Alicia Grace Co

How To Juggle Multiple Tasks: Practical Methods to Implement

How To, ProductivityMichelle SonyaComment
 
 

The modern landscape of working as an independent entrepreneur necessitates the need for juggling multiple small tasks on a regular basis. Whether your tasks are of diverse nature, or are simply fragments of one single project, making sure you get to tick each task off your list at the end of each day can be quite a menace. Add to that the impediments such as distractions and procrastination, and you're always left with a pile of leftover work that you never seem to be able to crack down on.

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The solution to this problem mainly rests on two pillars - planning and delegation, and every productivity hack you'll ever learn with respect to this is related to this two-step process. The obligatory simplicity of its contents makes the promise of entrepreneurial success. Let's break them down into more detailed steps down below:

Have a system in place

The first and most important step in the planning process is having a structure to your work mechanism. Carefully planning each action ahead will help you micromanage your tasks with a much higher efficiency. Sticking to a routine, in which you know exactly when you do certain kinds of tasks during the day (leaving room for contingencies of course), also sets in motion an automated process. And as you'll often find, lots of smaller tasks don't need much deliberation and can be done almost automatically, like filing your documents, checking and answering emails, etc.

Make detailed plans

You might have heard this very often and rightly so. It is crucial to the successful completion of ANY task, small or big, to plan them in the most detailed manner possible, with timelines attached. Making vague plans like writing "Must do this" on your to-do is better than no plan at all. You should be able to quantify your tasks and goals in numbers. The same or similar strategies are a vital part of every successful individual's daily routine. This is the way to maintain the goal of utmost performance within your mind at a constant frequency.

Use planners and other helpful accessories

Using the right tools like planners, timers, sticky tags, etc. help keep your task list sorted, keep track of your progress and save you a lot of time. When juggling multiple smaller tasks instead of one big task, it is fairly easy to get confused and lost in the commotion. In turn, this potential confusion hinders your much-needed focus and determination, thus massively reducing the productive quality. The right accessories are not just helpful, they're absolutely essential to both the planning and the execution process of your work.

Use Pomodoro technique

This technique recommends the use of a timer set to (usually) 25-min blocks of time to complete individual tasks. This is a great productivity enhancer because the idea of time literally passing by makes you focus completely on the task and eliminate distractions. It also ensures your commitment to each task individually instead of multitasking, which can more often than not greatly hamper your productivity. Prolonged utilization of this performance technique results in unparalleled efficiency at completing individual assignments. 

Categorize and prioritize

Not all tasks are equally important. Categorize them into MITs ('most important tasks' of the day) and the rest, prioritizing the MITs and doing them first. Doing the least desirable tasks also helps with more effective goal-achievement, by letting you save preferred work for the remainder of your performance hours. The evident result of this strategy implies increased productivity and work quality in situations where it usually recedes.

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Hire a VA

The part about delegation. Know when you need help and accept it. You're not invincible and having a team is often more helpful than being a lone warrior. If you can't afford an office assistant straightaway (or don't have the office space), virtual assistants and remote employees are a convenient option. Besides having a helping hand, having an assistant will also help with your people skills, which are essential for success at whatever you do in life. If you plan on eventually expanding your business, this is a great way to grow the root of your employee tree. Business owners that start this way often make the right hiring choices almost from the very beginning.


Juggling multiple tasks is a simple enough challenge when you have the right plan to guide you and the right tools to execute it. At this point, you've officially been introduced to the duo of success. All of the required organizational effort, simplified into but two factors. Get both these things right and you'll be well on your way to a productive nirvana!


About the Author: Michelle Sonya
michelle-sonya-headshot.png

Michelle is a recent computer science graduate from University of Maryland. Now living in Los Angeles, CA and loves it. When she is not writing code, she writes about fashion at her blog
https//www.thehifashionsite.com. Her other passions include art, 
history, running, yoga and the beach.

Do You Have A Business Back-Up Plan?

Guest Posts, Entrepreneurship, PlanningRaakhee StrattonComment
 Do you have a business back-up plan? Learn why you NEED to create one today. No more procrastinating.

If you are self-employed and find yourself in a position where you can’t carry out your work, what will happen to your clients?

