There is a practice that I have been using for years when it comes to my schedule and how I allocate my time. It is a habit I started doing years ago because I am very calendar-focused. I pretty much put everything on my calendar. And by everything, I mean even activities that most people wouldn’t think belong on a calendar. Most people schedule in appointments and planned phone calls, both personal and professional. They also layer on social events, such as parties to attend. But they almost never think to add activities on their calendar such as exercise, meals, sleep, hobbies, errands, etc. Those activities often seem too personal, or are solitary activities and, therefore, often don’t get precious space on the calendar, which means they get placed at the bottom of the priority order.

For years, it seemed natural to me to give space on my calendar to activities that most people typically don’t include. And I started mentioning this to my clients when doing time management and productivity coaching. I also started teaching this tool to my audiences when conducting a speaking engagement about time management and calendar planning. And what I have noticed is that it resonates with many people!

I’ve seen clients and audience members adopt this practice and it has resulted in major shifts in the way they spend their time. It gives them permission to focus on the activities that often don’t get enough attention. They wind up getting more sleep, eating healthier meals (and not skipping meals!), getting their exercise in, and engaging in hobbies and passions and other pursuits that they don’t usually make time for.

Could a simple practice of putting an activity on your calendar really make such a difference? The answer is yes. A resounding yes. But don’t only take my word for it.

Neil Fiore, the author of the book The Now Habit (which is a great little book about how to beat procrastination) calls this practice The Unschedule. Unscheduling is a massive shift in thinking from how most of us use calendars and schedules. It gives structure to unstructured activities and tasks. Instead of starting to build your calendar out the typical way, which is to first place the structured activities on your calendar (meetings, appointments, social obligations, etc.), you reverse your calendar and begin with the unstructured activities.

The premise behind the Unschedule is that you need (and deserve) at least one hour of play and relaxation a day, and at least one day off of work a week. You schedule the unstructured activities first, such as sleep, meals, exercise, commuting to work, hobbies, and other blocks of time you must expend each day. Then you layer on top of those activities everything else. The everything else activities are often the need to do, have to do, should do types of activities, whereas the Unschedule activities are often the want to do and love to do activities.

Can everyone do this? Yes, but to an extent. To be fair, if your calendar is so chock full with work, obligations, and other activities that there is no room for unstructured activities to be added, then this would be a tough practice to try to implement. However, let that be a wake up call. You could start a small version of the Unschedule by at least adding a proper amount of sleep and actual meal times so you no longer eat on the run or skip meals altogether. In time, you could aim to add in some exercise and other activities to start giving yourself some more me-time on your own calendar.

The key to the Unschedule really working is that you don’t only add the unstructured activities to your schedule, but you honor them. My clients and audiences have heard me talk about this often. Honor appointments with yourself the same way you would honor an appointment with anyone else. If you see a slot on your calendar is taken up with an unstructured activity that only involves you, and you immediately give that slot away because it is only “me time” after all, then the Unschedule loses its effectiveness. That’s really the beauty of the Unschedule. YOU get to be a priority on your own calendar, in your own schedule, and in your own life. That is the true power of the Unschedule as a worthy time management tool.

Try to Unschedule your calendar by adding in some unstructured activities and see how it feels. I hope you love the results!

Around this time of year when we flip the calendar from one year to the next, most people make a long list of New Year’s Resolutions. It is a noble idea in theory, but often in practice, doesn’t amount to much. Resolutions often get cast aside and discarded, making their creators feel inadequate and unproductive.

So why not skip the New Year’s Resolutions altogether this time and opt for an alternative New Year’s ritual: the One-Word Theme!

I find it helps me to choose a word to give me an over-arching theme for the new year. For many people, the one word approach feels more manageable and powerful than a laundry list of New Year’s Resolutions which can often feel like another to-do list. One word is ideal. It gives you focus.

I believe that choosing a word for the year is so compelling because it takes the “should” out of our wish for personal and professional development. Our word serves as a gentle (but powerful!) reminder, rather than a drill sergeant barking orders at us.

I’ve been following this one word theme for years now.

