Wiping out overwhelm bit by bit

The next two weeks are a bit overwhelming with so much going on, both personally and business-wise, so I took time yesterday to clear the decks.

I boxed up a ton of old binders and notebooks to go to the recycling center. I started filling my ‘summer bin’ mostly of books I want to read over the next few months. And I’m about 75% through my inbox as I head to zero before we leave for the lake.

I walked into my office this morning feeling considerably lighter and more energized to move forward.

I also made a list of exactly what needs to happen when over these next few weeks. Now I just need to focus on that list. 😉

I share more about wiping out overwhelm here:

http://aliciaforest.com/how-to-wipe-out-overwhelm/

Enjoy!

Cheers,
~ A

How to Unhook from the Future

Chloe has a children’s book (which is now a movie) titled Milton’s Secret: An Adventure of Discovery through Then, When, and the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and Robert S. Friedman, which really simplifies the concept of living in the present moment, and how the practice of that will, for the boy in the story, eliminate fear and worry.

I wanted to explore that as it pertains to your business, with a slightly different slant. I wonder if you, like so many of my clients, and myself as well from time to time, are so hooked into the future that we’re missing the NOW and not fully enjoying the journey?

So how do we unhook from it to allow what we truly want to come to pass without always feeling like we’re striving for it?

Here are 5 ideas:

1. Let go of the goals that take you away from the present.

Let me say first that you can have everything you want – and there’s no judgement here on what those things are.

That being said, do you want a mansion, to be the #1 speaker in your market, to be the one with the biggest email list in your market, to be a New York Times bestselling author, to make a million dollars? There’s nothing wrong with any of those lofty (yet completely attainable) goals.

And, what happens is when we’re so focused on the sexy dream we tend to get ourselves so riled up about getting there that we miss all the amazing stuff happening NOW.

What I’ve noticed is that people get impatient, sad, frustrated, and even angry when they’re so focused on the future goal that the present seems uninteresting at best, despairing at worst. The antidote? See #2.

2. Polish the present

I want to encourage you to stop striving so hard and thrive in your present. What I mean is that if you make what you already have better, and polish what’s already good and working, you uplevel your life without expending that energy on something that doesn’t exist yet.

Yes, it’s about appreciating what’s already good and right in your world and in your business AND it’s about how you can make what’s already there fulfill you even more. It’s true that if you make the most of what you already have, you’ll get more and better of it with a lot less effort on your part.

3. Don’t plan so much

I’m all about having the big picture plan down to the day-to-day details, and yet I know that most of the time, the plan changes.

One of the reasons we – as business owners – plan so much is because it gives us a sense of control and it helps to alleviate the fears and doubts we have about knowing what we’re doing.

So have the plan and be willing to be flexible with it. Let it be a guide but not the only way. If you get wrapped up in THE PLAN you’ll actually hold yourself and your business back from being able to adapt quickly when things change – and they always do.

Assess if you spend more time planning than doing – and if you do, stop right now. And if you tend to fly by the seat of your pants more often than not, you might want a lightly-built framework around you to give you some sense of stability.

4. Get out of the striver’s club

Stop trying to acquire a better future with others who are striving. It’s just too exhausting. I’m not saying to surround yourself with lazy folks, but get out of the overdrive club if you want to relax into a currently compelling present instead of an exhausting still ‘out there somewhere’ future.

5. Get off the ‘if/when’ rollercoaster

I admit this is a pet peeve of mine. Not from people who are decisive, but from people who use it as an excuse to not be happy now. When you make ‘if/when’ statements, you’re living in the future. Dreaming and visioning is one thing; otherwise it’s a holding pattern for you but even worse, you’re not enjoying where you’re at right now!

Now take and implement these five ideas to unhook from the future so you can enjoy the present – I promise you’ll thank me for it. 🙂

I’d love to hear you thoughts on this – please comment below…

Turning On Your Money Taps

One of the things I worked on for several years is cleaning up my money issues. That included everything from thinking I have to work really hard to make a lot of money, to taking care of old debt, to having a plan for paying down new debt, to plugging even the slightest money leak.

The truth for me was that I tended to not pay attention to my money as much as I should, so inevitably something happened where money MADE me pay attention. It wasn’t usually a positive experience. 😉

As I made some big strides in this area, I discovered that once I started really paying attention to my money, it started showing up a lot more in a lot more positive ways.

Here are 4 tips that helped me immensely to turn on the flow of money into my business and my life that I know can help you too.

TIP 1. Keep a daily tracking sheet of what comes in…

I track every penny that comes in on one simple sheet each day. When I first started doing this, I had days where I didn’t have any money coming in, but within just one month, it started to become rare if there was even one day that didn’t have some sum attached to it. My clients who use this method of tracking absolutely love it because they can see the results of this simple yet powerful attractor of more money flow into their business so quickly.

TIP 2. Have a purpose for each income stream

I’ve always done this without really thinking about it, but once I started getting crystal clear about the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ for each and every one of my income streams, they turned from trickles to rivers.

