Archive for September, 2011

CONSCIOUS DECISIONS (Going Against What Is Popular) from Daily OM

Posted in "Conscious Decisions (Going Against What Is Popular)" from DailyOM, Life Management with tags , , , , , , on September 29, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.

CONSCIOUS DECISIONS (Going Against What Is Popular)

Because an idea or way of doing things is popular doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone

Just because an idea or way of doing things is popular doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. However, part of the way that something becomes popular is that many of us don’t take the time to determine what’s right for us; we simply do what most of the people we know are doing. In this way, our decisions about life are made by default, which means they aren’t what we call conscious decisions. There may be many other options available, but we don’t always take the time to explore them. This may be the result of feeling overwhelmed or pressured by family, peers, and humanity at large, to do things their way, the way things have always been done. Regardless of the cause, it is important that, as often as we can, we decide for ourselves what to do with our lives rather than just drift along on the current of popular opinion.

It is not always easy to make decisions that go against the grain. Many people feel threatened when those close to them make choices divergent from the ones they are making. Parents and grandparents may be confused and defensive when we choose to raise our children differently from the way they raised us. Friends may feel abandoned if we decide to change our habits or behavior. Meanwhile, on our side of the fence, it’s easy to feel frustrated and defensive when we feel unsupported and misunderstood simply because we are thinking for ourselves. It can be exhausting to have to explain and re-explain our points of view and our reasons.

This is where gentleness, openness, and tolerance come into play. It helps if we are calmly persistent, consistent, and clear as we communicate to those around us why we are making the choices we are making. At the same time, we have the right to say that we are tired of talking about it and simply need our choices to be respected. Our lives belong to us and so do our decisions. Those who truly love us will stand by us and support our choices, never mind what’s popular.

– DailyOM
http://www.dailyom.com/

If you’re interested in a complimentary 20-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

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AVOIDING TEMPTATIONS by Paul Meyer

Posted in "Avoiding Temptations" by Paul Meyer, General Management, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.

AVOIDING TEMPTATIONS by Paul Meyer

AVOID THE TEMPTATION to get rich quick.
Everybody wants everything instantly – instant rice, instant pudding, instant success – served in pablum form. My father was from Germany, and he said, “Always take time to be an apprentice and learn the whole job. ” I did this . . . and it worked!

AVOID THE TEMPTATION to take shortcuts.
Taking shortcuts cutting corners is a character flaw. You will be building on sand, and it will surely collapse. It always has. It always will.

AVOID THE TEMPTATION to believe that “The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.”
We need to stay focused on where we are now, what we are doing now, our present opportunity, our present job, our present activity. We need to be able to make our present responsibilities work, whatever price we have to pay.

AVOID THE TEMPTATION to quit too soon.
History books, storybooks, and movies are filled with illustrations and parables of people who quit “three feet too soon digging for gold.” Just one more try to complete an invention; just one more call to make a sale.

COLLECTIVES: WHAT DO ALL THESE TEMPTATIONS CAUSE?

They cause you to . . .
1. Lose sight of your goals,
2. Develop a lack of confidence, and
3. Suffer from an eroding self-esteem.

HOW DO YOU AVOID THIS?

1. Commit to a singleness of purpose.
2. Set and put into writing specific and clearly defined goals.
3. Outline exact action steps you must take to achieve your goals.
4. Repeat daily affirmations to support your goals.
5 Form a support group of your spouse, friends, associates, and work partners.
6. Create an accountability factor.

I don’t have enough paper to write or tell you the thousand sad stories I know about from my lifetime of all the educated, gifted, and talented people who fell into the temptation to get rich quick, looked for something for nothing, ceased to persist and do, believed false promises, and took a shortcut.

It is very sad to watch people chase false dreams – or their tails, the wind, and rainbows.

A solid life of personal success, family success, and business success is built more like climbing stairs than by mounting a rocket ship.

– Paul Meyer

If you’re interested in a complimentary 20-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

HOW TO MAKE ANYONE LIKE YOU IN TWO MINUTES OR LESS by Leil Lowndes

Posted in General Management, How to Make Anyone Like You in Two Minutes or Less, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.

