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My book is being turned into a movie!

It’s not some April Fool’s joke; this is real!

Trust me!

You remember the “big” changes I was talking about in my earlier blog posts? Well, this is one of them. As April begins, I will be going into what I believe will be the busiest month of my life. I have multiple projects that need attending to, this one being the most pressing concern as the video will be shown in the middle of May.

So, how did this happen? What is happening? Is this for real?

Yes, yes, yes, it’s for real. Well, sort of. Last year I had found out about a screenplay contest and so I adapted one of my polished short stories to make it a screenplay and entered it here in a local Suzhou competition. It was chosen as a finalist, so now I have to produce it for a showing that will happen in the middle of May. This means that I have to film and edit EVERYTHING before then. For someone who doesn’t have that much experience with video editing, this is quite the daunting task, but there is a reason why I am doing it. I should clarify, though, that it’s not a full-length feature film. It’s only a short-film (like 5-10 minutes). This is fine for me and still should keep me plenty busy.

That reason brings me to why this month will also be super busy. Recently, as I’ve mentioned in my other blog posts, I have read this book called “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and this book talks about making personal mission statements so that it helps define your life and what you live for. One of those personal mission statements of mine is for my role as an author and states: “I will contribute to the literary world somehow whether it be in novels, novellas, or short stories each year.” This year I’ve decided to publish a novella which takes place well before the series begins. It will be titled, The Founding of Gazo’s and Gracie’s Academy. Gazo’s Academy and Gracie’s Academy are brother-and-sister schools that are the prominent weapons academies in the universe that I’ve created within Guardian of the Core. The founding of these academies is briefly glanced at in the second novel, The Curse of Pirini Lilapa, but the actual founding of the academy is much much different and amazing then what the main character, Zain, lets on in the novel.

This will be a three-part novella. (For those of you who don’t know what a novella is, it is a smaller novel, typically 30,000 – 45,000 words). The movie, however, will only be an adaptation of the first part of that novella. Still, this was quite the blessing for me because it can provide me with a lot of promotional content and activity before the novella comes out and get people more hyped for the next new release. The whole idea of releasing a new published work is daunting and requires lots of pre-promotional activity, so that will take up more of my time as well as I get ready for publication.

Now, in my last blog post I talked about how I am combating my greatest asset / problem: my personality. And that is through organizing myself via a weekly schedule. During this blog post, I want to break things down for you a little bit more and show you (in detail) how, despite lives being busy, we do have enough time to get those things done in our lives that are important to us.

First things first, though, what are my mission statements? (A mission statement is how you operate; what values you hold dear to yourself. Every business has one. So, too, should you. For more information on drafting a personal mission statement read the book). Anyway, here is a list of mine:  

  1. Author: I will contribute to the literary world somehow—whether it be novels, novellas, or short stories—each year.
  2. Teacher: I will never stop learning and continue to gather knowledge through travel, literature, or education.
  3. Trainer: I want to maintain a healthy body and encourage others around me to do the same, for our health is one of our most important currencies.
  4. Friend: I want to continually improve the relationships in my life by advancing and encouraging open and honest communication, sustained communication, and empathetic communication.
  5. Businessman: I will start to obtain monetary independence by focusing on creating multiple streams of revenue while managing expenses by creating a budget.
  6. Self: I will practice honesty in all manners, and making sure I am always true to myself, my desires, and the people in my life.
  7. Church: I will seek out chances to grow spiritually and hold myself accountable for practicing what I preach, and having more open communication with God.
  8. Boyfriend / Husband / Partner: I will remain chivalrous, faithful, honest, proud, supportive, and loving of my significant other for she is the most important person in my life.
  9. Father: I will be an active, supportive, and encouraging father, giving my children the same opportunities as me and instilling in them a sense of self-worth, determination, and appreciation.

Now, I am not ALL of these roles (for example, boyfriend or father), but it doesn’t mean that I don’t have goals or can live my life a certain way that will allow me to be those things when the time comes, and I meet that special person.

The next thing we have to think about is this matrix that is better described in the book, but I’ll give a summary of it here. This is how we can classify ANY activity that we do. It’s the “Time Management Matrix” and it’s featured below.

Typically, many of us are focused on the first quadrant or the third quadrant. If we are irresponsible and don’t do much with our life, perhaps we are in the fourth quadrant, but many of us forget about the second quadrant because these are things that are important but not urgent. In our minds, urgency always comes first. It’s urgent after all, yeah? For example, how many of you reading right now don’t exercise? You don’t have “time” to exercise consistently or feel so tired after work that you don’t exercise? If you nodded your head that is because exercising is in quadrant two. It is important to maintain our health, but we can definitely push it aside for “another day.” Just like our diet, right? Another important activity that many businesses forget to do is marketing because they are too busy with other things and they believe they can do it themselves.

However, this is the MOST IMPORTANT quadrant because it focuses on being proactive versus being reactive. By focusing on our second quadrant needs we will find that our first category and third category needs die down quite a bit and you will have MORE time in your schedule. Of course, for a full in-depth reason why this happens please read the book, but let’s analyze my schedule and show you how this affects my life currently and how I am managing everything.

