This can be a powerful tool, but it’s not all there is.
In addition to creating your new year by looking at WHAT you’re going to do, I want you to pay some serious attention to HOW you’re going to do it.
Every successful business owner knows (and most have learned the hard way) that without some foundational practices in place, they just can’t sustain over time.
I call these foundational business building areas the TOOLS: Time Management, Organization, Office Environment Loving Self Care, and Support.
Here are 5 simple tips to upgrade your TOOLS so YOU can have one of your most productive, prosperous, and joyful years ever!
Your time really IS your biggest asset! And how you spend it absolutely determines what kind of success you’re going to have.
One of the most powerful and important time management habits you can take on in the new year is a simple – but profound – shift in perspective. How much do you really put your own agenda at the center of your day? My experience is that the majority of entrepreneurs spend way too much time responding to other peoples’ needs.
Start your day with 90 minutes of uninterrupted time, focused on your #1 top priority item. This item should be something that is income-producing, and that moves your business forward.
Our world has changed dramatically in recent years, but most of us haven’t yet evolved with the times. Overwhelmed with too much paper? Still collecting more?
Again, the change here starts with a shift in perspective. Most anything you could ever want to know about the world and how it works is available to you in 10 seconds or less. Do you know how huge this is??! It’s obvious that this is new to us as humans, but most of us haven’t upgraded our “operating systems” to live and work in the new reality.
Don’t hold onto information – or sign up for mailing lists – because you “might need it someday.” Like with Time Management, put yourself at the center of your experience, and go out to get the information you need when you need it. Along with this, develop the trust that you’ll know what you need at the right moment, and will be able to get your hands on it when the time is right.
Buckminster Fuller, one of the greatest thinkers of the last century, said, “Our environment is stronger than our willpower.” Yet most of us don’t take advantage of the powerful tool of adjusting what we surround ourselves with to pave the road for where we want to go.
What stories does the space you work in tell you about who you are in the world? You don’t have to spend thousands on a remodel, or even move so you can stop working in the living room. Look around right now and write down 3 small changes you can make that would have you feel better about your space. Change the cracked light switch plate, hang the picture that’s been leaning against the wall, move your desk so you feel more in control of the space – these are just a few examples of the kinds of things I’m talking about. (I just cleaned my windows, and it brightened my perspective in more than one way.) Did you write your 3 down? Now go do them as soon as possible!
You know you feel better when you take baths, go for walks in nature, get massages, follow your morning routine. You don’t need me to tell you what to do here…
What makes you feel relaxed and strong in yourself? Go do it!
We all are supported in so many ways! As business owners, there are 4 types of support it’s crucial to develop and maintain.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you know where you could to reach out and develop stronger relationships:
- Spirit – Do you really, REALLY know that you’re not alone and you don’t have to do it all yourself?
- Staff – Are you trying to do it all by yourself every day – even the tasks you’re not good at or hate? Many successful business owners mark the time when their businesses took off as the moment they trusted enough to take a scary leap of faith and hire someone to help them.
- Sisters and Brothers - How connected do you feel to a community of entrepreneurial minded colleagues?
- Sage Mentors – Who do you have helping you avoiding the pitfalls as you steer your business to success?
What adjustments are YOU going to make? In the comments section below, tell us specifically which of these areas you want to make the biggest movement in, and what actions you’re going to take first.
By Alison Marks
How many times have you made a resolution on January 1 only to be disappointed just weeks – or even just days – later? A different approach to the new year is to set intentions. I tried this last year and here are some things I learned.
The difference between a resolution and an intention
Resolutions are all about will power, about what you will do to make something happen. Intentions, while they don’t exclude the use of will, are more about bringing your whole self to what you’re creating. They are about jumping in with both feet and being whoever it is you need to be to have that thing happen. Both resolutions and intentions can be hard work, but there is a key difference: resolutions you impose upon yourself, and you muster your forces to do this thing you feel you should do to make yourself a better person. There is no “should” in intentions – you really just choose and then go for it.
