Author Archive for admin

Overcoming Procrastination Roadblocks

If you’ve identified yourself as a person who procrastinates it’s time to overcome your personal roadblocks and stop the excuses. There is a saying that failing to plan is planning to fail. And it is very true.

Whether you believe that statement or not it doesn’t really matter, if you don’t plan for success based on your own personality and way of doing things, you can’t succeed. If you cannot accept your part in being a disorganized procrastinator, you’ll be stuck forever.

Sometimes disorganization or procrastination is situational. In severe cases it’s chronic.

Whether you’re chronically disorganized or situationally disorganized, the fix is the same. Develop a plan, and then follow it.

Ironically, doing this will rid you of both disorganization and procrastination, which just seem to feed off each other.

Fixing Bad Habits and Creating New Good Ones

The best way to fix a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit. But first, you need to identify the bad habits that you want to change.

Write a list either on paper or in Evernote or Word on your computer, whatever works best for you. Next put them in order of smallest problem to biggest issues.

Start with one of the small habits first, to get that taste of victory.  Small successes help us stay motivated. The “bigger” habits may take more than one try to get under control, but get started.

I use this system in my crafting life.  I love to cross stitch and I love to start huge projects, but then I feel bad for all those other projects that I have tossed aside, so I will pull out a quick project that I can finish in 1 day and then I can go back to enjoying the big monster project.  You can do the same with your bad habits.

Compartmentalize the Habit

Try to find out when you commit an offense and take action in the moment.  For instance, if you check your email multiple times each day, that may be a bad, time sucking habit.  Would you more efficient to check your email at the start and end of your day?  That’s right; don’t just think you can quit cold turkey, designate specific times when you will deal with the behavior. Set a reminder in your phone to check your email at the designated times, and then check, and then get back to your more productive work.

I would say that most of us, should strongly consider the same system for dealing with social media.  We all know that social media can be a real time sucker.  You go in to make a post and 2 hours later you’re watching another cat video.  Set a timer for no more than 30 minutes and stick to it.  You can always come back to social media after you have completed the real items on your to-do list.

Let me know if I can help you with your procrastination roadblocks in the comments below or by using the contact form.

The 3 Most Common Reasons Procrastination is Keeping You Disorganized

As a procrastinator, it’s important for you to find out why you procrastinate, if you hope to change the behavior and become an organized solopreneur.

Now, almost everyone suffers from procrastination tendencies in at least one aspect of their lives, whether it’s getting work done, doing household chores, or going to the gym.

Wouldn’t it be great if we procrastinated about eating that delicious chocolate brownie as much as we do about writing that blog post?

The truth is, when you procrastinate, you’re getting some sort of payoff for the behavior.

You’re avoiding the pain of right now.

Maybe you realize that it may cause pain later, but you put that out of your mind. Think about that the next time you decide to put something off until later.

Now some of the most common reasons that people procrastinate are:

Fear of Failure

This is the most obvious reason people procrastinate. The fear that you won’t succeed is so strong that you’d rather not try at all. Your mind tells you that you’re not a failure because you didn’t do it yet.

Many people who fear failure have perfectionist tendencies. Perfectionism is really just a cover and an excuse for the fear of failure.

Fear of Success

Believe it or not, some people procrastinate due to a fear of success, the inverse of fear of failure. If you have an innate feeling that you don’t deserve success and lack confidence in your ability to continue being successful, you will procrastinate.

You have a tendency to look so far ahead you already know that once you are on top, it’s harder to stay on top, so why get to the top at all?

Fear of being able to repeat success can block you from ever experiencing success in the first place.

Addiction to the Rush

This is something that often happens to college students and other people who work with strict deadlines. They wait until the last minute and the extra adrenaline that their body produces makes them feel good, too good.

Adrenaline junkies often believe they do better work at the last minute, which could not be further from the truth. If you believe that you perform at a high level at the last minute, imagine how well you would do with a real plan of action?

Now of course there are other reasons for procrastinating, but you will often see at least some of your actions reflected in these 3 most common reaseon for procrastination.  Identifying your reason can help you identify that behavior in the moment.  If you are a perfectionist, you now need to give yourself a deadline and then meet that deadline, no matter what.  Everything could always be improved upon, but does it always need to be imporved upon, that is the real question to be asking.

