A Different Kind Of Post For A Different Kind Of Election

I’m not here to talk politics beyond saying that I hope you’ll vote.

I’m here to talk about stress. A recent article in the Washington Post used the term “election stress disorder”. Whatever you call it, stress is real, and it takes a toll on us physically, emotionally and mentally.

I’m encouraging you to actively plan for and support your mental health over the next 24-48 hours, and offer suggestions that might get you to thinking about ways to take care of you.

Take additional stress out of your day. If you don’t live in a state with early voting chances are you’ll already be standing in one line tomorrow. Consider avoiding additional ones.

  • Schedule 15 minutes today to fill up your gas tank.
  • Set aside some time before tomorrow to pick up your groceries and run any other errands.

Work to avoid the 24 hour “breaking news” cycle and constant Facebook commentary.

  • Temporarily mute the device notifications from news and social media apps. You decide how your news is delivered, not the manufacturers of your phone, tablet or other devices.
  • Turn off the tv. The New York Times is lowering their paywall from November 7-9. Maybe choose to actively read the election results according to your schedule instead of passively having them shouted at you throughout the day. Your local tv stations will post election results, too.

Remember your health.

  • Tara Stiles is offering 50% off all of her downloadable yoga videos. With the discount, her 60-minute videos are $7.50 and her 30-minute videos are $5.00. Use the code VOTE2016 and make sure your discount is showing before checking out. Or, head to your local yoga studio for a drop-in.
  • Dan Harris has created a page with links to several great election stress meditations. My personal favorite is “Powers of 10” led by Jeff Warren. It’s approx. 10 minutes long. If you aren’t familiar with Dan, he wrote the book 10% Happier and developed the app “10% Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics”.
  • If meditation isn’t your thing, consider a couple of 15-minute walks throughout the day, without the headphones or other distractions.

You’ve voted and decided the constant stream of “expert commentary” is more than you want to invite into your day. Go a different route and skip the drama.

  • Consider learning something new. MIT offers a wide-ranging catalog of free, self-paced coursework including photography, art history, and Italian, in addition to their standard engineering and mathematical coursework.  Coursera, and Skillshare also have a wide variety of offerings, although there may be costs associated. If you’re looking for something more hands on, Creativebug offers classes on knitting, sewing, art and design. There’s a free 7-day trial, too.
  • Podcasts; I dig ’em. Consider tuning in to Thrilling Adventure Hour, NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, and The Lapse. Or google “podcasts and [insert your favorite topic here]”.  Warning, there is probably swearing in each of the podcasts I just recommended.
  • The library. My favorite place in all the land. Download audiobooks, ebooks, and music to pack your devices with distractions. Or, go old-school and check out a bunch of movies on DVD. Order a pizza and invite some friends and family over. Instant mental health boost.
  • Take the same pizza and friends/family combo and throw in some board games. Also a terrific way disengage from “election stress”.

Full disclosure: As I’m typing this I realize MSNBC is on in the background.
I assure you I have my own work to do to support my mental health.

We are all in this together.

Want to know more?

Curated Emails
Did you find this email helpful? I’m considering doing more of them for those that are interested. If you are, share your email here.
Mindfulness
If you’re interested in my upcoming mindfulness trainings, share your email here.
Life Mapping
If you’re interested in my upcoming life mapping trainings, share your email here.
Routines and Rituals
I’m expanding my trainings to include the science of routines and rituals, how they positively impact our lives, and why they can be so difficult to maintain. If you’re interested, share your email here.
Emergency Preparedness
I’m expanding my emergency preparedness trainings and including preparedness for small business owners. If you’re interested in my upcoming emergency prep trainings, share your email here.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

cross-posted to IrishYogaChick

Fall!

 

 

I like to make stuff. So I made a fall bucket list and a fall project list printable. Each has two versions, one blank and one partially filled in if you need a little inspiration to create your own lists.

              

blank     filled in                                         blank   filled in

 

And a fall playlist because, well, I dig fall.

John Coltrane: Autumn Serenade

Earth Wind & Fire: September

Green Day: Wake Me Up When September Ends

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong: Autumn in New York

Van Morrison: Autumn Song

Daughtry: September

Don Henley: The Boys Of Summer

Bobby Pickett: Monster Mash

Michael Jackson: Thriller

The Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack: This Is Halloween

 

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

How, And More Importantly, When To Delegate (pt. 2)

Click here for a free download.

