Off Kilter?

Do you ever feel like there will never be enough time to do everything you want to do?  Well, guess what – you’re right!  We are constantly growing and expanding, which means we’re always wanting more, even if it’s more peace, serenity, time off, etc.  The future is always more and we will always want it.

 

Brian Tracy teaches “The Law of Forced Efficiency,” which says that, “There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.”  I recently found this to be absolutely true and that’s what I want to discuss today.

 

Most of you are probably aware that I haven’t been posting as many articles on this site as I had been for the past two years.  You’re also probably aware that my husband and I opened a new dental facility two months ago.  Yes, these two facts are related. 

 

With all of the preparation and planning that I did before the big move, there were things that happened that I just could not have anticipated.  Don’t get me wrong, it was all mostly good stuff, or things that were easy enough to deal with, but everything coming in at once simply took more time than I had allowed.  Combine that with my own business projects and trying to keep up with acquiring new business, and the blog writing just went on the back burner for a few weeks.

 

I felt guilty for a long time, but then decided that I really didn’t owe any explanation to anyone.  However, at the open house for the new office, I told an avid reader that my blog writing was suffering because I’d been so busy with the details of the practice and her response was, “I could tell.”  OUCH!

 

After reflecting on that though, I came to realize that all that simply meant was that I really put a lot of myself “out there” on this website, and that was my original intent; to blog about the trials and tribulations of my life and the lives of my clients (who always remain anonymous) in the hope that it will help others, and it does.

 

So what does a personal strategic planner and time management “guru” do when a major event in her life throws her out of kilter?

 

Drop back and punt.  Take it one step at a time.  Ask, “What is the most valuable use of my time, right now?”

 

The main problem was that no matter how well I planned or how much I worked, the jobs and responsibilities just kept piling up.  (I know what a lot of you are thinking right now – “Welcome to my world.”  I know, I know.)  Add to that the deadline of wanting everything to look perfect for the open house, and what would normally be a task that could be put off suddenly became a top priority – like cleaning all of the scuff marks off the baseboards.

 

The other big issue for me was that normally, even if I’ve had a busy day, I can write a really good post late at night and still meet my personal goal of 3 articles per week.  While there were days when I finally sat down at 9 or 10 PM, I was so much more physically exhausted than a normal work day that I couldn’t even muster the energy to type!  I spent a lot of time on the office landscaping and taking care of it even after the moving and cleaning was over, to the point that my body doesn’t feel that it has returned to “normal” yet – and it sometimes feels like it will never be normal again!  But I do seem physically stronger and I’m sleeping better than ever, so the positive aspects outweigh my whining by far.  But that’s another post!

 

The biggest lesson I learned from all of this was that I can be a highly productive person. Every hour of every day I had to stop and re-prioritize my growing list of tasks.  I found myself constantly asking that question, “What is the best use of my time right now?”  My time management principles were reinforced and I feel stronger mentally than ever before. 

 

I also feel more relaxed every day, which was worth going through this experience.  I had to learn to let some things go, like blog post writing, that I really wanted to do, because other things were more important.  As Goethe said, “The things that matter most must never be at the mercy of the things that matter least.”

 

I tend to make things important that aren’t, which makes me rush around a lot.  This project has helped me realize what is truly important to me, and that it’s okay to let things slide every once in a while.  As much as I love my business and everything I do, my husband comes first.  He is my top priority.  Why? Because he’s a good man who works very hard and he deserves my best.  I knew what I was “getting into” when I married him; I made that choice consciously, and when push comes to shove, like it did this Spring, he will always come first, by my choice.

 

Your Assignment

Take a few seconds at the end of a major project or task each day and sit quietly where you cannot be disturbed. During this time, let your mind relax and just think about your work and activities.  Ask yourself, “What is the best use of my time, right now?”

 

The more you implement this process, the easier it will be for you to set clear priorities, to overcome procrastination and to get started on that one activity that represents the most valuable use of your time.

 

In almost every case, during this time of solitude, even if it’s just a couple of minutes, you will receive wonderful insights and ideas that will save you enormous amounts of time when you apply them back on the job. Often you will experience breakthroughs that will change the direction of your life and work.  When you do, please come back here and share it with the rest of us!

 

Until next time,

Live Joyfully!

 

You can subscribe to this blog here.

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Posted under Education, Inspiration, Law of Attraction, Leadership, Motivation, Success

How to Write Your Personal Mission Statement

In my previous post, I discussed ways of finding your purpose, how to figure out what to do with the rest of your life, how to find your passion.  Okay, so now you’ve figured out what you want to do, what’s next?

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to write a personal mission statement.  Why?  Because when you’re faced with a difficult choice to make, choosing the option that fits with your purpose in life will be easier if you have a mission statement to reference.  Also, your mission statement will (should) motivate you.  Allow me to explain further.