My visit to A&E

I recently became ill for the first time since becoming self-employed. It started off with mild headaches and by the end of the week, I found it difficult to look at light, my head was constantly pounding and became worse every time I moved my head. I was constantly sweating and by Friday, I added neck stiffness to the ever-growing list. I was still working throughout this but by Friday lunchtime, I sent a message to my client to say that I really wasn’t feeling well and I will be logging off. I’m not sure how I managed it but I completed all the tasks she needed me to do.
 
After calling NHS Direct, I was advised by the on-call doctor that I should immediately go to A&E. He mentioned meningitis on the phone but it didn’t register with me until I was in the taxi. The waiting time at the hospital was four hours but I was seen incredibly quickly and the nurses and doctors who looked after me were friendly, quick and efficient. I was only in the hospital for about five hours and while I was there, it got me thinking: if it turned out that I was seriously ill and needed to stay in the hospital for a few days, what would happen to my clients?

Hit by a bus plan

I had heard people mention the ‘get hit by a bus’ plan but it was something I had never thought about seriously. Before I started my business, I had always been an employee so if someone was off sick, it was the responsibility of my employer to deal with the workload. More often than not, any extra work was shared with colleagues.

Do you have a plan?

After being discharged from the hospital, I posed the question to other small business owners asking how many of them had a back-up plan; some said it was on their to-do list, some said it wasn’t something they had even considered, but only a handful said they had a plan. By raising the question, it made a lot of them think about the seriousness of what would happen to their clients and their businesses.

Another SME story

I recently arranged for a company to clean my windows and guttering. After confirming to the owner that I was happy with the quote and wanted to proceed, it took a week to receive a reply from the owner to say that he had snapped a part of his Achilles tendon and had to cancel all his work.
 
Another week passed and I was surprised to receive a call from him asking if I was happy for him to carry out the work and would be at my home within the hour. I had mentioned that I was writing this blog and he told me that he didn’t have a plan. He wasn’t in a position to lose any work and he had no-one else to carry out the work if he had allowed the hospital to put his leg in plaster. He also told me he had a heart attack a few years ago and was advised that he needed to take quite a few months off to rest, but he was back to work three weeks after being discharged from the hospital.

I have my plan. What’s yours?

Since my brief visit to hospital, I now have a note on my desk so my husband knows who to contact and I’m in the process of teaming up with another Virtual Assistant to take on my work so my clients don’t have to worry about who will carry out their work if I am unable to do it.
 
If you don’t have a back-up plan, it may be time to seriously consider your options and to put a plan in place.


About the Author: Raakhee Stratton
 Author: Raakhee Stratton

Raakhee Stratton is a Virtual PA based in Ashford, Kent and provides support to Small Businesses, Entrepreneurs and Authors. Raakhee has a real passion for helping business owners by managing their admin while they look after their customers.

Web | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn


The Myth of Perfection (and How You Can Overcome It)

Productivity, Guest PostsMelanie ScrogginsComment

Perfection is a term we’ve tossed around for millennia. We strive to look and feel perfect because, in a way, we want to be perfect.

Whether we desire perfection for our business or our personal lives, there is something about making everything just right.

 Whether we desire perfection for our business or personal lives, there is something about making everything just right. But perfection is a myth, and one you should overcome if you want to achieve your goals. Learn how to do just that in this blog post on Alicia Grace Co.

Last year, I opened a business. I wanted to help people organize their homes. I wanted others to feel a sense of power and control in their daily lives, but I soon realized it wasn’t sustainable. I was the one organizing the spaces for my clients when it should have been the other way around. It didn’t make sense.

I quickly gave up my dream of owning my own business. I needed to bring in an income so I started looking for 9-5 opportunities again.

Over the course of that year, the idea of running my business kept prodding and pushing me. I wanted to pick it up and work on it again, but I didn’t know how to start.

I started and I failed. That’s it, I’m done, I told myself.

Fast forward, and here I am working on my business again.

The website is done, my client materials are almost finished, and now I’m in a completely new place I did not anticipate, yet I find myself scared. Again.

Scared of starting over. Scared of failing.

Then it hit me. I’m afraid to launch my business because it’s my idea. If it’s not what I think to be 100% ready, I don’t want anybody else seeing it. It’s ok if I judge my work, but I don’t want to leave it open to the scrutiny of others.

That’s what we do. We make something and are scared to put it out into the world.

I want others to be inspired and excited like I am, but the anticipation of sharing it only for them to see it as imperfect gives me anxiety.

Now, think about imperfection.

Imperfection allows us the unique opportunity to learn. Nobody survives perfection, but everyone benefits from imperfection.

If we were perfect, nothing would ever be good enough. Imperfection serves up the gift of growth, of new ideas and all sorts of possibilities.

Some of the best ideas are not original; they improve upon ideas that came before them. That isn’t because the new ideas are cheap, they provide a new way of looking at the same problem.

That’s the definition of progress.

As creatives, that’s what we do. We see problems and pursue a better way to approach them.

If we approached those problems aiming for perfection, we may never be able to solve another problem again.

When we start filtering everything through the eyes of perfection, we never seem to get there. We start to nitpick and criticize things we put a lot of work into.

Instead of unveiling our dreams, we isolate ourselves. Sometimes, we never share what we create because perfection is too far for us to reach.

Perfection doesn’t get to stop you from pursuing what you want to do. Perfection is a jealous master and it will never allow you the chance to progress. It will continue to keep you from ideas and opportunities you want to pursue.

For me, perfection no longer exists. If it did, I would never start anything.

Like all artists, our work is never done, and I think that is an ongoing battle of the creative.

Whatever tomorrow tells you not to do, today is begging you to do it.

To get out there. To say “this is me and this is what I have to offer.”


Have you ever run into a block because of the idea of perfection? How did you handle it?


About the Author: Melanie Scroggins
 About the author: Melanie Scroggins

Hey, I’m Melanie – the owner and creator of Mine Space. I’m from a small town in Texas but I currently live on the coast of Oregon in an RV with my husband and two fur babies. At Mine Space, my goal is to educate, empower, and encourage others to live a more simplified life. I truly believe that with less, you can do more.

Website | Facebook | Pinterest


How To Plan Your Week In Tough Times: 6 Tips

Planning, Productivity, Time ManagementAlicia GraceComment

Whether you’re having a bad week, month, or year, it can be tough as a freelancer to buckle down and get to work when your head isn’t in the game. And in a world of Facebook, Netflix, and kittens, there are a million ways for our minds to wander when we’re going through a rough patch. 

When you finally do get down to business, it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by the work, the marketing, the networking, the follow up, the numbers, the statistics—it’s all a little too much at times. The important part is to develop a process that works for you.

 
 Learn 6 ways you can stay on track and plan your week when you're going through a rough patch.
 

Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

1. Get It Out

You’ve got seven mental lists going at any given time, ranging from what needs to get done immediately for your current clients all the way to what you want to buy your family for Christmas. Your head can positively swirl with all the junk that needs to get done. The best course of action here is to get it all out. 

Grab a notebook and start a new list on each page. Get all the details out so you don’t have to kill yourself trying to remember it all. Once it’s on paper, it’s no longer cluttering your brain, and you reduce the risk of missing something super important. 

2. Break It Down

If you’ve got a full plate, but you don’t feel like starting on any of it, it’s easy to just write off the day as a failure and let the gremlins take you to a place of guilt and frustration. Don’t let valuable time slip away from you because your brain is making you feel lazy as heck. Break up your tasks into small, bite-sized pieces to make them feel like less of a burden. 

Try some of the awesome business software out there like Trello, Dubsado, or 17Hats. These project management systems can help you break down your tasks into manageable pieces, so you don’t get weighed down by how many things you need to do for every project. 

3. Just Do One Thing

I know, it’s easier said than done. Remember, any movement is better than no movement. If you’re having a tough time getting yourself to find the discipline to get started, give yourself a single, simple task and a timeline. You have one hour to get write this blog post. You have thirty minutes to write an email to this possible client. You have fifteen minutes to make this two-second call you’ve been dreading. Just prompt yourself to get one thing done. 

The excitement and relief you’ll get after doing it will make you feel so accomplished, that you may just start a second task! 

4. Phone a Friend

When you’re stuck in a rut or feeling depressed, the best thing to do is to talk to someone. You may not feel like it, but friends can be wonderful motivators. Challenge yourself to reach out. Get coffee, or just invite them to your house for coffee so you don’t even need to get out of your pajamas. A little bit of social time will go a long way. 

Once you’ve got your friend’s ear, let them know how you’ve been feeling and about your lack of motivation. I guarantee they’ve been through the same thing before at some point. They might even have a great hack for you to break back into the game. If nothing else, your friend’s sympathetic mumbles of “been there” will help you remember that this is temporary and you are not alone.

