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Life Lessons

I’m participating in the #31DBBB Blogging Challenge, and this post part of the Day #2 assignment. I want to welcome all of my fellow SITS Bloggers and thanks for all of the linky love ;-)

The first post of this blog was published originally in January of 2007, but a catastrophic crash in October of 2008 (before I knew about the importance of backing up my database) caused me to lose all of those early posts.

Prior to this blog for my consulting business I had a personal blog that I began in the fall of 1998 (before they were actually even called ‘blogs’). So with 12 years of blogging experience under my belt, I thought I’d write a post about what being a blogger has taught me about life.

1. Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want your parents or your children to see.

In the early days, I didn’t tell my parents that I kept a blog. I felt far more free to write whatever I felt like writing when I was pretty sure that they weren’t reading it. Well, the day eventually came when my dad, bless his heart, discovered my blog one day when he googled me. Thank goodness he didn’t find anything embarrassing, but it might have been a more awkward conversation had I been writing about something that they would not have approved of, or would be embarrassing.

Aside from your parents and off-spring, be mindful that your employer or colleagues might also discover your blog, so be mindful of what you write and publish online.

2. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind.

Your blog provides you with the opportunity to stand up for what you believe in, to take a stand for your beliefs and defend the ideals that you hold dear. There will be people who will agree and there will be people who will disagree with what you have to say, but don’t let that dissuade you from writing from your heart.

3. Be authentic.

One of my favorite quotes on this topic is by Dr. Suess, and he said, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter won’t mind.” Authenticity totally shines through in everything you write. Don’t try too hard to sound witty, or take on a fake persona. Your individuality is the gift that you offer to the world. Let it shine through.

4. Always publish your best work.
Don’t fall into the trap of waiting until you “get discovered” before you start coming up with fabulous content because it’s the fabulous content that will get you discovered. Write your posts like everyone’s watching. Edit ruthlessly. Find a writing partner to edit and/or proofread for you. Ask for feedback from your readers, and strive to always improve your writing.

5. Having a platform is powerful.
As your blog readership grows you will discover that you are creating a platform for yourself. Your blog is your own media outlet. Don’t squander your chance to put forth your message. Take your blog seriously and others will do the same.

6. Avoid negative posts and bashing or flaming.
Avoid writing scathing posts and railing with negativity about a person or a group. If something has gotten you angry and upset, you might want to take some time and process it and choose the most intelligent course of action rather than firing off a vitriolic post that you may regret sooner than later.

7. It takes a village.
The blogoshpere is a community, so reach out to other bloggers and create relationships. Offer to guest post on your favorite blogs. Link to your blogging buddies from your blog. Be as supportive as you can of other bloggers  within your community.

8. Encourage other bloggers.
Be sure to leave positive comments on other blogs. Find something encouraging to say that goes beyond, “great post.” Show that you read the post and write a comment that adds value and builds up the blogger.

9. It takes commitment.

Maintaining a blog is not easy. With all of the other responsibilities in your life, it can be a challenge to commit to writing three to five blog posts each week and managing all of the other tasks inherent with the job. Determine at the outset if you think you can be committed to maintaining the publishing schedule before you begin.

10. Persistence pays off.
In the end persistence definitely pays off. When you have a blog that is getting decent traffic, a steady flow of comments and good reviews you’ve really got something to be proud of. Don’t give up when things get challenging because the only way to fail is to give up.

If you’re a blogger, please feel free to leave a comment that shares a life lesson you’ve learned from blogging.

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It’s the middle of the summer, it’s blazing hot outside, the kids are out of school and the long, hot days of summer tend to lull us into vacation mode.

Now, if you’re on vacation, by all means chill out, relax and enjoy your down time. But if you are still working towards completing your goals for this quarter or this year, then don’t get sucked down and lose your focus. Snap out of it! (Do I have your attention now?)

A great way to snap out of an unmotivated rut is to start a challenge. Take one of your goals and turn it into a challenge to make it fun to complete it. Recruit some partners or supporters to either join you in taking up the challenge, or to cheer you on and encourage you and hold you accountable to your goals.

