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Category Archives for Mindset & Motivation

Swimming Through the Swamp: Getting Around Writer’s Block

There it is. Sitting and staring at a blinding white screen with a little black line screaming at you to “Get your head in the game, Troy”. High school musical fans? No? Nice. Moving on.

Nothing comes to mind besides crickets and the sound of chicken cooking in hot oil. Maybe that last one is just me. Either way, we all experience it. That’s right. I’m talking about writer’s block, baby. This happens to everyone and it’s okay!

Occasionally, our creative juices get clogged up in the massive brain drain. You gotta turn on that garbage disposal, slice up all those stale thoughts and get some new inspiration so you can come back and create something bangin’.

However, we’re going to stay away from the usual “take a break” tips because I do that and five days later I’m still “taking a break” sipping margaritas on the porch. So, let’s get some fresh ideas out there.

 

writers block

1. Look elsewhere

This is one of the first things I always do and it’s the most helpful tip here.

For some reason, I attempt to write in a comedic style so when I’m in a slump, I like to sit down and watch stand-up comedy to get myself in that state of mind. I’ll read funny bloggers (looking at you fattymccupcakes), re-read some of the best Twitter beef, listen to funny podcasts, or watch Gypsy Sisters. Sifting through Pinterest or even looking through camera rolls can jog your thoughts as well. Read, watch or listen to anything that’s inspiring and gets you into a writing mindset that matches your style.

Secondly, don’t underestimate the power of a good Google search. “Funny Instagram bios” “most boring conversation topics” “words that rhyme with dingus” and “jokes about travellers diarrhoea” are all things I’ve Googled looking for inspiration and information to jog my thoughts.

Use the results, add your own flair and create something better.

2. Feel something for once!

Hopefully, you’re writing about something you’re passionate about. Otherwise…what? Whatever the topic is, tap into your emotional connections to it and try to recreate them. Think about how easy it is to write a creepy love letter to a celebrity or a rage text to a roommate. Channel those feelings!

“But Morgan, I don’t have any specific feelings towards the rise and fall of gasoline prices in middle America”. Well for one, I’m not sure why you’re writing about something you don’t care about but if you are, forge some emotion! Pretend you’re a wealthy oil salesman who really does care about the rise and fall of gasoline prices in middle America!

Try to connect the topic to some emotions. Like having to write about sports and being reminded of that rage-inducing ex of yours that would always ditch you to ‘watch the game with his buddies’.

See? Inspiration! Try to make a connection between the topic and an emotionally-evoking memory of it and write about it.

Curse away that writer’s block.

3. Make writing an event

If I’m not feeling up to writing, I’ll psych myself up to have the best possible writing day ever.

Now, I’m annoying as hell and do this with almost everything in life but it makes all the things I do so much more enticing.

  • Schedule a day and wear the comfiest clothes – mine is a huge t-shirt with holes and milkshake stains but it feels like butter all over me. Or if you wanna feel cute, look cute!
  • Gather the most top-tier drinks and snacks – preferably not alcoholic drinks. No one really wants drunken thoughts written down to savour as archaic memories forever and ever.
  • Change location. Take the computer to a spot that makes you feel happiest, even if it’s the bed. I work out of PC rooms in South Korea and even going to a new one can spark ideas. Other days, I want to be comfy and in my favourite one. Know your style. Are you more inspired when you’re comfortable or when you’re in a new environment? Play with that!
  • If you’re someone that works well with music, bop on a new album or your favourite throwback. Nothing to evoke new ideas and thoughts like a hot new banger. If you don’t work well with music maybe try listening to instrumentals. There’s this super unique mix on YouTube called LoFi hip-hop beats to study and relax to. It’s pretty underground but I swear by it. It has a constant live stream on and it’s great for keeping your mind on track.

(If you didn’t catch the sarcasm there, LoFi hip-hop beats to study and relax to is notorious for being everyone’s go-to study music.)

 

she hustles inc

4. Give up…for a bit

Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. If none of this works, maybe it just isn’t the day to write and that’s okay. I always have a list of 20 general blog post ideas and about 4-5 posts I want to write about within the next month or so. If I can’t get out of a block for one topic, I’ll draft it and start a new one.

Frying your brain over one post isn’t worth it and it’ll cause a burnout. Taking a break and revisiting posts is a-okay!

However, if it’s a time-dependent post, try to just write. Just open up your brain and dump all the junk out.

Dump. The. Junk.

Make bullet points of idea fragments and try to piece them together later. For me, starting a post could look like:

  • Why you should move abroad
  • Tons of people ask “Wow you travel so much. How do you do it?”
  • I see so many expats move abroad and then move home within months because it’s so different from what they imagined. People don’t always move abroad prepared, they think it’s going to be some adventure skipping through central park drinking Thai tea and doing yoga in Goa the next day. It’s more like ______________ (joke about what it’s like to really live abroad)
  • People see “travel” as synonymous with “vacation” – lots of work, just has a very unique reward

Later I’ll go through, fill in the blanks and meld all the ideas together. Find synonyms for simple words, reorder all the ideas, write, edit and re-write. It seems a little chaotic but it can be really good to see all the thoughts written down and sift through the garbage hole that is your mind. From dust to diamonds, here’s the finished product!

