myLife Chat with Tara Hoover

myLife Chat with Tara Hoover

Ever wondered how the myLife planner can work in your life? Sometimes it better to hear it from someone besides myself, because I am biased. It works for me. Listen to Tara and I chat about how she finds the myWeek helps her corral her various lists and notes into one space so she can focus on the work and then shut her office door over the weekend.

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The Value of a List

The Value of a List

Why do people bother with writing down lists of everything that needs to get done? For procrastinators like me, a list can be seen like an impossible mountain to climb, so why not just avoid it? For others the idea of micromanaging their day makes their skin crawl, they would rather let the day just organically flow. Though two pretty solid reasons, what is missed is that what really matters isn’t getting done. There is no magic fairy godmother watching over you and making things happen that align with your dreams. Sorry, the buck stops with you on that one.

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Complaining vs. Critisism

Complaining vs. Critisism

Feedback, criticism, critiques, whatever guise it is when someone provides their opinion on something about you, what you do and create. I have been taking ‘advice’ and ‘feedback’ from clients for over twenty years, and it’s a skillset I have realized. We aren’t necessarily educated in our early years how to deal with being told what we screwed up on.

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Ducking out of 2017

Ducking out of 2017

I would like to share some insights as well as affirmations about what ducking out of the year can mean for self-employed/entrepreneurs! I had mentioned in my email that my office would be closed starting Wednesday, Dec. 20, and re-opening once my girls head back to the school grind on Monday, Jan. 8 in the new year.

Are you curious about what happens during this 'time off'? Will I be languishing around for two and a half weeks chilling out?

Umm no. I will, of course, be making an effort to take time away from my business and enjoying the holiday with family and friends. But after those 4 days, I will be back at my desk, with myWeek in hand working at...

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Looking Back Before Looking Forward

Looking Back Before Looking Forward

Holy crap! December. Seriously. It’s freaking December! It has been a year of ups, downs, sideways and sometimes backsteps. 2018 will be my 45 years of breathing and the one thing I do appreciate about adding more years to that number is the perspective each one brings. Not unlike rings on a tree, the lines and marks on my skin reflect time and moments.

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Waiting for the right wave to ride.

Is having an active mind a curse? I wonder. I find that my listening and observation skills combined with my minds capacity to house my thoughts and in a way be able to step away and see them all from a distance which gives me a perspective to constantly think about the bigger picture overwhelming at times. So much so, I have been taking mental breaks from my creative business.

With so much on my plate these days, and this pressure to create content for self-promotion, I find myself pushing back, needing to step away and disconnect. Survival, self-care, working to keep sane in such an insane world. Then the urge to heal and help the world around me pushes me back into connecting. It literally is a vicious circle.

By saying no to more, more work, more connections and more stuff, I am saying yes to what matters. Yes to connecting with my family and friends who I am lucky enough to live close to. Actual human connection. I am saying yes to being in my own life moments. Not cruising through but engaging with those around me.

When it comes down to it - that is why I value writing things down on paper. As much as some see the value in the myDay, I get a sense of peace and vision when I can look at a full week and not feel overwhelmed to get so much done in one day. There is a phrase, life isn’t a spring, it’s a marathon. This is so true. Whether it comes to work, cooking dinner or spending time with family, you can’t rush those things because there is always another day, another week and then years tick on by.

In this moment, when you sit, stop and really stop thinking. What bubbles to the surface of your core? Trust in your center to align your minutes, hours and days. Then when you find that nudge, move forward with it.

If only we all took more time to stop before reacting, we might actually get where we need to go instead of where the outside world is pushing us.

Pondering Productivity

Pondering Productivity

I don’t know about you, but I find I am inundated with tools, both digital and material, that guarantee I will be more productive which will, of course, lead to serenity, success and that future you, the one that has their life all ‘put together'.

So we dive in, feet first and give these tools a whirl. We do all this without clarity on what works best for us and asking important questions.

Can you define your ‘productive' hours versus ‘busy’ time?
For myself, I have a limited number of weekly daytime hours while my kids are out of the house, and of those, the fact is not all of it is productive. Each one of us has a unique capacity to focus. When are you at your best for the task required?

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Bring back the magic.

Bring back the magic.