Post your goal up on a bulletin board in your workspace where you can see it, and depending on how you are counting progress, make a chart where you can tick off  ‘to-do’ items and see your progress.

One of my goals for this year is to improve this blog’s performance. In my business I have been doing quite a few blog setups lately, so  lot of my energy has been going towards setting up new blogs for my clients.

I decided it was time to kick this goal into high gear, so I’ve joined the “Secret to Success is Support” womens blogging community as they are taking on Darren Rowse’s ’31 Days to Build a Better Blog’ challenge. Of course I’ll be blogging about my progress here, but if you’d like to join me and the rest of these power blogging women, feel free to do so.

My challenge to you is to create a challenge for yourself.  Make it a realistic goal so that you are more likely to accomplish it, but not so easy that it doesn’t get your juices flowing. Where attention goes energy flows, so give your project your consistent attention each day and you will get there.

Keep on coming back here for motivation and encouragement, and feel free to contact me if you’re feeling stuck and need some inspiration or advice.

One of my favorite personal development authors, Anthony Robbins, says that you should never leave the scene of having set a goal without taking an initial step in making it become a reality. Yes writing the goal down is a first step, but what can you do to kick your goal-achievement into high gear despite the ‘lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer?’

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Increase blog traffic

1. Establish a consistent publishing schedule and stick to it. At least three posts a week is ideal.

2. Add an opt-in subscription box ‘above the fold‘ close to the upper, right-hand corner of your blog. Offer a valuable free product in exchange for their contact information.

3. Send weekly updates to your email list with a link back to your blog.

4. Make it easy for your visitors to share your blog posts on social media sites. Add plugins such as ShareThis and Wibiya to allow visitors to quickly share your content.

5. Brand your site along with your social media profiles so that your visitors recognize you on those sites and
click on your links.

6. Include a ‘Contact’ link on your blog.

7. Create a ‘Privacy Policy,’ and ‘Disclaimer,’ links if you offer affiliate sales on your blog. Providing up-front, full disclosure is now a requirement by the FCC, and it puts your visitor’s minds at ease when they are clear on exactly how you will be using any information that you gather about them.

8. Include a ‘FAQ,’ or ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ page to answer questions for your visitors and provide them with everything they need to know when it comes to doing business with you.

9. Use your email subscriber list responsibly. Your visitors did not sign up for your newsletter to be spammed with ads. Offer them ‘susbscriber only’ specials and send them free ‘subscriber appreciation’ gifts to remind them of how valuable they are to you.

These are just a few tips and strategies you can use to keep your reader’s interest and keep them coming back to your blog. The main draw to your blog, of course, is your stellar content. Writing sparkling prose that is keyword rich, relevant and useful to your readers is the best way to keep them coming back for more.

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Alexa

I have been learning more and more about Google pagerank and Alexa rankings, and while my blog is now a PR3 (out
of 10), my current Alexa ranking is so high (over 2 million) they don’t even show stats for it on their website.  All this means is that I must continue to work on driving targeted traffic to my blog, because the more traffic a site gets the more their alexa ranking will rise. But there is a bit of a caveat in there. The traffic needs to come from sites where the visitor has the alexa toolbar installed.

So, if you’d like to know how you can help a blogger boost her Alexa rankings, here’s a couple of things you can do. These, by the way, are things that you can also do to boost your own website or blog’s ranking so take note.

1. Install the Alexa toolbar, (it can also be a status bar). Use it to visit your own site daily and you’ll get lots of geeky, techy info about the other sites you visit.
http://www.alexa.com/toolbar

2. Leave a short review of my blog:
http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/productivepen.com#

Here are the steps I’m taking to nudge my Alexa rankings down as much as I can without breaking out in a cold sweat
or losing a moment of sleep about it:

1. Leaving a review (with a link back to my blog) on the top ranked Alexa sites
http://www.alexa.com/topsites

2. Installed the Alexa widget to my blog

3. Installed the WP Stats and the WordPress.com stats plugins so that I can track all of my relevant stats from

one handy dashboard.

