Is journaling the secret to productivity? Does our quiet time along with recording our thoughts on paper or computer really generate success?
The answer is a resounding yes if you believe all the blog articles online today. It seems that all one must do is prepare one’s mind and write it down for success and productivity to come knocking on your door. The statements are bold and predictive. It is the secret sauce.
Along with a few moments of mindfulness, journaling is one of the hottest topics on the Internet today. Don’t believe me? Google journaling and see over 42 million returns from articles and videos. Mindfulness returns more than 181 million.
These two topics seem intertwined. Apparently one requires the other to be complete.
Let’s Define the Words
What exactly is mindfulness? Here is the definition.
Learn to pronounce
the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
“their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Okay, what about journaling. What defines it from other writing?
Definition of journal, journaled, journaling
: to keep a personal journal : to enter or record daily thoughts, experiences, etc., in a journal.
As a kid, I journaled about everything from boys to bad haircuts.— Redbook
The principal at the school says since students began journaling last year, poor behavior reports have dropped 40 percent.— Stephanie Stahl
The students engaged in several process discussions to reflect on their service-learning projects, and they journaled their reactions.— Roeper Review
It seems we come down to paying attention and recording what our attention is on. It even seems to stem poor behavior in students. That’s amazing. Why don’t we require prison inmates to journal? I think the reason is that journaling requires mindfulness.
Maybe the act of asking questions and writing about it is a form of journaling. This article might just be the result of conscious awareness and recording my thoughts.
Are your goals stalled? Are you determined to get all your projects defined and prioritized? Do you want a shove?
Well, this isn’t it. I’m in the same boat as all of you. I am a productivity, motivation, time-management, fast-charging, organized wannabe junkie. Surprised? Probably not.
I have been all of these things at different times in my life, for specific periods. But like most people, I sometimes have a hard time tieing it all together.
Goals are just vague wishes if they are not written down and clarified. I’ve written on this subject for years on Business Unusual and Motivation on the Run (both taken down). There are SMART goals and SMARTER goals. Guess what? It doesn’t matter what your goals are, as long as you have them.
SMART was the standard for decades. I first defined SMARTER goals back in March of 2006. Now, everyone has an acronym for SMARTER. Most are revisions of earlier editions with a few minor updates.
I see goals and process as being two sides of the same coin. You can’t have goals without process, and process without goals is just busy work, right? And that’s one of the reasons we resist process so much is that it’s not connected to goals that we care about.
One thing I’ve learned from the brilliant Natasha Vorompiova, who is a systems wizard, is that systems are not created, they are recognized and documented.
Stop and go back and read that again. Slowly. What is your take on those statements? Could the difficult task of accomplishing goals come down to recognizing, documenting, and implementing better processes?
As is said many times, productivity is not getting a lot of stuff done; it is getting the right things done. I can’t tell you how often I look up at the end of the day and see that I’ve gotten a lot of stuff done, but didn’t push a single goal forward. I’ll bet you’ve experienced the same issue.
It is frustrating but inevitable. It will happen no matter your to-do list, your goal list, or what program or notebook you use. It will happen.
So what. Do you quit and give up. Of course not. Life happens over and over again. We can’t stop it from diverting our attention regularly, but eventually, we must get back on track.
Go back, look at our goals, make sure we have projects defined for each goal and next action. If not, how are you supposed to know how to push your life forward?
What is motivation? It is tough to define and even harder to come by. Motivation comes from the inside. I’ve received some negative feedback on this, but I can not give you motivation. ONLY you can motivate yourself.
I can encourage you. I can offer to brainstorm ideas, goals, or projects, but that is not motivation.
I can threaten you if I have that power over you, but that is not motivation.
I can offer you incentives, but that is not motivation.
Only you can be motivated. Only you can stop procrastination. Only you can decide to push forward with a project or goal to the conclusion.
How much controversy can we cause around this topic? People often cite truisms about time management.
Time is finite and can’t be managed.
We all have the same twenty-four hours in a day.
Time is a master that can’t free you from its bonds.
Of course, how you manage your time does affect what you get done in the course of your life. But sometimes, time is not yours. It belongs to your house, your spouse, your kids, your boss, your job. Owning a home requires a lot of time. If you doubt it, ask a homeowner. Spouses and children can demand a lot of your time. Your job and boss (if you have one) take up about a third of your life for over fifty years. Think about that one.
