Category Archive: Time Management & Priorities

Career or Family Time – Which is More Important? Is There a Way to Balance?

~by Brandon Greene~


Many small business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals struggle with balancing their family life and achieving their career goals. Some people get frustrated and give up on their dreams altogether, while others push their families to the wayside in an effort to further their careers.

Neither one of these situations is ideal or completely beneficial in the long run. Without a balance of both family and career, you will most likely end up with one or the other — not both. I think it’s important to have both in your life in order to be truly happy and fulfilled.

family time

Family is Important

Family is important because it’s what keeps you going. Good relationships with your spouse, kids or friends will make you happier and more productive at work than you could ever be without these relationships. I’ve always found it ironic that so many people are career driven in an effort to provide a better life for their families and end up neglecting them in the process.

This is particularly true in the industry that I am most familiar with: public accounting. Like all industries, public accounting has its slow seasons and busy seasons, but most businesses’ busy seasons don’t compare to tax season. This four-month grind of business and individual tax deadlines is enough to suck the life out of anyone.

During tax season, it wasn’t uncommon for me to work 80-90 hours per week. Couple this with an hour commute to and from work each day; it left me with little time or energy to spend with my family or maintain an actual social life. This type of schedule isn’t healthy or sustainable. This might be why the average public accounting career only lasts a few years.

After a few tax seasons of never seeing my family, it really started to wear on my attitude at work. I dreaded tax season so much that November and December turned into a count down to the end of my life instead of fun with the family around the holidays. I was less productive at work and less enjoyable to be around outside of work.

The lack of balance in my life really affected my output, creativity and motivation at work. This isn’t a phenomenon unique to public accounting though. You can experience the same thing in your business as well. A lack of balance in your life could be making you less productive and holding your business back.

Your Business is Important

Your business is important for many reasons. Obviously, it’s a means of supporting you and your family, but it is much more than that. Building a business gives you a sense of accomplishment and feeds your competitive drive. It’s also a lot of fun.

After growing tired of tax seasons, I decided to leave public accounting and start my own business. I quickly fell into the same dilemma of running my business or spending time with my family. Knowing that I didn’t want to make the same mistakes that wore me out in public accounting, I decided to implement these three practices in my business to ensure my work-life balance and grow my business.

#1 Delegate Unnecessary Tasks

Being a control freak is a recipe for stagnation and failure. Not to mention, it takes up a ton of your time. I realized very quickly that I can’t do everything and don’t want to do everything. Thus, I sat down and analyzed my business to identify the activities that didn’t really require me. Most of these were simple administrative tasks that could easily be delegated to one of my employees.

By removing unnecessary tasks from my schedule, I was able to focus on the things that mattered, and spend less time at work and more time with my family.

#2 Build Family Time into My Business

This concept sounds very unproductive, but it really isn’t. I looked at my schedule and made time to spend with my family during busy weeks. For instance, every Tuesday I meet my wife for lunch. This doesn’t take any time away from the business operations, but it helps maintain a balance in my life.

#3 Work from Home

family timeWorking from home isn’t an option for every small business owner, but I’m sure you can find some tasks that can be done from home. For instance, answering customer emails or sending out purchase orders can easily be done on the couch while watching a movie with family. You might argue that this isn’t “quality” time since I’m still working, but it does beat the alternative of me being at the office.

Both are Important

In short, both family and work are important. Having great relationships in your life will make you more productive at work and more motivated to take on the competition. On the flip side, not letting your business take over your life will allow you to make and keep great relationships. It goes full circle.

Take a look at your business and see if there are any areas that you can adjust to improve your work-life balance. It’s more than worth the effort.

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Brandon GreeneMeet the Author: Brandon Greene

Brandon is a public accounting survivor and the founder of the AIS CPA exam home. He uses his experience in accounting and knowledge of the CPA exam to help students with their certification classes and start their careers in accounting.

