5 Things To Do Instead Of Scrolling

Growth isn’t an overnight thang...for most. It’s a way of life. You wake up in the morning, ready to take on the world...and the you you want to become. Then, you have your coffee and realize, it ain’t happening.

Because Facebook is open.

So, instead of moving on and creating, you spend time scrolling, because you caught a glimpse of something powerful (and thought, “why can’t I do that?”) and wanted more of it.

There are massive players in the online space.

To be one of them, you have to log out of Facebook.

You have to go to Pages, Word or Drive, and start creating.

But the reason you haven’t yet? Stares you in the mirror every morning. You look in your eyes and say to yourself, I can’t be GaryVee. I can’t be Eben Pagan. I can’t be Marie Forleo.

And you slump away to social media, defeated.

And you’re right. You CANNOT be GaryVee. You CANNOT be Eben Pagan. You CANNOT be Marie Forleo.

You are YOU. And as soon as you stop looking around, you’ll start developing your youness.

Creating is the ONLY way to get you there.

Open those apps and GET STARTED.

Things to create today:

  1. A podcast that actually solves a problem, entertains, or inspires. Are you going to screw it up? To start with, you might. But that’s okay. As former co-host of 100 Proof, Falls will tell you I SUCKED at it. That’s okay...I was developing a new art.
  2. Create an ebook that actually serves. There are a LOT of titles out there that are hollow and meaningless. Write ten that matter.
  3. Write to your friggen list. How many times have you avoided that because you were afraid you didn’t have anything to say? Guess what. They’re there because you DO. Now say it.
  4. Create programs that are NOT copies of everything else online. You are you...walk away from your computer with the problem you know you solve for people and dig into your brain to find out the best way to help people - 20 minute calls, instead of an hour? Group lunch dates? Face-to-face???? Imagine.
  5. Establish a networking event that really helps you get to know people. Hello, Garage Party! If you don’t know what that is, I tripled my social numbers with this weekly party, where I showcased entrepreneurs and their favorite tunes, while telling the world a bit about them. It was fun and I made lots of friends. What can you do to make your own get-to-know-you event?

If you’re busy creating, you cannot be busy watching people and wondering why you’re not there yet.

The only way they got there? Was by doing. And failing. Fast.

Ready for copy that bleeds prowess and authority? You'll find it here

Want in on the next thing I’m creating? Join the Fire of The Diamond Society.

Fuck Comfort

We stick to shit we know because it’s comfortable. We stick to our routines because they keep us safe. We stick to MEDIOCRE because, hey, who the fuck can fuck that up?

We were born for more.

We were born to BE more.

We were born to be Erika Napoletano. We were born to be Seth Godin. We were born to be the most powerful us’s possible.

But I get it. For some, waking up in the morning and playing in social is enough. They pick up a few clients here and there. They’re good.

Then you have Gary Vee.

And the psychos who get up at 3am to get shit done.

I’m not that psycho, even though I get up at that time.

I’ve been playing for mediocre. And letting myself get away with it.

And when did I realize it? After a week of calls with entrepreneurs who “don’t know what to do”.

I hopped up on my little soapbox and started pushing. Pushing them to dig deep into themselves, to not accept their own excuses. To push their limits.

Then it hit me.

Who the FUCK are you?? Do I book and deliver juicy shit at rapid-fire paces? Absolutely. Do I close the majority of my calls with signatures and payments? Of course. Do I work my waiting list like a motherfucker? No fucking doubt.

But I put off the Power Shots. I put off the books. I put off the scary shit.

Because I’m comfortable.

I don’t work out because I’m comfortable with my excuses.

I don’t reach out to more big ass brands because I’m comfortable with the one I’m working on now.

PowerShots will be back on this week. On time. I’ll not pull that seat-of-my-pants shit this week.

The first of two books will be written this week.

And my fat ass will be working out in some fashion every day this week.

Because as wonderful as comfort is? It’s just another word for mediocre. And that’s shit I’m not down for.

Recognize Where You’re Stopping Yourself and Get the Fuck Out of the Way

Pay attention to your thoughts and your physical reactions when you think things and you’ll figure out where you’re fucking up your flow. Ask yourself these questions and get a handle on the shit stopping you from stepping on the face of mediocrity and comfort, so you can step powerfully into the you that wells up inside you.

  1. What is something you’ve been thinking about doing, but have held off on it because it scares the FUCK out of you? How can you change that?
  2. What are three ways you can push yourself beyond mediocre this week?
  3. What are the beliefs you have about yourself that stand in your way?

Go fix every fucking one of those? And light your ass on fire.

Because comfort? Isn’t a luxury. It’s death.

When you’re ready to step out of where you are to become who you want to be? The Diamond Evolution is your solution to showing up and showing off your shit, like a boss. In the meantime, if you’re still comfortable being comfortable, and want to take little baby steps? Check out the Ink Bar, pull up a stool to a ton of content and more being added each month to help you own your BOSS game.

Your Brain is Eating Itself Alive (and an easy peasy fix)

Your One Day PassAs a ball-buster, there's a whole world of shit that swirls through your head on a regular basis. And it's loud. And sometimes? It just gets to be too much.

 

What suffers isn't just your sanity. It's your focus. Your drive. Your goals.

 

The only thing you can do at that point is stop. Tell everybody to back the fuck off and go do your thing. Because when you're done? You'll not only see what it was that was right in front of you, you'll remember who you are, what you want, and how you get it.

