DO YOU UNDERSTAND the difference between being busy and being productive? It’s common to have conversations with people that are just “so busy” They run from one thing to another, and talk about how busy they are.
Often these individuals thrive on the attention they get from being “so busy”….they have a false sense of accomplishment. However, are they actually accomplishing what they desire and are they getting ahead?
As an entrepreneur, it is vital that you spend your time effectively, and not waste it on things that are not important to your business growth. It’s important to distinguish the difference between doing things for the sake of doing them, often due to habit, or believing this is the way that “everyone” does it, or, thinking out of the box and eliminating the habits, and only focus on doing things that are actually productive. Many years ago, I learned a powerful distinction – only do things that lead me towards my goal.
How does this look?When arranging my schedule, I look at how much time I have and what my goals are for that day. I only do things that lead me towards those goals. I recognize if I am doing something that doesn’t contribute to my goals, I am making the wrong decisions and am getting stuck in being busy, not productive.
I prioritize the tasks that are most important and do those first thing in the day. I then fit everything else I am responsible for around that.
I use a daytimer faithfully! I have a paper daytimer with a month at a glance, and also a week at a glance, broken down by day in 15 min increments. I schedule everything! My work, my fitness, my family, my dog, my hobbies, everything you can think of. This is a way to know if you have over scheduled and can’t possibly get everything done, or, if you have space somewhere you can squeeze something in. It may sound a bit anal, but I have done this for over 30 yrs and it has been highly effective. I have the peace of mind knowing when I get through my list for the day, I am done.
I also use a diary system to keep track of things I want to remember and things I have to do. Each morning I pull out my file for the day and everything I have to remember is in that file. It works hand in hand with my daytimer, and allows me to stay on top of things, and remember points I wouldn’t normally.
Something else that has been highly effective for me is working ahead on tasks. For instance, when you are in a productive state, it is easier to get more done in a short time, then if you wait to do the task when it is actually time to do it. One way I have implemented this is with my weekly podcasts. When I sit down to do a podcast, I have my equipment all ready to go, and find I am in the peak state of mind to do them. I record 4-10 at a time because I have already done all the set up work. I can then pull from the archives I have filed each week. It takes far less time to do them this way, and if I have a week where I have other commitments or maybe not feeling the right energy to record, I don’t miss a beat….the podcast is already done and waiting to be released. I use this strategy on many business tasks like this, also in keeping my home in order, gift buying, everything you can think of. It’s so simple to implement this strategy into everything we do, but so overlooked by most, including myself until about 4 years ago.
Being productive rather than busy is important to your business growth. Without this awareness, you will be spinning your wheels, wasting time, and missing opportunity because you think you don’t have time. When we are productive, we seem to gain more time, be more relaxed, and are able to engage in things “busy” people just don’t seem to have time for.
As published on: http://bizcatalyst360.com/entrepreneurs-focus-on-being-productive/_
Opportunity is around us always, however, how often do you seize the opportunities presented to you? Have you ever stopped and reflected on the many opportunities that you have accepted and the many you have missed?
Opportunity to learn something new - if we are not learning and growing ourselves, we are dying. If everyday is the same as the last with nothing new and exciting to learn, it affects our moods. Life gets boring, with nothing to look forward to. This can lead to depression, stress, and just "existing". How many people do you know that are just going through the motions of going to work just to pay the bills, coming home and watching TV, going to bed and repeating every day? There is so much opportunity to learn today, and it keeps life interesting. It doesn't have to be earth shattering. I just watched a 5 min video on the intelligence of elephants. It taught me something new I wasn't aware of, and give you a fresh perspective, something to discuss with others, can make you more compassionate, and just a more interesting person.
Opportunity to mastermind with successful people - when we surround ourselves with others that are achieving things in their life we want, we learn distinctions that allow us to accelerate our own growth. We tend to become like the people we surround ourselves with. By surrounding ourselves with people that have success in their lives, it gives us the knowledge we can apply to our own results.
Opportunity to better yourself - Because I am committed to my own continued learning, I am interested in learning about a wide range of things. I read a short post about something important to the environment the other day, and it prompted me to take different actions than I previously would have. When we know better, we can then DO better.
Opportunity to improve your health - when we take actions to improve our health, we not only benefit personally, but we set an example for others in our families and social circles. Improving our personal health is not just about us. It is a gift we give to those that love us.
