Five Reasons Solopreneurs Should Get Away and Go Wild

Not in a bikini-clad spring breaker way (Sorry to disappoint!)…I mean roughing it without the modern luxuries we take for granted at home and at work.

When did you last get out into the big, bold, unpredictable outdoors and escape the laptop, disconnect from email and social media, and forego many other everyday comforts for more than a few hours?

Just this past weekend, my husband, daughter Natalie, her friend Megan, and our 9-year-old boxer mix,Welcome-to-the-Handy-Dandy-Lodge Luna, drove 4 hours upstate to a hunting lodge known as the “Handy Dandy Lodge.” Whatever possessed the avid outdoorsmen to name it as such decades ago is beyond my realm of comprehension, but I can attest that “Handy Dandy” is not the moniker I’d have chosen to represent it best.

The Handy Dandy Lodge is not in any way plush. It’s musty, dusty and has its fair share of spiders in dark corners. It doesn’t have indoor plumbing. Yes, it has a water faucet at the kitchen sink, but it functions only after someone twists an outdoor valve which directs water from the neighboring stream to funnel through it. While the sink has hot and cold handles, the water is ice cold regardless which you’ve turned on.

OuthouseThe bathroom is a good 30 feet from the main building—and it’s not the flushing kind. Several years ago, a visiting female discovered a porcupine emerging from the “tank” just after she finished using the facilities.

When you visit the Handy, don’t expect to make calls from your mobile phone or Google anything – that is unless you decide to hike 2 miles up the mountain to where the 3G and 4G gods will once again bestow signal upon you.

(I must disclose that the Handy does have electricity [provided a storm hasn’t knocked it out], a refrigerator, coffee maker, microwave, radio, and a propane gas stove. But it’s still plenty rustic and rough by standards other than that of a “Survivor” contestant.)

No. A trip to the Handy isn’t for everyone. But getting away from it all is for anyone who has been gasping for a breath of fresh air.

5 Ways Roughing It Can Make You a Stronger and More Satisfied Solopreneur

Nature gives energy levels and mental health a boost
According to a University of Rochester article, psychological studies have shown people experience less exhaustion, increased energy, and an enhanced feeling of well-being from exposure to nature and engagement inView at Lebo Vista outdoor activities. “…Research has shown that people on wilderness excursions report feeling more alive and that just recalling outdoor experiences increases feelings of happiness and health.”

One sure way to appreciate all the conveniences you have is to do without them for a while. It’s good to step away from all that we take for granted and the things that make life easy for us.

Experiencing nature can make you a better thinker.
Attentive Restorative Theory (ART) suggests that in contrast to urban settings that expose us to harsh stimuli like electronics, machinery, car horns, etc., nature provides soft stimuli—wind blowing, leaves rustling, birds chirping, etc.—which restore and improve cognition. The Earthday.com blog post The Effect of Nature on Cognition shares about a University of Michigan cognitive psychology and industrial engineering researcher’s experiment which determined walking in a natural setting improves cognition dramatically over walking on a busy street. As a business owner, what’s not to love about being able to focus and process information better?

No influx of external messages gives you time to think for yourself and renew your creativity.
Even the most independent thinkers can get sidetracked by the barrage of everyone else’s viewpoints and opinions. When you’re out in nature with no connection to social media, email, or electronic media sources, you have an opportunity to be at one with your own thoughts and perspectives.

You’ll set your imagination loose to think freely without second guessing where your thoughts are going. Nature has a way of making us realize there’s so much more than the finite world we surround ourselves with day in and day out. It puts us in awe of things great and small and opens our minds. Just make sure you keep a pen and notebook close at hand – so you can capture each brilliant idea before your brain moves on to the next one.

(Tip: Out in nature is a great place to trip over ideas for new blog posts and snap photos of objects that have the potential to represent something beyond themselves for your blog and social media.)

It forces you to play and leave worry behind.
Without a to-do list hovering over your head, you have no choice but to kick back and enjoy yourself. When you’re busy all the time, it’s easy to forget how much fun it is to play for the simple purpose of just playing.

During our weekend at the Handy, we spent hours playing Apples to Apples and Pass the Pigs and laughing hysterically at how the odds were either in—or out of—our favor.

It tests your endurance.
When you escape to the great outdoors, you have opportunities to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Hiking, kayaking, sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag, going without a shower for 2 days, using an outhouse…there’s always something to experience to grow your frame of reference and toughen you up.

