October 30, 2008

5 ways to de-stress your life

off Princes Street, Edinburgh, Scotland


As we approach the end of the year, I'm noticing more and more people looking a little... let's say frazzled, shall we?!

So I decided to give you some ideas to de-stress, mostly frugal!

1. Exercise
You can do anything from walking or running, to working out at the gym. From personal experience, I can tell you that a boxing class is a great stress reliever!

2. Get enough sleep
Research shows that most people need between 7 and 8 hours' sleep every night.

3. Learn to say "no"
Many people are stressed because of built-up resentment due to their inability or unwillingness to say NO.

4. Practise self-care
This is anything from taking a bubble bath to getting a manicure or massage. The main thing is to do something for yourself at least on a weekly basis.

5. Use your support system regularly.
When you feel overwhelmed or frazzled, call a friend or family member, either just to talk or to come help you!

Now, put one or all of these ideas into practice for better mental health and increased productivity!

What is your favourite stress-buster?

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October 28, 2008

Goals - are you hooked yet?

I finished teaching a teleclass on goals last week and I must say, it was AWESOME.

I know that despite my own enthusiasm, goals are usually not the most exciting thing in the world for other people ...

until you realise the power of goal-setting

My friends tease me and say that if you look up goals in the dictionary, there you'll see my face. It's true.

I'm passionate about goals and goal-setting but only because I've seen the power in my own life.

I remember at my 30th birthday party I had a little book for people to write messages for me. My friend Jana wrote something like, "only 30 and already you've accomplished so much". That's because I've been setting goals since 1998. This is my 11th year of goal-getting success.


So are you hooked on goals yet? Why or why not?

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P.S. Check out the Big, Juicy goals package if you want all my secrets to goal-getting success because I share in detail every single thing I do in my business to help me get greater and greater success every year.

October 24, 2008

Is writing articles a part of your marketing?


I remember when I went from a monthly to a weekly newsletter. Friends would email me and say, "how do you churn out all those articles every week?"

Actually, once you get into the habit of writing a regular article, it becomes much easier than you think.

You also start thinking in article-writing mode so every time something happens you think, "I can use that in an article" and you make a note in your notebook.

(I still have to write an article called, "how a time management expert misses her flight" - that was from Dublin, Ireland).

I was checking my stats on http://ezinearticles.com the other day and was pleasantly surprised to see that I'm:

12 out of 755 in the organising category with 16 articles
12 out of 1252 in the time management category with 14 articles

My goal is obviously to increase my rankings in each of those categories.

Click on the ezinearticles button on the sidebar <------- to check them out if you're so inclined :)

Writing articles was a big part of my marketing this year. My goal was actually to submit 24 new articles (2 per month) but I managed to reach my goal in July/ August, so I now have 41 articles on that site.

So, which do YOU prefer? Using speaking or writing as a marketing tool?

(I'd love to hear from Beth, Suzanne and Janet)

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October 22, 2008

Making time to see friends



These are our friends, Jana & Philip.

Jana and I used to work together many years ago but the two of us were based in different offices.

After one awards function (that spouses also get invited to) the four of us hit it off and we started getting together as couples.

That was 8 years ago.

Now, here's the thing - despite both Jana and I being extremely organised people (in fact she's the reason I'm a professional organiser - I was trying to get her to become one), it somehow never occurred to either of us to plan our next get together before saying our "good nights".

So every time we part ways and a few weeks later one of us will email the other to find a date in our busy schedules to get together. And more often than not, it's MONTHS before we can find a date because we only do Friday nights since they live 45 minutes away and Sunday mornings it's church.

It's crazy!

I don't know why it took that long but I finally figured it out on Friday night when we saw them.

So this time, we all know that they'll be coming to our place for supper next month.

This is SO much more civilised - who would have thought?!

How do you arrange your socials? Ad-hoc and spontaneous, or do you pre-plan them?

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October 20, 2008

3 days left until...Juicy goals teleseminar


How to set and achieve BIG, juicy goals that bring BIG, juicy results - teleclass/ webcast

Thursday 23 October 2008

Did you know that there are less than 100 days before the end of the year?

Last year, a friend and I participated in an online goals challenge at exactly this time of year. We set some goals and my "big thing" that resulted from the challenge was 7 easy steps to organise your office, which is now a bestselling product in my store.

That would never have happened had I not given it one last push before the end of the year.

You, too, can do your "big thing" before this year ends.

Do you want to plan your next overseas holiday, launch a new workshop or product, write an ebook, or get that ONE big thing sorted once and for all in your life?

I've already mapped out my one big thing for 2008 which I'll share with you on the goals teleclass, because my goal is to have it up and running by the end of November.

