Why You Love Lists
Do I love lists just because am anal retentive? Do I love lists because I am OCD about things? Do I love a good list because I have a crappy memory? I think you can add a “yes” to each of those questions. It’s not just me though! There is a reason why you love lists and why I love lists. I wasn’t looking for validation… really, I wasn’t! Um, it’s been scientifically proven that our brains thrive in list-making mode; in case you were wondering.
Even though I didn’t need validation, here is my list (you know that was coming, right?) of why you love lists!
A list will help you:
- Process information
- Make recall and understanding easier
- Get you organized
- Prioritize tasks and goals
- Make sense of information and better handle information overload
- Reduce stress
- Enhance focus
- Keep track of goals met
- Keep track of steps still needing to be done to meet a goal
- Beat procrastination
- Get organized
Which of the items on the list (there may be more than one) would you like to gain control over? Have you thought about writing it down on a list? If you’re working from a to-do list in your head, I’ll bet you feel overwhelmed and aren’t quite certain where you are in the process of completing a task, right? I believe in “writing it down to get it done” and I urge you to start writing items down that you feel are priorities.
If you aren’t sure what your priorities are, write down EVERYthing you need to do. Once it’s all written down it will be easier to prioritize.
Not a list maker? Wondering what to put on a list? Here is my top fifty favorite lists. Enjoy!
- Books to read
- Places to visit
- Research for my Appalachian Trail trip
- Trails in the Thousand Islands to walk the dogs
- Five-year goals
- Conferences and networking events to attend
- Classes to take
- Daily to-dos
- Weekly routines
- Doctor visits
- People who inspire me
- Items I am grateful and thankful for
- Podcasts to listen to
- Fitness tracker goals
- Recipes I want to make
- Quotes I love
- Boredom beaters
- Spending log
- Packing checklist
- Historical items about my parents I want to remember
- Schedule for being at the River House
- Client deadlines for projects
- My writing deadlines for books and blog posts
- Fun, free activities
- If I have to cook, what are the top items that are my go-tos
- Favorite movies
- Staycation ideas
- Financial goals
- Favorite memories with Alexa and Nicholas
- Life goals
- Business goals
- Things I like about myself (sometimes I need a reminder)
- Projects I have completed
- Crochet projects I want to try
- Crochet projects I have finished
- Food log
- Not-to-do list
- Grocery shopping list
- Prioritize projects for River House
- Pet birthdays
- Holiday plans with family
- Finding ways to live with less
- Items I can get rid of
- Fun things I want to try
- Ten year goals
- Compliments I’ve received
- My blessings
What would you add to the list? Are you feeling inspired to make your own list? I can guarantee it will help remove stress if you do!
How To Write Your Business Story
Since the days of old, people have used stories to communicate. Bards and minstrels traveled from the countryside sharing news. Cavemen drew pictures on cave walls. Over time language developed and oral storytelling developed; people would tell and re-tell stories as a way to communicate the goings-on.
Today, we share our stories on print and online. Stories can entertain, inform and become history. Storytelling is part of our life and it is an engaging way to share the origin and history of your business. The story of your business can touch and teach your clients something about you.
How To Write Your Business Story
How can you use storytelling to share your business history?
- Tell your origin story. Just as Spiderman and Batman had humble beginnings, your business might have, too. Look at your About page and make note of the summary of your work history and your business’s origin story. Take some of the specifics from that story and delve more deeply into them to highlight aspects of your business and its beginning. Draw from the rich history of really propelled you into becoming an entrepreneur.
- Share with clients and potential clients your method of work. Share a “day in the life” in a blog post. Use a case study that shows how your method of work benefited a client. Focus on sharing information about your unique style and strategy of helping a client achieve his or her goals.
- Tell a tale that teaches. Use a story to help your client understand a concept. Tell positive stories, but remember, in some cases people remember stories better if there is a mistake made and a lesson learned. Mistakes show that you are human and that you overcame.
- Communicate your business vision. One of my passions was born as the result of having lived through breast cancer. My passion is helping entrepreneurs work through time management and productivity issues. I help them “conquer the overwhelm” based on in-the-trenches methods I taught myself as I worked to keep my business afloat while having surgeries and treatments and recovering from everything cancer had wrought on my mind and my body. I took methods I’d read about and adapted them to suit my situation and now teach other entrepreneurs that… viola my business vision and a story. See how I did that?!
- Use a story to overcome a common objection. If someone says, “That’s too expensive,” you can counter with a story of another client who thought that AND THEN they worked with you and are now making more money. Offer a guarantee. A guarantee with a story will help assuage fears of spending money and will also show how you followed through on the promise of the guarantee.
How can you craft a compelling business story?
- Be engaging. You’re telling a story, not giving a lecture.
- Be genuine. Tell your story with authenticity. Be natural and honest.
- Know your audience. Just as you wouldn’t read 50 Shades to a toddler, neither should you tell a story to an audience using references that are lost on them.
What’s your business story? Are you sharing it? If not, why not? How can I help you craft your business story?
5 Reasons You Should Write A Blog Post
There are myriad reasons why you should write a blog post. Consider this: At any time of the day I have so many thoughts rolling around in my head that if I didn’t stop and capture them, they would disappear like a wisp of smoke. I do make a practice to capture them all in my Evernote app. When I go back and look at them later, they may be viable or they may leave me scratching my head as to why I even wrote them down.
Here, though are my reasons why you should get your thoughts out of your head and into a blog post.
5 Reasons You Should Write A Blog Post
You just never know if what you write will inspire someone or make a difference in their life. You don’t know what your reads are facing and what you write today just might offer them hope or perspective. Your personal struggles and the way in which you face them could be the impetus to pull someone out of a funk and motivate them.
5 Ways To Start Your Day Off Right
Before you click off the post because you aren’t a “morning person” I urge you to stop! No matter what time of day your day starts you can incorporate one, or all, of these 5 ways to start your day off right. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
5 Ways To Start Your Day Off Right
- Plan your day the day before. Wait! What? Yes, to have a great today, you need to have planned for it yesterday! Before you leave your office today, write down your priorities for the next day. Make your MITs list (Most Important Tasks). If you plan ahead, you will be ready to jump right in once your work day begins.
Set Reasonable Writing Goals
As you kick off the new year with a fresh, clean slate and are armed with the desire to:
- Write a book
- Blog more frequently
- Journal daily
- Whatever it is you want to do with writing…
Write One Epic Blog Post A Week: How to
Confession time. When I first started blogging I was convinced I could write three (or more) posts per week. Reality set in when I started working with clients and building my business. I could get the writing done for my clients, but my own personal blogging and writing fell to the wayside.
I hear from many bloggers that they have the same problem. They work on the writing that pays the bills, but neglect their own blogs. During my time blocking endeavors I found a way to not only get my client work done, but focus on my own blog as well. Want to know my secret?
It takes me four, sometimes five, days to write a single blog post. I committed to blogging once a week and it is manageable and has relieved a lot of my stress and self-flagellation of feeling like a failure because my blogs remain bereft of content.
I embraced the mantra that “less is more” and I focus on “quality over quantity.” That has made all of the difference.
Tips To Make Your Writing Better
Whether you’re a writer or don’t consider yourself to be a writer here are some quick tips to make your writing better.
Writing skills can be learned. However, the entrepreneurs I work with focus on their core business competencies and leave the writing to me. Incorporate these tips to make your writing shine.
- Use contractions. People do not speak so formally all the time. Using contractions emulates normal speech and makes your writing more conversational and easy to read. You will not capture attention if you do not write in a “friendly manner”!
- Avoid jargon. All industries have trade jargon and phrases. If you’re looking to reach an audience outside of your industry, speak their language. Use words that your readers use. If your readers have to leave your page to go to a dictionary, they will likely not come back.
Writing Tips For Non-Writers
When I work with clients, the reason they hire me to do their writing and blogging is simple: They are not writers and I am – that’s my area of expertise. My clients have other areas of expertise on which they focus.
If, however, you’re just starting out and want to do the writing for your business, here are writing tips for non-writers that I can share with you.
Blogging is a more informal platform than is being featured in a magazine or newspaper. You want to let your “voice” come through, but you don’t want to pepper your prose with acronyms, “five-dollar” words or stilted sentences. You don’t want to write exactly how you speak (save that for your fiction endeavors!) but you do want to be conversational. Imagine you’re sitting in a coffee shop sharing a cuppa with a client and telling him or her about your business; emulate that conversational tone.
Step away from the dictionary or thesaurus
If you have to look it up, so will your readers and that takes them out of the post they’re reading and diminishes the impact of your writing. There are definite industry-terms that may need to be used, but if you’re using them on people who aren’t yet in your industry, use them sparingly and use them in context so the reader can figure out the meaning without having to leave your post to look up the meaning.
What Breast Cancer Has Taught Me About Productivity
There are myriad lessons I’ve learned as a breast cancer survivor (thriver). The main life lesson is, “you are not guaranteed a tomorrow.” I was diagnosed less than a month before my 50th birthday and while I didn’t have the invincibility of a teenager, I certainly never imagined I’d be fighting for my life against breast cancer. Fight, I did. Survive I will. Sounds a little Dr. Seuss-y, but it’s true.
When you’re staring physically altering surgery you imagine you can handle it. After all, getting rid of the cells that are trying to kill you is the most important thing, right? Well, yes. But, the emotional scars that come from fear and that manifest every time you are feeling low energy and get a glimpse of your scars are a different animal. There are days when I just want to crawl into bed. It’s rare that I wallow, but then I do work from home alone with my pets so there are days when instead of eating lunch, I have a crying jag. I wallow, wipe away my tears and get back to work. I remind myself I was given a second chance and need to be grateful for all of the moments I’ve been given.
I heard on the radio the other day, “the best moment of your life is the moment you’re in right now.” How true is that?
What Breast Cancer Has Taught Me About Productivity
Don’t work with clients who drain you. It’s not always easy to jettison a client. I still have those days when I wonder if I should have kept working with Client X even though she was impossible to please and drained my energy. Those moments are rare when I look at my current client roster and realize I am working with clients who value me and whose work I believe in. There is enough in life to drain your energy, but if you face every day knowing you have to interact with a client who does that, your outlook will suffer.
Build in time off. Prior to my breast cancer diagnosis I worked seven days a week, sometimes up to eighteen hours a day. Was I productive all of that time? I doubt it. Was I sitting in front of the computer all of that time? Yes. My health suffered. My family relationships suffered. Did my clients truly need access to me 24/7? No. Sure, if their websites crashed, then I should be on it, but if they simply wanted to discuss strategy or a new blog post idea, that could wait until my business hours. Being always available and answering emails at 2 o’clock in the morning if I woke up, was setting up unrealistic expectations. Now I schedule phone calls during my set office hours. I don’t answer emails after 7 o’clock at night.
I also do not schedule back to back meetings and phone calls and time-blocked tasks. I schedule in time to take the dogs for a walk. I schedule in a lunch break that will get me away from the computer. I also schedule weekends off. It’s rare that you will find me working on a Saturday. I will put in a couple hours on a Sunday morning if necessary, but for the most part, my weekends are my own.
Your health matters. As a work-from-home writer my life consists of sitting at my desk creating copy. I’m sure it’s no secret that sitting leads to obesity and death. That’s an eye opener for sure. After having been diagnosed with pre-diabetes I knew I needed to do something and getting out for long walks to get in 10,000 steps a day just wasn’t going to happen. I invested in a treadmill and, if nothing else, I walk one mile after every meal. Exercise is not something I enjoy. I dread the five minutes it takes me to do that mile. I have never experienced the “high” that others who exercise say they get. It is a slog through quicksand and I have to force myself to do it. I keep telling myself that my health will improve and I’ll feel better. Well, hasn’t worked yet. I imagine I will always despise the treadmill, but it’s something I have to do so I do it.
Know your most productive times. We all have a unique, internal rhythm. Knowing your rhythm helps you determine when you’re operating at your highest efficiency. My best time of the day is early in the morning, sometimes before the sun comes up. I am an early to bed, early to rise person. Working when the house is quiet and dark is optimal for me. I tackle my most creative tasks or the task I have been dreading the most during my peak hours. By afternoon, usually around 3 o’clock, I get in a slump. I don’t fight it by drinking coffee. I know that is the time of day when I can focus on cleaning up my desk, or filing paperwork or planning out my bigger projects. If I had to be creative at 3 o’clock, I’d be in trouble. Afternoons are also when I prefer to do my client calls and meetings. Why? Because my day is almost over, I have made the best use of my creative early morning time and doing early morning phone calls takes me out of my creative flow. Determine when you are operating at your best. Your “morning” might be the afternoon. If you’re a night owl, don’t fight it; embrace your unique rhythm and plan your day around that time.
Don’t wait for a health issue to arise before you take control of your day. What are your stumbling blocks to productivity? Do you struggle to find time to “do it all?” Do you need to create content for your business, but don’t have the time? If you answered “yes” send me an email and let’s set up a Make It Happen session! Robbi AT AllWordsMatter DOT com
Productivity Be Damned: Be More Effective
I’ve begun changing my phrasing and my way of thinking about getting things done in my entrepreneurial endeavors. Why? Because, sure I want to be productive. But what does that mean? I could productively bake cookies or write ten blog posts or spend time on social media for my clients, BUT am I being effective? Am I writing blog posts that will garner me and my clients new business? Does anyone need or want the cookies I baked? When I am on social media am I finding, connecting and sharing information for my business and my client’s business that will help them grow? Maybe. Maybe not.
How can you be more effective?
Know what the final goal is.
You might be thinking, or saying, “duh!” But I work with clients who sometimes don’t know what the final goal is other than, “I want more clients” or “I need to get more done.” Those are vague phrases and without having a definite, “I want to get five more clients in August” or “I need to write five more blog posts per month” you will be skating along but not reaching the finish line.
Develop a timeline.
If you are vague, “I want to write a book” you will never write that book. Why? Because you didn’t say, “I want to write a book by the end of 2016.” Viola — you’ve set a timeline and now have an accountability to yourself.