Start the New Year Off Right!

31 Dec

2017 Concept Clipped Cards and LightsWow – what a year! Personally, professionally, nationally and globally. To start things off right in 2017, I have decided that my mantra will be “Just Start!”. I tend to over-think, over-plan and over-analyze – wanting to address every facet of a project before I even get started. I don’t need to have my whole day planned in order to go to the gym in the morning. I don’t need to know exactly what a painting will look like before I start putting paint to canvas. And my articles don’t have to be perfect before I post to my blog (almost 4 months since my last entry? c’mon!).

What are your resolutions for 2017? Here are a few ideas:

Developing a Strategy for a Life of Meaningful Labor

5 Sep

mechanicTake the day off today (Labor Day 2016) and then consider this article by Brian Fetherstonhaugh that appeared on HBR online on Sept 5th.

Happiness Is The Ultimate Economic Indicator

4 Jul

family-celebration-2016Increased economic growth doesn’t necessarily lead to more fulfillment. So why do we consider GDP to be the most important factor? In an excerpt from The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality, Richard Heinberg argues it’s time to start paying more attention to national happiness instead.

Making Your Work Week More Productive

31 May

4 Hr Work WeekWant to be more productive? Make a “Not-to-Do List”. This list of 9 habits to break originally appeared in the 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris (April 2007).

The Not-To-Do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now

“It’s hip to focus on getting things done, but it’s only possible once we remove the constant static and distraction. If you have trouble deciding what to do, just focus on not doing. Different means, same end.”

11 Things Successful People Do On Sunday Night

22 May
man readingAn original blog post by Jacquelyn Smith
Business Insider: January 18, 2015

Most people will tell you they don’t look forward to Sunday evenings.

In fact, a 2013 poll conducted by found that a whopping 78% of surveyed adults worldwide experience the “Sunday-night blues” on a regular basis. Sundays are the dreaded conclusion to a relaxing reprieve from our chaotic workweeks — and many of us get a twinge of melancholy just thinking about our return to the office on Monday morning. Sundays are the time we start dwelling on our unsettled business and stressing about upcoming deadlines and projects.

Even if you love your job and typically look forward to getting back into the swing of things, “It’s easy to feel a bit of trepidation on Sundays about the stresses waiting for you on Monday morning,” writes Laura Vanderkam in her book “What The Most Successful People Do On The Weekend.”

Here’s what successful people do Sunday nights:

They spend quality time with their families, friends, and significant others. Successful people know that their weeks will be jammed and that they are likely to be unavailable, says Roy Cohen, a career coach and author of “The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.” So they make the most of their Sunday nights by spending time with their loved ones.

They plan something fun. “This idea may be the most important tip,” Vanderkam writes. “This extends the weekend and keeps you focused on the fun to come, rather than on Monday morning.”

Vanderkam quotes Caitlin Andrews, a librarian, who says her extended family gets together for dinner almost every Sunday, alternating houses. “It takes my mind off any Sunday-night blues that might be coming on,” Andrews says. You might make Sunday a movie or spa night, or you could join a Sunday-night bowling league.

They organize and plan for the week ahead. Some successful people like to look at their calendars on Sunday night and set goals and deadlines for the upcoming week, says career coach Marsha Egan. The trick is to do this without stressing yourself out.

They exercise. Take a walk, play a game of tennis, or go to a class at the gym, Egan suggests.

Vanderkam writes in her book that reality-TV producer Aliza Rosen does hot yoga at 6 p.m. on Sundays. “It’s a great way for me to sweat out the toxins of the week and center myself for Monday,” Rosen told her.

They eat something healthy. It might be tempting to wind down with a couple of glasses of your favorite cabernet, but as licensed counselor and Urban Balance CEO Joyce Marter points out in an article for PsychCentral, alcohol is a depressant that will leave you feeling less energized in the morning. “Instead, make a healthy meal and enjoy with some herbal tea or some seltzer water with lemon,” she writes.

They catch up on reading that has been neglected. Many successful people read every night before bed, so Sunday-night reading is part of their routines.

They follow up on commitments. “When we make promises [during the week], there is never enough time to follow through,” Cohen says. Sunday nights often allow us the undivided time to respond to emails and fulfill our commitments.

They relax. When you know that the week ahead will be full, a good night’s sleep and a healthy meal are essential. “Fuel for the body and mind,” Cohen says.

