The Magic of Writing Things Down

Have you noticed everyone is getting ready for the Fall market?  It is so similar to going back to school in that we were prepared in having our school clothes ready, our supplies ready and also our attitudes were entirely different from the summer.

We were more on high alert and paying attention.  So too with the animals.  They are on high alert and foraging for the long winter months ahead.

Summer is a time of expansion.  The vegetables and fruits of the summer are known for expansion such as tomatoes, peaches and corn.  In the Fall, the vegetables and fruits are known for contractions such as squashes, apples and root vegetables.  It is the yin and yang of the seasons.

Already getting dark at 7:30 p.m. here in Toronto, it won’t be long until Day Light Saving Time. Where does the time go?  It seems like it was just yesterday I was dipping into the pool and patio dining.

All the more reason for me to follow my business plan to a tee.  I write down things to the quarter then to the week and then to the day. I also write down three big projects to accomplish every quarter.

There is something magical about writing things down.  They will come to fruition rather than rambling in your head.  I lost 60# by writing down what I was going to eat every morning and having an accountability partner I called the menu in to.  There was no hesitation at the refrigerator because I already had it written down.  It was very peaceful believe it or not.

All of the great thought leaders espouse writing down a business plan at the beginning of the year, yet how many of us do it?  September in its freshness and newness seems a good point to start.  Even though it is the last quarter of the year, there is no time like now.  Everyone is serious about learning and absorbing new information, so why not think about giving a teleseminar or amp up your facebook postings.  They say you only have to be really good at only one social media platform rather than deplete yourself at many, so choose the one you like best and go after it.

By all means, write down what you want to accomplish.  You will surprise yourself with your results!

7 Tips to Stay Organized for Success

Despite being surrounded by an endless array of time saving gadgets to save us time at our disposal ( ipods,Smart phones, Computers, Blackberries etc.), business people seem to be busier than ever and this is especially true of entrepreneurs.  If you don’t take control of your time, it will take control of you.  Follow these 7 tips and you will have control of your time!

Keep this sheet handy!

  • Stay away from the gossip hub. Too much time can be wasted in friendly chit chat.
  • Use a timer- time your tasks in 15 and 30 minute intervals.  Keep phone calls down to 3 minutes.  As sales people we talk too much. Unless the topic is task related there is no reason for the conversation to proceed for more than 3 minutes.  Idle conversation can vanish your time and make you wonder what happened to your day.
  • Use a hard bound notebook to put your ideas in.  We have creative inspirations that take hold of us.  Instead of impulsively acting on them, keep a list of them that you can look at in your np time.  For instance, maybe you have an idea for an ad; rather than writing the ad right then, write down the highlights in your hard covered notebook and return to it later.
  • Keep a To-Do list and always be updating it, do this twice a day if possible.  Try to make a habit of paying attention to your To-Do list through the day.  Assign levels of importance to your to  do list.  Schedule a half hour a day for when you get waylaid and you can put high level activities into that half hour.
  • Think in terms of np (non priority), ip (intermediate priority)  and hp (high priority) and assign these abbreviations to your tasks.  At the end of the day, create percentages of these activities, so you can actually see how your time was spent.
  • Call back everyone at the top of the hour instead of taking calls randomly, let them know in your voice mail that you will be calling them back at top of the hour.
  • Don’t look at e-mail until quarter to the hour.  Checking e-mail is a bankrupting activity. It is the biggest time waster that exists.  It is an ip priority.  Don’t do it until quarter to the hour and make it a habit.

Now you can get organized and achieve success!!!

Crazy Networking

networkingI live in Toronto and went to the last one of the season and quite frankly, I had a blast. What is it? It is run on a format and don’t quote me on it (c’mon, I have only been to one), but is very organized so when you enter, you pay $20 and are given a seat number to be assigned to.

Then it is floor time in which people all chat with one another before the networking meeting begins. Everyone was very friendly and more open than other networking meetings I have previously attended. Then I heard a buzzer and searched for my seat.

I was seated with two men…. A carpet retailer and a PR agent. One had been there before, and he explained the format. We were to go out on the floor and advocate for each other and bring back cards for people who were interested in the person’s service.

Wow, that certainly took the edge off and sounded like a lot of fun. It was my turn to explain what I did. I am a copywriter and serve just about anybody, so I suggested they look for people with websites, or brochures or in need of writing.

