Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE Word Carnivals (October 2011 edition)

How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
10 perspectives from the bloggers of the world-famous
Word Carnivals (October 2011 edition)
Many thanks to the bloggers who contributed to this eBook:
Nick Armstrong, Small Business Storyteller
Clare Price, Find Your Online Voice
Sharon Hurley Hall, Get Paid to Write Online
evan Austin, Graphics (and more!) by evan austin
Ilana Rabinowitz, Marketing Without a Net
Annie Sisk, PJ Productivity
Beth Hayden, Blogging with Beth
Michelle Church, Virtually Distinguished
Eugene Farber, Reality Burst:
Nicole Fende, The Numbers Whisperer
Sandy McDonald, Why You Must Blog
Tea Silvestre, aka the Word Chef
Unless otherwise noted, each author retains the copyright to his/her work.
Please contact the author(s) if you would like to reprint or share
with your friends and colleagues.
Page | 1
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
Schadenfreude and Getting Sh!t Done –
A note to #OWS
By Nick Armstrong, Small Business Storyteller
Get to know this word - because it's the thing that may eventually cause your
movement to fail. It's a German word for the pleasure derived from the
misfortune of others. It's why TMZ is so popular, and it's why - despite evidence that
the economy is leading us directly towards a civil war - some folks continue to post
snarky comments about the Occupy Wall Street movement on Facebook, Twitter,
and giggle while the nightly news shows recaps #OWS arrests.
Let me be clear here: I do not want you to fail. I do want you to get a hell of a lot
more organized so you can do this thing right.
Schadenfreude only comes into play when there's an "us vs them" mentality. Our
enemy slips up. Someone much more wealthy or powerful than us gets caught doing
something naughty. We'd never be that silly. We could never do those things. But
when something happens to mom, dad, or our little sister, suddenly we can
empathize. It's personal - it's just as bad as if it happened to us.
While almost everybody could empathize with the feeling of not being able to pay a
bill, losing a job, or thinking that it's time to whack some high-level bankers like
piñatas until no more money falls out, here's the problem you're facing (and it's a big
one): occupying a park is not something that everybody can do. Most of the 99% still
has jobs (they might not be the best jobs, but we still have to work). A lot of the 99%
run their own businesses. And trust me, while I'd have no reservations about chilling
in a park all day, working on my laptop - a lot of folks don't have that kind of time or
luxury. Meanwhile, wewish we could do something to help, but we don't know what and then we get on with our day while you're getting zip-cuffed in the park.
So, while we should be empathizing with you, we end up dissociating from you
instead. You become "the protesters" and not Mary the 32 year old spinster who
barely scrapes by in her apartment on Prospect Road since losing her job at the bank
while her former CEO decides whether or not to buy a third gold-lined umbrella
holder at Bed, Bath, and I've Got Too Much Fuckin' Money. And it's not the media's
fault. Got it?
Don't believe me? What did I just say about a banker piñata? Didn't you get that,
"Hell yes" feeling? OK, how about if our banker's name is now Gary from Littleton,
father of two and avid donator and volunteer to the foodbank? Now it's a little harder
to justify whipping out the whiffle bat, right? He might be a rich prick at work, but I
can't shake down a volunteer dad of two.
Schadenfreude is what enables us to disconnect from our morals and
justify harm to marginalized groups. It's why ordinarily rational white folks
did nothing while black folks were getting firehosed for sitting in the wrong chair.
And it's why folks who should be supporting you may just be changing the channel
While a mass occupation is great and all - hey, it worked for Woodstock, right? you're running out of time to make this personal. You have a serious marketing
You desperately need a leader. Someone who can stand up - someone well-spoken and deliver a speech that makes these things personal. Remember Obama's 2008
Page | 3
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
campaign? He took this country by storm, and there was nothing anyone could do to
stop him. Why? Because he was the guy who understood our problems. The guy who
told us stories about people just like us - who came from roots just like us - and had a
plan to try and fix the problem. You need an Obama. And you need a plan.
What's #OWS's plan? I've been watching for a while now and I don't see one. If you
(and even if you aren't a part of the #OWS) want to get sh!t done, you have to get
The public's lack of activation for your cause is not a sign of laziness, but instead a
lack of clarity on how to help. Any project must have that clarity to succeed.
So here's a plan of action for you - and anyone else who wants to make something
happen - because you need it:
- Get Your Message Straight and Align it with What Your Audience
Wants to Hear: Stop the political preaching on your blog. We get it. Instead, I
want you to start posting the personal stories (video if you can) of every single
person you can - always include a photo - hopefully of the person with their family.
Once a day, non-stop. Use a secondary Tumblr blog if you have to. Make this thing
personal. For the titles of those blogs, first name, town name, age, and family stats.
- Get Your Message to the Right People and Be Consistent: Send these out
as press releases. Flood the media with them. Give Obama-type online talks and post
them online for all to see once a week.
- Develop the Right Platforms and Design a Clear Path: Create a newsletter.
Your website is not enough. Get people to sign up to your newsletter and give them a
weekly course of action, not just events or marches, but 5 small things they can do
that week to help the movement and raise awareness.
- Make Spreading the Message Simple: Create a guidebook that you can use to
educate the general public with stats directly from the Government on why things
are so bad. I'm also working on an ignite-style video with those same stats. Release
everything you do under Creative Commons so anyone can reprint and share it
without asking for permission.
- Generate Sympathy and Camaraderie: Nominate a leader in each city who
can speak for their movement. This person should be well-spoken, well-groomed,
and very sympathetic. No political preachers, no lecturers, just a plain-jane-family
guy or gal. Then have them share the stories that came out of the occupation that
day. Have them give a speech twice a week to rally support, to give followers a list of
tasks to take on that week.
- Find Allies to Help You: Start courting small businesses. Don't expect handouts
or freebies, but promise to shop in their stores in exchange for spreading the word or
standing by you if they get interviewed (or, better yet - ask them to do a video
interview for you and post it on the blog: the more business support you have, the
better you will do).
- Change Your Tactics to Leverage the Element of Surprise: Silence works
better than any other method of intimidation. Instead of loudly protesting outside of
a bank, instead, line up, side-by-side, five rows deep, and *stare* at folks who cross
the line. That's creepy as all hell and will get you all sorts of attention.
- Engage the Desire to Belong to Something: Give everyday joe's an ability to
show solidarity. A bumper sticker, a t-shirt, something... and a check-list of activities
to perform (ie: join a credit union, don't shop at xyz) so that we can help you, even if
we can't occupy with you (as an aside, this will help you raise some money to afford
to sit around in a park all day).
With all that even marginally attempted, Occupy Wall Street (and all the other
Occupy movements) would become an unstoppable force, so what's stopping you?
