Category Archives: Exercises

Stop procrastinating on… self-publishing tips #3

Stop procrastinating on… sharing reviews

How many of us feel that sharing reviews is beating our own drums? Now that I have a book on Amazon, I have to learn more about self-publishing. How to do it in a way that works? One thing that can help your book is reviews, from other people than family and friends (Amazon policies forbid those).

Many resources give tips on where and how to get reviews. I may write on that later. But what to do when you’ve received your reviews? Do you let them sit quietly in your account? Or do you dare to share that people enjoyed your work? By talking about it, sharing it on social media, or in any other place that’s not the online shop itself?

If you notice judgments or negative thoughts around this idea, you may want to try this out. I’ve adjusted the How to get unblocked tool to help you challenge your thoughts. If this short version doesn’t work for you, you can try the woebot app, which helps you navigate through unhelpful thinking in an effective (and fun!) way.

A simple tool to help you challenge your thinking

  1. Write down the thoughts that hold you back
  2. For each thought, ask your self:
    – Is this true?
    – Is this thought helpful?
    – Would I agree if my best friend had this thought?
    – What would I think about this in 5 years
    – What would [your favourite hero/role model] think?
    – Or any other question that helps you challenge the thought
  3. Rewrite the thoughts at #1 into more helpful ones you’re willing to believe

Example: How to share a positive review

1. Write down the thoughts that hold you back

People will get fed up with me.

(I’m choosing just one thought for now, for the sake of the length of this post)

2. For each thought, ask your self:
– Is this true? – People will get fed up with me.

Some people might. Other people won’t care much. Many of the people that matter to me might even like to hear/read this, because they care about me and care about how I’m doing, and my book is part of that.

– Is this thought helpful? People will get fed up with me.

Obviously not 🙂 Thought it may inform me that I want to think about how I share it. In which circumstances, how often, etc. My Facebook friends will get fed up with me if I substitute our normal interaction for constant info about my book.
– Would I agree if my best friend had this thought? People will get fed up with me.

I’d stimulate her to find ways of sharing the reviews that are a bit outside her comfort zone, but still suit who she is. So she can try it out safely, and see what happens.
– What would I think about this in 5 years? – People will get fed up with me.

It would probably be something I hardly remember worrying about.

– What would [your favourite hero/role model] think? – People will get fed up with me.

My heroes tend to be people who don’t care too much about what others thinks of them, or did what they wanted to do and believed in anyway.

– Or any other question that helps you challenge the thought…

3. Rewrite the thoughts at #1 into more helpful ones you’re willing to believe

If you’re impatient like me, you may not even need this step by the time you’ve done one and two. In this phase, when I can choose between doing more writing, or simply doing it, I lean towards action. So I’ll copy and paste a review I received today right now, at the bottom of the post. I will add the rewrite as an example anyhow, to properly finish my example:

As long as I don’t exaggerate, it will be fine to share a good review and celebrate that I’m happy with it! I worked hard on creating this, and it’s nice to celebrate that people are having a good experience because of it.

And now for the lovely review I received today:

I absolutely loved Angela’s course. Having known for years that I procrastinate and having tried different methods – I can vouch that this one really works. I nowadays ‘eat a frog’ every morning, and I am getting so much more done. Often once I have eaten the frog, do I realize that it wasn’t that hard or complicated at all! Breaking your task down in chunks and telling people about it is a good one too. I tell my kids about it; they ask me at the weirdest moments whether I have actually done my task, so that makes me do it quickly so that I can give a positive answer, when the question comes my way.

Many thanks to Angela – and I hope to see more books from her!

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Stop procrastinating on… self publishing tips #2

Stop procrastinating on… keywords

Now that I have a book on Amazon, I have to learn more about self-publishing. How to do it in a way that works? All sources agree that finding the keywords is, well, key. But I feel this reluctance to get it done. So I’ve adjusted the How to start tool slightly. Again, there are three simple steps. I’ll share these first, and then apply them to my own example.

A simple tool to help you get unblocked

      1. Identify your block. Examples:
        – I don’t know where to start
        – I don’t know how to do this
        – I don’t feel confident enough to work on this
        – I don’t have the means to do this
        – I don’t want to do it
      2. Think of three strategies you could try to tackle that block
      3.  For all three strategies, ask your self:
        – Does this combine with who I am and how I work?
        – How likely am I to procrastinate on this one (and why)?
        – Does it actually contribute to what I want to get done?

Example: How to start doing keyword research

1. Identify your block.

I don’t know where to start, I don’t know how to do it, I don’t feel confident enough to work on this.

Looking at these three blocks is already helpful. No wonder I haven’t done keyword research yet. It suddenly makes sense, which feels very different from blaming myself for procrastination.

