5 More Quick Happiness Boosts for Bloggers

Hey bloggers! It's time to get happy with these 5 quick happiness boosts. Click through to read these quick happiness boosters for bloggers and download your free cheatsheet.

Today I'm trying something a bit different. As I've talked about previously, I want to try a few different things out in this whole blogging thing, and today I am pretty happy to be introducing audio posts. Check out the recording below to get your ears on five of my happiness boosts for bloggers.

 
 

Not a fan of listening to posts? Well, I've got you covered too, friend. Check out the summary below:

We all have our down days where we're just not feeling it. When doing the work that we usually love can feel like a total drag. Here are some of my five top happiness boosts for bloggers:

Happiness Boost #1: Having flowers or plants in your workspace

Liven up your space with flowers or plants to add a shot of nature to your office. It will inject some brightness and freshness into your day.

Happiness Boost #2: Gratitude

Get out of your own head, and take a few minutes to write down some of the things that make life that little bit better.

Happiness Boost #3: Crank up the tunes!

Feeling down? Try something upbeat. A bit frustrated? Put on some a chilled track and just float away. Metaphorically of course!

Happiness Boost #4: Get creative doing something other than work

Break out of the work you're doing and try something different. Creative pursuits are fun and allow different parts of your brain to fire up.

Happiness Boost #5: Help someone else

Being useful is a great boost to morale and could be just what the doctor ordered to lift you from a down mood. And someone else gets some help too! Win win.

Enjoyed these happiness boosts? Well, there's more where that come from! Check out 5 Happiness Boosts for Bloggers. Spoiler alert: it has a free cheatsheet too!

Now it's your turn. Have you tried any of these before? Do you have any other tips and tricks you use to boost your happiness? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you. 

5 Common Distractions for Online Entrepreneurs

Focus is crucial when creating an online business. Here are five common distractions for entrepreneurs and tips for how to overcome these. Make sure you click through to the post to download the free cheatsheet.

Even though I love the work I do in my online business, I am by nature a bit of a procrastinator. Heck, I spent nearly an hour this morning setting up my laptop and work stuff outside because it’s such a beautiful, sunny day! When it comes to buzzing around before getting stuck into the actual work stuff, I’m quite the expert.

It’s because of this natural inclination that I’ve had to become really aware of what my biggest distracters are, as well as to create strategies to stop these from taking over my day. Here are five such distractions, as well as some strategies for how to overcome them.

1.    Letting email control your time

Email is a great way to stay informed and connected with others, which is especially important if we spend our days working in isolation, yet it can also be a huge distraction. Email creates a constant drip-feed of new content and potential interaction to pull our attention from our work, and ultimately be carried away from our own priorities to focus our attention on the demands of others. It’s kind of like having a group of people standing in front of your desk, shouting and vying for your attention.

Checking email has an almost addictive quality to it and I think some of this comes down to the level of stimulation we are guaranteed to find whenever we check our inbox. Bored? That’s cool – just 'quickly' check your emails and you’ll sure to have plenty to keep you amused or busy! And don’t even get me started on the time it takes to clean up the email inbox... that's almost a full-time job in itself!

Strategy for overcoming this:

Create structure around when you check your email, including:

  • Setting aside specific times of the day to check your email.  You may even find it useful schedule these in your diary.
  • Switching off automatic updates and notifications
  • Checking your email in conjunction with another task, such as just before you break for lunch or when you have time allocated to social media engagement

2.    Researching and consuming others’ content before creating your own

Keeping with the same theme as the above point, consuming the content of others under the guise of ‘working on your business’ can be a huge distraction. It’s natural to want to learn about how to improve and refine your business, and there sure are a lot of resources to help you achieve this. Too many in fact. But spending a lot of time reading through others' content as a way to build your business is like reading interior design magazines and expecting your kitchen to renovate itself.

One of the pitfalls of consuming so much content is that it’s all too easy to feel like you’re being productive by researching and investigating, and ultimately pursuing the improvement of your business. I speak from experience here! But ultimately you are still not producing anything and your business can stagnate as you have very little to offer your customers.

