You know there are multiple areas of your business that require documentation. Understanding each unique area may take time but the process to document them is really simple.
It’s the holidays and, as always, we’re reviewing list after list to find the perfect, thoughtful gift that shows true appreciation, provides a bunch of laughs or just sparks imagination. Whether your writers publish content to tell a story, support your brand or prepare specific processes for your products, everyone likes to have special gifts during the holidays that show gratitude for their hard work.
Here’s a breakdown of what writers truly want for the holidays.
If the best writer in your office needs encouragement for the next 2 years, this day planner fits the bill. Either do or do not. No try.
For the tech savvy and environmentally conscious writer producing your notes. The perfect gift is a Rocket Book Gift Set which eliminates waste and allows you to upload your handwritten notes to the cloud. Writers will love that AI allows them to use smart titles for easy naming and searching once the notes are uploaded and saved.
Every writer has a favorite pen! This one will replace it! The Echo Smartpen takes quick notes, records what you’ve written and immediately plays back everything you written by touching the pen point to the notepad. The pen saves notes and audio recordings to your computer (notebook is included) so scribes won’t have to remember what that tiny note in the margin meant!
Writers always have schedules and imminent deadlines so having a reminder of when to work (write, edit) and when to play (drink) and when to repeat is always helpful. Mind the time.
Image from Amazon
Anyone who’s chosen the profession of writer – no matter blogger, technical, trainer or ghostwriter – knows a thing or two about the notorious lives of novelists. They may also know a thing or two about drinking! Whether the preference is for tequila or whisky, these glasses will not only entertain but will spark many a literary discussion.
Video scripts have gone to production, novel draft is complete, blog posts are set for the week, now is the time to celebrate no longer having writer’s block! If it hasn’t been a hard liquor day then a relaxing wine is in order, you can choose red or white to fit the occasion.
Combine your drinks with literary knowledge!
Just in case you don’t notice their cape, your resident writer has a mug to prove that they are super!
English Breakfast tea to wake you up and what writer doesn’t love to read a new literary quote each day?
A single serve is a good place to start then you can pop in another (now) recyclable K-cup pod and drink until you finish your user guide, policy doc or that brand story that’s going to make your career.
Avid Reader Writers
To help business writers stay focused and produce quality work in a timely manner.
Add more business to your creativity. Need to document a new product, devise a specific web user’s process or explain the whole procedure in an infographic…but you’re not sure how to get started. Help the writing in your life win the war of art!
Inspired by The Artists Way, this updates the process for a modern audience.
Bonus 1: Tribe of Mentors
Bonus: If you need a little incentivizing from a mentor, the tribe is ready to step in and help you through your writer’s block or deconstructing a difficult doc process
Let the world know who you are!
Some writers are classic and enjoy the scratch of pen on paper to awaken their Muse. No quill needed; this pen has a modern design. A vintage accessory reminds everyone that the most important part of writing is to be able to write.
Yes, the typewriter keyboard has a nostalgic feel but has been modernized with a programmable return bar and wireless connectivity. Type up the latest software requirements from here and show them that you’re both old-school and up to date!
With 3 notepads in one, this leather-bound journal encourages creativity with 2 blank and 1 lined pad and includes inspirational quotes from famous writers. For travel bloggers, designers, aspiring poets and all the writers in between.
Artistic imagination knows no bounds with exercises and ideas pulled from the creative writing classes of famous novelists. Channel Toni Morrison and Kurt Vonnegut then get back to business as you write the Great American Ad Copy!
With this 12-year best seller, writers will have all the tools they need to make How-To guides, FAQ’s and User Documentation exciting and fun!
A deck of 26 cards can revitalize your writing whether you’re publishing a post about the latest marketing technique, A/B testing a Facebook ad or adding a flurry of hashtags to your product’s Instagram post, having a “What would Indy Do” scenario has to brighten you outlook on business writing with advice like “Don’t let expectation box your hero in.”
I recommend the card “Talking it out,” to get you through the next business meeting where you know all of it could have been handled through an email!
Enjoy the holidays and keep your writers happy. The year will end a joyful note and the new one will start with lots of creativity, innovation and laughs.
I wanted to take a minute and update this podcast post!! I still really enjoy listening to these and I’ve learned so much about what’s new in the field of Project Management over the last few months. With that I wanted to update a few of the One to check out sections (see below). If you’ve taken my recommendations (and earned some PDUs besides!), then you may have heard these updated ones. If not, here’s your chance to get caught up and still learn a lot from the latest podcasts.
In finalizing goals for 2017, I wanted to learn more about the things that will allow me to create business relationships. Part of that is learning to speak the language of management, project management.
I wanted to share a list of informative podcasts that I have added to my weekly roster of listens…
These podcasts certainly know their audiences since most provide episode lists in a spreadsheet format (We all love spreadsheets!) and offer PMI test prep, books, and allow you to earn PDU’s.
People and Projects Podcast – Managing projects and managing people takes a special kind of expertise, and this podcast shares how to resolve conflict, persuade a team, and engage stakeholders. Subscribe to get new episodes which are available every week or so. One to check out (January): The Most Important Lesson You Learned Last Year.
