I’m now 17 days into National Novel Writing Month (#NANOWRIMO) I am ahead of the word count. Wisdom shows that to complete a 50,000 word novel in 30 days you need to write 1,667 words per day. I am averaging about 1,774. Those additional 107 words might not seem like much, but if I keep up with the additional words daily I can essentially “take a day off” from working on my novel and not fall behind.
Why did I decided to write a novel in a month? Frankly it was because I have been spending too much time telling myself, “I can’t get to my own blogging because I am far too busy with my client work.” Well, guess what people? I have been getting up at my usual time and spending the first hour working on my novel. What?! Yes. I apparently do have an hour a day in which I can pen 1,700 words on my novel. Guess what that means? It also means that once December 1 rolls around I have no excuse to not do my own writing because NANO has shown me my “I’m too busy…” was an excuse.
Here, too is what #NANOWRIMO is teaching me about task management
I will be the very first to admit that time changes — whether from East coast to West coast or the “falling back” and “springing ahead” that we do in most parts of the country wreak havoc with my sleep cycle. I will spend the first week of the daylight savings time change saying, “Well, sure the clock reads noon but it’s really 1 pm.” Drives the family crazy! However, for a busy entrepreneur you might want to look at daylight savings time — especially in the autumn — as a gift of an additional hour. How you use that hour will determine how productive, or not, you are.
Here are some of my thoughts on how to wrangle the most of that hour we’ve just been given. (HINT: These tips are good year-round and work even if your state doesn’t participate in daylight savings time — Arizona!)
Hit the delete key.
I mean this both literally and figuratively. If you find that your to-do list isn’t getting done at the end of a day and you’re “carrying stuff over” to the next day. Take a look at
- Which items are getting carried over
- How often the same items are getting carried over
- Which items you’re doing first
Looking at this information might help you to realize that you either have too much on your list or you have low-priority items on your list that are a breeze to complete so you do those rather than your high priority items which will take more time or brainpower.
Powered up for profits is what I have been since returning from hearing Kathleen Gage speak at a conference in Bellevue, Washington. I wasn’t certain what to expect, but as with any conference I attend I have my notebook in hand and am open to learn from both the speaker and with my fellow attendees. As a side note I write on a notebook rather than type into my laptop because I find I retain information better when it goes from brain to fingers to paper than I do when I mindlessly type into my laptop. Maybe it’s because I am a fast typer and can type every word someone says or maybe it’s because when I type when I am listening to someone talk I kind of zone out. I did not want to zone out at this three day event.
Here are some of the lessons I learned from the Power Up For Profits event. Kathleen shared that, “The greatest business opportunity is when there is a downturn in the economy.” Interesting, but it made sense.
On the first day she cautioned us to not use “lack talking.” This is that talk when you say, “I would do that if only I had the …. fill in the blank… money, time, energy.” We were supposed to listen to our own self-talk and the talk of others and see if we could go the weekend without having lack talking come into our conversations. She said that when you say, “I can’t afford it,” you should turn it around and ask yourself, “What can I do to make it possible?”
“Luck is where opportunity and preparedness meet.”
What are the three reasons we don’t do what we want to/should do?
- Aversion to risk
She also told attendees that you need to “know your ‘why.'” You need to “know it and shout it.” The why is:
- What you do
- Whom you do it for
- How it helps your client
“Massive actions = massive results.”
How can you assess where you are in your business?
- Who you are
- What your expertise is
- What others expect of you
Once you know this you can attract your perfect client.
“It’s not what happens in life, it’s what you do with it.”
Kathleen asked us, “What’s the next one small thing you could do to move yourself and your business forward?” She then shared:
- Ideas aren’t the issue, implementation is
- Launch first. Create later.
- You need to own your message
- Procrastination is fear-based
She also told us to, “Stop trading dollars for hours.” You need to set yourself up for sustainable income streams, she said.
This was a quote that hit home with me, “God’s delays are not God’s denials.”
I came home from the three day weekend with ideas, inspiration and have already implemented one or two of them already. I have my Power Up For Profits workbook at the side of my desk and I thumb through it, and my notes, when I need inspiration. Thank you, Kathleen, for an inspiring weekend!
(Photo is from when I met Kathleen for the first time at the Women In The Pet Industry Network Conference in Oregon in August)
(Photo from Kathleen speaking on stage at her event in October)
I have completed NANO (National Novel In A Month) more than once. I have close to 150,000 words under my belt for the NANO’s I have participated in (130,105 to be exact). Why do I, a nonfiction writer by trade feel the need to immerse myself in a novel for an entire month? On occasion I get bitten by the fiction bug. This year, I have become enamored of cozy mysteries, especially those by Rose Pressey. I love the small town feel and the haunted aspects and, of course, the mystery.
