My work space and tools

Ultimate Blog Challenge
www.ultimateblogchallenge.com/

Today is Day 18 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. The suggested topic for blogging is what goes great with your product or service ~ a list of what works with what you do. I thought I’d blog about my work space and tools I use that may help you as a speaker, writer, and/or coach.

Work Space

First, my humble work space. Yes, that is a black card table I’m using as my desk. Eventually I may get a new desk.

But I am THRILLED because I finally have my own room for an office. The 2 black bookshelves I bought from Walmart were the perfect size for my office. They required a little assembly. 

My office desk
My office desk
My new office
My new office

I’m a Hello Kitty fan, and I found some Hello Kitty decorations for my desk. The crystal rose is a precious Mother’s Day gift that I love from our daughter Leah.

Hello Kitty decorations
Hello Kitty decorations

I like fresh flowers on my desk, like these which my friend Liz blessed me with for my birthday.

fresh flowers
fresh flowers

I found 2 black bookshelves for my books and decorated them with little things I love. What are some of your fave decorations for your office?

  • a Curious George given to me by Florence Littauer at UpperClass professional speakers’ training in Connecticut;
  • a “Wish upon a star” ceramic knick-knack container;
  • a yellow “B” paper weight given to me by our daughter Heather;
  • a “Hello Kitty” photo holder, that has pics of my precious friends Shelley Valasek, Kimberly Ehlers, and Kimberly Weber;
  • a pink stone that was a gift from my friend Liz Zacharias;
  • A Maine lighthouse souvenir when I was a flight attendant and flew to Maine for a fun weekend trip;
  • a little unicorn;
  • a gecko lizard knickknack, from the short time I lived in Florida (they were everywhere!);
  • a Florida tiny coffee cup with a green alligator holding onto it;
  • some sand from a beach that my friend Shelley visited, thinking of me (I love the ocean).
bookshelf
bookshelf

Here is a picture of God the Potter and a woman as the clay (Isaiah 64:8), and an ocean picture painted by our daughter Leah

The Potter & The Clay (Isaiah 64:8) and Ocean picture
The Potter & The Clay (Isaiah 64:8) and Ocean picture

My husband Ray bought me this cute chocolate pic. (He knows my heart!)

Chocolate pic
Chocolate pic

I found this baby blue pic and love what it says. Are you using your voice?

bold voice pic
bold voice pic

Tools

This year is flying by and 2015 is around the bend. Today I bought a Vision Publishing 2015 desk calendar for booking speaking engagements and for my daily to-do’s. 

It is pretty and has cheerful yellow daisies on the front cover. I love it because it’s compact enough to carry in my purple sketchy dot Thirty-One Gifts purse/tote that I ordered this week.

It is divided into planning sections:

  • Year
  • Month
  • Week
  • Tasks
  • Projects
  • Info (address book)
  • Shopping

It has task lists and a small section for a menu item on each date page, and includes encouraging scriptures and quotes, such as “God’s faithfulness means that God will always do what He said and fulfill what He has promised.”

Vision Publishers planner/calendar
Vision Publishers planner/calenar

A tool I use frequently for online speaking at my webinars and for coaching clients is a headset with a mic. This frees up my hands for the chat room or to surf the net while talking.

 I’ve tried different brands of headsets, and have found the inexpensive Logitech ones at Walmart work great. Eventually I’d love to buy the Snowball blue mic.

Logitech headset
Logitech headset

I often use Skype to save on long distance charges, along with Free Conference Call for my webinars and virtual trainings, as well as for coaching clients.

I love a small shredder to tame the paper tiger. This one by Auroracorp.com was under $30.

shredder
shredder

This is where I work each day and are some of the tools I use. I like an atmosphere filled with things I love. 

What does your office look like? What are some of your most helpful office tools? Leave your comments below. 

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Do you have writer’s block or writer’s avoidance behavior?

