Tag Archives: focus

Focus Your Time and Reward Your Accomplishments (Especially the Small Ones)

One, ten, 50, and twenty dollar bills rolled up
Thank you NikolayF and Pixabay for allowing me to use this image.

“Focus Your Time and Reward Your Accomplishments (Especially the Small Ones)” by Joan Y. Edwards

In the winter of my 30th year of teaching (1993), I got extremely tired of checking papers ( math, science, English, social studies, spelling, handwriting, etc. ) I thought to myself, “I’ll pay someone to check papers for me. I’ll pay them $3.00 an hour. I want to help someone who needs money. I thought for a moment. Who do I know that needs money? Count to 10.

teacher with stack of papers to check.
Thank you Piypong Saydaung and Pixabay for allowing me to use this image.

…Ah! Yes! Me, I need money.

So I decided to pay myself $3.00 an hour for checking papers. I put the money in a special fund that I used to to treat myself to dinner, a movie, or to buy a new outfit that made me smile.

Guess what! It worked. It helped make checking papers more fun for me.  It helped inspire me to go for it. To go ahead and check the papers.

That summer I decided I would get a job working with Kelly Temporary Services as a receptionist – answering phones and greeting people. That way I wouldn’t have to check papers.

Enter the irony of it all.

My job was with Piedmont Airlines when they merged with US Airways. I was working for Piedmont Airlines. They trained the Airline Stewardesses for the combined way of taking care of passengers. My job  was ordering a cake to celebrate at the end of the week after the stewardesses took their tests. Yes you heard me. TESTS. Does that ring a bell? Guess whose job it was to check the tests for them? You are right. Ironically, it was my job to check the tests. One thing about it. It was only one test a week. I also had an answer grid that I could put over the answers and see if they were right.

Answer sheet for test with circle choices to color in with number 2 pencil
Thank you Lecroitg and Pixabay for letting me use this image of an answer sheet for a test.

I hope this made you laugh. I had to laugh. I had played a trick on myself.

That summer I also looked for a change in my teaching. I had to teach 5 more years. My principal asked me if I’d like to teach kindergarten. AH! Not many papers to check. I checked their work as they did it. There were more oral tests than written tests. I was a happy camper!

Now to the near present time. Since my late husband, Carl, died in 2020, I busied myself organizing pictures, taking care of estate stuff with his daughter, Susan, writing, and then my world seemed to crumble, I lost interest in doing things I used to enjoy doing.

I figured out a few weeks ago that perhaps one reason I’d lost interest was that after I wrote a blog post or I wrote a chapter in a story, I would tell Carl about it. Share parts with him. Not only was I missing the interaction with him, but COVID has all of us isolated from our usual gatherings with other people. In January a close cousin died. That set me back. I ventured forth in July to be with family and then bingo, I got Covid myself and it was BAAAADDD. But on the good side. I am alive. I was reborn. Thank you, God.

So now I’ve been searching through trying to help myself get enthusiastic about my writing and my drawing again.  I did research on what helps us achieve our goals and dreams and wrote a post about it. Then I thought. Ah! Paying myself for checking papers worked, why not pay myself when I write and also, when I do artwork.

I decided to pay myself $1.00 an hour for writing. $2.00 an hour for drawing. I got 50 one dollar bills at the bank. I put it in an envelope. For each hour I work, I add the money into a tall clear glass vase beside my computer. I will use the money to treat myself to dinner, go to the movies, or buy a new outfit. Something that makes me smile.

The day before I started this post, I opened my list of software on my main computer, In the software choices, I saw a clock face. I had never noticed it before. I clicked on it. Oh my goodness. How awesome! What a pleasant surprise!

It was a Windows Clock focus app based on the Pomodoro method. I always thought a Pomodoro was a hair do. However, it is a set amount of time to work with a short break in between. This app also has a section where you can put a list of things you wish to accomplish.

