Overwhelm is that place where you freeze or avoid—You may feel it in the pit of your stomach or you might find yourself not being able to think clearly about what to do…or you might just find that you are doing something altogether different without meaning to (like surfing the web ;) ).
We’re all unique, so you need to learn what overwhelm, avoidance, or freezing feels like for you. We all have an emotional piece to managing our time and it’s a bit different for each of us. You need to discover what it is for you, what it feels like, and when it happens. Recognizing what is overwhelming you is important because this is where the procrastination begins---sometimes we don’t notice it in the moment---but it is in that moment of avoiding or feeling overwhelm that we start the procrastination.
You have to catch yourself in the moment…of overwhelm…or negative feeling…and figure out where it starts.
Here’s a tip you can take right into your life today: Look over your to-do list from the last week and see what you keep NOT doing—that is a big hint about what you are procrastinating on or avoiding.
The Inner Fear Discussion is all of that negative talk going on in your head. You know, the things that you say to yourself that you would likely never say to others like:
This inner negative talk creates subtle shifts in your mood or energy, adding to the feelings of being overwhelmed. It creates a downward spiral of emotions and keeps you stuck! The way to calm this inner fear discussion is to create a positive internal discussion that supports productivity—this is called “positive self-talk”. You want to create an inner discussion that is consistent with productivity. Positive self-talk often starts with the words “I can…”
For example you might take the inner fear statement “There is no way I am going to get this done” and turn it into “I can take one step at a time” or “I can get one piece of this done right now”. The key here is to address the fear discussion in YOUR mind and create a positive statement that turns it around and supports productivity.
You need need to engineer your routine and your environment to support your own productivity and to help you avoid procrastination. There are two parts to this “routine” and “environment”.
Let's start with your routine:
Set up a flexible routine that aligns your time with your intentions. Routines become automatic once they are practiced. To improve your productivity, you want to create automatic routines so the important stuff just gets handled.
Now let’s unleash the power of your environment to support your productivity by setting up your physical surroundings to support the activity you want to accomplish. Our physical environment predicts most of our behavior…something like up to 80%.
If you think this number sounds high, imagine this scenario. You walk into your kitchen after a long exhausting day and you are starving. The only thing in sight is a plate of your favorite cookies on the counter…Odds are you are going to eat those cookies…
Here's another tip to try today: Set up your environment to support productivity by taking the one thing you need to work on to a room with a closed door and no distractions. Turn off any electronics that are not necessary and work for 30-60 minutes.
We all need support and partnership to succeed. If you are having a hard time getting started or completing something, figure out the kind of support you need and watch your productivity skyrocket. Not every activity needs the same kind of support…here are a few kinds of support or accountability to think about:
The key to finishing projects is to make sure that you keep chipping away at them and moving them forward.
For some of us, being persistent in this way is challenging. The key is to keep coming back and moving that project forward, a process I call “restarting” or “tending” a project.
Projects get completed because we keep coming back and moving them forward. Use your support system to help you keep “restarting” your project until it is finished and you’ll be able to say good-bye to those projects that have been renting space on your To-Do list.
The bottom line is that there is often an emotional component to making the most of our time. Use these 5 must-have tips to break through procrastination and overwhelm, make the most of your time – and create the life you want!
Dr.Sarah Reiff-Hekking is a speaker and coach with 20 years of experience helping people create the lives they crave. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs who have a hard time managing their time and their tasks to figure out a way that works for them.
She believes that solutions are found by paying attention to the present moment, and that just like Michelangelo had to chip away at the stone to find the statue, we have to get rid of all the extra stuff that isn’t the core of your life. More at www.TrueFocusCoaching.com
Competition for readers is fierce. Millions of articles are published every day. Statistics say that 8 out of 10 people will read your headline – but only 2 out of 10 go on to read the rest. What does this mean?
Your Headlines Must Stand Out!
The better your headline, the better your chances are of reaching the right people, capturing their attention, and converting them into friends, fans, clients and customers.
As a former editor for one of the largest newspapers in the nation (Los Angeles Times) and editor-in-chief of an international print magazine for women entrepreneurs, I’ve written thousands of headlines during my career. And you better believe that I figured out what works – and what doesn’t.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, your headlines need to stand out. That’s why I’m sharing with you these 5 Copywriting Cues that will help you write headlines that stand out, get attention and make a first impression that makes them want more.
Let’s get started!