I realize “roughing it” is subjective and everyone’s accessibility to natural surroundings varies. I typically only get away to tap into my wild side two to three times each year, but I’ve found a little goes a long way in refreshing my mind and perspective.

How about you? How often do you get away from it all and get back to nature?

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By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ Post

Why Small Biz Owners and Solopreneurs Need to Get Enthusiastic About Enthusiasm

Ralph Waldo Emerson quote about enthusiasm

Enthusiasm’s upside for solopreneurs and small business owners

Enthusiasm is tough to fake…that’s what makes it so powerful in business. When you’ve got a real interest in your work and in the people you’re working with, it shows. And that genuine display of excitement for helping clients fulfill a need within their businesses builds goodwill. Your enthusiasm for what you do may not be the primary or deciding factor clients consider before working with you, but it can set you apart from your competition. Think about it; wouldn’t you prefer to work with a services provider who seems genuinely interested in and appreciative of the opportunity to assist you?

Enthusiasm’s downside (Yes, it really does have one!)

Alas, enthusiasm has a negative aspect, too. And ironically, it’s the same quality that makes it a positive; it’s tough to fake. When you’re not feeling enthusiastic toward your clients or your work, it may not be easy to hide your detachment. Lack of enthusiasm may make your clients and prospective clients mistakenly think you don’t care.

Most of us have ebbing and flowing levels of enthusiasm for a multitude of reasons that can change daily depending on what’s happening in our personal and professional lives:

Enthusiasm busters:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor nutrition
  • Not enough exercise
  • Family troubles
  • Client issues
  • Projects we’d rather not have taken on
  • Too much work, too little time
  • Not enough work

 How to coax your enthusiasm out of hiding…

Assuming you still have that underlying passion for your work even when you’re not feeling excited about it, there are ways to dig deep to rekindle and demonstrate enthusiasm.

  • If your schedule allows, temporarily sett aside work that’s a downer.
  • Focus on a task or project that energizes you.
  • Say “no” to projects you don’t have an interest in.
  • Avoid negative people as much as possible until you’re feeling better able to brush off their ill will.
  • Try to focus on the positive rather than the negative in situations. For example, you might feel pressured by a deadline, but the sooner you finish the work the sooner you’ll have that money in the bank.
  • Fake it until you’re feeling it again. Concentrate on making your conversations online, via email, over the phone, and face to face upbeat and friendly. If you purposely act enthusiastic, you must might convince yourself to feel that way for real.

Enthusiasm matters not only when making an impression on clients, but it also serves to motivate us to do more – and do the very best we can – in our businesses. And that comes full circle because being more productive and skilled at what we do will make us feel more enthusiastic more of the time.

By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post

Freelancing and Project Management: Are You on the Same Page?

“Freelancing” has become somewhat synonymous with “independence.” And to a large degree that’s true of freelancers. Project Puzzle Shows Planning Plan Or Task We generally have the final say in what type of work we do and who we work with, but much of what we do is usually part of a bigger picture. Our work is often one element of a larger project that involves multiple people and many moving parts. And of course, we’re usually working for multiple clients at once. We have to be organized and we need to know a thing or two about project management.

Even if you’re a new freelancer, you’ve probably already discovered that although you might not be directly responsible for seeing projects through from start to finish…

  • Your work affects that of others involved in the project.
  • The work of others involved in the project affects your work.

If anyone on a project team doesn’t understand…

  • what needs to be done.
  • when it needs to be done.
  • who is supposed to do it.

…you could end up with a dissatisfied client.

You might be thinking, “But that wouldn’t be my fault.”

Who cares. You’ve got an unhappy customer because someone dropped the ball.

Just because you’re not in the official role of “project manager” doesn’t mean you can’t facilitate smooth sailing.

Keep these project management principles in mind for your freelance projects:

  • Learn about the entire scope of the project and who will be involved.
  • Know what the deliverables are and who is responsible for them.
  • Get clarity on your role and tasks.
  • Know when your deliverables are due.
  • Find out which tasks other project team members need to accomplish before you can start working on yours.
  • Plan ahead – Reserve time on your calendar for working on your tasks. AND reserve time on your calendar in advance to get status updates from anyone who owes you information or needs to complete tasks before you can start yours.
  • Give updates about your progress to the client and team members.

As simple as it may seem from the outside looking in, there’s more collaboration and complexity to working as a freelancer than people realize. While generally the responsibility to keep everyone on the same page will land with someone else, not everyone manages projects well.  That’s when it’s time to proactively put your own project management skills to work to bring clarity and direction.

