Devotionals Can be For Business, Too

Katie Corbett headshot

By Katie Corbett

 

As you can probably tell if you’ve been reading my blog for some time now, I love plans. There are times, however, when I want some of the planning done for me. That’s why I’ve had a lot of success working with books that suggest an activity, thinking prompt, or mindset shift every day, week, month, or season.

 

Books like this are commonly associated with weight loss plans, religious practices, or building healthy money habits. It turns out, these books exist for business activities, too! Listen to this short audio about why I love books like this! Enjoy!

 

Manage Your Energy and Attention Rather Than Solely Managing Time

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Productivity Project."

By Katie Corbett

 

When people say they want to become more productive, they start by trying to manage their time. While this can be a good thing to do, I have found it helpful to instead think about two additional resources: energy and attention.

 

I first read about the ideas of managing energy and attention in “The Productivity Project” by Chris Bailey. He points out that energy and attention, like time, are not infinite. They are also unique to you, while everyone has the same amount of time in a day. Here is what I learned by paying attention to my energy and attention levels.

 

  • By tracking my energy, I could see patterns in fluctuation.
  • By taking regular breaks, I could stretch out the amount of time that my energy was focused.
  • By focusing on energy rather than time, I noticed that I was prioritizing tasks based on what my energy levels were like rather than how long I thought the task would take. As a result, I got things done a lot faster since I tried to do them when I had the most energy.
  • I learned that there are two different types of energy: creative and strategic. I rely on these different types depending on what task I plan to do.
  • By writing down my energy levels throughout the day, I learned that I’m strategic in the morning and creative in the afternoon. This has helped me manage the different types of tasks I need to do throughout the day, since some rely on strategic energy and others need my powers of creativity.
  • I can tell when my energy is waning so I now have a cut-off point at the end of the day. This helps me realize that I can relax and that I would not be productive if I continued working.

 

I encourage you to track your energy and attention levels throughout the day. Make note of when you feel the most energetic, and of what kind of energy it is. I strongly suggest tracking for at least a week, and abstaining from caffeine and other substances that could skew the results.

 

What do you notice about yourself and your work as you record your energy levels? Did you find anything that surprised you? Let me know in the comments.

 

Want to get this info sent right to your in-box? Subscribe to my blog, so you’ll never miss a post.

Identify Your Highest Impact Tasks and Do Them First

By Katie Corbett

 

With all there is to do in a day, it can be easy to spend time doing little things that get you nowhere. As I was learning about productivity, I learned that weeding these small tasks out and focusing on those that make the largest impact is the quickest route to success.

 

In the book “The Productivity Project”, by Chris Bailey, focusing on your highest impact activities is of utmost importance. As I was starting my writing business, I thought about what my unique talents were and how I could make the most of my time.

 

As I was preparing writing projects, I realized that I disliked editing. I found it tedious and it took me a long time. On the other hand, I loved networking, interviewing, and putting the initial story together. I decided right then and there that editing was not a high-yield task for me.

 

I reached out to a few friends in my network in hopes of finding a copyeditor. The one I found is worth her weight in gold. She is truly gifted at editing and proofreading. My pieces are so much more cohesive once she has worked on them. And I have all the time I need to interview, prospect, and write.

 

What low-impact tasks are you wasting time on? How can you stop wasting time and start doing what you are good at? Who do you need in your life to make that happen?

 

Are you committed to letting go of tasks that don’t serve you and focusing on the ones that give you the most value? I would love to hear how it goes, so leave me a comment.

 

Want to get this info sent right to your in-box? Subscribe to my blog, so you’ll never miss a post.

The Ultimate Success Tip: Give Them What They Want

Katie Corbett holds the book "Free Marketing"

By Katie Corbett

 

I have been publishing content on this blog for almost three years, and have been posting regularly on LinkedIn for almost one. You may wonder how I keep coming up with new content. It hasn’t been as difficult as one might think.

 

I saw an idea in “Free Marketing,” by Jim Cockrum, that sums up the strategy I use: Give People What They Want. I figure this out by asking questions and paying attention to the questions I am asked. Here is a list of methods I use to capture those ideas. Pick your favorite and try it:

 

  1. Have a specific file where you write down frequently asked questions.
  2. Keep a piece of paper handy when you are on networking calls.
  3. When you think of questions you have been asked, write them down right away.
  4. Make a point to ask people what questions they have for you.
  5. If you’re in a larger group, pay attention to the questions others have throughout the conversation.
  6. Talk with others in your field; sometimes in the discussions, you might find out questions they are regularly asked.

 

Taking the time to learn what people are interested in knowing more about, whether you are blogging to promote a business or just because it’s fun, will give you endless content ideas. I hope you find a wellspring of ideas, as I have.

 

Even if you are working a job and don’t run a blog at all, keeping track of the questions people ask is beneficial. It will help you anticipate questions and answer them in advance, which is sure to impress the boss. At the very least, having answers prepared will show you take your work seriously.

 

Want to get this info sent right to your in-box? Subscribe to my blog, so you’ll never miss a post.

A Fool-Proof Way to Remember Everything: Recording Telephone Conversations

Katie Corbett holds the book "How to Talk to Anyone"

By Katie Corbett

 

Everyone has been part of a conversation where they needed to take down important information and found themselves scrabbling for a pen. A quick, easy way to avoid this scenario and look like you are on top of things is to record conversations. As long as you only use the recordings for your own personal use, you should be able to record without any privacy violation concerns.

