Things to Think About When Setting Your Prices

If there is one question that can keep you up more than any other as an entrepreneur, it is probably the question about how you value what you do or sell. How do you set effective prices?

Trouble can easily be created when you set your prices too high or too low. It can be very challenging to know exactly where you should be pricing—it’s not an exact science—but there still is some science that can help you. Pricing can be especially difficult if you are just starting out in your business or if you are rolling out something new. How do you know whether it’s the right price and if it is going to work for your audience?

There are three key factors to focus on when setting prices:

  1. Your target customer
  2. How much your competitors are charging
  3. Understanding the relationship between quality and price

It can be a very common mistake, especially in the beginning of your business, to underprice everyone else. It is a common misconception that if you are the least expensive, you will get more volume, purchases, or sign ups. This is simply not always the case. If you have less of a reputation than the competition you are undercutting, you risk being perceived by potential customers simply as cheap. You will see that most people are unwilling to purchase from someone who they believe has less value.

As a dear friend of mine always says, be wary of the bottom feeders or the ones who are just looking for the cheapest price. That person will never be loyal to you, they will always move to the lowest price.

Who is your ideal client?

No matter what you are creating, if you take the time to figure out who your ideal client is, that information will serve you well in the long term. Are they an avid shopper? Coupon collector? Are they more price or value sensitive? Customers need to believe that they are getting the best value for their money. It’s hard to drive value when someone cannot come in and touch something physically, so you have to focus on creating your customer experience.

What are your costs?

Something that absolutely everyone should do, but gets skipped all too often is knowing your costs. What costs do you have do you have to run your business, develop your products or services? Hard costs and soft costs should both be factored into your overall price model. Do you have costs for labor, marketing and selling or operating expenses? Literally, keeping the lights on, using your cell phone for your business, mileage on your car and your personal fixed assets. These are all things that are depreciating in value and being used due to you owning your business.

How much do you need/want to make?

It is also a critical step to define what your revenue target is for the year. From there, you can determine how many of each product or service you need to sell to reach that target, which can in turn shed some light on your pricing structure.

What value do you add?

Always remember your individual value that you bring to the table. Do you add extra services, guarantees or bonuses that your competition do not? What do your customers receive for buying from you instead of someone else? Figure out what your audience will pay for what you are selling, and then consider what you can do to distinguish yourself from the rest. Your pricing will fall into place.

Need help figuring out the answers to these questions? Not sure where to start? Contact me today for one-on-one coaching!

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How to Acknowledge Your Accomplishments

This is a notoriously busy and crazy time of year for everyone, myself included. Between business, personal and family engagements it can be hard to keep up. Today’s blog is about taking the time needed to really step back and reward yourself for the past year and set yourself up for success in the coming New Year.

Shift Your Focus

We are going to go over an end-of-year / closure exercise that I did with one of my coaching clients who is a psychic and tarot card reader. She is somewhat on the “fringe” of society and convention with what she does, so to speak. We were first got together she struggled with accepting what she does, the value she possesses and presenting herself to others with confidence.

We were speaking and she was going over in her mind all of the things she had said she would accomplish and hasn’t yet and was beating herself up about it. I had to ask her to stop and take the time to really acknowledge the ground that she has covered since we started working together. She has developed the confidence and ability to articulate to other what she does and place herself in front of her audience and that is huge ground to have covered.

Share Your Wins

There is so much power in sharing your successes with a group who really supports and encourages you. It’s a great feeling to share your accomplishments and allow yourself to be celebrated. If you don’t have that environment yet, find a group or individual that aligns with you, understands what you are up against and can genuinely support you and celebrate your “wins” with you.

Recognize the Importance

My psychic client was not accustomed to celebrating herself, acknowledging her successes, being proud of and rewarding herself. Feeling accomplished and successful will make you feel good, as helping celebrate others will feel amazing for you.

When you have to hunker down and push through being not motivated, knock downs in business and in your personal life, you need some padding. Some “emotional money in the bank”, as I like to call it. Being acknowledged is banking some of that emotional currency that you can “withdraw” when you need a little push, a little spark and a reminder that is is all worth it in the end to accomplish your goals.