  • In 2011, my word was Implement. Boy, did I implement that year as I changed my business brand and model, and went with my husband on 13 interviews around the U.S. to choose a place for him to do a residency and for us to relocate to from NY.
  • My word in 2012 was Change as we relocated across country from New York to California and completely changed our lives and I expanded my business.
  • In 2013, my word was Discover as I acclimated to living in Northern California and embraced our new life. I took Italian classes, became a “real” cyclist, got back on stage with local theater groups, and more.
  • In 2014, my word was Presence as a reminder to live in the moment and savor all of the experiences personally and professionally that I was blessed to have in my life.
  • In 2015, my word was Adventure. My husband finished his 3-year veterinary residency and we spent a month in beautiful Italy. What an adventure indeed!!
  • In 2016, my word was Savor. It was a great reminder to slow down and enjoy life more. I renewed my life-long hobbies of reading and writing. I read 84 books that year and started writing creatively again.
  • In 2017, I chose Creativity and loved it! I started writing my first novel, attended some amazing writer conferences, and brought a creative flair to everything I did, personally and professionally.

For 2018, I’ve chosen the word Embrace. It took a little bit of time to reveal itself, but once it did, I realized it was the right word and theme for this year. I plan to embrace my favorite hobbies such as reading and writing, embrace my health, embrace my marriage, embrace my business, and yes, even embrace my age (I am turning 50 at the end of January… yikes! How did that happen?!).

I love how Embrace makes me feel like I am enjoying what I have, while reaching for what I want. It feels positive and proactive. It feels like it will push me outside my comfort zone, but not so far that I lose sight of what I already have that needs to be embraced.

When I posted on social media about this one-word approach, I got a huge response to my appeal for people to share their word of the new year. People’s comments were very inspiring and thought-provoking. Interestingly, people often share that they experience a little resistance to their word at first. Or were surprised at their word. Or hoped that something bigger or better had come to mind. Try not to resist the word that presents itself to you!

The word you choose is usually the exact one that you need to be reminded of throughout the year. And by the way, the one word theme is not a cop out! It doesn’t mean that you won’t accomplish anything or fail to take action. From what I have seen with the one-word theme, you will. But many of us don’t need another to-do list. We need a theme, a rallying cry, a mantra, an affirmation, a reminder. Your one word can serve all of those purposes and more if you give it some serious thought, choose wisely (or better yet, let your word choose you!), and then keep that word front and center in your mind, guiding your actions and behavior during the year.

So… what is your one word for 2018? I’d love to hear it. Please send me an email or even better, share in the comments below so others can be inspired too!

Happy New Year!

Around this time of year when we flip the calendar from one year to the next, most people make a long list of New Year’s Resolutions. It is a noble idea in theory, but often in practice, doesn’t amount to much. Resolutions often get cast aside and discarded, making their creators feel inadequate and unproductive.

So why not skip the New Year’s Resolutions altogether this time and opt for an alternative New Year’s ritual: the One-Word Theme!

I find it helps me to choose a word to give me an over-arching theme in the new year. For many people, the one word approach feels more manageable and powerful than a laundry list of New Year’s Resolutions which can often feel like another to-do list. One word is ideal. It gives you focus.

I believe that choosing a word f or the year is so compelling because it takes the “should” out of our wish for personal and professional development. Our word serves as a gentle (but powerful!) reminder, rather than a drill sergeant barking orders at us.

I’ve been following this one word theme for years now.

  • In 2011, my word was Implement. Boy, did I implement that year as I changed my business brand and model, and went with my husband on 13 interviews around the U.S. to choose a place for him to do a residency and for us to relocate to from NY).
  • My word in 2012 was Change as we relocated across country from New York to California and completely changed our lives and I expanded my business.
  • In 2013, my word was Discover as I acclimated to living in Northern California and embraced our new life. I took Italian classes, became a “real” cyclist, got back on stage with local theater groups, and more.
  • In 2014, my word was Presence as a reminder to live in the moment and savor all of the experiences personally and professionally that I was blessed to have in my life.
  • In 2015, my word was Adventure. My husband finished his 3-year veterinary residency and we spent a month in beautiful Italy. What an adventure indeed!! 
  • In 2016, my word was Savor. It was a great reminder to slow down and enjoy life more. I renewed my life-long hobbies of reading and writing. I read 84 books last year and started writing creatively again. 

