There's no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed the way business is being done at this time. If you're a small business owner, it's pretty scary indeed. While the future remains uncertain, you want to make sure you're at least doing everything you can to make sure that your online brand presence (and therefore your business) is given the best shot at survival. Here are 6 ways to manage your brand presence online while you're working from home.
1. Reach out and connect
Your company's social media presence is just as important as it ever was, even if your services have been temporarily suspended due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Continue to create supportive and positive posts, so that your customers can see that you're still active in some way - and if you've developed a way to help your community in some way, be sure to broadcast it so people can find you.
2. Check your website for SEO-friendly keywords and strategy
It's a good idea to use this time to take a cold, hard look at your website content and make sure it's SEO-friendly. We know that any good website worth it's salt has SEO-friendly content on each page - but you may not know that this content should be refreshed periodically to trigger Google's ever-present digital eyeballs. That means that every 2-3 months, you need to update written content. How? Keywords, keywords, keywords! Wordstream is a great site for conducting keyword research to find out what's trending with your customers' searches. Keywords need show up in your website content in a strategic way (no keyword stuffing, please!), so that you can organically increase the visibility of your site. Never underestimate this necessary ingredient!
3. Check your Call-to-Action
What exactly do you want your current or prospective customers to do when they are on your website? Has that changed with the Coronavirus pandemic? If so, it's time to go back in and adjust your Call-to-Action. Giving your customers clear direction with a button, a phrase or a link to the particular service panel is really important. Make it easy to find and put it on every page of your website - that's because most website viewers only stay on a page for a brief time.
4. Build your content bank
Using this time to build a bank of evergreen posts and blogs is a great way to stay productive for your business. These kinds of materials are hugely valuable and you'll save yourself a lot of time when things return to "normal" (whatever and whenever that will be). Dive back in to older images and content (yes, it's okay to reuse, especially if it performed really well the first time) and re-work it in a new way.
5. Review your social media integration
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it's easy to forget: check to make sure that all of your company's social media accounts are easy to access from your website, and vice-versa. Social media posts should have a link back to a relevant page or service on your site - remember, they all play off of each other.
6. Beef up your website security
You should already have this on your site, but if you don't - now's the time to address it. Brand new clients and customers seek companies they feel they can trust, and having a secure site is one way to instantly boost such trust. Website security controls like SSL encryption and security badges are critical if you are handling sales from your site. Other measures like a public privacy notice and customer reviews go a long way to demonstrate trustworthiness.
It's true that this is a really uncertain time for the vast majority of small businesses. Working from home may have you scratching your head, drumming your fingers and wringing your hands - and you're definitely not alone. Using this time to un-peel the onion and look at your back office website and social media tasks is a great way to stay on top of your brand presence needs.
Here at Digital Heartbeat, I'm hard at work helping all of my clients adjust their sails as we all navigate this situation together. In fact, I shifted my own work-from-home schedule to include a massive amount of learning so that I'm prepared to do just that. I am in close contact with other professionals in my field so that we can learn from each other and apply best practices for strategy and brand presence. Reach out today if you need a helping hand - I am at your service.
Please stay safe, stay healthy, and take care of each other as community. The more we do to protect ourselves and others, the more we demonstrate the incredibly compassionate and creative capacity of humanity itself. We are in this together, and we will overcome this challenge.
It happens to all of us: that dreaded moment when the To-Do list has become the OMG list. Overwhelm!
Like Captain Kangaroo and the ping pong balls (I’m aging myself here…) suddenly there are more things that need to be done than what seems humanly possible to tackle, and with a kind of nerve-wracking urgency that really ramps up the ol’ anxiety.
Before you freak out, fling your hands in the air and flee, remember that with a clear strategy in place, it can all get done without losing your head. Let’s take a look at a few ways to handle an overwhelming amount of tasks so that you can get through it with your sanity (and productivity) intact.