A mission statement describes your unique purpose in life.  It summarizes the talents and qualities you have and want to develop, what you want to accomplish, and what contributions you desire to make.

What are you passionate about?  What really excites you?  What would make you jump out of bed in the morning knowing that if you didn’t show up it would make a huge difference in the cause?

Passion is so important when creating your mission statement.  If you’re not passionate about your mission, it’s not really your mission.  If it doesn’t speak to your soul and keep you awake at night thinking about the possibilities, you haven’t hit on the right thing yet.

While the specifics of how you fulfill your mission may come in stages, your mission will more than likely remain the same throughout your lifetime.  Even though you play different roles during different phases of your life, one thing will always remain constant – your mission.

Having a personal mission statement helps you make daily decisions.  When you have a choice to make, which option gets you closer to accomplishing your ultimate goal?  Will it help you to fulfill your mission?  Nothing, no action, is neutral; everything you do either helps you fulfill your mission and accomplish your goals, or moves you further away from them.  When you make your decisions based on your personal mission statement, you never regret it. 

Now, this doesn’t mean that you will never have to do something you don’t want to do.  On the contrary.  There are tasks and obligations that I must fulfill on a regular basis that I don’t particularly enjoy, but they get me closer to my ultimate goal, so I do them.  Sometimes they are just in line with my values, and so I complete these tasks because they help with the overall picture of who I am or want to become.

For example, my mission is to motivate, educate, and inspire others to be their best.  This has been my mission since I was a child.  I have not always been aware of it, in fact, I was not completely aware of it until my early 30’s.  Even since I have detected my mission, I have had different jobs, roles, and goals.   

As a child, my teachers called me a natural “leader.”  It was a long time before I would understand what that really meant.  At the time, I thought it meant I was going to be a teacher when I grew up because I was often asked to tutor other children.  My attitude and ability to explain things clearly were often called upon to help motivate my fellow classmates.  Teachers found that I could get their students to do what they could not.  Some of my teachers thought it was because I was able to speak to these students on “their level,” but they soon found out that this talent seemed to be unique to me.  I just thought I was well-liked and blessed with being a little smarter than my peers.  In fact, I was already starting to fulfill my purpose in life and just didn’t know it. I have been through many jobs and changes during my career, but the happiest moments in my life have occurred while teaching in some way.

If I had been aware of my purpose earlier in life, there are many paths I would have been spared.  I won’t bore you with the details; let’s just say I’ve taken a few wrong turns.  A mission statement would have prevented that, so the earlier in life you do this the better off you will be, but it’s never too late.  Many young self-made millionaires credit their early financial success to a personal mission statement.

To get started with crafting your personal mission statement, take the time to review your answers to the questions in my previous post, How to Decide What to Do with the Rest of Your Life.  Here are those questions again in brief:

  1. When you were a child, how did you answer when anyone asked you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
  2. What special skills or talents do you have?
  3. There was a time, it could have been a long time ago, or recently, when you did something that made you feel like you were on top of the world.  What was it?  What were you doing?
  4. What do you like to do?  What do you do in your spare time?  What do you choose to read about?  What are your hobbies?
  5. There is something that you do that, when you’re doing it, you completely lose track of time.  Hours feel like minutes.  What is it?  What are you doing? 
  6. What do you have a passion for?
  7. How much money do you need/want to make?
  8. What does the market need right now?
  9. What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

Answering these questions should divulge the purpose within you that’s trying to manifest.  You’ll see a theme developing; you’ll feel compelled or driven by a certain idea or set of actions.  One thing’s for sure, when you’ve hit on it, you will know it.  The thought of accomplishing it will resonate with your core and give you energy you quite possibly never knew you had.

The next step is to create a statement that includes a measure and a method.  How will you know when you’ve accomplished your mission?  How will you know you’re on the right path?  How will go about fulfilling it?  What result will others see in you?  What results will you see in others?  Below are some examples to ponder.

Examples of Personal Mission Statements

  • To motivate, education, and inspire others to be their best through my writing and speaking.
  • To raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted children and grand children by listening to their needs and teaching them to be self-sufficient.
  • Bring the level of customer service in my company to an all-time high and keep it going so that the company grows by at least 10 percent annually.
  • Help the broke, lonely, down-trodden, desperate people of this world see that there is hope.  To help them get on their feet and live respectable lives.
  • Lead my community in becoming a better place for its citizens.  To have better schools, better homes, better lives and brighter futures.  To bring in companies that can provide jobs and increase the standard of living for all families.
  • Use my talents and skills to help others live healthier lives.
  • Help teenagers believe in themselves and help them develop their God-given talents.
  • Volunteer my time, talents, and resources to provide development opportunities for disadvantaged children.
  • Accomplish excellence in whatever endeavor I choose for my life.
  • To use my education and experience to motivate others to want better oral hygiene for themselves and their families. 
  • To make a difference in my community by selectively giving some of my earnings to those in need.
  • To achieve what matters most.  To help others do the same.