I don’t want to use all three for the next step (too much work), but I think I don’t have to. Probably, when I know how to do it I’ll feel more confident and I’ll know where to start. So for now, I don’t know how to do it is the block I choose to work on.

2. Think of three strategies you could try to tackle the block.

A) Google
B) Watch YouTube clips
C) Ask someone who knows how to do it for help

3. For all three things, ask yourself:

– Does this combine with who I am and how I work?
– How likely am I to procrastinate on this one (and why)?
– Does it actually contribute to what I want to get done?

A) Google
  • It combines with who I am, but I’ll use DuckDuckGo instead.
  • I think I’ll do it straight after this post, I’m curious now.
  • It will contribute, if I don’t fall into the trap of endless googling, as a means to postpone. So I’ll create a time box: 30 minutes of research is max. If I don’t start after that, I may need to check for more or other blocks.
B) Watch YouTube
  • Does that combine with me? Mwah. I’m not a big fan of watching YouTube to gather information. It seems fast, but it’s often not in-depth enough for me. Also: too much talking that isn’t relevant, which exhausts my head.
  • Definitely a procrastination risk. There’s SO much on YouTube, how to choose? Also, I like my learning with less distractions, so I’d not be looking forward to doing it.
  • It would contribute, I expect tips that you can apply straight away. Maybe I’ll watch some, but it shouldn’t be my main strategy for this.
C) Ask someone who knows how to do it for help
  • I’d rather not. I’m the type of person who thinks I should try first, and only ask for help after I’ve tried. What I could do for this strategy, is ask in the relevant Facebook groups if people have favourite resources they’re willing to share.
  • A high procrastination risk for me, unless I choose the alternative I just came up with (ask for favourite resources).
  • It will contribute IF I take the next steps and work with the info I’ve gathered. Nothing will happen if I don’t start trying things out. If that happens, I may need to check for more blocks.

Just by being in the Facebook groups I’ve already learnt some possibilities for keyword research:

Emee, of Self Publishing Made Simple recommended Publisher Rocket in her latest Facebook live. I’ve heard it mentioned in PodCasts, on YouTube, all of which gives me the impression that it might be The Solution to my keyword questions. I’d buy it straight away because the price looks reasonable. But money is an issue at the moment, so I can’t.

Yesterday I tried out the Amazon Keyword Organizer, offered by HiddenGemsBooks. Which helped me realise I could use more keywords than I was using, and it put them in efficient combinations for me. Obviously, it makes the most sense to use this AFTER you do your keyword research, but since my book is on Amazon already this was a quick win.

The strategy I choose for today will be 30 minutes of googling, on DuckDuckGo.

If you have any favourites, please let me know in the comments. There’s SO much to learn that I expect it will stay a regular topic for me in 2020.

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Stop procrastinating on… self publishing tips #1

Stop procrastinating on… starting

Now that I have a book on Amazon, I have to learn more about self-publishing. How to do it in a way that works? There are tons of information out there, so I need to find a way to get started on it. Since starting is a key problem for many people who procrastinate, I’ve developed a simple tool to help with that process. It consists of three simple steps. I’ll share these first, and then apply them to my own example.

A simple tool to help you get started

    1. Finish this sentence: I want to start…
    2. Think of three concrete things you could do to start it.
    3.  For all three things, ask your self:
      – Does this combine with who I am and how I work?
      – How likely am I to procrastinate on this one (and why)?
      – Does it actually contribute to what I want to start?

Example: How to start learning about self-publishing

1. Finish this sentence: I want to start…

I want to start learning about self-publishing.

2. Think of three concrete things you could do to start it.

A) Read a book.
B) Watch YouTube clips.
C) Join relevant Facebook groups.
D) Listen to podcasts (I know, that’s number four, but hey, why not?)

3. For all three things, ask yourself:

– Does this combine with who I am and how I work?
– How likely am I to procrastinate on this one (and why)?
– Does it actually contribute to what I want to start?