Do you have writer’s block or writer’s avoidance behavior?
Woman in office
Woman in office

Today I finished organizing my new office. Leah helped me to assemble my second black bookshelf, and now all my books are put away. The closet in here is organized:

  • My notebooks, filled with notes from business training the last several years, are in plastic tubs;
  • My journals are in another plastic tub;
  • Important papers are filed in a small file box;
  • My books to sell at my next live event (July 11 @ 11 a.m. Central, details coming soon!) are boxed up, ready to go;
  • Tax returns and this year’s bank statements are together and are in storage boxes on the shelf;
  • Office supplies are organized and in a storage box.

The new office is now clean, neat, and completely organized. I’ve been unpacking and organizing our new house for a couple of weeks, taking off time from my business to get this done. It feels so good!

And as I finally sat down today at my desk to write, I realized now I have writer’s block! Or maybe it’s writer’s avoidance behavior.

Kathy Steffen writes about this in her post. Just click here.

I think my precious friend Rochelle, a.k.a. “Shelley” is doing this, too. For the last several weeks, she’s been “working on getting her office ready.”

Getting it ready has included shopping for a desk, a reading chair, a big screen t.v. (huh? Why does she need a t.v. in there if she’s working?), a cool futon…I think she may be just avoiding writing! 🙂

This is common among writers. They clean, organize, decorate, do anything to avoid writing – the very thing they love.

Why do they avoid it if they love it, though?

A lot of it is just plain fear. Fear of rejection from publishers (or fear of silence from your blog readers with NO comments!).

Fear it will be ridiculous, silly, or worse of all, BORING.

Fear that your writing isn’t good enough.

We writers all deal with this.

As Kathy Steffen says, “So what? Nobody else has to ever see it.  When you get right down to it, writing is simply putting pen to paper and writing words.  No one ever said what you write has to be interesting, good, or earth-shattering.  Just write.  No one has to see the first draft.”

She gives great tips for pushing past the fear and writer’s avoidance behavior (or legitimate blocks).

I loved her creative writing exercises, such as writing about a word like echo or about someone who is passive, a list of 20 things you’d like to do in the next year, or eavesdropping on a conversation, haha.

You can read her tips by clicking here.

In what ways do you find yourself doing writer’s avoidance behavior? Share in the comments below. (Yes, WRITE in the comments below!)

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5 Tips To Save Time in Your Work Day

5 Tips To Save Time in Your Work Day

time
time
Since we moved, I’ve discovered time-saving techniques to make the most productive use of my work day.

Here are 5 tips to help you save time and energy:

 

1. Paper plates. I can’t tell you what this simple, new tip has done for me and our family! Dirty dishes were a big problem every day in our home. How could 3 people dirty so many dishes (and so much laundry)?

When I was packing to move to our new home, I bought paper plates, cups, and plastic utensils since our plates were in boxes. Lo and behold, the counters and the sink stayed clear most of the time!

I now use paper plates most of the time other than supper when we make a determined effort to eat together as a family when Ray is off work. This has saved me hours of loading the dishwasher or washing dishes. I have more time now to devote to prayer, family and friends, and business.

waffle

Using paper plates and plastic utensils for snacks and most meals has greatly decreased stress for me (and my family wanting a clean fork or plate!). If you are green-conscious, you can use eco friendly, biodegradable, compostable plates.

 

2. Organize everything in your house. Our move kicked my administrative, organizational gift into high gear. Lately has been a major purging time, and it’s been wonderful!

I’ve gotten rid of so many things ~ taking 6 carloads of my stuff to a church in town who accepts donations, shredding papers, organizing homeschool records and putting over 1000 family pics in new photo albums, a goal I’ve had for literally years but never had time to do because I was homeschooling.

I still have to get a bookshelf (or bookshelves) for my office and go through a few boxes downstairs, but I’ve organized everything I own and it feels incredible. I can breathe a little now. I’ll have to discipline myself to stay on top of this.