As a business owner, I do think it’s important to be continually learning and expanding your expertise and general understanding, but not at the expense of creating your own content. Creation of things of value is one of the factors that defines whether your blog is your business, or your hobby.

Strategy for overcoming this:

The strategy here is two-fold:

  • create boundaries around when and how you consume the content of others; and
  • have a framework for when you’re in creation mode. What works well for me scheduling blocks of time when I solely work on creating new content.

3.    Being distracted by other humans (and pets!)

This next distraction is similar to the two we’ve already looked at and concerns times when your focus is being pulled away from your work by the priorities of other people, and on their timeline.

Humans can be great. They can also pretty distracting. Whether it's your family (including the furry, four-legged variety), friends, colleagues or strangers on the internet, there will always be someone around who would like a piece of your time. They have their own needs and wants, and all too often those will not match with those you set for yourself. It may be in person, over the phone or via electronic means, but the interactions and requests of others can be a huge disruption in your carefully planned day.

My dog, Billy, can be a big distraction for me. I love him to bits and mostly he’s pretty good while I’m working but sometimes he will just sit next to my desk, looking up at me and hoping I’ll give him a snack or throw a ball. His staring sessions can last for an impressively long time. I don't know about you, but I find it very annoying and highly unsettling to be stared at and without fail I'll lose my concentration and need to get up to walk around, hoping to get him off my case. Super distracting and disrupting to productivity!

Strategy for overcoming this:

Again, this strategy is two-fold:

  • Establish boundaries around how you would like to interact with others during your day and where possible be clear with the people in your life about your availability.
  • Expect to be distracted! Despite our best intentions, others will cross our carefully planned boundaries so the key here is to manage your expectations and know that distractions will occur. The key is to find a way to get back into a productive headspace more quickly after interruptions.

4.    Doing only the fun or easy stuff

Running your own business is usually a mix of tasks you enjoy and tasks you know you have to do. As online business owners there are usually elements we're passionate about, while other elements can feel like one big chore.

I know that I have a tendency to spend more time on the tasks I enjoy or those which are easy, and relegate the harder, more tiresome stuff to be done ‘in the future.’ Well, all too often ‘the future’ never really arrives, or it arrives when a big fat deadline looms and then I have to work like crazy to get it all done. Not only is this the opposite of fun, but it’s not a smart way to run a business.

Easy tasks can trick you into thinking you're hard at work and kicking goals when it comes to moving your business forward as you are still working, but what you will likely end up with is an imbalanced business where you excel in some areas, and neglect others.

Strategy for overcoming this:

Knowledge is power, so learn to understand what you enjoy the most in your business, and what you find most challenging, boring or just plain hard to do. It’s ok to acknowledge that sometimes all you will feel like is the fun stuff, and that’s fine. I’m a big fan of anything that moves your business ahead. But it’s crucial to ensure that you’re also working on the tasks you naturally avoid. I find that batching these tiresome tasks together allows me to knock them over in one go, freeing me up to get back to what I enjoy most.

5.    Being physically uncomfortable

Depending on your business, you may spend a lot of time sitting down or staying still in one place. Activities such as staring at a computer screen for hours, or doing close work with your head bent down over your work can quickly take a physical toll on your body. Aches and pains develop, and it becomes very hard to concentrate. Yet, the work needs to get done so we persist through the pain, and keep exacerbating the problem and pretty soon we’ve got ourselves into a vicious cycle.

When we’re in pain or discomfort, it can be very hard to concentrate and our ability to enjoy work begins to suffer. Physical pain is ever present and serves as a constant distraction, making it increasingly more difficult to shift our mind from our bodies.

Strategies for overcoming this:

There are a few things you can do to overcome this distraction:

  • Pay attention to your body and notice if you’re getting too tired or uncomfortable. If so, get up and move around.
  • Ensure that your workspace is comfortable and ergonomic. Buying yourself a better chair could make all the difference.
  • See a doctor or someone who specialises in the area of pain you’re experiencing.

I hope you've found this list helpful, and are able to adopt some of these strategies to help you feel less distracted in your work.

How about you? What do you find most distraction? Anything on this list strike a cord? I'd love to hear more in the comments below.

