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Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Archive for CWAHM Blogs

Jun
20

Vacation Time Again?

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerI beach vacationhad just finished my project, sent it to my publisher, took a deep breath and said out loud, “I’m glad that’s done. Now I can rest for a while.”

I must have said it aloud for someone in the house heard it. I need to explain that with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, it does not matter if you say it aloud, mumble it under your breath or just think it, she hears it.

I do not know how she does it and she will not give me her secret.

“So,” my wife said rather suspiciously, “ready to go on our vacation?”

I stuttered a little bit and said, “A what?”

That “V” word rarely resides between my two ears. I just never think of it. I am not a vacation fan. Sure, when the kids were home it was nice to get away and have some fun with them. However, that has been a long time ago. I think someone my age is just too old to go on vacation. What would be the purpose?

I am a little afraid that if I go on vacation, I might forget that I am on vacation and never return home and no one would ever see me again. You know how the memory is for us old guys. So, to be on the safe side, I do not think of vacation time.

“You know exactly what I mean,” my wife said rather sternly with one of her sly smiles. “We should begin making plans for our vacation before you begin your next project.”

She caught me off guard there. Under other circumstances, I might have responded by telling her that it was too late, I’ve already started my next project. I remember trying that once and I may be the writer, but she’s the reader and she always reads between the lines.

Then she began laying out her well thought out plans for what our vacation would be like.

I interrupted her and said as soberly as possible, “That would be nice, but I do not have any money to sponsor a vacation right now.”

All she did was laugh, which rather irritated me. Then she explained, “Don’t give that a thought. I have been saving for this vacation since last year. I have it all worked out.” Read More→

As a small business owner, you should know how precious your time is. You probably have a whole list of things that you need to get done each day, and another list of things you want to do but simply don’t have the time for. Because of this, it’s important that you find ways to make the most of the time you have and use it more productively. If you do this, you’ll get more done quicker, which means you’ll have some time free to work on the other list. If you want to be more productive running your small business, then here are four things you can try.

 

Cut Out Unproductive Meetings

Staff meetings can go one of two ways; They can either be incredibly productive and useful for keeping your team on track, or they can be a complete and utter waste of time. If you want to avoid wasting your time in these unproductive meetings, then you need to make sure that every one you run or attend has a purpose and a schedule. The ones that don’t will rarely accomplish anything, making them pointless for everyone who attends.

 

Stick To Important Tasks

Despite what some people claim, you shouldn’t be doing every little task for your business. In fact, you should even be doing most of them. Your job is to complete the most important tasks, and all of the others can be delegated to your team or outsourced to agencies. For example, you could hire one of the best SEO companies from Ignite Digital to handle your SEO. When you’ve cut down your to-do list, make sure that you start with the most urgent tasks first.

 

Try Not To Multitask

Multitasking generally seems like a great way to get more things done, as it suggests that you’re doing two tasks at the same time. However, in truth, trying to do two things at once slows you down massively, and makes it more likely that you make mistakes along the way. It makes a lot more sense to focus on one task at a time, put all of your efforts into that, finish it, take a short break, and then move onto a different one when you’re done.

 

Keep Healthy Snacks Close

Whether you realise it or not, you’re using a lot of energy at work, even if you stay sitting at a desk all day. If you want to avoid getting sick or tired, then you need to keep your energy levels up by eating when you’re hungry. This means that you should keep healthy snacks somewhere in your office so that you don’t have to stop working to go and find some food. You should also make sure that you eat a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day.

Running a small business takes up a lot of time, so it’s vital that you’re using yours as productively as you possibly can. Hopefully, with the tips above, you’ll be able to do just that, so that you have a bit more free time each day.

 

Categories : Articles, Jill's Blog
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Jun
18

Take Meaningful Action

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Productivity. Priorities. Planning.

There are a lot of buzz words right now (and they all seem to start with the letter P!) that are intended to help us make the most of our time and efforts.

But in all the buzz about how to get more done, there is surprisingly little talk about what, exactly, we should be doing. Are all “to do” items created equal? Checking things off a list doesn’t guarantee that we are moving ourselves forward.

Growth Activities

Some things on our list need to get done, and you could argue that they are “important.” Many people fill their days doing client projects and customer service. After all, we have to deliver on our promises. But those are not growth activities.

