Buisness diaries: Business Diary | Etsy

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The Business Diaries Podcast

November 1, 2021

Show notes

Did you know that the sound of Kent is D Major? In this month’s Business Diaries Podcast, Paul Cheese shares his fascination with sounds, particularly the everyday sounds around us. We find out why dropping a skip in a car park made as much of an impression as oystercatchers in Ipswich, fountains in Sheffield and kicking the bar in Aberystwyth.

Paul is a professional musician, sound artist, producer, singer, cyclist, songwriter. His latest project is TheBigREcordUK https://www.thebigrecord.com/ He cycled around 5000 miles to every region of the UK to capture the sounds of people & places, then used these to create a new song, The Sound Of The UK.

 

As well as creating the opening titles music for the Business Diaries Podcast, he has written and recorded music in locations all over the world. From the tops of mountains to deep underground, old places, new places and even underwater, from pillar boxes to ice caves, the Australian bush to the Grand Canyon… 

Paul can be found https://www.paulcheese.com/

October 4, 2021

In this month’s episode, our storyteller Corina Goetz shares how her work changed overnight as a result of the pandemic, and how trying something new, revitalised her life, health and work. This is a fascinating episode, and we don’t want to the give the surprise away – but would you do this?

Corina runs Star-CaT, providing 5-star Middle Eastern training, coaching and sales representation from professional and companies working with the Middle East. She has worked with many clients, particularly from the Gulf region, for over 20 years, establishing many long-standing relationships. She travels the region extensively acts as the key point of contact in London for her clients. 

Corina can be found at https://www.star-cat.co.uk/ and on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/corinagoetz/

Wim Hof: https://www.wimhofmethod.com/

September 1, 2021

In this episode, we revisit a story shared at the inaugural Business Diaries Live event in 2017, when the theme was “working away”. As buyer and seller in the fashion and textiles industry, Chris Pollard travelled frequently, experiencing different cultures and customs. In this episode, he shares a few of his adventures, including a ‘special meal’ and a particularly terrifying aspect of a seemingly ordinary journey.

In the discussion, we consider the importance of empathy and listening when working and travelling abroad, and the value of “doing a bit of homework” and being open to new experiences.

Chris can be found https://www.linkedin.com/in/pollardchris/

August 2, 2021

Benita is a renowned speaker and world-leading expert on changemaking, social innovation, the Sharing Economy and author of Generation Share. In this episode, she shares why she is so passionate about changing the way businesses and individuals think and act. This is a jam-packed episode guaranteed to change the way you think, live and do business.  

Benita can be found https://www.benitamatofska.com/

Generation Share, is the world’s first collection of impactful business models and change-maker stories from around the world, transforming lives and the planet. Each copy is made from 100% waste materials, educates a girl in the slums in Mumbai and plants a tree. To get your copy of Generation Share for just £12.50; order from Policy Press using our special 50% off discount code: apply POMATGS21 at checkout. https://bit.ly/2TzINDo

July 1, 2021

Hazel Addley is one of the first 16 Energy Alignment Method Mentors in the world. She has coached hundreds of people to grow their businesses, live powerfully and love life.

However, Hazel’s early years were unstable, filled with uncertainty and change. In this episode, she tells the story of her childhood. She shares how living in different places with different family members affected her growing up and into her early adulthood.  Until one sentence at a workshop changed everything! 

This is a powerful episode touching on resilience, positivity, digging deep and perspective.

Hazel can be found at https://hazeladdleycoaching.com and on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hazeladdleycoach

June 1, 2021

Phil Wilson is a professional musician and founder of Inspirational Rhythms at the Medway Drum Studio. He has travelled all over the world with a variety of artistes both known and unknown, and more recently as a percussionist, rhythm event facilitator and professional public speaker. However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing! In this inspiring episode Phil candidly shares how a traumatic event in early childhood caused him to stammer which continued well into adulthood. He describes how he coped at school, as a musician and building a business. Until a networking event more recently, prompted him to decide enough was enough. The stammer had to go. This episode is full of hope, courage and reminds us that ‘it’s never too late’.

Phil Wilson can be found http://www.medwaydrumstudio.co.uk/ and on Twitter at @PipDrums

 

May 4, 2021

In this episode, Adelle shares how a routine flight to Edinburgh was the final straw and the misdiagnosis of her early menopause as anxiety prompted her to take matters into her own hands and learn why her body was changing and how she could manage those changes.

In the discussion, we consider the changing attitudes towards menopause, how women are talking more openly about their experiences and men are becoming more interested in understanding more, questions to ask yourself and your GP and so much more in this packed episode.

Adelle Martin is a Midlife Transition Coach, on a mission to ensure all women in business understand why their bodies are changing so they can confidently manage their perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause transition alongside their business or corporate career.  Adelle can be found at  https://executivemidlife.coach/

April 1, 2021

Neil Williams is an experienced business leader and accredited coach, specialising in career, retirement, business and leadership coaching. He is also an accredited coach supervisor (A coach’s coach). In this episode, he takes us though the rollercoaster of his early career in insurance. Be prepared for some highs and lows and join us in considering the importance of values, changing attitudes towards redundancy and the importance of building personal resilience. Neil can be found at  https://www.nvwsolutions.co.uk/

 

March 1, 2021

Nick Inge is a former member of Kent Police, specialising in serious crime and counter-terrorism policing which involved working alongside MI5, MI6 as well as the National Crime Agency. He was responsible for managing informants that were pivotal to high-profile operations tackling terrorism, domestic extremism, serious crime and corruption. Since retiring in 2019, Nick founded and is CEO of specialist whistleblowing consultancy, iTrust Assurance Ltd and is co-founder of WorldlyWise CIC which advises young people as they enter adulthood. Nick has written two books – ‘Exposing the Truth – Whistleblowing Uncovered’ and ‘Jeopardy’.  In this episode, Nick shares a story behind his motto, “You never know” and why you should be open to opportunities and enjoy your business journey. In our discussion, we discuss the value of speaking up and telling the truth safely in all levels of business, how to to build a reputation in a new sector and attitudes to risk. Nick can be found at https://itrustassurance.co.uk/

February 1, 2021

Hasmita came to the UK from war-torn Uganda in 1972, with her mother and younger brother, when she was just 11 years old, unable to speak English, with just one suitcase and £20. She is now a multi-award-winning entrepreneur who specialises in buy-to-let properties and mentors anyone who wants to learn the property business. She is a mum to 3 grown-up sons and 1 granddaughter, and in 2012, Hasy founded New Leaf support, a charity to help anyone experiencing domestic abuse. In this podcast, she takes us back to the time when she left Uganda; the trip to the airport, saying goodbye to her father, the walk across the tarmac to the plane in the blazing heat to landing in London where it was snowing and how this experience has shaped her character and business values.  An incredibly powerful story … one not to be missed.

Hasmita Reardon can be found https://reardonproperties.co.uk/ and New Leaf support https://newleafsupport.org/

 

How We Created A Planning Diary Making $160K In 6 Months

Learn how thousands of people are earning up to $2.5M/month online.

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hey, we’re Tom and Alex—Co Founders of Saint Belford.

Our mission is to empower others to keep self-care on top of their to-do list so that they can design, build and live a life that genuinely fulfills them, without compromising their wellbeing in the process.

We create physical diaries (called Curation) that focus on self-care and personal growth for people who want to prioritise their wellbeing and live life on their terms. We’ve incorporated over a dozen lifestyle tools into one A5 sized planner—things like goal-setting worksheets, habit intention worksheets, habit tracking tools, weekly meal planner, annual bucket list, weekly challenges, pre-week planner to properly map out your week, daily self-care planner… the list goes on—and that’s what sets us apart.

