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Your holiday is over and you’ve got to go back to work. You resist, don’t want to.  If  your work place is your home office, you wonder if anyone would notice if you didn’t do much for a day or so?

Of course, you could try to catch up once you feel a little more inspired. That’s exactly how I often feel after a holiday. You are so relaxed and chilled out and want the feeling to go on forever.

Even when  you have an important deadline coming up and a high workload to go with it, you figure that your work will make you the opposite of relaxed and chilled out. And perhaps you don’t really want to go there.

That happened to me too once. And then, two days later, not only had I tackled a long to-do list, including a whole long list of emails and a great number of calls, I had caught up with my social networking sites and made some important decisions in between.

After resisting on day 1, I ended up at my desk for 12 hours (not non-stop I hasten to add), enjoying my work against all the odds! I was totally focused too, got so much done and each accomplished task felt really good.

Here are a few tips you may wish to try if you feel reluctant about starting your work.

  • Make sure you write a task or to do list, and prioritise the items on it. It’s no good having jobs, projects or tasks in your head, where they can often cause more anxiety than necessary.
  • Use the timer trick to get you started. Plan to do 5 or 10 minutes on a particular task and before long, you’ll notice you don’t mind carrying on.
  • If you don’t want to use a timer, having a visible clock in your office may be OK. The best ones are the ones with an audible tick- they remind you that time doesn’t stand still.
  • After working for a couple of hours, make sure you have a break. Have a hot drink, stretch your legs, open a window, read a paper. 10-15 minutes should be fine.
  • Getting back into work mode after a break can be hard, so I do something that I enjoy – reading and updating one of my social media sites for 10-15 minutes (keeping an eye on the clock). This also makes me feel connected to the outside world. If you don’t do social networking, then why not make a call to a colleague instead?  Always keep an eye on the clock though.
  • Never ever be tempted to multitask thinking you’ll be quicker! Don’t have social media sites open in the background in order to go back to them from time to time. Single tasking is key to higher productivity – cutting out interruptions gives you higher levels of concentration. Task switching can not only be hard on the brain but will lose you time as your brain takes time to adapt to the different tasks.
  • Getting a difficult job out of the way first, will feel liberating and your work will flow much easier afterwards. Again you can use the timer method to get into the task.
  • At the end of the day, update your prioritised list for the following day, as it will help you to switch off!

What else has worked for you that you could share with our readers?

Ute Wieczorek-King is an experienced trainer, mentor and business & blogging coach. She helps busy passionate solopreneurs build a thriving small venture by being more visible and focused on what matters to them. Sign up for her free ‘Passion to Profit’ ebook at http://www.successnetwork.org.uk

(PS the above post was first published in 2010)


It is that time of year again when, depending on your industry, business either speeds up or slows down and many business owners prepare to spend special time with family and friends.

For those of you who are experiencing a slowdown –  you may be forgiven for wanting to go into hiding.

Indeed, a client asked me the other day whether it’s worth going to networking events in the festive season especially as nobody makes decisions at this time of year.

For me – whether it’s quiet or busy- this is the season to have some fun and meet people!  My diary has filled nicely with leisurely one-to-ones and seasonal events that replace the formal networking events.

Christmas Lunch

I tend to spend more time and money on networking at this time of year than at any other – why, you may ask?

I find that this is the one month where people seem more relaxed and happy to get to know each other in a less work-oriented atmosphere.  This represents a great opportunity to join in, particularly for those who don’t usually enjoy networking.

I have learnt over the years that networking in a social way at this festive time will pay real dividends in a few months (maybe even as soon as January!)

So if you’re considering slowing down your networking this month – especially if your diary is also crammed full of family commitments – please think again.

Don’t write this time off just because you are too busy – try to think of new and imaginative ways to put yourself out there.

And another myth I’d like to dispel for those of you who are wondering, please don’t write off this month for social networking either.

Not everything stops and not every decision maker takes a digital break over Christmas, even if it may seem that way to you.

If you want to connect or stay in touch, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and all the other platforms will be there to serve you, as usual.

Some of my best leads and referrals often come from being visible and eager to connect with people during traditional, and supposedly quiet, holiday periods.

If you would like to keep a step ahead of your competitors, always try to be flexible, and open to new ideas and new ways of doing business. You never know, this could be your mantra not just for the festive season, but for the whole of next year!

Ute Wieczorek-King | Success Coach, Trainer, Mentor, Blogger & Owner of Success Network. Ute helps busy women to be visible, focused and profitable in business. Connect with Ute via Twitter, or Success Network Recipes on Facebook. Or sign up to her monthly newsletter on the Success Network website.