Experiments in Blogging

Blogging can be hard! This is my launching point for exploring other ways of blogging that don't feel like a chore.

I have a bit of a confession to make: I'm not all that fond of blogging. There. I've said it! This is my secret shame.

Ok, so 'secret shame' is a bit dramatic, but as someone who has a blog and a business I'm incredibly passionate about, it is a huge bummer to find myself dragging my feet every time I start writing a new post. What could take me a few hours to write instead takes me a few days of dipping in and out (and finding every feasible distraction under the sun) before I can finally hit 'publish' on an article. This simply will not do. So I keep trying to find ways to make myself knuckle down, including whole days where I've sequestered myself away from home to force myself to focus in and git 'er done. Still no love.

In terms of the posts I have published, I know I'm happy with the final product, and would only share something I'm proud of and which people might find helpful, but the process as it currently stands makes me less likely to do the actually blogging in the first place. Not a great place from which to be a blogger...

Yet, I'm someone who has always loved writing, so how can this be? I dream of writing novels and have tinkered away on creative projects my whole life. So why is it that I struggle to get my bloggin' on? I have plenty of post and content ideas that light my fire and I want to share these with others, but just can't seem to find my mojo when it comes to that actual writing bit.

Pardon my French, but it feels a whole lot like pushing shit uphill.

However, not one to be easily deterred when I really set my heart on something, I've decided instead to look at the 'how' of what I'm doing rather than giving up on this whole blogging thing. In life, and in business, I'm all about identifying what's working, what isn't working and tweaking things to create better results.

As a kid, I loved Pinky and The Brain, a cartoon about two genetically enhanced lab mice who were bent on world domination. Each episode they would execute a new plan to try to take over the world but always fail, usually because of Pinky's ineptitude. Anyway, the point of my story is that even though I loved the show (and yeah, I know it's just a cartoon) I would get annoyed that instead of refining the original megalomaniacal plot that nearly worked, The Brain would just come up with an entirely new scheme each episode. "Brain," I'd think to myself, "just change the damned plan, and the world will be yours!" And, I suppose, the show would be over after two episodes.

A more sophisticated and succinct way to make this same point goes to Mr. Thomas Edison:

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
- Thomas A. Edison

Anyway, you can probably see my point. Rather than throwing out an idea because it doesn't work, I'm a big believer in examining what didn't work and develop strategies to counterbalance and improve these factors. Simplistically put, this process looks a bit like this:

Try -> Fail -> Refine -> Try -> Succeed -> World Domination

In looking at my current process I wanted to identify what I do enjoy, and there are some posts I've really enjoyed writing in the past so I know that feeling is possible, so it seems that the next step is to try and find more ways to post than those I've been trying up until now.

I have a feeling the main components for me to explore will be content (i.e. what the post is about) and method (the type or style of post) and I already have a heap of ideas for mixing things up that I can't wait to share with you. I'm also hoping you'll let me know which you like so I can work on tweaking and shifting what I offer in a way that offers the most value.

Watch this space...

P.S. You want to know something interesting? This post practically wrote itself and was enjoyable to do. Mental note: do more confessionals!

Like to stay in touch while I conduct my experiments in blogging? Sign up below:

Why Taking Care of Yourself Makes You a Better Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur takes on so many roles in order to run a successful business, especially as an online creative. Blogger. Designer. Accountant. Marketer. CEO. This can be one of the greatest joys of running your own business, but also the biggest challenge. So how do you manage all this and not lose your mind? I’ve put together a resource to help with just this problem. Click through to read these helpful tips and access your free self-care resource and meditations.

Working to create a business and life you love can be the most amazing experience. You have the opportunity every day to create something meaningful and help others in the process. Indeed, when you hit your stride, running your own creative enterprise can be incredibly exciting and rewarding. When in the zone, you may have so much on the go but yet you still feel excited and challenged and passionate about what you do, and carried along on a contact high of productivity that it feels like you could go for hours without needing to come up for air.