-(Header photo: Occupy Wall Street)
Page | 5
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
5 Tips to Get (Real) Work Done Every Day
By Ilana Rabinowitz, Marketing Without a Net
Raise your hand if your default day looks something like this:
Check email—both work and personal. Good morning! This is the first of
40 times you’ll check today. Frantically answer those emails you can quickly
dispense with.
Check Twitter. Retweet the best stuff. See what the 4 people who really
interest you are doing.
Check Facebook. Make sure that nothing earth shattering has happened while
you weren’t looking. Upload the pictures you took on your trip.
Check Google + to see if anyone found a link you haven’t found.
Comment or +1 something that someone posted.
Read some of the blog posts in your feed reader.
Check to see how much traffic you got to your blog.
(rinse and repeat)
The term “rat race” was coined before the internet existed but it aptly describes a day
that looks like this.
There are things I do to make sure I don’t get caught in that wheel:
1. Have a must do list
While my to do list consists of some rat race items, my must do list is comprised of 2-3
things I would just as soon put off but take concentration and time without distractions.
Knowing that I can’t finish a day without either completing or seriously chipping away
at my must do list, assures that the work that is easiest to put aside gets done—and it’s
usually the most productive work.
2. Never, never start the day at the computer
I realized that once I get sucked into email volleys and “checking” behaviors on social
networks, I can spend hours avoiding everything else. Most of that behavior is not
productive. It is a reaction to the balls that are being thrown at you and the built in
procrastination opportunities of the web.
3. Spend the first few minutes of the day sitting quietly, doing nothing.
I try to meditate for at least 10 minutes when I wake up. The half dreamy, just out of
sleep time of the day before my mind starts yammering at me is perfect for setting
the tone for a less-is-more approach to getting work done. Ideas slide into my
awareness, important things that I need to address present themselves.
4. Plan around my natural rhythms
I am a morning person. My mind is buzzing before noon. I feel more creative, more
able to plan and to write in the mornings. If I use the web to procrastinate in the
morning, I’m cooked. overwhelmed by later in the day to accomplish real,
productive, creative work. Knowing what time of day the different types of work can
be done makes me more efficient.
5. Sprint and pause
I first heard this concept of pacing yourself when I visited the Facebook offices. It
turns out that the “sprint and pause” approach has been proven by neuroscientists to
be the most effective way to work without burning out. You focus and work intently
for a period of time, then step away. Take a break. People usually lose steam after a
period of 90 minutes or so. Don’t force yourself to fight an uphill battle with your
Remember that the great ideas do not tend to come when you are staring a a
computer. They come in the quiet times, in the shower, when taking a walk or a run.
It’s like the white space in a design. Without that quiet, empty space, it’s nothing
more than noise.
What do you do to avoid the rat race and get real work done?
Page | 7
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
Stand Up For Greater Productivity
By evan austin of Graphics (and more!) by evan austin
My context as i approach this topic is that
i’m a full time parent and part time workfrom-home graphic designer and social
media helper. It’s EASY for me to get
distracted…in fact, it’s a rule of the game. i
started out trying to minimize and
eliminate distractions, but…
So my productivity tip #1 is:
Plan for Distractions
That’s right, EXPECT to be distracted and interrupted, and decide as best you can
ahead of time how you’ll handle those situations. Decide what’s worth being
interrupted for (Is it bleeding?) and how much time you can devote to such
distractions. As a creative person, i find that when i’m in a good artistic space you
BETTER NOT interrupt me, because that flow can be hard to get back into. On the
flip side, when i’m not feeling creative or inspired, i may need to initiate a creativityinducing distraction in order to find that flow (and not waste the client’s or my own
time struggling when it just ain’t happnin’!). There’s a lot already written about this
(My neighbor David Allen comes to mind), so i’ll leave it at that. Kind of surfacelevel, i know, but my focus for this article is on long-term productivity.
i recently had the amazing fortune to purchase my first home, and it >GASP!< has
enough rooms that i get my own office! Finally, i at least have a physical space that i
can set up specifically to suit my working needs...and shut myself off in when
needed. Just previous to that move, i had been reading about and experimenting
with a standing workstation. There's a lot out there about this, and the spectrum
seems to be from "Good GAWD, how could you stand up ALL day?!?" to "Sitting
down is killing you!". As with most polarized issues, both ends hold some measure of
truth, while the healthiest answer lies somewhere in the middle. My experience of
setting up a temporary standing station (literally a stack of books and boxes to get
the monitor to the right height) was that it felt great in my legs, back and
shoulders...exactly where the strains are of the admittedly unnatural position of
sitting. Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple has a really great article detailing
why this is, and what to do about it. An excerpt:
But what chairs actually do is make sitting in a harmful, slumped-over position for a
dangerously long period of time possible. We bypass our built-in feedback system
(you know – pain, fatigue, a sore back) that would usually direct us to correct our
posture (or even, maybe, stand up and move around) and we’re able to sit relatively
pain-free for hours on end – but the damage is being done. We’re getting
progressively weaker and more reliant on the backing of the chair, and when we’re in
a sitting situation without added back support, we can’t handle it. Instead of sitting
erect shoulders back, back strong and straight, head held high, we just slump over
and use the curvature of our spine to support our bodies. If you don’t believe me,
start watching for it.
So i knew i wanted an actual standing workstation in my new office. The trouble was
that my internet search for how to make this happen had just two results:
1. Buy One for hundreds to thousands of dollars, or
2. Make One by stacking boxes, books, and other
discarded office paraphernalia.
Neither of those options appealed to me, so i designed
my own and paid a carpenter friend to build it. Again, the
solution ended up being somewhere in the middle of the
two extremes. i started with an oak entertainment center
that was no longer in use, and figured out the exact height
Page | 9
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
it needed to be cut down to so that when my laptop sits on it, the screen is the right
height – my eyes are even with the top of the screen, so that i’m looking ever-soslightly downward when i’m working. [NOTE: this design is not adjustable, so the
monitor is perfect for me only...not so great for my 5'1" wife.] We also redesigned one
of the existing shelves to slide in and out (which places my eyes at the correct
distance from the screen), and placed it at the exact height so that when i’m using my
keyboard my elbows are at my sides and close to 90˚ angles and my wrists are
Clearly, all of this is better for my body,
especially as i intend to make a career out of
being in front a computer for most of my
working time (i eventually invested in a
good ergonomic split keyboard as well), but
even after a full day, my legs and feet are
still TIRED. So the real genius – that
powerful solution between the two extremes
– is that i ALSO have a sitting workstation. It’s got an older desktop computer at it,
but that’s mostly the “family computer”. i sit there when i’m making phone calls or
when i use the slide-out keyboard tray as a writing or drawing desk. The answer is to
mix it up, to vary your body’s positions and levels of activity throughout the day.
Now, i must make sure to acknowledge that this is a somewhat luxurious setup. Like
i mentioned, having the proper space and resources and know-how to put this all
together was not mine right out of the proverbial box…i definitely had to work my
way up to it. But having acquired said resources, NOT choosing to make these
valuable changes would have been foolish.
