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The Myth of Multitasking

September 21st, 2016 by Morna

multitasking

As I came back to work this morning after a two-week vacation, I faced a mountain of things to do. Where to start? Maybe I could manage to do more than one task at a time. You know, answer email or scan Facebook while listening to an online class, or straighten the studio while making a phone call, or quickly check the calendar to see if an appointment is scheduled while in a phone conversation. Quite the picture, isn’t it?

Yes, I am talking about multitasking and it does not work! According to Harvard Business Review blogger Paul Atchley, studies show that multi-taskers are less efficient, perhaps by as much as 40%, than they think. He says that it takes an average of 15 minutes – and I have read numbers as high as 40 minutes – to reorient oneself to the main task. Wow – 15 minutes! Can you imagine how much time you waste on a daily basis trying to get back to the task at hand?

Many people dispute the fact that multi-tasking doesn’t work, citing their own experiences. Not true, as research shows again and again.

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Get Off Your But!

September 14th, 2016 by Morna

getoffyourbut

Some time ago I read A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink. It’s a good read about why right-brainers will rule the future.

The future, really today, is the “conceptual age.” Pink discusses the “six senses” that one uses to build a whole new mind to thrive in this conceptual age: design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning. While I do not necessarily subscribe to his premise in total – I believe we need to engage both parts of our brain – he offers lots of great exercises to get your right brain working. And even though many artists are right-brained, you will find the exercises fun and expanding.

Onto ifs, ands & buts. In his discussion on meaning, one of Pink’s suggestions for creating more meaning in your life is to replace the word “but” with “and.” He says that “buts” can create roadblocks for creating more meaning in your life and suggests creating a list of what you are trying to accomplish and what is in your way.

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Back to Business

September 7th, 2016 by Morna

backtobiz

 

Labor Day in the United States was earlier this week. While many school districts around the country opened their doors in August, September always seems like back-to-school month to me. Since I run a business these days, I think of it as back-to-business month. You have four months to really rev up to meet those goals you set early this year.

While it is back to business for many of us, it has been a changing business landscape over the summer in the sewing, quilting and crafts fields. Here is a roundup of what has happened and my thoughts. It’s likely you already know about some of the changes.

1. In July, Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine announced that it was folding with its October/November 2016 issue. QNM, owned by F+W Media, was started in September 1969 by Bonnie Lehman at her kitchen table. That first issue cost 35 cents, and the magazine went on to be a leader in the industry. I don’t think the industry would be where it is today without her foresight and willingness to help it grow. I was a long-time subscriber and still have a stash of issues. Magazine publishing is a hard business. I focused on magazine publishing getting my masters’s and was in it for 20 years. Magazines thrive based on a variety of factors, including advertising and circulation. Advertising is what pays the bills for most magazines and in today’s environment the competition for the advertising dollar is steep. It’s not just from other print magazines. Ad dollars are spent on the Internet. Advertisers see where the buyers/readers are and go there. Today, so much is available on the Internet. What can stop other magazines from the same future as QNM? Support your favorite magazines. Tell the advertisers in them that you found them in the magazine. Current QNM subscribers will receive Quilting Arts magazine until the subscriptions expire.

2. In July, American Quilter’s Society announced that it will stop publishing books in 2017. AQS was formed in 1984 by Meredith and Bill Schroeder, who were collectors and publishers of books for collectors. The business went on to sponsor quilt shows, host a television show, and publish magazines. If you look at the quilt and sewing industry, you will find lots of competition for the crafter. I have always been amazed at the numbers of quilt and sewing books published each month, so it does not surprise me to see a shake-up in this area. Again, consumers are looking for how-to craft information, and, in addition to finding it in competing books,

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Move the Needle in Your Creative Arts Business

August 31st, 2016 by Morna

move-the-needle

For many of us, moving the needle may have different connotations, especially since so many who read this blog sew. Today I want to talk about moving the needle forward in your business. All of us get stuck. Sometimes it’s just a simple tweak that can get the machine moving again. Sometimes it is something bigger that you need to do to move your business to the next level. Here are nine ways that will help get you moving and bring in cash to your business:

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Reinventing Everyday

August 24th, 2016 by Morna

 

reinventingeveryday-3Rs

Are you practicing the 3 R’s?  What are the 3 R’s, you ask? Recycle, reuse, repurpose – all part of reinventing your business everyday. How much of what you create just needs to be spiffed up or re-slanted to make it new? We see it all the time in other markets. Disney is a prime example. They often issue re-releases or special editions of their classics. They recreate the excitement, find additional audiences, and make more sales. How can you do this as a creative arts professional?

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It’s Not Just About Sports

August 17th, 2016 by Morna

rioolympics1

Have you been watching the Olympics? I always enjoy the competition and the personal stories. I found myself staying up late watching several of the events live. I continue to be inspired by watching people who are the best at what they do. Here are some of the business lessons I saw.

1. Set really big goals. I have watched Katie Ledecky’s pursuit of her Olympic goals for the past few years. She grew up and went to high school in my county, so she is covered by our local news. Her coach, Bruce Gemmell, worked with Katie to look at the bigger picture, developing a vision for the future. Gemmell brought his corporate speak to his swim coach career and talked about setting BFHG — Big Fat Hairy Goals.

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Pay it forward!

August 10th, 2016 by Morna

payitforward

The last time I was at our home on the Chesapeake Bay, our neighbor’s grandkids were visiting. They were having a great time skipping stones across the water. Do you remember doing that as a kid or with your kids?

The effect, of course, is that you can see ripples in the water. And the more ripples, the better.

Have you ever thought about the ripples you make with your business? I want to share a few stories about ripples.

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Secure Your Own Mask First

August 3rd, 2016 by Morna

securemask

This week I am in Dallas on business and am fitting in a visit with one of my cousins. This required an airline flight from Baltimore. Of course, on the flight I heard the safety warnings, including the following:

“If cabin pressure should change, panels above your seat will open revealing oxygen masks; reach up and pull a mask towards you. … The plastic bag will not fully inflate, although oxygen is flowing. Secure your own mask first before helping others.”

When I first heard this years ago, my initial thought was that it seemed selfish. Shouldn’t you take care of those who can’t take care of themselves?

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Do You Zappos?

July 27th, 2016 by Morna

doyouzappos

I am sure many of you have purchased from Zappos? They have great customer service, free shipping, 365-day return policy, someone to answer your questions 24/7/365. Plus all those shoes! What is not to like?

Have you looked at the service you offer your customers? Shoes aside, how does it stack up to Zappos?

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Moving Past Stuckedness

July 20th, 2016 by Morna

stuckedness

Have you ever had so much on your plate that you’re stuck with where to start? I know I have. Last week I started thinking about all the ideas I have to grow ICAP. There is the weekly blog/ezine, the monthly coaching and interview calls, and some content that is already planned to write. Then there is book in progress, the podcast in the works, and the work I want to have happen in our Facebook groups. Wait, I forgot about the webinar I am creating. I know I can look at the my projects and figure out which to pick first, so overwhelm is not the problem.

It really is about uncertainty and where to start or how to move forward on the one project. And, if you are like me, having so much to sort through can keep you stuck. You end up studying the issue to death, over-thinking it, over-revising it, and, yes, staying stuck. I think a good term for this in my case might be analysis-paralysis.

Does this sound familiar? What is the solution?

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