Our customers are predominantly women like Alex who have either experienced some level of burnout or they recognise the need to slow down and recharge amid the chaos of modern society. These women are searching for more than a diary or planner. They are searching for something to keep them grounded, to help them prioritise their wellbeing and create space for the things that light them up.

Much to everyone’s surprise, we turned a profit in our first year achieving a revenue of 43k. In our second year, we almost quadrupled this amount, turning over 160k in less than six months.

What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

There were 3 reasons that lead us down the path of running our own business.

In short, it was a happy accident.

1 – Experiencing burnout

My experience with burnout and mental health issues was probably the primary catalyst for starting Saint Belford. I was taking on far too much, hustling far too aggressively and everything eventually caught up with me.

I knew this was a widespread issue and I wanted to provide an alternative to the hustle hard mentality that most of us naturally learn towards. I wanted to truly empower others to put themselves first, prioritise their wellbeing and create time and space for the things were truly important to them.

2 – There was nothing like it out there

I’ve always been a fan of putting pen to paper, but I couldn’t find a planner that would help me stay organised and grounded with self-care as the primary focus. We saw this as an opportunity to not only create the perfect planner for me, but also spread the message of self-care. It was Tom’s idea to launch this business.

Before burning out, I had ZERO desire to start a business. Having seen the ugly side of owning your own business (my parents were small business owners), I always craved the security of a full time job.

Tom: It was actually Alex’s idea. She just wasn’t serious about it and said it as a joke that she should create the perfect planner since she couldn’t find one that suited her. At the time, I was listening to loads of business podcasts and became very interested in business and marketing, but didn’t know what I wanted to do with what I had learned. After a week or so, that idea popped into my head again and that’s when I said “we should do this.”

3 – We were at a career crossroads

We were both at a crossroads in our careers. Neither of our jobs were fulfilling us. Tom was working as an Apple technician and I was an Account Manager at a digital marketing agency. We felt that at the age of 26, with no mortgage or major commitments, we had nothing much to lose. If it didn’t pan out, it would still be worth the adventure and lessons learned.

Fortunately, I had a background in marketing and Tom is a fast learner, so we didn’t have to outsource a large chunk of our startup fund. We didn’t do much testing to validate the idea. The most we did was send out a survey to our network to gauge what they liked and didn’t like about their current planners, what features they wanted and what type of goals they typically pursued.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

Finding a printer

The first step was finding a local printer in Australia. We reached out to 36 printers and received 6 replies. Finding a printer was A LOT harder than we anticipated because we didn’t know anything about book specs and therefore could only request a quote based on layman knowledge of notebooks. Our first quote request was something like this:

1000 x A5 high end hardcover PU leather diaries ft. gold foil on the front, back and spine.

I also included several photos to illustrate my vision and used the feedback from printers to refine my brief.

We eventually found a local printer who could meet our requirements. Even though our print job was outsourced to Taiwan (they were quite transparent about this), choosing a local printer meant we didn’t have to deal with freight, customs and language barriers in an industry we knew nothing about.

Getting schooled on book making

We didn’t have a clue how books were made, let alone how to choose the right type of binding, grade of paper, ribbons and hardcover material. Our printer was a big help in this department because he was able to educate us on the process and guide us every step of the way.

There were definitely more pros than cons to having a middle man in the first year. The only con was that our printing-related requests were filtered, which meant that our requests were passed on to the manufacturer at the discretion of our printer.

In our first year, we made our decisions based on high-res photos, which is such a contrast to the way we do things now. Because we’re dealing directly with our manufacturer now, we can request physical samples of PU leather and make the decision based on touch and feel.

Brainstorming diary features

The search for a printer took weeks. During that time, we brainstormed exactly what we wanted to include in our planner. We looked at what was available online and in stores. We looked at apps we used. We asked ourselves what we wanted in a diary. We surveyed our network and asked them what they wanted.

At this stage, we knew we wanted to create more than a diary—something truly unique* that was centred around health and wellness. We came up with dozens of ideas. It was just a matter of figuring out the *best, most practical features to include in what we called “Curation” because it was exactly that—a curation of lifestyle planning tools.

Turning our vision into a digital reality

We put together a brief detailing what we envisioned for each feature and we worked closely with our designer to bring our first edition of Curation to life.

We were really blessed in the design department because when we pitched our idea to our friend (who happens to be a designer) she was 100% on board and excited to bring our vision to life (at mates rates). Even though we were living miles apart and the time difference posed a few challenges (she was in France and we were in Australia), the design process was an absolute dream, thanks to the wonders of Skype, Facebook Messenger, Google Docs and Email.

Sorting out packaging problems

Our diaries were shipped to customers in 100% recyclable cardboard book wraps (unbranded). We still use the same packaging today. In our first year, we didn’t want to use unnecessary plastic, so we didn’t bother investing in individual opp/poly bags UNTIL we learned that a few of our diaries arrived with water damage. Eager to avoid another soggy diary experience, we quickly changed our minds about the need for plastic protective material.

Describe the process of launching the business.

From inception to launch

We came up with the idea of Curation in late February 2017 which meant we had a deadline to meet if we wanted to launch a 2018 edition. We had about 8 months to design, produce and market the first edition before launching in October. This timeline worked in our favour because it didn’t leave room for procrastination or perfectionism.

We had to “move fast and break things” and foster an attitude of “done is better than perfect.”

We later learned that most diary companies launch around late August, early September, so we were actually late to the party. That was the first lesson we learned.

Creating our website

We picked a theme that was roughly $100 and did everything ourselves, right down to the photos. It makes us cringe a little when we look back at them now because the photos were so amateur, but you’ve got to start somewhere!

Keeping the costs down

Our goal was to be profitable in the first year, so we were very careful about where we allocated our funds.

In our first year, we relied heavily on micro influencers and SEO to put us on the map. We sent over a dozen copies to lifestyle bloggers and health coaches in the wellness space with a few thousand followers behind them. The idea was for them to share it on their story if they liked our product and/or write a review on their blog. It was a cost effective way for us to reach a larger audience, increase visibility and build brand credibility, since we were the new kids on the block.

This worked quite well. The best, most profitable “shares” were from fatmumslim.com.au, afternoonpickmeup.com.au and rachaelkable.com because they included us in their “best diaries for 2018” roundup.

We used my background and knowledge in SEO to our advantage. Tom’s interest in marketing and his desire to self-educate also kept our marketing costs down. In total, we invested 15k of our life savings into launching this business. We didn’t want to take out any loans or get ourselves into debt because we were simply testing an idea.

Launching to the public

We didn’t build hype or a brand following before we launched, so it wasn’t some big, epic launch. We posted on our personal Facebook accounts and that got the ball rolling. Our friends and family were instrumental in spreading the word about our brand. Our first few customers were friends/family but by the 5th or 6th day, we were selling to random people, and that was when it finally felt real.

Lessons from our experience

  • Build a following before you launch.
  • Leverage your connections and don’t be afraid to ask for help. “Mates rates” can really help keep costs down in the first year. You’ll be surprised by how generous people are with their time and advice when you’re a startup.
  • Don’t be afraid to share your product with family and friends. They will be your biggest supporters in the beginning.
  • Have a deadline and stick to it. Having a deadline worked in our favour because it didn’t leave room for procrastination or perfectionism.
  • Join entrepreneurial/ecommerce Facebook groups. They can be a great resource and place to ask questions.
  • Be prepared to pivot. In our first year, SEO worked a charm. In our second year, it didn’t work as well as we’d hoped, so we had to adapt our marketing strategy and learn how to market our products on Instagram and Facebook.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

We’ve tried so many different types of marketing in a bid to attract and retain customers. These are our biggest takeaways.

Don’t just be a brand. Show that you’re human so that customers have someone they can connect with.

