6 Tips for Well-Being
6 Tips for Well-Being

Being a mom can sometimes feel lonely. How can that be when surrounded by hustle, bustle, kids, and activity.

I venture to guess that in the absence of other mental illnesses, what we are lonely for is a connection with ourselves. When we’re raising children, we often lose touch with the best version of who we really are.

I’m here to say it’s not selfish to connect with you. Here’s my recipe for well-being that I try my best to practice.

1. Rest and sleep. There’s no heroism in sleep-deprivation. I literally used to love nap time when my kids were really little because I could take a power nap too. That’s not as necessary now, because my nighttime sleep isn’t interrupted, but I can’t overestimate the power of rest and sleep for your self-care.

2. Eat well. Choose foods that fuel your mom-self and give you energy. For me this means I limit sugar, alcohol, and simple carbohydrates from chips, crackers, cakes, cookies, and ice cream. I drink a lot of fresh water, eat a lot of colorful vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. My energy levels are great and I feel good most of the time. I attribute that physical feeling of well-being to what I eat and to my sleep.

3. Choose thoughts that serve you. Your environment will prove true whatever you think, so deliberately focus on what you want to show up in your life. If you think you’re kids are cranky, or that you’re crazy busy guess what? Your kids act cranky and you feel crazy busy. (Below is my favorite YouTube video on this brainpower center called the Reticular Activating System.)

4. In quiet sit, every morning, for at least 10 to 15 minutes. No phone. No TV. Just you and quiet. Try to avoid the mental to-do list. Just sit and listen and be.

5. Play with people who are fun and have fun with your kids. They aren’t always going to want you around, so if you have a craving to play, now’s the time. Picnics, nature walks, banging on pots and pans. Embrace this chance to do what other adults don’t always take the time to do – play and have fun. I used to tell myself having kids felt was like I was on vacation. And we had a lot of fun for sure.

6. Enjoy inputs that uplift – music, books, TV, movies. Uplifting generates good thoughts which drive positive emotions and actions. This is why the Hallmark Channel is so popular.

When we show up for ourselves and be the best we can be, we’re easier to be around. We don’t mind solitude, and we don’t look for people and activities outside of us to make us feel better. And, if you do feel lonely, and if you feel darkness overcomes you more often than not, please reach out to someone. You’re not alone.


Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green, RDN, LD coaches first-time cookbook

Going LIVE!
Going LIVE!

If there is one change I made to my business (and personal life) during the past year that made a huge difference for me and my clients (and family) it would be “going live”.

When you’re LIVE people can see you on camera. There is more connection, engagement, communication.

So, in the past 12 months, I’ve had

  • LIVE Mastermind Groups
  • LIVE 1:1 Coaching Calls
  • LIVE WeChat calls with my son in Austria
  • LIVE group video calls with my siblings
  • LIVE Cookbook Writing Q & A calls for members of my email list

LIVE is risky. Not only can people hear us, but they can see us. We put ourselves and our faces out there.

LIVE is so good. Plus it’s fun and connects me with clients and family like never before.

As a result of LIVE broadcasts, masterminds, and coaching I tripled my coaching and mastermind client load over the past 12 months.

And, LIVE gets easier and easier the more I do.

Next, I plan to offer LIVE webinars, Q & A Calls, and Facebook or YouTube LIVE to promote my work to a larger audience.

How much LIVE work are you doing in your business?

If you said not much, I challenge you to take the time to LIVE.


Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green, RDN, LD coaches first-time cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. 

Would you like to write a cookbook, but feel alone in the pre-publication phase of writing?

Are you stuck thinking about your cookbook idea or has you project fizzled?

Do you feel overwhelmed with publishing options and the recipes, photography, and publishing process?

I’ve been there. I know first-hand that there’s not a lot of support for first-time cookbook authors who don’t have an agent or a publisher yet.  That’s why I started my work as a cookbook writing coach.

Here are a few resources for you as you venture into the world of cookbook writing: 

Checklist
An 11-point checklist that helps you answer the question, “Am I Ready to Write a Cookbook?”

Cookbook Writing Workbook

What Is A Cookbook Coach? 

10 Reasons to Hire A Cookbook Coach

5 Tips for Energy Management
5 Tips for Energy Management

The older I get the more I realize how important my energy level is.

I’m not talking about 5-Hour Energy drinks or extreme coffee consumption, I’m talking about natural feel-good energy.

Because when I have energy, I’m more positive, appreciative, and focused. A better version of me. My business benefits. My family benefits. My clients benefit. And most importantly, when I feel good I offer value all around.

Here are a few of my “secrets”  to energy management:

1. Adequate sleep. With teens out driving around, I set a curfew for them, and adjust my sleep. No excuses or stories. This was key even when they were little and waking me up at night.

