What the “How to Be Productive” Articles Aren’t Telling You

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Photo by Ruby Schmank on Unsplash

I casually worked on being more productive the second half of last year, and I’ve been working hard to be more productive the first two months of this year. I started with a few goals and productivity behaviors that had helped me get through school and work and tried to add to them.

I began reading articles and books on productivity and trying to implement their strategies. As you’d expect, there was advice about routines, goal setting, staging your environments, and habits. …


It was weird.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

If you’ve read about building your brand as a writer, you’ve read about posting stuff on social media. How it’s essential for doing whatever it is you do to make money.

Is it though? I have always posted things to social media more out of mechanical obedience to this mantra than out of any belief that it would do anything for me.

Generally, I write about things that interest me but don’t make much money and a lot of other people are also writing about. Consequently, my articles tend to be a drop in the bucket.

Recently however, I had…


Video games and digital board games are a great way to connect with friends and family.

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Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Going a long time without seeing people you care about can be stressful. Phone and video calls are an okay way to stay in touch, but they can end up feeling more like a status update instead of genuine interaction.

In some ways though, hanging out with people you care about has never been easier. Or cheaper. Services like Humble Bundle allow you to get discounted access keys to popular video games and digital board games every month. Humble Bundle also donates a portion of your purchase to a number of charities.

Many people are unused to things like digital…


Whitelisting helps ensure you don’t miss important emails.

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Photo by Stephen Phillips - Hostreviews.co.uk on Unsplash

Whitelisting email addresses and email domains on your Gmail account helps make sure your critical emails end up in your inbox instead of your Spam, Social, and Promotion folders.

Follow the steps below for an easy way to whitelist specific emails or specific domains in Gmail.

First, click on the gear icon to open your settings menu.


Same Story, Different Narrator

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Photo by Bundo Kim on Unsplash

Uff, this one was hard to write. Not because of any technical challenges, I just got tired of telling the same story four times. The objective was to tell the same story from a variety of points of view and see how that impacted the way you wrote it.

Not much else to say. Quite a bit of history happening at the moment, Jan 7, 2021, so I’m pretty tired. Here’s the exercise.

Part 1 — POV 1

Frankie sat down in his favorite seat at his favorite table. He sighed and settled in to watch the restaurant fill up during the lunch rush. It…


An Exercise in Time and Point of View

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Photo by Harry Grout on Unsplash

I normally do these exercises Monday morning because it’s a relaxing way to start the week. I write them longhand with a fountain pen because it’s like writing on a cloud. Lately though, the ink hasn’t been flowing well. Not in a metaphorical way. I think you just need to use fountain pens more frequently or the nib gets clogged.

Have to take more notes in a notebook during the week I guess, much to my wife’s dismay.

This exercise was all about writing a story in one person and time and…


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Photo by author

I first realized I was good at writing in high school, then spent a lot of time doing it incidentally in college.

Like many people, I ended up becoming a writer after working for several years. This isn’t because I got tired of my corporate job or never believed I was capable. I thought that everyone was good at writing.

Turns out they aren’t. And that I’m happy to do the boring parts of writing in a professional setting. Now, after years of not really knowing what to do with myself, I write for a living and tutor Spanish.

Outside…


It’s easier than you think.

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Photo by Sahand Hoseini on Unsplash

Debt has been a feature of our relationship from the onset. Whether from student loans, car problems, or healthcare, it’s always been something. A major part of our five-year plan has been debt repayment. We’d intended to be debt free by… 2023 if I recall correctly.

That all changed one day when I was idly noodling over something; I forget what. But I realized that we’d owe about $60k on Jan 1, 2020. I proposed we pay down $5,000 a month, rather than saving the money or putting it towards other things. Once that decision was made, we had to…


The Hardest One Yet

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Photo by Mads Schmidt Rasmussen on Unsplash

Wow this one was hard. Writing narrative prose with only nouns, pronouns, verbs and articles. I do these exercises longhand to start and then type them up. After I’d finished the first draft, I was sure I was at the minimum word count for the exercise. Not even half way.

When I started the exercise, my sentences were extremely short. Towards the end, I got an inkling of how to make them a bit more complex, which I wasn’t expecting.

The exercise also presented me with the opportunity to push myself. I had completed the narrative…

Lawrence E. Grabowski

Kung Fu Nerd, Gamer, Writer. I write about setting, plot, and characters as well as teach Spanish. I also dabble in writing about other things.

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