Develop a Reward System

Consider developing a reward system for yourself when you accomplish tasks that you find you tend to procrastinate or let fall through the cracks. A different reward for the size (and pain) of the task you completed. It may look something like this:

Small reward for finally sitting down and writing a letter or email to someone that you have been putting off (like a customer service issue, for instance). Maybe go for a walk or a run, listen to some favorite music.

Medium reward for entering a couple months worth of receipts that have been piling up into your bookkeeping software. Consider possibly lunch or dinner with a friend or a treat just for yourself.

Large reward – get good at knowing where your profits are (net income vs net expenses) goal to be more profitable and completing your books for months. Large rewards can be subjective for all of us but maybe consider a small road trip to a nice dinner or show?

The type, size and kind of rewards will be different for all of us, but they are important to have in place ahead of time to give you just that little extra incentive that we all sometimes need to get things accomplished. Recognize how much ground you have covered this year instead of focusing on things you wish you had done. Celebrate your accomplishments and put some rewards in place to help you knock out some more of your goals.

Let’s jump into 2016 with some power!

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The Definition Of Insanity

Albert Einstein Quote“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ~Albert Einstein

 

Sounds simple enough. Even if it’s not completely insane, I think we can all agree that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting something different is at the very least… well, not very bright, right? But yet, I can speak for myself when I say that in business, and especially in motherhood, there have been times I know I’ve been certifiable, according to this definition of insanity! We’ve all been there. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we waste our time repeating actions and patterns that don’t yield the results we want?

 

Let’s take a look at some of the common places in our lives that we could be exhibiting signs of insanity, according to the definition above.

 

  1. Are you struggling with your kids during the same time of day, day after day after day? Before school, dinnertime, bedtime—you know the drill! I refer to it as “the witching hour.” Whenever it is at your house, you dread it, because the same thing goes down every. single. day.

 

  1. Are you having the same argument with your spouse or partner over and over and over again? You know how this one plays out. There is a topic that always sets you or your partner off, without fail. Someone says the word, and it’s all downhill from there—you say this, he says that, and the end result is nothing short of predictable.

 

  1. Are you marketing and networking like crazy but still not getting the sales, new customers, or more money that you desperately need? You’re in massive action. I mean you are just out there making it happen. But it’s not producing the results you’re after.

 

  1. Are you having a hard time finding time for your own health and well-being, even though you claim it’s one of your top priorities? You can just never seem to get enough sleep. It is impossible to find time to exercise. Date nights or girls’ weekends are a thing of the past. These are all things that are important to you, but for some reason or another, they’re just not happening.

 

These four areas are very common pitfalls for us mompreneurs to get stuck in. These are the areas where we tend to compromise some of our best skills, talents, knowledge, and expertise, in favor of getting stuck in a rut of routine that simply doesn’t serve us. So ladies, it’s not really about insanity, is it? Look around you. Look at those kids around your ankles that will one day be great big teenagers. Look at that brand new business that could one day be an empire. Things change. We need to be ready to change along with them.

 

I love to hear from you, so leave me a comment!

 

In which area are you exhibiting signs of insanity?

 

What patterns, habits, or routines are no longer serving you?

 

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Get Real: When “Just” You is Just Enough

Get RealI think it’s fair to say that most of us either are now or started out as solopreneurs in our small businesses. If you’re not familiar with the term, simply put, we’re talking about a “company of one”—a company of one where YOU are the ONE. If you’ve been around MomBiz now for a while, you have probably heard me refer to you as being CEO of your company. Well, when you are a solopreneur, CEO stands for Chief Everything Officer! Now if we’re really honest with ourselves, most of us, at least in the beginning, try our best to obscure the fact that we’re “going it alone” from our market, prospective clients, and competition. I’d like to make an argument today for some compelling reasons to stop the madness and own up to the way things really are. I think the potential outcomes of authenticity just may surprise you.

 

Here are some signs you’re struggling with “just” being you.

 

Let’s go to your business website and take a look at two details. Answer these questions for me. Do you have an “About Me” page or an “About Us” page? How about your contact form? Does it promise to “Contact Me” or “Contact Us?” Use of the “royal we” is one of the main signs that authenticity is a challenge for you. Now if this is you, and you’re really identifying with what I’m saying here, there is no condemnation! When I created my very first website I used that royal we EVERYWHERE. I talked about myself as though I were multiple people. And certainly, I do juggle a lot of roles that can make me nearly schizophrenic at times. But it’s not real, is it? It’s not honest.

