Say No. Just No. Practice.

Digital Cleanse Day 21:

Say no. Just No. Practice.

Say no.

Really. Right now. Say it out loud.


And again.

“No. No. No.”

(Just be careful you don’t sound like a whiny preschooler!)


Quote tile: No is a complete sentence. ~ Julie Cole

There’s great power in that two letter word. You can use it to save time, declutter your data, free up your calendar and reduce your reading list. Model these sentences:

  • “No, I don’t want to go to gonna-hurt-tomorrow fitness.”
  • “No, I don’t need to save this 46 GB video clip.”
  • “No, thank you,  I’m unable to attend your event.”
  • “No, I’m not going to read this email newsletter.”

See how that works? It’s powerful, right?  As Julie Cole said at the National Mompreneur conference, “No is a complete sentence.”  Use it often. Use it wisely.

And you can use that power to say no to new social networks. For example, do you Snapchat? You don’t have to. Sure, social media marketing gurus tell you its the latest and greatest thing. And it might turn out to be HUGE.  But you don’t have to be an early adopter. You can say no. If at some later date you realize Snapchat is ideal for your project or business model, then go ahead and change that no to a yes.

Using “no” successfully requires you to be clear on your current priorities. At work, what is your focus? Are you focused on a product launch?  Are you, like me, writing a new book? Are you making family time a priority? Is this a vacation week?  Remember each day you have 86,400 seconds to spend. You get to decide how to spend them. Every “no” frees up seconds for something else that fits your priorities. Keep your time in perspective. Each day you’ll use:

  • 25,200 seconds to sleep
  • 7,200 seconds to commute
  • 5,400 seconds to eat
  • 3,600 seconds to exercise
  • 2,700 seconds to shower, etc.

42,300 seconds remain. That’s 11 hours and 45 minutes. How will you spend your time?

More on the 30 day #digitalcleanse tomorrow. Hope to see you then!

(If you missed yesterday’s installment, take a couple extra minutes to explore Pick Subscriptions that Serve You. For links to the complete Digital Cleanse series, click here.)

Pick Subscriptions That Serve You

Digital Cleanse Day 20:

Pick Subscriptions that Serve you

Please pick subscriptions that serve you! List building is a big marketing trend right now. I think its a great strategy for brands to connect with their ideal customer. [Yes, it’s something I do in my business, too. Note the sign-up box in the sidebar!]  Subscriptions lists can be great for customers, too. Who wouldn’t want to have the latest information (and offers) delivered right to their inbox?

Unfortunately, some businesses are doing it wrong, in my opinion. Too many businesses are gathering any and all email addresses. This leads to some iffy list building strategies. For example, I recently attended a conference. I was disappointed when one of the exhibitors added my email to their email list. Yes, I entered a contest. But putting your card in a bowl doesn’t equal “sign me up”!  The brand did a great job of introducing me to their product with a fun demo. I’m not their target audience but I liked the product. I did some voluntary word-of-mouth advertising to people in the market for their product. I felt good about the brand.  Right up until I got the unwanted email in my inbox. Instant unsubscribe. And now I don’t think as highly of the brand.

[The legalities of list building are different in Canada and the USA which can be a problem, too. I’ll write about that another day.]

Have you ever been subscribed to an email newsletter you didn’t want? As part of your digital cleanse, I’m giving you permission to unsubscribe.  For the next month, think critically about each subscription email that lands in your inbox. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you really want it?
  • Are you still interested in the topic?
  • Do you read every issue?
  • Can you get the information elsewhere?
  • Is the frequency right for you?
  • Does it include great discount codes?
  • Is each email full of information?
  • Do you like how they sell to you?
  • Do you have time to read it?

If your answers are no then its time to unsubscribe. Look for an unsubscribe link in the footer of the email.  Don’t feel badly just do it. The list owner pays to have each name on the list. If you’re not interested then save them some money. Save yourself time, too!  If the subscription stays, now you know why you agreed to get it.

It took me about a month to evaluate all my subscriptions. For every subscription I kept, I unsubscribed from 7 other lists. My inbox was rejuvenated!

I limit myself to a few of my favourite in each of a few categories. Here’s a sampling:

  • business resources
  • favourite events
    • Social Media Camp is my next speaking engagement and one of my all-time favourite conferences.
  • favourite organizations
  • favorite retailers
    • Canadian made Tilley Endurables hats and and clothing keep me on track in my quest to pack light!
  • just for fun
    • My daily comic strip fix with all my favourite comics from Go Comics.

Be very picky about your subscriptions. Each email that hits your inbox just adds to your digital clutter. Once you’ve sorted through the backlog of subscriptions, be vigilant about any new ones that slip into your inbox.

More on the 30 day #digitalcleanse tomorrow. Hope to see you then!

(If you missed yesterday’s installment, take a couple extra minutes to explore Keep an Inspiration File. For links to the complete Digital Cleanse series, click here.)

Keep an Inspiration File

Digital Cleanse Day 19:

Keep an Inspiration File

You need an inspiration file. If you live a digital life, you create some sort of online content. But to create GREAT online content you need inspired ideas. Not the same, old. tired ‘happy hot dog day” desperation messages. The solution is to keep an inspiration file.

An inspiration file can be a folder on your computer, a tag in your Evernote account or a pile of papers on your desk. Whatever method works for you is great! The point is you need a single place to put everything that inspires you.

Inspiration can come at anytime. During a walk on the beach. While you’re at the movies. During a tedious mandatory meeting. While you’re at an energizing conference. During a mindful meditation. While reading magazines in a bubble bath.

Inspiration comes in many forms. A quote from a book. A snapshot of the forest. A snippet from a podcast. A moment of clarity at the doctor’s office. An advertisement on the bus. A lyric from a choir concert. A colour palette. A photographic style.

Capture the inspiration.  Ideas can be fleeting. We get distracted and its easy to lose our train of thought. Ideally, you’ll pop the idea straight into your inspiration file. If that doesn’t work in your current circumstances, you can:

  • Call yourself and leave a voicemail.
  • Email yourself the jist of the idea.
  • Snag a photograph with your smart phone.
  • Grab screen shot with your tablet.
  • Send your spouse a text.
  • Keep a notebook and pencil in the nightstand.
  • Write it in the dust on your dashboard.

I’ve done all of these, as circumstances warranted. Don’t feel silly. Just use the tools you have on hand before the inspiration leaves you forever. An image or a few keywords are all you need to re-trigger the inspiration when you can transfer it to your inspiration file.

Remember that you are going to be inspired by the ideas in your file. You’re not going to use them verbatim. I’m not advocating for copyright infringement or intellectual property theft. However, you should feel free to use your inspiration as a springboard for your own ideas.

What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.” ~Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like an Artist

Your inspiration file will grow and evolve over many years.  What inspired you in 2006 may be of no interest in 2016. You’ll use some ideas and not others. That’s OK. It’s much easier to create from something inspiring rather than .  Use your inspiration file as a starting point.

Its easier to complete more … when you don’t have to create own design from scratch.” ~Becky Higgins, author of Best of Becky Higgins Sketches

Book Covers - Best of Beck Higgins Sketches and Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

More on the 30 day #digitalcleanse tomorrow. Hope to see you then!

(If you missed yesterday’s installment, take a couple extra minutes to explore Delete Unused Facebook Groups. For links to the complete Digital Cleanse series, click here.)