The importance of clarity
The first step in working with intentions is being crystal clear about what it is you want to manifest. As the saying goes, “If you’re not looking for anything in particular, don’t be surprised when nothing in particular shows up.” A great practice is to write down your intentions. This forces you to be very clear about exactly what you’re up to, gives your intentions some substance in the world, and provides you with something to remind you when your brain wants to forget.
Our brains don’t really register the difference between what “objectively” happens in the world around us and whatever stories we choose to tell ourselves. This is good news! It means we have incredible power to program ourselves for success, which comes from using our imagination to create that reality. To do that, we need a clear and specific idea of what we choose for ourselves.
We do not have control over most things that happen, but we do have control over our thinking and our actions. When our thoughts and actions are aligned toward a specific end, when we create space for and nurture our intentions so that they are alive in our lives, they can’t help but start showing up, often in unexpected ways.
If you’re like me, one of the things that might be stopping you is that you don’t know exactly what it is that will guarantee your happiness and success. You want to get it just right before you start going after it. Here’s a secret: it really doesn’t matter what you set as your intention. If it feels good to your gut and isn’t going to hurt anyone, then jump in. If you get started and then change your mind about exactly what you want to accomplish or how you will accomplish it, don’t beat up on yourself; it merely reflects your own flexibility and willingness to change as you gather more information. The important thing is that you are in the process. Once you’re in it all the way, the next steps and any changes you need to make reveal themselves as they’re needed.
Another thing that may be holding you back is fear of thinking too big. You may have an idea of what would make you happy and fulfilled, but you want to be realistic because you don’t want to fail and be disappointed yet again. But the way you’ve done it in the past – half-heartedly – has gotten you exactly the results you have in your life today. Probably not awful, but missing something. If you have an inkling of something outrageous or wonderful that would brighten your life, go for it! There is incredible power in setting intentions beyond what you currently think is possible.
Your physical space – your home, work environment, etc. – can be a very powerful tool for anchoring your intentions in a number of ways.
De-cluttering – your spaces and your life
Once you know what it is you’re after, it’s really easy to know what stays in your life and what goes. Clearly, some things that inhabit your spaces with you will support your intention and others won’t. If your intention is to be a successful professional investment banker within three years, clean out your closet of jeans and old shirts, keeping only what you love and need, to make room for new clothes that will support your moving up the ladder.
Once you start de-cluttering, getting rid of what doesn’t serve you in your life, you’re likely to feel energized. Our “stuff” has energy to it, and when it’s stagnant in our spaces, we tend to be stagnant, too. Use this to your advantage! Once you start de-cluttering you will feel so good that you’ll want to do more. I recommend starting with some small, defined, visible space, like a shelf or your cd collection.
No matter what your intentions, a clear, clean space without clutter is a powerful tool to bring more clarity and focus to support you in whatever you’re up to.
A quiet place
Having a spot where you can sit quietly and examine your life is a powerful tool for having your intentions become realities. Your spot doesn’t have to be a whole room, or even an area that’s “all yours.” For many people, especially living with others in limited space, that is not an option. But pick out some corner that you can occasionally – or even better, regularly – retreat to. Mark your quiet time with some ritual like lighting a candle or reading from an inspirational book. And then take some time to review your intentions.
As you review them, close your eyes and feel in your body what it would be like to have your intentions be real right now. Use all your senses to have the scene come alive. What do you smell? How does the air feel? What noises do you hear in the background? Who is there with you? What are you saying, or what is being said to you? Make it as real as you can – remember, your mind doesn’t know the difference between “reality” and the stories we tell it. When we tell ourselves great stories about our intentions often enough, our subconscious begins to believe it and magic happens.
There are countless ways you can use your things and your space to remind yourself of your intentions and keep them alive every day of the year. Some people find that making a treasure map is a powerful tool. This is a collage, drawing or other graphic depiction of your intentions. You may have one for each of your intentions, or a big one that reminds you of all the important things you’re heading toward in your life. Some people like to put this up where they see it daily, filtering it into the brain and letting it work its magic. Others prefer to be more private. If this is you, try to find some way to remind yourself to review your treasure map regularly. Make it part of some routine, like making coffee, going to bed at night, or paying your bills each week.
