Sign Out. Logout. Write.

“Jason Womack, president of a workplace performance training company, defines success as being okay with what you haven’t done today.” ~ Christine Louise Hohlbaum, The Power of Slow

I’m a morning person, always have been. Whether it’s from having grown up on a farm or a family trait, I am up before the sunβ€”4:45 a.m. every day this summerβ€”and wide awake when many people have yet to enter their last cycle of REM sleep. It is hands down my best, most alert, and most productive time of the day. Whatever work I do in those first two or three hours is what I do best and most efficiently.

So, how do I spend those precious hours? All too often, I read and answer email (and delete spam), check Facebook (where I read about and see photos of what other people are doing), and tweet my recent blog posts (and read a few of my favorite blogs to recommend and retweet and comment on). Oh, and I approve any new comments on my own blogs and reply to them.

Do I then close all those tabs and focus on my writing?

No. I usually start the process over again… except for this morning.

Perhaps because I had recently read the quotation above from The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World, by Christine Louise Hohlbaum (St. Martin’s Press, 2009), I was aware of what I wasn’t getting done: writing.

I also had in mind a blog post by Chris Brogan titled “How Not to Write a Book,” which includes ten procrastination and time-wasting activities we all can probably own up to, including tweeting and updating Facebook. Brogan’s point is that writing a book does not happen when we are thinking or talking or texting or tweeting about writing a book.

And, if that’s not enough, in the back of my mind was Peggy Orenstein’s column from last week’s New York Times Magazine, “I Tweet, Therefore I Am,” in which she suggests that Twitter, by “encouraging self-promotion over self-awareness” is making us all “perpetual performers,” making us overly self-consciousness about our daily life as we are continually thinking of how we want to market ourselves.

Whatever the reason, this morning I chose to stop.

I logged out of Facebook, signed out of Twitter and email, and opened my WIP folder. You see, I’m just lazy enough that having to sign in or log on again makes it more likely I won’t.

It was the most productive writing morning I’ve had in several days.

Tomorrow I plan to go straight to writing for an hour before logging or signing in. I’ll let you know how it goes, in 140 or fewer characters.

23 thoughts on “Sign Out. Logout. Write.

  1. I have a friend who says until you have done some things for your business, you should not get caught up in the “on-line” world. Most days I allow myself a little time after breakfast to do the on-line stuff but if I want to get some work done – that means planning and discipline and now that I run tweet deck – those twitter messages keep coming from the ultimate challenge people.
    Good luck tomorrow

    • Thanks, Roberta. Today I had coffee with my husband, as usual, and then wrote for an hour before checking email. It’s a habit I definitely want to continue.

  2. First of all, I wish I could get up at 4:45 every morning. I’m sure I’d get much more done with that early morning quiet. Second, I’m too guilty of cycling through Twitter and email. In fact, I just re-tweeted your post on logging off πŸ™‚ But, there’s always tomorrow!

    Really, great post, great reminders. Thanks!

    • Christi, thank you. This is an issue I’ve been thinking about for awhile. I’m not even a huge Twitter person (I don’t have texting on my phone, for example), but it’s enough that I realize I need to develop some new habits if I really am going to continue this journey of taking my writing career more seriously. Thanks for re-tweeting the post! πŸ˜‰

  3. 4:45a? Wow! My hubby gets up by 5am to work out every day before work because that’s his best time of day too. It’s definitely not mine. I’m not a morning person by nature, but I have to be during the school year, so I’m dreading Monday. However, I’m going to try writing in the morning next week (something I’ve never done) and see how it goes. I love your idea of unplugging. It’s terrible when I leave Twitter on because even when I’m working, I notice new tweets and have to read them. I just might try this idea–good luck w/ your continued unplugging.

    • Kristi, good luck with your morning writing next week! I’ll be eager to see how it goes. I find it fascinating how different people can be in their biological clocks.

      That is my challenge, too–if I leave Twitter and email windows open, I keep clicking on them to see what’s new. I wonder how many minutes that adds up to during the day? Not sure I want to know. Just being aware of it, however, feels like a good first step.

  4. Oh, Lisa, this post should resonate with half the world!

    In one respect, I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum from you. I definitely have more creative energy at night — really LATE at night. I do most of my best writing after midnight. If I could choose, I’d much rather be a morning person. But I’ve taught perinatal classes at night for almost 30 years and my internal clock is simply wired to be alert, alive, awake, and aware after dark. πŸ™‚

    I’m just as guilty as the next person when it comes to getting roped into social media activities when I need to be working on my business instead. I like the suggestion to not even log on until some rock solid business building tasks have been accomplished.

    Excellent post,
    Melanie

    • Melanie, I so wish I were a night person! My eyes start drooping at 8 p.m., regardless of when I get up in the morning. It’s always been frustrating for me, but I’ve learned, as you said, it’s just how I’m wired. I guess it’s like straight-haired people wishing their hair were curly, and vice versa.

      Thanks so much for your comment! I think we all are learning how to navigate this relatively new social media experience, especially those of us who also work at a computer.

  5. Funny, I was thinking about writing a post about this very thing today. I have been struggling with even getting a blog post written, as I am so busy focused on social media interaction. I scan it constantly to see how it all works (and for the most part am still trying to figure Twitter out).

    I think it is interesting, I have made the suggestion to others I know that struggle to find time to write. The solution seems simple, turn off your wi-fi. But today – that is just impossible for most people. Even when turned off or unplugged they are hooked in through their blackberries or smartphones. Fortunately, I don’t have one of those to fight with.

    I hope all goes well with your morning unplugging, Lisa.

    • Michelle, I don’t have a multi-function phone, either. I do know people for whom Blackberries and other devices seem to work very well, and they don’t seem to have as much of a need to unplug. I’m just not one of them. πŸ™‚

      And then there is the issue of the pressure for writers today to have an online presence and use social media… I think we are still in the beginning stages of learning how to do that in ways that are productive. I’m glad we can figure it out together!

  6. I would not call my reply as the most profound in the world, but what I thoughts were, basically:

    Short.
    Good.
    To the point.
    Worth thinking about.
    I liked it!

    Enjoy the day,

    Lee

  7. You are a smart woman! You will find that if you fill your mornings with writing, the rest of your day will fall into place. I love social media but you have to get the work done too πŸ™‚ #blogboost

    • Martha, I also find that when I get the writing done first, I feel better for the rest of the day and am not as frustrated by interruptions later. Thanks for the supportive comment!

  8. This is seriously the BEST thing I’ve read in a while. Thank you for the nudge and the great follow up resources. I just got done with a half hour of unproductive goofing around and feeling annoyed with myself for not doing what I say I love to do. Thanks for sharing this!

  9. 4:45 am? Wow, I thought I was bad. My alarm is set for 5:45 am, and I need a large cup of coffee just to open my eyes. Congrats on working on your WIP! I hope your reach your goal tomorrow as well. It good to get away from the computer – though, I’ll admit, it’s hard to walk away from.

    • Kelsey, the kicker is that my husband gave up caffeine this summer, so I joined him in solidarity and am drinking decaf. Yikes! :-O

  10. An addendum to my other thoughts. Bottom line: I listened, shut down shortly after posting, and created the better part of a post that will be on my blog probably on Sunday!

    So, thanks for the thoughts.

    Lee

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