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Try This Quick Time Saving Tip for Busy Professionals

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Usually, around six o’clock, I am amazed at how fast the day went by. And it always seems like I’m rushing to get out of the office for a meeting or dinner with my family.

But, did you know that if we took 15 minutes at the end of our day, we can be more prepared for tomorrow? Recently, I started to take just 15 minutes at the end of my day to get organized and it works. Here’s how.

 

Prioritize Those 15 Minutes

What better time to review your day than at the end? It allows you to do three very important things:

  • Review
  • Reflect
  • Prepare

You can briefly review what happened throughout your day by jotting a few notes, which will strengthen your  memory and recall. It’s also a good time to check off the items on your agenda and make sure that you’ve logged your time correctly. Research has shown that taking account of completed tasks lowers your anxiety and stress levels.

Simply taking a minute or two to review your day will also help you organize your evening. Figure out dinner or check in with loved ones. Are you picking something up? Need gas for the car? These things often get forgotten and make tomorrow a little more hectic. Plus, it gives you time to organize the work you are taking home with you.

 

To-Do List or Not To-Do List?

Reflecting upon your day will help you restructure your to-do lists. Priorities are always shifting. Some tasks gain a higher level of urgency.

As for to-do lists, I have seen a lot of opinions on them. Lots of consultants don’t like them and one in particular simply believes that to-do lists don’t work. However, research, lots of research, says otherwise. I’m a proponent of them, but with this caveat—I don’t put everything on it.

One major complaint of the to-do list is that it causes more anxiety, usually because there’s a list a mile long with things on there that should have been done weeks or months ago. Too many trivial things on it will cause anxiety.

One novel idea is to move the important things off your to-do list and placing them on your calendar. This raises their priority, while reduces the clutter of your list. Here are some other ways you can create a more effective to-do list:

  • Shorten the list to three things,
  • Use small Post-It Notes or index cards,
  • Organize your list into smaller lists (calls to make, things to delegate, to purchase, etc.)
  • Prioritize tasks in order of importance,
  • View one task at a time.

You need to be faithful to the idea of ending your day thinking about tomorrow. This lets you get organized before you even step foot in the office, tomorrow.

 

Better Planning of Your Time

Time is the most important asset we have, yet we don’t value it enough. Meetings and late lunches can get in the way. There’s also the occasional drive-by meeting—”impromptu” for the visitor—but an inconvenience for you.

Taking a few minutes to prepare for your day, tomorrow,  may get you out of a meeting or conference call that really isn’t important. With these final moments at work, you can also follow up with your employees regarding important projects. Even better, you can delegate tasks from your list to them.

 

Better Organization = Less Stress

Let’s face it, you’re only given so much time in a day. Organization doesn’t give you more time, but it does allow you to spend more time on the things that are truly important. Typically, these are the things that affect the bottom line.

You won’t regret using this time-saving tip. It will help you be more productive and less stressed about work and home. Give it a try for a month. If it works, pass it on to a friend or coworker of yours that could use it.

Zodiac Marketer: Gemini

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Our next zodiac sign is Gemini: birthdays between May 21 – June 20.

Gemini is an air sign with the following strengths: gentle, affectionate, curious, adaptable, quick learner, loves to exchange ideas. Some of these are traits that creatives, especially in the marketing world, possess in plenty. On the other hand, Gemini’s weaknesses of being nervous, inconsistent, and indecisive—things many of us face occasionally. We’ll tell you how and why to avoid these in your professional and maybe even personal life.

Curiosity in Marketing

Curiosity is a natural part of creativity. Some might say that it is the very foundation of creative endeavors. Artists and designers explore their medium, their world, and their own minds in order to create their work. Experimentation is curiosity. Artists use experimentation to create new techniques, new colors, and new themes every day. This curiosity that drives innovation in both process and outcome are essential to marketing. Without curiosity, marketing and advertising campaigns would be limp and lifeless, and designs would fail to attract, define and guide.

Adaptability in Marketing

Adaptability is a powerful trait in every aspect of life. In fact, it’s what helps species survive. Animals and plants adapt over time to environmental conditions, and humans have created such a technical world that we have to adapt to new technologies seemingly on a daily basis. One signature of adaptability is

Free Flow/Exchange of Ideas in Marketing

How many marketing campaigns have started with a brain storming session? SO MANY. This is part of what makes marketing enjoyable, creative, and innovative. A brainstorming session may have one goal, like renaming a company, but sometimes these sessions, if everyone feels comfortable with letting their ideas flow freely, can yield answers to so many other questions, or ideas for other projects! Free flow of ideas is a cornerstone of marketing and advertising.

