Is Multitasking a Way to Be More Productive?

Multitasking – it’s a method of working that easily divides an audience: folks seem to embrace it or run from it.

Do you find multitasking productive? Or a time suck?

I think of multitasking as leap frogging. For instance, you start replying to emails, end up clicking on a link within an email, and then get lost in the endless world known as the Internet. One page leads to another leads to another leads to another and before you know it, an hour has passed and there are still several emails to reply to.

Do you accomplish more when multitasking? Is it the way you find the success that you want? Or do you think multitasking sets you up for failure because you don’t get much accomplished?

Like anything, I don’t think it’s absolutely-multitask-all-the-time or avoid-multitasking-all-together. There can be a balance; it’s a matter of finding what works best.

Confession: As I wrote this post, I kept checking e-mails and managed to get sucked into the Internet through one of those ‘read more’ links like I mentioned above. <grin> So instead of just cranking through this blog post in 30 or so minutes, it took me a couple of hours. Multitasking did not benefit me in this instance!

Multitasking does work at times, though. For instance, when I’m in a waiting room or in a line – I can reply to and clean out old emails, sort and save emails, and schedule activities and events. Similarly, if I’m waiting for something to update online, I can reply to inquiries on Twitter and Facebook.

How about you? Do you find multitasking beneficial in saving time or a way to extend the time taken on tasks?

 

LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with Lisa on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

It’s a challenge to be your own boss

Being your own boss is thrilling, isn’t it? It’s nice to not have someone to report to every day. You don’t have to deal with someone hassling you if you don’t show up or if you spend all your time chasing dust bunnies, shiny objects, or killing time on Snapchat or Facebook.

Of course you want to impress your clients, but they come and go and care about what you can do for them, not necessarily about your personal success.

There’s a lot of freedom (insert Mel Gibson’s scream from “Braveheart”) in working for yourself. Maybe too much at times.

To be successful and keep your business on track, you need to think like a boss. What do I mean? Here are a few tips.

  • Determine and write down your goals
    • Yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals will help you achieve the success you want. Written goals keep you focused.
  • Set check-ins and review milestones
    • Schedule time in your calendar, at least quarterly to review your progress on your goals.
  • Set and stick to a schedule
    • When working for someone else, you had to show up at a certain time, it’s just as important t o set a schedule for yourself and show up daily. It doesn’t have to be 8-5 5 days a week, but you should have a regular schedule – consistency and predictability are great for productivity.
  • Track your time
    • Use a timer and track how long  you spend doing different tasks – including those ‘shiny object’ time wasters. Tracking billable hours is imperative to running a successful business.

If you had a boss, you’d be responsible for all of the above – you’d be accountable for achieving certain tasks each day, week, month, quarter, and year. You’d even have once- (or perhaps twice) -a-year reviews. Which brings up another critical requirement for being your own boss: the self-evaluation.

It can be tricky evaluating yourself, so a tip here is to act as though you’re reviewing someone else — it’s important to be honest about your strengths and weaknesses to achieve the success you want. No one else will see the report, but spend time on an honest evaluation, as it can only help you achieve the success you’re after.

So if you start acting like the boss, you can the success that you want in your own business.

Why not start now? You’re the boss – even if you’re the only employee. 

 

LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with Lisa on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

Quiet and Productive Time

Ahh, the final two weeks of the year have arrived.

Sure it’s crazy-busy right now with the holiday approaching. There’s last-minute planning and shopping to take care of and, apparently, bad weather on it’s way to challenge the northeast as people travel on Thursday (Mother Nature challenged many of us on Thanksgiving, too).

But, as I mentioned last year, this is generally a very productive time of year for me.

My quiet time started on Friday and other than holiday-related plans, it will be quiet and I’ll be able to catch up on everything that I haven’t paid attention to for the last 5-6 weeks. Other than catching up on year-end invoices, my business commitments to clients are complete.

It’s nice to have quiet time to do what I want, whether it’s to catch up on To Do list items, or simply kick back and catch up on reading or shows in my Hulu queue.

Do you find the end of the calendar year to be quiet or chaos for you in regard to your writing?

 

LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with Lisa on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

Generalist or Specialist: Where Do You Fit?

What’s your opinion on being a specialist versus a generalist?

Do you think it’s best for a writer to focus in a single area or subject of interest and have a honed knowledge, or are there more opportunities for a writer who can write about anything and everything?

It’s a common quandry that all writers need to answer at least once. I find myself considering the options a couple times a year.

I admit to hearing more often than not that it’s beneficial for a writer to focus only 1 or 2 areas from the get-go — that becoming an expert in an area (or a couple areas) can lead to the most successful career.

