How to Really Get Things Done, Check Things Off Your List part 1

Stress, Guilt, Anxiety…three things that occur when you look at your to-do list at the end of day and hardly anything is checked off.  Immediately you think “What happened?!” In the back of your mind though, the answer lies in a 15 letter word:

PROCRASTINATION

Just saying that 15 letter word, makes me cringe because we all experience a time where PROCRASTINATION slips into your life.  Are you at that point in your life?  Have you been stuck in a rut of procrastinating?  If so, continue reading because I have the solution to get you unstuck.  And, if by chance you are one of those super-human people who never procrastinate, then keep reading as a motivation to keep focused.

Tip#1: Make a daily to do list

Before you say “What?!? Make a list?  Isn’t that setting me up to fail before I start?”

The answer is NO and here is WHY:

1.  Instant Reward: You accomplish something by sitting down every day to make a list.

2.  Constant Insurance:  By not taking the time to write everything out, you run the risk of forgetting something.  Also, by forgetting things, you end up spending more time than you would if you had taken the time to make a list in the first place.

3. Prioritize: Nothing motivates someone more than making a plan and knowing exactly what to do.  Make the top three things on your list, things you have to do IMMEDIATELY.

Tip#2: Motivate Yourself

The best way to motivate involves visualizing what it would feel like to cross off the top three items of your list.  If you continue to focus on what it looks
like, then it will motivate you to keep on going.

Tip#3: Set a Timer

This may sound like a waste of time but it really does work.  While I am not advocating multi-tasking, this is a way to get you going.  Start with setting the timer for three minutes.  Pick an item on your to do list and do as much as you can in three minutes.  After three minutes is up take a break, a 2 minute break, and then go right back to it. This time set the timer for 5 minutes and pick up from where you left off.  Continue the process by increasing the time until you get to the point where you are constantly working at finishing your task.  Eventually you won’t need to set the timer because your motivation to get things done will be a habit.

I am going to stop there with three tips today.  One of the main things I want to pass on to you is to STOP PROCRASTINATING and get working. Those three worrisome words:  STRESS, GUILT, ANXIETY cause more problems than they are worth.

Check back next week for the last three tips on working towards crossing things off your to do list and stopping the horrible cycle of PROCRASTINATING!

Part 2 of : Am I the Type of Person People Want to be Around?

Last week, I shared with you my thought process of examining myself with the question “Am I the type of person people want to be around?”  This week, I am going to finish with the last two parts.  As I explored these two subjects, I made a promise to be completely honest with myself.  So, I encourage you to do the same.  In order for you to truly evaluate yourself, remember complete honesty is key.

1. What kind of presence do I leave with people?

Defining someone’s presence is a hard quality to explain.  Basically, it involves how you are in regards to socially, self-confidence, and body language.  Believe it or not, these three characteristics are hard to fake once you get over that first impression.  Let me break these three characteristics down for you to understand better:

  • Socially- It’s also about – are you an Extrovert – get your energy from others, or an Introvert – getting your energy from being alone and recharging?
    • Are you the type of person who has a hard time talking or being around others?  An introvert?
    • Or are you someone who can easily start a conversation with anyone around you?  An extrovert?
    • If you are the second type, chances are socially you are the magnet others are drawn to in a group.
    • If you are the first one, the only way you are going to be that magnetic person is to take a risk and get out of your comfort zone.  Push through your fear to start a conversation.

The key is to simply BE
YOURSELF – otherwise you are going to appear awkward and the situation may be
more uncomfortable. I find being honest is always best
.

  • Self-Confidence vs. Arrogance
    • There is a huge difference between being arrogant and self-confident.
    • An arrogant person knows everything and does not want to hear any other opinion but their own.
    • A confident person will take the time not only to listen to other’s but also is curious, open minded, and wants to hear others thought processes and beliefs.

A confident person
attracts others naturally by their self-belief to get any job/task done, being open-minded,
and showing others respect in all areas of life. 

