6 Reasons You Need to Take a Holiday

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We live in world where people are more concerned with the quality of their work than their physical and emotional wellbeing.

Sad, isn’t it?

We’re now more concerned about our livlihood than ever before. There are plenty of social and economical factors that have contributed to this shift in behaviour  but in this shift, we have lost sight of other incredibly important aspects of our lives. Holiday’s are often considered as a luxry when it is, in fact, a necessity. Yes, we all need to work, but that dosn’t mean that our health and wellbeing should also be a priority… here’s why:

1. You hit the reset button

Don’t you just love the feeling of coming back to a piece of work with a fresh mind? Taking a step away from your usual routine and the mental stress of work will allow you to come back with your best ideas. We are wired to take regular breaks and recharge, so don’t fel guilty about needing some time away.

If you’re a regular reader, you may have noticed that I tend to disapprear for a month every year. From my personal experience, some of my best pieces are written in the first three weeks after taking a break.

2. Breaks from your business allows you both to grow

Taking time away from your business is almost like going on holiday without your children for the first time. You’ll find out whether the business copes well without you, if you have empowered others enough to do their job productively and what needs to be done to create a better system.

It is as important for you to take a step away from your business as it is or you to be there when it matters most.

3. It will improve your health

Studies have shown that people who take vacations are less likely to pick up particular illnesses later on in life. From avoiding heart disease to dodging high blood pressure, taking a holiday this year will help you to live a happier and healthier life in the long run.

4. You can make time for your family (or “me” time)

The quality of your thoughts determines the quality of your life. Grattitude works wonders and when you take the time to truely appreciate those around you, your are able to put what matters in life into perspective. We are social animals that often need to break free from the mundane reality of a routine.

5. You are open to new experiences and perspectives

Doyou consider yourself as someone who is stuck in their ways? Do you find it difficult to try something new or appreciate the opinions of others? Then maybe you need a break. Time away from work gives you a moment to reflect, exprience new cultures and possibly gain an insight into the world from the eyes of others. An attitude worth taking back to work and implementing in other areas of your life as well.

6. You’ll be happier

The largest boost in happiness can come from planning a holiday. By simply giving yoruself something to look forward to – you have an anticipated boost in happiness that can last from six to eaight weeks. Don’t forget that moods can be infectuius – meaning that if you’re ready to spread some holiday cheer around the office before you leave (and when you return) chances are, you’ll improve the atmosphere.

It is incredibly important to remember that taking a holiday isn’t selfish. It is a right that you are entitled to. It is a necessity and, most importantly, it does more for you in the long haul that you can imagine. Don’t feel guilty or postpone getting away – experience something new for yourself. Put your mind, body and well being before work (I promise, you’ll feel good for it!

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11 Ways to Know That You’re a Writer (as told by GIFs)

When you’re doing what you love, it’s pretty easy to just pick up habits without even realising it. From the countless notebooks to the bins over flowing with scrunched up pieces of paper, there are some habits that all writers can relate to. So, here’s a list of 11 ways to know that you’re writer… how many of them do you do?

  1. You write… simply for the sake of writing

 

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2. You spend more time imagining the ending of your next piece than you do writing it

 

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3. This is what you look like when you’re on a serious roll

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4. Coffee is your best friend (morning, noon and night)

 

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5. You have a diary that literally never ends

 

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6. You go through enough paper to make a small forest

 

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7. There’s a notepad stashed away in every bag that you own.

 

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8. This is what you look like when that ‘big’ idea suddenly formulates into words

 

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9. You get a fuzzy feeling when you share your ideas with friends and family

 

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10. Ideas are buried so deep in your mind that you begin to talk through them in your sleep.

 

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11. You with that you could erase bad endings with the one that you’ve formulated in your mind.

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Have I missed anything? Feel free to mention your writing habits in the comments section below!

7 Differences Between Busy and Productive People

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There is a difference between having a lot of things to do and getting a lot done. But, we’re often told that being busy must mean that you’re productive. 

Wrong.

Productive by definition means “achieving a significant amount or result”. While busy is “having a great deal to do or keeping oneself occupied”. They very difference between the two is that productivity produces results. Being busy just means using (or in some cases wasting) a lot of time. So how do you know if you’re really being productive? Here are 8 ways.

1. Busy people find it hard to prioritize. Productive people have (few) priorities. 

There is no such thing as being too busy. If it is important to you, you will find a way to incorporate it into your life. Having three or four priorities allows you to stay focused and work towards achieving the desired result. Having 20 priorities creates a headache and doesn’t give you time to complete anything.

2. Busy people have “things to do”. Productive people have a mission to complete.

Busy people hide their doubt by creating a longer list of things that should be done. There isn’t a sense of direction in their actions, just a multitude of things that consume their time.

Productive people are on a mission. Their actions are driven by the conscious decision to achieve a particular result and everything that they do is geared towards it.

