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So far Katty Douraghy has created 219 blog entries.

Visual Roadmap for 2022

Thursday, December 23rd, 2021|

Every year has its ups and downs, and 2021 was no exception. What did we learn from it? How did we grow? What will we stop doing or do more of? Who do we want to be in this new year? These are just a few questions to reflect upon, personally and professionally.

Each year our Artisan Creative team works on creating a vision board. We present these to one another at our January team meeting. The boards are a collection of our short and long-term goals and include both personal and professional aspirations. Most of our team members create physical boards, although a few opt for a digital version using TrelloCanvaPinterest, Jamboard, or PicMonkey.

Presenting to one another creates accountability (one of our core values) and enables the team to learn more about each other’s ambitions, dreams, and commitments. Some set a theme for the year, and then include specific action words and inspirational quotes. All have in common a shared use of imagery that inspires, tells a story, and conveys a message to create a powerful visualization tool.

In addition to sharing our vision and goals at the start of the new year, we review our boards mid-year as well as share a recap at our year-end meeting. This helps keep us on track during the course of the year, which can have many twists and turns. This activity is one of our strongest team-building exercises, as it stays “evergreen”.

Here are five tips to create your vision board and get started on achieving your goals!

  1. Choose a theme
  2. Select words and images that inspire and are true to your core values and positivity and inspiration for yourself and others.
  3. Imagine the integrated life/work you want to have.
  4. Create your board.
  5. Live your best life.

You can either divide your board into sections for business and personal or mix the elements together throughout. The important point is to create an integrated board where your personal and professional aspirations are represented.

Hang the board where you can re-visit it daily—read the inspirational messages out loud— and often! Mine is right in front of my desk, so I get to see it every time I look up from my computer.

Another key element is sharing the board with others. Having an accountability partner will help you get closer to achieving your goals.

If you choose to go the digital route, change your desktop to the vision board artwork so you can see it every day for inspiration and setting priorities.

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 x 28 size available from Staples.
  • A good pair of scissors and a strong glue stick so the pictures stay on all year long.
  • Variety of magazines to look through and find those inspiring words and pictures.
  • (Optional) Markers/stickers to write on or embellish your board.
  • Patience and Creativity.
  • Time to reflect.
    Cut images and words throughout the month. Select aside a day to create the actual vision board. For some, it’s easier to start with a theme and for others, the pictures and words shape the theme of the board. There is no right or wrong method, harness your creativity any way that works best for you.

What is your goal-setting process?

Happy 2022!  We hope you’ve enjoyed the 599th issue of our weekly a.blog.  

Planning a Remote Holiday Party

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021|

Every holiday season, our Senior Account Manager, has hosted a festive luncheon for our team during the holidays. She has done so for 24 years in a row, except for 2020!  This year we had hoped to come together again person, however opted for another virtual gathering instead.

And, while we couldn’t be in person, we laughed, exchanged gifts, and ate together (via zoom). Our team from across the U.S. was able to join in, and a few of our pets made unexpected zoom appearances too.

Although it was different, it was great fun and we connected from the heart, evaluated 2021, and put plans in place for 2022.  Additionally,

  • We reviewed our Vision Boards with one another and shared our personal and professional accomplishments for the year, and reviewed our goals for the new year.
  • Secret Santa gift exchange took place via Elfster complete with oohs and aahs and zoom screenshots to capture the festivities.
  • We pre-ordered and prepared lunch and eat together.
  • We shared our gratitude and wrapped up our gathering.

This year continues to be filled with new learnings and wonderful, unexpected surprises. This party was no exception.

After all, our core value of creating trusted relationships means connecting and creating memories, and what better way to connect than to celebrate one another!

Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season and a lively virtual gathering.

We hope you’ve enjoyed 598th a.blog.

 

Practicing Listening

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021|

In this age of Video interviews, Zoom team meetings, and online collaboration, one key aspect of clear communication is listening.

Having a good conversation requires mastering the art of speaking and listening. As adults, we have plenty of chances to perfect our speaking skills. We can enroll in Toastmasters groups, debate classes, drama classes, and speech lessons.

