Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas… Looking Forward to 2013

A Fivecat Christmas

Every October, my lovely wife and architect business partner, Annmarie McCarthy, starts sketching out the Fivecat Christmas greeting card. It’s been an annual tradition since before Fivecat Studio even existed and each and every year we find ourselves licking envelopes during the very last minutes of “it’s not too late”.

Each set of Annmarie’s illustrations feature our furry family of cats, dogs and guinea pigs. She calls her four-legged cast of characters Anntics (stay tuned for Anntics.com). We have three kids too, but somehow they always fail to make the cut to the final piece. (Don’t worry… they have the entire stage during the rest of the year.)

If you click the Baltica lever to open the door, the link will take you over to my Living Well in Westchester blog, where you will enjoy the full effect and be introduced to our whole crew of fuzzy rescues.

Looking forward to 2013

I have very mixed emotions about this past year.

Financially, 2012 has been the absolute worst year in the history of Fivecat Studio… but because of the crisis, we shifted gears, restructured the firm and became more efficient at what we do. As the market begins to regain its balance and gets back up on its feet, we’re ready. We have survived the crisis, and as I declared in the introduction to the new Entrepreneur Architect Podcast, “survival is success”. Thankfully, the end of the year has brought several new projects.

As bad as its been, at the same time, I will always remember 2012 as the year when I made the full commitment to the idea of Entrepreneur Architect as a platform for supporting architects, designers and creative professionals throughout the world. As Entrepreneur Architect grows beyond this blog (and it will grow WAY beyond this blog), we’ll see its effects on architects throughout the world.

I am truly looking forward. The year 2013 is going to be very exciting.

The Entrepreneur Architect Podcast will be launched in January and will feature a monthly episode of inspiring iTunes audio. I will be interviewing architects, designers and others with a “creative spirit” who have something to teach us about everyday success.

I am working on my first e-book. The Entrepreneur Architect’s Manifesto will more thoroughly define the idea behind Entrepreneur Architect and how it will change YOUR life as an architect.

In addition to the podcast audio, I have also started experimenting with video. I expect the Entrepreneur Architect TV YouTube channel to launch sometime later this year. Where the podcast will feature thoughts and inspiration from others through interview, EA-TV will feature MY thoughts and ideas. I am excited to get that rolling, but first-things first.

If you like what we’re doing here at Entrepreneur Architect, please share a link with a friend and encourage them to subscribe to the blog. As I have stated several times before, everything I do here will be done to the best of my ability and I promise to never waste your time. As a father, husband, leader, business owner, entrepreneur architect, I know all too well the value of our precious limited time. If it doesn’t inspire success in business, leadership or life… it’s not going to happen at Entrepreneur Architect.

The future looks bright. Thank you for joining me on this ride.

I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a spectacular new year. See you in 2013.

God bless!

#EntreArchitectChat Transcript 121912 | Personal Productivity

Topic | Personal Productivity: How to get it all done.

A complete transcript of this week’s #EntreArchitectChat Twitter Chat may be downloaded in PDF format here.

This was the final #EntreArchitectChat for the year. We’ll see you again on Wednesday, January 9th at 9PM EST.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

My Secret to Being More Productive… in 60 Seconds or Less

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How to be more productive…

For years I would ask myself, “How am I ever going to get it all done?”

I have so much to do… as an architect, as a leader… as a husband and a dad. And what about all my big plans? How am I ever going to reach for my many dreams? There’s just not enough time to get it all done.

Well, I have one very important suggestion for you. It’s a secret that I’ve discovered after decades of research. It’s what all the really productive “cool kids” are doing to get things done.

Ready? Give me sixty seconds on the timer… Go!

Step 1: Turn off the television.

Step 2: Go do something more productive.

Well, OK… This is sort of a joke… but, not really. The day I decided to stop watching television (which was NOT easy… TV watching is in my blood.) and started reaching for my dreams, was the day my life changed forever.

Give it a try. Turn it off and go make good things happen.

