Crazy Busy? Here’s How to Get It All Done

If you’ve ever looked at another entrepreneur and wondered how they manage to get it all done, the answer might surprise you.
They’ve got good systems.

It’s true. The most productive people all have one thing in common: they don’t reinvent the wheel every day. Instead, they’ve figured out the best, most efficient way to do every task, and they create a system to do just that.

No matter what business you’re in and what projects you find yourself tackling, a systemized approach will help you:

  • Work faster and produce more
  • Produce higher quality results with fewer mistakes
  • Easily outsource the tasks you don’t like to do

The Magic of Templates

How many times do you answer emails from potential clients? What about responding to customer complaints? Or mailing your affiliate partners about an upcoming launch?
All of these tasks and more become effortless when you create fill-in-the-blank templates that can be repurposed for specific cases/people. Templates can be as simple as a “canned response” in your email client or help desk, or you can use software such as Text Expander (for Mac) or Phrase Express (for Windows). You might even create a template document in Dropbox or Google Drive to house all your templates for easier access.
While templates will undoubtedly save you time, the real beauty is that once they’re created, you can easily outsource things like email and even sales. Simply instruct your virtual assistant (a.k.a. your VA) on the proper use of your templates, and you’ll be free to do other, more important things.

Checklists Prevent Mistakes

It might seem counterintuitive, but when you perform the same tasks over and over again, it’s easy to miss a critical step. You might think you paid your affiliates this month—you might even remember doing it—only to look back and see it was never completed.
But when you implement checklists, it’s suddenly much more difficult to miss an important task.
You can easily create checklists for all your common tasks and projects using nothing more than a text document. If you’re managing a team, checklists in your project management system allow you to see exactly what tasks are complete, and which are still outstanding.

Templates and checklists turn smart business owners into productivity superstars, and it’s easy to get started. The next time you answer an email you’ve answered before, save your response. The next time you set up a new product in your shopping cart or create a new opt-in page, take the time to record the steps. These documents will make future projects easier and faster to complete, and best of all, you can hand them off to your assistant to do instead.

6 Easy Ways to Energize Your Workday

While you’re at work, it’s common to feel overwhelmed with all the projects you’re juggling. Concentrating for a long period of time can be taxing both emotionally and physically. This often results in a tired mind, aching muscles, and a complete lack of energy. What can you do to revive and energize yourself during your workday while still being productive?

Check out these suggestions for incorporating short breaks into your daily work routine:

  1. Close your eyes and listen to three songs. Most people have their favorite music easily accessible on their phone, MP3 player, or other electronic devices. Choose music that relaxes you and if you can, put your head down on your desk and listen to three full songs.
    • Let your stress float away and clear your mind as you let the music flow in.
    • Music soothes the body and soul. After three songs, you’ll be surprised at how relaxed and energized you feel. You’ll regain the strength necessary to make it through the rest of the day.
  1. Shut your office door, prop your feet, and lean back. Close your eyes, take deep breaths, and count backward from 50. You’ll be comforted by the sound and feel of your own ability to inhale and exhale. Then, open your eyes and you’ll feel refreshed.
  2. Take a brisk 10-minute walk. No matter how big or small your office, you can always take a stroll around the hallways or between the cubicles. If you need some fresh air, go outside and walk around the block. Getting your blood pumping at an optimum level will energize you and make you feel revitalized!
  3. Splash cool water on your face. Go to the restroom, splash cool water on your face and wrists, and then dry them off. Sometimes, cool stimulation to those areas is not only refreshing but can also wake you up if you’re feeling sleepy.
    • If you prefer, wet a paper towel with cool water. Then you can continually blot your face, neck, arms, and wrists to stimulate your senses.
    • It’s amazing how much this little break can perk you up, energize your mind, and allow your positive energy to flow again.
  1. Relax and rejuvenate with a power nap. If your employer allows you a 15-minute break in the afternoon, use it to take a nap. Even if you don’t usually take naps, give it a try.
    • Set your cell phone alarm for ten minutes and try to snooze. If you have your own office, close your door, get comfortable in your chair, and grab a few minutes of shut-eye. If you don’t have your own office, go out to your car or use an empty conference room.
    • When the alarm goes off, you still have five minutes left to take a brief walk around your department, grab a refreshing drink of water, or have quick chat in the break room.
  1. Go for a change of scenery. You might break out of your rut when you’re able to change your view.
    • If you work in a large office, try working in the conference room. You can even try sitting in a different chair or on the couch in your office.
    • If you work from home, take your laptop outside and sit on the porch to work. Or try working in the living room today if you’re the only one home.