Of course, we also fill a surprising amount of our time with “distractions.” Some are more obvious than others. Many of us lose hours in reading and responding to e-mails, which might feel like “work” but how productive are we really being?

How many of your activities are true “growth activities.” What things will grow your business? Expand your impact? Allow you to make a bigger difference? Really fulfill your purpose?

When you really look at it, those things happen primarily in two ways. When you create things. And when you connect with people.

Create

As a Content Creation Coach, these types of activities are dear to my heart. I see the power of creating new things. Of putting your ideas into tangible pieces. Whether you are writing a blog article or a book, creating a program, shooting a video, making a new presentation… creating things generates value.

You are increasing the assets of your business. You are putting valuable things into the marketplace (even if they don’t cost money). You are giving value that expands your worth and inevitably returns to you.

I often ask people, “What are you creating next to grow your business?”

The most powerful thing about creating content and other pieces in your business is that it gives you something new to share. Creating something new doesn’t mean anything if others don’t see it.

Which leads me to the second type of growth activity… Read More→

Categories : Jill's Blog
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DananapProcrastination. Really, quite honestly it is one of my biggest weaknesses. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in Facebook or checking my email a hundred times per day or wasting my time just “putsing” around. It holds me back from accomplishing everything I need to accomplish and it definitely could hurt my brand if I let it continue.

In fact, if clients rely on you, procrastination can be a brand killer!

So how can we overcome procrastination? Perhaps these ideas will help us:

1) Take things in bite­size chunks.

It’s really easy for me to get overwhelmed with everything I need to do. I feel pulled in a million different directions. When that happens, I just want to chuck it all and do nothing or waste my time doing trivial things like spending excess time in Facebook.

The trick is to break projects down into small steps. Don’t overwhelm your “to­do” list with hundreds of items. That will only burden you down. This drag leads to avoidance behavior. Believe me, I am speaking from experience!

It’s so much better to concentrate on the three or four strategic things you need to do for your business rather than 20 things you think you have to do in a day. Be committed to get those few things done and then you can go on with a feeling of success. This will give you strength to tackle more.

Once you accomplish a few things, be sure to give yourself little rewards to keep yourself motivated. You might think of a huge reward when you finish a big project. Read More→

Jun
14

A Merry Heart Doeth Good

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerWith all the sad news in our country recently, it is about time for some good news. However, the way things are going I am not going to hold my breath.

We just finished supper and the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I was watching a little bit of television. We like to try to catch up on the news after a day of working.

I well remember the time when the “world news” was only broadcast for 30 minutes, which was broken up by commercials. It is hard to get all the news that is worth hearing together for 30 minutes. Back in “the day,” the commentators were able to do it. At least we did not hear about all the news of the day, which was a blessing.

It is a different story today. We hear news from around the world all day long. In fact, some television channels are devoted exclusively to news 24/7. The problem with that is 99.9% of the news is bad news. Good news does not have much of a place on television. We are too busy these days to listen to good news.

We had just settled down to catch up and some of the news and I was not paying too much attention. The way I am, I can watch the news and not hear anything they are saying. My wife, on the other side of the room, hears every word the news commentators are talking about.

We were relaxing, enjoying some coffee while watching the TV. I was drifting off into Whatever Land and just chilling. It was then that I heard from across the room some gasping.

“What is wrong with people?” And, “Don’t they know to do any better?” And, “What does all that violence solve?”

I looked over at my wife and saw her grimacing at the TV. Every once in a while she would shake her head and make some kind of a moaning sound.

I knew not to interrupt her Grimacing Moment and allowed her to have her space. After all, everybody needs a little bit of personal space.

“I can’t believe,” she said most disgustingly, “that he actually said that! What is wrong with that person?”

I did not need to tell her that we live in a very crazy world. A world that has lost all sense of sanity. Unless you are insane these days, you are not going to get along with anybody.

At this point in the evening, I certainly did not want to get into a discussion about how crazy our world was. I have ridden in this rodeo before and I am not ready for another ride.

