Month: July 2017

work culture
Digital Branding

Creating A Workspace Culture With Your Employees In Mind

Is your workspace culture employee-oriented? Are your employees satisfied with their workspace? If you asked around your office how everyone feels about their surroundings, not every answer is going to be positive. The fact is that in these modern times, often people aren’t happy with the place they are working in.

If you don’t update the workspace or ignore providing your employees with benefits, this is certainly going to be true. In result, their productivity will downfall, and your business efforts will suffer. Therefore, it is essential that you create a workspace culture that focuses on your employees.

Have a mission and a vision

Do you know where your company is going? It is vital that you have a mission and a vision of your company’s state and future. Define what your business is about, where it’s heading, and why it’s there in the first place.

By doing this, you will create a kind of compass. It will help you know which moves are right and which are wrong. Everyone in your company needs to be aligned with this. By knowing your mission and vision, your workers can actually feel like they are a part of it. They will be able to contribute to it, and feel like their contribution matters.

Without it, you and everyone else will feel like they’re lost at sea.

Have office design in mind

Office design is one of the essential aspects of how your workers feel about their workspace, and it can boost or diminish their productivity. You don’t want to be looking for cheap solutions. You also don’t want to go for an overcrowded space where people feel like they are in a jam.

productivity tips

As an employer, you want to provide your workers with a place where they can feel comfortable doing their jobs. An important aspect of this is providing them with ergonomic furniture. You need to think about your employees’ health.

Encourage social interaction

It is essential to encourage social relations between your employees, as they are important for them to feel like they are a part of a team and therefore satisfied. You should focus on creating a workspace that promotes communication. You can arrange workstations in a way that employees can interact with each other.

Furthermore, don’t forget about office celebrations and birthdays. Even when there isn’t a particular reason to celebrate, call everyone for a lunch together. You can even promote socialization outside office hours via volunteer programs. This is a chance for people to build relationships outside the office.

Think about hygiene and cleanliness

Proper hygiene and cleanliness are vital for every workplace, and they boost your employees’ productivity and morale. Working at a messy office full of clutter isn’t something anyone wants to do. You need to have your office space carefully thought of, and look for good storage solutions to keep the only the items that are actually necessary in the office.

Next to that, the cafeteria needs to provide various choices of healthy food. You need to hire a reliable company to get rid of pests that might be an issue in your offices, such as cockroaches. You don’t want the workspace to be a health hazard.

Build trust with your employees

Your workers want to be treated like people and not like robots which are assigned to finish tasks. Every person wants to be acknowledged for what they have done. That is why it is important that you form a relationship with them that has trust as its foundation.

productivity

They want to know that you believe them to do their job, and to know that their efforts have some worth. While constructive criticism is occasionally necessary, you need to make every employee feel like they are worth your trust and that they are a part of your company.

In summation

Your employees are the cogs of the machine that is your business, so it is essential that you create a workspace culture that focuses on them. They need to be satisfied with their workplace and feel like they are a part of the team. You need to prioritize their health and encourage social activities, in order for them to bond together, and be more productive at work.

How does today's branding work?
Digital Branding

Today’s Social World Branding

In today’s social media enriched society, many businesses assume they can do the branding and marketing themselves.  This could not be farthest from the truth.  Businesses, new or old, need help with their brand and marketing more than ever in our social world branding environment.

Remember there is a difference in brand and marketing.  Brand IS the Company and what you represent.  Branding includes everything about the company, from the tag line, to colors, to logo and more.

Marketing is the effort(s) put into making your brand known.

What are some practical tips that small businesses can take until they can hire a company or someone knowledgeable to assist with branding and marketing?  There are some things a business can do, especially in the social world, to help make their brand known.  This can even lay some groundwork for help later.

Branding Tips Include:

  1. Audience – who are you trying to reach?
  2. Consistency – are you consistently putting out articles, blogs, posts and more?
  3. Hashtags – be sure to make use of hashtags for the industry you are in and your company name, as well as, who the brand wants to reach.
  4. Focus – there must be a focus, not simply putting out a massive amount of data or arbitrary posts.

Audience

An important factor to reaching others with your brand is to make sure that you are targeting the right audience.  Too many people and companies throw so much up on social media but do not try to reach a specific audience. They are casting a net that is too wide and, if anything anyone is reached, it is usually by mere accident. 

To begin targeting the right audience you must think like the person(s) or company you are trying to reach.  Who would be your perfect client? Even consider some of your current or past clients that were a great fit. Assign a name and characteristic to your ‘ideal client’.

