TDmonthly Magazine!
June 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 6


How to Get the Time You Need

Stopping to Think Is a Must; So Is Sleep

“A vacation is not a luxury; it’s a necessity.” Dr. Jan Yager, “Creative Time Management for the New Millennium”
If you’re feeling stressed and not very playful, you’re not alone. According to 30 storeowners who answered a TDmonthly Magazine survey last month, running a toy store doesn’t leave much time for fun. Experts say that can be dangerous for both business and health.

Read the results and remedies, and see how you compare:

1. Learn More, Faster.
While 66 percent read at least one child-related publication per month, a scant 13 percent keeps tabs on the stock market and only 23 percent have time to read a self-help or business book.

Howard Stephen Berg, chairman & CEO of Mega Learning Corporation told TDmonthly how to accelerate reading:

• Scope: Using your hands, move rapidly through the publication to identify major themes.
• Schema: Moving back to front, focus on charts, graphs, headlines and italicized text that clue you into emphasized information.
• Scan: Search out new vocabulary, main ideas and questions raised in the material.
• Skim: Look for significant ideas and answers to your specific questions.

2. Research Online. Ninety percent of respondents conduct online searches for new toys at least once a week. More than half contact at least one new manufacturer per month (use our Inquiry Basket!)

3. Reach Out Regularly. Forty-three percent email customers monthly, but only 23 percent send out monthly press releases.

Rick Segel
, author of “The Essential Online Solution: The 5-Step Formula for Small Business Success,” recommends creating newsletters that emphasize information over sales, since “focusing on selling is the kiss of death.” Newsletters posted as blogs on the store’s website can also boost traffic.

Neglecting regular press releases “is a missed opportunity!” said Lisa Orman, president of Kidstuff PR. “Toy-store owners are local experts in their communities.”

Customer newsletters can be converted to press releases. Make them fun and use the traditional inverted pyramid style, she advised.

4. Get Outside. Almost half said they peek in nearby toy stores for display and merchandising ideas, and 48 percent meet with area storeowners at least once per month to improve local business.

5. Mix It Up. Window displays and POP offerings are changed by 79 percent and 86 percent of the respondents, respectively, each month, and by 10 percent and 65 percent weekly.

6. Go to Sleep! Four business owners yearned for vacations and three for sleep. Depriving oneself of such essentials can be dangerous, Dr. Jan Yager, author of “Creative Time Management for the New Millennium,” told TDmonthly.

“A vacation is not a luxury; it’s a necessity,” she emphasized. Vacations rejuvenate workers and reconnect families. Lack of sleep can cloud judgment, contribute to moodiness, and increase the risk of accidents, including fatal ones.

7. Do It All, Stress-Free. Eight owners wish they had time to improve their businesses. David Allen, author of “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” suggested five steps:

• Capture your commitments. “Most people don’t have a clue about how many things they’ve committed to,” Allen explained.
• Clarify your action steps.
• Organize a tracking system for tasks.
• Reflect two hours per week. “Minimize distractions and pressure so your brain and creativity are freed up,” he suggested.
• Choose what to do and when. For example, immediately delete or file emails that don’t require action. “If it requires action, do it in less than two minutes. If it takes longer, delegate it or drag it to an ‘action’ folder” for follow-up.

In conclusion, taking time to evaluate how you’re spending your time may give you more of it. Try out these techniques and let us know if they work for you.

Alison MarekWriter's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on Watch her nefarious villains in the web series Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at Phew! And then ...  Read more articles by this author


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