Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 9, 2016
Back in 2009 I wrote a post titled How I Write Blog Posts. I talked about the process I go through when I’m trying to figure out what I want to write and how I want to write it. I’ve also given lots of tips on blogging in general.
I thought those things were fairly simple and would help a lot of people out. Yet over the years I see more people who write comments saying they can’t figure out how I have the time to do any writing at all, let alone all the writing and other things I do. Truthfully, writing is the easy part; the rest of it isn’t always so smooth.
That is, unless I schedule my time out in advance. When I do that I accomplish a lot of good thing and push forward on others. I thought I’d share some of my processes in that regard because I’m about to put it into practice over the next two weeks, Monday through Friday, as I get prepared for my wife finally coming back home after 9 months. I think it would be nice to spend some time with her before she’s off again; I might talk about that part at another time.
Just so you know, I’m changing things up a bit this week. I always schedule my time the night ahead and usually that’s as far as I go. This week I’m scheduling out the entire week in advance because I have some things planned that I need to schedule around and I’m also going to be trying to get more rest to see if that helps my concentration any, which I mentioned in my previous post.
The first step is to schedule what time I’m going to wake up. Usually I start my real schedule pretty late, like around 11AM, for those times when I figure I’m probably not going to bed until 3AM or so… sometimes later. Over the course of the next two weeks, the plan is to go to bed by 1:30 and wake up at 9AM. Luckily, with Android I can set the alarm so it’ll go off at that time every day I need it; this week only Friday won’t be scheduled like that because I have a meeting at 8:30 on Friday with my consultant’s group.
Next, I set something that many of you won’t but it’s not a bad thing to do. I set my alarm to tell me to write something in my gratitude journal and then to eat something. This is something I started last June and wrote about on my other blog talking about 5 Steps To A Better Day. Thing is, I don’t do the gratitude journal every day, but I’ve noticed when I do that my days actually do go better. I also realize that waking up earlier means I’m going to have to eat something earlier, which I rarely do, but this might help give me more energy.
Now it’s time to plan the rest of my day. There are things I have to work around, such as today, where I’m being interviewed by someone on the topic of values for a podcast; isn’t that kind of cool?
Here’s how I’ve learned to plan my days. I plan them in time chunks depending on what it is I need to do. For instance, if I need to write a blog post, I schedule an hour. As I’ve started writing some longer posts I’ve found it takes longer than 10 or 15 minutes to write one, but by scheduling an hour it allows me to decide if I’m going to write two blog posts or not. Hey, y’all know how many blogs I’m writing for these days. 🙂 For the book I’m working on I schedule an hour also.
For email I schedule it in 30 minute chunks. Meals get 45 minutes. I also schedule in rest periods, but with my normal scheduling pattern I usually only schedule one break a day, which doesn’t include a second meal period. This week I’m scheduling two periods a day, but the second rest period will also denote the end of my work day. In my previous post I mentioned that I don’t sleep much, so this week it’s my intention to try to get a total of at least 5 hours sleep a day, and if it takes naps to get there then so be it.
As an example, here’s my schedule today:
9AM – Wake
9:15 – Gratitude journal & eat
10AM – Podcast interview
10:45 – return business call from Friday
11AM – work on book
12PM – research VA’s for research project
1PM – rest period
2:15 – post office
2:35 – email
3:15 – article for business blog
3:45 – work on book
4:30PM – pick up Scott from work
That’s pretty much how I do it. I can schedule my entire week based off the first day of the week. For instance, I obviously won’t have another interview this week that I know of, and I really will only have to address writing blog posts one other day this week, which means I can work in some walking time, which should work well since it’s finally going to hit the 70’s here by Thursday. I also won’t have to go to the post office again, and if I do the research properly I won’t need to do anything on the VA front again… but if I do one more day should handle it.
What this means is that I’ll be able to work a couple more things into the week such as marketing time, research time for my consulting business, and maybe a bit of local networking… which I almost never do because I almost never schedule it.
The thing about scheduling things is that you can alter plans when you can and still get most things done. For instance, you’ll notice above that I’ve already had to throw out my second rest period because I agreed to pick up my friend from work to take him to get his new car; aren’t I a nice friend? 🙂 Also, my new book is a priority that I’d love to finish way sooner than the 2 1/2 years it took me to get through my last book; whew!