***

Hey! While I have your attention…

Join us tomorrow (Wednesday) live on Twitter for #EntreArchitectChat. We’ll be talkin’ Personal Productivity: How to get it all done. I’ll be your host and it starts at 9PM EST on Twitter.com. Don’t miss it!

***

photo credit: Janos Balazs via photopin cc

10 Ways Architects Can Make More Money

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To successfully complete a project, an architect is responsible for making thousands of critical decisions. To complete the development of a standard residential additions and alterations project, it takes several months of focus and dedication. Many of us work long hours, long into the night, through weekends and holidays.

The innovative ideas and concepts we create can often only be born after hours (sometimes days) of intense thought and several dozen layers of sketch paper. The personal emotion, attachment and dedication that each project receives is unequaled in any other profession.The time and effort required to properly develop a design and complete a thorough set of construction documents is difficult for most anyone outside the profession to understand.

As a requirement for licensure, registered architects are responsible for the health, safety and welfare of every occupant in every project we design. Like any small business, architects must pay the typical operating expenses required to remain buoyant, such as utilities, professional service fees, consultants’ fees, insurances and several other overhead expenditures. But wait… for architects, there’s more. To protect us from the liabilities inherent in our responsibilities as licensed professionals, most architects also purchase an additional Professional Liability insurance policy costing several thousand dollars each year.

Then, there’s that little thing called profit.  Every business, including architecture firms (yes, its true!), must earn a profit. It’s one of the rules to “the game”. In order to continue pursuing our success as architects, we must not only cover our expenses and take home a salary, we must make enough to reinvest into the business.

Most sole proprietors and small firms I know, struggle to meet the minimum requirements of operation. Forget about profit.

Simply stated… Architects just don’t make enough money.

We deserve to earn more. So, in the spirit of pursuing our passion and attaining the success we dream of, I have compiled the following ten ways architects can make more money.

Additional Services. Every architectural services agreement should include a section on Additional Services. These are services available to your client, but are NOT included in your basic architectural services.

Are you giving away services that you should be compensated additionally for? Many architects are doing just that.

In our Agreement for Architectural Services at Fivecat Studio we clearly identify several Additional Services. Services such as Existing Conditions Surveys, Interior Design, Kitchen Design, 3-D Modeling, Illustration, Rendering and Estimating are all offered to our clients as additional services.

Construction Services. Since we launched our firm in 1999, most every prospective client I meet asks if Fivecat Studio offers construction services. Many people have the perception that architects build buildings and many others wished they would. So, in 2007 we stopped saying no and launched our Construction Management Services. In doing so, we more than doubled the revenue we collect from each project for which we perform these services.

Through the years we have learned that not every project and not every client is a good fit for these services though.

If we feel that the project and the client are compatible, we offer Construction Management Services as an Advisor, not as Constructor. It is important to differentiate the difference between the two services. I will publish a more thorough post on this topic in the future,  but the basic difference is in the agreements between the owner and the multiple contractors. As an Advisor, the contracts are direct between the owner and contractor. The architect is responsible for managing costs, sequencing, scheduling and payments. The full liability for the construction falls upon the contractors. The architect is simply an agent to the client with no liability for the construction.

As a Constructor, the owner contracts directly with the architect for construction services. The architect is then responsible for constructing the building, hires the contractors directly and inherits the associated liability. More liability means more liability insurance, which increases your firm’s expenses and your firm’s exposure to legal action. Until the volume and revenue from our CM Services allow for more investment in growth, we will stick with offering Construction Management Services as an Advisor.

Selection of Fixtures and Finishes. During the Design Development Phase of each project, we provide our clients with a “shopping list” and contact information to suppliers and sales people we know, like and trust. While our clients shop, we develop the design. We are always available to support them, answer any questions and guide them in selecting items appropriate for our proposed design.

In the case where a client would rather not be responsible for this task, we offer the selection of fixtures and finishes as an Additional Service and take on the full responsibility for the choosing these items.

Each client is different and their desired involvement in the process varies. Offering multiple ways for this process to occur keeps each client happy and allows for the firm to be properly compensated for the additional work required to perform the task.

Purchasing and Delivery. Once all the fixtures and finishes are identified, we then document the selections and include their specifications in our Construction Documents. During construction, the purchasing of these items is the responsibility of the contractor, or the owner purchases the items themselves prior and furnishes them at the appropriate time.

As a courtesy to our clients, we offer a Purchasing and Delivery Service which makes the acquisition of these items our responsibility. The additional attention assures our clients that the items ordered will be correct and delivered on time.

This process takes lots of time and effort. It is not typically the responsibility of the architect to perform this service and if you take on the additional work, you should get paid for it. Although, that does not necessarily mean that it should cost the client much more.

Fivecat Studio is compensated for this service as a percentage of the cost of the items we are handling. We then forward all our trade discounts to the client, which will often equal the amount that we are being compensated for the service. The client has less responsibility, the order is properly handled, we make more money and the client pays little or no more than they would have without our involvement. It’s the classic “win-win” scenario.

Sell Products. There is an alternative approach to the Purchase and Delivery Service described above. You can purchase the products at the your discounted trade price, mark up the price to cover your time and effort to handle the transaction, include an amount for profit and offer the products selected by your clients at their full retail price.

Most every project includes lighting, plumbing fixtures, furnishings, accessories and finishes such as tile and stone. Who better to sell those products to your client than you?

Reimbursable Expenses. Most architectural service agreements identify out-of-pocket expenses that will be reimbursed to the architect, separate from and in addition to compensation. Many architects though do not keep a record of these expenses and therefore, do not properly collect the amounts owed to them for the project-related expenditure.

Quantify your reimbursable expenses and collect.

Reduce Waste. This one may be the easiest way to make more money. It does not require performing any additional work and there’s no waiting for clients to pay you.

Prepare a thorough evaluation of all the money your firm spends. Categorize the list into “required”, “not required” and “waste”. Spend only what you need to grow, eliminate waste and end up with more money each month.

Monetize Your Website. Most architects have websites to market our firms. If you don’t… you should. We built Fivecat Studio from the ground up, with no money and no clients, using our first website. There is no way that we would be where we are today without fivecat.com.

Most firm websites includes basic contact information, a bio describing the firm and a portfolio of select projects. With any amount of traffic, you can add features to your site and start making some additional money to supplement the services your provide as an architect. As an expert, you can offer e-books for sale. Prepare a Resources page with affiliate links to items or services for sale that people visiting your site will find useful. You can also sign up for Google AdSense and make money through advertising on your site. If designed well and presented properly, your site can become a source of additional income for your firm.

The more traffic visiting your website, the more money you can make. Continuously updating your site with new work and additional information can help attract visitors. Adding a blog and consistently writing on a topic interesting to a niche market (say maybe “custom residential additions and alterations”) can help to create a following and build trust. Trust will help you sell more through your site and maybe even convert a prospect into a paying architectural services client.

Increase Volume. Recently, due to the slow down in the economy, many architects have reduced their fees in order to be more competitive. This may work to win the project, but if your fee is not high enough to cover expenses, overhead and profit, you will not be in business for very long.

If you choose to reduce your fees, you must also increase volume and complete your projects quickly. The smaller fees made on each project must add up to provide enough revenue to cover expenses and make a profit each month.

Raise Your Fees. The alternative to increasing volume is to raise your fees. Provide value by spending more time on design, more thoroughly developing your documents and serving your clients well throughout the entire process. This business model allows you to take on less work and spend more time on each project.

As mentioned above, most of us are already devoting the time and extra effort to our projects. We are passionate about what we do and we want our designs to reflect our true talents as architects.

The problem most of us have though, is that our fees do not reflect the dedication and investment we bring to each project.

Calculate your expenses, quantify your time and effort, add an appropriate profit margin and get paid what you are truly worth. You are a licensed professional and your services are worth a higher fee. Raise your fees. You are an architect… and you deserve to earn more.