HOW TO MAKE ANYONE LIKE YOU IN TWO MINUTES OR LESS by Leil Lowndes

I f you want to make new friends or land new clients or a new job, you need to make a great first impression — fast. People form permanent opinions of those they meet within just a few minutes of setting eyes upon them. A study published in Journal of Experimental Psychology: General reported that the first impression someone has of a new acquaintance is likely to always dominate the way he/she views this acquaintance. Any later evidence that this first impression might have been erroneous tends to be dismissed as nothing more than an exception to the rule.

The trouble is, making a good first impression can be tricky. Our words, actions, facial expressions and body language all send subtle messages, often without our even realizing that we are doing it.

Below are 11 tricks for making a great first impression. Pick just one or two to try at a time, and add more when those become second nature.

YOUR BODY AND FACE

Facial expression and body position can make you seem more likable to those you meet…

1. Use a slow-flooding smile. Obviously it’s a good idea to smile when you meet someone, but instantly switching on a 100-watt smile can make you seem phony. Instead, let your smile build slowly when you make eye contact. This sends the message that there is something about this person in particular that you like.

2. Have “sticky” eyes. People are inclined to like and trust those who make strong eye contact. If you are not a natural at maintaining eye contact, make it a habit to note specific characteristics about new acquaintances’ eyes — what color are they… what shape… how far apart… how long are their lashes… how often do they blink… how often do they look away while talking to you? Answering these questions will force you to make strong eye contact with the other person.

Do break eye contact occasionally — staring too intently can make people uncomfortable — but don’t do it abruptly. Break eye contact slowly, as if your gaze were stuck on this person and you find it difficult to pull it away.

3. Select an open, welcoming body position. Arrange yourself so that your torso is mostly but not completely facing the person whom you just met. During the first minute of conversation, very slowly and slightly rotate your body to completely face this person.

Exception: A man meeting a woman for the first time should stop a few degrees short of angling his upper body directly toward hers. That seems overly aggressive to some women.

If you are holding a drink or plate of hors d’oeuvres, either find a spot to set it down or hold it down by your side. If you hold it up in front of your chest, your arm will block off your body, making you seem less open. If you are self-conscious about what to do with your hands, use gestures when you talk or even put your hands in your pockets — just don’t cross your arms across your chest, which makes you seem closed off.

4. Stand with one foot a few inches forward of the other. Put most of your weight on the forward foot. This stance suggests that you’re an energetic person and are interested in the person with whom you are speaking.

YOUR ACTIONS

Even seemingly inconsequential actions can affect how you are viewed during an initial meeting…

5. Find your conversation partner’s personal-space comfort zone. Stand too close to a new acquaintance, and you will make him feel uncomfortable. Stand too far away, and the odds increase that he will not feel a connection with you. What’s the proper distance? For the average American, it’s around 24 inches. Trouble is, that’s just an average — everyone is a little different.

The best strategy is to start a conversation with a new acquaintance by placing yourself 26 to 28 inches away. Move toward this person imperceptibly slowly until you see discomfort in his eyes. Then ease back very slightly until that discomfort disappears.

6. When you shake hands, very gently touch your forefinger to the other person’s wrist. Aim for the spot on the underside of the wrist where you would take a pulse. This is a very sensitive spot, and gently touching it tends to foster a feeling of warmth and closeness, even though your light contact might not be consciously noticed by the other person. Attempting this wrist touch also forces a deep handshake, which encourages a sense of closeness, too.

7. Treat business cards with respect. A business card symbolizes someone’s professional accomplishments. Showing respect for the card shows respect for the person. When you are handed a card, imagine that it is a delicate and precious gift. Hold it gently in your hands. Pause to read it, then carefully place it into your briefcase or purse or, at the very least, your wallet. Never just jam a card into a pocket.

YOUR WORDS

A few tips for an initial conversation…

8. Begin with a conversation starter question or two. Questions that make great icebreakers include, “What do you do?” followed by “How did you decide that you wanted to do that?”… Or (to couples) “How did you two meet?”