4. Getting listed in web directories such as dmoz.org, which was down today when I tried to log in.

5. Most importantly, work on publishing relevant, useful content that keeps my readers coming back, encourages
them to comment, and share the content that they find useful.

Here I am, unabashedly pimping the all-powerful Alexa because it’s basically the popularly accepted way to determine a website’s value. Do you care about your blog’s Alexa ranking? If so, and you’ve tried some other nifty hacks to nudge your ranking down please share them here.

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Committed

When you have set a goal or stated an intention for something that you plan to manifest or accomplish, there is always a bit of lag time in between the moment that you make your intention or desire known to the Universe, and the moment that your intention is manifested in your experience in the form of matter or a particular circumstance in your life.

You may have heard the old adage, “God helps those who help themselves,” and this is true. You can state your desires but then you must show up and take the necessary action required to manifest it. Now, this is not to say that this must be ‘nose-to-the-grindstone, break out in a sweat kind of action. But you must take whatever step is necessary to manifest your desires–inspired action.

Simply writing down your goals and intentions begins the process of moving something from thought to existence. Taking that inspired action and not giving up is what transforms your visions into reality.

Sometimes when we are already vibrating at a high level and we are in perfect alignment with what we desire it can come very quickly and from quite unexpected sources. However, there will be those occasions when we experience resistance and we are not vibrating at the level of our desires making the lag time a bit longer.

The questions I am posing here are, “How do you hang in there and remain committed to your goals when it’s just not fun anymore? How do you get through the meantime and see your project or your vision through to its completion?”

Well, to begin with, you’ll have to learn to embrace the concept of delayed gratification. The idea that you do what you must do in order to be able to do what you want to do. It’s also the idea that the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. Staying with it and putting in the work not only builds character, but allows you to appreciate what you receive that much more.

One of my favorite spiritual business success coaches, Khama Anku, says, “You don’t have to love every minute of it,” and this is so true. You must be willing to put in the work required that will transform you from who you are today and what you have right now into the person you will become that will be ready to receive what it is that you desire.

You’ve got to keep your eyes on the prize and stay positive. As you create your daily ‘to-do’ lists and mark off your accomplishments no matter how small, understand that this is sacred work that you are doing. You are growing your spirit, and raising your vibration and by doing so expanding the Universe of what is possible.

Nelson Mandela went into prison a hot-blooded, angry, militant young man. The 27 years he spent in prison, many of those years on Robben Island, refined him and prepared and transformed him into the statesman, diplomat and peacemaker that emerged and changed his country and the world.

Exercise discipline and commitment as you work towards your goals. Work your faith. The Book of Romans 4:17 reminds us that we should, “Call those things that be not as though they were.” Speak positively about your life and your circumstances. Believe that you have everything that you need within you already to accomplish everything that you desire. You would not have received the inspiration if you were not also given the means with which to bring it to fruition.

The Universe, in her infinite wisdom, does not give us a magic wand that we can wave to get what we want instantly. Sometimes it’s the process– the in-between time–that refines us and prepares us to walk in the life that we dream of. The only way to get there is to never, never, never give up.

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Freelance blogging involves writing blog posts for other bloggers. You will be helping other bloggers keep their blogs supplied with fresh, well-written content while doing work you enjoy for decent pay. Adding freelance blogging to your portfolio can be an effective way to keep a more steady flow of work coming your way while adding more variety to your work life.

Freelance writers enjoy an enviable lifestyle that affords them the ability to work where and when they choose,  and for clients that they choose doing work that they enjoy. One of the downsides is that there tends to be a bit of a ‘feast or famine’ cycle of being swamped with work, and then sometimes, work is difficult to find. Adding more skills to your service offerings gives you more opportunities to serve a more diverse client base.

Aside from a love and passion for the craft of writing, you’ll also need a solid foundation in Internet marketing, effective website design and some knowledge of basic SEO practices to become a freelance blogger.  Knowledge of how to manage the popular blogging platform, WordPress, is also important. Your clients may want you to write the posts and then publish them to the blog as well.

Because basically anyone who can write a sentence, and who has Internet access can slap up a blog, you’ll have to differentiate yourself from the teeming masses by providing excellent, well-written content that’s beyond what the average person would be able to find upon doing a cursory online search.