This year I am taking a mystery writing class at Writers And Books that starts the first Monday of November so I am imagining that this will inspire me to complete my novel again this year. Are the 50,000 words that I pen during the month of November publishable as is? Hell no! Are they a great jumping off point for polishing and editing? Hell yes!
What does a 50,000 word novel break down to? It’s 1,666.6 words per day — let’s just round it up to 1,667, shall we? Today, alone I have penned more than 5,500 words for my clients and my newsletters. I probably typically write about that many “client” words per day and now I will be adding in an additional 1,667 “Robbi fiction words” per day. Crazy? Perhaps. Will I need to bring all of my time management and productivity skills and knowledge to the forefront? You bet I will!
If you’re doing NANO send me a friend request and let’s motivate one another. Ready. Set. Go!
Entrepreneurs and Halloween? Is there a connection? There is!
Many entrepreneurs and solopreneurs — myself included — toil away, stuck in our routines, not interacting with humans other than via social media. When Halloween rolls around though, we should tap into our inner child and amp up our entrepreneurial endeavors. Here are the lessons entrepreneurs can learn from Halloween.
Sure, there will be a lot of Disney and Star Wars characters walking the streets this Halloween-eve. There will also be those ingenuous kids who had a dream of a costume and a parent who helped make it come true. You will see robots made of cardboard boxes, clowns, crazy cat lady costumes and myriad others that sprang forth from the mind of a child. Consider your entrepreneurial uniqueness, embrace it and note how you set yourself apart from the competition.
Take joy in what you do.
Have you ever seen a child who isn’t giggling or squealing or even crying in fright on Halloween? Probably not. Even when being scared, these children are enjoying the heck out of the trick-or-treating experience. You need to take such extreme joy in what you do and the services and products that you provide your clients that your joy is infectious. Smile when you answer the phone. Enthusiastically greet prospective and current clients. Embrace your passion!
Take a chance.
When these children march up the stairs to a stranger’s home to yell, “Trick or treat!” they don’t know who is going to answer. Sure, they have the safety net of their parents or older siblings waiting at the bottom of the stairs, but you just never know. Will you get a king size candy bar or will you get an apple? You don’t know. Even with the unknown, these children are thrilled to walk up and knock on the door because they know that every door is a different opportunity. In your business you need to take chances. Launch a new product. Try out a new service. Take a chance. If you do something — ie, start a newsletter and no one signs up — what have you lost? Nothing. Don’t consider it a failure, consider everything new you try as an experiment.
What lessons will you take away from Halloween this year?
When a business opportunity knocks on your door, do you answer? Would you know what to do with that opportunity once presented? Do you have time for the opportunity? Does it fit into your current lifestyle or your business plan?
Here are my top five tips to making the most of what life offers you:
Identify & define the opportunity.
Don’t say yes to everything. Be selective. Take those opportunitites that make sense for you, your life and your business. Document the opportunity and ponder it. You don’t have to say yes immediately.
Can you handle the opportunity on your own?
Do you need a team? Do you have a referral network with whom you can connect? Anne McAuley, a friend and business colleague of mine has what she calls a Power Team. Do you have one? Do you need one? Now that you’ve decided that the opportunity is a good fit for you, your life or your business, you will want to evalute its potential. Brainstorm with your power team the potential and how you can capitalize on it.
Implement the plan & seize the opportunity.
Do you need to set aside a set period of time in your workday/week to make the most of this new project? How will you best allocate your time so that your other clients are well cared for while you pursue the new project/opportunity?
Capitalize on the opportunity by building a trusted referral source from this project. As a business owner I understand it’s better to cultivate an ongoing relationship than to have hit-and-run clients/projects.
How do you make the most of opportunities that come your way?
Should you hire a blogger? Do you need to work with a professional writer? What is a professional writer? Where does one find a professional blogger or content creator? These are some of the many questions that plague an entrepreneur or solopreneur. You have heard that you should be blogging. You know you want to keep in touch with your clients and individuals who come to your website, but you aren’t sure how. There are myriad ways.
Before we get into the six reasons to hire a professional content creator aka professional writer let me back track and say if you have a website and you don’t have a way to capture the names of those who visit, you are losing money — potentially thousands of dollars! How can you capture them? I’ll blog about that in a future post, but you need a sign up, a free give away and a newsletter strategy.
Here are my six reasons why you should hire a professional content creator.