There are many good ways to write up a profile of your ‘Ideal Client’ that a simple Google Search can assist in finding.  Many go to the trouble of drawing or sketching their ideal client (often also called a ‘Buyer Persona’).  There are many templates that can help you through the process of finding out ‘who is your ideal client?’.

Consistency

It is impossible to build a brand, especially in the social media world of today, without being consistent.  There are too many images, sounds, and videos on social media to make an impact if you are not always making sure you are branding your work and shares. 

Inconsistency breeds confusion.

Consistency not only applies to branding all posts but also applies significantly to how much you share.  The company must post on a regular basis whether you want to or not, whether you have material or not.

A couple of ways to keep consistent posting:

Use a scheduler for curated content – this can be Buffer, HootSuite, Social Pilot or others.  In the past Buffer was our go-to, but recently changed to Social Pilot and must admit is much better with awesome options at reasonable pricing. You can even find out the best times to post with these programs and set it as scheduled and leave it.

Create content ahead of time.  When there are a few extra minutes somewhere (I know it is unusual for a business owner), but sit for 5-15 minutes and capture quotes or write a blog, even record a few tips on your phone or computer and schedule it to post when needed.

Post at least a few times a day.  It used to be good practice to just post a few times a week. That is no longer the case.  Think of all the images and videos that come across one of your platforms in a day.  It really would be impossible to know a brand without seeing it often.  It can take 7 touch points before someone will begin to think about doing business with your brand.  How will they be able to have those if they only see 1-2 posts from the brand every other day?  It certainly will not stick in the mind unless consistent.

Hashtags

Yes, use hashtags!  Those little ‘#’ symbols before wording and separate them with a comma.  Be sure to decide on a hashtag for the company prior to beginning to use.  Shorten the name, if it is a long name, and if able include the local city. For instance, our local networking group is eWomenNetwork and we are in Richmond, Virginia.  The organization is International, so our hashtag is  #ewnrva.

Be sure to use hashtags related to the industry you are in and where your ideal client will be hanging out.  If the person your company is trying to reach is in groups of sales, then you would include #sales or #salestips possibly.  There are many articles regarding the use of hashtags, so if curious about more information they are easy to find.

Focus

Finally, Focus is key.  When doing social world, branding keep focused on the core values and brand of the company.  This includes curated content and other posts you share.  If your company is a marketing company trying to reach lawyers, you do not want to share how your grandchild just cut his first tooth on your company page.  Keep focused on the goals set and keep the brand and colors the same in all you share as much as possible. Others will soon recognize the articles and posts you share on online as coming from your company. 

It is very easy to become sidetracked and distracted on social media.  Therefore, the focus should also apply when online sharing.  Set a timer or even as soon as finished doing the company work, just disengage.  Save it for personal time, otherwise, three hours go by without your realizing. Be mindful and focused on the people you are trying to reach.  Try to think from their perspective and what they will want to see or what would be helpful to them.

Social media can be very successful for many brands.  Although it is recommended to hire a professional, it is understandable that small businesses, starting out, may want to try some of these steps themselves.  Be mindful while you are on social media that you represent the brand. When able, hire a professional to assist your company with their social world branding.

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Tammy Durden is President & Founder of Tammy’s Office Solutions.  Tammy’s Office Solutions helps micro, small and enterprise businesses in bookkeeping, digital marketing (brand, social media+), virtual assistant services (OBM, Presentations+) and Writing Services.  Tammy loves empowering disabled professionals to work by assisting their clients to achieve success.

GumTree
Uncategorized

Gumtree Australia Evolving With Brand New Logo

 

GumTree

Gumtree Australia New Logo

 The Australian arm of world renowned classifieds website Gumtree, has replaced its dated old logo with a sleek and modern design.

The fresh new logo on the Gumtree Australia site keeps the heart and soul of the original logo, whilst eliminating unnecessary visuals.

It has been crucial for the company to cultivate their online community. After a lot of market research, results showed that many consumers had negative feelings towards the previous company logo.

Feedback received stated the old logo lacked significance and was a little too chaotic for the modern day online shopper. Therefore, Gumtree hired design and branding connoisseurs Koto, to create something more in line with today’s online consumers.

The original design encapsulated a Eucalyptus or Gum tree. The gum tree belongs to the Eucalypt family and reflects natural connotations of stability and growth.

However as mentioned, it looked visually hectic and has not been changed much since Gumtree’s inception.

