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How to Get the Most Out of the Editing Process

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When you hand your masterpiece over to someone to fix, tweak, tighten, or double-check, make sure you are very clear about your expectations.  Not all editors have the same focus or technique and rather than assume he/she will bring you the results you are looking for it is up to you to communicate what you want.

For instance, let’s say you sent out  a resume or a blog to five people for their edits and feedback.  Chances are that besides common grammatical issues, each one of the edited versions would be different.  Why?  Because editing is a subjective process if little direction is provided.

Maintaining Your Voice

Just as we each have a unique style, diction, tone and delivery in our verbal communications, so are we different in our writing styles.  If you tend to write in long sentences and your editor is more concise and direct, guess what?  Most often, your piece will come back reading like him or her and not like you.  Sure, the content will be tightened, which has tremendous value but you may have lost your voice in the process.  This is particularly important if you are a speaker or consistently appear in the media, in which case your audience is expecting your book to sound like you do on stage, television or the radio.

Tip:  Tell your editor that you insist on the piece remaining authentic to your voice. For instance, combining all of your fragmented sentences or shortening the descriptive ones may “read” better from a grammar perspective, but it may also create a disconnect with your followers who expect it to sound like you.  Think celebrity Twitter updates – you can probably tell who writes their own and who has ghost-tweeters.

Honoring Your Audience

By the time you have reached any editing stage, you are very clear about who you are addressing in your book.  You know the demographics and you have kept them in mind while you crafted your content.  Make sure your editor is also very clear to whom you are speaking.  Just because you are writing a management book does not mean your audience are college-educated, experienced managers.  You may have decided to tap into the new manager market and if your editor is not aware of your primary focus, he/she may rewrite your content for a higher level of reader.

Tip:  Provide the demographics to your editor upfront. Be clear about your decision to use the phrases and examples you have included so your manuscript does not come back unrecognizable and you have not alienated your audience.

Communicating your template

You may have brought in an editor at an earlier stage of the writing process, perhaps to perform the role of collaborator.  This relationship can have a learning curve to it as he/she works through providing the meat of the content in the way that you prefer.  There is no reason for you to spend your time redlining a piece to death and crushing the spirit of your collaborator because you did not get what you wanted the way you wanted it.

Tip:  Provide samples and templates. If you have already produced similar pieces, provide them to your collaborate as well as a detailed description of the points you want addressed and the format you are expecting.

Matching Your Styles

In addition to having similar writing styles, it is important to also find someone who matches up with your style of content.  Your uncle who is an academic clinician should not be editing your non-fiction parenting book.

Tip:  Research your editor’s past and present clients. Is there a similarity in both topic and audience?  Make sure there is a solid fit rather than just going with your first referral.

Protecting Your Ego

Even though 82% of people surveyed said they had a book inside of them and intended to write one some day, very few have the one thing to follow through with their dream – and it’s not what most people talk about.  It is not a lack of time or talent.  It’s courage.  Many people lack the courage to put their thoughts, expertise and opinions on paper for the whole world to see.  It takes a thick skin to be criticized when there is no taking back what is now in written form.  You will have people say they don’t agree with you, that your sentences are too long, that you didn’t cover the topics they were interested in, and so on.  Writing is a very personal process and it can be easy to have your feelings hurt when your pride and joy comes back looking wounded.

Tip:  Remember the reason you started writing in the first place. If you were determined to tell your story, teach or motivate others, or be a valued resource, then do it.  Make sure your editor knows your motivation (he/she should have asked you that during your first meeting.)  You can’t please everyone so don’t try to be everything.  Ask your editor for constructive feedback and in some cases make them explain their thought process behind the changes.

Interview and hire your editor the same way you would a key employee in your company.  Your editor should stay consistent with your vision and mission, represent your brand well, and in the end, make you look damn good!

Do I Really Need an Editorial Calendar for My Blogs?

