Friday, February 15, 2013

Life Lessons—A Moment in Time

By Reba J Hoffman
Snippets of Time
Last Wednesday on my blog, FindingTrue North, I talked about being productive in little snippets of time. In the world in which we live as writers, we don’t have the luxury of secluding ourselves from life while we hammer out a word count for months on end. It’s just not possible.

If we decided to let that sideline us, we’d never be published authors. We live in a different world today, one constantly in motion with almost no time to gather thoughts. We’re forced to formulate plans on the fly and piecemeal our word counts by the paragraph.

You may be thinking you have no choice but to get caught up in the whirlpool as it pulls you deeper into its clutches. Though it may seem that way, it’s clearly not the case. Here are a few things you can easily implement that will pay the ransom on your time that life is holding hostage.

Say NO to checking email first thing!
  • Never check emails first. I know. It’s hard to resist reading words of encouragement from raving fans or solving the world’s problems, but you simply must. Once you get clicking, you won’t awake from the trance for hours. Step a way from the keyboard. Don’t click it. That goes for social media, too.
  • Spend the first 15-20 minutes of the day doing absolutely nothing. Sit in your recliner chair or on the porch with coffee and just “be”. You’ll be surprised how that centers you for the day.
  • Make two lists. Steven Covey’s system rates tasks as A, B, or C depending on their urgency. I’ve used that for decades but in recent years, I find that the more pressing issue is how long it takes to complete the task, which ones I can do at the same time, and how many consecutive minutes I will have at any point during my day. Now, I rate my tasks by completion time rather than priority. That way, if I’m stuck in traffic, I have something productive to do. If I’m waiting at the doctors office, I can get things done. And, for those longer tasks like creating products and books, I can schedule a longer block on a day when it works.
You don't have to be a prisoner of this world!
  • Recognize the difference between tired, and tired of working. The two are remarkably different. Tired is true body fatigue. For this you need to rest. Stop doing what you’re doing and go rest. Tired of working is a loss of interest more commonly referred to as boredom. You must push through this. Every time! Otherwise, it feeds on your time and won’t stop until the minute plate is picked clean. 

You are in this world but you don’t have to be a prisoner of it. Implementing these four easy changes in lifestyle will put you well on your way to success as a writer. Yeah, I promise.

What’s eating you?  Ooops, I mean your time? Share it here.

Reba J. Hoffman is the founder and president of Magellan Life Coaching ( She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Counseling and is a natural encourager. She serves as Member Care Coach for My Book Therapy and is the author of Dare to Dream, A Writer’s Journal. You can connect with Reba through her motivational blog, Finding True North, or by email at You can also follow her on Twitter at @RebaJHoffman.


  1. The hardest thing for me is not checking email first thing. I do a daily online Bible Study, which requires that I get online. Once I'm on, I'm hooked.

    But I know you're right. Email opens a world of work. Real work. But not productive for writing or projects.

  2. I used to feel the same way, Vonda. But when I made the decision to not check emails first thing, the world continued to rotate on its axis. Who knew?! I'll admit there are times when you will want to check emails first, like me on Fridays when I know you all will be leaving me comments on this blog.

    Making little tweaks in the way we spend our time will do wonders for your productivity. Thanks for weighing in on this conversation. Oh and, STEP AWAY FROM THAT EMAIL. :-)

  3. Agree, the hardest thing is not checking emails or FB. So I make a pact with myself--Work until 8:30 or 9 (I get up at 5), then reward myself with 30 minutes to catch up on social media stuff. Once I get rid of the 20 or so emails that dump into my inbox each day, I then usually check my e-mail every so often for messages that I might be expecting. I think it all boils down to self-discipline. lol

  4. Self-discipline.You're right Pat. That's the key. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I really like your tip about not checking emails first. I often get on Facebook and then hours just disappear. I need to really stop doing this activity. I also think your idea of taking some time every day to just "be" is great. Although I don't know how to train myself to do it, I have no doubt that it works. Any idea how to get started?

  6. I need to take your advice ... no emails or social media until I've worked. So far, I haven't followed this rule except a handful of times, but when I do, I'm much more productive. I'll get there!