Please share you procrastination struggles in the comments below or use this contact form to reach out to me privately.

Do You Love PLR as Much as I Do?

So I guess you already know that I love PLR.  PLR – Private Label Rights, is just generic information, sold in batches, that can and should be customized.  It is wonderfully helpful to get me started with ideas for blog posts and I get lots of material that I can customize for you my readers and customers.  I rarely publish the PLR as it is written, but you can do that if you really want to.

But PLR can be very low cost and that makes it easy to have a lot of unused PLR left sitting on your computer’s hard drive or filling up your dropbox space.  Kelly McCausey, a very smart solopreneur recently offered a peek into how she uses PLR in her business and her tips and tricks for making sure she uses the PLR she purchases.

Well, I watched her webinar and then took a look at my own stash.  Um, yeah, I have tons of PLR and some of it is just plain outdated information.  In other words, it is trash.  So I spent money to buy a product, downloaded it to my computer and never used it as intended and now I am literally throwing my money away.  This made me mad.

So I have spend the past 2 days, making some deep and painful cuts to my PLR stash – it is still too much.  I have a lot that I need to read and see what it says and make sure it is relevant for you.

If you are like me and have an overflowing stash of PLR, you may want to take advantage of Kelly’s new coaching offer, called it PLR Review Coaching..  She will spend time with you one on one to help you get that PLR sorted and put into use.

Like I said, after watching her webinar, I was inspired and I know that if you work with Kelly, you will be inspired too.  I know that I will love my PLR even more now that I’m putting it to use.

Let me know in the comments below, do you have a PLR stash?

Identifying Your Organizing Style

Getting organized is important.  

The first thing you need to do is figure out your general organizational style. Even as a disorganized person you have a general organizational style. Trust me. Knowing your own personal organizational style will help you avoid choosing methods that won’t work for you.

  • Neat Nelly — She puts everything away out of sight, however the term neat can be questioned. She feels neat because it’s all out of sight and out of mind.
  • Piles Polly — She puts everything out where everyone can see it, usually in piles all over the place. She cannot find anything when she needs it.
  • Basket Betty — She puts everything into baskets so that they look neat and out of sight, but they are anything but neat (and maybe not even out of sight).

Understanding your organizational style will help you move forward with creating a system of organization that works for you.

Working with your personality, instead of against it, will make becoming more organized a lot simpler. So, it doesn’t matter whether or not you pile everything up, stuff everything out of sight, or have lots of baskets and bins with all your work in them. You can work with your natural inclinations to create a plan and develop a system that works for you.

If you’re still not sure about your organizational style, think for a moment about what you do when you receive a monthly bill. Do you throw it on a “bill pile”, file it away, or throw it in a basket (or drawer)? Some people just prefer to be able to see everything because they’re afraid they’ll forget something. Other people feel more accomplished if it’s all out of sight (and out of mind), while others do a mixture of the two.

Which one are you?

My personal inclination is to be a Piles Polly.  I like everything where I can see it, so I don’t forget about it.  My husband on the other hand is a Neat Nelly, if it is out of sight it is cleaned up.  So we tend to compromise along the lines of Basket Betty, we have several “junk” drawers, but at least I get to keep the mail in a tabletop basket so I remember to pay the bills.

Now as you move forward with your office organizing plans you can know what works best for you.  Don’t get a desk with lots of drawers and very little desktop if you tend to be a Piles Polly or even a Basket Betty, you want a system that allows you to have items where they can be seen and easily accessed.  On the other hand if you are Neat Nelly, make sure to get a desk or workspace with plenty of drawers or storage, so that you can keep your items out of sight when you are not working with them.

Please let me know what style you most identify with in the comments below.

Outsourcing Requires Organization

You can’t do everything on your own – and you shouldn’t.  As a solopreneur, you are not looking for employees, your solution is outsourcing.  To get the most out of outsourcing, it requires organization.  You have to be able to keep track of the jobs you have assigned to what people, when the requested work will be completed, how much you paid for the job, etc.  And you will also need to be able to tell the person what you want done, and sometimes that will require step by step instructions.  

I truly believe you will not reach your highest business goals without getting your business organized.  As your business grows, being organized will become even more important, the sooner you get on top of this issue, the better off you will be.  