Copywriting Cue #1: The “How To”
We live in a chaotic, busy world. So when we’re scanning content online, our subconscious is automatically filtering out headlines that don’t show potential for immediate value. That’s why the “How to” headline works so well. Yes, it’s a classic, and there’s a reason why.
“How to” headlines offer the promise of learning something new, useful and actionable. Even though we’re busy, our brains react to the potential of value. Other key words you can use in a headline that follow the “How to” formula include Tips, Tricks, Strategies and Guides.
As you write your How To headline, remember to share the benefits clearly and entice your reader with the promise that they will learn something new, something clever or something of value they can apply to their business or life.
Expert Tip: Make your “How to” headline even more powerful by doubling up! One of the best headlines ever written follows this principle: “How to Win Friends and Influence People”
Copywriting Cue #2: Everybody Loves Lists
Headlines that promise a number of ways, types, secrets, strategies or steps always work because the provide a quantifiable potential our brains are looking for of learning something new. Lists are great for attracting attention. After decades of use, almost every late-night talk show hosts still relies on Top 10 lists because audiences love them. Don’t worry about your audience getting bored with lists either – as long as you deliver quality content, you’ll catch their attention every time.
Expert Tip: To really kick it up a notch, use “sexy” words in your list headlines like legitimate, sneaky, love, truthful or embarrassing.
Copywriting Cue #3: The “Why”
We’re a curious species. While we love to have lists and know How to do things, many times we also want to know the “why” of things. Headlines that start with Why are powerful, as they trigger your reader’s thirst for knowledge, desire to learn and grow, and general curiosity.
You don’t need to stop at “why.” Mix it up by using “what,” “when,” “learn,” “discover,” or “how,” and make a strong statement that will make readers want to know what you know – and read what you write.
Expert Tip: Starting your headline with “Why” is great, but remember that the words that follow are what truly draw your readers in. Be sure you provide insight into issues that matter, and you’ll be amazed at how many read on.
Copywriting Cue #4: Share Secrets
This is a blogosphere favorite that never fails, due to its attention-grabbing power. Who doesn’t want to be in the know about the latest secrets, right? Plus, this kind of headline is perfect for demonstrating your mastery of a subject and building your authority in your field.
And don’t worry about overusing the word “secret.” There are other words you can use that convey the same idea such as “little known,” “insider,” “rare,” or “unknown.”
Expert tip: Invite readers to join you in learning more about the “secrets” you are writing about by adding “Who Else Wants” to your headline. For instance, “Who else wants to know the secrets for on-stage style” invites readers to join in as it implies that this is high-value, in-demand information.
Copywriting Cue #5: Be provocative (sneaky, even)
Share something exciting, enticing, interesting, or intriguing that is a part of the topic you are writing about. When using this type of headline, you must know your audience well and what they respond to best. For instance, one of my favorite headlines from Marie Forleo was, “And Then My Pants Split.” Her audience expects fun, sassy content and, well, with an intro like that you can’t help but read on to learn more.
Your audience may not respond to headlines quite like that, but you can still write provocative content that dares them to read on, like these:
Expert tip: Add numbers and specifics and your readers will really feel like they are truly getting critical information. For example: How I Built an Online T-shirt Business and Made $1,248.90 in 3 Weeks.
If there is one thing I want to leave you with, it’s this: Say it simply and directly. Direct headlines using the strategies I’ve outlined above will never fail. Don’t try to be too clever. Rhyming, alliteration, wordplay… these are all great, but not for headlines. If your readers is confused, or misses the point, they’ll move on.
Really, the most important formula you need for writing irresistible headlines lies in using the strategies above – and combining them with your knowledge of your readers.
Understand what issues they are interested in. Answer their most burning questions. Give them knowledge that helps them. Serve your audience first and they’ll become your biggest fans, and most loyal readers.
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If you’d like to learn more about creating strategic content that serves your readers and grows your business, sign up for my Captivating Copy newsletter by clicking HERE. Readers receive expert guides, how-to’s, free writing templates, and lots more to ensure their websites, blogging, bios, newsletters and social media are filled with the “write” stuff!
Dawn Mena is a professional writer and overall lifesaver for busy business owners with no time – or often no desire – to write. A former Los Angeles Times editor, Dawn founded Captivating Copy to provide strategic writing support for entrepreneurs, helping to increase their impact, influence and income by sharing the right story and connecting with the right audience.
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