As I mentioned it’s going to be a few days before I take my own picture …
But that shouldn’t keep you from seeing the giant check, right? :)
Here it is:
If you read any of my articles, you probably know I talk a lot about reaching goals and how thinking positive thoughts is one of the best things you can do. To help with that, I recommend creating a dream board.
Action Step: If your goal is to be next year’s $10K Challenge Winner, add it to your dream board today. I made it easy on you by removing my name and changing the date. Here are the simple steps:
Click here or on the image below to download a PDF of it.
Print it and write your name on it. (Or add your name with a computer program and print.)
Add to your dream board (or somewhere where you’ll see it often)!
I used to be proud of it and even tried my hand at wedding planning. But I gradually came to realize that spending an entire working day just planning a project is not a good use of my time.
One of the great things about freelancing is the ability to raise your hourly income by being more productive. Planning doesn’t directly equal income. Productivity does.
As I’ve become more focused on productivity, I’ve begun to recognize a lot of planning for what it is: a convenient way to procrastinate. Sure, you feel like you’re working, but you’re probably just delaying the actual work.
To make sure I’m getting the most important thing on my schedule done every morning, I … eat a frog.
If you haven’t heard of this technique, let me assure you, I don’t eat an actual frog.
Basically, you do the worst thing on your list first thing. Then the rest of the day is easy.
Here’s how to determine what your own frog is and make sure you eat it:
Before you end work for the day today, figure out your most important tasks for tomorrow. These should be things that will move you closer to your goals or directly impact your income. My list includes writing a project proposal, calling a client, and updating my website.
Now, choose the worst of the most important things – the one you’re dreading the most – and circle it. Then put a star next to your favorite item.
I’m scared to death of making phone calls – even “warm” calls – so that’s definitely my frog. I’ll do it first thing tomorrow morning.
This sets my tone for the day. I can do anything! And I have more energy and passion.
Next, I’ll write and send that project proposal. But in comparison to my frog, the proposal is a piece of cake.
Then, once all my tasks are done for the day, I’ll reward myself with my favorite task: updating my website.
Now, this only works if you eat the frog first thing in the morning. Resist the temptation to do small things first. Don’t check email. Don’t return phone calls. Don’t write a nonessential blog post. And don’t plan how you’re going to eat that frog.
Just eat it.
If you allow yourself to procrastinate by doing smaller, less essential tasks, your motivation and valuable time will be gone. Then you’ll have to tackle that big, scary task with less enthusiasm and energy. If you’re like me, that means you’ll put it off until tomorrow and feel guilty.
If you have a 9-to-5 job, you might be wondering how you can eat the frog first thing in the morning and still get to work …
You have a few choices. You could get up earlier and eat your frog before work, or you could schedule time each evening to eat your frog.
I personally recommend getting up earlier because after you come home from your J.O.B., your creative energy is likely gone. And other obligations will be screaming for your attention.
If you commute to work in traffic, try leaving your house an hour earlier. Eat your frog at the office. This way, you miss the morning traffic and save yourself some time and frustration.
What do you think? Do you already eat a frog every morning? Or are you going to start by making it your New Year’s resolution? Comment below to join the discussion …
A few times a year, I sit down and reflect on where my business has been, where it is, and where it’s going. I do this at the beginning of the calendar year and again on my birthday in August.
This year, I realized I had a major problem that was stunting the growth of my business: I had too many goals. Because I was torn in so many directions, I wasn’t accomplishing much toward any of my goals.
What’s worse is that because I was spending so much time working, I stopped doing a lot of things I’m passionate about. That led to unhappiness with my business and feeling like my work wasn’t paying off.
For my mid-year analysis, I looked at the areas of my life and quickly saw if I didn’t take time to relax and recharge, my business would only suffer more as my creativity drained away and my passion burned out.
The first thing I decided to do was take a hard look at my goals and where my time was going. I quickly realized I had two types of goals:
1. Someone Else’s Goals.
These were goals someone else had given me – either by making them sound like something I should want to do or by asking me to help them with a project. Making six figures per year and self-publishing a business book were on this list.
2. My Goals.
These were goals that got me out of bed in the morning and kept me up late. They were the things I was truly excited about accomplishing, like being featured in Entrepreneur magazine and getting Sara Blakely (the creator of Spanx) to notice my new venture, ComfyEarrings.com.
It was hard to make progress on my goals because they were getting pushed aside to make time to work on someone else’s goals.
I decided I didn’t want to spend my time working toward a goal I wasn’t 100 percent in love with. It wasn’t easy, but within a few days, I had “resigned” from all of the goals that weren’t mine and freed up quite a bit of time.
Next, I decided to spend an hour every day doing something I used to enjoy. The only requirement was it had to be fun and get my creative juices flowing. I chose to read fiction books and get outside more. On the days when the weather is nice enough to read outside, I get a double dose of enjoyment.
So far, the results of my streamlined goals and doing more things I enjoy are:
My stress is almost completely gone.
I have more energy and passion for my projects.
I’ve read more books in two weeks than I did in the past six months.
My creativity is back and writing is much easier.
I’m not struggling for ideas because my brain isn’t exhausted or numb.
I’ve always thought reading is important, but after the past month, I truly believe reading fiction is essential to writers.
Just in case you won’t take my word for it, here is what some famous writers have to say:
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King
“Be awesome! Be a book nut!” – Dr. Seuss
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Richard Steele
So what about you? How do you take time to recharge? Comment below to join the discussion …