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January 30, 2010
Beyond Proofreading and Writing Help: Life Edits for 2010

It may seem like I’m obsessed with proofreading, but I see opportunities to edit everywhere. Any choice that you make can potentially edit a bad habit—revising and improving it.

We can edit what we say or think. Stress and anxiety always seem to be at the top of the list of things we need to edit out of our lives. What about priorities? What priorities do you need to reevaluate?

Let’s not forget selective memories: editing out what we don’t want to think about. For some, what we “don’t want to think about” may be making those sometimes difficult changes that are necessary to better our lifestyles. However, every 365 days, at the turn of the New Year, people tend to get enthusiastic about starting a new chapter.

Here are three simple life edits to put you on the right track for twenty ten (and, if nothing else, make you jazzed about the fact that you now have the option of succinctly writing out the year in words).


Living in the hectic, busy, fast-paced 21st century world is getting a bit old. When the masses can respond to three emails at once on their iPhones, while inhaling a double latte on a conference call via headset and participating in a Skype chat, the skill of multi-tasking loses its luster. Big whoop, you can do more than one thing at once.

You are less likely to make mistakes when you focus on one event at a time. Take the most important activity that you do and give it your undivided attention. If you’re writing, facilitate the process by turning off your phone and text message alerts. If you’re proofreading a document, close out your email client or TweetDeck. You can catch up on your Twitter timeline when you’re doing something less important.


The theory of relativity couldn’t be more pervasive. When we’re doing something that we enjoy, time goes by quickly. When we’re struggling to get through an unpleasant task, time crawls. For me, my appetite is never as strong as when I have to do something less than appealing. “I’ll just have a quick snack for 10 more minutes,” I tell myself.

Although this is an avoidance technique, something can be learned from the idea that we tend to monitor time more when we want it to go by quickly. Don’t get so caught up in your work that you forget to take breaks to eat or remind your circulation that blood should flow to your legs as well. It’s great that you are passionate about what you are doing, but to keep your stamina for the long haul, it’s important to take breaks. Remind yourself that you’re a person outside of your work. Set alarms so that you don’t have to monitor the clock and then take a few minutes to do something for yourself—whether it’s taking a walk, stretching, or catching up on your favorite blog. Work is something that you do, but ultimately, you are in control of your days.


Trusting in your own nature and abilities is the key to overcoming anxiety. The simple idea of trust will make you more productive. Worrying about a task or fearing a meeting or encounter won’t change how the actual event plays out.

Trust that you know how to handle a situation. Trust that you know the best decision for you. Learn to let go of over-thinking and second-guessing. It’s okay if things don’t go exactly as planned on the first try. There’s always another chance to rise to the challenge.
Life is about editing. If your life began as a polished, final draft and you knew all the answers right away, it wouldn’t be a journey.

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Stefanie Flaxman corrects business, marketing, and educational documents in 24 hours. She’s a writing consultant and the founder of Revision Fairy® Small Business Proofreading Services. Check out her free report and subscribe to Small Business Writing Consultant Blog to get free business writing advice. Don’t forget to say hello on Twitter!

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