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How to Fake a Clean House

We’ve all left the chores of cleaning up before a party till the last minute.  But as long as your house isn’t a complete disaster, it only takes a few minutes to make it look pulled together.  We asked green-cleaning expert Leslie Reichert, the author of The Joy of Green Cleaning, for her speed-cleaning checklist.

De-clutter ruthlessly.  Put mail, papers, shoes, pet toys – anything that’s on the floor, a counter, or a table – in a basket and remove it from the room.  That will immediately make any space look cleaner.  And designate a “no admittance” zone where you can store everything out of sight.  Mine is the upstairs bedroom.

Focus your efforts.  Figure out the messiest part of a room and clean that first.  For a lot of people, it’s the kitchen counters.  I have a 16 year old son and dogs, so for me, it’s the floors.  I hit them with the vacuum for a few minutes; it does wonders.

Zero in on sinks.  A clean sink makes the rest of the kitchen or bathroom look tidy.  Put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, wipe the sink (including the faucet) with a damp Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, and then dry it with a paper towel or a microfiber cloth.  It creates the same spotless look as a four-step powder-and-scrub process.  In the bathroom, fold the towels nicely and stash anything personal, like your toothbrush, out of sight.

Always be closing.  Shut closet and bathroom doors, shower curtains, toilet seats, drawers, and cabinets.  Finish by straightening picture frames and pillows. That instantly makes your home look well organized and under control.

Set the mood.  Dim the light and light a scented candle.  If you can’t see it, it’s not going to bother you as much.

-Allure Magazine, interview by Lexi Novak

By Jessica Stillman

Maybe you’ve heard, being constantly busy is bad for your brain. “Many important mental processes seem to require what we call downtime and other forms of rest during the day,” claims a Scientific American article rounding up the research on the subject. Doing nothing now and then is required to replenish motivation and attention, and to form stable memories, science shows.

It’s also required for maximum creativity, according to new research.

Your cluttered mind is a creativity killer.

The study comes out of Bar-Ilan University in Israel where researchers Shira Baror and Moshe Bar asked a group of volunteers to complete a creativity-gauging word association task. For instance, if the researchers said ‘white,’ the participants were asked to name whatever related word first popped into their heads.

Now here’s the twist. The participants had to do this while carrying various mental ‘loads’. Some were simultaneously asked to remember a string of seven digits, while others had to commit only two to memory. How did their performance differ?

“We found that a high mental load consistently diminished the originality and creativity of the response: Participants with seven digits to recall resorted to the most statistically common responses (e.g., white/black), whereas participants with two digits gave less typical, more varied pairings (e.g., white/cloud),” writes Bar in a New York Times article explaining the research.

That was true no matter how long the participants took to respond, so it wasn’t the case that those with a lot on their minds were simply slower to come up with answers. And this finding isn’t just relevant in the lab. It’s important to understand how this effect plays out in real life too, Bar insists.

“In everyday life, you may find yourself ‘loading’ your mind in various ways: memorizing a list of groceries to buy later at the supermarket, rehearsing the name of someone you just met so you don’t forget it, practicing your pitch before entering an important meeting,” he writes. “These loads can consume mental capacity, leading to dull thought and anhedonia–a flattened ability to experience pleasure.” In short, your cluttered mind is a creativity and happiness killer.


To clear some space for creativity, Bar offers a simple (and incredibly common) prescription — try meditation. That’s no doubt a great suggestion, but there are plenty of other less structured, everyday ways to unclutter your mind as well (personally, I go in for running).

And there’s always the most old school fix of all – simply seize control of your schedule and guiltlessly do nothing for an hour, a day, or even a week to get away from all those grocery lists and presentations, giving your creativity space to run wild.

Plus, New York Magazine’s Science of Us offers another thoughtful takeaway from this research. “The originality–or lack of it–that came with mental load demonstrates how creativity isn’t entirely a fixed, inborn trait,” the blog’s write-up notes. It’s a helpful reminder that you are largely in control of your own creativity.

