Plan for Success

February brings order out of chaos.  Well, for those that follow focus, that is! 

This month's focus is Planning and Preparing for Productivity!

Without a roadmap, you will end up somewhere, but it may not be where you wanted to go.  This month, we're going to make our maps and stock the car for the trip.  Are you ready?

If you're one of the people are that too busy to do this and too busy to do that, I hate to break it to you, but the one person that is speeding down the Productive Creative Highway in front of you is just as busy as  you are.  The only difference is they know what they need to do before they set out for their destination and they do it. 

Planning and preparing are tedious, but necessary acts.  Don't worry, though.  We're going to take tiny steps toward our success.  By the end of February, our goal is to have incorporated a planning and preparing system that you will be able to execute routinely each week without sweat, blood, or tears. 

Successful Productive Creatives have balance.  They plan.  They prepare.  They produce.  And  you can, too. 

So if your excuse for not planning or not preparing for work/home activities is that you need more time than the rest of us, then hang out with me this month and, I promise,  you'll learn the fastest and easiest ways to balance family, household, and craft responsibilities to get you back in the lead on the Productive Creative Highway; where all you'll see are the headlights of your competition in your review mirror!

In the comments, tell me what you struggle with most when it comes to planning and preparing in your work and personal life and get your answers this month!  Get the help you need to succeed.

Let's connect on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for daily challenges and inspiration for the monthly focus!

Photo credit: Esteban Manchado via Flickr

Accomplishing Goals

How did YOU do this month?

If you were following along with the Facebook and Twitter Daily Challenges for our monthly focus - Congrats!  You did a great job!!  You're probably feeling your business moving toward a greater focus, more energy and a little tunnel vision by now. 

If you didn't, that's ok! There's always time to pick it up when you can. 

Coming in February, the Monthly Focus is on planning and prepping for business and home activities that will help us become more productive in the upcoming months.  This decision was based on the answers that you so kindly provided me during the Productivity Survey back in December, as well as from responses from the Facebook page.  Thanks to all who answered!  For those of you that hankered for water reminders, your time will come!  Stay with me:).

Back to the business at hand, with this month's exercise focus, my energy increased from working out and I was able to do so many things.  For one thing, I gained two new clients! And I almost finished the Productive Creative Lessons that I'm working on for you guys (didn't finish because of the new clients...no excuse, I know, but happy to have the work).  I feel fitter.  I think more clearly about my direction each day.  I'm more focused in tasks that I set before myself.  And I get more done.  Each step brings me closer to my goals that I set for 2012. 

With belief shifts come change.  So if you think you can't exercise because you don't have time...shift that belief and watch how you find ways to squeeze it in.  Your business is your most important focus,  sharpen it with exercise.  I did.  And I'm so glad. 

What did you accomplish this month?  Did you get closer to your 2012 goals?  Tell us in the comments...I love to hear how well you are doing!

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get daily challenges and inspiration!

Photo: Dino8 via Flickr

7 Fitness Hacks to Cure Your Time Problem

With commutes, kids, and commitments, it seems there’s never enough time in the day to do the one thing that can push you forward on your Productive Creative Road:  Exercise.  With exercise comes endorphins, serotonin, as well as, reduced cortisol levels.  These are just a few of the ways that your body regulates you to bring clarity and focus. With these 7 hacks, you can hack away at your time excuse and start restoring the balance of hormones used to make you feel good, bring sharper focus and get you on the highway to Productive Creativity for your life and your business.

1. Skip the gym – Regardless of the bombardment of gym advertisements you received at the beginning of the year, there is ZERO need for them.  You’re too busy for that nonsense.  If you’re serious about becoming fit, or staying that way, take the “I don’t have time to make it to the gym” band aid out of your excuse first aid kit.  What you do have time for is an effective workout at home.

2. Drop the equipment – You’ve seen the Mr./Mrs. Olympias out there, they NEED equipment.  You don’t.  You’re striving for business fit, not steroid fit.  All you need is YOU to get into the best fitness for your business.