This is the second of a two part discussion on delegating. And It’s backwards from the title. To read pt 1 “The When”, click here.

It’s time to discuss the “How”. Delegating can be (who am I kidding? For small business owners like us, delegating IS) scary. Deciding what to hand over to someone else is one thing. Deciding who to hand it over to is another thing entirely.

I recently had an unsolicited email from someone looking to “partner with” me to “enhance” my business. I’m using quotation marks here because I consider those words and phrases to be red flags. My choice of a “partner” in my business is wholly my decision and certainly won’t be made based on an unsolicited email. And anyone who wants to “enhance” my business with no concrete follow up on how (see what I did there?) they plan to do that hasn’t researched my business. At all.

Which this person hadn’t. After a little back and forth it turns out this person wasn’t aware of my website, my blog (I have two), my fairly robust Twitter and Instagram presence (although lately both have been taken over by Pokemon Go) or my weekly client newsletter (all things this person wanted to charge me heftily to implement). And, as an added extra bonus, after I politely stated  I wasn’t in the market for any new employees at this time the next (very lengthy) email I got was an aggressive, argumentative still-unsolicited commentary on what I was doing “wrong”.

I’m super thick-skinned, so it mostly made me laugh. Until a couple of days later when I started thinking about how other small business owners would handle an aggressive, ego-centered, cookie cutter approach to out-sourcing.

Here are my tips:

  1. Skip the elance-type online freelance market. There’s rarely any actual relationship-building. Why would you trust any part of your company to someone who will always be a virtual (no pun intended) stranger. Instead, opt for referrals. Talk to your friends, family, the people you see at yoga class or your cycling peloton. Chances are they know someone who does the tasks you want to delegate.
  2. Meet with them. In-person. A real sit-down-and-let’s-talk meeting. Not at a networking function or while walking to your car after a super-sweaty workout at your shared gym. A scheduled meeting devoted to discussing your needs and their skills.
  3. Do your homework. Know what you want them to do for you.
  4. Pay attention to how they respond to #3 above. Do they immediately launch into a pitch offering you a “suite” of services? Walk. No, run, from that. This is someone who didn’t hear much of what you just said in favor of trying to sell you a typically high-dollar low return package of services that you pay for whether you use or not.

    There is no cookie-cutter approach to your business. I cannot stress this enough. 

  5. (this is actually 4b) The correct answer to #3 above usually goes something like this: “I’ve researched your company and I’ve noticed x, y and z. Here are some of my ideas”. Followed by a fairly in-depth analysis of their findings that incorporates what they just learned about you when you told them what you want them to do for you. This is telling in two ways: First, they did their homework. They’re interested in getting to know you and your business. That’s a good sign. Second, they’re good listeners who are willing to mold their expertise to fit your needs.
  6. Always, always, always skip the freelancer with the aggressive, high pressure pitch. It’s a good sign that how they act during your first meeting is how they will always act. Do you want to invite (and pay for) that kind of pressure into your business?
  7. If, after all this you still can’t find the right fit for your business, contact me. Seriously. If we don’t work together I’ll make sure you have resources to keep you moving toward finding the person you do want to hire.

And, one other note. It’s not ok to ask a freelancer to do free or spec. work as a “try out”. It’s disrespectful. If you like them and want to work with them on a temporary basis to see if they’re going to be a good fit in the long run, say so. Then give them a short term paid project.

And now, as promised, a free download of the first draft of my newest time management tool.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

 

How, And More Importantly, When To Delegate (pt. 1)

Sneak peek of my newest time management tool.
Read part 2 for a link to download it.

This is the first of a two part discussion on delegating. And it’s backwards from the title. Today the “When”. Next post will be the “How”.

So many small business owners I meet with are overwhelmed. Most are trying to Do. It. All. and they are floundering. Too much time spent on administrative time sucks and not enough time actually interacting with clients, which ultimately results in not enough cash coming in to sustain their small business.

It’s a true statement that the value of your time is exactly the same no matter what you are doing.

For instance, you’re a photographer who gets paid $175 per hour to shoot photographs. The value of your time is $175, whether you are shooting photographs or you are posting a status update on Facebook. Whether you are editing a shoot or writing a blog post. Whether you are advising a client who is setting up for a shoot or managing your newsletter mailing list.

