Steps to Developing a New Habit

Special thanks to Start Blogging Online for Guest Posting!

If your level of productivity is low and you decided to make an improvement in this area, the sure way to make this successful is for you to practice new habits that would let you do more things. Applying positive changes in your behavior and actions would not only benefit your productivity, but all other things that concern it too.

What’s fascinating about us humans is that we turn something into a habit when we keep on doing it. Our body and mind gets used to it and it becomes subconscious in the long run that this is the way we respond or react to things without really paying attention to it. Since these habits have already become part of yourself, it would be hard to remove them in an instant. Sadly, that also includes the not so good ones.

However, no matter how difficult the process is, it can be done if you are committed and focused on your goal. You could start practicing good things that could turn into habits after some time. Your productivity would improve little by little and it would turn great after a while.

Our eye-catching infographic shows you steps that you can take in order to develop these new habits that will lead to the improvement of your productivity.

Here’s the infographic and we hope you enjoy it!

7 Steps to Developing Good Habits

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How to Hot-Desk Effectively

Working in more than one space: Is it for you?


How important is it to you to have your own desk or work space?

There’s an interesting slide show on Entrepreneur about “hot desking” – the concept of employees working in multiple workspaces, moving locations instead of “owning” one desk. The journalist experimented with the concept for a five day period and reported her findings.

Many professionals are getting used to working in various work spots, whether at company headquarters, coffee shops, airport lounges or on airplanes (one of my clients loves her “in-flight” productivity.) For years, when I worked in traditional offices, I either had a cubicle, a desk of my own, or (most ideal) my own office. I’ve found that I like having space I call “my own.”

Now that I run my own business, I no longer have a “workspace” elsewhere to commute to. However, my home office acts as my main location, and several times a month, I also work at local coffee shops. As a board member for a non-profit organization whose lovely office happens to be in town, I’ve been told I’m welcome to come “set up shop” anytime I temporarily want to be in the presence of people (and the office dog.)

Overall, I find that my home office is the best space for productivity. But getting out of there is valuable too, so here are four tools or mindsets I’m finding helpful to take along when I plan to work away from a permanent office space:

Creature comforts.  In my computer bag, I keep an inspiring pouch, a coaster, and a small imitation candle. I often set these up on the table to personalize the space for the time I’m there. (I also keep a large scarf to use as a lap blanket in shops that keep AC high.)

Earphones. This is probably the single most important tool (other than my Chromebook.). I like to be in the presence of people and energy from time to time, but am easily distracted by conversations around me. Earphones allow me to listen to my own playlists and drown out specific conversations.

Playlists. I currently use Spotify as my main source of music. I’m learning to enjoy music more–I tend to not think about turning it on. I have two primary playlists–one for quiet productivity and relaxation, and one for upbeat productivity and working out.  Depending on the types of tasks I am doing, I can play the appropriate playlist.

Associations. I’ve gotten to know which type of work I can do best in “third space” locations vs my home office. So I generally save some of that type of work to do in batches when I am mobile. Right now, creating images, editing/refreshing content, and screening Gmail seem to be good work for third spaces. Processing administrative tasks like scheduling appointments, implementing social media updates or coordinating projects seems to be better handled at my home office.

With these four tools and mindsets with me, I can adapt any space to be a productive one. For long periods, I do prefer my own office, but versatility and flexibility are good traits for professionals to develop. So why not give “hot desking” a try this week?

Question: Does hot-desking interest you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

An Open Letter to the HOPE Family

One Year Anniversary and 200th Post

Beutler-3264(edit)An open letter to all of our HOPE family,

October 15, 2015 was my last day as an employee of another business. While HOPE Unlimited has been around since 2005, I consider October 15 as the anniversary of being fully focused on my own company, and I have much to be thankful for in this first year. Since that “marker” day is coming up this coming Saturday, I wanted to kick off this “anniversary week” by using this 200th post to say “thanks!”

I want to thank God for providing clients, students, readers, and colleagues that have helped HOPE Unlimited begin to serve key leaders and bring encouragement to overwhelmed professionals around the country. I have appreciated several opportunities to speak and teach in live settings, and anticipate increasing what I offer via online tools.

I have one more ebook coming out by the end of the year, and my other books are in production as audio books now.  There’s been at least one new post a week on the blog since January 2014, and now I’m regularly doing Facebook live Tips in 10 presentations.

On the virtual assisting front, we are steadily incorporating team members to provide excellent service on a variety of tasks for our clients. Four additional professionals who share our values allow us to seamlessly provide many kinds of support, and our retainer system remains a flexible way for individuals, executives and entrepreneurs to receive the administrative support they need without hiring an employee.  Thank you to those who have spread the word–word of mouth is a great form of advertising.

For all these things, I give thanks. I wouldn’t have a business without people contracting us, buying my resources, hiring me to teach, or keeping up with us on the blog or social media. And I wouldn’t have HOPE if God didn’t instill the gifts, energy, and time and wisdom to steward it. It’s a constant learning process.