Here are five tips for getting started with freelance blogging:

1. Start your own blog.
Your first step is going to be to demonstrate that you can create some results with your content. Create a blog on a topic that you are passionate about and work towards getting it ranked high in the search engines for your keywords. Cultivate an audience and engage with them on your blog. Demonstrate best practices and show potential clients that you know how to build and maintain an effective blog.

2. Create a page for your blogging services
Decide on what price you will charge per word, giving a price for a range of word counts from 350-400, 500-600, and 1,000 word posts. Although blog posts tend to be more effective when they are shorter and to the point.

Post your resume and a way for potential clients to request references.

Provide sample blog posts and consider sharing traffic data for particular posts.

Include testimonials that describe the results your blog posts have helped other blogs achieve.

3. Create relationships with potential clients by guest posting.
You can begin by offering to guest post for bloggers that you’d eventually like to write for. If they like your work they may consider hiring you in the future.

4. Comment regularly on blogs that you’d like to work with.

Leave thoughtful comments that add value rather than trying to show how nifty and smart you are. Join in the conversation and keep coming back to blogs that you like so that you can establish a reputation and credibility.

5. Utilize social media to gain exposure.
Use your Facebook profile, create a fan page for your blog and use the Networked Blogs app to connect your blog with the millions of other blogs on Facebook. Use Twitter to get traffic by tweeting when you publish a post. You
can also tweet about your topic and what’s happening with you.

If your blog is on a more serious business topic you’ll want to create a LinkedIn profile, add lots of relevant connections, and join participate in and start groups on your topic.

Visit the following forums to find blogging gigs:

  • forum.freelanceswitch.com
  • forum.freelancevenue.com
  • jobs.problogger.net
  • bloggerjobs.biz

You can also find blogging gigs on the regular freelancing sites such as oDesk, Elance and Guru.com.

If you’re an online freelance writer looking to expand your reach, freelance blogging can be a fun way to branch out , attract more clients and increase your bottom line.

Resources:

http://www.bloggingteacher.com/how-to-become-a-freelance-blogger

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Writing for the Web

Writing for the web is not the same as writing for print. If you are going to be writing content that will be consumed online there are a few concepts that you need to get clear on. By now most people understand the fact that we don’t read text online in the same way that we read text in hard copy such as a book or a newspaper that we hold in our hands.

People tend to skim online copy very quickly with their eyes.
The Internet is by nature fast moving and bright and shiny. Our brains and eyes move hyper-fast when we are online and if what we are looking at does not appeal to us, we can quickly get rid of it within a nano-second by clicking the next link.

As writers, we need to get in touch with the way our readers engage with our work online so that we can create a product that will be both useful and enjoyable by those who consume it. You want to craft content that makes your readers stop long enough for you to convey the message that you are trying to send. Your words must draw them in so that they can consume your content and in exchange for their attention you must fulfill the promise of supplying the information they were searching for.

Write for human readers but with SEO in mind.
Another unseen audience that is consuming our content online is the search engines. Since our human readers’ eyeballs are our most important audience we write for them, but it’s also important to keep the principles of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, in mind as we create web content.

Since many of us learned to write prior to the Internet age, there are a few specific strategies that we can employ in order to be effective at online writing.

  • Do Keyword research and write content that focuses on one or two keywords while delivering concise information that the end user is searching for.
  • Link to other related pieces of content within the site that add to topic.
  • Link out to related authority sites that have high search engine rankings and provide additional information for your reader.
  • Use images that illustrate your point and break up the text on the page.
  • Write in shorter paragraphs allowing for sufficient white space on the page to give the reader’s eyes a place to rest.
  • Use bullets and call-out boxes for the skimmers to grab information quickly.
  • Use meaningful sub-headers to introduce ideas.


Tips for sharpening the saw:

This is a list of five tips that can help you to improve your online writing skills, but this does not pretend to be an exhaustive list. You’ll want to keep learning and constantly strive to improve your craft over time–’sharpening the saw’ as Steven Covey calls it.