On this 75-minute teleclass, you’ll learn:
  • how to set big, juicy goals to bring you big, juicy results
  • how to break it down into monthly, weekly and daily planning so you don't get overwhelmed
  • the EXACT process I use from "vague concept" to "nitty gritty"
  • how to find the time to actually get your goals done
  • the ONE thing that will propel you forward more than anything else
  • how to (almost) magically attract the right help and resources to help you reach your goals
  • And much, much more

Your investment for this valuable teleclass is only $47


This is the exact same system that I've personally used since 1998 to consistently achieve my goals every year.

What would it be worth to you to get that project off your list? Wouldn't you like to feel the relief and excitement of having it DONE?!


Date: Thursday 23 October
Time: 12 - 1:15pm EST/ 6 - 7:15pm South Africa time/ 5 - 6:15pm UK time
Format: Simulcast - either telephone or webcast - it's your choice

(don't worry if you can't make it live, you'll get the recording an hour later)


You’ll receive:

1. The live teaching and coaching with Marcia

2. MP3 audio recording of the call

3. 14-page handout with the EXACT same goals forms I use in my business

4. Free copy of How to set and achieve your goals (value $37)


You CAN finish this year strong!


Love and organising success
Marcia
Time Management & Business Organising Coach

P.S. You REALLY don't want to have that ONE thing on your list again next year :)

October 17, 2008

What do you do with all those business cards?


This is an actual picture of all the business cards in the top drawer of a colleague's desk. He is going to KILL me for posting this :)


I know you collect business cards at networking events, client meetings, conferences, etc.

Here are my 3 questions for you today:

  • Where do you put them?
  • What do you do with them when you get back to the office?
  • Do you have a plan to process them, or do you hoard them as my colleague does?

I want to hear from all business owners, but especially from you, Suzanne and Janet.


As for me, I actually only take a card if I...

  • like the person and want to stay in touch socially :)
  • want to network some more with that person - maybe send them a copy of my newsletter
  • need the person's help professionally
  • want to hook them up with one of my clients
I keep them in my folder until I get home and then I...

  1. put them to the left of my keyboard so that they annoy me until I process them. I'm a visual person so I can't stand the clutter!
  2. schedule some time (10 minutes or so) to enter their details in Outlook, usually within the next week. I get myself in the mood and just work through the whole batch.
  3. connect with them via Facebook (my preference) or email
  4. throw the cards away! This is critical.

Over to you!
Please answer my 3 questions.

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October 15, 2008

3 ingredients of a good daily plan

my current daily planner


The first thing to remember is that everyone's system will be different and that's okay. And also, a system for one person may change after a couple of months or years even if it works well.

That's all okay and is very normal.

Your daily planning system generally consists of three elements:
  • set appointments
  • routines
  • other tasks and projects
  1. The set appointments happen at a set time like if you have a meeting, it has a start time and an end time.
  2. Your routines are the things you do every day - checking email, blogging, client work, laundry, cooking, etc.
  3. And the other tasks and projects are things you need to work on at a specific point in time. If you're planning your spouse's birthday party, that happens at one time every year.

A good daily plan usually contains all three elements.

The key is to add projects and tasks first before you add the routines because the routines usually will get done. It's those other things that never get done unless they're scheduled.

This is how to set up your daily plan:

  1. Keep a notebook for your master list or running to-do list and a separate place for your daily plan. This could be in a proper spiral-bound or stitched daily planner, or you could just designate a specific blank notebook and use a page every day.
  2. Every evening, take a few minutes to plan the next day. When you do your planning, write down any pertinent information. Like if you have to phone the dentist, write "phone dentist Tel: 6164523" so you don't have to hunt around for that information when you're meant to be doing.
  3. Add your set appointments with some buffer time for travel.
  4. Block out about an hour or two for your daily routines. Since they're routines, I suggest using low-energy time since you probably won't have to think or focus too much.
  5. Add in only a few tasks from your master list. These are the tasks that will help you get your projects done or your goals accomplished.
  6. Rinse and repeat :)
Seriously, that's what you do every day. By the end of the week, you'll be able to cross something significant off that never-ending to-do list. I promise you.

How do you do your daily plan?

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October 10, 2008

Are you addicted to the adrenaline rush of the last minute?


The trouble is my husband. He is chronically late and does everything at the last possible minute.

Our company works primarily on grants for the government. The proposals (25 pages each!!) are due regularly, every 3 or 4 months. He consistently is up all night the night before they're due finishing the proposal(s).

This habit of his has actually COST us hundreds of thousands of dollars. None of this is news to him. I don't have to tell you that that's a ridiculously huge amount of money - especially for a small business!

Just this morning at 6 am, the most recent round of proposals was due. We talked about it last time, with another one of the owners, and agreed that he would have the proposals complete and turned in to me by 6 am Tuesday, so that I would have time to proofread them and make sure they were uploaded correctly. Well, he did pretty well on the first one, I had it by noon Tuesday. The second one, though, he was up until 6 am (AGAIN!) finishing.