Writer’s block is the worst and getting through it is a process that takes practice but it’s possible. Even if it seems like you’re lost in a haunted forest with nothing to eat but beetles for five days straight. Get comfortable, relax, find new inspiration, cut yourself some slack and get through that swamp! It’s part of the learning process and it’ll only make you a better writer in the end. Go forth little drain clogs and be phenomenal!

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What are your tips for getting through the Saw trap that is writer’s block? Have you ever done anything crazy for content? Let us know in the comments below or shoot an email at alieneatingblog@gmail.com

 

Get more done! 5 simple tips to improve your work productivity!

Guest post by Masooma Memon

Despite starting the day in good spirits, we often end up plummeting down a hole of lessening productivity as the day progresses. A survey reveals that around 75% of the employers report that two plus hours of efficient work are lost daily. Procrastination tends to work hard to tip the balance in its favour, making it difficult to complete work.

The signboard that reads productivity tends to lead to two roads. One includes dedicating more hours to your work schedule and the second entails efficient working. Since all that work and no play make Jack a dull boy, it’s safer to stick to the second option. We believe at She Hustles Inc that you have to attain a balance between work and personal life. Therefore, making the most of your precious work hours with a boost in productiveness is a good option.

Here is an in-depth look at some simple yet useful tips and tricks to enhance your productivity:

 

productivity

1. Set realistic goals

Crafting goals is an essential step to ante up your productivity game. The chief aspect concerning making and pursuing goals, however, pertains to setting realistic goals. Drafting unrealistic goals puts excess pressure on you. In a frenzy to achieve more, you tend to achieve less in the light of exceptionally high expectations from yourself. Moreover, unrealistic goals negatively impact your mental health. Therefore, start with spelling out achievable aims.

2. Give yourself deadlines

There is no denying that stress is a culprit that you don’t want in your progress picture. But setting up self-imposed deadlines and chasing them can help you focus more. In the other way around case, we tend to become lazy by assuming that there’s lots of time at our disposal. This wastes a lot of time. You will be pleased to see how productive you can be by competing with the ticking arms of the clock.

3. Track your time for increased productivity

Keep track of your time as a means to accomplishing deadlines and goals. Most of us think that we have an accurate idea of the time being spent on a particular task. However, research indicates that only 17% of people can keep a precise estimate of time. Therefore, you can try to keep a better eye on the clock, set alarms for yourself if you work solo or seek assistance from tools such as Rescue Time.

4. Take regular breaks

Productivity does not equate to consistent, round the clock work. It translates into more work done in a short period. Constant work tends to drain your energy, which sips your productivity levels. Regular breaks are antidotes that refresh your energy levels as well as prevent your productiveness from derailing. A study backs this too. It confirms that the key to maintaining performance throughout long tasks is to punctuate them with short breaks. It highlights that the flip side declines performance and focus.

5. Plan each day beforehand

Planning each day the night before is a game changer. Take out 15 minutes before heading to bed and jot down your work plans for the next day. It is critical to write down your plans and ideas. Such a tip can also be taken from Richard Branson’s book. The founder of the Virgin Group says, “Write down every single idea you have. No idea is too small, and no idea is too big.” He further adds, “Make a list of small, manageable tasks to complete every day. Cut your day up into chunks, and you’ll get lots more done.”

Wrap up thoughts

Summing up, these tips can help you stay on a productive track and accomplish more. Making goals, pre-planning your day, tracking your time, and setting deadlines can assist you to reach your optimal potential. Include regular breaks into this equation, and you’ll have complete tasks under your belt in no time.

Let us know in the comments if you have any great tips for productivity! You can contact us here!

 

You can view Masooma’s portfolio here.

5 out of 5 People Recommend Choosing Happiness

Guest Post by AlienEating

Since I was young I’ve somehow always been super wise. Just a regular all-knowing being.

 

Maybe I was just born wise or maybe it’s Maybelline but I’ve always put an emphasis on wanting to “be happy” with my life. In school, teachers always make students do that “5-year plan” and mine was always “travel and be happy”. Which would generally always elicit some response along the lines of “Oh honey, that’s sweet but we need a real plan. What are you actually going to do?” *insert confused look from greasy haired, chubby middle school me*. Usually, I would just say “I want to be a supervisor” just to make them angry. Why was that not a real answer?

 

Since then, I’ve done what I do best. Drink wine. I mean prove people wrong. I realized doing exactly what I said back then wasn’t that hard. Creating your own happiness is there for anyone who reaches out and grabs it. My most recent endeavour has been moving to South Korea to travel while teaching English to some mega cute Korean kids. I’ve been so fortunate to be able to do what so many people only dream of doing but recently the fast-paced, face-saving culture here has really bogged me down. The constant shoving, stares, and being packed in a sardine can of a bus is a living nightmare for me.

