Working Hard vs. Working Smart

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We all know that person, and maybe you are that person – someone that shows up to work an hour before everyone else, and makes sure they are the last one to leave each day. They strive to prove that they are the hardest worker the company has ever seen, so they make a point to put in more hours than everyone around them, even if that means they are wasting a lot of that time on Facebook or Buzzfeed. They rationalize that if they are in the office the most, they have to be the best worker. Right? Wrong.

Being a good worker has nothing to do with the hours you put in, but rather, the value of the work you put in your hours. The person working from 7am-6pm each day may think that they are the best, hardest worker around, but in all honesty, the person working a normal shift or (gasp) even less than 8 daily hours is likely doing a better job because they are working smarter. 

Working hard and working smart are two different concepts. When you work hard, you are working with the goal of being the best. When you work smart, you work toward the goal of doing your best. Working hard often pushes us to our limits, while working smart allows us to get what we need done completed within a reasonable amount of time and effort. Yes, you can work smart while working hard, but not all hard work is smart. 

But how do you transition from constant hard work to consistent smart work?

Prioritize
Keep a running list of all the projects you have going each day. From that list, always be sure to complete the most time consuming first, so that you don’t put off any necessary work to the last minute. When you get your big tasks done early, not only will you beat deadlines and look great to your employer, but you will have more time to relax and focus on smaller details that can push your work brilliantly over the top. 

Take Breaks
Face it, when you stare at a computer screen for 9 hours straight, you aren’t doing your best work. Instead of painfully pulling inspiration out of thin air, take regular breaks where you don’t think about your work or anything related to your job. Take a walk, go to lunch, or even read a book. Chances are, your best ideas will strike in those peaceful moments. 

Know Your Worth
No one wants to be working from sun up to sun down, and often, our personal and professional lives can’t balance with that kind of commitment. Know that you don’t have to check your emails 12 times a night, or be glued to your reports all weekend. You deserve time away from your desk, so make sure you take it. Not to mention, this time away will leave you feeling refreshed once the next work day comes along, leading you to a better mindset and better work overall. 

What are your tips for working smart?

Be A Better Person: Read

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As humans, we tend to copy the attitudes, habits, and ethics of those who we spend the most time with. If you were raised in a crowded city full of opportunity surrounded by people working hard day in and day out chasing career success, chances are, you are a lot different than someone that grew up in a one light town where the tallest building was two stories high.

We also tend to take the familiar road – the route that has been engraved in us by our family, friends, and close mentors over the course of our existence. But what if you want something else? What if you want to forge a new trail that is completely foreign to you and all who you know?

The answer is simple: Read.

When you read a book, you are exposed to new worlds that you would have never otherwise known just by living your everyday life. When you read, you get transported to places of daring adventure, unfamiliar culture, and lessons that don’t exist in your hometown. Books change your world, without making you leave your house.

Reading plays a big role in that human tendency to copy and emulate others. Reading books about political discourse and standing up for what is right can spark the initiative for you to better your own world, just like how reading a novel about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail can inspire you to lace up your own pair of boots.

Biographies and Autobiographies are also a major factor in bettering yourself as a person, because they give you insight into the minds of successful people who have gone before you. These books make it seem as though these inspiring people are speaking to you one-on-one, just like they are a friend chatting across from you in a coffee shop. The more time you spend reading the real words and stories of the people you admire, the more you will, by nature, act like them.

Books are more than just an escape from the world we inhabit. Books have the power to transform you as a person, simply by being read. When we read books about other people and how they have effected the world, we will, slowly but surely, begin to change ourselves, and the world, for the better as well.

What is one book that has changed the way you go about your everyday life?

4 Tips for Freelance Success

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It is exciting to start your career as a Freelancer. All of a sudden new business ventures, creative projects, and job paths open up to you that you could have never imagined before, and you feel as though your entire professional world is changing – for the better.

This career choice can be exciting, but it can also be incredibly intimidating if you don’t figure out the details of your own business early on. As you start your Freelance work, be sure to keep these few tips at the front of you mind:

Time Management
There’s a good chance you are working Freelance alongside a 9-5 type job, so time management becomes a huge factor in your success. Set aside a couple evenings each week to tackle your Freelance projects, or even a weekend morning. Keep a regular schedule to ensure the best work possible, and always be sure to complete your bigger, more lucrative tasks first.

