Lacking Motivation? 4 Tips to Pull You Out of the Rut

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file9311239553069Most of us are susceptible to the temptations that bog down our momentum when it comes to starting or growing a new business.

Poor time management skills, procrastination, and self-doubt creep all around us. Before you know it, you’re paralyzed, de-motivated, and your great plans for a creative project or a new business endeavor are dead in the water.

Do you look around and mutter, “I should be doing that” or “I need to get going with my next project”?

Here are some practical tips to get you moving again so you can get back to productivity and enjoy some progress:

1. Discover (or re-discover) your passion.

If you aren’t usually living/working/playing in environments in which you love, you’ll quickly become bored and apathetic. Doing what makes you feel alive is crucial to productivity.

Get started ===>> Download my free ebook, 5 Easy Steps to Discover the Home-based Business That’s Perfect for You, for help.

2. Learn something new.

Read a book, take an online course, or attend a class at your community college. Regardless of what you learn, I promise it will spark something inside of you.

Get started ===>> Join Kelly McCausey for any of her amazing online courses, including the Stretch Yourself Challenge, which begins May 1. (I just completed her Power of a Focused Business course and I learned so much. I am now going to be working with her as a blogging intern during the next three months—which brings me to #3.)

3. Find a mentor and/or mentoring group.

I can’t tell you how much I’ve benefited from the support of online friends who have the same goals as I do. Whether it’s been maintaining a workout routine or learning about blogging best practices, my online groups have motivated me and propelled me forward. In fact, I was able to apply for the upcoming internship with Kelly after having participated in a group coaching opportunity this spring.

Whether you want to move ahead with a hobby, a business, or a new skill set, find someone who is a few steps ahead of you and soak up everything you can from that person. Barter with them: trade their mentoring for your skills.

Get started===>>I wholeheartedly recommend the Solo Masterminds group. Lots of smart business women hang out there. It’s a terrific place for asking questions, getting guidance, and making valuable connections.

4. Make sure your spiritual house is in order.

I know that God takes us all through various seasons for only his reasons. Our family has been on a “wilderness wandering” for about three years now. Our beloved church of ten years closed in 2010, and the church we attended since then was never a good fit. Because of scheduling conflicts, I had dropped out of my women’s Bible study, and my own personal study and prayer time had become quite neglected.

At the beginning of 2013, we finally sought out a new church and have been attending there since the first of the year. Being back in a truly spiritually-edifying environment weekly has drastically improved all facets of our family life—inlcuding my renewed energy around business and creative projects.

This point is not something mechanical or something that I can explain from a technical perspective. It’s faith, of course, but, I believe it’s absolutely vital to operating a successful business.

Get started ===>> Make sure you’re worshiping weekly in a biblically-sound, gospel-centered church. Pursue God daily with personal Bible study and prayer.

What gets you moving again when you’re in a rut?

Stocking Up on School Supplies for You

I love this time of year for many reasons, not the least of which is back to school shopping.

And I don’t mean for my kids, necessarily. I mean for me.

Today I went to Dollar Tree and picked up a few items that I know are on the shelves there this time of year.

For only $1, I picked up a pocket day planner calendar. It runs from July 2011-December 2012. I love the format and size. It’s so simple yet perfect for me to tote between work and home. The same thing at Staples is selling for at least $10.

I also found a large desktop battery-powered calculator. The buttons are big and the display is big. It’s not scientific; it’s just super-simple. I love it. I usually use my calculator on my iPhone or the computer, but this is really handy to pull out for quick access.

I picked up a package of knock-off Sharpies (multi-colored) and dry erase pens. Score!

Now is the best time to get super deals on pencil boxes, glue sticks, tape, and notebooks. I try to stock up on these items, too, for us to use all year long.

What do you love most about back to school shopping?

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Photo credit: cohdra from morguefile.com

 

Feeling Overwhelmed? and How to Make $1000 a Month Online

I wanted to pass along two really interesting links for you, especially as we continue to explore issues of time management here.

Overcoming Overwhelm

Michael Hyatt posted a helpful list about how he has overcome feeling overwhelmed. I liked his list and I believe he has some positive things to say.

His major take-away, though?

Delegate and out-source those tasks that are not productive for you.

I get that. I really do. I can see the wisdom in hiring a part-time maid/nanny/cook to take care of my kids, dust and vacuum, keep the laundry moving, grocery shop, and prepare meals (think I could get all that accomplished with ONLY a part-timer? Ha!) while I write and blog on an almost full-time basis.