A) Read a book
  • It combines with who I am. I like reading, and I like to be thorough.
  • Oops. I’ll know I’ll spend too much time finding the Best Book. Maybe that’s not procrastination, but it certainly is time-consuming. And not very rewarding. I like to be efficient, so maybe this is not my best option.
  • It would contribute, but too slowly. That doesn’t stimulate me. So I’ll probably end up procrastinating anyway.
B) Watch YouTube
  • Does that combine with me? Mwah. I’m not a big fan of watching YouTube to gather information. It seems fast, but it’s often not in-depth enough for me. Also: too much talking that isn’t relevant, which exhausts my head.
  • Definitely a procrastination risk. There’s SO much on YouTube, how to choose? Also, I like my learning with less distractions, so I’d not be looking forward to doing it.
  • It would contribute, I expect tips that you can apply straight away. Maybe I’ll watch some, but it shouldn’t be my main strategy for learning.
C) Join relevant Facebook groups
  • That combines with how I work for sure. I spend time on Facebook and I like it there. I know it’s easy to find groups, and if I don’t like some it’s easy to leave. Efficient.
  • A very low procrastination risk for me. Once I’ve joined, information will pop up in my feed, in small chunks. So I’ll easily get an overview of which topics are discussed, and which ones might be relevant for me. It will function as a constant reminder that I want to learn more about this. And contact with others stimulates me.
  • It will contribute IF I take the next steps and dive deeper into some of the relevant subjects.
D) Listen to podcasts
  • I don’t know yet how much that suits me. When there’s too much irrelevant talking I find it time and energy consuming.
  • The procrastination risk is not too bad. I’ll know I can listen to some when I’m doing a task that doesn’t require my full attention, so I can try some out without feeling I lose time.
  • It would contribute; I expect relevant information with enough depth.
    I ended up doing a combination of these. Facebook groups turned out to be a quick and consistent starting point for me. I’ve found my favourite one called Self Publishing Made Simple. It brings me learning, practical tips, accountability, and the feeling to be in it together.

I have found a YouTube favourite, some podcasts I like listening to, and an e-book that’s very helpful. I’ll share them in later posts, this one is long enough already 🙂 If you have any favourites, please let me know in the comments. There’s SO much to learn that I expect it will stay a regular topic for me in 2020.

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Challenge: can you take five?

What I’m asking of you is at least 5 minutes of your time -for as many days in a row as you dare to promise.

What do you seriously procrastinate on?

Think of a wish or task that’s always there… That always should be done, but that never gets done. At least not the way it deserves to be done. If you’ve been working with the Pomodoro technique or frogs: you’re probably looking for something that’s worse than a frog, and you didn’t even consider to put on your Pomodori list. Or it was the thing that never got done even though you used those techniques.

It may be an Unfinished Art Project, the Worst Administrative Chore of all times, that closet you can never get out of because you don’t even want to look into it, contacting that long lost friend or family member, something you think is too big to work on.If you join this experiment, you promise to work on this BIG thing at least five minutes a day. You’re allowed to do more, not to do less.

Create accountability

1) Share your THING here with words or a picture.
2) Name your punishment (what you’ll do when you skip a day).
3) Tell us the amount of days that you will do this experiment.
4) Add how you’ll reward yourself if you do reach your planned amount of dates.
5) Smile!

(I’ve copied this exercise from my productivity group on Facebook. You can join the group and post your answers there if you prefer some more privacy than this public space. If you want to post here, search for the reply button at the top of this post.)

By the way: I wasn’t planning on blogging the exercise, but the first responses on Facebook were so wonderful that I wanted to spread this idea further and wider. You can also do this with a friend or family member as accountability partner. Have fun, and have results!

Discover when you procrastinate, and why

Create a procrastination jar (or box, or piggy bank, something that looks nice).

Every time you procrastinate, you write down the reason for it as soon as you realise it. Add the time, and the activity you should be working on. Put the piece of paper in the jar.

After a week, sit down and look at your notes. Can you discern a pattern? Maybe the time of day, or specific activities. Analyse what you see, and get ready for week 2.

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In week 2 you do the same, but you add another layer. You write down what’s going on in your mind, and what’s going on in your body. For example thoughts, like ‘I don’t exactly know how I’m supposed to do this’. Or sensations in your body, like being tired or feeling in need of some fresh air.

After a week, sit down and look at your notes. Can you discern a pattern? Analyse which types of thoughts lead to procrastination. Or the ignoring of which messages from your body.

Don’t forget to share your experiences here! Shedding light on these habits weakens them…

This exercise has been inspired by a post by Dimitrina Kaneva, who wrote about it very elegantly and illustrated it beautifully. I recommend reading her post. She also wrote about her results.

What does procrastination look like?

procrastinationmonster

You know how monsters lurk under the bed, in the dark? And you know how to get rid of them? Right.

If you want to beat your procrastination monster, you need to get to know it. Know it really well.

What does your procrastination monster look like? Where does it live? How? What does it feed on? What are it’s favourite tv programs? What are it’s hobbies? What are it’s fears? What dirty little secrets does it have? And so on.

You can draw, write, do anything that might make this subject more fun than depressing. I would love to see some pictures of your monsters here. Blind them with all the light you shine on them!

(You’ll find the reply button at the top left of this post. If you don’t want to share your monsters with the world, you can just share what you took from this exercise).