Business Tips and Tricks

How To Have a Productive Day

We’ve all been there. Days you don’t want to tackle the “To Do” list, right?   I used to think it was easier when I was working full-time and juggling my DS business on nights and weekends.  I knew I only had a limited about of time to be productive before I crashed for the night.  I was focused and had a plan.

Now I work from home full time and hubby works the swing shift.  It is easy to blow off at least part of the day till he goes to work, hanging out and ignoring my business completely.  I have learned (the hard way)  I won’t achieve my goals this way.  When I worked at home as a grant writer, it was easier because there were deadlines.  Belinda went to school, I worked.  Of course some would say I always worked.  I had lots of deadlines and a passion in my soul to make a difference.  Now to use some of those same tricks in my DS business at home.

Having health issues and working at home full time, some days I need an extra little push in the right direction to get me going.  What about you?  Maybe you are crazy busy and you want to learn how to be more productive so you can get back on track with your goals.  Here are some tips which might help you….

#1 – Figure out the feelings.

I’m great at stuffing them so this one is sometimes tough for me.  Are you feeling burnt out? Are you dreading one (or more!) of the tasks on your To Do list? Do you lack inspiration?  Do you over analyze everything so you suffer from “Analysis Paralysis?”.  The truth is by figuring out why you are feeling the way you are,  you can acknowledge it and then work to solve it.  Change up the routine.  Have an impromptu dance party in the living room to get the juices flowing.

#2 Accomplish Something – ANYTHING – First Thing In The Morning

I’m usually up and in my office for by 7AM.  I have a checklist of daily things I have to get done a a bare minimum.  This gets the ball rolling for me. For you,  it can be a simple task like cleaning up the kitchen while enjoying your morning coffee.  On rough days, making the bed is my one accomplishment.  Pick one thing each morning and accomplish it.  Once you are done, spend a moment enjoying how it feels to have completed the task.

#3 Adjust your Morning Routine

Start your morning off on the right foot so you have a productive mindset.  Be sure you eat something healthy with some protein in it to start your day off right.   I’m not a big breakfast person but grabbing a hard boiled egg with my coffee helps.  While you’re enjoying a healthy breakfast option, start writing down your priority list. For me, I take the top 3 things I need to do and get them done!  You may want to start with the easiest task and work up to the more difficult ones.  When you use preparing a to-do list based on priority levels as part of your morning routine, you’ll naturally start to have a more productive day.

#4 Allow Breaks during the Day

I’m learning when I take breaks during the day, I am more productive.  It’s okay to take breaks throughout your day, especially if you have a heavy workload.  Breaks like 15 – 30 minutes not 2 – 3 hours.  Once you finish a task, reward yourself.  Take a break. Grab a snack.  Put on some music and dance around.  By giving yourself rewards (breaks) when a task is completed you will maintain your confidence and motivation. It’s great to take a break in between tasks because it helps transition your mind from one priority item to another.  Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a regular lunch break each day.  Get away from the office.  Clear your head.  You will be amazed at how much you get accomplished.

#5 Manage Your Distractions

There are LOTS of distractions when we work from home BUT the biggest distraction is social media.   The “just want to check one thing” on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram then it is 3 hours later and nothing has gotten done.  I’ve even used the excuse of “I’m working on my business”!  I need to remind myself, if I was working for someone else, I wouldn’t be able to take personal calls or texts, so why do I do it during my business hours?  Schedule your social media time so you can still maintain your online presence without having to be logged in at all times.

It is possible to have a more productive day – every day.  When you practice these tips, you will create habits which will lead to success!  What is your best tip for having a productive day?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Is it time for a break?

The summer is half over and what have you done?  Have you been a Vacation Veronica?  Have you enjoyed family and friends but dread what will happen when you open your calendar for the fall?  OR have you been crazy busy and are in desperate need of a break?

Maybe the question should be, whether or not you’ll take time for a break.  Today, we are living life at a faster pace.  Everyone is offering us ways to save time with more tech gadgets.   Instead of freeing up our time, they  have us trying to figure our how much more we can accomplish with the time saved. I sometimes feel like I’m on a treadmill which keeps increasing speed.   Moving faster but not always sure how much I am actually getting done.  Are you wondering if you need a break?  Here are a few signs it’s time to take a break.

1. You are busy but not productive.

You know what I mean, right?.  You’re doing stuff, just not the most important stuff. You’re shifting papers but definitely not moving forward.  If this is you, take a break. Refocus. Restart.

2. You are irritable, even when nothing particularly stressful is happening.

Do you have a sour attitude?  What I mean is, do you feel frustrated, or unsatisfied in you job? Chances are there’s something hiding beneath the surface. Usually anger— even the quiet, passive-aggressive type – is a sign boundaries have been crossed. Are you stuffing your feelings?  Resentment emerges when we don’t speak up, ask for help, or make a necessary change.  This is probably one of my biggest character defects.

3. You just accomplished a big goal.

Did you know our energy is depleted after we accomplish a big goal?  I always thought it was the opposite.  Studies show, we are more effective and able to work towards future goals when we give our minds and bodies a chance to recover.  This allows our energy to be replenished for the next big goal. When you finish a major project – Celebrate. Relax. Rejuvenate. Then move on.