3. Forget working out 30-60 minutes at a time – The thinking that you need 30-60 minutes of exercise daily is old school…and unattainable.  Studies show that max exertion for shorter periods of time are as beneficial as long stints on the treadmill or bike.  With HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), you can get your gymless/equipmentless/SHORT workout done with only the expenditure of a lot of energy.  HIITs rock you and they rock you hard.  But, in 15 minutes, you’ve managed a workout that maximizes your body’s burn, your oxygen flow and you heart/brain muscle building capacity.

4. Be a thief – Time isn’t going to present itself.  When it comes to doing something you don’t want to do, it will find a way to run from you instead.  You have to steal Minutes when you see them arise.  Some people can find a few minutes before bed.  Some can find it before they start their day.  Some can steal some time before dinner.  When is the best time for you to move it?

5. Be an early riser – Regardless of whether or not you can workout in the morning (I can’t), you can still get other things done that will free your few moments for exercise later in the day (this is what works best for me).

6. Be proACTIVE – Even just thinking about exercising makes you feel good (noticed how psyched you get looking at fitness mags?).  But DOING it is what brings the focus and clarity to your creativity.  When you find yourself in front of the tube or the net simply tooling around, stop and take those moments to be active.

7. Forget being perfect – You aren’t going to be able to get your workout done every day, but you have to shoot for it.  Life’s going to get in the way, but it’s how quickly you rebound that makes a difference.  Aim to do it every day, but if you miss, refocus as soon as possible.

I hope that you’ll be able to take these tips and utilize one or two to help you get on track and if you need a little motivation or inspiration, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and G+ to get daily challenges to help you get started on your Productive Creative Highway!

What's your favorite Fitness Hack?

We have 8 days left of our Minutes in Motion Monthly Focus.  There’s still time for you to log your productivity and your exercise in your Productive Creative Journal.   If you don’t have yours yet, just subscribe to the blog and I’ll send it to you.

Like this post?  Thanks in advance for Tweeting it, Sharing it, or +1’ing it! 

Photo Credit: Great Beyond via Flickr

10 EASY Ways to Squeeze in Exercise

Photo Credit: Andrew Senay via Flickr

You hate to workout.

You don't have time.

You don't have energy.

You have so many other things you would rather do.

Here are 7 reasons why Minutes in Motion (aka exercise) help boost your career, your family, and your life:

  1. It staves off diseases like cardivascular diseases, cancers, and diabetes (just to name a few) - if you're sick, you can't ship.
  2. Lifts your mood so you can think clearly and more focused to answer the needs of your tribe.
  3. 100% of active people are happier people. (Have you seen sad people working out?  They don't stay that way for long.)
  4. Happier people are more productive.
  5. You set a stellar example for kids (who do what we do and not as we say).
  6. You increase your energy so you can ship more.
  7. Studies show that you increase blood flow to the brain (possibly even build new brain cells) for higher quality shipping.

What Productive Creative do you know doesn't need more energy, better focus, and a few more brain cells?

Here are 10 EASY ways to squeeze it in when you're super busy:

  1. Do it first thing in the morning - yeah, you can get up a little earlier
  2. Do it before you sleep
  3. Walk to work (or wherever you can)
  4. Discover HIIT (they're short, powerful workouts that have as much benefit as long treadmill stints)
  5. Find a workout partner (you can always go virtual if you don't have anyone near you...check out BodyRock.tv, Fitocracy, or Zuzana Light's Facebook page)
  6. Set up challenges for yourself (or this month you can follow mine on Facebook and Twitter)
  7. Constantly seek new ways to exercise to stay motivated
  8. Keep track of your progress (GREAT motivator - get your PC Journal by subscribing to my blog)
  9. Play music while you move
  10. Get the family involved (the kids will love it...spending time bonding with you AND you all get to form new habits together - a built in fitness community in your home)

There you go.  Choose the ways that will help you stay motivated and your PCness will blossom and flourish before your eyes.

Do it NOW and love the PC way you feel!

What does your fitness look like?  Do you do your Minutes in Motion every day?  If not, why not?  I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!  I would love to stay on top of your Productive Creative fitness goals, connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or G+ for more motivation and PC results!