 

What about you? Have you worked on project with multiple people with little or no direction? How do you break down the silos so projects run more smoothly?

 

By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Is Your Business a Pain in the Neck?

Running a small business rocks in so many ways, but it can also be a pain in the neck…and the back. Literally. Endless Professional with neck painhours at the computer and nearly non-stop attention to your smartphone screen can put your body in a posture it’s not naturally designed to maintain for a prolonged amount of time. Eventually, that abuse leads to pain…which can thwart concentration, make us less productive, and make us cranky.

That’s not good for business.

Q&A about Posture and Productivity

I reached out to respected chiropractor Dr. Lee Lausch of proActive Pain Relief & Wellness in Lancaster County, PA for his insight on this topic…

Question: In your practice, what are the most common physical complaints you hear from professional people which are directly related to poor posture?

Dr. Lausch: The most common complaint related to poor posture is neck and upper back pain accompanied by headaches. This is due to the forward head posture that develops from computer overuse and phone overuse. For every inch that the head is forward of center, its like adding an extra 10-12 pounds of stress to the neck and upper back musculature and joints.

Question: What is the connection between those ailments and poor posture? Why does poor posture cause those problems?

Dr. Lausch: Poor posture is a synonym for bad biomechanics. So when the spine is out of alignment, it results in abnormal wear and tear on the body resulting in stress and pain.

Question: In addition to the physical symptoms, how does poor posture affect cognitive ability?

Dr. Lausch: This is a great question. Again, with bad biomechanics (a.k.a. poor posture), the result is abnormal stress. Ninety percent of the brain’s activity is spent making sure all of its parts are in the right place for optimal function. When the parts are NOT in the right position (poor posture), then the brain overworks trying to regain balance. This causes a drain on the brain!

Question: Do you see a correlation between the number of hours someone spends at a desk and their propensity to developing posture-related problems?

Dr. Lausch: Absolutely! We are designed to move. When we are sedentary and sitting behind a desk, we dramatically increase poor posture causing stress-related problems.

Question: What can people do on their own to improve and prevent the physical and cognitive effects of poor posture? What things should they keep top of mind so they can be more productive?

Dr. Lausch: Take breaks from sitting. Get up and move around even if it’s only 10-20 seconds at a time, but move frequently – at least 1-2 times during every hour of sitting. An effective exercise to combat forward head posture is squeeze the shoulder blades back and bend the head back-hold this squeeze for 3 seconds and repeat 4-5 times. This exercise should be done once for every 30 minutes of sitting.

Question: For people who seem unable to improve productivity-inhibiting posture on their own, What professional medical/alternative treatments are most effective?

Dr. Lausch: The best fix and or prevention of poor posture and the related problems is treatment from a structurally focused Doctor of Chiropractic. This would involve a biomechanical evaluation and a treatment plan that would include postural corrective exercises. In addition, a well-designed strength program is essential for optimal performance over the long haul. As we age, we lose strength and this contributes to bad posture. Offsetting strength decline dramatically increases overall health and well being.

_____________________

Pain can be a serious problem for your small business if you’re not able to keep up physically and mentally with the challenges you meet every day. This is a topic near and dear to me because – with a notable degree of adult scoliosis – I’m always looking for ways to keep pain at bay and keep my productivity optimal. While working to improve your posture can’t cure all ills, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Make it a priority – and don’t let your business be a pain in the neck.

By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post

 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Top 10 “Time Killers” that Stalk Freelancers and Small Business Owners

Happy National Time Management Month!

For the past three years, OfficeTime (a time & expense tracking app available for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and PC) has run its Time is money“Top Time Killers” survey. According to spokesperson, Kevin Doel, this year’s survey was the biggest yet. Over 1,300 people – mostly freelancers and small business owners – shared how much time they spend on various activities throughout their workdays.

For three years straight, email ranked as the top business “time killer,” while Meetings moved from it’s previous 5th place finish to achieve 2nd place in the recent survey.

So how do small business professionals like you and me spend most of their time? Here’s OfficeTime’s newly released Top Ten list. Results were ranked based on the percentage of respondents spending between one to four hours per day on the activities.

Introducing OfficeTime’s 2014 “Top Time Killers”:

10. Dealing with computer problems (6%)
9. Social networking for business (6%)
8. Break time (7%)
7. Watching TV or Internet videos (7%)
6. Non-business related conversations (7%)
5. Procrastination (10%)
4. Travel time / commuting (17%)
3. Surfing the Internet (22%)
2. Meetings (42%)
1. Email (44%)

When asked why they waste time, most respondents said “Feeling uninspired” and “Feeling stressed” – 67% of respondents cited them as the top reasons for killing time. (I find that very interesting because wasting time generally results in work piling up…which leads to more stress.)