  • Body Language
    • Body language often speaks much louder than verbal words.
    • If your arms are crossed, you avoid eye contact, you are constantly moving your foot or fingers, and slouching, you are sending a verbal
      message.  This type of verbal message is not a good one.  All these movements tell someone else that you are not approachable and do not want to be bothered.
    • Positive and welcoming body language includes direct eye contact at all times, arms are in a relaxed position, you are engaged in the
      conversation, smiling and asking open ended questions.

Sending positive body
language is an open invitation to anyone around you.  People will be drawn to approaching you
rather than being scared or shy. 

1. Am I honest?

Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to communicating with others.  If the people around you know they will always get an honest answer from you, then it’s easier to trust.  Not only that, honesty communicates openness automatically.  If someone needs advice or has a problem they will come to you because of your honesty.  This does not mean you have to reveal every single detail of your life. At the same time, don’t exaggerate or make things up when sharing something with others.

Hopefully, you as a reader have been inspired to examine the type of person you are around other people.  Remember, in order to be effective and make an impact on other’s life, you have to be willing to examine yourself and change if needed.

Am I the Type of Person People Want to be Around?

In my last blog, I encouraged you to pay attention and be aware of whom you’re hanging out with. As I wrote and posted that blog last week, the thought came to mind “Am I the type of person people want to be around?”  I am going to share my thought process as I evaluate if I truly am the type of person someone wants to be around.

1.      Do I personally encourage others? 

Believe it or not, there is a real and fake way to encourage others.  Can you identify a real encouragement versus a fake encouragement?

  • Encouragement One: (You and someone that works for you – you tell this to someone else.)

You: “I think Melanie is the glue that holds our business together. 

Department Manager: “Hiring her as Project Manager` was the best thing for our business”

You: “She really has done an amazing job at re-vamping the daily project flow.  We have gotten three more clients in the two weeks since she started as Project Manager.” 

  • Encouragement Two: (You and Melanie, someone that works with you.)

You: Melanie, you really have a natural talent at organization.  The amount of work you have been getting done this past two weeks has been phenomenal!

Melanie, Project Manager: Thank you.  I am glad you gave me this opportunity to prove to you what I can do to help your business. 

You: Keep up the good work-especially with getting new clients!  I have full faith in you and your potential! 

If you said, Encouragement One was a fake way to encourage people, than you are right!  Granted, before I explain this, know that both options are good ways to encourage others but option two is more personal.  Telling  how much you appreciate Melanie, who works with you, is a form of encouragement.  The reason it’s fake is you are not taking the time to tell Melanie as well face to face like in encouragement two. When you encourage others, PERSONALLY tell them.

2. Am I always saying “No” to new ideas or offers? 

  • In Your Business:

When it comes to running a business or overseeing a group of people, this is something where you must find the right balance.  I am not saying to always
say “Yes” to all the off the wall crazy ideas someone may come up with.  In doing this, your business may run the risk of going off track and losing its main focus.  What I am saying is this: If someone presents you with an idea that comes with a detailed proposal, don’t say NO right away.  This is especially true if they hardly ever share ideas or is relatively new.  By saying “NO” right away, you are presenting yourself as unapproachable.  At the same time, pay attention as you can apply this principle to your personal life as well.

  •  In Your Personal Life:

Do you hear your friends often say “You’re going to say no but I’m going to ask…”?  Have your friends all of sudden stop asking you to go out with
them?  If yes, you might want to evaluate how much of a friend you are being by always saying no.  It’s true you have to find a balance between family and friends, but both need attention and that can be challenging. The key is to find the right balance best for you.

Tune in next week as I cover the last two parts of my thought process in answering the question “Am I the type of person people want to be around?”

