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Productivity Hacks for Technical Communicators


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STC Summit 2017: Feeling overwhelmed? Stuck? Less productive than you want to be? Join us in discovering five productivity hacks that you can implement today that will help you be more productive! Today's technology allows us to get more done faster, but this increased efficiency often comes at the price of time to think deeply about what we are doing. Being busy and efficient does not necessarily mean that we are being productive. According to Michael Hyatt and others, true productivity is doing the right things well. Productivity is what sets apart the stellar performers from the merely good ones. Being able to manage your time and knowing how to filter out the busy work from the truly important sets you apart from your peers.

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Productivity Hacks for Technical Communicators

  1. 1. Productivity Hacks for Technical Communicators Katherine (Kit) Brown-Hoekstra
  2. 2. @kitcomgenesis About Me • Fellow, past president, CPTC trainer • Consultant, author, trainer • Mentor • Sometimes procrastinator • Night owl (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 2
  3. 3. @kitcomgenesis About You • What’s your best time of day? • What would you like to work on that would help you be more productive? • When you hear about super successful and productive people, what resonates with you about their life? • What are you doing when you are feeling most productive? (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 3
  4. 4. (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 4 The Cult of Busy
  5. 5. (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 5 Puritan Work Ethic
  6. 6. (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 6 Monkey Mind
  7. 7. @kitcomgenesis Definitions Busyness • Lots of activity, not being idle • Characterized by or sustaining much activity • Having a great deal to do • Unable to think about anything beyond the to-do list • Occupied, industrious, active, working hard Productivity • The quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services • Rate at which goods are produced or work is completed • Focus on the right thing at the right time to produce the right results • Efficiency, yield, effectiveness, working smart (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 7
  8. 8. (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 8
  9. 9. (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 9
  10. 10. (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 10 Savor Success
  11. 11. @kitcomgenesis Exercise 1. Gather into groups. 2. Pick a topic: 3. Discuss what works for you in the selected area. (1-2 min/pp) • What works for you? Why? • How do you keep yourself on track? • What’s one thing you want to learn how to do better? 4. Select spokesperson and report back to group. (2 min/group) (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 11 • Time management • Strategic planning • Morning rituals • Evening rituals • Tools • Efficiency • Communication • Other idea?
  12. 12. @kitcomgenesis Hacks Crowd-Sourced from the Exercise Strategic Planning: • Take time quarterly for stepping back and looking at the big picture • Make sure your goals are SMART: • Specific • Measurable • Actionable • Realistic • Time based • Set goals, then break down into smallest task that will move you forward. Keep doing this until you get to the goal. • Identify and celebrate milestones • Checklists, deadlines, etc. help you make sure you are staying on track • Make sure your goals resonate with your authentic self (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 12
  13. 13. @kitcomgenesis Hacks Crowd-Sourced from the Exercise Morning Rituals: • Prep the night before (lay out your clothes, ID most important priorities) • Start at the same time • Meditate • Exercise • Review your priorities • Limit your to-do list (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 13
  14. 14. @kitcomgenesis Hacks Crowd-Sourced from the Exercise Time Management: • Turn off the distractions • Set a timer • To-do lists: • Know which fires you should put out and which ones you can let burn • Pick the top 3 things that you must accomplish • Pick one easy thing that you can get done • Make sure items on your list actually help you reach your goals • Make buffer times between meetings • Schedule a 10-15 min break every 50 minutes • Work in sprints • Create office hours (schedule the chats with coworkers during those times) • Identify and schedule around your productive times (don’t fight biology; use your circadian rhythm to support your work habits) • Take a break from digital world and just breathe • Make a game of it (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 14
  15. 15. @kitcomgenesis Hacks Crowd-Sourced from the Exercise Communication: • Say “No” to things that don’t help you get to your goals (or “Yes and…” for things you want to do but need to do later) • Post your goals where you can see them • Use your auto-response • Identify your time zone and availability in your email tag line • Let it ring to voice mail and then schedule times to respond • Join Toastmasters or take an improve class to build your confidence • Be proactive in communicating with your team (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 15
  16. 16. @kitcomgenesis Hacks Crowd-Sourced from the Exercise Self-care: • Schedule your “me” time and your thinking time (and don’t over- ride it with someone else’s priorities) • Meditate • Exercise • Get outside • Find a hobby • Share a laugh with friends • Make the time to explore and discover what gives you joy and makes you passionate (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 16
  17. 17. @kitcomgenesis Hacks Crowd-Sourced from the Exercise Tools: • Bullet Journals • Notebook (pen and paper) • OneNote or Evernote • Jeera • Apps for time management • OKRs: objectives and key results (see Radical Focus) • Focus planner (Michael Hyatt’s new thing) • Buddhify (meditation app) • Mind movies • Books on self-discovery • Pomodoro apps (here’s a list: (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 17
  18. 18. Productivity Tools (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 18
  19. 19. (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 19 OKRs
  20. 20. (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 20 Focus Planner
  21. 21. (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 21 Productivity Planner
  22. 22. @kitcomgenesis Lots of Approaches: Picking What Works for You • Know your strengths • Know your circadian rhythms • Look at the conditions that exist when you are in Flow • Get clear about your dreams and goals • Play with different tools and techniques until you find what resonates • It takes time to build a habit • Look at it as practice and don’t expect to be perfect at it • Each day starts the clock over w/ opportunities to work more productively • Know that down/play/recharge time is critical to long-term productivity (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 22
  23. 23. (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 23
  24. 24. @kitcomgenesis Resources • Allen, David. Getting Things Done. • Bennett, Sam. Get it Done. • Dickinson, Elizabeth E. “The Cult of Busy”, Johns Hopkins Health Review blog, • Duhigg, Charles. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. • Gandia, Ed. (He has a couple of master mind groups focused on starting and growing your business) • Hensel, Anna. “Eight Entrepreneurs, 24 Hours: A Day in the Life”, Fast Company, April 2017 • Popova, Maria. “Hermann Hesse on Little Joyes, Breaking the Trance of Busyness, and the Most Important Habit for Living with Presence”, Brainpickings blog, • Sinek, Simon. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action • Slim, Pam. Body of Work. • Sossenheimer, Anna. “The Competition of Misery”, Odyssey Online blog, • Vozza, Stephanie. “15 Habits that will Totally Transform Your Productivity”, FastCompany • Wodtke, Christina. Radical Focus. (c) 2017, Comgenesis, LLC 24