 

I know.

 

That's what happened last week.

 

The shit in my head got so loud and angry, I had no choice, but to saddle up and head out. As I threw my leg over, I had no idea where I'd go or what I'd do when I got there. I had no plan.

 

And it was fucking mind-blowing.

 

The freedom I stole got me in trouble. But it was so much more than worth it.

 

I came back clear and driven again.

The Science Behind Erasing It All

 

We get so fucking caught up in thinking, planning, strategizing, and comparing ourselves to the competition that only exists between our ears, that we lose our visions. We let other people's demands on us roadblock our success. We don't allow ourselves to develop the routines our minds need so it can free up that creative space and that ends up biting us in the ass.

 

But by letting our brains become and stay busy with shit that doesn't matter (or even stuff that does), we steal away the focus that it needs to hone our crafts, to make us the BOSSes we are. According to a bazillion and one studies reported in Scientific American (and just about every other journal out there), our brains need every moment of downtime we can give them.

 

Because even in mundane moments, it reverts to its resting state, using that time to boost our memory and learning (you know, that shit you need to get REEAAAALLLY fucking good at what you do).

 

Kimberly Lin-Pollard, Troll-Tamer Extraordinaire, calls moments where our brains have checked out, self-care. She says you don't need a massage or 3.5 hours straddling a motorcycle to take care of the noise that is killing your focus. She says, all it takes it the mental focus to clock out and pay attention to what's in front of you. No matter what you're doing.

 

Though I can't and WON'T use that as an excuse not to ride (EVER), it's a great way to build in a little brain-care every day...you know...the days when you can't run away for a few hours for the most exquisite wind therapy you've ever had (or mindless shopping/massages/whatever gets your rocks off).

 

You want to continue ball-busting? Run away (or pretend to). Because every moment you spend relaxing that magnificent melon of yours, you get closer to your goals. And when you can't? Focus on what you're doing, nothing else, to give your brain that interlude it needs in between creative power sessions.

 

Join the Badass'D and get in on our Marketing and Money Mondays. Because getting lost in the whirlwind of to-do's shouldn't affect your wallet. 

The Real Reason It Takes You an Hour to do a 15 Minute Job

Your laundry’s been in the dryer for 3 days now. I mean, really. How hard is it to fold a load of clothes and put it away? If you focus on it, how long? 15 mins max? So why are they still sitting there? How many times will you turn on the fluff cycle to get the wrinkles out?

(I myself have done it as many as 4 times…) I hate putting away laundry. Hate. It.

So it sits there. And sits there. And sits there.

It's All the Same

Just like the outlines and the posts that are collecting digital dust because you haven’t finished anything you started.

It all boils down to focus.

If you focused, you’d be done.

So why don’t you focus? Stop standing in your own way. What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen? Success?

Chop Away at the Crap Stopping Your Focus

1. Get over your fear.

When you don’t focus, it’s often because there’s a fear in your way. Maybe you’re afraid what you do won’t be good enough. Maybe you’re afraid you don’t “have all the information” yet. Maybe you’re afraid that you’ll actually succeed.

Maybe you just need to stop being afraid of anything.

Write down your fears. Free-write. No stopping. No hesitation. No EDITING. Just sit down and talk to the paper with your pen. Let it all out. When you’re done. Say thank you. Tell all your fears that you appreciate their need to protect you, but you don’t need them anymore.

You got this. Now. Burn or tear up those pages and feel yourself releasing the fears with the flames. You don’t need protecting anymore. You KNOW you will survive without them.

2. Remind yourself of your AWESOME.

You are a magnanimous human being. You are good at so much more than you give yourself credit for. Recognize your strengths AND your potentials and let them have the limelight a while.

Write down on a different piece of paper what it is that you want to become...in the affirmative. Always in the affirmative.

Brogan’s Brave and Chartrand’s Damn Fine Words taught me that I AM a good writer, I just had to believe it. I know...it sounds hokey as hell. But until you feel, in your soul, the bounty that is in you, no one else will.

Bring it to the light.

Write it. A LOT. Repeat it. A LOT. Out. Loud.

And I’m totally not kidding.

3. Promise yourself you can check Facebook when you’re done.

Maybe you have confidence, you just have Confidence with a side of ADD. That’s okay, too. You can still focus - for limited amounts of time.

The Pomodoro Method will let you focus for brief periods. The 90-minute rule says you need to keep it under that. So set a timer and get at it. Everything except the project at hand is off-limits until your timer dings. You know when you’re done, you can check your email, social, and your phone.

And if you’re not using a Pomodoro Timer, be sure to set your timer for your break, too. No cheating.

4. Use multiple projects to your advantage.

I joke about having ADD, but if you really do have it, having multiple projects can be a help instead of a hindrance. Use your need to flip back and forth to flip back and forth between those projects.

Set your timer, but set it for a short time. Use the original Pomodoro time of 25-minutes of focus with 15 minute breaks, but instead of breaks work on a different project for 15 minutes.

Then, after two Pomodoro cycles (80 minutes), you can check your phone, email, and social, if you want. You’ve now worked on 4 projects and have, hopefully, made a load of headway on each of them.

5. Strategy. USE IT!!!

Sun Tzu (yeah, it’s been months since you’ve heard his name from me) says that no battle is won if you don’t know your enemy (and yourself). The enemy is the grind. You have shit to crank out. Know what it is before you sit down to do it.

