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Is the Way You’re Spending Your Time Costing You Money?

moneyGeoffrey Moore, in his book Living on the Fault Line, discussed the “Core versus Context Model” for businesses. Core activities are things which set you apart from your competition and context is everything else. For many businesses, this may include administrative activities, marketing activities, and the like.

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As we discussed his model, we realized that this works in our personal lives as well. You want to do more of the things you’re really good at and less of everything else. Usually, we really like to do what we’re good at so by focusing on just those tasks, we can advance in our careers.

Like for us, our strength is working on content for Bigg Success. At least we’d like to think so … or more importantly, we hope you think so!

For us, the contextual activities would be everything else. So for a couple of examples, we outsource our house cleaning and the yard work. Instead of spending time on these things, we can work on our business.

You’re getting a glimpse into how integrated our personal and professional lives are. Since we often work from home, all of these decisions are floating around together. We don’t think we’re alone on this – a lot of people are finding it pays to integrate their work life and their professional life.

By outsourcing your contextual activities, you save time and you open up the opportunity to make more money. It comes back to the time vs. money conundrum …

If you don’t have money, you have to invest more time.

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georgeFor example, if you start a business that is well-capitalized, you will be able to spend your time differently than if you start on a shoestring. With limited capital, you may have to take care of the janitorial work – a lot of business owners have done that. I’ve done that!

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At first, you may have to do it yourself because there’s no money. But you want to contract it out as soon as you can because it’s definitely a contextual activity, unless you happen to be the owner of a janitorial service.

Thinking about core vs. context helps you focus on where you want to spend your time and where you want to spend your money. You think twice about spending money because there’s something else that will let you spend more time on your core.

You may find that you spend your money on things that save you time, rather than cost you time.
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marylynnI want a bigg screen TV, but we would rather spend that money on a web person. Right now, I handle our web site. So when there are changes that need to be made, I get to work. But there are better uses of my time.

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Because we know that’s not in our core. Bigg Success is still in its early stages, so as soon as we can we’ll outsource this activity. Another example is publicity – right now, we do it ourselves. We want to contract with someone who is better at it than we are and can accomplish more than we can on our own.

So although we don’t have HDTV, we do have goals for that money!

It boils down to thinking about how much your time is worth. You may find that by contracting out certain activities, it costs you less than what you can make by spending your time working in your core.

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Related posts

Your Personal SWOT Analysis (Part I)

Your Personal SWOT Analysis (Part II)

(Image by penywise)

Is the Way You're Spending Your Time Costing You Money?

moneyGeoffrey Moore, in his book Living on the Fault Line, discussed the “Core versus Context Model” for businesses. Core activities are things which set you apart from your competition and context is everything else. For many businesses, this may include administrative activities, marketing activities, and the like.

Play

As we discussed his model, we realized that this works in our personal lives as well. You want to do more of the things you’re really good at and less of everything else. Usually, we really like to do what we’re good at so by focusing on just those tasks, we can advance in our careers.

Like for us, our strength is working on content for Bigg Success. At least we’d like to think so … or more importantly, we hope you think so!

For us, the contextual activities would be everything else. So for a couple of examples, we outsource our house cleaning and the yard work. Instead of spending time on these things, we can work on our business.

You’re getting a glimpse into how integrated our personal and professional lives are. Since we often work from home, all of these decisions are floating around together. We don’t think we’re alone on this – a lot of people are finding it pays to integrate their work life and their professional life.

By outsourcing your contextual activities, you save time and you open up the opportunity to make more money. It comes back to the time vs. money conundrum …

If you don’t have money, you have to invest more time.

.
georgeFor example, if you start a business that is well-capitalized, you will be able to spend your time differently than if you start on a shoestring. With limited capital, you may have to take care of the janitorial work – a lot of business owners have done that. I’ve done that!

.
At first, you may have to do it yourself because there’s no money. But you want to contract it out as soon as you can because it’s definitely a contextual activity, unless you happen to be the owner of a janitorial service.

Thinking about core vs. context helps you focus on where you want to spend your time and where you want to spend your money. You think twice about spending money because there’s something else that will let you spend more time on your core.

