8 Ways to Think Like a Creative Genius

The pressure’s on.

There’s a deadline.

And you're looking at a very blank page on your screen.

For what feels like hours when it’s really only been like… 5 minutes.

You think, 'Why does this keep happening to me?'

Procrastination is your best friend and your worst enemy when it comes to writing, designing + creating.

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Overwhelmed Much? 3 Strategies That Help Simplify

I was going through some of our blog posts recently looking for a post to maybe repurpose for a client that needs more content and wanted something different from their normal topic. I came across a post I did about a year ago about how running a business is hard. It was a pretty good post if I do say so myself. It struck me at how we (B&A) are in a different place in the business but at the same time in the same place. Because running a business is hard. Still.

One of the key things that post talked about was being transparent with the business and letting people see behind the scenes, good and bad. So much good has happened over the year and we have amazing clients that we are doing amazing work for and that’s all fabulous. But with all that good comes being overwhelmed sometimes. It made me think about how overwhelmed I can get and my reaction to overwhelm is to be tired. All. The. Time. Tired enough that a few weeks ago I blew off work in the middle of the day (I apparently called in sick) and took a nap. And then felt guilty about it. And then I was overwhelmed by the guilt, hence more tired and then overwhelmed even more. And it all turned into a vicious cycle. Now, what kinda crap is that?

There are so many things in my business that contribute to this overwhelm. Too many emails, perceived client demands (that I probably make up in my head), to-do lists, social media, social engagements, setting goals, meeting said goals, success, failure, meetings, strategies, business models… Should I keep going? Did I mention too many emails? This is the vein of my existence yet the goal of my ego.

Enough Already!

I’m over it. The being overwhelmed. I’m guessing you are too. Let’s all make a pack together. We are going to implement these 3 simple steps in reducing our overwhelmed brains that will also help reduce all this crappy stress.

  1. Unsubscribe from Emails: All those emails that you get that you save for later, skip over or delete altogether. Get rid of them altogether so they don’t even hit your box. I sign up for these guys all the time with all the good intention of reading them and then I just don’t for whatever reason. I’m really bad about saving them because I’m going to read them later when I have time. Reality check: I never have time. I’m not saying get rid of all of them. There are a few that I religiously read every time they hit my box. Here are a few that I read and highly recommend: The Middle Finger Project (warning if you like sugar coating don’t bother), Melissa Cassera (I totally have a girl crush on her) and Tara Gentile (she just knows her shit and like Star Trek). I do watch Marie Forleo and Carrie Green’s videos because that’s easy for me to listen to in the car. We sometimes send out emails and you should keep on that list really ;). Sorry I had too, it’s in my contract.
  2. Hire an Assistant: Or a cleaning lady, or a copywriter. Whoever it is you need help from. You guys all know Jenn around here. She writes for this blog and helps me exponentially. She runs all of our social media (among a lot of other things) and that was the best decision I ever made. Because now it actually gets done. Period. Best. Decision. Yeah, your going to have to pay for it and sometimes money is tight. I totally get it. I’m in the spot a lot. But trust me when I say you need help. You need someone that is going to do that crap you don’t want too or don’t have the skills to do. I totally have the skills to run our social media, I just don’t want too. So, I either pay someone to do it for me or it just doesn’t get done. I’d rather it get done. If you need help with something, get it. You don’t have to go with the most expensive option just something.
  3. Take the Nap: And don’t feel guilty about it. That’s just down right ridiculous. I tell people all the time there is no such thing as a marketing emergency. No one is dying because your sales copy isn’t whipped out in 10 minutes. I have learned that I’m a late afternoon and early evening worker. I get more creative work done between the hours of 4pm and 7pm than I do all day. Those are my writing and graphics hours. So if I try to do it in the middle of the afternoon and I’m overwhelmed or tired I’m just going to have to re-do it again because it’ll be crap. I might as well take a nap and do it right when I’m more refreshed and in my zone. That’s just me. I find everyone is different and your best times might be early in the morning (I still do have a conspiracy theory about morning people but I digress). Find your zone and then just take a nap already if you want.

What do you think? Will these tips help with our overwhelm? What are some of your strategies to not feel so overwhelmed all the time? Obviously, email overload is the big one for me but what is your hot button? Leave me a comment and let’s work on reducing our overwhelm together.

