Waiting for the Right Conditions

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Have you ever wanted to do something like get a new job, start a business, go to school, or take a big vacation but you held back? You kept thinking: well if I get that raise then I will, when my kids are old enough I, when I’m more financially sound, or something big just happened so I can’t.

You know what those are called? Waiting for the right conditions. Thinking that if everything would just fall into place how you want it to THEN and only then you can start this thing you’ve been putting off. But the thing is those “right conditions” may never come and probably won’t so where does that leave you?

After I had gotten my undergrad I had wanted to go back to college to get my masters so I could learn more in my narrow focus of expertise. One thing lead to another and I kept putting it off. I kept saying I would do it when I had the money, or when I had more time, or once I’ve gotten things settled.

Then it hit me. I may never have “the money”. I had time I just wasn’t making time for it. And I live this crazy thing called life and it may never be settled. So I sucked it up, applied, and started my masters program. And you know what? Even though I didn’t have the “right conditions” everything turned out just fine.

If you always WAIT for the RIGHT CONDITIONS you will NEVER get it done.

Don’t be the cause of your own delay. Don’t deny yourself simply because the conditions aren’t right and it’s going to take a lot of work and sacrifice to get what you want. So don’t wait. Start today. Start right now, because life has and uncanny way of working those “right conditions” right out.

 

Image courtesy of amenic181 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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Video: How to be an Entrepreneur

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Saw this video a while ago and had to share it. To be your best you have to know your limitations and be willing to rely on other people to get you where you want to be. I definitely couldn’t have gotten to this point in my life without help.

To be an Entrepreneur it takes a lot more than just deciding you can do better than your current boss. it takes a lot of work and even if you are great at doing a certain task it doesn’t mean that you can run a business.

Take a look at this video and you will see what I am talking about.

5 Apps To Use For Productivity

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In the digital age of smart phones and tablets there are plenty of tools at our disposal to help get the job done. Of course we all know about the apps that we use thinking they are awesome but quickly fall to the way side of app page four where they are never to be seen again until we need to clear space.

However sometimes there are a few apps the come along that make the grade and stick around. Here are some of my favorite apps that I frequently use for productivity.

1. Evernote

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Image copyright of Evernote

Evernote is great for jotting down notes to taking pictures of recipes to file them for later. Each note can be filed away in specified note books which then can be synched to other devices including tablets and computers.

I use Evernote a lot for recipes I may find in a magazine, articles or images I find on the web that sparks and idea, or even keeping sound recordings that have stuck a cord. It is a great way to keep a digital notebook that you can add to where ever you are.

2. Paperless

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I use Paperless all the time. It allows you to create category lists. I use Paperless sometimes for groceries or remembering things. But mostly I use it for story breakdowns. Kind of how writers use breakdowns or index cards. It is my digital version of that. Because none of the items are static I can move them up or down on the list as needed.

You can apply and icon to each list, create a checklist, customize the background, and sync with other devices. You can also back it up to Dropbox or send a copy of it through email so you can share it or just have an extra copy.

Paperless is only available for Apple right now but a great Android substitute is Wunderlist.

3 and 4. Dropbox/ Google Drive

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These are both great cloud storage apps that allow you to upload files and share them with other devices or other people. Both have a good amount of initial space with room for additional space if needed.

Dropbox is great for syncing with other apps to have automatic backups, sharing folders with other Dropbox users, and anything you place in a folder is automatically synced where ever that folder is. I use it mainly for backing up my writing files and syncing so I can easily pick up and write no matter what device I am using.

Google Drive is great for collaboration. I use it often when I have to write a report with someone else and we can both view and live edit the piece together seamlessly. Synced with a Google email account you can open files without having to download them first and share documents in an email in a flash.

When choosing between personal and professional uses, I usually use Dropbox for personal and Google Drive for professional but ultimately it is up to you.

5. Any.Do/Cal

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I have an iPhone and although the calendar has greatly improved since ios7 I still find it lacking a bit so my go to calendar is Cal. I love the way that it follows when setting up events, how the backgrounds are more stylish, and that it still sinks with other calendars.