The exceptions are journalists — and possibly ghost writers — who can make a living writing about a wide variety of topics.

Focusing on a single area and developing an expertise enables you to develop your platform as a writer.

And then once you have that platform established and start getting known for a particular area, writing opportunities within that area will find their way to you.

I admit it’s exciting to have work coming to you through different avenues rather than having to seek work out.

I haven’t selected a particular niche or area of expertise, probably because I’ve always enjoyed variety and have several years in journalism. I still enjoy trying different types of writing and learning about new products and technology.

Do you specialize? Or do you think being a generalist is the way to go?

LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with Lisa on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

What Never Finishes What It Has to Say? A Classic

Can you believe that it’s December 1 already?

Honestly, where did this year go?

As one holiday is behind me and another is approaching, my mind has gone into holiday tradition mode. I know some people who look forward to the fun surprises of doing the daily reveal of an advent calendar.

Others who enjoy decorating or baking or having Christmas music playing all day long.

I know others who have favorite TV shows or movies they watch at least once each year at this time.

Knowing the words and songs verbatim is not a deterrent; it’s comforting and familiar.

What is it that we love so much about particular traditions, movies, stories, or books?

What is it about the classics that draw us back time and time again?

I found an answer recently that, funny enough, answers that question for me.

AClassic_HasNeverFinished

It’s so true, isn’t it?

A Christmas Carol pops into my head, as does It’s a Wonderful Life and even A Christmas Story.  No matter how many times I hear the words, read the words, or see productions (TV or stage), there’s something slightly new each time.

There are so many ‘classics’ out there; these are just a couple on my mind for the Christmas season.

What classics can you read, listen to, or watch over and over again?

LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with Lisa on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

Here Are Some People to Inspire You to Write

We’re nearing the end of National Novel Writing Month and entering the season of giving thanks, so I thought I’d share a few presentations by writers to inspire you.

These are TED Talks – short (~20 minutes) inspirational talks you can find on YouTube for just about any topic you’d like.

Writing books: Elizabeth Gilbert – your elusive creative genius (author of Eat, Pray, Love)

We’re all creative.

ElizabethGilbert

Storytelling: Andrew Stanton – clues to a great story (Filmmaker – Toy Story, WALL-E)

Greatest story commandment is “make me care.”

AndrewStanton

 Poetry: Billy Collins – Everyday moments, caught in time (former U.S. Poet Laureate)

Bugs Bunny is his muse. <smile>

From poem "Budapest"

From poem “Budapest”

Storytelling (~4 minutes): Joe Sabia – the technology of storytelling

You’ll remember the name Lothar Meggendorfer after this video.

JoeSabia

Enjoy the videos! I hope they inspire.

Have a great week!

LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with Lisa on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

Conference Burn Out

Last week I shared tips about managing the excitement of attending conferences and that I had four conferences to attend in an 8-day period.

One conference was 3 days, the other 3 conferences were single days, but back-to-back. I wouldn’t recommend doing it and I knew I shouldn’t have attempted to for several reasons:

  • It’s too much time to be “on” – mixing and mingling with people, trying to forge new relationships, trying to absorb all the information.
  • It’s too much time away from the office – the work doesn’t stop coming in, nor do I ever want it to, and even with an assistant there is always going to be the game of “catch up” once back in the office.
  • It’s physically exhausting – with a multi-day conference there’s a good chance of finding quiet space (preferably a room for a nap), but with a single-day conference there isn’t any downtime. If you aren’t in a session, you have a break and breaks are where the networking happens. There is the travel to and from the conference and depending on distance, this could mean getting up early and driving more than an hour. It all contributes to ‘too much.’

NetworkingBubblesThese were 4 conferences I wanted to attend, and had attended in the past — it just happened this year that they were scheduled within the same week of November.

Two had the livestream “digital pass” availability and next year I’ll use those options.

I’ve found it’s just as time consuming to attend a conference virtually and just as, or even more engaging, since social media is usually involved (networking is done through Tweets and Chats), but at least there are the benefits of no commute, attending in comfy clothes, and taking bathroom breaks without waiting in line, and no line for lunch either!

Have you ever attended multiple conferences in the same week?

Have you experienced attending a conference virtually, yet?

I ended up attending the full 3-day conference; I left the 1st 1-day conference early; I stayed for the entire second 1-day conference; I didn’t attend the third 1-day conference at all – I started to attend virtually, but my brain had had too much 15 minutes into the first speaker. I’ll be able to watch all of that last conference at any point in the future, though.

LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with Lisa on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and LinkedIn.