You don’t have to wait to move to get organized. You can start now, today. Begin with a baby step, like Dave Ramsey’s financial Baby Step One. Choose one room, one closet, one drawer.

Relentlessly PURGE. Have no mercy on your stuff.  This is the key.

Create 3 piles:

a) Keep and organize;

b) Give away to Good Will or other donation place (or consign, sell on Ebay, Craigslist, or have a garage sale. I made $150 at the garage sale I had just before we moved here).

c) Throw away.

The give away and throw away piles should be the biggest. Getting rid of stuff will set you free! It is truly liberating and time-saving!clutter-woman surrounded with papers Clutter makes you feel stagnant and stuck. You’ll be unproductive because you are always looking for things or are feeling stressed out from the mess.

When you clean and organize your home, you’ll feel lighter, more energetic, and happier.

As I’ve shared with my husband Ray, an empty space doesn’t always need to be filled. You need wide, open spaces in your life to have breathing room.

It’s also said that when you get rid of things, it opens up your life to new and better things. I believe this!

Invest in plastic tubs, storage bins, folders, and other organizational items.

When you get rid of things and organize your home and work space, it will save you time looking for something (and save money, so you don’t go out and buy unnecessary, duplicate items and  you’ll be working making money, instead of shopping).

It will also save you stress trying to find whatever you need in a  hurry.

 

 3. Online banking/Financial Organization. When we moved into our new home, we had extra costs such as the deposit, the rent, the U-Haul rental, etc. I needed to know how much we had in the bank every day prior to our move.

“Be fully aware of the condition of your flock, and pay close attention to your herds.” ~ Proverbs 27: 23, God’s Word Translation

To stay on top of finances and to save time running to the bank to make a deposit or transferring funds from another account, check your bank balance online daily. Know how much you have in there at all times.

There are many online programs you can use to help you with finances and/or budgeting. One is YNAB.

I also use Tax Bot for tax time purposes.

My favorite finance guru is Dave Ramsey. He’s filled with God’s wisdom, practical, and very funny. (I just need to apply what he says! :O)

In my business, I use Paypal as a finance tool and receive an email notification every time I make a sale with my coaching services or a customer buys one of my books or info products. I also use Paypal for paying whoever I’ve hired to outsource work such as websiste tweaks or VA work.

To begin using Paypal in your business, just click on the graphic below. (This is an affiliate* link.)

PayPal Logo

4. Small, frequent meals. I’ve been dipping my little toe in the water with Take Shape For Life health program. I will let you know how it goes. One powerful tip I’ve learned from this program is eating, small frequent meals. As a busy entrepreneur, sometimes I’m working hard, long hours and I forget to eat! Then by the time I remember, I’m ravenous and eat too much! Which leads to weight gain – or not losing any. Eating small, frequent meals keeps blood sugar levels from plunging and speeds up your metabolism, which helps you to burn calories more efficiently and lose weight.

Small meals means less time cooking over a hot stove in the kitchen, which for me translates into doing more of what I love -spending time with God, family and friends and on my business.

5. Prayer. At our new home, we have a sunroom ~ something I’ve been praying for since I saw them in sunny Florida when I was a flight attendant.

Sunroom
Sunroom
I LOVE my sunroom! It is my coffee with God room/prayer sanctuary. I often go in there after I wake up to pray, watch the birds and 2 white rabbits which hop around the neighborhood, and journal.

This week I’ve been including a Proverbs a day in my quiet time. The Proverbs are filled with practical wisdom.

By praying and hearing God’s wisdom and direction for the day, you save time from wasted activities. Your steps are ordered. Your path is sure. Your purpose is being fulfilled.

These 5 tips are helping me in practical ways in my daily life to save time, money, energy, and stress, and I hope they are helpful to you. Which one can you implement today to make your life easier, happier and more intentional? Leave your comments below.

*This is an affiliate link. I only recommend products I’ve used or believe in.

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