Make a List
Write down every item that’s in your head as a “To Do.” Even if you’ve got things assembled in a calendar, on spreadsheets, Post-Its or somewhere else, unify them all onto one handwritten list. Why? Overwhelm can lead to a lack of clarity and direction - it’s very easy to start reacting in vague terms. If you’re thinking, “I’ll never get it ALL done,” first we have to define the “all.” You might be having an emotional response that is overloading your sense of rationality.
Making a complete list serves several purposes. First, you’ll have a specific, itemized list to sort, strategize, and recognize. It starts the brain thinking in more concrete terms, and reduces anxiety by clarifying vague feelings. You can now sort your list and create a clear strategy for attacking it piece by piece. You’ll also have a concrete place to cross off items as they’re done, which is immensely helpful because with each one, you’re on your way to feeling much more empowered to finish the rest.
Use a Triage System
Like evaluating a disaster, create a triage response by locating the most urgent and/or the most important things on your list. By sorting in this way, you might find that many of your items can be handled across the next few days, which makes your list far more manageable. Spending today’s energy on your Urgent Stuff - without continuing to mentally plan out your Less Important Stuff - is often the fastest way to get out of overwhelm mode.
Delegate Where Possible
Are there items on your list that someone else can do themselves to reduce your workload? This is especially helpful with household tasks like making dinner, doing the laundry, basic cleaning and so forth. Using myself as an example, the dreaded overwhelm hits me when my professional workload meets my household responsibilities and I feel like I’m totally in the weeds. Speaking up clearly about which specific tasks need to be assigned to someone else during this time has helped me greatly.
If you live alone (or it doesn’t apply to you in another way) and find that your lingering household duties are bothering you, I recommend setting a 30-minute timer to handle the most visible or most important household items and then move on. By doing this, you’ll satisfy your nagging urge to attack it as well as reduce the chance that you’ll have to dig out of the avalanche later. You’d be surprised at how much you can really do in 30 minutes. Stop when the buzzer rings, or else you're at risk for delaying progress on the rest of your list.
In business, delegating tasks across your team makes sense. Giving others the chance to participate in a variety of tasks strengthens their skills and reduces the pressure on any one person - especially if there's a time-sensitive or critical item that is out of the ordinary.
Be Willing To Flip The Order
Many times we assign an order to our tasks that have nothing to do with priority. For example, I used to only head to the post office in the afternoon. Why? I had no idea. It’s just how I’d always done it. That would create a bottleneck in my To-Do list and served no strategic purpose. Once I let go of that 'order' of things, I freed up the flow of tasks in a much more rational way.
If your list has a lot of items, getting them all done means that you may have to get a little unconventional with yourself. Once your triage/urgent items are handled, banging out the other items on your list means working on them even if they feel out of order to you. Remove those mental obstacles by shuffling the items in a new way - easiest to hardest, hardest to easiest, most fun to least fun, whatever feels like the fastest way through it.
Be sure to go back to your handwritten list and cross off each item as it’s done. Pretty soon, you’ll realize that you’ve got this.
Don’t Give In to the Pressure
This is one is MUCH easier said than done, and I realize that.
Pressure actually makes you stronger - as long as you keep your wits about you and hang on. Take a few deep breaths, step back, hit the pause button and remind yourself that you can do it. Creating order (like the list) out of what feels like disorder goes a long way to conquering the pressure. You might even search through your personal history and recall a different time when you pushed through a high-pressure challenge and found success.
Let Go of the ‘Shoulds’
‘Should’ is such a defeating word. When we tell ourselves what we should be able to do, or what we should have done instead, we’re not reacting to what’s happening right now. You can’t do anything with ‘should’. You can do so much with ‘I can’! ‘Should’ is loaded with guilt and obligation - it can often kick off a negative thought-spiral that doesn’t lead to a very productive place. ‘I can’ is powerful and based on the present tense.
Manage your self-talk when the dreaded overwhelm strikes. Now is not the time for negativity, reprimanding or confusion. Stay positive! One of my favorite phrases? "There's only one way to eat an elephant: one bite at a time." I can assure you that the feeling of conquering an overwhelming string of tasks is absolutely exhilarating.