1. Read excellent writing
While it might sound far too simple and obvious, but reading good writing is really the best way to improve your own writing skills. Read widely on diverse topics. Pick authors whose writing style you admire and read several of their books. Get suggestions for good reads from fellow book-lovers, or make friends with your local librarian.

Here are a few blogs that feature both excellent writing and compelling content for writers:

  • http://www.copyblogger.com/
  • http://www.problogger.net/
  • http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/
  • http://sethgodin.typepad.com/
  • http://www.doshdosh.com/

2. Join a writing group
This can be tricky because a really good, established writing group can be quite challenging to find. You may end up starting one of your own, but find a group of fellow writers of varying levels of skill and accomplishment where you can share your work and get honest feedback on how you can improve it.

There are tons of writing groups online, but I prefer live groups because it gives you the chance to interact with other writers and create real relationships with real people who share your interests. Check out meetup.com to find a local writer’s critique group, or search online writing forums to find local writing groups.

3. Take a class
Visit your local University or Community College’s website to see if they offer an online writing class. It may, oddly enough, only be offered online, but you can find some live online writing classes as well. Other resources for online writing classes include:

  • The Education Portal has an article with links to 10 Universities that offer free online writing classes

    http://education-portal.com/articles/10_Universities_Offering_Free_Writing_Courses_Online.html

  • The Gotham Writing Workshop

    http://www.writingclasses.com/

  • Wrter’s Digest University writing classes

    http://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/

4. Hire a writing coach
Working with a writing coach is an excellent investment. If you want to write a book, but you would like to polish up your writing style, a coach can help you to get motivated, get unstuck, create a writing routine that works for your lifestyle, and most of all hold you accountable to the goals that you have set for yourself.

  • http://www.writingforward.com/category/writing-help/writing-coach
  • http://writingcompanion.wordpress.com/2007/11/27/writing-mentor-coach/
  • http://www.genreality.net/ten-reasons-to-hire-a-writing-coach


5. Practice, practice and more practice.

“A writer writes,” as they say. Write something everyday. Set a daily word count goal that you feel that you can stick to, but that will also force you to stretch yourself a bit. Commit to meeting this goal, but don’t beat yourself up when you don’t. Just pick up where you left off. Keeping a daily longhand journal can be therapeutic and help you clear out what’s on your mind so that you can focus on creating good writing.

Keep a blog where you write about whatever inspires you. Write a new post every day and before long you will begin to notice that you are developing a unique style that your readers will come to enjoy.

Additional Writing Resources:

  • http://www.webanddesigners.com/20-ways-to-improve-websites-readability
  • http://www.problogger.net/31-days-to-building-a-better-blog/
  • http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/fifty-50-tools-which-can-help-you-in-writing.html

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People create blogs for various purposes ranging from simply writing about what’s happening in their daily lives, trying to bring attention to a particular cause, selling products, for corporate outreach, or gaining increased exposure for the author, every blog works better when it has a clearly defined purpose. By the time you have finished reading this blog post, you will have a clear idea of the advantages of having a purpose driven blog and some ideas for refining and communicating your blog’s purpose to the world.

The blog seems to embody the spirit of new media. The blog has emerged as a great equalizer in the world of publishing and media. It provided the average person who might otherwise never get a book publishing contract the ability to get their message out to the world.

Anyone can start a blog for free, or you can purchase a domain name and hosting for minimal cost and potentially reach millions of readers. But in order to maximize this opportunity to reach your audience, you’ve got to make your blog’s purpose plain when visitors arrive.

People make a decision within about three to five seconds as to whether or not they like or find useful what you have to offer on your blog.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself as you begin to refine your blog’s purpose:

  • What are you trying to accomplish with your blog?
  • Clearly a blog whose purpose is to sell products will have a different layout and style from one whose purpose is to generate interest in a particular topic or cause.
  • Can visitors tell what your blog is about in less than five seconds after landing on your page?
  • The mission and goal of your blog should be clearly communicated in the title, and the content should not veer too far from the main topic keywords.
  • Have you narrowed your focus sufficiently?

