How to achieve more by doing less?
Part 2 – ORGANISATION
Now that you’ve started planning the way you work you need to ORGANISE the way you work too in order to maximise the effect. Working in an organised way allows you to PLAN you activities efficiently and coordinate all the tasks that have to be completed in an effective way.
Here are some simple ideas to help you become more organised:
ORGANISE YOUR WORK SPACE Make sure that you’re working environment is tidy and organised. Put everything in its place and it will be easier to find what you need and what you need to do. Get in the habit of putting things back where they belong as soon as you’ve finished with them.
THINK ON PAPER OR IN WORD DOCUMENT so that you have a reference point, you can avoid duplicating work and it makes it easier to review and revise your work. Save all of your work as what’s not used might be relevant for something else.
CREATE TEMPLATES for repetitive tasks - letters, emails, invoices etc., so that you only have to fill in the relevant details each time rather than create a completely new version.
When ever possible paper, files, correspondence etc., should only be handled ONCE. Make a decision about what to do and do it. PRACTICE THE 4Ds:
Delete probably half your correspondence can be deleted straight away Do if it's urgent or can be completed quickly Delegate if it can be better dealt with by someone else Defer set aside time at a later date to spend time on items requiring long action
Then there’s the question of whether to use a TO DO LIST or an ORGANISER/PLANNER. A ‘To Do List’ is just a list of everything that you have to do. By writing everything down in one place you make sure that you don’t forget anything. Tasks can be ticked off when completed and more can be added as and when required. An Organiser lists all your appointmnts and keeps track of your schedule.
My preference is to use my CALENDER/ORGANISER as my TO DO LIST because this allows me not only to list all the things that need to be done but I can allocate an amount of time to each task. It’s much easier to fit my work in around appointments and meetings because at one glance I can see my full schedule and this means that I’m able to organise and plan my time more efficently. The system automatically reminds me when tasks are due to commence and as an added bonus I can share my calender if required.
The thing that’s important is to find something that works for you and that you will use consistently.
If you work in an organised way it means that you are aware of everything that needs to be done; that you’ve planned how to get everything done; that you have a consistent approach to your work; that you are not needlessly duplicating work and you have a realistic understanding of what you can achieve with your time. The result of better organisation is increased efficiency, better use of time and improved quality of life.
Commissioning Photography - The Brief!
It sounds a little bit over the top to talk about "the brief" where you are only considering commissioning a couple of pictures, but It is a really useful habit and one you should really try to get into. What is a brief? At it's simplest is just the agreement between you and the photographer about what you want to achieve from the photo shoot. Any professional photographer will be well versed in the concept and in fact will welcome it. It's just about discussing with your photographer how you see the final images or video footage looking and a clear understanding of what it's going to be used for.
If you have never done one before then don't worry - a professional photographer will be quite comfortable with helping you decide what it is and giving guidance as to what you can achieve within your budget. It doesn't have to written down but it doesn't hurt to keep a record.The real advantages of agreeing the brief with your photographer are
David Broadbent is a professional photographer with over 30 years of editorial experience now represented worldwide by the Alamy picture agency. As well as fully equipped location work, David also runs Summerhouse Studio, an informal small studio ideal for stills and video of people PR and products, from his home in the Forest of Dean. To see more of David’s work visit www.davidbroadbent.com or his folios on LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. Or to actually talk to another human call him on 07771 664973.
Be yourself and enjoy what you do!
People often make comments to me about being cheerful at work, to which I always reply.....”I spend too much time at work to be miserable while I’m there”. Think about one for a minute. We spend roughly one third of our lives sleeping and one third of it at work, leaving one third for everything else......how much actual leisure time we get is quite minimal really.
I think maybe the old beliefs of ...”oh no it’s Monday again” and “Thank god it’s the weekend” are still heavily ingrained in us and that’s a result of previous generation thinking . Let’s be clear.....Fun isn’t just for the weekend, everyday should be fun, including when you are at work. Then of course it doesn’t even feel like work, and a Monday morning can feel as good as any day of the week. Sure we all get bad days, but generally work should be a pleasant experience.
My point is, if you don’t enjoy your work, then maybe you’re either in the wrong job or you need to change your thinking or attitude towards it.
The alternative is to spend approximately one third of your life just ‘working’
How to achieve more by doing less?
Part 1 - PLANNING
One of the first things to realise is that it doesn’t matter how many “Time Management” articles you read or how many “Time Management” tips you adopt you will never manage time. However, you can learn how to manage your time more effectively and efficiently: you can control how much time you spend on certain tasks; you can control the amount of work you have to do and by working smarter you can achieve more by doing less.
One change that’s easy to make and will have a big impact on how effectively you use your time it to THINK about and PLAN what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it before taking action. In other words don’t tackle a job without a plan of attack.
