Christmas Countdown C -19

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Shopping is a big part of Christmas. It can also be an exhausting part of the season! Today, I wanted to share 10 tips to help make your Christmas shopping easier for you. And I do just that in this classic video! Enjoy!

Simple Joy of Christmas Shopping

Christmas Countdown C -20

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Christmas Decorating

I know many of you have already decorated your home for Christmas however, these tips help you whether you have everything in place or everything still in boxes.

I always say “Work Smarter, Not Harder!” This means planning. Before you do any decorating, sit down & create a plan to determine what you want to do, where things are going to go & what you need to move to accomplish this. You want to have an idea where your tree is going to go & where you are going to put any furniture that the tree displaces, for example.

You should also go through your decorations to make certain nothing is damaged or needs replacing. Mr. D always tests his lights before he hangs a single strand. this ensures he doesn’t waste any time putting up a strand of lights that doesn’t work. While we are in rather balmy SoCal, many of you live in colder climates. You want to spend time INSIDE testing those lights & deciding where outdoor items are going to be placed before you head out into the cold.

You also want to check your decorations before you purchase anything new. I know how much fun it is to pick up bright & shiny new decorations each year but that expends a lot of money & can take up a lot of space, neither of which may be affordable to you & your family. Perhaps a few new items added to your existing decorations can help brighten up your Holiday home without spending too much.

Your home is more inviting & lovely this time of year. Take time to create a plan, inventory your decorations & test any electrical items & you will save time, money & patience in the long run. Ah, that’s a real simple joy!

Christmas Countdown C -21

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Baking

I LOVE to bake, especially at Christmas. At one time, I made myself a little crazy trying to get all my Christmas baking done. I baked dozens of cookies, giving them out to friends, whether they wanted them or not!

Now I am more relaxed about my baking. I still make dozens of cookies but most of them are for my family AND I have found easier ways to bake, like my fabulous cake mix cookies!

However, I do make some cookies from scratch & when I do, I make sure I keep my stress level low by following a few simple steps:

  1. Make a List: I make one list of the types of cookies I want to make. Then I make a list of the ingredients I need to create these cookies. Then I check the grocery ads to see who has the best prices on the things I need.
  2. Make a Check: Inventory your pantry to make sure you have the things you think you have! You might think you have plenty of sugar only to find out you already used that extra bag of sugar that was hidden in the back of the pantry;
  3. Make Certain: Be sure your seldom used ingredients are fresh. If you only use nutmeg for your Christmas baking, you may need to buy some fresh nutmeg. Same for things like baking soda & baking powder. Your baking may not turn out the way you hope if these two items are not fresh.
  4. Make a Trip: Head to the store to get what you need. Making one trip to get everything insures you have what you need when the baking mood strikes.

Holiday baking is a great family tradition. I learned to love baking when I would help my mom make cookies every year. And when I became a mom, I taught Katy my simple tips for great cookie making. A simple joy that is enjoyed generation to generation, year to year!

Christmas Countdown C-22

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What Would YOU Like to Do?

Every year, I think of things I would like to do for the Holiday season. Walk through Downtown Anaheim & look at the lights. Visit South Coast Plaza & admire the decorations. Take a trip to a large local nursery that decorates dozens of trees. And a few more fun things.

Then I get busy & I forget. Oh, well, there’s next year! Yes, but there is still THIS year! So I’m making one of my famous lists & creating a schedule so I am able to do the things I want to do this Christmas! None of them is elaborate. They are just simple local activities that take an afternoon or evening. And it takes coordinating with Mr. D. When we work together on these things, it works much better.

So, what are the things you would like to do this Christmas? Perhaps you want to have friends over to decorate the tree. Or maybe go caroling. Just simple things that bring so much joy & create memories that last a lifetime. Take time today to create a list of the things you want to do. Then schedule them & share with your family. You may have to push them a bit but you will create Christmas joy for everyone in your family!

Christmas Countdown C -23

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What REALLY Must Be Done?