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What to Do With Kids While Working from Home

~by Dayton Uttinger~


Modern technology has enabled businesses to offer working from home more and more, so you’ve likely had the opportunity to decide if working from home is an option for you. On the other hand, you might have realized that a graduate degree is necessary in order to progress in your field, and that remains true for both social science and STEM fields. And whether you’re studying online or simply completing your thesis, your home is often the best place to get work done, provided you have a good Wi-Fi connection. There’s simply fewer distractions and more comfort wearing your pajamas in your favorite arm chair.

what to do with kidsHowever, this entire situation can be ruined when your kids are unexpectedly home for the day. Maybe they’re not even your kids. Whether because of a snow day, sudden teacher in-service or a sick babysitter, you somehow end up with the kids when you’re supposed to be working from home. This is the opposite of an office environment because kids are distracting in multiple ways. They constantly demand your mental and physical energy, especially when they are younger. You might think it’s impossible to multitask to this degree. After all, completing professional tasks can be difficult when you’ve got a toddler tugging on your leg or a third grader complaining that there’s nothing to eat.

So, how are you going to manage this day? Easy: take the day off. Not an option? Less easy, but certainly doable…


What absolutely must get done that day? Make a list of things that are non-negotiable. Then, list out those tasks that you can do mostly on autopilot. These will enable you to multitask to the best of your ability. Is this an ideal situation? Of course not, but listing it out will help you be more conscious of what exactly needs to get done. And you’ll be able to best utilize every moment, whether they’re napping or asking that you “listen” to their squabbles.

Teach Them Independence

If at all possible, engage them in some sort of solitary activity. Or, if they have siblings they can play with, encourage that as well. However, if they have a history of fighting or one of them always ends up in tears, it might be better to keep them separate. There are some ways that you can stop their bickering, but that’s more of a long-term goal. You just need to survive this day.

Alright, but next issue: what can they do that will keep them sufficiently busy without causing a path of destruction?

Any pets? This is a perfect place to start. If there are, then you have an automatic source of entertainment/occupation. Dogs need to be walked, fish need to fed, even cats get social after some catnip. But, of course, be cautious. Canine communication isn’t always obvious to kids, fish feeding can be more complicated than even you realize, and cats’ claws can be more dangerous than perceived. Either the child or the pet might be too fragile for sustained interaction. Use your best judgement to determine what pet activities can go unsupervised.

If there are no pets, some limited TV or computer time is okay, but we know that extended screen time isn’t good for them either. You should go through the obvious options: books, puzzles, board games, tag with their friends or siblings, arts and crafts, etc. However, you should try to tailor the activities to children specifically based on their own interests. If they are particularly active, don’t attempt to sit them down with a long chapter book. It’ll only agitate them, increasing the time you spend watching them and away from work. Similarly, if the child is creative and loves a certain TV character, give them some art supplies to draw their own version of an episode, or ask them to depict what their favorite moment was. There are lots of things that kids can do to keep busy; you just have to be as creative as they are.

If all else fails, and the kids are young enough, encourage some nap time. Use their silence to your advantage, and make sure to be extra productive during this time.

Let People Know

what to do with kidsBy no means should you use this as an excuse, but it is still a good idea to let your coworkers or group partners know that you might not be available to respond at a moment’s notice. If you have a larger business that you’re working with, you don’t want to send out a company-wide email alerting everyone of your situation. Instead, include a notice on your Google Calendar that you’re out of the office and working from home. Especially if your calendar has been integrated into a company database, interested coworkers can check your schedule if they’re curious, and it won’t flood everybody’s inbox.

On the other hand, if you’re working on a considerably smaller scale, it’s probably easier to directly communicate with pertinent parties specifically. Also, you’re freer to be a little more frank with those individuals, since you probably have a more “family feel.”  You can say things like, “Hey, Frank, I’ve got my sister’s kids for the day. I’ll still be working, and you can count on getting X, Y and Z done, but just a heads up.”

Kids are way more distracting than any of your coworkers or fellow students (I hope). But, fortunately, you have a level of control over them. Whether they’re your own children or somebody else’s, getting work done while they’re around is difficult, but can be done as long as you prepare a game plan and tailor activities to those children. Keep them busy, sit down in your home office or armchair, and get to work.

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Meet the Author: Dayton Uttinger

Dayton did not agree to the clock that everyone else seems to operate around; she writes by night and barely functions in sunlight. She dreams of changing the world from the comfort of her couch.

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How to Make Sure Your Business Trip Stays on Schedule

~by Eileen O’Shanassy~


When traveling for business, you probably like to have a little bit of fun on top of all the work you have to do. However, your top priority is probably making sure you stay on schedule. Luckily, following these tips can help you do just that.