Set your strategy the night before. Review it the next morning. (Sleep really screws up our brains sometimes.)

I can sit down on Sunday and write out the entire week’s worth of crap that needs to be done. And by Tuesday, I won’t touch it. I was setting myself up for failure. So, now, I get an overview idea about what needs to happen throughout the week, but I lay the plan the night before, making sure I work the plan the next day.

Your business is not a game. Stop treating it that way. You owe it to yourself and to your profits to work faster, smarter, and more focused.

Trigger Success

Sig Sauer | Badass'D Biz+InkWhat did you do when you sat down to your computer this morning? Did you check Facebook? I did. Did you check email? I did.

Did you have to pull your head back into the game 9M times during the day because you kept getting lost in the shiny objects? I did.

Triggers Matter

Cialdini called this phenomena "click-whirr": The things that trigger our actions. In advertising, click-whirrs are the things that trigger us to buy.

In productivity, your click-whirr is the things you do to get your work going.

So, it doesn't make sense to let email, social media, or unnecessary to-dos lead your day. Those are Loss Triggers. You want to set up triggers that will gear your brain for getting shit done.

You want to create success triggers. 

Triggering Success

By skipping the things that distract you, you bring clarity and focus to your work. By doing things that prep your mind for the work ahead, you lessen the chances of getting lost chasing squirrels. Here are some ideas to get you thinking and focused instead:

1. Exercise. Use the endorphins that your body produces to think more clearly, to focus, and to power through. 2. Reading. If you're a writer, you may want to start your productivity reading some of the great writers that impact your emotion so you can channel their inspiration. 3. Taking notes. You can hone what you need to do by taking notes about what you want to accomplish to help you focus on your tasks ahead. 4. Walking. Going for a walk is an excellent way to get your clarity back. 5. Taking a shower. Self-explanatory. And use your scuba board to take notes or write them on your shower walls because you KNOW the ideas flow as soon as the water does.

Creating Your Triggers

Right now, what you already do is a habit. That means it's something you're going to have to break. And breaking habits SUCK. Focus, instead, on creating a new habit.

1. Decide what your trigger is going to be. 2. Write it down on a post-it note. 3. Stick that note on your keyboard everyday when you finish for a month so that everyday, when you sit down to work, you see the reminder until it's engrained. 4. Make sure you follow through with that trigger and flow straight from it into your work routine. Every time. 5. Enjoy your new focus and your new gains. Enjoy your successes.

There, you're losing time and focus by letting Loss Triggers start your day. Create your Success Triggers to create success.

What did you do when you first sat down to work today? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading...kick ass today!

Tania Dakka |Badass'D Biz+Ink

 

 

 

PS

You'll find more tips and tricks like this on April 15th when the Badass'D Biz+Ink CEO Handbook is released (title still in progress :p ) See you soon!

Photo Credit: jwinfred via Compfight cc

Kill Your Bad Mood in 5 Steps (and actually tick off a task or two)

Tania Dakka | Badass'D Biz+InkIf you don't feel like getting it done, who's going to do it?? No one. Except your competition. And who's going to reap the rewards? They will.

When the day's crap, you have a simple choice: Take it all or let someone else have it.

Then ask yourself, when you're done wallowing in the mire, was it worth it to let your mood win? And really that's what it boils down to, right? Mood. We let circumstances and emotions set our mood. And our mood determines our success.

Kill Your Bad Mood in 5 Steps

Yesterday was crap for me. I almost let my mood win. Almost. But I found a couple of tricks that helped me steal back my day and keep from chalking it up as a loss.

Disclosure: EVERYTHING didn't get done that needed to be done, BUT the most important tasks did so the whole day wasn't a loss. Use these tricks to head of your mood early and maybe claim more victory than I did. 

1. Pull your heart out. Don't assign emotions to everything that happens. When you're upset, other things tend to be magnified and thrown out of proportion and will negatively affect your achievements. So keep your heart out of the game – just for the day.

2. Schedule time to sulk. Yep. Sometimes I like to feel those emotions so I let that need to feel them be a reason to let them happen. DON'T. By acknowledging them and scheduling a time for them, you give yourself permission to feel them, but just on a better time table.

3. Move. No, you won't want to. But, again, with your heart out of the way, there's no dread. I certainly did NOT want to move yesterday, but I turned on Poundcake and did 5 minutes of high knees. After that? Much betteer! Turn on one of your favorite songs and let it get you going.

4. Force the biggest task you needed to accomplish. If you're writing something, make it a shitty draft that you can polish later. If it's reaching out to people, be sure to give yourself a little pep talk to remind yourself that whoever you're communicating with can feel your emotion, so fake it. ;)

5. Talk it up. If you're lucky enough to have an amazing friend who knows you almost as well as you know yourself (maybe even better), then get lost in a conversation that will lift those yucky feelings for a bit. Then, when you're done, jump right into your to-do list and get that next item taken care of.

At the end of the day, what you got done often influences your mood the next day, so do what you can to keep the day from being a complete loss, set up your new tasks for the next day, then go to bed on time with the vision of tomorrow being especially productive.

Oh, on a side note: Try to avoid crap food that makes you feel worse when you eat it and drink enough water (half your bodyweight) to stop Guilt from piling in on you.

