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Get More Done At Work, Have More Time For Life

Posted on July 28, 2006 by Sarah Eaton.

A review of Never Check Email in the Morning

Are you a complete mess at the office?  Do you find you’re returning calls a week after getting a voice mail?  Then Never Check Email in the Morning is the book for you. 

It’s also the book for you if you only occasionally feel overwhelmed or disorganized.

Of course, I was attracted to the book by the sensational title.  When I suggested it for review, one of my colleagues said it sounded like a good idea, but that, seriously, I have to check email in the morning.  I agreed then, and after having read the book, I still agree.

Having said that, there are many takeaways people can apply to amp up their productivity—and with that, their work-life satisfaction.  Julie Morgenstern, “Oprah’s favorite organizing expert,” imparts a number of suggestions gleaned from her work with clients.

My time-saving gift for you: I have separated the suggestions into two categories: useful and really hard to accomplish.

Useful tips:

  • You’ve heard it before, but have you taken it to heart yet?  Stop multi-tasking.  It just scatters your ability to focus, and it takes you longer to get things done than if you concentrate solely on the task at hand.
  • How many steps from the revenue line is each item on your to-do list?  Complete the items that will have the largest impact on the bottom line first.
  • To minimize interruptions, rehearse some catchphrases to get you temporarily off the hook, like “I’m working on a deadline right now.  I’ll get back to you this afternoon.”  (That means you really do have to get back to the interrupt-er that afternoon, by the way, otherwise he’ll never believe you and just plough ahead the next time you use your line.)
  • Do stuff right away.  Are you returning from a sales call with a small tower of business cards?  Don’t stack them behind your computer monitor; enter them in Outlook immediately. 
  • If an employee shoddily completes work you delegated to her, don’t correct it yourself.  Send it back for corrections.  Delegation is about other people completing tasks.

Tips that require a major shift in thinking:

  • Never check email in the morning.  Okay, I would just die if I couldn’t check my email in the morning: Not everyone I work with is in my time zone, as is the case with most people in this crazy, electronic world.  Things happen when I am not in the office, things that could change my morning’s plans. 
  • Morgenstern suggests a whole list of ways you can minimize time spent in meetings, but most of the suggestions require being a pest: Question the length of the meeting; ask if you really have to be there; see if you can send your assistant instead; make everyone in the meeting stand the whole time, etc.
  • The last chapter is called “Work Well With Others.”  To do so, you need to be accessible, reliable, adaptable, respectful, clear and fair.  If you have trouble with any one of these issues, it’s going to take more than a few actions points to turn you around.  You will need to completely re-think the way you interact with people.   

Tip I’m trying out:

  • Quiet hour: Many of my responsibilities require complete silence and concentration, but many others require interaction with people on my team.  Every day from two o’clock to three o’clock next week will be “quiet hour” at BeTuitive, so everyone gets a chance to focus.  I’ll let you know how it works out in a blog post.

Everyone has difficulties with some aspect of his work life, and honestly, Morgenstern touches on most of those troubles in her book.  If you’re a procrastinator, she can help you out.  Ditto if you’re a perfectionist, your office is disorganized or you take on too much work. 

Not every chapter applies to every person, and not every challenge is discussed in the depth you might need or want.  But, the book does a great job of identifying and illustrating common work concerns and helping the reader pinpoint his own problems.   

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July 28, 2006 in award winning blog, award winning newsletter, Award winning publications, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Blogs, Brand enhancement, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, business credibility, Business relationships, CMO, company newsletter, company newsletter sample, corporate magazine, Corporate newsletter, create a newsletter | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Good writing isn't always correct writing

Posted on July 13, 2006 by Sarah Eaton.

Quick, which sounds better when you read it?

There are a lot of challenges our solution can help with.

There are a lot of challenges with which our solution can help.

One, according to your seventh grade English teacher, could get you thrown in the slammer by the grammar police, but...in some situations it might work better because it sounds less stilted.

Check out this entry on the Big Bad Book Blog.

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July 13, 2006 in audio publication, award winning blog, award winning magazine, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, Blogging Tools, Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, Business editorial, business magazine, Business publications, company blog, company newsletter, company newsletter sample, Corporate Blogging, corporate magazine, create a newsletter | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Design that affects the bottom line

Posted on July 07, 2006 by Kat.

How often do I speak about design and its relationship to customer interaction with, and perception of, a product (and therefore the product's sales)?

Design often comes as an afterthought, but more often than not, this is a mistake. Today CNN.com showcases a few case studies of package design that demonstrated a measurable impact on the bottom line. It's not just words which get people to listen to what you want them to hear. Words are important, of course, but you 1. have to get their attention first, and 2. still have to give them something they want, need, or like.

Design your bottom line.

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July 7, 2006 in award winning design, award winning newsletter, blog publish, Building Customer Community, company blog, corporate magazine | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Get Real

Posted on July 05, 2006 by Kathryn Regina.

It’s summertime, and if you’re a TV-watcher (and don’t try to say you’re not), that means a proliferation of reality TV. From Nanny 911 to The Hills, you can watch “regular” people do just about anything on television. And now advertising is getting in on the real-life action.

In the Forbes.com article “Advertising Gets Real,” Marc E. Babej and Tim Pollak explore reality advertising.  From the "Safe Happens" Jetta commercials to an anti-smoking campaign featuring a cancer victim with a tube in his throat, advertisers are abdicating the artificial for a wallop of reality.

Regarding the anti-smoking campaign, Babej and Pollak say, “It’s a fascinating approach, because it dares go beyond the realm of commonly accepted advertising etiquette. The protagonist is so real and vulnerable, his story so pitiable, that the ads are at once repelling and compelling, whipsawing our emotions. He’s not talking about his feelings or issuing a warning--he’s demonstrating what his life is all about. It’s very matter-of-fact, and that’s what makes the campaign so impactful.”

Though must of us don’t deal with such shocking subjects, a dose of reality is good for business.  From telling your business narrative in an audio format (a service that our client StoryQuest provides) to admitting your company’s weaknesses, the human element lends credibility, and if nothing else, entertainment.

Advertising Gets Real

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July 5, 2006 in Building Customer Community | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack