The Productivity Secret That Will Change Your Life

One of the things I’m constantly struggling with: my plate is incredibly full. I just have way TOO many things on that proverbial plate and it’s constantly weighing me down.

I’m a Strategic Marketer & Product Launch Manager, I help people get things done, and here I am, revealing to you my own challenges with getting things done. 

Well, I’ve actually invested good money with experts to help me “organize” my office, my computer, and my life, as well as I got a new desk, bookshelves, and on an on. The interesting thing is after that expert gave me this “system” it wasn’t mine. So I had great difficulty in trying to use it and came across all sorts of obstacles that just reared their ugly heads a few weeks ago.

Before I tell you what happened, I actually would liken it to someone who’s trying to lose weight and just puts the weight back on—it’s because they’re not aligned somewhere with the process, or something just isn’t right.

Well that’s what I felt like, something with my new system just wasn’t jelling with me, it just wasn’t right. And unfortunately I didn’t really see that until the crap hit the fan last week and a few balls I was juggling just crashed—yikes—how did that happen?!

The cool thing is that I did ultimately find a solution, albeit painful to have to do so much learning—As Alex Mandossian has taught me—“You’re either winning or you’re learning!” No such thing as losing or making mistakes—my new lingo is “I’m learning.”

After the balls crashed last week, my wonderful client and mentor Alex Mandossian, pulled me aside and saw that I was obviously having some trouble.  He got to the root of it very quickly and explained to me about the benefits of “The Ivy Lee 6.”

In the early 1900’s consultant Ivy Lee approached Charles Schwab, President of Bethlehem Steel (not the investment company) and asked what it’d be worth to him if he could raise the productivity of his managers by at least 20%. Schwab didn’t have an answer but was definitely interested. This is where the “Ivy Lee 6” comes into play.  Ivy Lee taught him and his managers this proven technique.

Here’s THE productivity secret that will change your life:

Before you leave your office for the night, write down the 6 most important things to be done the next day and number them in order of importance. Prioritize.

Do the tasks from the most important to least important. I write these on index cards with the date at the top.  So have the card on your desk for the next day, and once you’ve finished one, take a highlighter (I like green) and highlight through it so that’s your sign it’s complete. Any unfinished tasks are rolled over to the next day.

It may sound incredibly simple, yet for me it was amazingly effective.  After my first week was done—oh my gosh, I had a stack of cards on my desks with lots of green on them. Just being able to visibly “see” what I’d done that week was psychologically empowering. I left my office Friday on a huge high.

The key is picking the 6 things that will give you the most results for the day, and write them down very clearly. For example— Don’t say— “Call several people to connect with them about our product launch.”  This is better— “Call Susie to tell her about our product launch” or “Call 3 key people who will promote our product launch…”

Using the “Ivy Lee 6” also utilizes the power of prioritization and requires you to number your tasks in order of importance with your most important tasks done first.

Don’t wait, try this now— I know you will be amazed at how this works and leave me a comment and let me know how I can support you to be more productive.

And if you’ve made it all the way down here to the bottom, thanks for reading, and here’s a gift for you. I want to give you 60 minutes of my time for free, with my compliments.   Maybe you’re:

  • Stuck in your business and not being able to increase your profits fast enough
  • Frustrated your launch didn’t go as well as you planned
  • In need of some help and guidance with your launch
  • Finally ready to create your online marketing funnel and don’t know where to turn
  • Searching simply for some strategic online marketing help, and hand-holding from an expert who’s got proven experience and helped thousands already….

Well, here’s the deal, you’re in the right place. I can help you!  Just click here and check out how I can help you and schedule a free 60 minute call with me. I’d love to see how I can help you create the business you so deserve and helping you help thousands more people.

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5 Goals to Achieve This Year

If you’re up for it — I am going to push the envelope a little today and actually give you five goals to try to achieve by the end of the year.

Remember you are never going to know if you are capable of something if you don’t take that first step.

1. Go small

This may be a big one to start with but here goes-Downsize.  Look at all aspects of your business whether that includes employees, vendors or service providers.  If you find that there is a way for ONE provider to handle multiple jobs than cut back.  This may sound strange but sometimes less is more when it comes to project management as well as financial costs.

2. Take Time to Invest Fully

Make this the year that you completely focus on not only getting to know your customers but also their specific needs.  Once you make this commitment, find the best way to communicate.  Whether that is through a blog, social media, QR codes, or even a weekly newsletter; find out which option works for them.  There is no use in spending quality time and content on an area your customers do not even use.

3. Refresh your website

Take the time and really go through your website.  Analyze and make notes as you look over what you have currently.  Then, go on the Internet and find your biggest competitor.  Look at their website and make notes on what things stand out the most.  Once you do that, write a plan on what to change and a timeline to get it done.

4. Real Life Social Networking

Put some effort into networking by signing up for an industry conference or seeking out a local meet-up group. These are invaluable ways to develop relationships and share advice with fellow entrepreneurs and small business owners.

5. Put time for you on the calendar

It’s up to you to keep yourself motivated and inspired.  Be sure to reward yourself for specific milestones like a big client win, meeting a tough deadline, or working “overtime” for multiple nights on end.