Finally, KICK ASS. You're an entrepreneur, taking on your emotions will be one of the greatest accomplishments you can achieve.

Do you have any tricks for getting your head in the game and keeping your heart out of it? 

Kick ass this week!

Sig2

 

Automate Yourself & Your Biz and Run It Like a BOSS

Automate Your BusinessYesterday, Brogan (yeah, he’s reduced to his last name now...sorry, Dude) kicked my ass into gear. It was a painful kick because it’s the same kick my sweet hubby is CONSTANTLY giving me. My ass is a little sore, ya know? “Manage your time.” What??? I DOOOO. Gah! Well, I plan it. And I plan it well.

But I don’t execute it and my excuse is always because X came up or the babies needed Y. The keyword: excuse. And honestly, I’d have great plans in my head and on paper, but I sit down to the screen and get lost in the sea of crap I had open. OMG. The crap I had open.

Email. Google+. Facebook. Video lessons about web design. Hello?? Web design?? What? (It’s an intro course so I can know how to create buttons and crap. Who doesn’t need that??) :) I digress. SEE?? Sidetracked again.

So, wandering through all the shit open on my screen + production paralysis (you know, that fear that stops us from doing anything because we might not get it exactly right??) = zero done.

Small Business Habits

Then, it hit me. The gold we're learning in Mastering the Digital Channel needs to be in a binder where I can put my hands on them the same way that cubicle employees can put their own hands on their company's SOPs if they are ever inspected by some merciless agency.

So to figure out what other things should be in an SOP, I did what any respectful group owner does and asked my EntreFiends peeps: If you had an Standard Operating Procedure for your biz, what would be in it? I got very thoughtful answers like, “Clients first, Target Audience first too.....repeat!” From amazing Chicago photographer, Todd Nettelhorst.

Which is a great motto to operate on, but his (and the other answers) showed me no one knew what I meant by Standard Operating Procedure. It’s a term from corporate America that means a standardized way of getting shit done - you know, by the book.

And in places like the restaurant industry, it includes everything from the temps of the fridge to the smile on the hostesses faces. It’s a manual for the employees to know how to run the biz successfully.

So if corporate teaches employees how they want even these tiniest details done and succeeds at growing and moving forward, then why don’t we teach ourselves how we want to do things in our own businesses? You know, a handbook to keep us focused and on-track.

Welcome to the world, little Small Biz SOP. Never get lost in the Sea of To-Do again. With your SOP, you'll streamline your day-to-day operations so you get more done, book more clients, and never, ever stare at a blank screen again by focusing and creating habits around the things you have to do and leave out the things you don't.

So how do you come up with your biz's SOP?

Draw Up Your Biz’s SOP Today

First things first, you’ll need to block out a day to do this. Maybe two. When you sit down to get your SOP onto paper, you’ll have to list alllllll the things you do as a biz owner (marketing, education, helpworking, product creation, design, social media, blogging, email marketing, billing, accounting, meetings, etc.).

The, you're going to write out each task and what it entails. For example, marketing requires you’ll have to investigate ad options, generate ads, research, etc. So you’ll list the steps involved for each item in your SOP.

Now, set up a process for each activity so you’re always clear on what you need to do to and you never misstep. Once you’ve listed the activities and defined them, then comes the fun part: scheduling them.

How often are you (or should you be) blogging? Schedule it. Schedule the prewriting, writing, editing, and publishing on your calendar.

How often are you emailing? Schedule it. Same as with blogging: prewriting, writing, editing, and publishing.

When do you check email? Schedule it. (Don’t forget to set up a standard for this: DO it. Answer it. Delete it! And get out of email.)

When do you send invoices? Schedule it.

The whole point: Automate your biz. Take back your time. Kick ASS.

Now that you’ve gotten all of this done (or at least a version that you can adjust as you grow and learn what’s working and what’s not), USE it. Just like you would for a boss.

Because if you’re not running your biz like a BOSS, your biz is running you. Take control. NOW.

Losing is never an option.

 

TD

PS

Thanks for hanging today! I truly, truly appreciate your shares and comments! By the way, the survey is still open and your answers will help shape future products to help you get better at rockin' you biz. :) Oh, and if you're on the email list, you're 7 Copy Mistakes Stopping You from Scoring More Clients download, you should've gotten your copy! (If you're not, well, maybe you should join them and get yours :)) Hand over those 7 Copy Mistakes, Woman!

<3  :)

Virtual Content Creation Party!

You spend all your time working on client's projects, marketing to get more clients, and, let's not forget, taking care of everyone around you. But not on 12.1.12.

That day is just for YOU. I'm holding a Virtual Content Creation Party and I want you to join me! In case it sounds a little weird and you're not sure it's right for you, let me explain.

It's will be a day for you to invest in your About page and making it shine. A time for you to tweak your package offerings for the new year. A time for you to make sure that your business is going in the right direction with the right words for 2013.

Who's Crazy Idea is This??

HubSpot does this every so often with their employees. They volunteer to come in during off hours and collaborate in a group setting about what they're going to offer, how they're going to offer it, and developing the products they'll need for the campaigns they've come up with. It's crazy successful for them and it can be for you, too.

We can't all get together, so I'm holding a Virtual Content Creation Party instead! [Click to Tweet! Thanks!]