Whether it’s in your professional life, your personal life or both, being overwhelmed is no fun. Using these tips can help create order out of chaos and quickly get you back on track.
If you’re in business and find that your social media presence (or lack thereof) is giving you a case of the ‘shoulds', consider delegating those tasks to Digital Heartbeat today. I’ll take it off your plate so you can get back on track. Reach out here - you'll be so glad you did.
It's Product Spotlight time!
I love to share the news when I encounter a fantastic product that really adds to my day and is worth a big shout-out. I'm a pretty picky person - and when I enjoy a product, it's a major love affair. I'm not paid, sponsored or affiliated in any way with any companies or products, I simply think they're flat-out great and you just might, too.
Golden Rabbit Enamelware landed on my radar this past Christmas, when I received this AWESOME set of Old Bay mugs from my cousin Deb in Maryland.
See, I'm a Marylander through and through - all the way down to the Old Bay that practically runs through my veins. So Deb (being the fabulous gift-giver that she is) sent me this coastal Old Bay design to further outfit my Nevada kitchen in proper Maryland style. I was thoroughly delighted, as usual, and quickly put the mugs to use.
I consider myself a bit of a mug connoisseur. My mug collection is kind of ridiculous in its volume but really meaningful and useful in its contents. I've got everything from demitasse cups for espresso to giant latte mugs for cocoa, and every manner of travel apparati. I have favorites, I have specific mugs for specific beverages, and I even have a mug with it's own lilac-colored sweater (complete with tiny wooden button).
These Old Bay mugs were unlike any in my collection: enamelware! They're beautiful, colorful, durable, and the print design is very clear. It's my new go-to mug for both morning coffee and evening tea, because unlike ceramics it doesn't lose heat very quickly. That means I can enjoy my hot beverage a little longer, and that means that I'm a happy camper.
Golden Rabbit enamelware is made with a hand-dipped process to withstand extreme temperatures - so it's considered oven-to-table. Each piece has the signature stainless-steel rim, durable and lightweight carbon-steel interior, and non-stick, fused porcelain finish. Induction-compatible, dishwasher safe, but not microwave safe due to metal. With a really nice variety in tableware and ovenware pieces, Golden Rabbit enamelware is available in a wide range of whimsical, coastal, seasonal and classic styles.
My new favorite mug is called the Old Bay Latte Mug, and you can shop for it here.
I'm officially a huge fan of Golden Rabbit and will definitely be picking up a few more pieces to expand my collection of coastal kitchen gear. If you'd like to head over to their website to have a look around, you can do that here.
Product Spotlight provided by Abby Moss Brooks - Writer and Owner, Digital Heartbeat
Let's face it - I'm a busy lady.
I always have been, I probably always will be - and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Across all of my working years, I've been savvy enough to pick up on tips, tricks and techniques employed by others to maximize efficiency and attempt to wrangle the endless work flow. I've been incredibly blessed to have worked alongside some of the most productive and creative people I've ever met, and you can bet your behind that I was paying very close attention to what they were doing and how they were doing it.
Of all the techniques I've seen, I can say with great certainty that the humble notebook promptly vaulted itself into Most Valuable Player status when it comes to work tools that actually help you get the job done.
We've all got our secret weapons, and this is mine, without a doubt.
It's not just a notebook. It's my day runner, my ever-present assistant that helps me manage the work flow and keep everything on point. Sure, I have all things digital at my disposal too - and I do use those to some degree. That said, you give me a notebook and a pen and I can run an empire.
Apps have their place, and I'm fairly nimble with all of that. Yet for me, nothing compares to the tangible, scribble-able and fully customize-able pages of an actual notebook. Old school? Maybe. Maybe not.
It all started way back in 1993, when I became a part of the team at the Special Events Office at Washington College as an incoming freshman for work study. If you're thinking that's a really sweet opportunity for a job, you're absolutely correct. I was excited, but also pretty darn green when it came to working in a bustling, vibrant office with high-priority events and high-impact guests.