Aside from the obvious financial and health implications for him, this also has a negative effect on our family. As you can imagine, he's going to be tired and cranky and out of the normal routine for several days - generally he doesn't get back to normal until after the weekend, so now I'm looking at Wednesday - Monday of having half a husband, essentially. It also negatively impacts my kids. And of course, the 24 hour days he works leading up to the due date aren't great for the family either.

Of course, all these grants come with reporting requirements, too. And of course, the reports are also done at the last minute. It drives me insane. We end up doing this stay up all night/work 24 hours a day/tired and cranky for the better part of a week/etc. thing about once a month, with the proposal cycle and the reports we write. It's an ongoing problem, in the most annoying sense.

I really appreciate how hard he is working to support our family, I do. He's a great husband, but this thing drives me out of my mind. I've bought him books, I've tried ignoring it, I've done everything I can think of to encourage him to be more organized, less of a procrastinator, to set more realistic goals, etc. etc. etc.

So, that's my question - how can I support/encourage/force/bribe/cajole/etc. my husband into NOT being a last minute person?

Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Best regards,
Amy Business Manager & Mom
Photo by flickr365


Here's my answer


Hi Amy

I would ask your husband if he’s addicted to the adrenaline rush of the last-minute? Seriously, some people feel they perform better under pressure (or that’s what they tell themselves anyway) so they get addicted to the rush.

Otherwise, if he’s not, then it may be as simple as a planning issue. If you say that these things are always around 25 pages long, then they probably take on average a certain number of days to complete.

Do you have a checklist of the different steps from start to finish? Make one and add in the times you think it would take to complete each step. Now add in another 30% for buffering (you can always reduce it later if you’ve added in too much; early is always better). And then work back, realistically, allocating a certain number of hours to each day from deadline date backwards.

E.g. If I have a 30-hour project (this is inclusive of buffering) which I generally work on for 6 hours a day, then it’s going to take me 5 days. If deadline is 18th Jan, then I have to start no later than 11th Jan (allowing for weekends off). If he works on this only a couple of hours a day, I would use my eat the frog principle and form.

I would also sit down and calmly explain to your hubby (not when you’re working to deadline – that time is too fraught with emotion, panic, etc) how this makes you and the family feel. He sounds like a good guy and maybe he will get it if you say how this impacts the kids or the tension in the household…


What would your advice be?

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October 08, 2008

Feels like summer

taken at the Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth

  • palm trees
  • tinkling ice cubes in a glass of water
  • flip flops
  • beautiful, blue skies
  • children splashing in a swimming pool


What makes it feel like summer for you?

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October 06, 2008

Organising your computer

org-tools-folder.jpg


  • Do you find yourself wasting time looking for files on your computer?
  • Do you get frustrated because you just don't know where to start?
  • Do you know when and how often to do a back up?
  • Has your computer ever crashed and you lost everything?
  • Do you know how to organise and contain all those free things you keep downloading off the internet?
  • Do you know how to name and store files so they're easy to find?

Everything you EVER wanted to know about organising your computer is now ready for you.

On this 75-minute MP3, you’ll learn:

  • Where to start organising your computer
  • My DREAM method of organising your computer
  • How to keep control of all the audios, PDFs and ebooks you get for free off the internet and how NOT to let it clutter up your hard drive
  • Exactly how to label and store your documents and files so you can find them
  • How to organise your contacts and all those business cards
  • How to cut your computer time in half
  • How to organise tasks and projects
  • How and when to do a proper, thorough back up of your files and how to know when to do it so you don’t lose your work
  • And much, much more
You’ll receive:
  1. Recording of the live call as an MP3 audio download
  2. Comprehensive handout

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October 04, 2008

Misfortunes


If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own and depart. -Socrates (469?-399 B.C.)

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October 02, 2008

Quoting your fee

How confident are you in quoting your fees?

I like to think I'm confident enough but the truth is, because of the weak rand in South Africa, I find myself sometimes justifying my fees to South African clients. I do know this about me, so once I say "it" I shut up and keep my mouth shut (but the internal dialogue sometimes still happens).

With my international clients, I have no problems at all.

An interesting thing happened yesterday though. I had to get a blood test done so while I was waiting for the nurse, I took out my business folder and started working through an exercise I'd never totally finished, called "what my clients get by working with me"

I have about 10 - 15 things on my website, and I even recorded an audio with the top 10 things so people could connect with me, but this exercise says to note down 30 items, and so I got cracking.

Do you know how hard it is to come up with 30 items???

The first 10 were easy and then I just started thinking about things current and previous clients have said to me, and eventually I made my way to 30.

Good timing, because later yesterday I had the fee discussion with someone (a South African) who wants to coach with me and because the exercise was still fresh in my mind, I said my fee and there was absolutely no self-talk or justification whatsoever!

Because I know I am SOOO worth it and the results speak for themselves.

Now that's what I call progress :)

How confident are you in quoting your fees?

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