Because I'm doing a complete focal pivot in January (thanks to Batman!), I'm going to take Dec 1st as my day to tweak all the copy on the site and update for my new goals. If you're not pivoting, you can still update your info on your About, your Portfolio, or even your blog. Generate an editorial calendar for 2013 so you don't ever have to think about what you're going to write.

There's so much that you can do -- BUT you have to be prepared. That's it.

What Do I Have To Do?

Being prepared doesn't only apply to your content plans, but to your family.

December 1st is a Saturday, so that means kids are home and chaos will be swirling around you. But, this is one day. Just one. So lock yourself away - only after you feed them!

(HINT: Make dinner on Friday for Saturday. Prepare snacks for them before you start. Put drinks and everything ready in the fridge so all they have to do is grab without, "MAMA! I'm hungry!")

Prepare your family and prepare your plans so you can make efficient use of this time. What do you want to accomplish? What steps will help you do that? Etc. Know your strategy before December 1st. I'm thinking of holding a pow wow on Google Plus on Friday at 12pm for anyone wanting to brainstorm. (Let me know if you're interested.)

What's the Plan?

The party starts after you've had a balanced breakfast and spent a little time with the kids. Try to start around 8:30 or 9, though.

Plan on taking a break every 1.5 hours for 10 minutes to check in and stretch and get some fruit and water. Move around a bit and do some jumping jacks...ok, ok...forget the jumping jacks (do Burpees instead!).

When you check in, give a VERY brief description of what you've done and if you think you're on track - then GET OUT OF FACEBOOK. Do not read anyone else's progress. Do not take time to comment...those 10 minutes are for you to refresh your brain and move around and I promise you'll lose every one of them if you do anything more than leave your progress info.

Try to hang up your hat at 5pm - wherever you are. Then, drop back by the Facebook page and let us know how you did! You're going to feel so great getting these things done that you've been putting off for so long!

Cool! Where do I sign up?

RSVP by adding your name to the comments. And to join the party you have to do a few things:

1. Commit to ZERO email, phones, or social media(except for checking in with accomplishments)

2. Have a plan mapped out about what you want to focus on changing.

3. Check in on Facebook.

So I'll see you on Saturday - right??

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Tania

PS

PLEASE share this with your networks - I'm sure someone else you know would LOVE to have an excuse to focus on themselves for a day! Thanks!

With Damn Fine Words, I'd Be Unstoppable

You see, there’s this rockin’ writer named James Chartrand...and if you’re a freelancer, you know who she is. She is Men with Pens. And she teaches how to create Damn Fine Words so our businesses can grow.

That’s all I need. I’ve been slowly climbing out of my word rut for the past few months since starting this freelance biz, but I’m not climbing as fast as I’d like. So, while I’m making a good go of it right now - I know I can be better.

Writing is hard. Real hard. And this is the life I want. This is the life I need.

And there are three copywriters who rock my world these days: Sean Platt, James Chartrand, and Demian Farnworth (in zero order) and I want to be able to talk to any of them (given the opportunity) about writing or copywriting and not feel like I’m less or that my writing is less. Damn Fine Words would give me the confidence in my work to reach past that feeling and feel like I've made it beyond surviving.

There’s Another Reason I Need To Succeed

You know when you wake up and your world’s been turned upside down and the one thing you can think is “Now, it’s time.” You have no choice; you have to sink or swim because all of a sudden the tide’s sucking you under. I want James to teach me how to swim the Butterfly Stroke in record time. Because when all of a sudden you become the sole provider for a family of five, things go from day-at-the-beach to Cut-Throat Island and you've GOT to swim for the sharks.

And some mornings I wake up and wonder if I've made the right decision - yesterday was one of those mornings. I seriously considered shutting down Fit Freelancer - because I can't get past the sticking point that I'm in. I love my clients, everyone of them, but I want to graduate to writing content, sales letters and copywriting for the big guys, but I'm not sure I can. As a freelancer, it’s imperative my words reek of confidence and capability, but as a good writer friend of mine reminds (constantly), I stink. He says my words want to be confident, but it’s like they don’t know how to be.

Imagine a freelancer who has no confidence in her writing!

I’ve reached my earning potential in this game and I want need more. I need to push past my limitations so I can write words that move people into action. So I can put bread on the table. So I can become the freelancer I know I can be.

Freelancer’s Blood

When I wake in the morning, I want to work. When I sleep, I’d rather be working. When I eat, it’s usually at my screen. But, I’m limited by my time, my resources and my knowledge.

Damn Fine Words is my ticket to break through those limitations. (Click to Tweet! Thanks!!)

While I’m feeding the kids and getting them ready for school, at least I can rest assured knowing that I’ve been through a course - THE course for writers - and I’ve invested time in my education so I'll make the most of those minutes that I’ve been given writing stellar copy that brings clients back again and again. So I can reach past Craigslist and Elance and have the courage to market to the big businesses in town without thinking they won't use my services.

Ever since I ran across the Men With Pens site, I’ve been enamored with the eloquence that James articulates in each post, but the Damn Fine Words course has been and may always be beyond my means. She, Sean and Demian have a grasp on language that I dream of having. They have a grasp on the market that I know I'm capable of, but lack the tools to materialize.

And at $1,600 for 10 weeks, I can’t imagine putting off buying Pull-Ups so that I could have that opportunity.

