Chances are, if you’re reading this at work you could (and probably should) be doing something else with your time. I’d love for everyone to read from start to end, but take a step back and spend two minutes tackling one of your smaller tasks and then come back. Set the pattern for productivity early in the day and carry that work ethic with you until you’ve finished!
Still here? Great!
Here are 5 Time Mnagement Practices for the Digital Age.
Why not find out more about our Time Management training course?
"Eat the Frog"
It’s amazing what you remember from when you are a child.
For me, it's “eat the frog”.
I spent many teenage years agonising over things that just weren’t important in the grand scheme of things - horrible, menial tasks that wouldn’t result in anything more significant than a nod of approval from your least favourite biology teacher.
I would go to my mother during my distress and tell her my tale of woe. Her response? “Eat the frog”, get it done now and put it behind you. There’s no need to spend the rest of the day worrying about those unpaid invoices when you could spend an hour doing it now. Sure, it will be a gruelling hour, but you will feel far better having done it and can instead focus on other tasks with the stress off your back.
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first”. - Mark Twain
Bill Murphy Jr's 'Mark Twain was a Marketing Genius' is a great piece on a man far ahead of his time.
Create a Simple Daily Plan
After setting up the day’s training in the morning, I sit down and plot out which tasks need to be completed on simple lined paper. By all means use a program like Evernote, or an excel spreadsheet, just take the first step to tackling workload and write it down.
We are all guilty of seeking complex answers to simple questions. Civilisations have functioned for thousands of years without the latest voice planner. You’ll get more satisfaction from physically ticking items off a checklist than you will from any spreadsheet.
By the time you’ve thought of what you’ve needed to do, opened the software/spreadsheet, created a table, typed in each item and saved the document to your desktop you could have already tackled the first task of the day. A window on your computer screen quickly gets lost in the mass of emails and proposals. Write it down – get it done.
See The Bigger Picture
You are employed (hopefully) to do a job. Said job entails work. No getting around it, there’s no miracle cure for procrastination. But realising that you have a time management issue is the first step to overcoming it. If planning and preparing aren’t doing the trick then maybe the answer is time management training. We all know that feeling after a particularly inspiring email from the manager or the latest TED talk, that new found enthusiasm drives us to work 50% harder that day. But it’s easy to lapse back into old habits. 50% becomes 40% as the weeks progress and eventually you’re right back where you started.
Our Time Management training will teach you life skills to maximise productivity and get the most out of your time.
Tidy Desk, Tidy Mind
Clean away your worries; it’s as simple as that. We’re not just talking about stray coffee mugs. Either deal with that paperwork now or put it back in the filing cabinet so you can apply yourself to it later when there are fewer distractions.
If you don’t have the time or space to do it right, when will you have the time to do it again?
Check out Lifehack's 'Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools'
Much like the planning stage of your day, organise your desk to suit the day’s needs. If you don’t need it in the immediate future, then there’s a better place for it. Tidying your desk and focus on one thing at a time.
We never said it was rocket science.
Prepare for Meetings
So the marketing department weekly meeting happens every Friday. This time, go in prepared.
What am I going to be asked – this week’s events, current state of projects etc.
- How will I respond – Hopefully if you’ve followed the rest of our tips then you should have had organised enough time to get that work done!
- What’s on the agenda for next week? – Permitting the rest of your work is of equal importance; try to tackle the bulk of your work earlier in the week.
- Prepare your own questions – This doesn’t take long at all, but do it! There’s nothing worse than worrying about a potential deadline over the weekend because you forgot to ask the question during Friday’s meeting.
Covered the main points? Instead of waiting till the end of the meeting as you usually do and having to rush the rest of the day’s unfinished work, test the water and see if there is a point during the meeting that you could leave at with the rest of the department. Of course, be sensible, but we all know how some meetings are prone to dragging on a bit.
Make sure you’ve taken plenty of notes! But don’t leave them in the midst of the rest of your desk mess! Do next week’s checklists in advance, prioritise the tasks on your daily checklist in order of urgency. There’s a difference between something that’s urgent and something that’s important. (Eisenhower's Urgent/Importance Principle)
Tomorrow you will wish that you had done it yesterday.
Take active steps to complete your work before it becomes overwhelming.
We at Silicon Beach Training believe in making training engaging, interesting and easy to understand. Using analogies and stories in Project Management can make even complex concepts and ideas relatable, something that has been much written about in recent years - like this excellent article by Dan Vinson of PM Solutions.
We have been running successful PRINCE2 courses for many years (small classes, great material and superb pass rate). PRINCE2 is an impressive and notably sought-after qualification. It’s undeniably effective as a project methodology and makes projects far simpler for all parties involved. But even the most thoroughly planned projects can be difficult to relate to at times.
BREAKING NEWS - Your tweets are already appearing in Google search!
Earlier today we sent out a tweet about using analogies in Project Management written by, Project Management Solutions, a US based Project Management college.
Within an hour, we were looking up the author so that we could let him know we had tweeted him - always a good idea as it can help build relationships on your social media accounts. Our tweet appeared in the Google serps.