2. Intentional hydration with water

3. Limited sugar, white flour, alcohol, and caffeine. (And Peeps, chocolate bunnies, and Opera Cream eggs.🐣)

4. Lot’s of fresh veggies, whole-grains, and high-quality protein from fish, legumes, lean beef, chicken, and tofu.

5. Some sort of body movement every day: walk the dog, head to the gym, take the steps, dance in the kitchen (the kids love this), vacuum the house.

Some think this doesn’t sound like “fun”. But I’ll tell you what’s fun.

Feeling energetic and patient.

Feeling physically good in my body – no aches or pains.

Having the energy to wake up earlier than the rest of the house to think and focus.

Getting in the zone while my kids are in school and then focus on the family after 3:00 pm.

That’s my prescription for energy.

And here’s the best part – it works for kids too! And you should see what happens then.


Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green, RDN, LD coaches first-time cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. 

Would you like to write a cookbook, but feel alone in the pre-publication phase of writing?

Are you stuck thinking about your cookbook idea or has you project fizzled?

Do you feel overwhelmed with publishing options and the recipes, photography, and publishing process?

I’ve been there. I know first-hand that there’s not a lot of support for first-time cookbook authors who don’t have an agent or a publisher yet.  That’s why I started my work as a cookbook writing coach.

Here are a few resources for you as you venture into the world of cookbook writing: 

Checklist
An 11-point checklist that helps you answer the question, “Am I Ready to Write a Cookbook?”

Cookbook Writing Workbook

What Is A Cookbook Coach? 

10 Reasons to Hire A Cookbook Coach

Why Join a Mastermind Group?
Why Join a Mastermind Group?

In a recent blog post, I introduced the concept of a Mastermind Group and how a Mastermind Group can be beneficial for support, growth, accountability, and positive mental energy when it comes to your business, career, or personal life.

I like the idea of joining a Mastermind Group and can see at least five advantages belonging to one:

1. There is typically an application process to join a Mastermind Group. This screening process ensures that members are committed to the Mastermind Group and that group members are not in competition with each other.

2. Decision making is enhanced because a Mastermind Group serves as a personal board of directors and advisors to group members. These members come together to help each other decide what to do and create a plan to work on their goals.

3. There is a spirit of collaboration to achieve more together, as well as a spirit of assistance because members brainstorm ideas to implement goals.

4. Networks grow to include the members of the Mastermind Group as well as to include the network of each individual member collectively.

5. Members gain a broader perspective to solutions to their problems through the shared-solutions that a Mastermind Group offers. This “Master Mind” is the best part of a group. It’s a wisdom and brain-power that allows members to think big as they access the collective wisdom of all the group members.

If you would like to apply to join the Hungry For A Cookbook Mastermind Group, you can read more about the Mastermind Group here.

Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. 

Time To Get Off The Struggle Bus
Time To Get Off The Struggle Bus

Recently I overheard a conversation about the “struggle bus”. There were people on this struggle bus. The story involved drama and situations described as hard and unfair.

Since that conversation, I’ve heard a lot of people using the word struggle to describe their clients, jobs, writing, relationships, toddlers, and teens.

Struggle is a verb. A struggle is defined as to “make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction.”

Battle. Conflict. Clash. All the same as a struggle.

Struggle is a thought we choose to think about a circumstance.

When we take a circumstance, such as a toddler who won’t nap, a recipe that won’t come together, or a blog post that won’t flow and attach struggle to it, we feel bad. As a result, we have a negative reaction to our feeling and we may yell, feel ashamed, or sit at our computer and resist the blog post we need to write. The results we get are a crying, non-sleeping toddler, feeling bad about ourselves, or a blog post that’s not written.

When we take the same circumstance (or someone else maybe has the same circumstance) and attach ease or flow to it instead of struggle, we feel a better emotion and we can have a positive reaction to it. We realize nothing has gone wrong and that this circumstance is temporary. We lay on the couch with our wide-awake toddler and watch Caillou reruns, make notes on the recipe and plan to try it again, or we get up from our computer and focus on something else for a while until the ideas for the blog post flows a little bit better. As a result, our outcomes are more positive.

A struggle isn’t real. It’s our mind playing tricks on us telling us something about situations we all face. So we get to choose. Would we rather have battles, conflicts, and clashes, or flow, ease, and peace?

It’s a new year. And a new day. It’s time for the struggle bus to leave the station.

Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. Download her checklist “Am I Ready to Write A Cookbook?”. 

First Snow Day of 2018!
First Snow Day of 2018!

Welcome to 2018 and my first blog post of the new year. And guess what, today we have a Snow Day!

I’ve always loved snow days. And, I love them for the same reason I love being a mom who runs her business from home. Snow Days are fun. Snow Days are different. And, when they’re unexpected they’re even better. Who doesn’t love a little bit of unexpected fun now and then?

