Friday, November 7, 2014

Do it Today

Greetings! For those of you who work at home, do you sometimes find that distractions in the home stop you from getting your work completed in a timely manner? Occasionally, I get carried away with modifying pictures in Photoshop or something else interrupts my writing.

I like to head out to the nearest park or coffee shop (sans wifi because that's a distraction too!). When I'm surrounded by strangers or trees, I tend to focus better. Do the distractions at home take away from your work, so that you feel you need to go elsewhere?

The funny thing about distractions is that they're always going to be there. It's called life. For you writers out there - Remember, write now. There will never be a day that isn't filled with distractions. Even if you don't feel like it, do it anyway. Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

What about procrastination? Oh, that's an ugly word. Being lazy or making excuses for why you can't do something now will never get you any closer to your goals. I'm no exception. I used to procrastinate all the time. However, I slowly started working on it and still have to push myself to this day. It's difficult to break bad habits, but you can do it if you want it bad enough.

Not only that but, you will feel much better in the long run. There have been numerous occasions where I simply rolled over when my alarm went off at four o'clock in the morning. Obviously, later in the day, I regretted not getting out of bed because I wasn't able to reach my goals. I have a much different strategy now. I just do it. The same concept can be applied to exercising or getting into shape. You really really just want to hang out and not do anything at all. However, once you're exercising at the gym or park, you feel amazing. You feel accomplished. Yeah, you're probably sweaty, stinky, and hungry too. Overall, you will feel great.

Don't just take my word for it. Get out there and get to work. Thanks for reading!

Many blessings,

~ Penelope ~

I always want to make it for sunrise. I plan on making it to the beach more often for this beautiful daily occurrence. Sunrise and sunset happen to be my favorite times of the day because the sky is streaked with amazing colors.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

~ Just Leap ~

Everyone has dreams. If you don't, well, why not? Do you actually have them, but refuse to recognize them? Did you know the majority of people routinely perform below their potential? Maybe it's under-stimulating or uninteresting? Perhaps, they don't truly care about their job or are strictly there for the money.

Sooo.. if you're one of these people, I'm curious about a few things. Why do you stay? Money, security? Maybe you're afraid to make the leap and do what you truly love. Why invest your time in a field that you aren't willing to give 100% of your effort? Why would you invest time in something you don't want as your lifelong career? If you enjoy what you do, then it doesn't always seem like a monotonous chore. I've come to realize that when I start writing and the words seem to flow from my mind and through my fingertips. It's an amazing feeling. Do you have something you would absolutely love to do?

What do you want out of life? If you already know, what's stopping you? You'll never know if it's going to work out until you take that leap of faith. Make a plan and take a HUGE leap. I know, the leap seems incredibly frightening! Just do it! I've put a lot of time into figuring out the details so I can accomplish my dreams. In fact, it took me a long time to figure out exactly what I want out of life and my career. It wasn't something that I figured out overnight.

Don't be afraid or ashamed to admit that you don't know anything about something you would love to know more about or have as a career. Everyone has to start somewhere. Nobody is an expert when they begin. Everyone begins at the starting line. Go to a local library or college to obtain information about something you are interested in pursuing. Once you start, it's up to you how quickly you advance. You won't have someone to coddle you and push you along the way. Get up and fight for what you want.

Oh, but you might fail, you say? Well, here's a little secret, come a little closer.... I've failed more times than I can count or remember! I've tried so many things. With every failure, I've acquired knowledge. The biggest part of these lessons is that I've never given up. Be confident in all you do. Believe in yourself, which is sometimes the most difficult task. Sometimes others believe in us, even when we don't believe in ourselves. Surround yourself with people who love you and believe in you. They'll be there for you when you need it the most. There will always be this thing called 'life' that tends to get in the way, but with the right people behind you and lessons to be learned from every failure; you will succeed.

It's going to be a lot of additional work, right? This depends on how fast you would like to change your current situation. Perhaps you'll have to work twenty additional hours or even double your workload each week. Doesn't your future create excitement inside and make every minute worth it? Get excited about your future! You absolutely have to keep it in perspective. You will NOT have to work like that for the rest of your life. It's temporary.