Copyright 2011-16, Ute Wieczorek-King

This morning, I approached the main road near my house during the busy rush hour. I was in a hurry, and wanting to do my usual right-hand turn, my heart sank as I got closer. The traffic in both directions was almost at a standstill. With everyone in a rush, I knew that waiting for two nice drivers to create a gap in the traffic might be a waste of time.

Then, just before feeling disheartened, I decided to approach the junction with the thought that someone would make a space for me. And this is exactly what happened, the instant my car stopped at the crossing.

Image Quote Positive

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right. (Henry Ford)

It is so easy to forget that you actually have a choice about what you think in any given situation!

But being positive isn’t always easy!

To be fair, even I sometimes find it challenging to stay positive during particularly stressful periods or when suffering from the hormonal ups and downs midlife women can be prone to. And often, before you know it, your negative thoughts have become regular visitors.

In my experience, it requires quite a bit of effort to stay positive when you’re under pressure, but persistence and regular practice do pay off in the long run.

So what can you do?

The first step is in realising and monitoring your natural thought processes. Sometimes our thoughts appear in what we say in passing to a colleague. For example, have you ever caught yourself thinking or saying things like:

“They will be too busy and won’t want me to call today”
“They won’t pay me”
“I’ll mess up this presentation”
“I won’t get any business from this meeting anyway”?

Thinking in this way will inevitably affect your confidence and can prevent you from taking the positive action your business needs right now.

So before attending an event or starting a challenging task today, don’t just jump in. Instead, take yourself through a little prep task first.

If going to a networking meeting or event, either stay in the car or find a quiet space for a couple of minutes so you can become aware of your thoughts. For example, if you notice that you’re thinking that nobody ever wants to talk to you, or is interested in your business, decide which thought or approach would suit you better:

“I will ask the organiser to introduce me”
“I will approach just one person”
“I’ll ask them questions and show that I’m interested in them”

Making a choice can be quite difficult at first, as your negative thoughts will keep bobbing to the surface like apples that have fallen into a bucket of water.

So at first you might find it helpful to say your new thought out loud. But if you’re with people and speaking to yourself feels odd, take your phone and type the new thought as if you were sending someone a text message. Or you can write it in a small notebook. This way, no one will know!

The simple act of hearing your own voice or seeing your thought written down may help to plant the idea and get you used to thinking differently.

As the author Jodi Picoult said in her book My Sister’s Keeper, “If you tell yourself you feel fine, you will.”

PS. Why not share a tip below that works for you?

About the author: Ute Wieczorek-King provides business & blogging support for passionate midlife women who want to be more visible, focused and profitable. Get Ute’s business tips on Facebook or visit the Success Network website to receive Ute’s free “Passion to Profit ebook. You too can take your micro-business from good to great!

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Blue sky by Ute Wieczorek-King

As a new week unfolds, it is so easy for ultra-busy women to get sucked in to the to-do list without stopping long enough to take a breather.

Sometimes we drop tasks and reprioritise our action list on a whim, depending on what happens to us that day.

It may change like the weather in April: I recall days where we started with strong winds followed by torrential rain, which in turn was followed by glorious blue skies and sunshine.

I find it easy to admire the sunshine and appreciate the good weather after the grey of the rain but without that strong contrast, would I have really noticed the good weather or would I have taken it for granted?

It’s the same with the contrast of nice and not-so-nice tasks on your action list.

Have you got used to avoiding certain tasks?

Sometimes when your list is full of things you don’t like doing, or are not very good at, it may feel easier to ignore your important tasks and put them off. I have done this too from time to time especially with one of my least favourite tasks… following up leads.

But when you cherry pick, do you actually ‘enjoy’ doing what’s easiest? Or is the feeling of guilt when procrastinating preventing you from doing so?

It is so easy to become used to working in such a way, until a deadline threatens to derail us or a personal matter stops us in our tracks.

Then panic sets in.

Today as you trail through your action or task list, why not pay real attention to all of it – the good, the bad and the ugly?

Why it makes sense to embrace all tasks

Without dealing with the challenging, boring or uncomfortable tasks, you may miss out on valuable learning about yourself and the task in hand. You also deny yourself the opportunity to truly appreciate the positives and the fun activities. And then you are simply left with that niggling feeling of guilt that is so difficult to shake off!

