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Posts Tagged ‘productivity’

Is Your Stack of Quilt/Art Magazines Winning? 7 Steps to Get it Under Control

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Guest article by Leslie Shreve

It can take over in the blink of an eye, crowding your desk or hiding in the far corners of your office. It’s important, but not urgent in most cases and whether it’s consolidated or all spread out, it’s there to remind you that you’re behind.

What is it? It’s everything you set aside to READ. And it’s everywhere. At one point or another, you thought you wanted to read it. Well, how badly do you want to read it now? Some of it’s collecting dust. Yeah, I’ve seen lots of reading piles gather layers of dust and actually most of what I’ve seen wasn’t even in a pile.

So I’ve put together these 7 steps to revive your reading or retire it for good. When you follow these steps, you will be able to take charge, take your reading seriously and be done. Or you can later weep at the thought of trying to read your collection… after it’s grown even bigger!

Step 1: Get it all into one pile

I find my clients have their reading spread out all over their offices. If you do this too, it can skew your perception of how much you’ve collected to read and you could be holding on to way more than you could possibly read. So put it all into one pile and you’ll get a sense of how much you intended to read.

Step 2: Pick your favorites

Once you get everything together into one pile, pick your favorites and set them aside. Then from the remaining pile, pull out the ones that you never get to or the ones you’re not as interested in anymore. Unsubscribe to those and then toss them.

Step 3: Rank your reading

Put everything that’s left back into one pile again and then separate them into 3 new categories: Must read, Important to read, It would be nice if I could read. Then see if you can toss the last pile entirely!

Step 4: Give it a week

From what remains, give yourself 1 week to read everything – or almost everything. This would be the “must read” and “important to read” categories. Some reading is weekly and some is monthly. Just remember that the more you read now, the better. Why? Because more is coming!

Step 5: Know your best location

When you read, where’s your favorite place to read? At home or at work? Know your favorite locations and be sure to take your reading to this place so it’s ready when you are. You can also put it in your briefcase if reading on the road or while you’re waiting for someone or something is another way for you to catch up.

Step 6: Keep it together

From here on out, you should only maintain one reading pile. Whenever you get something new to add to the pile, be sure to review what you’re collecting. Don’t keep adding more and more unless you read something or toss something. Remember, you only have so many hours in a day and in a week before more reading comes along, so be realistic about what you intend to read.

Step 7: Protect your time

Protect time in your schedule to actually READ! If you enjoy reading early in the morning before the day gets started, then read a little every morning. Or maybe lunch time is best or maybe later in the day or evening. Decide what works for you and for the different kinds of reading you probably do. Whatever you choose, plan to do it every day or several times a week until the pile is gone. You can also block out time on your calendar so it’s a visible reminder. Then enjoy your reading! That’s the point isn’t it?

This article is by productivity expert and founder of Productive Day, Leslie Shreve, who publishes Work Day Wonders to help highly motivated experts like you put their work day on cruise control at peak productivity to enjoy less stress, more progress and great success. If you’re ready to be in the driver’s seat of your work day and leave your frustrations behind, subscribe now to get your FREE subscription. As a BONUS, you’ll also get the 7 Power Steps to Peak Productivity, a 7-day e-mail series of tips you can start using today!

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.

Are You Whelmed?

Thursday, January 28th, 2010
Are you overwhelmed? My husband once worked with a client who created what he termed the “whelmed” model, that space between underwhelmed and  overwhelmed, where you are in “the zone.” People who are whelmed are clear about what they do and are determined to get it done. I can always tell when I’m in the whelmed zone. I feel really productive, energized and thrilled at what I’ve accomplished at the end of the day.

Just like all of you, I do feel overwhelmed at times. It can happen when I’m trying to meet deadlines or getting ready for the next Quilt Market or next class. Here are six tips to help you move out of overwhelm and into whelm:

1. Learn how to recognize when you are getting into overwhelm. If you can tell you are on the verge – or already there –  then you take action. First thing I like to do is take a breath, or as I’ve been know to tell myself, “Get a grip.”

2. Remember to look at the facts. Sometimes we confuse our impressions of what needs to be done with the truth. Write down everything that needs to be done.

3. Focus is key. You need to be clear about what your goals are. Is everything on your “to-do” list really necessary? Take a look at the list you created above and follow the “four Ds.” If something is not a priority, see if you can Delete it from the list. Next, look for those items you can Delegate to someone else. Third, what can you Defer until sometime later without creating problems? And, for those items you can defer, again consider if they are really necessary.