But what does all of this have to do with productivity?
There are two main ways in which using a standing workstation improves my
productivity: immediate and long-term.
• Immediate – As i mentioned, i have kids and i work from home…so i literally get
called upon to leap into various types of action all the time. When i was sitting, i
felt much more entrenched in my little work-pod, and getting up meant thrusting
away from my desk on wheels that rolled less and less well over time, and hauling
myself up into a new body position. When i’m standing up to work, i’m already
more than halfway there when i need to break away to do something else quickly.
My blood is already circulating the way and where it’s supposed to and i’m already
nimble and limber. “Hey Dad, I just broke a glass!” I’m on it. “Dad, I need you to
wipe my butt.” Bam, done. (My office is also adjacent to a bathroom. Nevermind.)
Standing while i work minimizes the time that distractions and interruptions take,
which in turn minimizes the amount of time and effort it takes to slip back into
work mode.
• Long-Term – i hope it seems obvious, but investing in healthy working habits
and an office structure that supports my body’s needs means that i’ll be ABLE TO
BE PRODUCTIVE for a longer time – not just during a given day, but over my
working career. The standing station (and the sitting option) is not the total
solution, and i’ve written about several other quick, easy tips for prolonging your
body’s productive life HERE. Here’s to your health, and please let me know what
ergonomic/productivity changes you’ve experimented with or even just pondered,
or those you’ll make in the future!
Page | 11
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
How To Get Your Writer Marketing Done In An
Hour A Week
by SHARON HURLEY HALL, Get Paid to Write Online
Want to put bread on the table? Market
your writing services efficiently with these
productivity tips.
My Marketing Mantra
We already know some of the tasks we
need to do (check out my Promotion is
Free series for a heads-up) but what
about making the time to do it? I know
from my own experience that in the past at busy times I made less time for
marketing and at quiet times I marketed like crazy because I had more time on my
hands. That’s bass-ackwards, if you’ll pardon the expression. When you’re busy
you need to market so you are never quiet. When you are quiet, it’s
already too late.
So what do you do? The answer is really simple: make the time. When something is
really important to you, you usually make the time to do it. The health of your
writing business should be important to you, so make the time to keep it healthy by
injecting regular doses of new business. In other words, market and promote.
Set aside a chunk of time each week, either a big block once a week or a shorter time
daily that’s dedicated to marketing your services. Then market and promote.
Methods of Marketing
There are all kinds of ways to do this.
Taking part in a blog carnival like the one I’m in today is one way because lots of new
people will see what you write. Making connections with new people can extend your
Page | 13
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
reach. It puts your name out there without too much effort on your part. Write a
post, tweet about it, comment on a few other posts. Time required – maybe 1 hour
which adds up to about 12 minutes a week per post.
Showcase your expertise on high traffic sites such as LinkedIn Answers, Quora and
more – see what’s being asked in your niche and respond. I have to admit that I don’t
use this as much as I might, but when I do, it pays off. Someone saw one of my
answers on Quora and approached me about a writing job. Although it didn’t work
out in the end, it showed that I was visible. You only have to spend a few minutes a
day doing this, especially if you are selective about what you respond to. Pick the
questions that you are already an expert in and you won’t have to think too hard.
Rinse and repeat for other social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Time
required: no more than 30 minutes a time, and you could get away with 15.
Tweak and optimize your professional website. This can be a timesink – don’t ask me
how I know {groan} but it’s well worth doing. Make sure that it shows your skills and
abilities to best advantage and makes it easy for people to contact you. One of my
new clients was browsing around my site and found a testimonial for some site
content I’d written for a cake decorator. On the strength of that she got in touch and
asked me to rewrite hers. Testimonials sell your services without too much work and
I’ve got a video explaining how I use a simple questionnaire to get a good
testimonial. It’s also useful to update your site with new stuff you have done. Time
required: 30 minutes every couple of weeks or 15 minutes a week (it should be
more, but that’s about what I do.)
Guest blog. I’m a big fan of guest blogging for promotion (as well as having fun with
writing). Not only is it an easy way to showcase your ability to write about a wide
range of topics – or to showcase your expertise in your niche, take your pick – but if
you’re smart you can also market yourself subtly. It’s all in the way you respond to
comments. I write a lot about writing and blogging (as well as a whole lot of other
things), so when I respond to comments I include something that shows I know what
I’m talking about. I might refer to the length of my writing career or a relevant
experience I had. I’m providing value to the commenter and the blog host, but other
people who read my comments will also get a taste of what I can do. Time required:
1-2 hours depending on writing time and number of comments. That means about
12 minutes a week per post.
So what does that add up to? If you’re only doing each of these once each week, you
would spend just under an hour a week on marketing. And you could do more and
get even more benefit, because isn’t it worth it to spend a couple of hours of your
time each week on marketing your services?
Productivity Tips
And just in case you’re having trouble making the time because you are too busy
writing, here’s a list of some of our previous tips on writing productivity:
• Are You A Productive Writer?
• Are You Writing In The Most Efficient Way Possible?
• Be More Productive with Office Time
• Stop Multitasking from Killing Your Productivity
• Personal Productivity: An Interim Report
• Declutter to Improve Writing Productivity
What do you find most effective in marketing your business services?
(Image: chotda)
Page | 15
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
Productivity: big picture, percentages, steel spine
and a list of three!
By Sandy McDonald, Why You Must Blog
Create a seriously big picture plan, fall in love with percentages, develop a spine of
steel, work in lists of three, and you got your productivity sorted!
National levels of productivity as
defined by such weighty terms
as GDP per hour worked,
showed that the rest of the
world lagged well behind
Luxembourg in the 2007 OECD
Now what do the good burghers
of Luxembourg have over the
rest of us, that their productivity
levels are nearly twice that of
many other countries in the
Analysis of the national
characteristic of those
Luxembourgeois, (true, I looked it up!), which contribute to this remarkable
achievement might be better left to social economists, more qualified to comment than
However, the point of that somewhat tortured introduction, was to posit the theory that
none of these statistics would reflect the ocean of sweat represented by small businesses’
prodigious effort to pay themselves and an army of outsourcers.
Productivity and small business
No, our productivity and how it impacts on our lives today, and into the future, is left to
our own efforts to improve. Variously, and with wildly differing success rates.
Speak to any small business person or business owner operator. They are universally
overwhelmed. If they aren’t, it’s rarely because they have their _ together.
They may be managing current business. But if that’s only paying the bills, then there’s a
gaping hole in what must be achieved to build the business, or transition it, or succeed
from it.