You can set the timer for as many minutes as you want up to an hour. A timer will ring and let you know when you’ve finished your allotted time you set for your task. You can choose breaks in between or no breaks.

This app also adds Spotify music while you work. I found that if I put the music on low, it didn’t disrupt my thought processes and I actually  enjoyed it as I worked.

Now you ask me, what is your point, Joan.

Set your FOCUS TIME. Set aside a certain time (15, 25, 60 minutes at a time) to work on something you want to accomplish. If music helps, play it softly. Don’t answer phone, texts, or emails during this FOCUS time.

Ideas:
Wear a special hat during FOCUS time.
Wear a special vest during FOCUS time.
Put a FOCUS TIME sign on your door during FOCUS time.

Use FOCUS TIME to spend doing things you might be neglecting or putting off.

Exercise: walking, jogging, etc.
Writing
Drawing
Organizing
Filling out job applications
Laundry
Dishes
Reading a book
Taxes

Reward yourself for doing that. Reward has to be within your power to do by yourself. This reward doesn’t come to you from someone else.  It’s important to celebrate and reward yourself for each step you take…even the smallest step. Each step gets you closer to your goal. Each time you reward yourself, you are saying, “I matter. What I do matters to me. I am important. “

Reward Possibilities:
Pay yourself.
Call a friend.
Watch a movie.
Go to the movie theatre.
Wear a smile sticker.
Get a pecan sticky bun.
Have hot chocolate and toast with butter. Dip        the toast into the hot chocolate.

Good luck! Please feel free to ask questions or share what has worked for you when YOU want to do something, but you seem to lack the spark within you to get it done.

Resources:

1. “155 Ways to Reward Yourself for Reaching Your Goals:” https://www.developgoodhabits.com/reward-yourself/

2. “Focus To-Do:”
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/focus-to-do-focus-timer-tasks/id966057213?platform=iphone 

3. Justin Pot. “Best Apps for Focusing on Work:”  https://beebom.com/best-apps-for-focusing-on-work/

4.Wikipedia. “Pomodoro Technique:”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique

5. “Windows Clock:” https://apps.microsoft.com/store/detail/windows-clock/9WZDNCRFJ3PR

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author

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Expect an Abundance of Everything You Need

hundred dollar bills
“Currency” Thank you Pixabay , Paweł Szymczuka.

“Expect an Abundance of Everything You Need” by Joan Y. Edwards

Many times in life it doesn’t seem like you have enough of things you believe you need to survive. Sometimes it’s knowledge. Sometimes it’s money. Sometimes it’s things. Other times, it’s courage. All the time love and wisdom.

“Ask and you shall receive.” (John  16:24)

Kendra Cherry shares that psychologist, Carl Rogers, says to look at the stories of people who do amazing things. “When I look at the world I’m pessimistic, but when I look at people I am optimistic.”

Regardless of the facts that you face, it is very important that you expect that you will receive an abundance of what you need.

Your brain wants you to be right. If you say, “Things never work out for me,” guess what! Things will not work out for you many times.

If you say things work out great for me, then things have a better chance of working out than if you say things never work out for you.

There is power in your words, your thoughts, and your actions.

Put it in your plans to receive a good whole car. Why would you ask for a half of a car? So if you need a car, expect a good car to show up. Take action to help that belief materialize.

Save the money and put it in a special money market account so it gets more interest than a regular savings account for a car.

Keep your eyes and ears open for a good bargain when you have enough money to purchase one.

If you have trouble believing good things will happen to you, start by making a list of all the things and people you are thankful for in your life. A spirit of thankfulness brings you more of what you are thankful for.

In her article on the Writers on the Move blog post entitled, “Trick to Help You Start Writing or Finish Writing,Suzanne Lieurance gives many ideas for lists that I believe will help you be more optimistic. Two of them I think will help change your focus: Make a list of things you enjoy doing. Another is make a list of things you want to learn how to do.