4. Your body hurts.

Your body will give you warning signs. I don’t mean the aches from old age (yup, my big complaint). I mean things like chronic back or neck pain, headaches, and fatigue.  Don’t ignore them.  These are usually the ways your body is trying to tell you something. Listen. If you don’t, there could be long-term consequences ahead.

5. You’re dreaming about work.

This was me when I was working…. I was forever dreaming of projects, and deadlines.  Now working for myself I am able to walk away from things (sometimes).  No matter what, it’s a definite sign some downtime is LONG overdue.

6. You haven’t had a break in a while.

Are you thinking, none of those apply to me?  Guess what?  Even if they don’t and you haven’t had time off in awhile, it is time to take a break!  It could simply be ten minutes every couple of hours, a day of downtime every week (unplug), and a vacation or personal days for fun time every few months will make you far more productive—and far happier—than working nonstop.

Give yourself a break!  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

Productive Or Busy?

How often do you answer the question “how are you doing?” with “I’m so busy”?  Think about it…. as wives, mothers, and business owners, we often wear busyness as a badge of honor.

But is “busy” really a label you want to wear? Does it mean, your business is doing well?  Does it mean we have it “all together” as moms?  Does it mean we are reaching our goals and being successful?

Or does busy just mean being occupied? You are doing stuff. I’m not saying some of it may not be purposeful but I am sure some of it is not.  Yes, some of it necessary while some of it we do simply out of habit.  Does being busy mean you are being productive?  Does it mean you are getting things done which actually need to get done?

Think about it… do you have a plan in place for the day or the week? Do you have a clear picture of what is important or what matters most?  If you are “busy”, the answer to both of these questions is probably NO!

What if you were to say “I’m productive” instead of “I’m busy”.  What’s the difference, right?  Semantics?  The reality is, it makes a HUGE difference in how you go about your day.  You become purposeful in what you are doing.

When you’re busy, you take on new tasks without considering whether you even have time to complete them. You are less likely to delegate the task to others.  You are less likely to ask for help.  Why delegate? Because when you delegate, you take time to think: “Do I really have to do this myself? Who could do it instead? When can I ask them? How long will it take to explain?” In many cases when you are busy, the response is “never mind, I’ll just do it myself.” In the long run you waste more time and get less accomplished. Being busy generates a more stressed and hurried way of life so doing it yourself is an easy answer.

What if you were to look at “hurrying up” as the one thing which is actually slowing you down? Yes, if you took just a moment to slow down, you could actually get more of the right things done in less time and be more productive. WOW!  I know it is crazy but it really does work.  It is a great way to de-clutter your life.

I find the weeks I am more productive are when I follow a simple process of planning out my week. I make a list of everything I’d like to accomplish this week. If a week is to overwhelming, do it just for a day.  Now, put each item into one of four categories: Do it. Delay it. Delegate it. Delete it.   Stick with me, it really does work and it can all be accomplished in about 10 minutes.  Yes, you have 10 minutes to spare when the end result is feeling more productive.

So, first pick the stuff you choose to do is important. It is a priority.  I know, right now everything seems to be a priority BUT try to limit it to no more than 3 things.  I hear the groans!

Now, move on to the stuff you can delay. These are things which are not urgent and may actually be causing you stress.  Maybe you really don’t have time to do it right now, and frankly, it doesn’t yet need to be done now. Add it to your schedule for a later date.  This is where my planner comes in handy.  I list things at the bottom of the week in the space called “infinite possibility”.  If I have time, great!  It may get done before the delayed date but most times, it doesn’t.  It is okay!

Here is the tough one – the stuff you delegate.  I will admit, I struggle with this on a regular basis.  Health challenges have helped me to put this in perspective.  Delegate things which do not require your personal attention. Someone else can handle it just fine. Okay, they may not do it your way BUT it will get done.  Does it really matter as long as the end result is the same?  Maybe it is tossing clothes in the washer.  Maybe it is putting labels on the catalogs.  Maybe it is putting out the trash or emptying the dishwasher.  Learning to let go and delegate things has made life less stressful for me which is a plus as some days the health challenges are a struggle.

The last list is the stuff you delete. It is those tasks which serve no important purpose at this time. We all have them.  So, give yourself permission to take them off your to-do list.

The truth is hurrying up or busyness is actually slowing you down. What can you change in order to be more productive?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks, Home Office

The Work Week Commandments

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YEAH!  It is Monday and I am thrilled.  I worked some crazy hours the past 11 days to cover for a co-worker who was on vacation.  Thankfully, it was not every day but truth be told, I couldn’t have handled anymore.

I am ready to kick October into gear – I know we are halfway through the month but I am not giving up because it started off slow.  I had an awesome event on Saturday and I have some exciting things coming up the rest of the month in my business. When I get crazy busy and find myself spending less time than I want in my business, feelings of being unfulfilled, overwhelmed, never good enough, overstretched, and underutilized start floating around.  I received and email about setting rules for yourself to keep your workweek fulfilling, productive, purposeful, and joyful along the way and wanted to share it with you.