 

 

Tips from a Productive Creative Master

Guys, I have a very special guest for you for today's "What's Up Wednesday" post! You all know we’re focusing on upping our fitness this month by logging our Minutes in Motion for our Productive Creativity. (And if you haven’t already downloaded your PC Journal to track yours, you can get it by subscribing to the blog.:D) My guest today is one of Time’s Top 25 Bloggers and he’s no stranger to health, fitness, and Productive Creativity. He’s the author of focus, The Effortless Life, and many more helpful titles written to help us live more minimalistic and happy lifestyles.

Without further ado, please welcome Leo Babauta to the blog today!

Thanks for being here, Leo. You’re a busy man and your time is much appreciated. :) Got your green tea? Let’s get started:)...

1. You’re a vegan, right? And this is the ultimate eating clean plan. You’re a runner and strength trainer. Again, ultimates in the field of fitness. How much of your success do you contribute to your eating and fitness routines?

Leo: My health and fitness are central to everything I do -- it has made me happier, better able to focus on my writing, better equipped to play wildly with my kids, able to walk everywhere and enjoy life to the fullest. I’ve learned that what I used to think was pleasurable -- eating junk food, shopping, mindless entertainment -- is not nearly as satisfying as a good workout or a simple healthy delicious meal. Just a note about veganism: while I believe it’s the most compassionate diet, it’s not necessarily healthy, depending on how you do it. Like any diet, you should focus less on junk foods and more on whole foods like lots of veggies, fruits, nuts, beans, seeds, whole grains.

Tania: This is very true, Leo.  These are the principles that we have been working on improving in order to improve our PCness (Productive Creativeness;D) here.

2. According to a recent survey, many people responded that they don’t have time to eat right and exercise because of work and school schedules. What are your tips for the rushed and rambunctious?

Leo: Simplify. Most people commit to too much, cramming their schedules full because they think they can do more than they really have time for. Start eliminating commitments, leaving only what’s most important to you. For me, that’s family, writing, reading and fitness. My day consists almost only of those four things. Also, cut back on surfing the Internet and watching TV. Once you start making space, you’ll have time for healthier foods.

Tania:  Great point, Leo!  Cutting back on activities can help us make room for things we love!

3. As a dad of 6 babes that are homeschooled, do your children eat the same foods that you eat? What approach do you take if they don’t like the food what’s served? (I’m afraid that if I serve tofu, something might come flying at the back of my head while I cook!)

Leo: My kids are omnivores, except my 5-year-old daughter Noelle, who recently decided she wanted to stop eating animals. I loved that -- I didn’t force it on her. I believe in leading by example instead of forcing. So I share my delicious vegan food with them, but when they go out to a restaurant they often order meat (mostly chicken). My wife Eva cooks vegetarian meals for them now, but for awhile she was cooking chicken and fish. They don’t seem to mind too much that we stopped making meat dishes, because we make them veggie versions of stuff they love -- spaghetti, tacos, pizza, chili, soup. They don’t mind tofu too much because they’re getting used to it, though we rarely make it for them.

Tania: Aw, that's sweet.  Children are so empathetic and tapping into this at this age is great.  Way to go, Noelle!

4. Since this is Minutes in Motion Month, can you give any tips for making a difference physically to those that are just starting out?

Leo: The two most important things are to start, and then to be able stick with it. Most people don’t start because they dread it, so I recommend starting with just 5-10 minutes a day, and make it easy -- just walk, or play a sport you love. Focus on enjoying the activity rather than getting some kind of health benefit. If you can start with a small amount, you’ll get fitter gradually, and if you can stick with it because it’s easy and you enjoy it, you’ll make huge gains over the course of a few months.

Tania: Beautifully put...love it and stick with it.

5. How did you manage change when things got tough? Or did they ever get tough through the changes? (I get the impression that, as a laid back guy, you probably have few struggles, is that right?) :D

Leo: I struggle all the time, just like anyone. When things get tough, I find new ways of doing things so they’re not so tough. I take the easiest course, like water, though I also alter the landscape a bit so the easiest course is also a healthy one. :) So I’ll find a workout partner or go on runs with my wife, so that working out is fun and I’m more likely to do it because I’m accountable to someone. When I start doubting myself or feel like quitting, I’ll find another thing to do that’s fun and that excites me.