Truthfully, all of us can accomplish great things in short chunks of time. A couple of years ago I purchased an ebook from a friend of mine named Marelisa Fàbrega titled The One Hour A Day Formula that helped me get part of my mindset in check. I realized that I can’t sit down and write for hours at a time like I could 10 years ago. Breaking things up works well for me, and it’s worked for a lot of other folks you may have heard of. Anyway, check that out, and this isn’t an affiliate link of any kind so I’m not getting anything from it; how many of you would do something like this for free? 😉
That’s my way of scheduling, using the smartphone of course. What do you think, and are you ready to try scheduling your time to see how productive you can be? Let me know; enjoy the week!
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 18, 2016
There’s a title for you! Since I wrote it that way then that’s the order I’m writing this post in.
Barnes & Noble is getting out of the online movie business as it applies to their Nook line. They sent out email telling us it was coming, and that there were multiple services we needed to consider. One of those services, or apps, is called Disney Movies Anywhere, as any movie that’s either originally from Disney or now owned by them can only be played on our technology through them.
I downloaded the app, opened it up, put in my username and password (which I had to create online) and decided to test things out. I tried downloading a movie… only to have it tell me I didn’t have the storage space for it.
I thought it would automatically download to the SD card but then I remembered on the original Nook there was a setting for that. However, I’ve upgraded and now have the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7″ (I actually have 2 Nooks, but that’s for another time lol) and the app or the Nook, which is a lot like the Samsung phone (which I have) didn’t have that as an option.
Y’all know how I am. Thus, I went online to search for how to do it. I searched and searched for it… for nearly an hour. I finally found the answer here, on a product forum, but the guy wasn’t sure it would work and there was no further correspondence about it.
It worked, so now I’m going to tell you what to do.
Every Android has an app called Play Movies & TV. Open that up, go into settings, and near the bottom is an option for where you want movie downloads to go. Select SD card and it not only works when you download movies from that app but from every other app that doesn’t have a setting to allow you to do it. Problem solved!
I was happy to find that answer. I was also extremely irked. I was irked because during the course of my search I saw that there were lots of people who were looking for the same answer that I was. If they were anything like me, they probably first went to the Android site looking for an answer. Then they went to whichever app site they were trying to download from looking for an answer. Next they went to the Google Play store looking for an answer. After that it was a free-for-all.
That I found it on a Google forum was intriguing but it was also problematic for me. I wondered why none of the above sites or companies decided it was important enough to put that information on their sites to help their customers out. I mean, this wasn’t company secrets; nothing was being compromised.
I came to one of two different conclusions. Either it’s because they felt they were too powerful a company to be bothered by minuscule issues like this or they were so inept that they never figured it out for themselves.
Power is an interesting concept. All of us probably think we know something someone else doesn’t; quite often we’re right. There’s nothing wrong with withholding your knowledge from someone else, especially if you’re not getting paid for it.
The parameters change when someone decides they’re willing to pay you for that information. If it’s a product, those people are expecting that if they have questions that you’ll answer those questions for them, either in a product manual, a FAQ (frequently asked questions) page, or, if it’s the rest of us, in a blog post. It’s one of the reasons I gripe about sites that purport to tell us how to do something yet leave out some of the steps along the way. That doesn’t help anyone does it?
Ineptitude is another intriguing concept. Most of the time it’s not intentional; either someone doesn’t know or they forgot something. None of us are perfect, so we don’t get as mad when that type of thing happens.
It’s when it’s time to correct something, or pony up the rest of what people need to know, especially once the question has been asked multiple times, and the correction isn’t made that we tend to get upset. You should have seen some of the things people were writing on other forums because they were frustrated at not being able to get the answers they were looking for. Who here hasn’t been there?
Back in March I wrote a post about disappointing blog content where I took some of the points that a person wrote for another blog and basically beat them up because she either didn’t say anything new about them or didn’t offer anything that was actually helpful. I’m not saying that every single blog post someone writes has to be helpful; after all, I said in 2012 that a blog’s purpose should be to educate, entertain or inform, which Copyblogger just agreed with in a recent post & video (you think maybe they’re reading this blog? lol).
what I am saying is that if you’re going to either sell something off your site, or purport to be an authority on it, that you also need to be willing to either change something up when people bring issues to you about it or write an addendum somewhere so it’s easy for people to find the answers to their questions, especially if it’s a common question.
