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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.

Three Free & Easy Ways to Build Intimacy in Your Marriage

Intimacy- Holding Hands

As I revealed in a past post, I wasn’t exactly a natural at marriage. Few people are, I suppose. The good news is people can grow and change! My husband and I have spent the last few years building intimacy in our marriage. We’ve boiled our “research” down to a few incredibly easy ways to start building intimacy.

Hugging

Yes. I’m serious. Just hear me out. As odd as it sounds, I was listening to the radio one day and there was a story about how hugging can actually improve your health. It piqued my interest so I came home and did some more reading. I found articles like this that discuss the health benefits of hugging. Which lead me to articles like this that tout the benefits of cuddling with our partners. Essentially, hugging and cuddling trigger the release of oxytocin, which plays a role in social bonding.

I decided to give it a try. What did we have to lose? I made a point of intentionally hugging my husband every day. We also started carving out time to cuddle more often. As silly as it may seem, I genuinely felt more bonded to my husband due to my “experiment.” It quickly became our favorite part of the day.

Showing Interest

It’s amazing how something as simple as asking your mate, “How was your day?” goes a long way. We live in a big world and it’s easy to feel like you get lost in the shuffle. Coming home to someone who is genuinely interested in your well being is refreshing.

To take things a step further, my husband and I make a point of asking about each other’s passions, hobbies, and interests. My husband loves sports, theoretical physics, and heavy metal. Three things I’d never really thought about. I’m passionate about wedding planning, cooking, and blogging. Three things he’s not too keen on. However, in an effort to support each other, we ask one another questions and learn new things all the time.

Speaking Their “Love Language”

If you haven’t heard of it yet, Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book called “The Five Love Languages.” Basically, it boils down the essence of how people feel loved into five main categories: words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts. You can take the free quiz here.

We took the test and discovered I am a “quality time” kind of girl and he’s a “words of affirmation” kind of guy. So what does that look like for our marriage? We’re insanely busy. However, no matter how crazy our schedules get, my husband chisels out time for us to have a few quality moments every day. I love it! Since I know my husband feels loved through words, I write him a little note every week to tell him how much I love him, compliment something he’s succeeded at, or thank him for something he’s done. In fact, just last night he thanked me for the notes and told me he appreciates every single one.

The Takeaway

Life gets crazy. Money gets tight. People don’t always have the time (or the money/energy/opportunity) for candlelight dinners or walks on the beach to kindle intimacy. However, simple things like hugging or cuddling, showing interest, and speaking each other’s love language can get the ball rolling.

What about you? I’m always interested in hearing other people’s “secret sauce” to healthy relationships. Let me know in the comments below.

Essential Elements for Your First Business Website

Essential Website Elements You’ve finally decided to make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality. Congratulations! Now it’s time to build the all-important business website. Of course, you want it to be beautiful, helpful, and most of all a sales magnet. But where do you being?

Whether you’re building your website yourself, or hiring someone to do it, these are a few key elements you should include.

A Clear, Consistent Theme

This goes for both your fonts, colors, imagery as well as your brand messaging, blogging and other written elements. Sites with too many fonts, colors, etc. can be visually jarring. Choosing a few standard fonts — your main text font and one or two accent fonts — keeps your site looking clean and more visually appealing. Keeping your written elements on topic lends to your credibility, and keeps your readers engaged. After all, they wouldn’t have clicked on your website if they weren’t interested in your brand, product, service, niche, etc.

An Engaging “About” Section

What makes you so passionate about what you do? What sets your product/services/company apart from others? How can you/your product solve your clients’ problems? Why should your readers trust you? This is an important opportunity to introduce yourself and your services to potential buyers. Keep it personable, concise, and easy to understand.

An Easy-to-Navigate Menu

People are busy. They don’t want to spend 12 minutes trying to navigate where they want to go on your website. Make your menus easy to find and use. If your menu will have a drop-down list, ensure your category and subcategory groupings make sense.

Your Product or Service Offerings

This one sounds like a no-brainer. However, you’d be surprised at the number of websites that seem to hide their pricing, product, or service information. Again, if someone has clicked on to your business site, it’s pretty safe to assume they may be interested in what you have to offer. Make it obvious them and easy to find. In addition to making it easy to find, make it easy to understand and easy to book or purchase.

A Blog

Why is a blog important to a business website? That’s a great question. My favorite aspect of having a blog for my business is the social sharing element. It gives a continual stream of content to share across my social channels. Regular blog posts also help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In simplest terms it  gives search engines something to “search” for on your site. And lastly, blogging gives you an outlet to establish yourself as an authority in your field.

Social Media Follow & Share Buttons

Social media is the easiest way to keep in touch with your current and potential clients. Make it easy for your readers to connect with you and share your content by adding social media follow and share buttons.

 

 

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