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10 Bad Habits You Must Eliminate from Your Routine

10 Bad Habits You Must Eliminate from Your Routine

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”   — Warren Buffett

I found this article rather interesting. I’m not sure I believe they are the TOP 10 but they are certainly excellent TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS. I hope you find value in these tips and help yourself create better habits for work/life balance. And remember, if you need “back office support” for your business, The Write Hand, LLC is here to help you take back your time.
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10 Bad Habits You Must Eliminate from Your Routine

When it comes to productivity, the little things make all the difference. Quit sabotaging yourself with these bad habits. You are the sum of your habits. When you allow bad habits to take over, they dramatically impede your path to success. The challenge is bad habits are insidious, creeping up on you slowly until you don’t even notice the damage they’re causing.

Breaking bad habits requires self-control — and lots of it. Research indicates that it’s worth the effort, as self-control has huge implications for success.

University of Pennsylvania psychologists Angela Duckworth and Martin Seligman conducted a study where they measured college students’ IQ scores and levels of self-control upon entering university. Four years later, they looked at the students’ grade point averages (GPA) and found that self-control was twice as important as IQ in earning a high GPA.

The self-control required to develop good habits (and stop bad ones) also serves as the foundation for a strong work ethic and high productivity. Self-control is like a muscle — to build it up you need to exercise it. Practice flexing your self-control muscle by breaking the following bad habits:

1. Using your phone, tablet or computer in bed.

This is a big one that most people don’t even realize harms their sleep and productivity. Short-wavelength blue light plays an important role in your mood, energy level and sleep quality. In the morning, sunlight contains high concentrations of this blue light. When your eyes are exposed to it directly, the blue light halts production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and makes you feel more alert. In the afternoon, the sun’s rays lose their blue light, which allows your body to produce melatonin and start making you sleepy. By the evening, your brain doesn’t expect any blue light exposure and is very sensitive to it.

Most of our favorite evening devices — laptops, tablets and mobile phones — emit short-wavelength blue light brightly and right in your face. This exposure impairs melatonin production and interferes with your ability to fall asleep as well as with the quality of your sleep once you do nod off. As we’ve all experienced, a poor night’s sleep has disastrous effects. The best thing you can do is to avoid these devices after dinner (television is OK for most people as long as they sit far enough away from the set).

2. Impulsively surfing the internet.

It takes you 15 consecutive minutes of focus before you can fully engage in a task. Once you do, you fall into a euphoric state of increased productivity called flow. Research shows that people in a flow state are five times more productive than they otherwise would be. When you click out of your work because you get an itch to check the news, Facebook, a sport’s score or what have you, this pulls you out of flow. This means you have to go through another 15 minutes of continuous focus to reenter the flow state. Click in and out of your work enough times, and you can go through an entire day without experiencing flow.

3. Checking your phone during a conversation.

Nothing turns people off like a mid-conversation text message or even a quick glance at your phone. When you commit to a conversation, focus all your energy on the conversation. You will find that conversations are more enjoyable and effective when you immerse yourself in them.

4. Using multiple notifications.

Multiple notifications are a productivity nightmare. Studies have shown that hopping on your phone and e-mail every time they ping for your attention causes your productivity to plummet. Getting notified every time a message drops onto your phone or an e-mail arrives in your inbox might feel productive, but it isn’t. Instead of working at the whim of your notifications, pool all your e-mails/texts and check them at designated times (e.g., respond to your e-mails every hour). This is a proven, productive way to work.

5. Saying “yes” when you should say “no.”

Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout and even depression, all of which erode self-control. Saying no is indeed a major self-control challenge for many people. “No” is a powerful word that you should not be afraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, emotionally intelligent people avoid phrases like “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them. Just remind yourself that saying no is an act of self-control now that will increase your future self-control by preventing the negative effects of over commitment.

6. Thinking about toxic people.

There are always going to be toxic people who have a way of getting under your skin and staying there. Each time you find yourself thinking about a coworker or person who makes your blood boil, practice being grateful for someone else in your life instead. There are plenty of people out there who deserve your attention, and the last thing you want to do is think about the people who don’t matter when there are people who do.

7. Multitasking during meetings.

You should never give anything half of your attention, especially meetings. If a meeting isn’t worth your full attention, then you shouldn’t be attending it in the first place; and if the meeting is worth your full attention, then you need to get everything you can out of it. Multitasking during meetings hurts you by creating the impression that you believe you are more important than everyone else.