Opportunity to get in shape - being in good physical shape is vital to living an active, full life. If you don't keep in shape, it limits what you can take part in. Look around at people in your age bracket. This becomes particularly evident as we age. Are people complaining about aches and pains and looking for excuses to get out of an exercise routine? For instance, I hurt my neck and my knee about 6 months ago. I absolutely needed to take the time to heal, but this was never an excuse to stop exercising for good. My chosen exercise is yoga, and as many will know, there is a lot of stretching and strength required, which I couldn't do for several months. However, after 4 months of giving myself the time to heal, I made a decision to get back at it and do what I COULD do. I am not back to the level I was prior to the injury, but, I am not sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself either. I am pushing myself to do what I can and can see an improvement every day. I am also getting out in the garden, which is a bit tricky since I can't bend my knee to squat down, however, I am getting around it by using other methods. As I become a grandma, I am determined to stay in shape and live life with my kids and grandkids, not sit on the sideline and watch them live their life. This requires being in shape and making my fitness a priority in my life.
Opportunity to take a promotion - when one takes on a new role there will be new things to learn that open up new possibilities for you. Many people avoid this because they are stuck in their ways, don't want any more responsibilities, and often have a fear of learning something new. A promotion offers new possibilities that will often teach you things you can apply to other areas of your life, builds your self confidence and self esteem, and gives you the chance to increase your income.
Opportunity to start a new business - I fell into being an entrepreneur back in 1986. It would have been easy to not take that opportunity because I had no experience and was scared to death. But, my REASON for taking the opportunity was stronger than my lack of experience and fears. I wanted to be home with our children. THAT was my driving force, and that is what allowed me to overcome any excuses I had. Little did I know what an incredibly powerful experience this would be for my life, and how it would shape my kids lives, when they were growing up, and today as they both are entrepreneurs themselves.
All of these opportunities and more are around all of us every single day. The question to ask yourself, is, Am I seizing opportunities and living my life to the fullest, or, am I on the sideline watching others do it. There is a massive difference in being a spectator and playing the main role in your own life.
As published on LI: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/do-you-seize-opportunity-debbie-ruston?published=t_
WHAT DOES LUCK have to do with success and is it a requirement? Do all successful people have good luck? Are they just in the right place at the right time? Actually if you take the time to study successful people, in most cases you will learn some amazing things about them. You will learn about the struggles they had, just like everyone else does, and how they overcame those struggles.
Here are a couple of real life struggles I have dealt with to give you some perspective:
Many years ago, when I was pregnant with our son, our daughter became very ill and was hospitalized. It was something very serious and I was 9 months pregnant. When we have personal challenges, it is easy to take your focus off other responsibilities. I stayed at the hospital with her day and night, sleeping beside her bed for two weeks. I was busier than I had ever been in my business, and was working from the hospital room. I had a ladies wear business then, and I had orders coming in that needed to be sorted and delivered to clients. I just wanted to cancel all my business appointments and just be with my daughter, but felt a responsibility to my clients. We often believe we must choose one thing or the other. I decided to choose both. My husband would bring boxes of clothes each day for me to sort and tag for clients, and then he would take them back and deliver them for me. I also had appointments to meet with clients in the evenings, so he would come to the hospital and watch over our daughter while I went on the appointments. I came back about 3 hours later, and stayed with her again when my appointments were completed. My feet were so swollen I couldn’t fit them in my shoes, so wore slippers from the hospital to their front doors, where I slid my swollen feet into my shoes to look presentable when the client opened the door. That year I had my personal best year in sales. Wasn’t I lucky?
I changed businesses about 12 yrs ago because my income had dropped to about 1/3 of what I had been earning for 5 yrs in a row. That had left us in a tough financial position and it was the worst time ever I could consider starting a new business. It was a time that most would choose to play it safe, and not take any risks. I knew if the new business didn’t work out, we could lose everything we had worked for. I had to go through the learning curve of learning everything I needed to know to operate this new business successfully. I was still running my prior business part-time, and with the added hours I was putting in to the new business, it was normal to still find me in my office at 2 am, and back up at 6 to start the next day. That went on for 6 months before I was in a position to leave my original business. I went on to have my personal best year ever the following year. Wasn’t I lucky?
Do you see the pattern in these stories? I was willing to face adversity, make changes, push through tough situations, never gave up…took massive actions. Was I lucky? Luck is found when you are willing to do what it takes, despite adversity, despite not feeling like it, despite having guarantees. I learned through all of this over the years…the harder I worked, the more committed I was, the more risk I was willing to take, the more I learned, the luckier I got…. Success is a result of being willing to do what it takes, like it or not.
As published on: http://bizcatalyst360.com/luck-success/_
Not a day seems to go by that I don't see an article about meditation being embraced in the workplace and in schools. The most recent was a Canadian police force, meditating.
This is happening all over the world, as a focus on well being is becoming more important in business and in education. To see something like this being recognized and accepted in so many places globally, and in previously "unlikely" spots, is an indication that people are searching. Searching for answers, solutions, positivity, better results....and starting to realize that we find that not by looking outside of ourselves, but by going within.
