I read an update from business guru Verne Harnish a little while back. I love his updates as he always introduces his readers to very neat people. That week, he featured Brad Feld, the famous venture capitalist and co-founder of the TechStar movement. Brad had recently produced an insightful online seminar for Verne on his book Do More Faster…and what caught my eye was another of Brad’s books entitled Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur. I thought, “YES!” we are quite an odd bunch and living with us entrepreneurs (usually Type A people, 100% dedicated to making a difference) can’t be that easy…right?
Let me share with you (Coles notes style) the Top 10 Quick Tips useful for any busy entrepreneur to try:
1. Never Schedule High Priority Activities or Deadlines on Fridays:
Doing so will likely create a scenario that drifts into Friday night, Saturday, and then Sunday. Always be realistic about the ebb and flow of the work cycle.
2. Don’t Bring Up Charged Topics at Bedtime:
Your bedroom should be a sanctuary and a safe haven from the demands of the world. Never start a conflict when you and your partner are in bed and dozing off to sleep.
3. Laugh and Laugh Often:
We believe you can never hug each other enough, say you love each other too much, or laugh too often.
4. Apologize and Forgive:
Practice apologizing when you hurt your partner’s feelings. Offer forgiveness when your partner has been careless with your feelings. Know that you will try to be your best self but that you will often fail and will need to hone your apology skills.
5. Have a Life Dinner Once a Month:
Make a reservation right now at one of your favorite restaurants. Go out–just the two of you. Buy your significant other a gift. Turn off your cell phones and hand them to the other person. Spend a long slow dinner enjoying each other’s company.
6. Set Limits on Technology:
You do not need to do just one more e-mail right before bedtime. You really don’t. You need to sleep well and restore yourself and reset your brain chemistry during a nice night of rest. Those who need to take breaks from technology are often the least likely to do it.
7. Live Where You Want to Live:
Pick the place where you want to live and build your life around it. Contributors to the book, Mark and Pam Solon, say “We believe it’s important for young people embarking on their lives to realize that geography matters in your happiness quotient and that it can even out-weigh the highest-paying job opportunities.”
8. Life Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint:
Another contributor to the book, Dave Jilk, says “If I could send my younger self a message from the future, it would tell me to treat my career more like a marathon than a sprint.”
9. Commit to Each Other’s Dreams:
“Recognizing that one’s partner is pursuing their dream, they are satisfied down to their soul and, in so being satisfied, are that much more alive. That level of aliveness is a gift few partners can ever give, and successful couples recognize this,” says Tim Enwall and Hillary Hall.
10. Always Answer His or Her Calls!
While it might seem like a small gesture, the cumulative impact of doing so on a regular basis shows your partner they matter to you. To this last point, I watched an interview with Brad and during the interview his wife called and he took the call! People don’t really care when it’s your spouse.
LEAP OF THE WEEK:
I for one, need to tone down technology before bed time…what about you? What will be your focus for improvement based on this post? Don’t be shy, post your ideas and thoughts below. I would love to hear them.
As an entrepreneur, you are part visionary genius, part manager, part salesperson, and sometimes, part errand runner. With all these hats to wear, not only are you challenged to keep yourself on track, but in many cases you also need to keep others in line, including your staff, clients and associates. In order to keep your variety of roles from overwhelming you – which renders you less effective and thus less profitable – you need to harness your focus.
Here are 7 tips to help you do just that, based on nearly eight years of teaching yoga and meditating, and more than a decade as a serial entrepreneur.
1) Turn the sound off.
Noise is distracting. That’s partly why many yoga rooms are silent. If you’re in focused work mode, put your phone on silent, and turn off all the little beeps from Facebook, email and their counterparts. This gives you the control to check your messages when it works for you, and allows your mind to get into a rhythm without interruption. Simply calming the bleeps and pings will do wonders to help you focus.
2) If you work from home, set boundaries around work time and other time.
When working, keep your other tasks, such as housework, family time, and social calls separate – as much as possible. By setting up containers of time for focused work, your clients get the attention they deserve, and so do the rest of your duties when you’re done. The timer on your phone is a great tool to set time-specific work goals, as the alarm will usually go off even when the phone is on silent. A simple kitchen timer will also do.
3) Establish rituals.
When I was running my yoga studio, I would start each work day by checking in with my to-do list, prioritizing what needed to get done, and establishing a loose plan for the day based on what meetings and obligations I had. No matter what was going on, this always got done. It grounded me and helped prevent overwhelm. Business and personal coaches often recommend rituals because they are good for your internal rhythm and help you establish good habits. Establishing rituals will also help you optimize your most creative times of the day. When you’re working, be aware of when you feel most inspired, and create a ritual around it to encourage your genius to flow.
4) Eat whole, low glycemic foods.
