Artisan Blog

6 Things to Stop Doing

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we have a learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 420th issue of our weekly a.blog. 

 

In life, the time we spend with ourselves and others is all we have. How we make the best use of our time drives us as individuals. To make more efficient, productive, and mindful use of our time is among the most important goals we can pursue.

As with any self-improvement practice, it’s possible to go overboard with time management. Being able to use time more wisely doesn’t require dramatic personality, behavior or lifestyle changes as excessive ambition can backfire.

As you endeavor to make better use of your time, here are a few common pitfalls to avoid. This time we felt that a top  “don’t do list” would resonate more than a top “do list”:

1. Don't expect miracles

"We can stretch our personalities, but only up to a point," writes the author Susan Cain. "Our inborn temperaments influence us, regardless of the lives we lead."

Some of us are natural daydreamers and do our best thinking in loose, casual environments. Others work comfortably at a slower, more deliberate pace. We can all make modest adjustments to better use our time, but if we expect to fundamentally transform our habits and patterns all at once, we are being unfair to ourselves and setting ourselves up for disappointment.

Set reasonable goals you know you can hit. Then ratchet them up over time.

2. Don't over think it

The more time we spend poring over productivity literature, exchanging time-management tips online, and imaging ourselves as whizzing, hyper-disciplined superheroes, the less likely we are to get started. Take realistic steps, to get things done in the real world. When we're planning for greatness in the future, we let dust collect on the work that's due today.

When in doubt, forget about who you want to be. Do something concrete right now and get one mundane task out of the way.

Don't get stuck in the planning stage. Avoid analysis paralysis. Do something.

3. Don't wear yourself out

Coffee and sleep deprivation are best used in extreme moderation. And the most dangerous poison of them all may be “workahol!”

Simply put, to make the best use of your time and do your best work over the course of your career, take care of yourself. Court burnout at your peril.

Sometimes, this means stepping away from a side-project that sucks you dry. Sometimes, it means firing a client who asks too much for too little. Protecting our long-term health by all means possible is something we all need to be doing every day.

4. Don't lose focus

The best way to save time and energy, to get more out of your life and live it with greater self-respect, is simple: get used to saying “no”. Say "no" to things you don't want to do and opportunities that don't align with your core values or fit into your larger projects.

Determine your core mission. Boil it down to one or two sentences. Then take an inventory of your activities. Cross out the ones that aren't mission essential. Next comes the hard part: stop doing them. And, if you are offered the opportunity to take on new responsibilities that don't resonate with you on a fundamental level, turn them down. Say "no thank you," say it often, say it proudly, and stand behind it.

You will save your bandwidth and will give other people the opportunity to do the things you don't have the time or inclination to do well.

5. Don't jump around between different systems and fads

Time management is big business, and new gurus are constantly making the scene, with new “systems” that they promise will blow everything else out of the water. Needless to say, skepticism is in order.

None of these programs have a monopoly on wisdom. Most of them boil down to the same few bits of useful, practical, time-tested advice. You can waste a lot of time following trendy advice that isn't right for you, attempting to change horses mid-stream, or signing onto a program that works for someone with a completely different life.

If you decide to embrace a time-management system, commit to it, at least long enough to test its efficacy.

6. Don't beat yourself up

Life is an experiment. Your career is a work in progress. Your mistakes are best understood as learning experiences.

If you fail to make the best use of your time or you can't stick to your plan, don't give up. Take an honest look at how you can improve. Consider how you can play to your strengths and work with your natural personality, rather than against it. And congratulate yourself for taking on the hard challenge of self-improvement and your willingness to adapt and grow.

The best way to manage time is to cultivate relationships that play to your strengths and make things easier.

At Artisan Creative, we understand how world-class clients and talent can make the best use of their time together. Contact us today, and we'll give you a boost on your way to the next level.


Avoiding Digital Miscommunication

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we have a learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 413th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

Do you get confused reading certain emails because you can’t decipher the writer’s tone? Have you ever been surprised at how different a person can sound depending on whether they’re using the phone or speaking face to face? Have members of your team asked you to clarify a memo or email when you thought you were 100% clear?

Well, you could be caught in that trap of digital miscommunication.

As we have embraced globalization, virtual offices, and meetings conducted via Zoom, or chatted using Slack, we have had to rapidly adapt to new forms of communication. “The medium is the message,” as futurist Marshall McLuhan wrote, and the nonverbal cues we use in person don’t always translate via this new medium.

