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5 strategies to get your work done

Have you ever found yourself procrastinating, overwhelmed, or just plain stuck when it comes to getting your work done?

Recently I did a webinar called “From To Do to Ta Da Done!” about how to get more — and the right — work done.

I think of it as a simple five-step process. Of course, simple does not always make it easy.

Step 1 — Clarity

Are you clear on the big picture?

If you do not know where you are going or why, you are going to stay stuck.



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Valentine’s Dinner Thoughts

Did you enjoy your Valentine’s Day?

My husband and I went to a fabulous dinner at Volt in historic Frederick, Maryland. Volt is housed in a 19th Century brownstone mansion. It is the creation of Brian Voltaggio. Reality show fans will recognize him as a finalist on Top Chef Season 6 and Top Chef Masters Season 5. 

As I was watching the staff handle the evening’s activities, I was reminded about how our businesses are like a restaurant.

When you own a successful restaurant, it’s divided into two areas: front of the house and back of the house.

Front is what the public sees, i.e., the host/hostess, the waiters, the dining room, the meal.

And the back of the house is where the work takes place.



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Happy Valentine’s to you and your business

Traditionally Valentine’s Day is about relationship love.

We often think in terms of someone that we love — a partner, a child, a parent — when we think of relationships.

I think our most important love relationship is with ourselves.

When you love and take care of yourselves, it shows up in a positive way in both your lives and your work.

So, why don’t you prioritize your relationship with yourself?

I think it comes down to a belief that if you take time for yourself, you are somehow taking something away from the others in your life or even the growth of your business.



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Everyday lessons

I recently got back from two weeks in Aruba.

I had a lovely time. Sun and sand, good meals, good books, new friends.

Just as each day at home, I was open to any lesson that was waiting for me. Here are four.

Start where you are

One of the things I love about the resort where we stay is its focus on making wellness available. I can choose from 3-4 exercise classes every day. I usually workout in the gym, take a mile walk along the beach and then go to a yoga or stretch class.

The second day I was there I went to a stretch class with Alex. He is a mixed martial artist, and I had taken his class a couple of years earlier.

In fact, I’d been to his very first class.

When I told him this, he said to me, “I’m so much better now.”

That was such a good reminder that you have to start where you are. Don’t compare yourself to others. You will get better or more knowledgeable in good time.



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Start doing!

Take a look around your studio or home office.

How much fabric and paint are lining your studio shelves? Or packed away because you ran out of room?

How many books do you see? Do you house even more on your Kindle?

How much more do you think you need before you can start to create what your heart is calling you to create?

I know all about hunting and gathering all the information you can.

You think if you learn more, you will know more, and what you create will be even better.

You think you are missing that one fabric that will make the difference in what you create, when all along what you need is right in front of you.

If you take one more class, then you will have enough to really master that painting technique.

And on, and on.

Problem is you don’t need all that.

What you need is already right under your nose.

The answers to your questions, the missing fabric, the skills, the knowledge. It’s all right there for the taking.

You just need to put aside the desire for more and take advantage of what is right in front of you.

How do I know this?

Easy. I have been there. I would order a book thinking it might have something I needed, or more appropriately, some bit of knowledge I lacked. Or I put off starting a project because I needed that perfect color fabric or shade of paint. Obviously the exploding shelves weren’t enough.

I got in this mode last week when I was working on revamping one of our signature programs. Funny thing is I didn’t need anything. I just needed to make the decision to start.

Today

Stop the hunting and gathering.

Have a little bit of faith.

Sit down and start to create.

It’s your turn!

What is it you need to start doing? What’s stopping you?

 

Getting over Blue Monday?

By some accounts, Blue Monday was this week.

What is Blue Monday, you ask?

It goes back to a campaign created by Dr. Cliff Arnall and Sky Travel in 2005, and it’s the third Monday in January.

It is a pseudo-scientific calculation that considers weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing your New Year’s resolutions, low motivational levels, and feeling of a need to take action.

The idea is that all of that is enough to put you in a “blue” mood. Of course, the solution for your low feelings would be to book travel! Since then a campaign was started called #stopbluemonday.

I think Blue Monday is when you look ahead and see all you have set to accomplish this year and start to feel overwhelmed when you have barely gotten started.



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Money mindset lessons from my dog

I’m sure you realize that your relationship with money is important to your business growth. Seems obvious, right?

And, I know that you had a lot of reasons for starting your business. One of them was to make money at something that you loved.

What is odd is that we want to make money to support our lifestyle and make a contribution. At the same time, we can sabotage our efforts with our mindset. You could also call them “money blocks.”

So what does this have to do with my dog?

Recently our dog Button went through a picky-eater stage. We would end up throwing out partially used cans of food because she would no longer eat them. I found it frustrating “throwing money away.”



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Align Your Priorities

When was the last time you took a vacation?

I know it can sometimes be hard for those of us who are entrepreneurs to let go. After all, will your business run without you? Can you trust being partially or totally unplugged? When can you possibly find the time to go on vacation with all you have to do?

Truthfully, you need time to relax and recharge. If you don’t allow time for that, I believe in the end, you are not as effective at our businesses, and it is ultimately detrimental to your overall health and well-being.

For me, the best way to insure a vacation is to schedule it. Calendarize it, even pay for it ahead of time, so it becomes a non-negotiable.

While any getaway to recharge and refocus should be a priority, you have lots of other priorities in your life that don’t always get on the calendar.



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The simple act of choosing a word

Many people choose a “word” as a focus tool for the year. I have been doing this since probably 2005 when Kathy, the owner of the yoga studio where I practiced, passed around a basket with words.

I chose “openness.” At the time I asked if I could pick a different word. After all, the woman next to me chose love, which seemed like a much better word. I remember Kathy telling me that I was stuck with openness because the word had chosen me.

I went home, taped the word onto my computer, and let it be an anchor as I went through the year. Looking back, I know that this made a tremendous difference in my year.



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Old Year Lessons

In three weeks you’ll turn the calendar page to 2020.

Each year the years seem to fly by. And this year was no exception.

While three weeks isn’t a lot of time, you do have time to take some positive actions to end your year on a high note and get a head start on 2020.

Here are some tips that I’m taking to heart.

Don’t wait until Dec. 31 to check your financials.

I’ve been working on my financials the past week or so. As someone who is self-employed, I need to make estimated tax payments. While they aren’t due until Jan. 15, 2020, I like to get my settled before the end of the year.

Some questions you might consider:

• Do you need to follow up on any late invoices if you want the income to be in 2019?
• Do you need to defer the income until 2020?
• Do you need to make any expenditures by year-end?
• What tax consequences should you be aware of?

On my list is a quick call or email with my accountant. This will answer any last minute questions and allow me to make any adjustments I might need to minimize any taxes I owe.



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