The push pull of the Internet
We laud, love and could not do without the Internet as a source of endless opportunity
and increased productivity. It’s also a massive contributor to business owner
It offers us effective relationship marketing systems, automated process solutions and a
constant kaleidoscope of life-changing information on the one hand. And the frustration
of unrealised opportunity, information overload and distraction on the other.
So what do we in small business do, both online and offline, to forever alter our
productivity levels toward more output for less work, while leveraging this remarkable
First – the seriously big picture – create a succession plan
If you start and continue in business without having a succession plan, you are doing
yourself a disservice. The creation and implementation of a succession plan forces you
to come to terms with a number of important facets of your life, not just your business:
1. How long do you want to work?
2. How much money do you need to retire/do something else?
3. What would you do, if you could do something else?
Page | 17
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
4. Is your business saleable or could it be taken over?
5. If not, can you make it?
6. Who would buy it/take it over and are they in your business already?
7. What do you need to do to foster that outcome?
8. What are you doing right, or could improve, on to achieve this?
9. What could you do now that might provide you residual income into the future?
Answering these questions is a whole-of-life focusing exercise.
You may be decades away from retiring, or changing what you do, but if you plan for
succession, you start to focus on those activities that will achieve those long term goals.
You have created a vision and it’s relevance to you and your life into the future.
Fall in love with percentages
One of the problems of condensing your succession plan into 10 years rather than 30 is
that the pressure increases exponentially. A good reason to do it sooner rather than
later. If you are pushed and pulled in divergent and distracting directions, your
productivity dissipates at an alarming speed.
My mentor, a man of 70, sat me down recently. You are juggling way too many balls in
the air, he said, focus must be your mantra. Here’s how he helped me, and it was all
about percentages.
First, I needed to supplement our living costs to pay the bills. He worked with me to
understand exactly how much of my week should be devoted to that task, given how
much income is required in a week. I work 60 hours a week. We allocated a percentage
to this activity – 60% of my time or 36 hours a week.
Establishing a routine where client tasks alone occupy 60% of my day from 8-2pm, has
focused my attention. So to be super effective in that allocated time, there is much I have
come to grips with.
1. No more email alerts. I only open emails before 2pm if I know there is client
correspondence in there, otherwise they are ignored.
2. A list of three, (more about that later)
3. No rabbit holes
4. A necessity to work successfully with selected outsourcers.
Second, there is the activity to build an authority blog (about blogging) and an online
As this activity gives my offline business credibility, it’s in synergy with earning a living.
It also has the potential to earn a reasonable residual income. We allocated it 20% of the
time to this -12 hours.
This has been hard, as it has meant sticking only to what I must do, rather than what I
would love to do. None the less, the blog continues to build as does the community.
Important note: If you are getting the essentials done, then do not to berate yourself
about the things left undone. Feelings of guilt are so enervating and counterproductive
to productivity.
Third, there is the pursuit of residual income through speaking and internet marketing
activities. I had this pegged as the most important, but with out ongoing cash-flow, then
very little else is possible. The balance of 20%, the remaining 12 hours are devoted to
This has required the most discipline. As anyone knows working online, there will never
be enough time in a lifetime to absorb, learn, decipher, select, act on and work the
opportunities available online.
So I have chosen one pathway only, that works with our skill sets – Kindle Publishing.
Whatever sits well with your skills, that matches your interest and passion, just choose
that and get really good at it. It’s always about application and persistence. The
grasshopper syndrome is not good for productivity at all.
Page | 19
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
Spine of steel
Simple. If you only have an allocated number of hours a week, then stop working for
free. Only work for those clients that value you and will pay you what you’re worth. Ask
upfront for what you’re worth or have the courage to say no. Get paid. Develop a spine of
Nothing is more likely to take your productivity and hurl it out of the window, then
working hard and not getting paid. If this is a difficult area for you, get a coach. It will
pay way more than it costs to resolve any business issues you have, with a coach.
List of three
Some of us are list addicts. Others carry everything in their head. This is a good system
for both to keep you focused, tackling the hardest tasks first and keeping your
productivity finely tuned each day.
At the end of your working week go through your lists or everything you have still to do.
Write a fresh list of everything that was not done, in no particular order.
Add to it everything you have to do the following week.
On the first day of your working week, select the top three, the absolute must-do items
from that list. If they are complex items write against each, the three things that must be
done to achieve it. Once you have completed those, and if you still have time left, add the
next three to the list.
If you have clients, then educate them not to expect unrealistic timeframes. That way
you can juggle the lists to ensure you have not set an expectation you cannot meet.
There is nothing more rewarding, energising and productive, then ticking off the most
important things you need to have done in a day. You can sleep easy knowing that you
got your _ done today!
And always leave time to blog or learn to blog!
Sorry Woody! It Ain’t Just About Showing Up
By Clare Price, Find Your Online Voice
Comedian Woody Allen once famously
said: “80 percent of success is showing up.”
Well, as much as I am a fan of Woody
Allen, I beg to differ on this one. I don’t
believe 80 percent of success is showing
up, it is stepping up.
To me, that means four things:
1. Owning the goal, the challenge and
the solution.
2. Committing to doing what it takes for as long as it takes to reach the goal you
have set for yourself and your team.
3. Avoiding short cuts that may get you to the finish line faster but compromise the
quality and integrity of the work you are producing.
4. Do the hard part first.
OWN IT. Whether you are working solo, as part of a team or leading the effort for
your company, take responsibility for the entire project, not just your part, the whole
thing. That doesn’t mean you have to control it or everyone on it because really you
can’t. What it does mean is to be constantly seeking fresh ideas, be willing to
experiment with new approaches, and always be looking for ways to lighten the load
for your teammates.
Page | 21
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
COMMIT TO IT. Commit for the long haul. This is especially important for small
business owners who are working on tasks, like marketing and sales, which might be
outside their comfort zone. It is natural to try something a few times and if you don’t
see the results you want fast enough to veer off in another direction. Unless you have
a great reason and verifiable data to back it up, don’t give up on your goal. You may
need to change tactics but don’t give up on the goal. Being productive means
producing results and you can’t do that if you give up on your goal before you reach
AVOID SHORTCUTS. I’m all for working smarter not harder. I’m always seeking
ways to do a project faster and better as long as it provides great results for my
clients. I’m the last one to stick to the tried and true just because it worked last time.
However, there’s a big difference between working smarter and cutting corners.
Doing a job too fast, skipping a step, creating a workaround simply to avoid doing a
task you just don’t feel like doing are all common ways to cut corners. Cutting
corners will almost always come back to bite you in the “you know what.” And,
speaking of being more productive, most of the time that corner you cut will mean
the project takes longer or costs more in the long run.
DO THE HARD PART FIRST. I learned this one from an engineering manager I
worked with when we were building new software products together. When we laid
out the tasks and timeline, he always chose to tackle the most difficult task first. By
using that method, we not only got an important part of the project completed at the
time when we had the most enthusiasm and energy for it, the rest of the project went
more smoothly because we had gotten the first big boulder out of the way.
