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.
I see you. I see you disappointed because you advertised a Black Friday sale that didn’t work. I see you typing away on your laptop trying to write the perfect social media posts while your family watches the parade. I see you politely smiling when your aunt makes a backhanded compliment at dinner about your “little business.” I see you rubbing the sleep from your eyes, hours after everyone else in your house is sound asleep, while you struggle to cross one more task off your to-do list.
I want you to know you’re not a failure just because your deals weren’t claimed. You aren’t wasting your time just because your post only got two likes. Your business isn’t little.
The only thing you have that no one else has is you — your mind, your story, your vision, your creativity. Don’t waste your time trying to be like anyone else because nobody can do you better than you can.
Remember, you cannot compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. As a small business owner, this can be challenging. There are some businesses who made it look like their Black Friday deals were sold out even though they weren’t. There are business owners who falsify their excitement on social media. Don’t let anything you see online make you feel bad.
Remember that your income from Black Friday does not determine your importance or your worth. It is one day out of the year and you are putting in the work to build your business every single day.
There are 33 more days in 2018. You have 33 days to kick some serious butt.
I realize it’s very easy to get pulled into the holiday craziness. But you make your business a priority — even when it’s inconvenient or you just don’t feel like it. Real winners in business are those who put their nose to the grindstone when they have a more enticing option.
So yes, we’ll be the ones saying “no” to a Christmas party or two so we can move our businesses forward. It feels so hard in the moment, but we know that these small sacrifices make all the difference.
Schedule out your work days, say “no” to a few gatherings, and use the next month to launch yourself into an incredibly successful 2019. Success in not your income or the number of followers you have on Facebook. Success doesn’t have to be massive and unobtainable. Success is the dent, the impact, you are making in this world. It really doesn’t matter if your audience is 30 people or 30 thousand people. When was the last time you had 30 people crowded into a room to hear what you have to say?
You are impacting lives — even if you feel like a small fish in a big pond. I don’t want you to completely forget about your Black Friday deal that flopped. But instead of dwelling or feeling upset, use it as a rock to build your tower. Use the lessons you learned and customer feedback to discover what the next right move is for your business.
It can definitely sting when a strategy fails or a customer shares a negative experience they had with your company. I’ve been there. Use that sting to become better. Take note of why it didn’t work out the way you planned and utilize that information to make strategic choices with your next sale. Then let it go and continue to move forward.
How much money you made on Black Friday doesn’t mean anything about your success. Some of you were depending on that money to help with Christmas. I know this hurts because the money you were expecting didn’t come in. Keep your head up and don’t give up. Your success is not defined by how many people pushed “buy now” on your black Friday deal.
I share with you the hottest marketing strategies every month, but today I wanted to share some of the tools and resources I find timeless. These are the programs and systems my team and I use on a daily basis, and I don’t see them going away anytime soon.
Asana is an incredible platform I use to manage my business. My team and I use Asana as a project management system. It allows me to keep track of all the employees, contractors and projects. I can add deadlines, tag team members, keep projects, and much more.
One of my favorite uses of Asana is our “Daily Check-in”. Everyday the KRose team logs in and writes what three things they are working on that day. At the end of the day, we have a “Ta-done list”. We go in and type everything we finished for the company. I can check in, answer any questions, and see the business moving forward. I know exactly how many emails were sent, phone calls made and what other projects were accomplished. It gives us all a sense of accomplishment because we finished all those tasks on the Ta-done list.
The best part about Asana is the ability to organize different projects. When we have a project for our customers, you can assign recurring events, such as posting on Instagram, which we do every single day. Asana gives us a main platform where we can all come together, see what’s due that day, see what everyone’s working on and keep tabs on all the projects.
Through Asana, you can set up notifications for email and/or on the phone app for when someone tags you or you have a task due. This is great when a team member tags me or asks my expertise. I’m allowed to go in and answer them without a bunch of back-and-forth emails. Asana is incredible that way.
It comes in a desktop version and an app version. You can have different teams, you can have different projects. We love Asana for helping move our business forward.
I get asked all the time, “What do you use for your Live videos on Facebook?” It’s a great question. We all know video is extremely important, both on Facebook, Instagram, and your website. If you’re not doing Facebook Live, you’re missing out. People watch millions of hours of video there. I have a video all about common mistakes I see on Facebook.