Your mission statement may change slightly over time and that’s okay.  You may need to modify it based on new levels of awareness and education.  Remember that the only constant in life is change.  Things change, people change, circumstances change.  It’s all good. Stephen Covey says, “The key to the ability to change, is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about, and what you value.”   Allow yourself the flexibility to grow your mission statement as you grow, refining it as necessary.  But remember,

“If you’re not following your heart, you’re living someone else’s dream.” –Lyn Christian

Your Assignment

Write your personal mission statement and read it to someone with whom you feel comfortable.  Are you ready to share it with the world?

Posted under Leadership, Motivation

How to Motivate Yourself into Action

Have you ever spent time sitting around thinking, “I really need to get up and clean the house,” or, “I really ought to start on that big project,” or maybe, “I really need to write that proposal,” with that thought only to be followed by one like this, “But I’m just not motivated right now.  I need some inspiration.  I just don’t have the energy.  I’m too tired.  I’m worn out from all my other work.”

I’ve been there, dozens of times, and I think we all have been.  While few people have a natural “Do it now” personality, most of us have learned to value that philosophy and have adopted it as an ideal.  I certainly have days where “Do it now” runs constantly through my mind and I accomplish a lot.  So what’s the difference between a day when you’re feeling on top of the world and a day when you’d rather just stay in bed?  More importantly, how do we motivate ourselves into action?

Try this:  Whatever it is that you are trying to do, just do a little bit of it.  For example, if you need to clean the house, decide that you’re just going to run the vacuum for now.  If you need to write a big proposal, resolve just to write out your thoughts about it for now – you’ll do the rest later.  If you have a large project to start, just start the first step, which may be to create a plan of attack.  Any action you perform creates a feeling of being in control and motivates you to do more.  In addition, that feeling of being in control of your actions is very energizing.  Before long, you will be well on your way to finishing the project, whatever that may be.

In his book, 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself, Steve Chandler says, “How you act is who you become.”  I’ve talked about this a lot in my Dental Practice Management seminars, but Chandler cites a reference that most of us can relate to from memory – Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy:

“Spock had a big, big effect on me.  I am so much more Spock-like today than when I first played the part in 1965 that you wouldn’t recognize me.  I’m not talking about appearance, but thought processes.  Doing that character, I learned so much about rational logical thought that it reshaped my life.”

While most of us don’t have a need to create a character as deeply as Nimoy’s Spock, we can use this analogy to realize that just “acting the part” for a while can be very motivating.  Try this way of thinking: “I wonder if Martha Stewart would stop cleaning after just running the vacuum.”  “This project is so huge it’s overwhelming; I wonder how Donald Trump would handle it.”  Get the picture?  Your energy and enthusiasm will increase as you emulate the character you most admire.

Finally, if you’re just in a lazy sort of mood for no reason but want to get out of it, get moving.  Action begets action. Take a walk, do some serious stretching, carry the laundry to the laundry room, anything, to get yourself moving.  The more you do, the better you will feel about yourself.  Accomplishing some small tasks may be just what you need to get your self-esteem going again and back on track.

Today’s Assignment

Start keeping a list of things that motivate you into action.  By doing this, you won’t have to wait for hours while you figure out how to get yourself going – you’ll have a number of ideas that you know have worked for you before.  Don’t be surprised if some of your items are very simple.  One of my favorite – and simplest - motivators is feeding the birds.  I don’t know what it is – maybe it’s getting outdoors for a few minutes – but there’s something about it that boosts my energy level.

Thanks for reading today.  I’d love to hear what motivates you into action.

Related Products:

Wake Up and Create the Life You Want

100 Ways to Motivate Yourself

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Posted under Education, Inspiration, Leadership, Motivation

Write It All Down


The longer I live the more I appreciate the basics of life:  a good, clean home; a stable job and husband; a reliable car; and systems that work.

 

I used to spend thousands of dollars per year investing in the latest self-help book.  And don’t get me wrong, those authors have made me the person I am today and I am eternally grateful.

 

But one system I’ve been using for almost two years now is that every month, I allow myself one new book, but also review one “old” one.  Lately I’ve struggled with finding anything new and have mostly been reviewing my favorites.

 

This week, the book that is up for review is Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anna Klauser.  I’ve blogged about Ms. Klauser’s wonderful book before in Creatively Combine Your Tasks, and 18 Reasons to Love Lists.  But today I want to share a new reason to love this book.