When I was in the Navy, we were very busy in the weeks before Christmas. I was concerned I might not get everything done before the big day. This was not only causing me stress, it was also making me very sad. Katy, our daughter, was about 6 years old & I wanted her & Mr. D to have a great Christmas. How was I going to get everything done? Then I got an idea!

I sat down with a pice of paper & created 2 columns. One was labeled “Have to Do” the other was labeled “Want to Do.” Then I thought about all the things that needed to be done before Christmas morning. As I thought of a task, I asked myself, “Did it HAVE to be done or was it simply something I wanted to do?” I had to decide if Christmas would be ruined it the task didn’t get done. And I forced myself to be honest about it.

When I finished, there was only ONE thing on my Have to Do list. We need to shop for Katy so she would have presents on Christmas morning. We needed to make certain Santa had gifts to deliver to Katy. As much as I wanted to get all the other tasks done, none of them was a deal breaker. We might be disappointed if we didn’t put up a tree but Christmas wouldn’t be ruined. So, everything else went on my Want to Do list.

Then a strange thing happened. As soon as I took the pressure off myself, as soon as I told myself I didn’t HAVE to get all those things done, I was able to relax, slowing working my way through the tasks I simply wanted to get done. And do you know, by Christmas Eve, every single item on both lists was done!

Pressure & stress often cause us to freeze up. Determine what you absolutely HAVE to do by Christmas. Not the things others are forcing on you but tasks YOU determine are necessary. Then put everything else on your Want to list. Finish the Have-to’s first. Then slowly work your way through the Want-to’s. You may be surprised how much you get done when the pressure is off!

Christmas Countdown C -24

 

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You Deserve to Celebrate Too!

Your focus at Christmas is your family. You spend most of your time making certain everyone around you has a wonderful Christmas. Well, you deserve to celebrate too! At Simple Joy, we believe women must take care of themselves first or they won’t be able to care for others. If you focus entirely on everyone else this season, you may forget to enjoy yourself. Take time throughout December to do things YOU enjoy! Remember, we are the hearts of our families. The way we feel impacts the way the entire family feels. If you are stressed, focusing only on others, you may develop a not so nice attitude that eventually affects everyone around you. Taking care of yourself first is NOT selfish. It is the best & most effective way you can care for everyone else!

8 Steps to Effectively Share your Message Step #8: Have Others Share Your Message

I had thought of calling this step Get Someone Else to Do It but decided to be more tactful. It is however, your goal.My favorite part of Tom Sawyer is when Tom is told to paint a fence & he motivates other boys to do it for him. What an incredible example of leadership! It’s a hot dirty job & he manages to make it look inviting, so inviting the other boys BEG him to let them do the job!

An Inventive & Effective Leader

This is clever on so many levels. First, Tom knew exactly who he needed to recruit for the job at hand. Second, he made a dirty job look good. Tom gave those boys a vision of the mind-numbing job of fence painting look so good they BEGGED to do it for him! Third, while it would have take Tom alone a long time to finish painting the fence, the group of boys churned it out in no time. Dividing up the work assigned to 1 person among a group people made the task easier & quicker to accomplish. Fourth, while Tom had to get the ball rolling, beginning the painting himself, once he recruited others to help out, Tome was able to sit back & let the work continue without his help.

Following Tom’s Example

Now, I know Tom Sawyer is not used as an example of effective leadership, although perhaps he should be. You can however, learn a lot from Tom’s example, discovering ways to promote & share your message by getting others to do it for you.

Recruit the Right People

First, you have to determine who the right people are to recruit for the job. Look for bloggers, podcasters, etc that have a message that compliments yours. It might be on a topic you have considered using but felt it would pull you too far off your focus. This allows you to offer your market information you would like to create without having to spend the time researching & writing. Once you have found a few people, you want to recruit them to help you share your message with their audience.