Some bloggers who are knowledgeable about and passionate about several topics try to cram all of them in to one blog. This can make it challenging to attract targeted traffic, and the search engines won’t be clear on how to rank your site with such a divergent array of keywords.

Are you creating value for your readers?

Regardless of your blog’s purpose, if you are not creating value for your readers they will not have much reason to stay long or return. You are competing with millions of other blogs for your reader’s attention. Do not squander the opportunity to shine by always presenting your best content.

LaShanda Henry, author of the Sistasense.com blog, among several others, says this about blogging:

“Blog like you’ve got an audience of millions reading your blog. Blog like everybody’s watching you”

Don’t wait and hold back your best content until you get ‘discovered’ because you will not get discovered unless you consistently provide excellent, valuable content that attracts readers, keeps them coming back and inspires them to share your posts with their friends and followers.

When you give valuable content away on your blog it communicates your depth of knowledge about your topic and it causes people to keep coming back because they are confident that you will always have something important to say that will benefit them in some way.

Do you love your topic?

When you love your blog topic, when you have a passion for what you are writing about, when an idea hits you and you can’t wait to get out your laptop and blog about it, that passion and enthusiasm is absolutely infectious and it comes across to your readers.

If you love your topic, chance are there are lots of other people out there who share your feelings and who will be thrilled to find a kindred spirit.

Clearly defining your purpose will make it easier for you to create excellent content because you will be delving deeply into a narrow topic rather than going all over the place on a variety of topics.

The purpose driven blog has a clear focus, it provides value for the reader, and it communicates the bloggers passion for the topic. If you are a blogger, take a moment and re-visit your blog’s vision and mission. Where can you make your purpose more clear? Try doing a quick poll for your readers to see if you can discover what kind of impression they are getting and what suggestions they might offer to make yours a more purpose driven blog.

Now it’s your turn. Go ahead and leave a comment about your blog along with the URL. Visitors who read this post will visit your blog and leave you a comment about their impressions of how effectively your are communicating your blog’s purpose.

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“We accomplish more by concentration than by fitness; the man that is apparently best suited for a place does not always fill it best. It is the man that concentrates on its every possibility that makes an art of both his work and his life.”
–Theron Q. Dumont

As a writer, blogger and online entrepreneur, I find that one of my biggest challenges is to remain focused. I will candidly share with you the fact that I have both ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and Dyslexia, which is a learning disability related to reading decoding, comprehension and fluency. I was fortunate enough to have an observant mother who noticed my quirky reading and ‘inventive’ writing when I was in Kindergarten, so I was tested and given special resources to help me to overcome these challenges and accommodate my peculiar learning style in the classroom.

Because I have been blessed with the gift of a dyslexic brain, I have been forced to learn how to focus my attention and to constantly course-correct when I get easily distracted. My special learning style has taught me to be very organized in my work. I create lists and spreadsheets for everything to keep all of my concurrent projects on track. Without lists to work from and keep me on task, my ADD brain would go sailing off to find something completely unrelated to occupy herself and I lose valuable time.

With that being said, many of us approach developing and running a business with our own unique set of challenges, but the ability to focus on the task at hand and bring it to a successful conclusion is a skill that can be learned. By the time you have finished reading this blog post, you will have learned some new strategies for improving your focus so that you can increase your productivity regardless of what you are pursuing.

Your time is your most valuable asset. Everyone on earth is given the same amount of time each day. The power is in your hands as to how you will leverage your time to create the things and the life that you desire. The ability to focus on your goals will help you to manifest your desires.

Ask yourself these questions to help sharpen your focus:

What is distracting you from focusing on your daily tasks and goals?

From the moment you wake up in the morning your brain is filled with chatter about a million things. The power of concentration allows you to shut out those distractions that are vying for your attention so that you can focus on the task that you have before you.

Take a look at your work environment and eliminate things that can distract you. For instance, is your desk facing a window? Do you ever find yourself staring out the window when you should be working? Move your desk so that you are facing a wall if the window presents a distraction.