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I create them for my blogging clients, I brainstorm about them with my strategic planning clients and yet I am slipping when it comes to keeping on top of my own Editorial Calendar.  Why?  Because the cobbler’s children have no shoes?  I am continuously thinking of new ideas, concepts, and resources for other people that the writing of my own steady stream of blogs has fallen off my project plan.  That is really not a good enough excuse so I am back on the wagon and planning my next set of blogs.

So why am I preaching about the importance of an Editorial Calendar?  Simple – because it is an essential way of maximizing the profitability, effectiveness and efficiency of your blogging.

Yes, and here’s why…

Purposeful Plan – An editorial calendar provides a blueprint for consistent themes throughout a 30, 60 or 90-day plan.  You are less likely to publish posts willy nilly if you have a set plan for the creation of your content.  This will give your blogs a sense of flow and rhythm.

Variety is Not an Accident – To expand on this notion of a rhythm to your writing, plan to add a bit of variety to the type and style of your blogs.  You may want to alternate between a How to…, Interview with…, Top 10 Tips for….., etc.  As you start to gain traction and followers you will want to make sure there is something for everyone each week.  You don’t want to have two or three How to… blogs in a row.   Depending on how you have branded yourself and your content, you may want to consider adding a video blogs into your plan to shake things up a bit.

Accountability – The sheer guilt of missing a deadline.  It’s not easy to ignore the fact that a week has gone by and you haven’t been able to check off these entries on your calendar.  Once you start down that slippery slope, be careful – you may find yourself playing catch up because you are behind by  4, 6, even 8 blogs.  Ay, the guilt.  The shame.  The overwhelm.

Antidote for Writer’s Block – By brainstorming multiple topics at a time, you reduce the possibility that you will sit down at the computer with the time running out to post a new blog and no good ideas floating around in your head.

Write it and They Will Come – Consistently writing quality blogs will secure a larger following because you are viewed as a steady and reliable source for valuable content.  You will see your RSS subscriber numbers increase as well as the number of Comments, Facebook Shares and Retweets.

How to Implement a Solid Plan

Visualize it – (Vision Board not necessary!) When you are looking at a blank monthly calendar, start picking and committing to particular days for each published blog.  Consider the following:

  • Will holidays be a factor for either content or blog release dates?
  • Are there any travel plans or breaks that should be integrated into the schedule?
  • Are there industry-specific events that should be considered or written about?

Brainstorming – Begin to list subjects you want to cover in each blog.  Some of these might be bigger topics that will require a series of blogs to address therefore knowing that ahead of time will help you pick the right time and intervals for publishing them in sequence.  Take into consideration the Categories you have set up on your blog page – those you have already posted about and those that still do not have a corresponding blog post assigned to them.

Plug and Play – Now that you have the days set up, start taking your subjects and inserting them into the pre-planned days.  As you do so, you will likely come up with more concepts and decide to move them around based on a logical sequence.

Let’s Get it Started – While you have your list of topics at hand, write out at least a paragraph or bullet points of the direction you want the blog post to go so that when you return to your list you don’t have to search your memory for what you originally had in mind.

It’s Not All About Me
-  If you are planning to commit some of your blogs to promoting your services or products, make sure you limit the number of these marketing pieces to only a couple of times per month.  You want to add as much value to your visitor as possible without it looking like you are always engaging in self-promotion.

Timing is everything – When you decide to advertise your services and products, maximize your conversion rates by scheduling these on the days that have proven to have the highest Click Through Rates when using Twitter to drive traffic to your blog.  For instance, a great resource for these statistics is Dan Zarella’s blog entitled Weekends and Afternoons Show the Highest Twitter CTRS.

If you want to develop a stronger following for your blog, increase conversion rates for sales and reduce your blog anxiety, commit to creating at least a 30-day Editorial Calendar.   It doesn’t have to be fancy.  Use a spreadsheet, your e-mail calendar program, Google calendar or a day planner.  It really doesn’t matter how you record it, just start playing with the concept and filling in the gaps.  You will be thankful that you did.