 

Why in the world do we do this?

 

If you’re using the royal we at every opportunity, chances are you may be concerned that you won’t be viewed as credible or professional or established enough in comparison to your competitors. First of all, let me tell you it is okay to feel that way. Of course you want to create an image that people can trust. Your motivation is spot-on. But let me remind you for a moment that creating that image—that not quite you image—is an action based on fear. And any time we make choices based on fear, crazy stuff happens. Bottom line is you are trying to be something you’re not, and in turn, the foundation you are building from is the self-limiting belief that you are not enough—not good enough, not worthy enough, not credible enough, not big enough. All of that is just fear talking. None of that is true.

 

Why it’s worth it to let your clients get to know the real you:

 

The real you is a lot more interesting than that image of what you think you should be. If you believe that about yourself, so will others. I invite you to just consider authenticity. Be enough. When you trust you, when you decide that you’re good enough, when you know you have something of value to offer… something kind of magical begins to happen. Your potential clients get to know you.   They like who you are. They trust you, because you’re someone like them. You’re real.

 

I love to hear from you, so leave me a comment!

 

Do you struggle with letting your market get to know the real you?

 

How can you demonstrate to others your faith in yourself that you are enough?

 

 

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High Payoff Actions: Beyond The Comfort Zone

High Payoff Actions: Beyond the Comfort ZoneWe talked in a PREVIOUS POST about how in order to be successful, we as mompreneurs need to learn to recognize when comfort is driving the choices we make.  Staying comfortable, or in our comfort zones, is something we all struggle with as we juggle all the responsibilities of business and family life.  Well, today we’re going to talk about making that shift to basing our choices on our goals, which are rooted in the values, priorities and vision we’re committed to.  I like to refer to these choices as “high payoff actions,” or HPAs.  HPAs utilize your top moneymaking talents and your very best gifts, deserve your utmost attention, and result in you creating the opportunity and life that you want.

 

Let me give you some examples of what I consider high payoff actions:

 

Directly asking a client to hire you.

Creating a service or product to market to your clients.

Making a follow-up call to someone who has already expressed interest. 

Fulfilling a customer order or completing a customer project. 

Researching your niche market for awesome ideas to emulate. 

 

I would suggest that you aim to do between one to three HPAs each day, at the beginning of the day.  Do what’s most important first, and don’t allow yourself to get distracted along the way by something easier or by what we sometimes refer to as “bright, shiny objects.”  Sure, it’s interesting, but it’s not necessarily going to help grow your business.  Sure, it’s comfortable, but if you’re feeling too comfortable, take a look at your day and be sure you’re incorporating some of these high payoff actions that will ultimately drive you toward success.

 

Now I know that some of you are squirming right now, and if you are, that’s a really good indicator that you’ve probably identified an HPA worth doing.  Some momentary discomfort is so worth it, girls.  You are choosing to act on your goals, deliberately and intentionally, in order to grow, and that’s the reward!  And the really cool thing is that every time you grow outside your comfort zone, you are effectively pushing those boundaries outward to increase the total area of what will feel comfortable to you in the future.  Each time you try something new or accomplish something bigger, you make that circle wider.  So what feels uncomfortable in the beginning will feel successful later, and how sweet that success is!

 

I love to hear from you, so leave me a comment!

What “bright, shiny objects” pull your attention away from high payoff actions? 

What HPA really makes you squirm?  How can you incorporate that into your day? 

 

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F-Words Mompreneurs Love

F-words Mompreneurs LoveWhen you say to me wine, I already start relaxing.  When you say girls’ night out, I feel excited.  When you say taxes… But again, they’re just words, right?  And yet words can actually have a lot of power over us.  Well, today we’re going to talk about F-words.  Yes, you heard me right.  F-words—some that we love and… well, some that we as mompreneurs may have overlooked.

 

Here are just a few of my favorite F-words:

 

FREEDOM:  If you’re a mom entrepreneur who has any experience working in corporate America and trying to juggle all that entails, plus raising a family, you know what this word freedom is all about.  You have an appreciation of what it means to be able to determine how you spend your own time.