Instagram and Facebook ads for the win

This worked a treat for attracting new customers and increasing traffic/sales. We used professional imagery and targeted people just like Alex. We know that the majority of our customers don’t convert immediately because it’s something they’ll research for weeks.

The goal of the ad is to generate awareness and either get them to sign up to our VIP list (email list) or follow us on Instagram where we can nurture them until they are ready to purchase. Once they land on our website, we can also retarget them at a later date.

We also use Instagram for social proof. When customers share our products on their story or message us telling us how much they love what we’ve created, we will always repost it.

Show that you’re human

Don’t just be a brand. Show that you’re human so that customers have someone they can connect with. We do this via Instagram stories. Customers love seeing what goes on behind the scenes. They want to put a face and a voice to the brand.

Clarify and communicate your brand message clearly

Donald Miller’s Storybrand Framework has transformed the way we communicate our brand message and market our products. I highly recommend listening to his audiobook “Building a StoryBrand” and implementing his principles. The audiobook will teach you how to write incredible website/marketing copy and nurture your email subscribers. Our YoY conversion rate increased from 3% to 3.8% thanks to these principles.

Incentivise email sign ups

We decided to give away a free copy of our planner every month to someone on our email list. Once we implemented an email opt-in with “Sign up for your chance to win a FREE copy of Curation 2019”, we went from having 600 email subscribers to nearly 5000 in just a few months, and they were quality subscribers. Our email conversion rate was 7.64% last year.

Collaborate with like-minded brands

We did giveaways with brands in the health and wellness space to reach new customers. One particular giveaway with Pana Chocolate (raw organic chocolate) helped us build our Instagram following by the thousands, just in time for Black Friday/Cyber Monday. We didn’t strategically plan for this to happen, but it certainly taught us that timing the giveaway is important.

Produce valuable content

This has been a huge part of our retention strategy. We seek out people in the health and wellness space to guest post on our blog. We produce FREE eBooks in the off-season. We just spent 3 months writing our last eBook which is all about building new habits that stick.

We’re not just in the business of selling planners—we’re constantly searching for new ways to empower our audience and add value.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We saw phenomenal revenue growth in our second year of business—47k to over 160k in revenue through our Shopify store.

We’ve been travelling around Asia working on the 2020 diary collection which will be released in September. We’re so grateful we get to do this.

In terms of the future, we’re still trying to figure out what direction we want to take the business in. There are pros and cons to having a seasonal business. The pro being that we’ve been able to travel and work remotely in the off-season. The con being that we’re only generating revenue in September-February.

Tom and I have finally settled into our roles. Being life and business partners is tricky but having roles in the business has helped us navigate this territory. Tom is in charge of business/marketing strategy and the techy side of things. I’m in charge of supplier and customer relationships, product development and content creation.

We do have plans to expand our range next year. There are a few ideas in the pipeline, but we want to keep it a surprise for our audience.

Ultimately, our goal is to continue creating lifestyle tools that focus on self-care and personal growth, whether that’s in the form of eBooks or adding to our physical collection.

We are also really passionate about mental health which is why we donate a percentage of our profits to Beyond Blue and R U OK? every year. This will always be a core part of our business.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

The biggest challenge was finding a supplier who understood our needs and could deliver on their promises. We actually flew to China to meet with our supplier this year. Sitting down face to face, explaining our concerns and visiting the factory where our diaries are currently being produced has filled us with a lot more confidence.

Before manufacturing your product, figure out what a defective product looks like. For us, it’s scratches, missing pages, unseared ribbons, etc. Once you know what a defect looks like, communicate this to your supplier and agree on an accepted defect rate. Every factory will have a defect rate, so don’t be fooled by a company telling you that they don’t have one.

It’s impossible to produce 100% perfect products on a mass scale. It’s good practice to establish a written agreement of the product specs and criteria. We use Alibaba to process all transactions because it protects us in the off chance the supplier doesn’t meet the agreed criteria.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We try to keep it as simple as possible. It’s easy to get bogged down with the latest apps, but one thing we’ve noticed is keeping it simple helps with our website speed and overall sanity. Sumo and Kaviyo are definitely our favourites, and when I say we, I mean Tom because he’s the tech nerd in this duo!

  • Shopify: affordable and super easy to use.
  • Sumo: collecting emails is a breeze with Sumo. The pop-ups are incredibly easy to design and customer support is amazing.
  • Klaviyo: we just recently switched from MailChimp toKlaviyo and it has allowed us to step up our email marketing game. The built-in flows and email automation possibilities are truly next level.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

This taught us the power of small habits, when compounded over time. It also helped us build the discipline we needed to create a sustainable business.

Tim Ferriss podcast

Tom has listened to almost every episode. Tim manages to extract amazing insights from his guests which can be distilled down into principles anyone can use.

Noah Kagan podcast/YouTube channel

These are all bite sized, completely actionable tips and advice for small businesses.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Make sure your preparation doesn’t turn into procrastination.

Done is better than perfect. Our first year was a test. Did we produce the perfect product? Not at all. BUT we used our customer feedback and everything we had learned in our first year to create something we were genuinely proud of in the second year.

Don’t be afraid to “move fast and break things.”

Learn from your mistakes. When you view your mistakes as an opportunity to learn and improve, you can recover faster. Don’t dwell on it. Own it and use it to your advantage.

Ask for help!!

People are more than happy to help you. You’ve just got to ask.

Have a strong WHY.

Make sure you’re genuinely passionate about your product/service. People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.

Don’t forget to look after yourself.

Starting a business is exciting but it’s also overwhelming and exhausting. It’s also easy to neglect your mind and body in favour of getting that important thing done. Just remember this quote by Joyce Sunada “If you don’t take time for your wellness, you’ll be forced to make time for your illness.”

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!


 

Tom and Alex
 
Founder of Saint Belford

Saint Belford has provided an update on their business!

About 1 year ago, we followed up with Saint Belford to see
how they’ve been doing
since we published this article.

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Four Reasons to Keep a Work Diary

Question: What does Oprah Winfrey have in common with World War II General George S. Patton? Answer: Being an avid diarist.

Recently, Oprah offered her readers glimpses into her diaries, along with encouragement to keep their own. Many well-known figures throughout history, from John Adams to Andy Warhol, have faithfully kept records of their daily lives. Undoubtedly, some have had an eye toward history in their devotion to journaling. But aside from the shot at immortality, are there any real benefits of keeping a diary?

There are. In particular, there are four reasons for keeping a work diary: (1) focus, (2) patience, (3) planning, and (4) personal growth.

Teresa’s former student, Sarah Kauss, recently wrote that the journal she was required to keep in the MBA course Managing for Creativity led to a daily practice that she has found invaluable as she traveled a career path from consultant to entrepreneur. (Sarah’s company, S’well, makes and sells unique insulated drinking bottles.) At first, Sarah rebelled at the idea of keeping a journal:

At the time, as a busy MBA student, this seemed uncomfortable and time-consuming. I needed to be working and networking, not taking time to write about perceptions and feelings. Or so I thought. Professor Amabile’s assignment introduced me to an entirely new type of journaling that has helped me in both my personal and professional life.

Sarah highlights the first three benefits:

Journaling about work has given me the focus to identify my strengths and the activities that bring me the greatest joy. Surprisingly, the least glamorous tasks of my professional career to date have been some of my career highlights. I have gleaned many lessons about where I can be most engaged and therefore most successful in the workplace. Journaling has also given me patience and sharpened my ability to plan. Although it can seem that I’m making only baby steps of progress — and, yes, sometimes going sideways or even backwards before moving forward — my journal is an independent arbiter (and a silent cheerleader). There will always be more progress to make, but for me it is important to know that I am moving closer to my goals. I am always encouraged to look back and know how far I have come in a year’s time, and how major obstacles seem to become minor speed bumps in hindsight. This record gives me great patience and perspective when new challenges come my way. Even now as a very busy entrepreneur, I can’t imagine not taking a few moments at the end of each day to record in my journal the progress made and my hopes and plans for the next phases of success.