In defense of spouse and kids, they should be your number one goal anyway. But it is time spent. Do you ignore them in search of productivity at work? Do you trade the time for your kid’s ballgame for another meeting?
I’m don’t want to preach here, but these are decisions we make every day.
Then one day you wake up and time has slipped by, and you have to take stock of where you are.
My favorite part of this is the organization. Without it, none of the others have a shot. But how do you get organized? Is it something we do? Maybe something we decide or think about? Is it a tool or piece of software?
Maybe it’s writing each thing on a separate 3″x 5″ card and spending the afternoon arranging and rearranging them over and over again.
To get clear on who you are, what you want, and what do you want to be? This begins the journey of organizing. Then determine how to get to that place.
Who You Are?
Who are you? What makes you happy? What makes you sad? Are you a doer or a procrastinator? Exactly, who are you?
I believe it is challenging to make plans and get them organized if you aren’t aware of who you are and your personality. It doesn’t matter what those answers are, but only you can determine how to move forward to get what you want. Once that is done, you can begin to organize or get things in order.
What Do You Want?
What do you want is the hardest question for me to answer. What do I want? There are so many and so few. There are physical and spiritual. There are easy things to acquire and tricky items to desire.
Matthew 6 says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth …” How strict or legalistic do you want to be with this verse? It can affect what you want in a way that is different than a what you desire list.
Those questions lead directly to the last question.
Who Do You Want to Be?
Who do you want to be? Think about that in a completed life context. This question is for long-term.
What do you want people to say at your funeral type long-term thinking? Of course, we have to think about next month, next year, and the next few years, but what about the end?
I’m not sure I fully comprehend the magnitude of this question, but I struggle with it and think about it.
Introspection is not my strong suit. In fact, it is not something I even like to discuss, so I won’t. But think about it. How can you organize your life if you don’t know who you are, what you want, and who you want to become?
Let’s Finish This
When you think about it, this is some serious stuff. Deciding on your life goals, building processing, and to do lists from these to get them done. It requires motivation and time-management, but more importantly, organization.
What do you think? Am I off? Am I strange in my thinking?
The chemotherapy caused his death. I was sure of it. One day we were talking normally in the hospital, and the next day, after the treatment, he couldn’t even speak. He seemed scared and lost. Then the doctors decided to send him home to die. And he did.
RIP Ray Edward “Dink” Hendrick Jr. Born August 18, 1931, in Shamrock, Texas. Died January 24, 1990, in Wheeler, Texas. Both are in Wheeler County. However, there were many miles and many places between the two events.
In thinking about events to share, I decided to cut the hundreds down to two. These were in the first five that popped into my head and seemed appropriate.
Scout Camping Trip
The Boy Scout week-long camping trip to New Mexico was a great example. The boys ranged from age 11 to about 17 at that time. I was the Scoutmaster, and my Dad and several other dads accompanied us on this memorable trip. We worked on many merit badges from cooking to wilderness survival. All the dads were great, but one story stands out in my brain.
We were cooking breakfast one morning and one of the younger boys, on his first trip, was horseplaying around the fire. All was fine until he kicked up dirt into the cooking food. Dad quickly made it known that horseplay was fine, but not around the food. He made sure the boy got the message and as a result, the running and jumping around took place far away from the food after that.
My First Hunting Trip
Hunting was one of Dad’s passions, especially quail. I remember my first time hunting with him.
The car was loaded, and we were heading from Spearman, Texas to Wheeler County. I was about twelve at the time. Leaving the house, Dad drove through downtown and pulled in at the Western Auto store and went in by himself.
When he came out, he was carrying a long, narrow box. Getting into the car, he handed me the box and said, “Don’t mess with it now. We’ll go over what you need to know when we get to Shamrock. In the box was a Springfield Model 18 410 shotgun. It was a beauty with a bolt action and perfectly sized for a twelve-year-old boy. I was in heaven.
Gun and hunting safety was first and foremost with Dad, and I learned from him. I don’t remember if I shot any birds that first trip, but I had a great time with Dad in the field that weekend.
Then there was the trip in the big truck and trailer full of equipment. It was the summer of 1961, and Dad invited me to go along. The story revolves around me, refusing to eat anything but pancakes and hamburgers.
And the time he bought me a set of junior golf clubs and asked me to play with him on a real golf course.
And the baseball saga, or skateboard crashes, and the time my bicycle handlebars came off mid-jump and Dad welded the pieces back together.