Although work can be tedious, you have some choices in what you can do to relax, revitalize, and energize yourself throughout the day.

Use music, deep breathing techniques, walking, cool water splashes, power napping, and scenery changes in order to keep yourself alert and focused. These methods will help you embrace that next big project with optimism and renewed energy.

Eliminate All But The Essential Tasks: A Guide to De-Cluttering Your Life

If you have an endless list of tasks that need to be done, and most of us do, it can be overwhelming. The list just gets longer and longer each day because you can’t get today’s list completed, and more tasks just keep coming at you.

If you can pare your list of to-dos down the most important tasks, you can keep your planning and time management system simple. A simple list of the 3-5 most important things is all that nearly anyone needs to be very effective and successful.

Follow these steps to manage your time and make success your reality:

  1. Get rid of the extra stuff in your life. Unless you live like a monk, you have more stuff than you need or use. If it’s not important to your life, consider getting rid of it. You spend a lot of time and money on those things that provide minimal value. Eliminate the clutter in your life and you eliminate a lot of the clutter in your mind.
  2. Eliminate the trivial. Start by making a list of everything that you feel you need to get done. Cut the list in half, removing the things that aren’t absolutely necessary. Don’t worry; you can come back to those items later. Now go through the same process and cut the list in half again.
  3. Review your goals. What have goals got to do with eliminating all but the essential? Reviewing your goals allows you to see what tasks are most essential. Assuming that your goals are very important to you, they provide an excellent tool to evaluate which tasks are the most important to you.
  4. Be aware of what’s essential. The essential things are those that support your goals. Pay your bills on time, work toward your goals, and take care of yourself and your family. Life is short; spend it on the most important stuff.
  5. Evaluate your other commitments. Is the weekly poker game worth it? Golf every Wednesday? Clubs, charities, committees, and more all take time. Eliminate the extra activities that mean the least to you. This includes all the people in your life, too. Some people you’re stuck with, others are optional.
  6. Minimize your sources of information. We all spend too much time receiving information and too little time doing worthwhile tasks. Cut back on TV, newspapers, browsing the Internet, email, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s largely wasted time that could be better spent.
  7. Review your list regularly. Periodically, take a look at your list of things to do and go back through the elimination process. Don’t worry about the stuff that gets axed. If it’s important, it will come back around after the really important stuff gets done.

We have a tendency to do the things that are the easiest; what’s important is to do the critical few items each day. Simply ask yourself what the advantage is to getting an item done and what is the disadvantage to not getting it done. Don’t choose tasks based on what is the quickest or most enjoyable; that’s what average people do. Be exceptional and do the most important items. If you spend all day on important tasks, your life will be remarkable.

Life doesn’t have to be an endless list of obligations. The key is to recognize that only the most important tasks really matter. When you can see that, you feel free to start chopping obligations.

Most of us major in minor things. Focus on the most important stuff and feel comfortable letting the rest slide. You’ll have more free time and your life will change for the better.

Did any of these tips really “speak” to you regarding how to de-clutter your life?

Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

What is Success?

How do you define success? Would you consider yourself successful to be at a C-level position in a big organization or to be your own boss in a small business? To many, success is obvious. It’s a life that includes a nice car, a fine home, an impressive job, and an attractive spouse. Yet, people with all of these things aren’t any happier than those with less impressive lives. It’s because all of those achievements only serve to impress others. They do little to enhance the quality of your life. (Want to really dig deep and learn how to be successful? Check out our Brain Training for Success course!)

