Overwhelmed?

This is just a quick post for your Monday morning. It is Labor Day in the United States so maybe you’re taking the day off from your day job and trying to get everything done for your side hustle. Or, it’s starting to feel like fall so maybe you’re gearing up for a new school year.

Whatever is going on with you this Monday morning …. don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. By all the options or opportunities or tasks on your to do list, or expectations you have for yourself or any of it.

If you’re overwhelmed with too many to-dos and too many options, try following Ramit’s Rules of Letting Go:

“Let go of “should do”s that you don’t actually care about: In the scheme of all the things you want to do, do you really care about this? When I went to my cousin’s wedding in India a few years ago, I saw one of my friends order his food in fluent Hindi, and I thought, “Hmm…I should take Hindi lessons.” But when I got back to NYC, I put it on my to-do list, only to skip over it for months. The truth is, I really didn’t care enough to do anything. It wasn’t important enough. When I acknowledged I wasn’t going to do it and crossed it off my list, I could focus on doing the things I wanted to do.

Let go of feeling guilty: STOP LYING TO YOURSELF! Do you really care about learning how to kiteboard? Or is it just because that random guy you met told you how fun it was, and you said, “Yeah, I need to do that”? Life is short. It’s OK to use this exact script: “That sounds really interesting, but I’ve decided not to tackle that right now so I can focus on a couple other things I want to do this year.” Nobody is making you feel guilty except YOU. We realistically have the time to learn maybe three new major things per year. Do you really want this to be one of them?

Let go of waiting for inspiration to strike: Inspiration is for amateurs. I wake up every morning, rain or shine, feeling great or sore, and I get to work. Not because I’m a machine, or a better person than anyone, but because I have systems that I depend on — not willpower or inspiration.”

I really think the best resource that I have come across recently is the SPARK ecourse from Campfire Chic (review here). I want to unsubscribe, resubscribe, and let the emails all come in day by day all over again. That daily reminder is exactly what I need to keep myself on track.

What are your best tips for not getting overwhelmed?

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in dreaming and planning, FIND YOUR GREAT WORK, great work, productivity

Found

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in found

30 Days of Lists sneak peek

Y’all want to see a little peek at the exclusive kit you get (if you register before Monday, September 1)? AND see how I’ll be listing?

I’m going to be BRAVE this round and do my lists digitally! It’s pretty much out of my realm of comfortable creating (I barely even edit my photos), but since I have such a great resource this time around I think I have to, right?

I am by no means proficient in Photoshop, but the exclusive kit that Allie created has made this so easy!

In addition to the individual elements (paper, embellishments, journaling cards, labels, numbers, etc), Allie has created these QuickPages that are all put together and pretty WITH the list prompts (hidden in this image).

I will be simply adding my text to the QuickPages. The files are plenty large so once the lists are all done I will be uploading them all to Blurb and binding them in a small paperback book.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the QuickPages in the kit, here’s a glimpse:

Listing journaling challenge

On the *actual* pages, the list prompts appear on those horizontal labels, but I have covered them up here to avoid spoilers. There seems to be plenty of room to add text, and the images are plenty large enough to print out.

A couple years ago, I used Blurb to put together all my Lists and you can check out that post here (with a little video tour):

My #30Lists Blurb book – September 2012

Ideally, I will finish all my lists far enough ahead that I can order my book to show you all before the end of September.

Will you be listing with us in September? What will you be using?

P.S. A peek at my list book from September 2013

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in 30 Days of Lists, TELL YOUR STORY

30 Days of Lists big blog hop

Today is the 30 Days of Lists Blog Hop!

Come one come all!

I just love 30Lists. I think it comes at fantastic intervals, and comes in small manageable pieces to make telling your right-now story as easy as possible

We are all choosing a prompt from the March 2011 Listing challenge to post about today. I actually thought it would be fun to actually show you my list from back then.

My list today would be *almost* the same. Except now it would say his love of cats :)

The photo of Andrew and me is by Jamie Delaine, from our 5-year anniversary portraits.