My biggie question, though, is how do you outsource when you have no way to pay for it? It doesn’t seem wise to go into debt to pursue this business model.

What do you think? How helpful is Michael’s advice for the struggling new business owner who is doing it all because there’s no other option at the moment?

Read the entire post here.

(Thanks, Jennifer Cortez, for calling this post to my attention.)

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How to Make $1000 a Month Online

If you’d like to make at least $1000 per month with your blog online, you should check out this upcoming webinar from Authority Blogger. These types of webinars are every where, but the pitch for this one impressed me, and I signed up. Why? Because the organizers tell you up front that not everyone will become a millionaire online:

Contrary to popular belief, not everybody can make millions of dollars per year while working in their underwear on the computer. It’s just not realistic.

BUT, they say they do believe that everyone is capable of making a nice supplemental income (at least $1000 per month) with their blogs. They say this webinar will give 5 different ways to do just that.

I like that honesty. That’s really my approach, too. I DO believe that most anyone can make at least a nice part-time income online.

So, I want to learn more.

You may want to, as well.

Register here.

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What Is Robbing Your Time?

Last week, I wrote about the commodity of time in our lives. Mainly, I’m interested to explore this further because I live in the middle of a great paradox.

Most of the time, I’m running around, doing a million things and getting crazy amounts of things accomplished: running a home, working a part-time job, shopping, cooking meals, washing laundry, keeping gas in the car, getting to doctor appointments, haircuts, soccer practice, Girl Scout events, and church every week.

Yea. The family runs. Sometimes smoothly. Sometimes bumpy. But we—for the most part—stay on track.

But then I’m confronted with all the things that are not done: bulging closets that need to be organized, creative writing projects, unfinished baby scrapbooks, date nights, cleaning (ahem!) the house. Blogging and my online business.

Some of this quandary comes because I’m a Type 1 woman. I’m full of ideas and plans and see the myriad possibilities in everything. I really don’t think linearly very much; I’m a much more global person, which can be exhilarating and immobilizing at the same time.

Another thing that comes into play is my creative bent and my introvertedness. I really need the benefit of quiet and solitude. I need to disengage from structure often to keep my sanity. I have to be alone with my thoughts—stay inside my head for awhile—until I can reemerge energized and ready to tackle another project or do that routine chore (that has the tendency to bore me to tears).

So, to some, I know I look like I am “wasting time” or misusing the time I’ve been given. I struggle with this judgement on myself, as well.

One of my favorite websites is Grace Gems that features writings from the Puritans. I love to read these nuggets from hundreds of years ago. There’s something about the way they use language that sharpens me and always causes me to think of life and faith in a new light.

What do you think of this one, in light of modern-day time management? If you are juggling a million things and can’t seem to get your time to dovetail properly with your priorities, what can you learn here?

12 Time-wasting Thieves!


by Richard Baxter

… making the best use of the time. (Colossians 4:5, ESV)

… so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:10, ESV)

Thief 1. One of the greatest time-wasting sins, consists of idleness or sloth.

Thief 2. The next thief or time-waster, is excess of sleep.

Thief 3. Another time-waster, is an inordinate adorning of the body.

Thief 4. Another time-wasting thief, is unnecessary pomp and extravagance in household furniture and domestic entertainments.

Thief 5. Another time-wasting sin, is needless feastings, gluttony, and drinking.

Thief 6. Another time-waster, is idle talk.

Thief 7. Another thief which would steal your time, is vain and sinful company.

Thief 8. Another notorious time-wasting thief, is needless, inordinate sports and games–which are masked with the deceitful title of recreations.

Thief 9. Another time-wasting thief, is excess of worldly cares and business.

Thief 10. Another time-waster, is vain, ungoverned and sinful thoughts.

Thief 11. Another dangerous time-wasting sin, is the reading of worthless books, plays, romances, and novels. And also unprofitable studies, undertaken but for pride and vain-glory, or the pleasing of a carnal or curious mind.

Thief 12. But the master-thief that robs men of their time, is an unsanctified, ungodly heart; for this loses time, whatever men are doing–because they never intend to do anything for the glory of God.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV)

As I read through Baxter’s list, I’m smacked with the truth that these “time stealers” are those pursuits we do for selfish motive and selfish gain. When we engage in behaviors or thoughts that we use to make us feel better, look better, or numb our pain, we are, in effect, stealing our time. Why? Because we are trying to control our situations apart from God. We are longing to solve our problems. We want to depend on anything except God.