Failure isn't the dilemma. Yes, failure happens to even the most successful people. However, they aren't afraid to get out there and try, try again. Don't be afraid of failure or hard work. Maybe you're lazy? Whether you're wasting away at a dead-end job or on your couch, you'll never get anything out of life by refusing to change. If you want to achieve anything, then you have to change your ways. It's all up to you.

Don't squander away your life doing something you absolutely hate. The whole point of life is to live it, right? Don't hesitate, become inspired, and make the decision to follow your dreams today.

Just a little update: I haven't written much here because I've been more focused on my other blog, Musings of Penelope and my books, which I am just starting to work on the first round of editing. I'm over-the-moon excited that they'll be ready to publish soon. I've also been posting on my Twitter account, my Instagram account, my Google+ account, and have started posting again on my Facebook author page, Penelope Winthrop. Follow/like me if you haven't already!! Life has been busy. I'm very glad for that.

Have an excellent week everyone!!! Thanks so much for reading!!!

Many blessings,

~ Penelope ~

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Social Media Savvy

There are so many ways to connect with others in today's world. Cell phones, email, letters, etc. are all ways to keep in contact with your friends and family. Hardly anyone uses landline phones or letters anymore. Most turn to places like Facebook or Twitter. I'm sure you realize that Facebook and Twitter are forms of social media.

If you are a writer, editor, marketer, business owner, or work in any type of position that requires an online presence, then you understand how important it is to establish this presence. Many times, it will make or break what you are trying to do in your niche market. For example, my blogs don't have a ton of traffic right now, but they have traffic every day.

As a reviewer, business owners are able to communicate with me, if they choose to do so. If they were proactive about their reputation, then providing a response to all reviews would be a great way to stay on top of it. Even if they did not personally respond, having a personal relations or marketing associate take care of it would positively reinforce that they care about their business and customers.

Marketers, and those new to marketing, wish to learn how to effectively strategize the best ways tactics for their products and campaigns. One of the best ways to be effective is to increase exposure. The more you are seen, the better your chances of success. That's something that should be common sense.

There are so many factors when it comes to utilizing social media. What tools do you use for social marketing? Are they effective? Can you track them? How many hours a week do you dedicate to social media?

Is your website or blog mobile-friendly? If you don't have a responsive blog or website, people won't want to spend time trying to navigate through it. To be frank, it's a waste of time and aggravating. Mobile-friendly websites are the way to go, especially since a good majority of users are accessing the web using some form of mobile device. I am aware that my blogs are not 100% mobile-friendly, which is why I am going to make changes very soon. I've almost identified exactly how I will do it and everything will be updated accordingly.

Since I am just digging into the meat of the subject, I am going to direct you to a couple of links I have found to be incredibly useful:

Why Social Media is so Important for Your Business in 2014

Social Media Examiner's 2013 Marketing Industry Report

If you want to be successful, you have to be willing to research, adapt, and put in the hours of work. Share your work with everyone. Include links in your signature lines with your profiles. There is nothing wrong with that. Network, network, network!

As I travel down this social media journey, I will pass along valuable information. If something I share helps someone else get over a hurdle or become more successful, then that's wonderful. I wouldn't want to keep information to myself. Help each other, that's the way it should be.

Thanks for reading! If you have any tips, questions or comments, leave them below!

Like what you see? Subscribe to my blog!

Many blessings!

~ Crystal ~

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Avoiding Bad Habits

Working from home seems like a dream, right? You're free to create your own schedule. No rushing in the morning because you slept through your alarm and are going to be late for work. Seems great, working in your pajamas. Well, let me tell you, it has its ups and downs. You can form many bad habits if you are not disciplined enough. Your habits - good or bad - will affect whether you are successful or not.

1. Stick with a schedule. Set a timer for each task to help you stick with your schedule. Monitor what you do with your time. Nobody is born with great time management skills. It takes discipline and work.