At least that’s how I see things. Those of you who will possibly comment are either bloggers, purveyors of social media or consumers; what’s your take on what I see is obviously a major customer service issue?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jan 4, 2016
Hi Y’all! I’m back writing after taking two weeks off, although I did write one blog post about a local restaurant that irked me; hey, when you’re irked, write about it.
For those of you who missed it (which I don’t know how you could have), when I wrote my last post of 2015, I said that I was going to rest, then plan how I was going to proceed in working on my business and career in 2016. You know what? Things don’t quite work out that way just because you say them.
Although I didn’t really write, my mind was on writing most of the time. Thus, I have a lot of topics to write on because I saved them in Evernote. I tried meditation some more but my mind kept resisting; gotta overcome that. I spent 3 days with Mom and… well, let me just say that I know more about NCIS than I ever wanted to know. lol
I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about business, which is a shame. I did spend more time thinking about how to forgive myself for not being perfect and great; isn’t that a shame? I’m not big on the term “forgiveness” when things seem or feel extreme, so I’ve retained some major gripes over the years with people I feel have wronged me or others in some way. It’s one reason why there are a lot of people I dropped in 2008 on social media during the presidential season that was Barack Obama elected and never given them a second chance; bad behavior rarely goes away.
I’m harder on myself than others, and there was a lot of things I don’t forgive myself for. It doesn’t mean I haven’t moved on and that I’ve stopped trying to do things, but it does mean that, when I’m trying to shut down and calm down that sometimes those things pop back into my mind, some of them going back decades.
Here’s a more recent example to show you the type of thing I go through and why I’m working on changes.
When I went to visit Mom I turned my computer off. I hadn’t turned my computer off for longer than 5 minutes in a year, since last Christmas when I went to visit Mom, because it wouldn’t turn back on when I got home. In this case, my belief was the computer had been running great, I’d upgraded to Windows 10, added more memory… what could go wrong?
Got back home, turned the computer on… it didn’t come on. I was really upset with myself for my arrogance and stupidity, but I was going to remain calm. After trying all my tricks (I’m not bad when it comes to technology but I do have limits) and not having it come on, I decided to pop my hard drive into my wife’s computer so I could access some things before heading to the laptop.
Only… not only were there issues because, it seems, Win 10 integrates itself with whatever hardware it’s playing with and thus things wouldn’t work properly, but my wife’s computer wasn’t really powerful enough for me to do much. At that point I started hating myself once again because I’d bought her that computer a few years ago, knowing it wasn’t as expensive as mine but the specs seemed to indicate it would run better than it was. I realized that explained why her computer seemed sluggish to her… because it was.
After a long weekend I called a guy I know because I knew I needed to get my computer fixed. He was out of the office so I left a message. About 20 minutes later one of his representatives called and I outlined the problem. He said he’d call the other guy and see what they wanted to do. I came back to my office, decided to try the start button one more time… and the computer booted up; whew! I have no idea why it finally decided to play with me again but I’m a relatively happy guy once more.
At least I was trying to be. That Sunday night I had stopped at my friend Kelvin’s house because he’d brought some sweet potato pie back with him from visiting his family in Maryland. I was telling him more about my computer issues and how my wife’s computer wasn’t up to standard and how I hated myself for that. He said that I should cut myself a break because I did buy her a brand new computer that, at the time, was probably pretty good based on the standards at that time, and that I didn’t intentionally short change her to hurt her.
Until my computer came back on, I hadn’t really taken in those words. Once it did, and after I spent time making sure everything was back to normal, I thought back on those words and realized that I do beat myself up about a lot of stuff that had good intentions, whether they worked out perfectly or not. It reminded me of a post I’d recently read by a young lady named Anna who had recently turned 22 (gasp! lol) and, in talking about 22 things she’d learned by 22, her very first lesson was “Excellence is different from perfection” and her second “I don’t have to be perfect“. I wish I’d learned those lessons at 22! 🙂
It was in thinking about my computer, my wife’s computer, reading that post and a few other things that told me that I needed to decide on a direction for the year, something that would not only bring me what I’ve been shooting for but put me in a healthier mindset and lifestyle. I came up with one word that was going to be my word for the year, which oddly enough was a major topic of Kelvin’s just a couple of days later in his newsletter: focus.
