Karen Lum of KLum Consulting, has helped the KRose Company so much with organization and prioritization, that we just had to ask her to share her thoughts will all of you! She gives some tools that she has found and loves and we can’t wait to share them, enjoy!
Organization skills and prioritization methods are abundant online; in fact, there are so many options it can feel quite overwhelming to determine what prioritization methods and organizational tools to adopt for your own professional success. Here is the real key to finding a great prioritization method that works for you; you first need to understand how you think and function best. If you start with understanding your own tendencies and stuck spots you will have far more success when vetting systems and tools to support you with prioritization of goals and tasks.
So how to go about doing this… here are a few options: Find an assessment tool or two that you can take to learn a bit more about how you are wired. Insights Discovery,Myers Briggs are both long-standing assessment tools that can provide insight. The Enneagram assessment has also become quite popular in providing perspective about characteristics and tendencies of individuals.
In addition to these tools, you can do some of your own assessment through journaling and answering questions about your current processes.
Here are 7 self-assessment questions:
Do I have a realistic sense of how long tasks take?
Am I currently using any method at all to track my tasks or time? If yes, describe the method?
What time of day do I feel most in ‘my zone” and productive?
Do I get overwhelmed easily? If so, what specifically triggers my feelings of overwhelm?
What communication method is my preference when someone is delegating work to me?
Do I prefer hard copy business and organization tools or electronic tools? Why?
What is my process for evaluating progress on my goals?
I have three tools that I, as well as many of my clients, use and have had success with and I would love to share them with you!
Trello is an online tool with an app that works wonderfully on mobile as well. Of all the digital organizational tools I have tested or used, Trello remains my favorite. I tend to use a combination of electronic and hard copy prioritization tools and Trello’s interface feels a lot like an old-fashioned bulletin board to me (I dig it!). Trello utilizes digital “index cards” to support users in building out tasks, projects, timelines and accountable parties. It can easily be used by an individual or a large team who is collaborating on a larger goal.
Some of my favorite features of the Trello app are:
– The awesome UX of Trello that feels like a throwback bulletin board but on steroids (it works with my visual learning tendencies)
– Ability to physically drag “cards” to other areas of my “bulletin board”/project list
– Ease of sharing components of my Trello board with others when I want to collaborate
– Color-coding of tasks and projects
– Super smooth experience breaking down any “card” or task into a To-Do list with dates and action items
– The sheer versatility of the tool – basically Trello gives you this simple framework of a bulletin board with columns and you can build them out to reflect any tracking need or project you can think of! You can build an entire board that is just tasks by days of the week. Or you can build out a board that you use for brainstorming new projects. Its amazing and I kinda find it fun, which I can’t say about many professional tools!
I suggest you give my Top FIVE Priority List process a try for three weeks and see what you learn about yourself and the flow of your days. The power of this process is in its simplicity.
The Top FIVE Priority List forces you to focus in on your micro-planning while keeping the bigger picture in mind. I developed this tool for myself when I noticed how susceptible I was to sitting down at my desk in the morning and utilizing email as my guide for what got my attention. Regardless of what larger goals I had on my radar for the day, once I dove into email, I would quickly use an hour (or sometimes more) tackling correspondence or tasks that were not on my radar before that moment. Then I would spend the rest of the day playing catch up while trying to fend off all the negative self talk telling me how I had such a terrible handle on my schedule and had too much to do with the time I had. Can you relate?
Top Five Priority List was born out of my necessity to guide my focus each day and to give me a visual reminder of what I have committed to for the day. The process includes prioritizing the most critical tasks for the following day, before the end of your work day. It supports you in clearing your mind, making choices about how you plan to use your time and force ranking your tasks. Our brains love it when we narrow in our focus and build lists of 5 to 7 items (same reasons memorizing phone numbers works so well!). So do yourself a favor and try this version of micro-prioritizing and see what you learn about yourself and your schedule. The full directions for the Top Five Priority process can be found here.