  1. June is the month with the longest daylight hours of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
  2. June’s birthstone is the pearl, the Moonstone and the Alexandrite.
  3. The June birth flower is the Rose (Rosa) and the Honeysuckle (Lonicera).
  4. In 2009 June was the 662 most popular name for girls in the USA.
  5. Anglo-Saxons gave the June the name Sera monath (Dry month)
  6. June is derived from either Juno goddess of marriage or from iumiores (young people)
  7. In both common and leap years, no other month begins on the same day of the week as June.
  8. June is international men’s month.
  9. June has the shortest daylight hours of the year in the Southern Hemisphere.
  10. June is my favorite month….:)

Provided by Pam Bingham, President of the Sherman Oaks Business Builders Chapter of TEAM Referral Network

As one of the leading accounting practices in the area. By combining our expertise, experience and the energy, each client receives close personal and professional attention. Our high standards, service and specialized expertise spell the difference between our outstanding performance, and other accounting practices. We make sure that every client is served by the expertise of our whole practice.

Being an entrepreneur is neither a part-time or full-time job, it’s a lifestyle.

I REALLY want to share this message with you. I have been working in the “Referral Group/Networking Group” industry for over 25 years. I have been a member of a referral organization, spent 10 years as an executive with another large referral organization, and have had my company TEAM Referral Network, for 11 years. I have also networked across the country and with people in the international market as well. I am recognized as an expert in the industry and many companies and groups have paid me to speak on this topic.

So…have I qualified myself as a person who knows what she’s talking about yet? Because I could go on…But, the bold statement I am about to make will be questioned by many of you reading this, but here it goes anyway… out of sight is out of mind. Let me repeat…out of sight is out of mind. Yes, it is.

Many (and I do mean many) people operate on the assumption that once they have established a business relationships with people that little to no “continuing nurturing” is needed. I cannot tell you how many people have told me directly or indicated to me that they do not need TEAM anymore because they have already established their relationships with the members. Their thought process is…I’m not going to get anything NEW and I will continue to get their referrals anyway. (Never mind the fact that chapters have new members and visitors on a regular basis that they could meet.) But, what they also forget about is… out of sight is out of mind.

Once you are no longer part of a group, your networking partners can (and will) forget about you. Yes, occasionally former members will continue to get referrals but not nearly as much as when they were a part of the group. And if (or should I say when) another person joins who does what you do, and they are at the meeting each week sharing their commercials, listening to everybody else’s commercials, bringing referrals….guess who they are going to give their referrals to? Yup! The new person! Out of sight really is out of mind!!!

Kelli C. Holmes, author of “Effective Networking”, shows you a better, smarter way to grow your business through powerful business relationships. Kelli is the Founder of TEAM Referral Network, a professional referral organization that turns success-oriented business people into a strong team of networking professionals who work together to build their business by referral. TEAM’s motto is Together Everyone Achieves More. For more information visit their website www.teamreferralnetwork.com or call (866)311-TEAM.

Have you ever done a presentation to someone or a group and they were leaning forward, they indicated they had a need, it seemed like they were interested, they were shaking their head saying “Yes, Yes, Yes!”, this is the best thing I have ever seen and you felt it was the best presentation you had ever given and when it came time to make a decision, they said “I have to think about it” or they said “No!”

You almost fell back in shock and after it was over, you thought “What just happen? I’m so confused! I asked them the questions and answered them. I presented to them the features and the benefits, they seemed like they wanted it and then “No!”

You didn’t address the most important concern that every person has, “Fear of the Unknown or Change!” Most people fear the unknown or change more than anything else. How do you overcome this?

Have you ever gone to school before and on your first day you were nervous until you looked at a class schedule and you saw what classes you would be taking? It made you feel better because you knew what to expect.

When you are presenting to people you need to tell them what to expect when they become a client of yours. You must bring the general benefits and specific benefits to life for the potential client.