TIP 3. Take care of any outstanding money issues

Periodically, I sit down with all the info in hand to cancel memberships I’m not utilizing, get refunds I’m owed, and ask my assistant to send reminders for any overdue invoices. When I do this, inevitably I’ll receive a check or payment to me totaling as much as or more than the amount I just took care of. See, money likes being paid attention to.

TIP 4. Find and plug those money leaks

In every business, there are places where money is leaking out. It could be the webmaster who charges by the hour and takes too long to complete a task. It could be a monthly subscription that you either don’t utilize at all or that you aren’t clear on its return on investment to be sure it’s actually a good one to make. It could be paying monthly for a service you use all year in your business, and that you could save 10% on if you chose the annual payment plan instead.

When you start to pay attention to your money, it will immediately open up the flow of it into your business and your life.

Which one of these tips are you going to start doing today? Share with me below…

At Simplify & Amplify, we work on YOUR money stuff and these 4 tips are the tiniest sample of the kinds of shifts you can start making today to start making and keeping more money in your business.

Find out more about S&A here

You are your own best guide

A few weeks ago, I was trying to make a decision about something in my business.

It wasn’t a huge decision but I wasn’t sure which way I wanted to go, so I asked a couple of respected colleagues for their advice.

While I was leaning one way, they encouraged me (separately) to choose the other path. Because it wasn’t a major decision and what they both said made sense to me, I did choose the other path.

Then I was regretted it. I found myself frustrated because I didn’t listen to my own inner knowing, my own intuition. The results I was getting from choosing the other path were fine, so it wasn’t that it wasn’t working. I just had this strong sense that had I followed my intuition, my results would have been a lot better.

I’ve done this several times over the course of being in business for 16 years. I’ve also had many more occasions when I HAVE listened to my own inner guidance system, on some very big decisions, even when I was very scared to do so, and things have always worked out way better than I had imagined.

This little episode was simply a reminder that while it’s great to ask others for help in making decisions, to take my own advice that I give to clients all the time – check in with yourself before making your final decision.

Where in your business (or life) could you tune in a little more, connect with your own inner knowing, and use that information to move forward much more easily and effortlessly?

I’d love to know – please share below!

How to Take the Summers Off

One of the questions I get asked the most is how I take the summers off, so I thought I’d answer that a bit for you in this post.

The purpose of this content is about much more than just taking the summer off – or any extended holiday – it’s to help you get really clear on your plan for the next 6-12 months and beyond, what it’s going to be all about for you, both from a pragmatic view as well as from a big picture view.

You likely know that I take 12 weeks off (half of June, and all of July and August) as vacation to spend it with my family at the lake where I spent my summers growing up.

When I first decided that I wanted to be off for the entire summer, I had to figure out how to make that work and still run and grow my business.

So in the beginning, it was a very slightly working vacation, maybe 10% of thetime… And the first time I did this, I did certain things to prepare for it:

1. I decided on what main projects I was going to focus on, two in total.

2. I decided what my VA would focus on, all the admin details that I didn’t want to be troubled with, but that I had had a hard time of letting go of beforehand.

3. I went through all my files and only brought those with me that I had to have to work on those 2 main projects. (As a back-up, I used a remote access program in case I had to get something on my desktop).

4. I clean up my laptop and rigged it for wireless.

5. I let my clients and customers know (more than once) that I was on vacation, that I would respond to emails but that it might take a little longer than usual, but that I was also living this model.

So those were basically the things I did to get ready.

What happened?

Much to my surprise, because I think I was so busy-busy all the time that I wasn’t moving forward very quickly with anything and spent a lot of time putting out fires, I was actually MORE productive – and MORE profitable – during those summer weeks than I had been the previous 6 months working from my home office.

So what was different?

1. I chose two main projects to focus on that only I could do (writing my book and the Café (my membership program)) and either let the rest go (absolutely nothing negative happened as a result) or delegated it.

So I was really focused on my ‘genius’ work, which is what will always bring your more money sooner than focusing on fixing your website or other admin tasks you should be doing.

The next summer, my one main project was putting all the content pieces in place for my first workshop. I chose just one project because of its size.

2. I had scheduled work time. This was a biggee for me. At home, I worked when the kids slept (naptime or nighttime) and then all kinds of in-between time when they were playing by themselves or when Daddy was watching them.

During those early summers, I only worked a total of about 2 hours a day, between pre-wake-up time and post-bedtime, 3-4 days a week. I get up at 5:30am and work for an hour or so before the kids get up, but that’s also my time to sit on the dock,watch the loons and write in my journal, and drink my coffee while it’s still hot.

When I worked it was only on those one or two projects, and answering emails that were a priority, like those from Platinum clients. Anything else I did was a bonus. I wasn’t stressed at all, and when I was with kids, I was completely focused on them, not on the business.

Since then, I restructured my business so that I don’t offer anything ‘live’ with me while I’m off for the summer, my coaching and training programs end around Memorial Day weekend, and the only work I do over the summer is write the personal note in my ezine each week. Everything else is done and queued up before Memorial Day or is delegated to my team to take care of.

There’s a bit more to it than this, of course, but if you’re seeking to take more time off, whatever time of year it is and for whatever reason, this should get you thinking how you can do it too.