 

I’ve been inundated with tasks and projects lately.  My regular readers know that my husband moved into a new dental office one month ago.  We really believed we’d be all moved in in about a week.  Fools!  Oh, well.  Things are going well, and we’re having the time of our lives doing all of it – it really is a dream come true for both of us.  But at the end of the day, I am much more tired than usual.  Okay, enough of trying to rally up a pity party from my online friends, I’ll get to my point now.

 

I love using Outlook to organize all my lists.  I adore Excel for strategic planning, but there is something about putting real pen to real paper that just gets things done.  I love it.  I love the act of making a list.  I love the feeling of planning a project out loud, and on paper – writing it out.

 

As I’ve read this book many times over now, I have several pages ear-marked.  As I write this post, the book falls open to the first page of Chapter 11, Becoming Committed

 

I’ve made a note at the top of the page that reads, “This is my favorite page in the whole book.”  So I’m going to share it with you now:

 

In an oft-quoted passage from The Scottish Himalayan Expedition, W.H. Murray speaks to the significance of commitment.  Once you walk forward in faith and a conscious effort, all manner of support and tangible backing will be available to you.

 

Until one is committed, there is hesitance . . . The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too.  All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.  A whole stream of events raising in one’s favor . . . unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

 

It is up to you to trust the possibility enough to be willing to put your dream in writing, and to take the first step, even with no evidence that it will actually happen.

 

What I’ve learned over the past several weeks is that Providence doesn’t just come for big dreams, He will come for your overwhelming projects and to-do items as well.  I’ve relied more heavily on my old-fashioned Franklin planner and it’s the only way I’ve accomplished what I have while basically trying to work 2 jobs and keep the house in order.  My advice to anyone gearing up to go through a move or any other type of major project is write it down, write it down, write it down.

 

Henriette shares more stories of her own and discusses the psychology behind why writing things down works.  This book is so fundamentally powerful I believe everyone should own a copy.

 

In the meantime, here are a couple of tools to help you get on the path to lasting peace and happiness:

 

Wake Up and Create the Life You Want:  A Guide to Self-Empowerment

 

Eliminate Clutter and Organize Your Life E-book

 

Until next time,

Live joyfully!

You can subscribe to this blog here.

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Relaxed Productivity


How to Get It All Done in an Easy and Relaxed Manner

 

How do you go about your days?  Do you feel hurried and pressured, or do you have a relaxed sense of control over your work?  Do you feel guilty when you take time off because there’s so much work to do?  Do you worry about the task you’re accomplishing at the moment because you’re afraid you should be doing something else more important?

 

There are three basic tenets of good task management:  Planning, list keeping, and action.  Leave any one of these out and you’ll be crying the “I’ve got too much to do in too little time” blues.  I’ve addressed these three concepts separately many times on this blog, but today I’d like to bring them all together to really illustrate their power, and the power behind a system.

 

It’s really not that difficult.  Anyone could easily figure out that a good plan with no action is useless, and nearly everyone I know has learned the hard lesson of performing a bunch of tasks without a plan only to have to start all over on the project due to a lack of planning. 

 

The list is something that tends to elude most people.  Why do so many people resist lists?  I don’t get it.  Sure, they might keep a shopping list or a values list, or even a projects list here and there, but few people I know keep a list of everything they need to do within a certain time frame, or even everything they need to do to complete a project.  Most lists I see when working with clients are completely filled with general ideas and vague concepts.  Don’t get me wrong here, any list is better than no list, but a detailed list filled with actionable items, things you can actually do, is always the most powerful. 

 

Where does such a list come from?  In his book, Getting Things Done, David Allen says:

 

“After years of working with thousands of professionals down in the trenches, I can safely say that virtually all of us could be doing more planning, more informally and more often, about our projects and our lives.  And if we did, it would relieve a lot of pressure on our psyches and produce an enormous amount of creative output with minimal effort.”

 

When I read that, I said, “Amen!”  I’ve been preaching from that belief for years, but have never put it quite so eloquently.  Thank you, David.

 

A good list comes from a good plan.  Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes that I and other time management instructors have made is to give this process the term “Strategic Planning.”  See, for those of us who are the Type A, go-get-‘em kind, the idea of a war-like attack on projects, goals, and desired outcomes feels great.  But most of the world is Type B – laid back, and anti-war on all fronts.  So most of the world sees an article like “Strategic Planning” and thinks, “that’s not for me – I’m not like that.”

 

In reality, planning is nothing more than thinking about what you’re going to do before you do it so that you have a better shot of getting it done right the first time.  Most people, no matter what their personality type is, would like to accomplish that.  It doesn’t take as much time as you think – sometimes as little as 10 seconds.  So why don’t more people do that type of thinking more often?

 

I’ve learned that most people don’t want to be in control of their lives.  Organized Christianity teaches people that “God is in control.”  Well, ultimately yes.  But if God wanted day-to-day, direct decision-making control over our lives, why did He give us free will?  Or a brain for that matter?  Is it not your choice of control over your life that either honors or dishonors God?