For 2017, I’ve chosen the word Creativity. It came to me quickly and clearly. And yes, I plan to pursue the creative endeavor of writing a novel based on memoir, as well as some short stories. But I also plan to apply Creativity to many areas of my life and business. Creativity can infuse a lot of what we do, what we create, what we grow and nurture. I love that idea and will use this word as a constant reminder throughout the year to be my most creative self in every way.

When I posted on social media about this one-word approach, I got a huge response to my appeal for people to share their word of the new year. People’s comments were very inspiring and thought-provoking. Interestingly, people often share that they experienced a little resistance to their word at first. Or were surprised at their word. Or hoped that something bigger or better had come to mind. Try not to resist the word that presents itself to you!

The word you choose is usually the exact one that you need to be reminded of throughout the year.

And by the way, the one word theme is not a cop out! It doesn’t mean that you won’t accomplish anything or fail to take action. From what I have seen with the one-word theme, you will. But many of us don’t need another to-do list. We nee d a theme, a rallying cry, a mantra, an affirmation, a reminder. Your one word can serve all of those purposes and more if you give it some serious thought, choose wisely (or better yet, let your word choose you!), and then keep that word front and center in your mind, guiding your actions and behavior during the year.

So… what is your one word or theme for 2017? I’d love to hear it. Please send me an email or even better, share in the comments on my blog so others can be inspired too!

Happy New Year!

“Let go of who you think you should be in order to be who you are. Be imperfect and have compassion for yourself. Connection is the result of authenticity.”
~ Brene Brown

road_to_successIf you ask most people want they want for their career, business or life, often the word Success comes up at some point. Indeed, many of us want to be successful. So what stops some people from being successful but not others? A whole host of things. It is often said that success leaves footprints. I do believe that there are certain patterns that successful people follow — taking action, being focused, making bold but calculated risks, finding a support system, and staying positive to name a few. But there are also some serious saboteurs that often get in the way of success. They cause (and are often caused by) doubt, fear, lack of confidence, and negativity. They come disguised as 3 blocks that try to stop you from moving forward and being successful.

1. The Perfection Trap

The Perfection Trap is what causes you to second guess yourself at every turn. It is often disguised as a strength (“I have such high standards.”), but in reality can be a manifestation of procrastination, lack of confidence, or fear of failure or success. The Perfection Trap is in some ways the Great Western disease: “I’ll be happy when I …” (fill in the blank!). Many people wait until everything is “perfect” to move forward with their ideas, insights, strategies, interests and passions. Unfortunately, the waiting game goes on and on because the stars are never perfectly aligned. In the meantime, what happens? Life (and often success and happiness!) pass you by.

Win Borden said, “If you wait to do everything until you’re sure it’s right, you’ll probably never do much of anything.” Stop waiting until everything is perfect! Life your life now. Pursue your dreams, follow your passions, launch your business, apply for that promotion, ask that special someone out on date… whate ver it is. You probably have “enough” already under your belt to take a step in that direction. Remember, done is better than perfect. (For more on this topic, check out my article Done is Better Than Perfect at https://www.lisamontanaro.com/2012/03/16/done-is-better-than-perfect/).

2. The Comparison Trap

The Comparison Trap is often right there waiting to attack. It is the voice in your head that says, “I could never do that” as you look at others’ accomplishments, successes and happiness. It forces you to look outward for your definition of success. You look at others, measure yourself against them, and then think you are less than. When I work with a client, I implement a rule that he or she must follow: No negative self talk! You’d be surprised how difficult it is for many people to adhere to it. Words are powerful, and negative self talk always puts you in a losing position.