Avoid Inconsistency in Marketing

Inconsistency may be one of the most fatal acts for any brand. In fact, part of the definition of the word brand from a marketing perspective is CONSISTENCY. This is what we strive for when we create brand style guides, some of them so extensive and specific that they read more like design books than guides. Designers put countless hours into creating these guides to avoid inconsistency as if it were the devil! And we all should, in all areas of marketing. In fact, a well-rounded marketing strategy will carry a consistent message across all channels and activities, from PR to sales calls to social media posting. We are always telling the brand’s complete story.

Avoid Indecision in Marketing

Indecision can kill any project, particularly creative projects. This happens when you can’t choose between one logo design and the other. Or you are so torn that you make tweaks, trying to combine designs, again and again. You simply continue to suffer the inability to decide what you want. If this happens, you will end up extending your timeline and paying way more than you originally bargained.

If you need a logo, make sure that you give examples of what you want and lots of detail about your company, your mission, and a whole slew of other information about your company that a design firm should be using to sketch a series of initial designs. A good agency will take this time up front to get a solid sense of your company, rather than spend the time on the backend trying to tweak a design that did not hit the mark.

At Pinstripe Marketing, we sit down with our clients and complete a creative brief, plus we listen to your stories and review samples to start building your design story.

We love you Gemini! You have so many special traits that make our marketing lives interesting.

20 Productivity Hacks for Professionals

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Being a professional in today’s world means that there are a lot of demands on your time. Tapping into our everyday best—our most productive selves—can become exhausting. What if you were able to gain a minute or two? It would take away some of the stress you may be feeling about those looming deadlines or messy projects.

Productivity hacks collect valuable minutes throughout the day, so you can have them on reserve when emergencies arise. Then, you can perform at your best.

Research-based and simple to use, our 20 productivity hacks below will help you get a little more organized, learn a little more about technology, add some automation to your day, and give you the time to do more with less.

Paper versus Digital Calendar. Paper works best in several ways: memory retention, central location for dates and notes, and goal planning. Get a planner that you’re comfortable with and use it.

Take Control of Your Calendar. Restrict editing permissions to only a couple people and block off the times when you feel most productive.

End-of-Day: Transfer Print Calendar to Digital. When you take the time to reflect upon your day, you’ll also know what’s in store for you tomorrow. Better preparation means fewer surprises.

Manage Your Email. Auto-response, signatures, and notifications. Having up-to-date auto-responses and signatures with important information can quickly point clients in the right direction. Notifications can break your concentration, so remember to turn them on and off when necessary. It may take a few seconds, but it could save you minutes of valuable time.

Most Important Things First. Organize your priorities. This eliminates the potential for procrastination.

Schedule Deep Work. Think about the time of day that you’re most productive. Cultivate that time by blocking it on your calendar, taking only emergency calls and emails. Make it a habit.

Less Time on Social Media. For some, it’s a must. But lingering can take away more time than you realize. This list of apps can help you stay away from them.

Make Fewer Decisions. When you take a look at your day, some decisions were important, while most weren’t. Try to eliminate the situations that call for more decisions. If you must, then don’t waste more than five seconds debating about them.

Eliminate Menial Tasks. Sometimes we like to do menial tasks, just because it’s easy and feels comfortable doing them. These are a waste of time. Have employees and interns do them.

Increase Your Typing Speed. Slow typers range around 45 words per minute. Faster typing can decrease time spent on email and writing memos. (Click here to take the typing speed test.) These apps might help you type faster.

Reduce Meeting Times. Scope creep in any meeting will ruin your day. Stay on agenda. Or, eliminate unnecessary meetings. If it’s a meeting in an off-site location, see if you can call in to reduce time spent on travel.

Time It. Keeping yourself on time requires you to know how long you’ve been on task. Set a timer on your phone or watch to prevent you from spending too much time on any single task.

Accountability Alarm. You receive countless notifications throughout the day. But setting an accountability alarm will help you reflect on your day. You can send out updates to stakeholders and enter notes and dates into your digital calendar.

Stick to One Task. It’s a fact, and you probably already know it, multitasking is not possible. It’s called task switching and is far less productive than staying on task until completion.

Use Templates. Make them for email, formal letters, informal letters, or other types of correspondence. These will definitely add a couple minutes to your time bank.

Plan First. Before taking on any major task, you need to plan first. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” That’s good advice.

Say “No” More Often. You have permission to say “No” more often to things that don’t matter. Your job is to focus on exactly what needs to get done.

Perfection Doesn’t Exist. Doing something right is different than perfect. Perfect requires too much time and attention, especially when just right will do.

Unsubscribe and Unfollow. Too many emails clog our inbox and there are things we just don’t need to see in our feed. Get rid of them to reduce mental clutter.

Multiple Computer Screens. Having multiple computer screens open with documents to review saves time from switching back and forth. It also keeps information fresh in your mind. This makes task switching easier.

Making yourself more productive means that everyone around you will be more productive. So, think about a friend or coworker of yours that could use this list and pass it on.

Pinstripe Pro-Am Race Team for Kart 4 Kids

As part of our ongoing campaign to support local non-profits, Pinstripe chose Kart 4 Kids as our beneficiary for 2019. Each year the Kart 4 Kids team hosts a Pro-Am kart race to raise money for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. More about that later.

After meeting with the Kart 4 Kids team to determine their needs, we embarked on several months of building a public relations campaign that included press releases and distribution to local news and online outlets, pitching morning shows to gain Kart 4 Kids an even broader audience, and video and photography to build a more substantial media library to use for marketing collateral.

Our first campaign was a huge success and the Kart 4 Kids team was thrilled. We were able to place them on interviews with Bay News 9 and Great Day Tampa Bay. Indycar champion and hometown hero, Sebastien Bordais, spoke about Kart 4 Kids and Jenine Rabin from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Foundation talked about the hospital, the life-saving equipment the fundraiser has purchased, and the impact community has on direct patient care. Patient ambassador, Clifford Mason, was able to attend the Great Day Tampa Bay segment to talk about his experience as a patient of the hospital. All did a great job, see for yourself in the clips below.

Besides providing great PR for Kart 4 Kids, we took this sponsorship to a whole new level. Pinstripe Marketing put together a Pro-Am kart racing team and, though our race team didn’t win, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital did! They received a whopping $185,000 from the Kart 4 Kids efforts, which included sponsored Pro-Am teams, a live auction with items such as a helmet worn by esteemed local IndyCar driver Sebastien Bourdais, a silent, online auction with items that included a race-worn suit signed by Tony Kanaan, driver signed artwork and photos, and many other items. In the last eight years since the first Kart 4 Kids race, the organization has raised a total of nearly $600,000.

The Pinstripe team Pro Driver was Matheus Leist from Brazil, who is an IndyCar Series driver for AJ Foyt Racing. Other household name pro drivers included Patrick Long, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Santino Ferrucci, and Simon Pagenaud.

About Kart 4 Kids

Kart 4 Kids Inc is a 501(c)3 organization established to raise money for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital by organizing the Kart 4 Kids Pro-Am Kart Race. The all-volunteer staff means that All Children’s receives all proceeds net of direct race expenses. Now in its 8th year, the Pro-Am kart race was started in 2012 to honor the memory of IndyCar driver and St. Petersburg resident Dan Wheldon, who had tragically perished in a racing accident. Starting with American Porsche factory driver, Patrick Long as its only professional driver in the first race, the race has been embraced and supported by many of the best racing professionals in IndyCar, IMSA, and Pirelli World Challenge, among other series. Patrick has been joined by early supporter Sebastien Bourdais as the two featured drivers. From its small start, the Kart 4 Kids Pro-Am Hosted by Andersen Racepark, Featuring Sebastian Bourdais and Patrick Long has become one of Johns Hopkins All Children’s top third-party fundraisers by donating $130,000 in 2018. For more information visit www.Kart4kKds.org, ‘like’ its Facebook page at Kart4Kids Pro-Am Kart Race, or follow the race on Twitter @kart4kidsproam.

Build Top of Mind Awareness With an E-Newsletter

enews_newsSome things never change, even in the fluid online world. One thing that we have always thought important, and will always believe in, is the e-newsletter. A few years ago we wrote the below article – “Build Top of Mind Awareness With an E-Newsletter,” and we still think the information in this article is useful – probably more than ever.