Here’s the question: Did you start your photography business to take photographs, or did you start your business to post Facebook status updates, write blog posts and manage newsletter mailing lists?

My guess is you started your business to do what you love to do and the social media, marketing and other administrative tasks are necessary evils. Here’s the kicker: as a small business owner who thinks it’s up to you to do it all, you are getting paid the exact same hourly rate no matter what you are doing.

Why not actually earn money doing what you love to do and delegate the necessary evils to someone who gets paid to do what they love to do. Quite possibly it’s a true statement that you have the skills to update Facebook, write blog posts and manage mailing lists.

It’s also a true statement that just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

While you are doing those things, who is out taking photos, editing shoots, and advising your clients? Not you.

And then there’s this:  Who is paying you to do what you love to do? Your client. Who is paying you to post Facebook status updates, write blog posts and manage newsletter mailing lists.?

YOU are.

You are paying yourself the exact same $175 in lost revenue that your client could be paying you in actual cash. Is it cost effective not to delegate?

Here’s a pretty nifty exercise. It’s the exact same blog post with a “fill in the blanks” option. Click this link and fill in the blanks with what it is you do and the hourly rate you get paid to do it and then re-read and see what happens.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

Weekly Wrap-Up 5-14-2016

This week’s newsletter is here.  Previous newsletters are are here and hereThis is a multi-week wrap up.

There’s always stuff that doesn’t make it into the newsletter. Here’s this week’s list:

The Essential Guide To Social Media Marketing

The Feed Is Dying I disagree that most users are unable to curate their own feeds.

The Struggle Against Internet Overload Is Real “Frankly, when people are looking for an escape from the Internet, they usually search the Internet for answers.” Don’t stop there. The very next paragraph is pretty sobering.

Pair the above with this and then schedule time to go outside.

7 Reasons Introverts Now Rule The World They aren’t ball hogs.

Apple Destroyed My Will To Collect Music One of those moments when I found myself reading this article and thinking, “wow, me too”, and becoming rather sad.

TV Of The Week
The Night Manager
, on AMC. Throwback to a a time when tv was suspenseful with being hit over the head, beautifully shot, and all-around fun.

And, I must confess, I’m one of the few (10 ,tops?) who thoroughly enjoyed the finale of The Good Wife. I thought it so nuanced that Alicia standing alone in (the very same?) hallway 7 seasons later was simultaneously a comment on how far she’d come and a comment on how much she’d become like those who hurt her in Season 1. Brilliant.

Video Of The Week

This Week’s Music*:
I have weekly playlists over on Spotify*. I ‘m not convinced it’s possible to share them. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely this link will work unless you have a Spotify account.  So, here’s what’s on it this week.

  • Sweet: Ballroom Blitz
  • Michael Franti: The Sound of Sunshine
  • Stevie Nicks: Beauty and the Beast
  • Billy Paul: Me and Mrs. Jones
  • The Jeff Healey Band: While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • Earth Wind & Fire: September
  • No One Will Ever Love You: Connie Britton & Charles Esten

*I believe in paying all artists for their work. Streaming music services allow for the discovery of new music, or reminders of great music I haven’t thought about in a while. I hope that if you hear something you like you’ll consider purchasing the song (or album) for your own collection.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

Weekly Wrap-Up 04-16-2016

This week’s newsletter is here.

There’s always stuff that doesn’t make it into the newsletter. Here’s this week’s list:

The Dark Side Of Guardian Comments
It takes courage to commission such thorough, necessary research. As human beings, we must do better when speaking to each other online.

About DMARC
DMARC, or Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance, takes effect if an email fails certain types of authentication. And now they are targeting free email providers. So,  if you send an email using Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc, and your “from” address includes @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, or any other free email provider it may now get bounced and never make it into the inbox of those on your mailing list.

Google’s $150 Photo Editing Software Is Now Free For Everyone
It’s call Nik, and can be downloaded here. Note, it’s not a stand alone product.

New Yorker’s Tribute To Susan B. Anthony Says Everything About Why Voting Matters
Presented without comment because the accompanying photo says it all.

Cookie Monster Apple iPhone Commercial Outtakes Are Hilarious and Heartwarming
Ah, Sesame Street.

Book(s) of the Week
Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic 

Rebecca Traister’s All The Single Ladies: Unmarried Women And The Rise Of An Independent Nation
Speaking of  Susan B. Anthony . . .