>>One to check out (March): But What If Their Bingeing on Netflix about managing remote teams. Emily Luijbregts is being interviewed and she sounds like a phenomenal leader. She explains how she tries to make everyone on her team feel included in the project by having them post family photos, doing video conferencing, and sharing cake recipes on Slack. Great take away: Trust is a 2-way street. PMs will back you up but you must be honest with them. (I always enjoy the energy of these podcasts, no matter who is being interviewed!)
Manage This – The Project Management Podcast – This podcast includes sessions with catchy titles like “Thor, the Norse God of Project Management” and “Papergate.” The information in each episode ranges from general project management to specific methodologies like Six Sigma and Agile in a discussion/interview format. Velociteach, the host’s company, offers online courses and other Project Management resources. The podcast is a little over a year old and is available the first and third Tuesday of the month. One to check out (January) : Alpha Project Managers
>>One to check out (March): Are You Too Soft? explores the concept that not enough project managers (or team members) take the initiative and own a project. A great quote, “You almost always have the authority. The problem is that you don’t take it.” Great take away: Exceed your authority and see what happens.
PMPodcast – The host has produced over 300 episodes and shares up-to-date information for beginners and experts alike. This podcast often combines PM and Agile. One to check out (January): Get Unstuck in Your Project (and join Projectmanagement.com to be part of a PMI community!)
>>One to check out (March): Guest hosts from Scope of Success podcast and they speak with the founder of PMI Long Island chapter and discuss interviewing. Great take away: Make sure your PMP is up-to-date before you interview, know the difference between a risk and an issue, and what are the top 3 things you do after you start in a new company as a PM. (Fun podcast!)
So that leads us into the episodes specific to Agile.
Agile is the latest project management trend and here are two podcasts to keep you better informed and more able to pivot gracefully.
SPaM Cast – The Software Process and Measurement (SPaM) podcast explores process improvement in information technology for the last ten years. Hosts discuss the latest information on methodologies and business areas such as analysis, risk and usability. One to check out: Round Table, Quality, Agile and Security
Marketing Project Management
Marketing is a very important to companies – there are Chief Marketing Officers now! So here’s a good listen from Aptera Software.
>>Check out: Scrum Marketing where they discuss users stories from a PM perspective and talk about new PM software, ). Very interesting learning how traditional PM is working in a digital marketing arena.
Projects always need documentation – even in an Agile environment – so if you need help with your project, contact me! Check out my other blog posts and work.
It is finally over – the crazy year that was 2016! What did we learn? And what key ideas and plans do we have going forward to make 2017 a success?
Wow! I’ve heard 2016 referred to most eloquently as “a dumpster fire” but I’m trying to be positive here. Like most everyone, I experienced a lot of the tumult both personally and professionally. And like everyone else, I have been reading blogs and listening to podcasts about what was achieved; all the hits and misses (yeah, you know what those were!) of that Year that Shall Not be Named.
So after I shook off the confetti and sat down to write about the future of my business, I started to think about what I had learned from such a dramatic year and what I wanted to accomplish going forward. In a show of transparency and accountability, I want to share these with you.
Three words for 2017
This specifically refers to learning. I was pondering the question, “What have you learned in the past year?” and my answers varied between ‘learning to research and write blog posts’ to ‘learning how to network’ to ‘understanding HTML and the latest content management systems.’ So mostly, I learned how to start working on a business and how to BE in business – Accounting, Billing, Taxes, Connections, Proposals, Apps, etc. – and with that I have fallen behind a bit in the updating skills department. I heard a quote recently, thought it was brilliant and felt that it defined where I wanted to go this year by choosing to progress in my career.
“In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” (Eric Hoffer)
I was a fearless learner when I started out as a technical writer, I’d go anywhere and do anything to study something new and absorb vast amounts of knowledge and I’m going to rekindle that fire. I think surviving 2016 and now moving forward in 2017, these are definitely times of change(!)and I want to be a learnER as opposed to the learnED!
Everyone from the most famous CEO to the owner of the local burger joint seems to be meditating these days. I cannot seem to find the most comfortable position or the quietest spot – which according to meditation law, is supposed to be inside my own mind – to practice. The Fitbit I got for Christmas has a 2-minute breathing session programmed in but I usually tap out of it.
This year, however, I will strive to be present. I mean, not be thinking of the first 10 things I will do when I arrive at my destination when I haven’t even turned the key in the car to get there. I want to experience the moment I’m living in.
Being a solopreneur requires that you think of the past (finished project) and the future (new business) and rarely allows you the luxury of living in the present. Running crazy doesn’t count as living in the present moment (but I have been thinking of it as such). So this year will have a crossed-off-has-been-completed list of projects and a future to-list and the present will take care of itself. I might even mediate for 2 minutes at a time; the Fitbit may convince me yet.
Another saying that caught my attention this past year was something to the effect of, “what are you saying no to so you can say yes to something else.” When I was setting goals for 2017, this put a lot of things in perspective. There are only so many hours in the day (even if you don’t sleep!) and in business you need to decide what is best for clients, prospective clients, and for you – the only company employee who keeps things running!