Do YOU make enough money? There are other ways architects can make more. What are some ways you have found? Please share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

***

photo credit: Mukumbura via photopin cc

#EntreArchitectChat Transcript 121212 | Inspiration, Motivation & Fear

Topic | Inspiration, Motivation & Fear: What’s Holding You Back?

A complete transcript of this week’s #EntreArchitectChat Twitter Chat may be downloaded in PDF format here..

Join us again next week at 9PM EST on Twitter.com.

My 12/12/12 Project: The Entrepreneur Architect Podcast

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One month ago, on November 12, 2012, I published a blog post introducing The 12/12/12 Project. The idea behind the 12/12/12 Project is to push through your fear of failure, make a decision final and commit to something that will literally alter your life. Something that you have been dreaming about but have always been afraid to do. It’s an opportunity to follow your passion and become what you are truly meant to be.

My challenge to you, and to myself, was to prepare a plan and commit to executing that plan on December 12, 2012. Well… that day has come. Today, is 12/12/12.

So what is my 12/12/12 Project?

Click the link below to find out. I hope you enjoy it.

Please take a moment to post a comment and tell me what you think.

Click Here –>> EA000 _ Introduction- The Entrepreneur Architect

Here’s the Transcript:

Episode 000 | Introduction: The Entrepreneur Architect Podcast

Every summer as a kid, my parents would load up the old Suburban, hook up the boat and head to a crystal clear lake in upstate New York’s Adirondack Mountains. My brothers and I would look forward to that trip all year long. In anticipation our imaginations would take over and create an event so amazing that the excitement of thinking about the vacation was almost more fun than the actual trip itself.

We had such a great time on those trips. We would swim and picnic and fish and go on long rides in the boat. My Dad is a retired auto mechanic and he loves all things FAST. Our boat was a 27 foot Magnum; an offshore powerboat with twin 350 Chevy engines… and it was FAST. We would strap on our goggles, hang on tight and we would race across the top of the waves. We would visit amazing places on the lake;  which as a kid I would imagine were undiscovered territories never before seen with human eyes.

Some of these special coves and bays are surrounded by shear cliffs where hundreds of thousands of years ago tectonic activity ripped through the region and mountains rose from the earth. Sometimes we would anchor and swim to shore, climb these cliffs… and jump.

It is truly an amazing feeling to jump from a 30 foot cliff and plunge into cool deep water below… but it is NOT easy to do the first time.

The first time you climb to the top of one of these cliffs and look down, your heart pushes up against your throat and your stomach tightens up and you say, NO WAY am I jumping into that water. You are filled with complete and total fear.

But then your courage pushes through your fear… and you just do it!

And it is awesome. The feeling of pride. The freedom. The physical sensation of the wind whipping past your ears and the adrenaline pumping through your veins finding its way to your brain. It is amazing.

And its a feeling that I haven’t felt in a very long time.

Until now.

One month ago, on November 12, 2012, I published a blog post introducing The 12/12/12 Project. The idea behind the 12/12/12 Project is to push through your fear of failure, make a decision final and commit to something that will literally alter your life. Something that you have been dreaming about but have always been afraid to do. It’s an opportunity to follow your passion and become what you are truly meant to be.

My challenge to you, and to myself, was to prepare a plan and commit to executing that plan on December 12, 2012. Well… that day has come. Today, is 12/12/12.

So what is my 12/12/12 Project?

I will get to that in a moment.

First, I want to tell you a little bit about me.

My name is Mark LePage and I am an Architect.

I am the President and Partner in Change of Operations at the architecture firm, Fivecat Studio, which I own with my most beautiful and talented architect wife Annmarie McCarthy. Annmarie and I have three young kids, two dogs and… let’s just say several cats… oh, and a guinea pig named Reilly.

Annmarie and I are slowly restoring our little 1934 stucco cottage in the woods of Chappaqua, New York. It’s about a 10 minute commute from our studio in Pleasantville.

Being married to my business partner and working so close to home allows me to be a very involved Dad. My kids are a huge part of my life and Annmarie and I have worked very hard to find the proper balance between the firm and our family.