Be Realistic When Making Your Itinerary

First and foremost, you should understand that you aren’t going to be able to stay on schedule if you set up an impossible itinerary. It is very important to be realistic when making an itinerary for your upcoming business trip. Leave room for things like flight delays, and think about things like jet lag. Additionally, do your research about your transportation options, and make sure you give yourself enough time to get from place to place. By setting up a realistic itinerary in the first place, you can ensure you are setting yourself up for success, not failure.

business trip stays on schedule

Choose the Right Accommodations

When choosing accommodations for your trip, make sure you choose the right ones. Even though it might seem smart to choose a hotel that is slightly out of the way so you can cut down on the cost of your accommodations, doing so might make it more difficult for you to stick to your schedule throughout your trip. Stay in places that will also provide all the amenities you might need, like wi-fi and free parking.

business trip stays on scheduleBe Early

It’s never a good idea to “cut it close” schedule-wise, especially on a business trip to an unfamiliar place. If you don’t give yourself enough time, you might find it takes longer to get from place to place than you originally thought, or you might get lost along the way. Try to be early as much as possible on your appointments so that you give yourself a bit of time to handle anything that might come your way. At worst, this will give you a little more time to relax and enjoy your surroundings.

Stay Organized

Staying organized is key to ensuring you stick to your schedule while on your trip. Consider using customized gear shipping cases to keep up with travel documents, products you’ll be showing, and important business paperwork. Then, you can make sure you have everything you need close at hand at all times.

When traveling for business, it is very important to make sure you stay on schedule. Following these tips should help you do so, allowing you to enjoy a truly successful trip for your business-related needs.

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Eileen O'ShanassyMeet the Author: Eileen O’Shanassy

Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking and kayaking. Check her out on Twitter @eileenoshanassy.

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Boost Your Productivity and Use Social Media for Your Business

~by Jessica Walter~


There is no better time to start a business than right now, especially if you are a senior entrepreneur. What are you waiting for? You have acquired all the skills and experience you need, and if you need to brush up on a few things, then there are thousands of resources out there that can help you. Becoming your own boss is an incredibly rewarding goal in life, but you’ll have to work hard for it. 


productivityBeing productive is one of the most important things you’ll need to do to make your business work. It’s no use deciding to take a day off, especially at the beginning of your business journey. You’ll need to understand yourself so you can be productive, and it’s different for everyone. At this stage in your career, you probably already know if you do your best work early in the morning or if you are a night owl. It’s just important that you recognize how to make yourself productive. 

This could mean finding the right place to sit and work, where there are no noises or distractions. Or, you might need that hustle and bustle around you, so a coffee shop with Wi-Fi could be better for you. That’s the important part; what is best for you. Whatever this is, if it increases your productivity, then it’s okay. We want environments that allow us to work to the best of our ability. The right workspace could propel your business to the stratosphere.

If you’re older, then use the experience you’ve gained throughout your life to assist in making operational decisions. You’ll know what business can fit your lifestyle. If you are traveling the world, then an online business can easily be run from anywhere, especially in this connected digital age. That’s where social media comes in.

Networking and Marketing

If you have an idea for your business, whether it is based online selling a product or service, or you have a physical store you need to promote, then you will need to both network and market yourself. Business is about people buying from people. Customers don’t want to interact with a faceless business. Become your business, and take advantage of the social media age to do your networking and promotion. If you’re not familiar with social media, then you can always outsource this side of your marketing at a low cost.  


Don’t let age be a factor when choosing which social media platform you want to use. Go with them all. With social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, you can grow your business like never before. Going where people’s attention is will help you. You might think Snapchat is just for teenagers, with 60 million users a day in the U.S. and Canada alone. Instagram boasts ten times this number, with monthly users in December 2016 alone standing at 600 million

Remember, social media needs a personal touch. This is the case regardless of your age and your business idea. You need to be active and to engage effectively with people. Use email to send out a weekly newsletter to both your existing and potential customers. This can let people know of any special offers you might be running on your products and can really help to drive sales and profits. You will be happy to see your business grow and your customers will be happy with the products they’re purchasing.