 

FLEXIBILITY:  What’s a mom, much less a mompreneur, without flexibility?  Flexibility is the ability to spend the day with the kids during a snow day, or go on vacation over spring break.  Flexibility is that tango, that mompreneur dance, if you will, where some days I work and some days I don’t, and really maximizing the time that I have available to me in powerful and efficient ways tailored to my family and business.

 

FULFILLMENT:  Fulfillment is huge.  Let’s face it.  We are some strong, bright women.  This work that we do is not the only thing we could be doing with ourselves.  But we choose this work because in it we find fulfillment; we find something with purpose, something that aligns with our priorities, with things that matter to us.  In this work we find our place in this world, a place of value and significance.  What a powerful F-word!

 

FAMILY:  It is often for the love of family that we start a business so it should come as no surprise that our businesses are often at their very best when we are nourishing and growing our families along with our work.  Learning opportunities abound for the whole family when you own your own small business, not to mention the benefit of added income potential, which brings me to my next F-word.

 

FINANCES:  Granted, this F-word may not be on the top of your list of favorites, but gals, if you are serious about running a business, this is a word we must not overlook. Now this is some medicine of my own I have to take because it doesn’t come naturally for me to want to study the incoming and outgoing of money in my family and business.  But in order to make that money count for the things I’m working so hard for, this F-word is something I’ve got to come to terms with.

 

FEAR:  Fear is like the monster under your bed.  Until you acknowledge it for what it is—probably an old pair of slippers or half-eaten sandwich, if you have kids around—it has complete power over you.  Rather than allowing ourselves to be ruled by the unknown, fear can be an incredible motivator for us in our businesses.  So shine a light into those dark places where fear likes to hide and learn to use this F-word to your advantage!

 

So these were just a few of my favorite F-words.  My hope for you today is that you will find real strength in these words for your life, your family and your business.

 

You know I love to hear from you, so leave me a comment!

What are some of your favorite F-words? 

How have you come to love some of the more “angsty” F-words in your life (like finances or fear)? 

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5 MORE Ways Twitter Changed My Business

5 More Ways Twitter Changed My BusinessTwo posts in a row on the wonders of Twitter! That tells you how highly I think of it. Last time I shared with you “5 Ways Twitter Changed My Business” and today I’m going to follow that up by letting you in on five more things I just love about it—things I hope may push you over the edge toward giving it a try. I bet you’ll never go back! I know I won’t. So let’s dive right in!

1. It’s targeted! If you’ve been around the MomBiz community for any time at all, you’ve probably noticed we talk a lot about your “target market” and whether or not you’ve been asking them what they want. Well, pre-Twitter, I didn’t do that at all. I just came up with an idea that I thought was good and I tried to sell it to people I thought needed it. Now sometimes that worked, but many times it didn’t, and it led to a lot of wasted time and energy. Twitter surrounds me with opportunities to interact with my target market. A quick keyword search gives me untold insight into the pain points I want to create solutions for. When I have an idea, I can float it out to my “tweople” and either regroup and try again, or march confidently forward with what I know they need.

2. It’s easy! As a mompreneur and Chief Everything Officer of your business, you wear a lot of hats. Opportunities to speak or collaborate or teach or write or coach are worthwhile endeavors… but who has time to search for them? Twitter and the marketing strategy I’ve built around it have made me no longer a hunter, but a receiver of such opportunities, creating a richness and diversity to my offerings that I wouldn’t accomplish otherwise.

3. It’s visible! Twitter is the most powerful tool I know of to create visibility for my brand. It’s my virtual “business card.” Enough said. Well… almost. Let’s say you have 2,000 followers on Twitter. Well, that means that not only do those 2,000 people see your tweets, but THEIR followers do too. You can go to a networking event and hand out 20 or 30 or 50 business cards, or you can use Twitter, and every time you tap out 140 characters, you’re sending it to 2,000+. You do the math.

4. It’s central! Twitter has become a single platform in which I can leverage everything else I do in my business. It is the central processing area. I can tweet about my blog posts, my videos, my articles, my products, my radio show… with just a few clicks of the mouse. Twitter is the center of my online presence, offering easy access to all I do.

