What NOT To Do – 8 Ways to Screw Up Your Marketing

marketingCloudYou work hard at your craft, to build a reputation and contact list, generate positive reviews and word of mouth.  You’re working on your visibility and getting known for what you do. But are you undermining your own efforts?  Consider these common pitfalls of actor marketing:

1.  Your marketing is all about you.

It should focus on your talent and what you bring to the party, right? Well, no, not exactly.  It should primarily focus on what your talent and “actor services” do for the project or people who are hiring you.  The former is about “me and what I want and need” and the latter is “here’s how I can best serve the story that is being told.”  Take yourself out of your marketing and put your contacts (the people you are marketing to) at the heart of it.  In other words make THEM the “leading man/woman” in the story of your career.

2.  You market to yourself.

You can really mess things up of you make assumptions about your contacts based on the preferences and behaviors of you or your friends.  Your marketing could end up possibly offending and deterring your intended audience – out of touch with their true wants, needs and likes.  On that note…

3.  You don’t know your audience.

If you aren’t your target market, well, who is?  Invest the time and money to identify not just who your niche market is but how they behave. How do they prefer to be contacted?  Email, snail mail, social?  Where do they look for talent – what sites, networking places and showcases do they use/attend?  What influences their decision making process.  Who influences their choices?  Have a clear and full picture of the person you are trying to reach before you reach out.

4.  Your marketing is based on what you’ve heard, not learned.

Marketing in our business is like parenting:  Everyone has an opinion and believes they know how to do it effectively (especially those who don’t have children).  Even if you admit to being clueless, you are often influenced by others who also have no clue or are a know-it-all.  The best way to counter-act both is to have information (data) that backs up your plan.  Stay away from marketing classes and services that guarantee you results with no effort on your part and gain knowledge from your own research, participation and learning about your desired contacts.  Knowing who and how to reach your target market is best achieved by having insight into their mindset, not by choosing funky fonts or colored paper for your correspondence.  Which is why you have a problem if…

5.  You don’t have data.

I just said this above but it bears repeating.  Research, not opinion or gut instinct, should be the foundation of your marketing program.  That doesn’t mean art and creativity (which abounds) have no role in your plan.  Instead, think of data as giving you the necessary clarity you need to create new opportunities.  That’s a truly inspiring place to begin and will create a foundation for marketing your talent that’s fun.  Remember you’re ABCD’s – Always Be Collecting Data.

6.  You rely on example instead of analogy.

Creating your “big break” opportunity will be completely different from anyone else’s.  What has worked for one actor will not necessarily work for you. Even if you studied their story and duplicated their marketing, your path (by Universal Law) has to be different. However you don’t have to re-invent the wheel either.  Remember, the folks in our biz really don’t love “original” (unproven and risky) but they love “unique” (familiar, with a twist).  By the way I’m talking about your marketing, not your acting.  Therefore I suggest you look outside of the way most actors market themselves and to other people and organizations outside of our biz for ideas.  Be innovative.  Take something that worked “over there” and start using it “over here”. (For example, the inspiration for this post came from Entrepreneur magazine)

7.  You aren’t sharing yourself or your experiences.

In our socially connected world, between all of the technology that has forever changed the way we relate in our industry and get work, many actors are not leveraging the newest methods of marketing available.  The traditional (old fashioned) way of creating visibility and getting hired are still around, but have significantly narrowed the opportunities, while the amount of actors seeking work has increased 10-fold during the same period.  Your marketing has to include social media and enabling connections outside of the “norm”.  Are you encouraging and supporting interaction by rethinking the way you reach people?  How about building relationships before industry professionals have identified you as a possible candidate for a project?  You must have an on-line and social strategy in place so you can frequently engage folks in the industry outside of always “trying to get a job”.  Building rapport is the key to future success.  Which leads me to…

Quiet on set8.  You’re too quiet.

If someone reaches out to you on social media, do you respond, or is the message met with silence? Too busy/picky/don’t know what to say? Actors, casting directors, agents, producers, directors, et al are people first and these days most expect real-time (or near it) responses. This is a fast business with tons of options at all time and if an answer doesn’t come quickly, the likelihood of any R.O.I. (return on investment) is greatly reduced.  And after 24 hours, forget it.  If you’re not facile with social then get started because it is replacing almost every traditional method of making contact out there.

I’d love to hear about some of the ways you’ve screwed up.  Then let me know how you learned from your mistake and what the “correction” was.  SHARING your pitfalls (heck I’ve had so many you’d go blind reading about them) is the surest way to inspire others and gift them your wisdom so they can learn from your mistakes.  Please post comments in an effort to “pay it forward” to our fellow actors in the community!