According to a recent press release:

“With ‘email’ and ‘meetings’ neck-and-neck at #1 and #2 in our survey, obviously we spend a great deal of time each day communicating,” said Stephen Dodd, CEO of OfficeTime. “If we’re going to spend that large percentage of our day communicating, we have to look at how our communication can boost productivity. A key way to accomplish that is to make sure your communications are in the clearest, most effective way possible.”

A smart tip for sure…the clearer we communicate, the less “back and forth” messages – and valuable time – required.

Comparing the OfficeTime list with “a day in the life of Dawn,” #1 and #9 take a lot of my time (though I  consider them business essentials rather than time wasters).  What about you? How does this year’s list match up with your own “time killers.”?

 

By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ Post

Image courtesy of CoolDesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Two Things Your Small Business Success Depends On

If you’ve got a great product or service that satisfies a need in the market, but things just aren’t falling into place for yourProcess diagram small business, you might have a problem somewhere in your processes and systems. No matter how small or artsy your business is – and even if you don’t have them written down – your processes and systems are there. While they might sound like yucky, boring, stick-in-the-mud stuff, you should give them some thought and attention. They affect every success and failure you experience.

What is a “process” and what is a “system”?

According to Merriam-Webster online, they’re defined as:

Process – “a series of actions that produce something or that lead to a particular result”
System – “a group of related parts that move or work together”

It stands to reason that to get results, you need processes. And you need systems to help you execute and maintain your processes.

Processes and systems applied in a small business

At the start of 2014, I joined a small online mastermind group, that’s got me looking at my business in a different way. It’s challenging me to think about the systems and processes behind my freelance company and how they affect my success. In a way, I’m rediscovering by business by thinking in these terms. While I hadn’t acknowledged or officially defined all of them in the past, virtually everything I do in my line of work is guided by processes supported by systems.

I have processes for:

  • Managing my blog
  • Fielding and qualifying leads
  • Prospecting for new business
  • Creating proposals and estimates
  • Maintaining working relationships with clients
  • Executing project work
  • Executing hourly work
  • Marketing
  • Invoicing clients
  • Receiving client payments

My systems to support my processes consist of a variety of platforms and tools:

  • WordPress
  • My bank
  • My credit card
  • Email (Gmail and Google Apps)
  • Social media platforms: Linkedin, Twitter, Google+, Facebook,
  • Social media apps: Hootsuite & Buffer
  • Quickbooks
  • Evernote
  • Trello
  • Toggl
  • Memberships to various local networking groups.
  • My calendar
  • My smartphone
  • My whiteboard
  • Sticky notes

Essentially, everything that goes right or wrong in my business can somehow be traced back to a success or failure within my processes and system components.

While you might drive yourself to the brink by trying to lay out everything you do into perfectly-detailed processes, it can help to at the very least recognize your business functions that involve multiple steps and identify the systems/components that support your efforts to accomplish them. That way, you can objectively look back on what you did and how you did it to discover why something fell through the cracks and determine what needs to be fixed or removed from the equation.

So the next time your check book balance isn’t matching up with your accounting records, or you’re falling behind on project deadlines, or your engagement on social media has plummeted, or you’ve missed out on an assignment because you responded too late…look a little deeper. There’s probably a process or system that needs some tweaking.

Special thanks to my mastermind cohorts, Rachel Strella, Jennifer Grigg, and Terry League for their insight and support. 

By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Take Action Against Distraction in Your Small Business in 2014

“Bounce rate.” If you’ve got a website, you know less is best when talking about that particular metric. But the bounce Multi-tasking womanrate of your site isn’t the only bounce-related thing that can spell trouble for your business.

As soloprenrenurs and small biz owners, we take on every aspect of our businesses, so it’s easy to become unfocused and “bounce” from one uncompleted task to another, then back to the first one, and then move on to something else before bouncing back to the original task. That zaps productivity. And problems with productivity can quickly manifest themselves as an inability to fit in enough billable hours. And not enough billable hours means less revenue than you may have been banking on. Ouch! Bouncing can be painful!