My immediate supervisor Jessica was incredible: efficient, friendly, proactive, professional and just so fantastically good at what she did. The office on the whole was productive and always in motion. Naturally, I paid close attention, because I needed to get in step with the pace so that I could be a good team member.
One thing that I noticed almost immediately was the ever-present yellow legal pad - essentially, her day runner. Sure, we had calendars, our Day Timers (it was the 90's, after all) and all manner of dutiful Post-It note soldiers marching in line, but that yellow legal pad was her way of keeping total track of the work flow.
Incoming calls? On the legal pad. Deadlines, due dates, events, scheduling, contact logs and daily tracking of progress all made its way to her daily journal as a way of keeping up with the flow. It was brilliant, and so effective. Jot it down so that it's recorded and so that you can act on it as soon as possible - really helpful when the phone calls were rolling in and the moving parts kept moving.
I adopted the technique pretty much right away and had a legal pad of my own for the exact same purpose. Wow, did it make it easy to keep track of it all - and I have to say, the notebook-as-day-runner technique has been with me ever since.
Whether I was working in the Special Events Office, my early years of full-time management after college, to my ten years in Residential Property Management, my second wave of retail management in recent years, to my own business as a writing entrepreneur, there has been a notebook by my side the entire time.
This hard little worker has been my trusty assistant and worth its weight in gold when it comes to delivering all the organization that it takes for me to stay on top of my game.
I switched it up a bit in order to adjust to my current needs - the yellow legal pad (one page at a time) was set aside in favor of a classic spiral-bound notebook that I use in a very specific way.
Right side: a log that lays out the whole work week, giving me a spot to write deadlines, meetings, calls, and plans. I draw a big horizontal line 2/3 the way down to create a bottom section open for what I call my "news you can use," which is upcoming topic ideas, strategy points or anything on the horizon that I need to be ready to handle when more info becomes available.
Flip the notebook over and that whole left side is an open page for that week's brainstorming, call notes, a place to jot my research link notes and image ideas, sources, all the good stuff.
What a great way to keep track of everything on my radar and serve as effective record-keeping at the same time! It's so easy for me to review last week, prep next week, and have a dedicated spot to write down contemporaneous notes. It's easily searchable, too.
It's also a secret motivator: what satisfaction comes from crossing things off, writing 'done!' (Honestly, sometimes that's all the motivation I need.)
I did add a sidecar to the notebook - a smaller, narrow spiral-top notebook that receives all of the To Do lists for any number of assignments for work and in my personal life. Total lifesaver. Put the two together, and I'm essentially commanding the Starship Enterprise from the bridge (perhaps not as elegantly as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, but you get the general idea).
It's pretty impressive that something as basic as a notebook can be so vital to my business - and at this point, I cannot fathom functioning without one. We're up to 26 years and counting. I always have one running and a fresh, new one waiting in the wings.
Of course my notebook is just a tool, because the true spirit of productivity comes from people. That brings me back to Jessica - what an impact she made on me so many years ago, through so much more than just a simple notebook. Her follow-up game was remarkable, and I saw that, too. She's been there for me in various ways ever since. I admire the heck out of her.
I'm so glad I was smart enough to pay close attention to someone already being effective in their role - and she continues to inspire me to this day. Artistic, vivacious, informed and involved, carving her space in business (and with the coolest handwriting you've ever seen). In addition to continuing her successes in the field of higher education, she followed her passion through art and developed the fabulous Salted Pink Studio as a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) and Mixed Media Explorer. You can learn more about her here: https://www.saltedpinkstudio.com - take a look around, you'll be glad you did.
You can bet that I'm absolutely still a fan and a friend. When you're lucky enough to encounter fabulous people like Jessica Davies, you pay attention. I'm so glad I did. I'd give my eye teeth just for the chance to work alongside her for the day to learn whichever snazzy organizational techniques she's picked up in the years since - there's no doubt that she's got some great stuff going. Were it not for geographical distance and my inability to teleport, I'm sure that day would be most possible.