If you get stuck, ask your friends and colleagues for ideas….or call me!

Avoiding the Treadmill Effect: How to get the most from your outsourcing efforts.

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Tell me if this sounds familiar to you.  You have finally gotten to the tipping point in your business and you are employing the services of an outside contractor or support staff to take over parts of the job that you used to do.  This will allow you more time to create products, generate more speaking engagements and re-assess your overall business mission and focus.  It sounds great, it feels great and you can’t wait to get started.

A similar thing occurs when we (the royal “we”) decide to buy a treadmill.  We are convinced that with this new convenient gadget our lives will be much better.  It seems like a no-brainer.  Here is this great machine that helps solve a problem that has been weighing (no pun intended) on our minds and bodies for a long time and once it is in the house or the garage, everything will be different.  And then what usually happens?  The process necessary to get the most out of its features requires work and commitment on our part.  In only a short matter time that shiny new “answer” starts to lose its glow.  We engage with it less frequently and we convince ourselves it doesn’t really provide the value we once gave it credit for.

Now imagine that you did the same thing with your support staff.

Just like the treadmill purchase, we recognize that we could really benefit from this outsourcing support but when the talent is right there, ready, willing and excited to be the answer to our problems, we do not maximize their potential because we have to be in control of everything.  After all, it’s our company, our brand, and our clientele.  It is critical that we provide the best and who else can do that but us, right?  What we don’t realize or acknowledge is that with a little bit of training, clear communication and good leadership skills, we can get the same results from other people.

But if we don’t spend that time and make that effort, in the end, that talented support is like the treadmill that is now pushed off in the corner partially covered with clothes that either need ironing or a trip to the dry cleaners.  Not only aren’t we benefiting from their full potential, but they are feeling unsupported, undervalued and disengaged.  Sooner or later, their performance will diminish, they will quit, or you will let them go and none of these outcomes will be a true indication of what was really possible from the collaboration.

In essence, there is nothing wrong with the talents and skills of your support staff, just as there is nothing functionally wrong with the treadmill – but both are being underutilized and abandoned.

The solution? Start to relinquish a bit of the control you still have over the pieces you wanted to give up anyway – you don’t have to have your hands in everything to get great results.  Make a commitment to be available and regularly engage with the people who are helping you to create a better life for you and your company.  Start out slowly and gradually work up to giving away larger projects and bigger responsibility.  You can’t run a marathon until you can run a mile.

Do You Lose Your Voice When You Write?

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I am not suggesting that you suffer from a strange side effect of writer’s block.  I am referring to our tendency to lose our brand identity when we write books, speeches, promotional collateral, opt-in products, website copy, etc.  Have you ever read some of your own content months or years later and thought it does not even sound like you?  Have you watched one of your keynote presentations and wondered why it did not feel authentic? Have you reviewed your website copy lately and thought, “Is this really me?”

Just for fun, let’s call this phenomenon Writer’s Laryngitis (WL).  We will define it as a condition resulting from authors or speakers deviating from their brand, their rhythm, and their personality because they are trying too hard to accommodate their perceptions of their audience.

Are you addressing industry mavens and CEOs and instead of being your clever and engaging self, you end up delivering a stoic and lifeless presentation?  What if the demographics of your readers are predominantly male or female, do you get too in touch with your masculine or feminine side in an attempt to establish rapport when in fact your disingenuous tone turns people off?

These may seem like dramatic examples, but on a much smaller scale this happens more often than you realize.