That’s a lot of preamble just to get to such a small word isn’t it? If you’ve stuck with me this long, stick around just a little longer because the things I’m going to focus on might mean something to you and your life/businesses as well.
For me, focus means it’s time to pay attention to a few more things, be more conscious of others, and take more chances after thinking logically about them. Here are my points of focus for the year.
First, my health. This year my main goal is to actually sleep at least 5 hours in one night once a month. I got 5 hours of sleep in a night only 4 times in 2015 (per Fitbit) and that’s not going to get it done. It’s hard to concentrate, or focus, with so little sleep.
My secondary health goal is to lose 10 pounds, which should be small potatoes, but it comes with a catch. I actually have to lose 13 pounds, which includes the 3 pounds I gained during the holiday season. For me this actually means watching “how” I eat more than “what I eat”. My first two experiments of 2016 in my quest for this have had mixed reviews, but one will stay and the other I’ll need to figure out how to modify. When I actually fix this I’ll talk about it again… maybe. In any case, I’ve lost 40 pounds in 4 years, but lost 25 of those the first year, and I want to be better than that.
Second, I need to focus more on what social media outlets are working for me and put more time and effort into them.
Blogging is solid. Twitter has worked wonders and proven to me why I like it so much.
LinkedIn… I was going to shoot for 101 articles there to see if LinkedIn would start sharing more of my content, which had been dwindling drastically in numbers. However, after my last post there got only 19 views, I decided it’s time to leave it alone as far as a promotional vehicle. No more articles there, no more participation in groups… marketing and networking only from this point on. That will save me a lot of time.
Google Plus… it’s close to pulling the plug on my community there because no one seems to care. I may delete one of my accounts there also, since I have my personal account and my business account, although I need to make sure that doing so won’t shut down my business YouTube channel. Yes, I’d be keeping the personal one because the business account only has 7 or 8 connections after 3 years; that’s certainly not worth my time.
Facebook… well, after the posts that are already planned for it in January, I’m not posting anything for the rest of January just to see if anyone actually misses it. If not, I will probably finally shut that page down. I may also shut down my diabetes page, but that one’s up in the air. I administer a music page and I’m definitely going to back away from that.
Third, I want to improve my writing in one major way; I want to stop writing passively. It turns out that my favorite 3 words to begin sentences with when writing are “So, Well, and Thus”. I also begin a lot of sentences with maybe one or two words, followed by a comma, and then proceed with my thought. That’s passive writing, and though that kind of speech serves a great purpose when talking to people, it doesn’t make as much sense when writing. If I write a sentence like “supposedly eating spinach is healthy”, it carries a lot less weight than “eating spinach is healthy”. Writing the first way absolves me of responsibility for my words because I’m not being definitive… that’s just not going to work anymore. It’s not going to be easy… hence, “focus”. 🙂
Fourth, I need to get over this business rejection thing. I’ve been in business 14 1/2 years, yet I have long periods of time where I won’t send an email or pick up the phone to make a call because I don’t want to be rejected or ignored. That’s business; you keep plugging away and eventually you find those folk who want to work with you. I know this yet it can be discouraging pounding your head like that. I also know it’s not personal; how could it be since these people don’t even know me?
Since it’s the only way to get ahead and achieve what I want (and what you might want if you’re trying to earn money on your own), I was happy to read this little ditty about going for 100 rejections written by a lady named Susan Hyatt. My initial goal will be to see if I can get those 100 rejections within my first 2 months, then reaching for 100 rejections in a month and… well, I hope I’ll have contracts and such so I never have to go for 100 rejections a week. 🙂
To this end, I expect this will be the year that I work on creating email mailing lists. What I’ll do with them is another thing, but it’s time to really explore it further. I’ll also be putting together lists of potential clients for all the things I do and I’m going to work on getting comfortable with the phones and better at online research, where I’m actually pretty good already but, as it pertains to health care, is a bit harder to do for the information I need.