What you focus on is what you are going to get. If something bad or sad happened to you, acknowledge it, but revamp your thinking so you don’t spend days and days worrying about it or trying to change something that cannot be changed. Reset your goals. Reset your thoughts to as positive as you can get at that particular time.

Ways to Change Your Mood and Your Mind’s Focus:

1. Pray. Thank you, God. I have an abundance of everything I need today. What I need comes to me from sources known and sources unknown.
2. Watch funny movies or movies with happy endings.
3. Listen to your favorite music.
4. Take a nap.
5. Take a walk.
6. Be thankful and name the different times you have been blessed with what you needed.
7. Make a list of the things you want and need in your life right now.

Don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself *Matthew 6:34

Resources:

1. Joan Y. Edwards. “7 Ways to Move Toward Your Goals:” https://joanyedwards.com/2014/01/13/7-ways-to-move-toward-your-goals/ 

2. Suzanne Lieurance. “Trick to Help You Start Writing or Finish Writing.” https://www.writersonthemove.com/2022/04/a

3. Kendra Cherry. “6 Great Psychology Quotes:”
https://www.verywellmind.com/great-psychology-quotes-2795695

Please leave a comment. Tell us what helps you get out of a slumpy, dumpy feeling.

Never Give Up

Joan Y. Edwards, Author
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Revising Improves Writing

Thank you, Pixabay.

“Revising Improves Writing” by Joan Y. Edwards

Revising improves your writing.

1. Each time you revise your manuscript, say to yourself, “I am getting better and better.” Get a special hat or shirt to wear when writing.

2. Write something. Rewrite it. Let it rest for 7 days in an incubation tray. Then get it out and read it over again. You’ll be amazed at the ideas that come to you. It’ll seem like you’ve never read it previously.

3. Read your story out loud. You may hear the mistakes you don’t see. Record it on tape and listen to it. Make notes of what you want to change. If you make a pdf file of your manuscript, it has a way for the computer to read it to you.

4. Form a writing group with 2 or 3 other people. It can be an online or an in-person group. Listen to what others say. Ask them to tell you things they don’t understand in your story. Make notes. You want your meaning to be clear. Clear communication is essential to learning and peace among people.

If you are feeling very sensitive about a story, save that story for another day or ask your writing group if they will just listen to your story without commenting on it.

Do not ask people what they think of your story if you are not able to handle a YES or a NO. You have to honor their answer when you ask them for their opinion. Try not to take it personally. Just because people do not like your story, it does not mean they do not like you.

5. When revising, choose to change only those items you think will add to the story. If someone tells you, if I was writing the story I would…you don’t have to do it. You are the writer of your story. Ultimately, the choice of words in your story is up to you. Only change what you believe in 100%.

6. Use the computer to revise, if you have one. That way you can save a copy of what it was first. How you changed it second. And the third revision…before publication. Save each version on the computer with the date. Some people write their first drafts better with pencil or pen. Honor the way you work best.

7. Even authors who have had books published find things they want to change in their stories. Be pleased with how you have improved from the beginning. Be kind to yourself.

8. Reward yourself for each step you take. For each time you revise a story, put a penny in a jar, enjoy your favorite game, or serve popcorn as you read it to others. Don’t wait for someonelse to reward you. Reward yourself.

9. Believe in yourself. Say, “I am a writer. I am an author. I am a published author. I am a paid published author. I am an author of a book on the New York Best Sellers list.”

10. Set your goals. “Hitch your wagon to a star. Take a seat and there you are.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson) Focus. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from your goal. If people say that you can’t do it, show them you can. Use your talents to reach your goal. Never give up, no matter what. You are the only one who can stop you from reaching your goal.

Thank you, Pixabay!

I’d love to hear from you. Has revising helped you become a better writer? If you have any questions or things to share, please leave a comment.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2010 Joan Y. Edwards. All rights reserved.
Updated September 19, 2019