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Encouragement is like chocolate. You want just enough to look forward to, but not so much it’s unhealthy. Right?

So if someone tells you that you’re doing a great job, maybe you really are. Or maybe they’re just hoping you’ll smile and go away so they can sneak into your office and eat your chocolates. You never know.

It can be tough to really know whether you’re doing a good job. Whatever your everyday occupation, be it writing books, managing finances or wrestling alligators, objective feedback can be tough to find. (Well, okay, if you’re doing a bad job at wrestling alligators, you’ll know.)

But there is one thing you can empirically measure: progress. When you set written goals for yourself, then you can check them off as you accomplish them. It feels good, making that little check mark. If you’ve ever added something to a to-do list just so you could cross it off, then you know what I mean. We all need a little encouragement every day.

I plan out my books using three-by-five index cards, one card for each scene. The entire book is laid out on a pair of giant cork boards on the wall above my desk, each card pinned down in sequential order. After I write each scene, I get out a fat magic marker and draw a giant check mark across the card. Every day, there’s another check mark on the wall. Little by little, the book gets done. When things get tough, that check mark at the end of the scene helps keep me going. (That, and a stash of chocolate. Shh.)

So, did you do anything to encourage yourself today? Give it a shot. Break down a big task into bite-size pieces, focus on one at a time, and then check each one off with a flourish. Trust me, you’ll feel good. Each success will give you a little more momentum, more energy, and you’ll get things done faster and easier.

Which leaves you more time to enjoy that chocolate!

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    I agree! Checking off items on my daily to-do list and eating quality chocolates marks a successful day, IMHO. Jackie T.

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