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Meet the Author: Jessica Walter

Jess Walter is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.

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Smart Tools for Effective Time Management

~by Dave Jones~


If you don’t follow a timetable, you might begin your day by taking a seat at your work area pondering what you will do today. Chances are good that you won’t be beneficial, and likely will not achieve anything critical.

Suppose you begin with checking email and then get diverted by the world outside of your inbox. At that point, you go on Facebook to get in your long range informal communication for the day and end up there for 60 minutes. At that point, do you remember something critical that should be accomplished for a customer? Amidst that venture another customer calls and you’ve gotten derailed. It’s nearing the end of your work day and you don’t have room schedule-wise to complete the undertaking. You have individual responsibilities to take care of now; also you’re starving and haven’t set aside a few minutes to break for lunch. You can’t make sense of how it is that you’ve been occupied throughout the day, yet haven’t gotten anything beneficial finished. You feel like there’s never enough time in the day.

All things considered, there will never be sufficient time on the off chance that you proceed in this manner. There will only ever be 24 hours in a day. In the event that the quantity of hours in a day is not going to change, then you must change your methodology.

You may currently be using a timetable, however if that is not working for you, then it’s an ideal opportunity to rethink it. Everybody is distinctive, so you need to pick the technique that functions admirably for you.

Effective Time Management

Rules for Scheduling Your Time

These are the primary principles on the best way to plan and deal with your time that ought to stay steady regardless of which technique you pick:

– You should clear your leader of your to-do’s. Get this rundown of things into some kind of workable configuration.

– Utilize an “expert” so you are not reproducing your calendar without fail. Relegate squares of time to related undertakings and incorporate individual time.

– Set up your calendar early. End your day by making your rundown for the following day.

– Be reasonable about the time it takes to do things.

– Minimize intrusions. Plan customer calls like arrangements.

Planning Methods

The 3 primary booking strategies to browse are sound, visual and electronic. You can discover an assortment of apparatuses at office supply retailers and online to help you with planning.

Sound – Use a hand held recorder (or your cell phone by means of voice recording applications). Record what should be done every day. This functions admirably if you’re not a note taker, don’t use day organizers and are mobile and can carry your recorder with you. You can make categories to sort out your rundowns further and set alerts with more advanced gadgets.

Visual – Your calendar can be as straightforward as a paper based schedule or agenda. You might want to try composing your rundown on a whiteboard using distinctive hues for classifications. On the off chance that you like logbooks, you can buy a desktop schedule, a day organizer that is conservative and simple to convey, or print your own using printable calendar templates. A pile of 4×6″ fixed file cards with your to do’s and subtle elements can be documented and sorted inside a formula card box or photograph fastener.

Electronic Any of the visual strategies can be utilized electronically with a hand held unit, like a cell phone, tablet PC or iPad, with applications to deal with your schedules and synchronizing abilities with Outlook and Google. Here you can likewise keep up contact data, deal with your schedule and arrangements, and set updates. The components and abilities vary by gadget. Standpoint is an incredible tool if you’re home office based with elements to deal with your email, timetable, contacts, make errands, notes and updates and sort out things into classifications. When working with others on tasks, Base Camp venture management programming is an awesome instrument, following discussions all in one spot, inclining to-do’s, due dates, document sharing, and time following.

Keep in mind to adjust your time with play, and pick the strategy that best suits you and will keep it fascinating. If you have found a powerful approach to plan your time, please share your planning tips in the comments below. Successful time management will keep anxiety to a minimum.

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Dave JonesMeet the Author: Dave Jones

Dave Jones is a manager at a company called Live Tecs. This company provides high quality time tracking software, expense tracking software and online time sheets.

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Is Overwhelm Just Part of Being an Entrepreneur?

~by Sophie Taylor~


Is overwhelm an expected part of being an entrepreneur?
Or is it really just burnout in disguise?



I wasn’t going to make it.

My fingers trembled – coffee jitters – as I speed-typed my (already late) blog post as fast as possible. Every two seconds, my screen flashed as I switched manically from window to window, from writing, to email, to the online webinar I was half-listening to.

I had four back-to-back coaching calls starting in a couple of minutes, and I knew that afterwards my brain would be so fried that I wouldn’t be able to write any more. A wave of failure and dismay swept over me. Needless to say, I didn’t bring my ‘A-game’ to my coaching calls that day.