The tree is essential to the Gumtree brand, so the brief required that this remain. The tree has now been positioned and designed in a way that enhances recognition. The fresh new tree design can scale up or down on mobile devices or billboards.

The ideas for the new design kept three main criteria in mind; simplicity, digital and modern.

Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Gumtree Australia’s new logo uses very simplistic geometric shapes to represent the gum tree. It uses a bright green color for emphasis.

As a giant of classified websites, the new logo finally reflects Gumtree Australia’s digitally innovative and sophisticated development.

The logo is now streamlined and functional, improving brand perception and reflecting the usability of the site.

Consumers use Gumtree to find something to buy, or post an ad to sell a service or product.80% of Gumtree consumers use the website from their mobile device, so the new logo had to be simple, but recognizable.

Before settling on the final design, Koto presented Gumtree with eight options to choose from. The new logo was decided upon based on user feedback.

The new logo has been met with a lot of positivity from designers.

Logo Tree

Source: Pixabay

What has been most significant about the entire process is that Gumtree adapted and transformed their logo in response to user opinion.

Although it is occasionally risky to put your business decisions in the hands of your customers, this rebrand process proves that Gumtree is essentially a customer-driven business, that are willing to take on customer feedback and act on it.

pexels-photo-388240
Local Branding

Brilliant Tips for Wedding Invitations

Wedding invitations are a very important part of the wedding ceremony. However, they can also bring a lot of stress. They must be designed, mailed, and RSVP cards must be collected. They announce your wedding and advise you of who will attend and what their food choices are. This can be the difference in preparing food for 100 guests or for 200 guests. The difference is a lot of expense.

Today’s bride is in a unique position. Until recent years the wedding rules of etiquette were written in stone. It was tacky and tasteless to change the standard invitations and you had to include all of the accessories. The family of the bride would be embarrassed. You would be the talk of the town and you’re standing in the community would not get off to a good start.

The modern couple knows their wedding is theirs alone. They have options past generations did not have. Invitations are being customized to match the style of the actual wedding. There is nothing wrong with using a casual design for the vineyard wedding where the groomsmen will wear jeans. You can skip the ivory paper with gold or black print and use colors. The colors should match the colors of your wedding. Like your brand, you should use the same colors on your wedding social media sites.

The wording does not have to be strictly formal. In fact, a very formal invitation to a less than formal wedding is quite confusing for your guests.

Consider the function of the item you are working on. The invitation is to announce your wedding and ask people to join you. It should be in your style and taste and include the necessary information. If it does, then it is “right”. The RSVP card is to advise you of who will attend so you can plan. Make sure they serve their purpose and go with it.

Remember the only people that need be impressed are you and groom.

We will share with you tips from brides, printers, and others who know first hand about the challenges of wedding invitations.

wedding-invitations

Pro Tips

  1. Theo, Development Manager of Eventrii offers this tip.
    “In our experience due to a common problem of lack of RSVP’s to invitations, we have found that giving your guests sufficient time and a simple clear channel to RSVP generates the best response. Typically, no less than 6 weeks allows your guests to make arrangements so they can attend your special day. Using Eventrii allows organizers to send well-designed invitations with a QR code that allows guests to respond at any time using their electronic device and only takes a few seconds to do. It also generates a guest list for the organizer.”
  2.  Demi Mist, creator of Beauty and The Mist gives this advice.
    “Your wedding invitations should be sent to your guests at least six weeks before the big day. This way your friends and relatives will have enough time to arrange a couple of days off work or book a hotel room if necessary. The sooner they know, the better!”
  3. DOM Barnard, of Virtuals Speech, tells us.
    “While it’s important to match the design of the invitation with your personality and wedding theme, don’t get too carried away with fancy fonts. The purpose of your invitation is to provide details of your wedding and where the guest can RSVP so make sure that your font isn’t so elaborate that it’s difficult to read what the invite actually says. It’s best to stick to a more simple font or traditional calligraphy style that everyone can easily read, and ensure that the font colour contrasts enough with the background so that the purpose of your invite is clear.”
  4. Professional, Lizzy D. Lee of DoLeeNoted.com explains money saving techniques.
    “Coming from someone who made all 291 of her wedding invitations on a budget, my best advice for DIY invitations is to create the wording template on Microsoft Word or Microsoft Powerpoint and then print them in bulk at Staples. You can bring your own cardstock to print onto, or you can use the cardstock Staples has available. I also included RSVP links on my invitations in lieu of postcards to further save on postage and printing costs, although I did include printed postcards for guests who are not as tech-savvy and aren’t as comfortable clicking a URL to RSVP.”

