Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Lois’ post about stress and Christie’s comment about her mantra made me think it was time for me to review some simple questions. Simple but hard. Why? Because I have recently adopted a mantra from one of the three famous Monkeys—See no evil.

What’s the evil? Time slipping away from me. Valuable minutes and even ::gasp:: hours have slipped away from me and I’ve looked the other way. That’s so much easier than facing the problem. Well, no more! It’s time for me to shape up in the time department.

All of you know how generous...ahem…I am, so I’m sharing my little chat with myself with you. I thought you might as well suffer…ahem…benefit from this review as well.

Dixon’s Responsible Self: “Yo, dude. When did you stop jotting a list of tasks and goals for the day? You’ve got paper squirreled away everywhere. You’ve got one-hundred and forty-two pens. Thirty-seven mechanical pencils, crayons and umpteen computer programs.”

Dixon’s Monkey Self: “lalalalalalala I’m not listening. Can’t write goals. That’s dangerous. If Monkey see, then Monkey do! Where’s the procrastination in that?”

Dixon: “Don’t you know that folks who write down their goals are more likely to succeed?”

Monkey: “That whole Yale story about the 5% of the class who had written goals ending up with a net worth more than the other 95% of the class put together is a myth.”

Dixon: “Ah, I see you’ve had time to Google and go to Snopes.com where you can get confirmation and details on all the internet and urban legends. Do you really have to Google every thought that comes into your head?”

Monkey: “I’m a writer. Information is how I expand the muse. I need to know what’s out there. I’ve got to stay in touch with popular culture.”

Dixon: “Oh, please. Don’t pretend Britney’s plight or the industry gossip out there is so vital to your career that you need to spend an hour a day visiting blogs and websites. Gossip and intrigue are a great time waster. Even hurtful maybe. Do you really have to read it all?”

Monkey: “No. And to prove it, look…I’m exiting Mozilla Firefox, my browser and…wait! Go back! Look! Harlequin just bought the Empire state building and they’ve hired 16 more editors from two other publishers that closed six imprints. Christian paranormal erotica is suddenly big, and Nora just got a gazillion dollar contract. See!! I told you this is important stuff.”

Dixon: “You wouldn’t know important it if bit your monkey’s uncle. Seriously, just stop piddling right now and do one task. Any one. Something small just to get you started.”

Monkey: “Just one? Okay, that’s easy. I can write this check for dues.”

Dixon: “Excellent. Write faster. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Really. The world isn’t going to end if you complete tasks without worrying about what everyone else will think. Just get it done.”

Monkey: “Well. That was easy. Maybe I’ll do my email now.”

Dixon: “Arrgh!! No! And while we’re on that subject, use the #!$@! delete key for a change. Do you REALLY REALLY have to send one more email to respond to someone by saying, ‘Thanks again!’ ? For the love of chocolate, woman, cut the cord.”

Monkey: “But—“

Dixon: “No buts. You will never get your time back. Ever. Give yourself a chance to enjoy life. Get things done. Play later without guilt. It’s all the rage. Trust me.”

Monkey: “Well, you are me.”

Dixon: “Ha! You used to be me. The me that used to tackle the hard things and get them out of the way for the day. Everything else was a downhill slide. Let’s do that again. That was fun.”

Monkey (pensive for a moment): “Hmm. Monkey do; Monkey see movie?”

Dixon: “Now you’re getting it!”

SO…have you spoken with the Monkey on your back lately? Mine has a new mantra: Today I can accomplish many things with ease because I’m focused on seeing a movie later.

What’s your monkey? Or your Mantra? (And then get back to productive work!)


Playground Monitor said...

My monkey right now is that I have too many outside but necessary things to do (dentist appointment, haircuts, orthopedic surgeon appointment just this week alone) and once I'm out of the house, I tend to dawdle and stop by the bookstore and the dollar store and the hobby shop and... You get the picture. Then I get home and I'm too brain-tired to write. *sigh*

I suppose my mantra should be "Dawdle no more or soon you'll have no money to spend at the bookstore and dollar store and hobby shop."


Cindy Gerard said...

Wow Debra. You're monkey is a stinker - and probably a very close cousin to MY monkey. This post is fun and charming but deceptively powerful to someone who's been struggling with the DO part of the equation lately and can ill afford to play before I pay.
Thanks for the wake up call. Truly. From now on my mantra is: Remember Deb's post?? Now go forth and git 'er done!!

Betina Krahn said...

I do spend too much time on the internet, I confess. And yes the whole "popular culture" thing has been my excuse as well. But I know better and right now I have piles of papers on my desk from various sources (even some bills stuffed in there somewhere) and I need to just go through the stack and get things done. finished. kaput.