6. What’s the single most important tip you can give our readers that are struggling with taking up the healthy and fit lifestyle in order to make the quality of their work clearer and more focused?

Leo: Use exercise as meditation. I love meditation, and have found that running, or any kind of exercise, can be done the same way -- by focusing on the present moment, by cultivating mindfulness, by paying attention to your breath. This becomes not only a way of relieving stress and finding calm and clarity, but mindfulness practice that you take into the rest of your life. When you work, you’ll be better at being present and focusing at the task at hand.

Tania: Mindfulness is a big part of a PC lifestyle.  Love your advice here!

7. Speaking of focus, please tell us about your latest diamond projects and what we can look forward to in the future from a great Productive Creative like yourself.

Leo: I only work on one project at a time, and don’t plan the next projects after that. Right now I’m doing a course with Courtney Carver called Clutterfree, where I help people get free of their clutter. After that, we’ll see what I’m excited about!

Tania: We can't wait to see what that'll be!  There you have it guys...straight from a PC Master! Eat clean, exercise, be mindful and maximize your PCness, just like the Master.

It’s my sincerest hope that if you've been under a rock :) and aren't already a subscriber to Leo’s blog or haven’t gotten your hands on some of his reads that you do so...soon. And I also hope that you've learned something valuable that you can apply to your own Productive Creative life today.

Thank you so much, Leo, for stopping by. We've really enjoyed having you here and look forward to more great content coming from you and Zen Habits.

Follow Leo on Twitter @zen_habits and check out the Zen Habits store. And follow me on Twitter and Facebook to stay motivated in your PC journey with challenges and inspiration!

Leo Babauta Bio

Leo Babauta is a simplicity blogger & author. He created Zen Habits, a Top 25 blog (according to TIME magazine) with 200,000 subscribers, mnmlist.com, and the best-selling books focus, The Power of Less, and Zen To Done.

Babauta is a former journalist of 18 years, a husband, father of six children, and in 2010 moved from Guam to San Francisco, where he leads a simple life.

He started Zen Habits to chronicle and share what he's learned while changing a number of habits:

  • Quit smoking (on Nov. 18, 2005).
  • Became a runner.
  • Ran several marathons and triathlons.
  • Began waking early.
  • Became organized and productive.
  • Began eating healthier
  • Became a vegetarian.
  • Tripled his income.
  • Wrote a novel and a non-fiction book.
  • Eliminated his debt.
  • Simplified his life.
  • Lost weight (more than 50 pounds).
  • Wrote several best-selling ebooks.
  • Started a successful Top 25 blog.
  • Started a second blog for writers and bloggers.
  • Created a leading blog on minimalism.
  • Gave up his car, and is now car-free.

What struggles do you have with living a PC lifestyle?  Let us know in the comments so we can help!

Five Ways to Get Rid of the One Excuse Holding You Back

Hi guys! Welcome to another short PC talk!  Pull up a chair and grab a nice chilled water.  J

As Productive Creatives, we already know the importance of fitness and its effect on our work.  So why do we avoid it?

Excuses.  There are myriads of them, but today we’re going to focus on one…

The “I’ll wait until…” Excuse

Like a surfer sitting atop glassy waters waiting for the Big One to come along, we wait and we wait for the right moment.  But without the right conditions, that wave never comes. 

But you’re not at the mercy of nature.  You’re in control of your environment and it’s up to you to set your own waves into motion. 

Waiting for the right time to exercise has detrimental effects on our plan and therefore our results. 

It deflates our energies and lets the winds out of our sails.  It distracts us and lets the door of opportunity open up on some other project we’d rather be working on.  And that, in turn, closes the door to our drive to get it done.  By putting it off and allowing other things to get in the way (like feeding the kids or doing their homework), the end of the day comes and we’ve failed to reach our goal.  Failing to reach a goal, gives a blow to our oversensitive egos. (Yes, I know Leo Babauta doesn't set goals, but not setting them makes me nauseous...ok, so I'm Type A.) :)

So what can we do?  We’re all busy people with careers, families, friends, projects, school and loads of other responsibilities that require our energies!!