 

How To Create A Video Advertisement That Works?
Digital Branding

Real Talk: How To Make A Video Advertisement That Influences

This is a guest post from Gary Cain of Memory Tree, a video production company that works with high tech firms in Austin, Texas and Waterloo, Ontario. Over the last two decades, they’ve produced thousands of videos, from 30-second National TV commercials to 20-minute orientation videos produced in 18 languages and everything in between.
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Times are A-Changin’

When you’re creating a promotional video, there’s a temptation to stick with the same old format we’ve been seeing for years — the classic booming announcer’s voice, grand statements, and a smiling homemaker washing pans with fragrant dish soap. The trouble is, the classic ad format doesn’t work like it used to. According to a recent Marketo survey, nearly two-thirds of consumers are sick and tired of the hard-sell.  The classic ad format is seen as insincere and their messages just aren’t seen as credible. The times have changed, and consumers are now rewarding brands that communicate with authentically. The days, people are only responding positively to real talk.

Nobody Trusts your CEO

No matter how inspiring and earnest your CEO, a message directly from him or her may still fall flat. When you have a personal vested interest in selling your product, people will be skeptical of everything you say. The solution? Let someone else do the talking for you.

Choose a Champion

Find a champion — a customer that’s not only willing but eager to talk about how your product or service has enriched their life.  To convince consumers that your product is worthwhile, it helps to hear it from somebody who is just like them. 

In this video for Westmount Golf & Country Club by Memory Tree, a lifelong member shares his personal story.

 

 

If you’re a little misty-eyed after watching that, you’ve experienced firsthand the powerful impact that a lightly branded advertisement can have on a viewer.  This advertisement is effective because of its authenticity; a real person sharing a personal story about his life and family.  The golf course is another character in the greater narrative. The drone footage of the mist over the greens and sound-ups of the birds are there to convey that this is a special place. It’s the quiet backdrop that facilitates important moments of father-son bonding and communication. Instead of a cheesy slogan followed by a “sign up today” call to action, Westmount simply adds their name briefly at the end – a light touch that completes an authentic message.

Conclusion 

People crave authenticity. If you believe your product has made a positive impact in the lives of your clients, let one of them become your champion in your next advertisement. By allowing someone else to tell a real story that involves your brand, you will gain the trust and the business of your target audience.

Building a social media presence
Digital Branding

The Branding Power Of A Strong Social Media Presence

This is a guest post from Pamela Henning of Tresnic Media, a digital agency that helps brands implement growth marketing systems that turn strangers into customers. Her experience in social media is vast, so we got a chance to pick her brain a bit – read away!

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Social media is one of the most powerful tools companies have at their disposal. It allows them to frame themselves in just the right lighting. Companies who maintain a consistent presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or Pinterest are more successful than their competitors who don’t.

These social media platforms help to increase brand exposure, leverage credibility, close cold conversions, capture referrals, and overall increase cash flow and customer engagement.

Increase brand awareness through social media presence

It isn’t rocket science, it’s simple math.

A greater social media presence creates a greater opportunity to be recognized. More impressions equal more brand exposure, which makes your company more popular and credible.

For example, suppose you want to be hired as a keynote for a conference. Most event planners start their search for credible candidates the same place we do when we’re looking for answers–Google. By establishing an online presence through social media, you’re more likely to rank higher on search engines, increase your popularity, expand your following, and improve your chances of being seen as an industry leader.

Leverage credibility

So you’re not the most credible source yet–no one knows about your little company. What if you’re an entrepreneur and Mark Cuban retweets you? Or Gary Vaynerchuk? What does that say about your brand to their audience? What does that say to your audience?

Social media is powerful stuff. It’s the easiest way to leverage credibility. One of the biggest challenges any business can face is creating trust. Social media posts connect you to industry leaders and their following. Their “share” is a non-committal way that they can endorse your product, increasing your credibility. Something as slight as a retweet could open a huge door for new leads to come pouring through.

Close cold conversions

Let’s say a potential customer has identified their problem and is evaluating potential solution providers. If you have a social media presence (blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) and your competitor doesn’t, who do you think is going to gain their trust and capture their attention? You. If you and your competitor both have a social media presence, but your content is better than your competitors, who do you think will win? You. Again! So much winning, because you understand the importance of managing your brand with an active online presence.

