I always enjoy watching autumn arrive, its beautiful hues washing over the remains of summer. Vacations and long days spent keeping the kids occupied now in my rear view, I can’t wait to get back to a routine. My desk, which I’ve rarely seen this summer, due to a move into a new house and the “stuff of life”, looks all but abandoned. In fact, the most attention I’ve given to my work area, understandably if you know me, is my well-ordered bookshelf. But autumn has arrived and it’s time to get on with it, whatever “it” is to be.
This fall, thanks to an impromptu Twitter chat, I decided to dedicate more time to my writing. I’ve found quite the supportive environment on the platform, both personally and professionally. My friend, Tom Reid (@GovComSME) proposed that our community keep each other accountable to encourage a sort of rededication to our prose. The idea wasn’t lost on me as I’d had measurable success through my writing and felt that a return to a writing routine would be key to my sustainable future. That said, I needed a plan that would map out a productive work environment, work schedule, and realistic goals. So I got busy returning to my most productive self. And because we could all use a little help, I decided to share my plan with you and hope that you’ll return the favor.
About a year ago, I converted from a traditional office to a home office environment. This was both economical and practical, as my kids’ schedules were all over the place and my business was growing. I was traveling for business so much, it no longer made sense to be stationary. Working from home, while allowing for some wonderful flexible options, can be very challenging. It’s very easy to fall into unhealthy and non-productive habits when nobody’s watching. So, the first piece of advice for myself and for us all is, show up. I was determined not to become a pajama-wearing would-be entrepreneur. My income helps feed my family and I need to look like an earner. My profession has become more casual in recent years but I still put forth the effort. I feel I’m more productive if I take time to get dressed in the morning. This also helps when I have to run out for a meeting or have a teleconference scheduled. I tend to choose trends that I can dress up or dress down, depending on the occasion. Having a capsule wardrobe can ensure you always have an appropriate look that’s flexible and travels well. My fall capsule wardrobe includes 10 flexible pieces: 1 white blouse, 1-navy, trendy button-front top, 2 wrap tops (as shown), 1 great fitting pair of jeans (also shown), 2 pairs of black pants, and 3 pairs of absolutely fabulous shoes, that you love. Admittedly, my shoes serve two purposes; I like to look like a million bucks when I show up to Starbucks for my $8 cup of coffee and speaking gigs. Women who attend conferences are bitchy; they clock your shoes the minute you step in the room. The right shoes can be networking gold. Don’t forget to accessorize according to the way you like to rock it. I always have my seasonal Michael Kors bag to finish off a look. It’s an addiction; don’t judge me.
I also take time to put my best face forward. In my opinion, if you like the way you look, you’ll be more productive. Putting your best face forward doesn’t necessarily have to include makeup but in my case, it does. I love makeup and I apply at least a little each morning. It boosts my confidence and it’s simply lovely. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time applying a full face, I suggest a go-to look for work. I use a basic routine; it cuts down on time without sacrificing look or effort. My staple makeup look includes Laura Mercier blemish-less primer, Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation, Nars creamy concealer, and Laura Mercier translucent powder. Of course, I always have ColourPop on my lips and Clinique on my eyes.
Once you have your look on, you have to nourish your body. In the past year, I’ve started meal planning to help with my fitness goals. However, another benefit to meal planning is the cost and time savings. I plan out meals weekly unless my bff posts something delicious looking on social, that I just have to try. For breakfast, I aim for protein and fruit. Of course, no morning is complete without coffee.
A well-organized work area can be your most productive hack. When you work from home or are rarely at an actual desk, it can be hard to stay organized. The challenges are real. You might be like me and need to have things at your fingertips while working remotely or you may be like “Tuesday me” and need to have multiple screens going at all times. Whatever your journey, organize your work space. Set up your home work space in a way that optimizes productivity. Customize your space according to how you work. My best advice would be; have a space for everything and let it live there. For me, I have to keep a PC monitor raised above the work area on my desk. On my desk, I have my MacBook Pro and my desk calendar. I often get questions about my desk calendar. Some will ask, “Why don’t you just use an e-calendar?” Or I’ll get comments like, “That looks like too much work”. I do have a digital calendar but I also like a desk calendar. It helps me map out my week when travel is heavy and I find it’s great for helping me stay creative.I use the Ikea Alex file system (see pic at header) to house client projects and to store overstock of copy-paper and supplies. One piece of advice for entrepreneurs, don’t skimp on your copier. Purchase one that produces quality work, quickly. A 3-D printer is a great investment if your work calls for it. But even with regular copiers, clients can tell if your work has been produced cheaply. Don’t do it.