You see, I thought my Monday would be different. I thought it would be my first full Monday after Christmas break that I’d have available to “work.” I was planning to get “so much done.” Today was going to be “all about me and my to-do list.” Because, on Mondays, I focus on Marketing. I was going to write my weekly emails, write a blog post, meet virtually with my VA, and set up email sequences for my upcoming webinar. This was going to be my day.

Then, Wham-O. An ice storm, followed by snow. School was first delayed 90 minutes, then they canceled. So, I did what every mom of school-aged kids does when there’s a snow day, and everyone is still asleep. I made another cup of coffee, watched Oprah’s video from the Golden Globes, listened to a podcast, put a load of laundry in the dryer, washed my face, put on my favorite jeans, cozy sweater and boots, lit a candle in my office, and basked in not having to leave the house just yet. I am also secretly hoping that when my son wakes up, we can make chocolate-chip pancakes and enjoy some breakfast together.

Yes, we have a snow day on our hands, and yes, my idea of how my day was planned suddenly changed. But you know what? My thoughts about the circumstance that I couldn’t change changed too. As you see, changing my thoughts in response to a circumstance I can’t change is my secret to a life as a mom who runs her business, and writes her cookbooks, from home. A life filled with snow days, sick kids, day-care closed, and anything else life throws at a mom who runs her business from home. In short, it’s called “going with the flow”.

Rather than resisting and raising my blood pressure, raging on social media, or texting my sister or friend to complain, I did one simple thing. I changed my thoughts. Rather than think thoughts that my list of to-dos wouldn’t get done in the way I envisioned, I shifted to, well if we’re all at home I might as well make the best of it. Suddenly I felt cozy, appreciative and ready for some fun with a boy who could eat three-times as many pancakes as I could.

My change in thought and my feelings then changed my actions. And as a result, my day is already going great. And this will spill over to my son because whether you want to believe this or not, a mom set …

40 Blog Post Ideas for Building Your Platform
40 Blog Post Ideas for Building Your Platform

DesignAspiring cookbook authors have a dual-focus for tasks they need to complete, especially if they desire a traditional publishing contract. First, they need to build their platform and second, they need to write a proposal. One doesn’t necessairly come before the other, but both are important to focus on as you prepare to approach an agent or editor. If you are building your platform with a website as the hub and if you plan to blog, you may feel concerned that you have to always blog about recipes. That’s not true. What you need to do is create regular content that your audience is interested in. By regular I mean at least once a week. This is important. And for as long as your blog continues, commit to regular content. Topics for your blog post and content can vary. Your audience is interested in answers to their questions, your help solving a problem they have, and connecting with you. Here are some ideas for blog posts that aren’t directly related to recipes, but that you can easily write to create and update content and inspire and educate your audience.  You might even consider batch creating of blog posts. For the next 30 days, schedule time to write 12 blog posts. Then you get to take the next two months “off” of writing blog posts and focus on other projects.  It’s nice to get ahead and not have any writing emergencies. Here are numerous idea for blog posts topics.

1. Review a book from a competitor

2. Write a list of things that made you happy this month

3. Describe a day in the life of you

4. Review your favorite cooking or baking products

6. Provide advice on a topic related to your area of expertise

7. List what’s in your junk drawer

8. Explain things that inspire you

9. Give away your seasonal bucket list or bucket list for the next year

10. Describe what’s on your desk

11. Share one of your secrets related to cooking, baking, or your area of expertise

12. Describe your favorite ways to unwind after a productive day

13. List facts about you that you’re willing to share

14. Provide tips on how to stay organized

15. List your favorite posts from other blogs

16. Give your opinion on a topic of interest to your audience

17. List quotes you live by

18. Describe how you spend your time alone

19. Give advice for your audience

20. State the top 10 reasons you blog

21. Write a series: 7 days of the life of someone who wants to write a cookbook

22. Write an open letter

23. List 30 things to do before you’re 30, 40 things to do before you’re 40, 50 before 50, 60 before 60, etc.

24. Describe your perfect day

25. Expand on your most important life lesson

26. Write an A to Z post

27. Tell about things you don’t regret

28. Describe what apps you use every …

Mastermind Groups
Mastermind Groups

When I graduated from chef school, one of the first books I read was Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I can remember the night I visited the local bookstore, most probably to look at the cookbook section, but found myself in the Business and Money section of the bookstore reading this book. I still have the book (with the date of purchase recorded on the inside first page) and I read parts of the book regularly.

Written in 1960, this book is considered an influential book for the achievement of personal goals, financial independence, and a spirit-filled life. In the book, such concepts as self-direction, organized planning, auto-suggestion, imagination, faith, persistence, and mastermind association are reviewed in detail and have helped countless individuals realize the power they have to create their future.