Capture referral

People don’t trust companies they don’t know, but they do trust reviews. Last year, a study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that 45% of digital buyers worldwide said that reading reviews, comments and feedback on social media influenced their digital shopping behavior.

Social media is the ultimate tool to promote positive customer experiences. You can do so by featuring customer testimonials or by simply responding to people who mention you. The best part about social media is that a little bit goes a long way. You don’t need to write a three page thank you letter to your customers, but favoriting one of their tweets will make you more human and, therefore, more likable.

Increase cash flow

In addition to establishing an online presence, leveraging credibility, and capturing referrals, social media can act as a funnel to your website, where you can convert strangers into customers.

If people like the things you are sharing and the personality of our company based on what they have gathered from your social media platforms, they will want to learn more. Social media is an excellent opportunity to nurture your customers through each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Improve customer engagement and satisfaction

Remember what I said about social media making companies more human? I meant it. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook literally give companies a voice. Better yet, they let companies have conversations. How a business interacts with not only their audience but the things that their audience is interested in makes them more relatable, more likable, and more trustworthy. Are you sensing a theme?

Check out some of my favorite (and most successful) social media accounts:

@Wendy’s Twitter
@burtsbees Facebook
@AlexandAni Pinterest
@RedBull Youtube

productivity-tips
Digital Branding

40+ Productivity Tips To Save Your Life And Business

Productivity is essential for the efficiency of your personal life and business life as well.
Overcoming the deadlock of the dreadful indecision and taking that first step is much appreciated and wanted.
After all, when talking about boosting productivity, you will surely improve yours once you go through all the rules presented in this article.

As a single mom who juggles kids, baseball games and running a business, it’s so important to stay on top of everything that needs to get done. Let’s face it, we wear a lot of hats as a woman. Something that I do every day is to create a list of what needs to be done. I tackle those big important ones first. You know, the ones that people put on the back burner while they go through those little, easy to complete ones. I think we have all been guilty of that! Creating your daily list, completing ones that immediately generate revenue first, then the ugly ones that we put off and following up with the little things that can be pushed off to tomorrow if need be. By following this pattern, I feel more accomplished by the end of the day! Deanna Fusillo, Sassy Girl Media

There’s a really simple way to increase productivity. Make an audit of your daily work routines and identify all points that you can automate or cut loose. E.g. use a tool like YouCanBook.me to avoid what I call the “meeting setup ping pong” (“Hey, is Wednesday at 9 AM ok?”, “So maybe Thursday?”) and integrate your CRM with other software. By eliminating few clicks from every process, you gain more time to do the stuff that matters. Bartosz Majewski, Right Hello

It’s so important that tasks are delegated between your team. Do not undertake tasks that are too large and cannot be completed within a certain timeframe. The hardest aspect to this is trusting the team behind you. We’re lucky enough here at MadeByShape to have a solid team who love what they do and excel in their relevant fields. Andy Golpys, Made By Shape

productivity

The CEO of Swipii, Chitresh Sharma, quoted Winston Chruchill on productivity as his favorite tip: “Success is the ability to move from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm.”

Identify your biggest obstacles that are preventing you from reaching your goals. For example, as a writer, I need to find a way to write stellar content efficiently to get more work from return clients and attract new clients. To achieve my goals, I use Grammarly to make the editing process much easier and a tool like Ninja Outreach to scour for potential leads. By refining your goals, you pinpoint goals you need to accomplish and focus all your energies to reach them.
Christopher Jan Benitez, ChristopherJanB.

As a content marketing team, we find automation and routinizing the most effective.
Automate less creative processes by using management tools (Trello), editing and proofreading (Grammarly, Hemingway) and more. This clears more space for creativity.
There’s a blend of collaboration and solitary work in marketing to keep everyone on track – so time management is crucial. Choose whatever works best for meeting deadlines – the 5-3-1 rule, the Pareto Principle, or the Pomodoro Technique. But to boost the quality, this content strategy is essential:
Conceptualization. Research the topic in general and understand the basic concepts.
Ideation. Research smaller chunks – micro-goals are easier to achieve and more manageable.
Drafting. A first draft is not a post yet. It outlines two or three problem areas that might interest our audience.
Writing. Research key ideas in depth and develop them into articles.
Revision. Look at ways of getting ideas across through storytelling, imagery, and metaphor. Choose the tone. Improve cohesion and readability. Konstantin Pogrebnoy, Code Tiburon

