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The Plan

“I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time.  Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.”  E.B. White (author of Charlotte’s Web)

It is increasingly apparent to me that most of us are not programmed to proactively plan our lives.  And why would we be?

When we are children, our parents and then school, tell us what to do: when to eat, when to sleep, when to get up and where we can and can’t go.

We are not taught to choose the things that are important to us and follow them passionately.

Imagine the difference in the mindset of the next generation, if we set about learning this as adults, and then passing the message on.

Time And Tax Stamps

I remember when I was younger I worked for a company that cut and packaged printed tax stamps for cigarette packets. 

Each tax stamp was worth between £1.00 and £5.00 and they were about half and inch wide by an inch long.  They were printed on very thin paper, and were fiddly to work with.  If you dropped one from the bench, it was like trying to catch a falling feather; virtually impossible. 

The company that employed my boss to cut these stamps were understandably very concerned with their safety.  They arrived in pre-counted pallets and were stored in a fireproof room that was specially built to house them.  Each batch of sheets was machine counted and verified by a member of staff, before being guillotined.

Each tiny bundle of stamps was then handled and packaged with the utmost of care.  It was not acceptable for someone to lose or damage even one stamp as the cost to the company was so high.

Imagine if we viewed time in the same way

My boss could not have taken the same care of the stamps if he did not know exactly how many he had in his factory.  He could not have known if each stamp made it’s allocated destination, if he was not sure of the amount in the first place.

Every time you choose to spend a unit of time on something that is not truly your value, it is like losing or damaging a tax stamp.

The incremental value may not be that much, but added together over a period of time, the potential loss is huge. 

Just like my boss could’ve lost this customer, so are you losing your dreams and ambitions, every time you choose not to value your time as the precious resource that it is.

 

 

Is Your List Getting You What You Want?

A “to-do” list is the classic tool for keeping track of all your tasks.  

But the problem is, that most of them don’t work as often we just don’t know which item to tackle first.  We look at our list, feel overwhelmed, and so just do the items we deem to be most important first, which means that the others just get pushed to the bottom rung.

Admit it, how many of you have those couple of tasks on your list, that get pushed from week to week, and never actually crossed off?

If you want to start being more productive then you have got to produce a more productive list: one that means you are taking positive action to get yourself what you want from your time.

Try these simple tips:

  • Before you go to bed each night, spend no more than 10 minutes, planning your tomorrow.
  • List all the things you need to get done.
  • Time chunk your day, setting aside time for all your writing, telephone, meeting and errand tasks to be done together.
  • Prioritise the hardest and least pleasurable tasks on top and commit to doing them first.
  • Set reminders in your calendar to alert you 30 minutes before the task or meeting time.
  • Commit to doing at least one task per day that moves you towards a long term goal or dream.

If you have any time management tips you’d like to share with us, I would love you to post a comment below.

Products Or Benefits? Why Knowing The Difference Is Essential For Making More Sales

When I first started this blog, 170 days ago, someone told me that the best blog posts should be around 150 words long.

I remember looking at them as if they were quite mad.  How could I possibly say what I had to say in that few words?  My first posts were a struggle to stay under 700 words, let alone 150.

Yet as I have proceeded with my blog, my posts have gradually become shorter.  Now I average 150 words on a short day and 300 words on a long day and I’m clearer and more concise in my message.

I know exactly who I’m talking to and how valuable their time is.

The only blog that I subscribe to that I read on a daily basis (without fail) is one by Seth Godin.  It’s short and to the point, takes under one minute to read.

It’s valuable to me because it satisfies two of my core values:

  1. Education
  2. Time

I’m lacking in both, so Seth manages to educate me in a very short space of time.  I don’t subscribe to his blog, I subscribe to the benefits that his blog brings me.

So the questions then become:

What is your customer lacking that you are aiming to give them? 

What is the need of your niche that you are working to meet?

Remember: people don’t buy products, people buy benefits.

So how will your company make their lives a little bit better?

Girl Power: Ability + Strategy = Self Sufficiency

Recently I had the honour of being included as an expert author on a blog called Girl Re-Imagined.

The concept for Girl Re-Imagined began as an experiential journey for the site’s founder, Sorilbran Stone. A mother, serial entrepreneur and information professional, Sorilbran has worked as a consultant for a wide range of micro-business owners and found that in business, much like in life, it is not the absence of ability and potential that keeps people from accomplishing their respective goals. 