If HOPE can be of service to you in any of these areas, please contact us. And again, THANK YOU for allowing us to serve you and be part of your life.


many thanks

The Pursuit of Excellence

How do you define it?

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“Excellence” just becomes a more respectable word for “control” which is a fancy version of “manipulation” which is a physiological word for “sin.”…   Emily Freeman

I read these words from the book Simply Tuesday and let them sink in.

I help overwhelmed professionals EXCEL.

Is it wrong to excel?


But it depends on what you excel at.

In 1 Thessalonians, 4:10, Paul commends the Thessalonians for their love, but exhorts them to excel still more.

“or indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more.”

When we think of excellence, especially in business, what do we think of?

  • A product that is selling better than we expected.
  • A published piece that has no typos.
  • Getting all the facts straight in a report.
  • The financial reports being accurate.
  • The presentation to the investors going well.
  • The office looking spiffy.
  • Employees looking sharp.
  • Meeting and exceeding customer needs.

Are those bad things? No, but what’s the motivation?

Do we want to excel so we can control our image or turn certain outcomes our way? Or do we want to excel in loving and serving people?

I confess that I want to excel in business and often measure it in my bottom line. Am I contributing enough to the household budget? Do I need to supplement by finding more work? How many clients do I have or teaching gigs lined up or online books/resources are selling? These are all tangible measures of business “excellence.” They deserve some attention, but also, quite frankly, too much focus on these results can cause stress.

Instead, what if I were to think in this framework at least some of the time, to complement the look at financials and metrics?

  • Did I excel today in helping (insert client name here) improve THEIR business or work life (or even personal life) a little bit?
  • Did I guide (insert a reader’s name here) to think more clearly about an issue or idea?”
  • Did I help (insert student’s name here) streamline their day a little bit or get along better with their teammate?’’

And, am I willing to reach beyond my comfortable “Macedonia” to help and love others, even those different from me?

An answer of “yes” to THOSE questions is what excelling is all about.

If only…

Tips in 10: Tips to Keep Facebook from Driving You Crazy

In this week’s Tips in 10 I talk about ways to navigate Facebook so that your stream has more of what you like, and less of what you don’t. And I give myself a grade for how I did one a week of trying to cut back on Facebook. As always, you do not need to be on Facebook to enjoy this video.



How to Make the Most of Remote Work at Coffee Shops

It can be productive--here's how

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In another post, I shared that my attitude toward working at coffee shops had changed. But I don’t want to throw the idea completely under the bus. There are good things about working away from your normal office, such as

  • A fresh perspective.
  • The energy of people.
  • A stimulating environment.
  • Coffee.

But coffee shop work can be distracting, too, so if you work at a coffee shop regularly, here are some tips to help the time be more productive.

  1. Plan ahead. Block off times in your week for working out of your normal office. Pick a specific task or two you will be focusing on during that block of time, and perhaps even add notes to your calendar appointment to remind you of those tasks.
  2. Pick appropriate tasks.  Decide ahead of time what kinds of tasks best match the coffee shop atmosphere. Do you do design work well? Does writing come more easily? Are there tedious tasks that are best? For example,  I find that adding or preparing material (i.e. social media images) to client social media libraries works well as a coffee shop task, while appointment setting and email communication may not.
  3. Expect to be distracted. Whether by conversations around you or just the normal hustle/bustle of a popular coffee shop, you are not going to have the quiet you might get at a library or your home office. This may be fine, depending on the type of work you are doing. Just don’t walk in there expecting everything to be quiet and perfect for your work.
  4. Create your atmosphere. My coffee shop bag includes ear phones, an inspiring pouch, a coaster, a fake candle, and a large scarf that can act as a shawl or lap blanket. These don’t take much space but help me create a mini oasis of inspiration for the time I will be there, which often is two hours or more. 20160908_072656
  5. Allow yourself time to ease in. Hopefully you are planning to purchase something to eat or drink (don’t be a coffee shop squatter.) It gets a little cumbersome to type, sip coffee, eat a bagel, etc all at once. So allow yourself time to enjoy your snack while you do something such as reading to ease into work mode.
  6.  Jot a schedule or use a timer to keep yourself on track. It’s easy to fritter away time scanning social media, watching videos, or even reading helpful material. Use a timer app to keeping you on track, working in segments on writing, researching, or interacting.
  7. Enjoy the unexpected. You may run into a friend or business colleague at a coffee shop, or strike up a conversation with a stranger. Maybe you’ll notice someone who needs a little encouragement or decide to discreetly pay for the meal of the next person in line. Don’t miss out on the little serendipitous opportunities that may spring up. Productivity is great–but people are important.

Over to you. What tips do you have for working in a coffee shop?

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

You do NOT have to be on Facebook to enjoy these videos. If you can’t see the video in your email or feed, you can click here.

Replay of our Facebook Live Tips in 10 about successfully returning from a vacation!