Before I work here in Saudi Arabia, I’m already blogging. In fact, I lose count how many did I abandon already. For now, this blog is the only one I’m updating.

I work ten hours a day. For six days a week. That’s already a lot of time. Sometimes, I work even more.

It doesn’t even include the time I take for other important things. Laundry. Iron-pressing of clothes. Cooking. Taking a bath. Buying foods in the market.

In my last blog post, I mentioned how I computed my remaining free time.

Now, I don’t need to cook and buy my food. Still, the ample time remaining for me is about three hours.

At these times include eating dinner and twice a week of manual hand laundry. As well as iron-pressing after the laundry. I also jog for about twenty minutes five nights a week.

Knowing these challenges, I could ask “was it still possible to write?”

Anyone having a busy and hectic life can also relate to this.

As hard as it seems to believe, I can tell you it is possible. In fact, I was prone to write more here than when I’m in my home country.

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Daily Practice For Writing

I already read a lot of articles and e-books about writing in years. I also listened to tons of podcasts. I even watched video tutorials.

These excite me to write. Inspired to write. Compelled to write. Really want to write. The only thing remaining is the writing itself. Every master of their own crafts did daily immersion. In short, they practice. Deliberately.

So why shouldn’t I (or you)?

Since I did my daily practice, I wake up one hour earlier than I used to. That’s three in the morning!

I tell you it was freaking hard. Every morning, there’s a great temptation to snooze my alarm.

Most of the time I failed to gain focus. The stimulus from internet browsing is quite addictive. Even up to now.

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Fight Technology With Technology

This is not just about me. In this modern times, getting distracted is as easy as breathing. Somehow, my addiction to internet browsing helped me find a good counter-technology.

1. Distractions Removing App. I’m now using “Cold Turkey Writer” app which is perfect for distracted people like me. I downloaded it to my laptop. What this app does is it will transform your laptop or desktop computer into an old-fashioned typewriter.

I’m not speaking of Harry Potter magic kind of transformation. Once you switched on the app, you have no choice but to write. Just like the typewriter’s only function is to type. You can’t do anything unless you typed a certain amount of words. Or you consumed a certain amount of time. All a sudden, you got the coolest old-fashioned typewriter.

There’s also a lot of white space. You will not experience any tensions in your eyes.

A mobile version is also available for both Android and Apple users. This is not necessary for writers. It will simply not let you use your phone for a specific time. Yes, it will transform your phone into a stone.

2. Listen to Sounds That Improve Your Focus. Even when I’m already typing, my mind is always wondering. This happens, especially in the morning. I wonder, “why I’m so weird?” All the people are still asleep. Even the pesky big brown grasshoppers I encounter every day at the construction site are sleeping. But then, here I am typing.

I just listen to something instead. Something that can silence my own “who do you think you are?” nagging voice.

Personally, I downloaded songs found in BrainPages website.

I also downloaded the Coffitivity app on my mobile phone for more choices of murmuring sounds. You read that right, murmuring sounds. This app gives me a feel I’m in a crowded cafeteria. Sipping a cup of cappuccino.

Note: If you’re not in Saudi Arabia or other countries blocking Spotify, you can try the Deep Focus Playlist.

3. Online Community or Accountability Program. Now I’m ready to write. The next question is “what should I write about?”

The honest answer is you can write about anything.

The answer seems simple. Taking from my own experience, I know this is not easy. So, I recommend taking Jeff Goins’ My 500 Words, a 31-day writing challenge.

For 13 days now, I already committed to writing 500 words a day. It might not seem much to some, but this already challenging for me. This is aside writing a weekly blog post.

The reason why I wake up in the morning to write is this. I want to commit for at least 31 days. I want to hone my voice. I want to add confidence to my writing skills.

The good thing about this program is every day you’ll get a prompt. This is the theme of what about you are going to write. Most of the time I didn’t follow the prompt. Useful though for days that I don’t feel creative enough. I know where to get an idea.

There’s also a lot more from the program. You can join an online Facebook group dedicated for fellow challengers as well as apps to help you achieve your goal.
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Apps Are Useless Unless…

“Will you look back on life and say ‘I wish I had’ or ‘I’m glad I did.'” —Zig Ziglar

I commit a lot of mistakes. The worst I supposed is the fear of making them. I lost a lot of opportunities. Sometimes, I can’t help but look back to my past. I was sad for the lot of “I wish I had” thoughts that haunt me.

Apps are useless unless… Duh, you use it.

No app can help anyone who is too afraid. You might also have a lot of “I wish I had” regrets. The most important thing is the now. We can still do small steps.

Start with daily practice. If technology is your obstacle, use it to your advantage.

Regrets are worthless except for the lessons we learned from our own mistakes.

We can unlearn distraction and start learning how to focus. And tell yourself “I’m glad I did.”

P.S. You can also try Fabolous app, for Android users only as of this writing. I use it for three months and counting. This app will help you gain scientifically-proven healthy habits. It works for me, I’m sure it will for you. Give it a shot and you can thank me later. 🙂