The carpet man went out on my behalf, and for some reason, I didn’t think he really understood what I did but sure enough, he came back with a fist full of cards and described each potential client to me.

Next, the PR man went out and talked me up, and then returned with more cards for me once again. Eureka!

Now it was my turn. The pressure was on me to do as good a job as they had done for me. I shoved my way out into the crowd and grabbed the first person I saw and started to ask if they had thought of purchasing a carpet that year and yes, they had. My heart soared. It was as easy as that. The only hard part was when I looked around the room and everyone was engaged, and I couldn’t find a soul to talk with. So I indeed came back with a fist full of cards for my partners.

What surprised me was the level of excitement I was able to maintain working the floor for somebody else. I was really a pro, and just kept going even after rejection. I was unstoppable. It was so much fun, and everyone was so receptive.

Afterwards there was a speech by an entrepreneur, and then the organizer talked to us about follow up. He reminded us to be polite and open when someone from Crazy Networking called and to be sure to take their calls.

The meeting came to a close, but there was an optional lunch and more time for networking on our own.

I have never been so avid about networking until I went to this event. Also, unlike other networking meetings that start at 6:30 in the morning, this one started at 9:30, which is perfect for someone like me.

I have already gotten a writing contract out it and am in negotiations for something else.

So check the Meet-ups in your area to see if you have one, and if you don’t, think about starting one. They will be successful. I am crazy for Crazy Networking!

Business lessons I learned from canoe trips

I love the summer time; the extra light, the sunshine, the sounds of the kid’s outdoors which makes me reminisce about my childhood.

I was fortunate to be sent on canoe trips during my teens, to the Adirondacks for two week spans. Our guides must have been very experienced to have led us for these two week excursions out in the wilderness. After all we saw bears and snakes.

We would canoe all day with our belongings in the middle of the canoe, two people per canoe and there were about 10 canoes in our group. We canoed in a Vee pattern. We were made to dress as to not get sun burned, also wearing hats so at the end of the day after being so overheated, a dip in the lake never felt so good.

There was always preparation and work to be done. Pitching of tents, scrambling for kindle and finding lumber for the fire. Constant hunger from being in the fresh air. Food never tasted so good although it was nothing more than hot dogs and hamburgers with baked beans. Naturally we baked marshmallows at night around the campfire and sang songs.

We would look up at the starlit sky and point out the Milky Way and other constellations. One of the leaders had brought a telescope so we took turns and studied the sky formations more thoroughly.

I remember the dreaded portages. If you don’t know a portage is it is a land mass stopping you from canoeing on water and you have to traverse on foot until you reach the next water mass. It can be as long as two miles. You have to carry everything on foot and go back and forth several times. The final time you go back is to carry the canoe with your arms stretched overhead. It is awkward, painful and requires a lot of rest stops. The point is you have to have a look at everything, take it apart and put it back together. It is a great way to get rid of clutter and neaten up your carriage.

I bring this up because I liken portages to working “in” your business. Portages occurred about 20% of the time and I have heard that I should be working “in” my business about the same amount of time. When I work in my business I often am doing an analysis of it and taking it apart and putting it back together to see what works and what doesn’t. This is so similar to a portage. Also like a portage, I dread doing it but I can’t go on without doing it. I can’t get to the other side if I don’t do it.

So having the experience of a canoe trip was a great footprint for how life works as an adult. It was much systematized and I recall enjoying being part of a system.

The other thing I recall was I was obedient. I didn’t challenge or ask why. I just did. It was as if I had a business plan mapped out for me and I followed it exclusively. We had to follow instructions as our safety depended upon it.

I wonder what would happen if I followed my business plan so faithfully and didn’t get interrupted by bright shiny objects and a variety of other things that pull my attention away. I am sure you know what I am talking about…facebook, emails, phone calls etc.

Ahh…. the lessons of a 16 year old.

 

© 2012 Sarah Wood

 About the Author: 

Sarah Wood, also known as the “Magic Pen,” and author of “How to turn a No or a Maybe into a Yes” and producer of “Magnetic Phrases,” is a copy enhancer/ writer who transforms copy on your website into sexy and sizzling from boring and blah. For a list of testimonials go to her website and check out her long list of happy customers at www.evolvingadvisors.com . She is also a marketing strategist at overcoming objections for coaches, mentors, real estate agents and entrepreneurs. In her spare time, she spoils her three cats and one dog and she is an avid belly dancer in the ancient folkloric genre, you would be most familiar with.

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