You may find that you spend your money on things that save you time, rather than cost you time.
.

marylynnI want a bigg screen TV, but we would rather spend that money on a web person. Right now, I handle our web site. So when there are changes that need to be made, I get to work. But there are better uses of my time.

.
Because we know that’s not in our core. Bigg Success is still in its early stages, so as soon as we can we’ll outsource this activity. Another example is publicity – right now, we do it ourselves. We want to contract with someone who is better at it than we are and can accomplish more than we can on our own.

So although we don’t have HDTV, we do have goals for that money!

It boils down to thinking about how much your time is worth. You may find that by contracting out certain activities, it costs you less than what you can make by spending your time working in your core.

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes.

Subscribe to the Bigg Success

Related posts

Your Personal SWOT Analysis (Part I)

Your Personal SWOT Analysis (Part II)

(Image by penywise)

Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Work

An increasing number of people have given up on the balancing act. They have found that it’s impossible to draw a line in the sand and divide their lives into two parts.

We only have one life to live, so why complicate it by trying to reach our goals in two separate worlds as if one doesn’t have anything to do with the other one?

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You might find that it pays to NOT try to balance your life!

Thus the emerging trend of work life integration. This concept is still in its early stages, but more and more people are finding that it works better for them than trying to keep things in balance.

Work life integration is all about flowing seamlessly from one area to the other. Your spouse may say something that helps you at work. Your co-workers may give you insight for things at home.

Pay attention to all the important people and priorities in your life all the time, rather than thinking that you need to segment them.

A paradigm shift

That’s the essence of work life integration. It requires a paradigm shift … thinking about your life a different way. Instead of putting pressure on yourself to be great in two separate areas of your life, focus on doing your best in your single life. Remove the limitations that you’ve placed on yourself.

Limitation #1 – Place
Work only occurs at the office; personal only occurs at home. We shouldn’t mix the two. It’s how we’ve been trained to think. The problem is … it doesn’t work!

Limitation #2 – Time
Many people think they of work as the activities they do during certain times of the day (e.g. 9 to 5). Then they live their personal lives. It may make sense for you to adjust your schedule, depending upon the flexibility your employer allows.

A recent study by Hudson, a leading international recruiting firm, showed that nearly one-third of the people surveyed ranked flexibility as their #1 priority in considering a new job offer.

Limitation #3 – Daily reconciliation

We think that we need to achieve balance every day. In reality, sometimes work demands more of us; at other times, our personal life needs the most attention. Give yourself permission to focus on what’s most important. Don’t worry about whether everything is balanced every day.

If you think about it, work – life balance is sort of an unnatural expectation. Work – life integration is more congruent with how most of us actually live. It’s just more natural.
How we use work – life integration

Here at Bigg Success, we understand this concept very well because we live it. We work together, often at home. We play together. We often get to travel together, combining some pleasure with the primary purpose of the trip. We also find that a lot of personal conversations lead to ideas like the one you’re reading now.

Of course, not all spouses can (or should) work together. Do what works for you. The good news is that, according to the Chartered Management Institute, there will be a blurring of boundaries between work and family because more and more of us will be working virtually.

Our bigg quote today comes from Karl Weick.

“Simply pushing harder within the old boundaries will not do.”

So pull yourself together … integrate your lives.

Next time, we’ll discuss four things to pay attention to that pay off. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Related posts 

25 Tips to Take Control of Your Life

Outsource Your Household Chores to Balance Your Life

Work – Life Balance Lessons From Stretch Armstrong

Leaping From Place To Place: See The World While You Work 

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Do You Know Too Much?

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When George told his dad that he was going to get his Master’s degree, his dad said, “Be careful, son … you don’t want to get so educated that no one can use you!”

Is your knowledge a blessing or a curse?

The curse of knowledge
It seems that as our knowledge and experience increase, our creativity and innovation decrease. When you become an expert in a field, you risk losing the innovation that probably got you there. That’s the curse of knowledge!

That leads to some strange things … for example, why do you have to go to “start” to shut off your computer? Techies understand that. However, to the average person, it doesn’t make sense at all.

Group think often results when experts collaborate. As long as you only involve people just like yourself, you end up with things like going to “start” to finish.