 

Most people believe that control is a bad thing due to some experience with a “control freak” who they witnessed go berserk when the McDonald’s drive-thru messed up their order. We’ve all had someone in our lives at some time or another who was so adamant about being “in control” that they drove everyone around them nuts.

 

True control is being able to handle whatever is thrown at you in the way that you want to handle it, while not throwing you too far from your intended path.

 

I remember learning about Type A and Type B personalities in Psychology 101.  The instructor gave us the assignment of evaluating ourselves and announcing in the next class which type we were.  When my turn came, I proudly stood and announced myself as “a perfectly controlled Type A.”  To which my teacher replied, “Only a true Type A would describe herself as ‘perfect.’”

 

What I was trying to say, and what I have been trying to achieve and maintain for most of my life, is a balance between my naturally strong drive for success and the all-too-typical “whatever” attitude.  I don’t want to be either one of those people who gets to the end of their life and thinks, “I wish I’d tried a little harder,” or, “I wish I’d enjoyed life more.”  I simply want to be proud of my accomplishments and able to enjoy them at the same time.  So far, the method I’ve found that helps me, or maybe even makes me, strike that balance, is the Strategic Plan.

 

From that well-thought-out strategic plan, you create your lists of actionable items.  I keep many lists and work from most of them throughout the day.  Sometimes I have a list of things that simply have to be done.  I set aside time to plow through those.  Planning my day, week, and month, helps me realize when I’m trying to do too much, and helps me focus on what is really important to me.  When I look at the time required to complete a certain project and realize it’s not going to fit within the necessary time frame, I’ve discovered it in time to have the project, or certain aspects of it, assigned to someone else.

 

My daily list has only the things I should be able to accomplish in that day.  I have a “must do” list, and a separate “if I get time today” list.  I can relax even on the must-do’s because it’s all under control.  Everything that really need to be done will be, and I’ll like have time to do more, but if something comes up I can handle it.  Most importantly, I’m not just sitting around waiting for something to happen; I’m moving forward in my life the way I intend.  And I’m doing the stuff I planned to do, not whatever someone handed to me when I walked in the door.  I am in control.  I make my own decisions, and that is very freeing.  No one can argue with me as to whether or not I’m doing the right thing, because I have my plan.  It’s well-thought-out, prioritized, and moving me closer to my ultimate goals.  If it is part of my job to do the things someone else determines for me, that’s okay, too, because that’s in my plan.  That sense of control helps me relax and take everything in stride.

 

I like to use this analogy for balanced project planning.  Let’s say that you suddenly got a strong craving for chocolate chip cookies.  What would you have to do?  You would have to find a recipe, check your pantry for the ingredients, possibly make a trip to the store, assemble the ingredients in the proper order, prepare them properly, and then what?  You’d enjoy eating them, right?  You wouldn’t say, but I worked so hard at creating them – let’s just leave them on the table and look at them.  Or, well, if we’re just going to eat them anyway, why bother making them in the first place?  Or, and this is my biggest pet peeve, “you know you can buy them already made at the grocery store, don’t you?”

 

To me, life is worth getting in there, getting your hands dirty, and making things from scratch.  Sure there are plenty of ways to get by, but the rewards are never as delicious as the real deal.  Plus, the harder you work for it, the better your recipe, the more you enjoy it in the end.

 

Now, go bake some awesome chocolate chip cookies.

 

Here are a couple of tools to help you get on the path to relaxed productivity:

 

Wake Up and Create the Life You Want:  A Guide to Self-Empowerment

 

Eliminate Clutter and Organize Your Life E-book

 

Until next time,

Live joyfully!

You can subscribe to this blog here.

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Posted under Education, Leadership, Motivation, Success

Getting from 8 AM to 5 PM


The theme of my motivational and consulting services is always how to get from where you are to where you want to be.  One of the hardest subjects for my students is often determining just exactly what it is they want.

 

But even when I have a client who has clearly identified his or her desire, they often have trouble bringing that down to a practical, action-based, get-results formula.  It’s like saying, “Yes, I know I’m here, and I know I want to get over there, but my days are already obligated to all of these tasks that are focused here, where I currently am, and have to be.” 

 

For example, a public school teacher wants to retire early and start her own business as a garden designer.  What do you do when where you are and where you want to be seem so far apart, and you feel stuck in your current situation?  (By “stuck” I mean that this teacher has only 2 years until she can retire with full benefits.  To quit her job now would mean losing significant benefits.  Plus, the income she will have from retirement will help her start her new business venture.)

