Your thinking shapes your experiences. Even obstacles have a value when you can see it. You can develop convictions that will help you to feel happier and achieve more, regardless of the situation.
Consider these empowering beliefs that you can start using today to transform your life through the power of positive thinking.
I understand my potential.
You can achieve amazing results when you put your mind to it. Feel excited about reaching your true potential.
I count my blessings.
List each thing that you have to be grateful for. Remember to include the smaller items, like warm socks or tart cranberries. Expressing your appreciation reminds you of how rich you are.
I learn from mistakes.
You can make setbacks work for you by focusing on the lessons that they contain. Flubbing one project can teach you how to ace the next one.
I find meaning in adversity.
Tough times can be the most rewarding phase of your life. Know that you can emerge from any challenge with greater wisdom and courage. Look back at the obstacles you've already overcome, and reassure yourself that you can handle what's ahead.
I embrace change.
Accept that life is a series of changes. Focus on the present moment, and prepare yourself to adapt to whatever circumstances come your way.
I dream big.
Expand your wish list. Setting demanding but attainable goals gives you adventures to look forward to each day.
I practice forgiveness.
Lighten your load by clearing away any resentment you're holding onto from the past. Set reasonable boundaries while you respond with compassion when others disappoint you. Pardon yourself, too.
I give generously.
Sharing your blessings makes you more powerful and joyful. Volunteer in your community and speak kindly to each person you meet today. Buy coffee for your co-workers or give your sister a flower.
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Working at home is not for the faint of heart—nor for the easily distracted.
I have worked at home for over fifteen years and I know a lot about distractions. While I no longer have small children or teenagers in the house, the distractions dangled before my eyes by the rest of my life are countless.
Know your direction
Facebook is fascinating, blogs are brilliant, and email is endless, but if spending time on any of these will not result in my business success, I will have wasted precious time looking at them. In order to avoid distractions it is vital that you know what your goals are for your work.
I will be the first to admit that it’s not easy to stop and ask yourself if what you’re about to do will contribute to your goals, but once you get in the habit, I think you’ll find that your productivity will increase, and most likely your bottom line, too.
The Internet is a fun toy, so if you remind yourself that cat videos and knitting blogs are for off-work times, you won’t feel deprived of those enjoyments, and you will get a lot more done.
Give your brain a break
For creative people and dedicated individuals, putting your head down and working straight through can happen without you realizing that hours have passed. I tend to write or work on art or websites only to look up and realize that it’s already 4:00 PM and I’ve hardly left my desk for hours.
A good way to avoid this is to set a timer to ring after fifty minutes of work. When it goes off, get up, walk around, breathe deeply, stretch, and adjust your gaze to something far away out your window. This is good for your brain, your circulation, and your eyesight.
Move it, baby
This brings me to my final point in this series. Be sure to build breaks into your day that include going outside and getting some fresh air. Go weed your garden for ten minutes, take a brisk walk to the mailbox or the corner store, or just walk around the block. It’s not healthy to sit for hours at a time.
It’s also important to have human contact, so if you work alone all day, be sure to factor in a trip to the library, or a networking event so that you get out of the house. Working at home can be lonely and isolating, even if you’re an introvert and love your own company.
Get up, move around, see people, and do something fun. You will have more success if you balance your work life with lots of other activities and you’ll enjoy it all more, too.
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Working at home can mean your ultimate success or your worst nightmare.
You’ve kicked the 9-5 job to the curb and have joined the ranks of those blessed few who get to work at home. You crawl out of bed your first morning of freedom and are at your desk bright and early.
You may already have your time planned but it you don’t, it’s a good idea to put some schedules and systems into place. Trying to accomplish things with a loosy-goosey day plan (which is no plan) isn’t going to contribute to your success.
Without structure inherent in a job environment, it’s up to you to impose structure on your own time. The easiest way to do this is to write a daily schedule. Start by listing your main goals, and then break those out into a task list. By assigning “appointment” times, or duration times, to each task, you can stay on track without getting lost in the many choices you may have.
