Best wishes for a wonderful new year from Ronda Bowen!
Stephen Covey and other personal coaches advocate the use of a mission statement to help guide you in reaching your goals. Writing a mission statement is not as difficult as you might think. Follow the questions below to begin to construct your personal mission statement.
Once you have answered these questions, think about how you would put that together in a mission statement. For example, my personal mission statement is:
To continue to grow as an individual, help others acheive their goals through my writing and editing, and spend quality time with family.
Once you have formulated your mission statement, look at your various sub-goals, projects, and activities. Do they contribute to your mission? If not, you may want to edit some of them out – or change your mission statement. By having an ultimate purpose in mind, you can be more productive and you can find yourself more content with your life.
What is your mission? Share your mission statement in the comments.
If you’re anything like me, seeing a never-ending to-do list can be overwhelming. I have found a way to manage different freelance projects, while keeping the “to-do’s” under wraps. This method uses Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Outlook, but you can use any spreadsheet and PIM program in combination.
The first step is to write down every project and to-do that is on your mind. Take your time to do this.
Once you have preformed this “mind-dump,” open a fresh spreadsheet. This will become your master project list. Across the top, create the following headings: “Project ID,” “Priority,” “Project Name,” “Project Description,” “Steps in Project,” “Project Status,” “Due Date,” “Date of Last Update.” You can also have fields for contact information for anyone relevant in the project process.
Once you have created your table, you can start to list your projects in the “Project Name” column. Do not put any “to-do’s” on here yet. We’ll get to those in a minute. Instead you should have items like “Write Novel,” “Send query letter to x” “Work on freelance project for y.” Next, assign each project an ID. You will use this ID to track project items in Outlook and to track any correspondence through email concerning this project. Third, you will want to assign each project a priority between 1 and 5. Items with a priority of 1 would be those that are both important and urgent, say a client project due in a few days. Items with priority of 5 would be neither important nor urgent – arguably they shouldn’t be on your project list. Instead, if you want to get around to a project with a 5 priority, you should store it away for later in a “someday” folder.
Upon completing these three steps, create a brief description of each project. You will want to decompose your projects into each to-do or action-item associated with the project. For instance if you had a project, “Write chapter for textbook,” you might decompose it into the following action items:
What does “close project” mean? For the freelancer, it means making sure you update your resume and publications list. Sometimes, you might want to write a small report about the project, what you learned while doing the project, and goals for the next time you have a similar project.
After filling in this information in your spreadsheet, take account of where each project is. Are you revising that textbook chapter draft? If so, under “Project Status” type “revising.” If you are waiting to hear back from someone, note that. Also, note the date the next step is to be completed, the due date, and the date the status was updated, so that if you have been waiting for payment for a long time you can follow up on it. (For the spreadsheet template, cruise over to Examples.)
Finally, you are ready to start entering your to-do list into Outlook. Each to-do will get a priority – if it is associated with a project, it will get the priority of the project. if it is a 5 either delegate it, someday it, or scrap it. For help figuring out what priority any given task should be assigned, “How to Prioritize by Importance” at the Dumb Little Man Blog is a great resource. Only enter the next task for each project into Outlook.
Now the important part: When you are entering in your tasks, make sure you assign a start time and a finish time for each task. You will be more likely to finish them if you give yourself a deadline. Watch your productivity increase when you create a freelance work schedule!
That’s how I do things, how do you do things?
I’ve been busy lately. In addition to putting on an epic Easter for my family and caring for an awesome six-month old (including when she had her bout with bronchitis), I’ve been taking care of a concussed teenager. He fell while doing warm up exercises in his P.E. class, broke his nose, and got a pretty nasty concussion. It’s amazing how fragile the brain is. I’ve been fighting the virus that won’t go away – in the summer, I know! It seems like we’ve all finally recovered from our various ailments. I’ve been working on a variety of projects, including:
As you can see I’ve been keeping busy with a variety of projects here! I’m happy to help new clients, so if you need writing or editing done by a freelancer, don’t hesitate to contact me. We will discuss your needs.
One of the most difficult things to do in writing is to come up with an idea. Sometimes a lack of ideas can cause writer’s block. You’ll need ideas whether you are writing creatively, for class, or for your business. Here is a list of things that you can do to come up with ideas for your writing.
What are some of the ways you come up with ideas for your writing?
Whether you are in high school, college, or graduate school, chances are that you will need at some point to write a research paper. Sometimes our jobs require us to do research. In this post, you will find the steps to successfully writing the research paper that will get you the grade you want.