Fivecat Studio is a residential architecture firm located about 40 minutes north of Manhattan in Westchester County. We have a small staff, a diverse portfolio of work and we specialize in high-end small projects.

These past five years have been extremely challenging, but with a loyal crew and a smart business strategy, we have survived. And in this economy, survival is success.

I decided to become an architect when I was 10, the day I realized that artists didn’t make much money. You see, I also wanted to be rich. So… I thought… “Architects are professionals. They must make a lot of money. I can be an artist, design buildings AND buy all the toys I would ever want.”

Like most creative professionals, I’m a dreamer and as a kid I would spend hours of my day fantasizing about what my life would someday become. I would plan out my own “success stories”, step by step.

Today, I owe much of my success to those early days of developing strategies and tactics for how I would one day dominate the world of architecture.

Well, thankfully, as I matured, my priorities changed. The material things became much less important. Although, I do like my toys. I still drive my 1969 Camaro Rally Sport. I purchased it when I was 16.

And the desire for world domination? Well, luckily it subsided too as the idea of improving the everyday lives of people through architecture became a reality to me.

I love being an residential architect. I love that we can, very literally, change the world, one family at a time with the work that we do.

But, as much as I love being an Architect, my true passion is business and the concept of “success”. I love the game of business and how, if you learn the rules, practice and get good at the game, you can win…. you can succeed.

And if you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time or following me on Twitter, you know that I love to help other people succeed too. I share everything I know and everything I learn.

The concept of success has always interested me. I have an entire library of books on the subject and have been researching “success” for as long as I can remember… even before I realized it was the concept of success that I found so fascinating in those early “success stories” I developed as a child.

The word success has so may definitions. It could mean financial peace and stability. It could mean positive growth and accepting a leadership position in business or in life. It could simply mean that you have found a place of contentment, a balance in your life, where everything is as it should be.

Success. Everyone wants it, yet, its very difficult to achieve. It takes hard work, knowledge and dedication.

So… this all leads me back to my 12/12/12 Project.

My 12/12/12 Project is Entrepreneur Architect.

Yeah I know… Entrepreneur Architect has been around for quite a while now. In fact, it was officially launched in 2009 2007 when I published my first post on the Entrepreneur Architect blog and then created the Entrepreneur Architect Linkedin Group in 2009. But until now, it has always been a hobby… it’s been a side job that I did for fun. A way to connect with other aspiring Entrepreneur Architects around the world. And its been great! I have met so many people… a tribe of enthusiastic and encouraging individuals, who’ve inspired me to pursue my passion and reach for my dreams.

So today, as the first step of my 12/12/12 Project, I am pushing through the fear and jumping off that cliff. I am committing to taking Entrepreneur Architect to the next level. I am committing to the idea of Entrepreneur Architect as a platform for supporting architects, designers and creative professionals throughout the world, and inspiring their everyday success in business, in leadership and in life.

I will continue to publish my blog, EntreArchitect.com. I will also continue to host the Entrepreneur Architect TweetChat at Twitter.com which happens every Wednesday evening at 9PM Eastern Time… and I will continue to administer the very popular Entrepreneur Architect Group over at Linkedin.com.

These are all great places where our tribe of Entrepreneur Architects come together as a community, support one another and learn how to be more successful… everyday… in everything we do.

… and this podcast, The Entrepreneur Architect, is the next step.

The Entrepreneur Architect podcast will continue to feed my passion, and facilitate my research and mission to discover new, and maybe even forgotten, paths to success for architects, designers and other creative professionals. I will post a new episode each month. The podcast will include interviews with architects and designers, as well as any other interesting people who have something to teach us about the path to everyday success.

The first official episode will be posted to the Entrepreneur Architect blog after the new year. It will feature an interview with my friend, Christopher Pollard. He’s the founder and CEO of Anon Design Collective. Chris is trained as an architect and has used his background and skills as a designer to take his career in a very different direction. He has a very inspiring story and I’m excited to share it with you. So save the date, Episode 001. It’s coming to Entrepreneur Architect in January 2013.