Example “Team Referral Network”

When you join Team Referral Network, this is what happens:

1. You will have opportunities to network which means you don’t have to do it alone. You have community of business professions (a tight knit
family) who has your back and they are looking out to help grow your business.

2. You will have others giving referrals to you which is like having a sales team promoting your business without having to hire one. You don’t have
the headaches and the expense of employees and money stays in your pocket.

3. You will learn become very effective at marketing yourself. You will have a chance to give a “One Minute Commercial” every week and a regularly
scheduled “Ten Minute Presentation” in front of your business family who supports you as you become a powerful communication expert becoming clear
on how to present your business and what you are looking for to anyone you meet.

I think you get the picture by now. If you give your potential clients a picture of what your service or joining you is going to be like, you reduce the fear of the unknown and it’s more likely they will become your client.

By: Sheldon Singleton

f you could have any skill of a superhero, which would you choose? The ability to fly or leap across tall buildings in a single bound perhaps?

I would choose the power to never need sleep though this is not a flashy choice. This would mean an end to my constant wish for more hours in the day.

Needless to say, my superpower has yet to unlock itself. Until then, here are four scheduling tips I use to help me get the most from my waking hours:

1. Reschedule canceled events.

Many years ago I heard the phrase “If I erase, I must replace” and it’s still a mantra I live and work by today. It serves as a reminder to be flexible, yet accountable.

Your schedule should not be so rigid that you can never tweak it. But if an event was important enough to include initially, set aside time for it later in the day or week.

Rescheduling an event (a meeting, a conference call or independent work time) allows for the flexibility that a busy life demands while ensuring that important tasks don’t fall by the wayside.

2. Be strategic.

To use a calendar strategically, schedule important tasks first and let the less-demanding ones land where they may.

Every time you refine your calendar, you’re resetting priorities (an important duty).

Appointments should not merely exist on your calendar because they have been auto-scheduled to repeat every week for five months.

Instead, set up each event with intent and only if it’s of great importance right now.

3. Leave a buffer for preparation.

Professionals sometimes accidentally overbook their schedules, forcing them to sprint from one meeting to the next all day.

To avoid this, include time between events to review your last appointment and prepare for the next. If you don’t, the nonstop rushing is bound to catch up with you.

The best way to ensure having enough time between tasks is to block out the necessary interludes on your calendar.

4. Add in time to breathe.

Workaholics might find it all too easy to get trapped in the constant whirl of activity. This is a recipe for burnout.

I believe in not only taking a break but also scheduling time for one during the workday. For instance, I take a daily break to get outside the office and exercise.

If a midday visit to the gym isn’t realistic for you, take a walk or at least step away from your desk during lunch. Take time to sharpen the ax!


by Marty Fukuda

Speaking on stage in front of an audience of people is a wonderfully scary privilege. You have a large group of people’s undivided attention, and you can have a direct impact on their lives (and potentially your future). Here’s how not to screw it up:

1. Tell great stories. If you read nothing else in this article, focus on this tip. Think about stories you can tell that are interesting but also have a lesson learned in them. We all have stories we can tell, but will those stories resonate with an audience? Will the audience be able to relate to them? If you use a visual presentation — PowerPoint, Keynote, etc. — like I do, it should be an accompaniment to your stories.

2. Do NOT read your presentation from your laptop, or worse, notecards. Listen, I get it, speaking in front of an audience can be nerve-racking. But you know what, you agreed to do it! So give the audience and the event the respect they deserve. Practice your presentation and know what you’re talking about it. If I ever find myself losing my train of thought, I just glance back at what slide I have up on screen. If I’m not using slides, I just make a quick self-deprecating joke and move on. The worst thing you can do is sound like a robot on stage.

3. Use video to increase your comfort on stage. Some of you may remember doing this for school projects back in the day. You’d record yourself giving a speech and watch it back to see how you did. The more you do this, the better you’ll get at it. For me, I used to host a live daily video show to engage with an audience and it helped me become more comfortable. Try this yourself. Invite a few friends or colleagues to watch you “rehearse” live. Have them give you constructive feedback that you can work on.