This Week’s Music*:
I have weekly playlists over on Spotify*. This week, though, it’s all Prince, who wasn’t a big fan of streaming services. So head on over to iTunes or Amazon or better yet your local music store and pick up copies of anything of The Artist’s you don’t already own. His latest album is on his website here. 

Some of my favorites:

  • Delirious – Prince (1982)
  • Little Red Corvette – Prince (1983)
  • I Would Die 4 U – Prince and The Revolution (1984)
  • Let’s Go Crazy – Prince And The Revolution (1984)
  • Shockadelica – Prince (1987)
  • Cream – Prince And The New Power Generation (1991)

*I believe in paying all artists for their work. Streaming music services allow for the discovery of new music, or reminders of great music I haven’t thought about in a while. I hope that if you hear something you like you’ll consider purchasing the song (or album) for your own collection.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

Planning A Blog Planner

Blogging makes me happy. I like writing, I’m proud of 90% of what I’ve written here and when I know what I’m doing I look forward to writing in this space.

Did you catch that little admission right there? The one where I admitted I don’t know what I’m doing? Yep. Most of the time I’m winging it. I have no set schedule for blogging. What? When? Why? I don’t know. I rarely know.

I’ve tried it all: blocking off time in my planner, developing long lists of topics, drawing nifty diagrams and pinning them to the wall opposite my monitor. And the only thing I do with any consistency is blow by all of it. Not because I don’t like writing, I truly do. My “planning” doesn’t have a consistency to it.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was developing a blog planner. When I hit on that idea I had an ulterior motive: it was really because I wanted to learn how to design printables. And a blog planner designed using those new-found skills seemed like a useful thing for folks.

Publishing said blog planner has taken me longer than I originally thought it would. That’s not because of any deign learning curve. It’s because I’ve become my own best customer. I am the person for whom I’m designing a blog planner. For real. The one who needs a consistent plan for getting it done.

It’s getting there. It’s almost a blog planner I see my self using. Consistently. Watch this space for more on when it will be available. And an “insider” series on how it came to be. Because now I know what I’m doing. 🙂

___________

If you’re curious about what’s going on elsewhere in the land of me, head on over to Irish Yoga Chick later today where I’ll be talking meditation.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

Busy

From a recent blog post by Kate Northrup

Are you addicted to being “crazy busy” and praying for more days that feel out of control?

Or are you curating what makes it onto your calendar and praying for more days that feel spacious?

As I’ve mentioned before, I believe when someone says they are “so busy” or “too busy” it’s usually code for “[fill in the blank] is not a priority for me right now and I just don’t know how to say that.” And I’ve noticed for some people, their identity seems to be tied to being able to repeatedly recite how busy they are — in the not too distant past I was probably one of those people. I try to be empathetic. Saying “no” is hard. At least it can be for me.

So when I read “curating what makes it onto your calendar” I immediately wanted to dive more deeply into what that might mean.

Curating is such a buzzword these days. It’s almost cliché. Except that in this instance I think it’s the exact right word to use.

(I’m going to do that overused, slightly irritating thing here were I provide the definition of curate as a way to transition into my next thought.)

Curate (v): To take charge of (a museum) or organize (a photography exhibit). dictionary.com

Our life is ours to take charge of, or curate. Why is it so many of us, myself included sometimes, allow others to suggest, manipulate and/or dictate how we spend our time? And why is it we feel guilty about that, as though we need to apologize for the fact we can’t fit it all in when, if we’re being honest, some of what’s currently on our calendar isn’t what we really want to do anyway?

Curate (read: take charge of) your life. When we really are too busy doing things we want to do, let’s stop apologizing for not being able to fit in one more thing. Let’s stop using “I’m too busy” as an excuse to avoid owning up to how it is we really want to spend our time. Let’s make space for that by crowding out all the stuff that really isn’t a priority.

If I were a betting woman I’d put money on the idea that just by being more mindful of curating our life we’d stop having to say “I’m too busy”  to the people and experiences that  truly are a priority.

Link to Kate Northrup’s full blog post here.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

Weekly Wrap-Up 3-18-2016

This week’s newsletter is here.

There’s always stuff that doesn’t make it into the newsletter. Here’s this week’s list:

People are unhappy about Instagram’s proposed changes. #keepinstagramchronological had 19,967 posts the last time I checked. And there’s a movement for 24 hours of #InstagramSilence that’s currently running at more than 1,500 posts.