That’s why productivity is not just about showing up, it’s about stepping up. I’d love to
hear about the ways that you’ve stepped up in your life and business. Please comment
and share your insights and wisdom. I look forward to hearing from you!
The Greatest Business Productivity Blog Post
By Annie Sisk, Pajama Productivity
No reason. ::shrug:: I just like cows.
OK. Probably not.
So, this is the PJP post for the October Word Carnival. And the subject is
“productivity.” And as you might imagine, I’m particularly feeling the pressure on
this one.
Must. Produce. Brilliantly.
Page | 23
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
Eep. Here we go.
All month long I’ve been writing about productivity (duh – it’s in the name, genius, I
say to myself) from a business owner’s perspective. The basics — the big picture —
the forest, if you will.
Now, it’s time for the trees.
1. Get Clear On What True Productivity Really Is.
Here’s a hint: it’s not just getting shit done. It’s about producing something. When
most folks talk about feeling lost or overwhelmed, or are having trouble getting their
crap together? They’re quite often suffering from a disconnect between what they
want and what they do on an average day. That is a key symptom of checklist-itis, the
pathological focus on scratching off items from a to-do list.
2. Get Enough Sleep.
There is a reason torturers use sleep deprivation. Because it works, is why. Ask any
new parent. A few nights of less than adequate sleep will make you forgetful. A few
weeks of it? Will make you say or do anything. You cannot afford this condition. You
have a business to run.
3. Eat Your Veggies. And Your Protein.
Do we really need to go over a healthful diet here? Fine. Go here. Pick your approach.
Follow it. If you need further help, click here and find a dietitian near you. It’s time
to grow up. Snickers and Cheetos will not cut it anymore. You need serious fuel for
your body and your mind if you’re serious about becoming truly productive.
4. Get Some Exercise Daily.
There is nothing on this earth that will produce as much consistent physical and
mental energy as exercise. You don’t have to go all Tae-Bo on yourself. Take a brisk
walk every day. Do some yoga every day. Whatever gets you moving — but move.
Every day.
5. Know Your Values.
Your values feed your vision. Your vision dictates your goals. And your goals dictate
your actions. Want to get more tasks done? Start at the macro level. Not sure what
your values are? This post lays it all out, and even provides a helpful worksheet you
can download and use.
6. Clarify Your Vision.
A clear, realistic, and inspiring vision not only helps you figure out where you’re
going and how to get there — it keeps you motivated over the rough patches.
Motivation fuels your discipline, which is necessary stuff if you want to actually
produce something worth the trouble of creating. The vision exercise in the
worksheet found here will help you achieve some much-needed clarity on that vision.
7. Have ONE LIST.
You can have as many sublists as you like, but you should keep one and only one todo list with everything you’ve obligated yourself to do, in every single area of your
life. You can organize it by “contexts” (as Getting Things Done calls it) or by project
or by priority or by area or alphabetically or whatever system floats your boat. But
have ONE LIST.
8. Keep That One List Current.
If you find yourself hurriedly updating your to-do list a few days a week, wondering
“What the hell was that thing I told that person I’d do by tomorrow…?!?!” then this
one’s especially important for you. Write your stuff down as it happens. If you cannot
possibly get to your list (say, because you’re out of the house and you keep it on your
computer), then you need a back-up system. Easy fix: a cheap 99-cent spiral pocket
notebook you carry with you everywhere and write one thing down per page when
you’re away from the big list. Then, when you get back, update the list from the backup system. Do it at least daily and this becomes a very simple and quick task.
Page | 25
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
9. Be Really Freaking Picky With Your List.
Your list is the record of your commitments. Do not let anything on to that list that
doesn’t further a goal or isn’t absolutely required by virtue of parenthood, marital
vows, or sheer necessity to keep yourself breathing.
10. Have Some Freaking Integrity.
See #9 above. If it’s on your list, and especially if it’s got a deadline attached to it, do
it. Your reputation is a fragile little thing. Protect it like a mama bear.
11. Learn To Read Your Own Signals.
Your body will know when you’re about to get in trouble, much sooner than your
conscious brain will. Listen to what it’s telling you, and deal with emergent situations
before they turn into emergencies.
12. Adopt the Two-Minute Rule.
As a task crosses your consciousness and before you write it down on the list, ask
yourself if it takes less than two minutes to do. If so, do it right then and there. This
will eliminate the whole “overwhelmed by a shit-ton of picky little stupid stuff” thing.
13. Do the HOP Test Every Single Morning.
HOP stands for Head-On-Pillow. The HOP test is simply this: at the beginning of
your day, project yourself forward to the end of the day as you place your head on the
pillow, and ask yourself this: “Which of these dozens of things I have to do will keep
me up tonight when I put my head on the pillow if it’s not done?” Move heaven and
earth to get those things done today.
14. Deal With Email.
There are dozens of “how to manage your inbox” posts out there. At some point in
the future, there will be one on this blog, too, most likely. But whatever system you
adopt, make sure it includes this one rule: Set three times to check email during the
day. Only three. Deal with your email only during those times. Turn off all
notification systems in between those times.
15. Get Off the Answer-The-Phone Merry-Go-Round.
Returning calls within 24 hours should suffice for most conversations, except those
calls from your kids’ school, your doctor, and your spouse. OK, and sometimes there
are other calls that need to be answered immediately, granted (grudgingly). But most
calls do not need to be returned ASAP. If you’re working, and someone calls who’s
not on that A list? Consider returning all calls at one time. Say, after lunch.
16. Train Your Clients and Team Members.
Whatever rules you adopt, especially with respect to #s 14 and 15, make sure you
train your clients and team members accordingly. Otherwise, you’ll get piled-up,
increasingly-frantic emails and voice mails over the course of the three hours it takes
you to respond. What can I say? People are weird.
17. ID and Deal With Overwhelm Immediately.
When you start getting panicked over your commitments (either complexity or
number of), don’t put off dealing with it. Identify the source of the overwhelm and
deal with it immediately. Like, NOW. Ask for help, create a research plan,
renegotiate unnecessary obligations, whatever needs to be done to get you back on
track. Because it’s kind of hard to be ruthlessly & truly productive when you’re trying
really hard not to have a heart attack.
18. Review.
Ah, the review. The greatest productivity routine of all time. I do a daily review every
morning (reviewing upcoming deadlines, appointments, and the task list) and every
night (debriefing how I did that day, looking ahead to the day tomorrow). It takes a
total of ten minutes out of my day but keeps me from being surprised by crap I forgot
about. I also do a week-end review which takes about thirty minutes total. I cannot
recommend it strongly enough.