You can join the blog hop too, even if you’re not registered for September’s challenge! Details are below:

30Lists  014

In case you cannot read my writing it says:

Things I love about Andrew:

  • his laugh
  • his hair
  • his love of dogs
  • his crazy obsession with music
  • his style – not any particular “look”, just all his own.
  • the way he likes to take care of me
  • the way he always tells me I’m pretty
  • his unwavering support
  • his incredible work ethic
  • all his made up songs
  • his sense of humor
  • his love of reading
  • his cute face
  • his family
  • his always trying to be a better person

I don’t want to brag or anything, but my husband is kind of the best.

Do you want to join the blog hop??

Here’s how to participate:

  1. Go to the March 2011 30 Days of Lists site
  2. Choose one of those list prompts
  3. Create your list — on a post-it, digitally, art journal, however you like.
  4. Post your list and add the link to the comments of THIS POST
  5. Check out all the other lists linked too!

Will you be listing with us in September? Click here to register

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in 30 Days of Lists, TELL YOUR STORY

New to 30Lists? How to get started

30 Days of Lists albumsWe already have hundreds of Listers signed up for September and so many of them are new Listers!

This is so exciting! I love feeling like our evangelizing is bringing more people into the fold!

This round I’m going to go out on a limb and try to do this listing challenge in digital. Kinda scary. I’m not a digital scrapbooker, but the exclusive #30Lists kit that Allie designed is so fantastic, so thorough and so easy to use that I NEED to try.

If this is your first time Listing with us, you might have some questions.

Here’s how to get started with 30 Days of Lists

Should prep a book beforehand or not?

Yes, probably.

If you are planning on doing your lists physically (with actual pen and paper, instead of a digital image/file), then doing the prep work ahead of time will help you stay caught up throughout the month.

Imagine waking up, seeing the list prompt, and then ALSO having to find just the right shade of paper or embellishments that “go” as well as figuring out how to bind them all together AND still writing out your list, sharing it on social media (if you choose to) AND still doing whatever you were supposed to do that day.

Much easier to prep a blank book ahead of time with at least 30 pages. That saves your creativity and brain space for the actual listing challenge.

Should I look at the lists beforehand or not?

Ah, spoilers. Do you like them? Do you despise them?

Interestingly, since I run the challenge I have never NOT known what the prompts are ahead of time. This is such a personal decision (not unlike book or movie spoilers), that I can’t answer for you.

I can, however, promise that you don’t NEED to look at the lists ahead of time. There is no prompt that needs ahead-of-time preparation. If you like the thrill of the new every morning, you absolutely can just wait for each day’s list prompt to be posted.

How do I not hate myself when I get behind?

(hat tip to Kristin for this brilliantly worded question)

There’s a reason that Kam and I only do this challenge every 6 months. It needs to be easy. It needs to be doable. It needs to be something that can be done any time so if you get behind during the month, you can just as easily work on it the next month or the month after that.

Kam always says, ‘We never said it has to 30 consecutive days.’ Don’t worry about guilt for a project as small as this.

Things to do with your LISTS:

  • Add one list weekly to your Project Life layouts. Those 3×4 pockets are the perfect size for a quickly jotted list of memories or things in your life
  • Blog your lists – daily, weekly, monthly. Put them out there and be amazed at how much your readers have in common with you.
  • Make a minibook or Blurb book full of your lists. Perfect format for kids or guests to flip through on the coffee table and bond over your list of favorite childhood memories.
  • Art journal, digi-design or just write them down. Share them on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook or the Flickr group or your social media outlet of choice.
  • Just write them for yourself. Not everything has to be shared – sometimes private journaling of lists can be the most rewarding.
  • Take a look at the Pinterest board for more examples and ideas

And then as soon as you have registered for September’s challenge, you can visit other Listers’ blogs or Instagrams (we have a Community page where everyone is introducing themselves) AND join the private Facebook group and share your work!

The community of Listers is one of the best parts of running this challenge. We have made so many like-minded creative friends through the last couple years.

Makes me so happy!

30 Days of Lists albums

Will you be joining us in September?