I’m not the only entrepreneur who feels this way.

“You think that you’re going to have less stress, because you’re building your dream and not someone else’s, and you’ll be the one calling the shots,” said Jame Geathers, founder of Jame Geathers Consulting.

“But really, it is a tremendous amount of stress because you’re no longer an employee. You’re running everything,” she added.


All over the world, female entrepreneurs are a force to be reckoned with. We’re driven, dynamic and making an impact in everything from business coaching to health to productivity.


“Deep down inside, everyone just wants to contribute to the growth of something greater and feel like they are adding value,” said Charlene Rhinehart, Founder of Career Goddess Academy. “I want women to realize that nobody has to live a mediocre life, no one has to settle.”


Then why is it that, so often, we end up like I did – frazzled, exhausted and unable to just… Get. Things. Done?


frog-1339892_640 - overwhelmFor some, the sheer pressures of ‘doing it all’ as a solopreneur can lead to so much stress and overwhelm that our productivity nosedives. We try so hard to do everything that we end up achieving nothing.

“I do a little bit and get overwhelmed and get a headache – I feel all tangled up in my brain and can’t focus on anything,” said ChaChanna Simpson, founder of Career Women Academy.


As our businesses take off and the clients come rolling in, it can feel like a giant snowball. It’s a paradox: the bigger our success, the more we feel caught up. Add to that children, a 9-5 job and a social life, and overwhelm is just around the corner.

“It can just seem like this huge to do list that never ends,” said Kirsty Carden, founder of Live Love Grow.

So what’s a gal boss to do? Opinions on overwhelm vary quite a bit – which group do you resonate with most?

[1] Overwhelm is just part of being an entrepreneur

For some, overwhelm is just something that you take in stride – until you can afford a bigger team. For these lady bosses, the concept of self-care or “balance” feels pretty low on the radar screen.

“The number of things I need to accomplish can be overwhelming. [I’m not an entrepreneur] to have better work-life balance,” said Georgene Huang, co-founder of Fairy God Boss. “I am doing this to be my own boss and make an impact.”

[2] Build in self-care to avoid burnout

For others wanting to avoid burnout, overwhelm is a beast which must be addressed on a regular basis through built-in self-care. For Geathers, whose wake-up call came when she started getting stress migraines 1-2 times a week, sports has been literally a life-saver. And Char Rhinehart says that being a fitness instructor has helped her avoid exhaustion.

[3] Productivity and time management techniques are key

For others, productivity techniques such as time batching are key. Elizabeth Lauzon of Enhance Business Consulting says, “I do struggle with time management and with getting sucked into one task, and all of a sudden I’ve worked on that for four hours.”


Where do I stand?

Well, after studying and teaching several productivity techniques, I’d have to say I’m a mix of all three. But as a productivity coach, I’m usually pretty good at knowing when I need to take a step back, or when I need to forge ahead. The main thing is that I love what I do – helping my fellow female entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level.

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Meet the Author: Sophie Taylor

Sophie TaylorSophie Taylor is a Focus & Productivity Coach. She helps female entrepreneurs overcome stress and increase their productivity while working less.

Visit her website here: Sanity Haven

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6 Tips for Staying on Top of Your Workload

~by Kara Masterson~


Every job’s workload requires some juggling. For instance, at a law firm, paralegals quickly realize there are hard deadlines and soft deadlines, so they have to prioritize accordingly. Most other jobs entail something similar. There is always a lot to stay on top of, and if a person isn’t organized, they can get fired.

But how can you stay on top of all your work without feeling stressed and overwhelmed?


Here are 6 tips to help you with your workload:

Large Calendar

Large calendars are good visual reminders of the week and the month ahead. They allow you to gauge how long a project should take and when you need to get started on another one. It’s best to keep this calendar on a wall that is next to your computer monitor. It is also a good idea to avoid placing it behind the monitor or on your desk so that other items won’t detract from the view of your calendar. This is a great way to visualize everything you need to get done.


Special jobs require hard and soft deadlines. Use different colored markers or pens on your calendar or to-do list to distinguish which workload items are urgent and which ones can be put on the back burner. For instance, use red markers or pens to signify something that needs immediate attention, and use blue for research items or items that can wait. Using color coding as a visual tool for identifying your priorities can help you better manage your time.


