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274: How to recover from summer

“It’s so easy to get stuck in the day to day of what you think you should do without it ever lining up with and moving you towards what you really want.” -Tara Swiger Listen in at TaraSwiger.com/podcast274

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Hello! I am back! After a summer of pre-recorded episodes and rebroadcasts, I am back with you in nearly-real-time! Today we are going to talk about how to recover from your summer – whether you took time off, or you got tons of work done, or you did a bunch of craft shows or you went on vacation – how do you get back into it and move forward and reach your goals for the year?

Today I'm going to give you an update on my summer, we're going to talk about how to learn from the summer and move forward, and I'll share some changes I'm making in my business!

First, I have to thank YOU for sticking with me over the summer – for staying subscribed, for sharing the show with friends, for leaving a review on iTunes or comments on YouTube and for those of you who supported the podcast on Patreon – I'm going to be thanking my patrons AND linking them up over the next several episodes. If you want to support the show and get some bonuses every single month, head to Patreon.com/Taraswiger.

Thank you to long-time patron, Jacie of BandofWeirdos. Jacie makes the most awesome geek-inspired pins, patches and I proudly wear my Band of Weirdos pins, Cat Spock and “Slayers Gonna Slay” on my jean jacket.

A giant thank you to long-time supporter, friend, and Starship graduate, Lisa Check of Flying Goat Farm. Lisa is a farmer with angora goats and sheep, whose fiber she dyes and spins into beautiful yarn! If you want to get yarn that is well-loved from animal to needle, head to FlyingGoatFarm.com

I had a summer that NEEDS to be recovered from – on May 30th, two toddlers came to live us, ages 2.5 and 3.5. The sisters are sweet and so loving and they have just flourished. The young one went from quiet and shy to a little chatterbox in the last few months and they are both just so totally fun and silly. ADJUSTING to living with two toddlers has been its own challenge. I spent the first month napping every time they napped or left the house. We're blessed that they were already enrolled in a preschool, and to make the transition as easy as possible for them, we've kept them there, even though it means driving an hour round trip, twice a day.

It looks like they'll be with us until the end of September, they have a court date September 26th, and we'll hopefully know a bit more after that. If you want more updates or to see the very adorable back of their heads, be sure you're subscribed on YouTube, where I share a weekly vlog or your watching my Stories on Instagram, for daily updates.

So now that we're three months in, I'm at the spot where I feel pretty capable of thought, on most days, which is significantly better than how foggy I was all summer. So I've been thinking a lot about how to get back to work, how to move forward.

I know many of you are in the same place. Maybe your kids were home for the summer and so you didn't get as much work done. or maybe you traveled a lot for shows, or for fun. Maybe you don't have any particular reason, you're just ready to move on from the summer and get back to your business.

Plus we're about 4 months from the end of the year, so you may be feeling a bit freaked out about the goals you set and how you're going to reach them.

To start with, we're going to expand on the good. Yes, I am sure that there are a million things you didn't do and a million projects you're behind on. But if you try to operate from a feeling of “behind”, you're going to feel scrambly. (Spellcheck tells me that's not a word, but I've decided it is.) And you can't be productive when you're scrambly.

Let's start by answering the following questions:

  • What went well this summer? (list anything, even things that aren't work related!)
  • What in your work was easy?
  • What were excited about?
  • What new ideas did you have? (You might need to flip through your planner or journal for this)
  • What projects are you excited to work on in the next season?
  • What did you try this summer?
  • What worked well? What didn't?
  • Why do you think that is?

(THIS is the lessons you learned this summer! It is so easy to NOT learn them and make the same mistakes again and again!)

Next, let's zoom out:

What were the goals you had for 2019?
(If you've got Map Your Business, pull that out and look at it. It guides you through doing this every quarter but maybe you need the reminder to  open it again?)

Which of the goals have you already met?
(You may be surprised! Almost every quarter I hear from a Starship Captain who already reached their yearly sales goal and they DID NOT EVEN KNOW IT.)

Which of these goals do you want to let go of?
(Maybe you just don't care about them, or they aren't the direction you want to move in.)

Which of the goals really excite you?

This is your OFFICIAL PERMISSION to let go of all the goals that don't excite you. You may come back to them later, or never. But let them go for now.

Don’t skip this!

You may be listening right now and thinking, yeah, yeah, review my goal, I'll do that later. I need to get back to work NOW. But please, don't skip this. This is a very important step in being productive AND in staying on the right track.

