The Word Processor and the Wobbly Desk… A Tale of Distraction and Procrastination.

I spend more time trying to find a word processor to write in, than I actually spend writing. And this desk is driving me insane (more insane than a person who’s testing word processors constantly).

Distraction free word processor
True distraction-free writing environment. Does this person know there’s no paper in there?

These are the issues you deal with as a blogger. Do you still qualify as a blogger when you don’t really write blog posts anymore? Trying to do more of it.

I love to write. Usually it’s just the process of getting started that holds me back. Hence the parade of ‘minimalist’ word processors I go through. Just another step in the procrastination game, really.

Blogging is a major marketing strategy for most online businesses. You know that. And when you ask, “what on earth should I write about?”, you are not alone. Jump into my head for a few minutes…

Ideas for a blog post always come to you (if they do come) when you’re farthest away from a keyboard. No excuse. You have a smart phone in hand 24/7 that has more power than your computer did just a few years ago.

That smart phone has plenty of minimalist word processor apps on it. I can vouch for that. You could jot down ideas or start writing. Or dictate into a recording app.

But no. Spin the blog post around in the brain. Finishing whatever I’m doing. Shower. Eating. Driving. Anything not in front of a computer. The idea disappears eventually.

Finally in front of the computer. Word processor for the day selected. What was that awesome blog topic I had? Just get writing.

But this desk. This desk. Why do I keeping using this wobbly desk that has no drawers?

The word processor of choice today is FocusWriter for MacOS. Black screen. Green type. There are a few other themes, too. Their ugliness is distracting to me.

My preferred writing environment. For today. Check out FocusWriter if you need this.

The screen on my 2015 Macbook Pro is filthy. Fingerprints and smudges cover the glass. Is it glass? Every minute or two I look up, hoping one of those cloths that come with new iPhones makes a surprise appearance.

This desk. Ugh. My wife insisted on keeping this desk when I moved from a large rented office space back into my tiny 8×8 walk-in closet of an office.

Working at home has advantages. Office 10 steps from the bedroom. No excuse for skipping work.

Except when today might be the day you start an in-house bonfire with that wobbly, drawerless desk. Then you should probably take the day off. Today isn’t that day. Not yet.

This is absolutely nothing close to what I planned to write when I started looking for the word processor choice of the day. The plan was to write about how much time you need in order to start an online business.

I’ll save that topic for later. Maybe right after I finish writing… whatever this is. Oh and desk shopping, maybe after that too.

The deal with the word processor is that I must have a distraction-free writing space. I don’t know if I’m ADD or ADHD. I’ve never been diagnosed, other than by just about every amateur psychologist ever to come into my life. Psychologist or psychiatrist? Never sure which one it is.

What are the dogs doing? They’re quiet but I hear the occasional rustling from downstairs. No telling. Hope they’re safe.

Writing in Google Docs would work just fine. Our business team does almost everything through Google Drive. But the tabs. There’s always those tabs at the top of the screen. Just want to click… everything…

Of course, you can set Google Docs or Word (Mac’s native word processor, Pages, absolutely never gets a look from me) to be distraction free. Sort of. Someone’s idea of distraction free. That person is clearly better at focusing than I am.

Wobbly Ikea Desk
Not my desk. But it is from Ikea, and I dig the decor. Photo by Tim Patterson on / CC BY-SA 2.0

As I’m writing, a bolt fell out of the desk. That’s right. Fell out, onto the floor. Looks like one that you find in Ikea furniture. The kind that require that allen wrench that comes in the box. Instead a real screwdriver.

Wait. You mean my wife insisted on my using this wobbly desk with no drawers for the last two years… and it came from Ikea?! I thought for sure she wanted to keep it because there was some sentimental attachment!

We have a coffee table that looks rode hard, but can never be replaced. It was her grandfather’s. Or something. I just know if there was a competition, the coffee table would stay here longer than me. And I know to use a coaster at all times.

This has been a pretty solid writing session. Special thanks to my distraction-free word processor environment provided by FocusWriter. No thanks to the wobbly desk with no drawers, mysterious sentimental attraction and hazy origins that may or may not include Sweden by way of Potomac Mills.

Too bad this is the point where the word processor game always falls apart. Someday I’ll find one that can easily be cut-and-pasted into WordPress.

And the moral of the story is… some days, you just write. Something. Anything. Even this.

How to Run a Successful Business and Be a Head Football Coach at the Same Time… Without Going Crazy.

Since starting my first season as a Head Football Coach in 2018, things have been pretty hectic. There never seems to be enough time to sit down and accomplish any more than the most necessary tasks.

The podcasts (almost) always get recorded. Usually at the last minute before a self-imposed deadline. Since this is the life blood of my business marketing, podcasting always comes first. On Tuesday evenings, we do a weekly Q&A Session for JDFB Insider Clients. The two podcasts and the weekly Q&A are the only tasks I have on any sort of ‘schedule’.