To Your Success, Lisa

5 Reasons Networking Isn’t Working for You

Networking

You hear and read repeatedly that networking is one of the best ways to grow your acting business not only from me but, well, everyone! It’s true and I have created many such networking opportunities/events over the years for actors to practice this essential skill.

However, sometimes even when you try, the time you spend on it doesn’t lead anywhere. Makes you wonder if everyone is lying (not me, of course!) or you’re doing something terribly wrong (hummm?). Networking IS a great way to grow your show BUSINESS, if you do it right. In my last post I gave out my top 10 tips on proper networking. So check out some reasons why what you’ve been doing may not be working for you, so you can make a change that will likely make a big difference.

You Don’t Talk to Enough People

Networking events are about meeting as many people as possible. I’ve often said to go with a number in mind.  How many people will you meet as your goal? You shouldn’t stay with one person too long because that will take away the time you have to meet other people that could lead to great opportunities. Make a connection, hand a business card to the person or collect their contact info, and then move on to the next person.  Don’t stay in a conversation with your friends instead of meeting the new folks you came to meet.

You’re Talking Too Much About Yourself

This is big one and I’ve seen way to many actors make this mistake. There’s a unique exchange of information that happens at networking events. The key is to LISTEN more than you SPEAK. This is how people find out if they can help each other. When you focus on yourself too much, you won’t be able to help people because you won’t know anything about them. By helping people I mean being the solution to their problem…a role that needs to be cast or an agent looking for new clients.  Sometimes it’s a fellow actor looking for a great acting teacher. The more you help, the more people want to help you.

You Don’t Do Your Research Before an Event

I usually put out a “scheduled to appear” list for my events. Why? So you can do your research!  Many actors who don’t find the Research ladyvalue in networking will say that they never meet anyone who is worth pursuing after an event. This is probably true because they didn’t do adequate research either before or after meeting people. You must find networking events that cater to the audience that you’re part of. If you’re also a writer, go to writing networking events.  Want to produce a film? There are a ton of filmmaker events.  And if you’re an actor, go to them all, but beware of ones that promise HUGE industry professionals as guests, without an entrance fee, free food and booze.  In a world where everything costs something, I smell a rat.  Get referrals and attend trusted events with good reputations.

You Don’t Reach Out After the Event

This is my biggest pet peeve. Just going to a networking event isn’t enough to grow your business as an actor. Showing up is one thing but following up is the key to the Kingdom. You need to make contact with people afterwards. This is your chance to get to know your contacts much better, and figure out how you can work together.  Staying connected is essential.  You might not work together for years, but if you have been building rapport with folks you met via networking, over time it’s amazing how much fruit your biz will bear.

You Don’t Go to Enough of Them

Going to one networking event won’t boost your business to the level you want it to be at. I used to run my parties monthly until I became bi-coastal and now run them only as special events when time permits.  Don’t wait for my party to come back to your neck of the woods (currently NY and LA). Those successful at using networking to grow their acting business will attend a few events a month.  They are much more common now then when I started producing them over a decade ago. The more you go to, the more opportunities are available. Before you say that networking isn’t working for you, make sure you are going to enough of them to make that judgment.

It’s time to make some changes in how you approach networking. Get out there, meet as many people as possible, help them, research the events you go to, reach out to people afterwards, and keep going to events until you start to see results. It can seem like a lot of work, but believe me, it’s worth it!

Let me hear from you in the comments section below about any results, relationships and other magical manifestations you’ve created from growing your network!

5 Tips to Rock your Holiday Networking

Snowman-Happy-Holiday-CardThe holidays can be awkward, or you can make them into a huge opportunity by using this time as a platform to network. Most actors take a break or think of this time of year as slow. I say NOW is the time to ramp it up!

The holidays are here now and seem to come earlier every year! For some the dread is starting to set in. And no, I’m not talking about the awkward family gatherings with your fruitcake-wielding in-laws or being relegated to the kids table for a meal you’ve waited a year for.

For many of us, the real terror surrounds holiday networking. So if you’re currently stressing over whether you’re going to look like an idiot wearing a Santa hat or whether it’s appropriate to talk about your acting career at all, you’re not alone.