It’s important to keep a tidy desk, but a system needs to be in place to organize mail, incoming items, outgoing items, and current workload items. Using trays or bins, such as those offered at Quantum Storage, can provide a unique solution for managing all aspects of your workload. Keeping these items separate will help you to focus on the task at hand and to distinguish urgent matters from less urgent ones.


Check emails first thing in the morning. Dedicate 30 minutes in the morning to do this. Record what you need to follow up on. For emails you were cc’d on that do not pertain to you, delete them. You may also want to decide when to take action on each email. If they’re urgent, do them quickly. Once they’re completed, decide which folder they should be assigned to. For instance, use case numbers or names to store emails that do not require further action, and keep these as a record. Staying on top of your inbox and keeping your inbox organized can help improve your efficiency.


Some office program software allows for “ticklers”. These ticklers can be used to remind you of important meetings 30 minutes ahead of time or anything else that needs attention. If this option is not available as a part of an office’s program software, use “stickies” placed on the edge of a monitor so that you can stay on top of things. Setting reminders is always a good idea.


Decide ahead of time what the following day’s schedule will be. This helps you to hit the ground running in the morning. The good thing about this system is that you won’t waste time doing unnecessary items, and if you find some downtime, you can get started with the next day’s schedule.

Overall, there is a learning curve to any kind of workload. Once you understand which supplies you will need and how the workload needs to be completed, it will be evident how to organize your desk and surrounding area.

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Kara MastersonMeet the Author: Kara Masterson

Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.

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What You Focus Your Energy On, Grows

~by Haley Lynn Gray~


One of the more interesting things I’ve noticed in life and in business is that what you focus your time and energy on is what grows.  

I’ve heard many times that you get what you measure, and that is truly the case. If you measure the things you have, you will get those things, both positive and negative. If you focus on what you are lacking, then you will have lack. If your focus is on abundance, then you will have more abundance. Where the energy goes, the rest just flows.   

If you measure income, then you get income. If you measure the number of Twitter followers, you get those. So think carefully about what you measure and how you choose to spend your time and your energy.

focus energy

Now, let’s be clear – if you want to grow a business, there are so many possible metrics that you can drive yourself bonkers trying to track all of them all of the time. You have to figure out what metrics are a good proxy for the health of your business, and then use those to measure your results. Here’s a good example: I can choose to measure my income, the number of clients I have and the number of people on my email list. There will typically be a strong correlation between all three. The larger my email list, the more clients I likely will have, and the larger the income I will have as well.

Also, you’ll notice that if you focus your energy on gaining clients and marketing your business, your business will grow. If you focus on getting more visibility for your business, that too will grow.  

If you focus your energy on positive things, those will grow. On the flip side, if you focus on the negative, those things will grow exponentially. If you focus on not having enough clients, on not having enough money, that is the way that your life and business will go. There’s no way to change that.  

So, how do you deal with this and short-circuit it? Well, be aware of how you’re thinking about a situation and how you’re approaching it. If you focus on the negative, it will amplify, but if you focus on the positive, you’ll be rewarded with positive outcomes.

How will you focus your energy and thoughts?

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Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray

Haley Lynn GrayHaley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.

Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.

Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.

Connect with Haley:

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How to Eat an Elephant, OR How to Get Things Done

~by Haley Lynn Gray~


As you might have guessed, I am not really talking about having elephant as a meal. Maybe you’ve heard that joke about how to eat an elephant? The answer: You eat an elephant one bite at a time. It’s good advice, not just for eating an elephant, but also for getting things done, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed by your list of “to-dos”.

getting things doneWhen you’re a woman in business, especially if you have a family, there are tendencies to want to do a million things at once. You get distracted out the wazoo. The reality is that if you want to stay half-way sane, you’ve got to stay focused on the most important things: keeping a roof over your head, food on the table, kids clothed, and moving forward in your business by getting clients and keeping them.  

When you’re doing a particular task, it’s easiest if you stay focused on the task at hand and ignore all other distractions. That means doing one task at a time, one small thing, rather than trying to eat an entire elephant at one time. You have to focus on just consuming the next bite of that mammoth. 

