Deep Work*

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Sketches for Book 2 illustrations

Doing deep, meaningful work requires a lot of time in quiet solitude.

I’ve been procrastinating and distracting myself from my deep work (National Board Certification, writing and illustrating Book 2).

So, I shall remove the distractions: posting and reading feeds in social media (FB, Twitter) and checking (and re-checking) the news. Honestly, reading the news and getting upset is not helping anyone. But somehow, I believed that being up to date on current events was being good citizen. As long as my vote is informed, I’m good.

Now, on with the deep work…will you join me? What are your distractions and excuses?

 

 

*Cal Newport

Bullet Journal and Financial Tips

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Thought I’d take a chance and be vulnerable. Share.

Above, my journal entry for yesterday and today.

Below, my financial tips that have helped my husband and me reach our goal of $1,000,000.

I know it’s totally taboo in America to talk about salary and net worth. But I really want to help people who struggle with money. 

I’m a teacher, for Pete’s sakes.

I don’t make a lot, but I also don’t spend a lot. I started my career in radio and I made $17,000 a year. I ate pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner until I developed a food allergy. Of course, I was unable to save for retirement during that time. I don’t have regrets: I met Gloria Steinem (she’s a goddess!), the lead singer of Simply Red (he was a jerk) and Lou Diamond Phillips (swoon)!  I befriended Steve, our Program Director, who encouraged me to be a writer. So, I don’t regret that year, but it was an entire year that I did not save or invest money.

My next job: administrative assistant in a money managing firm. Wow, did I learn a lot. I learned about stocks and investing and I started my 401K.

There are two things I recommend you do ASAP:

  1. Start a financial spreadsheet with every asset you own…how much you own. Also, keep track of your debt (credit cards, mortgage, etc.) and make a plan to pay them off immediately.
  2. Another Must Do: start an IRA. Contribute to your company’s 401K.

If you can, find an excellent financial advisor. We did this and I attribute much of our success and wealth to him. You’ll need to do research and be financially savvy. NEVER simply hand over your finances to someone. ALWAYS know what is going on with your money! And don’t be shy about telling him/her what you want to sell and what you want to purchase.

Owe Vs. Own

Guess which one you want to grow?

Maybe you have a lot of debt. Maybe you have no debt but very little savings. Whatever you dream for yourself, you can do it! Just make a plan and begin.

Podcast for Artists and Consultants

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I’ve been following Seth Godin’s work for many years. He just gets better and better. This podcast episode got me jazzed. If you’re considering freelancing or being an entrepreneur (or if you believe they are synonyms(!)) this podcast is for you:

“Freelancers”

Here are notes from the podcast:

First of all, entrepreneurs are people who start companies, make money while they sleep and employ people. Freelancers actually create the work and usually work alone (might shop out aspects of their work, but mostly do it themselves). When he said this, I realized I am definitely not an entrepreneur! But being a freelancer resonated with me when it comes to my personality and goals.

Choose an industry that is glad to see you arrive.

Possess hard-earned skills.  You can charge a lot, but deliver more than what people pay for. 

Focus on the smallest viable audience – not a large one [This is the opposite of what so many failed businesses do!]. As a freelancer, you can only handle so much. This small group of people (your customers) will talk about you and wait in line for you.

Commit to the discipline of prospecting – you need to do your work and spend time getting work (building your business). Dedicate some time every day to honing your skills, finding new tools, spreading the word, earning the privilege of working for others (NOT networking parties).

Godin uses an example: He knows a photographer who shoots in a specific location at specific times and only those for clients. She

What gets you picked is you being in the Category of One. No one can substitute you. Get beyond being One of Many. Do quirky, unique, exceptional work – work that sounds like you, looks like you….the work that most people do not like. (Are you trying too hard to be liked by everyone?)

Attitude, Focus and Sweat

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Photo by Rob Mulally

An important skill taught in Driver’s Education courses is to keep one’s eyes where one wants to go (the safe place) and not on obstacles that one wants to avoid. For example, if your car starts to skid out of control, don’t focus on the tree you’re afraid of crashing into, but on the open road. If you focus on the tree, that’s where you’ll end up.

In life, that tree can be a metaphor for the last decades of our lives. We tend to focus on fears such as, “What if I don’t have enough money to retire?”

We live in a youth-centered society. We don’t take care of our elderly very well. So it’s no wonder so many of us fear growing old (despite the fact that it’s inevitable if we don’t die first).

When we choose to stop focusing on aging (and limitations), and start focusing on The Possibilities, fascinating things can happen:

Annie Proulx, this year’s winner of the National Book Award, and author of Brokeback Mountain and The Shipping News, did not start seriously writing until she was 58. (Bigthink)

In the middle of his prolific career as inventor and businessman, Thomas Edison’s plant was burned down by a fire – all of his work was gone. What was his reaction?

“Although I am over 67 years old, I’ll start all over again tomorrow.”

And he did, the very next day. He didn’t even let any of his employees go. Edison and his team made $10 million the very next year. (BusinessInsider)

What are you going to focus on?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CITATIONS

http://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/how-the-mind-body-connection-determines-how-you-age

http://www.businessinsider.com/thomas-edison-in-the-obstacle-is-the-way-2014-5