Thoughts of Business

In this season of Santa’s lists, and not wanting to be on the naughty one, I thought it would be appropriate to share an idea about how to keep your business off your naughty list too.

It’s not hard to get overwhelmed while running your own business, or more notoriously, while working for someone else.  In fact, if you were to actually write up every single thing you or someone who works for you must do this upcoming week, you would probably become stressed out just writing the list!  So what can we do to not only connect with more clients and potential clients, but also actually enjoy our work? Well, it starts in your mind.

First, think positive, creative thoughts about your business.  Don’t focus on all the ways things went wrong today, unless you’re approaching them from the perspective of how you can do better tomorrow.  Continually search for and create new ideas to improve your business and better serve your clients (and employees).

Second, speak positively about your business.  Don’t go in for all the complaing about the economy or the situation of the world.  When asked how things are going, share one simple story about how you helped someone recently.

Third, start an in-person group, online forum or Facebook group that will help you connect with other business owners in your geographic area or your field.  Why?  Simply because it’s easier to think good thoughts when you’re connecting with others who think good thoughts about their businesses too.

Finally, encourage your employees and clients.  When they feel comfortable with your honest, open, generous heart, and upbeat attitude, they’ll be comfortable referring people to you, and they will want to!

Don’t forget you got into business, or took this job, for a reason.  If you’re feeling, thinking or talking negatively about your business, not only will business suffer, you won’t enjoy it anymore either.

Share your thoughts on your attitude towards your work, and what you can do to improve it below.

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Holly Jolly Holidays

This holiday season, have some fun with your family.  Today I’m sharing 16 fun activities that can be done both indoors and outside.

1 plan a trip to a beach/place with snow, depending on where you live.  (if you live where it’s warm, go someplace cold)

2 go ice skating

3 wander around a mall and look at holiday decorations

4 walk around your neighborhood and look at brightly decorated houses

5 volunteer at your favorite local charity (animal shelter, salvation army, food pantry)

6 go visit a nearby decorated towns/locations celebrating the holidays, such as PNC Bank Arts Center in NJ or Rockefeller Center in NYC (share your favorites below!).

7 have a snowball fight

8 read christmas/holiday stories as a family

9 decorate your house, either with lights or other creative, festive decorations

10 dress up like Santa, Mrs. Claus or elves and wish happy holidays to your neighbors

11 visit a senior citizen’s home and bring them holiday cheer or volunteer for an event they’re doing

12 attend a football game

13 go to a christmas/holiday play (The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol)

14 feed wild birds (check out Familyfun or another kid-friendly site for ideas)

15 go to a holiday parade

16 make a snow/sand person

Share your favorite activities to do during the holidays with your family below!

Thank YOU!

Tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving in the USA.  I’m excited to be with some family and friends and celebrate all that we have been blessed with over this past year, each and every day.  Today’s post brings to mind something simple yet important: I’m thankful for YOU!  We may not be best friends, go out for coffee, have dinner together, laugh over our families and cry over our struggles, but knowing that you’re reading this, and we’re connecting through this, means a lot to me.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re special.  I know that someone in the world loves you very much.  I am confident that you have the ability to do great things, make an impact in the world and transform lives.  I know that you have special abilities and talents, and can do things in a way no one else can.  I am thankful for the thoughts of your heart, the dedications of your mind, the feelings of your love.

Even if you’re having a tough day, feeling alone, struggling with challenges, I’m still thankful for you!  No matter what, I know you are special.  I am thankful for your place in this world.  For the people whose lives you have touched, and for the experiences you have had.  You matter to me.

I wish you a happy Thanksgiving, with lots of love, peace and warmth.

(Feel free to share below what or whom you are thankful for!)

Organizing Lists

Whether you’re considering the upcoming holiday in the USA of Thanksgiving, you’re thinking business, or just about your busy life in general, one essential tool is list-making.  Sure, you can make lists for everything, and in countless ways.  The most obvious and typical is the handwritten or hand-typed list.   But speaking as a former listaholic, they don’t always serve their purpose well.  Let’s talk about some advantages and list making ideas.

Advantages:

  • Lists keep you organized
  • Lists help you arrange your day
  • Lists help you know where you need to be
  • Lists remind you of what you need to do each day
  • Lists help you remember what to get at the store
  • Lists help you keep clients, suppliers and other business connections in order
  • Lists help you stay on task and on time
  • Lists give you the satisfaction of crossing something off your to-do list

Let’s face it, lists can be very helpful.  But not all lists are equal.  Let’s talk about some ways to really maximize your list.