Multitasking is an illusion; trying to multitask will destroy your productivity. Instead, break up the things that you need to do into little, itty-bitty tasks. Break tasks up into the smallest common denominator that you can find, and then do those tasks. And stay focused on the task you are working on. Don’t be tempted to keep looking at the “elephant” and contemplating how you are going to finish that “meal”.

Do the most important things first and ignore the things that you don’t have to do. And yes, there is a very good chance that a few things on your “to-do” list really are not that important.

Learn to say “no” to the things that don’t work for you and make you happy. 

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Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray

Haley Lynn GrayHaley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.

Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.

Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.

Connect with Haley:

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How to Make Procrastination Your Friend

~by Sophie Taylor~


It’s Sunday morning and I’m sitting down to write this article.

Staring hard at the computer screen, I peck out a few lines on the keyboard. Then I lean back in my chair.

“Hmm. I could really use some coffee.”

I go to the kitchen and make a cup of coffee. The TV’s on in the living room.

“Hmm. I wonder what’s on the news today?”

Half an hour goes by before I remember my article. I jump up from the sofa, hurry back to my laptop and write a few more paragraphs.

Another ten minutes pass as I write intently. Then Morag, one of my cats, comes up to me and lets out a squeal, demanding to be fed.

So I get up, and scoop some kibble into her food bowl.

The rest of the day passes this way: alternating between trying to get work done, watching TV, making food and back to doing a bit more work. And no matter what people tell me, most of the time I can’t just sit my butt down, drink that coffee already, and finish the article.

You’d think procrastination was a bad thing. But it’s not – at least not always.

What I’m doing isn’t procrastinating, it’s percolating. I am not sitting down and trying to write the article straight through because my brain isn’t quite ready yet.

17075-an-african-american-woman-looking-out-a-window-pv - procrastinationMost people will tell you that procrastination is a major productivity killer. Procrastination is seen as avoidance behaviour – we don’t do something straight away because we don’t feel up to a challenge. Or we fear failure, or are hung up on perfectionism, or we tell ourselves that we “work better under pressure”.

We’d much rather stay in our TV-watching, cat-feeding comfort zone.

But here’s the thing. What if procrastination were just your mind’s way of telling you that you actually need to take a break, so you can re-focus? As Alice Boyes PhD. writes in Psychology Today, procrastination can actually increase your overall productivity.

Sometimes, the harder I concentrate, the fewer ideas I get. But let me take a little detour from writing, and my brain serves up new ideas by the time I sit down again.

How to make procrastination work for you:

When used to your advantage, procrastination can actually save you time and make you more productive.

1. Don’t beat yourself up.

If you find yourself getting distracted, be kind to yourself. Everyone gets distracted at some point.

2. Understand what your brain is trying to tell you.

Often, we start to procrastinate because our brain is sending us a signal, but we fail to interpret what it really means. Rather than getting stuck in limbo, try to figure out WHY you’re procrastinating.

For example, if you’re trying to write an article, ask yourself:

— Am I stalling because I just ‘don’t feel like’ writing?
— or is it because I honestly don’t know what to write?

3. Take action: Allow yourself mini-distractions, but don’t let them derail you.

If it’s the former: in these cases, I find it best not to take a break and push myself a little harder. All you need to do is take small steps to get out of inertia and get the ball rolling. Also, when you’re feeling like this, it’s too easy to get sucked into watching TV reruns.

For example, if I’m writing an article, I’ll break the process down into small steps – creating the outline or a list of points – and focus on just the first step. Then, I’ll take another small step, never thinking too far ahead. And before I know it, I’ve got momentum and the assignment gets easier.

If it’s the latter:

Change it up. Take a walk. Make some coffee. Or even just stare out the window. But only do it for a short time, for example 10 minutes. Set a timer if you have to.

When I do this, I often find that my brain has cracked part of the problem for me while I was thinking about something else, because when I resume writing, I often know what I want to say.


So next time you feel the urge to put something off, don’t kick yourself – let procrastination work for you.

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Meet the Author: Sophie Taylor

Sophie TaylorSophie Taylor is a Focus Coach. She helps busy, working women outsmart stress and create highly-effective action plans so they can reach their big goals.

Visit her website here: Sanity Haven

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