It is SO easy to just get stuck in the day to day of what you think you should do, without it ever lining up with and moving you towards, what you really want.

It is also very easy to get burned out and disappointed because you're not hitting your goals and you don't feel like you're making progress.

Do you know what solves both of these problems?

Regularly looking at your goals and CHANGING them based on what you really want, what's actually WORKING in your business, and focusing in on how you're going to get them.

Then create a plan:

So the next step is to look at the answers to your questions and start to combine it into a plan: how can you work more on what has you excited? How can you reach the goal based on what you learned this summer? What other ideas are you having?

At this point you may be noticing that this doesn't look anything like following someone else's blueprint for your business. Your plans and ideas might look totally weird. And you know what?

THAT is how you build a business that stands out, that doesn't blend in. Learning lessons from YOUR business, from YOUR customers, then applying them to YOUR enthusiasms. It may lead you down a weird path, but you'll be moving close to what will make you feel fulfilled and to a business and product that YOUR people will like.

I did this process myself, and lemme tell you what I came up with!

But first, a giant thank you to long-time Patron, Marrietta of Inner Yarn Zen. She dyes beautiful yarn and when I popped over to InnerYarnZen.com, I noticed that she has yarn advent packages available, inspired by both Game of Thrones AND Outlander!

Now, when I did this process myself, here's what I came up with:

Even in the busiest time with toddlers, it was always fun for me to do a few things – chat live with my Starship Captains each week, read books, watch booktube videos and make videos about what I was reading, or my planner, or whatever struck me. I participated in several reading challenges and vlogged my way through them (vlog = daily or weekly video journal) and it was SO MUCH FUN.

Now, that's only tangentially related to what I do for work (which is guiding and inspiring women to create sustainable businesses and lives around their enthusiasm). But it was following MY enthusiasm and it was giving me energy (I could do more than just nap!), so I gave myself permission to focus on it this summer.

And it's always easy for me to host the weekly accountability check-in in the Starship, which is great, because I love what the Starship provides to creative women, and I want to open it to even more makers and artists this fall. I've got a list of new bonuses I'm creating and tools I'm making for Starship Captains, and I'll be announcing those soon. You can head to Taraswiger.com/StarshipBiz to be the first to find out about it.

So that's one area of my business and focus settled – I find it easy, it aligns with my goals and with my bigger mission. Check!

But what about this area that was so fun and easy, making more videos and talking about books? Is there a way to integrate that more into my life?

One of the things I tried this summer was participating in the reading challenges, and hosting a book club for my Starship Captains and essential oil customers. That went SO well and had such a great participation and feedback I knew I wanted to do it again. So looking for connections and putting it together with some other new videos I want to make, I realized the answer was to host a new book club for ANYONE who wants to join, and give those same people all the weird videos I want to make every month.

For $2/mo you can support the podcast, get at least one extra video each month, and join my book club – where you'll vote on the book and we'll read it together. If you want to support the show for $7, you can TELL me what to add to my own reading list each month, get a shout out on social media, and pick the specific topics I cover on the podcast. Head over to Patreon.com/TaraSwiger to join the book club and get extra videos.

Nothing about this podcast will change – you'll still get new episodes every Wednesday, FOR FREE, and the full transcript here at TaraSwiger.com/blog. And if you subscribe on YouTube, you get a video every Monday, usually a bit of behind the scenes of running my own business. If you support the show, you get extra videos, the book club, and more, but most importantly you make THIS free show more sustainable, so I can keep helping more women craft the business they want, so I can keep encouraging you through hard times, and so I can keep taking time to parent my foster kiddos.

Thank you so much for being here, wishing you an enthusiastic week!

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

244: Beyond goal-setting: Daily and weekly plans

Getting what you want to do done in your business involves more than just having a vision or checking things off your to-do list. Learn move about the three things that need to work together to get what you want done at TaraSwiger.com/podcast244

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What do you after you set your goal? What if you know what to do but you aren't getting anything done? Today I'm going to answer those questions and talk about how I use a planner.

I know it's February, and most people think about planning and planners and overhauling their habits at the first of the year, but I'll be honest with you: this year I didn't start even THINKING about my new year until January 20th. Between the logistics of a new 2 year old foster placement in my life and the learning curve of toddler parenting, I had no brainspace to spend thinking or planning. And once I started talking about my planning on Instagram (@taraswiger), I started getting questions that I wanted to answer here on the podcast. And hey, these are the questions I'm dealing with right now, as my whole work life is different now that I’m a new mom.

So the real question, for most of us when it comes to productivity is “how do I get done what I want to get done?”