Web Presence
As a Freelancer, it is vital that you can be recognizable with a simple online search. Be sure to keep an updated portfolio of your recent work on an easy to edit website (like WordPress), and stay active on your social media platforms. A lot of people forget about LinkedIn, but the professional networking site can help you score new clients if you simply share your work frequently.

Elevator Pitch
Know what your Freelance business is all about, and why people would want to work with you. Narrow your mission down to a sentence or two that serves as your tagline of sorts, and use that as your pitch to new clients. When people see that you take your business seriously, they will be more enticed to work with you.

Scheduling
If you have projects that regularly occur monthly, finding the right schedule can be challenging. As a good rule of thumb, always have your projects due at the end of the month turned back into your client 10 business days prior. As far as invoices go, you will want to have those to your clients by the final business day of each month. Having trouble keeping track of those important invoices? Try using Invoice2go’s new online generator.

What tricks keep your Freelance business running smoothly?

Should We Ditch Social?

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You’re a living, breathing human with internet access, so there’s a 99% chance you have come in contact with social media in just the past 24 hours alone. In fact, you probably found this article from a share on a social site.

But should social media really be referred to as “social” anymore?

Social media began just under 15 years ago, and has become such a constant in the lives of the average population that we can no longer imagine the world without it. We are constantly checking in to see what our friends are up to, posting status updates, and even creating our own content in the hopes of becoming “internet famous”. In fact, many people these days make a living on social media, myself included.

However, social media has changed, and will continue to do so over its lifetime. When social media first began, it revolved around talking and connecting with other people on a personal level. It was, quite literally, “social”. Now, we run to social media as a way to stay informed about the world, find entertainment, and promote the causes we care about.

Social media has become a lot less about being “social”, and a lot more about being media.

Let’s face it, social media is now what the television industry used to be. Complete with more ads than you are even aware of with every click of your mouse or tap of your finger. Social media platforms are performing at higher rates than even our most traditional news sources like the newspaper industry. Social media is the new media.

Many argue that the term “social” just makes this media form appear as an inferior to competitors in the market, and are rallying for it to be dropped. In fact, Facebook claims they haven’t used the word “social” in their headquarters for years. Instead, industry leaders believe that social media should be referred to as digital media moving forward, since it dominates the online front, and will continue to do so for many years to come.

While it would reap benefits for those employed by and passionate about the industry, dropping the term “social” from social media has a long road ahead of itself before it becomes a cultural norm. But whether you call it social or digital, there’s no question as to the dominance this media platform holds in our every day lives.

Could you ever stop referring to social media as “social”?

The Best Songs You’ve Never Heard

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If you’re anything like me, you probably get tired of hearing the same conveyor belt songs on the radio every single day. You know the ones – they all are structured around the same chords, same theme, and a lot of times, the same artists. You try changing radio stations, but you just can’t get away from those auto-tuned 3 minutes of torture.

This annoyance day after day is enough to inspire me to seek out new songs and artists as often as I can. Quite frankly, some of the best songs ever written never get air play, and that’s a flat out shame. To help you, and myself, get a much deserved break from mainstream music, here are some of the best songs I’ve found, that you’ve probably never heard of.

Young to See – Charlie Worsham
A song for the young and young at heart, Worsham effortlessly captures what it means to follow your heart, even if that means making a few crazy choices along the way. Easily my favorite song of all time, Young to See will have you quitting your job and heading to Bonnaroo in no time.

Plastic Jesus – High Valley
While a funny concept, this surprisingly serious song talks about what it means to truly have faith, instead of just praying for show. A few years old, this catchy tune still rings true, especially in today’s heightened political atmosphere.

Fly Away – Stephanie J. Block
A musical theatre piece, this song brings you back to childhood and the innocence of believing in Peter Pan and his friends. Fly Away will get stuck in your head, and heart, by the end of the second verse.

Good Ol’ Boys Club – Kacey Musgraves
The most controversial song on Musgraves’ latest album, this tune tells the harsh reality of Nashville and how it heavily favors those who have the right friends, but not necessarily the right talent. With a few jabs at some popular acts, this song will have you rioting with laughter in no time.

T-Shit and Jeans – Hank Green
Basically my personal anthem, this catchy piece is all about how our appearance is secondary to our character. A nerdtastic jam, T-Shirt and Jeans is sure to leave you smiling every time you wear that same apparel.