The world is filled with a sense of competition. Women tend to compare themselves to other women in so many areas: physical appearance, parenting, relationships, and business. Men tend to compare themselves based on material possessions, status, and money. It’s exhausting trying to keep up with everyone else! Use what others’ do as a model, sample or template, but, make it your own. Otherwise, you will just spin your wheels trying a little bit of everything, but mastering and enjoying nothing.

The problem with the Comparison Trap is that it is completely false. No one stands in your shoes. You are the only you. And the trouble with someone thinking they can get ahead of you is that you’re assuming that they can walk in your shoes. And this reminds me of something that the actress Judy Garland once said: “Be a first rate version of yourself, rather than be a second rate version of someone else.” An original is better than a copy every time.

3. The Impostor Syndrome

comparison_trapThe toughest critic will often be you. There’s a theory called the Impostor Syndrome that many successful people suffer from. It’s where you feel like a fake even if you have the education, training and experience to be successful at what you do.

Jodie Foster has talked about it freely in some of her interviews. She said that every time she would go on a movie set, whether as an actress or a director as her career progressed, she felt like an impostor and was worried that she’d be “found out.” And this is coming from an accomplished performer since she was a child, and a celebrity by most people’s standards. But it doesn’t matter. When she looked in the mirror, she didn’t see that celebrity. She didn’t value herself the way others valued her.

We so often judge ourselves harshly because in our own minds, we aren’t quite there yet. We tend to focus on what we have not accomplished yet, what remains to be done, what goals we have not yet reached. Try to remind yourself of what you have already accomplished, how much you have already grown and changed, and the goals you have met. It is often on the journey to becoming who we are that the true growth takes place. The term authenticity is often used these days (some may say over-used). I think being authentic means taking ownership of your true value, including all that you bring to the table, while humbling yourself enough to admit that you still have some steps to take on your journey. That doesn’t make you an impostor. It makes you human.

Do you want to become a great public speaker or hone your existing speaking skills?

Have you been asked to give a presentation and are scared to death and aren’t sure how to pull it off?

Do you want to really wow your audience/client and get spin off speaking gigs?

SpeakUpSummerCamp-fireLook no further!

The Speak Up Summer Camp is back! After a successful launch last summer, we’re making this “camp” a tradition!

Speak Up is a coaching and training program for aspiring speakers, as well as speakers with experience that want to “up their game” and knock it out of the park! Drawing upon my background as a performer, lawyer, professional speaker, and speaker coach, I will pull the speaker out of you so that you can ace your speaking engagements with confidence.

I have successfully presented this speaking program live in many locations across the U.S., including New York, Seattle and New Orleans. For the second year, I am offering it as a virtual program so that you can take advantage of it no matter where you live from the comfort of your own home or office. No travel expenses involved! It is ultra-convenient. All you need is a phone and/or computer.

Lisa_and_Monica-NAPOAnd it gets even better! I’ve invited a colleague to be a guest faculty member for this LMG University program, and co-facilitate it along with me. And she’s not just anyone. My partner in crime is Monica Ricci, who is an accomplished speaker extraordinaire. In fact, Monica and I have shared the stage together a few ti mes now with amazing results. We have been called The Dynamic Duo! (Click here to check out my blog post about how Monica and I came together to present this program live a while back in New Orleans!)

Please join us for this amazing 8 week teleclass-based group program that will help you:

checkbox Conduct engaging, informative and interactive presentations for audiences large and small.
checkbox Learn how to prepare and deliver presentations of different types, lengths, and targeted to different audiences.
checkbox Improve your oral and nonverbal communication styles.
checkbox Inspire and motivate participants, exude confidence and enthusiasm, and establish credibility.
checkbox Overcome your fear of public speaking and use that fear to your advantage.
checkbox Increase speaking confidence.
checkbox Discover how to connect with the audience, use humor, and let your unique personality and style shine.
checkbox Learn how to effectively handle speaking snafus, such as interruptions, hecklers, and technical difficulties.
checkbox Get coaching and feedback from two professional speakers who make a significant portion of their income through speaking.
checkbox Learn how to use speaking as an income stream and a marketing funnel to build your business.