First, you’ll notice on the left that there is a section for our Roles along with the Goals we want to accomplish. The idea is that you decide what 2-3 goals (or more) you want to accomplish for each role that you have and then you plot them out during your week which you should notice is arranged by an hourly schedule. Now, what goals should you put down there? Again, these are things that relate to your personal mission statement and things that should be in area two of your matrix. Let’s break that down using some examples.

Let’s look at my self matrix. Here I have the goals, A) Gym 4-5 times, B) Salsa Class, C) Spanish TV show, D) Spanish APP, E) Friend time

Gym. In the midst of a busy week, perhaps we think that we don’t have time for the gym, but the idea is that we make time. For me, this is important for it fulfills my “trainer” role and also has acted as a vent for my stress in most cases. By putting in the time now, I will save myself from future health issues later.

Salsa Class. This is an interesting one. Definitely not urgent, that’s for sure, but is it important? This is again going back to my mission statement. I have in my educator role that I will continue learning something new. This is something new. Not only that, but I have a larger goal for that role where I will be going to Colombia in one to two years (earliest January 2021) in order to pursue my master’s degree in creative writing. Now, why Colombia? That is a whole new blog post that I will get to next 😉 but it relates to my mission statement here and my goals. But, because I want to eventually integrate into the Colombian culture, I have decided to start taking salsa classes as that is a part of their culture down in South America. Also, it’s fun, and more physical activity which again keeps me active and healthy (my trainer role).

Spanish TV Show. I have recently started watching a show called Money Heist (in English) and La Casa de Papel (in Spanish). This is on Netflix and I watch it in Spanish with Spanish subtitles. How can Netflix be in zone 2 and not zone 4? Well, again, it focuses on my goals of being an educator. If I want to do a master’s degree in creative writing in Colombia, I need to be very very good at Spanish in order to tackle it, something that I am currently not. I am conversational in Spanish, but I am not anywhere close to being ready to tackle a master’s program. So, I watch tv shows in Spanish one or two times per week in order to improve my listening, my reading, learn new vocabulary, and just relax. This is not an urgent matter at all as I have two years to improve my Spanish for Colombia, but by doing this now, I am taking steps forward to my eventual shift in life.

Spanish APP. Every morning I do one lesson in my Spanish APP called WLingua. If you want to learn Spanish, I highly recommend that app. It has everything: reading, writing, listening, and grammar all in Spanish. Again, this is helping me get myself ready for my shift to Colombia so it is important to start now so that I can solve future problems later.

Friend time. This may seem weird to people to schedule time in for friends, but I have many many friends overseas. I actually had someone ask me recently, “How do you keep in touch with all of your friends?” This is exactly how. I schedule maybe fifteen – thirty minutes to just reach out to a few friends each week and catch up with them. For me, this is important. I told you in my last post that I need people. I thrive on people and this is actually part of my mission statement for my friendship zone talking about “sustained communication.” Again, I am completing my mission statement and each goal that we have for the week should add to holistic value of your schedule.

Let’s also take a look at my Author goals: A) April Newsletter, B) Pt 2 of Novella revised, C) Kindlepreneur, D) Post 3 times on Instagram, F) Blog Post, G) Video Filming

You may have noticed in this part I put Instagram Posts scheduled (Goal D). How can social media be included in this? Doesn’t social media just suck time away from us? Normally, it does. Actually, social media is an absolute time sucker if we let it be, and I find myself wasting time on it no matter how hard I try not to; however, for me, it’s a necessary evil. I am an author and part of my success depends on social media to reach new people, brand myself, and promote my work. So, I have to make time for it. I make time for this, though, when I am in a car driving someplace (someone else is driving) or for when I just have a little gap of time between activities. In fact, I am doing this blog post right now while I am being driven to Shanghai in order to complete some filming for the short film (Goal F + G).

In essence, I am utilizing my time efficiently and effectively. I am multi-tasking and that is why it is SO SO SO important to plan your week, not just your day. You’ll notice at the top my “priorities” for today was the Blog Post and the filming, so I made sure (before anything else) to finish those two things. It’s very important you know which things on your goals are absolutely necessary and which ones you can schedule out for another day. By knowing where you want to go, what you want to accomplish, and being able to see the whole puzzle before you, you can effectively place those pieces (your goals) into the necessary places they need to go.

Finally, you’ll see “Sharpen the Saw” down in the bottom left hand corner. I have filled it in with the number of my goals and how it relates and helps me grow in each of our four areas as a human being. This also makes me realize that I am growing as an individual; I am being the best person I can possibly be, and someone who will eventually be successful.

Wooh, that was long. I hope you made it this far and see how this can directly affect you and help you throughout your life. I will be revisiting this topic sporadically throughout the next month and future blog posts because it’s something we cannot get away from. I’m not saying that I’m busier than other individuals, that’s not the case, I know many people who are very very busy and have other roles (like family or father / mother), but I think for any situation you can utilize something like this so that you can make more time for yourself, your loved ones, and start to live your life stress free.

If you have any questions on applying this to your life, or want help in drafting a mission statement or advice, let me know! I can try and answer / respond as best I can.

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