Jim Woods

Personal Productivity To Help You Live A Better Story

How To Create A Great Story

Photo by Jens Knudsen (Creative Commons)
Photo by Jens Knudsen (Creative Commons)

There are many, many stories out there.

Stories surround us everywhere–if we just take the time to notice them.

But a great story stands out from the rest.

It becomes a part of you.

It has pieces of your own story within the story.

One example is Cormac McCarthy’s The Road a story about the relationship between a father and a son.

Because of this relationship, if you are a father or a son, the story draws you in closer and connects with you more.

Great stories are personal and connect us to the past, present or future. 

Conflict is another requirement, as there has to be a problem to solve or a challenge to face.

Without conflict, nothing happens and the plot does not move forward.

Great stories require some form of tension.

Tension must include strong emotion such as: life, death, love or loneliness.

Lousy stories bore us.

Why?

Because they don’t connect us to these powerful emotions.

An unclear story causes confusion.

The question must be asked…

What kind of stories are you telling?

What kind of stories are you sharing?

The words you write and stories you tell must be shared or they are not stories–rather they are just internal dialogues in your head.

You have a story to share and I want to help you do it.

I have an awesome course called Write Publish Share coming soon in October!

This course will help you write, publish and share your story.

I’ll take you through the entire process of writing a book and even help you share it with the world.

Want a sneak preview of this course? Just sign up in the red and white pop up box to the right or below and you’ll soon get special access to it!


The 3 Steps You Gotta Take To Achieve Your Dreams, Finish Projects and Actually Get Work Done

Photo by Eva The Weaver (Creative Commons)

Photo by Eva The Weaver (Creative Commons)

1. Put butt in chair.

2. Turn off wireless on your computer.

3. Do the work. (A timer is optional but HIGHLY recommended just like coffee.)

You already know what work you need to do.

If you’re not sure, do whatever makes the most sense to you.

Stop with the excuses.

Go do it.

 

After you do some work, will you share what you are up to in the comments? I’d love to hear about it!

Productivity for Rule Breakers

I’m a rule breaker at heart. Give me a rule and I’ll tell you why the rule should be broken. Yet I also love productivity—at least the ideas and concepts behind it.

How do I make these two concepts go together? Simple, I break the rules.

You’ve likely heard of the Pomodoro technique where you work in 25 minute increments, take a short break, and then after four sessions of work, take a longer break.

In action, the method could look like this:

Work (25 min)—> Twitter (5 min)—>Work (25 min)—>Facebook (5 min)—> Work (25 min)

But one day I thought to myself, ‘what if I were to change the Pomodoro technique?’ So naturally I then threw out a few of the rules. What if I take a break first? Sure it’s a little weird, but I like having dessert before dinner sometimes.

It’s time to color outside the lines and break a few rules.

Here’s my take on the Pomodoro technique:

Twitter (15 min)—>Work (30 min)—>Facebook (15 min)—>Work (30 min)—>Walk (15 min)

On some days a work session could even look like this:

Twitter (25 min)—>Work (45 min)—>Facebook (20 min)—>Work (45 min)—>Walk (15 min)

To accomplish this, I use a free timer app called Apimac Timer.

Confession time: I was very hesitant to use a timer, because too many boundaries can feel overwhelming.

But the truth is, boundaries are necessary to finish your work. So I limit myself to 45 minutes of social media per day. To accomplish this, I’ve been using StayFocusd, a plugin for Google Chrome that sets a timer on the sites you know are addictive, then blocks them when time is up. You can’t even get onto those websites until the next day.

You can just adjust the time for each session to whatever amount you’d like. Just be sure to do it in smaller increments, don’t randomly jump from 25 minutes to 55 minutes. If even 25 minutes is overwhelming, set the timer for an amount you know you can achieve.

The take away: Don’t compare your specific approach to someone else’s. Just do what you must to get your work done.

 

Why I Don’t Want an Apple Watch and You Probably Shouldn’t Either

Yesterday in a special event Apple came out with their very first smart watch. The Internet lit up with buzz for the new shiny toy everyone wants to have. This unique device offers more apps and features than any other smart watches on the market today.

It’s an amazing piece of technology and it’s absolutely gorgeous. If you haven’t seen it, check it out here in this video.

YouTube Preview Image

But as cool as this product is, I don’t remotely want one.

Why? Because of one word–focus.

It’s already been documented that each of us looks at our smart phones about 100 to 200 times a day and we also check our phones every six minutes. Now with this smart watch, we get to look at our our wrist 1,000 times a day. Sure, you may be able to keep your phone in your pocket some by using this watch, but since there is no keyboard on it, your phone will still be required for many tasks.

The vibration technology on the Apple Watch simply adds to the distraction as well. Make no mistake, to have a smart watch is an invitation for bright shiny object syndrome to set up camp on your body.

Focus is the biggest problem we struggle with today.

I want less distraction. I want more focus. Don’t you?

We are already tied to our phones, and to our computers. To add another device is just another way to kill focus. I refuse to be tied to three devices.

Our attention spans are finite. Mental energy is extremely hard to gauge and needs to be valued, not ignored.

I know there is no way I can really be present if I have the ultimate distraction attached to my wrist.

This is not to say all technology is evil. Technology is a tool to be used to get things done. I love Apple and have owned many of their products over the years.

I do think this watch is cool in a modernized Dick-Tracy kind of way. But that still doesn’t mean I want to strap the ultimate distraction to my body.

I recently released a book that talks in depth about how to increase our focus, called Hit the Mark. I firmly stand behind the message of the book. It’s time to improve focus, boost energy and make the most of your time. The Apple Watch will not do this for me.

I want to continually improve focus and do better work. I want to live a more fulfilled life, not a more distracted one. Don’t you?

How do you feel about the Apple Watch?

From The Creative Capital of the World To A Small Town in Ohio

Photo by Mark Englebracht (Creative Commons)

Photo by Mark Englebracht (Creative Commons)

Almost one month ago I packed my bags, loaded everything on a moving truck and left what is easily one of the largest creative communities in the world. Now I reside in a town that doesn’t even have a Target or a Starbucks.

So much has changed in less than four weeks.

Change used to paralyze me. I would give into analysis paralysis and freeze in my tracks. I  gave up a steady salary and replaced it with loads of uncertainty. A couple weeks ago, I turned down what I thought was the job I was going to transition to. I abandoned my backup plan, my safety net.

Closing on our house in Nashville has been delayed for the fourth time and instead of sitting around waiting for this questionable buyer, I decided to just put the house back up on the market. Uncertainty again continues to surround me everywhere I look. But some how, some way, I’m at peace with it.

I can honestly say I’ve never been happier, despite now living with so much uncertainty.

Over the last month, I feel like I have accomplished more professionally than I have in over 15 years in accounting. Maybe I’m being irresponsible. Maybe I’m a bit crazy. Thankfully, my amazing wife is beyond supportive and I know in my heart God is the one orchestrating all of this, so I would have to be really crazy not to listen.

And I have a feeling this only the beginning…

If you want to support this wild adventure, prayers and encouragement are greatly appreciated. If you’d like to donate financially you can Paypal me here or purchase my brand new book with Erik which released yesterday.

Thank you so much for your support!

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