In his discussion of “the power of the Master Mind,” Hill says, “economic advantage may be created by any person who surrounds himself with the advice, counsel, and personal cooperation of a group of people who are willing to lend wholehearted aid, in a spirit of perfect harmony.” Hill believed in the power of association with others. “When a group of individual brains is coordinated, and function in harmony, the increased energy created through that alliance becomes available to every individual brain in that group.”

So what’s the take-home message for those of us who have projects, careers, businesses, and families? The message is that if we band together in a spirit of harmony, with a common purpose, we too can use our experiences, intelligence, and knowledge to benefit one another. It’s in this spirit of cooperation that I have become more interested in mastermind groups.

Mastermind Groups are a win-win for everyone involved. If you feel stuck, alone in your work, or unable to move forward with a project, then joining a Mastermind Group may be perfect for you.

What is a mastermind group?

A Mastermind Group is a group of individuals who meet on a regular basis to challenge each other to set goals, brainstorm ideas and support each other in a spirit of compassion, respect, and honesty. Mastermind Groups help participants grow because the other participants are supportive, but can also help to clarify goals through being a devil’s advocate to one another.

Each Mastermind Group meeting has an agenda, but participation by each group member is key, for the group cannot function without participants who are committed to attend the meetings, set goals, and help others set their goals as they grow alongside each other. Brainstorming and a spirit of community and cooperation are key to the success of a Mastermind Group.

Anyone can join a Mastermind Group. Typically there are 5 to 8 people in a Mastermind Group. The members have a shared interest, similar skill or success level, and have a desire to make the next months of their life extraordinary. The want to be in a supportive group that helps them reach or exceed their goals. They are ready …

Focus List and Ignore List
Focus List and Ignore List

In 2009, Peter Bregman wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review called Two Lists You Should Look at Every Morning. Even though he wrote the article 7 years ago, the content rings true.

In Bregman’s article, he encourages readers to create two lists: Your Focus List and Your Ignore List. Through a series of questions, Bregman helps you define “your road ahead”: what makes you happy, what you’re trying to achieve, and what’s important to you, as well as to define “your distractions”: what you’re not willing to do, what’s not important, and what gets in the way of focusing on where you want to go. Bregman suggests that you write down your two lists and then take time to read them before you start your day.

I’m a big believer in early morning routines that allow time to read, write, and reflect. For me this usually happens before anyone else in my house steps out of bed. It’s a sacrifice to get up early, but I know that my morning routine has been an integral part of my focus and determination as a nutrition writer, cookbook author, cookbook editor, and parent. The coffee pot that brews coffee at a time I specify doesn’t hurt either.

This week I encourage you to write down your Focus and Ignore lists. See if your actions lead you down the right path and shape your day with intentional action. See if the lists help you avoid distractions that take you away from the work you need to do. And, before you know it, your intentional actions will help your goals and dreams come to life.

Read the original article here.

And more about Peter Bregman here.

Author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. If you want to write a cookbook, and wonder if you’re ready, download her 11-point checklist Am I Ready to Write a Cookbook? 

Time Management Tips
Time Management Tips

In working with my cookbook coaching clients, mastermind groups, and on my own projects, I realize the importance of planning my time to get the most out of my week. I’ve always had a pretty consistent pattern for activities do on a weekly basis, but use care when planning tasks for work, book writing, free time, and family activities. Planning ahead of time keeps projects moving along in my business and sets up the time to enjoy activities with family and friends.

I once heard the analogy that a calendar with a well-planned week is like a river. It has strong banks, a certain direction, and flows quickly with energy and focus. A week that isn’t well planned is like a lake – big, open, and lazy – beautiful to look at, but lacking direction and focus. Lakes are nice for weeks of vacation but in order to schedule time for everything I enjoy I prefer to use my calendar like a river. Each week the flow takes me where I want to go, and not where is wants to take me.

1. Make decisions and move forward

The best thing we can all do to become more in charge of our time is to decide ahead of time. Plan for tomorrow and the next day, today. Decide ahead of time when you are going to work, eat, answer email, shower, exercise, read. Decide what projects you are going to focus on. Decide what you are going to say no to. Decide, decide, decide. So much of our time is wasted in indecision. Your ability to be successful is directly related to making decisions (and sticking with the decisions you make.) Read more in the book Decide: The Ultimate Success Trigger by Jim Palmer.