5. It’s friendly! Running a home-based small business can be lonely. When I’m excited about something and just dying to share it with others, I send it out on Twitter and I get dozens of congratulatory tweets back from my followers. In the same way, when the fighting kids and challenges of motherhood have stressed me to the hilt, some encouraging or hysterical tweets make it all better. This is the stuff that keeps me going.

So there’s my Twitter campaign. They really should send me money for doing such persuasive advertising for them! But when one simple, free tool can make such a positive difference, how can I keep from spreading the word?

I love to hear from you, so let me know what you think!
What is YOUR favorite thing about Twitter?
Has anything I’ve blogged about convinced you to give Twitter a try?

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How to Handle Negative Feedback

How to Handle Negative FeedbackToday’s topic is something we all struggle with. I’m always encouraging people to go out and get feedback. We need to know that what we’re doing is what our audience wants from us. We need to make sure that we are positioning our products and services in such a way that they are easiest and most compelling for our target audience to buy. After all, if we’re not focused on the interests of our potential customers, they’re not going to buy what we’re selling. If they’re not going to buy it, you’re not going to make money. If you don’t make money, you don’t get to stay in business. And so we need feedback to keep us on track. It can be difficult though to hear that we’re barking up the wrong tree. It is a natural human reaction to fall in love with the things that you create. It just is. In fact, we often refer to our businesses, products, services and ideas as our “babies.” We get very attached to them. They are our creation. They are an extension of who we are.

So it just goes to follow that if you are asking for honest feedback, sometimes you’re going to get feedback you don’t want to hear. And it might hurt. So let’s figure out how to handle this because this feedback, both the good and the bad, is valuable and important. Sometimes you need to take it to heart… but sometimes you need to ignore it. Here’s how to tell the difference.

First off, consider the source. In the same way that you wouldn’t ask your plumber what he thinks of your new hairstyle, you don’t necessarily need to ask all your Facebook friends what they think of your new product pitch. Here are some important criteria to help you evaluate when considering the source:

1. Is the feedback coming from your target audience? If not, ignore away! Your target audience is able to give you the most constructive and useful feedback because they know what they want. These are definitely the people to listen to.

2. Is the feedback coming from a champion or hater? There are plenty of people out there, target audience or not, who talk just because they like the sound of their own voices. Feel free to ignore those who don’t have your best in mind. You can tell when negative feedback is coming from a supporter because they will generally be uncomfortable being critical with you. As hard as it is to hear, this may be some of the best feedback you’ll ever get, so take it to heart!

So if you’ve considered the source, next you need to consider the message. We are all tempted to hear “Your price is too high” as “You suck.” Here are a couple of helpful hints when deciphering the message behind the feedback:

1. Don’t hear what someone is not saying. It is true that as mompreneurs we are often our own worst critics. Chances are we are way harder on ourselves than anybody else. Listen to the facts and act on feedback as necessary. If you’re hearing from supporters in your target audience, don’t take their feedback as a personal attack. Look at it as an opportunity to be even better than you already are!

2. Dig deeper. We talk a lot about communication around here and this is no exception to the rule. Clarify what someone means when they critique a product or service. Ask for a comparison. Ask for details. Ask for examples. This helps you get inside the heads of your potential customers and work to meet their needs.

The point here is that you’re already a rockstar and you know it! Feedback—positive or negative—is that edge you need to be even better and that guarantee that what you’re creating and spending time and effort on is worthwhile because your target audience is going to love it.

I love to hear from you, so leave me a comment!

Can you think of a time you took to heart feedback that you should have ignored?
How has listening to the right feedback been beneficial to your business?

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Systematize Your Productivity

Stick-to-what-youre-good“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” ~Newton’s Third Law of Physics

 

I bet you didn’t think you were going to get a science lesson today, did you?  “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”  It’s Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Physics, but today we’re going to apply it to your MomBiz.  We’ve done the hard work of identifying some of the key ways we sabotage our productivity and hopefully you have begun to notice some of the harmful patterns that you’ve let creep into your business.  Now for the fun part!  Today we’re going to apply some “equal and opposite reactions” to that self-sabotaging behavior and create a system for effective and efficient time management, a.k.a. productivity.