Oy, all these winter events you have to go to! There are soooo many parties and other opportunities to gather at this particular time of year, so when to go and when not to? Many of us would rather pretend to be sick and stay home drinking eggnog in a darkened room. But in actuality, this is the perfect time to get ahead. All these holiday parties are the prime time to make fresh connections and start the New Year off on the right foot.

Ken Rutkowski, host and president of the Business Rockstars radio show, is a networking veteran who has earned himself the reputation of “the super-connector.” I love finding great info and sharing it with you so please take Ken’s words to heart as if they were my own…because I’m in 100% alignment. Here are his top five tips to network yourself through the holidays.

1. Don’t look at it as “networking” 

View events, social and business as relationship building opportunities and don’t ever ask for money, a job, an audition or anything else for that matter. This is time to create and build rapport ONLY.

2. Pick the right events and be realistic

If the event is only for union members and you’re not one, then don’t go. If the event is at an agent’s office that you are not a client of, then don’t go. Seriously…find the FIT first. If you have a sinking feeling in your gut about attending, then the event is probably not right for you. Go to parties and events where you are certain you will be a part of the right crowd and go with the intention of meeting great people just like you!

3. Dress appropriately 

This is a big one. I can’t tell you how many actor events where I’ve seen pictures on line and say to myself, “Wow, don’t they have a mirror in their house?” At the same time, holiday flair is always a winner. Really know the crowd you’re going to be hanging out with. In general, don’t wear a suit and tie if the event is more casual and vice versa. But jeans with rips in them that look like they need a good wash is a no-no no matter how casual the event is.

4. Bring a wingman or wingwoman.

Two heads are better than one when it comes to meeting people. You’ll be able to cover more ground and have a fallback person to rendezvous with if you need a break. But don’t get stuck…meaning you have to go out on your own to meet new people. If you only end up talking to the person you came with you’ve missed the purpose entirely.

5. Make it about others

Ken became known as a “super-connector” because he was always introducing people to other people. People appreciate it when you do the networking for them. They come to know you as someone who is connected, and gets things done. Take on this role if you have met folks at your event who you think should also meet each other. You’ll be much more remembered by both of those people, especially if they hit it off.

These same tips can also be applied to family gatherings as well with a little tweaking. Not really excited to hang out with your spouses’ Aunt Millie twice removed? Try asking her questions that illicit stories that you could then use in your acting or writing class. You might even be surprised when Millie shares about her nephew the TV Exec who works at CBS…really? Really! Ask questions. That’s the key!

The holidays are an awkward time for almost everyone. Remember, we’re in this together. Stick to these five rules and get ahead this season!

Becoming a Star Over 40? Possible? YES it is.

No one is born a star.  In our youth obsessed culture and marketplace, it’s nice to find out many of today’s iconic stars and household names got a late start. For some celebrities, it takes years of hard work, small roles, and persistence to make it in show business.  Read on and gain inspiration especially if you are also 40+.

Jane Lynch had many minor roles before hitting it big at 49.Janelynch

Jane Lynch, 53, had been in Hollywood for decades taking small roles on TV and in films like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Role Models,” but it wasn’t until a role on a Fox show that she hit the big time. In 2009, Lynch joined the cast of “Glee” as the gym teacher everyone loves to hate, Sue Sylvester. This role helped Lynch become famous while also winning her an Emmy at the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmys. The next year, she went on to host the awards for her first time.

Samuel L. Jackson’s first big role was in “Pulp Fiction” at the age 45.

Samuel L. Jackson has starred in hit movies such as “A Time To Kill” and “Snakes on a Plane.” For most of his career, however, he played minor roles in films like “Coming to America” and “Do The Right Thing.” Then, in 1994, Jackson landed the part of Jules Winnfield in a small independent film titled, “Pulp Fiction” (a role which director Quentin Tarantino wrote specifically with Jackson in mind). Jackson’s role in the film became almost immediately iconic, which led to Jackson starring in other popular films like “The Avengers,” and the “Star Wars” prequels giving him one of the coolest careers in Hollywood.

kathryn-joosten-6Kathryn Joosten was a nurse and didn’t get her big break until she was 60.

Joosten was a mother and psychiatric nurse for years, but after hearing her mother confess on her deathbed that she “regretted not having pursued her dreams,” Joosten signed up for acting classes at age 42 in order to pursue her own. After more than a decade, she eventually landed the role of lovable secretary Mrs. Landingham on “The West Wing” at age 60. Joosten went on to win an Emmy for “Desperate Housewives” before her death in 2012. No regrets, to be sure.  I also LOVE the fact that Kathryn acknowledged participation in one-night seminars/cd workshops as part of the reason she got her “break” as an actor.