Fifth, and final for now, I’m going to look at criteria a bit better, figure out what I consider is really important, and spend more time on that, wasting less time on non-productive things unless they’re geared towards my health. Long term this should mean more production, better production, less time visiting sites with little to no value, more learning, more networking, and less to beat myself up over.
Right now this means more consistent videos, write or put together another book, look to doing a webinar or two, at least one local live presentation, a few speaking engagements, and fewer things to irritate me to the point where I’m not focusing on my own thing. It will probably mean writing more often here and in other places, and to highlight this there will be a post on Thursday as well this week where I’m going to talk about something I’ve recently done on Facebook to help my personal stream treat me better. One of my thoughts is that for some of my blogs I want to write articles ahead of time that will take care of the entire year first, and then if I come up with other things I want to say it’s extra content. If you remember, I wrote over 350 articles total in 2015. I’m planning on more in 2016; somebody stop me! lol
Time to stop; time to focus. Time to focus more on me, and time to focus more on you. If I’m feeling good, I’ll be better and that only means better things for y’all. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. A good year to everyone and let’s all be awesome!
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 17, 2015
I’m going to own up to something up front. I’m not as confident a person as some people think I am. Often, I feel like I’m reacting more than being proactive. Sometimes, when it gets overwhelming, I don’t act at all. Does that surprise you?
It shouldn’t. Truth be told, even the most successful people have times when they’re unsure of something. Some of the smartest people in the world have had times when they’ve questioned their own beliefs and the work that they’ve done. I’m betting that every person who reads this has had the same thing happen to them, if it’s not happening right now. Who’s ready to own up to that?
FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real. Who’s heard that phrase? It’s totally true; I mean, think about it for a minute. Do we fear things because we know that they’re absolutely going to go badly or because we suppose they will?
Sometimes fear is a smart thing. Fear is what keeps us (most of us anyway) from jumping off cliffs with towels around our necks thinking we’re going to fly like Superman. Fear is what keeps us from picking up cookies in the dirt and eating them.
Sometimes fear is irrational, but it is what it is. I’m scared of bugs and a few other things that I have no real explanation for. There are people scared of leaving their homes. There are people scared of clowns… well, that one might be valid. 🙂
Sometimes fear is something we have to fight. There might be an underlying cause, to the point that you know it’s there, know how to fight it, but sometimes you just can’t put it all together and overcome it.
The last one is the one I’m addressing today, because it’s the one that holds all of us back from achieving what we really want, which is success. Who doesn’t want to be successful? Do you know how to be successful? I talked about it in this video, which some of you new folks might not have seen since it’s from 2013:
So, I do know the path to being successful. Yet, this is my biggest weakness. After 14 years of being in business for myself, you’d think I would have this one conquered. Heck, I even know how to do it, along with its counterpart. What’s the issue?
I’ve been told I’m too nice at times; yeah, I don’t believe it either. lol My issue is that I don’t want to bother people, even during the day when they’re in a business that I can offer services for that I know they need. Trust me, I know they need at least two of the services I can provide, and other people probably need some of the other services I can provide, though they’re not all that critical.
I go back and forth between that thing where, growing up, I was taught not to bother people or, as we all heard, “talk to strangers”, as opposed to “you’re the president of your company; you’re supposed to bother people.” By the way, I am the president of my company. It’s official; take a look at the picture of my corporate books to the left. 🙂
Here’s the thing. If we’re in business, or we’re trying to be in business, or we have something we want to market or sell, we have to be willing to put ourselves out there and get it done.
We also have to be willing to do other things that help us out by giving ourselves an opportunity to have something to help promote us. That’s actually the reason I wrote my second book titled Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, because it gave me a second book on the topic of leadership that I can promote, since my last book was from 2004 and the newest product I had after that was from 2009; I have to do way more than that.
That’s the thing about fear; it inhibits us from doing what we need to do. So we don’t ask out the person we’d like to date (okay, I’m married, but you know what I mean lol). We don’t ask for more sauce for our lasagna. We don’t want to ask for our money back when we buy something that’s deficient.