P.S. How to get started with Project Life

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in 30 Days of Lists, arts and crafts

Found

Unrelated to the above: I finally got around to taking an online Briggs-Myers test and found (to noone’s surprise) that I am INTJ. Based on this description, I feel like I am pretty much destined to be an indie author. Alone? check. Strategic? check. Creativity? check. High value placed on skill? check.

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in found

L&R Book Club: September/October Firestarter Sessions

Ok, so summer was slow and relaxing and we read all allowed ourselves 2 months to read a book that probably could have taken 2 hours.

But fall will be here soon (!!) and it is time to kick all our butts into gear.

Which is why the L&R Book Club selection for September/October 2014 is

The Firestarter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte

Official book description from Amazon:

The Fire Starter Sessions is an apathy-kicking, integrity-infusing guide to defining success on your own terms.

As the creator of DanielleLaPorte.com–deemed “the best place online for kick-ass spirituality,” Danielle LaPorte’s straight-talk life-and-livelihood sermons have been read by over one million people. Bold but empathetic, she reframes popular self-help and success concepts:

: Life balance is a myth, and the pursuit of it is causing us more stress then the craving for balance itself.
: Being well-rounded is over-rated. When you focus on developing your true strengths, you enter your mastery zone.
: Screw your principles (they might be holding you back).
: We have ambition backwards. Getting clear on how you want to feel in your life + work is more important than setting goals. It’s the most potent form of clarity that you can have, and it’s what leads to true fulfillment.

(Note: This is a good lead-in to The Desire Map that I am planning on choosing for January/February 2015)

Grab your copy of The Firestarter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte from Amazon, your library, your friend’s bookshelf, your local bookstore, Audible. Wherever. September 1 is soon!

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in BUILD YOUR PLATFORM, Business, business book, entrepreneurs, Lemon and Raspberry, resources

Around here

thursday 3

gardener

2014-08-17 17.13.31

couch bed

the interestings

girls

Last week we *finally* gave up and hired a gardener for our front lawn. I feel a little bit guilty and a little bit exhilarated.

We are trying to conserve water, but I can’t figure out how to reset my sprinkler system, so instead I just have an alarm set for me to do it manually.

I want nothing more than for it to be about mid-September. Not because I’m dreading anything in these next few weeks, but because I want so badly for the weather to cool off so I can sleep in my own bed comfortably again.

I am nervous about how much money we have spent lately, even though I know it’s worth it. I mostly hate spending money on myself.

I have been reminded why I love literary fiction so much. I want to write books like The Art of Fielding, Middlesex and The Interestings. I want to re-read all my Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald and E.M. Forster.

I could not be more proud of my husband and where his career is going. I have always been the ambitious one in our relationship, but he is so much more focused and hard-working and it is totally paying off. I can’t wait til I’m allowed to tell you all about it!

I’m excited about all the TV show seasons that are coming available on Netflix now (previous seasons of Parks and Recreation or The Walking Dead, for example). I just may watch them without Andrew.

My cats are just cracking me up. Fang has learned what it sounds like when I take the lid off ice cream (vanilla to go in my iced coffee) and comes running because she wants some. Khaleesi has learned I don’t like it when she plays with the cords behind the TV so she goes back there only when she wants something and to get my attention.

We had some plumbing issues over the weekend and Monday and I am so very grateful to be married to someone who is happy to take care of it all for me.

Once I have finished this rough draft I am currently working on, I’m not going to start any new novels until mid-September (when I go to a writing weekend in Austin).

I am excited to be moving forward in my U.S. History class. I’m getting a book about James K Polk this week.

I’m a little nervous to be doing my #30Lists digitally this time. I haven’t actually started them yet which is WAY behind schedule for me.

I have been immersing myself in the business of blogging. Both for myself and to prep for this weekend’s live event.

What’s new with you?

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in Amy

BUILD virtual retreat starts Friday!

Throughout the rest of this month I will be concentrating on adding more and more awesome content to the BUILD ecourse! Some of these are sessions that have recently been popping up (like hiring help and adding to your team). Some of these are sessions that I’ve been meaning to add for months (like media kits). I’ve already added more than 100 external resources, and have hundreds more to go.