You are Who You Hang Out With…

Have you ever heard this before?  I didn’t start hearing this until after I hired my Executive Coach, 12 years ago. The concept of hanging out with people and becoming more like them was a total foreign idea to me. I had really paid no attention until my coach and I started talking about it.  And it’s funny, once I started paying attention to it I got it and knew I had to make some changes in my life…

There were some very negative people in my life who were totally zapping my energy, (My coach called them “Negative Norberts.”) not too mention the ones who were more like time sucking vampires.  And I started noticing how I felt when I hung out with those people and realized after I was with them I didn’t feel good and felt mostly drained.  That’s when I started making the difficult change of moving those folks out of my life. It wasn’t easy to do it, and it took some time. For the most part I was simply honest and said I was making some positive changes in my life and they were welcome to come along or not.

Before I met my coach I was an incredibly negative person, I know hard to believe those of you who know… Yet it’s true.  I was surrounded by it 24/7 and I grew up in it. And it wasn’t until my amazing coach pointed this out oh so gently to me on more than a few occasions that I started to make some “positive” changes in my life.  It certainly wasn’t easy to change my attitude and my way of looking at things over night. Yet I have to say, the more I surrounded myself with amazingly wonderful and positive people, the easier it was for me.  Plus I also read a ton of books on the subject and that helped too.  Reading Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich was huge, along with all of Esther and Jerry Hick’s Abraham books.

Well that was a while back and thank goodness there have been many wonderful changes in my life since then.  And it wasn’t until after I started my own business 5 years ago and had to go out and find new clients, that this concept reared it’s ugly head again and again… “You are who you hang out with” kept
coming up.  So I focused on attracting clients who my same positive, successful attitude and it worked like a charm.

One of my favorite quotes that I was told many times and that truly helped me was—“If you hang out with 9 broke people, guess who will be the 10th? — You!” And certainly I didn’t want that to me. So this totally helped me find and hang out with much more successful people. In fact, it’s always good to hang out with people who have a bigger vision and play bigger in their work and their life, this way it gets me to do the same as well.

The lesson in all of this is simply to pay attention and be aware of who you’re hanging out with. And know that that one or more people out there could have a huge impact on you and your life. So take a chance, make a change, and hang out with those folks who make you feel good and encourage you to be the best person you can be in this world.

Are You a Guest Blogger?

Let’s take a step further and talk more about a terrific technique for developing content – it’s guest blogging on other sites and inviting guest bloggers to your site.

This technique allows you to get fresh content for your site without taking up a big amount of your time. It’s all about leveraging other peoples content.  At the same time if you are guest posting on another blog you can repurpose a post or article from your archive.  You are in front of a new audience so to them it will be a brand new post.

Guest posting shows that you are connected to other experts in your field and also helps build your credibility.

When you bring in a guest blogger you bring in new insights and points of view and this will often be enough to wake your readers up and move them to reply and interact with you.  And if you can get one or two people who are fairly prominent in your field you can really hit a home run.  Not only will your readership go up because they will promote their guest spot on your blog but your credibility level will go up.

So how do you find places to guest blog?

You probably already know people from events and networking that have blogs that would be appropriate.  Or do a search and find a blog that is similar to your business niche.

Then call or email the blog owner and request permission to write a guest article.  Be sure to send them a link to your website so they can easily review your site. If the blog owner agrees, make sure you can have one link to your website. The key though is to place your website link at the end of your article, preferably below your name, and not in the body of the article. And this alone will drive traffic to your site.

Of course if you like the blog you are requesting to guest on it would also make sense to offer that blogger a guest spot on your site as well.  Then you have immediate fresh content for your blog.

I really love this technique and I have gotten my biggest bumps in traffic on my websites immediately after I have been a guest poster on other blogs.  Just being a new entity creates a lot of curiosity and you will see a lot of people clicking your link to check you out.

So now you will have many people viewing your great content.  You will grow your list and ultimately add new customers to your business!

What Mark Twain, Cats, and Bad Dining Experiences Can Teach Us About Our Business

Part of growing up in the south (I grew up in New Orleans) is many people spout quotes from great southern writers like Mark Twain.  My recent travels and experiences have led me to share with you one of my favorite quotes from him (cat lovers will appreciate this) – “If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way.” I love this quote because it sums up a very important fact of life: Education and training is important, but experience can be the best teacher you’ll ever have!