What about perfecting our listening skills? When do we practice this skill that is as important as talking when we are having a conversation? Are we listening to understand, or listening to fix? Are we listening to connect, or listening to correct?

Oscar Trimboli, in his award-winning podcast, Deep Listening, says only 2% of leaders have ever received any training on how to listen, even though they spend 64% to 83% of their day listening!

So let’s start practicing some techniques to become better listeners.  Listed below are three things we can start doing right away:

Being Present

Listening with our entire body—not just our ears.

Keeping our minds quiet and focused.

Making eye contact and giving the speaker our complete attention.

Pausing

When asking a question, we can sit back and allow the speaker to collect their thoughts. Let’s get comfortable with being uncomfortable in silence. And if you are the one answering, when you’re finished, let there be silence. You don’t need to jump in with more if your answer was complete and well-prepared.

In an interview, this allows a candidate to fill that silence and give a hiring manager more insight into their personality, skills, and accomplishments.

The time to gather our thoughts and answer a question is after it’s posed if you were listening properly—not while the question was being asked. We often start planning our reply, even before the question has completely finished. When this happens, we have in fact stopped listening and moved into the reply, problem-solving, or rebuttal mode.

Too often, we make assumptions about the question, mishear the question or interpret the person’s reasoning and intentions for asking a question.

Repeat & Rephrase

Before responding, make sure we understand what has been said.

We can do this by repeating the speaker’s key points and restating them in our own words. This will give the person an opportunity to clarify or add more information. This way, we can be certain we understand the other person’s point.

Before offering a rebuttal, ask a thoughtful, open-ended question to clear up any lingering misconceptions. This can open a productive conversation and lead to an impactful conversation.

To get a better idea of your own listening type, take Trimboli’s quiz to discover your listening type.

https://www.oscartrimboli.com/listeningquiz/

What is your listener type?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 596th a.blog.

Returning to the Office…or Not?

Friday, October 15th, 2021|

It’s the question of the moment, shall we go back to the office or stay remote? We hear this question from clients and candidates alike. Each has a great point of view for either scenario.

The reality is that today, more and more candidates are opting to stay remote. However, as the new year approaches, we will see a return to the office. However, this office may be a different office environment than the one you left 18 months ago.

Here are three tips to keep in mind:

Access to Open Spaces

Take strides in re-configuring the office environment to allocate enough space and distance between co-workers. Where possible, take advantage of open-air environments and create outside seating with access to power outlets. Converted parking lots, rooftops, and balconies will provide additional space and create a more open collaborative environment.

If being outside is not possible, invest in air purifiers and filters, and lots of plants to create an open-air feel for those who have returned to the office.

Embrace Technology

With the possibility of a hybrid workforce, companies are revamping their technology and collaboration tools to provide seamless communication between those back in the office and their colleagues who remain remote.

Examples include better microphones and cameras in conference rooms, and larger screens will enable team members to better see and hear one another and reduce physical separation.

Additionally, touchless/paperless technology will continue to reduce contamination. Collaboration tools such as Google Jamboard, Mentimeter, or Miro will further foster cross-collaboration between colleagues in the office and those who are at home.

Stay Adaptable 

The pandemic is not yet over, even though great strides have been made. There is no predictability as to what may or may not happen in the coming months, and staying adaptable and agile is essential and have contingent backup plans. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 595th a.blog.

How to Hold Productive Virtual Meetings

Thursday, September 30th, 2021|

Virtual meetings continue to be the primary method of communicating with co-workers as some team members return to the office while others continue to work remotely. 

In order to have the best experience for all involved and stay connected during virtual meetings, we are sharing some best practices.

In this article, we will be discussing the following ways in which you can hold productive virtual meetings: 

  • Befriend Technology
  • Mindset: Be Present Mentally and Physically
  • Send an agenda
  • Start & End strong

Befriend Technology/ Turn off Notifications

Fewer distractions and more interaction lead to more productive virtual meetings, especially if some team members are together and others are on video. For members who are remote, ask participants to conduct the meetings in a designated and quiet space (if possible) use a mic, and utilize noise-canceling headphones or apps.  