2. Schedule actions that produce results

When you plan actions to take and put on your calendar, focus on items that produce results. For example, when working on my cookbooks, I focus on specific tasks to schedule. Instead of saying, research salad dressing recipes, or think about salad dressing, I write specific action-oriented tasks such as write a recipe ingredient outline and list for 5 salad dressing recipes. This is specific, action-oriented, and get things accomplished

3. Plan your calendar with discipline and precision

I plan my calendar for the next week on Fridays. At the end of the workweek, I put in my appointments, client calls, and daily tasks for marketing, bookkeeping, ingredient shopping, phone calls, and follow-up on the calendar to complete at a specific time. Then I schedule in any tasks related to my 90-day goals. When Monday morning rolls around, I’ve decided ahead of time how to use my time and I follow the plan. I can accomplish a lot this way and it’s very freeing, not restrictive.

4. Plan your perfect day

One reason calendars fail us is that we don’t schedule the time to do things we enjoy. Want to go out with your mate on a Thursday night each …

20 Ways to Enhance Your Focus and Fight Procrastination Part 2
20 Ways to Enhance Your Focus and Fight Procrastination Part 2

Procrastination and lack of focus is a common challenge for writers. Procrastination is sometimes based in fear, while lack of focus can be as simple as paying more attention to the bright shiny objects that bring immediate gratification to our day than we pay to our writing and the other things we need to accomplish. Like most of you, I manage my own schedule. When I’m in the middle of meeting a deadline, focus and productivity become all the more real for me. I know that if I don’t focus, my work won’t get done, and there’s a chance my deadline won’t be met.  In the last post, I covered Part 1 of my tips to focus and enhance productivity. Today, I wrap up with Part 2 that includes tips 11 through 20.

11. Work with a coach or an accountability partner. It’s hard for me to go it alone at times and be accountable to only myself. That’s why I have been known to reach out to someone and ask them to help me stay on task with my deadlines. You too can do the same. When I work with a coach, and exchange money for her expertise and guidance, my productivity soars. An accountability partner doesn’t have to cost money, though. A trusted friend with whom you share your deadline can accomplish the same end, IF they will hold you accountable to your word and to when you say you will complete a project.

12. Join a writing group. Belonging to a group of writers who meet on a regular basis can also help you stay accountable to your project schedule. It doesn’t have to be an in-person group, but it does need to be one that meets consistently. I recently joined a newly formed group. We are four food writers and we meet once a month on Google Hangouts with a video call.  It’s fun to connect, hear about each other’s projects, and give updates on our own progress with recent writing projects. In between calls, we exchange emails if we have questions or feel the need to check in. If you want to form a writing group, now’s the time. Seek out like-minded writers who lift you up and have like-minded goals. Avoid negative or pessimistic, you-can’t-do-that-type-of people. What you need are people who encourage you and support you as you complete your writing projects.

13. Restrict your social media. Go on a social media diet if this is a source of distraction for you. I know for myself, Twitter and other social media sites are beneficial, but it can also be a “rut activity” for me. (Read about “rut activities” in Part 1 of  this post). I also turn off notifications on my iPhone and inbox because these notifications distract me when I’m writing. They make me want to jump over to Twitter or my email. I lose my train of thought. Trust me, nothing will happen if you don’t respond right away.…

20 Ways to Enhance Your Focus and Fight Procrastination Part 1
20 Ways to Enhance Your Focus and Fight Procrastination Part 1

I worked on this blog post for longer than I expected to work on it, but I don’t think it’s because I’m procrastinating (meaning that I don’t think I have a fear of results or block against writing). Instead, my time has had other demands placed upon it last month for family travel, book promotions, writing another cookbook, and other client projects. These are worthy reasons not to be super-productive and I’m not telling you anything new unless you live in a vacuum and don’t have demands made on your time. But, I hate to say – that’s not the point here. The point is that even with all of these activities and demands on my time, they didn’t fill my entire calendar. What about when I sat with my iPhone and scrolled through Instagram? What about when I drifted off track and checked how many people were visiting my blog?  What about when I rewrote my to do list and then rewrote it again the next day. I’ll discuss this more in detail, but what I’ve learned is that many of these actions are called  “rut activities”. Scrolling on the iPhone is usually a signal that I could be doing something else a whole lot more productive and that better uses my time.

If you’re not able to focus, or feel less productive than you might like, I encourage you to study this list below (and the list on my next blog post that will go up next week). It’s my list of tips that help me focus and raise my productivity at times when I lack focus and times when I’m procrastinating (fear-based avoidance of a project). I hope some of these tips help you improve your focus and your productivity as well.

1. Acknowledge that you are procrastinating or wasting time. More often than not I know when I am procrastinating or wasting time – I feel unsettled. It’s as if a cloud follows me around. The cloud is the “presence” of my unfinished projects, blog posts, or cookbook research. I find myself busy much of the time, but when I’m busy with the wrong tasks, I know I could be avoiding what  I need to be doing.

2. Identify “rut activities” that you turn to when you procrastinate. For example, I tend to scroll through Facebook on my PC, or Twitter on my iPhone, or leave my office to run errands when I’m avoiding something. This is a trigger moment. This is when I know I’m either wasting time or avoiding the next step in a project.

