Tag Archive | "Productivity"

What’s Actually Stunting Your Productivity (It’s Not Multitasking)

Lately, a common theme in productivity advice is bashing multitasking. “You suck at multitasking!” shrieks one headline. “Multitasking: the most dangerous productivity killer” hisses another. And they aren’t wrong. Studies have shown that trying to tackle different tasks simultaneously greatly reduces our cognitive abilities. But what if I told you there’s another type of multitasking
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21 Productivity Hacks from 21 Prolific Writers

Ah, the #writerslife, #amwriting, #wordcount — wait, hold that thought — #amlookingatmyphone, #destructiveprocrastination, #twitterblackhole, #zerowillpower … dammit what just happened? Every time I pick up my iPhone, I lose a minimum of 20 minutes that I could be writing a first draft of something, anything. The cult of “busyness” beckons me: I scratch at my
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6 Writing and Productivity Rituals from the Copyblogger Creative Team

I’ve said for a long time … writers are magicians. We make something out of nothing. We take syllables and turn them into dreams, sights, sounds. Calls to action and detailed plans for shenanigans. And as every magician knows, if you want to perform magic … you have to know a thing or two about
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The Balance of Creativity and Productivity

The Balance of Creativity and Productivity

If you read Copyblogger for any length of time, you’ll notice a theme that comes up again and again — the balance of creative “arty stuff” with pragmatic productivity.

Creativity makes our content worth reading. Strategic implementation gets us where we want to go. Each depends on the other.

On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman talked about cultivating a Pomeranian state of mind to expand your creativity. (Read the post to find out why you actually do want to do this.)

And on Tuesday, she outlined a plan to use that Pomeranian creativity to actually make something that other people want to read, watch, or listen to.

Finally, on Wednesday, our editorial team sent me their favorite writing books — a healthy mix of the arty, the crafty, and the strategic.

Over on the Copyblogger FM podcast, I shared two resources that have seriously impressed me — one on the science of learning (this is great if you’re improving your skills, but it will also be incredibly useful for course creators) and one on creative focus (hello shiny).

Want to make great leaps in your writing this summer? Get your Inner Pomeranian going, pick up some of the books on the reading list, sharpen that focus just a bit, and decide on a project to implement with Stefanie’s plan. By September, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come.

That’s it for this week — have a great weekend, and we’ll see you Monday. :)

— Sonia Simone

Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


creativity is not linear This Common Belief Could Be Blocking Your Creative Potential

by Stefanie Flaxman


think about where you could be one year from now if you start todayA Simple Plan for Managing and Completing a Content Project

by Stefanie Flaxman


Editorial RoundtableYour Summer Reading List from the Copyblogger Editorial Team

by Sonia Simone


Two Powerful Resources for Life-Changing GrowthTwo Powerful Resources for Life-Changing Growth

by Sonia Simone


How Merriam-Webster Lexicographer and Author Kory Stamper Writes: Part OneHow Merriam-Webster Lexicographer and Author Kory Stamper Writes: Part One

by Kelton Reid


8 Ways Startups Can Make Money with an Online Audience8 Ways Startups Can Make Money with an Online Audience

by Brian Clark


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Improve search rankings and increase productivity with local marketing automation software

Managing online citations, claimed and unclaimed listings, reviews and ratings, landing pages and data feeds for hundreds or thousands of locations has become time-consuming and costly for enterprise brands. Automating these processes can improve search rankings, increase productivity and lower…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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Search Engine Optimization Using The Long Tail, The Ultradian Rhythm For Productivity And The One Thing Startups Should Focus On

Welcome to the first episode of Everything Entrepreneurship with Walter and Yaro for 2014. This is episode #13, which felt a bit like a new years hangover episode. [ Download MP3 | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] We recorded this podcast at 10:30PM local time Monday night, after Walter had his first full day at the…

The post Search Engine Optimization Using The Long Tail, The Ultradian Rhythm For Productivity And The One Thing Startups Should Focus On appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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Search Engine Optimization Using The Long Tail, The Ultradian Rhythm For Productivity And The One Thing Startups Should Focus On