But you already know that and saying it out loud doesn’t change the fact that you’re faced with needing to tend to not only the work you do for clients, but also to the day-to-day administrative responsibilities that come with the territory. So we multi-task, trying to get more done in less time. Unfortunately, while trying to take care of as many things as possible in a single bound sounds great in theory, in reality we’re only human and therefore incapable of doing it well.

Don’t believe me? Check out this article by Jonha Revesencio about multi-tasking and how digital stress affects the human brain.  According to the infographic within her post, some neuroscientists believe online multi-tasking (particularly email) can put our brains into overload and trigger a “fight or flight” reaction that causes us to lose focus and always aim for tackling what we perceive as immediate opportunities and threats.

And this post by Rachel Blom about interruptions from social media shares that parallel tasks (tasks done simultaneously) take us 30% more time to complete than if we’d do them independently (one after the other).

Multi-tasking might also do some damage to your gray matter, according to this article and infographic on Ragan’s Healthcare Communication News. A mere two percent of people can multi-task successfully, while the other 98 percent of us could lower our IQs by letting email, phone calls, and social media interrupt our work. Another astounding stat from that article: on average, people who use computers for work are interrupted every 10.5 minutes throughout the day.

Yikes!

So how can you get it together, get things done, and resist the urge to do everything at once. Take action to resist distractions!

Here are a few defense maneuvers to help you resist multi-tasking your days away…

  • Schedule time on your calendar daily for all tasks and responsibilities.

    By dedicating specific windows of time for email, social media, client work, accounting, etc., you won’t feel as impelled to bounce aimlessly from one to another.

  • Close your email and social media tabs on your computer when you’re supposed to be working on something else.

    Make them out of sight, out of mind. You’ll find they won’t lure you away nearly as easily from the task at hand if you don’t have them front and center.

  • Put your smart phone out of reach.

    Even a 1-minute phone call can throw you off course when it unexpectedly interrupts your work on a project. Plus, you might be tempted to check your incoming emails, texts, and social media interactions if you hear the notifications ding and your phone is within arm’s length. Better to put it across the room – or in another room – until you’re free to attend to it

  • Schedule some “wiggle room” into your day.

    While you might not always find it possible, try to block out a half hour once or twice each day for the unexpected. That way you won’t get completely behind on your work if you need to field an impromptu call from a prospect or discover a task is taking you a little more time than you anticipated. You can find more on my “wiggle room” suggestion in one of my earlier Insatiable Solopreneur posts this year.

When I stick to the plan above, I find I feel less stressed, feel more in control, and think more clearly. Most importantly, I get more done and have far less apprehension about what’s on my “to do” list, because I know I’ve got a plan in place to accomplish my outstanding projects and tasks. If you’ve found bouncing is sabotaging your productivity and not leaving you the time you need for focusing on billable work, it’s time to break the multi-tasking cycle. Take action against distraction and discover the difference it will make for your business in 2014.

 

Your turn! What tips and tricks do you use to avoid bouncing through your day?

 

By Dawn Mentzer

 

 

Image courtesy of Pong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Sick” and “Solopreneur” Don’t Mix: Tips for Working Smart During Cold and Flu Season

Despite our best efforts to take care of ourselves and stay healthy, germs sometimes get their way. Tis the season for Woman not feeling wellcolds and the flu, ailments solopreneurs don’t have time for. Getting hit with “a bug” does more than just make you feel lousy, it could also…

  • knock  your productivity down a few notches.
  • keep you from attending meetings and networking events (and if you do attend you won’t be putting your best foot forward).
  • make the quality of your work suffer temporarily.
  • put you behind schedule and hinder you from reaching your short-term revenue goals.

I feel a little ill just thinking about all that!

Nobody likes the thought of getting sick, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take some proactive measures to prepare for the worst. While most clients will understand and be sensitive to your predicament, you’ll need to find a way to fulfill your commitments to them in a timely way.

Tips for Staying on Track when You’re Sick:

  • Don’t overload your project schedule.
    Especially during cold and flu season, give yourself some wiggle room. Purposefully schedule windows of open time so if you get behind, you’ll have time slots available to do catch up work. Even one or two half-hour windows each day can help save you from a major backlog.
  • Do your “no brainer” tasks when you’re down for the count.
    Although you might not feel up to creative work or heavy-duty number crunching, try to accomplish some essential, but rather mindless must dos while you’re waiting for your mojo to return. Log your business mileage, organize receipts, update your website portfolio…whatever you can do effectively in your under-the-weather condition.