Whether conducting trainings, workshops, keynotes, or any other type of presentation, this program will help you become a more dynamic speaker!

Summer is the Perfect Time to Participate in a Program Like This.

summer_campWe’ll start Thursday, May 7th and go for 8 weeks (jumping over May 21st) and end on July 2nd. This program can be done from the comfort of your own home or office. You can be lounging by your pool, swinging in the hammock, or sitting on your deck with a glass of lemonade. That is the beauty of a virtual program. All you need is your telephone, and perhaps a computer/tablet/smart phone if you want to take it a step further.

We named this the Speak Up Summer Camp Program for a reason. Summer is a perfect time to take a virtual program. You want to enjoy your summer, and any travel you do will most likely be a family vacation. We get that!

See all of the Speak Up Summer Camp Program schedule and description of services here: https://www.lisamontanaro.com/speakup

Special Bonus for the First 5 People to Register:

bonusIf you are one of the first 5 to register, you get a bonus pre-program call with Lisa & Monica. In this hour long call, Lisa & Monica will share bonus content about how speaking catapulted their businesses, how it fits into their current business model, and some other juicy nuggets about speaking to whet your appetite. You will also have the opportunity to share your background with regard to speaking, share your reasons for registering, and set goals and intentions for the program. This is ONLY available t o the first 5 people that register, so hurry up and join us to get in on this bonus call!

testimonial-Deborah_CabralPsst… I’m even offering an early bird registration rate so you don’t have to dip into your summer fun stash! Check it out.

“Speak” to you soon!

Several courageous participants have accepted my offer to work on transforming their life by joining the La Dolce Vita Group Life Coaching Program. It could be writing a book, focusing on your health, improving your relationships, getting off the see-saw of life-work balance, reigniting some of your long-lost passions, or changing your career.

In each case, we have a destination that is unknown to us now. The adventure is in the journey, but also in knowing that you will come out “different” on the other side. Hopefully, a new and improved version of you. 🙂

take_controlEach member of the La Dolce Vita Program has set his or her goals. To get there requires vision, determination, consistency, and some fun too! By March 27th, all La Dolce Vita participants will have all earned their right to live The Sweet Life.

What will it be for you? In what way do you want things to be different?

You might think that it’s selfish to invest in yourself… (we will nip that in the bud with the No Negative Self Talk Rule!)

But your happiness depends on YOU…and you deserve it.

Join me for the La Dolce Vita 6-Week Group Life Coaching Program, starting Thursday, February 19, 2015 that will help you:

  • Evaluate what’s working and not working in your life, and identify areas for transformation.
  • Develop realistic and fun techniques to help you grow.
  • Use productivity in a proactive and positive way to set boundaries and better master your use of time and resources.
  • Overcome Cinderella’s Ugly Step Sisters: The 3 Blocks to Success (The Perfection Trap, The Comparison Trap and the Impostor Syndrome)
  • Get real about things you’ve said you really wanted to do and have in your life but never give yourself permission to implement.
  • Adopt a positive mindset and learn about cutting edge research on the power of happiness.
  • Learn effective tools for dealing with difficult, toxic or negative people (including you!).
  • Stop giving away your power to the Negative Nellies and Neds.
  • Recognize and exploit your own greatest assets.
  • Get comfortable with who you are vs. keeping up with the Joneses.
  • Balance preparing for the future with living well today in terms of financial wellness.
  • Get your house in order – literally and figuratively!
  • Learn the power of commitment and consistency.
  •  Tap into your passions, figure out what they are, and how to enjoy and manage them.