 

I first read this tip in Leil Lowndes’s book, “How to Talk to Anyone”. Here are some things to keep in mind as you go about keeping track of your conversations:

 

  1. If the recording will be used for notes as part of an article or other piece of content, always ask permission before starting the conversation. Pro-tip: Record yourself asking this question so you will capture their answer. If they say “Yes,” you will have their consent recorded. If they say “No,” stop the recording and proceed from there.
  2. Whenever possible, make detailed notes as well so you can refer to them later. Searching through notes—especially those taken electronically—will be faster than trying to fast-forward through a recording.
  3. Have recordings transcribed; this will make it easier to find information later.
  4. Whenever you are in doubt, refer back to your recording. This can be especially helpful if your recorded conversation included terms of a project or agreements about who would be responsible for roles in an activity.
  5. Do not share recordings with anyone else unless you have permission from all involved parties.
  6. Once the file has been created, label it and store it in a place where you can easily locate it again. Clearly labeling all subfolders or putting recordings that refer to each specific project on a specific flash drive might be a good way to keep your system organized.
  7. Store your recordings in multiple places so that if something happens to one SD card or flash drive, you will still have another copy.

 

Whenever I interview a client or their customer for a writing project, I always ask for permission to record. This has helped me verify information when it was later called into question, get quotes that are authentically in the other person’s words, and capture important business and negotiation details. Of course, putting the really important stuff in writing is a best practice, since in the business world, if something isn’t in writing, it may as well not have happened. This can easily be done by making notes or sending a follow-up email to the person with whom you have the agreement.

 

Next time you have an important conversation on the horizon, make plans to record it. I have an external recording device that I use to record. You could also use the recording function of Zoom or another phone or communications app. Whatever you choose, make sure it works for you. After all, these recordings will be for your benefit.

 

Want to get this info sent right to your in-box? Subscribe to my blog, so you’ll never miss a post.

Innate Ability is Not Enough

Katie Corbett holds the book "Peak, secrets from the new science of expertise"

By Katie Corbett

 

We grow up hearing we are good at some things and not good at others. We go through our lives and make decisions based on where we think our talents lie. It turns out that innate ability is not as much of a determining factor as you might think.

 

The book “Peak: Secrets From The New Science of Expertise,” by Robert Pool, says that deliberate practice is more important than raw talent. You might know what you want to work on. You might even know what skills you need to enhance in order to get good and achieve your goal. But how will you put the pedal to the metal and practice? Here are some ideas to practice your desired skills.

 

  1. Pick a time of day when you are most mentally alert. That will be your practice time. Block it off in your calendar. Let your family and friends know you are not going to be available. Turn off your Internet, power down your cell phone, and eliminate all other distractions.
  2. Decide what you want to master. Making this decision will help you realize exactly when you have achieved your goal.
  3. Pick the skill apart and determine its pieces. This will ensure you do one small part each day that will get you closer to accomplishing your goal.
  4. Practice those pieces until you master them. Even when you’re tired. Even when there are other, more fun things you could be doing. Just practice.
  5. Think of creative ways you can practice even when you are not practicing. Mentally rehearse dance moves while waiting in line, or go over foreign language phrases in your head while sitting at a stop light in traffic.
  6. Stick to a goal of practicing deliberately every day. Just do it!
  7. Tell others about your goal so you will be more likely to follow through. Trust me; it will be embarrassing otherwise.
  8. Set milestones so you can have smaller goals to aim to achieve. This will keep you motivated to reach toward those bigger goals.
  9. Keep track. I’m probably weird, but I love the satisfaction of checking items off on a to-do list.
  10. Celebrate when you hit each accomplishment. This is the most important step, so remember to celebrate every time.

 

By following this plan, you will get closer to achieving what you want in life. By celebrating your wins, no matter how small, you will recognize your success and progress.

 

What goals are you working on? Tell me in the comments.

 

Want to get this info sent right to your in-box? Subscribe to my blog, so you’ll never miss a post.

Practicing Purposefully: Learning the Right Things

Katie Corbett holds the book "Peak, secrets from the new science of expertise"

By Katie Corbett

 

I was fascinated recently to learn that in language, we use the same 300 words every day. I have wanted to learn a new language for some time, but memorization and verb forms would get in my way of actually learning to speak the language.

 

I read “Peak: Secrets from The New Science of Expertise,” by Robert Pool, and learn that practicing purposefully could help me master a new language. I decided to check and see what courses are out there to help me excel.

 

My objective was to learn to speak confidently, so I looked for a course that focused on speaking the desired language. I found Pimsleur courses, which work by listening to MP3 files. These files contain prompts for repetition and responding to questions. I’ve been fascinated by The Philippines, so decided to take Filipino language lessons. These lessons have me spend 30 minutes each weekday learning those 300 words everyone uses in a conversational style. Here is what I’ve found when trying this method:

 

  • My brain stays focused, since I’m only needing to spend 30 minutes in deliberate practice.
  • I can do the lessons when and where I want, since I’m not part of a class.
  • I remember things more easily because I’m learning in a conversational style.
  • While the program I’m using cannot critique my pronunciation, I’m getting more comfortable with speaking.
  • I’m enjoying the practice, since there are no vocabulary lists or verb conjugations to memorize.

 

What is something you have wanted to learn? What are the basic building blocks to that skill? What could you do to acquire that skill more quickly than you might have thought possible?

 

I’d love to hear what you’re learning and how you’re finding success. Let me know in the comments.

 

Want to get this info sent right to your in-box? Subscribe to my blog, so you’ll never miss a post.