Page | 27
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
19. Outsource and Delegate Whenever You Can.
Look, there are things we do well, and things we don’t do well. The list of what I
don’t do well would fill the freaking phone book. You have a choice to make when
you’re running your own business. You can either tackle the stuff you’re not good at
yourself, or you can hire someone else to do it for you. You choose the former, and
you risk making yourself crazy, delaying other necessary tasks (the stuff you do do
well), or you can choose the latter, and get it done much faster and much more
accurately. This is a no-brainer.
20. Deal With the Unsexy Stuff NOW.
By “unsexy stuff,” of course, I’m referring to the crap none of us really like. The
legalities. The insurance stuff. The tax crap. You know, the things that can PUT YOU
OUT OF BUSINESS. Deal with it. NOW. (See #19.)
21. Use Your Calendar App Promiscuously.
That little insignificant app that came with your computer? Is POWERFUL STUFF.
Especially that alert/reminder feature. Every time a deadline comes up, I plug it in,
with a one-week, three-day, and one-day reminder.
22. Know Your Distractions and Mow ‘Em Down Ruthlessly.
What’s your poison? For me, it’s Law & Order reruns. Sigh. KILL THEM DEAD.
Show no mercy. Or …
23. Reward Yourself BIG.
… you can use your favorite distractions as rewards. Or your favorite treats. But
reward yourself for staying on task. And if it’s a big task, it requires a BIG reward.
Seriously. Who said this “productive responsible business owner” stuff can’t be fun,
What’s Your Best Tip?
I’ll be updating this post with more reference links periodically in the future, as I
write more articles. I may even update the list itself — hey, I never said I know
everything about being productive. (That would be … kinda sad, actually.)
Page | 29
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
6 Ways to Get Your S*^T Done!
By Eugene Farber, Reality Burst
People often have grandiose goals of conquering the world and being the next Bill
The thing that differentiates those that accomplish from those that don't is that those
that accomplish do. They act. They produce.
Productivity is an issue that many people face. That is why many looking to start
their own businesses fail. When you are out on your own you have to produce. When
you are working for someone else...let's face can coast.
1. Create Goals
Before you set off on your journey to get s*&t done you need to figure out what it is
that you are trying to accomplish. You're not going to just sit down and get struck
with an idea of what to do next (although you may...who knows).
So, before you sit down to work, identify what you want the end outcome of your
work to be and what you want to accomplish.
2. Brainstorm
Now that you have the end in sight, think about how you are going to get there. Build
a road map for yourself. What actions do you have to take now, to get to the
preferred outcome down the line.
For example, if you are trying to build an email list you can create a free ebook or
maybe hold a webinar. The options are endless. Jot them down.
3. Break Down the Goals
Try to break things down into their simplest form as much as possible.
Accomplishing small goals is always easier than accomplishing huge goals. You get to
the big one by performing small steps one-by-one.
A smaller goal is also easier to focus on, and is easier on you psychologically. I've
written before about the importance of under-planning.
You will end the day feeling better if you under-plan and over-accomplish rather
than over-plan and under-accomplish. This decreases stress, which is a productivity
Smaller goals also allow you to play around with the Pomodoro Technique. This is a
technique where you break up your work into smaller chunks and take breaks in
This is supposed to keep you fresh, sharp and productive. But a word of caution...
Page | 31
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
Writing is a curious thing. Don't take breaks if you are in the writing "hot zone."
Keep writing. You can always double up on breaks later :).
4. Schedule
So you know what you want to do and the small steps you're going to perform to get
Now schedule out when you're going to do all this. This also becomes important if
you do decide to try out something like the Pomodoro Technique.
Sticking to your schedule also keeps you from wasting time on unproductive
activities. This are things like checking your email uncontrollably and spending
hours hanging around Facebook instead of doing work.
But remember to stick to the schedule!
5. Automate
Any time you can automate an activity, you are freeing up time to accomplish
something else.
Scheduling actions in bulk can take care of processes you need to complete in one
sitting. For instance, there are tools to schedule tweets. You can spend a little time
scheduling your tweets for the next couple of days or the entire week and focus on
other work the rest of the time.
If you are in your writing "hot zone" you can type up several posts at once and
schedule them in WordPress to post at some time in the future. This is especially
handy if you are writing for more than one blog/site.
Taking care of the writing for one site in one sitting also gives you the opportunity to
spend the near future for other work (i.e. creating a paid product, writing guest posts
for promotion, etc.).
6. Take Notes
Actually working (i.e. not watching TV) stimulates your brain.
That means that in the midst of your work, you may come up with lots of great ideas.
Perfect! Don't ignore them, but don't let them distract you either.
Jot down the note immediately and keep going with what you were doing before.
This ensures that you won't forget your great idea later, and also gives you the peace
of mind that your idea is written down and you can come back to it later (so you can
focus on the work at hand).
Page | 33
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
Get ‘er Done: Write Your Marketing Copy and
By Tea Silvestre, the Word Chef
You’re just like me.
A small business owner who doesn’t have their own marketing department (or who can’t
afford to hire an expert).
Who wears all the hats and later wonders why you have a “bad case of hat head” (as one
of my clients likes to say).
2011 (C) Tea Silvestre, Word Chef
And whose arms are not quite long enough to get all the way around the proverbial load
you’ve got to carry.
Yep. It’s a struggle. But it comes with the entrepreneurial territory.
And usually, it’s the result (we believe) of having way too many kick-ass ideas, and not
enough time to execute.
I’ll confess. I feel that way most of the time, too.
But logically, I know it’s really all about focus. Oh, yeah. And having a process to play
that focus out.
We’re All Different
Disclaimer: What works for me, may or may not work for you. So think about what your
strengths and weaknesses are and how you like to work:
• Are you a morning person? Or a night owl? When does your brain work best?
• Do you prefer to write with a pen? Or on the computer? Or would you rather talk
your ideas out? How do you get the best flow?
• Are you a confident writer? Or are you still learning? What skills do you need to
Now, read through the list below, keeping your answers in mind.
I’ve also included some tips from some of my writer/blogger heroes (received via Twitter). They really
know how to get it done!
@teasilvestre to not be on Twitter :) Not too far from the truth. Get rid of
distractions and sit down and DO IT. Via @RedheadWriting (Erika Napoletano)
Choose a few suggestions that feel right. And then make your To Do list and plan out
how you’ll implement.
Page | 35
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
7 Tips for Writing When You Don’t Have Enough Time
Get organized and create a plan. The only way you’ll ever be able to push your creativity
into the “production” zone, is with a plan. That means you’ve got to do things like:
1. Block out time on your calendar (set an actual appointment with yourself) to
write. Set aside at least 30 minutes (I like to have 1.5 hours) at whatever time
of day you’re at your best (creatively speaking). Make that time sacred. It’s
yours. It’s for your business. And it needs to happen. But don’t go longer than
90 minutes at a stretch. Especially if you’re not a marathon writer. The brain
can only focus for so long before it overloads. And you’ll know you’re at
overload when you start craving chocolate or feel the need to check your email.