1. Set up a time schedule. That’s right, the first thing you should do when you are assigned a research project is set up a schedule to complete your research. Even if you have all semester to finish a paper, you shouldn’t wait until the last month before starting. Work backward from the deadline. You should budget enough time to revise and then proofread your paper before turning it in. If you require help from your school’s writing center or a tutor, make sure you allow at least two weeks before the paper is due for editing. Give yourself a deadline for completing each of the following steps.
2. Choose a topic. The second thing you should do is choose a topic. Try to do this as soon as possible after the paper is assigned. If you wish, during your scheduling, set up a time to meet with your teacher or professor to discuss your topic. At this stage, a broad topic is okay.
3. Gather your references. If it’s a topic you know a lot about, you can simply dive into your library’s database. If it’s a topic you don’t know a lot about, start with the field’s encyclopedias. For example, if you are doing a research paper on Kant, start with the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy to get some background information. Note: This isn’t a source in itself. Instead, it will help you to narrow your focus and it will point you in the direction of key reference material for your topic. This is where you will construct a preliminary bibliography.
4. Once you have your reference material selected and in front of you, devise some system for taking notes. You can do this the traditional way or electronically. The important thing is that you take careful notes, and that you devise a way to distinguish between your personal notes and paraphrases and quotations taken from reference material.
5. Now you are ready to build an annotated outline to write from. At this stage it might be helpful again to take your outline to a meeting with your teacher or professor.
6. Write your rough draft. Remember that you are most likely the only one who is going to see this draft. It’s okay if it’s not perfect. This is why you want to start early – so that you can write a terrible rough draft.
7. Let your paper “cool” for at least a week before revising it. This way you can come back to it with fresh eyes. Fix any content issues and grammar errors you find.
8. Proofread your paper. Do this before turning it in. Even though you revised it, you will want to go through what you wrote with an eye to detail. Make sure there are no typos, grammar errors, fact errors, and spelling errors. Now is the time to meet with your professor once more in case you have any last minute questions or concerns.
9. Add the bibliography if you haven’t done so already. Make sure that your citations are accurate. Check every footnote, endnote, and parenthetical citation. Also make sure that you scan your document for any missed quotations and paraphrases. You do not want to get in trouble for plagiarism.
10. Hand your paper in according to the assignment guidelines. Did your professor want 1000 words? Don’t turn in a 1500 word paper. Edit it down. Likewise, don’t turn in a paper that is only 800 words. Don’t turn in a paper in MLA format when the professor asked for APA format.
There you have it. Ten steps to a completed research paper. If you need assistance with editing the paper once it is completed, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peer editing can be a helpful tool when you are short on time and your paper is due. By pairing up with another student in your class, you can make your writing more powerful. There are a few rules to follow so that this system is as helpful as possible.
1. Pair up with someone who will be honest with your work.
2. Always be honest.
3. Don’t take criticism personally. Remember it’s better that it is your classmate telling you they don’t understand the point of your essay than the professor.
4. Know proofreader’s marks.
5. If a section in your classmate’s writing does not make sense, help them to make sense.
6. While you should help your classmate, do not rewrite the paper for them.
7. Be prompt. Remember you both have deadlines. Be respectful of this.
By following these simple rules, peer editing can be a benefit to your writing. When you need more help with writing than your peers can give you, contact me for an estimate. To get an accurate estimate, please include a couple of pages of your writing so that I can help you judge the level of editing your work will need to effectively communicate your ideas. I’ve helped clients with their novels, children’s books, dissertations, journal articles, conference presentations, and training manuals.
You may have seen on my website that one of the services I provide is something called “academic coaching.” Academic coaching is more than tutoring. It is a service I provide to help individuals succeed in their academic life.
This service includes:
One of the biggest success factors in life is learning how to set goals and manage time effectively. The skills acquired through this service can be carried on into other areas of life.
I can also help those in professional positions come up with strategies to meet their own academic or professional development goals. Learn how to keep on top of the literature in your field, how to submit to and present at professional conferences, and how to determine what professional journals you should be submitting your work to. It’s not too late to get your academic career trajectory and professional development plan established!
Contact me today to discuss your personal situation and obtain information on my current rates.
Setting goals and seeing them come to fruition can be difficult. A way to make sure goals are achieved is to set goals that are measurable, meaningful, realistic, and that have a time table. Below you will find tips on how to set effective goals.
By taking time to look at where you are and where you want to be, you can better chart your course. This is important when it comes to academics, research, and any project. If you goal is to finish up the semester with A’s, then you need to take the appropriate actions that will lead to this result.
Everybody makes mistakes. That is why it is crucial to proofread your work before you turn in a final copy. Below is an editing checklist to help make sure your writing is as close to perfection as possible.
By taking time to run through this checklist, you can help ensure your writing maintains a professional appearance. If you would like a second party to help you edit your writing. Please contact me about my editing services.