Apps such as Krisp, help with noise cancellation and provide clear sound in virtual meetings. Krisp is powered by AI and works to removes background noise (i.e. dog’s barking, neighbor’s lawn moving) so that speech is much clearer.  It can remove unwanted noise and echoes on both ends of the virtual meeting and is compatible with most virtual meeting programs, such as Zoom and Google. 

For those gathered together in a conference room, either be seated in a way so the attendees on the video conference can see and hear you properly, or log in to the meeting with your own device.  You’ll have to mute yourself while not speaking so there is no interference, however, this allows the video participants to see your facial expressions and hear you properly.

Mindset: Be Present Mentally and Physically  

Virtual meetings offer a false assumption that we can multi-task.  Checking out an email, or responding to another Slack message may seem harmless to do, however, that small distraction can have an adverse effect on team connection and engagement as well as the possibility to miss out on vital information.  The best practices focus on being present, both mentally as well as physically.  

When getting ready for a virtual meeting, it’s best to turn off all notifications, reminders, and email and Slack notices.  Be present, turn your video on, look at the camera when speaking, and watch the speaker on speaker view.  Turning off your self-view on Zoom also helps with eye fatigue.

Virtual meetings will be more productive when we can see each other and when all attendees have their video on allows for connection and interaction.

Additionally, seeing others on camera leads to more fruitful communication and allows for both verbal and non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions! So, when we can see who we are speaking to, we can better understand what they want to communicate. 

There are instances when having a camera on is not possible.  If someone has a personal issue with having their camera on during a portion of the meeting, it’s best to communicate this in advance and bring it to the attention of the meeting leader. Especially since work-from-home presents challenges on occasion.

Send an Agenda

Some of the world’s most productive systems, and the people that run those systems, have a simple solution to ensuring efficiency: creating a checklist. 

Now, I know what you may be thinking, “A checklist? That’s it?” But, seriously, creating a list of action items that must be completed within a certain period, ensures that those things are done, or at the very least, started. 

So, if you want to increase productivity in virtual meetings, create a checklist of items that need to be covered and send that agenda to everyone attending the meeting. For starters, having an agenda will ensure that all of the important talking points are covered and in an order that makes the most sense for everyone attending the meeting. 

Second, sending an agenda before the meeting helps attendees prepare any necessary information. Not only will everyone be ready to speak on topics that pertain to their work, but a more fruitful discussion can take place. 

Each attendee can listen and contribute because they will be more prepared to do so giving everyone a greater chance of solving problems and ideating. 

Start & End Strong

It’s important to have a strong start to the meeting to engage and connect people with one another.  Icebreakers can create team connection and engagement daily.  When it comes to virtual meetings, people feel disconnected from the team because of the physical distance and icebreakers can help bridge the gap to start your virtual meetings. 

For example, have everyone say a high point and a low point of their week. These answers can be work-related or personal, depending on your company and team culture. 

Having each person speak ensures that each member of the team is heard, and it increases engagement. In turn, attendees will be more willing to speak during virtual meetings because they are more engaged and “warmed-up” to participate. 

As you wrap up your meeting, it’s equally important to end on a strong note.  Ask each person for their takeaway value from the meeting, asking for next step commitments is another way to end on a high note.

Conclusion 

Virtual meetings have become central to remote work and it’s important to maximize our time together online.

From getting into the right mindset and creating an agenda for your meeting, to increasing engagement with technology or icebreakers, there are many ways to make your virtual meetings more productive! 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 594th a.blog.

How to Market Your Freelancing Business 

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021|

When working as a freelancer, you are your business, your product, and your marketing team all in one. 

Having control of all of these aspects of your business is extremely exciting and motivating because it puts you in control of your success. 

Like any successful business, you need a solid marketing strategy that will help you gain visibility in your industry and draw in more clients!

In this article, we will be discussing the following ways in which you can increase your marketing for yourself and your business while freelancing: 

  • Become a Guest on a Podcast
  • Be a Subject Matter Expert (SME)
  • Write a Book, E-book, or Article 
  • Utilize SEO Strategy 
  • Network, Network, Network! 

Become a Guest on a Podcast

Podcasts have increased in popularity in recent years, with the number of listeners in the United States expected to grow by about 10% in 2021 to about 117.8 million listeners

With podcasts emerging from every industry and point-of-view, the medium has a dedicated base of listeners that are exploring different topics. 