2. Find more time. We all have the same 24 hours. If your business is
important to you, you’ll sometimes need to give something else up. Or, hire
someone and delegate some of the things you’re currently holding onto. I’ve
found that most solopreneurs or micro business owners actually do have the
time. They just don’t realize it. For tips on how to look deeper at your particular
situation, talk to a productivity coach like my colleague, Annie Sisk of Pajama
3. Create a ritual (process) to help you focus. Jonathan Fields talks about this
in his new book, Uncertainty (I’m currently reading, so stay tuned for a
review). I like to get my coffee, do a couple of yoga stretches and then plop
down on the couch. Away from my work desk. I even use a different laptop that
just has the bare bones apps (so I’m not tempted to work on any side projects).
4. Prime the pump. Begin with some warm ups for your fingers by writing at
least three good-sized paragraphs about anything. Anything that doesn’t
matter. I usually do a brain dump about all the stuff I’m worried about. This
helps me clear out the creative passages between my mind and my hands. And
when I do start to write the important stuff, it seems to come a lot easier.
(Actually, this is part of the ritual above.)
5. Use an editorial calendar and plan ahead. Magazine publishers do it. And
so do the best bloggers. Guess what? You’re a publisher, too. Here’s a template
you can use as a starting point. You could also use a whiteboard, or any other
writing surface to keep track of your writing schedule. My editorial calendar is
always about one month ahead of the current date. And it takes into account all
my guest posts, interviews and other extraneous tidbits I know I need to work
@teasilvestre Scheduling it in advance, for my time and in an editorial calendar so I
have topics in advance. Batch writing tasks. Via @remarkablogger
6. Organize your ideas. If you’re old school and need the reassuring feel of pen
and paper, then get yourself a binder and add a few file pockets and some
notepaper. Post-its can work, too. But I usually reserve those for a specific
project as they can get WAY out of hand. And if you’re a geek like me, you
might opt to use Evernote as a way to keep track of all those fabulous ideas,
research and interesting stories you stumble across. I have to use a
combination of both methods — a small notebook lives in my purse for those
times when I’m out and about and inspiration strikes. But most of the time, I
keep everything in virtual “stacks” in my Evernote account. It’s great because I
can access it from any computer.
7. Speak your words. Use a digital recorder (they’re handy ‘cuz you can carry
them around) or better yet, invest in some voice recognition software. I use
Dragon Naturally Speaking. It takes just a little bit of time to set up, but works
really well — especially for folks who can’t seem to get their brains and fingers
to work in sync. Plus, we humans can talk way faster than we can type. If you
find yourself struggling to write, but you know you can talk, this might be just
the ticket.
Page | 37
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
5 Tips for Writing When You Don’t Have Enough Ideas
If you’re trying to write copy for your website or other marketing materials, but don’t
know where to start, sign up for my free eCourse: 60 Days to Rock Your Web Copy. It’s a
great way to get the bones down of what you need to say in order to make a sale. Plus,
we talk about how to put some all-important flesh on those bones, once you’re done with
the basics.
If you’re stuck for a blog or article topic, there are plenty of places to look. The challenge
is finding the really great ones. Here are five of my favorites:
1. Use a mindmap. They’re great tools for capturing ideas, and if you’ve never used
one before, here’s a great video explanation. For this exercise, start with a bubble in
the middle of the paper that you label with your secret sauce (whatever it is you do or
sell that your customers want to pay money for). From there, start small and think
about the topics related to better understanding your thing. For example, if you sell
used designer handbags, one topic might be ‘How to tell a real from a fake.’ Another
might be about latest trends. Then draw another node and list experts you could
interview. Or maybe you could ask your customers to share their best tips for how to
care for a bag. Just keep going until you can’t think of anything else. When you’re
done, post it up on your wall. As you come up with new ideas, you can draw them in.
And if you’d rather do this online, I recommend
2. Curate other information. Pick a topic that your readers would find helpful. If
you were a catering company and your niche was weddings, you could list the Top 21
places for a wedding in your area. If you were a life coach, you could gather tips from
other self-improvement professionals and create a list of tips in one particular area
(like time management or weight loss). The beauty of these types of pieces is that
your content may go much further as the other professionals or vendors share your
list, too.
3. Read more. Make it a habit to read at least one book or magazine in your industry
each month. Supplement your reading with at least 3 to 5 good newsletters in your
niche. Start with the top sites in your industry. Look first at your professional
association (there’s one for everything — even tortilla makers). Subscribing to these
helps you stay on top of new developments and trends that you can then pass on to
your customers. Take notes as you find things you could expand on with just a bit
more research.
4. Write more. There’s no getting around it. Writing primes the pump. What you
need to do is give yourself permission to suck…and then keep writing anyway. Or, if
you’re really brave, join a writers’ group totally unrelated to the writing you normally
do. If you write for business, choose a poetry group. Or if you write nonfiction, find a
group that works on short stories. Eventually you’ll get to the good stuff. Promise.
I believe that the more you write (even when it sucks) the closer you’ll come to the ideas
that really matter to you. via @kellykingman
5. Do some of your own research. Conduct a survey or facilitate a focus group
discussion around a topic important to your industry or niche. Then write about your
findings. If you gather enough data to be statistically relevant, your report could be
important enough to gain the attention of the media-at-the-large (which would help
push your content even further). Plus, your participants would be perfect prospective
6. Solicit ideas from your current customers. Start by looking at comments
you’ve already received — either on a blog post, or via social media. What questions
are you hearing? If you’re not hearing anything, make an official effort by asking. Use
the Facebook questions tool or send a Tweet (DM or @ reply) to followers
individually. You could even write a post about asking for ideas like I did here.
There are a ton of great blog posts out there that also talk about blog posts and article
ideas. This is one I found early on in my career and have kept it handy for those rare
times when I can’t seem to think of anything. And this is one I just curated here at Word
Page | 39
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
Re-Focus, Be Productive
By Michelle Church, Virtually Distinguished
Every day we are on the information highway, sucking it up and trying to absorb more.
Tryin’ to get smarter and smarter. Tryin’ to be one step ahead, not miss some important
information that will help our businesses.
It is not that difficult to get distracted…especially with all the information and activities
available at our finger tips.
Social media/social networking is GREAT and a necessary tool that I absolutely love –
but it can be distracting if you aren’t careful – right?
You want to learn more about that person because they could be a future client…
….they could be competition and you want to learn more about them or learn from them
….they are popular based on their numbers and comments by others, let me see what
they are blogging about
….oh, they mentioned this in the blog post, so let me click on that link and read more
about that topic because it is something I read or heard about and I wanna check this
The NEXT thing you know…you have visited “5″ different websites or more AND an
hour or more has passed you by.
But, I am learning….
You learned something new, or found a new resource, or possibly a NEW connection.