Research confirms Sarah’s belief in the value of reflecting on and writing about daily experiences. Experiments by psychologist James Pennebaker and others have revealed that writing about traumatic or stressful events in one’s life results in stronger immune function and physical health, better adjustment to college, a greater sense of well-being, and an ability to find employment more quickly after being laid off. In our own research on how events at work influence people and their performance, we asked over 200 knowledge workers to send us a daily diary report every day throughout a complex project they were doing. Although we reaped some surprising discoveries (reported in our current HBR article and forthcoming book), our research participants also reaped some surprising discoveries — about themselves.

This fourth benefit for diarists, personal growth, is perhaps the most important. Keeping regular work diaries, which took no more than ten minutes a day, gave many of our research participants a new perspective on themselves as professionals and what they needed to improve. As one of them said in reviewing his work diary, “I saw that my comments seemed to reflect a pessimistic tone which, in retrospect, may have been unwarranted. I now try to approach projects with a more optimistic frame of mind.” Another said, at the end of our study:

I am sorry this is coming to an end. It forced me to sit back and reflect on the day’s happenings. This daily ritual was very helpful in making me more aware of how I should be motivating and interacting with the team. Thanks again for your help in making me a better person.

Seeing the value of journaling, we are now starting to keep our own work diaries. But we know it’s really hard to keep at the “daily ritual.” We’ll report our progress in later posts. For now, we’d love to hear your own experiences with keeping a work diary.

And if you have any tips or insights, please let us know.

Teresa Amabile is Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. She researches what makes people creative, productive, happy, and motivated at work. Steven Kramer is a psychologist and independent researcher. They are the authors of the forthcoming book The Progress Principle.

Diaries Of Executive Education During COVID-19 Pandemic

By Reem Abouemera

Recount of Yasmine Yehia, Instructors Affairs Manager and Naglaa Fawzy, Senior Program Development Manager

 

Only a year ago, before the COVID-19 wave began, the Program Development Unit was just a new initiative, with instructors working tirelessly and enthusiastically with instructional designers to set a new culture for program design and development. Between training subject-matter experts, reviewing designs and deliverables, and working closely with program managers, the overarching goal was to develop and deliver best in-class programs.

“We were at the doorstep of success and were waiting to celebrate it when we were hit by a new reality along with its challenges: COVID-19 and virtual learning,” reflects Naglaa, accurately describing the situation, and adding, “At one point, we felt like we were standing on shaky grounds again, overwhelmed by tasks and lacking clear directions.”

While the pandemic had hit earlier than March 22, it was only then that we were all confronted with its repercussions: shifting to online learning. The transition presented its unique set of challenges, but for Yasmine it meant that “My top priority was to adapt our 38 instructors to this changing learning environment, while turning to the program development unit for support. Primarily, my top concern was finding the sweet spot to blend swift action with a coherent learning experience that encourages interaction and meets the programs’ objectives. We decided to start by launching instructor training sessions to equip them for full-scope online learning.”

But then, there was a discussion regarding assessments in the new context. Traditionally, we had two methods for assessment: project-based assessments and timed exams. Within the online learning environment, timed exams were no longer feasible due to the difficulty of proctoring and their general ineffectiveness during the situation.

 

Accordingly, all timed exams were replaced with ‘major assignments,’ taking different formats, including reflection papers, case studies with presentations, or project-based assignments and presentations. This was undoubtedly a major variation from standard practice and required its own training to acquaint both instructors and participants with guidelines, outlines, and rubrics that evaluations were to be based on to corroborate the course objectives.

 

While seemingly simple, this was, in fact, a lengthy trial and error phase that involved significant A/B testing and experimentation. We continuously reset out training strategies to meet our almost daily changing needs. Not to mention that instructors were understandably taken aback by the situation in the beginning, and accordingly, their engagement levels weren’t at par with what was usual; we could sense it. 

 

However, with more training and increased open-channel communication, the confidence levels began to elevate. What started with confusion and isolation, quickly escalated to teamwork and engagement. In turn, the participants felt the confidence and positive morale that came from the instructors. Sessions and participants quickly turned into busy hives with engaged bees working in groups, discussing opinions, brainstorming ideas, and delivering effective presentations.

 

One of our prominent marketing instructors, Lisa Assaf, tells us, “I always admire the quote: ‘Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.’ I had the passion to create a pleasant and efficient experience when moving from face-to-face to online teaching. Still, the significant challenge was how to replace human interaction and ensure high engagement levels with participants. Over time, however, I realized that there are different types of interaction made possible with technological tools.”

 

She continues, “Sure, initially it wasn’t my cup of tea, and it wasn’t an easy task, but training helped a lot. Ironically, although we were ‘forced’ to move online due to the pandemic, I have to admit that online teaching does have its benefits, the most obvious being the delivery flexibility. Actually, I like to think of the future of our learning experience to be a blended one.”

 

The new assessment methods were both successful and fruitful. Yasmine notes that “the depth of the discussions and engagement levels between participants and instructors was sky-high! There was harmony that I was immensely proud of, and I was impressed with how online tools were used to the fullest, including polls, breakout rooms, whiteboards, leveled questioning techniques, Kahoot, Nearpod, and more. I personally believe that this period benefited us in ways I couldn’t have imagined. The skills I’m learning are invaluable, and I think this goes for everyone on the team. If anyone had previously asked me what agility meant, I wouldn’t have really known. But now, I feel like I can put it into words.”

 

Naglaa wraps the situation up neatly, stating, The experience made me think of all of us as the ‘Alchemist,’ who has an extraordinary capacity to deal with many situations at multiple levels simultaneously, creating something magnificent through a seemingly magical process. Like the Alchemist, we continue to explore, experiment, adjust and redesign. We fail at times but keep trying until we finally succeed. At some point, we did feel like magicians who always had hidden and unexpected solutions up their sleeves to resolve issues.”

 

We couldn’t agree more!

Tell Us Your Monthly Budget

  • Insider is assembling salary diaries that reveal the challenges Hollywood workers face in making ends meet.
  • Income inequality and workplace fairness are concerns in entertainment, and we want to hear from you.
  • Respondents will be kept anonymous, due to the sensitive nature of the topic.

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The entertainment industry has a reputation for glitz and glamour, but the star-studded movies that make it to the big screen are built on the backs of thousands of crew members, support staffers, pre- and post-production workers who toil away — often for a fraction of the paycheck of the A-listers headlining a project. 

And for every TV showrunner or movie star, there are legions of actors and writers and directors who grind for years in the hopes of getting their big break. 

Movements like #PayUpHollywood and #IALivingWage have shone a light on the community of assistants and IATSE members, respectively, who often live paycheck to paycheck in expensive cities like Los Angeles and New York. And as Insider has reported, the COVID-19 pandemic of the past 18 months is leaving many workers wondering if they are a “lost generation” of future showrunners and execs whose careers may remain stalled indefinitely. 

The pandemic has additionally compounded the usual work stresses for young Gen Z and millennial staffers in Hollywood, prompting some to reevaluate the way they view work in relation to their mental health.

In examining workplace issues and income inequality in Hollywood, Insider’s Los Angeles bureau wants to hear from you, whether you’re a writer, producer, actor, director, assistant, agent, composer, gaffer, makeup artist, studio exec, or an assistant or apprentice to any of the above.

We’re putting together salary diaries that reveal the challenges Hollywood dreamers and strivers face in making ends meet, including the money hacks and occasional perks that help along the way. For a look at what an Insider salary diary highlights, check out our DC bureau’s coverage of congressional staffer pay on Capitol Hill. 