Another added bonus is Any.Do which is done by the same company. Any.Do is a to do list that syncs with Cal and you can set tasks for today or a specific date. With each task you complete your completion number increases and when you hit a certain number you can earn Klip rewards which vary from goods to shopping deals. Also any task you don’t finish that day automatically moves to the next day.

Hopefully these apps offer a good idea on what to look for when looking for productive apps. Be sure to test out plenty of apps to find the one that best fits your work flow.

Got any other great apps you think are keepers? Feel free to share them below!

Currently Reading: Platform Get Noticed in a Noisy World

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Writing a blog or trying to create some sort of presence in social media isn’t easy and it doesn’t always come naturally. I have twitter, facebook pages, instagram, and the like but to say I have a presence on them is a stretch. I’m just not used to always tweeting my thoughts, taking snapshots (and certainly not selfies) at events, or posting content beyond a blog post.

It’s not always that I don’t want to do it, mostly that I forget and don’t really have a system in place to back it up.

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy Wold by Michael Hyatt 

This a great book to get started with creating a lasting social media presence. The book has five parts in it get you on your way.

Part One: Start With Wow

This is all about creating a marketable product and making it big.

Part Two: Prepare to Launch

This is all about the preparation it takes to successfully launch your brand like the various social media sites available, profiles, staff, personal pictures, endorsements and such.

Part Three: Build Your Home Base

Learning how to use all social media sites so that they flow seamlessly with each other. A lot of this one is centered around creating a blog and great blog content.

Part Four: Expand Your Reach

This one is about how to understand Twitter, gaining more followers, learning how to get more traffic, and understanding what your current traffic means.

Part Five: Engage Your Tribe

How to get more interaction with people on your blog and eventually how to monetize it.

This book is all about attracting that audience, and turning on the brightest lights you can find, and building passionate loyalty so your audience stays with you through every line, every scene, every act. It’s not about ego or being the center of attention. It is about having something of value to others and finding the most powerful way of getting that message to other who can benefit from it.

Great aspects of this book:

I really liked how the chapters are structured. Most are no more than five pages which allows you to get through the material fast but also doesn’t make you feel bogged down with information so you can easily stop or come back to it later.

There is also great use of storytelling from the author’s life as well as successful people to keep things interesting. There is also a wealth of knowledge in it so you can use it again and again as a reference book. Reading it once definitely is not enough.

Keep in mind though that a lot of this information is basics and great for people starting out but if you are looking for something a little more advanced than this might not be for you. That being said I did find this book very helpful and I recommend reading it.

The Difference between Being Busy and Being Productive

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Being busy is nice. It gives us a sense of purpose and makes us feel as if we are doing something meaningful with our lives, but being busy isn’t the same thing as being productive.

For instance, last fall I took on two short films, blogging for two film festivals, finishing two scripts, and a seasonal supervision position at work that upped my hours to 40-60 per week. To say that I was a little overwhelmed would be an understatement.

I had a constant headache throughout the film festivals due to seeing so many movies in a row. I was supposed to take point on the second short film was unable to. The scripts never made it that far. I had worked so many hours between my job and everything else that on my days off all I wanted to do was sleep.

All of this got me so wound up that in February I said enough and left for Florida for eight days of sunshine and mind clearing. Super busy but not that productive.

Lesson learned.

We have to find the right balance between busy and productive. Knowing which projects to take on and how many is essential not only for giving our best but for our well-being.

So when ever you start to feel overwhelmed or things being to suffer and you are falling behind, stop and ask just how productive you are and change things. By the way it’s okay to say no. Saying it isn’t a bad thing because if you can’t give your all then don’t. As they say “less is more”.

“Image courtesy of jesadaphorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

Don’t Compare: You vs Everyone else

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As humans we have this constant habit of comparing ourselves to others. We do it when it comes to things, happiness, looks, careers, and what have you. Sometimes we do it without even realizing that it’s happening. And we don’t just compare ourselves but each other. There have been many times that I’ve done this without even realizing and had been surprised. I most often do this when it comes to the career tracks that I have taken in comparison to others.

