Archive of ‘This-n-That’ category

10 Ways to Keep from Procrastinating

Procrastination can be dangerous…if you put critical tasks off for too long you may find yourself without enough time to get them done properly. This is important because rushed work tends to be sloppy and less desirable. Procrastinating may even cause you to lose a client, or worse, your business. Yet, many of us put off necessary tasks every day without even realizing it.

10 Ways to Keep from Procrastinating

With a little planning and a little effort, you can keep yourself on track. Use these tips and tricks to keep your procrastination from getting out of hand:

  1. Set a schedule. While I’m sure that your schedule includes your most important tasks, such as client meetings and project milestones, do you also schedule less essential tasks as well? Tasks like completing your quarterly income tax returns or invoicing your clients won’t perform themselves. And if you’re like me, if it’s not on your schedule it doesn’t get done…
  2. Get organized. It’s easy to put things off when you can’t find them. Let’s face it, disorganization can make even a simple task seem difficult. Find a system to organize your business and your life. Stick with it, and get things done. Don’t let a messy desk, unorganized files, or a sloppy email inbox keep you from getting right down to business.
  3. Find an accountability partner. Find an accountability partner that will hold you responsible for getting tasks done. This could be a friend or family member, or even another business owner.
  4. Break large tasks into smaller tasks. Another reasonwe put off doing something is because it seems insurmountable. You just don’t know where to start. You can make a large task less daunting by breaking it into smaller pieces and tackling those small pieces one by one. If you’re facing a large task, see if it can be broken into parts.
  5. Don’t overcommit. You can keep from getting too overwhelmed by keeping your schedule manageable and realistic. Be sure to record each new task on your schedule as soon as you receive it (and allow yourself enough time for each).
  6. Control distractions. Are you easily distracted? If you answered “yes,” you may need to take some steps to change your environment. Try to learn what distracts you the most and take steps to minimize those things. Does a ringing phone bother you? Try turning the ringer off except for an hour a day. Are you drawn to too much social media? Try timing your social media interactions.
  7. Figure out what motivates you. Sometimes you are not very motivated by the work they have to do. If this is you, figure out what type of work does motivate you. Try to target those projects more often. If you have a project that you’re really looking forward to, you may find that your procrastination habit evaporates.
  8. Track your progress. It’s easy to fall behind on a project (especially a large project) without even knowing it. Before you know it, it’s impossible to catch up. Keeping regular track of where you are on a project versus where you should be on it can help you stay on course. Large companies track their project’s progress using project management tools and so should you.
  9. Tackle self-doubt and other psychological issues. Procrastination is sometimes caused by psychological issues like self-doubt, fear of success, or other fears. If you’re struggling with these underlying issues, putting work off may be one way that you are subconsciously sabotaging your own success. Deal with the underlying cause and your procrastination should improve.
  10. Reward your success. Are you still struggling with procrastination and having trouble getting motivated? Once in a while, it’s perfectly okay to “bribe” yourself. You heard me right, give yourself a little incentive for keeping up with your work. Think of something affordable that you’d really like and promise it to yourself when your project is complete.

Do you struggle with procrastination? What methods do you use to overcome it?

Organize, Simplify, & Save Time

We have a tremendous variety of technology at our disposal these days. We can better leverage our time, get organized and make things much easier with just a few clicks. Here are three tips for using technology to make your daily life a little bit easier.

1. Getting your inbox to “zero” is a guideline, not a rule. Let’s face it, you don’t have to be rigid with your email rules. Our lives are busy and things pile up. Set aside some time each week to process your inbox down to a level you can live with (mine is keeping it down to less than 20 emails), and that’s good enough.

If you can respond in about two minutes, do it right then. If you need to research or take other action for a longer period of time, flag the message and decide when you will revisit. You may not get your inbox completely cleaned out, but also don’t let it get out of hand. If important emails are missed and things are falling through the cracks, it’s time to rethink your system. But, if you are getting the important things done, just stay on top of it. Some rules are just meant to be broken…


2. Smart scheduling.
There are numerous scheduling tools out there. Some let you set up “appointment books”, set up weekly calendars for sharing or even automating bookings altogether. Using one of these tools allows you to set your availability once and then sync with your calendar. When a potential client sends that first email and is ready to book an appointment, send them a link and let them choose the time that works best for them.