Regis Philbin wasn’t a household name until he was 57.

Regis Philbin started out as an NBC page and worked on “The Joey Bishop Show,” but he was never widely known. That changed in 1988 when the morning show Philbin was working on became the nationally syndicated “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.” After almost 20 years of working on TV, Philbin’s chemistry with Kathie Lee made the show a success and gave him national exposure. At 57, it was the first time the name Regis was in the nation’s vocabulary. He’s been a part of pop culture ever since, most notably for hosting the game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”

Ken Jeong was known as Dr. Ken Jeong until he was 40.KenJong

The man who would go on to become Mr. Chow in the “The Hangover” series could have been known as Dr. Chow. Comedian Ken Jeong spent nearly 20 years trying to break into the business doing stand-up while also practicing medicine as a physician.

Lucille Ball starred in “I Love Lucy” at the age of 40.

Lucille Ball was a pioneer for both female leads and for comedy after creating one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time, “I Love Lucy” in 1951. However, she didn’t become Lucy Ricardo until she was 40. Before “I Love Lucy,” Ball went from role to role in films. However, once television became a prominent medium she (along with her husband and co-star Desi Arnaz) tried to sell her vaudeville act to networks. That act became the prototype for “I Love Lucy.””I Love Lucy” was a huge success, and would go on to help create the modern sitcom (the show was one of the first sitcoms in history to use the three-camera filming format which is standard in sitcoms today) while also making Ball a star.

OK, these other “youngsters” were in their 30s but thought you’d like to know…

Gene Hackman’s legendary career began at age 37.

Before a role in 1967’s “Bonnie and Clyde,” Hackman worked odd jobs like field radio operator in the Marine Corps. Once discharged in 1951, he moved to New York to follow a career in radio, but then won some roles on Broadway. After his big break, Hackman went on to win two Academy Awards.

Jon Hamm almost gave up acting at age 36.

Jon Hamm, 42, spent years starring in minor roles while trying to become an A-list actor. According to his longtime girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt, he almost gave it all up. “He would just say, ‘I’m going to hang it up, it’s not going to work out,'” Westfeldt told The Huffington Post. However, Hamm landed the “Mad Men” role in 2007 even though he felt he was at “the bottom of the list” and created one of the most interesting characters in the history of television.

Harrison Ford was a full-time carpenter until 35.

For the first half of his life, Harrison Ford was a carpenter. It wasn’t until director George Lucas saw Ford doing some wood-working at a studio while having auditions for a space film he was shooting called “Star Wars” that things changed. According to Lucas, he knew Ford from working with him on a small role in his previous film, “American Graffiti” and asked Ford to read scenes in the role of Han Solo. The rest became history in a galaxy far, far away.

oscars_ang_lee Ang Lee was a stay-at-home dad before becoming a director at 38.

Before Ang Lee won awards for directing he could have won “World’s Greatest Dad” for his role as a stay-at-home dad. After graduating from NYU film school with a Master of Fine Arts in Film Production, Lee stayed home “cooking, picking up [the] kids from school, and doing housework” while his wife, a molecular biologist, went to work. Lee nearly became a computer engineer after years of not being able to get into movie-making. With support from his wife to keep at it, Lee directed his first movie “Pushing Hands” at 38.  This began an amazing career with Lee winning the Best Director Academy Award for “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi.”

So dear actor, do you have what it takes not only talent-wise, but perseverance-wise to hang in there for however long it takes? I’d love to hear your comments if you’re in the 40+ category of actors still pursuing this career and waiting for YOUR big break!

Sections of this post were drawn from an article posted in Business Insider written by Frank Palotta

10 Habits to Turn your Dreams into your Reality

whatwerepeatedlydo-@allielefevere

Over my 35 year professional career as an actor and my last 15 years as a coach/mentor/business owner of two companies  that serve actors, I’ve had the privilege and the heartbreak of watching others go after their dreams. One set of actors seem to just know what to do or are constantly educating themselves to figure it out, while the other set seems to struggle, question, stay stuck and wonder “why not me”?

I honestly think it comes down to one, and only one distinction in a human being – their habits. For a habit is a thing you do over and over again without thinking. This automaticity can make or break your career, life and ultimately your happiness day to day.

The good news is you can always create new, productive and supportive habits. Here are some habits of actors who are turning their dreams into realities:

1. They see challenges as opportunities

Most actors interpret fears as obstacles and tend to run away from them. People who live their purpose successfully have developed the capacity to see fear as a sign of what they really need to go for, and put all their courage and energy into it. To ACT Outside the Box, if you will!

