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Searching for the elusive ‘hyper-focus’

I’m pretty annoying, but I’m also incredibly self-aware.

I annoy myself.  Every time I inch forward and make progress in business, or you know, life, I do something to sabotage myself and everything comes crashing down.

I’ve always been this way.  I used to just think I was a bit slow and resigned myself to getting by on my limited talents.  I could waste hours just sitting like a switched off robot with barely anything resembling a cogent thought registering in my brain, 3rd eye permanently engaged.

Turns out I have a thing that makes my brain behave this way, and it’s called Attention Deficit Disorder (not the hyper one, I’m far from hyper).  On top of this, I discovered through the same Educational Psychologist test that I am dyslexic and have poor auditory functioning, but, I also have a higher than average IQ.

This was quite the discovery and turned what I thought I knew about myself on its head.  I was no longer ‘slow’, I had a thing that made my brain behave this way, which meant if I could find tools to help manage it, I could actually be quite smart.  Suddenly I was excited at the possibilities and set out to harness the creativity that comes with my thing.

I discovered that by using a green overlay when reading a book, I could focus on the words and read chapters at a time, rather than 1 sentence over and over again until the words physically got up and walked off the page.

I started to use audio recording devices in my job so all the stuff I missed in meetings through my brain switching off and my ears healing over could be listened to again and I could stop filling in the gaps with what I thought might have been said.

I planned out work using mind mapping programs which allowed me to avoid the frustration of trying to get my ideas in some sort of order.

I was like a new person.

However, I am yet to discover a tool to manage the brain shut-down, other than medication, which I haven’t plumped for yet.  You see when I’m in it, I know I’m in it, but it’s like I can’t shake it, it’s like I’m wading through thickening mud.  An onlooker in my own life. I am currently enjoying a fog free few days, but I know it’s temporary and the fog will be back, so I must be as productive as I can be right now, and kind to myself when it returns.

Also, having realised my abilities, I now find myself trying to stem an outpouring of ideas and visions and plans that have been squashed under a boulder for near on 30 years.  And like a computer with too many tabs open, I find it all a bit overwhelming sometimes, and then I revert back to old habits, put off doing jobs that I absolutely should be doing because the deadline is looming and I’m going to get grief if I don’t do it.

But I still don’t.

The killer combo of brain farts I deal with is more than just being distracted by shiny objects.  It’s more than switching off in a meeting.  It’s more than not liking to use the telephone.  This impacts on everything, my work, my self-confidence and my relationships. I use practical tools to manage the productivity and focus, and I use being kind to myself for the rest.

I can’t help you be kind to yourself, but I can share some of the tools I use for getting productive and hopefully, limiting the distractions.  If they work for me, they have to work for normal folk right?

Create an accountability group: a small group of people who are willing to keep you accountable for the jobs you need to get done.  And keep it small because you don’t want the distraction of hundreds of WhatsApp messages coming through all day.   I am currently in a group with 2 other people who have similar business goals to me.  We check in first thing and simply state what one job we will complete that day, a job that will move us closer to our goals.  The following day we check in to say we have completed that job, and what state what our next job is.

Use tools that work for you:  I’ve tried all sorts of different productivity software and apps, but keep coming back to the same ones.  I use Google Calendar, synced across devices.  I use Notes to keep ideas and things jotted down, again synced across devices. I use Penzu, a journaling app that reminds me every day to write. I use Grammarly to make sure my dyslexia doesn’t sabotage my writing.

Use scheduling apps for social media and schedule time for social media, networking, responding to messages etc.  If I am feeling particularly foggy or like I could be easily distracted, I’ll remove Facebook from my phone for a while.  A lot of my business is on social media, but that doesn’t mean I have to respond to everything immediately.  Block out social media time in your calendar or diary, and commit to only looking outside of those times if it’s necessary to your work.

I would love to know if any of these work for you.  Feel free to share any apps, tools, software or practical advice you have on dealing with ADD and Dyslexia, and tools for managing focus and productivity.

 

The Top 5 Headline Formulas to get Eyes on your Facebook Lives

I’ve said it before and I won’t ever stop saying it.  The headline is King.  Spend just as much time on the headline as you do on the content.

In fact, spend more time.  Because if they’re not even clicking on your post or opening your email, then your headline is failing.

I regularly schedule headline cramming, for no other reason than to practice getting good at coming up with clever headlines.  You can also look out for headlines being used in magazines, emails in your inbox, on tv, in adverts, on social media…. everywhere.  Open your eyes and start to notice how headlines are structured.

What headlines are making YOU want to read more?  Here are a few examples of types of headlines you can use in your copy.

The ‘How To’

It’s an oldie but a goodie.  The ‘how to’ takes a problem and provides a solution, the simplest of copy principles.  Once you have your headline, scope out your copy using the ‘Problem – Agitate – Solution’ formula.

Examples of ‘how to’ headlines:

  • How to create headlines that get clicks
  • How to repair your winter damaged skin
  • How to stay healthy when surrounded by germ ridden kids
  • How to stay one step ahead of the tax man
  • How to build a passive income with minimum effort
  • How to look fabulous on $10 a month
  • How to do a 1-hour workout in 10 minutes, from anywhere

‘Fear Based’

Negative headlines work, they tap into our primal fear, and FOMO is the buzzword du jour.  Use it to your advantage:

  • Only 24 hours left to get your one time only 25% discount
  • SOLD OUT!! But here’s one last chance to get your hands on ‘product’
  • Only 3 spaces left, here’s how to make sure you don’t miss the boat
  • Doors close at midnight, watch this video to see how to secure your spot
  • Lock in your membership now before the price goes up
  • 32 new subscribers are already seeing results with my marketing principles, don’t get left behind

The ‘Cliffhanger’

Pull back the curtain enough to gain the readers’ interest, but without revealing too much so they have no other choice than to engage with you.  Using open loops increases anxiety in your reader, and the FOMO kicks in again:

You can use some great words like, ‘technique’, ‘secret’, ‘tip’, ‘trick’ and ‘guide, and then explain what it’s going to do for them:

  • When my clients complain about dry, wintery skin, this is the unusual trick I teach    them
  • Discover this simple technique for developing unshakeable self-belief
  • 6 easy ways to keep your customer, way past the sale
  • This technique will help you manifest the life of your dreams
  • Are you missing out on high paying clients? This guide will make sure you bag the  buyers

Using Numbers

Consider these examples, which one are you more likely to click on? Which one gets your attention?

