HOW TO BE ORGANIZED EVERY WEEK — MY MONDAY RULE

how to be organized every week

If you don’t read my main blog (no pressure) you are missing out on my most popular column called GSD — Get Shit Done. I either interview a blogger, entrepreneur, or just someone awesome about how they get shit done, or I’ll write about my GSD tips and tricks (and of course, there’s an ebook on the way!).

This particular trick I’m sharing with you today has been hugely successful for me, so I wanted to share it here on The Well and spread the love. It has really changed how my weeks start and helped me to be super organized and productive every week.

A very wise women once told me — Mandy of Waiting on Martha — that she keeps Mondays completely clear.

No meetings, no lunch dates with friends, no appointments.

Mandy uses Mondays to get a ton of work done so she can set herself up for success each week. As soon as she told me this, I adopted it immediately. I protect my Mondays as much as I can. Sometimes there is a call or meeting that is important enough for me to break my Monday rule, but it’s rare. I love the feeling on Sunday night not worrying that I forgot about something for Monday, because there isn’t anything scheduled except things I need & want to work on — whether that’s blog posts for the week, writing and editing ebooks or blog posts for The B Bar, strategic thinking, creative work, or painting. I use Monday to take a fresh look at the things I need to focus on that week, figure out how I’m going to get them done, and get down to work.

One of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur is organizing your time. You learn over time what works best for you, but it’s a continual evolution. I’m constantly analyzing how I spend my time and how long things take me to accomplish and if the things that take me so much time are worth doing, or could have have someone else do them (the answer is often, yes).

Do you have one thing that really works for you when organizing yourself or helps you be productive?

 

meg sig

Photo by Abby Jiu for MegBiram.com, mug from Shop by Monika

COCKTAIL HOUR // Links from around the web

happy hour

How to Crack the Facebook Algorithm and Grow Your Business // Inc.

Inside Rent the Runway’s Secret Dry Cleaning Empire // Fast Company

Do I Need a Blog? // Breanna Rose

I Came Undone: One Woman’s Horrifyingly Real Experience With Burnout // Elle

10 Great Fonts on Sale // Zoe Rooney

In Praise of Zoning Out // Science of Us

 Lightroom Workflow for Landscape Photos // Blogging Behind the Scenes

Malcolm Gladwell on Why You Need Adversity to Succeed // Inc.

Image: Victoria McGinley

victoria sig

A THANK YOU + PLEASE SHARE THE B BAR!

a blog about blogging

Victoria and I have been creating content here on The B Bar’s blog The Well since August 2013. So far we’ve published 152 posts! We’ve written & edited 19 ebooks (one for free!) and have more free content, more ebooks, and a new type of content on the way. We’ve done 3 twitter chats — and have enjoyed every tweet, every comment, and every email from all of you.

Thank you so much for being such involved readers, we truly appreciate it and hope that you’ve found useful content while here with us.

In the theme of giving back and Thanksgiving this month, we wanted to ask you a little favor … will you share The B Bar & The Well with someone you know that would benefit from it? If you want to help us get the word out, please do so however you please — email, twitter, Facebook, blogging, pinning our posts to Pinterest — doesn’t matter! We just want anyone who could benefit from all of the content here to know about it.

You may have read in my post the other day on getting creative about giving back and how Diane von Furstenberg once said that every morning she sends one email that doesn’t benefit her at all. Maybe today you send an email like that to someone who could benefit from the content here on The B Bar and The Well.

Thanks again for all of your support, comments, tweets, and emails. We can’t wait to share all of the new things we’ve got in the works with you!

 

both-sig

GIVE BACK: Sharing Your Knowledge

share your knowledge

Point A: We’ve all been there — probably even multiple times! — wondering how exactly we’re supposed to get all the way over to Point B. While hard work, ingenuity, and resourcefulness are necessary to get us on a path to success (however you define it), learning from other people along the way is equally as important. But what if you’re in the opposite seat as the person who needs your help? How do you choose who and how to mentor, and how much of yourself do you decide to give?

I’ll admit, I think this is a topic that everyone feels differently about. In the blogging community especially, it’s common for people to email one another to “pick their brain” or to ask someone out for coffee to “hear more about how they got to where they are now.” I know of many bloggers who are extraordinarily generous with their time and will regularly meet with people who make these types of requests. Others prefer to make the exchange of knowledge transactional, through an official (paid) consult. There’s no right or wrong, but it’s an important boundary that everyone considers at some point, once they’ve been in their industry for a certain amount of time and have gained valuable skills and know-how along the way.

Me personally? I like to strike a balance. Sometimes I get asked for advice/resources via an email that’s a little abrupt and entirely too vague, so in all honesty, when I’m pressed for time, those are the ones that often get a quick (and not too in-depth) response back. But sometimes, you get a really great email, where someone shares their story and it really resonates with you. Those are the emails I like to spend more time on, or the coffee dates I usually agree to.

Here are a few more ways that I share my knowledge while also managing my time as best as I can:

1. Write about it

If I get a lot of questions about one specific thing, I’ll either add that question to my FAQ page, or write a post about it. Writing posts here on The Well and on my own blog about blogging and business have been a way for me to share knowledge with a lot of people at once, while also creating content for myself. And, once you have a post or FAQ page, you can send out links to those pages if you receive an email asking you about the question you’ve already answered. Hello, time saver.