My wife and I agree on many things and this is one of them. Anger, hatred and violence never solve anything. What we need today is a little more laughter. Read More→

Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerSummer is here. My three kids have been out of school for a full week and we are getting into a routine. I would love to sleep in now that I do not have to wake up and get the kids off to school but my cat is adamantly against me changing her eating schedule to an hour later. Is it legal or effective to duck tape a cats mouth shut? Sometimes she is lenient and lets me sleep until eight. Only if I am a good girl which apparently is not often. Moving on.

What I want to talk about is the sun. I do not let my kids outside (if I can help it) between the hours of noon and four pm for playing or recreation outside, including the pool. Reason number one: my daughter has freckles and red hair. She is more likely to burn… and fast! She also does not tan. Bri is like me. We are ghostly white or lobster red, with little in between. The other two midgets tan to a beautiful golden tan like their father and do not burn as easily. Freckle-Face does not want more freckles, so my hubby and I have put a few summer rules in place.

* No going outside, for more than a few minutes, between the hours of noon and four pm.
* If you are going outside, wear a hat.
* Sunblock is your smelly best friend.
* Pool time is before 10 am or after 4 pm because the sun loves the pool too.
* One hour in the pool and then some time in the shade.

With our summer rules, my children completely avoided sunburns last year. We also avoid places like amusement parks in the summer. They are much more tolerable and fun in the spring or the fall. Trying to explain to my kids they still need sunblock if it’s not summer is a yearly conversation if you are staying outside. Read More→

Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerI have had a lot of experiences in building my company from the ground up and refining my skills and services. From my experiences and education, I have a lot to share which may help with your own virtual assistant (VA) business. Here are my top “do’s” to begin with:

Do Communicate With Your Clients: Communication ensures you and your client are on the same page, tracking with the same line of thinking. This goes a long way in building a rapport with clients which will have them coming back for more. Repeat clients are additional revenue.

Do the Social Media Marketing and Networking Dance:  Social media marketing is, in the words of Diana Ennen, “is here to stay.” It is a free method of marketing and getting the word out about your VA services. Social media marketing, if done correctly, also is a way of establishing your expertise in your field.

Do Schedule Your Time: Believe it or not, scheduling your time in regards to clients and tasks will not only reveals hidden pockets of time, but also help you stay on target. This will serve you well as the more on target you stay, the more productive and the more money you can make.

Read More→

DanaIn mJb165Ithese days of Internet marketing, it is easy to forget about old-­fashioned methods. No, they are not dead!

In fact, think about this: what do you receive in your mailbox? Junk and bills, right? So perhaps you can stand out above the crowd through some direct mail campaigns targeted to your audience. May these ideas get you started!

1) Postcards

Postcards are an extremely effective way to introduce yourself to prospects, especially in a localized area. Relatively inexpensive, they also offer a lower rate when it comes to mailing services.

Want to introduce your products or services? Then this is a perfect way to give a shout out to local businesses or individuals that you exist. Don’t know where to start? Check with your library! They usually have databases that you can use to help you target a list. Then you can follow up with a phone call a few days after the postcard is received. And that will mean you won’t be strictly cold calling, which will be more effective in the long run.

2) Notecards

Sending notecards is a more personalized method of promoting your products or services. This is especially helpful for current customers. After all, they are your best customers.

Using notecards is the first major marketing campaign my husband will employ in his new endeavor as a full time self­employed architect (yes, he now works at home!). I designed special notecards that included his branding and one of his best drawings on the cover.  He will write personal notes (with my help) to construction and engineering firms around the state to announce that he is open for business. He will then follow up with a phone call or email or both. Read More→

Jun
07

Leading When You’re Wrong

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leadwhenwrongBrad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerHere’s one of the famous quotes and jokes from my Dad:

“I don’t make mistakes.  Except for that one time that I thought I made a mistake . . .  but it turned out that I didn’t . . . so that was actually a mistake.”

That’s the point when my sister, my mom, and I would groan.

Unlike my Dad, I DO make mistakes.  I made a big one a few months ago.  It was my job to handle the tithe portion of our budget.  Every month I take our tithe amount from the budget and PayPal donate it.  It’s not a big job.  I usually just set an alarm in my calendar, then on the designated day, send some $$ through PayPal.

But, I did some reformatting of my email, and, then reinstalling of my e-mail management program . . .  and lost my handy little calendar reminder.