2. Get enough sleep so you won't sleep in the next day. If you aren't sleeping enough, then you are more likely to sleep past your alarm. Some people work better at night, but most don't. If you aren't a night owl, then I recommend going to bed early enough so that you can wake up ready to conquer the world.

3. Set goals with a timeline to accomplish them. Write them down, put a map on your wall - do something that will motivate you. Prioritize your goals. Start with something small, then work your way up to bigger things.

4. Get out and breathe some fresh air. Sitting inside all day can make you feel lethargic. Take a walk, go for a run or meet a friend for coffee or lunch. It's GOOD for you!

5. Stay away from social media suckers, like Facebook. Okay, I understand that you want to complete one more level of Candy Crush - but does that help you get ahead? I understand that you want to check your newsfeed every two minutes to see if something new has popped up. However, it takes valuable time away that you could be using to finish your work. Facebook or Twitter will still be there. Work first, play later.

6. If you have children - hire a nanny/sitter to come stay at your house a few hours a day. You love your children, but you need time to complete your work. You can't be effective while they are running in and out of the office, tugging on your arm or would like another glass of milk, but can't pour it because the jug is too heavy. Hire someone to help you! Don't feel bad if you need help. It doesn't make you a bad parent. Some parents feel it makes them less of a parent if they can't juggle all of it. It takes a village - remember that! You will be happy for it in the long run. You accomplish more and your children won't feel neglected.

Do you have any other bad habits that you would like to point out? Feel free to leave a comment below. Like what you see? Subscribe to my blog! Thanks!

Thanks for reading! Many blessings!

~ Crystal ~

Friday, April 25, 2014

Comfort vs Professional Attire

A perk of working remotely is that you don't have to worry about getting dressed for the office - no suit, dress, high heels, or fixing your hair. Besides, let's be honest, it's comfortable working in your pajamas. For example, I'm sporting my black yoga pants, blue shirt, white socks, and my hair pulled up with a mango colored scrunchie into a bun on the top of my head. I will stay dressed this way until after I've had my coffee and prepare for my day. I will probably change into something similar later in the day.

I'm bringing this up because perhaps the way we dress affects our current state of mind. There is a chance you could actually be hindering your productivity. Perhaps by not getting ready for the day, your mind stays in a relaxed state instead of jumping into business mode.

Have you ever contemplated enforcing a dress code? I've never really lingered on the idea. I like wearing pajamas or workout clothes. If I had to travel to a job site, then I would have to wear makeup and fix my hair - just to have the Florida humidity ruin it.

If you have to be available for Skype or FaceTime video calls with clients, then perhaps your zebra print pajamas aren't as appropriate. I don't have that issue currently, so I don't worry about it. If you need to be prepared for video calls, then it's probably best if you get ready in the morning. I mean, at least fix your hair and throw on a professional shirt. You can still wear your pajama bottoms. Nobody's going to notice that.

Try this experiment for a couple of weeks. Begin your day as if you are going onsite to do work. This can help you determine if your productivity levels increase. As for me, I'm going to continue wearing my pajamas or workout clothing during the day. I don't feel hindered by uncomfortable clothing. If I don't have to get ready, then I'm a very happy person.

Do you wear professional attire or comfortable clothing while working at home? Leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading!

~ Crystal ~

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Being Civil Towards Those You (gasp!) Can't Stand!

I was doing research this morning, hunting down contracts (which my friend referred to me as a bounty hunter - I guess you could call it that). I came across this website: Fistful of Talent. I was actually seeking information on another company.

Side note:
Always research a company before you attempt to do business with them. There are some pretty shady companies out there who will take you for a ride and then some. Don't be the sap who is crying about how Company X took your money because they promised this for that. Just don't do it! Researching and triple checking the information will always be your friends.

I am always doing research. I spend the majority of my time learning. Sometimes, I get lost in the vast ocean of knowledge that's out there. I mean, literally, I read and read until I feel my limbs protest because I have been sitting for far too long. Hey, I can't help it. Greatness isn't accomplished overnight. Go hard or go home!