8. Gossiping.

Gossipers derive pleasure from other people’s misfortunes. It might be fun to peer into somebody else’s personal or professional faux pas at first, but over time, it gets tiring, makes you feel gross and hurts other people. There are too many positives out there and too much to learn from interesting people to waste your time talking about the misfortune of others.

“Great minds discuss ideas, average ones discuss events and small minds discuss people.”   — Eleanor Roosevelt

9. Waiting to act until you know you’ll succeed.

Most writers spend countless hours brainstorming their characters and plots, and they even write page after page that they know they’ll never include in the books. They do this because they know that ideas need time to develop. We tend to freeze up when it’s time to get started because we know that our ideas aren’t perfect and that what we produce might not be any good. But how can you ever produce something great if you don’t get started and give your ideas time to evolve? Author Jodi Picoult summarized the importance of avoiding perfectionism perfectly: “You can edit a bad page, but you can’t edit a blank page.”

10. Comparing yourself to other people.

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself to others, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When you feel good about something that you’ve done, don’t allow anyone’s opinions or accomplishments take that away from you. While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself to others and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within. Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain — you’re never as good or bad as they say you are.

Bringing It All Together

By practicing self-control to break these bad habits, you can simultaneously strengthen your self-control muscle and abolish nasty habits that have the power to bring your career to a grinding halt.

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Effective FB Advertising Virtual Assistant Tricks

Effective FB Advertising Virtual Assistant Tricks

This is one more of those emails I debate whether to “UNSUBSCRIBE” and Clean my Inbox of recurring emails that mostly I NOT INTERESTED in. This time – I took the time and I really enjoyed a lot of this lady’s perspective on Facebook Advertising.

Things that make you go hmmmmm… time to rearrange and keep up…

Full Article and Credit Here

February 3, 2016 — Posted By

Bigger is always better, right?

When it comes to Facebook advertising and your audience—think again!

Advertising in general is both an art and a science, and the same is absolutely true when advertising on Facebook.

This week’s Mari Minute poses the question: what is the ideal audience size for your Facebook ads?

Given that there are 1.59 billion monthly active users on Facebook, it seems almost counterintuitive to aim small, but as Facebook explains it,  “the ad in your ad set is likely to perform better if it’s displayed to the people who are most likely to be interested in your product or service.”

The reality is that a smaller number means you are targeting specific users to help you achieve a desired outcome, as opposed to casting a wide net and just seeing what sticks. For you as the advertiser, aiming smaller will allow you to narrow in on the exact type of customer or client that your business really wants.

Tips for Successful Audience Targeting

  1. Aim for an ideal audience size between 30,000-300,000 users.
  2. Use Interest & Behavior Targeting to narrow down the audience size.
  3. Use Detailed Targeting in the Power Editor to use Boolean search terms, like “and” “or” to reach users that, for example, like Mexican food AND Los Angeles, or Mexican food AND Los Angeles or Orange County.
  4. When building your ad, aim to get the Audience Definition meter somewhere in the middle between specific and broad.
 
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Posted by on March 3, 2016 in Time Management

 

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Wise Partnership with a Virtual Assistant

Wise Partnership with a Virtual Assistant
VAs can help unjuggle your life

VAs can help unjuggle your life

In the last 10 years people have been hearing about and experiencing virtual work at a staggering pace. After all, if productive work can be accomplished with less overhead and micromanaging; it’s a win/win for both employer and worker. A vast array of fields can benefit from virtual workers. At The Write Hand, LLC, my team and I focus on business administration, marketing, and online presence for small to medium businesses. It’s important to have a virtual team that has members with varied talents.

When it comes to hiring a Virtual Assistant or team of them for that matter; the hiring process is nearly the same as hiring on-site support. However, some folks aren’t sure where to start when it comes to managing a Wise Partnership with a Virtual Assistant team. Along with some of my other tips found in Let’s Share; I offer these tips to give you a basic foundation on creating a Wise Partnership with a Virtual Assistant.

Training

A great Virtual Assistant has many talents, so why should you hire somebody that needs training? Well, your VA may not need hand-holding or formal education but training him or her to your processes and business strategies is only wise. The great thing about a VA is that they are for the most the type of people who are quite flexible because their business is to serve many types of people and companies. Take some time to share your visions and processes. You will likely find that the training is easier than expected because of your VA’s many talents.

