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Posts Tagged ‘Prioritize’

The Fortune Is In the Follow-up

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

follow-up

 

How good are you at follow-up? You know, that is where the money is.

I was talking with a few of my clients who were heading back from Quilt Market with lots of follow-up items. Some were clearly immediate, such as filling orders, and those get processed right away.

The problem for my clients was that they came back with all these notes that weren’t really money related or where they couldn’t see the clear money connection or where they couldn’t remember the conversation. Plus they felt overwhelmed getting back in gear. And, the follow-up is in question.

What I have found through the years is that when I pay attention to following up on a consistent and timely basis, it lets me build better relationships, which is really my goal, and that means adding to my business bottom line.

Read more…

Creating white space

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

 

As artists, we understand the need for white space. White space is the space between design elements and also the space inside the design elements. Without white space, which truly doesn’t have to be “white,” everything would run together. Imagine if there was no white space in this type. It would all run together and be confusing, to say the least.

The amount of white space you include varies based on your design decisions. Your goal should be to balance design elements, organize the content for ease of use, and to allow a place for the eye to rest.

You also need white space in your life, space that allows you to rest and reconnect. Once you appreciate what it does in the art you create and the art you view, you can appreciate its value in your business and life.

Imagine if your life or business calendar was jam packed with no relief. You would end up overwhelmed, frustrated and stressed. You could become resentful about what tugs at your life.

If you go back to the goal of white space in design work and think about the concept in your life and business, it would balance your life, organize your days, and let you have rest.

Here are some ways you can create and use more white space in your life.

Schedule it

You can’t have more white space if you don’t allow for it purposefully. It’s so easy to fill your calendar with things to do that you don’t have any time left to rest or for yourself. Get out your calendar and block that space off. You need to make you a priority. If you don’t, chances are that you will find yourself overworked and overwhelmed.

An important note: you need to schedule your white space first rather then work it around your other commitments. Chances are if you try to fit it around everything else, it will fall by the wayside.

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Hello Imperfection!

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

The other day I read this quote from Zen Monk Shunryu Suzuki: “You are perfect just as you are, and you could use a little improvement.” I hesitate to say that the quote struck me as “perfect.” Some of us spend too much time worrying about getting it perfect that we don’t get it done. I’m putting myself in this category as a recovering perfectionist. How about you?

The problem with perfectionism

At first glance, you may think that everything needs to be perfect, that you need to be perfect. And if it’s not perfect, you may put off releasing that new pattern, offering the new program, publishing your website, showing your art. This list goes on and on. And, you get so caught up in this spiral of trying to make everything perfect that nothing gets done. That’s the problem with perfectionism — it doesn’t work.

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Eliminating energy zappers

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

 

The topic of tolerations seems to come up every once in a while with my clients. Tolerations could really be called “energy zappers.” They are those situations, problems or things that are really solvable, but that you let stay unattended. Those tolerations bug you on occasion, and you think they are just a nuisance.

What happens when you ignore them? Sure, you can put up with a few items, but most of us let the list grow. And, you start to compromise on those items. You know, maybe that stack of old magazines on the floor is not really that bad. The problem is that you start to desensitize yourself to all the good around you. And your energy gets zapped.

Admit your tolerations

So, how do you get control on those tolerations? First, admit you do actually have some! For starters, make a list of what you are tolerating. It shouldn’t be hard to come up with 20, perhaps more if you get started listing them. So set aside 15 minutes and start your list. You might even do this walking through your house or office. It might be the dead plant that you think will suddenly grow shoots. It might be the clutter you live with. It might be your kids’ socks that never seem to leave the family room floor. It might be the stack of library books you have got in the car you are meaning to take back. It might be something your spouse always says that you that you live with rather than create waves. It might be the dishes in the sink. Look at all areas of your life: your business, your home, your car, your environment, your habits and behavior, and the habits and behavior of those you interact with.

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Are your “real” priorities in your calendar?

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

 

Do you ever struggle with aligning your priorities with your actions? Beth, one of my clients, was recently struggling with this. She told me that her family was her priority, yet she was barely fitting them in around her business, rather than the other way around. She was taking on more commissions and at the same time increasing her output for exhibitions at galleries.

In reality, your priorities are defined by how and where you spend your time. By that definition, family was not Beth’s number one priority.

To get clearer on your priorities, during the next few weeks develop a list of your needs, wants, and values. “What’s the difference?” you ask.

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Exercise Your “Done” Muscle

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

 

Recently I chatted with my client Bethany about her problems getting things done. She seemed to make little progress on what she said her goals were. She would start a project then get distracted by something else. Or she would start a project, then think another project sounded more exciting and she would shift her focus. And, often she ended up caught because she missed deadlines. Then she felt worse because she let people other than herself down.

As we talked about this, we hit on a number of reasons that were at play: procrastination; the need to be perfect; distractions by other things, aka Bright Shiny Object Syndrome; failure to prioritize. You may have others.

So how can you get the right things done? Here are nine tips for exercising what I call your “done” muscle.

