Messy Life

My bedroom is messy. My desk is messy. My work life is messy.

When I signed on with my personal ass-kicker Patty Golsteijn, minimalist, at New Work City a couple of months ago, she told me to work on my novel before I checked my email or social media stream or anything else. Every day. Just do that. And I did. Mostly.

Then, every Tuesday morning, during our Collaborative Motivating (cotivating) session, several of us would report to each other and to Patty on our goals. We’d commit to our next goal in person and on a Google spreadsheet.

I like being accountable. And productive. It’s why Kelly and I called our writing biz, Boot Camp for Writers.

It turns out, I also like doing my own thing too.

  • Going off the grid.
  • Running out for coffee with a friend in the neighborhood.
  • Going out to dinner.
  • Reading and liking my friends’ Facebook posts.
  • Bingewatching Parks and Rec with my kids — I was laughing so hard last night, I literally couldn’t breathe — the episode where Leslie runs for mayor and has to walk out on the skating rink — OMG! So funny.
  • Going off on tangents.
My apartment looks so nice when it is decluttered.
My apartment looks so nice when it is decluttered.

So to motivate myself, I signed up for New Work City’s IndieCon conference this Saturday. Patty will be there. I hope she gets me back on the grid. Or at least gets me to cut the crap.

Here are a couple of pics of my beautiful apartment. I always make it look nice when I am about to have a party or people over. But parties leave a mess and then I’m back to where I started. Sigh.

I’m overwhelmed. I guess I’ll just head over to Facebook to like some posts. Or maybe go out for coffee.

Ready for a party.
Ready for a party.

More Friends

I’ve been trying to drive up my number of Facebook friends to surpass 1,000.  I believe the more friends you have, the more you achieve.

There are studies to bear this out. UCLA researchers studied LA high school students and discovered More school friends?=better grades. I like to think that the study goes for more adult friends too. More work friends?=better work.

Journal of Research on Adolescence — adolescents with more in-school friends than out-of-school friends had higher grade-point averages and — complementing this finding — that those with higher GPAs had more in-school friends. (from

It fits in beautifully with my Rules for Happiness #1 — Pile on the People.

The key for me is to draw the circle wide. My friends are varied in status, age, race, gender.

I learned a long time ago, especially as a writer, that the person to befriend is not the CEO but the CEO’s assistant. He or she is the one who really knows what’s going on and can get you the good story.

I love that FB has made the word friend a verb as well as a noun. It’s no secret that I’m in love with social media, especially blogging on WordPress.

One of my real (and FB) friends mentioned that she’s concerned that by blogging we’re creating a false sense of intimacy. Maybe it’s true we reveal a little too much of ourselves. I’m not sure — to figure out what I think about this, I’ll have to talk it over with one of my friends. Or maybe I’ll just instant message them.

The Mayor’s Meeting Clock

I am a fan of productivity. Mayor Bloomberg is too. He’s installed big clocks in his open-air office at City Hall. The digital clock starts when the meeting begins. Like a cabby’s meter, the Mayor’s clock is running. It’s called a count-up (not count-down) clock. Time is money.

I am a fan of brevity and short meetings. I am the one in every meeting who will volunteer to pass out the papers. I can’t sit still for longer than an hour. (This week I was in a 4-hour meeting!)

Maybe we should consider the Mayor’s time clock. It’s worked so well for him that he’s installing them in a bunch of conference rooms in City Hall.

The Mayor too is a fan of the stand up meeting. So am I! Not only do I like chatting with my colleagues while leaning on their door frames, I like meeting coworkers in the elevator while traveling to the first floor — exceedingly productive! I LOVE the walking-down-the-hallway-together meeting.

When I am in a walk and talk meeting, I feel like I have an exciting career or am in a TV show, like ER or West Wing. I think good ideas come while you’re walking together — Not so much while you’re sitting across the table from someone.

Lately at lengthy meetings people bring their laptops and you can’t tell if they’re playing Solitaire, IM’ing their friend across the table, or actually taking notes. And what about the people who phone in to meetings? I always wonder What are they doing? Is it possible they’re still in their pajamas? (Damn those lucky telecommuters!)

I learned about the Mayor’s meeting timer from my friend who sent me the link via Facebook. (But, no, I was not checking FB during the 4-hour meeting!) Here was the article:

Get Up Early

I have been posting to one of my four (yes, 4!) blogs every day for a week.

The first few days I wrote first thing in the morning, around 6:30 am, right after I recorded my dreams in my journal and sipped my coffee.  Then the kids had to be at school early or I had to be be at work early, I felt a cold coming on, so I wrote at lunch time around noon. These last two nights, I have written while yelling at my kids, “Get. To. Bed. Now.” at 11 pm. I felt the day breathing down my neck. I felt, “I have to finish this blog post by midnight!”

I want to return to my early morning blog writing sessions. I want to write before the family wakes and wants me to make them bacon, sign their permission slips or pass out money for lunch. Benjamin Franklin’s admonition to “Early to Bed, Early to Rise,” can be supplanted by Arianna Huffington’s Ted Talk

Arianna is brilliant and funny and so right. We Type A women are not getting enough sleep.  Arianna advises that women need to sleep our way to the top. Literally. For me, that means going to bed by 10 and getting up at 6 ish. (Some studies suggest the brain is most alert first thing in the morning.)

Incidentally, I met Arianna at a women’s writing conference at Skidmore College through the IWWG (International Women’s Writing Guild) probably 18 years ago. She was memorable, curious, friendly, smart and glamorous. I think we were in a memoir writing class together. Since then, Arianna has slept her way to the top and I want to too.