Have you ever experienced a tough time balancing all your roles or feeling there wasn’t enough time each week to fit “it all in”. First of all, I am here to say, most weeks in our lives will not feel balanced. Try to stop seeking “balance” and your internal contentment meter will probably go up pretty quickly! There will be weeks where work takes first priority and other weeks where the needs of our families or personal goals take the lead. It’s a dance more than a balancing act.
I have found however, that having a tool (whether electronic or hard copy) that provides a week-at-a-glance view has been tremendously helpful in architecting effective schedules I can follow. I use a weekly desk calendar made by Smitten On Paper (but you could make your own as well) to chunk out major themes for each day of the week; this gives me a bird’s eye view of my week so I can experience clarity in how all my days line out for the week.
If you’d like to support a small business local to Bozeman, Hey Day Bozeman, has some amazing planning tools! They carry a lot of Smitten on Paper including the Week-at-a-glance planner I have mentioned and every time I go in, I am constantly finding awesome stuff! Check out their online shop here!
When using the week-at-a-glance tool, I suggest holding yourself to one AM theme and one PM theme. For example: Monday AM is “Admin tasks” and Monday PM is “Client Meetings”. Tuesday AM is: Proposal writing and Tuesday PM is: School pick up /family time. Sometimes an entire day needs to be dedicated to one theme and that is ok too.
The biggest benefits I have experienced since mapping out my week in this way, is a solid sense of the themes that dominant my week (that lets me mentally prepare for what is ahead) for example is this a big client-facing week or a lot of individual project work or maybe even a lot of after work commitments with my family), an opportunity to check in with myself regarding what my overarching priorities are and a chance to adjust them proactively rather than experience regret at the end of the week, a quick at-a-glance check in to see what is coming up in my schedule, any time I need a reference point.
I hope you find some of these processes and tools useful for your own prioritization and planning. Keep in mind, having systems is less important during the times when we are on-fire, in our zone and slaying the day. Systems and tools are there to serve us when we are feeling overwhelmed, disenchanted, lacking focus or feeling less than our stellar selves. Processes and tools are there to provide the structure and discipline we need to actually think LESS and just get to work. Because despite the myths floating around, motivation rarely comes before action; it is action (even micro-movements in the right direction) that then breed motivation and momentum to continue forward!
If you read my first KRose blog post about Google Business Pages, you know that it’s a secret weapon you can use to set your business apart from others in your area. In this second installment, I’m breaking down the five most frequently asked questions about Google My Business pages to help you better understand what your profile can and can not do.
How do you know if your business has a Google My Business account?
If you’re not certain whether your business has a Google My Business page or if your business has not been verified, the easiest way to find out is by googling your business. Does the result show up with a column on the right side displaying your business’s name, hours, reviews etc? Congrats! Your business has likely been verified and your have an account. If not you should go through the easy steps to get verified and begin your account.
How do I link Etsy/Facebook/Instagram to my Google Business page?
Plenty of business owners want to allow searchers to quickly click links to their prominent social media platforms. This comes in handy if you’re a jeweler that wants to link to an Etsy account or if you’re a wedding photographer wanting to link an Instagram. However with a Google Business account, it’s not as simple as dropping a link and pressing save. Google works by taking into considerations things like your business’s prominence and reviews. From there Google makes a decision on whether or not to allow you to link your socials.
Can I delete a bad review?
So, you’ve got a bad review? Trust that you aren’t the only one who has suffered a few 1 or 2-star reviews. Your first instinct might be to quickly delete the review or to reply in anger. However, Google doesn’t allow you to delete your review and replying in anger isn’t the answer either! Instead, thank the customer for their business and their feedback before offering a way to talk off line about resolving the issue. If the comment was written by a troll or was a coordinated attack on your business you can flag it for removal or contact Google Support for help.
Can I schedule posts to my Google Business page?