I could tell dozens of more stories about him that shaped my life, but I will refrain for now.
Dad called it a Hippiwampus. I’m not sure where that name was birthed, but it seemed to fit. What started as a typical 1956 Plymouth Suburban Station Wagon was now a full blown hunting buggy, with no resemblance to the former station wagon.
Dad was a serious, quail hunter. I don’t think he ever missed opening day of hunting season. Once he even quit a job because they wouldn’t let him off. It was that big a deal to him.
In the early sixties, he bought a 1956 Plymouth Station Wagon for Mom to drive. Later he bought her a 1960 Ford Wagon, and he took over the Plymouth. It became his daily driver, but he had plans. Plans that would forever change the look of this car.
The modifications took place in Amarillo, Texas in the mid to late nineteen sixties. Dad worked at a big welding shop in town, and over many weekends, he transformed the vehicle to something else. I wish I had pictures.
Dad bought the wagon when we lived in Aurora, Colorado. He and mom were planning, to my knowledge, our first big two-week family vacation. I was nine, and my sister was four.
It was two-tone silver/gray and blue with four doors, a V-8 (272 ci. I believe) and a three-speed standard transmission with a column shifter. It was roomy, and the four of us headed out by the northern route ending in Oregon. Then down to California and eventually back through Texas by the southern way. Returning to Colorado two weeks later with five of us. We picked up a cousin in California who came to stay part of the summer.
Mom drove the car for years afterward. First in Colorado, then in Spearman, Texas, and finally in Amarillo. By then, it was a high-mileage car by the standard of the day, and Dad, in about 1965, decided to move Mom up to a1960 Ford Wagon. That’s when he took over the Plymouth. It was a back-and-forth to work car for a few years.
His first move was to shorten the wheelbase. He cut the body off immediately behind the front doors and chopped the frame and drive shaft to match. Dad found a wrecked mid-fifties pickup cab that he cut apart at the back in order to keep the rear window glass. Then he welded it to the back of the cut off wagon. The old cab had black paint, and he didn’t bother to change anything.
Now the car was shortened where the drive shaft was less than a foot long, and Dad continued to drive it back and forth to work. But this was only the beginning.
He built a small bed to cover the rear frame in front of the rear wheels. He carried a chain and a tire tool in it, though I don’t remember a spare tire,
Next Steps, More Mods
A good friend of Dad’s spent a weekend each month in Little Sahara, Oklahoma. Dad decided it would be fun to take the Plymouth along and see how it did in the sand. It turns out regular street tires aren’t that good in the loose sand.
Back home, Dad gathered a set of wheels, and after cutting them apart, he added a 4″ spacer to the front wheels and a 6″ spacer to the back rims. With some bigger, wider tires, the buggy was taking shape.
We took it on several hunting trips after that, and it was an excellent quail hunting buggy.
By this time, I had my license, and I got to drive it some. It was fun because of two things: the short wheelbase made it quick handling, and with all the weight off the back, it would really burn rubber. Hey, I was fifteen.
But Wait, There’s More
Dad spied a 1954 Ford Pickup a buddy at work was selling. The price was reasonable, so Dad bought it. He’d been without a pickup for a few years and was ready for another. By the way, it was an awesome pickup, but more on that another time.
He decided the roof and cab on the ’56 Plymouth buggy was no longer needed so the cutting torch came out again and off they came. Now it was a short wheel-based convertible buggy. That lasted about six months.
On a particular hunting trip, Dad was feeling bad, so we were cutting across a field, driving the hunting buggy, to get to a tree row. Suddenly, we spooked a covey of quail and Dad slammed on the brakes, grabbed his shotgun and in getting out of the buggy, the shotgun barrel hit the A-pillar and kept him from getting out of the driver’s seat.
That was the day, using his 12 gauge shotgun, the windshield was removed. Honestly, he shot it off with four or five shots.
Don’t believe the cop shows on television showing the police hiding behind the car door and remaining safe from all the flying bullets. Pure nonsense. Bullets will pierce the metal quicker than you can believe.
We kept the buggy for a couple more years, and then Dad sold it to someone who wanted a project. It was definitely that.
Writing on a tablet with a portable Bluetooth keyboard is easier than ever. Of late, I have to work from different locations daily. This situation has forced me back to my ASUS tablet and the Logitech keyboard. I wrote an article on the combination of the two of them earlier this year. They make a formidable pair.