But this is not always the way unfortunately. Being an entrepreneur can also be exhausting, frustrating and heartbreaking. You give so much of yourself to your work that coming up against challenges and continually not seeing results can leave you depleted and disenchanted. Add to this the countless hours you need to commit to getting everything done, as well as everything else in your daily life still demanding your attention, and pretty soon your health and overall wellbeing can take a beating. Feeling this way can fast become a slippery slope into overwhelm and before you know it your groove gets jolted and you have so much to do and not enough energy or time to do it. Your headspace clouds over and you feel buried by all the junk that life and work throws at you.

I totally get it. We all feel this way at times (sometimes all the time!) and in creating and working on my business I have had times when I’ve felt so overwhelmed and fundamentally challenged that I’ve reached the point of wondering if I should just pack it all in and go back to the 9-to-5 grind. Thankfully my loathing of my former ‘career’ and deep desire for freedom has helped me stay the course, but as I kept coming up against this cycle I knew I needed a way to stop getting to breaking point. I realised that digging myself out of a rut can take a lot of energy and patience, and while it’s totally possible, wouldn’t it be better to just avoid going there in the first place?

Are you feeling this too?

To help you out (because that’s what I’m here for!) I wanted to share some of the ways I know to help get back on track, and to stop myself from spiralling too far into a depression. Along with these tips, I have just created and launched a free (yep, you heard it right, free!) online email series to help folks, especially busy entrepreneurs, to take control of their self-care and get some quick strategies to get happier and able to get back to creating your world-changing empire more quickly. More about that at the end… (or you could just sign up now with this form below if you're keen:)

Okeydokes, here we go. Read on for some of my top strategies for improving your self-care today:

BOOST YOUR OVERALL WELLBEING

If you ask Google to ‘define wellbeing’ (and I did) the first result you’ll see is the definition that wellbeing is ‘the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.’ Sounds like something we all strive for, and certainly worth pursuing, yet so many of us relegate our health and happiness to the bottom of our to-do list and treat caring for ourselves as either an afterthought or something that gets done if we ever get time. “Sweet heavens above, please let me find the time!” We long to take care of ourselves, but as a culture we don’t, or can’t, seem to prioritise it. We idealise an overloaded schedule and constantly strive to prove we can do, be and have more. No wonder we all get so burnt out! 

This behaviour is kind crazy and definitely counterproductive to living a good life. By being in the best state of comfort, health and happiness we are able to more present and engaged in our lives, and filling our time with a frenzied pace doesn't allow us to create the space we need to care for ourselves. When we truly take care of ourselves so much of the drama and overwhelm melts away, we're able to see improvements across all the areas of our lives. We have better relationships because we’re less testy and more present. Our work will naturally improve as our concentration levels are better and our access to creativity and innovation gets clearer. So, to borrow an old-fashioned expression, prioritising everything and everyone else in our lives before our own wellbeing is like putting the cart before the horse. In other words, the wrong way around!

Looking for a way to kick-start your journey back to wellbeing, but not sure where to start? Or maybe you’re doing ok at taking care of yourself but sometimes it gets away from you. Either way I’ve got you covered! I’ve created a meditation to help you stop the busy busyness of your work, your day, your thoughts, and get a wellbeing check in. The best part? It’s under 10 minutes long so is a great way to get started and not be too big a time drainer.

Get it here as part of the free five-day self-care series:

IDENTIFY YOUR DERAILERS

Similar to the point above, looking at your life and being able to identify what is not working for you and where you might have your priorities out of alignment can be the start of some beautiful changes.

One element of this is being able to recognise what keeps tripping you up as you work towards creating and living a great life. I call these ‘derailers’ as they knock you off track again and again. You’re cruising along, then wham, these elements crop up and before you know it you’re either heading in the wrong direction or have stopped moving forward completely.

Being able to identify these derailers will allow you to get back on track more quickly or, even better, stop from being derailed in the first place.

Derailers can be unconscious behaviours like popping into Facebook to check one thing and suddenly realising you’ve been on there for two hours, or hurdles and challenges you weren’t expecting (super common when you’re in business for yourself!). You may find that others are thwarting your efforts to get more done either through general distraction or by expressing their very present needs (such as a hungry child or a client who contacts you in a panic with an urgent project change or request).