We don’t ask for the sale. We don’t put the things we create out into the market. We don’t promote our services, our blogs, our businesses… we’re fearful of the reaction we might get because… we do the same thing to others who are trying to sell and market to us. Who can disagree with this?
It’s a lesson we have to learn. We have to break the fear of trying. We have to break the fear of rejection. We have to break the fear of not being good enough. Something I was listening to last night brought it all together with this statement: “I’d rather fail a hundred times than wonder what could have been.”
That’s why about six weeks ago I asked what can I teach you? I’m going to be creating more products and marketing them. I’m going to create a few product pages of some things I’m really high on and I’m going to promote them. I’m also going to reach out and talk more about services I provide; those you might not necessarily see on this blog but I’m going to do it anyway.
Because all of us can be successful, but it takes courage because that’s what overcomes fear. And unlike spiders and grasshoppers (ugh… lol)… this one I know I can defeat. Who’s with me?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 31, 2015
A bit over 4 years ago I wrote an article titled The Art Of Storytelling, where I talked about some of the stories I’ve written on this blog as it related to the topic of writing. A few days ago I came across another article where the author was purporting to talk about why storytelling wasn’t good for business but in actually he was rebutting something he’d read where the author said storytelling was bad for business. What a twist eh?
This article isn’t about writing; it’s about you, your person, your life, and what you’re ready to tell the world so that you can get what you want from it and from others. That sounds a big daunting and a little bit narcissistic, doesn’t it? It’s not; let’s talk about it.
There’s a guy named Ryan Biddulph who writes a little blog called Blogging From Paradise; some of you might know him. Basically, he blogs about his travels throughout Southeast Asia and how he gets to live a pretty good life, along with his wife, because of the success his blogging has led him to have. I learned about him through my buddy Adrienne, and checked out his blog and read some of his life story before deciding to buy his book, Blogging From Paradise (well played Ryan lol).
It’s a pretty good book but truthfully, the reason I bought it is because he told a good story and I thought that the book might either be uplifting enough for me to figure out my own thing or that I might pick up a few things from it. The story he told, and continues to tell, is his own, and he’s pretty open about it (the story about giant roaches crawling on his face… okay, that one I didn’t need…).
The reality is that most of us who buy things online often buy them from people we trust and have gotten to know. A website with hundreds of thousands of visitors every day probably sells less product than someone who has 500 visitors a day who comes because they like the person whose blog or website they’re visiting. I like to talk about the “100 True Fans” concept I got from Chris Pirillo many years ago (I’m dropping a lot of names in this post aren’t i?) where he said if you could get just 100 true fans you’d probably get rich because they’d do all the marketing for you without having to be asked based on their enthusiasm, and it could carry you to ultimate success.
My wife always asks me why I talk about so many things that happen in my life through my blogs. Truth be told, I hold a lot of things back; there are stories you’re never going to read on any of my blogs because they’re none of your business (of course, if you want to learn a lot of personal stuff about me you can check out my 100 Thing About Me post); how’s that to get some of your interest? 🙂
Yet I do share a lot of stories, true things that happen in my life. I’ve had a lot of adventures that I can relate into talking about blogging, writing, leadership, diabetes… you name it, I’ve got a story for it. I tell the truths that some others might not tell; I don’t always end up looking good, though I like to say that as long as the story ends up being good, it’s all good. lol
Why do I tell these stories? One, because they have a point. Two, because sometimes they’re funny. But three, because I hope it shows that I’m a pretty real person, such that if you or anyone else decides you want to look at something I’m marketing (like my latest book, Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, or links to other books I recommend) because of the stories I tell, who knows, you might buy something that not only would put a smile on my face but a small chunk of change in my pocket. That would encourage me to write more often; who wouldn’t love that? 😉
There’s definitely a place for content that only covers “how to” topics; heck, I write some of those. But there’s also a place for writing content that passes a message along that came about because of something that happened in your life. If you can tell that story well enough to intrigue people, and you have other stories you can tell to try to get them coming back often… who knows, you might end up rich beyond your dreams.
Or at least making a living doing something you love… whatever it may be. Think about it. While you’re at it, here’s a story I told about trying to get Verizon FiOS in my house back in April. I share this because, strangely enough, it’s become the 2nd most watched video on this particular video channel; who knew?