Prior to becoming the owner of reptiles, I had no idea that today was Reptile Awareness Day, but now that I know I urge you to celebrate your lizards! I currently live with a leopard gecko named, Daggett; a fancy gecko named, Norbert; a bearded dragon named, Alice.
Here’s how it shakes down with the personality of the reptiles in this house:
He truly lives his “I’m a nocturnal semi-reclusive reptile.” He is rarely out during the daylight hours, but does come out when the daytime heat lamp is switched off and the nighttime heat lamp is switched on. However, if the living room light is on, regardless of whether it’s nighttime or not, Daggett will stay inside the cave and peer out. If he’s out and we walk past, he darts into the cave and stares.
This fancy little guy appears to really like my company. He is out during the daytime. When I reach in to fill the water dishes and pet his tail he doesn’t dart away like he did when we first got him. He comes to the side of the aquarium if I lean down and say his name. He will eat in the daytime. He doesn’t seem to care about being noctural — that’s nice because it means I get to see him regularly.
First, we don’t know whether Alice is a boy or girl, but he is named after Alice Cooper so we think he’s a dude. When we walk into the backroom where his tank he, he runs to the top of his log and stares at us. Drop crickets into the tank and he pounces on them like he’s starving — he’s not. He also loves his fruits and veggies and when we have dried meal worms and try to dump some into the food bowl, he dives into the jar and happily munches away. We are convinced he watches television and he does love to show off with his poses — note the planking in this post!
We have had a snake in the house and frankly I didn’t like knowing that he either ate pinkies (baby mice) or thawed full grown mice. He also bit my son a couple of times. Whether other snakes are nice and make good pets, I don’t know. I only know my experience with Bruce.
I find Daggett, Norbert and Alice to be intriguing household additions and today and every day I celebrate them!
This post is sponsored by Pinnacle® and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Pinnacle’s reformulated Grain Free Dog Food but My Divas Dish only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Pinnacle is not responsible for the content of this article.
Spenser is getting old. It’s hard to admit but he’s close to 13 and for a big dog, that is old. His bones seem to creak and snap when he gets up and down. Getting up and down takes him much longer lately as well. We’d been changing up his food to have ingredients for a dog of his age and size (close to 125 pounds) and he didn’t seem to love any of them and they didn’t seem to do anything to help his yakking up or his coat. If you haven’t cleaned up the yak of a dog of that size, believe me, you don’t want to!
It’s not easy to see your beloved pet show signs of aging, especially when his favorite thing had always been long walks in the woods. Hhmmm that sounds like it should have been in his dating profile — if he’d had one — “Spenser enjoys long walks in the woods, chasing cats and butt sniffing!” Anywho… When our bag of Pinnacle arrived you can see that both dogs were more than a little excited. I couldn’t stop Henrietta from licking the bag. She was more than a little miffed that Spenser was getting something new and she wasn’t. I ended up feeding him dinner early because once he got a whiff of the bag he was rather persistent in shoving me toward his food bowl. When you have a 125 dog shoving you toward his food dish, you comply. And honestly, it had been a while since he’d been excited about food. He has gotten rather blase about his meal times and we’ve had to do a lot of cajoling recently to whet his appetite. I was more than a little thrilled to see how excited he seemed to be about this food!
Because of Spenser’s age and because we want to do whatever we can to make his senior citizen lifestyle as healthy and enjoyable as possible we loved the fact that Pinnacle foods fit our desire for a food that is natural and has healthy ingredients. We have long been label readers and we like that on the Pinnacle labels we can understand every ingredient on the package. Pinnacle pet food is providing Spenser with high caliber ingredients that we want to feed him and it is giving him a food that offers total nutrition. Since my breast cancer diagnosis, everyone in the house has been turning to a more natural, holistic lifestlye and it makes us feel good to know that Spenser is now eating a food that is in line with the holistic health and lifestyle we have embraced.
Time management is the buzzword. I feel though, each of us have the same 24 hours in a day. That equates to 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds. No one gets more. No one gets less. It’s how we manage the TASKS for that day that will help us realize whether we have been productive or whether we have taken control of our day.
If you’re faced with a never-ending to-do list and deal with interruptions all day long whether from colleagues walking into your office, social media updates, phone calls, emails, sometimes it seems impossible to get to your tasks. Working from home doesn’t get rid of those distractions or interruptions, it just brings with it unique challenges that you need to manage along with your tasks.
There are days when time may seem endless, it’s not. Time is a limited quantity and how you “spend” it shapes how productive and satisfied you are with your business and your life. How can you use your time to complete your tasks to best advantage?