Online, we use VA’s or Virtual Assistants most commonly for our outsourcing needs.  You can find lots of great VA’s and some that are not so great.  Like anything, you may not find the right person the first try, that doesn’t mean quit, hopefully you will learn something from the experience and you will use that information to make a more informed choice the next time.  The best way to see if you are a good fit with a person you wish to hire, is to start with small tasks, or smaller jobs, as they prove themselves a good fit, then continue to add to their workload as you see fit.   A great way to find a good VA is to ask other solopreneurs who they use and/or who they would recommend, this will often get you a better match with fewer headaches.  And a great place to meet these other solopreneurs is Facebook groups.

In addition to VA’s there are many sites that offer specific services by the job.  Fiverr.com is a site that allows people offer services starting at $5.  Other sites like upwork.com have various levels of service, from individual jobs, to long term commitments.  These sites work best if you are specific in your needs.  If you are vague, you will not likely get the results you are looking for.  If you are looking for research on a topic, be as specific as possible, if you like to include stats, ask them to research stats related to the requested topic.  If you want articles from popular publications and not lesser known places, or vice versa, say so in your instructions.  I have used Fiverr in the past and had mixed results, so I stopped using them, but they have worked on improving the site and I have been meaning to give them another try, so I encourage you to as well.

So, now you have hired someone, now you need to tell them what to do, the easiest way to do this is to already have step by step instructions in place.  For example, publishing a blog post, sounds simple, but there are several steps involved.  I need to have a topic or research a topic, then I need a headline, from there, I actually have to write the blog post.  I like to add images to most of my posts, so after I write the post, I pick out the images I would like to add.  If there are links to be added, I do that right about here.  Then I check the SEO with a plug in I have installed on my site.  I also add my tags and categories, then once everything is done, then I hit the publish button.  So if I was going to have someone help me in this process, I would need to be able to know which steps and so perhaps all I do is the actual writing and I have my VA do all the other steps.  I’m free to do what I do best and they do what they do best.  A win for everybody, but if you aren’t organized, you will not be able to relay step by step instructions and you will likely be disappointed with the results.

As you can clearly see, getting your business organized will help you increase your bottom line and help you to outsource tasks to keep you loving your business.  Please let us know how you do with outsourcing in the comments below.

What’s Going On Behind You?

Have you given any thought to what appears behind you when you are recording videos or making Skype video calls?  These days, you need to be able to go live – and sometimes unexpectectedly.  All too often we are so worried about how we look – am I right ladies? – that we forget to think about how the room looks.  Some great options are to clean and tidy the space, get a folding screen that you use when making videos or even create a permanent backround/recording area.  Just make sure to think about what is behind you before you turn that camera on yourself.

The obvious is to make sure the space behind you within camera range be cleaned up so that you are not embarrassed by what is behind you.  Now if your subject matter is model airplanes and all you see behind you is model airplanes that is fine, if they are all piled up in heaps you may want to fix that, but the idea is that your customers will expect an expert in model airplanes to have model airplanes in his office.  Personally, I talk about being organized or getting organized all the time and right now my back drop includes a shelf of binder folders.  This makes sense for me and my audience, now the bottle of lotion I set down there as I started to write, will be gone when I leave the room too.

Now a nice folding screen can make a great instant backround.  If you have a large space you may want to do this even if the space behind you is neat as a pin.  You can find these a variety of folding screens at places like Amazon and Pier One Imports.  And if you are on a budget, you may be able to find one at a local garage sale or thrift store.  You can even use the screen to advertise your business if you want.  Make sure that what ever you choose is not too busy, you want a simple pattern or solid colors.  Another option is a white board as a screen, you can use it as a prop while talking or just have a message you want to share.  Again, the main idea is to be thinking about what is behind you when you are on camera.

Another option may be to have a specific recording “studio” or area that has a plain wall or minimal distractions.  We, myself included, often forget how mobile technology allows us to be.  We got used to working at the desk in the office and have often transferred that habit to our home based business, now we can change that habit.  Do you have a room that has a great place, that would look great on camera?  Then why can’t you make your video recordings there?   Have fun and get creative, you may have several wonderful spots that can be great for making your videos reflect your message, just remember to watch the light if you are recording near a window.