In my experience getting things done comes down to three different parts of the process. At least one part of the process probably comes to you very naturally, and you don't have to even think of it. But another part of the process may not feel natural. You may get frustrated because you have such a clear vision about where you want to go, but your days seem to slip past you. Or you may be a pro at checking things of your list, but you feel fuzzy about where it's all going.

What you need is to identify how you do all three parts and then focus in on where your system is breaking down.

The Three Parts of Getting What You Want Done

First, identify the destination.

Where do you want to go?

If you just start planning your day or setting goals without a vision for the destination, it will be hard and you'll probably change course often and not make a lot of progress.

The clearer you are, the easier this will be, but I don't want you to fret too much over this. The longer you work on your business, the clearer you'll get about your Ideal Destination, and the more you'll know about the business you want. Your vision can evolve as you move along your path.

But you do need to spend time thinking about the aspects of where you want your year or your life or the next 3 months to go. What do you want to have more of? How do you want to spend your time? How do you want to feel? The first section of Map Your Business walks you through this.

Second, map out the steps to get closer to the destination.

Break your destination down into a smaller goal (for the next 3-6 months) and map out the steps you'll need to get there. This is the heart of my book Map Your Business, it has worksheets that guide you through this process 4x a year.

I hear from women every day who are using Map Your Business to get clear about where they are in their business and where they want it to go. (I LOVE hearing from Mappers and seeing your posts on Instagram, so if you are using Map Your Business, please tag me!) But it's not just about SETTING the goal, Map Your Business walks you through identifying what you'll need to do to reach your goal – the mini-goals you'll hit on the way there, and the actual tasks you'll need to complete. When you're done mapping, you'll have a big to do list that will move you where you want to go.

You can't make progress unless you know SPECIFICALLY what to work on.

Third, give the tasks a time and space.

This can be as free or as structured as you like. There are any number of ways to do this, but for many of the makers I talk with, this is the step they're skipping. They may have done Map Your Business and now they don't actually get the tasks done because they haven't set aside the time and space.

The big thing to remember is: this aspect will probably have to change as you grow.

For years, I would have the same set workday, and then just take my map to do list and work through it during the workday. Over time I learned I work best when days have a specific focus, like writing on Monday and recording on Tuesday. Within those boundaries, I'd work on my to do list. Now my whole schedule has been blown up by a 2 year old, so I'm rethinking how I do this.

Here are some ways that work for the women I know:

  • Have set work hours and just work down your list during those hours.
  • Theme days: writing days, shipping days, sewing days
  • Time Block your schedule: look at the blocks of time you have and assign the blocks kinds of tasks (the main thing is to STOP doing that task when the block is over). You may get your family out the door from 6-8, workout from 8-9, work on marketing and photography  9-12, then work on production from 1-3. Then family time from 3-8. Your blocks can be tiny (1 hour) or bigger (3 hrs is probably the max for your focus and attention).
  • Plan when you'll do what task at the beginning of the week (useful if your schedule changes a lot).

I want you to remember: it doesn't matter HOW you organize time or even how much time you have, what matters is “are you working on what matters to you and to your goals during that time?”

It's possible you have one of the above systems in place (or you intend to) and yet you still aren't working on what matters? Why? I've found that most of us are dealing with one of the following reasons:

  1. We aren't actually working on what we planned to.
    Instead of taking photos for Instagram, we're scrolling instagram. Instead of writing the email newsletter, we're looking at our email stats. That's ok! Don't beat yourself up! Just recognize it, identify where you do it, and move on.
  2. We haven't written it down.
    I don't know how you'll keep track of what to work on if it's not written down somewhere visible. You can make a pretty planner, you can use Asana, you can just write a list on a post-it, but I've never met anyone who didn't need SOME way of keeping track of what to do next. If you find yourself NOT working during your work time, stop and write down what you'll do next. It may see silly or unnecessary if you've already written it all down, but this is my quickest productivity hack: I just write down the next 2 things I'll do starting…now.
  3. You're not keeping track of all you DO do.
    Many times I've talked to a business owner who is complaining she never gets anything done and then she tells me about her day and OMG she is DOING SO MUCH. But she's not “counting it”. So start writing down and planning ALL that you do, not just your business or not just the newest goal. Having it all written down in front of you can make you more realistic about the time you have to spend on this new goal and help you celebrate all that you get done!

If you liked today's episode but you wanna go WAY deeper into productivity and how to plan a workday that works for you, check out my creativeLIVE class, How to Get More Done. It's 6 hours long with awesome bonuses and worksheets and you can find it at taraswiger.com/time.

