Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I can see why she wrote on the walls: they key to unlocking your creativity & productivity

get out of a creative slump, how to improve creativity and productivity
Photo by KROMKRATHOG- freedigitalphotos.net
Several years ago, I had a manic boss. Definition: showing wild and apparently deranged excitement and energy (reference: Google).

Once she even stood behind me as I was typing a memo she was reciting and went so far as to tell me where every comma should go and when to backspace when I made the occasional and unfortunate typ-o.

In a word, she was crazy. One donut short of a dozen. She got a lot done, but wildly. It's the kind of person that makes you tired after 5 seconds of being around them.

One morning as we were planning an upcoming large event, she began a group brainstorming session. Since we didn't have any white boards up in our new office building yet, we all had notepads at the ready to compile our lists.

As the ideas began to flow, I could see her wild eyes looking frantically for a place to write. IT HAD TO BE UP! IT HAD TO BE BIG! IT HAD TO BE VISIBLE! And with the lack of white boards, all at once she threw the chairs back and began writing on the walls. ON THE BRAND NEW OFFICE BUILDING WHITE PAINTED WALLS. With a pencil, but still. You could hear a quiet, but audible gasp in the room, and then all at once, we resumed working because it was, after all, our manic boss. We should expect nothing less.

Since that day, I can't deny, that I've had an unrelenting itch to write on the walls. I'll admit, as a creative type, I have my own kind of mania. Ideas that pop into my head at all hours. Notebooks filled with ideas of what I want to do, what I should do, and what I could do. To-do lists, priority lists, and one-day-I-will-do lists.

If I don't see these ideas, I forget them, and then they clutter my mind and I have to start a new list in a new notebook, so I can forget about those too.  If I don't see it, I forget it. If I don't read it every day, I sometimes forget what's motivating me. So I have this strange urge to write it BIG and BOLD and make it VISIBLE so I don't forget it.

I scaled down my crazy and bought a medium sized white board. And although I've written a few things on it, it still hasn't totally tamed the urge to write BIGGER so I can SEE IT ALL.

So what's the key to unlocking your creativity & productivity? 

Maybe C.S. (a.k.a. my manic boss) was on to something. Unclutter your mind by writing it all down and keep it in sight. Instead of blocking creativity and thought process, let it flow... All of it. The house to-do lists, the business to-do lists, the creative to-do lists, the children to-do lists, the husband honey-do lists, trips-you-want-to-take lists. Every last little thing until all your dirty laundry's out there like a bad reality show.

And while actually writing on the walls does qualify you for the definition of manic, you can at least write it all down on paper. Keep separate lists and tape them up around your house (in closets, behind cupboard doors, so people don't think you're too cray cray) so you can take a glance and remember what you're working toward. And for the love of Pete, cross off items as you do them! That's a whole other level of satisfaction.

Too much in your head stops productivity and keeps you in a vicious cycle of feeling unfocused and overwhelmed. As you write everything down that is bogging you down & leave it out where you can see it, the ideas will begin to flow and you won't have only saved your sanity, you won't have to repaint your walls.

shannon sorensen maker of fairface washcloths, best beauty cloths for faces
Shannon Sorensen is a blogger and creative type who occasionally fights the urge to write on the walls. Besides her creative outlets, she is also the Founder and CEO Shannon Sorensen Designs, maker of Fairface™ Washcloths, the best skin care washcloths for soothing and calming even the most sensitive skin.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Top 5 Best Entrepreneur + Small Business TV Shows you can actually learn from

best, top television shows for entrepreneurs and small businesses

Living the small biz dream © Shannon Sorensen Designs
I think I always knew some day I'd be running my own business. It's in my genes.

I watched my dad work tirelessly operating his own thriving dental practice. He carried both the burden and blessing of being in charge. From a young age, he instilled in me the desire to make something of my own, like he did.

I wanted to be like him. Working for a PURPOSE instead of just a person. 

This is the decade of Entrepreneurship. The empowering age of Small Business. If you can dream it up, you can build it up.

I love to learn from strong people who have gone before me, or who are standing right beside me as we blaze our trails.

I thrive on learning all I can about running a small business and have found a few tv shows that focus on Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses. If you share my passion for running your own business, you've got to check these out!