Are you distracted by the Internet when you should be focusing your attention on a particular task? If you are working on a writing project, unplug from the Internet so that you can focus on your work. If you need the Internet for a particular task open just one browser window at a time, work through that task until it complete; check it off your list and then move on to the next task.

What habits are contributing to your lack of focus?

How can you tighten up your overall work and productivity habits? Make a list of everything you must accomplish each day and create daily rituals. Create a morning routine, a framework for a workday routine and an evening routine.

What should you be focusing on?
Every business has basic tasks that must be done to keep in running, and then there is the actual area of expertise that requires attention.

Focus on practicing and honing your area of expertise and get help with the other necessary tasks that can be done by anyone.

How to leverage your time by outsourcing so you can focus on your high value tasks.
Outsourcing or hiring someone outside of your company–typically an independent contractor–is a great way to get those essential tasks such as record keeping, email, marketing and advertising, etc. done for you so that you have more time to focus on your core strengths.

If your business is not bringing in enough money to hire a full-time person, start with hiring out just a specific task and see how much time and energy that frees up for you.

Another option is bartering services. What do you have or do that other people in your network want or need? What can they do for you in return?

All of this leads back to the area of focusing your attention efficiently so that you can accomplish more in less time.

Here are some additional resources that you might want to check out if you want to pursue honing your skills of focus and concentration:

“>The Power of Concentration by Theron Q. Dumont

Find Your Focus Zone: An Effective New Plan to Defeat Distraction and Overload“>Find Your Focus Zone: An Effective New Plan to Defeat Distraction and Overload by Lucy Jo Palladino

Focus and Concentration Collection: Increase Productivity, Improve Performance, Self-Hypnosis, Self-Help, NLP (Unabridged) by Erick Brown

How have you solved the challenge of focus in your business? Feel free to leave a comment with your tips and suggestions for greater productivity and efficiency.

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If you have ever had any interest in personal development than you already understand that you are an infinite being with infinite potential and that you create your own reality every day. But there is one thing that directs all of your co-creation and manifestation. This one thing is the seat of your power to achieve and that one thing is your attention.

Your attention is you directing your mind to focus on a particular thing. Your attention is a powerful force because where attention goes energy flows. Part of your evolution as a spiritual being having a human experience is to choose carefully where you focus your attention because whatever you focus your attention on expands.

Attention is a form of currency. When you ‘pay’ attention to something you take it in and it begins to shape your thinking. Advertisers pay dearly to grab just the smallest amount of your attention to try to persuade you to purchase their products. What you have been paying attention to lately will be evident in what has been showing up in your experience.

So, in order to move from where you are to where you would like to be in life, you must be diligent about where you place your attention. Learn to pay attention to what you want and ignore what you don’t want. What do you want more of? Focus your attention on that and feel good about it. As an infinite being it is within your power to do and be and have whatever you desire. But, so many of us get caught in the trap of giving all of our attention to the status quo rather than focusing on making our dreams and intentions a reality.

Here’s how to use your attention to your advantage:

•Your attention directs your powerful, creative energy and life force so use it to your best advantage. Take out that list of goals and dust it off.

•Pick just one thing that if you devoted your attention to it and accomplished it, your life would be closer to what you want it to be.

•Choose an end-date when that goal will be accomplished.

•Open your calendar and schedule in the tasks along with how much time it will take to complete each task on your calendar. If your calendar syncs with your cell phone, program in audible, daily reminders to give your attention to your goal.

•Celebrate when you achieve milestones whether they are major or minor as long as they are moving you forward.

Focus, discipline and diligence are the best weapons against overwhelm and analysis paralysis. Imperfect action is far better than perfect inaction, and failing early on teaches you valuable lessons that you can incorporate as you pick yourself up and keep moving forward. A helpful mnemonic is: FOCUS: Follow One Course Until Successful.

Your consistent, unrelenting attention and action will ensure that you successfully achieve any goal you set for yourself.

The benefits of developing the discipline to focus your attention will begin to show up in all areas of your life. Whether you want to get a better job, start your own business, go back to school and finish your degree or finish a big project around the house, your attention and your action is what will transform your vision and idea into its physical manifestation. So, pay attention!

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