How Are You Using Your Time?

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

I’m not as productive as I’d like to be. Who is?

I spend a good amount of time reading.

And I’ve been writing. Drawing. Painting.

I go for the occasional walk.

Pretty productive.

I’ve also spent quite a bit of time with my boys. That’s always good.

Not all my time is spent so wisely, though.

I spend hours sitting and thinking.

Spending too much time in the past.

It’s good to learn from the past.

But not to live there.

I need to get out and do more.

“Only Say Positive Things”?

I knew it was extreme. I set an extreme goal on purpose.

I’m not trying to set a realistic goal. I’m trying to stretch myself.

Explaining my present situation may help.

I’m usually alone in the mornings. I write, do my mirror work, listen to uplifting music, read uplifting books, list things I’m happy about/grateful for, etc.

It’s easy to be positive during those times.

Most days I see my boys. This is one of the things I’m most grateful for.

They and their mother live with their grandparents.

These are not positive people. Not by a long shot. These are angry, bitter people, who have no interest in improving themselves.

By the time I leave I’ve been taken down a few notches. It’s worth it to spend time with my boys. I love seeing them, and they love seeing me. I hope my efforts are helping them.

I’m looking forward to meeting super positive people. People who will be a bigger influence on me than the negative people in my life.

Until then, I do what I can.

Quarantine Blues

This whole quarantine thing is really getting to me. I’ve had so many ideas for things I could do to improve. But those ideas are thwarted by the current situation.

I want to join some organizations I think will help me. Specifically, I want to join Toastmasters and a Cash Flow Club. I might do more than that, but I think those will be a good start.

I seriously need to improve the influences in my life. Reading good books helps, but it isn’t enough. Right now I’m spending way to much time around angry people who have no interest in improving themselves, and not enough time around happy people who want to be better.

Reprogram Your Brain

Ninety-five percent of what we do is habit.

Run by our subconscious.

Changing those habits is tricky.

You can read books all day long. That knowledge is only accessible to your conscious mind.

To change your habits, you need to make changes to your subconscious mind.

You need to reprogram your brain.

But how?


I thought I was just indigestion. So I didn’t get out of bed.

Then I realized it was more than that.

I got up. Got dressed. Climbed the stairs. Walked to the bathroom.

I didn’t quite make it.


“I deserve better than this.”

Then I realized.

If I believed that, I wouldn’t be here.

Wouldn’t have settled for the life I have right now.

I keep buying books. I read them, but my reading has become sporadic.

Apart from reading, I haven’t done much to improve my life.

Starting this blog was one step. It only took a year and a half to do that.

It’s time to start doing what I’ve been reading about.

I need to practice what I preach.

Write your negativity away

Morning page

So you’ve got a lot of pent-up negativity.

I hear ya. Me too.

One thing that helps me is writing “Morning Pages.” I don’t usually get them done in the morning.

“Morning Pages” is (is?) one of the assignments in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. (No that’s not an affiliate link. Not yet anyway ;))

Basically you write three pages, by hand, stream-of-consciousness style.

Every day.

I’m not good about this. The last time I did this before today was March 3.

Mostly it’s complaints. “I’m cold.” “I’m tired.” “I’m sick of so-and-so’s BS.”

Once the most urgent complaints are out, I’ll start writing about what I want.

It’s like having an emotional bowel movement. (Sorry for that. It’s the best analogy I could think of.)

Once I do it I feel better. I feel even better if I’m consistent about it.

Just like you-know-what.

It’s not a replacement for therapy, especially if you’ve got serious emotional issues. But it feels good to unburden yourself.

Vent your negativity, without burdening someone else with it.

Maybe burn the pages after your done.

You’ll feel better.

Your Top Five

Top Five

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Jim Rohn

Who do you spend most of your time with?

Who are your biggest influences?

Do you want to be like them?

How are they doing…


  • Do they pray morning and night?
  • Do they go to church regularly?
  • Do they read the Book of Mormon daily?
  • Do they pay their tithing?
  • Are they temple recommend holders?
  • Do they attend the temple frequently?
  • Do they “Seek first the Kingdom of God”?
  • Are they humble?
  • Are they really trying to be their best selves?


  • Do they push themselves?
  • Are they lifelong learners?
  • Do they spend a good amount of time reading?
  • What kinds of books do they read?
  • Do they find other ways to learn?


  • Do you feel good when you’re around them?
  • Are they positive?
  • Are they caring?
  • Are they generous?
  • Do they complain a lot, or are they full of gratitude?


  • Are they healthy?
  • Do they have any addictions?
  • Do they eat to live, or do they live to eat?
  • Do they exercise regularly?


  • Do they have a lot of consumer debt?
  • Do they have more money coming in than going out?
  • Are they entrepreneurs?
  • Are they savvy investors?

Maybe not all these areas are important to you. Maybe other areas are more important to you.

Not everyone you spend time with has to be a 10/10 in every area. They should be doing their best and trying to improve, though. If not, you may find your life going downhill.

Who influences you the most? Make a list.

Does that list need to change?

Success leaves clues

Very few people have become successful on their own.

Almost none, in fact.

They had help.

Someone else has already done what you want to do. Or something similar.

Study the lives of these people. Learn from their failures, and their successes.

Lots of successful people write books. About their lives. About what they’ve learned. These books are a road map to success.

Read these books. Lots of them. Soon you’ll know what to do.

Or at least how to get started.