As for my notebook and me, we're grateful for it all.
If you're in business and need high-quality blog content for your website, reach out today and we'll get started. Delegating your website and social media needs to Digital Heartbeat means that you'll have more time for your business tasks without missing a beat on your online presence. My notebook and I are ready to roll.
I recently stumbled across an article by Big Think that delved into the health benefits of crafting, and it delivered some pretty great statistics to support what I personally believe to be true: crafting is so good for you.
The article states that a large-scale international online survey of knitters found respondents had derived a wide range of perceived psychological benefits from the practice: relaxation, relief from stress, a sense of accomplishment, connection to tradition, increased happiness, reduced anxiety, enhanced confidence, as well as cognitive abilities like improved memory, concentration and ability to think through problems.
I would venture to say that no matter what type of crafting you do, the results would be roughly the same - "making something" with your own hands is such a rewarding activity. Switching gears for a bit in order to build, reshape and transform is actually highly productive in subtle ways. Given that balance is everything, using the creative right hemisphere of the brain can boost the left hemisphere’s ability to deal with analytics and logic.
I love to do crafts - in fact, I have a long and treasured history with crafts of all kinds. From the early years of salt-dough Christmas ornaments and Girl Scout projects, to knitting with my Nana and creating all manner of school projects, crafting both takes me home and launches me into a new state of production.
I can recall a particular spring break in high school when I was so engrossed in making beaded jewelry that I churned out dozens of pieces and felt so connected to the process. I still have some of those pieces, even all these years later, and they remind me of that fire inside.
I’d have to say that my favorite crafting activities in the past few decades have involved making aromatherapy candles, wreaths, paper crafts and crochet. Turning a couple of skeins of yarn into a monogrammed yoga bag or a pile of greenery into a beautiful wreath is transformative - both for the objects themselves as well as for my own psyche.
The way I see it, if I can turn one thing into something else entirely, I can probably do that with my situations and mindset, too. What stands between a skein of yarn and a baby blanket is time, effort, creativity and tenacity. With that comes relaxation, contemplation, and healthy mental exercise. Win/win.
I recently tasked myself with making a cake topper for my daughter’s birthday cake, in advance of her big weekend party. I’ve done this a few times, and the whole process is incredibly rewarding. Because I love paper crafts, I had started doing cake toppers that could be removed and saved. Although I’m a decent baker, I’m not very adept with fondant and trust me, the week before a party is not the time for me to learn.
Armed with the vision of making a big rainbow and a bunting banner for her cake, I set out to the store and bought what I needed to make it happen. Sure, I had looked at a few images online to give myself some perspective, but I really had fun imagining the look and figuring out how to accomplish it.
It took me six hours, but I had a ball. Those hours were a creative respite from the ever-present To-Do list. Instead of the normal workflow, household chores and daily pressure, I was thoroughly enjoying transforming a stack of construction paper and rolls of floral wire into a big, huge rainbow to sit atop my daughter’s party cake.
Figuring out how to make puffy clouds out of sparkly tissue paper was an exercise in problem-solving, measuring everything for scale and paying attention to color, weight and textures was a fun, satisfying challenge.
Cutting pieces of tissue paper and painstakingly gluing them onto the colored twine, assembling the “poles” from striped drinking straws and adding all of the letters was a joyful and constructive reprieve from what could seem like endless hours of scanning my email inbox and day-to-day responsibilities.
It delivered a nice piece of mindfulness and creative therapy that exercised my brain in a different way. Plus, I had something really cool to show for it.
The article continues on to report that crafts such as knitting, crochet, weaving, ceramics, needlework and woodwork focus on repetitive actions and a skill level that can always be improved upon. According to the famous psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, this allows us to enter a “flow” state, a perfect immersive state of balance between skill and challenge.