Here are some easy ways to start planning the way you work:
PLAN YOUR DAY
- at the beginning of each working day rather than diving in head first to all the work you have to do, take a few minutes to think about what needs to be done and what you need to achieve that day. Once you have a clearer picture of what your goals are for the day, you can plan how you will accomplish them - at the end of each day take a few minutes to review your progress. Any outstanding tasks can be added to the schedule for the following day.
WHEN PLANNING YOUR DAY - think about which parts of the day you are at your most productive and creative and plan accordingly. This is when you should be doing your high-value, high-quality work - plan low-energy work (like returning phone calls, responding to emails) for those less industrious times - be realistic when planning the time allowed for each task - make sure you allow time for breaks, travel time etc - don’t plan work for every minute of the day as you need to allow a significant amount of time for “the unexpected” - plan meetings for early in the day because time leading up to them is often wasted - if you have an important phone call to make, an email to write, or a meeting take a few minutes to plan what you want to say, what you want to achieve and what your desired outcome is
Use the same principles when planning ahead. At the beginning of each week, month, quarter etc., think about all the work that has to be done so that you can plan and schedule work in advance. Make sure activities are scheduled in a timely fashion. It’s always better to finish work earlier than required than scrambling to finish everything at the last minute
is so important because it puts you in control of the work that you do and you will as a result accomplish more. Working proactively is much more effective and less stressful than working reactively and not only will your time efficiency improve but you will appear more prepared and professional.
Have you got the success habit?
What brings some people success, and others not?
I can't promise to have the answer to this, but I may have some clues.
My work as a business trainer and coach has given me the opportunity to work with hundreds and hundreds of people from different walks of life over the past 16 years, and I've been able to observe the habits of those who are achieving 'success' in their lives, and those who would say that others are feeling denied the success that they feel they deserve.
Here are my observations.
1. People who achieve success get up when they don't feel like it, and exercise when there are a multitude of excuses for not bothering. The same mentality that motivates people to do things that they could otherwise avoid, seems to drive behaviours that manoeuvre them towards their goals and success.
2. People who achieve success know what they want. They have their vision of success clear; they know what success looks like, feels like, sounds like, smells like! You don't hear them saying things like 'but I don't know what I want...'.
3. People who achieve success make it their job to achieve it. They don't wait for opportunities, they seek them out. They don't blame others for their 'bad luck', they take responsibility for making their own luck.
4. People who achieve success are often (but not always, I admit) very good communicators. They know the questions to ask and when to listen more than they speak. They know that good relationships will help them on their journey, and they form strong and loyal bonds.
5. People who achieve success step out of their comfort zone to try new things, meet new people and take on challenges. Their focus on 'success' seems to strengthen their resolve and gives them the guts to face things that others would do their best to avoid.
So - do you agree? Which of these traits do you have and are there any more that you would add to this list?
No Cost and Cheap Website Myths
The world is full of no-cost and cheap websites. Some work, but most don’t. Not because the technology is wrong, but because the basic principles of creating and maintaining the marketing tool of the website, are either not known or forgotten. Too often websites are hammers, where spanners are needed.
1. Everything’s social these days so why bother!
Increasingly large brands are directing their clients and prospects to Facebook or other social media rather than their website. Why? Because they know that whatever the web property, it is all about communication and conversation.
That’s why building a website and then not touching it, is like going out into the Forest of Dean and shouting loudly; and going back a year later and expecting to hear the echoes or finding people waiting to talk! The difference between websites and social media is purely conceptual. It is not a choice for most businesses of either/or, but both with a conversion strategy.
2. All web designers are the same!
Not true. All websites must be designed in order to achieve their objectives. Choosing a people carrier won’t win you a F1 grand prix! Turning up in the racecar is perhaps not the right image for a plumber or management consultant! Designer has at least 4 meanings for websites:
· The graphic designer. What does it look like- colours, layout, font?
· The IT techie. How does it work- if the user clicks this what happens?
· The marketing adviser. What does it want the viewer to do next?
· The marketing consultant. How does this fit with the brand and the other sales and marketing materials?
3. Why pay for hosting and domains?
No-cost hosting usually means no fee hosting. Your web-space can be shared with various unconnected advertising diluting your message so that the hosting company can generate revenue. For some businesses at the start, this might be a cost worth paying. Not so your domain, as the costs are so minimal, while advantages on being found and protecting your identity are significant. If you hold the domain registration, you control your site.
4. Content is King and Killer
Site content is governed by contradictory ‘rules’. The ever-changing Google Game sets which pages are found by those who search. Others are set by the target audience who either like reams of words. Or very few. Content can be static (core web pages) or fast-moving (blogs/news).
Without content there is no site. But content is equally killer as king. It’s a killer because for most of us it is difficult to know what to write, so is a painful task; or we copy someone else and get hit; or we tell everyone how brilliant we are so even our closest family read it through gritted teeth!