9. Slowly nod while people speak. This sends a message of acceptance and encouragement, which makes people feel more in sync with us.

Important: Be aware that men and women can have different interpretations of nodding. Do not nod if a man is saying something with which you completely disagree. Your nodding might be interpreted as agreement. Women, however, tend to interpret nodding as meaning, “I understand,” not “I agree.”

10. Listen for words that suggest people’s interests. The words that people use and the topics that they reference, even in passing, often provide hints at their true areas of interest. If you can spot these words and topics, you can redirect dull, forgettable small-talk conversations toward things that people actually want to talk about.

Examples: If the small talk is about the weather and someone says, “At least the rain is good for my plants,” seize on the word plants and ask, “Do you have a garden?” If someone says, “It’s been too hot to walk my dogs,” seize on the word dogs and ask “What kind of dogs do you have?”

11. Use the same terms as your conversation partner. This is particularly important when discussing topics that tend to matter to a lot of people, such as their families or careers.

Examples: If a parent refers to her “child,” you should ask about her “child” as well, not her “little one” or “baby.” If someone refers to his “profession,” you should refer to it as his “profession,” not his “job” or “career.”

People tend to use the terms that their family members or closest friends use. If you use the same terms, it increases the odds that this person will feel comfortable with you.

– Leil Lowndes

If you’re interested in a complimentary 20-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

THREE THINGS CLIENTS AND CUSTOMERS WANT by Seth Godin

Posted in General Management, Three Things Clients and Customers Want with tags , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.

THREE THINGS CLIENTS AND CUSTOMERS WANT by Seth Godin

Not just the first one.

And not all three.

But you really need at least one.

1. Results. If you can offer a return on investment, an engineering solution, more sales, no tax audits, a cute haircut, the fastest rollercoaster, a pristine beach, reliable insurance payouts at the best price, peace of mind, productive consulting or any other measurable result, this is a great place to start.

2. Thrills. More difficult to quantify but often as important, partners and customers respond to heroism. We are amazed and drawn to over the top effort, incredible risk taking on our behalf, the blood, sweat and tears that (rarely) comes from a great partner. A smart person working harder on your behalf than you’d be willing to work–that’s pretty compelling.

3. Ego. Is it nice to feel important? You bet. When you greet us at the door with a glass of white wine, put our name in the lobby of the hotel, actually treat us better than anyone else does (not just promise it, but do it)… This can get old really fast if you industrialize and systemize it, though.

This explains why the local branch of the big insurance company has trouble growing. It’s hard for them to outdeliver the other guys when it comes to the cost effectiveness of their policy (#1). They are unsuited from a personality and organizational point of view to do #2. And they just can’t scale the third.

Put just about any business with partners into this matrix and you see how it works. Book publishing, for sure. Hairdressers. Spas. Even real estate.

The Ritz Carlton is all about #3, ego, right? And on a good day, there’s a perception that the guys at Apple are hellbent on amazing us yet again, delivering on #2, taking huge career and corporate risks on our behalf. As soon as they stop doing that, the tribe will get bored.

(There’s a variation of ego, #3, that comes from being in good company. This is what gets people to sign up for Davos, or to choose ICM as their agent. Your ego is stroked by knowing that only people as cool as you are part of this gig. Sort of the anti-Groucho opportunity. Nice position, if you can get it, because it scales.).

It’s tempting, particularly for a small business, to obsess about the first—results—to spend all its time trying to prove that the ROI is higher, the brownies are tastier and the coaching is more effective. You’d be amazed at how far you can go with the other two, if you commit to doing it, not merely talking about it.

– Seth Godin

If you’re interested in a complimentary 20-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

THE PEOPLE PUZZLE by Dr. Tony Alessandra

Posted in General Management, Life Management, The People Puzzle on September 9, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.

THE PEOPLE PUZZLE by Dr. Tony Alessandra

One of your most valuable skills in any business is the ability to “read” people. The people you interact with each day send you signals on how to work with them most effectively. If you learn what to look and listen for, each person will tell you exactly how to treat him effectively.