A great way to accomplish a lot in an efficient manner is to batch similar work together. For example, if you have appointments out of your home office, arrange for them all to be done on the same day, thereby saving travel time.
You can also look after social media posts of all kinds in one session, say from 9:00 until 10:00. This not only focuses your attention on the task at hand, but it eliminates some of the temptation to click over to Facebook or Twitter to check out what your friends are saying several times a day.
Keep work in the work space
Regardless of what type of work you do, whether sitting at a computer, or sanding cabinets in your shop, it helps to separate home life from work by keeping work in the space meant for it. Believe me, if your work gets spread all over the house and your kids are moving your papers or tools, you’re opening the door to lots of family conflict.
Don’t eat at your desk, and don’t sleep in your office or workshop. Stop trying to do more than one thing at a time.
Beyond that, it’s a good idea to make it clear in your own mind when you are “at work” and when you’re home. While people often believe that the temptation is to do too little work when you work at home, for entrepreneurs the opposite is generally the case. It’s far too easy to work all the time, especially when you love what you do.
In Part 3, we’ll discuss those pesky distractions and how to rise above the din.
You’ve achieved the dream, dumped the job, and are working at home. Now what?
Many people have the dream of getting out of the corporate rat race, leaving the stressful commute behind, and starting a business working from home. If you’ve managed to make that happen, Yay, you!
So now that your commute is down the hall instead of down the freeway, how do you structure your days so that you succeed? I’ve been working from home for over fifteen years and I’ve developed some essential strategies to make things work.
Okay, this sounds too simplistic. Of course, you’re going to get up. But let me tell you, the temptation to lie in bed late can be strong if you’re not naturally a morning person. But remember, you’re still getting up and going to work so lazing in bed in the morning isn’t an option.
If you’re like me and live on the west coast, those folks on the east coast who may be your clients have already been up and working for three hours before your eyes open.
One of the perks of working at home is that you can work in your pyjamas. Who’s to know, right?
However, there is a certain mindset that goes with being in your nightclothes and that is that you’re still on leisure hours. Besides, how you do one thing is how you do everything so sloppy is as sloppy does.
If you conduct business via Skype, or Zoom, where people will see you, it is doubly important that you look presentable and professional. Fix yourself up as though you’re going to the office, because you are.
While we’re on the subject of sprucing up, it’s also a good idea to make your work space presentable. One reason for this is because of visual calls online; the other reason is that a neat work space makes doing your job easier.
Besides being a writer, I’m a visual artist, and like most visual people, I’m happier when I can see what I need. But honestly, it gets away on me frequently. The “I’ll just put that here for now” method of dealing with incoming materials means it doesn’t take long until I’m overwhelmed with messes.
I’m not saying that you have to constantly be cleaning up, just regularly tidy up your space. The best way to stay on top of that is with systems, which we’ll look at in the next article in this three-part series.
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There is always time to do something you love.
I can almost hear the protests:
We all have busy lives, some busier than others. However, I believe that what usually stops us from doing things that we really love, is prioritizing.
For example, I’ve decided that I want to do a sketch every day. Nothing fancy, just a little sketch in my pocket sketchbook. Am I doing it faithfully? No.
The reason I haven’t done it yet is because I have to re-arrange my schedule to make room for a fifteen-minute sketch and I haven’t done that. I could spend that much less time watching Netflix in the evening, or I could get out my sketchbook and draw something while I eat breakfast.
While I want to do it, I haven’t made the decision to fit it in.
If you think about something that you’d like to do more of, ask yourself what has to happen before you can accomplish it. Can you get up a little earlier in the morning? Or, go to bed a little later at night?
Perhaps exchanging one activity for another would make the space for what you would like to do. It might require a little imagination, but really, we often do a lot of things in a day that aren’t strictly necessary. It’s like time clutter. Clear out the non-essential and there is more space.
Put simply, it comes down to this:
If you want more time, do less.
Do you ever wonder how some people can do so much, get so much done, or go so far? It’s as if there is some super-human secret to accomplishment that no one told you.
Well, it’s not super-human and it’s not a secret.
Here is how it works:
Decide what you want to do.