In one of my earlier blogs, I talk about how seeing rain beating against my windshield gave me a great insight about getting customers to notice your advertising. Education and training is important, but sometimes you don’t really learn how that cat will react unless you’ve made the mistake of holding it by the tail!

So what does this have to do with running a business? Everything!

Have you ever been disappointed by your first dining experience in a new restaurant? Maybe the service was slow, or the food didn’t taste very good. When that happens, it’s not very likely that you’ll go back.

What if the manager stopped you as you were leaving and asked you if you enjoyed your dinner? Many people will just say “fine”, then leave and still not return. That restaurant will have lost a customer without ever knowing it. Simply asking the question isn’t enough.

However, if this manager asked you the right questions about your dining experience, it could change everything. If he asked you questions that genuinely showed his concern for building a better restaurant, you’d be more likely to answer those questions honestly. And if he showed you that he was genuinely appreciative of your answers, complete with a promise that he would do everything in his power to make sure your next dining experience would be better, you would be much more likely to give him another chance.

My point here isn’t only about surveys (although they are very important!). My point is about learning. Always be open to learning, and always be willing to accept the lessons life gives you. If you go to a restaurant and don’t like the food, don’t just write that off as a wasted dinner! See what you can learn from that experience. Ask yourself what that restaurant could have done to change your opinion, and then apply those answers to your own life and business.

Life is your teacher and the world is your classroom. If you hold a cat by the tail, the experience won’t be pleasant, but it will definitely teach you a very important life lesson about what not to do!

7 Fascinating Discoveries on the Road to Recovery

As I’m laid up these past two weeks, can’t walk or drive, and trying to keep up with my frantic pace of my business I’ve noticed some fascinating discoveries:

1) I’m truly amazed at the human body and how fast it heals after the operation on my foot. (Photo- Here’s my view for the past 2 weeks of my feet 🙂 )

2) Love my clients, my family, success team and support system- they have been there for me and wonderful while I’m trying to heal. (You know who you are- please accept my eternal gratitude for being in my life.)

3) Shocked at how rude and ridiculous some people can be towards someone on crutches and not let that get in the way of my recovery.

4) With lots of time off my feel, I’m thrilled with all of the great new creative ideas that I’ve come up with that will be fruitful for me and for my clients.

5) Exhausted at all the information I’m getting by phone, mail, email and fax! (it’s been fun hobbling to the phone, fax and mailbox!)

6) Happy that I have such a wonderful, loyal, loving puppy-Lily- who’s been at my side every step of my recovery and will not leave me no matter how hard I try to get her to go with the dog walker. (Photo- Lily- very happy I’m laid up because it gives her an excuse to sleep more while she hangs out with me.)

7) Humbled by working with some incredibly talented people who are teaching me just as much as I am teaching them

There’s a ton more things I’ve noticed while I’ve been laid up, but this was my short list. I’d encourage you to take notice and be present throughout your day and start noticing the little things that add up and make your life incredibly fulfilling.

Instead of being mad, or upset and act like a victim because I had to have this operation and be laid up and not drive for 3 weeks, I looked at it as a new, wonderful discovery period for me. I took and am still taking each day as an adventure and try to simply stay present and focus on my healing and my work. I think when we face these obstacles like a foot injury, a divorce, losing your job, or an accident- if we can ask the question of ourselves- “what am I supposed to learn or discover from this experience?” – we will be in a much better place mentally and even physically. Each obstacle is simply another lesson that we need to learn in life. (Some of this was as a result from finishing reading Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now. I’d highly recommend it.)
We need to use these lessons as stepping stones to grow and to help others. So the next time something happens to you that makes you unhappy, frustrated, angry or sad- try to ask the question and look deeper at the situation as to what you can learn and take away from it and maybe you can even help others. [digg=http://digg.com/health/Fascinating_Discoveries_on_the_road_to_recovery]