There are several benefits to marketing your freelance business by becoming a guest on a podcast. With a podcast, the listeners are there to learn and will, therefore, are a captive and engaged audience.

Additionally, podcasts are a more personal medium. By sharing your ideas on a podcast, rather than approaching marketing with a sales mindset, you come across as more authentic. When you connect with an audience, you can develop greater loyalty! 

Next, one of the most important marketing principles is communicating directly to your target audience or market. Podcasts allow you to do that!

Each podcast has data outlining the type of people who listen to the podcast, such as demographic stratification and personal or professional interest. 

 Or, you can even start a podcast yourself! 

Become a Subject Matter Expert (SME)

A subject matter expert or SME is someone who is an authority in their industry or vertical because of their extensive knowledge. 

While one can be an SME in almost any field, it usually relates to knowledge in a technical or educational field. For example, if you are a freelance marketing consultant, you can become an SME in the field of marketing. 

Marketing is essentially persuasion. In other words, you want to persuade your audience to use your services as a freelancer. 

Across the disciplines of both psychology and communication, we know that one of the best ways to persuade someone is by having authority. People are more likely to trust you if you are educated on a topic. 

Therefore, becoming an SME will have a positive influence on your brand. Not many people can tout that they are experts in their field. Having this classification will encourage others to work with you.   

Write a Book, E-book, or Article 

Writing a book or article relating to your industry or work will help establish your authority in the field. Having published work means you are recognized as an expert in your industry!  The self-publishing industry has created affordable means of getting a book to market.  However if long-form content is not your expertise, try writing articles for the Medium, of Business Journal Trust or publish on Linkedin.

Additionally, writing a book or article can help establish greater recognition and top-of-mind awareness with your audience. People are more likely to choose someone whose name they recognize, and the expertise they seek.

Utilize SEO Strategy 

When marketing yourself as a freelancer in today’s highly saturated climate, it is crucial to have a  focus on search engine optimization (SEO). The goal of SEO is to increase a website’s ranking on Google search results. 

Why is this important? Because people will see your website first and be more likely to click on it when searching for the service you offer. The best part is that SEO is free. You need to learn the Google algorithm and how to work with it. 

For example, if you use the right density of industry keywords, your website will better fulfill the search queries of users, and therefore, be ranked higher. 

Or, if your website is user-friendly, well designed, and quick loading, users will stay on it longer, signaling to Google that it is a quality website. Google, in turn, will rank it higher in search results. 

Network, Network, Network! 

As a freelancer, you are your brand! Therefore, one of the best ways to get your name out there is to network. Networking can mean a lot of things, from adding other professionals in your industry on LinkedIn and social media platforms to directly contacting potential clients. 

By connecting with other freelancers in similar industries, you can find a community of like-minded people who will support you. You can learn from each other about new trends and share clients, especially if you have different expertise. 

There are also a number of portfolio-sharing websites specifically for freelancers so that you can share your work with others and give clients an overview of your past work.

The wider you grow your network, the more work opportunities will present themselves. Working with recruitment agencies such as Artisan Creative allows for your network to expand.

Conclusion 

Working as a freelancer has many benefits, from the flexibility of working when and where you want to work to having control over what work you do daily. So, if you are a freelancer looking to gain exposure, implement some of the marketing tips we presented above!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 593rd a.blog.

Social Networking While Social Distancing

Wednesday, September 1st, 2021|

Most businesses have had to adapt their processes to fit with the social distancing requirements made necessary by COVID-19. And while we have made immense progress in the last year with the development and distribution of vaccines, the battle against COVID-19 is not over. 

However, social distancing does not have to negatively impact social networking and the ability to grow and develop our connections.

In this article, we are going to discuss ways to social network while keeping our social distance by

  • Expanding Our Digital Network  
  • Recreate the In-Person Networking Environment, Digitally
  • Tailor Our Online Presence 
  • Get Creative! 

Expanding Our Digital Network  

Digital communication presents greater opportunities to expand our social network than in-person networking can. We are no longer limited by travel, commute, time, or cost.