And like I said, this podcast is just the next step. My 12/12/12 Project includes much more than just this podcast. I have lots more planned for Entrepreneur Architect, for Fivecat Studio and for me personally. And I’m going to share my progress, successes AND failures, with you here on this podcast and on my blog.

Today, December 12, 2012. It’s the first day of the rest of our lives.

So, what is your 12/12/12 Project?

I want to know what you’re doing. What life-altering commitment have YOU made? Share your plans with me on the blog in the comments, or privately by direct message or email.

And for those of you who have not yet made the commitment… It’s not too late. I once again, invite you to join me. I challenge you to push through YOUR fears and jump off that cliff. Follow your passion. Feel the freedom. Take that big idea in your head and do it.

Develop a plan, take a deep breath and jump.

So that’s it. The Entrepreneur Architect podcast.  It’s official.

Please share this with everyone you know… on Twitter, on Facebook, Google+. Email it to everyone in your address book. Tell everyone in your office. Shout it from the rooftops. The more people who know about what’s going on here, the more successful it will be for all of us.

And please subscribe to my blog (there’s a link on the upper right margin). That way you won’t miss anything and I promise that everything I do here will be worth your time. By subscribing to the blog, each post will be delivered directly to your inbox.

So… Are you ready? Are you ready to make good things happen in your business… in your life?

Together, we’ll learn and be inspired to take our lives to places we only dreamed about as kids.

Have a blessed Christmas and happy Hanukah. And we’ll see you after the new year at The Entrepreneur Architect podcast.

Remember, today, 12/12/12, is the first day of the rest of our lives. Let’s do this…

***
photo credit: EJP Photo via photopin cc

5 Secrets to Success from an Entrepreneur Architect

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My wife and I launched our architecture firm, Fivecat Studio, in 1999. We were 29 years old. Young, ambitious and a little crazy, we started with no money and no clients. One good lead and some help from a few local architect friends gave us the courage to take a leap of faith, and we went for it.

In the 13 plus years we’ve been in business, I’ve learned a bunch. Today, I thought I would share a few secrets to our success.

Dreams really do come true. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a big dreamer. Since I was a young boy, I’ve been planning my future and plotting my success. You can even ask my mom. The life I am living today is awfully close to the stories I told as a child.

The difficult part of being a dreamer though, is when your life veers away from your set trajectory. Life happens and you need to respond, but if you keep dreaming and have faith (and work your ass off), you’ll find that your dreams really do come true.

It’s much harder than you think. I am a father of three young kids and my life revolves around their care, their guidance and their happiness. I was born to be a dad and I have always loved kids. I thought fatherhood was going to be a piece of cake. Well, any dad will tell you that being a father is the second most difficult job on the planet. It is way more difficult that I ever thought it would be.

Running a successful architecture firm is very much like raising kids. You start wide-eyed with big plans of success. Soon after you start, you realize that your job as a leader is much more involved than you ever expected. You have responsibilities that you never planned for and not everything ends up like you dreamed. Your “hat rack” grows larger and larger every day as your roles in the business and in your life multiply. As prepared as you think you might be, running an architecture firm is much harder than you ever imagined.

It’s much easier than you think. Yes. It’s difficult to run an architecture firm, but if you properly educate yourself in the basics of business (You’ll need to educate yourself on this topic, because our architecture schools have decided that its not important enough to include in their programs.); prepare budgets, manage your expenses, create sales systems, properly market your services, hire the right team, develop habits of personal productivity, encourage a culture of personal responsibility and lead with passion, you might find that success is actually much easier than you think.

You must jump off the cliff before you can fly. This is a mantra that I’ve adopted since commencing on my 12/12/12 Project last year. Imagine what it would be like to fly… to just stretch out your arms, catch the currents of the wind and glide high into the sky. The sense of pride and freedom you would feel would be incredible. Your movements would be effortless. Your destination… limitless.

Now, imagine jumping off a cliff. Fear. Total and complete fear. Well, if you are ever going to fly, you are going to need to first jump off the cliff.