I am always looking for ways to do my work more efficiently and thus I like to develop scripts and workflows to optimize my work, this allows me to increase my output while reducing the amount of time I spend on a particular task. Also, a big productivity booster is the fact that I delegate, reduce or eliminate tasks that I don’t need to do. I really believe in and live by the 80/20 rule which states that 80% of the results that I achieve will come from 20% of the tasks, so I only focus on the tasks that will yield the best results. Alejandro Rioja, Flux Ventures

Plan your day before going to bed, get up early next morning, take on the least desirable and energy burning tasks first, and stay away from social media! Desirable and energy burning tasks first, and stay away from social media! Saad Khan, Cygnis Media, Inc
productive-energy

Work with a Timer – I always use a timer when writing articles or working on a project. This strategy lets me dedicate a set amount of time to devote to a project and helps me stay on task. I use Toggl and can see the timer ticking on the tab at the top of my computer screen. Writing becomes a game to beat the clock. If I gave myself 2 hrs that day to write an article draft and see the timer creeping towards the deadline, I can feel a surge of determination to get more done and more words on paper before the time is up.

Get Rid of Your Phone –  Do more than putting your phone on silent – get it out of sight! I throw mine in a drawer and don’t touch it until break time. Better yet, try giving it to a trusted co-worker and make sure they don’t give it back to you until the break you pre-establish with them. While you may know better than to respond to a text while working on a project, even glancing down at your phone screen when it lights up with a notification can cause you to lose focus. Kaycee Wegener, Rentec Direct

For me, planning and prioritizing are the key to maximizing productivity. I always plan my weeks and days in advance, using Trello to map out my tasks, prioritize activities and ensure I hit my deadlines. Trello is also great for teams, helping everyone keep track of what they and their team-mates are working on. Cam Shearer, Digital Risks

Even though I work for a technology company, I still rely on writing to-do lists in notebooks to check off each task I complete. It adds an extra feeling of accomplishment and keeps me organized. I also like to set appointments for myself on my Outlook calendar – this allows me to prioritize and get the most important things done without interruption. – Ashley Fontes, Tech Networks of Boston

to-do-lists

I’m more productive when I give my attention to one thing at a time, so setting my phone to airplane mode helps me focus on the task at hand and frees me from the distraction of endless notifications. Nwando Ivenso, CapitalSquare

Always pre-plan the subjects and points you want to touch on before you dive in. This helps separate the create processes and the writing processes & always results in a lot more of a focused & informative blog post. Personally I mindmap all the points I want to cover, then arrange the headings after to create a logical flow through the article. If you aren’t a mindmap fan I know other well-known bloggers who just bullet point all the points they want to cover first then start writing. Henry Reith, Fridge Magazine

The most powerful productivity technique that I use before starting any sizeable task, or even before starting my day, is planning, planning, planning! Starting with the end in mind gives you a great head start.
When you have an idea of how you want something to go, it’s much easier to begin a task (no easy feat) and stay focused on it (probably even more difficult).

A simple, yet astonishingly useful tool you can use in any situation is the list.

A list is an extremely versatile tool, in that it allows for quickly jotting down steps or building a detailed plan.
With big projects, I like to break down my lists into categories. When I’m creating a website, for example, I’ll break down my list to include staff, roles, budget. marketing. social media, and so on.

Whether a list is straightforward or intricate, it remains a powerful key to getting organized and staying on task.

Acey Gaspard, A Touch of Business

I’ve found that one of the best ways to work productively is to plan out your entire week as if it were a puzzle. Whether it’s a regular weekly take, a long on-going project or a quick one-shot task, we only have a certain amount of time during the week to get work done. Make a list of all your weekly tasks and block out time during your week to work on each task. Schedule time to work on high priority tasks earlier in the week and lower priority tasks later in the week. This will ensure that you have time to touch on all projects and make the most of your time. Shawn McFadden, Dallas Riffle

productivity

Having an editor and someone to post the finished article is essential. It’s usually the last 10% of edits and getting it live that I find most challenging. Being able to hand that off to others is extremely valuable and helps me keep my commitments. Diona Kidd, Knowmad

Write and post on a schedule and post the same time each week. If you can’t post at least once a week you probably shouldn’t be blogging for a living. Look to hire help if you can’t post regularly, such as freelance writers, to keep your blog fresh. If you don’t have the funds, many writers will write for credit, if you promote them on your site. Shell Harris, TopTenz.net