Etsy is changing the way shop owners do things.

And, there’s also this: Etsy’s New Paid Parental Leave Policy Is Designed To Counteract Gender Bias
and, they have a director of culture and environment. Maybe things really are changing.

Productivity and the Workplace of the Future
Or not. Seems as though a lot of these articles say the same thing, and it’s always “in the future”.

Fascinating Photos from the Secret Trash Collection in a New York Sanitation Garage
Gotta say, this is better than some antique stores I’ve been in. The stuff people throw out.

The mass market edition of To Kill A Mockingbird is going out of print. That feels weird.

This is how you play the game. And of course, he plays for the San Antonio Spurs, team of my beloved David Robinson.

Speaking of which, how ’bout your bracket? Hello Yale!

Can Tiny Homes Solve Homelessness? 
I wrote my first term paper on the mass deinstitutionalization initiated in the 1970’s (and I still have my index cards). I like that this gentleman calls his program “a relationship model”.

The Negative Effects of Daylight Savings Time
Not good, I know. However, I still equate daylight savings time with the yearly reminder from my parents during the summer months to “be home when the streetlights come on” and how much perceived freedom that extra hour of daylight gave us kids.

Podcast Of The Week
Sean McCabe’s seanwes podcast, offering “tangible insights on creativity and business”. Also? A lot of thought went into those five words.

I recommend this one. Also, Jonathan Fields Good Life Radio Project. This one is particularly good.

This Week’s Music*:
I have weekly playlists over on Spotify*. I ‘m not convinced it’s possible to share them. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely this link will work unless you have a Spotify account.  So, here’s what’s on it this week.

Cat Stevens: Wild World

Winger: Madalaine

Dire Straits: Walk of Life

George Lynch: All Night Long

Judas Priest: Living After Midnight

Megadeath: These Boots Are Made For Walking (EXPLICITT)

Mr. Big: Wild World

 

Also, this is cool.

*I believe in paying all artists for their work. Streaming music services allow for the discovery of new music, or reminders of great music I haven’t thought about in a while. I hope that if you hear something you like you’ll consider purchasing the song (or album) for your own collection.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

Weekly Wrap-Up 3-14-2016

This week’s newsletter is here.

You’re noticing that it’s very late, aren’t you? That’s because I spent Friday being certified as a Mental Health First Aid Responder. And forgot to post this.

Speaking of Mental Health First Aid, the course was fantastic and I highly recommend placing it on your “to do” list. You won’t regret it.

Onward.

As always, there’s stuff that doesn’t make it into the newsletter. Here’s this week’s list:

Instagram Captions: Mastering A Massive Engagement-Driver
Does anyone else “see” the caption before snapping the photo? Just me?

Olivia Wilde Directed The Latest Edward Sharpe Video With An iPhone
as it says in the article, “go out and make something cool” (iPhone not required). 

How a Hacker Protects His Kids Against Other Hackers
First of all, Chief Human Hacker is actually a thing. Plus, he discusses really good stuff.

Director Alex Winter Launched A Kickstarter To Make The Definitive Frank Zappa Doc
You know, Alex Winter, “Bill” from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure He’s also directed Deep Web, which is worth a watch.

The Quitter’s Mindset Could Be The Secret To Success
Interesting read. Disappointing that ‘quitting’ is always seen as a negative.

What Is Your Average Speed In Your Life, Your Health, And Your Work
Speaking as a forever recovering “maximum speed, no-off-switch” type, it’s not sustainable. And it wreaks havoc when that mindset inevitably fails. “Average” isn’t bad at all.

Photo of the Week
Mind Blowing? 
Claustrophobia inducing is more accurate, I think.  Wow, wow, wow. And, no.

This Week’s Music*:
I have weekly playlists over on Spotify*. I ‘m not convinced it’s possible to share them. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely this link will work unless you have a Spotify account.  So, here’s what’s on it this week.

Hank Williams Sr.: I Saw The Light

Extreme: King of the Ladies

Poco: Call it Love

Blondie: Call Me

The Kinks: Come Dancing

A Flock Of Seagulls: I Ran

The Beatles: I Saw Her Standing There

*I believe in paying all artists for their work. Streaming music services allow for the discovery of new music, or reminders of great music I haven’t thought about in a while. I hope that if you hear something you like you’ll consider purchasing the song (or album) for your own collection.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved