Wednesday, November 7, 2018

My Process for Staying Organized

As of late, I have started to once again use the to-do list as a way of managing my time. For some reason, I go back and forth on using it while utilizing my calendar stays pretty consistent.

In Outlook (work), I am able to use flagged emails or create tasks. At home, I use Google Inbox (reminders), Google Calendar, and now Google Tasks to create triggers for what I should be doing.

My current process involves flagging email and creating reminders/tasks. From this growing list, I then find time to add the task to my calendar. Essentially, I'm cherry-picking items to work on.

While this is great and all, I'm seeing a lot of flagged messages and tasks just sitting (and growing) in my box. Yes, I take time each day to review them, but I fear that it's going to get unwieldy. Come to think of it, that might be the reason I stopped using tasks originally.

Anywho, I'm looking for ideas and strategies. How are you using To-Do Lists and the calendar? What is your process for managing your growing list of tasks? Events? Reminders?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Writing a Book as an ESFJ

The more I learn about myself (as an ESFJ - Fe Si Ne Ti), I am realizing what processes work best for me.

External Feeling (Fe)

The first lesson was that I needed regular feedback and multiple touchpoints when it comes to creating. Writing blogs and short posts on social media provides me with quick bursts of positive affirmation, which directly feeds my need for tribe approval. When I feel good, I write more. As a result, I end up with a bunch of short thoughts and ideas that need to be sewn into something more cohesive and comprehensive. 

Testing Developing Content in Facebook Groups

One way to pull these ideas together and testing it before making it widely available to the public is by posting developing content within Facebook groups.

What I have found is that posting snippets of content within groups is like a comedian testing jokes inside comedy clubs. What tends to do well in groups, also does well with the larger audience. As a result, I can either spend more time developing the material or leave it alone altogether. 

Updating Existing Content for Deeper Depth and Wider Awareness

Another strategy that I'm playing with online is the updating of published Facebook posts and blog articles followed by alerting readers of the change via a comment in the discussion area.

“Why would you do that?” You ask.

Good question. First, by updating existing content, the author can add additional thoughts and ideas based on feedback from the readers. Doing this, one is able to add further depth.

Second, Facebook doesn't currently notify people on edits made to posts but it does alert them when another comment is made. Additionally, by posting the new information as a comment, as well as an edit, both new and old readers will see the same stuff.

What’s Beyond the Blog Post?

While driving home one night, I asked myself the question, “What is smaller than a book but larger than a blog post?” A Google search didn’t immediately give me what I needed, so after a few revised queries, I found a list of publications that fall under the novel.

  • Novel: 40,000 + words
  • Novellas: 17,000 - 40,000
  • Novellettes: 7,500 - 17,000
  • Short Stories: 3,500 - 7,500
  • Flash Fiction: 53 - 1,000 words
That was helpful, but I don't see myself writing fiction anytime soon. So, what about nonfiction?

I didn't see a neat listing like the one I posted above. What I found is that in the fiction category one can write shorter books while on their way to full-length publications.

  • Short eBooks Singles: 4,000 - 30,000
  • Books: 30,000 + words

Introverted Sensing (Si)

One idea for me (and for you should you see value) is to continue writing short posts on social media. Take those and build upon them until they become blog posts. Combine those blog posts and make small eBooks that can sell on Amazon. Finally, combine those smaller eBooks and grow them into full-length titles. Rinse and repeat.

This process of collecting and building upon existing information supports my Si.

Introverted Thinking (Ti)

"So, what do you want to write about?" you ask.

Would it be surprising to learn that I don't have an answer to that question? While I'm still learning about my type, I've come to believe that the Ti cognitive function for ESFJ in its inferior position hinders me from seeing what I really want without first exploring my thoughts and feelings with others (like, right now with you).

The thought of writing 30,000 words seems daunting. If I can do what comes naturally and write in shorter bursts, I believe the books will practically write themselves.

Thoughts? Am I using and understanding my type correctly?

Monday, November 5, 2018

Editing Existing Work to Add Depth

In light of some recent conversations around content creation and writing for substance, I have finally given myself permission to edit Facebook posts and blog articles after they have been released for public consumption. Up to this point, I was adhering to some "internal guideline" that restricted my updating of past articles. Instead of doing what I introduced above, I would maintain existing contributions as-is and then create a new article or add related thoughts to the comment section of the post. While that's not a bad practice, it's not efficient.

For blog articles, search engines are already directing traffic to the page in question. Why not maximize on those pre-existing readers? Additionally, you can save time by simply updating sections of the article with new and more relevant information versus starting from scratch.

Now, you may be reading this and thinking, "Duh! This is just common sense. Editing is not a new idea." You're right, it's not; however, for people like me who see and record a lot of information in small chunks, versus all at once, this could be a game-changer.

Why a "game-changer?" you ask.

In my everyday life, I already take copious amounts of notes inside of Google Keep and Google Drive. Unfortunately, those notes often feel like random disparate thoughts and ideas gathering dust in a folder that will never see the light of day.