With what is increasingly referred to today as “mindfulness” being a much-desired quality for many people, it’s not surprising crafts are being sought out for their mental and even physical benefits. Working with your hands, transforming something from one thing to another, and applying even the slightest bit of art or creativity is such a healthy activity.
As a professional writer, applying creativity in a different way actually enriches my writing process. Taking concepts and turning them into well thought-out pieces is an easier task when those creativity-building muscles are stretched through crafting. Working things through to their conclusion - be it a paper rainbow or a long-form blog for a technical topic - is a skill worth having. Either way, you’re transforming one thing into another and that’s such a valuable exercise.
Whether you like to knit, build pottery, make wreaths, whittle wood, build model cars, or put those little ships in the glass bottle, tinkering with something - just for the sake of it - it’s wonderful, indeed.
No matter how much I love to craft, I know when to put down the hot glue and get back to business. If you’re looking for high-quality content for your website, consider delegating that task to Digital Heartbeat today. I’d love to apply the same creativity and tenacity to the topic at hand. I might even build you a rainbow, now that I know how.
I’m a huge fan of the television series Friends. It would be impossible to count how many times I’ve seen each episode across it’s 25-year history on our screens - often, it’s on in the background when I cook, do housework, and things like that.
For me, it’s the tv show equivalent of a comfy pair of sweatpants. It’s comfortable, soothing, light-hearted and well, ‘there for you.’ Just like your perfect pair of sweatpants, the group of friends on the series is always there each other throughout it all. Even more than that, it seems that for the viewer, the group dynamic situational comedy formula can deliver big psychological benefits.
I realized that the reason why I find the show so comforting isn’t just the familiarity - it’s in the process of watching a whole set of various situations and circumstances play themselves out across the group and dealt with within a relatively short time frame. Processing, reacting, resolving.
According to Marc Hester, a clinical psychologist at London's The Summit Clinic, watching Friends—and other sitcoms like it, which set up a problem and solve it in the span of 30 minutes or less—may help reduce anxiety. For Hekster, part of the soothing nature of sitcoms is the lighthearted way in which characters deal with life’s uncertainties. He claims that watching Friends "is about an experience of repair, of watching the characters in the show repeatedly having worries, which then get repaired and soothed, usually in the context of other relationships in their lives.”
As each situation develops and plays itself out across the group, we observe each character react in their own way and we watch them figure out how to get to a decent outcome. Whether they end up hilarious (like Ross, Rachel and Chandler trying to get Ross’s new couch up the stairs), relatable (Rachel quitting her job at Central Perk and apply to her dream job by using Joey’s “ya gotta have The Fear” pep talk), or devastating (such as Chandler having to give the fertility results to Monica after the doctor’s phone call), we see a group of young people handle life as it happens. And then we watch what happens next.
Granted, not many people can relate to a group of characters who have a surprisingly huge amount of free time on their hands - I’ve never seen a professional chef with as much down-time as Monica - but everyone can relate to the stress of life’s uncertainties. Somehow, for me at least (but I suspect I’m hardly alone) it makes me approach all of my own situations with a lot more confidence.
After all, who knows what will happen; but at least there will be a story to tell and lessons learned. Rachel’s Thanksgiving Trifle. The Geller Cup. A blue nail in the quiche during Monicas’s first catering job. And of course, “Smelly Cat.”
Other great group dynamic sitcom shows like Frasier and The Golden Girls deliver the same anxiety-soothing benefits. The Office is another solid choice. The magic is in the group and in the way problems come and go - we laugh, we cry, we relate. The longer the series run the better, because the characters have a past. There are so many complexities, and so much to handle.
Every day when I turn Friends, this “Sweatpants of Shows,” I am interacting with the ambitious concept that everything will get handled in due time, and with some kind of resolution. All wrapped in 90’s fashion, music and technology in way that I remember all too well.
That nostalgia factor is also a powerful comfort tool, one that some experts say is because television from yesteryear can make us feel safe and secure in a world that feels increasingly chaotic. It’s like mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving, just like your grandmother made. Suddenly everything feels just a little more soothing when you tuck into a nice big helping of either those delicious potatoes or “The One Where No One’s Ready.”