In a market driven by meaningful content, producing an e-newsletter with solid articles that help your customers and prospects is one of the best ways to build the relationships that will foster trust in your brand. There is no question – content is king, and if you position yourself as an expert by creating good content, you will win the trust of clients and prospects.

There are some kinds of businesses that are a part of their customers’ weekly, if not daily routine—grocery stores, drycleaners, and gas stations to name a few. Other companies, such as clothing and hardware stores or even restaurants, also typically attract mostly repeat business. As long as these operations offer competitive prices, good service, and are conveniently located (with no new arrival in the market appearing significantly better on any of those points), customer loyalty should remain fairly strong. But how can businesses instill loyalty when clients may need their services on an annual basis at best, or perhaps only a few times during an entire lifetime? This is the common situation for many professional service providers such as attorneys, CPAs, medical specialists, IT solution providers, or architects to name a few. An e-newsletter may be an economical and effective way to maintain top-of-mind awareness with prospective clients during those long stretches between having a need for the provider’s services.

Simple name recognition is good way to initially differentiate your business from others in your market. But more importantly, an e-newsletter emphasizes the expertise that’s available from professionals at your company.

The greatest challenge associated with producing any e-newsletter – one distributed via email – is getting an audience to read it. And even when a recipient originally made a conscious decision to request the newsletter, it’s not unusual for that person to soon find himself deleting the communication unread, marking it as spam, or taking the final step of asking to removed from the subscription list.

Here are few dos and don’ts that will help maintain reader interest in an e-newsletter from a professional service organization.

Do offer news the reader can use. For instance, attorneys might offer tips as to what to do when starting a business and accountants could point out frequently overlooked tax deductions. Make the articles memorable, pithy and to the point.

Don’t make the publication just another advertisement. In fact, it will enhance the credibility of your e-newsletter if you don’t overtly “sell” anything at all. While articles can address issues that readers may be facing as well as the available solutions, avoid talking about your own company’s specific offerings. Consumers are savvy. If they read about a problem in your newsletter, they’ll assume you have a product or service to meet their needs.

Do make it plain that you’re local. People are more open to information that comes from a “neighbor.” Work references to area landmarks or events into the various articles. As silly as it may seem, people enjoying saying to themselves, “I know where that is.” Referring to local places and events will make your business seem less abstract to potential customers.

Don’t pontificate. A “message” from the company president or CEO is generally bad enough as a reader turn-off, but it may be forgivable if that message offers the “news you can use” component mentioned earlier. Observations about the state of the union, environmental policy, what’s wrong with kids today, or any other topic outside of the author’s professional expertise however, is a definite no-no.

Do keep it brief. While you may have articles that link to your Web site for more additional (non sales) information, the amount of content visible at first glance, should not take up much more room than one screen length. The format should also make it easy for the reader to scan for topics of interest, and quickly glean the facts.

Don’t overload your readers. Make sure the people to whom you send your newsletter have a reasonable chance of being interested in the information you’re providing. And your total number of broadcast communications (the e-newsletter plus any other announcements, alerts, sales promotions, etc.) should appear in their inboxes no more frequently than twice a month. Once a month or once every three months is probably often enough for your newsletter to make an impact without becoming an unread annoyance.

Do encourage reader interactivity. Solicit and make it easy for your audience to provide feedback about your newsletter. Not only is this good PR but their ideas could very well have great merit and can enhance your publication. Also make it easy for audience members to introduce people they know to your newsletter. And finally, make it easy for readers to unsubscribe if they wish to do so.

Do create a series of articles for your newsletter either with a fun or business theme. For example, this year we are running a series of articles with tips for best practices in SEO, and last year we ran a series with the overarching theme relating Wonder Woman (our President’s favorite comic character) to marketing. We’ve seen great enthusiasm for the fun themes so we decided to keep it going with a Zodiac Marketing series this year. We expect that people will enjoy this series as well! As far as the SEO tips series they contain actionable items that any business person or marketing executive can apply to their routine.

Properly executed and written with your audience’s interests in mind, an e-newsletter can help keep your business in the minds of potential customers for that specific moment when they may need your services. Pinstripe can help create a template as well as content for your e-newsletter – get in touch if you need help with launching yours.