Sticking to all of these 5 goals is a lofty for anyone. Follow the tips that ring true for your situation, and adjust as needed. Do you have other goals for your business this year?


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How to Give Your Customers Exactly What They Want

Technique #1:  Start With Your Outcome, Not Questions 

This week I want to challenge you with this thought: “Think Outside of the Box.”  The topic of this blog is a little different and will require you to think outside of the box.

Diving right into it, I do not want you to think about all the questions to put into your survey.  I want you think about the outcome first!  So many people fail before they hit the ground running with their survey because they think “Questions First.”

Think about it…before creating and writing questions, you need to know what you want from them first.  Therefore, in hindsight, your first question to ask is: “What is your Outcome.”  and “What’s your goal, what information do you need, or what kind of problems in your business will a survey help you with?”

Once you figure out your outcome, the next step is coming up with some objectives.  It is very important to limit your objectives to two for the outcome.  By limiting your objectives to two, it will help you in the end with coming up with specific questions.   Another reason for keeping it to two objectives is to follow my number one rule with surveys:

Less questions is more! No more than 15 Questions!

To help you out, I am going to give you some examples of good outcomes and objectives to get your creative juices flowing.

  • I want to get new testimonials – at least 10.
  • I want to find out what keeps my clients awake at night.
  • I want to know what my client’s biggest challenge is.
  • I want to know what my customers like and don’t like about my newsletter.
  • I want to know what kind of topics my customers want to read about in my blogs.

So your homework this week is to take the time and come up with some serious outcomes that you’d like to get for doing a survey to your prospects and customers.

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The Right Attitude & Mindset is a Must ~Be like the Bee~

                       Aerodynamically, the bumblebee should not be able to fly, but the bumblebee does not know it so it goes on flying anyway.      Mary Kay Ash

There is a saying that goes “You are your own worst critic”.  This simple six-word sentence is especially true when it comes to negative thoughts.  In the last two weeks, I have encouraged you to take big risks about your life, business, even your actions.  I can challenge you and motivate you to reach these amazing goals, but there is one thing I cannot do.  I cannot take away your own negative thoughts that probably consume you when something really, positive is happening.

Did you know it takes extra effort on your part to worry and think negatively?  Whereas, with positive thinking, if you make the decision to rid yourself of negativity, there is no extra effort needed.

Just to prove to you the amazing benefits of positive thinking, I am going to give you three simple but mind-altering tips today!

1.  Positive thinking is what keeps your motivation at its peak

Your attitude about life, how you see the world and respond with actions-both emotional and behavior wise-is determined by the way you think.  So instead of letting your attitude control you, make a decision to control your attitude by thinking positive.

2.  Visualize Your Positivity by Daily Affirmations 

You can also use visualization and affirmations by using tools such as a Life Vision Board or even a journal.  By creating or writing out images of what and how it would feel accomplishing a goal, you use them to replace the negative thoughts.

3.  Avoid Focusing on Set-backs and Seek out New Opportunities

If something does not work out or you are overwhelmed by a project, take a step back and think it through.  Now, I am not saying focusing on all the negative aspects or reasons why this happened.  Instead, go through the entire process and write out a positive lesson learned for every failure.  By focusing on finding a lesson learned, you are not allowing the negativity to flood your mind.

When your negativity starts to slip into your mind, do me a favor and think about a bee.  A bumblebee just the way its body is designed should not be able to fly.  Bumblebees are hard workers who do not know this about their body.  They just fly and focus on what job is ahead of them.

~Be like the Bee~

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What’s your plan to build profitable relationships this Year?

I remember back in January  2011, it was so darn cold, winter was surely coming in like a lion!  And we’d already gotten almost two feet of snow and I was torn on whether to travel or not the next two months, because itwas proving to be a bit of a challenge fly out of the New York/New Jersey area.  And I wrote this from writing from sunny and warm Phoenix, Arizona where I had just attended Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Manager (PM) Mastermind meeting. I almost didn’t make it because it snowed the morning I was supposed to leave and I was about 3 hours late to the meeting.  And now I’m getting ready to pack up and leave tomorrow to go back east and there’s another snow storm looming.  I hope I make it back… but being here in the warmth wouldn’t be so bad….

Yet, this is totally besides the point… The real reason I came here was because it’s my plan. (I mentioned how I create my plans in my “Find Your Hidden Money” blog from earlier this month.) My plan of how I will grow my business through attending workshops, conferences and meetings, and more specifically – building relationships with like-minded entrepreneurs and forming bonds to help our businesses grow.  This is really crucial to creating a more successful business and I ALWAYS plan out my travel schedule in January so I know exactly how it fits into my goals and the outcome I want for the year.

So how will this year be different from 2010?  What have I learned? What will I do differently in terms of building relationships?