My top makeup tips for the over 50’s
My top 10 makeup tips for the over 50’s

Fun things to do in Bournemouth
25 fun things to do in Bournemouth

Email headlines that convert – steal them here
50 email headlines that convert – steal them here

People like numbers and a numbered list implies ease of use, so even the lazy readers are going to click on your post.

Testimonials

People want to now that real people get results with you and what you offer, so using a testimonial in your headline can provide that golden social proof. So instead of you promising the reader something, let someone who’s used you promise it.

  • Discover how Jane from Cambridge applied my 3 step marketing trick to 10x her sales in February
  • ‘This is the best-kept beauty secret in the world’, Betty, London – I’ll be sharing that secret live at 5
  • ‘I can’t believe the results after just one week!’ – Watch this to find out how you too can get results in one week following my unique workout plan

Let me know if you use any, and how you got on.

 

The Case for Storytelling

Every story has 3 parts,
A beginning
A middle
An end

So to start this off simply, you can apply these 3 approaches:
There was a character
She/he had this problem
This is what happened

Consider starting your story with a place and a time.

It was 7am on a Wednesday morning and Caroline was still in bed. She would usually leave the house at 8am, freshly showered, hair blow dried, clothes immaculate all ready to head into the office to get started on that day’s work.

(She had a problem)
But today she just wasn’t feeling it. You see she knew what was coming, it was so predictable it was depressing.

Within minutes of arriving at her desk, Tanya would appear, saying, “happy hump day!!” Tanya had been saying this every Wednesday for 7 years, and Caroline didn’t think she could take it one more time.

She had come to the realisation that everything about her job was predictable.              Paul with his ego and his grey shiny suit would tell her to, “cheer up, it’s nearly the weekend”

Melanie would have a negative response to every attempt at a conversation.

Jonathon would put up more passive aggressive notes in the kitchen.

And Charlie would, in clear sight of the Management, sit on Facebook all day with no shame.

It was make or break time. As Caroline lay in her comfy bed, watching time slide away, she knew this was crunch time….

(This is what happened)

For the first time since the terrible flu of 2015, Caroline called in sick. This wasn’t like her, she wasn’t a ‘sick note’, but she knew her life depended on it.

She poured herself a brew, got a notepad out and started to brainstorm. Just allowing herself that space to be creative (and a bit naughty for pulling a sickie) she came up with loads of ideas of what she could do instead of the day job.

Her job was in advertising but she loved doing the design side, she goes climbing in her spare time and is really good at it, she’s really good with kids, she loves to bake, she can play the piano, was brought up bilingual and can speak fluent Spanish…..

It turned into a giant list that she whittled down to 3 key things she knew she could pursue and be really happy doing.
But how to take that first step?

How to go from a list of ideas to actually make them a reality?

Then she remembered a friend telling her about these online business coaches who helped her to launch her web design business.

She joined The Free Life in April 2017, and later The VIP Life for more focused coaching. She soaked it all up whilst letting the office predictability wash over her. It didn’t impact her so much anymore because she knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. She was excited, for the first time in years.

And today?

Caroline has a thriving business as a 121 Spanish Tutor, teaching children in their own home, and she loves marketing her business online, which allows her to use her creative design skills too.

And what’s more, she’s also a mentor to others in her situation, via the groups. She gives her time to help people who need that little support to really pursue their dreams.

She bumps into Shiny Paul from time to time. He doesn’t have such a big ego anymore.

Finish with your CTA
PS: Yes it’s long. You don’t want to be doing this every day, but you can also use the method and create shorter posts, and then really go for it when you need the reader to come on an emotional journey with you.

Build up ‘know, like & trust’, then they’ll read anything you post ❤

It’s Me

Ever had that nagging feeling at the back of your mind that you’re just not keeping up with progress, that you’re being left behind?

Everything moves at such speed these days that it can be difficult to keep your finger on the pulse. Add to that the amount of time spent on responding to messages and emails and contact forms.  It can feel like your life is spent sending the same things over and over again when what you really want to be doing is creating these huge visions for pushing your business forward.

That’s what you got into it for right?  You’re a creative being, with big plans for world domination, and responding to Facebook messages wasn’t part of the plan.

Now, there are a couple of ways you can alleviate this pressure.

You can hire a VA, a virtual assistant to do all this day to day stuff for you.

Or

You can hire me for a one-off project to set up some automated services so that the bulk of your contact is automatically taken care off.

I can take care of everything from a simple auto-responder to let people know you got their message and you’ll chat later, to a fully automated email onboarding sequence, to a messenger bot that can respond to FAQ’s and sell products whilst you sleep.

And we can link out to sales pages, and sales funnels, send out course details, the sky’s the limit.  The great thing is that I offer a ‘done for you’ service, which includes the build and all the copy too.

Imagine having all that time back for business building activities.  Would that take some of the pressure off?

Well, let’s get started then…