 

the female entrepreneur hub

 

So, I decided to use my time wisely and do something I’ve always wanted to try, started a blog! Of course, I roped my best friend into it too to help with all the computer things I couldn’t do.

 

I’ll spare the sappy details but it’s been the best thing for me. It’s been better than swaddling up on my bed-couch while eating an entire baguette. Not even baguette slices, just munchin’ on the loaf. This blog has been a godsend for me, especially in a culture that depends so much on propriety.

 

  • looking “catwalk ready” at all times
  • saving face (not expressing any emotion)
  • lack of small talk/ casual conversations
  • constant last minute changes

 

I’m an extremely blunt and open person and a place like this gets me down. I want someone to talk with me when I complain in public about how late the bus is! So on those days when Korea is just beating down on me with an elephant-sized hammer, I’m able to just sit down in a PC room, furrow my brows and click click my little heart out. I can channel my energy into something positive. Writing about all the hilarious experiences from getting surprise acupuncture to tricking students into thinking we know what we’re doing as ESL teachers.

 

alieneatingOur new guest bloggers Prachi and Morgan!

 

Blogging became a safe-haven and really brought back my happiness that I came to Korea with. Both Prachi and I loved blogging so much we decided to take it seriously and turn it into a career plan. Working 9-5 teaching English and zipping over to the PC room until around 2 am. Double full-time jobs, baby! I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

It’s the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing I look at before going to bed. I can’t even go to the bathroom without pinning something, checking SEOs, or replying to comments. Which is absolutely mental but I’m in love with it. It’s something I’ve built and I take so much pride in it. It’s like I’ve customized a tiny online robot child and I have to feed him pins and Instagram follows.

 

Let me just say something though. Blogging is hard. Learning everything from the ground up is mind-numbingly exhausting. I’ve spent two hours adjusting headers to make sure it was centred. Then having to learn about SEO, different widgets and for heaven’s sake, there aren’t any plugins on wordpress.com. All of these tiny things matter because the blog is a reflection of us! If the blog is hot pink and zebra printed with content about medieval weaponry people are going to think of 2004 Ohio and 1702 England.

 

There’s nothing like feeling successful and proud of something you’ve created and being able to show it to the world. I finally feel like I’m working towards something again, I feel like I’m in control of my life and my happiness because I’m investing my time and energy into something I love doing.

 

Working for yourself is a completely different style than any average job. I work my own hours, I have no one telling me what to do or when to do it. It requires a great deal of self-discipline. I personally choose to take a break every 3 hours or so and watch a few throwback music videos, eat a cheese stick or 4 and whip around my ponytail.

 

the female entrepreneur hub

Then back to work! If I sit on my bed-couch and eat dry tortillas while watching Say Yes To The Dress reruns for 6 hours then I’ll make $0. Can I blame my boss? The boss is my cozy cave of fleece and tasty maize dreams! Speaking of which, can we use tortillas as a world currency? No?

 

By all that I mean me, my own fault, mine. No one else’s. My success depends on how badly I want it, just like my happiness. If I’m not happy, it’s up to me to change that. No one is going to come and do it for me. You get what you put in.

 

I decided to take control of our own happiness by becoming my own boss and starting a blog.

 

That’s what makes me feel in control and happy.

 

Happiness is made not given. Peep a look at this nicely numbered summary:

 

  1. The hustle never stops, no matter what. Being happy requires hard work and taking charge of your own life. Never stop!
  2. Maintain a balance! Work hard, play hard, and sleep harder.
  3. The sky is the limit with self-employment and happiness. You get what you give – if you want to be a sunbeam, don’t just be one sunbeam. Be ten!
  4. Do what is necessary to get back on that grind.
  5. Feeling overwhelmed? Take a break!
  6. Relatives stay over too late the night before? Take a 6 hour nap!
  7. Overworked? Drink a martini and watch House Hunters: International! (not that I condone drinking on the job but if you’re the boss…)

If you’re not happy, make a change.

Now.

Don’t just talk about it.

I go to “work” every day because I want to, not because I’m reporting to anyone. Even my day job has improved because I know that once that’s finished, I can go work on my tiny online baby that’s going to lead me somewhere in the future.

 

There’s nothing more rewarding than being responsible for my own success. In the end, I’m not doing any of this to impress a manager or a future employer. I’m doing this because it makes me happy and makes me feel like I’m working towards success. Minus the days that I spend trying to work and just end up clawing my eyes out and drinking 13 $1 cups of coffee. Those days don’t yield success. But 1 step forward 2 steps back right?

 

What have you done that makes you really happy? Besides sitting in those same leggings for three consecutive days. Let us know in the comments or email us at alieneatingblog@gmail.com

 

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