5. Treat Yo’self

It’s all about action and reward. Did you get a post written? Good. You get a cookie. Did you make that call? Excellent, take a ten minute break. If you train yourself to know that once you finish a task, you get a little reward, you’re much more likely to start getting things done. 

6. Remember That It’s Okay

You may not be putting in the 12-hour work days you were doing a month ago, but don’t beat yourself up because you’re not a machine. Just put one foot in front of the other and know your limits. It’s okay to have a tough time. It’s okay to feel depressed. What’s not okay is doing nothing about it. Even if you didn’t accomplish anything but taking a shower, remember that’s a step forward. Give yourself the love and self-care you need to feel better, so you can get back to the life you love. 


About the Author: Kelsey O’Shaughnessy Podgorski
 About the Author: Kelsey O'Shaughnessy Podgorski

Kelsey is the owner of Noted & Noticed, where she helps non-writers and sort-of writers create kick-ass copy to grow their businesses and nonprofits. Kelsey has been writing for nearly eight years and loves to help people get creative in telling their story. To learn more, visit Kelsey at notedandnoticed.com.


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Automation: A Super Tool for Woman Entrepreneurs With Anxiety

Productivity, Time Management, Organisation, EntrepreneurshipMarissa PaneComment
 Automation is a super tool for entrepreneurs to combat anxiety with. Learn the best ways to make the most of it.

As a woman entrepreneur with anxiety, I often get asked how I’m able to do #allthethings so effortlessly. After I get a good laugh in, because let’s be honest, nothing is effortless, I usually follow-up with one small but mighty word: AUTOMATION!

The process of automating as much of my business as possible is a lifesaver, especially during those bad mental health days. If I sense that I’m going to be under a tremendous amount of stress soon or if I notice that I’ve been becoming more anxious, I can prepare for the storm that’s about to hit by simply getting as much done as possible today, as opposed to tomorrow.

I’m sure you’re wondering how to do that or you think my ‘strategy’ is common sense. Read on to learn some of the many ways you can automate your business.

Trust me when I say that you will regret not automating these things sooner the next time you’re falling into a depressive rut...

Top ways you can automate your business

  • Schedule your social media posts ahead of time (!!)
  • Plan out your entire to-do list for the week on Sunday
  • Set up IFTTT to post a native photo to Twitter instead of just a link when you post to Instagram
  • Set up IFTTT to post your Instagram photos to a specific Pinterest board
  • Schedule a plethora of pins to go out each day via Tailwind
  • Write your email sequences BEFORE the day you want to send them out and schedule them to go out automatically (!!!)
  • Turn on an auto-response to your Facebook Page messages that redirects inquiries to your email
  • Schedule your blog posts ahead of time (!!)
  • Use your email marketing system to automatically send freebies to your subscribers
  • Use your email marketing system to tag or separate your subscribers based on their interests
  • Install Grammarly into your web browser to avoid silly grammar mistakes
  • Link your scheduling software to your Google Calendar so you never miss an appointment AND you’ll avoid becoming double booked when all your systems are aligned.

Shall I go on?

Basically, automation is the bomb diggity and I actually had to pause and think really hard about all the things I have automated because I’m so used to the systems running that I truly forgot about the many ways I use it!

Automation is the ultimate goal-crusher

Now, I know I said that these automation strategies are a tremendous help to entrepreneurs with anxiety, but these strategies can still be a lifesaver if you don't have anxiety.

Perhaps you’re a busy momma who is trying to tackle a side biz while raising a toddler and slaying it at her corporate office. Or maybe you’re a dog daddy and all you want when 5pm hits is to cuddle up next to Rex and binge-watch your favorite Netflix show.



It doesn’t matter what situation you’re in - automation will save you time, energy, and money!

Yes, it saves you money too! Most of the automation services out there are free, so why pay a VA to do the nitty gritty work when you can set up a month’s worth of social media posts in an hour, simply hit PUBLISH, and watch the magic happen?

Now that you’ve got all these ideas buzzing around your head, I’m sure you’re looking for an action item. Where do you start? What do you do? Ahhhhh!