3. Keep track of the time you spend on your ” rut activities”. Each time you turn to your rut activity, write down how much time you spend or put a hash mark on a piece of paper. Track your time for the day and for a week. It’s easy to burn up the clock with activities that seem worthwhile, but in the end these keep you from …

Manage Your Energy to Manage Your Time
Manage Your Energy to Manage Your Time

Productivity always remains top of mind for me. Due to weekly commitments, and a desire for flexibility to spend time with family, the time I devote to work each day is finite. In order to maximize productivity during this time I created a series of daily, weekly, and monthly routines to help stay on track with repetitive tasks related to self-care, business management, and home management. These routines free up my mind and focus because I know that repetitive tasks such as bookkeeping, laundry, grocery shopping, and cleaning all get done at their their scheduled time. For example, I complete business book keeping each Tuesday. I send invoices, pay bills, and look at my income and expense statement every Tuesday. This habit to do financial work at a scheduled time frees my mind of concerns about bills, payments, and invoices on the other days of the week when I’m working on other projects and tasks.

Another one of my routines is my morning routine. It lasts about 3 hours every weekday morning from 5-8 am.  During this time I read, get cleaned up for the day, eat breakfast with my teens, clean up the kitchen, make my bed, and listen to either a podcast or an Audible book while I’m washing my face and doing other parts of my “beauty routine”. Recently I finished listening to the Audible book 6 Months to 6 Figures by Peter Voogd. This book was recommended by Hal Elrod in his podcast The Miracle Morning and book by the same name.

In his book, Voogd discusses productivity and time management as one of the keys to a successful quest to earn more income. In his discussion, he makes a clear point that time is finite. It comes, and it goes. This is something we have all heard before.  We all have the same amount of time in a day, week, or month, and there isn’t any way through time management to create or add more time to our days. To maximize our productivity, though, and take full advantage of the time we have what we can manage is our energy. With a higher level of energy and alertness, we are better prepared to focus and take advantage of the time we have.

This concept while not new did resonate with me. I’ve always known I could control my energy level. But, for some strange reason the way that Voogd explained energy control in relationship to productivity opened my eyes in three ways.

1. Energy management is my responsibility. No one can manage my energy for me. It’s all within my control. Just like managing a chronic disease, energy management is up to me.

2. Energy management is directly connected to my habits. In all cases the habits I have created for sleep, food, drink, spirituality, finances, thoughts, social media, email, exercise, grooming, home care, family time, and friendships are my decision. I have control over these habits. I can choose if I have control …

How Often Should You Blog?
How Often Should You Blog?

I’ve often told my coaching clients that I think it’s easier to write a book than it is to blog. Writing a book is finite, while blogging is infinite. Writing a book doesn’t require photography, at least not photography that I take. Writing a book will hopefully require photography, but I get to leave that job to the photographer. That’s not a skill set I’ve mastered yet. And my list of reasons goes on and on. Despite my reasons, a food blog is a good way to:

· test your writing skills
· gauge your commitment to a topic
· build the hub for your platform
· attract a larger audience
· gather email addresses so you can stay in touch with your audience

woman with laptop typingOne question many food bloggers have is how often to write a blog post. Today, I link to this blog post How often should you blog?. In this article, statistics are presented about how often food bloggers are posting content as of June 2016. The most amazing stat I read here was that:

“5% of bloggers were posting more than 10 posts a week on average. In descending order: I Am Baker, Serious Eats, Skinny Ms, $5Dinners, Six Sisters Stuff, Foodista, Lil’ Luna, Maangchi, Baking Bites and Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking.”

So, if you have a food blog I thought you might find this post interesting and helpful.

Author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. If you want to write a cookbook, and wonder if you’re ready, download her 11-point checklist Am I Ready to Write a Cookbook? 

Routines and Rituals Links
Routines and Rituals Links

It’s this time of the year that my work feels different. The pull of sunshine, warm air, and family activities that during the summer can kept me away from my desk, writing, and work have diminished or returned to school. During this time of the year, I return to familiar routines to write this newsletter and blog posts, develop recipes, and schedule cookbook marketing activities. When I read about how other writers and business owners manage their routines, I feel inspired with a peek into their routines. Several years ago, Darren Rowse at Problogger.net wrote the article 14 Bloggers Share Their Daily Blogging Routine.

To stay on top of my work and writing it’s important to remember the tips they offer that help me keep my routine intact. My goal is to work on creating content every day for my newsletter, blog posts, programs, and cookbook projects.