I see where my friends are in their financial success and often wonder why I can’t do the same thing. Sure I could get a “real” job and work for years under corporate management, making a salary, and climbing the ladder; but that was never what I wanted. So here I am on the other side of it trying to make it as an Entrepreneur, never really committing to a job because I know that is not where I want to end up forever.

Sometimes I think man why didn’t I just pick an easier route?

Because yes, it is much easier to follow a path that has already been made then to carve your own. Not saying the other one doesn’t come with tribulations but it’s different. Do I wish I was were they are financially? Yes. Definitely yes. But do I want to do what they had done to get there? No. What I want is something of a different type of success and that’s why I’ve learned (and keep telling myself) that I can’t compare where I am at to someone else.

So don’t look at your friend who has the successful job while you have the struggling business. And don’t give up because you think the other road is easier because it may not be. Stay on the path that you have taken, you never know just how far you are from the break through.

Poem above is by Robert Frost

Lessons Learned: Sometimes Failure is Good

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Two years ago I threw caution into the wind and decided to write/produce my own short film. Although I had worked on many projects, I hadn’t worked on my own project since college. This was my first time putting together a production in the real world, with out the backing of a film department in a University.

I had get the actors, crew, equipment, waivers, food, locations, and money all on my own. It was a daunting task. I prepared for over two months for a shoot that was to take place over two days, determined that things wouldn’t go wrong. But of course they did.

Things that went wrong:

  • The guy I got to direct it bailed one week before the shoot. I now had to direct my own film. I am not a fan of directing. That is why I had a director. But I had to suck it up and deal with it.
  • I was broke. Like seriously broke but some how I managed to pull it off and still feed everyone.
  • ALL of my production assistants flaked like baklava in the hands of a child. Now I had to do twice the work on set.
  • When trying to secure the first option for the location the contact decided not to communicate anymore. Plan B.
  • During the shoot the very expensive supposedly great camera we were using overheated broke down and thus needed to be rebooted via wifi at Mcdonalds.
  • The main actresses’ car broke down a few blocks from shoot pushing us back. Her boyfriend had to ride with the car back to their place. He happened to be my Assistant Director…
  • And then when it was all said and done the footage, we had bled and sweat over to get, turned out to be formatted incorrectly and so bad that it was unusable. So no film.

Needless to say, there was never a dull moment. Things weren’t all bad we did finish the days earlier than expected, everyone was happily fed each day, and we had a good time.

If I had to do it all again I definitely would have done some things differently. However it is only the fact that I had experienced it in the first place that would make me want to go back and change things. I had a lot of take aways from that that I can now apply to future projects.

I may not have ended up with a finished film but what I got instead was worth just as much. I realize now that no matter the outcome of the task, even if it is failure, I can still take something away from it that will help me in the future.

Currently Reading: How to Write Great Blog Posts that Engage Readers

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To be the best you can be you must always continue to learn. As part of this, every week I will share a resource that I have found helpful and that hopefully you would find helpful too.

How to Write Great Blog Posts that Engage Readers

by Steve Scott

This was one of the first books I had picked up when looking to start this blog again. The big thing that hindered me when it came to blog writing was simply having nothing to write. I had built up several blogs before this that had started out strong but then eventually died.

Before starting this one I had to assess just what it was that made me stop. Was it time constraints? Yes and no, but really I could make time if I wanted to. Was it a lack of material? Sometimes yes, but one of the blogs I was doing was an indie movie review blog. There are tons of indie movies out there so really no lack of material. Then what?

I’d realized that I lacked a clear outline and focus of what my blog was truly about and why I was doing it. I also realized that I was using the same type of blog posts again and again and I was seriously craving some creativity. So thus the blogs faded off into a slow oblivion.

What this book does is lays out the basic set ups of blog posts and the usual types blog posts fall into. What makes this beneficial is that you learn how to build a good blog post and start to get and idea of how to structure your blog.

I really needed a kick to get this started because otherwise this would have remained empty and just another failed attempt. This book helped with that and I hope it can help you.

How to Write Great Blog Posts that Engage Readers by Steve Scott is available here on Amazon and the best part, it’s a good about of information and resources and it only costs $0.99!