Online networking has the ability to connect us with others across the country and around the globe. We can take advantage of this ability to transcend geographical boundaries and connect with people and opportunities not located in the same time zone. This not only helps create a diverse network it will also provide exposure to new ideas and new cultures that can positively impact our outlook.

Additionally, an online network can be infinitely large, and we can continuously expand our network without excessive maintenance. Joining an online group or forum can instantly connect us. Social media platforms, interest-based groups, and meet-ups enable us to stay connected and relevant in our field of interest.

Recreate the In-Person Networking Environment, Digitally

It is important to recreate the in-person environment as much as possible. So, hop on that video call to create a more personal, connected experience. Change your background to fit the theme of the meeting and dress up as if you were in person.  Turning off the “self-view” side of Zoom may make it easier on the eyes so you don’t have to look at yourself the entire time. Platforms such as Virbella or Hopin allow for some online networking fun and learning.

Approach networking with an altruistic and servant leadership mindset. Share, be open, be empathic and connect digitally.

Tailor Your Online Presence 

Optimizing and updating our online profile is key. Your social media platforms are often someone’s first glimpse of you and your expertise. Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date,  have accurate information about your current role, education, and employment status. Your profile should reflect openness to new work because this will alert recruiters and hiring managers that you are looking for new opportunities. Simply have the “open to new opportunities” feature turned on.  Additionally, have a detailed bio that states your strengths and what you are looking for in a future position or company. You also want to maximize the SEO of your profile by using industry keywords throughout your profile that match the words employers are searching for. 

Check out our blog post on updating your LinkedIn to learn more about 7 ways for curating the perfect online profile.

Get Creative! 

Go beyond social media to socialize. Explore online courses, meet-ups, and industry groups to connect with groups and like-minded people.

The key is to be open to growth, learning, and sharing your ideas. Networking, like any relationship building, is a two-way street. If you connect with someone, do so to add value to their life and work as well as your own. Share posts, write articles, join groups and showcase your expertise.

From staying active on networking sites and job boards to creating personal online spaces for communication, there are myriad of o[portunities to continue our connections and social networks while social distancing. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 592nd a.blog.

4 Tips for Resignation Best Practices

Tuesday, August 17th, 2021|

Handing in your resignation may feel like a daunting task, regardless of the reason you’ve decided to leave your current position. Whether you are taking on new endeavors, your current position is no longer the right fit, or you are embarking on a sabbatical, it is important to leave respectfully and professionally, allowing your team to transition smoothly.  

No matter your reason for resigning, let’s review 4 tips of resignation best practices.

  • Speak to Your Manager 
  • Write a Two-Week Notice 
  • Answer Exit Interview Questions 
  • Maintain Professionalism 

Speak to Your Manager 

First and foremost, be sure to speak to your manager or supervisor in person vs. resigning via email or text. In this day and age of WFH, in-person may mean a Zoom or Teams meeting, so be sure to schedule a video meeting to discuss before handing in your written notice of resignation letter. 

Since you have built a relationship with your manager, you owe them more than a quick email if you decide to resign from your job and share gratitude for the opportunity they have given you. 

Additionally, be sure to tell your supervisor before you tell other members at the company or on your team. You do not want your boss finding out from someone else that you are quitting. 

It is good professional conduct to speak to your manager to ensure that you leave on good terms and share feedback necessary for uninterrupted workflow.

Write a Two-Week Notice 

As you may already know, giving your company a two-week notice before leaving your position is common courtesy and standard best practice. 

By giving a two-week notice, you allow your manager to find a suitable replacement. Don’t leave your team hanging, and provide a well-thought-out notice of your resignation, with recommendations on who on the team can take over some of your tasks.  This will give everyone some time to take over your deliverables without falling behind. 

So, you might be asking, “What is the proper way to write a two-week notice?” 

The following outlines the elements to include when writing a professional two-week notice. 

First, begin by stating that you are resigning from your position. This statement should include the name of your position and the company you work for. 

For example, “I would like to inform you that I am resigning from my position as XYZ Associate at Company X.” 

Next, please state the date of your last day of work, whether it is two weeks from when you are writing the letter or list a specific date.