Let’s Talk Weight
My current laptop is a seven-year-old 13.3″ ASUS Zenbook (named Zeus) that weighs in at 3.2 lbs. It is thin and light, but not as easy to carry as a 9.7″ tablet and small keyboard. First, the charging cable is larger, and second, the battery is getting weaker as it ages. It is still the original battery. I have upgraded the hard drive from a 128 GB SSD to a 480 GB SSD. The battery will probably be the next replacement required. I’m not sure I can upgrade the RAM, but it would be nice.
Back to the Keyboard
The Logitech Keys-to-Go Bluetooth keyboard is the ultimate in thin and light. I have the one made specifically for Android that seems to no longer be available on Amazon. They made the blue one for Android, a red one for iPad, and a black one for Windows. The Windows keyboard is the only one showing up on Amazon now. They are all interchangeable, but each has a few special keys set aside for OS functions specific to each one.
My amazement continues as I use this keyboard and in how easy it is to type. The keys have a good feel and enough travel to let you know the key is depressed. The built-in battery lasts a long time, then a quick connection to a charger with a Micro USB connector puts the green light back on. It is a fantastic device.
Living in the Past
I used a 12.1″ Dell laptop for about eight years, so I’m used to a smaller keyboard. It was my work and personal laptop, and I loved it. I had to retire it when both hinges broke. A sad day.
The Logitech keyboard is even smaller than the one on “Baby Dell,” but the spacing on the keys is enough to touch type. I’m not as fast as I was when I was typing every day, but it is getting better with each use.
Fresh and Cool
I have used this combination for a few days now, writing in the WordPress Android app. Currently, this works because I have WiFi available. The WordPress app requires a connection to the website but has no offline function. The app would not even open when I tried it last year. I’m not sure what I will do when I end up somewhere with no connection. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there, I guess.
I have enjoyed writing regularly again. It gets my brain active, and after a bit, the creative juices begin to flow. It is something I have missed.
Back to Writing
When writing, I use the Grammarly app as well as the Hemmingway app. I have not figured out an easy way to incorporate either into this portable writing process. When I have completed writing on the tablet, I upload it as a draft to my WordPress site and finish formatting on my laptop. By uploading the document, I can check the grammar and sentence structure before publishing. So far, the process seems to work.
I know there is a Grammarly keyboard for Android, but I don’t think it will work while I’m using the Logitech keyboard. I may have to experiment with that.
Since I have committed to getting my writing chops back in shape, this combination is helpful. I throw them in a small bag and head out the door. The bag has a charger and cables for the tablet and phone, so no need to remember to grab extras.
I will try to give an update as I continue this new journey.
What portable tech are you using? I’m always open to new ideas.
Oh, and you DO name your tech devices, don’t you? Or is it just me?
I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were two of them just sitting there. They were gorgeous.
My wife and I were driving up Buchanan Street in Amarillo, Texas. She spotted them first. The gasp caught my attention, but by looking over at her, I missed what was to my left.
“Circle the block!” she said. “What?” I asked. “Just do it. You’ll be glad.”
Buchanan was a one-way street heading north, so I made a couple of blocks to get back to where she directed.
They were Gorgeous
I gasped in excitement as we approached the used car lot on the corner. One a Forest Green convertible and the other a dark Maroon with a White vinyl top. Both two-door, both beautiful.
I pulled into the lot next to the two and got out to look closer. I approached the convertible, and it had a 390 badge on the front fender and a four-speed on the floor between the two creamy White bucket seats. I believe my heart skipped a beat. The other had a black interior with a front bench and an automatic shifter on the column. It also had the 390 badge on the front fender.
A Matched Pair
“Looks like a perfect his and her matched pair,” I said. “One for you and one for me.”
Of course, it was just a pipe dream. We couldn’t afford one car like this, let alone two. They were impeccable. Perfect bodies, beautiful trim, and even the engine bays were clean. I found myself lusting after them. Somehow. Some way.
The salesman approached with a great, big smile. You know the one they get when a new victim prospect enters.
“I’m just admiring the matched set,” I spoke first. “They are beauties.”
He said, “We just got them this morning. They’ll go fast. If you’re interested, You better grab ’em fast.”
I don’t remember the prices now after forty-eight years, but it was apparent we couldn’t afford either.
Today, that pair would be worth a fortune on the auction block.
Oh, what were they?
A beautiful pair of 1964 Ford Galaxie 500s. Fantastic in every way but affordability. At least for us.