· Write during my brain’s best time. This is different for everyone, but many prefer morning.
· Turn off email and social media while working.
· Work in 2 to 3 hour blocks of time.
· Devote each day to a different activity related to business or writing.
· Schedule blog posts in advance.
· Create and work from an editorial calendar or plan.
· Compartmentalize activities so they don’t bleed into family time.

daily ritualsAlong these same lines, this books is a favorite of mine. Author Mason Currey reviews the daily rituals of 161 creatives while looking at their rituals (and their obstacles) to doing the work they love to do. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey

I also want to share Extraordinary Routines and their Instagram feed and their blog. I love the interviews here as well at tips for creating a routine for your creative work.

 

 

 

Author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. If you want to write a cookbook, and wonder if you’re ready, download her 11-point checklist Am I Ready to Write a Cookbook? 

Dealing with Overwhelm
Dealing with Overwhelm

I think we all feel overwhelmed at times. I know I do, and I have been know to let it show when dealing with my kids and my spouse.  I know my private cookbook coaching clients feel overwhelmed too. They tell me about it and their overwhelm sometimes makes them want to stop the dream of writing their own cookbook. That’s the scary part of overwhelm. We don’t function at our best when we feel that way and if we’re not careful we let it the feeling drown us in inaction or worse we let it make us want to quit.

Overwhelm is a feeling, a strong one at times, but a feeling nonetheless. The good news is that feelings are fleeting and they aren’t right or wrong. They just are. I try to remember that I can change the way I feel through concrete actions in another direction. stress

When I feel overwhelmed I ask myself where the pressure is coming from. It’s usually one of these areas:

  • Looming deadlines for projects
  • Saying yes to too much
  • Goals I have set for myself that aren’t realistic
  • Habits that interfere with my work and life
  • My expectations of myself (like I can do it all – today!)
  • Expectations of others (spouse, kids, family, co-workers, volunteer commitments)
  • Lack of self-care, sleep, exercise, quiet-time

Once I’ve identified my source of pressure I take concrete actions to make an adjustment if needed. Sometimes I need to improve my productivity focus and time management. Sometimes I need to work in more focused blocks of time on very small, but prioritized tasks. Maybe this is a wake-up call to take better care of myself with sleep, exercise, prayer, and a tightened up morning routine. Maybe I need to focus on what’s important right now and set realistic expectations of what I’m able to accomplish with the time I have.

Overwhelm is not just limited to you and me. Dawn Falcone, The Chaos Liberator, writes about overwhelm, and so does Elise Moreau with 5 Simple Things You Can Do to Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed.

When you feel overwhelmed remember that you’re not alone and also remember you can do something about it.

Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. Download her checklist “Am I Ready to Write A Cookbook?”. 

Five Arbitrary Thoughts - Volume 2 No. 1
Five Arbitrary Thoughts - Volume 2 No. 1

 

1. During the month of October I am participating in a 30-day blog challenge. The challenge is to post 30 times in 30 days. It’s too early to predict how this will go and a few times I’ve second-guessed myself for agreeing to participate. The reason I joined is because I knew this challenge would force me to focus on a daily commitment to write. As a food and nutrition writer, cookbook author, and cookbook coach I spend more time focusing on my paid, deadline-driven work than on tasks that are important for my business and personal growth, but have no deadline. So if nothing else, this blog challenge will make me pay attention, every day, to something important, but not urgent.

2. When I work with aspiring cookbook authors, the one thing they almost all struggle with is developing a writing routine for a project that’s not immediately tied to an income stream. They struggle with making a commitment to write every day because life gets in the way. I’m always on the lookout for what writers do to develop a routine for writing. Some writers write best in the morning and some prefer to write in the evening. But, no matter the time of day the most productive writers all have a writing routine where they show up everyday and write. Nothing will happen if we don’t put our pen to the paper. It’s like expecting fresh home-prepared supper to appear if someone doesn’t put a knife to the cutting board – it won’t happen. Time to call for pizza, again.  Here’s a link to an article about developing a routine.

3. Speaking of routines, there are a few things I am faithful to on a weekly basis and have committed to a routine. This isn’t all that I do each day, but I commit to these tasks on specific days. After the task is done I free up  mental energy worrying about these tasks because I know I have a weekly commitment to them:

Monday – write marketing copy, hand write cards/notes
Tuesday – book keeping, client phone calls
Wednesday – client phone calls, recipe testing/editing
Thursday – shop for groceries, fill my car with gas, client phone calls
Friday -errands, prospective client follow-up

I challenge you to make a list of the tasks you need to do every week and assign one day to take care of that task.

4. Speaking of routines: if you like Twitter search the hashtag #beforebreakfast. Laura Vanderkam author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: And Two Other Short Guides to Achieving More at Work and at Home tweets using this hashtag as do many others who are making the most of the time before breakfast. It’s interesting to see what others focus on in the morning.