Those with large homes still spend 80% of their time in just a couple of rooms. A $20,000 car provides just as reliable transportation as an $80,000 car. Even the most attractive people can become tiresome after a short period of time.

Success in the western world is too focused on showing off to your friends, family, and neighbors. It doesn’t focus on what will make you happy. You can’t find happiness by trying to impress others. You only show yourself that your own interests aren’t important.

Redefine success with your own definition:

  1. What is your passion? If you can determine the central focus of your life, everything else becomes much easier to determine. Do you want to write a great novel? Focus the next 25 years on creating and raising a family? Explore the world? Explore yourself?
  2. What do you like to do? Most people consider money first, but what would you like to spend eight hours per day doing for 40+ years? Of course, you’ll need to make enough money to pay your bills and pursue your passion.
    • Let’s assume that your passion is writing. Your career choice should support your interest in writing. That means your income is sufficient to be fully engaged in your writing activities. You might even consider a career related to writing, such as an editor.
  3. Your choice of living accommodations can also support your passion or be an obstacle. A home that is too big can require too much of your time to maintain or require too many financial resources relative to your income. You might also have to hire staff or housekeeping service to help. Managing those people is a drain on your time and focus.
    • Do you need to live in the city, country, or suburbs to support what you truly desire? How many bedrooms would be ideal?
  1. How much free time do you want to have? This isn’t just free time to pursue your passion, it’s also free time to enjoy other things in life, such as your family, friends, hobbies, or attending the ballet. A successful life would include enough free time to satisfy all of your interests. Your choice of career is a big part of this.
    • Limiting your non-essential activities is also necessary to create the free time you desire. Avoid joining clubs, committees, and other voluntary activities that don’t add sufficient quality to your life.
  1. Consider the end of your life. Imagine you only have a few months to live. What would you like to look back upon? Think about the kind of life you’d have to live to feel good at the end of it. Your time is limited, so make the most of it.

Truly, a successful life is one that allows you to accomplish or experience those things you consider to be most important. Those accomplishments won’t be the same for everyone. Avoid allowing society to determine the definition of success. Decide what is most important to you and then create a life that supports those things.

Pursuing society’s definition of success will result in confusion, resentment, and disenchantment. Be brave enough to find your own path.

How do you define success? Do you have any tips or ideas for learning how to redefine success in your own life?

Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

Entrepreneurs: Crucial Questions That Can Increase Your Profits

A high percentage of people who opt to run their own business find themselves working longer hours for less money than the job they worked so hard to escape from. That’s not all bad news, though, because they at least have the freedom that they craved. They don’t have to answer to anyone. But is that all there is? Isn’t there a way to have that AND increase your profits?

It Could All Be So Different

If you started a business of your own, and within a year it was making twice the salary of your current job, you would be pretty happy, right? But what if, in addition to that, you were only working half the hours of your current job?

So, now you’re working half the hours for twice the pay. Nobody is telling you what to do. Plus, there’s no commute. How would that feel to you? Pretty good, right? How would that go down in your social circle? Do you think your friends would be a little envious?

You would have time to take your kids to school, learn new skills, get in shape, make new plans, and the money to fund them. THAT is what most people would call a fantastic business!

Most people would find this a very attractive proposition. But is it possible? Of course, it’s possible! Thousands of people are already doing exactly that and more, and so can you.

How Can I Do Better?

If you want greater profits from your business, it’s important to perform regular and specific reviews of all aspects of your business.

You’ll want to know what’s working, what’s working the best, and how you can do more of that.

You’ll want to figure out what’s not working, too, so you can determine why that doesn’t work or how you could improve or replace your process. If neither is possible, just stop doing that.

Finally, ask yourself the question, “How can I do better?”

Albert Einstein once said, “It’s impossible to solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that created it.” So, you might need some help on this one. Your best resource is to talk with someone who has faced these issues before and found effective solutions for them. Click here to contact us now – we would love to help you hash out these issues.