I know that last paragraph seemed counter-intuitive to my intention, but stay with me. If I am open to opportunities that make me better in my work, improve my health (stay out of this, Fitbit!) and recharge me spiritually so I can be the best I can be, then the goals of 2017 will be attainable. With that, my intention is to be open to volunteering more, taking on different types of projects, and forming lasting relationships.
Now that I’ve gotten over the 2016 hangover and swept out the confetti, I think it’s going to be a great year…and if these resolutions don’t keep me on the straight and narrow, I know the new Fitbit will. #hyperwriterbeinghyper
“I suppose it’s like the ticking crocodile, isn’t it? Time is chasing after all of us.”
–J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Yes, time is chasing you every hour of every day and if you are an entrepreneur (or solopreneur), this prompting predator is always nipping at your heels.
Below I’ve added a few more links that may help in your daily race with the ticking crocodile.
Pick the time of day when you can get the most work done.
If you are a Morning Lark (aka the Early Bird), you bound out of bed and start your day before the sun comes up or before the household is awake. Early birds are known to be calmer, more organized and productive. Most take the early morning to plan their days.
Morning Lark Productivity Tip:
Do the most important things first. Your productivity may wane later in the afternoon.
The Night Owl is famous for being more creative and their energy actually increases throughout the day. Night Owls have adaptable sleep patterns, they can do an 8am-5pm schedule or an 11pm – 7am schedule with equal contentment.
Night Owl Productivity Tip:
Make all the decisions for the following day at night – work outfits, breakfast, lunch, etc. – fewer decisions to be made in the morning, the better. In a diurnal world, coffee is a nocturnal person’s best friend.
Determine what keeps you energized.
Morning or night, time is time and we’re only allotted 24 hours. To a make the most of that time, we need energy.
Exercise is a great energy boost. Whether your choices are first thing in the morning, running at lunch, walking breaks during the day or swimming later in the evening, getting your heart rate up increases brain power thereby making you more productive.
Some swear by meditation. This practice has been shown to reduce stress, improve focus and concentration and enhance creativity. Strangely, it seems that taking a time out allows you to get more done.
It has been proven time and again that eating healthfully will give you more energy. Yes, sugar is wonderful but the energy boost doesn’t last and the crash makes your more tired than when you started your task. The best boost comes from complex carbohydrates, fats and protein. Even if you’re a Night Owl and you’re living on caffeine, get out your glass water bottle and fill it with water instead of having another cup of joe. Trust me, whether your water is iced, with lemon, or cucumbers or just straight up, being hydrated gives you the most energy.
A lot has been said about the differences between introverts and extroverts lately. The world seems to be in tune with extroverts, or those who draw energy from social interactions. This can leave introverts, those who derive their energy from quiet surroundings and deep concentration pushed out of their comfort zones. This may seem like a weird productivity consideration, but finding out how you work best is important. Are you most productive in a lively team environment and lots of face-to-face meetings or do you prefer a dimly lit office and conference calls? Determining how you work best can help you produce your best. Any question about which you prefer? Take an assessment and see what type you are.
With smart mobile devices all of our lists are in the palm of our hands and can be accessed anywhere, anytime. For the list makers, this is ingenious. I’ve pulled a few links from two of my favorite podcasters – Tim Ferriss (The 4-Hour Workweek) and Nick Loper (The Side Hustle Nation).
The following should help with being more productive using apps.
Calendly – Schedule meetings with clients, team members and even friends without the back and forth texting and discussion.
If This Then That – Combine all the things you need to get done into one app. Get the weather report each morning, connect with your Fitbit and get notified if you haven’t taken all your steps by 2pm or tag photos to be sent to Dropbox or posted to Instagram at a certain time.
Sanebox – Do you have tons of subscriptions, signed up for lots of interesting newsletter, or wanted the latest deals at your favorite retailer…but you also want your important emails to not be buried in all that? Sign up for this tool and it will filter out those emails only leaving the most important ones in your InBox. They have a “snack” version for $4.92 a month to filter one account, but you can also try them free for 14 days.
The easiest way to pull yourself out of this is to first admit you’re doing it. Then admit that Facebook knows you’re doing it, too. It can lie to you sometimes and make you feel like you’re accomplishing something. You are not. Admit it then try apps like Finish or Procraster to help conquer the urge procrastinate.
Also check out this infographic from Entrepreneur about ways to overcome procrastination.
And a final tool on your skills belt to help with procrastination is Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art which calls this issue with not being creative and just goofing off, “resistance.” He states, “Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet” and continues with “To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be.”
I suggest you get the book on Audible, and LISTEN to it so you can keep working!!
Hopefully with these suggestions you can outrun the ticking crocodile and make more of your time so that he becomes more a whimsical pet than a toothy time predator.
If you need more time in your day because the workload is too much, hiring a writing consultant can help
I’ve been known to slay a few time crocodiles!
For time slaying, email me to setup a call!