But, if I were lucky enough to win one of Damn Fine Words scholarships, I know that I’d never have to worry about how many Pull-Ups we have left until the next pay day. Because I don’t take courses - I apply them. This blog is a direct result of Corbett Barr’s Start a Blog That Matters Course and I love him for it. I took every one of his words and applied them to my needs and viola! I ended up with kick-ass new digs and an awesome start to my freelance business.

Now, I want to soak up every word that James has to offer to push this business from good to “Holy Shit! She ROCKS!”

And that’s what I guarantee - if given this opportunity - my nose will be scarred from the grindstone and James’ work will forever burn in my head making sure that I’m no longer timid in my copy, but a real-life fire-breathing dragon copywriter extraordinaire who will finally be happily running a thriving freelance business instead of merely a surviving in this freelance business.

Thanks for reading all the way to this point. This was my entry into the Damn Fine Words course - wish me luck!!

Tania

The Truth About Freelancing (And How You Can Survive It)

You’re a lone island in a sea of freelancers. Everyone’s chasing their own potential clients. Marketing online and off. Writing. Editing. Sending invoices, writing up contracts.

You’ve Been Going It Alone

There’s little time for collaborating. And even less time for socializing - or human networking.

You’ve been doing it all alone all this time and it’s frustrating. You see big names in freelancing like Linda Formichelli (Check out her book "Get Unstuck!"- It's an awesome resource for freelancers) making a great go of it and you know you can do it, too. But, you’re just not there yet.

You struggle with finding that balance between home, life, and career that will make you successful - at all of them.

There’s no other way, but alone, is there?

That’s the Way It’s Always Been

That’s the way it’s supposed to be, right? Writers have always been solitary creatures. After all, as writers, we live in our heads, right?

We work ridiculous hours. Writing when everyone else is sleeping. Trying to put healthy food on the table for our families without falling back on the convenience crap. Cleaning whenever we can. Trying to stay caught up on laundry. And drowning each day in our to-do lists.

I don’t know about you, but I, myself, am a bit of a hard-head. I’ve always had this compulsion to do everything alone. “The house needs moving? Sure!! I’ll pick it up and move it myself tomorrow.” Yeah. Well, that’s the way I thought. I shouldn’t HAVE to ask for help, right?

How many jobs do you add to your to-do list that you could pass off to someone else, but don’t? {Click to Tweet!}

Is it necessary that you do all the laundry? Do you have to be the only one cooking? How many times have you sat and cried because you were just overloaded.

No man is an island.

Seek Support

Once I learned that asking for help wasn’t admitting weakness, I was ok. Once I understood that having a team meant that I’m more, not less, things changed.

Just because we’re hardwired for solitude or working alone, doesn’t mean that things have to always be done that way. Having someone to help you with anything that you can get help with makes you a stronger entrepreneur and a better freelancer.

Knowing when and how to get help makes you a freelancing entrepreneur who knows what it takes to succeed.

Support doesn’t always come in the form of help, either. Sometimes you just need a sounding board or human to talk to. Sometimes, you don’t or can’t get help, so support is your second best option.

Having someone to listen to you when you need to vent because your to-do list is bigger than you are alleviates stress and frustration so you can move on to the client or house work in front of you. Once your head is clear of the negativity or aggravation, you can focus and attack instead of feeling attacked.

Either way, whether you hire hands to help or seek shoulders to soak (ok, guys, maybe you don’t cry, but you need to spill it sometimes, too), freelancers need support.

Find the Support You Need

Get the help you need and be the ROCKSTAR you are.

At Home:

1. Babysitting: I refused to take our kids to daycare (damn hard-headedness). But a friend of the family needed work, so I took it as an opportunity to help and enlisted her help as a sitter. I stayed in the kitchen and worked while she played with the kids, took them outside, or even helped them do “learning pages” (read: Mama’s homework). She didn’t charge as much as a daycare and I limited the help to the days I needed it the most to maximize my money.

Action: Find a kid in your neighborhood or from one of the organizations you belong to and hire them to come and play with your kids while you work once or twice a week to give you a small break to work your hardest jobs.

2. Cooking: With chaotic stress levels, crazy assignments, and a demanding career, sometimes I just can’t get dinner on the table in time. That’s where my hubby comes in. In our house, it’s not his job and I don’t let him do it often, but when there’s work to be done, I’ll step aside and let him help.

Action: Planning ahead will make sure that everyone knows what’s on the menu, so there’s less effort to be put forth - and less complaints. :)

3. Cleaning: If your babies are old enough, give them a chore chart and a weekly assignment of keeping things picked up, their rooms clean and even helping clear tables or load and unload the dishwasher. The point is, it doesn’t all have to sit on your shoulders.

Action: Create a cleaning schedule and rotate everyone’s responsibilities. Choose a reward for the end of the week and always, always say thank you for working so hard to help our family!

Freelancing:

1. Taxes: I refuse to do my taxes myself. I have never and I will never. It costs more than I think it should, but that’s an area where I don’t want to take a chance. Unless you were an accountant, leave the math to someone who knows it and don’t waste your time, effort or energy on something you shouldn’t.

Action: Hire a local business accountant and go look for the cheapest route here...this is your future and your money you’re working with here.

2. Work you don’t do: If you’re a writer, hire out your editing and graphics. Don’t waste time on things that takes you forever, unless you’re David Wright and have the magical powers to throw together an AWESOME ebook cover in, like, 10 minutes, then you’re wasting time that you should be doing client work.

Action: Check Elance and Fiverr for more affordable help. Check your network, maybe you can partner with other freelancers and can work deals with each other. Hire college kids who are looking to make extra money, they often work fairly cheap.

3. Website Help: Your website will need to evolve just like you. And making changes takes time and energy. And if you don’t know coding or graphics, it doesn’t make sense to waste your time trying to do something others are trained to do. How many times have you seen those awesome sites and wished YOURS looked like that? That’s why you need a setup that’s complete...don’t take away any more time from your freelancing, get help and go pro.

Action: OutstandingSETUP has a rockin’, well, setup. For $20/month, they build, host, and support your site for you. They have super resources for making tweaks and changes fast and easy.

4. Social Media: How many days have you ignored your social media channels because you just don’t have the time to tend to it? Did you notice how your Facebook insights plummeted from your being absent? Social media is a monster that constantly needs feeding. Once I got my hands on the formula to bulk schedule in Hootsuite, I JUMPED on that monthly pro fee. It’s so worth it not to have to sweat social media every day.

Action: Get Hootsuite Pro and knock out your social media once a week. OR hire a virtual assistant or college student looking for work to schedule your social media for you.

All of these tips helped make freelancing and having a good life possible, but the one thing that tops all of them? The network that I’ve formed with other freelancers to help me get through it all. Having people listen to us that know what we do and how frayed we sometimes feel turns frustration into patience. So, if you take NO other lesson away from this, it’s this: Be human. Humans need to connect. We’re social creatures, so nurture that side of you and you’ll find your natural flow so you succeed.

So what’s the truth about freelancing? It’s hard. Really hard. And you can’t do it all and do it alone.

How strong is your network? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks for reading and have an awesome week! Tania

PS Don’t forget to sign up for the Fit Freelancer emails to help you ace freelancing and life, so you can ace it all! I send out emails once a week and only if I have something that I know will help you grow! Zero spam and zero time wasting:)

Outsourcing Graphics - A Review

fit freelancerNew sites need new digs, right? That's what I gots :). Are you running a new blog or website that  needs a new look for a launch or maybe you just want a new look for your your home sweet home on the web? There are a couple of services that I've been using that are tops. In the spirit of good Karma, I want to pass them along to you (i.e. these are not affiliate links :) ).

Logo Design by Blog Design Team

That snazzy new design in the header is the creation of Blog Design Team. Their tag is "When you're happy, we're happy!" And they take it seriously. However, if you take a look at their site, you wouldn't think so. It's a lot of fun there - you can tell they love what they do and they want you to, too.

When I first visited the site, I thought, "Hm, not sure about this, but ok..."   Once I told Liane what I wanted, she was quick to get back with me the next day with a first draft. I liked the look she gave it, but it wasn't quite "there" yet, you know? So I hit her back with an edit request. She happily responded with "No problem!" And the next day, she delivered the beauty that sits atop my webhome.

So if you're looking for a new look for your site, I highly recommend Blog Design Team. They're a pleasure to work with. They'll edit until they give you what you want. And they truly love what they do (just like you!).

Manifesto Graphics By FineArtGraphics

If you're a freelancer and you don't use Fiverr, you're wasting a lot of time doing things that you could be outsourcing - affordably. A writer friend tuned me into Fiverr and I've been stuck to it ever since. Most gigs are $5. Some may be more, depending on how complex they are.

When I needed some awesome affordable graphics for the Fit Freelancer Manifesto, I immediately went to my go-to Fiverr graphics girl, FineArtGraphics. She does great work and delivers what I want at a price I can afford. She recently started doing ebook covers, too! And as I understand it, those can get pretty pricey - check her gigs out before you go anywhere else.

There you go, these are a couple of the resources I use and they save me time, money, and headache! Freelancers need to be productive and if you're sweating over stuff you aren't awesome at, you're wasting time and that's wasting money! Check out these links to help you make your blog awesome!

What are you favorite tasks to outsource?

Know freelancers (or writerpreneurs) that could use some help with graphics? Share this post with them and your social networks (I'd really appreciate it!) by using the buttons below the post:)

Fit Freelancer is about thriving when life, fitness, and productivity collide - sign up for updates and start thriving today!

Have a beautiful day and thanks for stopping by!

The Only Tool You Need To Hack Your Body And Your Business

No Time To Do It All

Figuring out what you should eat and do to get fit can be exhausting.

You're a writerpreneur  and you're busy getting your career on track, too.

But, you don't have time to do it all.

Now, there's a solution that takes the guesswork out of it for you! BodyHack has this ROCKIN' new app that gives you access to meal guides, workout routines, tips and advice from people who have done it.

No more guesswork.

No more hours studying, reading, and planning only to tweak and start over (because you don't have time for that anyway, right?).

Why You Need It

I've got a major family vacation coming up this summer. And I want to get back into my best shape, but working like a donkey leaves me with very little energy for planning and research. And now I don't have to do it! I'm sooo stoked!

But, even if you don't have a big event coming up, you do have a business that depends on your fitness.

Your body and your mind are your business. Neglect them and neglect your strongest assets. Don't waste any more time trying to take care of yourself on your own...let BodyHack help you so you can get your body and mind fit TODAY!

This is not just a fitness app, but an awesome productivity app that will have you rockin' your clearest thinking and tightest body so you can rock your business, too.