What we’re looking for: A salary diary that breaks down your income and monthly expenses, in addition to your thoughts on pay satisfaction and your career trajectory in the entertainment industry so far. 

Email us at [email protected] with the subject line “Hollywood Salary Diary” if you’re interested in participating. We’ll contact you from there to send you a template so you can start tracking your salary and budget. We’d like to learn more about how much you pay for rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, professional clothes, student loans, work events, and more. 

Due to the sensitivity of the matter, Insider will not disclose your name, employer, or other identifying information in our coverage. We will ask for documentation of certain items during the fact-checking process, but will never publish or disclose those documents without your explicit permission.

Editorial Policy: Diary of a Small Business Owner

Members of Tin Shingle have the editorial freedom to tell their own behind-the-scenes stories of growing their businesses to scores of eager readers of the Tin Shingle website in a series created just for them: #SmallBizDiaries. If you would like to publish to the #SmallBizDiaries column, consider starting a membership with Tin Shingle. Once you do, you will have your own blogging platform here in #SmallBizDiaries and can begin sharing your articles.

Before you start posting, please review our Editorial Policy below. We have also made a video that personally tells you how best to write each article. If you want to skip the video and read the transcript, click here to jump to the bottom of this page.

From time to time, we may highlight your diary entry on our company blog if it hits a nerve that many people will identify with and learn from. Some #SmallBizDiary entries are also featured in our free newsletter, #SmallBizGoodness.

We can’t wait to read about what goes on behind the scenes in your businesses and lives!

EDITORIAL POLICY

Be Real, Be Honest and Be Open
This is your chance to pull back the curtain and give an inside look into the real life of an entrepreneur.  We urge you to be as truthful as possible, as this is what readers really latch onto and want to know!

Editorial Standards
Tin Shingle reserves the right to edit any diary entry for clarity and to help the reader find your product or business. Our editorial team may spot ways you could better highlight something in your article, and if so, we will email you directly with a suggested change. Tin Shingle reserves the right to remove any diary entry that are volgure, profane, or too off-topic. We will alert you directly should this happen.

Respect the Platform
Be sure what you post is a diary entry and not a blatant promotion for an event, product, sale or yourself.  We have designated areas of the website for that, including the Showcase, Event Calendar and your own Business Profiles.  Posts deemed too promotional will be removed to preserve the integrity of the platform.

Don’t Use Language That Will Make Your Mother Blush
Sure we all need to vent, let loose and express our feelings with “passionate” words from time to time, but we ask you to keep your language “PG”.  Don’t make us take out our Swear Jar.

“Socialize It” and Share Away
If you post it they will come!  Want to share your diary entry with the world?  Be sure to share it via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more!  We’ll be using the hashtag  #SmallBizDiary when socializing it, and encourage you to use it as well!

Blogged It on Your Blog First?
Many of you are blogging all the time about your business.  Our community of readers would love to read your behind the scenes stories, so feel free to post a version of your Small Business Diary on another blog in abstract format.  

Tin Shingle Promotions
From time to time we’ll be pulling Small Business Diary entries from the editorial page onto our homepage, for use in blogs, and for use in other Tin Shingle promotions.  By posting your diary entry, you agree to participate in these opportunities when they arise.

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words
When posting your entry, feel free to include an image in your post.  People love a look behind the scenes whether it be you, your work or anything else that helps illustrate your story.

 

TECHNICAL STUFF: TIPS & TRICKS

Where to Create and Edit Diary Entries
Click on your Member Account Center in the top right corner of your screen. Scroll down, and you’ll see a section called Small Business Diaries.  Click on “ADD A DIARY ENTRY” to add a new one, or click “edit” below an entry you already have.  You can also access this in the shortcut links found on the right side of your screen under the “LISTINGS” section. Click the link that says “DIARY ENTRY (add/edit).

Adding a Picture
You can upload pictures in our content editor. There is a picture icon that looks like a little house. Click that, and upload your image from your computer.

Formatting your content
You can use editorial features such as bold, italic, underline, and you can create bullet lists in your Diary Entry!

Word Count Limit
There is no limit at this time.

Get This Feature
Start your Tin Shingle Membership now and start your Small Business Diary, along with many other business benefits.
 


TRANSCRIPT OF THE #SMALLBIZDIARY INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO
Katie Hellmuth Martin, co-founder of Tin Shingle and an editor of its website content, recorded a video that tells you exactly what we’re looking for in an article for the #SmallBizDiary series. Remember, this is a member-only opportunity! Scroll up to watch the video, or start reading it right here:

OVERVIEW OF THE #SMALLBIZDIARY SERIES
#SmallBizDiaires tells the story of your brand as it unfolds. You are building your business every day, and with each day, brings new challenges, celebrations, downers, accomplishments, you name it. You’re wearing a lot of hats. Your business probably is intertwined with your personal life, in that, you work different hours than your 9-5 friends, or you get excited to do your bookkeeping (like I do), or your inventory is in your living room and your kids help you ship it to retail or wholesale customers.

That is all fascinating to a lot of people. It’s what reality shows are built on. People want to watch you succeed and overcome. They want to cheer you on, and learn from you. #SmallBizDiaries is a series where you can share the stories that go on your business life every day, to show how they make your business special. It’s why people love your business over your competitor’s.

Hot right now is following the behind the scenes details of lives. That could be a person’s life, and it can be a business’s life. We are capturing the behind the scenes, dramatic stories of your business life. And by the way, when I say “dramatic”, you may think, “my business life is boring. I did bookkeeping this week.” or “I’m on my computer all day, I don’t do exciting things.” Check those thoughts at the door. Because decisions you make, and how you execute them, hold the drama. And that’s what our readers want to see.

WHO SEES IT?
Who sees #SmallBizDiaries? Who reads it? When you publish a story, or for lack of a better word, an article that you write to the Tin Shingle website, it’s viewable to the public. Anyone can read it. If you jazz it up with links and pictures or even a video, that makes it even more likely that your article will attract more people who are Googling things. This is called SEO.

DOES IT GET PROMOTED?
Does your article get promoted? Yes, we do tweet each story or article that you publish. We sometimes feature it in our free newsletter, #SmallBizGoodness. We pin it to Pinterest. We share it on Google+.

And if we can find a theme arising from articles that you and other business owners publish, we may pitch the media with a story idea that they may want to write about that features your diary entry, or your article in #SmallBizDiaries.

WHAT KIND OF THINGS SHALL I WRITE ABOUT?
Now let’s discuss what kinds of things you can write about. Firstly, if you’re not a writer, or are afraid of writing, keep listening anyway. Or have your intern, assistant, or dedicated social media manager listen to this video.

Let me ask you:

– Can you write an email?
– Can you rant to your friends?

If the answer is yes, then you can write a #SmallBizDairy.

First of all: Each article is written in the first person – which means that you refer to yourself as “I”. Even if your social media manager is writing this for you, they should be like a “ghost writer” and write it as if you the business owner are talking.

Second of all: Each article should have a take-away, like – what did you learn from this experience? Or have you learned nothing yet, and are going through something hard that you are trying to find meaning in.

Thirdly: If the article doesn’t have a “take-away”, it should reveal something. Like how you entered into and finalized a partnership with another brand. Or how you finally cracked the code at selling on Amazon (if you want to reveal that secret…it would be juicy). Generally, if you landed big press, we do have a dedicated series for that called SNAGGED!, which interviews you about how you landed a story in the media using Tin Shingle’s tools you have in your memberships program – even the weekly live and recorded training you listen to. When you have a story like that to tell, visit your PR Leads and hit the Ongoing Leads tab, which is where you’ll find details on how to submit a SNAGGED! article.