This company has a plethora of articles. I could spend ALL DAY reading, however, one of them caught my eye right away: Incivility... The Signs Aren't Always Obvious. I began thinking about people and their manners. I work really hard with my children to instill ethics and manners into them. I also tend to do it with my nieces and nephews. To be honest, it is something that has become automatic for me. I don't even think about it. If one of them wants something, they either ask politely for it or they won't receive it. I'm not above refusing to give something to a child if they rudely demand it. The same goes for adults. I don't tolerate rudeness very well, especially from other adults who should know better.

Most of my time spent in public is on errands. I have to come into contact with many people because, well, that's what happens when you're in public. I also watch the people I come across. I noticed that most of them lack the manners my children have learned. Who taught (or didn't teach!) these people to be polite? Did they grow up with parents who never bothered teaching them how to be decent adults? Apparently not.

They lay on their horns, don't let people in who are trying to get on the interstate, don't hold the door open for the person behind them, talk away on their phone right at the register as they check out - the list goes on. Thank goodness I don't have to work with them!

I have worked for companies who had managers who felt it was okay to belittle their employees. I have a big problem with this. You should too. It is absolutely unacceptable to treat your employees like garbage. I have left a job here and there because of this very thing. Let me rephrase that, I lit the bridge on fire and made sure it completely burned down.

I refuse to be treated as though I am worthless. Every person deserves better than that. Don't allow someone to treat you in that manner. If it happens, contact upper management. If that doesn't solve the problem, then perhaps you should start looking for work elsewhere. Find a place where you are treated respectfully.

I have also worked with people that I didn't like, but I was still professional and kept my feelings to myself. It's part of being able to adapt and display common courtesy - even for the people you don't like! You shouldn't treat others differently solely because you don't like them. It's unethical and extremely wrong/rude.

The reason my children use manners is because I use them myself. It begins with you. The changes will occur around you because you don't just expect them, but practice them as well. I would never expect my children to use manners if I did not. That's hypocritical. If you expect others to be civil and polite around you, then you should do the same.

A business that is impolite to each other will probably not be so polite with the customers at some point in time. Maybe not right away, but it WILL happen. Also, if a customer witnesses you treating your employee or co-workers like garbage, they may not come back. Word will spread about how the company operates. Wouldn't you rather good news spread about your company than bad news? Inspire others to be better than they are through your actions and the rest will fall into place.

Thanks for reading! Leave your comments below!

~ Crystal ~

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Technical Glitches?

I just recently realized that I had made a mistake on my other blog. NONE of my pictures were showing. They were linked to my student account, so no one could see them. You have to log in to see them. A friend pointed out to me that they were still not showing after I thought I had fixed the problem.

Here's another example. I went onto the Seminole Tribe website because I am doing research about someone who we believe is our ancestor. We're actually about 70% certain. As I browsed their website, I found it to be outdated and in need of some work. There are broken links and their online store is nonfunctional. It was disappointing to say the least.

This post isn't going to get into anything too serious. I simply want to point out that when you have a website for your company or a blog, you need to check to make sure it is working properly. Triple check your uploads. Check the website across different browsers to ensure compatibility.

The majority of users don't take the time to see if it is their browser that is causing the problems or if it's a glitch with the page. I was fortunate that my friend was kind enough to point out the problem. Normally, they move on to find something that works. If something isn't loading fast enough or the link doesn't work - they go back and try another page.

If you sell products on your website, don't you want to ensure the links to those products work? I can assure you that I will move on if something isn't working or if there isn't a picture of something I am interested in purchasing. I will only cross-check browsers if I don't have another option.

The moral of the story? Cross your "t's" and dot your "i's" multiple times to avoid mistakes. Check, check, check and check again.

Be diligent and ensure everything works over time as well. Sometimes things become "broken" over a period of time, but it flies over our head and we don't see it.

If you want to be successful, then you have to put in the time and work. That's all there is to it. :-)

Thanks for reading!!

~ Crystal ~