Moving on From ‘Blue Monday’

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When I switched on the morning news this morning, I wasn’t entirely surprised that we are facing what has been dubbed “the most depressing day of the year” –- aka Blue Monday.

Why wasn’t I surprised?

Well, I’ve been feeling a bit down in the dumps lately (it HAS been grey skies and rain pretty much for the past week). And this morning I was woken up at far too early and civilised an hour by my next-door-neighbour’s children.

Having failed to go back to sleep, I was a bit drowsy when getting up, and so gashed my leg AGAIN on the stupidly designed bedstead (it has ridiculously sharp edges that stick out a mile). I avoided –- marginally –- falling over the dog (who seemed a little moody, not like him). But I ended up spilling coffee (AGAIN) all over the sofa (cream, as it happens) as my hands suddenly became unaware that they have to co-operate with my cognitive functioning.

All in all, not a good start to the day.

So when I sat down to write this blog post, I felt a) frustrated, b) lacking in motivation and c) a bit sorry for myself. I just didn’t have the energy. I just wasn’t ‘bovurd’.

So what do you do for motivation when you can’t quite ‘ready’ yourself up for the work day ahead?

Here is what works for me…

1. Starting with the bits I like best. With blog writing, it’s usually reviewing reader input. That makes it all seem worthwhile, and can trigger an idea for a great post.

2. Breaking a seemingly overwhelmingly huge task into smaller chunks helps makes things more manageable.

3. Throwing myself into some other activity such as yoga or even filing! Anything to make you take a break from that which is getting me down. Actually, the thought of filing is usually enough to get me started on whatever task it is I’m procrastinating on!

4. Focusing on what reward I can give myself when I’ve completed the task in hand is, for me, a HUGE motivator.

5. Remembering the reasons why I started this business in the first place also keeps me slogging forward. Seems to do the trick.

6. Sometimes, it’s simply a question of trying to get those irksome ‘roundabout’ thoughts out of my head and onto paper. Seeing challenges in black and white somehow offers clarity and calms the mind. Well, it does for me, anyway!

7. And if things get really tough, I’ll phone a friend for a good brainstorm to get those creative juices flowing.

Something that I haven’t tried yet, but I plan on doing so soon (there’s that evil procrastinator tendency again) is creating a ‘dream board’.

You get yourself a big piece of cardboard (about A3 size, so you can’t really not see it!) and pin onto it pictures of what you want to achieve or have in your life. For example, there might be a picture of a really nice self-build in a picturesque setting, with fields and sea surrounding it. There could be a horse. A few donkeys. A happy family. A scene of some far-flung place you want to visit… That kind of thing.

Then you place it somewhere you can see it throughout the day. Above your computer is a good location.

Apparently, by looking at it every day and imagining you already have those things on the board, you set yourself in motion to do whatever it takes to get there.

Finally, one more motivator that is bound to work: Looking at your bank balance. Cruel, but effective. ;-)

What about you? Do share your motivators with me and readers of this blog. Oh, go on…

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Are You Blind to Your Own Embarrassing Hiccups?

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Film director David Cronenberg recently aired a warning to all budding scriptwriters:

“Most scriptwriters are illiterate – their grammar is non-existent and they can’t spell. If I’m distracted by spelling mistakes, I can’t get through a script, so I turn it down,” said Cronenberg, speaking on BBC’s Radio 4 on why he turns down film scripts.

As well as ruining any chances of potential stardom, not noticing or, worse, ignoring ongoing errors is bad for business. We’re talking errors on your website, in your blog posts, in your advertising, your press releases and other marketing communications. Sloppy copy confuses your reader … or makes them think you simply can’t be trusted to get things right.

That, in a nutshell, is why proofreaders are so important.

You see, when it comes to checking your own work, ‘blind spots’ get in the way. Oh, you think you know it like the back of your hand; after all, you’ve read the piece so many times, you are certain there aren’t any rogue typos, misspelled words or erroneous punctuation. Absolutely certain … well … maybe…

The thing is, your eyes can and will play tricks on you. They’ve scanned that piece of work so many times now, that they have simply become bored. So they begin to skip the details. Hence, errors stay put.

In my 14 years-plus of proofreading, there’s one surefire thing I have noticed: That it is fairly easy to spot errors in OTHER people’s work, but not so in your own.

What about you? Do you think we should bother with grammar and spelling? Please share your thoughts via the comments link below. I look forward to reading your views.

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The Top 10 Marketing Insights For Business in 2010

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The lead article in MediaMinister’s latest newsletter, Communiqué for Success, shows you how to get make sure 2010 starts off on the right path for your business. To read “2010 and the Top Marketing Insights For Business” as well as the rest of the ezine, please sign up first. (You can unsubscribe at any time, and I NEVER abuse my subscriber’s email address. Your details are safe with me.)

Subscribe here.

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Marketing Must-Dos for 2010

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Fellow blogger and marketer Karen Purves has published a fantastic post on 2010 predictions.

You can read it here.

I’d like to add just one (to keep the list short and simple): transparency. Marketing has been moving away from hype to authenticity, and I think being more transparent in business is key. By being as upfront and as genuine as you can be, you’re more likely to attract higher-caliber clients and customers.

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Happy 2010!

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Just a quick note to ‘say’ a very happy New Year to all my blog readers!

This year, my ‘New Year Resolution’ is simple: to choose to be as happy and as healthy as can be in 2010. I’m going to do one thing … each and every day … regardless of how I’m feeling or whatever the circumstances … that makes me happier and (eventually) healthier. I hope you will join with me in doing the same (for your own wellbeing, of course!).

Choosing to make your life better shouldn’t be down to one marked date in your calendar; EVERY day provides an opportunity to make the most of life. So seize the day, whatever the day is today!

What about you? What New Year plans have you made for your personal or business life? Please share your resolutions or comments.

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