So what is there to read?
Dozens of signals–verbal, vocal and visual, tell you when to speed up or slow down, when to focus on the details, or when to work on building the relationship with the other person. But why does your technique work sometimes and not at other times? Mostly because people are different.

Personality Needs
Everyone experiences the same basic human needs, but with each person some needs are more dominant than others. The four major groupings of needs are results, recognition, regimentation, and relationships.

For example.
One person may be the type who measures his success by results. To him, the finished product is the most important thing, and he’ll do whatever it takes, within reason, to get the job done. His dominant need is for accomplishment.

Then there is the sensitive, warm, supportive type of person whose dominant need is relationships. This appeal that would work well with a results-oriented person might be totally inappropriate for the person interested in relationships.

A third type of person usually places high value on recognition and measures success by the amount of acknowledgment and praise he receives.

Conversely, another person will be more concerned with the content than the congratulations. The primary need appears to be for regimentation. In other words, things must be put together in neat packages that can be clearly understood.

You can quickly see that a different type of appeal is necessary for each of these four “personalities.” Recognizing this is very important because once you’ve learned the needs of each major behavior pattern, you will know how to work more effectively with each type of person.

Behavioral Style Characteristics
When people act and react in social situations, they exhibit clues that help to define their behavioral styles. You can identify behavioral style by watching for the observable aspects of people’s behavior – those verbal, vocal and visual actions that people display when others are present.

Undirected, you could observe and try to catalogue thousands of behaviors in any one person. That would quickly become an exercise in futility. But identifying behavioral style is possible by classifying a person’s behavioral on two dimensions: openness and directness.

It is much like measuring a foot for a shoe; make it wide enough for the widest part and long enough for the longest part, and the rest of the foot will fit someplace in between.

Openness is the readiness and willingness with which a person outwardly shows emotions or feelings and develops interpersonal relationships.

Others commonly describe open people as being relaxed, warm, responsive, informal, and personable. They tend to be relationship-oriented. In conversations with others, open individuals share their personal feelings and like to tell stories and anecdotes.

They tend to be flexible about time and base their decisions more on intuition and opinion than on hard facts and data. They also are likely to behave dramatically and to give you immediate nonverbal feedback in conversation.

Guarded individuals commonly are seen as formal and proper. They tend to be more guarded and aloof in their interpersonal relationships. These people are more likely to follow the letter of the law and try to base their decisions on cold, hard facts.

Guarded individuals are usually very task oriented and disciplined about time. As opposed to open people, they hide their personal feelings in the presence of others.

Now consider the second dimension–directness.
This refers to the amount of control and forcefulness that a person attempts to exercise over situations or other people, their thoughts and their emotions.

Direct people tend to “come on strong,” take the social initiative, and create a powerful first impression. They are fast-paced people, making swift decisions and taking risks. They easily become impatient with others who cannot keep up with their fast pace. They are very active people who do a lot of talking and appear confident and sometimes dominant. Direct people express their opinions
readily and make emphatic statements.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, indirect people give the impression of being quiet, shy, and reserved. They seem to be supportive and easy-going. They tend to be security-conscious-moving slowly, meditation on their decisions, and avoiding risks. They frequently ask questions and listen more than they talk. They reserve their opinions and make tentative statements when they must take a stand.

Openness and directness levels vary among individuals, and any one person may be high in one, low in the other, or somewhere in between. In other words, everyone has some usual level of openness and some level of directness.

Behavior Styles

When directness is combined with openness it forms four different, recognizable, and habitual behavior patterns or behavioral styles: the socializer, the director, the thinker, and the relater.

Each style represents unique combinations of openness and directness and is linked to separate and unique ways of behaving with others. The name given to each style reflects a very general characteristic rather than a full or accurate description. As you better understand why people behave the way they do,your knowledge can help you communicate with others effectively and openly to help them feel more comfortable in their interactions with you.

Socializer: Open and Direct
The socializer is high in both directness and openness, readily exhibiting such characteristics as animation, intuitiveness, and liveliness. He is an idea person–a dreamer–but he also can be viewed as manipulative, impetuous, and excitable when displaying behavior inappropriate to a particular situation.