So let’s talk about the program I use for Facebook Live. It’s important to use a program for a couple different reasons. This program allows me to schedule my Facebook Lives. I can tell my tribe I’m going to be Live tomorrow at 11 a.m. and they can get a reminder when I hop on. This is priceless.
Ecamm Live allows us to automatically download our Facebook Live videos so we can repurpose them. Every Facebook Live we do turns into one or two instagram captions, 15 quotes, a blog, and an email that’s filled with value. You need to make sure you’re downloading your Facebook Lives so that you can repurpose the content.
It gives you the opportunity to share your screen. While you’re on Facebook Live, if you want to teach something and need to hop over to your website, check your pixels, or whatever you need, it allows you to flip the screen over. You can share your background or share a powerpoint when teaching on Facebook Live. Ecamm Live does have a small cost. It’s an incredibly powerful tool.
On our Live videos we put the KRose logo in the corner so people know who I am and what I’m talking about without having to look far. I highly recommend utilizing this program so you can create Facebook Lives that impacts your viewers now, plus you can save content for later.
As a small business owner, the bidding process can be really challenging. Before we invested in 17 Hats, we were struggling to follow up with customers and keep track of who received a bid. It’s really important to find a tool that helps organize the process. Here’s where 17 Hats comes in.
When we found this program it was a game changer for us. We can enter someone in as a contact, say what they’re interested in, and tag an employee who needs to follow up with them. We have email templates that are pre-written to talk to the customer.
For example, in our logo bidding process, the email we send when we bid a logo is already pre-written. We go in and customize it to the person with a bid and it can be sent within about two minutes. No longer do I need to come up with a custom email. It includes all the wonderful things I want our audience to see and I can send it right away.
It comes in a checklist, so if they receive the bid email, and they haven’t replied in advance, we have a follow up email we can go in and send 4 days later. If they book the project, it tells us to send an invoice, and gets them in touch with their designer. We send the first round of drafts and it’s all laid out for you in 17 Hats. It helps us stay organized and is well worth the investment.
Speaking of organization, download our free Monthly Success Guide to set goals, manage your budget, and stay on track to growing your business.
I talk more in depth about each of these tools over on our new YouTube page. Remember to like and subscribe as we build our channel!
It is important to understand how other people think, what motivates them, and what causes them fear. I discovered the Enneagram this past year and knew right away that I needed to implement it with my team. The Enneagram is essentially a science of personalities. It’s been studied for many years and is an incredibly powerful tool for understanding ourselves and others.
My team and I had a retreat this past summer and I had everyone on the team take the test prior to coming. One night we discussed everyone’s personality types and it was truly enlightening. Previous communication errors made a lot more sense. I communicate in a certain way based on my personality, but certain personalities respond differently. I’ve learned to adjust my approach based on the team member I am talking to.
Here are a few KRose team members and our personality types:
Me (Karoline Rose)
I’m an Enneagram 8, The Challenger, and my personality is fairly unique. The descriptions states: I am powerful, dominating, self confident, willful, and confrontational. Eights can come across as harsh or rude, and let me tell you, I’m no exception. I have heard this a lot from people when they first meet me. Even when I was young, I’m told I came across as very bold and rude, even though I didn’t mean to (most of the time).
I have let my team know if I come across as decisive and wilful, saying what is on my mind, I’m not doing it to be rude. This is just how I function and I don’t even think about it. At their best, 8s are merciful, mastering themselves through self-surrender. They’re courageous and willing to put themselves in serious jeopardy to achieve their vision. When healthy, 8s can have lasting influence and may achieve true heroism and heroic greatness. The harder side of being an 8 is learning to yield to others and remembering the world is not against you.
Our digital marketing strategist is an Enneagram 6, The Loyalist, which rings true of her character. Loyalists are the committed, security-oriented type: engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious. Six’s are known as excellent troubleshooters. They can foresee problems and foster cooperation, but they can also be defensive, evasive, and anxious. Sixes might struggle with self-doubt. At their best, loyalists are internally stable and self-reliant, courageously championing themselves and others.
Sounds like a pretty great personality to be on a team, right? She keeps a lot of ships afloat, and it’s comforting to know her loyalty is so strong. Her basic fear is to be abandoned and left without support, so I try to remember this and check in with her so she knows I’ve got her back like she has mine.