What You'll Get When You Sign Up

For only £10 a month, BodyHack gives you complete access to success. You find someone that had similar goals to yours, then you sign up for their meal plans and workout routines. You'll get a weekly play-by-play with all their weekly stats, so you can see how it worked for them. You'll get access to tips and advice to help you along the way. And the best part is there's no contract to worry about. And they offer an awesome 30 day, no risk, money-back guarantee.

You CAN'T go wrong!

Check them out at BodyHack.com! And hook up with them on Twitter, too! (Note: This is NOT an affiliate link and the only one you'll benefit is you when you sign up!)

What are your hacks for mind/body fitness? Let me know in the comments!

And I'd love to connect with you on Twitter, Facebook, and G+, too!

(By the way, that's Julian of BodyHack in the pic up there. Proof positive the systems they offer work!)

 

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

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

7 Warning Signs That Your Craft Is Suffering

In the game of business, YOU are your star player.  Your health and fitness are the fuel for your game.  Sure, you have all sorts of excuses and reasons why you don’t have time to eat right or exercise, but what you’re doing is depleting a very precious reserve…your mind.  You can only run on coffee and fast food for a while, then your body suffers from it.  When your body suffers, so does your mind.  (You know the old adage “tired mind, tired body?”) But you claim that your busyness prevents you from shaping your act up.   That claim that holds zero water. 

Because we’re all busy. 

But craftmasters make time for nutrition and fitness.  You know Sonia Simone of Copyblogger?  How many tweets about going to workout on her treadmill have you read? How many times has Sean Platt mentioned his running game?  And let’s remember the conversation with Leo Babauta last week. 

These are top players in the field of entrepreneurialism.  They’re family people.  They’re super busy.  The difference?  They don’t make excuses. 

We’re all whateverpreneurs and owe it to our clients to produce the best that we can.  King Seth says “to ship.” But how can you ship if you have no fuel to power your vehicle for shipping? 

These are the 7 warning signs that your craft suffers from poor fuel sources:

  1. You fail to produce. 
  2. What you do produce falls flat.
  3. You can’t find your right audience/clients.
  4. Your clients/readers don't respond to you. 
  5. When it’s time to focus, you have none.
  6. You’re shipping second rate products.
  7. You lack the energy to study, strive, and succeed.

The fix: Focus.  Sharpen your mind with clean eating and exercise.  Eating right rids your body of the junk that clouds your thinking and exercising gives you the stamina to ship.

Eating right and exercise take time. 

They take effort.

You put forth the effort to reach your clients (readers, etc.), so why sell them short by not delivering the best products you can.  Because, if YOU don’t, they’ll eventually find someone who is. 

 You’re a Productive Creative. 

If you’re only surviving, your business isn’t thriving.

Eat clean.  Move mean. 

Which warning signs resonated with you?  Let's talk about them!

Thanks for reading!  This month we’re focusing on developing a habit of daily exercise to max our bodies’ and minds’ potentials.  If you have trouble squeezing it in, then join me on Facebook ,Twitter, or  G+ as I hound you into getting your “Minutes in Motion” in (Sounds much more pleasant than “exercise,” doesn’t it??) and don’t worry…I’m a very nice drill sergeant!  I’ll help you find the time to get it done each day with short challenges and ideas to help you become the best PC you can be!

Subscribe to the blog and I’ll send you a PC Productivity/Fitness Journal to help you track your progress with it all!

Let’s get moving!

Photo Credit: Yvonne E 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

Increase Your Productivity by Letting It Go

We get so hung up on doing things exactly right that we lose sight of the big picture.  Our clients, customers, readers want solutions...not perfection.  Some of us get so lost in the fact that something we put out may not be top-notch or cream-of-the-crop that we stop in our tracks...giving nothing instead. Aside from fear (of not being prfect) haunting us, some suffer from cluttered thinking.  Some of us even suffer from Comparison Syndrome or Self-Loathing Overload, among so many other plagues.  All of these restraints keep our thinking small.  Uncreative.  Unproduced.

Our people need our ideas.  They need our words, our numbers, or our wrenchs (for the creative handymen out there).  We cannot deliver the goods if we don't first try to produce it.

We have to let go of whatever is preventing the ideas from flooding in.  We're creatives and it's our job to be unique.

When you feel the need to check Twitter instead of writing, take that distraction out of your head and stomp on it...hard! (Wait, not your head!!  Stomp on the fear that is making you think you need to respond to that RT right NOW.)

Take the Productive Creative's Oath:

My work comes first.  I will not play on social media until I have reached my Productivity Goal for today.  I will not let a mythological idea like Writer's Block make me believe that I am stuck.  I will love myself as much as I love my family and the work that I do and will see the value in what I do no matter what naysayers lie in my head. 

Oh, and to get those creative juices really flowing like the great Niagra, I will sleep, eat right, and take breaks every 90 minutes. 

There you have it.  That's What's Up Wednesday for you...

Let go of everything.  Relax.

Love and trust yourself.

Make the most of your Productive Creativity.

I thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and read.  This month's focus is Minutes in Motion and you can join me on Twitter and Facebook for daily Focus Challenges to help stay healthy and creative!  Oh, and in appreciation for your signing up for the blog, I'll send you a Productive Creative's Journal to track your food, fitness, and productivity!

Thanks again and have a BEAUTIFUL day because you are!

 

Photo credit: Hawkexpress 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!