Most people think of content as only words. But people scan webpages, they don’t read them so using an image is usually essential. An image is anything including photos, diagrams, sketches, drawings, videos and words. Yes the last one is correct- most logos are images of words.
5. Website Done-Tick
Effort and money about to be thrown away- tick. As the customers you serve and the market you operate in evolves so should your website. Regularly adding fresh content aids the communication with those in your sales funnel. How much, how often or what can be tracked through various tools, which should lead back to your business objective eg make 10% more sales.
So let me be open with my aim in writing this blog. If you want to know more about building website basics, then come along to one of the negligible cost half day workshops run by the Forest of Dean Entrepreneurs. For details or to book. http://www.fodentrepreneurs.co.uk/fode-events/forest-of-dean-entrepreneurs-events-calendar/
Business Clubs - Support when you need it most
Setting up and running a business can be an isolating experience. When times get difficult as they do from time to time even for the most seasoned business person, one can loose their initial inspiration and enthusiasm. That was certainly how I had been feeling for the last few days!
I arrived at CAP Business Group feeling full of the woes of a new business owner facing financial strains, and feeling frustrated isolated and all done in. Paul and my fellow group members leant a listening ear and let me off load my frustration. They then all came up with loads of good ideas, which helped to reignite my enthusiasm. I cannot thank them all enough and this really demonstrated to me the value of a business group such as CAP.
Fibre To the Home (FTTH)
Hyperoptic gigabit broadband has been available in London since 2011 and this service has now become available in three more cities, namely, Reading, Cardiff and Bristol together these four cities are labelled “hypercities”. This allows the residents of these areas to have access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK.
Hyperoptic is continuing its expansion across London whilst simultaneously looking to rollout the service in other cities.
The company’s plans are to have the service available in over 35000 homes in 150 of London’s major developments and the aim is that by 2018 to have half a million of the capital’s households covered. One area to benefit is the former Olympic Athletes’ Village in Stratford.
Praise has come from Karin Ahl of FTTH Council Europe on the steps being taken in the UK to improve broadband. However, the downside is that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has stated that the Government’s Digital Communications Infrastructures Strategy will be a key player in Britain’s installation of the necessary infrastructure between 2025 and 2030. It predicts that the UK will remain on the world’s leading digital nations!
Apparently the EU member governments have a responsibility to introduce “future-proof broadband plans” and at national level. According to Miss Ahl “In this context it is key for the British Government to take a leading role to have a clear vision and develop a long term strategy for future-proof broadband deployment”.
All of this leads to a “wide range of benefits” with businesses and key public sector services. Hopefully all of this will also help home workers and small businesses that are being run from home.
THE PLACEBO EFFECT
It was a sunny day in Essex many years ago in my early musical days. I was standing in a side street with my fellow guitarist looking forward to our gig which was very minor attraction because the Beatles were in town, Of course, we both had Beatles hair cuts as one did back then although it’s something I always seem to have had except when I was at university and had no hair cut at all! Anyway, a sweet old lady ambled past us and gave us a wink; amusing if somewhat disconcerting. Then she turned and came back, looked up at us and said, “I saw you on the telly last night, aren’t you lovely boys and so much better looking in the flesh”. (I made the last bit up!) We realised that she believed we were two of the Beatles – exactly which one I was is something that has occupied my thoughts in idle moments ever since. “Wait till I tell my granddaughter that I have spoken to you” she continued and was so overjoyed that it seemed cruel not to go with the flow and enjoy a few moments of stardom. The point is that belief is a wonderful thing. I met a hospital ward sister a while back and she told me that prior to the world getting its knickers in a twist about ‘human rights’, she used to give patients with insomnia two sugar pills at night and they slept soundly. It’s what is called the placebo effect and could save the NHS a fortune.
These days, as a complementary therapist, it’s something that sceptics often throw at one. “It’s just the placebo effect”, they scorn. Well, that’s fine, nothing wrong with someone believing they will feel better and improving their situation as a result. If I were just harnessing the placebo effect I would be offering something worthwhile but there is more to complementary therapy and there is an increasing bank of research to back up the claims of therapists. It’s true that if you are a ‘believer’ then complementary treatments might work quicker or better but even sceptics can benefit from sessions that are both relaxing and powerful.
The funniest Insurance Claims and Quotes (genuine scenarios, incorporated into a comic act by Jasper Carrott)
The funniest Insurance Claims and Quotes (genuine scenarios, incorporated into a comic act by Jasper Carrott)
A bull was standing near and a fly must have tickled him because he gored my car.
A lamp-post bumped into my car, damaging it in two places.
A pedestrian hit me and went under my car
A truck backed through my windscreen into my wife’s face.
Accidents with other vehicles.
After the accident a working gentleman offered to be a witness in my favour.
An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car and vanished.
As I approached an intersection a sign suddenly appeared in a place where no stop sign had ever appeared before.
Car had to turn sharper than was necessary owing to an invisible lorry.
Coming home I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I haven’t got.
Cow wandered into my car. I was afterwards informed that the cow was half-witted.
First car stopped suddenly, second car hit first car and a haggis ran into the rear of second car.
Going to work at 7am this morning I drove out of my drive straight into a bus. The bus was 5 minutes early.
I am responsible for the accident as I was miles away at the time.
I am sure the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him.
I blew my horn but it would not work as it was stolen.
I bumped into a lamp-post which was obscured by human beings.
I bumped into a shop window and sustained injuries to my wife.
I can’t give details of the accident as I was somewhat concussed at the time.
I collided with a stationary tramcar coming the other way.
I collided with a stationary tree.
I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way
I consider that neither vehicle was to blame but if either were to blame it was the other one.
I didn’t think the speed limit applied after midnight.
I had been driving for 40 years when I feel asleep at the wheel and had an accident.
I had one eye on a parked car, another on approaching lorries, and another on the woman behind.
I heard a horn blow and was struck violently in the back. Evidently a lady was trying to pass me.
I knew the dog was possessive about the car but I would not have asked her to drive it if I had thought there was any risk.
I knocked over a man. He admitted it was his fault as he had been run over before.
I left for work this morning at 7am as usual when I collided straight into a bus. The bus was 5 minutes early.
I left my Austin Seven outside and when I came out later to my amazement there was an Austin Twelve.
I left my car unattended for a minute, and whether by accident or design it ran away.
I misjudged a lady crossing the street.
I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law and headed over the embankment.
I pulled into a lay-by with smoke coming from under the hood. I realised the car was on fire so took my dog & smothered it with a blanket.
I remember nothing after missing the Crown Hotel until I came to and saw PC Brown
I saw a slow-moving, sad-faced old gentleman as he bounced off the roof of my car.
I saw her look at me twice. She appeared to be making slow progress when we met on impact.
I started to slow down but the traffic was more stationary than I thought.
I thought the side window was down but it was up, as I found when I put my head through it.
I told the other idiot what he was and went on.
I told the police that I was not injured, but on removing my hat I found I had a fractured skull.
I unfortunately ran over a pedestrian and the old gentleman was taken to hospital, much regretting the circumstances.
I was going at about 70 or 80 mph when my girlfriend on the pillion reached over and grabbed my testicles so I lost control.
I was on my way to see an unconscious patient who had convulsions and was blocked by a tanker.
I was on the way to the doctor with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way causing me to have an accident.
I was scraping my nearside on the bank when the accident happened.
I was sure the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him.
I was thrown from the car as it left the road. I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows.
Ice on the road applied brakes causing skid.
If the other driver had stopped a few yards behind himself the accident would not have happened.
In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.
Mr. X is in hospital and says I can use his car and take his wife while he is there. What shall I do about it?
My car was legally parked as it backed into another vehicle.
My car was stolen and I set up a human cry, but it has not been recovered.
No one was to blame for the accident but it would never have happened if the other driver had been alert.
No witnesses would admit having seen the mishap until after it happened.
On approach to the traffic lights the car in front suddenly broke.
On the M6 I moved from the centre lane to the fast lane but the other car didn’t give way.
Q: Could either driver have done anything to avoid the accident? A: Travelled by bus?
She suddenly saw me, lost her head and we met.
The accident happened because I had one eye on the lorry in front, one eye on the pedestrian and the other on the car behind.
The accident happened when the right front door of a car came round the corner without giving a signal.
The accident occurred when I was attempting to bring my car out of a skid by steering it into the other vehicle.
The accident was caused by me waving to the man I hit last week.
( This is one of my favourites )
The bloke was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.
The car in front hit the pedestrian but he got up so I hit him again
The car in front stopped suddenly and I crashed gently into his luggage grid.
The gentleman behind me struck me on the backside. He then went to rest in a bush with just his rear end showing.
The indirect cause of the accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.
The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intentions.
The other man altered his mind so I had to run into him.
The pedestrian had no idea which direction to run so I ran over him.
The pedestrian had no idea which way to run as I ran over him.
The pedestrian ran for the pavement, but I got him.
The telephone pole was approaching and I was attempting to swerve out of its way when it struck the front end of my car.
The water in my radiator accidentally froze at 12 midnight.
There was no damage done to the car, as the gate post will testify.
There were plenty of lookers-on but no witnesses.
Three women were talking to each other and when two stepped back and one stepped forward I had to have an accident.
To avoid a collision I ran into the other car.
To avoid hitting the bumper of the car in front I struck a pedestrian.
We had completed the turn and had just straightened the car when Miss X put her foot down hard and headed for the ladies’ loo.
When I saw I could not avoid a collision I stepped on the gas and crashed into the other car.
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