What are the benefits that so many are waking up to recognize about meditation?
Reduces stress and anxiety. We stop thinking about stressful things in our lives and this allows us to weaken the neural connectors relating to stress and anxiety, and become calmer and more rational in dealing with these things.
Improves health. As a result of reduced stress and anxiety, health improves and stress related ailments start to correct themselves.
Gain clarity. When we are stressed out, it limits blood flow to the frontal part of the brain and we can't tap into our creative solutions. Removing the stress helps us gain more clarity as we free up this part of the brain.
Nourishes the mind. Instead of filling our minds with negativity and worry, we are actually providing positive nourishment for our minds.
Increased happiness is a result of the calming and new control you feel within.
Quiets the mind and improves our ability to focus when we are not meditating. You gain more control over your thoughts and are able to make choices more on purpose, while ignoring distractions that can take you off course.
Brings about answers to questions we are searching for. We cannot effectively solve challenges when we are busy and stressed. When we calm the mind, we can start tapping into our creative side to find the answers to our questions.
We feel calmer, more in control, more confident, happier, healthier, more self assured when we engage in practices like this that focus on developing our mind. The ways that we "feed" our minds are as important as how we feed our bodies.
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Debbie Ruston has been an entrepreneur and trainer since 1986. She works with individuals, and groups interested in developing their entrepreneurial leadership mindset.Was this article of value to you? Feel free to share it on your social networks and with your contacts, join in the discussion below, and FOLLOW her on the top right corner of this pg.
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RECENTLY, I WAS in the grocery store and the clerk asked the gentleman in the check out beside me how he was. His reply was “I’m not rich yet”. Instead of saying “wonderful thanks”, or “great, how about you”, this was the only thing he could muster.
Have you ever observed this type of useless conversation? We see it everywhere we go. People complaining about everything… the weather-too hot, too cold. People that pay to go south in the winter because it is too cold where they are, so they pay to go somewhere hot. The same people usually complain about it being too hot in the summer and sit in their air-conditioned houses. Then there are those that complain about the government, about work, co-workers, traffic, the price of gas, you name it, they will complain about it. They spread this negativity everywhere they go.
Think for a moment….do you want to be around these type of people? Most don’t. As a business owner, it’s important to make sure you are not getting caught up in this type of negative, useless conversation. You have an opportunity to inspire people, and give them more reason than just your product or service, to do business with you.
I know of another gentleman in my community. He works at a minimum wage job, but goes beyond the call of duty in his work. He greets everyone with a huge smile and a positive greeting. He does extra things for his clients that are not part of his job role. He brings you candies with your bill, which is not part of the service of this business, as no other employee does this. I can only think he purchases these himself, to give to his clients. He brightens everyone’s day, and I know for myself personally, I have gone out of my way to make a purchase at this establishment, because of this gentleman, even when it would have been more convenient to go to a business closer to me that provides the same product/service. He is making a positive difference to people, and the business he is employed by benefits. People go there because of him….not because of the product, because it is the exact same product you can buy anywhere.
As a matter of fact, I had recommended a different business to someone I know because it is close to their home. This individual did not want to go to that business because of various reasons. However, this wonderful employee I have described, has switched jobs and is now working at this other business. My contact stopped in there for convenience a few months ago, and now won’t go anywhere else because of this wonderful employee. That business who couldn’t gain my contacts business for various reasons, now has a very loyal new customer, because they have employed this gentleman. THAT is the power of positive energy and great employees. The original business I spoke about has no idea how valuable that gentleman was, and what a loss it will be to their business.
When you make people feel good, it builds up a sense of trust, credibility, and goodwill. They enjoy coming into contact with you, and will refer you to others. There is nothing like the power of positive referrals. It is free marketing! Not only does it make your clients feel good, you will feel great as a result. Lead by example as a business owner, and set the bar for your employees to follow in your footsteps. This type of positivity will always increase your business and create loyalty and referrals.
We have a choice to be negative or positive in how we deal with people in every interaction we have. When you make a conscious choice to live your life with a positive attitude, it will bring about positive results in all aspects of your life.
As posted on: http://bizcatalyst360.com/entrepreneurs-be-the-inspiration/_
As we discussed in a recent article, there is a massive difference between leaders and managers. Managers are often promoted into a leadership position because they excelled at their previous role. However, this may not give them the experience needed to be an effective and respected leader. So how can they learn to be one?
Here are three mistakes new leaders usually make:
1. Letting Power Go to Their Heads
It is not uncommon for a new manager to let their ego take over and take on the attitude they can sit back now and direct people. Something many forget is what got them there – their results. A strong leader will use their experience, and also keep themselves in the game, by continued involvement in their staff’s challenges and growth.