Our Pinterest expert is Enneagram Type One, The Reformer, which is one of the rarer personalities. Her type is known as the rational, idealistic type, principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic. Ones are ethical and conscientious, with a strong sense of what is right and wrong. They are advocates for change, always trying to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Ones are well-organized, orderly, and try to maintain high standards. But they can slip into becoming perfectionistic and critical. They can be resentful and impatient. At their best, ones are wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. They desire to have integrity and balance and fear being corrupt/evil or defective.
Lexi’s role significantly grew after learning more about her strengths. She is incredibly organized and we have had her help with our productivity systems. She’s a great resource for opinions and objective feedback. When we see her kids crawling on her in our Zoom meetings, everyone knows Lexi has her head in the game and is as focused as ever. We can trust her because she has such a strong sense of ethical responsibility.
Our business manager is also an 8, The Challenger. She is straight-talking and decisive. Although some might see “confrontational” as a negative quality, it actually lends itself well in the business. We do have the same personality type, but of course everyone still has their individuality. I don’t love conflict and have had Rachel handle employee terminations and other tough conversations. It causes me stress, but she can take care of it with her strong personality and conviction.
Since we both are challengers, it is inevitable we will butt heads from time to time. But we understand each other very well and can step back to see where the conflict is rooted. I know Rachel will persist through any hurdles the company encounters. She’s not going to back down or give up.
Our creative writer is an Enneagram 9, The Peacemaker. This type is known as easygoing, self-effacing, receptive, reassuring, agreeable, and complacent. Nines are usually creative, optimistic, and supportive, but also can be too willing to go with the flow to keep the peace with others — even if they don’t like where the flow is going. They often have problems with stubbornness and inertia. At their best, nines are indomitable and all-embracing, capable of bringing people together and healing conflicts. They want to create harmony in their environment, avoid conflicts and tension, and resist anything upsetting.
I had noticed with Natasha before the retreat that if I didn’t get back to her on a topic, she wouldn’t push me for what she needed to finish a project. I realized she just didn’t want to be a “pest”. Now that we understand our personalities better, she is much more willing to check in with me, knowing I’m not annoyed by her follow ups. We also realized she could be a great resource for mediation whenever needed.
I also want to tell you about the 9 energies. The Enneagram alone is slightly flawed, I think, because people might not answer the questions 100 percent honestly. They might answer in the way they wish they were, instead of who they are today. With the 9 energies, you learn about how your body language expresses your personality. Each energy type has a certain look. Eights have similar structures and faces; their eyes are set the same way and they’ll sit close to you. You can learn how to better react to pressure. Some people hold power in their shoulders, hips, or in the ground.
One of our customer’s, Susan Fisher, is the co-founder of 9 Energies. I’ve been typed and I’m definitely an 8. But when I first took the Enneagram, I got a 3, known as The Achiever. I think it’s because I didn’t want to fully admit my faults. Now that I know much more about 8s and the look of 8s, I feel it is very similar to who I am.
The 9 Energies examines:
a specific facial expression
a quality to how the eyes are used and what they look like
an energetic signature that occurs when the Natural Energy is active
specific muscular and skeletal body development
Looking at both the positive and negative sides to your personality can be tough, but incredibly helpful. We can only become better by recognizing our flaws. Check out 4 Tips for Staying Emotionally Healthy.
I’m so curious to know your personality type. Comment below with your results and how you feel about them. When you know more about the people around you, there will be fewer arguments and confusion.
There are so many systems, platforms, and programs available to optimize productivity. But it’s really hard, especially when you are just starting out, to discover which are best for you and your business. I wanted to tell you what I see are growing trends and the best tools to move your business forward. We test out and research these tools thoroughly in order to cut down the busy work for you.
Behavioral economist Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize in October 2017 by proving people are not rational — at all — when it comes to decision making. His research proved that emotions are the source of action, rather than logic. He highlighted the importance of understanding that consumers make financial and purchase decisions using processes not based on logic or calculation. Author of “Brainfluence”, Roger Dooley, said there is definitely a trend toward using more non-conscious factors in advertising and marketing. “While products like fragrances and fashion have always focused on emotion, the vast majority of marketers continue to talk about product features and benefits,” Dooley said.