The sign of the curse
Have you tried reading a book written by an expert in a field new to you? Or gone to a web site that’s outside your area of expertise? What did you see? Perhaps it was like reading a foreign language. It was jargon – the sign of the curse.

Maybe you’ve sat in a room of people, all speaking jargon. At some point, you asked a question! Gasp! Do you remember the looks? You don’t know it all! Gasp (again)!

If you find that your speech is full of jargon, you may know too much!

New discoveries
Something interesting happens as novices ask questions. The experts are forced to explain their subject simply – from the perspective of a newbie. In the process, the experts often discover new ways to look at the same old problems.

So why do so many people only hang out with people just like them? Because it’s comfortable. It’s good for your ego to feel like you’re part of such a prestigious group. Your input is valued when you’re in your area of expertise talking with other experts.

A good problem within limits
We’re certainly not suggesting that you don’t want to be an expert in your chosen field. In fact, the opposite is true – seek first to be an expert!

Then you can have the problem we’re talking about here – it’s a good one to have! But recognize that your creativity and innovativeness are often limited when you’re an expert.

So how can you remain creative when you’re an expert?

  • Make some new friends, outside of your field.
  • Or reconnect with some old friends, outside of your inner circle of experts like you. People you don’t converse with much anymore because you’re too busy! Mingle with people who have a variety of experiences. You’ll learn things from them that that will help you be more innovative again.

  • Get a hobby, especially a creative one.
  • We wrote an article recently, Does Your Hobby Work For You It highlights a study of Nobel laureates. That’s a pretty innovative group, wouldn’t you say? The researchers found that about one percent of all scientists claimed some leisure pursuit. They were surprised to learn that over fifty percent of the Nobel Prize winners had a serious hobby! So get out of your “lab” and get your creative juices flowing again.

Sometimes, it pays to listen to novices
Cynthia Barton Rabe wrote a book called The Innovation Killer: How What We Know Limits What We Can Imagine… And What Smart Companies Are Doing About It. She tells the story about an executive who was with Ralston Purina when they bought out Eveready. Eveready had successfully marketed flashlights for years, but now the business was very mature. 

This was the mid-1980s. Eveready sold their flashlights through hardware stores and lumber yards. They offered two colors – red and metal. The transferred executive suggested new colors – pink, light blue, and light green. These colors would appeal to women, she argued. Gasp! The experts only looked at her with dismay.

She suggested that the flashlights be distributed through grocery stores! Gasp! Fortunately, she sold the decision-makers on her idea. The result – bigg sales! You’re the expert.

Keep in mind that sometimes that’s a curse. Be open to new ideas, even from novices!

Participate in today’s discussion. Comment below!

Our bigg quote today comes from William Shakespeare.

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”

If you know at all, you’ll know that you don’t know it all.

Next time, we’ll discuss climbing the stairway to … success. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Live Your Dream With Purpose – Part 2

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Yesterday, we discussed why defining your core values helps you live your dream life. You won’t have peace of mind if your life isn’t consistent with your values. Knowing your values invigorates you. You see the bigg picture – your current situation may not be all you dream of, but you can see how it’s getting you where you want to be.

We’re working toward a written statement of values. Having your values in writing makes them more tangible. It keeps them in front of you. You’re forced to analyze them more thoroughly than if you just keep them in your head.

Let’s look at two techniques you can use to discover your core values – yours, not someone else’s. Whichever technique you use, you’ll want to find a place that’s conducive to creative thinking.

  • The List
  • Select the ten things you think are most important from our list of values. It’s not easy, but that’s the point – discovering what you value the most. Keep in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to add your own values.

    Once you’ve done that, up the ante. Choose the five values that are most important to you. Then four … three … two … one. You’ve just created an ordered ranking of your five most important values!

  • The Blank Sheet
  • Start with a blank sheet of paper (or a blank word processing document, if you prefer to type). Write “What’s most important to me?” at the top. Now brainstorm.

    Write freely – don’t analyze. Anything and everything that comes to mind. Now get away from it. Come back to it again. Don’t worry if a couple of days pass.

    When you return, look at your list. Do you want to add anything? Cross something off? Have at it – it’s your list.