Communicating clearly through any method is an essential requirement for any career advancement, your team’s success or developing interpersonal skills. It’s often a process of trial and error, and here are a few general rules that will help avoid costly misunderstandings.

Clear, concise communication is a strength and one that all job descriptions ask for. For some it comes naturally, for others the following tips can be beneficial:

Write like you talk

Avoid confusing jargon and ensure that your point gets across in the simplest possible manner.

For practice, read your emails aloud before you send them. As you get used to editing yourself, you will sharpen your thinking as well.

Keep it simple

If you write and speak clearly you will earn the respect of your colleagues by saving their patience and time.

If you’re a long-winded writer, run your text through Readability Score to make it more concise before you hit “send.”

Be present

As you keep your message simple and brief, make sure you don’t leave your colleagues guessing about essential information. Your colleagues and communications deserve your full attention. A simple mindfulness meditation practice can train you to focus on what’s in front of you right now and in turn tune out what’s not currently important.

Be Empathetic

The Harvard Business Review suggests professional empathy as a way to disarm potential misunderstandings. When you connect with another person, no matter what the medium, try to see things from that person’s perspective and interpret the world through a language that person uses and best understands.

This isn’t just for salespeople and therapists; active listening can help anyone establish more meaningful and effective connections and reduce team friction.

Ask Questions

If you are unclear, asking direct questions will get better results than making assumptions and pretending you know more than you do.

Asking the right questions gives you a chance to learn how other people communicate and think. As a result, your own communication will become much more effective when you understand how your colleagues approach their work.

Asking questions conveys curiosity and enthusiasm which indicates active participation in the world around you. When you think the conversation is almost over, asking one more question can yield a key insight.

Communicate Visually

Along with asking questions and adapting to your audience (or “reading the room,” as comedians call it), Supervisor Essentials suggests that you learn to communicate your ideas visually. Digital communication is growing increasingly visual, and there are many new tools that will enhance the experience for all, from infographics to animated gifs.

Studies suggest that 65% of us are visual learners. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a designer, you’ll be better equipped to get through to your visually inclined colleagues if you can master the basics of visual communication. It can also help you make those (at times) rather dull web conferences more useful and engaging.

At Artisan Creative, we help creative professionals connect with clients and opportunities, and we know that effective communication is the essence of a good connection. As you build your communication skills and become fluent in the language of business, we can provide resources for growth, put you in touch with industry leaders, and help you build a career you’ll love. Get in touch today to learn more.

Visual Goal Setting

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years in staffing and recruitment and over the years we have a learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 405th issue of our weekly a.blog.

As part of our annual goal setting, each member of the Artisan Creative a.team creates a vision board and presents it at our first meeting of the new year. Our boards are a collection of short and long term goals that include both personal and professional aspirations.

Presenting it to the team develops accountability and enables the group to learn more about each team member’s ambitions, hopes and dreams. Some people set a theme for their board/year—others use inspirational quotes. What they all have in common is the shared use of imagery that inspires, tells a story and conveys a message to create a powerful visualization tool.

In addition to sharing our visions and goals with the group at the onset of our new year, we review our boards mid-year, and also share a recap at our year-end meeting. This sense of accountability and the revisiting of our goals helps keep us on track. This activity in one of our strongest team-building exercises, as it stays “evergreen”.

Here are 5 tips to create your great vision board and get 2017 off to a good start!

  1. Select words and images that inspire and are true to your core values.
  2. Create positivity and inspiration. Have fun…imagine the integrated life/work you want to build out.
  3. Create an integrated board where elements from both your personal and professional aspirations are represented.
  4. Keep the board where you can re-visit it daily—read the inspirational messages out loud— and often!
  5. Share your hopes and dreams with others. Having an accountability partner will help you get closer to achieving your goals.

Tools needed:

  • A large poster board to give you plenty of space to visualize your year, yet small enough to hang on your wall. We use the 22 x28 size available from Staples.
  • A good pair of scissors and a strong glue stick!Make sure you invest in good glue so the pictures stay on all year long.
  • Variety of magazines to look through to find those inspiring words and pictures. 
  • (Optional) Markers/stickers to write or embellish your board.
  • Patience and Creativity!

Although electronic versions such as Pinterest also work, going old-school where you physically search for and cut out imagery and words from a magazine and decide where to place them is in itself an opportunity to reflect and plan via a very tangible exercise.

What is your goal setting process?

Happy New Year!



Reasons for Being Grateful

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20 years in staffing and recruitment and over the years we have a learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you.

 

This is the time of the year to reflect on the past year and look forward to new opportunities and adventures ahead.