When we become derailed from our original focus it can feel upsetting and frustrating, and add to this that all too often we can also feel disappointed in ourselves for not sticking to our original intention. We might become angry or short-tempered and the last thing we feel during these times is calm and in control.

Being able to identify these derailers allows us to get ahead of them and create strategies to lessen or even negate these obstacles. It may be as simple as adding 25% time allowance for every project you plan or setting a timer before you enter the murky time-sucking vortex of social media. Heck, even allow yourself time to check social media where you can just follow your nose and spend an hour there. This is not about denying yourself distractions, but rather it is a way of stopping distractions, disappointments and life from derailing your objectives. You're ultimately setting yourself up for a win, rather than allowing yourself to keep being knocked off track.

Want more tips on overcoming derailers? Check out my post on 5 Common Derailers for Newbie Bloggers

MEDITATION

I know that I find meditation super beneficial (when I remember to do it!). It helps still my busy, busy brain and allows me to find clarity when trying to solve a problem. I’m not alone here. There’s so much research to demonstrate the benefits meditation can have in our lives, health, happiness and so much more. I’m not going to bombard you with statistics and research, but here are few resources worth checking out if you have time:

I have a super active imagination and while this is often one of my greatest assets, it can also make more traditional, silent meditation a big challenge and kind of a drag. My thoughts just keep coming at me and I get annoyed that I just can’t get it together, and the thoughts keep swirling around and around, and thus the cycle continues. This feeling of frustration makes it hard to implement and stick with a regular meditation practice because there's no real benefit. This is where guided meditations come in. I find it so much easier to still my mind when I can be taken on a journey, and just allow myself to let go of my thoughts without having to do all the heavy lifting. I still get so much benefit from the experience but so much of the pressure has been taken off and I find this helps me maintain the desire to keep up the practice.

You know I've got your back, my friend, and I’m here to help you out. Like I mentioned above, I have recently created a couple of guided meditations as part of my free self-care series as I see these as really effective tools in improving wellbeing, and I want to help folks get the benefits of meditation without the hard work.

I’m really proud of how these turned out and feel like they really are the stars of the program. You should totally sign up for this series just to get your hands on them!

EMBRACE ACCEPTANCE

Acceptance is one of these principles we all understand, can see the value in and want to embrace, yet it is also one tricky little fiend. I would love to achieve acceptance in all things and move through the world like a zen monk, being untouched emotionally by others and their shortcomings, and generally being a loving creature. But alas, this is not simple. In fact, I think acceptance is one of the trickiest emotions to embrace.

Acceptance means that we allow something to be, without trying to change it or exert our will, or force something to be other than it is. This sounds simple enough, but when something or someone acts in a manner which is so contrary to what you believe it should be then acceptance can feel impossible.

However, acceptance isn’t about blithely embracing things without question. Rather, acceptance is taking away the anger and emotional attachment to an issue, and therefore freeing you up to focus your attention and energy in a more positive way.

If you’d like to explore how to better embrace acceptance in your life and business, I have a handy meditation to help you in creating more acceptance in your life, I have a whole section dedicated to this in the self-care series.

MAKE THE COMMITMENT. SHOW UP.

One of the best things you can do to honour your self-care is to continue to make the commitment to be kind to yourself, and actively engage in ways to improve your health, happiness and comfort. Not only will you find it easier to pull yourself out of a spiral into overwhelm before you're too far gone, but you'll find that you head toward these negatively feelings less and less because you naturally have a better mindset.

Will you let me help you get started?

In the self-care series I've put together some of my best strategies to help cultivate the right mindset for creating a better business and life. I know I’ve spoken a lot about the series in this article, but this is because I created it especially for the purpose of helping folks, especially bloggers, creative and entrepreneurs, to make self-care easier and allow themselves to enjoy the process of running a business and working towards creating an amazing life.

I wanted to make sure this series gave you resources to get ahead in the self-care game as well as tools you could use when you're in a bad headspace and need some help to get you out.

I'd love it if you signed up. I know it could help you improve your overall happiness and believe that when we are in the best headspace, we are able to create our best work and show up fully in life.