Below is the step-by-step plan to start automating your Twitter posts:

  1. Create a Hootsuite account (It’s free, yo!)
  2. Link your Twitter account to your Hootsuite account
  3. Add a “Scheduled” Stream
  4. Add a “My Tweets” Stream
  5. Compose your first tweet in the text box on the top of the screen
  6. Click the calendar icon under the text box
  7. Choose your desired date and time
  8. Click Schedule CONGRATS! YOU’VE SCHEDULED YOUR FIRST SOCIAL MEDIA POST!

It may seem like the tiniest step ever, but once you start blocking off time to schedule days, weeks, or months of content, you start to see the amazing time-saving effects automation has on your business.

I recommend scheduling some time out of your day to brainstorm social media posts. Think about overarching content ideas - not word-for-word posts. Then, once you’ve compiled your ideas head over to Hootsuite and let those ideas inspire dozens of tweets!

If you want even more bang for your buck, reposition those ideas into Instagram captions and start scheduling your Instagram posts as well. It can all be done in Hootsuite, so utilize your time wisely and do all you can while in that platform!

I can’t wait to hear what part of your business you began to automate, today! Yes, I said today! Start implementing these ideas now and report back with your results!


About the Author
 About the author: Marissa Pane

Marissa Pane is a life coach for entrepreneurial women with anxiety who are ready to implement smart marketing strategies into their business so they can gain the freedom to take care of themselves again while their business continues to thrive. Her passion for mental health began in 2012 when she started her recovery from anorexia, major depression, and generalized anxiety disorder. You can find more about Marissa and her mission on SPIESFitToFight.com and inside her Facebook community, Decaf Doers: A Collective of Ambitious Women With Anxiety.

Web | Facebook | Facebook Group | Instagram | Twitter


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Assessing What Matters Most To You

GoalsAlicia GraceComment

We build our lives around what we value most, and whilst some things shouldn’t change too much, like our values and principles, our priorities do.

In order to centre your life around what’s most important to you, it’s important to take time out every now and then to do a self-check and evaluate whether your life is in line with this.

 
 A comprehensive guide on how to assess what matters most to you, from your values to life goals.
 

What are your values?

You may already have an idea of what your values are, but it can be eye-opening to actually sit down and properly go through them to see whether you are living your life in line with them.

To do this, think about a few achievements you are really proud of, and things you have done that made you feel happy. What values were you putting into action then? Were you being creative, practical, or super disciplined?

Some values that you may have include:

  • Accountability
  • Balance
  • Boldness
  • Cheerfulness
  • Determination
  • Equality
  • Expressiveness
  • Faith
  • Grace
  • Independence
  • Love
  • Loyalty
  • Positivity
  • Thoughtfulness

As you note each value, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are they in line with how I want to live my life?
  2. Would I be proud to tell people that these are my values?
  3. Even if some are not popular, do I still support them?

Once you have a list of your values, it’s time to put them in order. To begin, pick your two most important values and compare them so you know which you value most. Think about situations where you may have to pick one over the other. For example, loyalty to a friend may mean making a commitment to driving them to work for a week when their car breaks down. Are you willing to sacrifice some independence for that? Ask yourself such questions as you work your way down the list until you have a list of your values in order of their importance to you.

Set actionable goals

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Do the things in your life matter to you?

First things first: write down the major things going on in your life. A helpful way to do this is to sort them into categories like Personal, Family, Health, and Work/Career.

Now, go through everything on this list and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does this improve my life?
  2. Is this really important to me?
  3. Does this have a positive impact on my life?
  4. Does this make me happy or is it helping someone I love?
  5. Would I still do this if I only had a month to live?

If you answer ‘yes’ to four or all of these, then you’re on the right track, but if you’ve said ‘no’ to two or more of these questions, then it’s time to seriously ask yourself whether you should continue doing this thing.

Your next steps

If you have gone through all of these steps, you should understand what actually matters to you now. But you can take this one step further.

For those things in your life that you’ve now realised don’t actually matter to you, think about how you can reorient them. If it is something that you absolutely have to do - like holding down a job that doesn’t make full use of your skill set to pay the bills - then think about how you can make changes. Could you learn more skills, try something different like asking for different work responsibilities, or make other adjustments in your life so that you could do less of this thing?

And now, for the last and really important bit. Look at your values, and see which ones you’re not actively incorporating into your life.