Although you do not have to explain why you are leaving your position, you should provide a statement of gratitude. This could be a sentence or two explaining what you learned in the position, how working at the company has provided you with an opportunity to grow, or gratitude for the personal connections you have made. 

End your letter by offering any help while your company transitions. This may include recommending other employees for your position or offering to train whoever takes on the position next.

You should format your resignation letter in business letter format, with your name and contact information at the top, and maintain a positive tone overall. 

Answer Exit Interview Questions 

Your exit interview allows the company to understand why you are leaving your position and, if needed, improve other employees’ experiences in the future. Be honest and offer constructive feedback that the company can implement and grow. 

Respond to exit interview questions respectfully and objectively. Think about how your answers can improve the culture or processes rather than focusing on personal experiences that may not be relevant. 

Maintain Professionalism

Maintaining professionalism throughout your resignation process is key. It allows you to preserve the professional and personal relationships you cultivated and upholds your reputation, especially if you choose to remain in the same industry or seek references in the future.  

Keep your high work ethic until your very last day of work. In other words, work as hard as you always have and do not use your resignation as an excuse to ease off. Your team is counting on you.

Conclusion

It is up to you to take charge of your career, growth, and success. This sometimes means resigning from your current position to pursue other opportunities.

Resigning from a position that no longer serves you should not be scary. It should be empowering. Follow the tips we presented in this article to ensure that you resign in a stress-free and professional manner!

If you are looking for new opportunities, check out our open jobs page.  Wishing you the best in your next career move.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 591st a.blog.

4 WFH Tips for Increasing Productivity

Tuesday, August 10th, 2021|

Artisan Creative has always embraced the work-from-home model as one that fosters productivity. And with the many tests thrown our way over the last year, we humbly believe we have mastered boosting productivity through remote work.

Love it or hate it, working from home is not going anywhere, as many companies realize their productivity ROI has increased after leaving employees to work from the comfort of their homes. 

In this article, we are going to discuss some work from home (WFH) productivity hacks that will help you reach your optimal WFH potential:  

  • Reduce Digital Distractions 
  • Define Boundaries 
  • Create Meaningful Daily Habits 
  • Have a Designated Work Area 

Tip #1: Reduce Digital Distractions

Our first tip for increasing productivity while working from home is reducing digital distractions. 

While many of us are glued to our laptops due to the nature of WFH, it is important to limit the number of unnecessary distractions. 

Getting lost in a social media feed is much easier than one might think, and before you know it, you have been mindlessly scrolling for hours!

Or, you feel like taking a break from your work, which is always great for productivity, but get stuck on your favorite online store or catching up with the news. So, why not limit temptation as much as possible. 

One way of doing this is by putting blocks on your internet browsers, such as Freedom, which works on Windows and Mac. 

Adding a browser extension, like Freedom, helps limit distractions by blocking websites, like social media, video games, and shopping, across all of your devices. 

Additionally, turning off all notifications and setting time blocks for checking emails is key.

Hack #2: Define Boundaries 

Our second tip for increasing productivity while working from home is to set boundaries between your non-work life and your work life. 

In other words, when work is over, make a concerted effort to avoid checking your email or do work-related tasks. 

We are more productive after letting our brains rest, allowing for more innovation as our brains process all of the information gathered while actively working. 

Resting our brains also fosters greater creativity and creates efficiency and productivity! Think about how much more productive you feel on a Monday after a weekend filled with rest and play versus on a Friday afternoon! 

Additionally, while working from home, there is a lesser distinction between work-life and home-life. With the current technology, colleagues can contact us with the click of a button at any hour of the day. 

As a manager or member of a team, it is important to value the personal time of your colleagues. For instance, save non-urgent action tasks and questions for work hours. 

Many email platforms allow you to compose your emails and schedule for them to be sent at another time. So if you suddenly remember an important update late at night, you can write your email and prepare it to be in your colleague’s inbox the next morning.

Tip #3: Create Meaningful Daily Habits 

Our third tip for increasing productivity while working from home is creating meaningful daily habits. 

Daily life can sometimes feel repetitive while working from home, as there is no office dynamic, no watercooler conversations, and no spontaneous coffee breaks with colleagues in person. 