Patience

It will be important to have patience with yourself and your Virtual Assistant. I like to tell new clients to create a list of tasks they want to delegate, or in the case of building a website; a list of all the highlights they wanted built. Then, number them in order of importance. Start a Wise Partnership with your Virtual Assistant be delegating some of the smaller, easier tasks firsts. This accomplishes two things: 1) It gets many small details out of the way and 2) is a great way to begin to share your operations and visions with your Virtual Assistant -you learn each others’ methods.

Time-FliesDeadlines

It’s easy to put aside tasks, particularly ones that may seem pesky. As a deadline approaches you may felt in the past a great stress and regret for putting it off. Even if you don’t have all the details right away, let your Virtual Assistant know that a particular project will be coming up and due by XX date. A great VA will keep the task on a timeline or To-Do list and will gently remind you (a few times if needed), that the deadline is approaching. You may find these projects are easier managed in pieces. If on the other hand you suddenly come upon an urgent need, let your VA know immediately so they allocate the proper time for the project; after all, you are not likely their only client. It may be necessary to rearrange other priorities to accomplish the urgent need; be flexible and forth-coming. In a Wise Partnership with a Virtual Assistant, you may wish to create a project calendar. This will ensure that each of you stays in the know and can meet deadlines with less stress.

Communication

Whether you use your Virtual Assistant for random work or for recurring tasks, neither they nor you can read minds. Your VA may be on auto-pilot for some of your recurring tasks, but it’s always good to schedule a regular meeting – perhaps by video conference or phone call. You want to ensure that your VA is upholding your vision and quality. You may often find that the collaboration will generate new ideas and ways you can further utilize your Wise Partnership with a Virtual Assistant.

Time is MoneyBalance

You may think that you have handed off a bunch of stuff to your Virtual Assistant and you can breathe easy and forget they are out there as long as things are getting done. NO!! Don’t ignore emails or calls from your Virtual Assistant. Remember, they are out there to keep you organized, on-task, and productive in your roles as they perform their roles. If your VA seems to be hounding you about something you just don’t want to think about right now, remember… you hired them to help you through these things. I have found it helpful to form more a kinship/friendship with my clients and to let them know, I am a great sounding-board that is removed from your every hour, every day practice. This gives them more than a Wise Partnership with a Virtual Assistant, it gives them an “out”, a means to “vent”, and an avenue to throw out ideas and see what sticks.

A great Virtual Assistant will have not only a variety of talents but the fortitude to delicately “push” you towards the goals you set together. In creating a Wise Partnership with a Virtual Assistant you will develop a strategy and routine that fits your both very well. After a wee bit of time you should find that your partnership comes easy, that your idea sharing is fluid, and your tasks are being accomplished seamlessly and with far reduced stress from that or ordinary office life.

 
 

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3 Lists an Entrepreneur Should Make…

I received a link to this article in my email and although there are some typos (which drives me batty); the information is great. This article plants the seed for entrepreneurs on a few lists that help keep you on task, moving toward bigger success. Naturally, I am thrilled to see the author mention how you can outsource tasks to a Virtual Assistant, such as The Write Hand, LLC. Our motto is, “Helping You Create More Time,” and don’t we all wish we had more time… I hope you find this article of interest!

The 3 Lists Every Entrepreneur Must Make – By Paula Rizzo / Entrepreneur Online Magazine

EntrepreneurStarting a company is like a dream come true: no one telling you when to go into the office, you can pick and choose meetings and there’s unlimited vacation. Sigh — the life of an entrepreneur. So flexible, so fabulous. If only it was that easy.

Those perks were likely on the “perk” side of the pro and con list you made before going into business for yourself. But the real truth is that now you’re busier than ever. You’re likely wearing the hat of HR, IT, marketing and business development teams, just to name a few.

Structure and organization are key to success as an entrepreneur. I know because without my lists I could never get anything done at home, work or play.

For those entrepreneurs needing a little help in the organization department, here are three lists you should be making:

1. To-do list
You have to have one. I structure mine with daily tasks but you may find that a weekly list works better. Another option is to organize your to-do list by project or client.