Mild to Severe WL-like symptoms:

  • You find yourself stuck trying to write about content you coach everyday, or you try to mimic expressions and concepts that do not come easily to you.
  • You stumble for just the right words to explain your own services and products.
  • When you receive your own Opt-In product emails each day, are you unable to see your reflection in them?
  • Your personality resembles slacks and a nice sweater but your correspondence wears a three-piece suit
  • When listening to your own recorded tele-seminar script you sound more rehearsed than the conversational tone of your in-person consultations
  • A new client or colleague tells you that based on your previous correspondence and content, you “seem different” in person

In-Home Remedies:

  • The next time you talk with a potential new client on the phone, record yourself on a digital recorder.  Are you explaining your services the same way in print?  Chances are your audio explanation was more engaging and persuasive.
  • Put your promotional collateral and sales letters side-by-side with your web copy and see if they are consistent in tone and messaging
  • Read your manuscript chapters aloud to yourself. If the words do not flow easily for you, then simplify and replace it with your everyday diction

Professional Treatment:

You may have a more severe condition of WL (or lack the time to cure yourself) and I recommend you seek the advice of a second set of eyes.  Chances are you are too close to your own condition and self medicating may not be the answer.  Work with a collaborative writer or editor to help you with the consistency and tone of your messages.  After only a couple of consultations and reviewing your existing content, a writer specializing in voice duplication can create impressions of you on paper.

Here’s to getting better soon!

Creating Lasting Change: How the End of the One-Week Challenge Became the Beginning of a New Outlook

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I have often heard that what you focus on becomes your reality and that if you believe things to be a certain way you are undoubtedly provided with evidence that supports that belief.  Well, I am living proof that both of those statements are true and I am happy to say that so are many other visitors to this blog series.

This past week, our challenge was to focus on having tremendous confidence in ourselves and our abilities.  Even when we started to have doubts or negative self-chatter, we brought ourselves back to that single focus.  The results were astounding!

For myself, the Universe consistently provided me with supporting evidence that I am confident in my abilities – I am smart enough to figure things out, realistic enough to know what I don’t know and how to find the right resources, and talented enough to continuously provide great writing and guidance to my clients.  The end result was that last week was one of my most creative and productive weeks of 2009.

I never heard the chatter of “you can’t do that”, or “it won’t be very good”.  In the past, it never mattered that I had proven my inner chatter wrong thousands of times with quality work and great connections for my clients.  This time I reminded myself that success leaves wonderful clues if you listen and look for them. Every day, even every hour I was accomplishing things that I might have otherwise procrastinated out of fear or initially fumbled through due to a lack of focus.  I always delivered quality content and ahead of schedule, but sometimes the inner chatter made the process of getting to the outcome much longer and more tedious.  This last week I was accomplishing great results in less time and with more concentrated efforts.  For a productivity geek like me who never wants the tasks to compromise the creative process, that is huge!

For the visitors of this blog series I raise my glass to your success!  Congratulations for allowing your focus on self-confidence to empower you to be more creative and more productive. For some of you I was ecstatic to hear how you were able to establish very reasonable boundaries with colleagues, clients and loved ones that made for much more fulfilling relationships.  It is amazing how feeling great about yourself and your skills helps you to speak your mind in a constructive way.  (This will come in handy during the upcoming holidays!)  Some of you shared your newly found entrepreneurial spirit. Confidence definitely helps you take more risks and with that receive bigger rewards.  Onward and upward!

Cheers to all of you who committed to staying focused.  Your confidence was likely contagious, as I am sure others picked up on your great energy and were drawn to you.  Great Mojo – keep it working for you!

How to Create Fabulous Results: Checking in on the Confidence Challenge

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WOW!!!  What a great few days it has been since the One Thing for One Week Challenge started.  Here are just some of the comments and successes that have been shared by those of us committing to focus on our confidence for 7 days.

“I can’t believe how much better I have slept.  I have spent all day feeling confident about my talents that I keep making progress on projects that I used to procrastinate and by the end of the day I feel so great that I sleep straight through the night.  I thank you and my wife thanks you.”

“I am feeling more comfortable asking for meetings with people I normally would not have the guts to approach.  I can’t believe I am going to have coffee with someone I consider a leader in her industry for a possible collaborative project. Yippee!”