  1. Plan 1 trip or less in a month – Last year I traveled way too much!  Some months I was away for  more than 10 days, it totally felt like I was back in corporate America. So I’m not doing that this year, with the exception of this month where I have two back to back trips.  In fact, I really just don’t like traveling as much anymore. I find as an entrepreneur I really like being in my home office.  This is a little red flag because I certainly don’t want to become isolated and a hermit working day to day, week to week, month to month alone in my office.  As my awesome Executive Coach Debbie Phillp’s always told me, “Isolation is a dream killer.” So you need to plan some travel and get out of your office and connect with like-minded people.
  2. Connect with more folks while I’m away – Last year because I traveled so much I just didn’t have time to connect with people before I left. So this year, I’m contacting friends, colleagues and clients before my trips to major cities to see if I can meet with them in person to connect and continue building my relationship with them.  This really has to do more with working smarter – not harder – and managing my time better when I’m on the road.
  3. Create Goals for my travel – This is another critical piece, to actually write down my goals for each of my trips.  On the plane, I simply took out a piece of paper and wrote down the outcome I wanted to get from this trip to Phoenix where I attended Jeff Walker’s PLM Mastermind.  And I’m happy to say I accomplished all the goals I set out for this meeting and then some. So always have a plan and goals when you travel to make your trips out of your office more productive and fun too.

So don’t spend all day every day at your computer, in your office or wherever. You need to get out and connect with other people. How about finding a conference in your business niche to attend this year? Ask your colleagues where they go to charge their business batteries each year?  Plan out your year, plan out the conferences, workshops or trips you will take that will help build and grow your business. Also, don’t forget to take some fun trips, or maybe tack on a day or so to a business trip to have some gun too.

Here was my Travel Plan For 2011 to Accomplish my Goals:

  • January 25 – 27 – heading to Las Vegas for Yanik Silver’s Mastermind meeting
  • February 21 – 27 – heading to LA for the Ultimate Internet Bootcamp
  • March 3 – 6 – heading to D.C. to Yanik Silver’s Underground 7
  • April 27 – May 1 – heading to Chicago for GKIC Superconference
  • June- 6 – 10 –heading to  Carmel, CA for some R&R
  • June 25 – July 9 – heading to Naples, ME for family vacation in our summer home

I’d encourage you to create your own strategic plan and goals around your travel this year which is really an incredibly important way for you to build relationships and to help grow your business and beyond.

So, get out your calendar now and plan the ways you will invest in yourself and your business to make your goals actually happen!

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Where’s the Hidden Money Buried in Your Business?

Hidden MoneyThe first week of January and the beginning of the New Year is always fascinating to me.  For one, I’m totally in awe of how the previous year seemed to speed by in the blink of an eye. I’m constantly amazed as I get older how the years really do seem to be going much faster. I wonder if that’s just aging or the fact that I’m now paying a lot more attention and just noticing it.  I’m choosing the latter!

One thing I’ve noticed that has helped me tremendously is I ALWAYS create my annual plan at the beginning of every year . In fact, I just took a day this week to do just that.  I know if you’re running your own business or going to a job every day it can be hard to find the time to do this exercise, yet it TOTALLY pays to have a plan. If you don’t have one, trust me – you will be constantly putting out fires and have others leading you by the nose instead of the other way around.

Consistently EVERY year I’ve run my own business (and it’s been 5 years now) I always write down my plan in the first week of January.  Spending the time to do this has always ensured that I had a tremendously successful year.  It’s not complicated to do this. All you really need is a pen, a piece of paper and to allow yourself some time to create and put it together.

I start out with taking stock of the year before.   I looked back on 2010 and created a short timeline of things that happened, events, accomplishments and I write them all down.  Often times I can really see where the hidden money is or was in my business and how I can change that moving forward.  And I really like to take notice of what I’ve achieved because I love to take time to celebrate my wins. (I find most people don’t ever do this – it’s REALLY important to do this!)  I also like to take note of any failures or disappointments so I can let them go and also view them as lessons learned so I don’t repeat them again.

Next I do two things – I focus on my goals for the year in these five categories:

  1. Business – Map out my marketing goals, content for the year, my travel schedule , etc.
  2. Financial – Map out my monthly income goals and my annual goals and how I will achieve them
  3. Relationships – Map out vacation goals, weekly time together, etc.
  4. Spiritual – Map out my mental and spiritual health goals and how I’ll take care of myself
  5. Health – Map out my exercise goals and how I will stay healthy, etc.

Then I create my short plan for each.

Now after you do the first and the second exercise, focusing on your business and financials, you will get a glimpse of where the hidden money is your business.  This is incredibly valuable, to find hidden money in your business. So how do you do it?  Well, the best thing to do is when you’re taking stock of your business, you can usually find some patterns and see some areas that if you strengthened and fixed, or created a new program, or enhanced another program, or product or service you could generate more income.

It’s really that simple.  This article is already too long, so let me give you a gift — If you want to find out more on how to find the hidden money in your business, I’ve written an article specifically on how you can do just that, PLUS it also talks about how to recession-proof your business. Click here to access this article with my compliments .  In this article, I’m also going to share with you a resource that will tell you  how I’ve helped hundreds of people create their own plans to find the hidden money buried in their business and how I can help you.  So here’s to an amazingly prosperous New Year!!

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