Reminder to those of you that have been putting off registering: The cost of the ecourse will go up September 1 to reflect all this new content.

BUT! Before that happens (and also piling on top of all the existing content), this weekend I will be hosting the first virtual BUILD retreat August 22 – 24!

virtual retreatYou *must* be a registered BUILDer to attend, so be sure you join now! It’s the best time to jump in! We have the most amazing mastermind group and we’ll all be able to be together for hours online this weekend!

If you register now you will be getting:

  • Lifetime access to the full (giant) self-paced ecourse (including any and all additions)
  • Access to the private mastermind Facebook group
  • Access to the virtual retreat this weekend
  • The original price before it goes up!

Plus, of course, you will have the blog-building tools right at your fingertips for a big fall push!

This is the perfect opportunity to set aside some sacred focus time to get done what you want to get done.

The BUILD ecourse is self-paced, so I know everyone will be working on their own thing. The retreat will be structured as a series of themed Q&A live events, so if you are working on building your email list you can pick my brain during the marketing session, or if you are working on your editorial calendar, jump on for the content section. This format allows me to exactly personalize the weekend experience for the BUILDers who attend.

Please note: We will all be in different time zones, but I would be useless at 3am, so you will be able to submit your questions ahead of time.

Schedule:

Friday, August 22:

  • 7pm ET: General mixer and discussing goals

Saturday, August 23:

  • 10am ET: Design
  • 3pm ET: Content
  • 8pm ET: Monetization

Sunday, August 24:

  • 11am ET: Marketing
  • 3pm ET: Maintenance
  • 8pm ET: Congrats! You did it!

There is a private Facebook group where links and discussion can be posted. Plus each Q&A will be recorded and live in the BUILD ecourse content, so you can come back and listen as many times as you like.

Be sure you REGISTER soon – so you can jump in to the virtual retreat!

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in BUILD YOUR PLATFORM

Marketing 101: Who is it for?

Continuing our Marketing 101 series:

We’ve talked about the very basics of marketing, how to identify what you are offering, know how it helps people, how to make sure they know about it and knowing what to tell them. The next step in creating your marketing campaign is to make sure your marketing message is reaching the right potential customers. Get the info to the right people and you can actually help them change something in their life.

Marketing can be boiled down to this:
Know what you’re offering, how it helps people and make sure they know about it.

Let’s dig deeper into knowing who your offer is for!

Your product is NOT for everyone. Sorry. It’s just not. And your marketing is not going to be effective until you start to embrace the small niche that is interested in what you have to offer.

You need to think about questions like:

  • How does your customer spend the bulk of their time?
  • What kinds of things do they value?
  • What is their experience with similar products/services?
  • Who or what is the major factor in your customers’ decisions?

Your product might be for stay-at-home moms who need to run purchases by their husbands because they don’t feel comfortable spending money they didn’t directly earn. Your product may be for just-out-of-college professionals who have a full-time income for the first time in their lives. Your product might be for 40-something couples who are not quite at a mid-life crisis but are still looking for something exciting to shake things up.

Your marketing message can be tailored to a very specific group as in these examples. You just need to know who YOUR specific group is.

For example, now that I am moving farther into fiction-writing circles and introduce myself, I often have to give the disclaimer : “Oh, I blog for blogging crafty creative ladies. You, middle aged nerdy male writer, are not the audience so don’t even bother looking me up.” It also saves me from having to try to explain what 30 Days of Lists is, for example. Unless you are already acquainted with the idea of an online class or creative challenge, #30Lists is mind-boggling.

As Seth Godin says about figuring out who your product is for, “It’s cheaper to answer these questions than it is to spend time and money on marketing, but, alas, it usually doesn’t happen that way.”

P.S. This weekend will be the BUILD virtual retreat! You MUST be registered for the ecourse to join, but all weekend I’ll be online answering whatever questions you want. We will tailor the retreat content very specifically to the attendees.

P.P.S. The BUILD ecourse price will go up on September 1, so this is the best time to jump in if you have been thinking about it.

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in blogging, BUILD YOUR PLATFORM, marketing