Visit My Guest Post at Arron LaRue

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I have a guest post at Arron LaRue today discussing the editing process to authors. Come check it out!

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How to Stay Focused When Life Gets in the Way

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The hardest part about the work day is when you are having a very productive day getting work accomplished, when out of nowhere, something changes. You get that phone call, notice a health symptom, or just learn a piece of news that becomes disheartening.

Now that you have this new information, how do you regain your productive focus? These types of distractions are usually not emergencies where you can run off and do something about it, but you still sit around and fret about the worst case scenario. We have all been there at some point in our work careers.

What do you do now?

So you are sitting at working trying to will yourself to get your work done and reminding yourself not to fret over something you cannot do anything about that moment anyhow.

Pick out projects that you are particularly excited about so you can focus your energy on something fun to work on. Be sure to pick a project that takes full brain power so you can focus on that task.

Next, set a timer for yourself and work on a task for the allotted amount of time. When the timer stops, give yourself a couple of minutes to let your mind trail off, then relax and refocus.

If needed, turn off your phone, radio, television, or email if necessary that might be distracting while you work. Also, have snacks nearby so you do not become unfocused with the need to eat.

When the time comes where you are still too distracted to meet and productive goals, stand up and leave the room. Pick another activity that is fun. Play with the dog or go for a walk. There sometimes comes a point where you are so distracted that it does not matter what the task, it just will have to wait for another day.

What do you think? How do you handle distractions?

Marketing and Looming Deadlines

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All the information I have read about being a freelancer include the concept of making sure to take time to market your brand even while busy. This is particularly important when working full time and dependent on the income. I finally have myself in the position where I need more hours in the day to get all of my work done before deadlines. This is a great thing because I am busy with projects I am excited to be working on.

While squeezing every moment of the day to get projects completed, how do you find the time to market your brand? Do you try different marketing avenues while you are busy vs when you are not? Do you recruit a family member to petition your brand? Or do you forgo marketing entirely until you can find more time? Please leave comments and tips below.

Nervousness: The Conference Call

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After countless conferences calls both in my corporate job and with freelance clients, it never fails that I become nervous as soon as the suggestion of a conference call hits his or her lips. This should be routine by now, but I find it is not. Especially with a brand new client whom I have never spoke to outside of email. I admit that I fear the unknown the worst. I fear I will get so nervous that I trip over my words, get the time of the call wrong, or not be able to understand the needs of the client.

Even after speaking with a client multiple times, I find myself calm until the clock hits a few minutes before the scheduled time. By now, I should know what to expect, but my nerves take over and I almost have that “fight or flight” anxiety take over. I think up excuses as to why I am unavailable, or decide not to answer the call. After reassuring myself that conference calls are a good thing, I am usually able to coax myself into a position where I can answer the phone with my most professional voice.

Do any of you find it difficult to have conference calls or is there something else routine that you have anxiety about regarding freelancing?

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Book Review: “Documents, Presentations, and Workbooks: Using Microsoft Office to Create Content That Gets Noticed” by Stephanie Krieger; O’Reilly Media

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Microsoft Office users do not understand the power at their fingertips. Krieger spends much time explaining each topic and appeals both to the brand new user as well as the advanced user. I consider myself an advanced user of Office, Excel, and Powerpoint. However, I never felt I was being talked down to and I did not want to skip any pages for fear of missing vital tips. Much time is spent not only on new features of the 2011 version, but time is also spent on tips and tricks that have been around in at least the previous version that users may have not known about up until now.

Stephanie Krieger is an author who is well versed in Microsoft. Her latest book, Documents, Presentations, and Workbooks: Using Microsoft Office to Create Content That Gets Noticed: Creating Powerful Content with Microsoft Office, is an update of her previous book, Office Documents: 2007 Edition. Since Krieger is a Microsoft MVP, she is the best person to write such a detailed book regarding all of the Microsoft 2011 programs.

I especially enjoy the short stories thrown into the book. One would not expect a story about a woman creating excellent content because she is lazy or a quote from Spiderman’s Uncle. These tidbits add to the entertainment and learning appeal of this book. Krieger put a lot of important information in this book, but this computer book is anything but a dry read.

With the book page total at 865, many will find this book intimidating initially by the size. However, the table of contents makes it easy to find a topic and the topic itself will be read entirely as to not miss any good tips. This book is highly recommended to anyone interested in advancing their Office 2011 and making their work look more professional in less time than you spend currently.

Order This Book Today at O’reilly.com