 

What I advise in this situation is to prepare a personal strategic plan, with lots of fun thrown into the mix of your current life for the next two years.  In this particular situation, the teacher can read everything she can get her hands on about gardening and the business of gardening.  There are classes she can take where she can meet people of a like mind.  She could visit beautiful and renowned gardens locally and abroad to get ideas.  She might even meet a potential business partner, or clients, along the way!

 

The important part is to keep yourself motivated and inspired while you’re passing the time.  A good strategic plan will help with this.  I would even go as far as to decide how much money I’m going to need and start saving that amount, and possibly even start a greenhouse, if my intent were to sell plants.

 

The bottom line for any plan is to start doing something today that will get you started on your desired path.  Sometime today between 8 AM and 5 PM do something from the perspective of your future self.  Before long, the situation you once felt “stuck” in will seem more like a time for preparation; a time for revving up. 

 

If you’d like some help with your personal strategic planning, feel free to e-mail me.  Sometimes it just takes another point of view to get the ball rolling.

 

In the meantime, here are a couple of tools to help you create the life of your dreams:

 

Wake Up and Create the Life You Want:  A Guide to Self-Empowerment

 

Eliminate Clutter and Organize Your Life E-book

 

Until next time,

Live joyfully!

You can subscribe to this blog here.

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Posted under Inspiration, Motivation, Success

Maximize Your Personal Productivity


In 1897, an Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto observed a pattern in the distribution of wealth among citizens no matter the country or time period concerned.  He found that the distribution was extremely skewed toward one end:  A small minority of earners always accounted for a large majority of the total wealth.  Pareto’s theory was tested, forgotten, revived, proven, and eventually adopted in the United States and Europe during the 1960’s as the “80/20 rule.”

 

The 80/20 principle has been applied to many disciplines and basically states this:  80 percent of results come from 20 percent of effort.  While the formula is not 100 percent accurate, it is amazingly close and I have read many examples where it was dead on.  In dentistry, I often talk about “Top 20 patients.”  This refers to that 20 percent or so of patients who are responsible for approximately 80 percent of the practice’s revenue for a given year.   Any business can apply this principle to just about any area of that business.  Eighty percent of the work is completed by twenty percent of the workers; eighty percent of your inventory comes from twenty percent of your suppliers; etc.

 

As an average individual, 80% of your productivity, comes from 20% of your time.  Take a minute to think about that.  The average worker, 80% of us, spends 8 hours per day on the job, but less than two hours of that is productive time!   You’d be surprised at how many small business owners I share that statistic with and get the response, “Tell me something I don’t know!” 

 

So how can you become one of the 20% of individuals who accounts for 80% of all success?  Identify what you do best, what makes you the most productive, and what provides the greatest value to you and/or your organization.  What are those tasks?  Now identify the tasks you do that could be performed, probably even better, by someone else.  Are there some things that could be eliminated completely?

 

I find that a lot of companies have employees doing things just because “we’ve always done it that way.”  We maintain the status quo when we could be setting records because our people are spinning their wheels in low-productive, time-consuming, practically worthless tasks.  When we allow people to focus on their top 20 contributions, their creativity is spurred and we start innovating in our industry.  A company is only as strong as it’s people.  This is true whether you are a small business owner working alone, or a Fortune 500 company.

 

I’ll be teaching this principle and my favorite other time management techniques in Cynthiana, Kentucky on Thursday, May 22, 2008.  It’s a “Lunch ‘n Learn” session through Maysville Community and Technical College.  Contact and registration: 

Workforce Development Liaison, Lorrina Blevins, 606-759-7141 ext. 66194

 

In the meantime, here are a couple of tools to help you get on the path to maximum personal productivity:

 

Wake Up and Create the Life You Want:  A Guide to Self-Empowerment

 

Eliminate Clutter and Organize Your Life E-book

 

Until next time,

Live joyfully!

You can subscribe to this blog here.

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Posted under Motivation, Success

TCB


Whew – what a weekend!  I’ll give you an update in a few minutes, but first, I’m taking care of business.  (That’s on old one, huh?)

 

This Saturday, May 10, 2008, I will be hosting the Carnival of Healing.  If you’ve written a post or an article about holistic health, wellness, spirituality, or self empowerment, and you’re willing to share it, please use the Carnival Submission Form and I’ll check it out.  I include everything that’s positive and helpful.  The current carnival, Facing Adversity with Strength, is at A-Ha! – Daily Blog for A-Ha! TV.com; check it out for some great articles – you’ll be glad you did!

 

As for my weekend experience at SOBCon08, what can I say except that it was a fantastic weekend!  I could inundate you with links to people I met and now absolutely love, but I’ve decided to introduce you to them in more palatable spurts instead. 

 

The highlight for me was getting to finally meet Scot Herrick in person.  Isn’t it wonderful when you meet someone you’ve been corresponding with for a while and discover that they are exactly as you imagined them?  Sincere, honest, and walking his talk – that’s Scot.  If you work in a “cube,” (and if you’re not sure, you don’t), check out Scot’s Cube Rules.

