A single giggle started the insanity…

This was neither the time nor the place.

A school board meeting was supposed to put people to sleep.

Instead, George had stood on a chair to reach the microphone. And being a little top-heavy, more than a little nervous, and all of seven years old, he wobbled a bit, leaned to catch his balance, and–thwonk–George’s forehead and the microphone collided.

He steadied himself and, still dazed, looked at the seven board members.

He was ready to present.

And then…the giggle.

From the back of the room.

And another one just in front of the first.

And two rows forward, a third.

The board members’ eyes shifted from George to the upwelling of amusement.

THIS…was not on the agenda.


[Should I continue?]

The 15-Minute Experiment [follow-up]

I’m on the 15 minute clock right now, so let’s see how it goes…


With a digital countdown hovering, I really did accomplish more than on other days.

For starters, I felt I needed to honor every minute of my three reading sessions. I actually finished articles and chapters, including one on Twitter use for reluctant writers [or is it writers who are reluctant to use Twitter…I’ll get back to you on that.]. Without the experiment, I would have skimmed the article and drifted away after five minutes. [I am, after all, a classic victim Nicholas Carr describes in The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brain.

One hitch in my schedule: I had forgotten that I had signed up for a publishing webinar. Still the experiment attuned me to making efficient use of my work time, so I made sure to nail down two ‘to-do’ list items and exerbiked while watching and taking sweaty notes on the webinar. Not a pretty thing, this drive for productivity.

I also felt compelled to dedicate 15 late-night minutes to a list item I hadn’t addressed during normal hours.

Interesting, however, is my much lower productivity level today, at least in terms of writing and publishing. [Of course, grinding through the formatting of my file for my ebook does leave me with a less-than-accomplished feeling. But grind away, I did.]

On the upside, I have written and mailed five personal notes, completely decluttered my kitchen counter, and dove into my closet to donate over a dozen pieces of clothing for  the local St. Vincent de Paul store. I’m hoping that will score higher at the pearly gates [yes, it is quite the assumption.] than publishing my Kindle book.

All in all, it won’t happen every day, but I liked the way I ratcheted up my focus and the effort is easy to replicate. I’ll be back at it next week and will integrate it with my one focused hour. I also intend to reduce my checklist to ‘Most Important Tasks’.

Curation Station:

The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

How to Be More with Less with Courtney Carver  Feb. 14 Unmistakable Creative Podcast

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains

The 15-Minute Experiment…

“I just know an interruption is around that corner…”


So here’s the deal…I have self-diagnosed my problem: Scattered brain.

I’ll stop at self-diagnosis.

Self-medication could get really ugly and involve empty bags of kettle corn strewn throughout the house.

Today, I’m going with 15-minute work segments.

I opened a new tab in Google Chrome and in the web address box [called the Omnibox, by the way…please bear with my occasional geekness.]

I typed ‘set timer to 15 minutes’ and sure enough a clock started counting down. [Been using that for months, but wanted to share that with you.]

So this blog post is my first work segment.

What other ones have I planned for?

  1. Explore a self-publishing resource I signed up for.
  2. Mindmap to flesh out new book ideas.
  3. Type!! I have tons of content in my notebooks and I feel the need to digitize them. I believe in a previous post I shared a photo of a pile of notebooks that have collected dust over the last year. In there lies a trove [not ready to call it a treasure trove] of ideas that need revisiting.
  4. Publish my Writing Warmups book to Kindle.
  5. Stand over the slow bathroom sink drain and ponder what could go wrong if I dive into that project myself.

Challenges to my experiment?

— My pup who is coming off emergency surgery and needs my vigilant eye to ensure he doesn’t undo the post-op stitchery. He is currently in deep REM state and whimper-barking at some dream-state rodent interloper.

— Need for a nap. Been sleeping on the couch for the last ten days to continue the dog-watch…and tending to his 1:00 AM, 3:00 AM, 5:00 AM backyard visits. [Medications mess up his usual sleep through the night routine.]

— The infernal need to check email.

Update: I have two minutes left in this blog post…You can only hope I’ll pare this down, right?

Back to the to-do list…

  1. Most likely revisit the above items for additional quarter-hour stints.
  2. Morning pages.
  3. Reading from Show Your Work, Making Ideas Happen, Unthink, The Report Card, and Using WordPress.
  4. Check in with flippedlifestyle.com.
  5. Add a blog post to  ednotions.wordpress.com .

Okay, the timer went off and I did some polishing of this. Time to publish and move on to morning pages. Though, of course, there’s the dog…

Will let my thousands [dozens?] [pair?] of readers know how this worked out.

An epiphany…

Character Lightbulbs Represents Power Source And Concepts 3d Ren


I’m 15 minutes past the 15-minute goal. I’ll take this as a good sign…that I can extend my attention span a little further when I need to. [image from blogpiks.com

For the time being, I prefer to not interpret it as inserting distraction into my workday. ;-]


Procrastination (some perspectives)


  1. Steven Pressfield’s top 12 tips on overcoming procrastination. [Thank you, Write to Done.]
  2. From Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist: via Jessica Hische – “The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”
  3. Todd Henry on coping with procrastination


Rabbit Holes and Procrastination

Sat down to write my morning pages.
A good sign: It was actually morning.

Read an article on procrastination and, armed with a number of coping strategies, promptly procrastinated for 40 minutes.
[And really, was reading the article itself an act of procrastination? It’s ugly out there in the land of put-offs. So many unresolved issues…]


Follow me on my tumble down the rabbit hole:

Email from my nephew led to…
∼ Tongue-in-cheek video about the dreariness of the month of February led to…
∼ Tongue-in-cheek video about graffiti in the St. Louis area led to…
∼ Video interview featuring the wife of a slain St. Louis area police officer [I really need to turn off the YouTube ads/related videos** led to…
∼ News footage immediately after his shooting led to…
∼ News article about the shooting suspect’s distraught father

I shook myself away from that heartbreaking thread and ventured back to my email, which led to…
∼ Khan Academy update on Pixar’s quality exploration of storytelling, which led to…
∼ One segment’s inspiration to use our own storytelling superpower: our personal perspective, which led to…
∼ a lesson from Pixar artists on shading [I shared that with my wife, an art teacher.]

Was it a productive 40 minutes?
Well, I’m at least writing about my procrastination. (Classic rationalization, but it works for me…)
Still, as I confessed on my previous word cloud post

** I use safeshare.tv to clean up a YouTube screen for me, though it requires a few steps.]