Many of these tools also help you to lock down the details of your calendar, only allowing viewers to see general availability. They don’t need the details of your schedule, they just need to know when you have time to help them with their issue. Imagine bookings showing up on your calendar and receiving an email which requires little attention from you. Automating your scheduling will save you email ping-pong and phone
tag. You have better things to do with your time!

3. Face-to-face in a virtual world. Sometimes meeting face to face in real life isn’t possible, for reasons like geography or a tight deadline. No problem! Use a web-based conferencing system or a free internet calling software to quickly connect. You get to see each other and interact in real time when it’s convenient, and without the hassle of travel. It’s almost as good as a live meeting, and especially helpful when you just can’t meet at the corner coffee shop. It no longer matters if they are halfway around the world!

Using technology to shortcut the little things helps you and your business become more agile and quick to respond. Eliminating even small distractions or menial tasks also allows you to spend that time on other things. So, when the technology tool is available to help, consider using it!

15 Minutes a Day

As a day job dweller, what’s your scarcest resource when it comes to building your business? Let’s all give the answer together: Time!

When you work full-time (or more!) for someone else, where do you find the time for your entrepreneurial endeavor? (Hint: You don’t. You make time.) So instead of doing something — anything! — you wait for the magical 2-hour window to appear in your week so you can finally sit down and work on that novel or create that fan page. But that magical window never appears, so the work never gets done. Sound familiar?

Until someone invents a magic window that gives you more time, Michelle Ward, aka The When I Grow Up Coach, provides a list of 30 things you can do in 15-minute chunks to help build your business:

TWITTER
•Sign up for Twitter.
•Add an image to your Twitter account and change the background.
•Let Twitter go through your address book and find your friends. Follow them.
•Use twellow or just tweet it to follow 10 new people who are part of your ideal audience / your favorite bloggers / people with similar interests as you.
•Tweet links to the last 3 good articles/posts/videos you’ve read/watched.
•Respond to 3 tweets that are in your feed (Remember, Twitter is about conversation!).
•Schedule two promotional tweets, whether it’s a link to that day’s blog post or a call to action.

BLOG
•Write a (short and sweet) post (i.e., post an image with a quote, pose a question, or embed a video that resonated with you).
•Record an “About Me” video.
•Add your favorite blogs to the sidebar.
•Put links/widgets to your social media accounts in the sidebar.
•Create drafts of all your post ideas. Leave ’em there for a rainy day.

BUSINESS BUILDING
•Do a brain dump of all your business ideas and chunk them into 15-minute action steps.
•Practice saying your elevator pitch aloud, so you’e comfortable and confident when someone asks, “What do you do?”.
•Contact one blogger to ask to do a guest post on their blog.
•Ask your happy clients/customers to write a testimonial for you. Have them describe why they hired you/bought your product, what they enjoyed about your product/working with you, and what the result was.
•Sign up for Timetrade or Tungle to make it easy for people to schedule an appointment with you.
•Create an email signature with your website/social media links/logo/title.

NETWORKING
•Email 3 people you know who would be interested in what you’re selling and/or have direct access to your client base. Let them know you exist, and ask them to pass your info along.
•Sign up to be on your alma mater’s alumni email list.
•Comment on a blog post that resonated with you, going beyond, “That was a great post! Thanks!”

LINKEDIN
•Let LinkedIn go through your address book and find your friends. Ask them to connect.
•Update your resume.
•Update your online links.
•Go to the Groups section and sign up to be part of your alma mater, any unions you already belong to, or search via keyword for any groups that look interesting.
•Answer a question that’s been posted or respond to a comment that’s been left in your Group.
•Ask people you’ve worked with to write a recommendation for you.