 

I met lots of new people, too.  My table partner was a gentleman by the name of Derek Semmler.  Derek is a sweet, devoted family man, who has a sincere desire to help others:    From helping people get out of debt and achieve financial freedom, to parenting solutions for dads, to helping people make money with their blog, links to all of  Derek’s websites can be found at RedStapleMedia.com

 

Okay, I don’t want to sound like a sales pitch, but trust me, these people are worth your time. 

 

As for what I personally learned:  Enough to start making serious changes to this site, changes you’re going to love!  So stay tuned . . .   (Over 650 of you are regularly tuning in every day – thank you – I deeply appreciate you!)

 

Join me at my Personal Development Retreat on May 30.

 

Get control of your stuff and your life with:

 

Wake Up and Create the Life You Want:  A Guide to Self-Empowerment

 

Eliminate Clutter and Organize Your Life E-book

 

Until next time,

Live joyfully!

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Posted under Education, Inspiration, Law of Attraction, Leadership, Motivation, Success

How to Develop a Clear Sense of Direction


“A person with a clear purpose will make progress on even the roughest road.  A person with no purpose will make no progress on even the smoothest road.”

–Thomas Carlyle

 

One of the biggest obstacles to creating the life of your dreams is having no sense of purpose.  It’s great to have big dreams, but focus is the modus operandi that will bring them to you.  Let me explain.

 

I’m sure by now we’ve all heard, “You become what you think about most of the time.”  The two factors that determine what happens to you in life are what you think about and how you feel as you’re thinking about it.

 

For example, you’ll often hear someone describe a wealthy person this way:  “He loves money; always chasing the almighty dollar.  Boy, that’s not how I would want to live my life.”  In reality, the person speaking probably does not know the person they’re speaking of at all; however, they’re probably right!  Because in order to make money, you have to focus on it, and love whatever it is you’re doing that’s bringing it to you, and you have to feel good about the money you’re bringing in and accumulating. 

 

Money is always the easiest example to use in this scenario because it’s something nearly everyone can relate to, but any goal is the same way, whether it’s health, relationships, or a simple habit like no longer biting your nails.  Successful people spend the majority of their time thinking about their goals, taking inspired action, and feeling good about it while they’re doing it.  As a result, their goals are consistently moving toward them and they are moving toward their goals. 

 

Now, it’s important here to distinguish what not to do, because I think a lot of people miss this.  To be in the habit of thinking mostly about your goals and what you want to create in your life, means you can’t be chit-chatting with your co-workers about your weekend.  Oh, it’s fine to ask, “Did you have a good weekend?  Great!  So did I!”  But don’t ask that person you know is going to tell you all of the latest problems with her teenage son!  What do you do if you accidentally “step in it?”  I’ve done that before and here is what I learned to do. 

 

“Did you have a good weekend?”

 

“Oh, no.  It was horrible.  First my son and my husband got into it.  I even had to call the—“

 

“Great!  So did I!  Well, off to work!”

 

Developing the discipline to focus on what is important to you will get easier as you practice it more.  Here are 7 ways to get you on that path to a crystal clear sense of direction.

 

  1. Decide what you want in each area of your life – financial, physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and relational.  This process can take a while, and will develop over time.  That’s okay, just start somewhere. 
  2. Write your goals down on paper.  Be as specific as you can with each one.  As you begin to focus on this list daily, you will further define each goal.  But the more specific you can be from the beginning, the closer you are to achieving it.  However, don’t worry about the non-specific desires you have.  Just write them down with the knowledge that you will work on the details later.  Life is more fun with a list of goals to go for.
  3. Set a reasonable deadline for each goal.  The reason this step is important is that on bigger goals, you’ll have to break them down.  A strategic plan is critical to the thought-word-action creative process.  Things will fall into place more easily for you if you give the universe all the details you can. 
  4. Create your strategic plan.  Sure, there are some things you just don’t know yet, so start with the things you do know.  I use Microsoft Excel for this process.  As the project builds, I can add rows and columns as necessary.
  5. Build your plan of action by prioritizing and putting a chronological order to your strategic plan.  Not sure where to start or about a certain step in the process?  Listen to your intuitive guidance.  Take an hour of solitude.  The answer will come to you.
  6. Take action on your plan immediately.  Don’t make excuses; do something now to get the ball rolling.  Action is God creating through you.  Thoughts and words alone will not bring you the success you’re seeking.  Take the action you’re inspired to, as soon as you’re inspired to do it, making sure you’re happy as you do it, and everything will fall into place in a way that seems almost effortless to you.  Others will say, “Wow.  You must really love what you’re doing!”
  7. Maintain your focus by doing something every day that moves you a little closer to your most important goal.  Even if it’s just a five minute task, do it.  If a step is going to take a chunk of your time, figure out when you can work it into your schedule and commit to it.