Rather, it is the absence of strategies, resources and confidence that poses the greatest threat to success.

Particularly for women, the trap of even temporary poverty can quickly go from being situational to mental to permanent.  Girl Re-Imagined was designed to combat that threat.

Girl Re-Imagined helps women to attain self-sufficiency through the use of their own natural abilities and the implementation of intuitive, actionable strategies.  I am honoured to be part of such an amazing mission.

If you want to know more, you can visit the site here.

Or view my post here.

Time Management For Mums: How To Take Control And Lose The Guilt

One of the biggest excuses we use for not having more of the things we want in life, is that we don’t have the time.  

In the past my life was extremely busy; being a stay at home mum with three young kids.  But even that wasn’t uncomfortable enough to make me act in a different way.  I finally decided to change when my fourth baby was born and I simply couldn’t continue the way I was.  

I felt guilty because I wasn’t spending enough time with the older kids, because every spare minute I had was spent tending to Jack.

I felt guilty that all I could do was bitch at my husband when he came in from work, cause I thought blaming him for my situation would make me feel better.

I felt guilty that I wasn’t able to work enough on Rainbow and bring in more customers.

I felt guilty that I never got to see my sisters and my parents and that every time they called me to say hello, I was distracted and preoccupied.

Quite simply, I felt like a total and utter failure.

The funny thing about hitting rock bottom is that there is only one way you can go from there: UP.  I decided to take control of my life, implement systems, take a step back and evaluate what is important.  

I set simple, measurable goals for my relationship, work and family that didn’t involve a massive amount of action or planning, but that started things moving in the right direction.

And do you know what happened?  Dramatic improvement.  You see, when I gave myself the luxury of more time, I actually knew how to spend it because I had a small, doable action list that included all the things that were important to me.  I now have purpose, direction and peace.  

Am I perfect?  Absolutely not.  But life certainly feels a million times more enjoyable.

Stuck For An Idea Or Inspiration? Try These 10 Questions To Inspire And Motivate You

Many women tell me on a daily basis that they are sometimes stuck for a bit of inspiration in deciding what they are good at.  They would love to start a business or embark on a new venture, but frankly they don’t know where to start.

Yet, if you want to figure out who you really are, and what your contribution to the world could be, then you need to spend a little time getting to know yourself better.  Sure, it may be uncomfortable at times; but do you think anyone got a free ride to the top of their game?

Having what you want involves risk and discomfort.  

We are so used to living in the surface structure of our belief system, that we rarely delve deeper to uncover our true feelings on the subject at hand.  Kind of like when your husband asks, “What’s wrong?” and you immediately reply “Nothing.”

Often times, there is something wrong, but we just don’t know what it is.  But instead of being honest and admitting that we feel out of sorts but are unsure why, we numb the pain and pretend that we’re fine, when really we’re not.  We preoccupy ourselves with being busy, or we eat a chocolate muffin or drink a glass of wine, to cover the unpleasant feeling of not feeling okay.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is tough, but extremely rewarding.

Trust me, I’ve been there.  I was a stay at home mom to three young kids, beating myself up for wanting more than to be just a mom, but having no idea of how to get started on another path.  It took me a long time to decide to take that first step to starting my own business.

If you too, are struggling, and feel that you need a little inspiration, try asking yourself these questions:

  1. If you could spend your time doing anything during the day, what would it be?
  2. What do you do to relax when you are at home?
  3. What are your favourite sports or activities?
  4. Why are they your favourite?
  5. If you could make money doing it, what would you spend your time doing?
  6. If you are upset or feeling down, what cheers you up?
  7. When you’re alone and completely free to do anything, what do you do?
  8. What was your favourite childhood game or activity?
  9. What did you dream you would be when you grew up?
  10. Have there been any fears, phobias or challenges that you have overcome in your life?

A good way to use these questions is not to do them all at once.  You’ve waited this long, so a little longer won’t kill you.

Take one question, and meditate on it throughout the day.  Keep the question close by, or post it on your wall or computer screen.  Encourage yourself to think more deeply about the topic, and to really explore your belief system.

You might be surprised at what you find.

Do you have any questions you’d like to add to the list?  Or any inspiration you can share with other aspiring entrepreneurs?  I’d love to hear from you if you do.  Please feel free to post a comment below.  Both men and women contributors welcome!

 

 

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