And if you want to see my own planner system, check out my YouTube channel, my Monday videos have recently been about the systems I have used and how I plan now!

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

The importance of planning for the New Year (and how I do it)

Did your 2016 go as planned? Are you feeling discouraged or sidetracked or thrilled? No matter how your 2016 has gone, you can create a better 2017. Today we’ll hear from a non-planner about how planning projects has made his life better, and I’ll share what I do in my own New Year planning session. Listen in at TaraSwiger.com/podcast136/

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Did your 2016 go as planned? Are you feeling discouraged or sidetracked or thrilled? No matter how your 2016 has gone, you can create a better 2017. Today we’ll hear from a non-planner about how planning projects has made his life better, and I’ll share what I do in my own New Year planning session.

Links Mentioned:

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

Feeling unmotivated? Here’s how to Get More Done

I hear from SO many people that they just don't feel motivated to work on their To Do list - from the daily small tasks to the bigger goal-oriented projects. That's why it's so important to have a system of identifying your goal, breaking it down, and checking off your To Dos. This week we're revisiting a popular podcast from the past, with an all-new transcript and a FREE guide to go with it! In this episode we’ll discuss The principles for Getting More Done How to stay motivated when you don't feel like working The process I use to make progress on my quarterly goals Want to get more done? Get my FREE distraction-free guide to getting more done.Grab it here: TaraSwiger.com/podcast119/

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Get more goodness and support the podcast: http://patreon.com/taraswiger

I hear from SO many people that they just don't feel motivated to work on their To Do list – from the daily small tasks to the bigger goal-oriented projects.

That's why it's so important to have a system of identifying your goal, breaking it down, and checking off your To Dos. This week we're revisiting a popular podcast from the past, with an all-new transcript and a FREE guide to go with it!

In this episode we’ll discuss

  • The principles for Getting More Done
  • How to stay motivated when you don't feel like working
  • The process I use to make progress on my quarterly goals

 

Want to get more done? Get my FREE distraction-free guide to getting more done.Grab it here.

Check out the other posts + podcasts in this series:

Links Mentioned

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news  on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

The view

Just picked up @bluebirdlegacy's yarn from the fiber mill...and sold every last skein to Purl'sYarn Emporium. Stop in to squeeze it! It is SO GOOD.

Good morning! Will there be coffee? Or pastries?  In line @jcStarbucks.

Yay! Done with the body of #bluesandcardigan! Picking up for the front. #knitting #pluckyknitter #knitstagram

Raylan apologizes for getting up at 5:30 & wants to know if we can go back to bed. #raylanpup #taralovesmornings #butnotthatearly

So much progress on #brandiedcherries! #taralovesmornings

I am so grateful for…

  • Warm weather!
  • I saw the first of the Spring daffodils and it's really the best news all week.
  • Total writing flow. I wrote over 3.5K words on Monday and 5.5k on Wednesday and whoa, does it feel good.

The Finds:

I’m reading:

I’m knitting: 

In case you missed it: 

  • I'm teaching at Craftcation in just two weeks! YAY! If you're in SoCal, please join me! (Or at the very least, let's have a coffee! Drop me a note here.)
  • Think you need to worry about “managing your time”? You don't.
  • Not sure where to start with keeping track of your business numbers? Start here.
  • The Starship will open for only 5 days this quarter. Sign up here to be the first to find out.

What adventures have you had?

Motivation: How to keep yours

Motivation How to Keep Yours

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Now that we know how to get stuff done and how to work towards your big projects, how do you keep doing it, day after day? How do you keep doing the work even when it's not fun?

 

Motivation. 
 

In this episode I'll discuss:

  • The needs that are distracting you (and permission to get them sorted first)
  • The three things your work must have to keep you motivated
  • How to be sure that you don't undermine your motivation

Links mentioned:

How to listen

Find all the podcast episodes here.

 

 

How to get stuff done, Part 1

How to Get Stuff Done 1

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UPDATE: In this episode I mention Wrangle Your Time, which is now available as Get More Done. 

Once you've made your New Year plans and you've boiled your goal down into an actionable plan with the Map Making Guide … how do you actually get your list of things done?  It's a balance of knowing what to do and finding the time to do it. In this mini-series, we'll discuss the principles of being productive (in this episode), followed by a post (about my own systems and routines, and ending with a podcast episode on how to find and implement a system and routine that will work for you.