For those times when I’m working remotely or visiting clients, I have a go kit. A go kit is a great time saver. I’ll go over what’s in my go kit in a separate post but simply put, you have to pack things that lend themselves to various worksite situations. You should also include things that optimize productivity while on the go. My favorite go-to item is a coffee mug. Just kidding, but I do like to have my tablet fully charged and ready to go for meetings scheduled at coffee shops or space-limited settings.
Finally, be accountable. Find like-minded or industry-related support for your work. Being in business for yourself doesn’t have to mean being in business by yourself. Forming collaborative partnerships can offer great opportunities but can also serve to keep you on track with your goals. I’d advise you to participate in Twitter chats, follow blogs that support what you’re doing, and get out of the office. When productivity or creativity stalls, go for a walk. Dr, Joseph Kvedar, author of The Internet of Healthy Things suggests getting up a few time a day and taking a stroll. I started doing this recently and it does stimulate my thought process. Accountability spawns productivity. Learn it; live it.
It was late November 2012 when we, Ehsan and Mark, got together to build a community free of agenda. We decided to launch SMXChat in February 2013. We got together with the idea of creating a Twitter Chat that gave people a place to question, comment and learn. Our idea was that simple. We wanted to create a place where a community could come together to debate and discuss the opportunities presented by the emergence of Social Media.
Suffice to say that Social Media is fairly well emerged. Mature? Maybe not yet and this is the primary reason that we decided for putting #SMXChat to rest. After four years, there is little left to discover and to chat about. We had the honour of being approached by likes of Sprout Social, The Drum and Social Media London and Meltwater to teach them as how to develop and run a Twitter Chat, including B2B Twitter Chats. We believe…
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Great post and certainly worth your consideration #mentalhealth
It’s Mental Health Awareness Month! Most of my posts this month will be focused on mental health, a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. The endlessly useful Mattieologie podcast reminded me that part of blogging is sharing the lessons that you have learned over time, lessons that maybe you are still learning. What resources do I wish I had when I went through my hardest times? When it comes to mental health, I’ve had a range of experiences that I hope will help my readers. I’ll keep sharing as I myself continue to learn . It’s exciting to be on this journey with you all!
This post is specifically about grounding exercises that can help ease anxious feelings and panic attacks. While doing my research for this post, I realized that I’ve been practicing grounding exercises for so long without even knowing it! When you have…
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Before 35,000 Americans started videotaping themselves base jumping for bragging rights, somebody had to make the decision to jump off a cliff. It’s risky, It may not appeal to everybody, a…
Before 35,000 Americans started videotaping themselves base jumping for bragging rights, somebody had to make the decision to jump off a cliff. It’s risky, It may not appeal to everybody, and at the end of the day the whole exercise could be a colossal failure. But when the jump is made, it sure feels good.
Entrepreneurs take branding risks 100 times a day. Some risks are calculated and planned, others are unexpected and unintended. That being said, all risks are a vital part of becoming the brand you envisioned when you started down this path to entrepreneurship. Though the risks can be enormous at times, brand leaders need to decide how far they are willing to go to mitigate that risk and build a credible brand.
We can all agree; inexpensive marketing platforms exist and that’s fine. Brands should optimize their engagement on platforms that require little investment and far reach. But what if your objectives for your brand are a little more complex? What if you want to build a content marketing strategy that gets a cohesive message out to the right people, across multiple platforms? What if you want click-to brick optimization? In other words, what if you decided to build a great brand. This my friend, requires some soul-searching.
First let’s look at why you decided to launch a brand. Do you have a mission statement and if so, can it resonate with your audience? Next, you might want to right down some marketing objectives, the who, what, when, and why of it all. Now I won’t get into the particulars of launching a brand; there are plenty of resources out there for that. I want you to dig deeper. What can you do for your brand everyday that will increase visibility, mitigate risks, and have multi-platform impact? Many of you hear me use the term “disruption”. I’m usually referring to my brand but what does it mean for your strategy? Sometimes you have to be more brave than scared, more bold than reserved, and more proactive than reactive. And the thing you do that expresses all those theories of thought must be done every day. You have to be persistent and consistent in your boldness. Often clients will tell me, “Well that wasn’t working so I stopped doing it.” My answer is usually, “But didn’t we just start that strategy yesterday?” Here are six other things you should be doing everyday to be brave in your branding.