What are your favorite lesser-known songs?

Do’s and Don’ts of Freelance

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You don’t have to be a business expert to know that Freelancing is difficult. Besides the fact that you are responsible for all of your own company, brand, and general financial endeavors, complications that come with working Freelance can make the career path a daunting one at best.

Working as a Freelancer takes skill, effort, and patience as you establish yourself and your business. No path to Freelance success is exactly the same, but here are a few Do’s and Don’ts to help you get there a little bit faster.

Do: Use Your Network – Don’t: Rely on Job Boards
When first starting out in Freelance, it is easy to mindlessly submit your resume to listing after listing on different job boards in the hopes that someone will eventually follow up. Job boards are often full of scams or drastically underpaid gigs, so instead turn to your network. Do your research and find out who you know who could use your services. Once you narrow down your list, craft a detailed pitch explaining how your work can help make their business better, and ask to have a meeting. The meeting may lead to something, or it may not, but you have a much better shot at landing new clients if you use a personal connection.

Do: Beat Deadlines – Don’t: Breeze Through Work
Everyone loves a deadline beater, but turning work back into a client only an hour after getting the assignment can be a bit of an overkill. In fact, taking at least an extra day will help to show your client that you are dedicated to your research and creating the best possible piece for them and their business. Great work takes days to complete – not minutes.

Do: Communicate – Don’t: Expect Clients to Stick Around
As a Freelancer, chances are you are working remotely and don’t have face-to-face access with your clients on a regular basis. That’s why communication is key. Haven’t heard from a client in a few weeks and know the end of the month is approaching? Send a quick email checking in to see if there is anything you can help with. The truth is, your clients are more important to you than you are to them, so always go the extra mile to show them you are passionate about the work that you do for them. This communication will not only remind them of your great work, but also help to build that lasting relationship your business needs to thrive.

What are some of your top Do’s and Don’ts for Freelancing?

 

New Song: Tomorrow

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Who doesn’t love new music?

I know I sure do. In fact, I just uploaded a new live acoustic demo to my SoundCloud, which you can give a listen to HERE.

The song is called Tomorrow and was written about all of those days we selfishly wish away while waiting on better times.

We’ve all been there – we’ve all wanted the clock to just hurry up and get to tomorrow and to bring us those good times that we are wishing for, but more times than not, tomorrow is just another day. Most of the time, tomorrow just turns into another day while yesterday turns into a waste of worry and regret.

There’s nothing wrong with being excited for what tomorrow holds, but while you’re waiting, don’t forget to enjoy what this very moment has in store for you. Make the most of your here and now, and tomorrow will be that much sweeter in the end.

 

Must Do: October in Nashville

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Year-round, Nashville is home to some of the best festivals and events in the world. From days dedicated to tomatoes to music marathons that never end, Nashville is the place to be any month of the year – October being no exception.

Do you find yourself in Music City over the next 31 days with nothing to do? Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered.

The Grand Ole Opry Birthday BashOctober 6-8, Grand Ole Opry House
Celebrate 91 years of classic country music with all of your favorite artists from radio today, and the glory years gone by. Nothing says Nashville quite like the Opry, so buy your ticket before the shows sell out to ensure yourself a great night of good old fashioned country music.

Nashville OktoberfestOctober 7-9, Historic Germantown
Nashville’s Germantown brings all of the excitement of Germany right into it’s own backyard with this festival dedicated to food and fun. Join in the 5K Bier Run, check out the featured handmade arts and crafts, and listen to live music nonstop all weekend – all for free.

Southern Festival of BooksOctober 14-16, War Memorial Plaza
This three day celebration is all about the written word and the authors that create it. A free event full of panels, talk-backs, and behind the scenes discussion, you are sure to run into your current favorite author, or at least find the next bestseller to top your TBR stack.

RENT: 20th Anniversary TourOctober 18-23, TPAC
Fall in love with the classic rock opera that tells the story of a group of struggling artists in New York City over the course of a year in the early 1990’s. One of the greatest shows to ever grace Broadway, RENT will have you wishing you lived in the East Village with Angel, Mark, and the whole gang by the end of the first act. And yes, this is where the ever-popular “Seasons of Love” originated.

What events in Nashville are you looking forward to the most this month?