quote

Don't give up at halftime. Concentrate on winning the second half. Bear Bryant

My month-end review reminded me we are one month into the second half of the year. Five months and counting until this year ends. Are you hitting your on-track markers? Or did you join the ranks of most of the resolution breakers and quit in February? Honestly, I don’t make resolutions. I prefer to set my goals, and work towards them. I change, adapt, or alter my trajectory as the weeks and months progress, and I determine how easy or difficult it is to move the needle. It is also the reason I conduct monthly reviews. I don’t consider goals an all-or-nothing proposition. Life is not a pass-fail class.

Instead, I assess whether the goal is severing me, and if not, I abandon it and replace it with a more appropriate goal. A better choice is to tweak my route, alter my expectations, or rework certain aspects of my game plan. The primary criteria I use when evaluating my goal quest is, am I making progress? Am I closer to attaining the prize than I was last month? If I’m not, and this happens more often than I care to admit, I look for bona fide reasons. I’m not interested in excuses but actual reasons. I did not hit my daily walking goal in July. The main reason I missed my target involved leg cramps and a tender Achilles bursitis. The treatment is rest. This goal requires modification until my condition resolves.

At the other end of the spectrum, my daily writing habit is alive and well. In July, hitting the goal felt too easy so, in August, I am raising my target word count. It won’t be anything crazy, but the idea is to increase the total words I write by 1% over the day before. I know it doesn’t sound exciting, and most people wouldn’t even notice. But let’s say I start day one and write 300 words. If I could sustain a measly daily increase of 1%, then on day 150, I would write 1,321 words, and on day 365, I would write a staggering 11,335 words. Yeah, I don’t see that happening either. Hitting 2,000 words in a single day, I would place firmly in the win column.

Are you making progress towards your goals?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Believe Success Starts When You Change Your Mindset, Then Assemble Your Best Team and Begin — Daily Quote

it-starts-with-myself.-i-have-to-believe-in-myself-and-set-expectations-for-myself-set-goals-for-myself-and-continue-to-work-for-those-goals-every-day.-saquon-barkley

Today the calendar announces the start of a new month and a chance to begin again. There is no one looking over my shoulder, checking to make sure I finish my assignments and complete my goals. My successes and shortcomings rest on my shoulders. I am the boss, the worker bee, the strategic analyst, the creative director, the janitor, and the person who gets the morning coffee for the group.

I scheduled the team’s monthly review meeting, where we congratulated ourselves for hard-won victories, identify places where we fell short, and devise future strategies. We examine the numbers, agree on plan modifications, and narrow the month’s focus. We adjourn the meeting with a pep talk followed by high-fives. My hard-working administrative assistant stacks the various hats in the corner, and I get to work.

What goals have you set for yourself?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

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

i-love-to-sleep-late-and-i-rarely-have-the-chance-to.-izabel-goulart

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

when-i-look-into-the-future-its-so-bright-it-burns-my-eyes.-oprah-winfrey

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