Top 5 Picks for Small Business & Entrepreneur TV Shows in 2016


The Profit

This has to be one of my all time favorite tv shows for start-ups and small businesses. Marcus Lemonis is a savvy businesses guy who partners with struggling businesses to help give them direction and funding. He can be hard core, but speaks the truth. I actually learn something from this show, which is what I love most about it. I take notes. You're able to see how real businesses talk about profit margins, percentages, distribution, manufacturing, packaging, co-packing, etc. It's seriously awesome. You can watch the last season on demand or purchase previous seasons on Amazon. I can't wait for the new season in August!!! Word has it, Lemonis is also going to be in a new show called The Partner, which I'm dying to see when it's released.

Quit your Day Job

If you're crazy about entrepreneurship, you'll love this show. It's a little quirky, but I love what I can learn from it. It features a team of 3 investors (Randi Zuckerberg - yes, it's his sister, Sarah Prevette and Ido Leffler) who choose which of 3 entrepreneurs to invest in and help them grown their business. This show is about people like you and me who are trying to get your product out there. It feels very relate-able on many levels.

Follow the Leader

CNBC is rocking it with all their small business/entrepreneur tv shows! I really like this show because you get a day-in-the-life experience with some of the most influential and successful people out there who grew their businesses from small to boom. I take notes when I watch this too (nerd alert). A few of my favorite people they've followed are: Katia Beauchamp (co-founder of Birch Box), John Paul DeJoria (the name behind the Paul Mitchell brand), and Gary Vaynerchuck (social media guru).

Beyond the Tank 

Is it just me or do you want to get to the real meat of what goes on behind closed doors after a deal with Shark Tank?! I still like watching Shark Tank, but I really like what happens next. I want to know how these businesses grew, what they did to manage this new growth, and how they got or will get to that next level after they walk away with a deal. Sorry, Shark Tank, but this nudges you out of my top 5.

Billion Dollar Buyer

Enter Tilman Fertitta. He's a rich man who wants to help small businesses by giving them a chance at selling or offering their products in his many hotels and casinos. What's interesting to me about this, is watching how these small businesses are launched into a world of BIG quantities. If they're going to make a deal with Tilman, they'll have to figure out how to scale production while keeping a cost that works for them both. If a deal is made, it could be just the break these small businesses have been looking for...if after all that work he even makes the deal. P.S. The board room makes me uncomfortable.

Other Small Business and Entrepreneur TV Shows to check out

Although these shows didn't make it to my top 5, I still like them (unless noted, ha!) and they still have something to offer the entrepreneur / small business / start-up minded.

Shark Tank   

Although After the Tank pushed this out of my top 5, I still like watching every day people like you and me, pitch their good ideas to investors. I learn from them. I share their anxiety as I imagine myself up there in front of the sharks and hope never to hear Kevin's words, "You're dead to me."

Blue Collar Millionaires

This was very close to being in my top 5 because who doesn't love a good success story? It's inspiring to see how these hard working people created very successful businesses for themselves with their passion, blood, sweat and tears.

Make Me A Millionaire Inventor

Not as compelling as some, but I still love seeing what people have come up with, how they try to perfect their product, and what happens when they pitch to an investor.

West Texas Investors Club

I dare say, this should have been called the West Texas Hillbilly Club. This is another product-pitch-investor-show and if you can stand country bumpkin talk, you might like this. While I love me some hunky southern twang, I had to turn it off because they sound too much like hillbillies and it drove me nuts.

Undercover Boss

I have a love-hate for this show. Not only does it make me cringe, because I don't like people trying to trick other people into thinking they're someone they're not (that hurts my feelings), but the wigs and disguises are so ridiculous that it physically hurts a little. It usually ends with a feel-good story and money gifts at the end, which are heart felt, and it is interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes at some well-known companies like Yankee Candle, 7-Eleven, Cinnabon and my recent favorite Stella and Dot.

How It’s Made

Interesting show if you like to take a look behind the scenes at how every day products are manufactured.

All-American Makers

I haven't watched this show yet, but I plan to. I think it's based more on higher end and tech ideas than the every day maker, but it's still on my list.

What NOT to do in business...

American Greed

Sometimes a juicy story about how someone did it oh-so-wrong can be a good watch. I like this one.

Have I missed something? Let me know because I'm all about binge-watching good tv.


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