4. OK, you’ve probably winnowed down your list to something that might be a bit more manageable. Now, what are the three top priorities on your list? Put a time for them in your calendar. And, allow more time than you think. This is one of the reasons I can get into overwhelm, trying to do more than I physically can in the allotted time.

5. Now get going with the list. This is the fourth “D” – Do –  and let go of perfection as you work on your list. I have a sign in my office that says, “Progress, not Perfection.” Some people use the term Imperfect Action here.

6. And remember at the end of the day, if something doesn’t get done, you are probably the only one who knows it. I learned that one from my mother, who told me as I was stressed out about some little something that wasn’t what I expected for my wedding day. She reminded me that the only one who knew that the color on my wedding cake didn’t exactly match the color on the bridesmaid’s dresses was me.

Here’s a favorite quote that sums up for me the feeling of being “whelmed”:

“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you
lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it.”
Margaret Thatcher

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 here.

Instead of Resolutions

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Did you make resolutions a few weeks ago? Were they the same ones you made last year and the year before? You know, lose weight, exercise more, get out of debt, get organized. I use to make some of those, too, and, if truth be told, probably still do.

For the past several years, though, I’ve tried something new. I’ve picked a word to reflect on and act on for the year. I started this practice in my yoga class. At the first session of the year, Kathy, our instructor passes around a basket with words and we draw one. A couple of years ago I selected “openness.” Pat, the woman next to me picked “love,” and I thought that was a much better word. I asked if I could draw again, and Kathy told me that I didn’t pick the word, it had picked me. OK, so openness it was. I took the paper home and taped it to the top of the computer screen where I looked at it each day. Something really magical happened. I began to look at opportunities in both my business and personal life in a whole new light.

So at yoga class on Saturday, it was time to draw this year’s word. Knowing how powerful the word as an intention was for me in the past, I had already selected a word for 2010. That word was “challenge.” I wanted to challenge myself each day, whether that was challenges I sought out or those that came to me. I put the word challenge on a post-it by my computer.

The word that I drew in yoga class was “enjoy,” and I look at it as a perfect complement to challenge. I tend to get highly focused on something and need to see it to completion, easily neglecting the joy of the journey. With both these words, I see a great 2010 ahead for me.

Another thought on resolutions: Often we tend to try to correct those things that are weaknesses in ourselves. This year instead try to focus on your strengths and build on them. Some good resources for learning your strengths and how to capitalize on them are Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton; StrengthsFinder 2.0: A New and Upgraded Edition of the Online Test from Gallup’s Now, Discover Your Strengths by Tom Rath; and Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance by Marcus Buckingham.

One way you could put this into practice is when you find a weakness,  look for a way for someone else to handle it. Here’s just one example: hire a bookkeeper instead of struggling to do your own books, if that’s not one of your strengths. Your time will be spent more productively on those tasks at which you excel, and you’ll make enough money doing those tasks at which you are better. A bonus is that someone else is able to put her strengths to work. Remember you have power in your strengths.

Please share your thoughts on selecting a word or building your strengths.

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 here.

PQ Café Business Series: Get Organized, Finally!

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

PQ Cafe Business SeriesJoin us in the PQ Café on Thursday, September 17 at 8 pm Eastern for our next call  Get Organized, Finally! with Morna McEver Golletz and special guest Debra Lipp.

Have you tried a variety of methods to organize your quilting “stuff”? Do you buy every new organizing gadget you see? Is your studio space disorganized and inefficient – and you know it could be improved – but you don’t know where to start? Or, are the  organization strategies you’ve tried just not working for you? Do you migrate to the kitchen table to work even through you have designated a space for sewing?

It’s possible that you’re trying to put the proverbial round peg in the square hole because you haven’t fully analyzed what does and does not work for YOU and why. You’re trying to use tools that someone else says will work for you. Debra Lipp, a Corcoran College of Art + Design-trained graphic designer, is a task analyzer and organizational specialist who works with creative people. She loves to understand an individual’s thinking process and help to discover what works for them – as an individual. And, lucky for us, she’s also a quilter/fiber artist.

This teleclass is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 17 at 8 pm, Eastern Daylight Time. Registration includes the teleclass and MP3 downloadable recording, so if you can’t come to the class, you’ll get the recording to listen to at a time that works for you. Here are details.

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