Welcome to the first episode of Everything Entrepreneurship with Walter and Yaro for 2014. This is episode #13, which felt a bit like a new years hangover episode. [ Download MP3 | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] We recorded this podcast at 10:30PM local time Monday night, after Walter had his first full day at the…

The post Search Engine Optimization Using The Long Tail, The Ultradian Rhythm For Productivity And The One Thing Startups Should Focus On appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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Entrepreneurs: This 8-Letter Word Will Revolutionize Your Productivity

in a laundromat, a man has his upper-body stuck in a dryer, his legs are flailing outside the machine

If you’re an entrepreneur, does any of this sound familiar to you?

  • You’re trapped in Outlook for up to seven hours each day.
  • You want to launch a podcast, but you have no clue when you’ll be able to edit it.
  • You only have time for a fraction of the marketing you need to do to promote your new blog posts.
  • You are afraid to customize your website design since there is a chance you’ll mess something up with the code (and spend the weekend fixing it).
  • Conversions on your product landing page are dropping — and you desperately need to optimize it.
  • You can’t remember the last time you didn’t work on Sunday.

Fewer than three years ago, this reality was all too real for blogger, podcaster, and business owner Chris Ducker.

He worked 14-hour days chasing his tail around to make a living while becoming a complete stranger to his family — until he found a smarter way to run his business.

Chris hoped his hard work would pay off one day.

But how could it when he never had enough time to attend to the most important aspects of his business?

That’s when he discovered how to delegate.

Finally, the freedom to grow your business

Chris Ducker is a serial entrepreneur, speaker, and author of the bestselling book, Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business.

And this Friday, August 8 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, he sits down with Sonia Simone to talk about productivity, delegation, and virtual assistants.

In this roughly 60-minute audio session, you’ll discover:

  • The one thing that will stop you cold in your entrepreneurial tracks.
  • A simple exercise to help you cultivate the outsourcing mindset every business owner needs.
  • How to find and hire virtual assistants you can trust — and actually afford.
  • Blogging tasks you can delegate to a virtual assistant (and tasks you should never delegate).
  • Why the experts who keep telling you all you need is just one virtual assistant are giving you bad advice.
  • The steps you need to take when you have to fire a virtual assistant.
  • How to avoid one of the biggest time-sucks in the land of entrepreneurship.

This Authority seminar is for any business owner who’s interested in learning exactly how to delegate work to a virtual assistant.

It’s free for Authority members. You’ll just need to register here. (You should have already gotten the registration email.)

If you’re not an Authority member yet …

You might want to fix that, to get sessions like this one nearly every week of the year, as well as ongoing exclusive networking, discounts, and education.

Try Authority for 30 days (risk free) today.

See you this Friday, August 8, 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time …

Image credit: Ryan McGuire via GratisPhotography.com.

About the author

Demian Farnworth

Demian Farnworth is Copyblogger Media’s Chief Copywriter. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

The post Entrepreneurs: This 8-Letter Word Will Revolutionize Your Productivity appeared first on Copyblogger.

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10 Productivity Tips from a Blue-Collar Genius

Image of old man working

Imagine a fifty-something man in a blue long-sleeve shirt, the cuffs unbuttoned, his knuckles thick and coarse. He’s on the side of the road, quibbling over a stack of used cinder blocks with a merchant.

This is my grandfather. And it’s 1980, roughly.

His brother, my great-uncle, shuffles the dirt with his boots beside the white 1953 Dodge van, the one with a hot 5.2 liter block engine in between the driver and passenger seat — an engine they fetched from the junkyard a few years ago and nursed back to life. A 24-pack of Stag warms on the engine case.

My grandfather was a magnificent man.

Father of twelve, husband to one. A carpenter, electrician, gardener, plumber, water skier, snow skier, welder … the builder of both of his houses, houses he built with recycled material, not paying a penny over value.