3. Busy people always say yes. Productive people know when to say no. 

Busy people often over promise and under deliver. In their attempt to fit more into their never ending to-do list, they take on projects and make promises that simply can’t be kept.

Productive people understand that time is of the essence and that, to produce quality work, they need to have time and space. They say no, not to upset people, but because they’re aware of the limit.

4. Busy people focus on “doing”. Productive people gain clarity before taking action

Documenting your decisions can be one of the best things that you can do for yourself. It allows you to clearly understand how your actions are having an impact on your life and what you need to do in order to progress. Taking mindless action doesn’t produce a great deal of results. We live in a world where people are more interested in updating a Facebook status than they are proactively minding their personal growth. Don’t fall into this habit. Make sure that everything you do is inspired by your personal mission.

5. Busy people have too many options. Productive people have few. 

Everyone goes through a stage of wanting to do it all, to travel, save money, move out of home, get a degree, learn a language or earn a promotion. However, you do get to a point where focus becomes a necessity. You may want to do all of those things, but it is impossible to do them all at once. If this year, I want to start saving for a deposit on a flat, it’s probably not the best time to book flights to travel the world.

6. Busy people talk about time flying past. Productive people talk about what they’ve achieved. 

As they say; work hard in silence and let success make the noise. Busy people might have a lot to do and not too much to show for it. Not because they aren’t capable of doing better, but because they are channeling their energy into for too many things.

Productive people can tell you exactly what they have achieved in the past few days, weeks or months because their aim is to …

7. Busy people multitask. Productive people find their focus. 

Focus can do so much for you.

In theory, multitasking seems like a great idea. Why not kill two (or more) birds with the same stone? It sounds like you’re getting double the amount of work done in a shorter amount of time. What it really means is that you don’t finish many tasks because your time has been divided. Productivity is completing a task to a high standard. That requires focus.

There are plenty of great ways to do this. If you haven’t heard of the Pomodoro technique – check it out! You set a timer to 20 minutes and the aim is to focus on one thing and should you get distracted (by checking your phone, running off to get water, surfing the net), you have to reset the clock. Brutal? Maybe. Effective? Most definitely.

Think about how much you could achieve when you’re being productive? Don’t allow your potential to go to waste by consuming your time with ‘busy’. Instead of focussing on how much you have to do, focus on how completing each task will bring you one step closer to your goal.

Feel like I’ve missed something? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Are you making these traffic-killing mistakes?

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Blogging is anything but easy.

It can be tough trying to keep your head above water when you have so much to take into consideration. From design to producing content and keeping a consistent tone of voice, it is very easy to make simple mistakes that can affect your chances of being seen and remembered.

But don’t worry! Mistakes are all a part of the learning curve. Don’t let it take years to establish yourself as a blogger, avoid these mistakes and improve your chances of blogging success.

Mistake 1. Posting irregularly

One of the first mistakes that many bloggers make is thinking that they have to post every day in order to generate a following. Here’s what happens when you do that… You start off on a roll and slowly but surely your ideas begin to run dry and you exhaust yourself.

Then the posts stop… for a couple of weeks.

Here’s why this is a problem for your readers. People are creatures of habit – they like knowing when they should come back to your blog. They want to know what they should expect from you (so don’t leave them hanging!).

There’s no one size fits all approach to posting regularity, what matters is consistency. This is something that all writers struggle with at some stage so don’t feel bad about it – just pick up where you left off and get back into the swing of writing.

How to tackle this: You will go through a stage of not being available; whether it be starting a family, working on another business or simply needing to take a break, you will need time out! Sometimes the best thing to do is keep your readers informed. Give them a heads up so that you can concentrate on the other important aspects of your life and come back feeling refreshed.

Mistake 2. Having a poorly designed site

Good design is a lot like clear thinking… made visual – Edward Tufte

When you start blogging, you may be more concerned about coming up with a stream of good ideas to turn into posts more than design. Which is fine, because you’re just dipping your toes into the water. 

But remember that appearance and design does matter. The look and feel of a website can determine whether people just read a single post, navigate around your site and even subscribe to your weekly digest.

How your blog looks will affect whether readers trust you.

Being able to write engaging posts is just half of the work that has to go into making sure that your blog is successful. You may not be a developer, designer or photographer, so why not hire someone who is? You can find plenty of amazing freelancers on Fiverr (who are literally willing to redesign websites from $5! Most WordPress developers charge $30-$50).

How to tackle this: Here are a few things to take into consideration when designing your blog:

Widgets: You should get rid of anything that isn’t making the user experience better. If a widget isn’t really getting any clicks or helping people to navigate around your site, it doesn’t need to be there.

Menus & navigation: This will make or break your blog in terms of traffic. If you don’t give people enough options to help them find your content, chances are they won’t stick around to figure it out!

