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Refresher Content Writers

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a brief refresher course to boost the productivity of my company's content writers.

a brief refresher course to boost the productivity of my company's content writers.

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  • 1. OUTLINE §  Part 1: Time Management & Productivity §  Part 2: Creative & Critical Thinking §  Part 3: Best Practices
  • 2. “"Time is a created thing. To say "I don't have time" is to say "I don't want to." - Lao Tzu Time Management & Productivity
  • 3. “I have to stay late at the office all the time to meet my quota” “I try to write as fast as I can but there is too much distractions at work!” “I have so much to do, yet so little time!” “I can’t keep my attention on one thing for long enough” “There’s always something urgent preventing me from doing any meaningful work!” Time Management & Productivity
  • 4. 1-3-5 RULE §  The 1-3-5 Rule is the next step from the “To-Do” List §  Cooperate with procrastination: Admit that some tasks are much more pressing than others. §  Assume that on any given day you can accomplish one (1) big mission, (3) three medium tasks, and five (5) small things §  Focus strongly on getting your “1-3-5” done as best you can. §  As your workday concludes, make the next day's 1-3-5. Time Management & Productivity
  • 5. 1-3-5 RULE Time Management & Productivity
  • 6. URGENT/ IMPORTANT GRID •  Managing time effectively, and achieving the things that you want to achieve, means spending your time on things that are important and not just urgent. •  Important activities have an outcome that leads to the achievement of your goals, whether these are professional or personal. •  Urgent activities demand immediate attention, and are often associated with the achievement of someone else's needs or goals. •  The Urgent/Important Grid helps you identify between important and urgent things; it helps you think about your Priorities. Time Management & Productivity
  • 7. URGENT/ IMPORTANT GRID Time Management & Productivity
  • 8. POMODORO TECHNIQUE •  A simple technique that involves breaking down activities into 25-minutes “focused work” with breaks in-between. •  Improves your concentration to accomplish tasks. •  Boost motivation to achieve your goals. •  Relieves anxiety / stress related to deadlines. •  Track your activities to be able to refine your workflow and productivity. Time Management & Productivity
  • 9. POMODORO TECHNIQUE 1. Choose a task to be accomplished 2. Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer) 3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your list. 4. Take a short break (5 minutes is OK) 5. Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break Time Management & Productivity
  • 10. IF-THEN PLANNING 1. Always Have a Plan B 2. If X happens, then I will do Y. 3. IF-Then Planning enables you to seize the critical moment, even when you are busy doing other things. 4. Lessen stress and frustrations caused by unexpected or undesired outcomes. Time Management & Productivity
  • 11. RECOMMENDED READING §  1-3-5 Rule http://www.thedailymuse.com/career/a-better-to-do-list- the-1-3-5-rule/ http://1-3-5.com/ §  The Urgent/Important Grid http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_91.htm §  The Pomodoro Technique - eBook http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/book/ §  How To Use If-Then Planning to Achieve Any Goal http://99u.com/articles/7248/how-to-use-if-then-planning- to-achieve-any-goal §  What Successful People Do With The First Hour of Their Work Day http://www.fastcompany.com/3000619/what-successful- people-do-first-hour-their-work-day Time Management & Productivity
  • 12. Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 13. “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, And skillful execution; it represents the wise choice out of many alternatives - William A. Foster Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 14. “My content keeps getting returned!” “I can’t seem to nail the right topic for an article” “It’s so hard to write about the same thing day in and day out” “How do I come up with better titles / topics / articles?” Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 15. CRITICAL THINKING •  Critical thinking means taking control of your conscious thought processes. •  If you don’t take control of those processes, you risk being controlled by the ideas of others. •  The essence of critical thinking is thinking beyond the obvious. •  To engage in CRITICAL THINKING, you become fully aware of an idea or an action, reflect on it, and ultimately react to it. Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 16. 4 STEPS IN THE CRITICAL THINKING PROCESS 1.  Summarize. Extract and restate the material’s main message or central point. Use only what you see or have researched. Add nothing. 2.  Analyze. Examine the material by breaking it into its component parts. By seeing each part of the whole as a distinct unit, you discover how the parts interrelate. 3.  Synthesize. Pull together what you’ve summarized and analyzed by connecting it to your own experiences. Create something new by combining old knowledge and experiences with newly-gained insights. 4.  Evaluate. Judge the quality of the material now that you’ve become informed through the activities of SUMMARY, ANALYSIS, and SYNTHESIS. Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 17. THE READING PROCESS Reading is an active process—a dynamic, meaning-making interaction between the page and your brain. Understanding the reading process helps people become critical thinkers. Steps in the reading process: 1.  Reading for literal meaning: Read “on the lines” to see what’s stated. 2.  Reading to draw inferences: Read “between the lines” to see what’s not stated but implied. 3.  Reading to evaluate: Read “beyond the lines” to form your own opinion about the researched material. Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 18. WAYS TO IMPROVE READING COMPREHENSION 1.  Make associations. Link new material to what you already know, especially when you’re reading about an unfamiliar subject. 2.  Make it easy for you to focus .If your mind wanders, be fiercely determined to concentrate. 3.  Allot the time you need. To comprehend new material, you must allow sufficient time to read, reflect, reread, and study.. 4.  