Blog Archives

11 Simple Actions to Dramatically Improve Your Day by Mary Kutheis (kooth-ice)

Breathe – And by breathe I don’t mean life-sustaining, autonomic, shallow breathing, I mean belly-filling, brain-cleansing breathing. With each breath take in enough air to expand your belly and with each exhale, expel as much breath as you can, pulling in your belly to extract every bit. Breathe in to a count of five and out to a count of five and do it five times. You’ll feel the difference.

Stretch – So much of the workday can be spent immobilized staring at a computer screen. In addition, if you have a stressful job (who doesn’t — a show of hands, please), tension can creep in on little cat paws. You don’t see it coming but at some point you realize you’re holding tension in your neck or shoulders or back. Raise and lower shoulders, do some head rolls, bend forward while sitting or standing, raise your arms over your head, do some side stretches. Take a moment to notice where you are feeling tight and focus on that area. Don’t push too hard, it’s not a contest to see how flexible you can make yourself, just stretch enough to release the tension.

Walk – Doesn’t matter where you work you can take five minutes and walk. Inside your building, around your parking lot, down the street in your neighborhood. Short breaks are uplifting and good for the body and mind. A walk will get your blood flowing and make your brain function better.

Say “No” – Getting comfortable saying no is a skill that pays off in many ways. Pick situations when you truly have a choice (it’s more often than you may think) and practice saying “thank you for thinking of me, but no, that’s not something I can do right now.” If you need to compromise somehow, you can always add, “But here’s what I CAN do.”

Be grateful – Write down three things for which you are grateful. These don’t have to be big things and frankly it’s better if they aren’t. If we can be grateful for a comfortable desk chair and a really delicious cup of coffee, we’re going to be grateful a much greater percentage of the time than if we are grateful for a fabulous vacation.

Volunteer – Volunteering takes our mind off of ourselves – which is a good thing. You can volunteer at a local organization that matters to you or even volunteer to help a colleague who could use a hand. Volunteering in any capacity is good for your spirit and has a way of spreading. A kindness done for others leads to more kindness being passed along.

Be mindful – Whatever you are doing, be fully aware and focused in that moment. Taking your first sip of coffee? Enjoy the warmth of the cup and the aroma, as well as the taste. Composing an email? Tune out everything else and focus on just that one task. Speaking with a colleague? Give that person your full attention.

Notice nature – This can be purposeful or on the fly. Driving to work or walking by a window pay attention to whatever nature you see. Having lunch, pick a seat where you can see outside, or better yet, sit outside. Listen to the sounds, smell the scents. Put a live plant or fresh flowers on your desk. Even for a few seconds, take in whatever nature falls into your line of sight.

Listen to music – Pick some music to suit your mood – or perhaps to change it. Listen to soothing music to reduce tension, upbeat music to re-energize you, or your current favorite song to lift your spirits.

Go on a media fast – Turn off the television and the radio. Stay away from newspapers and avoid online news sources just for a day. The news will keep happening without you and in fact will still be available to you later. This isn’t putting your head in the sand regarding current events as a lifestyle; it’s for a short while. Give your brain a break from all the sensational bad news stories out there.

Declutter – Take a few minutes and clear off a corner of your desk that’s been piling up or a drawer that over-accumulated stuff. Getting rid of stuff feels good. Completing even a small project can have residual positive mental effects for days.

Love & Peace to Mary Kutheis

5 Crucial Tips for Editing Your Own Writing by Ali Luke

Measure the effectiveness of your writing

Are your blog posts, mailouts, sales pages and ebooks as successful as they should be?

If you always end up dashing them off in a hurry (or if you fret over every comma but never make any structural changes) then you’re falling down at the editing stage of writing.

No writer, however good, produces a perfect first draft – but every writer, however inexperienced, can hugely improve their work through editing.

Here are five crucial tips that you need to follow:

#1: Allow Plenty of Time for Editing

Maybe you’re always hitting “publish” right on deadline, or every Tuesday is a mad scramble to get your newsletter out.

If you never have time to edit properly, then write fewer pieces of content. Most readers are overwhelmed with blog posts and emails, and they’d rather have one great post each week instead of five mediocre ones.

#2: Write Then Edit

Do you find yourself editing the start of every sentence before you get as far as the period?

If you edit while writing, you’re going to make slow progress. You might never finish a piece because you get bogged down part way, or because you keep changing your mind. It’s much more efficient to get the whole thing written first and then turn your hand to editing.

#3: Let Your Work Rest Before You Edit

Perhaps you already edit your work, by changing around a few words around as soon as you finish each piece.

Instead, let each piece of content rest – for a few hours, or a few days – before you start editing. That way, you’ll see it with fresh eyes. Yes, sometimes you’ll need to edit immediately – but that should be a rare exception, not a habit.

#4: Fix Big-Picture Problems First

When you begin to edit, do you start fixing typos and fiddling with punctuation?

The first stage of editing is to get the focus, structure and flow of your post right. That might mean cutting, adding or rearranging paragraphs (or whole chapters, in an ebook) or altering the tone or style. There’s no point perfecting every sentence in a chapter that you later cut completely.

#5: Edit for Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar Last

If you’ve ever had a reader point out an embarrassing spelling mistake – one that’s been on your site for weeks or months – then you’ll know why getting the details right is so important.

Once you’re happy with the overall shape of your post, you can fix typos, spelling and grammar mistakes, and punctuation errors. That means reading through carefully, paying attention to anything that your spell-checker flags up – but also watching out for commonly confused words, like “its” and “it’s”.

Editing might not seem very exciting or creative … but it’s a crucial part of the writing process. By developing strong editing skills, you can make sure that your message comes across loud and clear. If you’ve got any questions, or any tips of your own to share, just pop a comment below.

 

Love & Peace to Ali who is a writer and writing coach based in the UK.