In preparation for the season, most of my other work has been systematized and delegated. I have a wonderful assistant who has kept Joe Daniel Football from collapsing. Meanwhile, I try to figure out what in the world I’m doing as a head coach.

Other necessary tasks include responding to emails, and answering client questions on our private Chalk Board forum.  I also waste time on Twitter – and sometimes learn a thing or two – but avoid Facebook almost entirely.

High School Football Coaching may be the only corner of Twitter left that is not completely toxic. It’s actually extremely positive, educational, and enjoyable.

Passing the halfway point in a thus far successful season (6-0), I’m looking at the big question everyone asked when I took the job: How are you going to run your business and be a head coach?

After two and a half months, I can answer with all certainty… I do not know.

3 Reasons This Should Not Work

There’s a rhythm to this. I’m moving along to the beat… just maybe not as smoothly as I’d like. Going into the season, I knew I had a few personal shortcomings going against me. I thought maybe the new position would change me, but so far that hasn’t happened.

I’m not an early riser. I don’t get up at 5am. After getting up very early for 10 years as a teacher, I’m completely against the idea. It’s just not natural for me.

I’m not a particularly hard worker. That comes as a surprise to a lot of people. And maybe I hold myself to a certain standard that I rarely ever meet. But I’m just not a ‘grinder’. I’m prone to short bursts of extremely hard work, followed by periods of equally, if not more, impressive laziness.

As for strike three, I am violently opposed to living my life on any sort of schedule. The idea makes my stomach churn. The few interviews that I still do for The Football Coaching Podcast usually leave me flooded with anger and anxiety in the hour or two leading up to the call, simply because I have to do something at a certain time. That keeps me from doing more interviews, despite enjoying the actual conversations immensely.

Three strikes. I’m out.

Well, maybe I should be. But so far, I’ve been able to keep moving forward in both business and coaching. Without completely sacrificing a personal life, either.

One Thing Actually Works

The one thing that has prevented a total meltdown, besides my incredible assistants, is the very fact that I acknowledged my weaknesses ahead of time.

It would be easy to tell myself that once the season starts, I’ll get up early. Increase productivity because you have limited time. Stick to a schedule. After all, you’ve got to do it – and it’s only for a few months.

But there was no way it was going to happen. None. I know that.

Instead, I put systems in place. Those 3 tasks that must get done every week were chosen strategically. They are the 3 tasks in my business that I absolutely enjoy doing. 3 tasks that I’m not resentful of having on the schedule every week (and the only 3 tasks on the schedule).

3 Tasks I Can Actually Get Done Every Week

Podcasting is effortless for me, beyond deciding what topic to talk about. I solved that problem by turning The Football Coaching Podcast into seasons. Each season targets just a few specific topics, over a 23 week period. The topics are planned out before the start of each season, and then I just have to stick to the plan.

Every Wednesday, I look at a calendar in a spreadsheet (created by my assistant), to see what topic I assigned myself weeks or months ago. There’s usually some brief research. Then turn the mic on. Once the recording is done, I send the raw audio file to our A/V editor.

My second podcast, the JDFB Quick Clinic, is even easier. I’ll answer listener questions, which are usually never hard to come by. They are filed into a folder in my Gmail, and when it’s time to record I just pick the one that interests me that day.

As for the Chalk Talk Q&A Sessions, it’s the same idea. Talking football is easy. Coming up with topics is not. In the Q&A’s we answer questions about whatever issues coaches are facing that week. It’s very informal, and only done during the season – when coaches need answers right now.

One system that’s being added during the season is turning those Q&A Sessions, recorded through YouTube Live, into additional member content by cutting them up into video segments. Since I already have a few years of recordings built up, the edited videos are going to serve as a huge database for JDFB Insider clients to find answers.

Learning how to incorporate systems into my business has been a huge improvement. But it’s also been a huge benefit for our football team.

Turning Football Into a Business (sort of…)

Unlike my work life, our practices are rigidly scheduled. We hit the field at 3:15pm every day, and every minute until 4:45pm when we leave the field is planned out.

90 minutes is a much shorter football practice than most High School football coaches would be accustomed to. I detailed that on a recent episode of JDFB Quick Clinic, if you’re interested in finding out how we do it.

I’m not sure why the rigid scheduling doesn’t bother me in coaching, but completely guts me in my normal life. There’s problem some deep seeded reason, but it doesn’t matter. Stick with what works.

I’ve incorporated systems for equipment inventory, locker room management, leadership development, and more. All of these systems have been successful, to varying degrees. And they’ve all required adjustment along the way.

Systems don’t have to mean strict rigidity or a hands-off, heartless approach to getting the job done. Far from it. It’s incorporating these systems that has allowed me to have a balance between my business, coaching, and personal life – and keep from going completely insane in the process.

As for writing this article… it’s not in a system. I just wanted to write today. That’s OK, too.