  • Make a daily list. List ONLY things you MUST do that day on that list.  That way your daily list will be completed, and you won’t be carrying over items to the next day.
  • Make a monthly list.  This list has items you must do every month.  This is especially prevalent with bill paying or clients you only see monthly.
  • Make a ‘must get done eventually’ list.  This list will have those tasks around the house, some of the cleaning, shopping or business tasks that really do need to be done, but they aren’t a priority.  This list should be addressed when 1) your daily list (point 1) is completely done (or you’re in between appointments, appointments cancel or you don’t have prescheduled to-do’s) or 2) when you have free time.
  • Be serious & realistic when you’re making your lists.  Really consider the time commitments each item will take, scheduling in extra time for traveling and unexpected items that must be addressed.
  • Try very hard not to over schedule. Only put on your list what you’re really going to accomplish that day.
  • Organize your lists.  Create them with pencil, erasable pen, or on the computer so that you can rearrange as things change and so you can edit them while you’re writing them  (if you can’t stand pencil/computer for lists, drawing arrows is fine, but leave room at the bottom of the page then).  Organizing them by hour, location, or priority, depending on your preference, is a great idea.
  • Schedule in family, friend and you time.  Set aside time daily/weekly/monthly to spend time with family and friends.  Also set aside daily time to spend on yourself, whether it be a shower/bubble bath, reading a book, a cup of tea/coffee or a glass of wine at a point in time during the day or some other activity that you find relaxing and rejuvenating.

Finally, the debate between creating your list on the computer or your phone, and hand writing the list.  The biggest selling point to the hand-written list is crossing off each item once it is completed.  Not only does it give you a sense of satisfaction to cross items off, and you can see the progress you’re making.  Sure doing it on the computer (or your phone) saves trees, but that requires you have the computer with you at all times.

Share your thoughts on list-making, and whether you use a computer, paper or both to write your lists below.

Bread with Family

This past Wednesday, November 17th, was Homemade Bread Day.  In celebration, this family Friday I’m excited to share some fun family ideas for having fun with bread together!

Bread Pudding (check out this variation too!)

Stuffing (50 great varieties)

Peanut Butter & Jelly (or another sandwich, use homemade bread!!)

Monkey Bread

Pizza (A collection of pizza dough and pizza ideas)

Soft Pretzels

Biscuits

Whole-Wheat Rolls

Share your favorite bread-related recipes and fun stories below!

Single in the Holiday Season

Today’s topic is one that is scary and challenging for many people: being single during the holidays.  For all you single men and women out there, I invite you to share your challenges, choices and great opportunities that you have discovered being single in the holiday season below.

Whether you’re in a relationship or single, the holiday season offers plenty of fun for you!  Check out these ideas and thoughts for having fun alone.

No one to disagree with: make the plans you want, decorate how you like, eat what you like (and where you like)

Gift yourself: If you’re single, buy yourself something that you want, instead of spending the money on your partner.

One less person to coordinate with: no planning the trip to your parents and their parents, just do it when you can!

Hang out with your friends: friends are fun, whether they’re guys or girls.  Go out and get drinks/coffee, check out the light displays, visit malls and holiday events as a group.

Connect with family and friends you haven’t seen lately: the holidays are a perfect opportunity to get back in touch with family and friends you haven’t seen in a long time, as well as spending more time with them.

Make new friends: you’re with tons of people during the holidays.  Spend time getting to know the people at those parties, your next significant other or best friend may be at that party!

Spend time alone: the holidays are notorious for being packed with parties and people.  Taking time to be alone is important.  You’ll be a nicer person to be around and you’ll have more fun when you are out.

Whether you’re single or not, don’t forget that the holidays are supposed to be fun!  If you’re busy stressing out, feeling sad or struggling with something, take a moment to stop and relax.  Schedule in fun activities that are also low-stress activities this holiday season.

Share your great ideas for everyone to have fun during the holiday season below!

The Gratitude Transformation

For today’s business post, I’m doing something a little different.  Check out this quote from Fred De Witt Van Amburgh “None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude.  Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.”  In a world so focused on money, bottom lines, final results and who can make the most money without spending a fortune, this quote shares a new, and enlightening, perspective.

First, just because you can’t financially support your employees, suppliers or customers, it doesn’t mean you can’t support them with gratitude.  Show and tell them how grateful you are that they work with you, that they buy from you and that they supply/support you.  A simple thank you card, being consistent about expressing your gratitude for what they do for you, or surprising them with a food treat once in a while are simple ways to support and thank them.

Second, if you run your business from a place of fear, a lack of gratitude or unhappiness, you’re missing a big opportunity.  Grateful, thankful, appreciative businesses make more money, have more customers, have more repeat customers, have higher employee satisfaction and feel better at the end of the day no matter how busy the day was.

Finally, there is no shortage to gratitude.  You can never run out of gratitude.  Even if you do run out of money in your business, if you’ve run your business well while it was open, you can count on your employees, customers and friends to support you in future endeavors.  They may also be interested in doing joint ventures, offering you a job or recommending you to friends of theirs.