Yes. I will do anything to wiggle out of my dependence on God. And in doing so, I create more hurt, more heartache, and more—wasted time.

Think about this: God created time. God offers time. When we use that which he made for us and gives to us for HIS good purposes and pleasure, won’t it be more abundant, more useful, and more effective?

Yet when we fill God’s time with our sin, it’s no wonder our schedules, priorities, events, and goals become a mangled mess, while our health and sanity dissolve into casualties of our obstinance.

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Great Ideas for Better Time Management

Wish you had more hours in the day? Want to be more productive and efficient? Looking for new ideas for time management?

I highly recommend  Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Andrews. And … this e-book is on clearance for ONLY $2 (regular price $12).

Click here to buy now.

Two dollars, people. That’s less than you’d pay for a gourmet coffee.

Amy Lynn Andrews takes you through the process of prioritizing the things that matter most in life, and then assigning time chunks to them. This book gives real-life examples and offers blank worksheets for personalization.

I bought Tell Your Time back in December, and it has been a great resource, especially for thinking through what’s really important to me and how I should spend my time in line with those goals.

Amy Lynn Andrews is releasing an updated version of the book on August 1, so you’ve got another few weeks to get the original e-book at the clearance price of ONLY $2!

Click here to visit Amy Lynn Andrews.

Once you’ve had a chance to work through the book, stop back here and let me know how it has helped you.

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Is Multi-tasking Actually Hindering Your Productivity?

Is Multitasking Actually Hindering Your Productivity?

4 Tips to Increase Productivity Stop Multitasking and Get More Done Multi-tasking

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s multi-tasking. I can drive, talk, listen, drink, eat, and chew gum. I can watch TV, blog, monitor Twitter and Facebook, and check emails. I can referee fights, cook dinner, and do laundry.

I’m really good at multi-tasking. But I’m not so sure if it’s really good for me.

In trying to squeeze more work and more activity into the same eight hours, my multi-tasking is actually creating habits that cause me to mismanage time.

Multi-tasking’s Negative Outcomes

  • Mistakes. How many times have you missed something or done something incorrectly, simply because you were too distracted with other tasks?
  • Fatigue. Dealing with constant diversion and ball-juggling makes me tired. When I’m tired, I make mistakes.
  • Creating a time-drain. More time—not less—is needed to over-correct and compensate for the detriments of multi-tasking.

I’m going to try using some tried and true time-management principles during the next few weeks, especially since I have some work deadlines and project deadlines that I’d need to complete in a timely manner.

Increasing Productivity

1. Rely on an updated daily calendar.

I have a small calendar book I carry with me and one large one for the fridge. I have invested oodles of dollars over the years on planners, systems, and the like. My small calendar cost $1 at The Dollar Tree, and I got my fridge calendar on clearance at Michael’s the week after Christmas for 50 cents. Seriously. It doesn’t matter what you spend; it matters that you use the calendar and update it daily.

2. Divide project or jobs into smaller tasks and list each task, working backwards.

First decide what the end result is, then figure out what you need to do each day (or week or hour or whatever) to reach that goal. For example, if you need to write 1000 pages in five days, then you need to write 200 pages each day.Depending on the project, you may discover items that you can delegate to others. The project planning approach gives you an idea of how much time each task requires so you know what time to estimate for completion of the project.

3. Work on one project at a time.

In the construction or creative process, your attention must be on one thing at a time. Undoubtedly, this is the hardest for me to do, but for ultimate productivity, I must find a block of time with as few interruptions as possible. This is also the time to close out my email inbox, Facebook, and Twitter.

4. Work a project from beginning to end until done.

I recently heard about a productivity study that revealed that people got more products completed when they worked each one to completion and then began the next one. Our natural inclination is to work on like items in an assembly-line fashion, doing all the same tasks together then compiling the pieces for the finished product.

But this new information says that when we complete the finished product, it helps us actually get the work done more quickly. I’ve tried this with laundry—instead of doing all the washing, all the folding, and then all the putting away in phases, I’ve washed, dried, folded, and put away one basket at a time. I did feel more productive and there’s something about the sense of accomplishment, plus I wasn’t distracted by piles of “undone” work that I couldn’t get to.

What about you? Are you a hopeless multi-tasker?

Can you stop the multi-tasking over the next few weeks and see what happens to your productivity?