So when faced with jobs that that make you feel disheartened this week, try to feel grateful for what you are learning about yourself and your tasks as you carry them out.

And if that feels a little strange at the beginning, look for something else to feel grateful for – even if it’s just the sunshine or the blue sky.

You may be amazed by how good it feels to apply an attitude of gratitude in your day-to-day work.

As William Arthur Ward said, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

Ute Wieczorek-King is an experienced Mentor who helps busy women to be visible and focused in business. You can connect with Ute on Twitter , Facebook or Instagram or get her free Money ebook for passionate solopreneurs on the Success Network website.

imageTime or should I say lack of time can be major issue for busy women who run a small business from home. No matter how good your intention to make time to improve or grow your business, it’s a sad truth that most of us are extremely busy already working on an ever-growing list of tasks.

Another sad truth is that no-one will achieve success in business simply by working hard on their actions and putting in long hours.

In any case, your own definition of working hard might not be the same as a successful entrepreneur’s idea of working hard. Her focus may be on making good strategic decisions whereas yours may be on juggling client work, marketing, finance and administrative tasks, looking after sick children, older relatives and supervising the builders.

All in a day’s work you may think. Many women accomplish such a lot, don’t they? But at what price?

What not to do

I once wrote a post about the importance of showing your business who is boss. A person in charge of their business will happily spend time managing and working ‘on’ the business, rather than ‘in’ the business.

The thing is, I didn’t always know that. A couple of years after starting my first business I found myself fire-fighting like crazy. I just couldn’t figure out what to do first – everything seemed equally important.

Why was that happening to me?

I had started my first training business because I loved my profession (teaching) and helping people to learn. And like many women I know, I wanted more time for my family and have a better quality of life too.

But somehow all this didn’t start to happen until I decided to take charge and stop letting the business run me.

Why effort alone doesn’t work

Having worked with lots of start-ups over the years I know that my own start-up story isn’t that unusual. Many people believe that sheer effort, persistence and hard work will lead to the results you dream of.

But sadly I have seen people work hard like this who experience a form of ‘burnout’. This can happen when the passion you may have had for your business has disappeared leaving you to feel drained disillusioned and stuck.

You may even believe that you’ve failed or that your business idea or model will never work.

Did you have any idea before you started how much goes on behind the scenes of a business that helps to make it successful (in whichever way you define success)?

Maybe you had an inkling but thought the only way is to push yourself harder to try and make sure it works?

Overworked people frequently find it difficult to see the ‘wood for the tress’ and make time for the things that matter.

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If you have a problem with taking time out whether for yourself or the business, please be careful.

It is not that difficult to get to the point where taking a complete break from the business seems like the only option.

How to take control and pave the way for success

All successful people invest time in themselves as well as in their business and this seems to be a key aspect that differentiates them from less successful people.

Of course it may seem completely counter-intuitive to spend time on you or your business particularly when you’re in the middle of a super busy period.

But I hope these amazing benefits will convince you:

  • You’ll know what REALLY matters in your business and can do more of what works – e.g. the high impact tasks – whilst also letting go of low impact, time wasting activities.
  • You’ll feel more focused and make fewer ad-hoc decisions in your business.
  • Taking time to think gives you time to plan. A clearer direction stops you from getting caught in the day-to-day stuff and keeps you in touch with the big picture.
  • You’ll unravel the causes of overwhelm,  take action accordingly and feel much calmer.
  • Finally, you’ll feel a lot less like an overworked employee and more like a business owner in charge.

Success!

So why not schedule two time slots in your diary right away? One for you and one for the business!

Just remember that if you are not making time for you or the business, then you won’t be making time for success…

IMG_6665Ute Wieczorek-King is an experienced trainer, mentor and business coach who specialises in helping busy women be focused, visible and profitable in business.  She blogs regularly here as well as at http://www.successnetwork.org.uk and http://www.attractreaders.com and has written hundreds of free articles for women in business.

A guest post from Rosie Slosek at onemanbandaccounting.co.uk

You started your business – so exciting – you’ve done the graft, the emotional roller coaster, the have-I-done-the-right-thing worries, the achievement of your first client and your second, third and tenth.

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You’re more established now, you don’t feel quite a newbie any more. You know what you’re doing and you know where you’re going. You’ve built a consistent income and you have money left over at the end of the month after essential bills.

You know now’s your time to take your business to the next level.

But how?

You started as a sole trader because the tax return was easy, or easier than a limited company, and you could do it yourself. If you’re honest, you don’t really understand limited companies and when you’ve asked questions or searched Google, you’ve left more confused than you started.