As Shawn Achor states in his popular Ted Talk and best-selling book “The Happiness Advantage” one of the ways to create happiness and positive mental change is to express gratitude on a daily basis.

Here at Artisan Creative, we are grateful for so many things and wanted to share a few with you.

We are:

  • Grateful to celebrate 20 years of creative staffing & recruitment.
  • Grateful for the incredible, dynamic a.team. Always giving, always striving to be at their best.
  • Grateful for our amazing talent who continuously push the creative envelope.
  • Grateful for our long lasting client relationships and for the opportunity to help grow their teams.
  • Grateful for our furry 4-legged friends who keep us company at work.
  • Grateful for the opportunity to write the 400th issue of our weekly a.blog today.

Below are additional gratitudes from our a. team:

Laura
  • Grateful for my family and their health, support and love.
  • Grateful to work for a company I love.
  • Grateful that I get to spend every day with my husband.

Stephanie

Grateful that I live in Los Angeles. I'm grateful for my health, home, and to have worked with a great company for 10 years.

Margaret

Thankful for my family and friends, my wonderful husband and my "a" recruiting team who comes ready to work every day and is so dedicated.

Jen

  • Grateful for a supportive and passionate team that pushes me to my full potential every day.
  • Grateful for the ability to work from home.
  • Grateful for my husband who caters to my every pregnancy craving and mood swing.

Regina

I'm so grateful for my job! I am so happy every day.

Ana

I am grateful for my family that supports each other through thick and thin, for my long time friends that are like extended family, for my employers that provide an environment to live a balanced life and for my excellent health!

Cammy
  • I am thankful for the privilege of becoming a new aunt to my amazing nephew.
  • Also my family, everyone's health, and good food!

Jamie

  • Working with a dynamic and committed team on a daily basis for over 20 years.
  • The opportunity to learn something new every day.
  • Simplicity in life and communication.

Katty

  • Grateful for the amazing a. team.
  • Grateful for family, friends, health and love.
  • Grateful to learn and grow every day.

What are you thankful for this holiday season?

 

 




How to Get The Most Out of Working From a Coffee Shop

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

One of the joys of freelancing or working remotely is not having to work inside a typical office setting. While you may have an office that serves as your home base, working from anywhere means you get to be one of those folks working in a coffee shop in the middle of the afternoon. Being productive and focused in a public setting takes skill, though. We are after all sharing the space with others.


Take these tips with you the next time you set up shop in your favorite brewhouse.


Keep your voice low. If you’ve got a meeting or have to take a call, step outside, or use your headphones to hold the conversation and speak quietly. Long, loud or extended cell phone conversations about a client, the job, money or the deadline aren’t fun for anyone sitting near you--and can be disruptive to those around you.


Be a good guest.  Buying one cup of coffee for several hours of table usage will not make you endearing to the staff. If you’re going to be showing up there more often, get in the good graces of baristas by learning their names and building a connection. If you plan on staying awhile, buy a scone or a snack! And tip generously for their use of Wi-Fi.


Invest in noise-canceling headphones. Coffee shops often play loud music that you may or may not want to hear, especially if you’re trying to concentrate. Noise-canceling headphones will allow you to listen in on meetings or block out noise without the distraction of the coffee shop noise. Plus, what if you’d rather listen to your own music that day?


Share. Is your laptop charged? Let someone else use the outlet. Are you taking up an entire table with your work? Move it over and let someone else sit there. Be respectful of your surroundings and fellow co-workers and karma will pay off.


Focus.  Don’t get distracted trying to strike up a conversation or make friends a few chairs over. Be friendly, however you’re there to get to work! It’s easy to get side tracked every time someone walks in.  Sit with your back to the door or face the wall. You’ll be mad at yourself later if you miss that deadline.


Where is your favorite local hangout and what are your tips for working in a coffee shop?

5 Ways to Know if Working Remotely Works for You

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Telecommuting is quickly becoming less of a trend and more of the norm. In fact, 37% of U.S. workers say they're done it! Part of this is the practicality of the modern workplace -- for many positions, it's not necessary to be in an office. And for many workers, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is preferable to a higher salary.

So, where would you like to work? At your home office, or on the sofa? What about in a co-working space or a coffee shop? You might think that telecommuting would make a great part of your daily work routine, but it takes a surprising amount of self-discipline, concentration, and effort. See if working remotely is right for you by asking these five questions:

  1. Can you communicate well online or via video chat? Interacting with a team in-person is very different from being online. You need multiple communications tools to connect. If you feel like email is the only way to get in touch, you need to shake it up and practice communicating with instant messaging, video conferences, and teamwork platforms like Slack and Asana. Get comfortable using these technologies, and know when it's best to hop on the phone. One last thing: if you can't be available when everyone else is, you'll either have to work twice as hard to stay on top of what's happening, or need to connect more often to stay abreast of changes.

  2. Are you able to initiate conversations and projects? You can't be shy when you work remotely! Starting conversations with your co-workers or manager so you can get the ball rolling on projects is necessary. And if you're a manager, it can be hard to be present and available when telecommuting. You'll need to reach out to team members regularly, and set very clear goals and expectations, as well as offer support from afar.

  3. Can you be a great team player without seeing the team? Since you won't be interacting with colleagues in the breakroom or over lunch, you need to think about how you reach out and connect to co-workers. This means having team calls to catch up, setting up video conferences to brainstorm ideas, or scheduling virtual lunch dates. You may also have to boost team engagement by recreating "water cooler" conversation. Ask about personal topics like vacation plans or what was on TV last night.

  4. Do you have a great task management system in place? Many telecommuters report they are just as productive as on-site employees, but poor management and engagement could mean telecommuting doesn't work for a company -- or for you! A lack of oversight can lead to major issues later. If you're working as part of a team, talk to your manager about what work productivity really means, and how to prove it. If you're a manager, make sure your team understands those goals, and hold them accountable. And if you struggle with personal responsibility, working remotely may not be the best option for you.

  5. Is it possible to still meet occasionally? Okay, the whole point of telecommuting...is to not go into the office! But if you're working for a company that's located in the same city as you, it can't hurt to visit the office now and then. This way, you can review things like quarterly goals or evaluate projects with the whole team at once, and then get back to work. Think of it as a fun way to catch up with people, too! Try to schedule a happy hour or some kind of after work activity so you bond and get to know the people you're working with online.

Flexible work hours bring a specific set of challenges, but also many rewards! The needs of working remotely vary from those of the traditional office, so as long as you keep in mind these ideas, you'll be able to keep your team engaged and motivated.

Is Working Remotely Right for You?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

If you crave a more flexible work schedule or a nonexistent commute, working full-time or freelancing off-site is a great option. Although working remotely can be rewarding and exciting, it does present its own challenges. Here are a few things to consider about freelancing or full-time work off-site:

Is flexibility important? When you work off-site, it’s more likely you’ll be able to set your own schedule. If you need to watch the kids, you can take time off and finish your work later. If you prefer early morning or late evenings, you can get your work done then to run errands in the afternoon. Generally, it can offer a better work and life balance since you’re able to better determine how and when your work time is spent.

Can you manage your time well? Self-managing takes a lot of focus and discipline. It’s easy to get distracted at home. When you work from home, you’re expected to be responsible for finishing deadlines, even intense ones, without being managed by someone else. Consider whether you’re the kind of person who needs a supervisor or co-worker to help keep you on task, or if you feel your time management skills could use some improvement.

Do you want to save money? The cost of working adds up! Think of how much you spend per year on gas for your commute, lunches with co-workers, and appropriate business attire add up. When you work remotely, you can save money by not driving or eating at home. Even if you occasionally work from a coffee shop, you still will probably not end up spending as much as you might when you stop in for a latte every day on your morning commute. Also you may be able to claim some tax deductions on office supplies and tools you use like your Internet bill (see a tax specialist who can tell you more about this).

Is your workspace full of distractions? If you have small children at home, a needy pet, or other disturbances, your home workspace may make it hard for you to concentrate on your job. Then there’s your Netflix queue calling at 2pm when you want to procrastinate. Think about how you can separate yourself from your home and your home office, or if you’re able to set up shop in another workplace to create a distinction between work and home.

Do you prefer to work alone? Some people thrive in a group setting, while others prefer closed doors so they can focus on work. Some feel they get too distracted by others and others get too siloed on your own.  Find out which one is best for your working style before you commit to working offsite.

Are you able to adapt quickly? Working from home, whether freelance or full-time, means you could be “on call” in the early morning or late evening. It depends on the job, but an expectation may be set that you’ll be able to answer emails any time you’re at home. Additionally, if you’re a freelancer, the needs of your clients can change drastically, so you have to be ready to support them. And for those working for a company full-time from home, their needs can change suddenly as well. Being able to adapt fast to new situation is key.  

For those who enjoy working independently and have great time management skills, working remotely might be your next big move!

Artisan Creative’s 5 Favorite Co-Working Spaces in San Francisco

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

 

We’re well aware that San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the US for cost of living, so starting out on your own or freelancing can be tough. With inflated rent and property prices, renting your own office space is out of the question for many. With that in mind, we’re featuring five of our favorite co-working spaces in San Francisco. Ranging from tech communities to shared living spaces, there’s something for everyone.

StartUpHouse
What we love about StartupHouse is that they have so many resources available for budding entrepreneurs or contactors. Finding accountants, legal advice or even sorting benefits can be time consuming and tricky but they have experts on-hand to give guidance and essentially free up your time. With 50 workspaces available, StartupHouse aims to be the home of builders, bootstrappers and disruptors. Located on Howard Street, they’re central to just about everything.

Parisoma
With two co-working options, Parisoma offers an open desk package which entitles you to attend their wide array of events (including delicious breakfasts) or a dedicated desk which includes 6 hours of conference room time per month. With 24/7 access, monthly and weekly events and workshops including hackathons, their modern open space is perfect for co-working. Parisoma has been home to many startups including QuickPay and Scoop.It. If you want your startup to have optimal resources available and intend on having client meetings, Parisoma is worth checking out.

Citizen Space
Citizen Space is a wonderful option if you just want to test the waters and try co-working. They have packages ranging from hourly drop-ins to full monthly dedicated desks. If that’s not enough, they have unlimited conference room time and perks such as snacks and coffee but best of all, a pet policy! You can bring your furfriends with you while you work. With a central location and a host of creative types renting office space, it’s a great atmosphere to meet new people, hang out and work.

20Mission
This friendly, open-plan environment is great for designers, developers and entrepreneurs alike who want to live and work in a creative community. With co-working desks as well as bedrooms to rent as living spaces, there’s a real community feel to the company. 20Mission hold regular events aimed at their members which includes video game nights, art gallery showings and parties held on their patio.  Their memberships are great value for money and also have half-day passes available.

NextSpace
NextSpace has an array of locations across California including San Francisco, Union Square and San Jose. They act as more of a trendy, established agency who understand the needs of their members. As a member, you get benefits such as free ZipCar membership, 24/7 access and reduced gym rates. With tons of natural light and central locations (accessible by BART) plus a care facility for parents who need childcare, their vibrant community couldn’t be better. 

Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative

Artisan Creative’s 5 Favorite Co-Working Spaces in Los Angeles

Wednesday, October 01, 2014



Working from home can be a luxury for many people and let’s face it; spending time at your home office instead of a traffic jam is never a bad thing. Sometimes there are those days when you just need interaction. Whether it comes in the form of friendly conversation with a guy one desk over or soaking up inspiration from beautiful architecture and surroundings, it’s good to have a change of scenery.  With that in mind, we decided to share some of our favorite spots across the city to inspire your creativity and pique your mood.

The Unique Space
Arts District, Downtown
Living up to its name, The Unique Space is a beautiful historic factory turned co-working spot home to innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. We love their library filled with helpful resources and the fact that they even have bikes to borrow along with a rooftop terrace to take a break. Did we mention this spot has everything?

The Hub LA
Arts District, Downtown
The Hub is 7000 square feet of open plan flooring and tall windows allowing plenty of light. What’s great about The Hub is that they have Media Lab which boasts post-production suites, spaces for filming and screening. You’ll also find a host of General Assembly events along with film screenings and workshops.

Kleverdog CoWorking
Chinatown
Kleverdog is an Artisan favorite and a regular place for us to hold company events and meetings. The atmosphere at Kleverdog is relaxed and as such, feels like a home away from home. With 24/7 access and a favorite with developers, designers and writers you’re never short of finding new conversations and even a friendly office dog.

Blankspaces
Santa Monica, Downtown, Mid-Wilshire
One of the original co-working spaces opened its doors at Mid-Wilshire and most recently, Santa Monica and Downtown. The architecture of their buildings is beautiful and clearly a lot of time and effort went into the construction and layout of their spaces (owner Jerome is also an architect). We’ve used both Downtown and Mid-Wilshire locations and they’re great for meetings, co-working and events.

Opodz
Little Tokyo
Opodz blends technology, community and culture into one cohesive space which allows co-working, art events and lectures. This week they’re hosting a UX Strategy lecture and they even feature their resident co-working colleagues on their website which is a thoughtful touch.

Do you have a favorite co-working space of your own that hasn’t been featured? We’re always on the lookout for new places to explore so share your recommendations in the comments.

Laura Pell | Talent Acquisition | Artisan Creative   


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