Some foods are beneficial to eat before yoga, and some will make your class a frazzled mess, resulting in poor balance, irregular breathing, and a thumping heart rate. The same principle applies to work. Sugar, excessive coffee, and processed foods, although convenient and quick in their energy boost, will result in crashes, depression, increased anxiety and overall stunted focus and creativity. Whole foods are a great alternative.
5) Use technology to stay more present.
Teaching and practicing yoga effectively requires presence of mind. This is partly why a yoga studio is usually clutter free and clear of distractions. Work focus also benefits from less clutter. I use ‘full screen’ and ‘mute’ mode on my MacBook to eliminate visual and auditory clutter. I also use the ‘read later’ option in my browser when I come across an article while researching. Smart mailboxes and alphabetized folders will help you organize your email and documents efficiently, and specific junk filters help prevent an overflowing inbox.
In yoga, ‘Savassana’, or ‘dead body pose’ is a posture that requires conscious relaxation. Athletes use this principle to optimize their performance in sports, and you can use it to increase your focus at work. Even the New York Times is buzzing with the benefits of relaxation. In order to be in top form with your business, restoration is key.
7) Come back to your breath.
I know, now I really sound like a yoga teacher. But trust me when I say that yoga and focus go hand in hand. Yoga means ‘union’, the marriage between your body and your mind, and your breath is the connection between the two. If you want to channel the entrepreneurial brilliance from your mind into action, you need to get in the zone, and your breath can help you do that. Next time you’re noticing your anxiety or distraction levels rising, stop. Regardless of your deadline, close your laptop or step outside.
Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose. No need to visualize, chant or repeat a mantra. Just feel your breath going in through your nose. Exhale slowly, and bring your full awareness to the act. Repeat five times.
When you can bring your full awareness into your moment by moment reality, the focus that ensues will not only increase your productivity, but will set an example for your staff and clients.
Even your errand-running abilities will improve…I promise you that!
Leap of the Week: This week, take your focus to the next level by using these yoga and meditation inspired tips. They will help you improve communication, productivity and profits…and leave more time for YOU to enjoy!
www.leaptv.com – Isabelle loves to laugh, especially at herself. Experience the steam-releasing fun the LeapTV crew has in the making of every episode. Bloopers!!!
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By Craig Jarrow of Time Management Ninja
This week I want to talk about Evernote. I have used Evernote since 2008 and absolutely love it. It is a great tool for collecting all of your notes, information, and clippings into one place. Better yet, you can access your personal “brain database” from anywhere… your computer, laptop, phone, even the web. If you don’t use Evernote, I recommend that you check it out by reading my previous post about it.
Recently, I have found myself using Evernote more and more.
I wanted to share just a few of the tasks that I use it for and invite you to share your own.
Here are 5 Tasks That Evernote Helps Me With…
1. Notes Across Platforms:
One of my favorite uses for Evernote is taking notes across all of my platforms. Whether I am at work on my laptop, at home on my desktop, or mobile on my phone… all of my notes end up in one place.
2. White Boards:
Do you ever take photos of whiteboards at work? Where do those pics end up, in your photo roll? Inevitably, they get lost among the photos of your friends, family, etc. I take meeting whiteboard pics straight into Evernote. When I need to go look for a meeting pic, I can search for it from within Evernote.
3. Solutions to Problems:
When I solve a problem, I save the solution to Evernote. If I encounter that issue again, I have the answer at my fingertips. I recently needed some computer settings that I had solved long ago, and I was able to find my note from 2009 in just a few seconds. Can you find your notes from 4 years ago? (No matter where you are?)
4. Reference Docs:
I keep my main document library at home and backed up to the cloud. However, for documents that I may need to reference on the go, I send them straight to Evernote. (You can even do this via email.) A recent example is my son’s baseball schedule. I have it right in Evernote for handy reference.
5. Web Clippings:
If I see something on the web that I might want to use in the future, I clip it right to Evernote. No cutting and pasting, simply use Evernote’s browser extension. Makes it easy to save those great ideas that you see on the web.
Getting Started With Evernote
If you are new to Evernote, or just want better tips on using it, I highly recommend Brett Kelly’s book, Evernote Essentials.
Brett wrote the book on using Evernote and he has just updated it for the latest features.
(Great back story, Evernote liked Brett’s book so much that they hired him!)
So, check out Evernote Essentials.
How Do You Use Evernote?
Craig and I would love to hear how you use Evernote.
Let us know by commenting below or by tweeting us at @TMNinja and @LeapZone
BUSINESS: Dina Robertson of Codeshed Solutions hijacks LeapTV and its host, Isabelle Mercier, to pick her brain about the world of entrepreneurs. PERFORMANCE TIP OF THE WEEK: Isabelle shares the business insights she’s gained over the years. www.MyLeapTools.com
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