2. Build a side project (if you have time!)

I’ve also tried to spearhead passion projects that will share knowledge with my peers too. For example, a couple years ago, I conducted a huge survey on how much people were charging for sponsorships, gathered up all the data, and sent it back to all the bloggers who participated. I was interested in the business side of what the industry was doing on a personal level, but gathering this data and sharing it with everyone was a way to give back to my colleagues, too. Having this knowledge also allowed me to better advise people who asked me for my opinion about “what bloggers were charging” for X, Y or Z. These types of passion projects not only allow you to give back, but they can enhance your knowledge too.

3. Don’t hoard contacts

Ok, so I’ll admit, this is a tip that everyone feels differently about, and even I would ignore it in certain situations. But on the whole, I don’t think it’s a good idea to hoard contacts. If someone emails me asking me if I know anyone at Brand X and I do, in general, I’ll happily send them the info. I don’t personally think there’s any downside risk in helping out my colleagues, because I like to subscribe to the idea that there’s enough room for all of us to succeed. That being said, the times when I won’t supply a contact is if someone I’ve never even spoken to emails me and asks me for a valued contact (ask a girl out for drinks first, sheesh!), or if I feel like someone is using me for information. That last one is a rarity, but you know it when it’s happening, and no one likes to be taken advantage of. In that case, feel free to protect those contacts like you’re Fort Knox.

4. Have canned responses ready

Does that sound impersonal? It’s not. You may find that you get asked similar questions over and over again, and they’re not the kind of thing you want to devote a blog post to. This is where setting up canned responses (if you’re a Gmail user) can come in handy. I have a few set up, and they not only are helpful for people, they save me a lot of time! For example, I often get asked about where people can learn Photoshop on their own, and how I taught myself design skills in this program. Instead of spending time writing out an email, I have a list of great online resources ready to go. I don’t have to search for them each time someone asks, and I can provide a little bit of background about how I learned within the canned response too. There’s no harm in having a canned response if the knowledge you’re sharing in it is truly valuable! Even if you don’t use Gmail, you can create drafts of canned responses, and then copy and paste them into email replies as needed. (Psst, Meg wrote a great tutorial on how to set up canned responses over here).

Okay, your turn. How do you go about sharing your knowledge? What are the types of things you get asked about the most? Are there any boundaries for you, or reasons you won’t share knowledge? What are your time saving tips to share your knowledge and help others efficiently?

Image: Death to the Stock Photo

victoria sig

GIVE BACK: Get Creative About Giving Back

get creative about giving back

I always think it is very noble of a person to put giving back in main mission of their business — like Warby Parker or TOMS. I love that this giving back model is a trend with businesses nowadays. It makes it easy for us (consumers) to give back without having to take any extra steps.

Yes, you can of course donate to causes, or volunteer at soup kitchens, or be a Big Brother or Big Sister — there are so many ways to give back. One of my good friends helps with the Make A Wish Foundation and she receives so much joy out of the volunteer work she does for them. There is nothing wrong with these ways of giving back.

If none of that appeals to you, you should get creative about giving back. Think about the things you are passionate about, and see if you can find ways to give back using your talent and skills. It doesn’t have to be complicated, maybe you take on being a mentor to someone, or you give away a free consult each month or something like that.

For me, the best way to give back is to give my time and knowledge, help companies and brands I believe in grow, and connect people that would benefit from being connected.

Diane von Furstenberg once said that every morning she sends one email that doesn’t benefit her at all. Anything from introducing people to each other to simply giving a compliment. Such a simple and easy way to give back.

A few years ago I hosted a holiday party with Intermix in Georgetown, and we partnered with Suited for Change. So even though it was a holiday party at a retail store, shoppers, attendees and employees were encouraged to bring something to donate to Suited for Change to the event with them. I plan to partner with them for future events I’m involved in. I have a passion for women in business, so donating to a cause that enables low-income women to increase their employment and job retention potential and contributes to their economic independence is the perfect type of organization for me to be involved with.

A lot of the posts I write here on The B Bar and on my own blog I give out a lot of advice for free. Yes, it’s content, but instead of making it an ebook for purchase, I also write posts that are free for everyone to see and read and learn from. Also, like DVF, I’m a connector (although on a much smaller scale). I’m happy to introduce and connect people (in an appropriate way) if I think they could benefit from being connected.

So if you can’t afford to give back in a monetary way — think about all the ways you can use your skills, talents, passions, and knowledge to give back to your community. Whether that’s your blog following, your social following, or in your local community.

Another really easy way to give back is to help small businesses and brands grow through amplifying them on your platforms. Give them shout outs on Twitter or do a blog post about them. Helping others reach success can be very rewarding.

Still need ideas? Here’s a few more for ya:

13 Fun & Easy Ways to Give Back to your Community 

Creative Ideas for Giving Back

Be Inspired to Do Good

7 Creative Ways to Give Back

 

These are just a few examples of how companies and creative give back. Tell us, how do you give back?

Image via Death To The Stock Photo

meg sig