 

Effective (adjective): adequate to accomplish a purpose; producing the intended or expected result

In other words, being effective is about doing things right, which I think we all can agree happens best when we are doing the things we’re good at and delegating the things we’re not good at or don’t have time for.  This means that spending 15 minutes on a phone call with your team—managing your team—may be a more effective use of your time, gifts and talents than say 15 hours of fumbling around with something like web design, which if we’re honest with ourselves may end up in the hands of someone more capable anyway, when all is said and done, just to repair the damage we’ve managed to do.  Stick to what you’re good at.  Delegate the rest.

 

Efficient (adjective): performing in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort

Budgeting our time is truly the gateway to productivity and perhaps one of our biggest challenges as mompreneurs.  Just like we budget our finances for a project as relates to what resources we have and how far we need to stretch those resources, our time is a resource as well and we need to recognize that there are limits to what we can accomplish with the time that we have available to us.  Limiting distractions, making appointments with ourselves and “time chunking” are all ways of increasing efficiency.

 

It’s much easier to delegate (be more effective) and to budget your time appropriately (be more efficient) when you have systems in place for things.  We will continue to dig more deeply into time management and setting business goals to increase productivity in the future, but in the meantime I want you to think about what systems you have in place and where you could create systems that allow you to be more effective and efficient.

 

Do you have a system for social media engagement?  Do you have a system for posting to your blog or managing your guest contributors?  Do you have a system for meeting with your team each week and making sure that you guys are on the same page and focused on the same priorities?  Do you have a system for sales proposals?  When someone makes an inquiry and wants to know a little bit more about you, do you have a system for following up and making sure that you move that prospect through your sales funnel?

 

Having these systems in place pave the way for effectiveness and efficiency, empowering you to productivity in your MomBiz. 

 

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Productivity Killers

Lara self sabotageLet me ask you a question.  What is your number one, biggest, baddest challenge as a mompreneur?  Don’t think about it too hard.  Just go with your gut.  Now it might be your first instinct to answer, “Laundry,” right?  Or “Checking all the items off the to-do list for today” or “Getting projects completed.”  Some days it may even be just getting a shower before we head out the door to pick up the kids as we morph into everyone’s favorite superhero—Super Mom.

Well, what all of these really boil down to is time, right?  And as much as most of us would really appreciate about four more hours per day so we can finally get things done, if we’re really, really honest with ourselves, how we manage the time we do have—the same 24 hours everybody else has—is singlehandedly enhancing or sabotaging our productivity.  Today we’re going to take a look at some productivity killers.

First let’s do the hard work of self-reflection and identify a couple of the main ways we sabotage our productivity, especially as it relates to our business practices.  And remember, I’m talking to myself here too.  I know what it is to struggle with these things in my own business.  But “knowing is half the battle,” right?  So here we go:

 

  1. How many times do we try to squish something ginormous and unspecific into a disproportionately tiny period of time?  Come on, we all do this, right?  “I am going to update my website this weekend.”  Oh really?  Is that every page?  Just what does that involve?  Now how qualified are you to even do all that needs done?  If you’re like me, maybe you know just enough about coding to be dangerous.  Now how plausible is it that you are going to be able to squeeze all of that into your weekend without help?  As noble as it may seem to accomplish a huge task with superhuman speed, we thwart even our best efforts when we fail to specify the scope and strategy of a project. 

 

  1. While we’re on the topic of weekends, what time frame would you say comprises your weekend?  Does it start at 5:00 Friday evening with the close of the workday?  10:00 at night, after the kids are tucked into bed and the noise in the house settles down to a dull roar?  Does your weekend really not start until after you’ve gotten your beauty sleep, had your coffee and read the paper Saturday morning?  And what about all the other things we cram into a typical weekend?  Soccer games, birthday parties, dance recitals—not to mention the mountain of laundry we weren’t able to get to during the week.  We set ourselves up for self-sabotage when we fail to specify the time frame we have to work with

 

Now these are only a couple of productivity killers and truth be told, there are many, but these are two of our biggest challenges, for sure.  Start to pay attention as you’re going about your daily routine and begin to take note of the times when you are doing these things.  Catch yourself in the act.  Being aware of the ways in which we sabotage ourselves is invaluable.

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