To avoid losing any more good ideas, I've decided to try revisiting my notes, articles, and now Facebook posts to update them with new thoughts.

Remember, because this content is available to the public, I also have access to the comments and questions offered by its readers. As a result, their feedback helps me to better refine and connect the message with them.

While it's still too early to claim victory, I am beginning to see both an increase in depth and breadth in my writing. That's exciting!

In the future, I would like to write and publish a library of books on various subjects. I believe that by allowing myself to adopt this one strategy, I may have found the secret sauce that's been eluding me all along.

Just wanted to share some personal random thoughts with you. If it's helpful, feel free to use.

Until next time...

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Expectations

Recently, I found myself feeling angry. As a result of this strong emotion, I ended up raising my voice and communicating displeasure in a way that was outside of my normal range. First, I don't enjoy being upset. Second, I don't like the environment anger creates. No, I was not acting at my best.

Given the time and space to reflect on my reaction, I realize now that I held a series of expectations for how things should be. I have a natural tendency to seek control over situations and outcomes, which can come off as controlling.

In a world where we all have free will, the most that I can hope for is the power to control myself, my emotions, and ultimately my actions. When faced with a situation that doesn't agree with me or my beliefs, I have the power to determine my response. I have power, control, and influence over ME alone.

So, the next time I begin to feel angry, frustrated, or powerless, I plan to pause, examine the situation, and decide how I will respond knowing that I have the POWER to control MY next move.

Make today a very great day!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Document, Don't Create.

Document, Don't Create.


It’s been over a month since I posted my last article, “Lessons Learned From A Painful Break-Up.” In the days and weeks that followed, I found myself trying to sit down, focus on a single subject, and just write, but I couldn’t find the right words to put on paper. Seriously, it felt like a mental constipation was happening and there was very little that I could do to spark movement again.

As I look back over the recent months, knowing there have been other times that the words escaped me, I noticed that something significant seems to happen right before a long hiatus. Apparently, it takes time to digest it, marinate on it, and then ultimately to find the time to figure out what to say about it.

In this very moment, I am reminded of what Gary Vaynerchuk says, “Document, don’t create.” As I understand his message, he’s telling us to take time to record our journey. What do we see? What are we experiencing? Do as much as we can to capture the now, as we live it, for it may one day serve as a valuable learning tool for us all. This idea of archiving our lives is great for bloggers like me, as I find that my articles are more highly consumed when I write like I do in my journal. Hint: My journals mainly consist of stories and the lessons I learn.

Thinking back, and looking at my web site’s analytics, the most successful articles that I’ve written were done from this very personal perspective. It is the tale of my life and its many escapades that seem to spark the greatest interest. While I feel that I have a lot of knowledge to share in various subjects, maybe the delivery method that I am most successful in writing is one that is done from the first person point of view over my mediocre attempts to do so in the second person. If this is the case, then I gladly accept that truth as it feels much more natural to do so.

On the opposite side of documentation, there is creation. Truth be told, this is probably where I have spent much of my time in the past month. I’ve tried to create an article that was safely removed from how I was feeling and what I was doing to still impart some value to you, the reader. As we’ve seen, the more I try to distance myself from what’s going on within me, the more constipated I become. Clearly, this is the lesson for the day. Embrace who you are and the gifts that you’ve been given. Don’t always try to do things like someone else, but take pride in your talents and use them to the fullest.

As I write that, I want to share with you that I’ve also had further thoughts about the book. I’m not yet sure why a book seems so appealing to me in this moment, but I’ve taken a cursory look at the process for self-publishing and gathering ideas around what I would like to showcase through that medium.

From my rough calculations, 50,000 words would provide a solid publication. Fifty thousand words is equivalent to 100 pages with 500 words per page. My articles range somewhere between 700 and 1500 words, which means that I could write a book based on 50 of my best work. How exciting is that?

The question that remains for me is this, “What topic or topics have I written about so deeply that would actually fill up 50,000 words?” Even as I attempt to catalog my past articles, I don’t think there is any one one topic that fits the bill. This has silently led me to reconsider the process of writing. In order to publish a book, I would need to be more organized in my daily activities and tightly focused on writing consistently. Where is the uniformity, cohesiveness, and solid structure behind the book? It can’t be just a random set of stories...or could it?

As you can see, the process overall, has led me to this place where I stand today. If I plan to write one book or hundreds of them, I need to get going. Where I seem to excel at the moment is in telling my life’s story and sharing the lessons along the way. If I stick to this truth and embrace the journey as I’ve been set within it, I believe the WHAT will eventually become clear. More importantly, if I am to write these books, it does require much more content than what I currently have in my catalog.

In stating that, I imagine that you, dear reader, may experience a slight shift as we move forward. This may be seen in the number of articles that are written and a more focused effort on sticking with the first person perspective over a somewhat distant second.

However it morphs, and ultimately ends, I want to thank you for joining me on this adventure. Thank you for sticking with me thus far as we are all growing together.

Until next time...

Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

Toll-free: (919) 912-9121
E-mail: Contact Me

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