The socializer is a fast-paced person with spontaneous actions and decisions. He is not concerned about facts and details, and tries to avoid them as much as possible. This disregard for details may prompt him at times to exaggerate and generalize facts and figures.

The socializer is more comfortable with “best guesstimates” than with carefully researched facts. He thrives on involvement with people and usually works quickly and enthusiastically with others.

The socializer always seems to be chasing dreams, but he has the uncanny ability to catch others up in his dreams because of his good persuasive skills. He always seems to be seeking approval and pats on the back for his accomplishments and achievements. The socializer is a very creative person who has that dynamic ability to think quickly on his feet.

Director: Direct and Guarded
The director is very direct and at the same time guarded. He exhibits firmness in his relationships with others, is oriented toward productivity and goals, and is concerned with bottom-line results. Closely allied to these positive traits, however, are the negative ones of stubbornness, impatience, toughness, and even domineeringness.

A director tends to take control of other people and situations and is decisive in both his actions and decisions. He likes to move at an extremely fast pace and is very impatient with delays. When other people can’t keep up with his speed, he views them as incompetent. The director’s motto might well be “I want it done right and l want it done now.”

The director is typically a high achiever who exhibits very good administrative skills; he certainly gets things done and makes things happen.

The director likes to do many things at the same time. He may start by juggling three things at the same time, and as soon as he feels comfortable with those he picks up a fourth. He keeps adding on until the pressure builds to such a point that he turns his back and lets everything drop. Then he turns right around and starts the whole process over again.

Thinker: Indirect and Guarded
The person who has the thinker-style behavior is both indirect and guarded. He seems to be very concerned with the process of thinking, and is a persistent, systematic problem-solver. But he also can be seen as aloof, picky, and critical. A thinker is very security conscious and has a strong need to be right. This leads him to an over-reliance on data collection. In his quest for data he tends to ask many questions about specific details. His actions and decisions tend to be extremely cautious.

The thinker works slowly and precisely by himself and prefers an intellectual work environment that is organized and structured. He tends to be skeptical and likes to see things in writing.

Although he is a great problem-solver, the thinker is a poor decision-maker, he may keep collecting data even beyond the time when a decision is due, justifying his caution by saying, “When you are making vast decisions, you cannot do it on half-vast data.”

Relater: Open and Indirect
The fourth and last style, the relater, is open and unassertive, warm, supportive, and reliable. However, the relater sometimes is seen by others as compliant, soft-hearted, and acquiescent. The relater seeks security and belongingness and like the thinker, is slow at taking action and making decisions. This procrastination stems from his desire to avoid risky and unknown situations. Before he takes action or makes a decision, he has to know how other people feel about it.

The relater is the most people-oriented of all four styles. Having close, friendly, personal, and first-name relationships with others is one of the most important objectives of the relater’s style.

The relater dislikes interpersonal conflicts so much that he sometimes says what he thinks other people want to hear rather than what is really on his mind. The relater has tremendous counseling skills and is extremely supportive of other people. He also is an incredibly active listener. You usually feel good just being with a relater. Because a relater listens so well to other people, when it comes his turn to talk, people usually listen. This gives him an excellent ability to gain support from others.

– Dr. Tony Alessandra

If you’re interested in a complimentary 20-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

TIME MAKEOVER: Free Up Hours You Didn’t Think You Had by Laura Vanderkam

Posted in General Management, Life Management, TIME MAKEOVER: Free Up Hours You Didn’t Think You Had with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.

TIME MAKEOVER: Free Up Hours You Didn’t Think You Had by Laura Vanderkam

Most of us have more free time than we realize. Even those who work 60 hours a week and sleep eight hours a night still have 52 additional hours each week. The problem is that we tend to burn many of those hours thoughtlessly on things that aren’t vital or particularly enjoyable, such as watching TV or browsing the Internet.

Our lives would be more productive and fun if we consciously chose what to do with our time. Here’s an eight-step time-management makeover to do just that…

* Step 1: Log how you spend your time for a week. Record your activities in a notebook or on the free downloadable spreadsheet available on my Web site (www.My168hours.com, click “Your Time”). Be sure to include any breaks that you allow yourself in the middle of other tasks. If you think the week isn’t representative of a typical week, record another week.

