Hack your Day; Find More Time To Thrive

Originally posted on Medium: Check it out below along with other recent posts!

Matthew Wetmore: Medium

Productivity Hacks: Find More Time And Motivation To Thrive!

There is no doubt that all of us (even Gary Vaynerchuk…I think?) need downtime.

The world moves fast. We live in a business economy which is “always-on”. This 24/7 lifestyle has allowed us to innovate and grow businesses in new and creative ways. Problems have also been created which eat away at our most valuable asset: time.

The depths of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and the many other social outlets we use to share interesting yet often purposeless information with each other, deprive us our this valuable asset.

Many of us are in front of a screen long before sun up and far after sunrise. To dig into the negatives here requires an entire post of its own. That will be later this month.

Today I want to focus on how to hack into your daily life and make the necessary changes to find more time for whats important to you. Whether it’s time with family, playing with the kids, a forgotten passion or hobby, anything.

I also want to identify ways which I have learned to motivate myself when I feel the body and mind begin to fade. We all know the feeling at 2–2:30PM when the mind melts from existence into the ever too familiar food coma/sugar crash. You rush for caffeine but sometimes that’s no use. The damage has been done.

I write this with 0 intention of sharing diet/nutrition tips for energy maintenance, that also deserves its own article. Another good idea for later this month.

Let’s start with a few I’ve applied in my life and am yet to feel even slightly “disconnected”.

Quit The TV

This is sort of the “have your cake and eat it too” dilemma except with devices.

We have too much! Phones, laptops, tablets, TV’s, monitors, our lives are far to encompassed by screens which often eat away at our dreams.

The day I sold my TV was also the day I was no longer the “I read before bed” type of guy. That guy never learns.

Can you think of anything else you could do instead of melting into mind-numbing television each day of your life? With a little willpower, I’m certain you can; you’ll be glad you did.

Exercise

Write

Read

Cook

Clean

Organize

Work more..? (I know, this is not specific enough for you, me either but it’s staying)

I’m not saying TV is bad. I’m saying I hear so many people say they don’t have the time yet Netflix shows and Criminal Minds is a “priority”? Please don’t complain.

I credit the removal of my TV from the bedroom with improved sleep, better focus, improved mindfulness, and a deeper understanding of my goals and purpose.

I also credit it for the 50+ books I’ve read in both audio and paper format this year. I’ve learned a lot… I’ve never been more grateful for this in my life.

TV sucks anyway. With our phones and laptops able to access practically everything on cable TV, what’s the point? I’m not saying to spend MORE time on your laptop and phone watching TV, but avoid the distraction all together and establish disciplines with your TV consumption.

Detox from Social Media OR Limit Its Use With Intent

A TED talk I watched about the negative implications of social media fascinated me. I realized I was no longer posting on Instagram or Facebook and that Snapchat was just a time-suck. I told myself, “If I’m not adding or gaining anything of substantial value, why am I using it so much?”

I deleted them from my phone that day. I still “check” both, often at night, but only on my personal laptop instead of my phone all day.

No more rabbit hole. No more lost seconds, minutes, hours, and probably days of life. The lack of distractions alone has been tremendous.

Instead, I read and review articles/content/news on sites I prefer. Oh, I do use LinkedIn which has been rather engaging as of late.

Try a week away from social media. Try the “desktop only” method.

If it’s apart of your brand, business, or maybe you’re striving to become an influencer of some sort; fine. This isn’t for you.

For me, the lack of true productivity on these platforms led to a decision to give it up and see what happens.

The major downside? Lack of contribution to communities and groups I belong to. Facebook, for example, I will sit and comment/engage in one sitting opposed to checking throughout the day. I find I add more value this way.

I personally never had a problem with Twitter, nor used it very often, so I decided to keep it and actually start “tweeting”.

It won’t be easy and you may not even like it yet I’m certain you’ll find the same value as I did.

Listen To Motivational Videos/Programs

YouTube is king here.

Whether you’re into “self-help” books or not. Motivational content is a great way to find inspiration when energy is low.

Jocko Willink, Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Les Brown, Joe Rogan, Gary Vaynerchuk, I could go forever.

Search their names on YouTube combined with motivation and listen to a few. Not only will you be motivated but inspired to continue to improve yourself.

Do this when you’re feeling the day get away from you. It’ll help you maintain focus and prevail when the chips are down.

It’s easy to work hard when it’s easy, it’s how you react when things are NOT going well which defines you.

Take control of you’re time and own your day. Don’t allow your precious life to dwindle from the constant stimulation of input from the lives of others.

Creative and curious people can change the world. It’s difficult to be curious OR creative when we are constantly stimulated by other peoples ideas instead of our own.

Pay attention to the world and make more progress each day!

A Book To Build Creative Skills And Become A Writer

“Empty Your Mind To Free Your Soul” — Matthew Wetmore

A Book Recommendation To Build Creative Skills And Become A Writer

One afternoon I perused around my local bookstore to poke around at some of the latest book releases. This happened to be right around the time that I desired to become a better writer but didn’t have many tools.

I was missing the classics; Elements of Style, Writing Tools, On Writing, and many others.

I’m glad I can say I’ve since read, applied, and continue to use these almost every day as I work on my craft.