FACEBOOK
•Create a Facebook Fan Page.
•Ask your Facebook friends to “Like” your page.
•Host a contest where your first 100 fans will be eligible to win.

See? There’s no need to be intimidated by your business building list and/or the time you have to work on it. You can complete this entire list in just one month, and 15 minutes-a-day every day adds up to almost 2 hours a week.

Michelle Ward, aka The When I Grow Up Coach, has helped over 100 creative people devise the career they think they can’t have – or discover it to begin with! A certified life coach by the International Coach Academy and a musical theater actress with her BFA from NYU/Tisch, Michelle has been been featured in Newsweek, Etsy, and Psychology Today as well as leading workshops for South by Southwest and the Etsy Success Symposium. She encourages everyone to claim their uniquity via The Declaration of You and can be found coachin’, bloggin’ & givin’ away free stuff at whenigrowupcoach.com.

Everyone Needs An “Alice”!

Tired of running out of toilet paper and finding your pantry a little paltry? Alice.com (www.alice.com) is the grocery delivery service that offers the perfect solution. With Alice you’ll never face another empty roll again. Alice buys straight from the manufacturer and automatically applies any discount coupons to your order, then delivers everything from shampoo to cereal right to your door for free!

Alice provides you a better way to manage all of your household essentials online. You tell Alice what you buy—choosing from great deals on 1000’s of products—and Alice goes to work. We organize all of your products, find coupons and deals for you, remind you when you might be running low, and help you order just the items you need so you can avoid that trip to the corner drugstore or the big-box store. And all this convenience comes direct to your door with free shipping included.

How great is that? What’s better than a service that delivers to your door and saves you time and money? Watch the video to see exactly why Alice.com is going to rock your world!

Find Your Passion

Why do people start their own businesses? Is it for money, for freedom – from corporate structure or otherwise, power? What would you want to do it if you didn’t need to work? Is it possible to do something you’d want to do whether or not you were making money – and actually make money? Of course – but if it were that easy, everyone would do it! Lisa Promise, founder of Promise Consulting Group, urges entrepreneurs to find their passion and pursue what is important to them. Why is it so important to pursue what’s important to you? Lisa shares the lessons she has learned since deciding to focus on her passion:

1. It comes naturally. When you have a passion for something – you enjoy it and it means something to you. That doesn’t mean it won’t be work, because as I said and as we know, everyone would do it in that case. However, creating a plan and following through on it will certainly be easier when you’re passionate than going after something you have no interest in.

2. It keeps you motivated. It’s easy to get an idea and be excited about it – and then move on the next one. When launching a business is not due to genuine interest, but necessity, it can be difficult to stay on track. While having new plans and dreams is great, how powerful is it when you can pick something up and finish it!

3. It’s not about the money. Of course, money often does play a part in it, but that’s not why you do it. Money should never be what drives you, if you can help it. Pursuing only for money can leave you feeling desperate and certainly not happy or secure when it doesn’t pan out.

4. It teaches you discipline. When you stick to something, you can accomplish it and make a career out of it. Being committed is a must and you have to train yourself to get to that mentality. Once you’ve developed a routine and a plan for what you need to do to succeed, you will be more dedicated to the ultimate goal.

5. You’re proud of it. Sure everyone is pleased when they get promoted, feels pride in a big accomplishment, or when they start and own a business. But imagine the exponential increase you would feel when you do something you believe in.

6. You advocate for it. Not as the typical business promotion – but as “guess what I get to do for a living?” People can tell when you are truly excited, and if you feel good about your business, it will help others feel that way too.

7. It makes you feel good about yourself. Maybe this is a given, but who doesn’t need a boost of confidence now and then? Don’t you always feel better when you do something you believe in rather than something you don’t? Or almost as bad, something you’re apathetic about? At the end of the day, feeling good about yourself and being happy about what you do every day will lead to fulfillment that you likely couldn’t get otherwise.

What are your suggestions for doing what you love, and what are you passionate about?

Lisa Promise is the founder of Promise Consulting Group, a full-service marketing, advertising, and communications consulting company for small businesses.

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