So, you have a great product to share with your customers, now you will be able to record videos that will look better that all those others that don’t take the time.  I know that you will not always be able to have the perfect back drop and you will just have to hit record on the fly sometimes, but the more you think about this, the more of a habit it will become.  

So share you best or worst video backround story in the comments below.

Are you Comfortable in your Home Office?

You want to be comfortable when you are working at home, but not so comfortable that you are falling asleep.  You want to make sure you have a comfortable chair, good lighting, and a productive environment to work in.  Having a comfortable space to work will help to make you more productive and help you to enjoy your solpreneurship even more.

A comfortable chair is so important when you are sitting in front of the computer or even having a detailed conversation with a customer.   If the chair you are sitting in isn’t comfortable, you want to put this at the top of your wish list.  You will be amazed at how much more you enjoy your office and your business when you have a comfortable chair in your home office.  I had a broken chair for several months and thought, it wasn’t all that bad and I got used to the game of trying to find a comfortable position each time I sat down.  Once I had replaced that chair and could now sit without a “process” I actually enjoyed my office more again.  I hadn’t realized how much it was bugging me until I replaced the chair, so yes it does make a difference.  I know that standing desks are very popular and if that is the way you prefer to work, you still need a comfortable work station set up too.

Lighting can be very tricky to get right.  A common issue for a lot of home based business owner is that we tend to have created our home office in whatever space was available at the time and very often this is in the basement or a corner of a bedroom.  These spaces are all too often dark holes, places that light can’t reach.  If this is the case for you, make sure you take make an extra effort to make sure that you truly have adequate lighting for what you are doing.  Personally, I prefer to work in bright light.  I have and overhead light and also a desk lamp, though in all honesty, I just changed to a new desk lamp and I’m not sure I like the way I have to face the light, so I may be changing again real soon here.

And don’t forget about what is happening around you.  Is your office a corner of living room where all the noise of the house gathers?  Do you have to wait for specific times of the day to be productive?  The environment that you work in can make such a difference.  I prefer to work in quiet, so I can hear the thoughts in my brain, so I don’t work much when my husband is home and awake, he just comes with noise, and I know that.  Some people love to work with music playing in the backround, if so then make sure your workspace allows you to hear the music easily.

Making sure you are comfortable while you are working will make you more productive and happier with your business overall.  While it may not be possible to get your home office set up just the way you want it today, make sure to have a plan to get the most comfort possible out of your space.

Set Office Hours For Your Business

So how does this get your home office organized?  Trust me, it makes a difference.

This is actually one of the hardest task for new solopreneurs.  You started this business so that you could have freedom and now I’m trying to clip your wings by making you commit to office hours.  Say it isn’t so.  

You don’t have to punch a time clock, but you do need to learn when and how you work best and make sure you are working at those times and under those conditions.  For me, I know that I’m a better writer in the morning, so I make sure that I get that done early.  Now, can I write in the afternoon and evening, of course, but it flows easier in the morning before my mind gets cluttered with thought of the day.  Coaching, I’m better in the late afternoon, early evening, so I schedule me clients accordingly.  Does this mean that if I have a client that can only meet in the mornings I don’t accept them as a client, not usually, we make adjustments.  

Okay, so I have writing hours in the morning and coaching hours in the afternoon.  Those are my set office hours, but that is not all the time I spend on my business.  I want you to be flexible with these blocks, but also protect this time you have set for office hours.  This right here will be the hardest thing for you initially, so don’t skip this step.  This is my most often ignored piece of advice, and it may be my best tip.

Now your office hours can also have an effect on your physical working space.  In the example above, I like to write in the morning, so I don’t want my desk placed where the sun is going to come blazing into my eyeballs while I’m trying to inspire to others.  This is how office hours have an impact on your home office organization.  

Another note about office hours while we are talking about this subject, other people will not respect your time working at home if you don’t.  For some reason, if you work from home people seem to assume you have all the free time in the world, but if you don’t actually get work done, then you don’t get paid.  When you have set office hours and you keep to that schedule then you will also teach others in your life to respect your working time too.  

Now if you struggle with time management, a great resource is Time Management Strategies for Entrepreneurs:  How to Manage Your Time and Increase Your Bottom Line.  There are lots of wonderful lessons in the book that will get your time organized quickly.