Customer Service Woos

I don't know if you remember or not but I wrote a blog post a few months ago about my Love/Hate relationship with Twitter. I talked about how I love that Twitter has opened communication between so many people, but on the reverse how it is a little bit of information overload for me. I talked about how as a customer you can go on Twitter and blast a company or product and that I did that exact thing. This week I'm going to expand on that experience and subject. I believe that monitoring social media is very important even if you don't participate because you want to know what/how people are talking about you and/or company. If you are a company that has implemented a social media strategy and you have dedicated people to monitoring conversations, empowering your team to solve customers problems via social media is a good idea.

I had (and am still having) a poor experience with a company and its social media team immediately contacted me to apologize and say that if I had any questions or needed any help to let them know. So, I did and they have been very generous in "trying" to help me but they can't. I know they want too but the corporation they work for has not given them any authority to make any decisions or even point me in the right direction. So, what's the point then? If you spend money on having a team monitor social media but then you don't actually let them do anything to solve people's problems, one could argue that the company is just wasting money by essentially not doing anything. You might as well not have any social media strategy at all. Is it better to monitor social media and just tell people sorry or not do anything at all?

I think that consumers would be more aggravated if you apologize and then do nothing to solve the problem. Isn't that just patronizing me is some sense? Because you recognize there is a problem but then don't do anything about it. In my situation, I don't blame the social media crew whose intentions are good in trying to satisfy me, but the "corporate monster" who won't let them do anything about it. Generally, I find this is an issue with large Fortune 500 corporations because small to mid-size business are very active in their social media policies and understand that empowering employees as an HR practice gives them an edge over their competition makes them faster and more efficient to solve problems. Don't get me wrong there are many companies out there that are doing it right and using social media as a way to monitor and fix problems and I may be the one person in the world that has come across this issue. What are your thoughts on empowering your employees to solve problems of customers via social media?

We Are The Champions!

This past week the #1 song on my iPod was We Are The Champions by Queen. Why? Because I'm so lucky to have so many great champions in my corner in all aspects of my life. We all need champions that will go to bat for us when others will not. I have learned over the past few years in owning my own business that the BEST marketing and PR is really good friends, or champions if you will. These are those people that are in your corner and will promote you and your business all most as much as you do. I have a whole list of them. I had a professor in college tell me once that you should thank someone everyday because you never make it through a day that someone doesn't help you in some way to get you where you are now and want to go. So I'm going to dedicate this post to all my champions and I'm going to take a minute to thank them and give them a shout out.

First, my parents for always supporting everything I ever decide to do whether they like it or not, which probably errors on the not liking what I decide to do more times than not. Both of my parents are career minded individuals and worked hard to get where they are and always told me and my brother if we did the same we could do anything we wanted and that hard work and dedication were what was needed to be successful. They also told us once that I was the pretty one and Brett was the smart one, so you make the decision as to whether they were right or not.

I'm so lucky to have such good friends and family that I know always have my back without them I would moop around doing nothing probably. Allen is the man in my life that let's me get away with all my crap more than I probably should but he does and I'm grateful to have him in my life everyday. Then, there are my besties Jenn, Clare, Kristi and Shauna who go have drinks with me and let me vent about anything and everything, which tends to be a good solution for just about any problem. And a huge shout out to Shauna for being a rock star and influencing the Influential Women in Business judges to make me influential. Every single one of them have a huge piece of my heart.

Then there are the companies I work with. Not only do I work with them and help them and their businesses but they probably don't even know how reciprocal it is that they are helping me so much. I have a great education but my experience with all the people and their companies really make me so much better at what I do. I thank the guys over at W5 for being super supportive and teaching me so much and ARG for giving a young college grad a start. Then there are clients like Dr. Zipp at iStress for telling everyone how fabulous I am (everyone should have clients that go around telling people you are fabulous), Brian Tuffy of eyeNET Security for giving me good advice and infinite material to blog about, Agnieszka Siuda for creating Bartleby and giving us an identity and the guys at Connecting Point who have taught me more about planning then they will ever know. 

If I am nothing else at least I'm smart enough to surround myself with people that are smarter and more influential than me so by default I'm smarter and more influential. I can't thank everyone enough for being there for me and making me a better person. I know that they are all champions for me as much as I am for them. I hope they all know how special they are to me and that I'll always have their back.

Who are your champions?