You readers might have great capacities for memory, but I would actually lose my head if it wasn’t attached.  So, you can see where this is going:  Three months I forgot to send out the tithe.

Doesn’t sound like a big deal yet?  But you have to understand, the Washburns aren’t sitting on piles of dough.  My work in ministry and writing doesn’t put us on the Fortune list, and my wife’s steady (thank God for steady) job doesn’t either.  So that designated tithe money sitting in the account . . . got spent.

Yes, yes, the fact that I can’t tell you from our budget where that money was spent is probably also my fault.  I’m lumping it all into the same screw up.

But the point of this article is that I still had to lead even though I screwed up.  And being a good Christian Dad leader means that we tithe.  So that sacrifice of our first fruits of paychecks was still required.  But yet we had spent the money.

. . . and that’s when the fight started.

Actually it wasn’t much of a fight.  All my wife’s accusations of me mishandling funds and calendar were true.  But that fact that the Washburns had to come up with 3 months of tithe, because of my screw up . . .  Yes there was some ‘heated discussion.’

My fellow Dads, this is where I can’t emphasize enough that it’s really tough to lead, to ask your family to ‘dig deep’ and sacrifice, when we ourselves are to blame.  But there is NO WHERE in Scripture that says we quit leading just because we made a mistake.  We are men, and heads of family and marriage whether we are perfect or not.  So my only ‘take away points’ are ones that I’ve learned the hard way:

Admit it.  Take responsibility when you are wrong.  In this situation the resulting fight would have went on a LOT longer if I was unnecessarily trying to defend myself.  This is a great thing for our kids to see also; taking responsibility in a mature way.

  1. Remember that as Christians and Dads we are not alone.  God is with us.  Just like He promised the Israelites in Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
  2. Remember that as Christians and Dads our family is “our people” — when Solomon prays for “wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Chronicles 1:10), he’s not just talking about the nation of Israel; he’s’ talking about families like ours.  Your people are yours and you are not alone — even if they complain.  Yes, even if they complain a LOT
  3. The Bible is pretty clear that being a Christian and a Dad is going to be tough.  The Devil’s schemes are against us (Eph 6:10), and we are encouraged to not be weary of doing good (Gal 6:9) — why would we need such encouragement if God didn’t know that it was going to be hard?
  4. You will come out of it and it will be better.  Yes, we finally paid the tithe I had missed.  We are still surviving, and, as my waistline is showing, no one has starved to death.  In fact, we all noticed some unexplained blessings that made the extra financial amount easier to handle during the last several months.  I can honestly say it was an example to my wife, and to me, of how God has a Master Plan.

Read More→

Jun
06

A Key On the Table Is Worth Many A Chuckle

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerSmile Post-itWhen it comes to forgetting anything, I am king of the hill. My forgetting has nothing to do with age because I have been forgetting as long as I can remember.

Of course, with age comes an excuse for forgetting something. Don’t let anybody know this, but sometimes I use my age to say I forgot something which in reality I had not forgotten. Sometimes forgetting something is the best expression of valor.

I can’t remember all the things I have forgotten, however, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage remembers everything, even things I did not forget. Her memory is impeccable and I just have to live with it.

Often she will start a conversation with, “Do you remember…?”

Being married as long as I have, I always go with the affirmative nod, which I never forget to do.

When I was a young husband, I remember very distinctly correcting her about what I remembered about an incident she was talking about. I have remembered never to make that mistake again.

I am forgetting everything these days. It may be my keys. I get to the church office, check my pocket and realize I forgot my keys. Then I have to get on my cell phone (when I don’t forget that) and call my wife explaining that I forgot my keys.

Once we went for supper with some friends, I was to pick up the tab, and when the tab came, I had forgotten to bring my wallet. I am definitely not going to do that again.

Once I went on a trip and forgot where I was going. Fortunately, I had the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage with me who is an expert in telling me where to go.

I can’t tell you how many lectures she has given to Yours Truly in this area of forgetting. I think she should win some kind of a prize or a doctorate in this area. Maybe I should begin calling her, Dr. Never Forget.

I could not remember all of the things that I have forgotten. I could ask my wife, but that would take a day and a half for her to get them all on the table. Read More→

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