“The last couple of days when I sat down to the computer to make my 1,000-word write goal like I do every morning I did not stress out about not knowing where to start or if it was going to be any good.  I just wrote and wrote and it is really good stuff, if I do say so myself.  What a difference, and what a week I am going to have, my agent won’t believe my progress!”

“I was able to make calls to former clients and ask for new business and referrals based solely on my own self-confidence about the type of work I had performed for them in the past.  Hey, if you don’t ask and don’t stay top-of-mind with people, they can’t say ‘yes’ as easily.  Four out of six had either a direct job for me or were able to give me potential referrals.”

“There were a couple of times when I fell back into my old routine of feeling overwhelmed and nervous.  When I reminded myself of this challenge, along with recognizing all of my past wins, I could shift my focus back to the value I continue to add to my clients.  I stayed much more productive than I have been in months.  Thank you.”

Celebrate:  Day 4

It is now Day 4 for some of us and as was suggested by a colleague, business strategist and all around expert in all things brain-brilliant, AmyK Hutchens at  www.amyk.com,  it is now time to celebrate our wins thus far.  AmyK wrote in…

“I would also suggest to your readers/followers that you break the week into two sets: “4 days” and “3 days.”  The brain is more successful with smaller chunks and turtle steps. After 4 days of focusing on your confidence and actively choosing to spend a few minutes developing your confidence, reward yourself! Celebrate your progress.”

So tonight is the end of the 4 days…what are you planning to do to celebrate?  For me, I see a nice meal and a glass of red wine and freshly baked cookies in my future (not necessarily in that order!)

Congratulations and keep up the great work!

Share the Challenge: One Thing for One Week

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If you could change only one thing about yourself that would make the most significant difference in your life, what would it be?  Before you answer, remember that the question is something about yourself, not about your life. Would you answer…..smarter, thinner, funnier, richer….more attractive, disciplined, patient, creative, productive, more connected to a higher power…?

What if there was one thing that could make all of that possible?  What if you could change your level of confidence; wouldn’t all of the others change as well – either literally or figuratively?  What if you worked on your confidence and shushed your inner chatter?

If you had complete confidence in yourself and your abilities, would you…

  • Feel great when you woke up to start your day
  • Be excited to start that new chapter or edit yesterday’s writing
  • Spend more time following your passion
  • Not be able to stop coming up with great ideas for your next blog, article, book, etc.
  • Make the call or send the email to those people you want to work with, or work for
  • Know the success or failure of those around you does not define your own identity
  • Put your running shoes on and head out the door
  • Send the query letters to agents
  • Fit the yoga class into your schedule
  • Be able to get back to sleep in the middle of the night
  • Create the mind map or project plan for that big idea you have been putting off
  • Call the friend or family member with whom you had a disagreement
  • Write that brilliant cover letter or specialized resume for your dream job – and send it!
  • Ask an influencer or thought leader to be your mentor
  • Speak up for yourself and set boundaries to improve relationships
  • Eat healthier foods, one meal at a time, because you know you can consistently make good choices
  • Approach that woman or man you are attracted to and introduce yourself

This list could go on and on, but you get the general idea.  Anything and everything you first listed as something you would like to change becomes a reality when you have authentic confidence in yourself and your abilities.

The Challenge:  One Thing for One Week

Please join me in a challenge to be, to feel and to live with complete, authentic confidence for one week.  Shift your inner chatter and hear yourself saying “Yes, I can”, “I will”, and “I am.”  No matter what happens you know that you can do it, handle it, and make it better.  Regardless of the day of the week, just start today in this hour and for 7 days see what you have accomplished and what comes into your life.  When you believe anything to be true or right, you see and experience things that support that belief.  Please share your progress.  Your comments will serve as inspiration to others (and to me).  Ready?  Go!

Please send this to your friends, colleagues and family members so that you can support each other in the challenge.

Does your big idea bring you even bigger stress? Productivity Tool, Part 3

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When it comes to accomplishing big tasks or completing a goal, feeling inadequate and overwhelmed can be paralyzing.  The excitement of an idea combined with the adrenaline of wanting it done yesterday and the stress of not knowing how it will happen can lead you to feeling like you are going to jump out of your skin.  I am speaking from past and very present experience.