And there is something about looking at photographs of him, something otherworldly, marginally divine. Not quite the aura that comes with a photograph of Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Cobain, or Carl Sagan …

But a reverence and awe in its own right.

He was a blue-collar genius.

To say he had an influence on my life would be an understatement. In fact, a good part of how I work — how I get things done — I owe to him. Let me explain.

1. Teach yourself everything

My grandparents were staunch Roman Catholics. That meant a lot of things, but most visibly it meant they had a large family. Twelve kids to be exact. And it’s something that motivated my grandfather to no end.

Each time my grandmother told him that she was pregnant, he would go out and learn a new trade: how to operate a boiler, roof a house, frame a room, run plumbing, rebuild cars.

You name it, and that former city boy learned it.

For me this has meant to have the guts to discover how to write, negotiate, code, install WordPress, understand SEO, get usability, and so on.

Fortunately, the resources are out there to help you learn: the books, the blogs, the videos. Even hundreds of free online academies that can make you smarter in an afternoon.

2. Boil down your to-do list to two or three items

I can promise you that my grandfather never had a to-do list, the show piece of every productivity wonk worth his salt.

But boy, did he get stuff done.

His life was simple: work, build his house, eat, sleep, work, build his house. Throw in a baby here, a weekend down at the cabin on the lake with the boys there … and his life has a pretty simple and singular rhythm about it.

That lack of complexity meant he knew what he needed to do each and every day. There were few decisions to make about what to work on. Just get up and do it.

The same is true for a writer: write the blog post, work on the book, do the research. Keep it simple and focus on the most important things each day, day in and day out, 365 days a year.

3. Recycle everything

I spent several summers on my grandfather’s farm, painting everything that didn’t move: the goats’ fence, the railroad tie wall, the shutters … with a mix of paint left over from twenty different cans (think padded-room blue).

One summer my cousin and I dug a ditch forty feet long and four feet deep, then laid pipe for a septic line. Granddad picked up the pipe from a residential construction company who couldn’t use it because of a flaw.

Once a week I mowed three acres of grass with a push mower rescued from the side of the road.

No surprise, I lost my appetite for manual labor. What I didn’t lose was that appreciation for hard work … and the ability to be resourceful and recycle material. It was in my blood.

For a content marketer this can mean flipping a podcast into a blog series … or yanking that draft and pulling it into a white paper … or turning your best articles into a content library.

Waste nothing, and maximize everything.

4. Get up early and stay up late

As you can imagine, money was tight for my grandfather. Food was usually bland, clothing was cheap and handed down, and the house was crowded (my youngest uncle often slept in the bathtub or closet).

But they never starved, never went in debt, always had shelter, and always paid their bills on time.

How? My grandfather was a hard worker, honest, but also an early-to-rise and late-to-bed kind of guy. Unless he was sick, he didn’t linger in his bed or the couch. He maximized his awake time and got stuff done.

The lesson for a content creator is this: work when you are at your peak.

5. Watch television on a small screen

As he got older my grandfather naturally started to slow down. To relax he would often watch television.

However, he didn’t splurge watching an Andy Griffith marathon with a 52-inch flat screen with surround sound. He kept to his tiny black-and-white for years when he could easily afford a bigger one. He simply didn’t want the distraction.

In my own life I have tried to maintain this habit. Outside of professional football and Phineas and Ferb, I watch little to no television. I also limit the videos I watch online and the articles I read.

Of course that means I’m a cultural idiot. But that’s how you master the craft.

It goes back to knowing what has to be done — and getting that done before you reward yourself with the distractions of life.

6. Have fun

You would think that with how much he worked and the size of his family he would never have time to play. But that is wrong. My grandfather loved to play.

He taught every single one of his children how to snow and water ski. When he ran out of children to train, he taught my cousin and me how to snow and water ski. Not to mention he took tae kwon do with his youngest daughter, and he loved to fish.

He loved to work hard and play hard.