Therefore, build a daily routine to ensure that you are productive while working from home and avoid falling into a rut. Build breaks and check-ins with colleagues into your schedule.  At Artisan Creative, we have a Slack channel devoted to personal touch bases so that the team can continue to build community and culture while remote.

One of the most important ways to remain productive and work effectively during the day is by getting good sleep at night.

Sleep deprivation impairs cognitive functions. To achieve peak productivity, prioritize sleep. 

Another daily habit of implementing and increasing productivity is getting up early. If you go to bed early, you can wake up early and get your day started before having to dive into work. 

Getting up early and having a calm morning routine allows you to ease your way into the day without feeling rushed. It will also allow you to do other tasks in the morning, such as working out, which gets your blood and oxygen flowing, or meditation, helping to combat stress and fatigue and increasing focus.  This very simple yet incredibly powerful habit hack sets the tone for the entire day, ensuring productivity and a sense of accomplishment.

Tip # 4: Have a Designated Work Area 

Our fourth tip for optimizing productivity while working from home is creating a designated workspace

While you cannot travel to an office with your colleagues, you can create a workspace separate from your home life and free of distractions. 

By creating a separate workspace, you will be less tempted to switch on the TV or grab a snack every five minutes, distractions that can hurt your productivity. 

Additionally, by designating a room or place for work, you will be able to get in the right headspace. It will help keep work and life separate, ensuring optimal concentration and, therefore, productivity. Not only will having a separate workspace help you concentrate, but it will also keep you from distracting other members of your family or household. 

Similarly, ask your family member or roommates not to interrupt you while in your space, allowing you to maintain workflow. You can do this by creating a work-from-home schedule that details when you will be “in the office” and should not be interrupted. 

We have employed the work-from-home lifestyle for over eleven years. So, we know that you can continue to work remotely with few distractions and optimal productivity with these tips.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 590th a.blog.

Shoshin: The Olympics of Business

Thursday, July 29th, 2021|

We’ve been engrossed in the Olympics this past week as we watched athletes who had put their lives on hold to continue training for an additional year, finally take center-stage in Tokyo to compete in their chosen sport.

Each athlete speaks about their perseverance, determination, and unwavering focus on becoming better and stronger in their field. Even those who are at the top of their ranking in their nation, or have won previous Olympic medals, continue with the same determination and focus to better themselves each time they enter their respective arenas. For many, it means 6+ hours of training each day—every day, even though they are already masters in their sport.

They understand that a one-second improvement can be the difference between standing on the podium, or not. These athletes have accepted the Shoshin mindset, a Zen Buddhist philosophy of a beginner’s mindset that fosters openness and acceptance for continued learning and growth.

This made us think about business and the importance of ongoing training for our teams. How often are companies and employees incorporating the Shoshin mindset?

Many firms start new hires with an intensive orientation and training, and then only provide feedback or additional training when something isn’t going right. Even worse, if the candidate hasn’t performed well by a specified timeframe, it’s assumed they are not a right fit for the role. A lack of proper training by the company is rarely taken into consideration.

What if, as hiring managers, we created a continuous training program, an investment in growth and learning to encourage all employees to adopt the Shoshin mindset in their daily routine?  And, as candidates what if we created an opportunity to go back and review the basics, shore up our foundational knowledge, add new skills and embrace new technologies?  Even if we’ve been doing our craft for years, how much more successful would we be if we improved our skills and became just a little bit better, faster, stronger?

At Artisan Creative, we’ve embraced continued learning and have implemented the following into our workflows over the years:

Training on Processes

  • Hold on-going bi-weekly one-hour trainings to continue learning together
  • Create short Loom Videos for all tasks, so new hires have a quick visual reference
  • Use Trello to house docs and references
  • Utilize Slack for quick questions if someone is stuck

Self-development

  • CliftonStrengths assessment to learn more about our peers
  • Toastmasters to become a better presenter and speaker
  • As needed Coursera or Udemy classes

In a market where it’s a challenge to find candidates, continuous investment in our teams can make the difference between success and failure.

In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few~ Shunryo Suzuki, Zen master

How do you implement ongoing training and the Shoshin Mindset in your business?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 589th a.blog.