Perhaps creativity is important to you, but you’re not actively engaging in a creative activity often. Could you set aside an hour each week to hone your craft? Or maybe you could find like-minded people you could share your creativity with? If faith is important to you, you could join a Bible study, or even just spend a few minutes each day working on your faith.

Here’s the gist

Your life should be centred around what matters most to you, not things you think you should be doing. The first step is to actually think about your values and what brings you joy. Once you have worked that out, look at what’s in your life right now, and think about whether they are in line with your values. Lastly - and this is the crucial bit - evaluate how you can change your life so that you spend less time on the things that you don’t value, and more time on the things that do matter.


How To Stay Focused While Working on the Computer

ProductivityAlicia GraceComment
 
 Learn how to stay focused when you work on your computer.
 

Have you ever noticed just how many distractions there are at your desk? Take a look around you and think about it. Is your phone sitting there? Do you have music or the television on? Do Facebook/Instagram/Twitter demand your attention? It seems like we are always connected, and therefore easily distracted. So much so, that when it comes time to sit down and get some work done, it’s very difficult to focus.

Maybe you haven’t really noticed the distractions because it has just become part of your routine. Maybe you don’t have an option with some of these distractions. Maybe you want to minimize the distractions, but feel like it just isn’t possible.

Recognize your distractions

Start by taking stock of the distractions. Grab a piece of paper and start writing down your minute-by-minute schedule. Note what you are doing, what time you start, and what time you stop.

My typical workday

8:00 am: Start working (you can get more specific if needed)

8:45 am: Check social media

9:05 am: Start working

9:20 am: Mom called

9:45 am: Work

10:00 am: Email pops up on phone - check and reply

 Learn how to stay focus when you're working on the computer.

10:10 am: Work

10:30 am: Eat a snack

10:45 am: Work

11:45 am: Lunch

12:15 pm: Check social media/email

12:45 pm: Work

12:55 pm: Text from spouse

1:00 pm: Work

1:30 pm: Browse internet

2:00 pm: Work

3:30 pm: Social media notifications on phone

4:00 pm: Work

4:45 pm: Clean up desk area

5:00 pm: Finish working for the day

Results

Work: 4.5 hours

Distractions: 3.5 hours

Lunch: 1 hour

I know not everyone’s schedule will look the same, maybe you will have more distractions, maybe less. But either way, do this. Write down what you do and when you do it. Note how much time you spent actually working and how much time you spent on distractions.

Now, analyze what is distracting you. Was it really necessary to check your social media 3 times throughout the day? Because you know that just checking that one notification leads to browsing through Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, so it isn’t a quick break. It’s easy to lose 10-15 minutes if you pick up your phone to check that one thing. Same with browsing through the internet.

And I love my mom, but was that phone call vital at that time, or was she just calling to chit-chat? I find that, especially working from home, it’s hard to make others understand and respect that you are "at your job” since you are sitting at home rather than at an office with a strict phone policy. Same with that text from your spouse.

So what can be done?

Set your phone to “Do Not Disturb”

On the iPhone, there is a setting called “Do Not Disturb” or DND (and I’m sure there are equivalents on the other major smartphones). The setting for DND can be found in the settings app, and you have a few options for setting it. The first is turning on the scheduled toggle, and input your work time. As of right now, you can only enter one start and one finish time, so in the previous example I would set it from 8 am to 5 pm. If you don’t want to schedule this, you can also manually turn it on and off by swiping up for the dock, and pressing the crescent moon icon.

If you are worried about missing a call that could possibly be an emergency, then set it to “Allow Calls From” your favorite contacts list. This lets their calls come through immediately. Although if mom is in your favorites list, it won’t block her chit-chat morning calls. Another option is to only use the “Repeated Calls” function to only allow the second call from the same person to come through within three minutes. My husband and I always have a rule: If I call you once and you can’t answer, that’s okay but if I call you again right away, you need to answer. The repeated calls allows that second call to go through.

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Turn off your computer’s internet

Depending on what you do, you may be able to turn the internet off on the computer. If you are working on a word document, a powerpoint, or any other project that does not require the internet, turn it off. You can’t get distracted browsing the internet if you can’t connect.

Personally, I can’t do this for my part-time job because it is a web-based program that I log in to. What I will do, though, is set up a new Google Chrome user just for work and I don’t bookmark any of my social media or other websites. The only bookmarks on there are work related.