It’s easiest to plan ahead and make sure not to include too much on the list at once. Try to really be aware of what is feasible given the time frame and resources you have available. I make my to-do lists for the next day before I leave the office at night. I run through everything that is coming up and what has to be handled the next day. I include any appointments and meetings on the list as well. Then when I come in the following day, I just refer to it as my roadmap and hit the ground running.

2. Outsource list
Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. I get it, control is a difficult thing to give up — especially when we’re talking about your business. You’ll do whatever it takes to make sure it’s successful. So why not give the to-do list to someone else?

Outsourcing will provide you the freedom to focus on the tasks you’re really good at — and hopefully increase your chances of making more money. So, make a list of all the mundane tasks that are necessary but that you don’t need to physically do yourself. Responsibilities like making appointments, booking travel, uploading your blog posts and maintaining your social-media platforms can easily be outsourced. Investing in the help of interns or virtual assistants will be worth the trouble, as the time you will save is staggering. Make sure to also make a list of all the projects you want to work on once you have some extra help to get the busy work off your plate.

3. To-become list
I’m a big fan of Oprah’s mantra: “You become what you believe.” Once you set an intention to do something it becomes so much easier to attain it. And taking it one step further and writing it down can really seal the deal. In fact, Dr. Gail Matthews, a professor at the Dominican University of California found that writing down goals will make you 33 percent more likely to achieve them.

This list can include anything that you want for your business and your life — daydreaming is definitely in order for this list. Think big. Even if you can’t figure out how exactly you’d achieve that goal, write it down anyway. Making a to-become list will get you motivated, hold you accountable and remind you of what’s important to you and your business. Keep this list somewhere safe and set a reminder in your phone every few months to check it out and see what you’ve become.

 
 

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Manage Time with Ten Tips that Work

Manage Time with Ten Tips that Work

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2015 in Time Management

 

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Pomodoro Technique for Small Business Management and more…

Time is MoneyIn operating The Write Hand, LLC, I often find that balancing my client workload and personal tasks gets tedious. As a Virtual Assistant keeping accurate time for clients is imperative because I charge on the least increment of time to save my client’s budget.

For those that have read my blog previously, you will recall my posts about time management as I am still trying to master this. I have previously used the method of Dale Carnegie but somehow I still allow myself to lose focus; or sometimes I even sit way too long and then tire myself out. So I started searching for alternative methods. I learned recently of this Pomodoro Technique and maybe, just maybe I can manage this one. I use a timer to record my per-client work so the technique herein should align well with my existing time methodology. I thought I would share this for your own benefit and maybe even hear back from folks that have successfully used the technique.

Here is the basis of the technique as described by Wikipedia…

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are known as “pomodori”, the plural of the Italian word pomodoro for “tomato”. The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility.

Closely related to concepts such as timeboxing and iterative and incremental development used in software design, the method has been adopted in pair programming contexts.

  • There are five basic steps to implementing the technique:
  • Decide on the task to be done
  • Set the pomodoro timer to 25 minutes.
  • Work on the task until the timer rings.
  • Take a short 3-5 minute break.
  • After four pomodori, take a longer break of 15–30 minutes.

The stages of planning, tracking, recording, processing, and visualizing are fundamental to the technique. In the planning phase tasks are prioritized by recording them in a “To-Do Today” list. This enables users to estimate the effort tasks require. As pomodori are completed, they are recorded, adding to a sense of accomplishment and providing raw data for subsequent self-observation and improvement.

For the purposes of the technique, “pomodoro” refers to the interval of time spent working. After task completion, any time remaining in the pomodoro is devoted to overlearning. Regular breaks are taken, aiding assimilation. A short 3–5 minute rest separates consecutive pomodori. Four pomodori form a set. A longer 15–30 minute rest is taken between sets.

An essential aim of the technique is to reduce the impact of internal and external interruptions on focus and flow. A pomodoro is indivisible. When interrupted during a pomodoro either the other activity must be recorded and postponed or the pomodoro must be abandoned.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2015 in Time Management

 

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How to Manage Time with 10 Tips that Work

