"What one system or tool are you going to introduce to streamline your life?"
That is the question for today, Day 9 of the "15 Day Blog Challenge".
We all use tools to run our business (and life) - more than I realised until I started counting the ones I use. And yet there is always room for improvement in productivity and efficiency.
So rather than introduce a new tool altogether, I'm going to explore the Google tools more.
I know that I could probably use the Google tools better (website analytics, document sharing, hangouts, for example). Like any software or app, we usually only just scratch the surface with how much it can do for us unless we devote the time to learn it properly.
If you've experienced any gains in productivity or efficiency through using the Google tools, let me know. I'd love to hear more.
Posted 24 January 2015 | 0 comments
Our challenge on Day 8 of this "15 Day Blog Challenge" is to write in our calendar or plan for this year three goals that we would like to achieve and when.
This is a relatively easy challenge for me as I love to plan and as part of my work with clients I reinforce the benefits of writing goals down and putting timelines around them.
I often talk about the shift that happens when you take an idea out of your head and get it down on paper. It transforms from an idea, to a task, to a goal, to a series of actions. You then start to attack it with a project focus. Once an idea or goal is written down it is much more likely to happen - especially if you assign a deadline or date to it.
So three of the goals that I have written in my 2015 plan are:
Stay tuned for news on these, and if you want to be the first to find out about new product or program launches, make sure you like Maple Marketing on Facebook.
Posted 23 January 2015 | 0 comments
We're almost there! We're pretty much at the half-way point in the "15 Day Blog Challenge" and we're focussing today on getting clear on what one thing we're going to focus on in 2015.
One thing! Yes, that's pretty much what the word focus implies.
For Maple, the focus of everything we do this year will be SERVICE.
How can we best serve our clients this year? What can we offer them to meet their different needs and requirements? How can we price things accordingly so that marketing help is accessable and desirable? How can we support our clients so they enjoy their marketing and keep working at it in a fun way?
What can we offer? How can we serve or deliver it? How can we maintain ongoing support for our clients?
I love the word SERVICE. In school our children learn about service as a virtue. It's one thing to help our children grow up to be intelligent, well-rounded adults. But where we really make a difference is when we teach them the value in serving others - listening, helping, being considerate, giving back.
Qualities that we value in our personal lives are excellent ones to carry over into our professional lives - and for many business owners, there are very bumpy, blurry boundaries between the two.
And so I ask ... if you need marketing help or guidance this year, how can we best serve you?
Posted 22 January 2015 | 0 comments
The task for today in the "15 Day Blog Challenge" gets us to step back a bit from our day-to-day lives and to look things with a wide angle lens. We've been asked to identify our ideal business model.
For a predominantly service-based business like Maple Marketing, the business model can be one that requires active hands-on work, where the revenue comes in for services provided. Or it can be one that sees income generated from packaged products or services, where a consultant's time isn't what is being billed for (ignoring for the moment that someone's time went in to the creation of that offering).
Maple Marketing has been built - and continues to grow - using a combination of these two. There are different products and services offered, and some are more "hands-on" than others.
One size doesn't fit all, and businesses all have different needs when it comes to marketing help. These channels help accommodate as many of these as possible and it also allows for different pricing and service delivery to fit different budgets and requirements.
Gone are the days when a business model was just products vs services, online vs bricks and mortar, active vs passive income. It's about having a business model that is flexible and dynamic to change as the marketplace dictates and as the business owner requires.
Posted 21 January 2015 | 0 comments
On Day 5 of the "15 Day Blog Challenge" we've been tasked with declaring a bad habit that we're going to get rid of, and to state what we're going to replace it with.
A bad habit of mine that I'm going to work on replacing is the lack of respect I give to time. There, I've said it. I don't pay as much attention to time as I should. It's not that I'm always late (although I am sometimes guilty of that horrible habit). It's more that I over-commit to things, try to do too many things in a day, and do too much multi-tasking.
So this habit for me ties in nicely with an earlier blog post where I talked about creating more focus. It's better to do a few things really well than many things just adequately.
And as we all know, the best way to get rid of something (a habit, a craving, an ex-boyfriend, etc) is to replace it with something more positive and nourishing.
So my positive, proactive new habit is that I'm going to pay much more attention to how I'm spending my time. Instead of turning up to appointments at the designated time, I will work towards arriving 5 to 10 minutes early (and we all know the mental benefits of arriving relaxed and having a few minutes to reflect and mentally prepare for meetings). I will organise my meetings so that I can reduce travel time. And I will do more batching and chunking of tasks that I've recently discovered has a great impact on increasing productivity.
