I try to keep shameless self-promotion to a minimum, preferring instead to provide you with useful or thought-provoking content. However, I have been hearing from many people who run businesses and would love to have a blog, or an active Twitter presence….but just don’t have the time. That’s why I am offering ghost blogging and tweeting services! I’m not a fan of the hard sell, so I’ll just let add that you contact me for details if you’re interested.
If you’re anything like me, you’re completely inundated with training material. I’ve got two e-books sitting on my desktop that I’ve been really meaning to get to, and a whole stack of material under my desk. This doesn’t even include the audio interviews I have queued up. Professional development rocks. And sometimes it’s completely overwhelming and impossible to get to.
Enter the Short Attention Span Guides. They’re short. They’re easy-to-follow. Everything is incredibly easy on the eyes, so you can pick up on new ideas and techniques quickly–without wallowing in a comprehensive tome to extract bits of insight.
I received a guide on (drumroll please)…. Finding A Good Idea. Will intuition lead you down the wrong path? How do you know if your idea is actually any good? This guide helped me figure out how to delve through various concepts in what I think might be a Good Idea to make sure it’s not just intuition leading me down the wrong track. Or fear/self-doubt stopping me. It is divided into 5 modules. And you can finish going through them in an afternoon. It’s probably concepts you’re already familiar with, but that doesn’t make it any less effective!
Although I haven’t read them, my intuition tells me that the actual technical guides (on everything from Etsy to marketing to blogging to SEO, even web planning basics) might be even better. At $8 each they provide a lot of bang for your buck, giving you enough information to get started without being completely saturated in overwhelming and overpriced training materials I’m always getting inundated with ads for.
It really is the little things that count. Those few sentences spoken in hushed tones at just the right moment can make all the difference in the world.
As a big talker who could probably benefit from listening more sometimes, it’s easy for me to forget sometimes that what I say can have an enormous effect on others. And yet I can recall conversations from decades ago which helped me find strength–so victory was born, as they say, even in the darkest hour.
I’ve been thinking about it as I momentarily reflect on things just this week… said at the right moment were a soothing balm to my frazzled nerves. I don’t know if I’ll remember them in a week or a year or a decade–but I wouldn’t be too surprised if I pulled them out of the reserves of my memory right when I need them most.
I think Emily Dickinson said it best:
“A WORD is dead
When it is said,
I say it just
Begins to live
What seeds will you sow?
I’ve stopped applying for Seth Godin programs–the internships and weekend seminars that sound amazing and have an application to fill out with a very short turnaround. The ones I used to get all excited about and that many people would forward to me and I would drop everything to apply for, only to get a mass rejection e-mail. I will on occasion stretch myself and apply for something that seems slightly out of reach, but I’d hate my own strong and unique voice to get drowned out by the thousands of voices around me. I work hard to bypass the line, to be sought after or to circumvent the traditional maze I used to go through.
I don’t like being on the other end, either. I don’t like having to turn down work because I am so swamped, or to have to choose between equally amazing projects because I don’t have time for both. I recently sent a query to HARO (Help A Reporter Out) and was instantly submerged with phone calls, e-mails and text messages from publicists. I was saturated. I wasn’t even able to politely decline after I’d found the sources I needed, and I’m usually so good at making time to get back to everyone as a courtesy.
I used to think I’d want to be the person inundated with a zillion requests rather than one application in a pile of zillions. But now I think my ideal scenario would be resonance–to only have as many offers as I could handle, exactly when I needed them, rather than too many or too few.
What’s your ideal scenario?
The last few days have been a bit on the hectic side. I’ve been working diligently to meet various deadlines, attempting to strike a nice balance between turning in my very best work and keeping an eye on the clock.
I actually prefer working under a little bit of pressure. It keeps me on top of my game. But what I’ve been noticing is an increase in well-meaning people trying to tell me what I should be working on and even, in some cases, telling people I’d be available for specific (volunteer) tasks which I’d have a hard time squeezing into an already stacked schedule–at least for the next week or so.
Here’s what I’ve been reminding myself of. I thought it may be useful for you, too.
1. Arguing is futile. In the past, I have spent a lot of time trying to explain to people why their idea of what I should be doing won’t work with my schedule (or budget, or long-term plans, or past results, or experiences). At the end of the day, this is wasted time. Nobody should have to prove themselves to people, or justify how they choose to work. Well-meaning friends and strangers are not de facto business consultants. Even if they were, business consultants are wrong sometimes, too.
An exception to this might be if you are in the public limelight. Then, an explanation may be in order. Just don’t spend all day reiterating the same thing when you should be working on something else.
2. Guilt is wasted energy. Worrying about people thinking less of me because I charge for certain services they think should be provided for free or sometimes have prior commitments I can’t reschedule… wasted energy.
Again, this may be a bit different if you’re an internet celebrity. A simple explanation (even in writing–on an FAQ page or something) can work wonders.
3. Beware manipulation. On several occasions, people have given me some worst-case scenarios of what could happen if I *didn’t* work on a project, work with a certain person or jump head-first into activities I either didn’t have time for or don’t want to do. I can smell coercion from a mile away, and am hardwired to reject any proposition which smacks of manipulation, but some people are very susceptible! Reflecting on your reasons for doing something is always time well-spent.
4. You are an expert, too. Without closing yourself off to useful feedback from others, remember that you also have a lot of knowledge in your line of work. Someone could explain to me why a certain project could help with “exposure” or lead to future opportunities–and I could look at that opportunity against the backdrop of my own experience and knowledge before making a decision. (I also don’t necessarily have to explain or justify this to anyone.)
5. Have them pick up the phone. This really makes things easy. You don’t have to worry (at least, as much) about promises you never made getting relayed through an intermediary, or not being told the full details of a project, or explain something multiple times. They can just call you and you can feel it out. It’s also easier to tell people you’ll call them back in a week or so than it is to tell people to tell their friends that.
Some related posts:
7 Tips On Working With Someone You Can’t Afford is a blog post I wrote up a couple months ago.
Five Tips To Prevent E-mail Overload is my guest post on Problogger.
What are your favorite tips for retaining sanity under deadlines?