Do you find that you don’t have the time to get online daily and create attention-grabbing posts? Don’t worry about it! You can always use platforms like Social Report, Sendable, Social Pilot and One Up to easily schedule posts in advance for your account. It can save you time by getting your posts scheduled and ready ahead of time.
Can I have a Google Business page if I share an office with another business?
Unfortunately, no, you can’t have a Google Business account if you share an office with another business. This is because Google looks at things from the viewpoint of the user. If two businesses share the same location it could confuse the user. If you want to have a Google Business page but share an address you’ll want to use a suite number to differentiate between the two businesses.
Do you have other questions about your Google Business page? I’d love to help! KRose readers can schedule a free 15-minute call here.
We use our phones every single day. iPhone accessories are an absolute must. As business owners, the tools we can use are nearly endless. Whether you are checking your email, posting on social media, or calling clients, you need your phone. Since our phones are so critical to our ability to do business, it’s also important to have accessories to make life easier.
Here are Our Top 5 iPhone Accessories We Can’t Live Without:
You don’t need an iPhone to use this tool. I’m on my phone all the time and I’m on the road all the time. When I’m driving long distances, I need to be able to keep in touch with my employees and clients without driving off the road. With this magnetic phone mount I can easily keep an eye on incoming communication.
The Tiranium Stick on Magnetic Car Mount uses magnetic force to securely attach your smartphone in your car, kitchen, office, or bedroom. It’s easy to install and can adhere to almost any surface. With this accessory, you can work hands-free wherever you want.
Have you ever been in the middle of an important phone call and your phone battery dies? It’s a little more than inconvenient. We need our phones charged to use them for our business. You shouldn’t have to worry about a low battery, especially when you’re traveling. I love this charger. It charges and syncs Apple devices easily and efficiently.
You can connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPad through this charger. Some chargers wear out over time and are easily damaged, but not this one. You can rest easy knowing your charger has an extra layer of protection, plus a 2-year warranty.
In addition to having an extra charging cable, a portable charger is another save-the-day necessity. When I’m at a production sale or another event for hours on end, my phone staying charged is critical.
If I’m using my phone for Live footage or anything else, I’m going to see that “Low Battery” notification in no time. Thankfully, I’ve got the Anker portable charger and it has saved the day on many occasions. It doesn’t take up much space as it is super compact and efficient. It charges up my phone quickly so I can continue working without worry.
I love getting work done in coffee shops. But nothing is worse than trying to focus with loud music and chatter in the background. Once I discovered the Letsfit bluetooth headphones, I was hooked. They offer incredible sound quality and cancel out all the other noisy distractions. Letsfit headphones are waterproof and have an 8 hour battery life. Now I can sip on my breve and work on my projects without the loud background noise.
Raise your hand if you’re like me and drop your phone often. It happens to the best of us. If you’ve got a good phone case, you might be OK. If it lands face down, your chances of that awful spider web cracked screen are high.
To avoid the dreaded cracked screen and trip to an iphone screen repair specialist, you are going to want a reliable screen protector. The amFilm version is great and provides high definition and scratch resistance. It’s super durable and thin, and it comes with everything you need to install it: wet/dry wipes, squeeze card, installation guide, and dust removal stickers.
If you are a small business owner that is wanting to learn how to market yourself to the right people, we have just the thing for you! Our Small Business Accelerator is a community of like-minded entrepreneurs that have access to free trainings, classes, and guidance on all things marketing!
We have bundles that will help you with designing your Facebook or Instagram to showcase your brand!
Our Facebook bundle gives you our extensive Facebook audit to show you what’s working and what isn’t. It even includes our creative content calendar that you can use as a guide for your upcoming posts. Planning is everything!
Our Instagram bundle gives you a list of over 100 hashtags that we even use and ones that we know work! You will also have access to 5 Instagram Story templates that you can tweak to your needs with a tutorial. Check it out!
We live in a very busy and distracted world, which makes Cal Newport’s Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World a perfect book choice for anyone trying to improve their productivity. We recommend reading or listening to the whole book, but we also broke down the concepts so you can get a head start on your new productive strategies.