Time-FliesIt seems like I have my hands into so many different things that I really am challenged in managing my time wisely. I get the important stuff done first of course, but then sometimes I forget things or feel frustrated because I didn’t do enough in one day. My top priority is managing The Write Hand, LLC and making sure my clients’ needs are met. I have the luxury of mostly avoiding strict deadlines and having a future due date but this means I derail and work on things like the Amp’d Rider Project, the SOX Project, and managing my personal litigation and healthcare paperwork (which in my case is way longer than my left leg – hahahaha). Since I have moved to Western North Carolina, I have been blessed with Mom visiting twice and so far four friends from Illinois have visited. This weekend and next week will bring three more friends to my Heavenly Hill. Sometimes I feel bad because when folks visit they are on vacation but I still have to work. I try to finagle my schedule so needs are met and quality time is spent. It goes without saying that I am constantly trying to spend my time wisely. With riding season just around the corner, my passion will have to fit in somewhere and articles like this to keep my SEO rating up on search engines and marketing my business are a must. Only true client work generates income; none of the other things do. So, I am having to cut out a few things and while I love writing my motorcycle magazine column and putting on my motorcycle radio show; that combination generates the least leads to my business. As such I believe I may be saying good-bye to that for a while.

When I research for business I try to find topics that will serve me and other small business owners, while also trying to find articles that will serve nearly anybody. After all, not all those that follow me are motorcyclists, nor virtual workers, so I need to share information that is useful to a very wide audience. I hope you will find this article of interest; I sure did.

17553-Time-Flies-Youre-The-Pilot

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How to Manage Time With 10 Tips That Work

By Joe Mathews, Don Debolt and Deb Percival

Chances are good that, at some time in your life, you’ve taken a time management class, read about it in books, and tried to use an electronic or paper-based day planner to organize, prioritize and schedule your day. “Why, with this knowledge and these gadgets,” you may ask, “do I still feel like I can’t get everything done I need to?”

The answer is simple. Everything you ever learned about managing time is a complete waste of time because it doesn’t work.

Before you can even begin to manage time, you must learn what time is. A dictionary defines time as “the point or period at which things occur.” Put simply, time is when stuff happens.

There are two types of time: clock time and real time. In clock time, there are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. All time passes equally. When someone turns 50, they are exactly 50 years old, no more or no less.

In real time, all time is relative. Time flies or drags depending on what you’re doing. Two hours at the department of motor vehicles can feel like 12 years. And yet our 12-year-old children seem to have grown up in only two hours.

Which time describes the world in which you really live, real time or clock time?

The reason time management gadgets and systems don’t work is that these systems are designed to manage clock time. Clock time is irrelevant. You don’t live in or even have access to clock time. You live in real time, a world in which all time flies when you are having fun or drags when you are doing your taxes.

The good news is that real time is mental. It exists between your ears. You create it. Anything you create, you can manage. It’s time to remove any self-sabotage or self-limitation you have around “not having enough time,” or today not being “the right time” to start a business or manage your current business properly.

There are only three ways to spend time: thoughts, conversations and actions. Regardless of the type of business you own, your work will be composed of those three items.

As an entrepreneur, you may be frequently interrupted or pulled in different directions. While you cannot eliminate interruptions, you do get a say on how much time you will spend on them and how much time you will spend on the thoughts, conversations and actions that will lead you to success.

Practice the following techniques to become the master of your own time:

    1. Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going. You’ll see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions.
    2. Any activity or conversation that’s important to your success should have a time assigned to it. To-do lists get longer and longer to the point where they’re unworkable. Appointment books work. Schedule appointments with yourself and create time blocks for high-priority thoughts, conversations, and actions. Schedule when they will begin and end. Have the discipline to keep these appointments.
    3. Plan to spend at least 50 percent of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce most of your results.
    4. Schedule time for interruptions. Plan time to be pulled away from what you’re doing. Take, for instance, the concept of having “office hours.” Isn’t “office hours” another way of saying “planned interruptions?”
    5. Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don’t start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time.
    6. Take five minutes before every call and task to decide what result you want to attain. This will help you know what success looks like before you start. And it will also slow time down. Take five minutes after each call and activity to determine whether your desired result was achieved. If not, what was missing? How do you put what’s missing in your next call or activity?
    7. Put up a “Do not disturb” sign when you absolutely have to get work done.
    8. Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing and e-mails just because they show up. Disconnect instant messaging. Don’t instantly give people your attention unless it’s absolutely crucial in your business to offer an immediate human response. Instead, schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls.
    9. Block out other distractions like Facebook and other forms of social media unless you use these tools to generate business.
    10. Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done. Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results.

Full article and credit can be found here.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2015 in Time Management

 

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