Do You Remember Your 2014 Resolutions?

Back in January instead of making resolutions, I picked 2 words to provide clarity for my 2014 plans.

BRAVE and FOCUS

 

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{pencilshavingsstudio.com}

In an attempt to be more BRAVE, here are 2 things I have done this year:

1.  Getting comfortable with asking for help.

People like to help.

Working for myself and spending a lot of time working alone, it’s easy to get in the mode of trying to do everything myself.

The knowledge, opinions, and ideas of others, are invaluable. They can bring excitement to the good ideas and help us to rethink the not-so-good ones.

Here are 2 examples of how my business has benefited from asking for help:

  • My father is an avid reader – I believe his daily newspaper count is at 5 or 6. He sends me articles about organization, time management and entrepreneurship, which has been wonderful for building a portfolio of new information and for staying current on things I might miss.
  • Meeting on a weekly basis to work with another small business owner has been a very big contributor to getting  things done. This uninterrupted, dedicated time for working on projects, and having a new perspective as we share ideas, has helped me on many occasions.

2.  Committing to teaching a Paper Organizing Bootcamp in the fall

This is my really brave endeavor. Speaking in front of groups is way out of my comfort zone – I will let you know how that goes…

The 3 things that have helped most with FOCUS are:

  1. Incorporating single-tasking in my days.
  2. Setting a kitchen timer to 45 minutes for working on my tasks; taking a 5-10 minute break and then resetting for another 45 minutes.
  3. The Day Designer day planner.

If resolutions haven’t worked for you in the past — or for 2014 — I recommend choosing a word for help with guiding your actions.

Lighten Up for Better Productivity

Your environment makes a big difference in how creative and productive you are, and the light sources in your workspace are important to consider. Poor lighting can cause eye-strain and headaches, and directly impact your mood and energy levels. To find out more about lighting options for your home office, read here.

sfgirlbybay

Photography by Wolfgang Stahr

Using this light and fresh space for inspiration, here are 3 design combinations at different price points to get a similar look.

 

PicMonkey LOW

Low Price: $375

Desk: IKEA – $136

Light: Overstock – $186

Stool: $53

PicMonkey MED

Mid-Price: $974

Desk: LampPlus – $399

Light: Overstock – $460

Stool: Overstock – $115

PicMonkey HIGH

High Price: $3970

Desk: BluDot – $699

Light: Jonathon Adler – $2277

Stool: Plantation – $995

Ceiling Paint Ideas: Sherwin-Williams 6217 Topsail or Benjamin Moore Iceberg 2122-50

Wall Paint Ideas: Benjamin Moore Cloud White 967 or Sherwin-Williams Greek Villa 7551

 

Single-tasking: Finish Lines and Boundaries

book-smallBack in April I wrote about week one of my 3-week single-tasking experiment.  I was focused on finishing an ebook I had been working on with Christine Li, to help students and parents better prepare for the transition from home to college. The 3 weeks turned into 8, but STEPPING INTO COLLEGE is now finished and available!

I loved starting my days with the same focus as my top priority.  And, I think it is an especially effective work style for “starters” who tend to slow down when getting close to the finish.  Ideas come easy, the challenge for me is seeing them through to the end.

How the Book Came to Be

Christine and I were fortunate enough to meet through a mutual friend.  We had an instant bond and thought there was a need for time-worn advice, with an emphasis on simplicity – for students and parents facing the transition to college.  Christine is a psychologist with over 20 years of experience helping college and graduate students succeed and overcome procrastination habits.  I have seen three children through their freshman year transition and learned some things along the way that helped us all adapt to our new roles.

More About the Book

Everyone’s college experience is going to be different.  Our book is a succinct compilation of what we consider the most helpful advice for personal and academic success, and happiness in college.  Getting off to a good start is important, and knowing of the resources and skills for getting back on track as challenges arise is also important.

Table of Contents

1 – The Transition Year

2 – Community: Getting Involved

3 – Relationship Success and Family Connection

4 – Space: Mental and Social

5 – Roles and Responsibilities: Finding Your Flow

6 – Managing Your Money and Your Financial Outlook

7 – Ensure Your Academic Success

8 – The Dorm

9 – The Importance of Simplicity

10 – Saying a Good Goodbye

Questions You May Have…

Q.  Where can I buy the book?

A.  The book is available at the Amazon Kindle Store, here.

Q.  What if I don’t have a Kindle?

A.  Our book can be read using the Free Kindle Reader App for your Web Browser, PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, or Android device.

Q.  Is the book available in print format?

A.  No, it is a digital book.

Q.  How long is the book?

A.  The pdf version of the book is 50 pages.

Q.  Who would benefit from the content?

A.  The book is written to help both students and parents with a smoother transition to college.

My single-tasking experiment of prioritizing, commitment, and discipline, freed me to really focus on completing our book. This absorbed focus led to better productivity, higher quality work, and feeling less stressed.  This 4-minute video is a very funny interview and demonstration on why single-tasking might be the new multitasking.

 

30-Day Creative Cleanse

I love lists.  Especially those with clearly defined daily tasks that keep me on track to a bigger goal.  With summer here (and midway through the year) it’s a good time to refresh and jumpstart your creative business.

This 30-Day Creative Business Cleanse is for anyone feeling “overwhelmed, disorganized, digitally cramped, or needing a semi-annual business cleanse”.

You can start any time. Just print and post the checklist and let me know how it goes!

 

 

 

You Choose.

marieforleo

Feeling Tired? It Could Be Your Messy Desk.

“A Messy Office” is listed between “Having Trouble Saying No” and “Working Through Your Vacation”, on Time Magazine’s list of 14 Reasons You’re Tired All the Time.  FeliciasDeskpic

“A cluttered desk mentally exhausts you by restricting your ability to focus and limits your brain’s ability to process information, according to a Princeton University study. “At the end of each day, make sure your work and personal items are organized and put away,” suggests Lombardo. “It will help you have a positive start to your day the next morning.” If your office needs major reorganizing, avoid becoming totally overwhelmed by taking it one step at a time: start by tidying what you can see, then move through your desk and cabinets drawer by drawer.”

Just looking at the “before” picture of the messy desk above makes me feel tired.  Imagine starting and ending your day with these piles of clutter and confusion.  It took 3 hours and $150 of supplies to make this little desk area a functional working hub for a busy family of five.  I recommend using clear and open-top storage bins, trays for phones and pencil jars, and containers for coins and keys.  Labels make everything easier.  If something is clearly labeled it’s one less thing to think about when storing and retrieving your items.

You can get started today by clearing out your unneeded possessions!