True entrepreneurs never waste time or energy re-inventing the wheel. They just go and talk with the guy who created the wheel in the first place.

Here’s a tip that seasoned business owners use:

When reviewing business strategies, most people come from the “What’s wrong and how can I fix it” perspective.

Here’s a better idea:

Start from “What’s right about this issue?” When you come from a positive perspective, your creativity for problem-solving is switched on and in alignment before your start.

This creativity could very well transform your business from a good business into a fantastic business!

Let’s look at how.

The Five Right Questions

Asking yourself these questions will lead you to the answers you seek:

  1. What’s right about this issue/situation/strategy? Get clarity on the task at hand.
  2. What makes it right? Get specific. What is it about those things that make it an effective process for this situation?
  3. What would be ideal? Get creative. What would be the absolute ideal strategy/solution for this issue?
  4. What’s missing that could bring about the ideal situation? Get resourceful. What do we need to find, create, add, or invent to reach this ideal?
  5. What will it take to put in what’s missing, so we can bring about the ideal? Get busy. What is it going to take to make this issue/strategy/situation ideal?

Using the “What’s right?” perspective will, over time, change your complete mindset for everything – not just your business, but your personal and family life, too. Just think of how many conflicts occur each day in the home where the words “What’s wrong” describe their mindset.

Try it yourself the very next time a conflict shows up in your life and see how different your whole attitude becomes immediately.

30 Day Reviews

It would be good business practice to sit down every 30 days and review the answers to these questions:

  1. What action did I take this month to support my business?
  2. What action did I take this month to grow my business?
  3. What action did I take this month to improve my effectiveness?
  4. What action did I take this month to improve my efficiency?
  5. What specific results have I created this month through my efforts?
  6. How can I do better next month?

Onward and Upward

The truth is, the more decisions you make, and the more action you take, the more efficient you become. And the more efficient you become, the better results you’ll create. Plus, it will take you progressively less time to achieve those results!

This is why seeking the advice of seasoned professionals is a key strategy in creating a fantastic business! Talk to fellow entrepreneurs and ask for their advice.

The really smart ones will suggest you hire a Coach. All the most seasoned entrepreneurs have at least one Coach. Ask for a referral if you can.

A Coach can help you make profitable decisions, take effective actions, and streamline your thinking. It’s like having a business partner that you don’t have to split the profits with. Or having a high-value employee without having to pay for taxes and medical benefits. It will save you more money than it costs!

So, making greater profits in your business comes down to these important questions: What’s working? What’s not? How can I do better? Answer these on a regular basis and reap the benefits!

We would love to know the answers to those questions in your own business: what’s working? what’s not? how can I do better?

Share with us on Facebook or Twitter.

11 Quick Tips to Add Hours to Your Day and Be More Productive

As business owners, we’re all stretched for time. You can’t wave a magic wand and make the day longer. But there are things you can do to save time. And there are things you can do to maximize what you accomplish with your time. In essence, you can add hours to your day.

This will require a change in your habits, but many of these strategies are self-rewarding. Once you see the benefits to be gained, you’ll be motivated to continue.

Follow these tips to add hours to your day and accomplish more:

  1. Put things away when you’re done with them. Rather than creating clutter that gets in your way and is emotionally distracting, put things away when you’re done using them. Tell yourself that a task isn’t complete until everything is picked up.
  2. Do easy things during your least productive hours. Everyone has a time of day when their physical or mental energy is low. Schedule easy tasks during these times. It can be a good time to read emails, file papers, or tidy up.
  3. Do your most challenging tasks during your most productive hours. Likewise, you have a time of day when your focus and energy are high. Do your most challenging tasks during this time.
  4. Reduce the amount of time spent on low-value activities. You might be surprised by how much time you spend watching TV, surfing the internet, or texting friends. Putting this time to better use can easily add a few hours of productive time for most people.
  5. Batch your activities. Answer all of your emails at once. Pay all of your bills twice a month. Remember that it takes time to switch tasks and regain your focus.
  6. Make use of waiting time. If you’re stuck in traffic, make your phone calls. If you’re waiting at the doctor’s office, deal with your email. Waiting for your child to get dressed? Clean up the kitchen.
  7. Track your time. The average person has little idea about how they spend their time. Track how you spend your time for a week. Every 30 minutes record how you spent the last half-hour. Divide your activities into different categories and see how much time you spend on each.
  8. Get help. Ask for help at work. Give your spouse or children some tasks to do at home. Is your mother constantly asking you if she can help? Give her something to do.
    • Hire someone to mow your grass.
    • Hire a cleaning service.
    • Buy your groceries online and have them delivered.
    • Pay someone to run your errands.
  9. Schedule your day. Make the most of each day by making a schedule and sticking to it. Decide the most important tasks that need to be done and do those. You’ll waste less time and add hours to your day.
  10. Go to bed earlier. Most people don’t accomplish a lot in the evening. Shorten your evening by going to bed earlier. Then, you can add hours to your morning by getting up earlier. There are very few high-achievers that don’t get up early every day.
  11. Eliminate distractions. Turn off your phone. Use white noise to drown out distracting sounds. Close all of your computer windows and tabs other than what is needed. If you can get more accomplished each hour, you’re adding hours to your day.

The length of a day is fixed. After sleeping, there are a finite number of hours left. You can’t make the day longer, but you can get more out of each day. Get as much out of each day as you can. The more effective you are at using your time, the more success and free time you’ll enjoy.

Do you have any other tips for stretching the hours in the day?

Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

3 Proven Strategies for Small Business Owners to Increase Cash Flow

Is your small business struggling to make enough profit to pay the bills? Low cash flow and living paycheck to paycheck can be quite frustrating. Perhaps you started a small business so you could pursue your dream while earning money at the same time. If so, then you know that it isn’t always easy to get a small business to bring in the profits you’d like.

However, if you’re willing to work hard and have a good plan, there’s no limit to how far you can take your small business. Luckily, there are many ways to increase your current cash flow and free you from the threat of financial disaster.

Consider these strategies to increase your cash flow:

  1. Collect feedback. Many small business owners forget the importance of soliciting feedback from their clients. There are several effective ways to find out what your clients think about your products and services.
    • Ask the client to fill out a quick survey or questionnaire to rate various aspects of your business. These surveys can provide an excellent glimpse into your client’s point of view. There are many different websites that enable you to create simple surveys. Look online to find one that meets your needs.
    • Follow up with your clients with a phone-call or email asking for comments about your products or services. Inquire about which aspects they are satisfied with and which need some work.
    • Talk to your clients in person and ask them how they feel about their experiences with your business.
    • Remember, word of mouth is one of the best ways to advertise your business. If you have a bunch of satisfied customers, they’ll tell their friends and family about their positive experience and you’ll get more business.
  2. Get rid of products that don’t sell. It’s likely that you offer your customers a wide variety of products, but only a few of these products bring you maximum profit.
    • Sometimes a large inventory can work against your business. Customers often avoid buying altogether when they’re overwhelmed with options.
    • Instead of offering more products that likely won’t be sold, trash the unattractive products and offer more items or services related to your best-sellers. This is an excellent way to boost sales while reducing upkeep and inventory costs.
  3. Pursue unique marketing strategies. If your business is experiencing a steep drop in sales, there must be a reason. It could be that your marketing techniques are simply not as effective as you thought. Consider alternative marketing techniques.
    • Think about marketing your business online. It’s becoming easier with each passing day and more people are prone to search the internet for better deals. Businesses that have online order options are often much more successful. It’s a perfect way to increase cash flow.
    • Get the word out. Take advantage of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to promote your business. Check out our Social Media services to see how we can help with this part!
    • Radio advertisements, commercials, billboards, and flyers all increase the visibility of your business. Sometimes, direct marketing is just as effective.