And finally, topic ideas:
All #SmallBizDiary articles should revolve around running your business. So, that could include:
– Hiring someone.
– Working from home.
– Moving out of the home and into a professional kitchen.
– Working with a fleet of trucks to ship your frozen food. What’s that like?
– Suddenly traveling a lot.
– Working from home with kids.
– Partner collaborations and how they happened.
– Planning an event.
– Launching or re-launching a crowd-funding campaign. Did it work? What did you learn?
– The process of writing your book – how is that going?
– Opening a new storefront. Did you find a space? Did you start construction? All of these thoughts can be articles.

These are all baby steps in your business, that can be be short articles that keep your customers, clients, and followers engaged in your brand.

Some of these article ideas you may have already blogged about on your businesses blog. That’s great, and you should be doing that!

If you want to share the same message in a #SmallBizDiary article, we encourage that. But for your sake and ours, don’t copy and paste the article from your blog into a #SmallBizDiary entry. You don’t want the same exact content in more than one place on the Internet.
A. It’s boring to people who follow your business in both places, and
B. Your articles will compete with each other in Google

So just make it fresh, even if it has a similar message. Our readers are small business owners, their teams and staff, and regular people who support small businesses.

Have that audience in mind when you write.

A Few Rules:
We do have an editorial policy posted on the website which you can find at the very bottom of the website in the POLICIES section. It covers things like:
No swearing.
Be Real, Be Honest, and Be Open.
Respect others. Be very careful before you bash a business.
Socialize it. We encourage you to share your article in your social circles online and include the hashtag #smallbizdiary and the @TinShingle handle.
As for sales or direct promotions – this isn’t a place to list your sale or service pitch. The Event Calendar is for sales, and the Member Showcase and the Business Directory and your Personal and Business Profiles are where you can share details about your service. #SmallBizDiaries is a creative space for you to tell your brand story as it happens.

At anytime, if you’re hesitating writing a #SmallBizDiary article, please reach out to me directly at [email protected] and let me know your question and we’ll talk about it.

Ok! All done! I look forward to reading your next #SmallBizDiary entry!”

 

90,000 Read “Business Woman’s Diary” – Brodsky Danielle – Page 1

Danielle Brodsky

Business Woman’s Diary

Aunt Tiny – on behalf of everyone she inspired

1

ONE BEAUTIFUL DAY …

Resolved – today, March 15, right now, at three o’clock in the afternoon, I am starting a new life. I’m going to get out of my work routine and not allow the fantasy of Mr. Ideal Husband (and the deep depression of still not meeting him) to invade my life unceremoniously every second.I don’t want to be a third-rate, hard-paying freelance journalist anymore. I have to become the best and I will strive for fame, awards and success. From this very moment.

I know perfectly well that this is not the first time I have made such a decision. I know, because Joan just called and she reminded me in great detail and gave me specific dates.

– You were already going to start a new life on the fifteenth of September and the fifteenth of October, and I heard the same vows on the fifteenth of November… – My friend listed the past months one by one and suddenly asked: – Darling, are you not getting the bill for the apartment on the fifteenth?

Of course, here we have found a pattern. But Joan does not understand that this time it will be different.

I. I’m going. Change. My. Life.

I’m ready to do it.

Perhaps I have been going for this too long.

But now I’m ready.

And I feel how every cell of my body begins to radiate creative energy.

I have everything I need to confidently move towards success. Here they are – my working tools, everything is here. This is a new diary, covered in red suede, a purple helium pen, and, of course, my shrewd, razor-sharp journalistic mind. Anyone looking to finally succeed in their careers definitely needs a new notepad. You can’t get off to a good start with a crumpled notebook that stores ideas from hundreds of unpublished articles. If you write to make a living, a notebook like this can be seen as an investment in your job.But if you want to write really interesting lyrics, surround yourself with beautiful, creative things. Even the government agreed to this, allowing us to quote their value for tax cuts.

The new notebook crunches when I open it carefully. Turning over the first golden page. It’s time to start brainstorming. I need topics for articles. Breathe in. Exhalation. I grab the pen and strike the pensive pose of the famous statue of Rodin. I am the Thinker. But I’m going to write with a helium pen, which means I’m a Free Thinker.No, the Creator Thinker is better. Although, perhaps it would be more correct to say Writer. Yes, that’s right, I am a Writer. I love the way this word sounds.

I have to admit, a lot of people agree with me. When I meet people, my occupation impresses everyone, always. And naturally, people ask me what exactly I am writing about. Hearing the answer, men lose interest in the conversation. Of course, why would they hear about spring fashion trends, that wide belts can be worn again, or that pink lipstick is relevant this season? The next question is inevitable, and therefore I await it with fear.”And what magazines do you write for?” I do not write for Penthouse and similar publications, morally clean, but the problem is that no one has ever heard the names of those magazines that publish my articles.

I am sure that now you will understand why I sometimes slightly embellish reality: I do not name the magazines in which my articles are published, but I tell about those where I recently sent my proposals. However, I always honestly admit: “Any journalist who is not on the staff sends articles to different publications.You never know where success awaits you. ”

Saying this, I at least give the impression of a girl striving to get out of even a hopeless situation with dignity, and do not cause regret and thoughts like “well, when will she finally stop twitching?” It seems to me that at this moment the cold unapproachable people with whom I communicate will accept me into their circle. And men will find the vivid way of life that I (allegedly) lead attractive.

But from this day on, I won’t have to embellish anything else.Never. And so, at the very top of the page we write today’s number. I will definitely reread the beginning of this diary, sitting comfortably at a new table in a luxurious new attic in Soho, purchased after I received an offer to write a regular column in Vogue. I will wear samples of the next season collection from Prada and handmade shoes from Manolo Blahnik. And I will remember with joy today.

Browsing through one of the old magazines I keep hoping to draw creative power from them, I instantly lose my head over a stunning dark gray slanting dress.The model in the photo is comfortably seated on a velvet sofa, an innumerable number of pearl threads twine around a thin neck, a shoe embroidered with black beads falls from an elegant leg. I can’t help myself. I imagine myself in this dress and more suitable, in my opinion, decorated with crystal beads sandals, my bleached hair shimmers under the flashes of paparazzi cameras. I raise my hand in greeting and smile graciously in imitation of royalty. So, everything is clear. For this outfit I need a handbag from Lulu Guinness, best of all a la flower pot, inside which famous sayings are embroidered – a little secret that only the owner knows about.

My breathing quickens and becomes choppy, as if I was short of air. There is fog in front of my eyes. I am overwhelmed with the desire to immediately know where I can buy this dress. After all, becoming its owner, I will feel like a spectacular woman, who has everything in its place – a quality that is still not available to me. When I open my potty bag, for the first time in my life, I will accurately determine where my lip gloss is – I will immediately change its neutral pink shade, which I use all the time.I will have a dark red lipstick – a natural color and absolutely comfortable for a woman in such a dress. If I need a business card, that’s what I’ll get. And yet – in this dress I will become taller, slimmer, and my green eyes will shine like emeralds.

I always tint my eyes beautifully, but now my makeup should be more expressive, I will add a little haze along the lash line and a little bit of shiny bronze eyeshadow on the eyelids. It seems as if my whole life has been just preparation for this purchase.I imagine the dress and all its meaning for my life so clearly that I do not even doubt: it is destined for me by fate – after all, the desire to possess it is truly unlimited.

Eagerly leafing through the magazine in search of information for buyers on the back pages. “To find out the price, call.” Barely breathing (I can be understood by girls with high demands, who do not have everything), I make the calculations. Silk, a mile and a half, no less, and all embroidered with roses.

I come to the conclusion that I can quite afford this dress if I go on a diet of free ketchup and drinks and put my property on an online auction.Collect and stack everything that can be sold. I think how much I could help out, and suddenly I realize that the magazine is two years old.