Practice what I preach: I love combining my writing talent with my skills for creating infrastructure and processes to empower my clients to realize their dreams on paper and on stage.  My clients’ feelings of overwhelm and anxiety are reduced because they are able to collaborate and sort through their concepts with an objective resource.  When it comes to doing that for my own dreams, I have to remind myself to go through my own processes to achieve my goals.

Recognize your wins: Keep a running list of the projects you have completed and the challenges you have overcome.   When a new one comes along, you can reduce fear and procrastination by remembering that you were never an expert in the mechanics of how it all happened, but you did find a way through the maze and it felt fantastic once it was finished.

Get it out of your head: Jumping from one step to the other in your head trying to make sense of it all tends to jumble everything together and results in many hours of lost sleep and unproductive work time.  Just start writing or typing out a list of every piece of the puzzle as it enters your head.  Don’t try to organize or sort it yet, just download your thoughts.

Chunk it: After reviewing your list you will start to see patterns of how the steps are linked together and their natural progression towards your goal.  By sorting your list into categories you will get a better sense of how the puzzle will come together.  Leave plenty of space in each category so that you can jot down additional pieces as they come to you or as you discover it along the way.

Tag line items: Next to each task that you do not know how to or want to do yourself, write down the name of the person or resource that might be able to help.  Some items may have a question mark next to them and as you move through the process of discovery, you can ask others for suggestions.  By tagging your line items you will be more organized and thorough when you sit down to do your own research or brainstorm with a colleague.

Reach out: You will not know how to accomplish everything on your list but you have ways of making it happen.  You can reach out to the internet (search engines, Twitter and Facebook communities) and ask for help and resource options.  Just knowing that people have the expertise that you do not and are willing to send you in the right direction for more information, helps decrease the anxiety that you need to know and do everything yourself.  It is okay to admit you don’t know everything.  The important thing is to reach out.  You may find a partner or affiliate relationship that will benefit you now or in the future.  In addition, what you learn in your own research will inevitably add more value to your client.

Knock it off: Now commit to knocking off at least 5 items on your project plan every day.  Try to tackle some of the big ugly monsters first in the process, and first in the morning.  Once they are out of the way, the rest is easy!

I am excited to get started with my new goal and look forward to sharing my progress and small wins with you in the hopes it can be a catalyst for your own big dreams.

Productivity Tools for the Creative Soul, Part 2

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Thank you all for contacting me with your success stories from using the first Productivity Tool in my previous posting.  Time Stamping is a great way to make better use of your time as well as alleviate your anxiety about feeling overwhelmed.

As promised, it is time to really look at the overall puzzle that is your day and your week.  Lists are fine for keeping track of what tasks need to be accomplished, but in order to improve upon my productivity I prefer to supplement my list with a more visual approach.  Our creative brains tend to want to think in shapes and colors and I hope this technique will help you not only accomplish more but also plan your days to maximize efficiency and balance your lifestyle.

Color Blocking: Identifying and distinguishing activities by colors on an hourly or 30-minute block system.

It doesn’t matter whether you use a formal project planning system, ACT!, Outlook Calendar or Day Planner system, my Color Blocking technique will work for you.   I print out my Outlook Calendar and keep it on my desk and I use colored pencils or pens to outline or color in the hours or 30-minute blocks based on how I have used that time.  You can also do this electronically using many different calendar programs, but I tend to have a need for the physical activity of coloring – if only it was practical to use crayons….but I digress (or regress).

The majority of your activities will fall into about 6-8 major categories and by assigning colors to those categories, you will create a daily/weekly vision of how you are spending your time.  It also helps you to determine what adjustments you would like to make to improve on the next day or following week.  This does not require you to make huge changes, just small shifts from hour to hour or day to day that will have a measurable impact on your life.