4. Don’t be the “stats and quotes” person. I’ve seen this so many times. Someone gets on stage to talk about something interesting, and instead of giving their perspective, their presentation is littered with statistics from other websites and quotes from other people. You can surely back up some of your talk with stats and quotes if needed, but you should first and foremost share new information and offer your own insights. Without knowing it, people will find great quotes from your talk that you didn’t even think were great.

5. Use Guy Kawasaki’s “10 20 30 Rule of PowerPoint.” I’m a visual presentation guy. I believe even the greatest speaker can have people distracted by their phones or laptops. I like to use big bold images and text in my presentation. Guy Kawasaki was my inspiration for this with his 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 point font. I don’t follow this specifically, but it’s the backbone to my presentation. If I have any text on a slide, it’s big and void of long sentences (short bullet points are great). Typically my presentations are 20-30 slides, but mostly because I like to accompany my stories with photos I’ve taken or interesting photos I’ve found on the web (that I give photo credit to of course).

6. Bring the energy! I recently had the pleasure of watching James White of Signalnoise.com give a talk. He jokes that he had 750 slides in his presentation, and while I don’t think there were actually 750, there were a ton. He used his slides to create energy and engage the audience. Some were funny, some were his work, some were bulleted lists he referenced over and over. Yes his slides were great, but it was his energy that brought the entire audience out of their seats when he finished his talk. I’m not a high energy guy at all, but just by moving around on stage, having confidence when you speak and engaging with the audience makes a huge impact. If you have energy, the audience will give it back.

7. You don’t have to tell jokes. Many aspiring speakers make the mistake of trying to be someone they are not when they’re on stage. Most of the time this is by trying to be a comedian. You don’t need to tell jokes to make an audience laugh. If you aren’t used to telling jokes in front of an audience, your speaking presentation shouldn’t be the place to start. I tend to use topical humor that doesn’t require the delivery of a Dane Cook or Jerry Seinfeld. When the Brett Favre inappropriate text message photo ‘thing’ was timely, I used it in a slide when talking about taking more photos for your social media content strategy. I had three bullet points in my presentation, with the last one being a quick jab “Don’t take photos like Brett Favre.” People loved it because it was relevant to the subject I was talking about and it was current news.

8. The audience is afraid of Q&A. Listen, we aren’t all Gary Vaynerchuk with people clamoring to ask us questions about great wine, the Jets, etc. If you want to leave room in your presentation for Q&A, be prepared to have the audience not raise a single hand. Think about it, when was the last time you raised your hand in a crowded audience? I personally love doing Q&As because I think people always ask me more interesting questions than I ask myself.

When I know I’m going to have Q&A time at the end of my talk, I give the audience a heads-up at the beginning of my talk and say something like “Hey guys, I’ll have 10-15 minutes at the end to do Q&A, please write down a question or two while I’m talking so I look popular at the end when everyone raises their hands.” By doing this simple thing, it primes people to be ready to ask questions at the end. If I don’t say that at the beginning of my talk, I’ll call the audience out and say something like “It’s time for Q&A, if you don’t raise your hands, I’m just going to start answering random questions that come to my mind: My shoe size is 15. I love cheez-its. Sorry, I’m not single.” Maybe you don’t feel comfortable doing something like this, but it works. The audience just needs that kick start to get them going.

9. Don’t like Q&As? Take questions after your talk, off stage. The first couple times I spoke in front of an audience, I didn’t want to do Q&A. Event organizers aren’t going to force you to do Q&A and if you’re honest with them, they’ll tell everyone to ask you questions afterwards. This is an easy way to not have to interact with the entire audience’s questions, and you can talk to people one-on-one off stage. I’ve created some of the best business relationships I have by doing this. People aren’t afraid to talk to you one-on-one, whereas they probably don’t want to speak up in front of the entire audience.