Now you may have to follow up and add that to your calendar so that you are reminded
to look further….
…or maybe you just don’t have time to read it ALL now so you want to remind yourself
later utilizing Read Later
…. Tomorrow...I am going to really focus and catch up on what I should have completed
Ooops…I did it again…time has passed me by. Sound familiar? saw yourself
Losing Focus
Losing focus can occur when we are working so hard we burn out.
Plans, implementation, networking, writing, reading, working, client consultations, life
knocks, family, friends…our minds wander.
There are times we are probably distracted more than others. We keep shifting things
that are important, but for whatever reason we are not completing them.
With the help of some great advice, positive energy, self-discipline and belief...let’s get
back on track!
Page | 41
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
Back to Basics…
Sometimes we have to begin at the beginning and go back to the basics and be present.
First admit that there is a possible loss of focus…no one has to know, just you..shhh I
won’t tell. My name is Michelle Church and I lost focus…I am going to focus, catch up,
and let that super me take over and handle some things while NOT beating myself up
because of it…that felt pretty good actually – on to more suggestions:
1. Work when it makes the best sense…That means create quiet time to improve your
productivity. You cannot get anything done with kids or pets pulling on you to get fed.
Let that personal phone call go to voice mail, that’s what it’s for. They will leave a
message and call back when it works for your schedule.
If there is any kind of family crisis or friend crisis…you will not be productive. Maybe
that means you have to get up an hour earlier to have some space to focus and
determine your path forward.
2. Determine what is a priority...Prioritizing will at least let you know what’s key to
complete first. Sometimes we focus on the wrong things. We become scattered or so far
behind we have no clue what to do next.
You have to take some time and read this awesome post by my fellow carnie who talks
about action–>goals–>vision to help you truly look at your values as you are working on
being productive. Ok…don’t get distracted!
3. Use a timer…I love utilizing timers to help stay on task as well as evaluate what I AM
spending my time on. It is especially convenient as part of re-focusing to enhance the
progress of holding oneself accountable and jump starting self-discipline.
It will force you to pay attention to what you are working on and NOT get distracted. A
kitchen timer will work, but I like the one in my iPhone…nice and loud!
4. White noise…Do you like music? Are there moments that you need to have it
completely quiet? Personally I prefer to listen to music.
BUT there are times, I need to have it completely quiet to have laser focus. What works
best for you?
5. Set a commitment…In conjunction with the timer, set a goal for a particular task.
For example, you may have a blog post due and you just cannot seem to get it done.
Create a space, time it, and focus only on that one item.
Oh yeah, schedule time for social networking. It’s very important in building and
nurturing relationships, just be sure to stick with your allotted time.
6. Breathe…Schedule office hours and stick to them...Honestly…I still struggle with this.
I am very responsive to clients when they call or email me (yes, very important) and
friends that are in need.
I have learned to have clear policies in place and at times...I cannot be responsive
because I have to take care of me and have a life.
Once the guidelines are set and people are aware of them, you have allowed yourself to
breath. Make sure YOU follow your own guidelines too!
7. Can someone else take care of it?…Maybe that super person in you needs to find a
super person that loves a particular task.
When you find someone that loves it, they will probably get it done a lot quicker saving
you time and money.
Get a Life
There is nothing better than improving the quality of your life.
If we don’t take the time to be productive in less time, we surely will burn out and not
have the strength to enjoy what we are passionate about.
Page | 43
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
First things first in gaining productivity…note to self…Take care of you/me.
Escape From Land of the Lost (No Time Machine
By Nicole Fende, The Numbers Whisperer™
As a kid I loved watching the TV show Land of
the Lost. What could be more interesting than
the adventures of a regular family trying to
survive in the age of dinosaurs while fighting
off Sleestaks (what were they anyway, aliens?).
Being a series you knew they’d never find a
time machine, but it was fun watching them try.
In business it can be easy to feel like this family, desperate to avoid getting eaten by a TRex (your big competitors) while wishing that a time machine really did exist to add
more hours to your day.
Fear not, I’m here to help you Escape from the Land of Lost Business Owners!
How To Get More Done To Make More Money
Time is your most precious asset. You can’t buy more time. You can’t save time up. You
get 24 hours in a day, and when it’s gone, it’s gone.
Yet doesn’t it seem like some people have found a way to get around this? That they’ve
discovered a watch like Hermione’s in Harry Potter, which allowed her to be in two
places at once.
The trick is actually quite simple; focus.
Successful business owners know which activities generate the most profit and they
spend the bulk of their time on those activities. It sounds simple, but so often we can get
distracted by minutia and lose… wait for it… focus.
Page | 45
Productivity: How to Get Your Sh#* DONE
Word Carnival:
October 2011
Big Brother is Watching You
I’m sure you think you are very efficient with your time. Most people do. In fact when I
work with new coaching clients they often state they spend 70%, 80% or even 90% of
their time on profit generating activities. The likelihood of that being true is about the
same as the government hiding a few Sleestaks in Area 51.
I’m not saying my clients are dishonest, they are simply unaware of how they really
spend their time. I bet you are in the same boat. Yes, I bet you also have a much lower
percentage than you think.
Don’t believe me? Take the Big Brother challenge. Rescue Time* is a service that will
track and report on exactly how your time is spent. The best part is that they offer a free
plan, Solo Lite. Run it for a week and then tell me I’m wrong.
*This is an affiliate link, however I only promote services that I firmly believe will be a benefit to you.
Block and Tackle
I confess, I’ve got football on the brain (my beloved Packers are undefeated so far this
year!). Even if you aren’t a fan of the sport you know that the front line defense is less
about finesse and more about brute force. Bruce Lee was an amazing martial artist, with
enough finesse for two or three people, but I don’t think he would have lasted long as an
NFL defensive lineman.
While Rescue Time is a great tool for a time management reality check, I personally am
not someone who can plan out their day in excruciating detail. One thing I hated about
working in a large consulting firm was the need to track how every minute was spent.
When you are running from a giant T-Rex the important issue isn’t which route you took
to escape, the important thing is that you did escape.
So how do I keep my focus without earmarking every minute? Easy – I block and tackle.
I set aside blocks of time for core activities. During that block of time I must focus on the
assigned activity. Here are some of my key blocks;
• Servicing current clients
• Direct interaction with potential clients
• Developing new products and services
• Networking, marketing & promotion – including social media
• Content creation which includes blogging as well as hosting my radio show
• Administrative – yes you still need to get the grunt work done!
While focus is great, you are human. There will be times an important To Do may pop
into your head. Or inspiration strikes during your administrative block. I recommend which is a free online service that fills this need and
more. I absolutely love it!
Final Thoughts
How do you keep on track? Do you know how much of your time is really spent on
growing your profits? Scared to find out the truth about how you spend your day? I
double dog dare you to give it a week and find out.
Page | 47