* Step 2: Create your “List of 100 Dreams.” There’s a reason most of us don’t spend much time pursuing the things we really want—we don’t know what we really want.

Create a list of 100 things that you would like to accomplish—not just big, ambitious goals, but also smaller things that you suspect would make you excited or joyful… or that you might remember with fondness or pride when you look back on your life.

Examples: Your list might include vacation destinations that you would like to visit… projects that you want to complete related to your career or a hobby… skills that you would like to acquire… even books that you would like to read.

At least a few of the 100 dreams should be things that can be achieved in one day. These are likely to be checked off the list quickly, boosting your confidence in your ability to accomplish your more difficult dreams.

Examples: Reading a children’s book you never got around to when you were a kid… attending a performance of your favorite opera… making an apple pie from scratch.

Helpful: If you can’t come up with 100 dreams, try just 25 and proceed with the following steps anyway. Return to your list periodically until you get to 100.

* Step 3: Identify your core competencies.
What do you do better than anyone else… and what are you better positioned to do than anyone else?

Examples: Perhaps no one is as good as you at dreaming up new sales channels for your company’s products… or at teaching young children.

We tend to feel most useful and happy when we devote time to tasks for which we see ourselves as irreplaceable. Examine your one-week time log. How much of your time are you devoting to your core competencies? You want to devote as much time to them as possible.

* Step 4: Clear the slate. Rethink your time commitments. There are 168 hours in each week, and how we spend those hours is for us alone to decide. Yes, we all need to eat and sleep, and most of us need to do something to earn money—but it’s empowering to start from scratch and rethink every time commitment, even those that seem inflexible.

Examples: If you are willing to earn less, you could quit your job and find a less time-consuming career. If you are willing to eat simpler meals, you could save the time you spend cooking.

* Step 5: Print out a new, blank weekly log from my Web site… or take out a fresh piece of paper. Fill in your new schedule with your priorities and options in mind. Start by thinking in broad terms about when you would like to work… sleep… spend time with family and friends… and engage in specific, structured leisure activities.

Example: If your goal is to spend more time with your young children or grandkids, you could leave the office at 4:00 twice a week, then make up that lost time by spending an hour or two responding to nonurgent work e-mails from home after the kids are in bed.

Also, put your morning hours to better use. The morning is when we are most alert and energetic—yet most of us waste this time puttering around, checking our e-mails or sitting in rush-hour traffic. Make the morning your time to pursue your most important dream… or to get some exercise. If you currently have no free time on weekday mornings, go to bed an hour earlier and get up an hour earlier.

Next, schedule your core-competency time. Block out specific work time and personal time to pursue whatever it is that you do better than everyone else.

Finally, choose one or two entries from your “List of 100 Dreams,” and write them into this week’s schedule wherever you find openings. Larger dreams should be broken into specific “actionable steps,” which can be included on the schedule.

Example: If the dream is “launch my own business,” the first actionable step might be “speak with experienced business owners I know about how to get started.”

* Step 6: Ignore, minimize or outsource things that you don’t enjoy, that aren’t very important or that others could do as well as you. What household tasks do you like least? Which chores absorb the most time? Answers might include mowing the lawn, doing the laundry or picking up clutter. Pay someone to do these things, or lower your standards—who says that you have to clean every week?

* Step 7: Fill free moments with small sources of joy. There are brief open blocks of time during even the busiest days. We tend not to take full advantage of this time because we are not properly prepared for it.

Compile a list of things that give you joy that take 30 minutes or less… and another list of things that give you joy that take 10 minutes or less.

Examples: Reading a few pages of a novel… doing yoga stretches… or working on a crossword puzzle.

* Step 8: Tune up your schedule each year. Does your life feel in balance? Are your major priorities being met? Are you making inroads on your 100 Dreams list? If not, again log your time for a week and search for time that could be put to better use.

Eventually, creating a life in which you have it all will no longer seem so hard.

– Laura Vanderkam

If you’re interested in a complimentary 20-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.