Tools like priming, anchoring, framing, social proof, and more can make an offer more appealing. This makes it more likely to turn an ideal customer into a paying one.
Emotional engagement requires a shift in thinking about the customer experience. Rather than leading with the sale, provide experience or touchpoints to nurture customers along toward the sale point.
Artificial intelligence is arguably the hottest of the hot marketing strategies today. Most of us are at least curious about what AI really means and what its benefits are in marketing. Chatbots have been growing in popularity and continues to grow. Chatbots are software programs that mimic human conversation. They help answer customer questions quickly and can drive engagement by offering suggestions. This new method can provide a memorable and useful customer service experience. Chatbots have a “sense” of humor and personality when functioning as they should. They can adapt frequently asked questions using machine learning and natural language usage. The chatbots get smarter the more they are used.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is not a new concept by any means. But our knowledge and tactics have grown over time. There are new trends that have formed, which are important to stay on top of.
Search engines like Google or Bing ask advertisers to provide as much information as possible. This includes providing price ranges for a product or service with different options. Business owners should prepare for these changes and develop their feed-based advertising opportunities to create the best product ad possible.
Links in search marketing
We might start to see a decrease in the importance of links. Links will remain a contributing factor in search engine algorithms, but they will become more personalized. Search history, live data, and social context are going to become more important than links for SEO. There will be an increased focus on contextual search
For a very long time, I thought everything had to be perfect. Before I presented a project to a client or to the world via Facebook or Instagram, I wanted it to be absolutely perfect. By perfect I mean 100 percent flawless. Every spelling error needed to be fixed, all the punctuation double checked, all the formatting and grammar had to be perfect.
I quickly had to realize that done is better than perfect. This doesn’t mean I can be lazy. There’s a big difference between imperfection and laziness. But if I don’t follow “Done is better than perfect,” I can get so caught up on perfecting everything that I never finish the project.
I use the high priority, low priority, urgent, not urgent punnett square. I keep this in the back of my mind with each task I assign a team member and every assignment that comes on my plate. My natural tendency is to put everything in the high priority/urgent square. I have to remind myself that some tasks can fall into other categories. Not everything can be done right away. I also have to remind myself to celebrate the small wins.
So, how do I let little moments fuel me?
Celebrate the small wins
As a high strung personality, I want to continuously go, go go, and my tendency is to forget to stop and celebrate. When I have everything in high priority/high importance, I feel anxious. I make every single thing a big deal — every email, text, call feels like it needs to be taken care of immediately. When I think like that, I can’t ever let myself relax.
I have to tell myself, OK, that blog got recorded. I accomplished that task. I need to take 5 minutes and be proud of that instead of moving right on to the next blog and being frustrated that I don’t get 5 blogs recorded.
Letting little moments fuel me means that I am taking time to stop and celebrate success. When I get a blog recorded I’ll listen to my favorite song on the radio before I listen to the next one. (I know I talk about not listening to the radio, but because I’m about halfway through writing my book, I have stopped listening to audiobooks and most business podcasts so I can be truly creative in my own way and not in someone else’s way.)
It means letting some things wait until tomorrow and letting other things wait until next week and being OK with that. It’s important to communicate with my team what can wait and what can’t wait. But what causes me the most anxiety is when I put something in high priority/importance and someone in my team doesn’t. Then I’m wondering why they didn’t just stop everything and do it right then. It’s because they put it in a different category, which goes back to communication.
Remember the positives
I have a folder of kind words people have sent me about how I have impacted their business or their lives. If I’m having a really frustrating day, I’ll often look at them and read through them. It’s easy to forget the positive remarks. I can have 100 people give me feedback and if one out of 100 is negative, I remember that negative feedback. But I strive to hold on to the positive feedback now. I make sure if I’m having a negative or frustrating day and need some little moments, I look at those kind words.
I also ask for encouragement from the team. If I’m doing something that I’m not feeling the best about, I might send a message to my teammates and say, “I’m needing some support, are you liking this project? Do you feel like it’s going well?” Their support gives me an extra push and I have the momentum to keep going to the next project.
Download our Monthly Success Guide to stay organized and move your business forward. And don’t forget to check out our new YouTube channel for the inside scoop on how to grow your social media following, hacks for busy entrepreneurs, and a heck of a lot more.
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