This helps staff members learn and grow, gain respect for the manager, and also helps the manager “keep their saw sharp”, as they also will continue to learn and grow , as to be able to keep up with what’s happening in their field.
2. Not Taking an Interest In Their Team
A simple ‘good morning’ or ‘how was your holiday?’, will go a long way and help employees feel valued. Managers who think they are too superior to be able to be kind and friendly to their staff will eliminate any chance of respect from them. There is no place for ego in leadership.
3. They Stop Walking the Walk
A sales manager that sits back and thinks he doesn’t have to sell tends to believe he is just there to crack the whip. If your employees see you out still making client contact and making the sale, this will give you far more credibility and respect.
Recognize that you have a lot you can teach. Employees that see you in the game will want to learn from you.
Here are nine effective practices that will take you from a manager to a respected leader:
1. Sit Down With Your Staff
Give them tips and work with them to help them live up to their potential. Be willing to teach what you know that brought you to this point, and don’t be threatened by helping others succeed.
2. Congratulate Employees
Let them know they’ve done a good job, praise them when you see them making extra effort, and when they are succeeding in their goals.
3. Be Open to Suggestions
Some of the best suggestions come from an employee that is in the trenches and has an idea for improvement.
4. Be Committed to Your Personal Growth and Development
Employees will respect and admire a manager that is continuing to learn and improve themselves.
5. Lead By Example
Be willing to do what you expect of others. There have been many successful CEOs who have “picked up a broom and swept up a mess”.
6. Communicate With Your Staff
Communication is essential. Let your team know what is going well, and what needs to be improved. This also goes back to being open to suggestions – listening to your team is part of effective communication.
7. Give Employees Responsibilities
It’s amazing how people step up to the plate when someone is putting their faith in them and counting on them.
8. Let Your Team Make Judgment Calls
Rules are important, but there are exceptions to every rule and in order to develop strong leaders in your organization, they should be able to feel confident in making a judgement call. This will also build client loyalty when an employee goes the extra mile for them.
9. Help Others Become Leaders
A true leader wants to help develop other people, and they are not threatened by another person’s success.
It’s been said that leaders are born, not made. Although some may be born with natural leadership abilities, leadership can definitely be learned by those that are committed developing and educating themselves.
As published on: http://aboutleaders.com/respected-leader/#gs.kMBvfhA_
HAVE YOU EXPERIENCE THIS? Someone sends you a social media connection request. We all get them of course. Whenever I accept a connection, I send them a personalized message back to initiate a discussion and start the business relationship. I do not attempt to sell them on anything. They have come to me, and I would think there is a reason of some sort.Something that really gets under my skin, is when someone sends me a social media connection request, I send them back a personal note, addressing them by name, and I receive a bulk message back, asking me to DO something for their business. They don’t know me, they have never interacted with me, they have not looked into what I can offer them, and they haven’t even addressed me by name. A “standard” bulk email asking me to do something for them.
Here is a recent example: Thanks for your follow! Please consider liking & sharing our Facebook Page: We’ll follow back ;-). If you think that I can help you with my (large) network on LinkedIn, invite me here Regards
This is a great way to repulse people! This is comparable to someone walking into your place of business, and asking you to stop what you are doing and come over to their “shop” and do something for them. It is so ridiculous, yet many who promote themselves as some sort of expert, practice this unacceptable behavior.
When I receive a message like this, my first reaction is how desperate they appear. It reduces their credibility, and destroys any trust I have in them. They haven’t even had the decency to use my name! How long does it take to type Hi ______, even if it is a bulk email message?
What is a better way to handle it? Stop handling your correspondence like a machine, and start being human! Tell me why you have reached out to connect with me. If you wouldn’t walk up to someone you just met in person, and ask them to do something for your business, then don’t do it on social media!
Another unacceptable behaviour is automatically adding people to groups. This is a great way to annoy people…they get automatically added and then get bombarded with messages from that group. Today I woke up to over a dozen messages from one person in a group like this. Absolutely send an invite if you feel they would benefit and be a good addition to a group, but do not automatically add them.
Overposting. No one wants to see their feeds full of your posts. Ask yourself if you would like to check your feeds and see 15 posts from the same person? It is a great way to get “unfollowed”.
Email Lists – Do not automatically add people to your email list and start sending them bulk emails without their consent. People should be opting in, because they want to receive info from you. Otherwise you are going to tick people off and destroy any hope of doing business.
Most of this is common sense, however, it is shocking how many people are not using common sense on social media. Be professional, it will take you further than any of these tactics.
As published on: http://bizcatalyst360.com/social-media-etiquette-for-entrepreneurs/
Debbie Ruston - Entrepreneur - International Trainer, Visionary Leader