Mistake 3. Failing to introduce yourself

We’re all trying to get new readers. But doing so means you have to give them an insight into who you are and what you’re trying to achieve.

Readers want to know what your blog is all about, your ‘why’ and where to find you on social media. Make sure that all of that information is easy to find (maybe start with an ‘About Me’ page).

A great way to make new comers feel welcome is to respond to their comments. Show your appreciation by starting a conversation with them!

How to tackle this: Get a friend to go through your blog and give you some honest feedback. Make a list of everything that is/isn’t working well and then get to work.

Mistake 4. Forgetting to include Calls to Action

We all have our unique style and tone when it comes to writing. But, the one thing that all blog posts should have in common is a sense of structure. You’ve spent countless time perfecting your introduction to draw people in and provide them with content that doesn’t disappoint, so don’t ruin it with an anti-climatic ending.

CTA’s are just asking your readers to do something. Whether you encourage them to comment, read another article or subscribe to your newsletter, take this opportunity to convert them into regulars. 

 

How to tackle this: Give them some direction. Think about what readers will want to read after that particular post. Go back to your old posts and make sure that all of them have conclusions that invite readers to take action.

Mistake 5. Not linking back to other posts

You’ve been writing for a while so you have plenty of content to be referred back to in your articles. So make sure that you remember to link back to as many of your own blog posts as possible.

Give readers a chance to make their way around your site and digest some more relevant information. You should be promoting your own content as much as possible; the key is to link back to posts that can add to what you have written. Think of your blog as a central hub for information, all your readers really need is a nudge in the right direction.

How to tackle this: aim to have at least two links back to other articles in each post. But don’t just add links for the sake of it – make sure that they’re relevant to each piece and genuinely add vale to your readers.

Now it’s your turn. 

Blogging can be so rewarding. Especially when you finally start to get the results that you’ve been waiting for. Invest your time and energy into making it the a place that makes readers want to come back.

Do you have anything else to add to the list? Feel free to share them in the comments section below!

BizGalz recap: Encouraging cultural sisterhood with Black Girl Magik

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Diversity is something to be celebrated and embraced. It’s also an opportunity for people, from a number of backgrounds, to come together and support one another. This means so much more than simply starting a conversation. It means making a conscious effort to understand, that while we all share similarities, that we can definitely learn from our differences. Last week our guest Shydeia Caldwell, Founder of Black Girl Magik, spoke to the BizGalz community about cultural sisterhood and what we can do to encourage it. Here’s what they had to say:

Diversity is important because it allows us to learn about experiences that we are unfamiliar with. We become more open to different views and can see how valid all walks of life are.

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Whatever you want to do, Just Start.

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You already know what this post is about.

This is that little nagging voice in the back of your mind that keeps telling you to start doing that ‘thing’ you’ve always wanted to do. That project, that business venture, that blog, that website, that design… that thing.

Just start.

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Can’t stop thinking about it? This is just one of many reasons that you have to try. Make the first step today… make any emails or calls necessary, buy the domain name, download the right software, get a place on that course. But, do something to start. 

Right now, you’re in that ‘unknown’ place. You’re asking too many questions. Questions that can only be truly answered by starting. Will I be successful? Am I ready? Have I got what it takes to make it work?

My question is this. How will you know the answer, until you give it a shot? Don’t throw your dreams into the back of your mind and allow them to collect dust in the depths of your memory. Life is not s dress rehearsal. You only get one chance to be on centre stage. 

There is no such thing as being ready. What you have right now is enough – you are enough. Those ideas that make you feel uncertain are probably the ones worth investing in. Real progress begins outside of your comfort zone. That’s when you’re challenged, that’s where you become the best version of yourself. 

This doesn’t mean that you should abandon planning and preparation. It means that you need to eliminate self-doubt. Trust yourself and learn from the beauty of experience. Nothing worth having comes easy… if you want to feel fulfilled, expect to struggle. Embrace it and own the battle scars.

if-opportunity-doesnt-knock-build-a-doorCircumstances don’t have to be perfect in order for you to start. If it is important enough, you will find the time to dedicate to it. Stop worrying about what other people think and trying to live up to their expectations – it’s a waste of valuable energy that could be channeled into something far more productive.

Do you really want to live your life with that ‘what if’ floating in the back of your mind?

Be selfish. Say no to going out with your friend and turn your phone off for a few hours. Your idea shouldn’t be pushed aside anymore. Do something today. 

We’re already 1/3 of the way into 2016. Four months have flown by and next four will be gone before you can blink. You are in control of your time so use t wisely. Make this year, your year.

We all worry about failure. But, in order to keep going, you have to know that you have a story waiting to be told. A story that will make people stop and listen. Instead of ‘faking it until you make it’, try ‘believing it until the world catches up’. 

Don’t wait any longer.

Start now.