Propel Yourself Forward

Propel Yourself Forward

Do you feel like juggling your commitments to work, family, friends, church and even your pet leave you shaking your head at the end of the day? There are days where I’d like to flip off the adult switch and just stay on the couch under a warm blanket.

Working a full-time job, taking care of those that matter and still carving out that time you need to be creative can be a challenge. So many of us worry if we take that “me time” people will see it as we aren’t giving our all, or that we are wasting our time on something that doesn’t really matter. Everything we do well is driven by a passion and a desire to do whatever it takes to produce the best. For some of us, that means it’s time to embrace the imperfect and messy. For others, it means saying no to something that doesn’t give you that lift or keeps you from spending time developing a talent or skill you enjoy.

When you reach that point, it’s time to PROPEL.PROPEL Yourself

P – Push yourself. Do something out of your comfort zone. Grow your skills. Increase your circle of acquaintances and friends. Join new groups. Find the inspiration you need to do the things you enjoy. This push will fuel you with determination to meet all of life’s craziness head on and with purpose.

R- Rejoice in life’s blessings. Take a moment to be thankful each day. Let it be a reminder of how far you’ve come and all you can to look forward too. An attitude of gratitude will leave you feeling ready for tomorrow.

O- Organize. Use a planner. Don’t let all the little things sneak up on you. Put everything on your calendar. If you don’t know about an appointment or a school program you can’t account for it. These unscheduled interruptions in your day can steal precious moments. They through deadlines off. They keep you from meeting goals. Of course, there’s still things that will crop up unexpectedly. The kids will get sick. The pipe bursts. But 90% of the time, the chaos in our schedules comes because we didn’t plan.

P-Prioritize our choices. When you split your energy between too many things, you end up feeling lost and unaccomplished. Spend time each day (or week) and make a priority list. Then use it to make sure you give the items that matter the care and attention they deserve.

E- Energize yourself so that you are ready to face another day. Our passion and drive is our energy source. While our time may be limited, our inner fire isn’t. You’ve got to take the time to focus it so that all areas of your life get fueled. It may be time to connect with your spirituality; write the words that are running through your mind; or just playing a rowdy game of corn hole in the backyard with your kids. Whatever it takes to refuel your tank, make that a priority.

L-Learn to experience “new” every day. Explore new things, writers, music, places and food when you have the opportunity. Broaden you view.

By propelling yourself forward this year, you’ll ensure you genuinely show up and give the right amount of attention and focus to the things that matter. It will give you the balance you need and take you to new levels.

New Year – New Plan: Try an editorial calendar

Editorial calendars

As the year comes to an end, everyone moves into planning mode. Budgets are developed, and programs are established. As a communicator, there’s another tool that can be a lifesaver as you move from one year to the next.

Editorial calendars can make sure nothing gets left behind. I think there’s a misconception about editorial calendars. People feel it’s only for content, but it’s not. These calendars can include important mail dates, board meetings, articles, social media content, program information, national programs, deadlines, and much more.

Editorial calendars can give you a clear picture of what’s ahead, keep you on message, and help organize other players on your team.

As you plan for the upcoming year, think about involving your whole department. It’s important to get fresh perspectives, new ideas on old/required messages and a great way to keep the momentum you created this year moving forward.

If you don’t feel like reinventing the wheel, there are free options you can download and put right to use. Check out those sites for some great resources. Or here’s a site that pulls 15 Life Changing Editorial Calendar Tools together in one place (https://writtent.com/blog/15-life-changing-editorial-calendar-tools/).

However, if you’d like to create your own, I used Excel to create my own. It’s easy to add too and easy to share.

Here’s how I work mine:

edcalendar

You’ll see it’s a grid system with each month highlighted down the left-hand side. Across the top, I tried to identify ever channel of communication including social accounts, newsletters, events, website, video, and more. I include content ideas, deadlines, assignment information, and yearly events. There’s even a place at the bottom where I can add notes for next year as things come up during the year or ideas occur. The visual reminder of what’s due when is great for me. I also like that it allows me to see upcoming items and plan time to fit them in the work schedule.

A great tip for building out your first calendar, is take an old planner and go ahead and drop in dates/months of annual events and any special celebrations that matter to your organization. Pull out a couple of years of past newsletters or magazines and see if there are topics you generally cover every year at a specified time. Add those and you’ll be off to a great start.

Editorial calendars are a benefit because they allow for effective planning. They are adaptable and allow you to drop in items that crop up unexpectedly. They provide a checklist so that you make sure each of your audiences are hearing a message through a channel that reaches them best. An editorial calendar is a smart way to make sure you are meeting strategic communications goals without missing a key element. By planning ahead, you are ensuring that you stay on task and on message.

Sharpen your pencil. Your story is ready to be written.

It’s New Year’s Day 2018. The party hats have been put away. The black eyed peas and greens are on the stove. It’s a time of reflection and renewal and celebration.

Celebrating what we’ve achieved to this point and acknowledging all the people who have helped us get there.

It’s moments of reflection as we look back. We remember those who are no longer physically with us and have special places in our hearts. We pause to remember the impact they have had on our hearts and our lives. However, the past isn’t our only thought. We reflect on our future and our dreams.

It’s a renewal of strength and determination. It’s about goals and plans and that drive to be something more than we were the previous year. It’s that force to see a dream become a reality.

It’s with those thoughts in mind I want to share a story I heard at some point along the way. From one writer to another, I hope you think of this each time you pick up your pencil.

The parable of the pencil goes something like this:

There are 5 qualities of a pencil:

•It is able to do great things, but only if it allows itself to be held in someone’s hand.

•It experiences painful sharpening from time to time, but that makes it become a better pencil.

•It can correct any mistakes it might make.

•The most important part of it will always be what’s inside.

• It leaves a mark on every surface it touches. No matter the condition, it must continue to write.

Now think of you as a pencil:

•You are able to do great things, but only by allowing other people to access the many gifts and talents you possess.

•You too experience painful sharpening from time to time. The struggles and problems in life are needed to make us stronger people.

•You have the power to correct mistakes you might make.

•The most important part of you will always be what’s on the inside.

•On every surface, or person you encounter, you leave your mark. No matter what the situation, you must do your best. Always remember, you may not know the impact you have or the meaning behind a few words you share can hold.

Write bold words and dream big dreams, not just in 2018 but for each year to come. The page is blank today. Sharpen your pencil and write your new chapter. The book is called opportunity and it’s waiting on you to design the story.