2. They see their career and also their life as a game.

Having this vision opens up space for playfulness and creativity instead of limitation. It also cultivates those qualities of resilience, problem solving and confidence that helps actors take risks not only on the stage but in their business to get to the next big place.

How-to-form-good-habits1

3. Living the life they want is the only option.

They’re so committed to making their dreams a reality that they banish any possibility of quitting whatsoever from their mind. They don’t think things like, “If it doesn’t work in 3 years, I’ll just go become a CPA.” Of course, I’m a great believer in having multiple steams of residual income from many sources, but that’s not quitting, that’s being a smart actorpreneur.

4. They always speak their truth.

They are able to speak it everywhere in their lives because they make a conscious effort to connect to their truest desires, their inner voice, and their spirituality without fear of judgment. This is HUGE in an industry where we are constantly judged. This connection to self is often fostered through meditation, journaling, being mentored and being surrounded by like minded-people. Just ask any successful actor you know and they’ll tell you they have a foundation of practices around their spirit and guidance from sources greater than themselves.

5. They aren’t just dreamers: they ACT on their desires.

There’s that word again. ACT is for action, not acting. Starting to get it? Instead of getting stuck in their hopes, wishes and dreams, they snap right into action, no matter what it takes. Whether it’s turning down a job that a gut check tells them to, getting out of a situation that holds them back, investing in themselves financially when called to, or moving to a new location across the country for other opportunities, they have the courage to do it. They do this by listening to, and then acting on, their intuition.

6. They expect and know that they deserve the best.

Actors who expect that what they want is going to happen as if it were an inner-knowing is THE SECRET. You’ve heard of that, right? They expect and feel they deserve to earn well, do what they love, serve others using their gifts. THE SECRET is that they still expect the best even when they don’t have all the answers as to how it’s going to happen.

change7. They have no fear or guilt when asking for what they want.

Because they’re so connected to their passions, they aren’t afraid to ask for what they want. In fact, they understand that their success depends on others, so asking for what they want is part of the deal. They set their boundaries and express their needs without fear, guilt or shame. Best of all, this is a trait that earns them respect from others.

8. They create their own rules.

They create their own rules instead of fitting into path set for them before. As in “they say you can’t do this and you have to do that to make it in this biz”. They make decisions from a place of what they want to have instead of what they think they can have or limiters heard from others. This gives them the freedom to design their destiny.

9. They’ve learned to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

One of their favorite places to be is wherever they are uncomfortable. They don’t get stuck in having all the answers, making things perfect or trying to gain comfort by controlling everything. Instead, they’re aware that they’re not going to see the next step until they make the decision to move forward despite the discomfort.

10. They have teachers, mentors and role models.GClogo

Having teachers increases their awareness. They clearly understand that each time they’re getting ready to pursue their dreams all their limitations are going to come up to the surface so that they can let go of them. Having role models and mentors helps them quickly identify where they’re stuck so that they can immediately change their results.

If it’s time to follow your dreams in an entirely new way, I recommend adopting some of these habits. If you’re looking for someone’s assistance, you’re here!

(Inspiration for much of this post comes from an article I read on broccolicity.com)

The Hype over #Hashtags

hashtagOK, so I’ll admit it.  I’m NOT the most tech savvy person on the planet and sometimes even wear that fact as a badge of honor!  But being in the business I am, heck being in any business, and yes, even the business of show requires that a person has some basic working knowledge of current social media trends.

I just started to check out this HASHTAG phenomenon that seems to have crept up in the last year and thought I’d pass on some of what I came up with during my research.

Originally the ‘pound symbols’ that were used to catalog content on Twitter, these puppies are popping up on all of the social platforms today – Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and most recently Facebook. You have to pay attention or be left in the dust.

The purpose? They’re an effective way to discover and organize specific content, and an easy way for social media users to find posts that are relevant to them. For example, I started to use the # before my networking parties and put it together with the acronym for my company as in “The #AOTB Industry Networking Mixer”.  I put it on all of my social media sites and even in emails.  Why? So that other people out there can find out about all things “Act Outside the Box” by searching for that #AOTB.  Of course you have to know about it and see it before its use is effective.

We also know they’re easily abused and can be pretty meaningless, too.  Have you seen strings of fairly nonsensical phrases with the # in front of them that no one would ever search for?  #whythehellwouldyoudothat?  I mean, really, who is searching for that? How do you rise above the noise online and help your audience or target market find and engage with your show, latest update or other event?