As a blogger and a freelance writer, I never had the luxury to wait for inspiration to start working. I had to train myself to work whether I feel like it or not. So, after searching for ways to keep myself focused on my work and motivated I found out about the 52/17 rule. It’s simple. You work for 52 minutes with the complete focus on the task at hand and take a break for 17 minutes. Then you repeat. I use a timer app on my phone to manage this. So far, it’s been quite effective. Roshan Jerad Perera, Freelancing Hacks

“Constant distractions from social media and email made it hard for me to focus when working on my book series, so I had trouble meeting deadlines with my publisher and editor. To remedy that, I began to check my email and social media first thing in the morning and then unplug from the outside world for four hours. My productivity has more than doubled and the quality of my writing is much better when working with no interruptions. My routine has become food for my soul.” Cherie Ruffo, author of Amanda Fisher & the Source Crystals book series, CherieRuffo

“Automation is my greatest productivity hack. Good automation means keeping your personal touch while spending less time doing it!” Sean and Mittie, Sean and Mittie

To make my days as productive as possible, I schedule tasks in my calendar the night before. Rather than just winging my todo list, I treat every task that needs to get done as an appointment. This keeps me on track and ensures that everything gets done in a timely manner. Allyssa Barnes,allyssabarnes.com

Don’t lean on technology. Technology can be a godsend to productivity, but it can also be a time suck. I have applications that allow me to sync my calendars and task lists to my various devices, which is great. However, I’ve also spent countless hours trying to figure out different programs in the name of productivity to no avail.

Be the dumbest person in the room

One of the best productivity hacks I’ve learned is to hire people who are better at specific things than I am. I actively work to ensure I’m the dumbest person in the room. By doing this, I become less needed on a day-to-day basis to complete projects, and the company’s talent actually accomplishes more than I ever could. Joshua Conran, Deksia

I’ve found that the best way to increase productivity is to create a routine around the tasks that need to get done. I do the same things at the same time each day. It may sound robotic, but I also block time for ideas that require more creative thinking. This way everything has a place and a process. These routines quickly turn to habits once repeated, and I find myself checking off my to-do list rather easily. Joseph DiTomaso, All The Rooms

As a working mom, I typically get my kids up and off to school in the mornings. This could leave me quite unproductive since I often don’t even get into the office until after 9:00am. However, about a year ago I started getting up early to do my hardest work (brain work and writing) after meditating. To be most productive schedule meetings and other “talking” in the afternoon. Amy Rosenberg, president Veracity

Keep your email minimized during the day to tackle what’s on your to-do list. Set designated times to check your inbox such as 11am for 30 minutes and 6pm for 30 minutes. This will help you tackle your to-do list and eliminate interruptions.  Lindsay Joy Higgins, LeaveittoLindsay.com 

I’ve found that changing up my location is incredibly helpful for increasing my productivity. When I get restless while working in an office or at home, going to a local library or cafe can revitalize my creativity. For me, it’s important to choose a new work location that’s quiet, as I’m always reading and writing. The morning is my most productive time and it’s often most helpful for me to change up my environment in the afternoon and evening to keep that flow going.  Angelica Valentine, Proto.io
As a blogger and a freelance writer, I never had the luxury to wait for inspiration to start working. I had to train myself to work whether I feel like it or not. So, after searching for ways to keep myself focused on my work and motivated I found out about the 52/17 rule. It’s simple. You work for 52 minutes with the complete focus on the task at hand and take a break for 17 minutes. Then you repeat. I use a timer app on my phone to manage this. So far, it’s been quite effective. Roshan Jerad Perera, Freelancing Hacks

A strategized task-list can really boost your productivity level drastically.  Start the day with tasks that directly align with your “bigger picture” then gradually move on to other day-to-day less commanding tasks.  Avoid getting lost in your to-do lists by reviewing your performance daily to assure being on the right track. David Kosmayer, CEO – Bookmark Website Builder

Stay inspired – in my case this means getting outside and challenging myself to new Kauaʻi hiking adventures on a regular basis. By doing so I am able to write with more fluidity and passion, remembering why I started the blog in the the first place and coming up with great new content ideas. I feel it’s very important to maintain a directly felt sense of connection to your subject matter/that of which you are most passionate about! Jeremiah Felsen, Kauai Hiking Tours 

List everything. I use a mix of paper lists and SimpleNote app, so I have my lists everywhere. Breaking work into manageable chunks makes life much easier. Elliot Taylor, Raison

Even though I work for a technology company, I still rely on writing to-do lists in notebooks to check off each task I complete. It adds an extra feeling of accomplishment and keeps me organized. I also like to set appointments for myself on my Outlook calendar – this allows me to prioritize and get the most important things done without interruption.   – Ashley Fontes, Tech Networks of Boston