I must confess, this one is difficult for me because I have a hard time relaxing. And when I do relax, it’s usually behind a book. But when I can get out there and play ball with my boy, jump on the trampoline with the girl, or take a long hike with the little lady … it works wonders on me. It’s rejuvenating.

7. Be generous

My grandfather is probably rolling over in his grave as I say this, but I’m a selfish turd — stingy as all get out with my time. Ask me to help you clean up your yard after a thunderstorm has scattered debris everywhere and I’ll go limp.

“Sorry, I’ve got this rare disease where I go blind and can’t use my hands when I’m around a wheelbarrow. Or a chainsaw.”

My grandfather, on the other hand, wouldn’t hesitate to drop what he was doing to fix the AC unit for the widow across town.

I clearly have work to do in this area. But the lesson I learned from him is that when I do go out of my way to help someone, there is an indescribable emotional reward that follows. Whether it’s giving my time to a budding writer or aerating the lawn for a single mother, I learn that life is not about me … it’s about people.

Speaking of people …

8. Build and belong to a community

My grandfather bought seven acres on the backside of the city in an area teeming with trees and narrow two-lane roads. His plan was to give away an acre to each child who wanted to build a house. At its pinnacle he had six houses on those seven acres. All his children’s.

My grandfather loved family, his community, his tribe. And being part of that tribe is a magnificent privilege.

This is true online, too: when you find a culture and cause you can put your weight behind you feel less alone, you have purpose, and you become more optimistic about the future. This is definitely the vibe we’ve cultivated in our Authority forums.

9. Work on a small bit of a large project everyday

Here’s a question for you: when does a man find time to build a house when he has children everywhere and works 14 hours a day?

I really don’t know.

If it was me, I’m sure I would’ve just paid someone else. But not my grandfather.

It didn’t matter if it was only for 30 minutes, he worked on building his house. Installing a window here, pouring concrete there. Over time a house rose out of the earth. And he did that twice in his own lifetime.

For you, this could mean writing one blog post a week. Over time, an authoritative website will rise out of the Internet.

This holds true for any large project, like writing a book or building a business. Be patient, delay gratification, work on a small chunk every day … and in time you’ll have something majestic.

10. Learn to sleep anywhere

Perhaps this is less virtue and more survival strategy, but when you work 18 hours a day or more, you look for ways to get your rest. Here’s how granddad did it.

During breaks he would climb to the top of boilers and make a nest out of coats, then take a cat nap. Refreshed, he would return to his shift renewed and sharp.

After a long, humid morning of driving beams into the lake bottom to build a thirty-foot dock, granddad would get some shuteye on a lawn chair, his chin resting into his bare chest. Upon waking he was vigorous and feisty.

I’ve clearly inherited this trait. Around 2:00 p.m., I’m worn out. Circling the same task over and over again. Continuing to work is unproductive. I could boil up another pot of coffee, but I’ve found I’m sharper if I crash for five or ten minutes. After that short nap, I feel human again. And ready to go.

Sleep is essential. Get at least seven hours a day. And if you can, grab that nap. It’ll make you smarter.

Conclusion

My grandfather will never make it into a management book. He won’t appear on a list beside Benjamin Franklin as an efficiency hero. But that doesn’t mean he was any less successful.

He is a patriarch of a large family that I am blessed to be a part of. Every male and female from that family is a hard-working, productive human being. It’s a legacy that goes beyond my grandfather’s seventy years …

And it’s the sort of enduring legacy I wish to create. Not so much with wood, metal, and people. But with words, ideas, and stories. For the benefit of people. And I think that’s something that would make him proud.

What about you? Do you have a blue collar hero in your past?

Image used with permission from Sasa Roksandic of roksandic.net.

About the author

Demian Farnworth

Demian Farnworth is a Senior Writer for Copyblogger Media. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

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Marketing Careers: 3 steps for using testing principles to improve office productivity

At MECLABS, we talk a lot about the testing process. However, the testing process isn’t just a way to improve website performance. The general principles are transferable to so much more. Read on to learn how testing principles can be used to improve office productivity.
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