10. Be yourself. I know this sounds so typical of an article like this, but it’s absolutely important to remember. The more you try to act like someone you’re not on stage, the more people will see right through you. The more you act like yourself, the more confident you’ll seem, and the more the audience will be able to relate to you.

By: Jason Headsetdotcom

Someone on Linkedin shared this stat with me last Friday regarding sales and their follow up. I was completely shocked! Makes me question a few things…

Makes me question a few things…

Do you believe these results? What does your organization do to prevent these statistics from getting out of hand?

By: Sarah Battiste

When making decisions under pressure, many professionals are plagued with a fear of making the wrong choice, selecting an option that could lead to business failure. This fear of failure, in itself, is not a bad thing.

In our new book What Business Can Learn From Sport Psychology, we examine how a fear of failure can actually provide powerful motivation for athletes and business professionals. But that’s only if the fear of failure inspires thoughts of success and taking assertive actions toward a desired goal.

So where does the fear of failure stem from? Often it originates from the fear of making the wrong choice, which more often than not is caused by over thinking.

The root of over thinking.

With over thinking, people want to make the right decision so much, they worry that they won’t be able to and lose sight of what it takes to make good decisions: a clear mind. By worrying and ruminating about a decision, they can slow down the mental processes that underpin decision making. They try to force the brain to complete the complex process of making a decision in a way that it is not comfortable with.

Take driving for example. Driving is an extremely complicated process involving coordination of mind and body to perform intricate movements safely and proficiently. If you’ve been driving for some time, no doubt you make the complex decisions for doing so without thinking about the precise processes involved. You have developed expertise after all, and decisions can be made without having to process each alternative and consciously weighing the pros and cons. But maybe when you were learning to drive this wasn’t the case. When someone is learning to drive, each choice is made intentionally and deliberately.

But if you had to take your driving test again in order to continue driving (and had to make sure your performance was flawless), you would probably abandon your automatic decision-making process and instead break down the choices into their component parts, asking yourself, Are my hands in the right place? Have I checked the mirrors? Am I in the right lane?

The trouble is, by examining all the component choices, you would be making decisions in a way that’s very odd for your brain. You are an expert, remember, and all this intricate and in-depth procedural decision making is not needed anymore. So what would normally be a smooth and proficient decision-making process would become a slow and uncoordinated state of confusion. That ultimately would damage your performance.

In golf, over thinking the skill execution has been the ruin of many a professional. Like all elite athletes, professional golfers have undergone thousands of hours of deliberate practice to ingrain technical skills into their mind and body. This learning process means that when they perform, they don’t need to think about the individual component parts of skill execution.

When putting, they don’t need to consider the complex sequence of coordinated movements in their hands, arms, shoulders, back, trunk, legs and feet. They can just think about where they want to the ball to go and execute the move automatically.

But when worry emerges, in those pressure situations when a putt will win the championship, many golfers start to break the skill down and try to make the putt as if they were novices performing the skill for the first time. No longer is putting a smooth automatic process. It becomes an uncoordinated and rigid process. And that can turn a simple putt into a performance catastrophe.

When working memory isn’t working.

So under stressful, pressured situations, when making a decision is vital, worrying can cause overthinking. The working memory is someone quickly calculates risk and weighs the pros and cons in the brain. It is also where worrying takes place.

Because worrying takes up vital space in the working memory, no longer can the person efficiently process the information needed to make that all important decison. Instead, he or she tries to grasp every little component part of making that choice and break down the skill of decision making into a mechanical process. Just like the driving example, however, this isn’t how the person normally makes accurate decisions.

Be instinctual.

If you encounter those stressful high-pressured moments, instead of over thinking and risking paralysis by analysis, carry out your business analyses and evaluations, think about the issues and then go with what feels right rather than trying to function like a computer with a calculated output. In other words, consider the information you have and then trust your instincts.

Your gut reaction is informed by your vast experience of being a business professional and also from your experience of being human. You make decisions all the time without over thinking them. You, as a human being, are an extremely powerful and efficient decision-making machine.

by: Martin Turner and Jamie Barker