Limit your time for everything.  The more time you allow yourself to complete a task the longer you will take so keep deadlines short.  If you give yourself a week to complete something that will only take 2 hours if you just crack on with it then get on with it, do it quickly, finish it and move on to the next thing. Lynette Green, Virtual Head Office

Set Goals and prioritize daily! In addition to establishing goals, I find myself constantly re-prioritizing things daily. Working in a content and advertising operations environment means things are always going to pop-up that need immediate attention. These can be a major distraction against overall productivity. Prioritizing daily, allows me to measure not only what was accomplished each day but keep a tally against overall productivity tied back to my goals. Everyone has their own methods of organization whether it is lists, post-its, notes, email, tasks, etc. but prioritization is the key to increasing productivity. Mark Verone, Gogo 

At wandermelon, we believe in setting yourself up today for tomorrow. So the day is not done till you’ve written up tomorrow’s to-do list, in order of importance, and cleared your desk in preparation for a brand new day. To begin, try a cold shower, a brisk walk and a hot cuppa to energize the body. Then, all you need to do is focus your mind on your list and power through it – no distractions! Reward yourself with a healthy mid-morning smoothie, do some yoga stretches with the cat, cross those done’s off, and move on to the B, C, D list. Rinse and Repeat. Kate Ayrton,  Wandermelon

Understand, Understand, Understand — Understand your audience, you must know who you’re talking to so you can save time. Understand people! Once you understand your audience, understanding what makes your audience tick is your next step. Finally, understand your craft and become an expert in your industry. As an SEO, I have to be an expert so I can reassure people without any doubt that I can help their rankings grow. James McMinn JR, Matchbox Design Group

productivity hacks

The most important part of productivity is process, and the most important part of process is people – you’re only as good as your process and your people.” Anthony De Marco, Boston Web Group

 Keep blog posts short, and always include a picture!  I try to keep my blog posts short enough so that they fit on the average cell phone screen, and I always include an attention-grabbing photo.  Miriam Otto, Blue Frog Shoes
My most effective technique for getting things done is to map out a schedule of my entire day with clear, actionable goals. The night before, I’ll write down 3 goals that I need to accomplish the following day. As soon as I get to my office, I map out my schedule hour by hour leaving just enough time to accomplish those 3 goals while still allowing for regular meetings and anything else that might pop up. This forces me to stay focused and get things done because I hate not accomplishing my goals. – Christophe Limpalair, Scale Your Code
Digital Branding

Getting the Most from a Website Design Professional

Website design is incredibly important when it comes to increasing web traffic and revenue. If you are having issues with your site’s design, there are many options available to you. By working with a professional web design agency, you’re doing something beneficial for yourself. This can help tremendously when it comes to gaining the traffic that you need to stay afloat as a blogger or site owner.

Why Your Site Needs Its Own Design

The reason your site needs its own design is because it helps you to feel confident that you’re unique from all the rest. If you use a free site builder, you’re taking the chance that you’re not going to have something that is unlike other websites on the internet. This can be problematic because of the fact that people will see your site and know that its design was free and used by thousands of others. Be sure to look into working with an agency that does website design for a living.

How to Get It Professionally Designed

The best way to get your site professionally designed is to contact a local agency. This agency is there to ensure that you get help when you need it the most. While it does cost money to have your site designed by the experts, it is well worth the investment when you consider what you will get. Also, it does not have to be too expensive to hire these pros, as they are there to make life easier for you without it costing you an arm and a leg.

Different Options Available

There are tons of options available when it comes to getting the most out of your website design. The only thing to remember is that you’re going to want to get involved in the design process. This helps you to feel confident knowing that you’re getting a layout that is specifically meant for you and your needs. If you are working with any type of company offering website design, be sure to ask if you can be involved in the process of getting the layout created and published.


It is imperative that you put the time, effort and energy into ensuring that your design is specific to your company or blog. Once it has been properly designed, you can feel good knowing that this is something that will benefit you tremendously. Because there are so many unique design firms out there, it’s effortless to find the one that is right for you. Once you have made the decision to hire an agency, it is just a matter of working with them to ensure that you’re doing something beneficial for what they are able to offer. You will be left with a design that looks beautiful, customized and unique. The amount that you pay for the items are nothing compared to what you’ll get from having it done. Be sure to ask a professional designer about their own services and products.