Before you can finish, you must first begin. Sounds simple right. Well, the big secret in business is that taking the first step is not as simple as it sounds. Starting is actually the single hardest part of launching a firm.

Last night, I was putting the final touches on my 12/12/12 Project and preparing for its big launch on Wednesday. I’ve learned much in the many years since launching my own firm, but the single most important lesson I have learned is that you must push through the fear, turn away from the list of reasons “not to”, embrace the possibilities… and start. Only then, will you succeed.

I hope you too have taken this opportunity to start. December 12, 2012 is only a couple days away.

Until then…

***

photo credit: gaspi *yg via photopin cc

#EntreArchitectChat Transcript 120512 | Architecture School: Educating the Profession

Topic | Architecture School: Educating the Profession

A complete transcript of this week’s #EntreArchitectChat Twitter Chat may be downloaded in PDF format here.

Join us again next week at 9PM EST on Twitter.com.

10 Tips to Conquer Procrastination

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My name is Mark R. LePage and I am a recovering procrastinator.

There… I said it.

After 40+ years, I don’t have much hope of ever finding a cure, but recently I have found some ways to hang on to the wagon and stay focused on getting things done.

Here are 10 tips I’m using to conquer my procrastination.

1. Write out a plan. In order to get anything done, you need to create a plan. What does the end result look like and how are you going to make progress. Write it out. As a serial dreamer, I have hundreds of plans in my head, at all times. The plans that make progress are the ones written down and developed into a clear step-by-step process.

2. Schedule milestones. Progress looks much less daunting when you break things down into smaller easily attained milestones. Set them to specific dates and get to work.

3. Work toward deadlines. The quickest way to NOT get things done is to never NEED to get things done. Set deadlines on each milestone, and base your deadlines on realistic timelines developed in the plan you developed above.

4. Turn away from distractions. In November, I re-instituted my “full media blackout”. I stopped reading the news, turned off the television and tuned the radio away from the talk station. If the world as we know it does in fact end on December 21st, I am quite certain I will hear about it. I am now focused on the things that are fully within my control. The things not within my control are simply distractions. Turn away from the distractions and focus on the things that truly matter most.

5. Stop blaming others. No one else is going to get it done. There is nothing stopping you from progress except YOU. You are in control of the decisions you make and the attitude you choose to adopt.

6. Birth good habits. In his book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and BusinessCharles Duhigg deconstructs the habit into three parts; a cue, a routine and a reward. Once you understand that, you may give birth to your own good habits. If you want to do something consistently without the pain and frustration of broken resolutions, make it a habit and watch what happens.

7. Kill bad habits. From what we’ve learned in number 6 above, we can now analyze every bad habit standing in the way of our progress. Identify the cue, the routine and the reward. The key to making sustainable change is keeping the cue and reward, and changing the routine. Do you unnecessarily check your e-mail everyday at the same time, rather than working on those pending construction documents? Identify the cue and reward. The cue may be the time of day. The reward may be a sense of accomplishment. Change the routine to completing a simple task on those drawings and a new habit may be born.

8. Look beyond yourself. Find some inspiration. Find others who have accomplished what you want to accomplish. Learn everything you can about them and how they made progress. When you know that others have done what you are trying to do, you’ll find hope that you too will accomplish your goals.

9. Raise the stakes. As many of you know, I am working on the plan for my 12/12/12 Project. Talk about procrastination. I’ve been trying to make progress on this project for more than a decade. By announcing the concept of the 12/12/12 Project to the world and publicly committing to my plan, I raised the stakes. If I don’t do what I said I’ll do, I will lose credibility with you, my family as well as myself.

10. Start. It may be the most difficult step, but believe me, no task has ever been completed without starting. So, start… and see the procrastination melt away.

***

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photo credit: Mykl Roventine via photopin cc

#EntreArchitectChat Transcript 112812

Topic | Your Online Presence: Websites and Social Media

A complete transcript of tonight’s #EntreArchitectChat Twitter Chat may be downloaded in PDF format here.


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