    Next, look at each word. Ask yourself what it means to you. For example, maybe your wrote down money. Money can mean income, wealth, freedom, security …. what does it mean to you? You’ll often find that what you value is underlying the word you wrote. Dig deep.

    Now, start eliminating values so you end up with an ordered ranking.

You may find that combining the two techniques works best. Start with the first. Look over the list. Then get away from it. Return to a blank sheet and start brainstorming.

Visualizing your dream life, free of constraints, helped you uncover your passions. Now we’re bringing beliefs to those passions, which defines your values. That’s the life you want. In a couple of weeks, we’ll bring in the constraints; we’ll assess where you are. Then we’ll develop strategies to link the two together.

Our quote today is by the French writer and philosopher Michael de Montaigne.

“The value of life is not in the length of days, but in the use
we make of them; a man may live long but yet very little.”

So seize today. Value your life and live your values.

Next time, we’ll talk about success snake oil – know when you’re getting scammed. We’ll recount some recent experiences. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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How to Reach an Agreement with Your Spouse on the Family Finances

By Bigg Success Staff
06-25-08

Bigg Success with Money

couple

Opposites attract. Unfortunately that can create some problems when it comes to the family’s finances.

Money is one of the biggest sources of disagreement between spouses. It’s often the case that one spouse is a “saver”, while the other is a “spender”.

If you’re the saver …

You may feel like you’re beating your head against the wall. Your spouse doesn’t seem to understand that you’re trying to save for the future. So, just when you think you’re getting a little ahead, your spouse goes out and spends the money. Now you’re back to little, or no, money in the bank!

If you’re the spender …
You may want to “live a little”. Your spouse doesn’t seem to understand that you can’t put off all the fun. You can’t worry about every single dollar you spend. Life’s too short to not live it. Your spouse just wants to save money for when you’ll be too old to enjoy it. You want to live now!

So how do you come to an agreement on the family’s finances?

By having a conversation with your spouse.

Values
Talk about your respective values. To one of you, being debt free may be important. Perhaps you don’t like to use credit cards at all. Or perhaps it’s important to one spouse to buy certain things. It may be as simple as eating lunch out every day.

Understand what’s important to each of you individually before you try to proceed collectively. Something may be very important to your spouse and not important at all to you. That’s okay. You don’t have to agree with each other. You just need to understand to each other.

Goals
Now that you understand each other, you can proceed to your mutual goals. Certain items should be somewhat sacrosanct. An example would be funding your retirement. If you would like to have the option of not working at some point, you have to set money aside while you are working.

As you establish your goals, keep each other’s values in mind. Instead of trying to find ways to pay for what’s important to you, look for ways to get what’s important to your spouse. Ask him or her to do the same thing for you. This role reversal will make the conversation more productive because you’re not fighting for what you want; you’re fighting for what your spouse wants.

Strategies
With your goals established, you know what you need to do. Now you just have to do it. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

It’s not!

This is the hard part because it’s involves the daily decisions that make or break the budget.

There are a number of strategies you may employ. You may each take an allowance for all of your incidental expenses. You may set a limit and agree to call each other before spending that amount. You may maintain a joint account or separate accounts. You may even do both.

Find what works for you and your spouse through trial and error. Then go for your goals. As you see your accounts grow and grow, following your plan will get easier and easier!

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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Related posts

Help – My Spouse Spends Too Much!

63 Moves to Stop Living from Paycheck to Paycheck

Getting Aggressively Passive: Creating A Passive Income That Sets You Free

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Believe and the Sky is Your Limit

By Bigg Success Staff
05-28-08

Timeless Principles

Do you believe you will succeed?

Really, truly believe it?

Beyond a shadow of a doubt believe it?

You must believe that you can succeed in order to succeed.

You have to believe that you can accomplish something in order to accomplish it.

You must believe that you can reach your goals in order to reach your goals.

You have to believe in yourself.

You must believe that you are in full control of your own destiny.

You have to believe that you, and you alone, determine your ultimate destination.

You must believe that you will persevere in order to persevere.

You have to believe that you will overcome so that you overcome.

You must believe that you can reach the sky in order for the sky to be your limit.

Believe!

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Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show.