1. What’s the hook? I refer to my followers as “disruptors” and this will never change. What’s your brand’s cross-platform hook?
2. Proactive approach: What are you doing today that your brand will thank you for tomorrow? Let customers see that you’re walking the talk. Shoot some video that’s related to content you’re sharing across all platforms.
3. Make it Palpable: Your customers just want to feel something, see something, that makes them want to take some action. It’s that simple. Stop complicating it for them.
4. Don’t sell: Your brand is an idea, not a product. The best advertisements, those we remember are those where we see an idea in motion.
5. Keep it consistent. Your message should be consistent across all platforms, even if expressed in different ways.
6. Take a risk! Some of the craziest ideas and call-to-actions are the most successful. If you invite your client’s to have coffee and a run w/ you, don’t be surprised if 1000 people show up. Make it count.
Everyone who has succeeded as an entrepreneur has one thing in common: They plan. Somewhere along the entrepreneurial journey there’s a point at which we make the conscious decision to plan and achieve our goals or we unwittingly decide that we’ve embarked on yet another failed project-no two ways about it. Planning just makes sense. You’ll find that those who plan achieve far more than those who don’t, as planning is a sign of true leadership abilities.
Planning doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact it can be quite fulfilling when approached from a place of self care and professional growth. I started planning because I found comfort in working from lists. Checking things off as I’ve accomplished them makes me feel productive and that I’m moving forward instead of standing still. It’s important to develop your own personal style of planning but if you need examples, there are plenty of them on Instagram or Youtube.
The most popular styles of planning are the traditional “month-at-a-glance” and bullet journaling. As I have an affinity for both and my readers stress how indecisive they can be at choosing one or the other, I thought I’d show you how I incorporate bullet-journaling into my everyday planning style. Like many women, I use the Erin Condren planner. I don’t endorse one planner over any other, EC just works for me. Bullet-journaling, by contrast, offers some unique opportunities for planners:
- Handwriting practice
- Doodling as therapy
- Prioritizing tasks
I plan weekly. I keep a digital calendar for logging meetings, workouts, family schedule, etc., but I prefer a paper planner for mapping out projects, research and other long-form tasks. Once I put my tasks into my weekly planner, I use the following bullet-journaling techniques for ensuring tasks are handled appropriately.
- Key: I place a “key” in my monthly goal section of my planner to mark off priorities. Each symbol can be used to quickly categorize tasks.
- Arrow: arrows symbolize migrated tasks
- X: an “x” symbolizes completed tasks
- Hollow black circle: symbolizes an event/appt
- Filled in circle: symbolizes research needed
- A red star: symbolizes urgent/priority; ususally used for my “top 3” daily priorities
Bullet-journaling incorporated into your personal style of planning helps you stay focused on the task at hand without being an enormous time suck. Once you have a system, developed from your own style, planning will be seamless and eventually you’ll be achieving like a boss!
Colin, this sadly, is all true. There used to be discharge planning meeting that were patient-centered. The scope of these meetings, if they still occur, has changed. Socio-economic issues are never a consideration and often the planning participants are talking over the patient & family’s head. There are ways to change this; we just have to be mindful of the problem.
Blog post by Colin Hung
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) Annual Meeting. It was the first time at this conference and I was excited to be going. I was anxious to see the latest innovations for patient self-care at home and the latest evolution of aging-in-place technologies. I should have read the prospectus better.
The target audience for the NAHC15 event wasn’t patients at all. The 2,500 attendees were mostly from organizations that provide in-home care to patients. Many were from companies that send clinicians, nurses, caregivers and social workers to paitents’ homes. Because of that, many of the vendors in the exhibit hall had tools and technologies that were designed to help manage this type of mobile and remote workforce.
Although I was initially disappointed, I found NAHC15 to be eye-opening. Being a newbie, I spoke…
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These are great tools. and from my POV, Suzi’s sauce is a really good recipe. The only one I haven’t tried is ManageFlitter bu I certainly plan to check it out. You should too.
As a Social Strategist I do a lot of work with clients on building up their brands and executing various types of initiatives and relationship-building. But, as a lot of you know, I also spend a good bit of time building up my own “personal brand”. Now before I go any further let me make it clear that this post is not designed to be a “How to Build Your Personal Brand” post. If I was going to do one of those it would be super short: “Your online persona should be an authentic representation of your offline self.” *mic drop*
The way that I go about building my personal brand may not be how you should do it. A blog, for example, might not be the best fit for you. One of the biggest things that I’ve learned is that you have to be honest with yourself before you…
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