Archive for the 'Get Organized!' Category
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!
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
Happy New Year Leapers!
Hope you had a fantastic Holiday Break filled with great food and great moments with family and friends! Margarita and I are taking some focused Bubble Time this week to really work ON our lifestyle and business. It’s a great opportunity for us to get a lot done while slowly re-integrating into our schedules and daily rituals.
One key factor in preparing for a new year is to reflect and evaluate the previous one. It’s important to look into the eyes of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly to learn as much from it as we can and to recognize patterns so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
As Margarita and I are reviewing 2011 and planning for 2012…we are asking ourselves some tough but valuable questions and I thought I would share some of these questions with you, as they are powerful and important to reflect upon in order to raise the bar and move forward.
Investing 15 -20 minutes in this questionnaire will definitely prepare you for a great 2012. Here you go! Are you ready for 2012?
P.S. By filling this out before January 7th, you are automatically entered to win one full year of MyLeapTools.com*.
*MyLeapTools™ is packed with kick-butt tools, templates, strategies and methodologies that have greatly helped us, and our clients, take their brand and business to the next level. Each item comes with a kick-ass tutorial explaining how to best use it and what it will do for you!
I look forward to continue to be a part of your “virtual team” to help you raise the bar and take your business to the next level.
Enjoy and cheers to a kick ass 2012!
Catalyst at LeapZone Strategies
Host of LeapTV.com
CONGRATULATIONS to Colleen MacDonald of Coco Fleur, winner of our MyLeapTools.com Pre-Registration Contest!
Colleen has won a fantastic online advertising package on LeapTV.com, which includes 1 month FREE logo placement in our Sidekick Sponsor Widget, valued at $149!
A big thank you to all of the contest participants! Stay tuned for future contests and promotions on www.myleaptools.com!
If you pre-registered, but have not yet signed up for MyLeapTools™; or if you are someone who simply hasn’t had the time to explore it yet; we invite you to check it out today!
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When asked about his outstanding performance on the ice, Wayne Gretzky replied, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”
Where is your business focusing? I’ve found that one of the most powerful practices as an entrepreneur is to regularly spend time away from my office and my daily tacticals every month to dream a little and to envision my company 1, 3, 5 years into the future. At LeapZone, Margarita and I spend at least 1 day a month, away from the office, to stay connected and stay aligned with what makes us and keeps us great.
Here is what we normally keep an eye on.
1. Our Brand Foundation: We religiously stay connected with our values, purpose, brand promise, x-factor and unique selling proposition to make sure that we are in alignment.
2. Our Systems: We constantly look for ways to refining and simplify our systems and client touch points to make sure that we are efficient and consistent. People want to seamless and consistent experiences.
3. Our Auto-Pilot: We always look for ways to simplify, eliminate or automate all of our re-occurring tasks where ever possible.
Every time I take time away to “fly into the future” to look at my business from a bird’s eye view, it helps me look at my business from an entrepreneur’s perspective instead of a technician lost in a sea of TO DOs. It makes it easier for me to stay connected to my present purpose allowing me to better push through obstacles while keeping an eye on the big picture.
Spend some time in the future and you’ll be able to “skate to where the puck is going to be!”