I feel completely devastated. I’m ready to give up on my plans, and then an amazing idea comes to mind. My personal experience can form the basis for a good essay, which I am not ashamed to offer a magazine of the level of Harpers Bazaar. I could call it “Looking for a Dark Gray Dress.” I start to write. “If a woman wants to buy something vintage from Badgley – Bear [1], nothing else will be a worthy substitute.”In addition to the outline of the future article, it is necessary to submit to the magazine short excerpts, testifying to its topic and style. Perhaps it is not worth writing about a mild heart attack, which I experienced after learning that the price of the dress is being discussed separately. Harpers Bazaar readers are wealthy people and can afford a lot. (I bought all the available colors of this dress!) It is better, as always in such cases, to enter the image of a rich society lady.

90,000 In the United States, journalists were searched because of the “stolen” diary of Biden’s daughter

FBI officers raided two journalists from the investigative organization Project Veritas in New York in connection with the “theft” of the personal diary of the daughter of US President Joe Biden Ashley, reports the New York Times.As part of this case, American law enforcement officers interrogated at least one person who collaborated with the organization.

As noted by Fox News, Ashley Biden’s diary went missing a few days before the start of the presidential elections in 2020. It allegedly contained “explosive dirt” on her and on Biden himself, who was the Democratic presidential candidate at the time.

According to the founder of Project Veritas, James O’keefe, the searches did take place, but he denied that his organization had anything to do with the disappearance of the diary.

“I woke up to find out that the apartments and homes of Project Veritas journalists, including former journalists, had been ransacked by FBI agents. It seems that the Southern District of New York saw it as a crime for journalists to do their jobs lawfully and honestly, ”O’keef said.

According to him, an NYT reporter contacted a Project Veritas journalist within an hour of the searches at his home.

O’keef explained that towards the end of last year, some “gunners” approached his organization, offering Ashley’s diary.She allegedly forgot him in her hotel room, and the “gunners” then picked him up and tried to sell him to various media outlets. The founder of Project Veritas stressed that his organization refused to cooperate with the “gunners”, as it could not independently verify the authenticity of the diary, then they passed all the information to law enforcement agencies, including the book itself.

“Project Veritas has handed over the diary to law enforcement so that it can be returned to its rightful owners. Now, Miss Biden’s father’s Department of Justice, specifically the Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, has opened an investigation, claiming that the diary has been stolen.We do not know if this is so, but this begs the question: since when has the alleged theft of the diary been investigated by the FBI and the Department of Justice, “he said.

Danielle Brodsky – The Diary of a Business Woman read online

Danielle Brodsky

Business woman’s diary

Aunt Tiny – on behalf of everyone she inspired

1

ONE BEAUTIFUL DAY …

Resolved – today, March 15, right now, at three o’clock in the afternoon, I am starting a new life.I’m going to get out of my work routine and not allow the fantasy of Mr. Ideal Husband (and the deep depression of still not meeting him) to invade my life unceremoniously every second. I don’t want to be a third-rate, hard-paying freelance journalist anymore. I have to become the best and I will strive for fame, awards and success. From this very moment.

I know perfectly well that this is not the first time I have made such a decision. I know, because Joan just called and she reminded me in great detail and gave me specific dates.

– You were already going to start a new life on September fifteenth and October fifteenth, and I heard the same oaths on November fifteenth … – My friend listed the past months one after another and suddenly asked: an apartment?

Of course, so we found a pattern. But Joan does not understand that this time it will be different.

I. I’m going. Change. My. Life.

I’m ready to do this.

I may have been going too long for this.

But now I’m ready.

And I feel how every cell of my body begins to radiate creative energy.

I have everything I need to confidently move towards success. Here they are – my working tools, everything is here. This is a new diary, covered in red suede, a purple helium pen, and, of course, my shrewd, razor-sharp journalistic mind. Anyone looking to finally succeed in their careers definitely needs a new notepad. You can’t get off to a good start with a crumpled notebook that stores ideas from hundreds of unpublished articles.If you write to make a living, a notebook like this can be seen as an investment in your job. But if you want to write really interesting lyrics, surround yourself with beautiful, creative things. Even the government agreed to this, allowing us to quote their value for tax cuts.

A new notebook crunches when I carefully open it. Turning over the first golden page. It’s time to start brainstorming. I need topics for articles. Breathe in. Exhalation. I grab the pen and strike the pensive pose of the famous statue of Rodin.I am the Thinker. But I’m going to write with a helium pen, which means I’m a Free Thinker. No, the Creator Thinker is better. Although, perhaps it would be more correct to say Writer. Yes, that’s right, I am a Writer. I love the way this word sounds.

I have to admit, a lot of people agree with me. When I meet people, my occupation impresses everyone, always. And naturally, people ask me what exactly I am writing about. Hearing the answer, men lose interest in the conversation. Of course, why would they hear about spring fashion trends, that wide belts can be worn again, or that pink lipstick is relevant this season? The next question is inevitable, and therefore I await it with fear.”And what magazines do you write for?” I do not write for Penthouse and similar publications, morally clean, but the problem is that no one has ever heard the names of those magazines that publish my articles.

I am sure that now you will understand why I sometimes slightly embellish reality: I do not name the magazines in which my articles are published, but I tell about those where I recently sent my proposals. However, I always honestly admit: “Any journalist who is not on the staff sends articles to different publications.You never know where success awaits you. ”

Saying this, I at least give the impression of a girl striving to get out of a hopeless situation with dignity, and do not cause regret and thoughts like “well, when will she finally stop twitching?”. It seems to me that at this moment the cold unapproachable people with whom I communicate will accept me into their circle. And men will find the vivid way of life that I (allegedly) lead attractive.

But from this day on, I won’t have to embellish anything else.Never. And so, at the very top of the page we write today’s number. I will definitely reread the beginning of this diary, sitting comfortably at a new table in a luxurious new attic in Soho, purchased after I received an offer to write a regular column in Vogue. I will wear samples of the next season collection from Prada and handmade shoes from Manolo Blahnik. And I will remember with joy today.

I flip through one of the old magazines I keep hoping to draw creative power from them, and instantly lose my head over a stunning dark gray slanting dress.The model in the photo is comfortably seated on a velvet sofa, an innumerable number of pearl threads twine around a thin neck, a shoe embroidered with black beads falls from an elegant leg. I can’t help myself. I imagine myself in this dress and more suitable, in my opinion, decorated with crystal beads sandals, my bleached hair shimmers under the flashes of paparazzi cameras. I raise my hand in greeting and smile graciously in imitation of royalty. So, everything is clear. For this outfit I need a handbag from Lulu Guinness, best of all a la flower pot, inside which famous sayings are embroidered – a little secret that only the owner knows about.

My breathing quickens and becomes choppy, as if I was short of breath. There is fog in front of my eyes. I am overwhelmed with the desire to immediately know where I can buy this dress. After all, becoming its owner, I will feel like a spectacular woman, who has everything in its place – a quality that is still not available to me. When I open my potty bag, for the first time in my life, I will accurately determine where my lip gloss is – I will immediately change its neutral pink shade, which I use all the time.I will have a dark red lipstick – a natural color and absolutely comfortable for a woman in such a dress. If I need a business card, that’s what I’ll get. And yet – in this dress I will become taller, slimmer, and my green eyes will shine like emeralds.

I always tint my eyes beautifully, but now my makeup should be more expressive, I will add a little haze along the lash line and a little bit of shiny bronze eyeshadow on the eyelids. It seems as if my whole life has been just preparation for this purchase.I imagine the dress and all its meaning for my life so clearly that I do not even doubt: it is destined for me by fate – after all, the desire to possess it is truly unlimited.

Eagerly leafing through the magazine looking for information for buyers on the back pages. “To find out the price, call.” Barely breathing (I can be understood by girls with high demands, who do not have everything), I make the calculations. Silk, a mile and a half, no less, and all embroidered with roses.