Here’s what we can do to insure that we do get our Minutes in Motion logged:

  1. Get up half an hour before we have to and exercise first thing in the morning.  Think about it, is that extra 30 minutes in bed going to give you a boost for the day?  How will you feel when your workout is done and out of the way?
  2. If you absolutely cannot workout before the world starts moving, then get up and dress in your workout gear so that when you get the house cleared out, you’re ready to rock your Minutes in Motion.
  3. If THAT’s not an option, make your lunch hour (or half hour) your Motion Hour instead.  Workout instead of chowing on greasy fast food.  And guess what…there is ABSOLUTELY NO rule that says you MUST be wearing spandex and sweat gear in order to exercise.  NONE. 
  4. Workout whenever or wherever.  Do NOT wait on a until you can take time to go and change, workout, then shower.  (You can clean up without soaking your head and everything else.)
  5. Make your workout your priority.  Put it on the list of business items that have to get done.  That’s it.  If you consider it part of your business plan, you’ll do it.

This is just a brief list of the things we can do to make sure, for the sake of our PCness, that we get in our exercise so we can log our Minutes in Motion. 

Our productivity will reflect our efforts.  Leave a comment and tell me what will help you Do It NOW to get your workout in today?  

Thanks for stopping by and reading!  I really appreciate it! 

And you can get your PC Journal to log your Minutes in Motion (MiM) by subscribing to my Project Master Blog.  Come hang out with me on Facebook , Twitter, and G+ so I can help you with challenges and more! 

photo credit: steve-h via Flickr

January Focus: Minutes in Motion

Hi, guys!  Welcome to 20-12 and to your new year of being a Productive Creative!

This year, we are going to have one focus a month to develop our new habits that will help us stay focused, healthier, and more prosperous.  Are you ready??

January is our Minutes in Motion Month.

We're going to make it our focus to log our Minutes in Motion to help keep our hearts pumping, to keep our muscles challenged, and to build new brain cells for our projects!  All you have to do is commit to doing a minimum of movement every day and you'll see the benefits of exercise start to work on you. (The goal is 15minutes, but if you're a noob, it's ok...DO WHAT YOU CAN.)

If exercise isn't in your genes, it'll take a little more pushing to get you on the train, but I promise that, if you commit to it and do it, you'll eventually come to love it.

We're all busy peeps.  So we have to maneuver our schedules to fit in fitness.  The time to do it isn't going to magically appear.  In fact, if it's something we don't want to do, the time will never seem right to do it.  We have to push.

For some people writing in their dayplanner works wonders, if you are one of those.  Do It Now.  Schedule 15 Minutes in Motion every day for the month of January.  Try scheduling it at different times so you can see when the best time is for you.

I can't put a time on things with three little ones around, but if I just jot it in my calendar, it becomes a daily goal.  So, when I glance at it in the morning and before bed, I'll be able to set my vision for the next day.

But, that's what works for me.

I also have a little Productive Creative Journal that you can use to log your time, your daily goals, and your food in to help you keep track of what you've done.  (You just need to sign up for the blog to get it.) :)

Do whatever you have to do to ensure that you are logging your Minutes in Motion every day for the month of January.

After you have done this for 31 days, you'll be a proud owner of a new habit that'll help you become healthier and more focused.  That focus (along with those new brain cells you've created) will be what helps you to hit the ground running every day and get your shipments out to your customers.

When you can focus, you can provide them with the Purple Cow (not an affiliate link) they are looking for.  THAT'S what makes you the bomb at what you do.

Get up.  Get moving.  Get shipping.

(And don't forget to log it.)

Join me on Twitter, Facebook, and G+ for daily inspirations to stay on track...that and just to hang out because I love that, too.  Also, sign up for the blog (to the right) and I'll send you a PC Journal to help you with your journey.

Thanks for reading!  (Oh, if you enjoyed this post, I'd also love it if you'd share it).  :)

Have a beautiful and PC day!