Of course, the very best way to keep up with your business responsibilities is to take care of yourself so you’re better able to fight off whatever viruses make the rounds this season. You know how it’s done! Get enough sleep each night, eat the right stuff, take your vitamins, drink a lot of water, exercise, wash your hands often…I know, “blah, blah, blah.” But it’s important. As a solopreneur, your business depends on you. So, put some thought into how you’ll manage your work if you get hit by the cold and flu bus, but better still, do what you can to not get run over in the first place!

How do you keep from falling behind on your work when you’re feeling under the weather? 

By Dawn Mentzer

Image courtesy of marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3 Ways to Nip Nagging Tasks in the Bud

When you’re a solopreneur, you’ve pretty much got to do it all – or at least see that everything gets done one way or another. That means prioritizing projects and tasks. Most of us make sure the revenue-generating activities come first followed by “lesser” responsibilities. But sometimes left undone,  the non-revenue producing, tedious but essential tasks can nag at you – making you less productive on the assignments that are bringing home the bacon. That’s when they deserve more attention than you’ve been giving them. While they might not be as mission critical at face value, they become ever so significant when they become a distraction. If you find they’re minimizing your productivity or detract from your creativity, it’s time to approach them differently than you are now.

Nip nagging business tasks in the bud!

There are a couple of ways to do that…

Put them on a “to do” list
It works for some people. Simply get them off  your mind by putting them on paper, into a spreadsheet, or into a tool like Evernote until you can get to them.

Schedule them on your calendar
Reserve time for each tedious task (no matter how small it might be) on your calendar where you have open slots between your “meat and potatoes” projects. By putting them into your master plan, they won’t hang over your head.

Take weekend morning, afternoon, or evening to get ’em done
Bam! Take the time you need in one fell swoop to swipe them off your slate. If the tasks are relatively mindless, you might even half-watch a movie or a few TV sitcoms while you’re taking care of business. That way it won’t seem quite so much like work.

So what are some of those no fun, but need to be done tasks that might need inclusion in one of those approaches?

  • Logging vehicle mileage
  • Entering receipts into QuickBooks (or whatever you use for keeping accounting records)
  • Generating invoices or logging payments from clients
  • Cleaning up/organizing your social media contacts (ie. putting Twitter followers into lists, putting Google+ contacts into appropriate circles, unfollowing contacts who don’t provide valuable content and who otherwise it makes no sense for you to keep on the radar, etc.)
  • Accepting Linkedin invitations
  • Deleting Spam from your Twitter Direct Messages
  • Deleting unneeded files from your computer
  • Deleting email messages that you’ll no longer need
  • Deduping contacts in your Smartphone

All of them and more can interfere with your powers of concentration and taunt you if left incomplete. So, take action and put them in their place so you can give the important stuff your full attention.

How do you keep nagging tasks from sabotaging your productivity?

By Dawn Mentzer

 

How to Get Unstuck from a Rut

The Roller Coaster Ride of Being in Business

As fall fair season ramps up here in south central Pennsylvania, I can’t help but reflect on the parallels between being in business as a solopreneur and the thrills of amusement park rides and carnival games of chance. Starting your own businessRoller Coaster is exciting and invigorating. You meet twists and turns, and you often don’t know what’s around the corner waiting for you. It’s a rush!

But after a while, some of that adrenaline naturally subsides as you settle into the business of doing business. That doesn’t mean you no longer have passion for what you do; it means you’ve become more secure, confident and have a better handle on what to expect. Oddly, that positive sign of professional development can make you feel like stagnant and stalled.

Hitting “Refresh” To Regain Your Small Biz Mojo – Getting Out of the Rut

Recently, Carol Roth featured a post by Shanna Mallon that offers some great tips for giving the humdrum the heave ho and breathing new life into your entrepreneurial attitude.

https://plus.google.com/u/0/105256981924882031557/posts/8FMDu8vaaG5

My additions to the list:

  • Get out and learn something new in the name of professional development – There are all sorts of free and low-cost seminars and informative sessions out there that you can attend to stimulate your brain and broaden your knowledge. Check out programs at local chambers of commerce, SCORE chapters near you, public libraries, etc.
  • Experiment – Do you focus on a tight niche? Consider taking on a project that you’re confident you can ace, but that is outside of your normal realm of work. For example, a writer who specializes in blogs for business consultants might consider doing a feature article for a travel and tourism publication. Use your transferable skills to add some spice to your workload.

What about you? If you’ve found yourself in a rut, what have you done to beat the monotony and find the fascination again?

by Dawn Mentzer

Image courtesy of foto76 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net