There are no special tools or apps that I'm going to use for this. For me it's just a mindset thing. How we spend our time is all about our priorities.
As someone said to me ages ago, and it has stuck with me ever since, it's not about not having enough time to do the things we want. It's about having our priorities in order.
Posted 20 January 2015 | 1 comments
Four days into the "15 Day Blog Challenge" and the question is: What one distraction can you remove from your daily life?
For many people this may be the urge to check Facebook first thing in the morning. For others it may be the simple act of turning off notifications on their smart phone that chirp every time an email comes in.
For me, the most annoying distraction during my day is the tendency to let my mind wander. Don't get me wrong - I'm a hearty advocate of day dreaming and brainstorming. I think we all need more of a sense of wonder.
The not so helpful, distracting mental wandering, however, is the negative self-talk and the confidence doubting that solo business owners often succumb to. It's human nature. We question and doubt things all the time, and that's okay. It's part of our internal evaluation process.
The key, however, is to not let these thoughts linger any longer than necessary. Think. Ponder. Question. Learn. Move on.
Therefore the distraction that I'm going to work at removing is the mental chatter that sometimes keeps me from being productive. I'm going to make more of an effort to listen to those happy, goofy, positive internal voices that sometimes come to visit.
Posted 19 January 2015 | 3 comments
Today's blog challenge asks what tools you use for productivity in your personal and professional life.
There are a lot of software tools and apps that come to mind: Evernote, Google Calendar, Asana, WorkflowMax, LastPass and more. (If there are others that you use and recommend, please let us know.)
I think these are great tools; but to me, they're organising tools.
For me, productivity means producing, creating, developing, growing. And for that type of work I like to kick it old school.
The one tool that makes me most productive is my handy, dandy notebook.
I carry it everywhere. The best ideas come to me when I least expect it. Inspiration for new business ideas come from the most unlikely places, at the most unexpected times.
So while I use the apps and software to keep me organised and efficient, my productivity tools of choice are good ol' fashioned pen and paper.
What do you use?
Posted 18 January 2015 | 0 comments
Today's focus is on determining what our MIAs are - our MOST IMPORTANT ACTIONS.
This is similar to a practice I've been using in my business for some time now, and that is asking "What is the most important thing I must do today? What is the one thing that must be done before I can call it a night?"
Instead of getting distracted by the shining objects, the sunny patio that is calling out for some company, or the quick and easy little tasks we can tick off our list ... what is the one (or two) thing(s) that must get done today that will keep us moving toward our bigger end goals?
For Maple Marketing it is the creation of online marketing training programs that are currently in development.
Launching these will have an exciting impact on the business, so that is something that is important to keep moving towards completion. Each day there is something that needs to be completed to get this project finalised. Each day that MIA is broken down into actionable, doable steps.
So that is the MIA for Maple at the moment ... what is yours?
Posted 17 January 2015 | 1 comments
Today I start a new business challenge ... I'm participating in the "15 Days to Freedom Blog Challenge".
15 days to freedom? Heck yeah. Why wouldn't you?
So the challenge is to blog regularly for 15 days, with a focus on personal, business then physical freedom ... all of the components of a happy life!
The question for day one is "What is your daily success plan?"
How do you set each day up to be a great one?
I attended a business weekend workshop at the end of 2014 and during it I realized that my best days are those that begin with what I call "purposeful" activity. For me, a purposeful activity is exercise, time spent with my children (and really being present with them, not checking messages while I'm listening to them tell me about their dreams or what they want for breakfast, etc), or productive work.
Checking emails and social media - while important and fun - do not count as purposeful activities for me. I'll do them at some point during the day, but not first thing. I realized that when I start my day with other activities, my mindset and mood for the day are quite different.
When I exercise, hang with my kids, or get stuck straight into client work I get a real buzz! My days start with a different sense of purpose.
I don't know about you, but checking emails never gives me that sense of excitement. Sure, there may be orders in there waiting for attention - but the happy dance can wait an hour or two.
So that's the core of my DAILY SUCCESS PLAN. For me, 2015 is the year for being PURPOSEFUL and PRESENT.
What's your daily success plan?
Posted 16 January 2015 | 0 comments
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Posted 4 January 2015 | 0 comments