Heather is always advocating Brighton as being one of the best places in the world for event photography; she was recently quoted in the Argus after her “British Life” photography award for saying so. Heather has been thinking of organising some event photography courses for a while. It’s something she has had great experience in. She has been running the Street Photography course in Brighton and has it off to a fine art. Learn invaluable photography tips during the day, have some fun, and take advantage of the opportunities that Fringe City, an annual Brighton Fringe event, provides.
There will only be two courses running during the Brighton Fringe Festival. They will take place on the 3rd and the 16th May. Delegates will start at Silicon Beach Training, where they will look at and discuss some of her favourite techniques, and how they might be achieved.
All the action is just down the road, so you can go down and warm up before the characters arrive, have a go at shooting before having lunch at a pre-booked cafe.
Places will be restricted to 6, Heather has a timetable prepared so everyone gets some time, more shooting takes place after lunch before taking the images back to Silicon Beach for reviews and a demonstration of Heather’s favourite processing tips.
Find out more or book a place on our Event Photography course.
You've been advised to "keep it simple" on visuals and now you're even thinking about outsourcing your SEO efforts?
There's no need to skimp on form to enhance the function of your website.
I've picked out five of the best responsive SEO friendly themes for your WordPress site that look great, but look even better in search.
Are you thinking of using social media campaigns to engage with your customers?
Looking for advice on how to create a successful social media campaign?
Social media campaigns have evolved from simple Facebook contests and Twitter competitions into fully integrated promotional campaigns spanning several social networks. Think Chipotle’s Scarecrow campaign or Dove’s hugely shared viral video campaigns. Of course much of these campaigns have come from big brands with resources that a small business would be hard pressed to match. Some campaigns like the ice bucket challenge evolve virally, but with a little planning there is no reason why your social media campaign can’t reach audiences beyond your demographic.
Creating your Social Media Campaign Plan
So you've been tasked to develop a social media campaign.
You use Facebook to connect with your friends but not much more than that. You follow celebrities on Twitter but you don’t have a clue about promoted tweets or the best hashtags to use. Your boss says “we need to get on Ello, Instagram is hot and we just have to be on Bubbly don’t we?” Would you know how to get started?
A planned campaign is a successful campaign. A plan keeps you focused on the number of steps you’ll need to take along the way.
So how do you actually plan an engaging social media campaign with very little resources and not much time? Good question - one that we can help you answer in 7 simple steps to planning a social media campaign.
By now you probably will have heard the news that 'cinemagraphs' are coming to Facebook ads. If you haven't heard of a cinemagraph before then take a moment to appreciate the almost-hypnotic power of a Yellowstone waterfall from footage captured in a video 'Echoes in the Canyon' by David Hollandsworth.
Credit: Reddit user 'BigMurph26'
What is a 'Cinemagraph'?
A cinemagraph is usually video that, through image editing software has been converted into a sequential, looping gif. The creator has edited the video so that large portions of the image are stabilised and selected sections are kept mobilised. We expect marketers will take advantage of Facebook's autoplay function for videos. I personally believe that cinemagraphs will become the greatest aesthetic marketing tool to hit Facebook in recent years.
Cinemagraphs have been around since 2011 when Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg created the method to advertise their fashion photography. It doesn't take a trained eye to see why cinemagraphs are so effective. I imagine the Twitter and Tumblr users amongst us will be no strangers to the occasional 'living image'. Animated .gif's have long been an art form on Tumblr - almost exclusively (until now).
Twitter technically supports animated gifs. In reality, they have been converted into MP4 video and must be clicked on to be viewed. No surprises that they often don't take off.
Use these step by step instructions to sort your lists with maximum efficiency in Excel.
Excel can sort columns into order alphabetically and numerically. You can perform a single column sort of multi column sort.
The Sort command can be found on the Home tab under the Editing group.
Important: When setting up the list, include a set of column headings (as example below). These are used to control the sort columns. The list must be sequential, i.e. no row gaps from the top of the list to bottom.
Single Column Sort
Click into a cell in the column that you wish to sort by, as in the example below the First Name column.
Select the Data tab, then to sort by A to Z or Z to A.
You've been here before, the last time you and the client spoke you didn't exactly see eye to eye. Now months of negotiations are at risk and potentially big figures in profit too.
Don't make that call. Re-evaluate where you are in negotiations and see what you can take from these killer tips to close that deal.
Negotiations are all about your relationship with the client. If you're seeing your role in negotiations as an opportunity to make money at the expense of the client then you're looking at it all the wrong way. Negotiations are professional relationships. Benefits should and can be mutually profitable whilst retaining a relationship with a client that will last years.
Our Negotiation Skills training will give you the knowledge and tools necessary to be able to conduct any negotiation as a competitive and collaborative negotiation.
A good deal might not revive a bad relationship, but a good relationship can revive a bad deal.
When you ask any group of workers what motivates them to come to work, at least one and probably most will include 'money' in the response. Pay is a big issue for most people and is certainly a reason why people go to work, even sometimes staying in jobs they don't like. But is it a motivator?
Herzberg's Two Factor Theory suggests that there are two different sets of factors that determine job dissatisfaction and job satisfaction.
Herzberg's Two Factor Theory
|Satisfiers/Motivation Factors||Dissatisfiers/Hygiene Factors|