Gratitude, is free, unlimited and works great!  Try including gratitude in your workplace on a daily basis for 3 weeks and see what transformations take place.  Share your thoughts on having a grateful workplace below.

Celebrating Kindness

Saturday, November 13 is World Kindness Day.   Today on our Family Friday posting, I’m excited to share the who, what, when, why, how of kindness.

WHO: Everyone!!  It doesn’t matter if you’re a single parent, friend, retired soldier, billionaire, son, grandmother, or immigrant, anyone can be kind.  And, you should be kind to everyone around you, including yourself!

WHAT: Being kind:  having, showing, or proceeding from benevolence, consideration.  These are just two of the definitions of what it means to be kind.

WHEN: World Kindness Day is officially November 13th.  However, I believe that we can, and should, be kind all year ’round.

WHERE: Everywhere!  Homes, schools, workplaces, in the car, on the bus, while walking, while making purchases, public locations, and when we’re all alone.

WHY: Because I believe, along with many others, that kindness will transform the world faster, better, more drastically and more realistically than fighting (war), or any of the other ways we’ve tried in the past.  If we all made an effort to be kind to at least one person every day, not only would you have more friends, be more respected and be happier, the world would be a better place.

HOW:  One simple way to start is Random Acts of Kindness.  Check out the website for tips, and tools to spread the kindness message and ways to put it into action in the classroom, home, workplace, community and in your life.   World Kindness Movement is another great website to begin your kindness journey.  Finally, simple acts of kindness include holding the door open for someone, saying “thank you”, doing a chore/task before you’re asked, greeting someone with joy instead of complaints, complimenting someone and giving someone a gift.

What will you do to be active on World Kindness Day?  Share your ideas and thoughts below.

Accepting Appreciation

I find it very interesting that even though most people desire to be appreciated, many also have trouble accepting that thanks and gratitude.  Let’s talk about some simple things you can do to accept that gratitude in your life.

1. Appreciate others more often.  If you really want thanksgiving to be more prevalent in your life, take the time to appreciate others more often.  Not only will they return the favor, you’ll also be more accustomed to hearing thanks and gratitude and better be able to accept it.

2. Don’t brush it off.  Instead of insisting it was “nothing,” thank them for the compliment and credit others if credit is due.  If the actions or words being appreciated were truly yours, don’t be bashful or obnoxious, receive their gratitude and then move on.

3. Whether you’re an employee or if you’re the boss, make it a practice to daily compliment someone who you see doing good at work.

4.  Saying “thank you” is better than running away or blustering on. Keep it sweet and simple.

5. Say “thank you” to those who can’t hear you.  For example, if someone lets you turn or cross the street while driving, say ‘thank you’.  If someone plants pretty flowers or bushes in their yard, thank them as you pass by.  If you drive by a school yard and see kids playing, thank their parents for having them. If you see a beautiful animal or spectacle in nature, vocalize your appreciation.

6. Show appreciation without expecting anything in return.

Do you struggle with accepting appreciation? Share your challenges and thoughts below.

Mission: Refrigerator

Upcoming is a very important, and neglected, holiday: National Clean Out the Fridge Day.  Depending on what source you consult, it occurs between November 14-20.   This gives all of us no excuse to not clean out our fridges.  Although fridge manufacturers and health experts recommend you clean it once a month, if you do a thorough cleaning once a year, you’re better off than many people.  If you have kids or are prone to spilling things, you should clean it more frequently.

1. Use warm, soapy (dish soap is fine) water to clean all shelves and surfaces in the refrigerator.  Don’t be afraid to scrub a little (no harsh chemicals or abrasives though) and really take things apart.  (Turning your refrigerator off for this thorough cleaning is a good idea.)

2. Using an old toothbrush to reach the crevices is a great idea!

3. Throw out things that you don’t like, don’t use or are moldy/past date.  It’s one of the simplest things you can do, but one of the most important.  If you’re on top of this you’ll spend less time on your yearly thorough cleaning, and your food will last longer.

4. Don’t put dirty containers back into the refrigerator.  If your chocolate syrup bottle or ketchup bottle always put back dirty after it’s used, make the effort to always wipe it off before you put it back.

5. Don’t forget to wash off the outside of the refrigerator, as well as the rubber molding around the fridge doors.

6.  Try to clean behind your refrigerator if possible too.  Dust collects back there and could become a fire hazard.

7.  Even if you try to keep your refrigerator clean, it may still smell.  Keeping an open box, or smaller container, of baking soda in the fridge can help to reduce smells.

8. Don’t forget to do the freezer too while you’re at it! Throw out foods that have been there for more than 3 months. (Don’t forget to change the ice too!)

I wish you the best as you tackle your dirty refrigerator and freezer!  Share your thoughts and stories below!