They reflect. The dying embers of the weekend can be a good time to take a step back and catalog your feelings, especially if you’re having a case of the Sunday-night blues. Writing down your thoughts on a piece of paper can help you get to the bottom of what’s bugging you, or give you the perspective that things aren’t so bad after all.

Either way, the process will provide you with valuable emotional release, University of Texas at Arlington organizational behavior professor James Campbell Quick tells The Huffington Post.

They volunteer. Another great way to end the weekend is to volunteer, Vanderkam writes. Nothing will take your mind off any stresses in your life like serving people who are less fortunate, she says. “It’s a way to connect with humanity before everyone goes their separate ways for the week.”

They end Sunday on a high note. “Monday will come regardless of how you feel, so try to engage in positive thinking and reflect on positive experiences before ending your weekend,” says Michael Woodward, Ph.D., an organizational psychologist and the author of “The YOU Plan.”

“Sunday night routines help us to anticipate the week ahead and to prepare for the unexpected,” Cohen says. By doing some or all of the above, successful people are able to start their work week off on the right foot.

You Don’t Need Money to Start a Business

6 Mar

But you do need to change your mindset, model success and start small, says Evan Carmichael.

Many times the simplest solutions are the best, but we fool ourselves into thinking big problems require big (i.e. complicated) solutions. Think BIG, start small!

Source: You Don’t Need Money to Start a Business

5 Things You Can Do (Today) To Improve Your Business – Updated

24 Jan

digging outI originally posted this article back in 2014 and am repeatedly reminded how simple and useful these 5 points can be in driving business success. And with most of the Northeast U.S. stuck inside as we dig out from Winter Storm Jonas, it should be easy to implement 2 or 3 (or all 5) of these tips today!

Starting and growing a business takes time – with most small businesses having to survive for 3 to 5 years before seeing a profit. But here are 5 things you can do (today) to improve your chances for success in business (even if you are a pre-startup).

1. Have a Web Presence: The average user checks their smart phone 110+ times a day – that’s a lot of eyes on the internet. And when it comes to purchases, even if we eventually buy at a brick-and-mortar store, we do most of our research online. Now I am not advocating that you go out and spend thousands of dollars on a fancy website – there are applications that let you build your own for free and it costs less than $10 a month to be hosted. Note to self (and for my followers): post the 4 pages every website needs. More importantly, especially for pre-startups is to have an updated LinkedIn profile (including a recent photo of yourself). If you reach out to me to conduct business, I’m going to look you up. If I can’t find you online, I’m not going to consider you a legitimate business owner and I’m going to ignore you.

2. Respond Promptly: This tip is actually a two-parter – respond and respond promptly. I make it a habit to respond to my clients within 24 hours (it may be longer if you email me at 10PM on Saturday) even if it is to let them know I am out of the office and will respond in detail a little later. And especially respond to emails where you are scheduling a meeting or activity – never assume that the other party knows your intentions. My advice is to have unique email and phone accounts for your business – check regularly and don’t mix business with personal email.

3. Don’t Forget Etiquette: Mobile devices make it easy for us to communicate, but don’t forget you are conducting business. One of my pet peeves is business owners who answer their phone with, “Hello?” It’s an easy marketing method to greet potential clients with, “Thank you for calling XYZ, this is X. How may I help you?” It presents a more professional face for your business. With respect to email: 1) don’t put the text of your email in the subject line, 2) address the person you are sending the email to, and, 3) include a signature line with your contact information.

4. Arrive On-Time: Nothing says “unprofessional” more than arriving late for a meeting. I know some people who think arriving late gives them a psychological advantage, but it tells me you respect my time less than yours – and I’ll think twice about doing business with someone who is consistently late. When I was in the military, on-time was late and early was on-time. Always plan to arrive 15 minutes early.

5. Google It: With virtually the entire world at our finger tips, I am amazed at how unprepared many owners are when it comes to conducting business. Industry and market research are an absolute must before spending a single penny to start a business. And a little bit of research before a business engagement can go a long way. Knowing the background of the person you are meeting can help you find ways to connect – and relationships are key to business. And using a mapping application can help ensure that you arrive on-time (i.e. early).

All of these tips are free (except for web hosting) and easy to do. Start employing them today and you will increase your chances for success in business.