Here is how I code my activities:

  • Income Generating – Green
  • Business Development – Blue
  • Research/Networking online – yellow
  • Social online – Black
  • Exercise – Red
  • Family and Friends – Purple
  • Errands/dining/commuting/Misc. – Grey

I like the fact that at the end of the day or week I can assess the productivity and balance of my life by quickly seeing how many blocks of green or blue there are compared to the other categories.

Do this for at least one full day/week and then ask yourself:

  • Is there too much of one color?
  • How come I was so busy but yet there is not one block of green in my day?
  • Am I waiting until things slow down before I do more business development?
  • Have I committed enough time to exercise or friends/family?
  • Did I really spend that much time online without any purpose?
  • If I pre-color blocks of time for tomorrow, will that keep me more focused?
  • There is way too much time spent on errands and miscellaneous, what resources do I have that can help me?  Can I delegate or eliminate any of them?
  • If I color in the block for exercise ahead of time, will it make me more committed to keep that promise to myself?
  • What would my ideal week look like if it were represented in colors?  That is my goal and I can get there by just being conscious of my colors.

It is truly amazing how being able to see the completed puzzle can help you readjust the pieces to better fit your lifestyle objectives.  Start Color Blocking today and see your own brilliance.  Please share your feedback.  I would love to hear about your progress.

Productivity Tools for the Creative Soul, Part 1

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“Procrastination is, hands down, our favorite form of self-sabotage.”  - Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby

When we are stressed or fear that we don’t know how to accomplish something, instead of taking action, we stop in our tracks and put off the process because we believe we need this big elaborate plan before anything can happen.  This provides us with a sense of security as well as allowing us an opportunity to procrastinate the project. This dilemma is commonly referred to as Analysis Paralysis:  The belief that we need to chunk it, prioritize it, mind-map it, or project plan it before we can even think about getting anything done.

Therefore, for Part 1 of this series I am not going to discuss any elaborate plan but instead I will present a simple approach to putting the “process” back into the creative process.

Time Stamping: Next to each of the items you have listed on your white board, to-do list or project plan, write down the estimated time you think it will take to accomplish each activity.  For instance, a portion of your day’s list may look like this:

  • Write blog (1 hour)
  • Research statistics for chapter 2 (1 hour)
  • Follow up with editor regarding Forward (15 min)
  • Write Introduction for e-book (1.5 hrs)
  • E-mail 5 potential new network connections/clients (15 min each – 1 hr 15 min total)
  • Exercise – yoga, treadmill, Pilates, run, gym.  (1.5 hrs)
  • Review Facebook posts (30 min)
  • Post to Twitter in a.m. (30 min)
  • Post to Twitter in p.m. (30 min)
  • Comment on relevant blogs and create link-backs (30 min)

This is a quick way of putting realistic time allotments to each piece of your puzzle.  The benefits of this easy step are:

  • Each time you have only 30-45 minutes before your next meeting, conference call, etc. you can quickly scan your list and see what items you can fit into that time slot and make the most of that short block of time.  You will begin to feel more productive and this will reduce your stress and help you to be more relaxed and creative.
  • You will be less likely to postpone a project when you realize it will only take you an hour or so from start to finish.  Consider how much better you will feel taking action rather than spending hours being anxious and trying to avoid it.
  • You can add up the total times you have allocated and realize that what originally looked like an overwhelming mountain of work is only 6 hours of that day or 35 hours for the week.  This will give you a sense of relief in knowing it is manageable and doable.
  • You may realize in totaling up your hours that you have overestimated your ability to handle every activity on your own.  Although this may be a little depressing at first, it is a perfect time to reassess your list and see what is not critical or what can be delegated or eliminated.

Try Time Stamping your activities for a day or week starting today and watch what happens.  I would love to hear comments on how it worked for you.

The next installment of this series will address the concept of creating a visual representation of how you spend your time.  It is amazing how being able to see the completed puzzle can help you readjust the pieces to better fit your lifestyle objectives.