If you need to make your own system, join us for Get More Done, where you'll learn how to put together a system that works for you. 

In this episode: 

  • How to do  what you want to do and reach your goals.
  • How to stay motivated
  • Choosing the most impactful actions to take

Links mentioned: 

How to listen

Find all the podcast episodes here.

Don't miss the 2nd part of this series – How to Get More Done, part 2!

 

 

Make 2015 Awesome.

Make 2015 Awesome

I am getting super excited about the end of the year. I love using the next few weeks as an opportunity to hit pause on everything for a minute (remember, you have permission to take time off) and look at what happened in this last year, and what I want to happen in 2015. Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing the biggest lessons of 2014 via email, so (in the last blog post of the year!) I want to talk about how to make 2015 awesome – how to be sure that next year at this time, you're going to feel great about what unfolded.

 

 

As I'm always reminding you, you can build your business to be whatever you want – you get to define your own success.
But that's not where it ends. After you define success for yourself, you have to boil it down to what that will look like – the specifics of it – and start taking action to actually getting it. Action that is directly going to impact your goal.

As you're planning your New Year, keep these things in mind:

Review the last year first.

List what worked and what didn't. Celebrate your successes and ask yourself: What actions made that happen? Let go of what didn't work. (In Chart Your Stars, which you'll get in both Lift Off + the Starship, the most popular activity we do is releasing the regrets of last year- forgiving yourself and choosing to move on is powerful.) Enumerate the lessons you've learned (I'm sharing my lessons next week, via email). Make a list of what lessons you want to bring with you into the New Year.

Be specific.

Everyone wants more sales or more money or “growth.” What does that look like in your specific business? This is where you're going to take what you learned while reviewing your year, and build on it. If you made 50 sales last year and you want to grow – how many sales do you want to make this year? If you want to write a book, how you will you do it (self-publish? book proposal to traditional publisher? something else)?

Find your reason.

Why do you want this? For things you truly want, you can usually answer this question swiftly, with multiple answers. Knowing your why will keep you motivated, even when things get hard. It will inspire in you another way of fulfilling that deeper desire, when a goal doesn't work out. For example, you want to make more money because you want your business to be profitable, because you want it to….pay some bills? Allow you to go to a movie? Contribute to your dream house? How else could you get that?

Pick a focus.

If you listed 500 things you wanted to do in 2015 – that's fine! But in order to make progress on any of them, you're going to need to pick one or two to really focus on in the next three months. You can start anywhere – I always tell explorers to pick the thing they are most enthusiastic about, no matter how crazy it might seem. After you choose a destination for your next quarter, you'll break it down into individual steps, so that you can take an action every day to get closer to your goal. (We do this step by step in the Map Making Guide – which is free in Lift Off and the Starship).

You may find, as you go through this process, that what you thought you wanted actually…isn't. Maybe you'll come up with an easier or more obvious way of reaching your definition of success. Maybe you'll realize that you don't have any reasons, and you're only doing this because you think you “should.” No matter what the results are, be encouraged and keep going until you have some goals and ideas you are truly enthusiastic about!

If you'd like to do all of the above in a guided workshop, surrounded by a community of encouragers – beam aboard the Starship! It is now open to new members!

4 steps to make your dream more do-able

(If you're reading via email, click through to watch the video)

Whenever I talk to makers about their goals, I hear the same frustration over and over:

I'm great at setting goals…but never seem to succeed with STICKING with them.”

In my CreativeLIVE class, we spent the whole third day translating your marketing and your dreams into a do-able plan, that will take you towards your true goals (and not just what you think you should do.

In the above video snippet, I share 4 actionable tips for making your goals more do-able. 
1. Get Super Specific
2. Recognize the support you have + the support you need
3. Keep it in line with your North Star
4. Be Flexible


If you want to get clear on your marketing and how they shape your dreams, you can buy the entire class (and watch a few more sneak peeks), right here: http://cr8.lv/taraswigerclyt

How to pick your goal

Set your goals for the rest of 2014 with the Explore Your Enthusiasm podcast, on TaraSwiger.com

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Happy Middle of the Year!

How's your 2014 going? Have you come closer to your goals for the year? Or have you forgotten all about them?
Either way, this is a great time to reset your intentions for the rest of the year and make a new map.

But where are you going?

In this episode you'll hear my favorite ways to set a good, clear goal that will bring you to a business you really want. I also share an embarrassing story about getting lost, and the importance of not just setting your destination, but paying attention the entire way there (with regular review!)

Links mentioned:

 

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

 

 

 

 

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