By using these strategies you can boost sales and increase the revenue of your business. Once these strategies have been implemented, there will be no need to worry about how you’re going to pay the next bill. You’ll finally have the money to live the life that you’ve dreamed of.

It just requires determination, persistence, creativity, and an open mind to make your business successful. Test different strategies and stick to the ones that work best for you. Your efforts will be worth it once you see those increased profits.

Have you used these, or any other, strategies to increase your small business’ cash flow? How did it go?

Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

How to Start a Conversation in (almost) Any Situation (Infographic)

A big part of being a business owner is in-person communication. Actually, that’s a big part of just being human – it’s something we all face. If you’re anything like some of us here at Steady Radiance Design, the thought of the conversations at networking events or conferences might make you shudder. First you have the awkward small talk about everything and nothing. Then you have extended periods of silence that go on for ages. It’s all enough to make even the biggest social butterfly uncomfortable.

Enter, this list of easy-to-remember conversations starters (what we consider to be the “best of” the options we’ve found). Having an arsenal of good, thought-provoking conversation starters can turn any event into an interesting and even entertaining experience. Keep this infographic handy on your phone or tablet for a quick idea at your next social event! (click here to go straight to the infographic)

Start a Conversation at a Conference

Conferences are generally a fairly easy place to start a conversation because of the multiple sessions and speakers. Above all, we’ve found that the most memorable conversations happen when the conversation is a bit unique. Therefore, we suggest a little variation on the standard conference conversation theme.

  • If you could have everyone in your company watch a single session from this event, which would it be?
  • What have you learned that you find to be the most surprising? (add “so far” if it’s not over yet)
  • Is there any conference (real or imaginary) that you would love to attend?
  • Do you think that [industry] would benefit from more or less conferences?

Start a Conversation at a Social Event

Social events can be a challenge with conversations. A social event could be anything from a retirement party for a coworker to a birthday party for your niece. So not only is the event itself obscure, the people who attend will be equally so. Because of the varied nature of these events, having some tricks up your “conversationalist sleeve” can be just what you need. Here are some conversation starters that can get you going in this environment.

  • If you had to switch outfits with one person here, who would it be?
  • I’ve really itching to go on a trip. Have you traveled anywhere interesting lately?
  • What do you think are the top three ingredients for a successful party?
  • Do you have a signature drink? (gesture to their glass)

Start a Conversation at an Industry Event

Industry events are generally more specific and thus provide a good idea of what you might be able to talk about. However, like conferences, that conversation can tend to get a bit tedious. To help prevent that, here are some suggestions for more interesting conversation starters at an industry event.

  • By any chance, have you read anything good about [theme of event/forum]?
  • If you could spend an entire day talking to any expert in our industry, who would it be?
  • Is [theme of event/forum] a major professional focus of yours?
  • Why did you decide to come to this event/forum?

Start a Conversation at a Happy Hour Networking Event

Happy hour networking events are more casual than many other professional events, which broadens the topics available to you. They also tend to be filled with other locals so you can talk about the city/state you’re in, local venues, and other similar topics. In addition to that, you can talk about topics that are a bit more casual.

  • At this time on a typical [day of the week], what would you be doing?
  • What’s your favorite part about living in [city]? Least favorite?
  • If you could only attend one type of networking function for the rest of your life, would you choose breakfasts or happy hours?
  • I read an article claiming nowadays everyone has a side hustle (or four). Do you agree? Are you working on anything on the side?

 

Check out the conversation starter infographic below. We welcome you to use this infographic on your website or other marketing materials, provided you include a link back to our website (www.steadyradiancedesign.com).

Conversation Starters Infographic

We welcome you to use this infographic on your website or in other marketing materials, provided you include a link back to our website (www.steadyradiancedesign.com).

What are your go-to conversation starters? What types of events do you find the most difficult to strike up a conversation?

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter.

© Copyright 2022 - STEADY RADIANCE DESIGN, LLC
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men; Colossians 3:23 AKJV