Here’s What You Will Get as Part of the La Dolce Vita Group Life Coaching Program:

  • 6 weeks of group coaching calls with me and your fellow La Dolce Vita group members covering powerful content to help you learn to live the La Dolce Vita lifestyle. These calls will be open line allowing for interaction and discussion.
  • Mp3 recordings of all calls – Can’t make the live calls? No problem! All teleclasses will be recorded.
  • Course materials – We will use tools like Journaling, creating a Vision Board, my Wheel of Life exercise, along with tons of thought provoking questions, self assessment exercises, and content that will help you learn to practice La Dolce Vita techniques and incorporate them into  your life.
  • Private Facebook group – Where you can connect with other members, gather feedback, ask questions, AND have access to me during the entire program.
  • Special Bonuses – 2 of my fabulous audio programs, “How to Overcome the 3 Most Common Blocks to Living a Productive Life” and “Decision Making as a Means to Living a Satisfying Life & Enjoying a Successful Business.”
  • Opportunity for Private One-on-One Coaching at Discounted Rate – See section on Private Coaching Upgrade, which you can select at check out. All this for only $359!

BUT WAIT… if you register by February 12th, then you only pay the Early Bird Rate of $299.

That’s an amazingly affordable price to spend 6 weeks improving your life!

What are you waiting for? Come join La Dolce Vita now.

Ciao!

Lisa

PS – Portions of this program may qualify for Continuing Education Units (CEU) depending on your certification. For example, if you are a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO), some of the classes may be CEU eligible if you assist your clients with time and productivity management and life-work balance.

Around this time of year when we flip the calendar from one year to the next, most people make a long list of New Year’s Resolutions. It is a noble idea in theory, but often in practice, doesn’t amount to much. Resolutions often get cast aside and discarded, making their creators feel inadequate and unproductive.

So why not skip the New Year’s Resolutions altogether this time and opt for an alternative New Year’s ritual: the One-Word Theme!

I find it helps me to choose a word to give me an over-arching theme in the new year. For many people, the one word approach feels more manageable and powerful than a laundry list of New Year’s Resolutions which can often feel like another to-do list. One word is ideal. It gives you focus.

I believe that choosing a word for the year is so compelling because it takes the “should” out of our wish for personal and professional development. Our word serves as a gentle (but powerful!) reminder, rather than a drill sergeant barking orders at us.

carpe_diemI’ve been following this one word theme for years now.

  • In 2011, my word was Implement. Boy, did I implement that year as I changed my business brand and model, and went with my husband on 13 interviews around the U.S. to choose a place for him to do a residency and for us to relocate to from NY).
  • My word in 2012 was Change as we relocated across country from New York to California and completely changed our lives and I expanded my business.
  • In 2013, my word was Discover as I acclimated to living in Northern California and embraced our new life. I took Italian classes, became a “real” bicyclist, got back on stage with local theater groups, and more.
  • In 2014, my word was Presence as a reminder to live in the moment and savor all of the experiences personally and professionally that I was blessed to have in my life.

My word for 2015 is Adventure. It came to me the other day very easily when I started thinking about the year ahead. My husband finishes his 3-year veterinary residency and we will do some traveling in the United States and Europe, enjoying some long-awaited quality time together. We will also be researching and considering our options for the future in terms of where we will live next. My one word theme of Adventure will be both a comforting and powerful reminder to stay intellectually curious, seek out new adventures, try new experiences, shake up the status quo, live each moment to the fullest, and savor each drop of my life.

When I posted on social media about this one-word approach, I got a huge response to my appeal for people to share their word of the new year. People’s comments were very inspiring and thought-provoking. Interestingly, people often share that they experienced a little resistance to their word at first. Or were surprised at their word. Or hoped that something bigger or better had come to mind. Try not to resist the word that presents itself to you! The word you choose is usually the exact one that you need to be reminded of throughout the year.

life_is_too_shortAnd by the way, the one word theme is not a cop out! It doesn’t mean that you won’t accomplish anything or fail to take action. From what I have seen with the one-word theme, you will. But many of us don’t need another to-do list. We need a theme, a rallying cry, a mantra, an affirmation, a reminder. Your one word can serve all of those purposes and more if you give it some serious thought, choose wisely (or better yet, let your word choose you!), and then keep that word front and center in your mind, guiding your actions and behavior during the year.

So… what is your one word or theme for 2015? I’d love to hear it. Please send me an email or even better, share in the comments on my blog so others can be inspired too!

