Five Productivity Hacks You Need to Be Using in 2015

By Nick Marvik

Whether you just need a quick reminder or are looking to become more productive in 2015, this post covers five tools in my personal tool set (and my team’s) that help increase workplace productivity, collaboration and generally make us better at what we do. What’s even better, wait for it, they’re free…

1. The Inbox Zero Methodology

If I was ever running a company I would make inbox zero mandatory for my employees. No, seriously. Using inbox zero has changed my life – I’m timely to respond to emails, organized and never overwhelmed. I work more efficiently with my direct colleagues as well as my clients and have organized my email folders and labels so I know exactly where to find certain emails anytime.

How many emails are in your inbox right now? Most likely way too many. On top of there simply being too many emails for you to actually manage, you need to stop kidding yourself every day. You’re not going to respond to them, you’re not going to open them and all they’re doing is cluttering your inbox. Label, archive, done.

I’m confident that if you can make the switch to using inbox zero regularly you’ll become more productive, organized and generally feel better about email. Entry level employees all the way to top-level executives will benefit from becoming inbox zero “savvy”. Inbox zero is not just a “work-place thing”, it applies to personal and work email and will change the way you do email.

2. Trello

If you haven’t already heard about Trello, consider yourself late to the game. Trello is hands down my favorite productivity and team collaboration tool. Trello is an agile project management and list tool that lets you manage projects and tasks of all sizes – from start to finish.

My favorite part about Trello is that it allows you to centralize your team’s communication, file management, due dates and project workflow all in one central place. They even have awesome mobile apps for on-the-go management as well.

Here are five examples of how I’ve used Trello:

  • To manage client projects
  • To design, build and launch this custom team jackets page
  • To create and organize this year’s Christmas list – this was by-far the easiest (and most organized) year purchasing Christmas gifts for my family
  • To create my weekly grocery list
  • To manage outsourced work, communication and files with contractors

For the more advanced users – Trello integrates with many other applications and also has a super flexible API.

3. Slack

Have a client project to manage? How about a team? Want to integrate with applications like Trello, DropBox, Stripe, MailChimp, GitHub and G+? Enough from me – take two minutes and watch this quick video on how you can use Slack today.

4. Join.me – Simple Online Meetings

If you’re not already using join.me you’re likely using GoToMeeting, Jive, WebEx or Google Hangouts to host and run online meetings, share slide decks or even host a webinar. You can simplify your online meetings with Join.me – hands down the simplest online meeting tool on the market. Did I mention it was free?

Working online I need to collaborate with team members and clients often working from a remote location, like my couch! I use Join.me to easily connect with anyone online to have a meeting or share my screen. Join.me also acts as a conference line that anyone can dial into. I’ve found this simple online meeting tool helps increase productivity when working remotely or setting up screen shares.

5. Updating Your To-Do List and Visualizing Tomorrow’s Workday

At the end of every workday, take some time and update your to-do list. Think about what tomorrow’s workday should look like and prioritize bigger items for when you’re most likely to be productive. Some of the tools above actually allow us to easily do this – for example I manage all my to-do lists in Trello. If a digital tool isn’t your thing, this also works great with pen and paper. I’ve found that by allocating some time to refreshing my to-do list at the end of each day and visualizing the following work day, I can quickly get focused on being productive first thing the next morning.


If you’re not already using or have already tried using some of the above tools and methods I encourage you to give it a shot. I’m confident you’ll find ways to increase your personal or your team’s productivity in 2015.

Do you have a favorite productivity or method you’re using to be productive? I’d love to hear – let me know in the comments below.

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Source: Distilled

    

Data Is Clear: To Be Effective at Content Marketing, Have a Documented Strategy

By Jerod Morris

Talk is cheap. So it should come as no surprise that when it comes to content marketing strategy, simply talking about it is not enough.

That is the big takeaway from the 2015 benchmarks, budgets, and trends study by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, sponsored by our own Rainmaker Platform.

According to the study, only 39 percent of B2B small business marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. The rest either have a strategy that they have only talked about (47 percent), have no strategy at all (12 percent), or are unsure (1 percent).

Here’s why this matters …

The most effective content marketers document their strategy

The data shows that the 39 percent of companies who do have a documented strategy are “more effective in nearly all aspects of content marketing than their peers who either have a verbal-only strategy or no strategy at all.”

The report breaks it down further:

60 percent of those with a documented content marketing strategy consider their organization to be “effective” at content marketing; only 33 percent of those with just a verbal strategy say the same.

62 percent of those with a documented strategy say that their strategy closely guides their content marketing efforts; only 29 percent of those with just a verbal strategy say the same.

The correlation between those two statements seems pretty clear.

And here is another interesting note: companies with a documented strategy are more than twice as likely to be successful at charting the ROI of their content marketing efforts than those with only a verbal strategy.

You get the idea …

Write. It. Down.

So … what should you be documenting?

The report provides insightful data that can help you make more informed strategy decisions as you document your strategy.

For example:

  • Which metrics are other companies tracking? (Are you tracking them?)
  • How much content are other companies creating? (Are you keeping pace?)
  • Which content types and social media platforms are companies finding most effective? (Are you using them?)
  • What percentage of their marketing budget are companies allocating for content marketing? (How does your budget compare?)

The study also includes charts that compare what the most effective content marketers are doing against what the least effective are doing. And you’ll find out what challenges small businesses are facing, and how they are overcoming them.

Every year we gain valuable insight from this report, and this year is no exception.

See for yourself.

View the full report below or (or click here to view it at SlideShare).

B2B Small Business Content Marketing: 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America from Content Marketing Institute

About the author

Jerod Morris

Jerod Morris is the VP of Marketing for Copyblogger Media. Get more from him on Twitter or . Have you gotten your wristband yet?

The post Data Is Clear: To Be Effective at Content Marketing, Have a Documented Strategy appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Source: Copy Blogger

    

How to Learn From Your Mistakes

By Jerod Morris

Everybody makes mistakes.

And everybody should make mistakes. They are unavoidable when we step outside of our comfort zones. Avoiding mistakes means avoiding growth.

But we can’t repeat our mistakes. We need to learn from them. When we do, we turn negatives into positives and move forward. When we don’t, we simply run in place.

In this episode of The Lede, Demian and I share personal stories of mistakes we’ve made — some big and some small — and how we learned from them, and we describe the thought process necessary to do so consistently.

We discuss:

  • Recovering from technical errors (notably, a rather embarrassing one Jerod made recently)
  • Walking away from security in pursuit of happiness
  • Self-compassion in the face of mistakes
  • Why it’s okay to want recognition for your hard work
  • How to mobilize into action quickly when things go wrong
  • Letting go of stubbornness in favor of learning

Listen to The Lede …

To listen, you can either hit the flash audio player below, or browse the links to find your preferred format …

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Source: Copy Blogger