5 Ways to get Inspiration

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Even when I am not writing or working on a project I try to keep the creative juices flowing so that I can be open to ideas whenever they come to me. Which really can be in some of the strangest places. It’s amazing how many different ideas I get when I drive the same stretch of road everyday to work. The road and the path never changes yet something different happens causing me to think differently.

Here are a five things I do to keep those creative juices flowing.

1. Surf the net

This may sound a little counterintuitive considering that you are always told that surfing the net is a time waster, however if you do it with a sense of purpose that will change things. A lot of times I hop onto my computer to check my email, Facebook, and the like. But while I am doing that I am also keeping open to ideas whether it is through someone’s status, a funny meme, or a news report. I never know what is going to capture my attention and turn into a great idea.

2. Read everything

By this I truly mean everything. If you are in a doctor’s office waiting room read every sign, every plaque, every word on every surface. Everything. What’s really fun is reading it really fast in your head. It almost starts to make a weird sentence and then you piece things together that usually wouldn’t have fit.

3. Daydream

By this I don’t mean thinking about a beach vacation while you are stuck in a miserable winter state. Although fun, it’s not very productive. Daydream instead about where you see yourself in the future or if you are writing a story where you see your character going next. A lot of times before I write a story I will daydream it out first knowing how it is going to end and even go off on tangents that may not get written. But by doing this I’ve developed the story or the idea even further.

4. People watch/Observe

Did you know Walt Disney go the idea for the Disney theme parks after watching his kids play in a dilapidated theme park. After observing them and other families he thought to himself how great to would be to have a family centered place to go to that didn’t have the underlying seedy establishments as well. Thus came the idea for Disney theme parks. There are plenty of million dollar ideas out there, you just have to see them.

The other part of this is watching the habits and moments of people. Wonder what brought the person to this particular place today or if they are with someone how that happened. Listen in on conversations. Sometimes you need to get out of the perspective of your own world and hear another’s to understand how some people tick.

5.Talking

Conversations can bring me to the strangest places. Especially when talking with customers. I will meet the kind of people you really would think only existed on television. Sometimes after such a conversation I would think “man they would make a great character” it’s true. I’ve also had many conversations that have led to great ideas. Also they are just great motivators to keep you moving.

Jot it down!

Cultivating ideas are a great way to motivate and to create new projects but you have to write them down when you get them! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve kicked myself when I’ve had an idea that was great and then I lost it. Of course there are those times when ideas come and you’re not in a good place to jot them down like the shower or driving. In these instances I try to expand on the idea and keep it running in my head until I can then write it down.

What are some ways that you keep your creative flow moving?

Keeping a Journal to Stay on Track

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A good way to keep yourself focused and on track is to keep a journal. To do lists and goal sheets are great starts but a journal will allow you to look at what you’ve done for the day and actually assess just how much progress you’ve made.

I have been keeping a journal since the beginning of the year and it has really helped me define the things that I’ve really worked on and pointed out the times in which I really didn’t do as much as I could have.

Here is how I break my journal usage down:

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1. The Date

Just as is says. Main purpose is of course so when you go back and look at your entries you know when you wrote it.

2. Events

This is where I write down different things that happen through out the day which usually break down this way:

  • Exciting things that may have happened
  • Recap of things that I was supposed to accomplish
  • What I actually accomplished
  • Unexpected issues (such as a plugin shutting down when building my site or having to wait in the doctor’s office due to being sick)
  • Insights (Had a break through in my script writing or came up with an awesome idea)
3. Tasks for Tomorrow

I usually leave the space at the bottom to figure out the things I need to do tomorrow to improve on what I did today or the actions I need to change in order to be more diligent.

How often should you write in your journal?

As often as you like. I usually make it a daily thing where every night before I go to bed I write in it.

The format of your journal can be anything you like. I keep mine in a good old thick notebook where the cover is decorated and I use multicolored gel pens just for fun. You can also use a computer and there are various apps that are available to use as a journal. What you choose to use is up to you. Just as long as you keep it up.

Top image courtesy of nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net