Draw a Diagram of Your Ideal Home Office

Now if you are artistically challenged like I am the idea of drawing anything strikes fear in your heart, don’t fear, this is very easy.

I want you to dream big here, this should be the home office that allows you to be the most productive version of yourself.  Put down on paper all the elements you want included in your ideal home office.  Don’t limit yourself by money or even by your actual physical space, that will come later.  The reason I want you to put down all everything you want now is so that you don’t start editing yourself before you even get started.  

For example, if you said I have $100 to spend to get my office organized, how should I spend that money to improve my home office.  Now you have a limit to how much you can spend, so your brain is going to think about solutions that are under $100, but if you just let your mind wander without the limits, you will be surprised what you may come up with.  

I will be honest, when we moved last year, my new office space was smaller than in our previous home, so I had to make some compromises and have already had a major rearrangement of furniture, but I made the space work for me.  But I knew in my heart that I really needed a better space to process the books that I sell on Amazon.  Recently, we made some changes in the our home and I now have a space near my office to process my books.  The point is that I figured out how to make due with what I had, but I also knew that I wanted something different, and when the opportunity presented itself, I was ready.  

Having created that ideal plan on paper will give you the ability to see what you need to take care of right away and what can wait.  

So now about that actual diagram.  As I mentioned, I’m not an artist.  When I have a picture in my head and attempt to translate that to paper, I don’t even recognize what it is supposed to be, so I keep my diagrams very simple.  I draw squares and label what the item is supposed to be, and put the square where I want the item.  My squares are not even to proper scale, I have some small items that have squares larger than my actual desk square.  This is not art class and you aren’t being judged on the artistic merit of your drawing.  Another great option here is to use sticky notes.  Write everything down on stickies and then you can easily move them around your “room” as you plan out your space.

Okay, so now you have a good exercise for your mind and you don’t have to become an artist to have a productively laid out home office.  Share your results and/or struggles in the comments below.

Identify Your Home Office Problem Areas

Sounds simple right?  But the truth is we get used to what we get used to.  

I will share an example from my own life.  My last office chair was often used for another seat at the table during family game night.  It ended up being broken, but still usable.  It was like balancing on a top – using the seat of the chair – so I told myself it was like sitting on a Pilates ball, it will work my core.  Haha.  Let just say it was not easy to get comfortable in that chair, so I intended to replace it right away.  I was actually at a Staples store and they didn’t have the chair I wanted, so I just kept using the chair – for almost 9 months.  I had gotten used to the process of finding the “best” spot to balance the seat for maximum comfort, it no longer seemed as uncomfortable, it was just part of my day.  So how many broken chairs are you sitting on?

Take a good, honest look at what you don’t like in your home office and why.  Now, in the example of my broken chair, it was obvious why I didn’t like it – I prefer comfort, but not everything is so crystal clear.  My problem can often be to get started.  Once I get going, I’m good, but if I let myself, I can be an excellent procrastinator.  Instead of writing my blog post, I can clean my bathroom, do a load of laundry, take the dog for a walk, rearrange furniture, you get the idea.  And I tell myself it’s okay because I’m getting stuff done.  

So the problems can be physical or mental struggles as well.  Sadly, our culture has helped to become great identifier of problems, but not very good at solutions.  I want you to be able to get rid of those problem areas for good, so dig a little deeper, don’t just write down the obvious, be  honest with yourself.  You are your own worst critic, so use that critical voice and let it run free, but for every problem there has to be a why or a solution.  Even if you can’t come up with a solution, if you identify the problem with a why, the answer will come, whether from within yourself or from an outside source, and you will know it when you see it. Because you had identified the problem and why it was a problem, the solution will be easier to identify.  

So this is all still part of the planning process, don’t get discouraged, you’re changing your mind just by doing this exercise, and this will have longer term benefits than if you had just bought a new filing system.  Don’t get me wrong, you may need a new filing system, but until you can see the big picture, you can’t create a lasting result.  Try to have fun with all your problems, they can be silly problems too – like I don’t like that my office window allows me to see my dog do his business, but I do love my large window that looks out into my backyard.  This a a problem I have no immediate solution for, but I have identified the problem, so eventually a solution will come.

Oh and by the way, I did get me an awesome new office chair that is so comfortable – I’d love to know if there are any problem areas I can help you with – just leave a comment below.