Happy New Year!

celebrateI am wishing you all a fantastic 2014 personally and professionally. I find it helps me to choose a word to give me an over-arching theme in the new year. For many people, the one word approach feels more manageable and powerful than a laundry list of New Year’s Resolutions which can often feel like any other To-Do List.

My word for the new year is Presence — a reminder to focus on the moment, to live each moment to the fullest, and to savor each experience. What’s your word/theme?

In 2011, my word was Implement (and boy did I implement that year as I changed my business brand and model, and went with my husband on 13 interviews around the U.S. to choose a place for him to do a residency and for us to relocate to from NY). My word in 2012 was Change as we relocated across country and completely changed our lives (and expanded my business). In 2013, my word was Discover as I acclimated to living in Northern California and embracing our new life here (took Italian classes, became a “real” bicyclist, got back on stage with local theater groups, etc). Now in 2014, my word is Presence as it will be all about living in the moment, uni-tasking and savoring all of the experiences personally and professionally that I am blessed to have in my life.

When I posted on social media about this one-word approach, I got a huge response to my appeal for people to share their word of the new year. People’s comments were very inspiring and thought-provoking.

So… what is your word or theme? Share in the comments so others can be inspired too!

P.S. – If you want to go deeper with this topic and tips, tools, and strategies to help you with Goal Setting in the New Year, then join me for my complimentary teleclass: Don’t Just Make a Wish & Blow It Into the Wind: Make Your Goals a Reality in the New Year! on January 22, 2014 at 4:30 pm PST / 5:30 pm MST / 6:30 pm CST / 7:30 pm EST. This call is complimentary and will also be recorded if you are unable to join us live. All registrants will receive a link to the recording within 24 hours. Click here to register!

iStock_000020928328XSmallP.P.S. – For those of you that know you want 2014 to be your best year yet, and are looking for a fabulous program to help you make that happen, check out my La Dolce Vita 6-Week Group Life Coaching Program starting on February 6, 2014. It’s affordable and powerful!! Click here for details!

business_buildingHave you seen my new 12-week group coaching program for business owners called the Successfully Self Employed Semester? It’s a powerful program offered at a fraction of the cost of doing private business coaching with me.

Join me, and a small group of like-minded, dedicated business owners (or budding business owners!), for a 12-week teleclass-based training program designed to focus on your business growth and success.

Here’s an overview of the program details:

Dates: Thursday evenings, September 5 to November 21 (we finish before Thanksgiving!)
Time: 7:00-8:30 pm Eastern Standard Time
Length of Program: The program extends over three-months allowing you time to learn, engage the materials, implement, test out your knowledge, and make your learning last far beyond the end of the semester.
Includes: Master Classes and Open Q&A Calls, MP3 recordings of all classes/calls, handouts/checklists/templates, a private Facebook group for all of us to communicate, plus two bonus audio programs as soon as you register to get you started and motivated!
Topics covered: Business ownership, business identity and branding, legal issues, marketing, networking and public relations, the sales process, pricing/packages and money issues, and business operations.
Flexibility & Accessibility: The program is offered entirely via phone and the internet, so no matter where you live this program is flexible and accessible to you! Plus, if you can’t make a live class, you can always listen to the MP3 recording, which will be posted the day after every class/call.
Affordability: Many newer business owners need help in the first few years, but can’t afford to get it. I’ve kept the program affordable so that you can get access to the help you need and crave. Offering this program in a group setting, and using technology to deliver it, is what allows me to keep the price at this level.
Investment: Early Bird Special = $697 if you register by August 19th (with a 2-pay option of $348.50 in two equal installments if you need to space the investment out)

This group program provides you the opportunity to:

  • Focus on your business’ growth and success
  • Hear about important lessons learned
  • Offer support to your fellow students
  • Be accountable as you implement the program curriculum
  • Participate in focused discussions on topics that are pertinent to your business
  • Take advantage of an opportunity to ask specific questions that will help you grow your business

Click here to watch a video I created with details about this exciting program!

If you are interested in having your very own business coach, but aren’t able to invest the money to work on a one-on-one basis with me, this affordable program is the answer. Remember, the early bird rate of $697 ends on August 19th. Don’t miss out on that $100 savings!