5. I hope everyone has a great weekend. If you’re interested in writing a cookbook of your own, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly ezine Fork, Pen, and

Who Listens When You Talk?
Who Listens When You Talk?

Or who listens when I talk for that matter? This is the question most publishers ask when they consider publishing works of non-fiction. Who Listens When This Prospective Author Talks?

This is called your platform. And it’s very important for non-fiction authors, including cookbook authors. Your message to your audience needs to be heard through various mediums: social-media (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin), blog postings, e-mail marketing, print media, speaking engagements, and cooking classes. I’m sure there are more ways to connect with your audience, but these are the few that come to mind for me.

Building your own unique platform takes time. It takes intentional effort to connect with your audience.

On Tuesday, January 15, 2013 I am offering a complimentary teleclass about cookbook author platforms. Would love to have you join me. Learn more about the upcoming Who Listens When You Talk? teleseminar here.

Limit Time to Make Time
Limit Time to Make Time

At the beginning of July we took a trip to the beach. We live in a land-locked part of Kentucky so we drove 11 1/2 hours to dip our toes in salt water. When we travel by car such a distance we pull out of the driveway at “o-dark-thirty” with the hope of arriving at our destination before supper time. This trip, to a barrier island off the coast of South Carolina, was a new vacation spot for us. The island was beautiful and our side trips to Charleston, SC fun. We even ate at HUSK with Chef Sean Brock at the helm and Stephen Colbert sat at the table right next to ours. Other good news was that my ATT iPhone didn’t have good service much of the time. (You’ve seen the maps.) Most of the time instead of bars I saw the words “no service”. So what’s a girl to do other than enjoy the time disconnected?I’ll tell you what I did: I spent time watching the sunrise, took morning bike rides with the best male cook I know, read the daily newspaper, worked the daily crossword puzzle and Sudoku, sat under a large red umbrella on the beach, splashed in the ocean with my kids, and floated on a raft in the pool. These activities are what this vacation was made of. It’s an understatement to say I enjoyed my time away from the normal routine of home, office, computer, and smart phones.

We’re home now and the iPhone has full bars and service, but I’m trying to look differently at how I spend my time. I’m limiting my time at the computer, limiting my time poking around on my iPhone and my Kindle, and limiting the time I sit down to write. And guess what? I feel more productive than I felt before I left for vacation. I think for me by limiting my time, I make more time, if that makes sense. Seems counter-intuitive, but with more focus and limited time the work seems to get done quicker. Or maybe it was just the time off work?

With this vacation in mind I think I’ll add a one-speed bicycle to my Christmas list. Then I can mosey around the neighborhood Pee-Wee-Herman-style recreating one of the simple enjoyments of my vacation. I’ll enjoy filling the time I’m creating by not spending unlimited periods of time thinking I’m being productive with my electronic devices in hand and my computer screen in view.

Hope you’re having a great summer and that you are taking some time to enjoy your favorite people, places, and simple enjoyments!
Who Is Your Audience?
So here I am at  Holly Hill Inn speaking to over 30 guests who attended a Kentucky Fresh Cookbook luncheon.  Here’s the best part: all of these guests were my ideal audience.

My ideal cookbook audience are men and women who value cooking fresh meals at home using seasonal, local ingredients. They support restaurants such as Holly Hill Inn because the restaurant has the same mission about the food they serve. This event was so much fun because I talked to those who care about what I care about. Sounds selfish, kind of, but we connected and had such a good time talking about seasonal cooking and about cookbook trends. We also shared a delicious local, seasonal meal prepared by Chef Ouita Michel. It doesn’t get much better than that.

When I am offered the opportunity to speak to a group of people who are my ideal audience I take the opportunity if I can. There’s not a lot that I find more enjoyable than connecting with people who share my love of seasonal cooking and of course, cookbooks.

Want to connect with your ideal audience?  Here are 3 good ways to start:

1. Take time to define the ideal audience. Write down details about the people you most want to connect with. Define their age, gender, income level, cooking experience.

2. Write down their main problem or challenge when they cook or use the kitchen. Maybe they don’t know how to bake using gluten-free products or maybe they aren’t sure how to deep-fat fry Twinkies. Write down as many challenges as your audience might have.

3. Identify how can you help them with this challenge. What does your cookbook do to spread your message and help the reader at the same time with the challenges listed?

Every time you sit down to write your recipes, or cookbook content, keep this ideal audience in mind. Speak to him or her. I pretend I’m writing to them personally once I’ve defined them. This builds my cookbook platform (blog posts, articles, tweets, Facebook updates for example) and helps my audience solve their challenges. In essence, when I speak their language I have better luck connecting with them.

Who is your ideal audience?
What do they want to hear about when you write to them?

I’m sure you have many good things to say. Talk to them. You’ll enjoy the connection and they will too.