I read a tip once (I just LOVE reading tips!) that said you should always handle a piece of paper once. If it's mail, open it and act on in while it's still in your hand--otherwise it becomes part of a big honkin' pile somewhere and you'll be unpleasantly surprised weeks hence when the electricity goes dark in the house. Handle it right away and then get rid of it. I mean, how much do I have to ponder the electric bill anyway?

That's usually my problem. . . I feel like I have to think about everything. And the thinking turns to pondering, which turns to hand-wringing or deep meditation-- the last of which has been known to turn to napping.

So just do it already. And be positive about it. "There, I've taken care of it and I feel ever so much better. I'm getting a lot accomplished today. I get a lot accomplished every day. I'm a productive and creative person whose words will make the world a better place for somebody. I have original and entertaining thoughts to share. . ."

(Somebody stop me-- I'm on affirmation overload!!!)

Debra Dixon said...

Marilyn-- Ah, yes. The dawdle. My monkey knows it well. That maneuver is sooo deceptive because the work isn't right in front of you and you are on legit biz. I'm trying to "group" errands by planning my week on Sunday, around any "can't move" items like dental appointments. That way I'm frazzled one day instead of several.

I'm going to steal, "Dawdle no more." That's a perfect mantra. LOL!

Debra Dixon said...

Cindy-- LOL! You can think WWDDD. (What would DD do?) (g) I think we all cycle through this and the only way to keep on track is to keep having talks with the monkeys.

Debra Dixon said...

Betina-- Yes! "Touch it once." is a brilliant tip to remember. And your affirmations are so good. I've read them three times now. Really.

lois greiman said...

I'm so with you Deb. The 'just do it' mantra is still with me from years ago. Don't think... just do. I remember hearing: If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well. Pffsttt! Not true. Some crap just needs to get out of the way for more important things--like talking to my daughter or...whatever. I got together for dinner with friends last night. That felt really important. Today it's all about the book. As soon as I leave this comment. :)

Helen Brenna said...

LOL! My monkey's been sweet talked into submission, Deb. Or would that be ignored long enough that she's lost her voice?

The problem is I'm still figuring out this writing under contract stuff. With 4 books due within the next 13 months, I better figure it out fast.

So far, I'm getting my work done, but very little else. Things are piling up around me like tall, brick walls. In another few months, I'll be climbing them like a maniac!!

Kathleen Eagle said...

oh, man, if I were doing what I should be doing this isn't what I would be typing.

I know I get things done more efficiently if I start right in first thing in the morning. Once I click over to my Google page or make a phone call or turn on the news, my head is not where I need it to be. I do much better with a list. Physically checking things off does wonders for me psycologically. It's elementary behavior modification, and I know the drill. Just do it, Kathy. Right now.

Michele Hauf said...

Just do it always works for me. I like one of the Four Agreements. 'Be the Best You Can Be'. That means no matter what you're doing. If you're writing, strive for the best. If you're singing in the shower, be the best! If you're sick, do sick well, snuggle in and eat chicken soup and take care of yourself. Just do it!

Christie Ridgway said...

Oh, man, Deb. This post really resonates today becasue I did 3 things on my to-do list--the same list that has been on my desk a week and is less than a day's worth of stuff. I have 3 more things to do and I'm going to do 'em!

Mantra: Accomplishing items on my to-do list makes me focused and productive.

Debra Dixon said...

Lois - Pffsttt! Indeed. Some crap is all about shoveling it out of the way in none too pretty a fashion!

Debra Dixon said...

Helen-- Yes, contractland requires some adjustment. :) I'm very proud that you've not yet become corrupt.

Debra Dixon said...

Kathy-- I'm right there with you on beginning the day as I mean to go on. That works a treat.

Debra Dixon said...

Michele-- Oh, I do a very nice sick. Yes, indeed. I can do it up proper I can.

Debra Dixon said...

Christie-- See! That's what I'm talking about. Recognizing that you can just knock some stuff out. Put your head down and slog and then poof! You're way ahead of the curve.

Andrea Campbell said...


Hey, Lady. Andrea Campbell here, your guest blogger from January 9th. You know I think I got you all thinking about monkeys - - and how well I appreciate that! Yes, I had that monkey on my back and liked it.

Well, I will confess that I have changed one thing to ease my conscience: I don't read e-mail boxes first thing anymore. Nope, I save them until >last< and if I run out of time before my walk, oh, well. I just seemed to be mentoring and joining ning groups and all that la-de-da you get to doing on the computer and, guess what? the book is due in October so get your ass into that seat....

This was quite inspiring.

Debra Dixon said...


Yes! I thought of you when thinking of monkeys. :) I hoped you'd appreciate it. (g) I totally love the idea of not looking at email. I sometimes have clients who emailed with emergencies though.

I wonder if I can become disciplined enough to look only at return addresses and touch nothing but clients. Hmm... I really like the thought.