Are you interested in hearing more?  These tips came from Jen Carrington and are part of her The Intuitive Workweek program. You can refer back to whenever you start to doubt your natural instincts, or fear you’re not good enough, or when you’re feeling stuck and overwhelmed in the daily routine.

These are Jen’s workweek commandments, rooted in her own vision and desires for her workday. Hopefully, they encourage you to know you have permission to work in a different way.

1. No matter what gets done today, I am enough

My self-worth is not defined by how productive I am each day. It doesn’t serve me to live in a culture where being enough is hinged on an external source of validation. No matter what gets done and is left undone, I am committed to living in a culture of enough in my work and my life.  So true for me too!

2. Be in this for the long haul, not for the instant gratification

If I pursue instant gratification alone, I will never build strong foundations in my business and my life. I’m in this journey for the long haul and I will sow seeds now I can reap along the way, instead of obsessing over instant wins on a daily basis.  Me too!

3. Leave people better than I found them

Whether it’s through the work I do with my clients, a simple email exchange, or through the content I share online, my core goal is to show up and always play a positive and encouraging part in someone else’s day. In every interaction I have in my business, I want it to be the guiding focus.  Me too!

4. I have to live it to give it

I cannot truly be of service if I’m running on an empty tank. I cannot encourage and support others to live a wholehearted, fulfilling, and impactful creative life if I’m not also doing it myself. My number one job is to live what I’m here to give, so I can truly show up and be of service along the way.  WOW!

5. Show up wholeheartedly each and every workday

When I’m showing up in my business, I want to do it with a whole heart. I want to show up 100% and give the best I can give that day. There’s no room for a half-heart in this journey. Showing up wholeheartedly isn’t the same as hustling myself into the ground for the sake of it; it’s honoring the energy I am able to give to my work and showing up fully when I’m working in my business.

Although, many may apply to you, it is important each of us look for our own work week commandments.  Here are some questions to ask yourself to find yours:

  • What boundaries, mindsets, and mantras do I want to guide me each workday?
  • What core values do I want to honor when I show up in my business?
  • What do I want to remind myself of each workday so I can run my business in a way that feels good to me?

Does your daily grind feel far from dreamy and productive?  I have been there, done that and got the t-shirt.  Today, I am focusing on discovering a better and more joyful way to work in my business. You can choose to be more. You can make brave and bold steps forward towards a life which works for you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Unclutter Your Life

Need a Break?

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Do you need a break? Are you dreaming of vacation?  Every week do you long for the weekend and then it goes by so fast?

The truth is that most of us need a break to recharge BUT the real question is, “Will you take time for one?”.  I mean we have a millions reasons why we can’t stop, right?  Kids, family obligations, work and the list goes on.  We are bombarded every day with advertising that tells us how we can save time.  The newest tech gadget will save us time and keep us connected which is great or is it?  Once we find more time, do we appreciate it OR do we raise our expectations about how much we can accomplish?

Let’s be honest, when was the last time that you “saved time” and just sat down to enjoy a cup of coffee or the beauty of your surroundings?

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It’s like being on a treadmill.  You start out slowly but consistently increase your speed, running faster and getting things done. But at some point, you want to get off the treadmill.

Here are a few signs it’s time to take a break.

1.You are busy, but not productive.

I feel like this more days than I care to count.  You’re doing stuff, just not the most important stuff. When someone asks you say “I’m so busy” but then you can’t seem to figure out what you got done.  If that’s you, take a break. Refocus. Restart.

2.You are irritable, even when nothing particularly stressful is happening.

Has your attitude become sour no matter what?  Is everyone always asking you “What’s wrong?”.  Guess what?  There’s something simmering beneath the surface. Maybe it is anger because a boundary has been crossed. Maybe it is resentment because you haven’t spoken up, asked for help or made a change.

3.You just accomplished a big goal.

Research shows that our energy is depleted after the accomplishment of a big goal. We are more effective at future goals when we give our minds and bodies a chance to recover so that our energy is replenished for the next big task at hand. Just finished a major project? Celebrate. Relax. Rejuvenate. Then move on to the next big thing.

4.Your body hurts.

Aches and pains are sometimes your body’s way of giving you warning signs. Don’t ignore them. Chronic back or neck pain, headaches and fatigue are just a few of the ways your body is trying to talk to you. Listen. If you don’t, there could be consequences soon.

5.You’re dreaming about work.

Are you dreaming about projects, deadlines and that pesky co-worker while you sleep?   This is a definite sign that some down time is overdue.

6.You haven’t had a break in a while.

Okay, so maybe the first 5 things don’t apply to you BUT you still need regular breaks. When was the last time you took one?  Unplugged? Took a walk?  Maybe even played hookie for a day?  If you haven’t taken a break recently! JUST DO IT!  Is taking long breaks scary?  How about just taking ten minutes every couple of hours a day of down time every week?  Maybe even a vacation or personal day just for fun time every few months?  You will be far more productive than working nonstop. And you’ll be happier, too.

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My challenge to you today is
Give yourself a break. Schedule it right now!

Love to hear how you are going to take a break today or this week.  Share your thoughts with us.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!