While I can’t even imagine actually living life with big group dynamic like that, I can certainly enjoy watching them all “attempt to handle this.” As I reflect on the psychological benefits of observing it all take place, I have a much deeper appreciation for my love for the series. The next time I accidentally watch five or six episodes in a row, I can say I’m doing it for my health.
Picture this: a great morning had begun. I was fully caffeinated, had an easy school drop off with my daughter and well on my way to a productive day. I was ticking things off my To-Do list with the type of chipper, "the world is my oyster" attitude that non-morning people find repellant.
Feeling pretty darn great.
In an effort to really maximize this momentum, I thought that popping over to a local automatic car wash was a solid idea. Pay $8, roll through, check emails while the car is being scrubbed and shined. Sounds like a plan.
So there I was, still feeling pretty darn great.
Until the machine stopped.
I was so engrossed in my email in-box - still feeling pretty darn great - that I didn't quite pick up on the fact that the machine had, in fact, totally stopped. And my car was completely covered in bubbles.
I admit that I spent probably a few too many seconds thinking, 'okay, this isn't actually happening. It's going to start back up again...right?'
Covered in bubbles. Broken machine. Game over.
In a scene that I now replay in my head to peals of internal laughter, I rolled down my window (bubbles sliding down, comically) peered out and said, "HELLO?!" Of course no one came out to attend, because there was no one there, being an automatic car wash and all.
I drove out, realizing that I now paid $8 for the experience of having to figure out what the heck to do with a car completely covered in bubbles.
I'll admit that I was pretty ticked off, and really embarrassed. In case you've never really thought about it before, let me be the first to tell you: it's really hard to feel like you have your act together when you're driving a car completely covered in bubbles. I was obviously the victim of a technical mishap and well, all my cool points went out the window.
Realizing that this was now mine to solve, I pulled my bubbled-covered car into a nearby parking space, took a few deep breaths and found my solution in the form of a pool towel that I had in the back. It took quite a few minutes of wiping and wringing, but I did manage to at least get my GingerMobile road-safe for the quick drive home.
My productive morning was...well, it was a wash. I got home, and spent the next 2 hours properly cleaning it before all of the towel-dried bubble streaks baked in the hot Vegas sun, sealing my embarrassment (and potentially damaging my car's paint) for all to see.
I decided to table my irritation and take it as a reminder that no matter what we have planned, you have to expect the unexpected. Most importantly? You have to keep your wits about you and adjust accordingly. Sure, my plans didn't turn out as I had planned, and the bubble-tastrophe was a REALLY unwelcome wrench in the works. Big time.
But that's just how it goes sometimes.
When life suddenly covers you in bubbles, just stay nimble and move through it. Whether it's a relatively minor inconvenience like this one or a really major problem, spending time on the solution (rather than the emotional reaction) is the fastest way to get back on track.
If you're in business and your social media or blog content is leaving you feeling under pressure, consider delegating those tasks to Digital Heartbeat today. I'll always be nimble, engaging and productive - bubbles or no bubbles.
I do a lot of writing, and that includes seemingly infinite quote and image research for whatever piece is on my plate. They're really popular elements that belong in a blog or social media post every bit as much as the text itself.
Many times, I work with an inner stack of favorites that ring true and serve me well - or at least, give me a great head start. Sometimes I come across a new quote that sticks to me like glue and leaves a permanent mark on my mindset, changing me forever. That's what happened earlier this year.
"Do something today that your future self will thank you for."
11 words, full of power. Despite the awkward grammar that kind of makes me twitch, the driving message behind it really grabbed a hold of me and hasn't let go. Do something. Today. That your future self will thank you for (twitch).
We all have goals and those goals are big, little, and everything in between. We have that voice in our head that either urges us onward or cuts us some slack. 'Oh, just do it later,'
'You can make time for it tomorrow,'
'Let's do this other thing first, and then that important thing.'
See, mine used to be of the 'cuts us some slack' variety.
I used to listen to that really unhelpful chatter. I used to think I could somehow fit an hour of work into a fifteen minute crunch. And I used to be REALLY stressed.
And then I saw the 11 words.
"Do something today that your future self will thank you for."
The little things - like putting away a dish when I'm done, or neatly hanging my clothes and accessories at the end of the day - made my future self think, 'oh wow - good job, this is so nice to not have piles everywhere.' The big things - like setting firm deadlines for my work and getting a lot of components completed early - made my future self think, 'wow I am SO GLAD I did that.'
I've often read that if something takes less than 2 minutes, you should just do it and not set it aside for another time. Reason being, a whole day of "I'll do that later" adds up to a complete avalanche of stuff for tomorrow. You're essentially living tomorrow today and dealing with today tomorrow - and if you think about it, that's pretty exhausting.
But I'm not just talking about dishes and deadlines. Accessing the power of today sets you up for success no matter what the issue. Considering your future self - and all that you will have to contend with at that time - is a loving act of preventive maintenance. For me, those 11 words delivered a powerful shift in my mindset and put the emphasis on today. Since then, I've seen it echo into all of the various aspects of my life. It's been a bit like a pebble tossed in a lake - the ripples are still coming.
Now, I can't even imagine punishing my future self with unfinished bits of this or that. I have given my future self countless gifts and believe me, when I encounter one, I am so grateful. Less regret, less stress - and that annoying inner chatter that used to seduce me into doing something later has been replaced by a chipper, wise rendition of those 11 magical words.
Handle today today, and set yourself up for success for tomorrow. Go ahead and take the leap that you've been planning. Even a small step forward is still a leap - be bold, be brave. Your future self will be so glad you did.
If you're in business, and that business has a website, you need a blog.
"But that's an awful lot of work, and I wouldn't even begin to know what to write." I get it. You're right - when you're running a business, the idea of sitting down and creating your own content can seem incredibly daunting, if not impossible. It probably falls into the 'I'll get to that one day' category. It might even be in the dreaded 'I started that, got overwhelmed and honestly just gave up on it' category.
It absolutely shouldn't be, and here's why: blog content drives traffic to your website. It's really as simple as that. And if you have a social media presence to promote your business, blog content feeds your fans with subject matter that boosts your brand perception. Want to underscore your expertise? Blog about relevant, informative aspects to your product or services that give your target audience something to grab onto and learn about.
Yes, people really do read blogs. In fact, blog content is the hardest working aspect of your website - let it work for you (even when you're sleeping) by using keyword-rich, SEO compatible text that Google can grab onto and raise your rankings on the search engine whether you're clocked in or not. Even more than that, your audience will come to consider you first when they're choosing where to spend their money.
But don't take my word for it. According to research conducted by ContentPLUS UK, blogs on company websites attract 55% more viewers, 70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than advertising, and 60% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content on their site.
Strengthen your online presence by having a robust blog section that is updated frequently. You'll want to have at least four or five new content pieces each month. Then you're going to post about it on your related social media platforms and engage in discussions about what you've posted. It becomes a nice, big, ongoing circle of fertile content and engagement that attracts eyeballs and gets people clicking.
Your content should contain links to any source material that you've used to support your viewpoint, plus a great image both in the beginning and every 500 words. What's the right length? It doesn't really matter (something is better than nothing) but ideally you're shooting for anywhere between 500-1200 words.
Once you start, don't stop. There's nothing worse than a website that has a dusty old blog section with its last entry dated more than a year ago. So once you commit, buckle up and fire away. You certainly don't want to lose the momentum that you worked so hard to create.
If this sounds like a lot (because it is), consider delegating your blog writing task to a professional - that way, you'll be sure to have custom, strategic content on a regular basis without having to rearrange your to-do list. Hiring a dedicated content creator like Digital Heartbeat can easily become one of the best things you'll do for both you AND your business.