The thing about birthdays I have learned over my forty-four years… celebrations don’t just happen like they do in movies or my favourite television sitcom. There are times I recall the magic feeling I had as a kid, waking up on my birthday knowing that today was MY day. I got to be the one who was special on that day. Remember all the affirmations you would get on your birthday? Between the birthday wishes and extra hugs and love from my parents. Even my friends at the time, being we all felt that birthday magic would go out of their way to be a little extra nicer to me... but just that one day. So, of course, I loved my birthday.

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Get'er Done

Get'er Done

Who knew back in high school when I obsessed over my first-day planner, this would lead my life towards creating, publishing and selling my unique version. A 25-year journey, sticking to what I believe in, is making ripples. Not your current ‘start-up’ mentality that you need to make waves and assumes if you don’t make it ‘rich’ within a year you have failed. My business experience is more like an extended road trip through life, and I love being the one who is driving.

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Persistence and Planning

If you aren’t already aware, an obsession of mine is day planners. I was sixteen years old when I got my first personal organiser from my mom at Christmas. I was enthralled with the concept of planning my life. To hell with the clothes, music and the coolest crappy appliance of the day – I had in my hands a place to dream my future. It has been this love of day planners where I became a huge fan of the Franklin Covey system(s).

The excitement of ordering a fresh batch of either 2 page or 1-page day-spreads or the week-at-a-glance system was like re-experiencing that Christmas ‘feeling’ every year.

As my business evolved, my planner needs did as well. I wasn’t finding the right ‘fit’ or ‘space’ to clear my head and demands of the job. So as it is with the ‘curse’ of a creative mind, I started thinking, pondering and realising that I have the skills to make my own unique system. I wanted flexibility and was conscious of wasting paper. How many times in a pre-dated planner do you waste pages because your day and needs at the time don’t require you to write anything down? So between those two spurring ideas, I started designing and mocking up, testing and re-testing the undated myDay concept.

I loved it – so much, I risked the investment to do a print run of 100 books professionally and figured they would be an excellent self-promotional tool. Nothing expected beyond that. But I started to get feedback, requests and ideas of selling them. I thought sure – why not make some of the money back on the cost of the books.

Things were fine for a while and then as my business grew and diversified, I found the one-day spread to be overwhelming. The most important part – the task list was overwhelming – it never really ended. I would end a day with lots of check marks but no real feeling that I made progress on specific milestones I needed to move forward. That is where I created the myWeek system. And since then, this tool has done a fantastic job of getting the ideas out of my head and onto paper where they can start to come alive and move forward. I am not longer ‘reacting’ to life as much and instead the focus and clarity it brings me allows me to live with ‘intention’ instead.

So with these two planners in stock, I was intrigued by the idea of selling them. I have found out of every ten people I meet, and there is one person who ‘gets’ the concept right away and seriously considers giving the system a try and eventually becomes a return customer. So I am at a crossroads of what I do with this ‘product’. The day planner industry is competitive. Fighting the perception of print being dead and who uses paper anymore, is a constant I also deal with in my print design services of my business. So, I am currently, or let’s be honest, I have been for the past three years, working towards re-defining my business and how my creations (Creatives’ Cupboard and myLife Planners) become integral parts of my creative business.

I was asked by a trusted peer, while we were discussing my desire to narrow down my inventory of involvement in both business and personal life, why am I so persistent with my planners? Do I want to get serious with them, and fight to make a mark in a busy industry that is overwhelmed with so many options? Or do I step back and focus on producing them for myself because the myWeek is a tool that I use and value greatly?

I am flummoxed. I have a firm belief in the value the myWeek system brings to my sanity in my life and am spurred on by those who agree and support me. As a creative business, I am aware the next step to creating a profitable return is to build a business plan that outlines marketing and sales strategies. It won’t succeed without it. So there is the risk. Time, money, sanity that I don’t have. I would need to partner with a right brained person I trust.

So here I am, not willing to drop the potential of selling my planners, but also aware that to move forward in my life I need to let go of some things I have been a part of so I have time to invest in the work needed to grow well on those that do. The kicker here, bottom line – the tool that is helping me make these decisions is by using the myWeek.

As I was in high school, today I am enthralled and excited every time I sit down and review the completed days/weeks and ponder what I have accomplished and look to the empty ones to see where I can set time aside to move forward in my dreams.

I will NOT be dropping the production and sale of myLife Planners, but how that will look down the road is still to be determined.