I’d love to spend three-months with you this semester. And I can’t wait to connect with you in the private Facebook group!


PS
– This course is not for the intermediate or advanced business owner. If you are looking for a more advanced program, check out the PowerUp Mastermind Program, which is a 6-month offering for experienced entrepreneurs starting in January 2014. To get on the Priority List for PowerUp, email .

PPS – If you think friends, clients or colleagues may be interested in this program or any other LMG University program offered in the future, be sure to sign up for our affiliate program. You can earn a 20% commission just for referring others that register! https://www.lisamontanaro.com/affiliate/

testimonial-Migdalia

bucketTime management has become one of those over-used terms, in my opinion, and has lost its luster. Many people think that time management an ever-elusive skill or concept that they will never master, and have just sort of given up (kind of like life-work balance, but I will save that for another article!). I think one reason for this is that time management can seem so structured and constrictive, and that can be a real turn off for people. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Time management can be a bit more creative and loose, and yet still powerful and effective. Enter the Bucket Method.

When I speak about productivity, people invariably ask me for the perfect time management system. And generally, I tell them that the perfect system doesn’t exist, as time management is one of those things that is very personal to the user. One person’s dream of a time management system may be the next person’s nightmare. However, I started mentioning this creative concept of time management in a bucket and noticed that it resonated with a lot of people, including attendees in my audiences and my private coaching clients.

15minutesMany of my clients ask me to put them on a strict time map type program, where we map out their week and define blocks of time on their calendar with chunks of activities. For example, Mondays from 9-11 they reply to email, from 11-12, they return phone calls, from 1-4, they work on expenses and financials, from 4-5, they work on marketing activities, etc. This type of structured time approach can work wonders for some people. But for others, it can feel like a straight jacket! And then they rebel, which is just human nature when a system feels too confined and you yearn to break free from it.

So how does the Bucket Method work? It’s simple actually (and that’s part of what makes it so powerful, as you don’t need a PhD in time management to implement it!). We all have projects and tasks that we need to tend to. Some of them are deadline driven and some are more open ended. They fall into several major categories (personal, home, business/career, etc.) and can be broken down into smaller tasks. The first plan of action is to dump all of the projects and tasks into a Master Project List. That is what you will use to fill your buckets (some people do this visually, by putting post it notes on a chalk board for example and then choosing those projects/tasks and dropping the post it notes into a “bucket” for a day; others do it virtually by adding these tasks to their calendar on their smart phone).

What the Bucket Method focuses on is choosing a theme for each day (or a few themes, but not a ton of them), and then filling that day’s “bucket” with anything that matches that theme. For example, some business owners use a theme on Mondays of Marketing. Anything on your project or task list that pertains to Marketing can be dropped into that bucket and you can focus on it that day. Some people do errands on a Saturday, so they fill that bucket with all of the errands on that day, rather than scattering them throughout the week. You can choose a few themes for your bucket, but not too many (or it will be a scattered, multi-tasking kind of day, which studies show is not the best use of time and energy).

calendarHow do you organize your time within a bucket? However you want! I know that sounds sacrilegious but the key isn’t a strict compartmentalization of projects and tasks each day, but to stick with what’s in the bucket. Interestingly, many people still get a lot more done than they used to without the bucket method. Why? I can only surmise here, but my guess is that they choose the theme for the buckets based on their interests, energy level, and what else is going on in their life and work (maybe even based subliminally on priorities or deadlines without that hitting them over the head as a requirement). It actually allows them to choose what they want to do out of what they have to do.

Sure, some people would just leave a project or task on the Master List that they don’t want to do and procrastinate over it by never filling a bucket with it. But by and large, most people that try this start filling their buckets and getting stuff done! They find it freeing, and that feels very anti-time management, even though it is indeed a time management system. Because when it comes right down to it, we can’t really manage time anyway. What we are managing is the process of filling our time with projects and tasks. And when we feel like we have control over that through the Bucket Method, but not so much control that we feel smothered, then it seems for some people to be just right.