Again, I walked around with no intention at the time but one book stuck out.

How to be a Writer — Building your creative skills through practice and play, by Barbara Baig

I almost didn’t buy it. I googled it and only found a few results and nearly psyched myself out. But I did; this book never left my side all summer.

Barbara Baig is a devoted writer and teacher. She was the Writing instructor at Harvard Divinity School for 20+ years and is now teaching in the MFA Program at Lesley University.

Freewriting

If you have any desire to write you need to start here.

Freewriting does WONDERS for your creative skills and helps you escape your mind. When you freewrite you allow yourself to think freely and your mind to flow into new dimensions of thought that are unable to be obtained unless you enter the deep, focused state of mind.

Do this for just 10 minutes. Write about your day, your week, your life, your relationship; anything you want.

An important thing to note is not to stop writing. Keep the pen or pencil moving. This won’t be easy at first but you’ll learn that the more you “think” when you write, the harder it is for words to come to your mind.

Focused Freewriting

This is an excellent way to study, prepare for a meeting, learn new subjects, and assess your own level of knowledge.

No matter what subject you are studying or interested in, focused freewriting can help you find information and knowledge on a particular subject that you may not be aware you know.

Often times our subconscious mind holds on to a TON of information with which the only way to access it is through deep stimulation.

A good example of this would be remembering character names from movies, books, or TV shows. Another would be the quote you loved so much by your favorite philosopher.

Write your topic at the top, set your timer for 10–15 minutes (or however long you’re comfortable with) and begin. Don’t stop writing until the time is up.

Try writing about a favorite vacation, experience, memory, or freewrite for new blog ideas.

Another way to use focused freewriting is to apply it to get in the “zone” for your job. I worked in cyber security and used this method to learn the technology, lingo, and get my mind ready to discuss security with people much smarter than I.

Why I Recommend Her Book

This book forever changed how I approach writing. It’s made my 1,000 words/day goal a piece of cake. I’m somewhere around 3,000 words today.

I’m also up late on a Monday writing this for my day 4/30 posting on Medium and my blog.

This book showed me how much I had to learn about writing, the world, and myself. Writers are vulnerable people who often see life through a lens which only words can explain.

Barbara will teach you how to look at the world in a new way. Take the journey into this book to expand your curiosity, learn more, have fun, and continue to grow as a writer.

Whether you write blogs, fiction, nonfiction, or poetry there is a place for Baig’s book in your library.

Have you read it before? What did you think? Share below or comment and let me know how you use freewriting in your life!

Lessons Learned From Julia Camerons “Artist’s Way Morning Pages”

Lessons Learned from Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages”

Discipline

It takes willpower and discipline to wake up every morning early enough to write three hand-written long-form style pages each morning. It takes anywhere from 45–60 minutes on most days (sometimes more).

In order to do this productively I would; wake up at 5AM, drink a bottle of water, wash my face, brush my teeth, make my bed, write my 5 minute journal, make a cup of coffee or tea, do 10 push ups(at a minimum), stretch for 5–10 minutes, and then sit down to write.

With ambient sounds or acoustic music playing, I would gently flow into the art of writing my three lovely, sometimes irksome, morning pages.

The act of waking up early and focusing on important areas of my life has been and remains key to my joy each day.

I Can Write

Thanks, Jeff Goins. Check out his book, “You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One).

I wrote for years without much intention or purpose. A lot of which for personal growth, reflection, and education. It helps me find meaning in business, books, relationships, and life.

Then I started freelance writing and realized I had a LOT to learn. Grammar, copywriting, print, advertisements, email marketing; the list goes on and on.

I’ve written well over 400,000 words (maybe more, maybe less) this year which is an accomplishment I’m rather proud of.’

Much of this has been from my daily habit of writing. Thank you morning pages for the confidence to call myself a writer.

Enhanced Creativity

I never thought I was creative even though I always craved creation.

I enjoyed art, liked poetry, loved the design, and was a passionate writer. The problem was my lack of education to make things of my own.

Morning pages expanded my curiosity, creative capabilities, interests, and most importantly understand myself.

Use morning pages to plan your day, settle your emotions, think of new ways to work on relationships in your life, identify skills to work on, and unleash the power of your creative mind.

Be creative with your writing. Don’t judge your own work. Let yourself break the rules and do things against what you were taught in school.

Try writing in cursive, different sizes, do a bit of drawing, make lists, set goals, and anything else you can think of.

Try New Things

One of the best parts of the morning pages experience is the infamous “artist date”. An individual 2-hour exploration of a creative interest of your desire.

This can be a drawing class, yoga, meditation, painting, acting, a tour of a local attraction; anything you love to do and that will inspire creativity and new ideas.

Cameron says this is the most important aspect of rediscovering your creative interests. The only way to find comfort in creativity is to try new things.

The best artist date for me this summer was a chance to be on TV! I made it!

I appeared in several episodes of Good Behavior, a TNT show, as a club patron and pedestrian!

This was by far my favorite experience of the year and something I will be grateful for and remember for the rest of my life.

If you are interested in expanding your curiosity, creativity, or maybe you want a unique way to discover more about yourself; check out Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way!

Follow me on my blog or find more of my writing on Medium!