Is a limited company the next step?

You need to ask yourself 4 questions so you know if you’re ready to take your business to the next level and if a company is right for you now.

Who are your clients?

Do your plans for business growth include bigger clients who will require you to be a company? Corporates for example. Even something simple like diversifying into app building (for example) can mean needing to be a company as businesses like Apple won’t work with sole traders.

What is the risk?

When you grow your business, sometimes the risk you take grows too, and only some of that can be covered by insurance. Working with corporates, organisations or executives can be higher risk as there is less you personally control. You need to look at the risk and decide what’s appropriate.

Your personal circumstances

When you have a mortgage and dependents, you have ‘more to lose’ than if you rent and it’s only you. We don’t need any ‘you’ll lose your house if you’re a sole trader’ scaremongering but you do need to consider how comfortable you are with your clients, risk and your circumstances.

Tax

This is the last factor to consider in my opinion, not the first. Although having a limited company can save you money on tax, tax laws can change which the Chancellor has done very recently.

You need to uplevel because it’s the right decision for you and the future of your business.

Taking time to explore whether a limited company is right for you is a great way of bedding down your strategic planning for how you’re going to take your business to the next level.

You’re even paid differently as a limited company, so you need to get sorted on your business and personal finances too.

It forces you to seriously think who your clients are going to be, how you’re going to expand, your financial responsibilities and goals and how your want the future of your business to look like in the next 5 years.

I know you can do it and it’s always such an exciting time growing your business. Take a moment to celebrate this step!

rosie-slosek-1353-lres-300x240Rosie Slosek helps cake-loving UK freelancers to become unstuck about accounts & tax so they can feel free to grow their business.

Join her on 14 April on a gorgeous day retreat to demystify limited companies and learn everything you need to know about company accounts & tax in 1 day.

Learn more: http://bit.ly/ltdretreat  | 07989 945918 | http://onemanbandaccounting.co.uk/blog

The following is a guest blog by Trisha Mentzel who owns B2B Event Management

I often wonder if other people had a clear cut idea after leaving school what they wanted to do. Was your school good in assisting in career choices?

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I went to a small private school where we had no career advice. I only knew at the time that I wanted to further my education and ended up at Teachers Training College as at the time I did not think I would get the A levels to get into University.

As it so happened I could have but do not regret going to the college I attended at Oxford where I met and am still in contact with many students of that time who are close friends.

I feel sorry for students today who leave college or university with debt hanging over them. I remember money was tight being a student but then we did not have very high expectations regarding how we lived or socialised.

After 4 years I left with a B Ed degree which I am most grateful to but never went into teaching as it was then very difficult to get teaching jobs. How much the world has changed!

I do think it is so important to be able if possible to follow your passion, and try and work in that related field. We spend 36+ hours a week working and how depressing it must be not to enjoy or feel that you are making a contribution to your employer or the work you are involved in.

My passion was and still is horses. When I left school you either were bright enough to become a vet or good enough to be a professional rider in various equine sports. The other option was to work as a groom in whatever equine establishment.

I decided there was not enough money in being a groom and preferred to try and get a better paying job and then spend some of that money riding horses for my pleasure.

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How wonderful it is to see all the different types of jobs you can now chose in the equine field. It’s great to have the choice but also with that comes the responsibility to make the right decision.

I must say that my career path was very haphazard not planned but developed due to circumstance such as job redundancies and then having to find another opportunity.

Still I cannot complain as I have enjoyed all the various jobs I have done from working as an au pair/governess in Canada to working in a café/pub while I was trying to get started.

At one point I was an air hostess, (I still love travel) a customer liaison officer training the legal profession on photocopying machines, a customer relations representative for computerised legal accounting type recording systems, leading into marketing roles for IT companies.

I eventually ended up running my own business planning and managing events which I love despite the stress involved.

I just hope that young people starting out today may have a better idea and goal as to what they would like to do in their working life.

But, then again, as my own meandering career path shows maybe it doesn’t matter as much as we think?

As long as we have the chance and opportunity to also follow our passion and dreams, and earn a decent living in the process then at the end of the day maybe it’s more about the journey than the destination?

Trisha Mentzel is an experienced International Marketing and Event Manager who runs B2B Event Management. She specialises in cross-functional marketing, event planning and delivering large corporate conferences, exhibitions, seminars, product launches, road shows and meetings around Europe. Her clients include the British Council and businesses based in the Home Counties and London.

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