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.
We get too many emails, am I right? I’ve heard of people taking the drastic measure of completely wiping out their inboxes and starting with a clean slate. I have to say, that tactic strikes fear into my heart, even though I completely understand the reason for wanting to do just that. If you’re not into taking such drastic measures, there are some ideas I have for conquering email overload. They may not be easy. The might not be reasonable (in your mind, at first!). You may think, “I don’t have time to do this!”
Take a deep breath and answer me this, “Do you have time to keep looking at an overflowing inbox and the energy it is draining from you?” Probably not.
My email overload story.
At one time, I was “managing” (I use that term loosely) three active inboxes. At one time, I was looking at more than 30,000 unread messages when I counted them all up from all inboxes. Let’s just say I wanted to cry. Who knows, I probably DID cry.
Murray is a chicken-baby. I say that with all of the love in my heart for this puppy, but he is truly afraid of his own shadow. His fearfulness makes me fearful that he will grow up to be a “reactive dog” and that could be problematic. He is the kind of dog you can’t just walk up to and pet when he’s sleeping because he startles easily and gets a bit snappy. He is not fond of people coming up behind him when we are walking. He cringes away from loud noises. If he gets scared, he will run over and hide between our legs. It’s good that he knows we will protect him and it’s probably good that he doesn’t feel the need to beat every other dog up the way Henrietta does, but his fear is a bit disconcerting.
July 4th, Lost Dogs & Safety Tips
July 4th is a time of fun and excitement… for humans. If you have a dog with an anxiety disorder, however, the Fourth of July and its crowds, hubbub and fireworks and you have a recipe for disaster. Henrietta, my diva poodle, is fine with the fireworks and crowds as long as I am carrying her. Being surrounded by feet and not being able to see above the legs makes her anxious.
July is also an important time for all pet owners — it’s Lost Pet Prevention Month. While pet owners know it’s important to keep track of their animals year-round, it’s crucial to spend additional time sharing with pet owners, and especially new pet owners, how to keep their beloved pets safe and prevent them from getting lost.