Master the vocabulary. If you don’t understand the key terms in your reading, you can’t fully understand the concepts. As you encounter new words, first try to figure out their meanings from context clues Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 19. RECOMMENDED READING §  Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing http://www.interlink.edu/claroline/uncg/claroline/backends/ download.php? url=L0NyaXRpY2FsX1RoaW5raW5nX1JlYWRpbmdfYW5kX1dya XRpbmcucGRm&cidReset=true&cidReq=RW3_005 §  Guidelines for Critical Thinking and Writing http://public.wsu.edu/~kimander/criticalthinking.htm §  Critical Thinking http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_thinking §  Perfectionism (Overcoming All-or-Nothing Thinking) http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/perfectionism.htm Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 20. TIPS ON CREATIVE WRITING Tips on Creative writing from some of the best authors of our time Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 21. Neil Gaiman (Author: Coraline, The Graveyard Book and The Sandman series) “Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.” “Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.” Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 22. Zadie Smith (Author: White Teeth) “Don’t romanticise your “vocation.” You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no “writer's lifestyle.” All that matters is what you leave on the page.” “Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.” “Don’t confuse honours with achievement.” Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 23. Andrew Motion (Knight and Post of Poet Laureate of the UK ) “Write for tomorrow, not for today.” Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 24. Joyce Carol Oates (Author: “Them”, National Book Awardee, Three-Time Pulitzer Price Nominee) “The first sentence can be written only after the last sentence has been written. FIRST DRAFTS ARE HELL. FINAL DRAFTS, PARADISE.” Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 25. P.D James (famous for the creation of Scotland Yard’s Detective Inspector Adam Dalgliesh) “Increase your word power. Words are the raw material of our craft. The greater your vocabulary the more effective your writing. We who write in English are fortunate to have the richest and most versatile language in the world. Respect it.” “Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.” Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 26. Elmore Leonard (Author: Glitz, Get Shorty, Maximum Bob, and Rum Punch) “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” Creative & Critical ThinkingCreative & Critical Thinking
  • 27. George Orwell (Author: 1984, Animal Farm, and Down and Out in Paris and London) “A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?” Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 28. George Orwell (continued) (Author: 1984, Animal Farm, and Down and Out in Paris and London) “Never use a long word where a short one will do.” “If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.” “Never use the passive where you can use the active.” “Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.” Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 29. Annie Proulx (Author: The Shipping News, Pulitzer, National Book Award) “Rewrite and edit until you achieve the most felicitous phrase/ sentence/paragraph/page/story/chapter.” Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 30. Kurt Vonnegut (Author: Cat’s Cradle, Breakfast Of Champions, and Slaughterhouse Five) “Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.” Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 31. Tracy Kidder (Pulitzer Awardee, ‘Among Schoolchildren’ and ‘The Soul of a New Machine’) “To write is to talk to strangers. You have to inspire confidence, to seem and to be trustworthy.” “The reader wants to see you not trying to impress, but trying to get somewhere.” “Try to attune yourself to the sound of your own writing. If you can't imagine yourself saying something aloud, then you probably shouldn't write it.” Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 32. Tracy Kidder (continued) (Pulitzer Awardee, ‘Among Schoolchildren’ and ‘The Soul of a New Machine’) “The best work is done when one's eye is simply on the work, not on its consequence, or on oneself. It is something done for its own sake. It is, in Lewis Hyde's term, a gift.” “Be willing to surprise yourself.” Creative & Critical Thinking
  • 33. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle Best Practices of Effective Writers
  • 34. 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE WRITERS 1. Separate the writing and the editing processes 2. Editing is a job for later 3. Focus on the interesting 4. Tap into the power of metaphor 5. Do adequate research 6. Learn from the writing of others 7. Write in small bursts 8. Read their work out loud Best Practices of Effective Writers
  • 35. THE KAIZEN PRINCIPLE kai·zen /ˈkīzən/ Noun A Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices, personal efficiency, etc. The Japanese-Kanji- word "kaizen” means "good change”. Best Practices of Effective Writers
  • 36. KAIZEN IN A NUTSHELL §  Philosophy of Continuous Improvement §  Small and Achievable Goals §  Focus on improving one skill / thing at a time §  Eliminate overly hard work ("muri") §  Spot and eliminate wastes in Productivity §  Make the most-efficient use of time and energy. Best Practices of Effective Writers
  • 37. 5S OF KAIZEN §  SEIRI - Sort, Clear Out (Declutter) §  SEITON - Set Things in Order (get organized) §  SEISO – Cleanliness (increase self- awareness) §  SIEKETSU – Standardize (maintain performance) §  SHITSUKU - Self Discipline (self motivation) Best Practices of Effective Writers
  • 38. RECOMMENDED READING §  10 Tricks for Getting Inspired to Write http://www.copyblogger.com/tricks-for-writing-inspiration/ §  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Writers http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/ The_7_habits_of_highly_effective_writers__12614.aspx §  Develop Effective Writing Habits http://writingcommons.org/process/develop-effective-writing- habits §  Kaizen: A Japanese Way to Approach Best Practices http://www.makemillionsmakechange.com/the-book/best- practices-as-weapons/kaizen-a-japanese-way-to-approach-best- practices/ Best Practices of Effective Writers

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