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90,000 Forget the to-do list and start keeping a diary

Here’s the basic idea: keep a journal or diary instead of a to-do list.For this technique, apps like Evernote or a regular paper planner are fine. Choose whichever is more convenient for you.

Record in your journal every transition from one project to another during the day. Write down a few sentences about what you just did and what you plan to do.

“Moving from one project to another” refers to any change in activity: you stop checking your email and start composing your presentation, then go to a meeting and check your email again.All of these activities are your projects, and the times in between are intermediate moments when you should keep a journal.

For example:

9:37.

Finished writing a letter to Nick about the next article. By the way, I’m still wondering if I should have suggested a topic to him.

Now I’m going to write an article. What’s my next action? I’ll just open Medium. The main thing is to start writing, the rest will be easy.

This is a lot more work than just checking the to-do list on Wunderlist.

We are not programmed to do many things at the same time, so transitioning from one project to another is not easy. We start to procrastinate. Even when we quickly change occupation, our brain still thinks about the previous one.

Thus, our second project suffers from a lack of attention. Intermediate logging tactics solve all of these problems. It kills procrastination, frees the brain from the previous project, and gives space to formulate the optimal strategy for the next project.

Origin story: Tomato on steroids

Photos: Flickr

The Pomodoro method involves breaking up tasks into 25-minute periods called pomodoro, followed by short breaks.

In general, these breaks are your reward. You can watch YouTube videos, have a snack or text a friend without remorse.

But I wondered, what if I tried to do something productive in those five minutes? At that time, I was just trying the Morning Pages logging method suggested by Julia Cameron.I have combined these two techniques into one.

Three obligatory things

Whenever you change a project, open the journal and write down the following three things:

  1. Time. Many will find these temporary pointers useful in the future.
  2. A few suggestions for what you just worked on. “What project have I just finished? Am I still thinking about some of its nuances? ” Use complete sentences. Do not write “Email. There is”.
  3. A few suggestions about what you are going to work on.“Where should I start a project? Which approach should I take? ”

You can write a lot more, it’s just that the easiest way to start is with these three points.

Cleanse Your Brain

What project have I just finished? Am I still thinking about some of its nuances? ”

Photos: Flickr

Once you clear your brain, you can move on to the next project and maintain your concentration.

To do this, you need to write down what you just finished working on.Quite often, you keep thinking about a project after it’s finished. Write these thoughts down in a notebook, clear your brain, and move on to the next task.

First and second step

“Where should I start a project?”

I tested the staging logging tactic with a group of my students. I tried to convince them to change David Allen’s “next step” concept a bit and call it “first step.” Not everyone thought it was a good idea.

David Allen believes that most people write their things in their diaries as projects – for example, “change tires.”In such cases, you can get stumped, since it will be cognitively difficult to take action. How are tires changed?

Photos: Flickr

So David Allen suggested going through the to-do lists step by step. In particular, it is important to always think about the next steps. That is, instead of “change tires” you write “call the workshops and find out the prices.”

Indeed, during logging, you must define the next step. The simpler it is, the more likely you are to complete it.

However, people still often write down actions that are too difficult to complete. A poorly chosen next step can lead to procrastination.

Smart strategy: do less, do smart, delegate

“Which approach should I take to get the job done?”

At this point, you have cleared your mind and are now contemplating the best way to complete your next project. Often it’s all about volume. If you only have an hour, then you need to use a strategy that will help you manage during this time.

The first time I came up with the idea of ​​writing a strategy before editing an article. I had five articles ready, and I wanted to publish at least one that day.

It always seems to me that I can do anything, so I often take on more than I can accomplish. I was ready to take the first draft I came across and start working on it. But I looked in the magazine and saw that I only had an hour for this job. From personal experience, I know that editing an article can take anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours.

Photos: Flickr

So I opened all five articles. I put them in order according to their simplicity, and chose the simplest one. I’m genius? No. But this short moment of “awareness” helped me choose a smart strategy. I released the article on time.

Your magazine is an opportunity to see the truth about yourself. I am too ambitious and at the same time I do not like to work hard. When I put these thoughts on paper, they ceased to be feelings that secretly influence my decisions, and became rational concepts that I can analyze and decide.

I think you can call this awareness. When you keep a journal, you begin to better understand your goals, mood, and skills.

Whenever I talk about productivity, I mention Think Slow … Decide Fast by Daniel Kahneman. In it, he talks about two modes of decision making. The first is rational but full of effort. We would like him to be in control of our lives. The second is emotional and systematic, which is in our subconsciousness. It is he who actually rules our life.

When you write down thoughts and feelings in a notebook, you start to think rationally.

How do you spend your working day

At the very beginning of this article, I said that it doesn’t matter what tool you use to keep records – an application or a paper notebook.

This is not entirely true. It all depends on how you spend your working day. If you do computer work all day, I think you would prefer using an app like Evernote. If you spend most of your day in meetings, I would recommend two things:

  1. Use a paper notebook.
  2. Schedule appointments with a five-minute break so you have time to make some journal entries.

The same can be said about people who mainly work with their hands.

Your magazine is a habit for the transition to new projects

People are slowly switching from one project to another. This habit is difficult to develop because each project is unique. But you can get into the habit of intermediate logging. Finished a project? Get out a notebook, write down the time, think about what you just did and what you plan to do.

Write All

You can go further and keep a journal not only during your five-minute breaks, but also during work.

Photos: Flickr

Instead of making a to-do list, just keep track of tasks as you complete them. At the end of the day, you will see how productive you have been. I usually did 100 or more assignments a day.

When I stopped keeping my to-do list and started writing down the entire journal, I realized that I could analyze my productivity.This is one of the best ways to prevent procrastination. I began to ask myself more and more, “Why did I just procrastinate?” The answer was almost always on the surface, and I could easily solve this problem.

Photo: Unsplash

Here’s a specific example, and I want you to count how many times I use the word “damn.” These are moments of procrastination.

12:39. Edit productivity article

[… thoughts on the previous project…]

First step: Open draft. I recently hired a new editor to see if I like what he does.

Damn. I don’t like this person’s edits. The paragraphs are too long. I will break them down into shorter ones.

Oh shit. I got distracted and eventually realized that I was flipping through Twitter. I don’t know how it happened. Oh, I flipped through HuffPost, saw a post about Chris Evans’ dog and ended up on Twitter. Back to work.

Subheadings need to be rewritten.

Damn.Stuck again. It was difficult to rewrite the subheadings, so I chose the simpler activity of doing nothing. Immediately I caught myself doing it. The problem is skills. I have not read the “subheading theory” and I have no definite strategy for how to rewrite them. Back to work. This time I’ll rely on my feelings.

Distracted again. When I saved the article, I saw a notification on Medium and responded to the person who left a comment under one of my posts.

Back to work. I am finishing editing the article.I publish.

13:35. Ready.

This project took me 56 minutes, during which I managed to get distracted three times. This is recorded in my notebook. Thanks to it, I can respond to procrastination.

Yes, the essence of the tactic I’m talking about in this article is staging logging. I find it much more beneficial to take notes throughout the day.

Does this really replace the to-do list?

Yes.

First, there are different to-do lists, and you should see the difference in them.There are lists of long-term goals that people would like to achieve someday. The practice of logging has nothing to do with them.

And there are to-do lists for the day that you regularly check to determine what to do next, and add new tasks as they arise. Replace this to-do list with a diary. If this scares you, try to understand that the journal can be kept in free form.

I often write a small to-do list in my notebook. If there is a new case that I do not want to forget about, I just finish it.

Keep a journal as you please. The main thing is to focus on intermediate moments.

Source.


Materials on the topic:

You will never finish your to-do list – and here’s why

40 lessons the world has taught me in 40 years

I want to learn twelve skills “useless” for me in a year.

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