More Timeless Principles 

Get Your Poles in Position to Achieve Your Dream

Live and Learn and Live

“Leadership is Action, Not Position”

Happiness is Freedom to Spend Your Time How You Want

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The Magical Word That Helps Balance Your Life

By Bigg Success Staff
01-03-08

Work-Life Balance

little magicians

If you want something done, recruit a busy person to do it. That’s advice with which we’re all familiar. Busy people are able to juggle a number of things at once. They are well-organized personally so they do what they say they’ll do. They are thorough so you don’t have to worry about something being overlooked.

The problem is this: because they become known as the go-to guy or gal, everyone goes to them. At first, it’s flattering, but at some point, they become overwhelmed.

As a bigg goal-getter, you’re probably all too familiar with that scenario. You’re one of those busy people to whom everyone goes. You’re so busy doing that you have no time for being. You don’t have time for “you”.

Like a magician in a straight-jacket, you’re so tied up you can barely move. So we want to share a secret with you – the one word that insures that you spend your time how you want. That magical word is ….

… “no”.

Learn to say “no” and you’ll get more out of your life. That sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Here’s why it works:

Think bigg passion.
First, think about what you want out of your life. Knowing this makes your choices much easier. If the opportunity before you doesn’t help you get closer to your dream, then just say “no.”

Think bigg purpose.
Next, think about what’s most important to you. How does this request stack up? What else could you do at that time? Have you recently done something similar to this? If so, maybe you should spend this time on something else. Answer these questions and you may just say “no.”

Think bigg growth.
As a go-getter, you want new challenges. You understand that pushing yourself to your limits helps you grow personally. Look for opportunities that provide that to you. Say “no” when the opportunity before you doesn’t provide that. Put another way, if you’ll be doing something you’ve done before, just say “no!”

Think bigg impact.
You’re in demand professionally and personally. Everyone needs you – family, friends, co-workers, fellow volunteers, and more. Don’t you feel special? Probably not! It’s more likely that you’re frustrated because you can’t clone yourself! Think about the difference you’ll make is you say “yes.” If doing something else will make a bigger impact, just say “no.”

So the next time you’re faced with an opportunity, pull these four points out of your magician’s hat! Sometimes saying “no” is the best thing you can do – for you and all those you touch. You’ll do better when you do say “yes” and you’ll feel more fulfilled as you live your bigg passion with purpose!

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Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

Related Links:
Visualize The Life You Want, Part 2
Live Your Dream With Purose

(Image of litle magicians by Mikto&Teukka, CC 2.0)

The Home Stretch

By Bigg Success Staff
December, 06 2007 

Work-Life Balance

We recently discussed how pushing yourself to your limits leads to your peace of mind. “Brazen Careerist” blogger, Penelope Trunk, wrote a related post recently called “Don’t get too comfortable at home after work.”

She cites the book, Satisfaction: The Science of Finding True Fulfillment written by Gregory Berns. Berns is a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Emory University and Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. Now that’s a title!

In his book, Berns discusses the mood-lifting chemical reaction that occurs in your brain when you stretch yourself. Trunk asserts that you won’t be happy if you only push yourself at work. You also need personal growth at home. Otherwise, you’ll feel a void. Her post is ripe with ideas. We think you’ll enjoy reading it. Here are some thoughts on how to begin.

Shake up your after-work routine
Start with little changes. Make it a habit. You’ll soon feel excited about your new routine. Then you’re ready for bigger and better things.

  • Instead of sitting, stand. When you would usually stand, walk.
  • If tonight is pizza night, order a Hawaiian pizza instead of pepperoni.
  • Instead of staying at home, go out. Instead of going out, stay in.
  • Watch an educational show instead of that show you normally would view.
  • Eat dinner at the table, instead of in front of the television.
  • Instead of surfing the internet, browse materials at your local library. You remember the library, don’t you?

Without balance, you can’t be whole. It’s analogous to taking elective courses. They round you out. You become a more interesting person because you expand your point-of-view.

Without growth, in all areas of your life, you won’t feel fulfilled. Begin with baby steps. Make stretching yourself, at work and at home, a habit. Start today!

Related link:
The Work Life Teeter -Totter (article)
Stretch Yourself Anew (blog, show)