Who it works for:
Anyone wanting to increase their productivity, especially knowledge workers
Anyone who wants to get more done, but in less time
Anyone interested in the science of multitasking, attention, and productivity
What is Deep work?
Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.
“The Deep Work Hypothesis: The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.”
According to Newport, most workers today succumb to something he calls increasingly visible busyness or busyness as proxy for productivity. In the absence of clear indicators of what it means to be valuable and productive at work, many knowledge workers turn toward an industrial indicator of productivity: doing lots of stuff in a visible manner.
Deep work is valuable because it maximizes the amount of productivity you can squeeze out of a certain amount of time.
Deep work is single-tasking
Multi-tasking just causes you to take longer to complete many tasks simultaneously.
Multi-tasking causes attention residue:
Attention Residue: everytime you’re switching from one task to another, a residue of your attention remains stuck thinking about the previous task. This makes it hard to work with the necessary focus and intensity required for deep work on the new task. As a result, you lose a little bit of productivity every time you switch tasks.
Focusing on one task at a time maximizes productive output.
Productive meditation can help you work deeper, even while you’re taking a break
Stop working at the same time each day
Your brain needs space at night to wind down. Quit work, stop checking email, turn off computer, etc. at the same time each day.
“…getting the most out of your deep work habit requires training, and as clarified previously, this training must address two goals: improving your ability to concentrate intensely and overcoming your desire for distraction.”
Practice a few and track your habits. Find out which works best and continue its use.
The monastic approach: Monastic comes from monastery – the place where monks live. It means shutting yourself off completely, for example by moving to a cabin in the woods to write a novel, and not come back until it’s finished.
The bimodal approach: This prioritizes deep work above everything else. You could set a 4-6 hour block each day for deep work, for example, where you lock yourself in your office, similar to the monastic approach. However, once that block is over, you’re free to do everything else that might be on your plate.
The rhythmic approach: This chunks down your work into time blocks, similar to the Pomodoro technique, and uses a calendar to track your progress. For example you’d plan your week ahead of time and put 10 blocks of 90 minutes on your calendar, and make working with timed blocks a habit.
The journalistic approach: If you have a busy daily routine, this works well. What you do is to simply dedicate any, unexpected free time to deep work.
Four Rules of Deep Work:
Rule #1: Work Deeply. Working deeply, due to its effortful nature, is the very thing most of us don’t want to do. Add to this an environment and culture that makes deep work difficult, and a finite amount of willpower that gets depleted as we use it, and you have a recipe for shallow work. To make deep work a staple in our day-to-day lives, we need to create rituals and routines that make things easier and more automatic for us.
Rule #2: Embrace Boredom. Intense concentration is a skill that must be trained. Much like athletes who must take care of their bodies outside of their training sessions, you’ll need to take care of your concentration outside of your deep work sessions. If, throughout your day-to-day life, you give in to distractions at the slightest hint of boredom, you’ll struggle to develop the type of intense concentration necessary for deep work.
Even worse, you’ll literally train and rewire your brain for on-demand distraction. The result? You’ll be wired for getting distracted over and over again even if you want to concentrate and work deeply.
The solution? Embrace boredom. Stop checking your inbox or looking at your smartphone at every opportunity you get. Train your ability to resist distractions.
Rule #3: Quit Social Media. Social media is the prime example for shallow living. Just because it offers a little benefit, doesn’t mean it’s worth the time we give it. You simply can’t work deeply if you feel the need to hop on social media every couple of minutes. Due to its addictive nature, social media and deep living don’t go well together.
Rule #4: Drain the Shallows. The Shallows is the name of a book written on the effects of the Internet on our brains and lives. Shallow work, refers to answering emails, making phone calls, attending to meetings, and other inevitable but ultimately low-value tasks. If you’re serious about working deeply, you need to drain the Shallows – you need to schedule time for deep work and spend as little time on shallow work as possible. Don’t let shallow work get in the way of deep work.
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