You can do this even if you are a blogger. Write the bulk of your post in a word document, then copy and paste it to your blog to finish adding your images and any other formatting. This lets you focus on just your writing, and not everything else at the same time.

Block out your time

As a blogger, I know that social media is an essential part of running my blog. I also know that it can get very distracting and I end up wasting time on there some days. Start blocking out your time so you give yourself the chance to do what you need on social media, but limit yourself to as little time as possible.

For example, here’s a glimpse of my daily schedule:

8-9 am: Social Media, check emails, etc.

9 am-12 pm: Part-time job

12-1 pm: Lunch with my kids

1pm-4:30 pm: Blogging, social Media, check emails, etc.

My mornings are more structured than my afternoons because my husband and I both work from home. In the mornings, he watches the boys and lets me sit down and focus completely on my part-time job. The afternoons are his turn to focus, so I work on some of my blogging and social media posts as I can while also taking care of the boys.

I used to try to do it all here and there, but I was getting too distracted. So I blocked out that first hour every morning to get my social media in line for the day, check and respond to any emails, take care of bills, all of that type of thing. Then I focus solely on my job. I turn my phone to DND, put on some headphones to block out the noise in the house, and focus.

Choose your music wisely

Have you ever noticed yourself getting distracted by the noises around you? Especially when working from home, it’s very easy to hear the washing machine stop so you get up to switch it, or hear the kids arguing over a toy, or the garbage truck just came so the cans can come in, etc. Unless you do a job that requires answering the phone, get some good headphones. Preferably noise-canceling if you can.

But it’s not only blocking out ambient noise, the music you listen to can create noise as well. If you are trying to write, such as blogging or responding to emails or a business proposal, music with words can often become distracting. How many times have you typed what you hear? It happens to me all the time.

I started listening to soundtrack music, and it makes such a difference. I enjoy music from all my favorite movies and tv shows. There are no words, it’s just instrumental. If you are looking for some good ones, I suggest John Williams, Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard, and Howard Shore.

Power Snacks

A rumbling stomach can cause a big distraction. Get yourself some power snacks that you can keep at your desk for when you hit those in-between times and need a quick fix. But choose your snacks purposefully. You don’t want to fill up on candy and end up with a sugar crash later, or chips and end up hungry again in half an hour.

Keep protein snacks at your desk. Things such as granola bars, mixed nuts, a banana with some peanut butter, etc. Usually, the snacks with protein are the ones that will keep you full longer, and give you that boost you may need to make it through the afternoon.

PS: Don’t forget to make sure you drink enough water throughout the day as well.


About the Author: Stephanie Lynch
 Author: Stephanie Lynch

Stephanie is a native Floridian living in Texas with her husband and two young boys. She blogs at www.youaremysonshine.com about all things kitchen related such as recipes, organizing, cooking tips, and everything in between. If it happens in the kitchen, Stephanie covers it. Also known as: boy-mom, wife, daughter, sister, photographer, nerd, adventure-seeker, beach-lover.


How To Seize Control of Digital Distractions

ProductivityAlicia GraceComment
 Learn how to seize control of digital distractions and take back your life in this blog post. [aliciagraceco.com/blog]

The hardest part about being your own boss is staying focused. When you have to manage your social media, conversations, and emails all at the same time, that can get real messy real fast. Digital distractions are especially tricky as they’re there ALL. THE. TIME. and so often, you don’t even realise it until it’s too late.

Part of the problem is thinking that you’re multitasking when you do things like writing content while on the phone. But the truth is, you’re damaging your own productivity, and you’re not delivering the high quality that you really have the ability to produce. Multitasking only works when one of your tasks is automatic and doesn’t require brain power. You can, for example, clean your glasses while you’re on the phone. Replying Facebook comments while writing your next big blog post? Not so much.

Why do digital distractions take over?

Most of the time, we use them to procrastinate from work and pressure. Have you ever found that the more work you have to do, the more tempting it becomes to check Facebook? This, I must admit, rings so true for me, and I used to find myself scrolling through social media even when I knew that I wouldn’t find anything interesting.

The good news is that now that you understand that this is the real reason why things like social media are so distracting, you can step up and put yourself in control.

How you can take charge of your digital distractions

Start small

Quitting cold turkey may work for some people, but for most of us, it’s better to cut down on your digital distractions one at a time.

Start by checking your emails at specific times throughout the day, then start signing out from Facebook and Instagram when you’re working. The key is to give yourself some time to properly get used to it, rather than giving yourself a shock to the system. Once you’ve made this into a habit, it will be smooth sailing.

Set aside time for focused work

The best way to get work done efficiently is to block out time for it. Make an appointment with yourself for content creation, and turn off all of your digital distractions. Mute your phone, close your email tabs, and sign out from Facebook. The one thing you can leave turned on is your favourite Spotify playlist.

Use this time to do your most important work first that requires the most brain power, and make sure you minimise all distractions.

Decide on when you’re going to check social media

On the flip side, you should also set aside time for social media. Studies show that we take an average of three minutes to adjust when we switch between tasks, and if you’re periodically checking in on Instagram every other hour, that can add up to a lot of time wasted.

The thing is that for a lot of us, especially those with businesses, checking social media and email is actually really important. Instead of doing this throughout the day, pick specific times and commit to them.

You could, for example, decide to stay away from social media when you wake up, and dedicate 30 minutes to engaging with your community (and, let’s face it, scroll through Buzzfeed) later in the morning, and another 30 minutes in the afternoon. This is a much more effective method, and also ensures that your engagement remains authentic and focused, rather than sporadic throughout the day.

Turn off at the end of the day

This last tip is so so important. As #bossbabes, we feel like we’re connected to our businesses 24/7, but this means that we have to turn off at the end of the day even more. Tune out from social media at night, at least an hour before you go to sleep. This will help you set boundaries between your online and offline lives, and also help you get quality sleep. Technology should really stay outside of your bedroom.



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How To Make the Best Use of Your Planners

PlanningCorrine Lin4 Comments
 
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We are almost stepping into the last quarter of the year and it's almost time to shop for new planners again. Almost. 

But wait, how many planners have you used to the end? Or rather, how many have you changed before the year reaches June? 

It's all about planning your planner with a goal in mind. 

Have you ever written stuffs down on your planner but forget to look at them or even forget that they existed? 

Here, we'll share a few tips on how to make the best use of the planner you have in hand, or to prepare for your next planner. 

Before Getting Your New Planner

Decide what type of planners work best for you

Do you prefer bullet journals? Do you like to write a lot on your daily planner? What size of planners are you comfortable with, in terms of space and portability? 

Be vigilant about using the right type of planner that works for you, for instance, refrain from using bullet planners if they confuses you and if they don't relate to you. You might not enjoy jotting down in point form. 

Once You Have Got Your Planner

Decide how you want to use your planner

Do you want to include everything in your planner including your life goals, bucket list, future goals, etc? Do you want to include other areas of your life in your planner such as your business list, or your inspirational quotes in the same planner? Or do you want to just focus on your activities for one year?

If you have a bullet planner, a monthly overview, a weekly planner and a daily planner, it will make your life difficult when you have to update all the different sections with the same activities. It will only add more tasks to your day and frustrations if you have to take more time to arrange and rearrange them.

Map out your planner content on a draft first

Set aside some time to plan how you want your planner to be arranged.

Otherwise your planner will look messy and dirty, which will prompt you to change a new one perhaps even before the new year starts. 

Sort your planner according to your preference

There are several ways you can sort your planner out to achieve the best efficiency when you use them. 

For instance, you could sort by your favourite colour and add stickers or tags to mark important pages, or sort by importance or functionality.

Use and record only what you need 

It's tempting to want to include everything we want in our planner, especially when we try to make it all-in-one with our life, career, health goals, motivational quotes, pictures, etc in there. However, it may make your planner bulky and heavy.

Decide what you want to keep in your planner and see if you could keep the rest in a separate booklet or file that you can refer to occasionally. 

So there you have it, planning your planner with a plan in mind. 

Planners are great with they are beautiful and new. Beautiful planners motivate us to write nicer and jot down more great memories. However, it is also about being effective and efficient when we can get the best out of our planners as they are meant to make our live easier as well.


About the Author: Corrine Lin

Corrine writes and coaches at L3 Hub, where she inspires and motivates girls and women to live true to themselves with self-confidence and self-leadership. She is also passionate about achieving success through goal setting and proper planning with the maximum effectiveness and efficiency. She can be reached at corrine@l3hub.org or at the L3 Hub Facebook Page.


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