1. Get clear about what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Once you have clarity around your goals and/or a particular project, it is much easier to move forward. As you work, keep your eye on the prize. This will help you make progress.

2. Break your project down into manageable tasks. When you look at a goal or a specific project, it can seem overwhelming. If you can break it down into bite-size pieces, it is always easier to see how you can accomplish it.

Read more…

Are You Working Out Your “Done” Muscles?

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Done!A lot of us have problems getting things finished. Several reasons come to mind: procrastination, the need to be perfect, distractions by other things, failure to prioritize. Here are eight tips for exercising what I call your “done” muscle.

1. Get clear about what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Once you have clarity around your goals and/or a particular project, it is much easier to move forward. As you work, keep your eye on the prize. This will help you progress.

2. Break your project down into manageable tasks. When you look at a goal or a specific project, it can seem overwhelming. If you can break it down into bite-size pieces, it is always easier to see how you can accomplish it.

3. Look for where you need help. Just because you have a big project, does not mean that you need to do it all yourself. Remember, it is not necessary to know how to do everything, just what needs to be done.

4. Prioritize what needs to be done. This can apply to a specific project or your daily “to do” list. It is easy to look for the quick and uncomplicated things to do each day so you can check them off the list. The problem is you are not really accomplishing what you need to accomplish. What you should be doing is tackling those projects that move you towards completing your goal.

5. Consider the ROI. That’s Return on Investment. You can look at your tasks and see if time spent doing these tasks is worth your time. Maybe you should delegate the tasks or not even do them at all.

6. Finish what you start. Make that your goal. Really look around at how many people actually finish what they set out to do. Many people say they are going to do something and do not ever complete it.

7. Remember good enough is often good enough. Sometimes we spend so much time aiming for perfection that we don’t accomplish our goals.

8. Don’t over-think everything. As the Nike ad says, “Just do it.”

If you have a tip for exercising your “done” muscle, please share it on the blog.

Here a Chunk, There a Chunk

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

list_985725985How does your to-do list look? I just added a book to mine. Admittedly, I did not just add it; it has been there a while. I just cannot get to it, or I don’t make the time to get to it.

Let’s get real honest. My list includes lots of other things of varying import from ziplining to a cooking trip to Italy to working on my latest social media campaign to polishing my Photoshop skills. Lots of business and personal goals. How about yours?

Where do you start?

  1. Get it out of your head by creating a master list. Mine is in a notebook behind a tab called “Someday List.” I periodically add to this list, so it does not stay in my head cluttering up my thoughts or so I don’t forget it. It is a big deal to get it down on paper.
  2. Prioritize that list. You can do this lots of ways. What will make the biggest impact in your business? What can be done the quickest amount of time with the least effort? What really makes your heart sing. It does not really matter which one you choose. Just choose one.
  3. Chunk it down. By that I mean … determining what action steps are needed to complete the task. And, yes, you might not know all of them, but you do know the first few. If you are not a linear thinker, use mind mapping for this part. To mind-map, start with a center circle where you write the project name. Then create a series of circles out from the main circle where you will divide the goal into the big groups of tasks you know need to get done. Then you add spokes out from each small circle where you will write smaller tasks. It lets you picture the whole project, both in the big picture and in the little details. It makes it not so “big.”
  4. Just do it! Look at your calendar and see where you have time to schedule one of these small actions. You are not tackling the whole project, just one small bit of it. Surely you can find time for one action.
  5. Set a deadline. This is to keep you on track.

What would you be able to accomplish if you just chunked it down and started?

Exercise Your “Done” Muscle

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

A lot of us have problems getting things finished. Several reasons come to mind: procrastination, the need to be perfect, distractions by other things, failure to prioritize. Here are eight tips for exercising what I call your “done” muscle.

1. Get clear about what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Once you have clarity around your goals and/or a particular project, it’s much easier to move forward. As you work, keep your eye on the prize. This will help you progress.

2. Break your project down into manageable tasks. When you look at a goal or a specific project, it can seem overwhelming. If you can break it down into bite-size pieces, it’s always easier to see how you can accomplish it.

3. Look for where you need help. Just because you have a big project, doesn’t mean that you need to do it all yourself. Remember, it’s not necessary to know how to do everything, just what needs to be done.

4. Prioritize what needs to be done. This can apply to a specific project or your daily “to do” list. It’s easy to look for the quick and uncomplicated things to do each day so you can check them off the list. The problem is you aren’t really accomplishing what you need to accomplish. What you should be doing is tackling those projects that move you towards completing your goal.

5. Consider the ROI. That’s Return on Investment. You can look at your tasks and see if time spent doing these tasks is worth your time. Maybe you should delegate the tasks or not even do them at all.

6. Finish what you start. Make that your goal. Really look around at how many people actually finish what they set out to do. Many people say they are going to do something and don’t ever complete it.

7. Remember good enough is often good enough. Sometimes we spend so much time aiming for perfection that we don’t accomplish our goals.

8. Don’t over-think everything. As the Nike ad says, “Just do it.”

If you have a tip for exercising your “done” muscle, please share it on the blog.

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business.  Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

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