Here are our four tips:

KISS (Keep it Sweet and Simple): Is your show called The Greatest Story Ever Told? Then make your hashtag #greateststory or something equally simple. Make it easier on your viewers and use a hashtag that’s similar to the name of your event.  A bad example 2hashtagwould be #Mikesshow.  If it’s super long, sometimes an acronym is best.  #AOTB or #actoutsidethebox?  Either one could work but it’s up to you to choose (brand).

Don’t Go Overboard: Quality, not quantity, folks! Limit yourself to using one or two hashtags when promoting your stuff. If you tag tons of terms, you might come off as a bit spammy or overwhelming and it’s easier for your message to get lost in the #ebb #and #flow #of #a #sea #of #hashtags.

Do Your Research: Think you’ve found the perfect hashtag for your next event, show or idea? Type it into Twitter, Instagram, Vine, etc. and see if anyone else is using it. If you’re using the same hashtag as another person or group, it could confuse your intended audience.  If it’s already there and associated with something entirely different, rethink your strategy.

Be Smart: Consider the platform you’re using. Is it Twitter? Then you have limited real estate. Be mindful of the number of characters in your hashtag. Keeping your hashtag under 10 characters leaves plenty of room for the rest of your thoughts.

In the end, this girl will always prefer s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g things out.  I don’t even like to use LOL and instead Laughing Out Loud…but I’m old school.  However in business I often subvert my preferences for what works.  And just like reality television, these hashtags aren’t going away. (Just for the sake of transparency, I was really wrong on that one when I thought Reality was just a passing fancy all those years ago.  Maybe it was just wishful thinking!)

Getting in the groove and using hashtags effectively will improve the chances of you clearing through the clutter.  And there’s ton of clutter (some like to call it content) out there!  To your #success, Lisa Gold

The 80/20 Rule: AKA The Pareto Principle

You may have come to one of my live programs and heard me speak of the 80/20 rule.  I thought this brief explanation might help you continue to shape your 2014 so that you have the BEST take on how to spend your resources (time, energy and money) in support of your dreams and goals.

The 80/20 Rule is one of the most helpful of all concepts of time and life management. It is also called the “Pareto Principle” after its founder, the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who first wrote about it in 1895. Pareto noticed that people in his society seemed to dParetoivide naturally into what he called the “vital few”, the top 20 percent in terms of money and influence, and the “trivial many”, the bottom 80 percent.

He later discovered that in economics, virtually all activity was subject to this principle as well. For example, this principle says that 20 percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results, 20 percent of your customers will account for 80 percent of your sales, 20 percent of your products or services will account for 80 percent of your profits, 20 percent of your tasks will account for 80 percent of the value of what you do, and so on. This means that if you have a list of ten items to do, two of those items will turn out to be worth five or ten times or more than the other eight items put together.

Number of Tasks versus Importance of Tasks

Here is an interesting discovery. Each of the ten tasks may take the same amount of time to accomplish. But one or two of those tasks will contribute five or ten times the value of any of the others.

 Often, one item on a list of ten tasks that you have to do can be worth more than all the other nine items put together. This task is invariably the one that you should do first.

Focus on Activities – Accomplishments will Come

The most valuable tasks you can do each day are often the hardest and most complex. But the payoff and rewards for completing these tasks efficiently can be tremendous. For this reason, you must adamantly refuse to work on tasks in the bottom 80 percent while you still have tasks in the top 20 percent left to be done.

Before you begin work, always ask yourself, “Is this task in the top 20 percent of my activities or in the bottom 80 percent?”

The hardest part of any important task is getting started on it in the first place. Once you actually begin work on a valuable task, you will be naturally motivated to continue. A part of your mind loves to be busy working on significant tasks that can really make a difference. Your job is to feed this part of your mind continually.

Getting Motivated

Just thinking about starting and finishing an important task motivates you and helps you to overcome procrastination. Time management is really life management, personal management. It is really taking control of the sequence of events. Time management is having control over what you do next. And you are always free to choose the task that you will do next. Your ability to choose between the important and the unimportant is the key determinant of your success in life and work.

Effective, productive actors discipline themselves to start on the most important task that is before them.  As a result, they accomplish vastly more than the average actor and are much happier as a result. This should be your way of working as well.

I wish you much success in your journey.  May it be fun, fruitful, and always spent engaging on the things that lead you to your greatest dreams and desires!  Lisa