Make It Look Good

Tom made a hot dirty job look good which encouraged the boys to ask to help. You need to made the job of sharing your message look good to others so they willingly offer to do it. How? By showing them what’s in it for them. You want to create a partnership with them that is mutually beneficial. Contact them & ask if you can share their site, material, broadcasts, etc with your audience. If you have a podcast, ask about interviewing them. When you post the material, be sure to send them the link. I like working with women that are just starting out. They are so excited for the exposure & I like helping them. When the article, post, program is available, they share the link with EVERYONE THEY KNOW! This drives new people to your material. Be sure to provide links to your other resources so visitors can learn more about you.You can also share links to their sites on your site in exchange for them doing the same for you. Or share their book, program whatever in exchange for doing it for you. This is all mutually beneficial.

Many Hands Make Light Work

Finding the right people & sharing their material or interviewing them takes time. Eventually though, it makes less work for you. The more people you help, the more people you are able to reach. Tom could have recruited 1-2 boys to paint for him. Instead, he recruited a group that should have been able to knock the job out in no time. It took time for him to recruit that many boys but it paid off in the long run. It will take time for you to recruit the right people but it pays off in the long run. The people you help drive a new audience to your sites without you spending any money. You must simply invest the time at first.

Finally, They Come to You

After Tom had recruited a few boys to paint, I imagine other boys began to show up ASKING if they could paint too. tom would no long need to recruit helpers. They would come to him, wanting to participate.The same thing will happen to you. At first, you will need to find people whose material you can promote. You will need to keep doing it day after day. Eventually, however, you will reach the tipping point where the process takes on a life of its own. It happens slowly at first. Just one person here & there asking you to share their message. Drip, drip, drip until the rush begins. Soon, your mailbox is filled with people asking to be interviewed, wanting you to share their book, seeking to have you promote their site.

At this point, like Tom, you can sit back & watch the work continue without any effort on your part. Well, almost. You still have work to do. However, your listeners, subscribers, numbers continue to grow without any effort on your part. All you need to do is help other people & continue to create new content. Not bad, huh?

In Conclusion

So, there you have it. It takes time to go through the entire process. Not every message will need the entire process. Let’s face it, not every blog post can be turned into a book! You can, however, follow the steps as far as each topic takes you. This systematic way of building on your message saves you time & helps you focus & grow your brand with less stress & greater success!

8 Steps to Effectively Share a Message Step #7: Develop a Keynote/Workshop

 At this point, you have been working on this topic for quite awhile. You’ve shared it on your blog, written a booklet, done podcasts & more. Now it’s time to share it with a live audience.

PRACTICE-PRACTICE-PRACTICE

Whether you speak to your audience in person or on the internet with a webinar, you need to be certain your message is ready to share. You can always go back & edit everything you have done up to this point. You can’t edit what you said during a live presentation once that presentation is over. You CAN record each presentation, FORCE yourself to listen to it & discover ways to improve either the material or presentation of that material.

Never Rush It

I know it’s easy to jump into doing a live presentation right away. We all over the thought of adoring fans hanging on our every word. This ego boost is what gets most people over their fear of public speaking. You must, however, wait until your message is finely tuned before you share it with a live audience.

Keynote or Workshop

How do you know whether your message should be a keynote or a workshop? I always look at keynotes as being inspirational. They may encourage you to take action, may even offer you steps to help you TAKE that action. During a keynote, people tend to listen more than write. During a workshop, people take notes. A workshop is a how-to session, teaching people ways to take specific action in a step-by-step presentation. You can use the same material for both.

About Keynotes

The keynote needs to be a trimmed down version of your material. It should encourage your audience to begin the process outlined in your material. It should offer people enough information that they might put your advice to work, even if on a limited basis. For those wanting more information, your keynote should encourage them to purchase your book without sounding like an infomercial. In other words, leave them wanting more!

About Workshops

Your workshop should also leave them wanting more. While it is more detailed than a keynote, you don’t need to share EVERYTHING that’s in your book. Find helpful ways to point out the additional information that can be found on your blog, podcast & books.

It All Prepares You for This!

Speaking to a live audience enables you to connect more directly with your market. You must however be prepared personally & with your material before you step in front of the microphone! Every other step before this prepares you AND your message to do the job well!

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