Write it down. Make a list of everything that you want to do from now on in your life.
List those items that you want to do this year.
Decide which ones you want to start on right now. Be sure to keep it doable. Don’t put thirty-two items on your list and try to work on all of them. You will get discouraged and quit. Pick the most important and/or the easiest to get done.
Plan your steps.
Let’s say you want to learn to paint, or to play an instrument. What is the first step you need to take to begin to accomplish your desire? Do you need to find a class or a teacher? Take that step. Then take the next step.
Say you want to clean the garage, plant a tree, do a craft, and learn photography. Each item on your list has steps to accomplishment. Figure out what those steps are and get started today.
Once you make up your mind to do something, don’t go back on that decision. Being wishy-washy guarantees that you won’t follow through. If you’re on today, and off tomorrow, your motivation will go out the window. Stick with your program.
Celebrate your success.
When you have accomplished what you set out to do, give yourself a pat on the back, or celebrate with something that makes you happy. In fact, you can build the reward in when you start.
A deferred treat for accomplishing your goal makes for good motivation to keep going when you start to run out of enthusiasm.
If you need help with any or all of these steps, you will love The Wish Plan. It takes you through a series of easy exercises to reveal what you love most, and helps you make a plan to bring more of those things into your life.
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1. Appreciate something
Looking for the negative is an easy, and bad, habit. To change how you habitually think, you have to…change your thoughts. A good way to begin to do this is to choose to appreciate the good things you already have.
Did you have a good sleep last night in a comfortable bed?
Do you have someone with whom to share your breakfast?
Do you know at least one person who loves you?
Is the sun shining through your windows?
Do you have friends to talk to?
When you begin to look for them, you will see myriad ways to appreciate the good things in your life. Doing so will raise your level of happiness.
2. Relax about life
Most of us stress out about a lot of things that don’t really matter. If your spouse doesn’t load the dishwasher in just theperfect way, come on, the world won’t come to and end. Other drivers can up your stress levels, but only if you let them. Don’t think about or judge them and you will be a more relaxed driver.
Have you ever seen water on a duck’s back? Nope. It rolls right off. For that matter, have you ever seen a duck wracked by stress? I thought not.
3. Do something kind for someone else
Kindness is good for the soul—yours and someone else’s. There is something about getting over yourself that makes us all more stable human being, and happier ones. Whenever you have the chance to do a kindness for someone, take it. That will make two people happy at the same time.
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I work with a lot of writers and I have taught art classes, led writing workshops, and tutored both artists and writers.
Sometimes people ask me if they should take a class or a course, either online or locally, in person. Here is my answer:
It depends what your goal is.
Yes, you should take a class, or some kind of instruction if you want to improve your work. This can be done in a myriad of ways. When I began exploring watercolours my first step was to borrow books from my local library and study what different artists recommended.
I learned early on that there are many different approaches even in this one medium. Since my goal was to increase my skill level, i.e. become more professional, I enrolled in a studio class that I continued to attend for a couple of years. In that class I learned many techniques how to use the medium to produce work that reflected my own style.
(Coincidentally, in the studio next door, another class leader taught all the students to copy the style of the instructor.)
During that same period I also decided I wanted to develop my writing skills. I followed the same pattern. First, library books, and then writing classes. Both were beneficial.
All this took place before the advent of the Internet and online courses. Now, I’m a big fan of classes online. They are easy and quick to access and you can start almost immediately after you’ve made the decision. You can generally work at your own pace without leaving home.
Among the disadvantages of courses online is that you will likely be working alone and unless you’re self-motivated, you may find that life gets in the way of finishing what you started. However, a well-done course or leaders will usually also offer follow up, a forum, or Facebook group so you stay engaged and motivated until the end.
A local class or course offers the benefit of social contact but requires you to show up at a specific time. It is fun to get together with others who share your interest and to learn as a group. The downside can be heading out on a dark and stormy night may put you off getting to the class.
So, here is my question:
If you wanted to pursue either a writing course, or an art course, which would you prefer: online or in person?
Please leave your answer as a comment below as your choice will help me to develop some programs that I have in mind. Thanks.
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