You can also create other reminders in your home that keep your intention alive. For example, if you intend to buy a new home, represent that with a special key on your keychain or by your door. If a month-long tour of Italy is ahead for you, picture books of Rome and the Tuscan countryside on your coffee table will be a nice reminder. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Whatever ideas come from you will be the most powerful.
Using your space to become who you want to be
Who do you need to be in order to fulfill your intention? Perhaps there’s some way that you can inhabit your home or workspace that can support you in becoming that kind of person. For example, do you want more friendship and community in your life? Create a space in your home where you can entertain; buy some more chairs to go around your table or cushions for your living room floor. Do you want to go back to school or write a book? Clear a space where you can work well without distraction, and make sure that it’s inspiring and feels good to you.
How do I choose my intentions?
If an idea for your life makes you feel energized, consider that as a possible intention to commit yourself to. It does not matter one bit if it’s too outrageous, too big, too quirky, too expensive, too crazy, too unrealistic, too selfish, too whatever! What matters is that there’s something about it that contributes to your life energy. You have been given unique gifts, and you have unique gifts to offer. You can wait your whole life for things to fall into place exactly as you want them to, or you can decide right now that you’re going to choose for yourself how it will be, and then work with the universe to make it happen.
Of course, the universe has its own story to tell with our lives. Feeling moved, happy, fulfilled and energized is a sign that we are on the right track. DO NOT try to intend something for your life out of any sense of obligation. If it doesn’t make your heart sing, it is not meant for you, no matter how much you want it to be.
When your whole being is aligned, unexpected and magical things happen!
Here are some things you can do to make your intentions come alive!
Set meaningful intentions
What has juice for you? There should be no sense of obligation or “should” in your intentions, just a good feeling moving toward something that makes you happy.
Write down your intentions
Review all the areas of your life (you may want to look at finance, love/sex relationships, family, friends, home environment, career, personal and spiritual growth, community involvement, physical health, fun and recreation). What do you really want? Write your intentions down in clear, specific words. Review these intentions regularly, perhaps once or twice a day.
Clear your space so that nothing’s in the way – physically or energetically – blocking your intention.
Have a place where you can safely and comfortably drop into yourself and examine your life. This is a great place to review your intentions.
Create a visual depiction of your intentions and display it where you will interact with it regularly. You can use images from magazines, drawings, even a few words. The idea is to capture the essence of your intention so that when you look at your map it is immediately alive for you. It doesn’t need to make sense to anyone else, as long as it’s clear to you.
Create “codes” in your home and work space for your intentions, clues that will remind you over and over again of where you are headed.
Who do you need to be?
In addition to the reminders, arrange your home and work environment so that you will be guided to be the kind of person you need to be to have your intentions come alive.
By Alison Marks
Whenever you’re in that place, what’s going to move you forward is… ACTION.
And the best way to get into action is to stop thinking. It really is as simple (though not always easy at first) as just picking a project and going for it. Stop with the perfectionism. Taking on the mantra “Done is better than perfect” has moved me through every major project I’ve taken on in the last few years (and I almost always end up feeling really good about what I produce in the end!).
What project to pick? I’m going to propose one that has completely transformed my business and my life. I did it, so I know you can, too.
Create an information product.
An information product is any knowledge-based vehicle that can be sold. Information products are nothing new – you yourself have had you hands on thousands of them (books!). What’s happening today, of course, is that technology is expanding our information delivery and consumption options.
Besides books, information products include both physical and digital products, such as books on tape, ebooks in various formats, workbooks, audio recordings, videos, certain software like some iPhone apps, and probably many more options that I’m not including here.
After spending tens of thousands of dollars and countless days in training to learn how to build my own business, I’ve come to the conclusion that creating and selling information products is virtually a requirement for entrepreneurs who want to build successful businesses online.
A successful information product is a strategic tool to help you:
- Make good money
- Help more people
- Be recognized as an expert in your field
- Bring more people into your tribe
- Leverage your wisdom and knowledge – do it once and stop having to say the same thing over and over again
- Automate your income – once your system is set up, all you need to do is promote and watch the money hit your bank account!
- Evolve your business to the next level
- Have something to show for your work that you feel really proud of and confident about
- Get systems in place and build your online business structure
- Be more desirable as a public speaker
- And more!
5 Simple Steps to Creating YOUR Information Product
If you’re curious about how you can create your own information product, step-by-step, come join us on an exclusive training call that I’m offering soon. Get more information and SIGN UP HERE NOW so you can take the next step into the amazing world of helping more people and making money online by being an expert in your field.
Sign up for 5 Simple Steps to Making Money While You Sleep By Turning Your Passion Into Ebooks, Cds or Videos
If you can’t make the call live, we’ll send you the recording.
See you there!
By Alison Marks
Projects are the lifeblood of business. Whether your projects include creating new products, teaching classes, doing promotional campaigns, taking inventory, or anything else, NOT completing projects means your business can’t thrive.
If you’re having trouble getting your projects done, or feel that your business could be doing better, check to see if your projects are backing up because you’re either not starting, not completing, or not following up completed projects soon enough with more projects. Do you see yourself in any of the scenarios below?
by Alison Marks
Earlier this year I hosted a telesummit. This was a huge project that took months to plan and produce.
One day about a month into the event, I had to go back and re-think how I was doing something. I had to tap back into that original creative energy that the telesummit was born out of. And I literally couldn’t do it!
While I stayed very connected with the vision of the thing from beginning to end, there were some distinct periods in which I was called on to bring forward very different parts of myself.
It’s like that for any project, isn’t it? Read more
By Alison Marks
Struggling Every Day to Find Balance Your Career, Family, Finances, Health, Diet, Time, and Energy? ( oy vey!)
As busy modern women entrepreneurs, our plates are already completely full. We’re all too familiar with how the stress of this busy life can get compounded during the holiday season, right?
My friend and colleague, Dianne DelReyes, the Anti-Aging Artist, (see us chatting in the video just above here!) is hosting “15 Days to Slim, Sexy, Successful and Stress-Free”… and you’re invited!”
Getting through” the holidays just isn’t good enough, and Dianne is committed to helping you set and meet goals THIS YEAR to manage your business, money, stress level, personal relationships, time, style… even your waistline!
By Alison Marks
By Alison Marks
John WIlliams has one of the most refreshing perspectives on self-employment around. Last week I had the pleasure of of talking with him about how to get past procrastination and actually get things done.
John is the author of the British bestseller, “Screw Work, Let’s Play,” and is co-host of the upcoming 30 Day Challenge.
The Challenge is a way to take on a project you’ve been putting off forever and get it done. Participants get content on how to stop procrastinating, make time, and conquer resistance, etc, plus support from coaches, experts and guides, and a private online community to talk to each other and cheer each other on. Needless to say, it’ll be FUN!
People in the last 30 Day Challenge did some amazing stuff – writing novels, launching websites, starting businesses, inventing a new dog shampoo, planning a cycle adventure around Spain. And this time there will be even more people playing. Maybe you???
By Alison Marks
I want you to try something. Write down any three habits you can think of that could help you get things done. Nothing fancy, just simple – plan your day in advance, turn off email when focusing on a project… things like that.
Seriously. Just grab a scrap of paper and do this.
One of the most important things we all MUST do to be productive is – well, counterintuitive. We don’t think of it naturally because it doesn’t really make sense in a linear kind of way. And yet it is the key to getting things done. My guess is that it didn’t make it onto your list.
That habit is… Read more
Projects can include anything that takes more than one step to complete. Examples include organizing, website updates, planning, accounting, visioning the next big thing.
Can you relate?
By definition, a project is too big to complete at once. It’s overwhelming to “overhaul my filing system.” But “separate out closed client files from current client files” is a doable task.
Choose one project at a time, and then break it down into bite-sized morsels. Many projects never even get started because they are too overwhelming. But when you give yourself the space to examine what’s going on, you can see clearly that there’s a beginning and an end, and you can even imagine yourself completing the various pieces.
Brainstorm and write out the tasks that will need to happen to complete your project. If it’s a big project and there aren’t natural smaller chunks, create them. For example, instead of your task being “make adjustments/corrections your accounting system for last year,” take it a month or a quarter at a time.
Write down one project that you want to complete. Then brainstorm out the various tasks that are part of it.
And perhaps most importantly, pick your first task, and get started!