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Entrepreneur Life

The Time-Tested Productivity Hack You Need to Try

After leaving my 8 to 5 job to run my business from home, it didn’t take long to discover I needed to boost my daily productivity. There was so much to do! It was overwhelming. My daily task lists were at least 20 to 30 items long. I was overrun with work, and needed a simpler method to stay on track. That’s when I discovered the Ivy Lee Method.

The Backstory

Apparently, sometime in 1918, the wealthy Charles M. Schwab sought the services of productivity consultant Ivy Lee. Even though Schwab was already very successful, he wanted to get even more done. Lee took on the task and came up with a simple (and still effective) five-step productivity hack.

The Method

Are you ready? It’s pretty elegant in its simplicity.

  1. At the end of each day, write down the six most important things you need to get done the next day. Do not write down more than six.
  2. Prioritize items in order of importance.
  3. Each morning, focus on the first task. Work until the first item is completed before moving to the second task.
  4. Approach the rest of the list the same way. Continue moving unfinished tasks to the next day’s list.
  5. Repeat daily.

The Takeaway

I know, I know. Some of you are saying, “I literally have 85 things to do every day.” I get it. Being a small business owner, or a blogger, or a parent, means you wear a lot of different hats. But this method really does work. Has been working for nearly a hundred years.

Why is it so effective? It helps you:

  • prioritize
  • focus
  • critically think about your tasks
  • cut out extraneous items from your day
  • have a ready-made structure for the next morning.

Plus, just because you’re focusing on six top items, doesn’t mean that you won’t have extra time in your day to take on even more. Once you’ve crossed off your “top six” by all means, keep going! But at the very least, you know the most crucial to-do items are getting done.

I designed this printable with the Ivy Lee Method in mind to keep myself focused. It’s simple and easy to use!  It has helped me immensely, and I hope it helps you too.

The Blogging Tips I Wish I’d Taken Sooner

Blogging Tips

Been struggling with your blog? Running out of things to write? Page views almost non-existent? Been there! I spent the first year or so of blogging completely frustrated. Recently, I’ve made a few changes that have increased my daily site traffic by 500%. My only regret is not doing them sooner!

Narrow Your Focus

Niche up. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. I was skeptical at first, too. Surely writing for a broader audience will get more page views, right? No. At least it didn’t for me. I was trying to be everything for everyone and failing miserably at it. Once I narrowed in on being a work-at-home entrepreneur and wife, it started resonating with people. I even went so far as changing the name of my blog to more accurately reflect my new direction.

Delete Irrelevant Posts

After landing on my new, narrower focus, it was time to nix off-topic posts. They just didn’t fit with the new format of my site. It pained me a bit at first. A year’s worth of blogging down the drain. Then I realized I was looking at it all wrong. I had an opportunity for a fresh start! Suddenly, the “blank canvas” was thrilling. I got my passion back.

Share Your Passion

Speaking of passion, I discovered quickly that it was much easier writing about what I’m passionate about. Before re-branding I was constantly scratching and clawing to find new ideas and eek out blog posts. It was awful! Now I can hardly write down my ideas fast enough.

Track Analytics

Analytics. Personally, it feels like a very cold and impersonal word. I guess that’s why I ignored them for so long. When I finally decided to take a look at what was being shared or pinned the most often, I was surprised. The posts I thought would be hits weren’t, and vice versa. Now I can share more of what my audience wants.

High-Quality Images

While content is king, including engaging imagery is also a must. Not going to lie, the photography on my old posts was abysmal. As embarrassing as those pictures were, they taught me an important lesson: use high-quality images. If you’re in the same boat try Pixabay or Stocksy.

Post Regularly

This is an obvious one, but I failed at it for the longest time. That goes for blog posts and social media. I knew less than nothing about blogging or social media before I started my wedding planning business. I had to start a website for my business so I thought I’d start a personal blog too. It was crazy! I got pretty overwhelmed and would go for long stints without blogging or posting to social media. I even deleted my blog’s Facebook page (which wasn’t one of my finest moments).

Years ago, I received a piece of advice that stuck with me, “If you’re going to do something, do it.” That thought popped back in my head recently. So… now that I’ve committed to blogging and “doing” social media, I’m actually doing it. I’m posting more regularly and getting results. Funny how the simplest things work sometimes, eh?

While it did take some time to implement these changes, none of them were difficult. I’m looking forward to making even more improvements over the coming months!

When Success Feels Hollow

Morning Coffee

Success vs. Value

Some mornings you just need a cup of coffee and a little inspiration. This morning as I’m sipping my coffee, I’m thinking about success. If you’re like me, it’s one of those things you’ve striven for your whole life. I was even voted “Most Likely to Succeed” back in high school. While I’ve done almost everything I’ve set out to do, it doesn’t feel the way I expected. There’s still this nagging feeling that actual “success” is just beyond my reach. Maybe you’ve felt that way too?

As with most things in life, a fresh perspective usually helps. I came across this quote and it got me thinking.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

-Winston Churchill

I don’t know about you, but all my efforts to be “successful” have felt empty. Don’t get me wrong, there’s an initial rush of, “I did it!” It feels amazing at the time, but that fades pretty quickly. That’s probably because success is not final. You have to keep going. Life moves beyond that point. On the heels of each success, it’s time to set new goals and dream new dreams… Keeping in mind that failure isn’t fatal. Stagnation is.

Furthermore, Albert Einstein said,

Try not to become a [person] of success, but rather try to become a [person] of value.

Regardless of where we are in our journeys, we can always grow, change, and become the best version of ourselves we can be rather than resting on our laurels. Being a person of excellence, and treating every client, co-worker, or employee with value sounds pretty successful to me. Laying a framework for continual growth in every area- work, relationships, giving back, etc.- should help through the ebbs and flows of success.

Final Thoughts

How many stories have we all heard about people who were on top of the world? They had everything they’d worked for- success, fame, fortune- only to lose it all in a haze of self-destruction. Why? Because it wasn’t what they expected. They got to the top only to think, “Now what?”

Is it time for you to set new goals? What can you be doing to “become a person of value”? Beyond that, what can you be doing to add value to your  relationships, job, and community?

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