 

Every day, think about your goal as often as possible.  Post it on a wall, make it your screen saver, or just keep a card with your goal written on it in your wallet or purse.  Take 15 minutes every day to brainstorm (with your spiritual guides) ways to accomplish your goals.  Be persistent.  Before long, you’ll notice your energy and creativity expanding in all directions and on many subjects.  Your potential will feel as if it has finally been released, and rightfully so, because it has!

 

If you’d like to take some time in a beautiful, quiet setting, to think about your future, and you’d like to have a personal coach to walk you through the creative process, sign up for my Conscious Creation/Success Retreat

 

In the meantime, here are a couple of tools to help you get on the path to a clearer sense of direction:

 

Wake Up and Create the Life You Want:  A Guide to Self-Empowerment

 

Eliminate Clutter and Organize Your Life E-book

 

Until next time,

Live joyfully!

You can subscribe to this blog here.

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Posted under Inspiration, Law of Attraction, Leadership, Motivation, Success

To the Woman Who Needs a Break


You’ve got it all down pat; the goals, the plan, the schedule, the self-improvement, the professional development, and the help you need to pull it all off, (nannies, personal chefs, personal shoppers, etc).  But have you remembered to make room for yourself?  Time to breathe?

 

“After I get this done, I’ll take a break.”  Oh, but something new comes up.

 

“If I can just get through tomorrow, I’ll be free and clear for some time off.”  But a new prospect is ready to negotiate.

 

“I’m going to have fun at this business conference.”  But it ends up being more beneficial, and intense, than you thought.  You come home enthusiastic, but too tired to implement anything.  By the time you’ve rested, you’ve lost that enthusiasm.

 

You need to take regular, planned, breaks from your work, your family, your goals, and most likely, your life as you’ve created it.  Proper rest and relaxation are as essential to your overall well-being as a good strategic plan.  Just as you get more done with a good plan, you will also accomplish more by taking time off. 

 

The more rested you are, the brighter, sharper, more alert, and more productive you will be at your work and in every other area of your life. Isn’t your mission worth your highest level of productivity? 

 

Because my office is in my home, I used to feel guilty about just about everything I did.  When I was cleaning the house, I felt guilty because I wasn’t “working,” and when I was working, it would bother me to see something that needed to be cleaned.  Vicious cycle!

 

I finally learned that the way I felt – the guilt - was keeping me from realizing my true potential in any of these areas.  If your mind is on something else, you’re not giving what you’re currently doing your full attention, and attention, especially focused attention, is vital to success.

 

My challenge to you for this weekend is to give yourself one entire day off.  Sit for awhile and do nothing.  Go for a long walk.  Don’t even do house chores, and I strongly recommend no television.  Do something your spirit has been longing for you to do.  Take her for a drive in the country.  And before you make that trip to the mall, think about your last trip to the mall.  Did it energize you?  Or did it leave you feeling even more tired from all the hustle and bustle?  (I’m not judging either way – I want you to think about it and make that decision for yourself.  We all have different experiences, perspectives, and attitudes.)

 

Do something different. Start a garden.  (Okay – you can watch HGTV to get yourself motivated to start a garden.)  It’s okay to “work” if it’s a sincere hobby.  I say that because I know a lot of people might read “start a garden,” and rightfully think, “that’s a lot of work.”  I know it is.  But for me, it’s joyous work.  More like meditation really.  To my grandmother, the garden was work, especially at the level she did it.  I do about one-tenth of the amount she did.  So it’s all in how you go about it.  To some, doing the laundry might be relaxing.  If it makes you feel better to clean out and organize your house, go for it.  The idea is to take a break from your normal routine and chores.

 

Be careful, though, not to justify a chore.  Listen to your inner guidance.  If you sense a whisper saying, “clean out the litter box, then take the rest of the afternoon off,” do that.  If you feel a soft voice that seems to say, “go for a drive and get an ice cream cone,” do that.  But don’t let your rational mind say, “Clear your Outlook tasks, and then if there’s time, you can take a break.”  Get it?  Good. Now, go do it.

 

If you want to get real results and learn the secrets to manifesting your heart’s desires, take a break at my Conscious Creation Retreat.  You’ll get the rest and motivation you need to reinvent yourself, and your life.

 

In the meantime, here are a couple more tools to inspire you to take that much needed, much deserved break:

 

Wake Up and Create the Life You Want:  A Guide to Self-Empowerment

 

Eliminate Clutter and Organize Your Life E-book

 

Until next time,

Live joyfully!

You can subscribe to this blog here.

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Posted under Inspiration, Motivation, Success

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