Published by lynda.com | Monday, January 13th, 2014
Time is money. As companies make more demands for efficiency and productivity, employees need to respond by working smarter. Here are some time-saving tips from expert lynda.com instructors for maximizing the hours in your day.
1. Say no.
Minimize interruptions from your colleagues by saying “no” to right-this-minute requests—and deferring the “yes” to a later time.
For this week’s Featured Five post, I’ve chosen five free movies from our library that emphasize efficient, organized, collaborative communication. Sometimes this means formatting your work so that people can find and use it easily, sometimes it means presenting your data in a visually organized way so that people can immediately comprehend it, and other times it means effectively using the features of your software application that are designed to help you track important collaborative notes. At the heart of it, it’s always about communicating in an organized way to make your work more efficient and your projects more successful.
1. Communicating effectively and efficiently with colleagues
Good organized communication is critical for collaboration. In this movie from chapter four of Effective Meetings, Dave Crenshaw discusses the importance of the one-to-one meeting, and why establishing one-to-one meetings can not only increase effectiveness, but efficiency as well:
2. Choosing your favorite images to share from a photo shoot
Lightroom is a great program for developing your digital photographs, but it also has a lot of pure organizational power that you can use to find just the right image you (or someone else) are looking for. In this movie from his new course Photoshop Lightroom 4 Essentials: Organizing and Sharing with the Library Module, Chris Orwig shows you how to use Lightroom’s built-in ability to quickly tag photos with picks, rejects, star-ratings, and colored flag labels. Then, once you have using notations and labels down, you can use your tags to quickly find the photos you want to share:
3. Sharing complicated information visually
Sometimes complicated information is best initially understood and communicated with graphics. In this movie from chapter one of Infographics: Visualizing Relationships, Shane Snow walks you through the infographic creative process and demonstrates setup on an infographic example that contains 24 entities, or ‘characters’ as he calls them:
4. Documenting your audio post-production session in Pro Tools
Creating a film or video with a lot of moving parts takes clear, documented communication. In this movie from chapter three of Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools, Scott Hirsch takes you though the preparation and documentation process that makes a meeting between the film’s director, producer, music composer, and other creative forces effective. This meeting is called a spotting session, because its purpose is to spot exact points in the video where sound ideas can develop:
5. Making your web site accessible to improve human and computer communication
One main reason to have a web site is to communicate efficiently with others—and with web technology, that means being able to communicate across a multitude of platforms and interfaces in a language that is clear and easy for humans to understand. In this movie from chapter one of Improving SEO Using Accessibility Techniques, Morton Rand-Hendrickson demonstrates the communication benefits of implementing strong web site accessibility practices that will improve your SEO, and your human-to-human communication:
What other things have you learned on lynda.com about getting files, people, or entire groups organized? Are there any areas you’d like to see us explore in more depth?
Are you feeling inspired to explore more content? Remember, 10 percent of all lynda.com content is free to try. Just click on any of the blue links on any course table of contents page in our library.
See you back next week with five more free selections!
We just launched Insights from a Business Coach and are eager to hear how you like its interview format. In the course, veteran business coach and author Dave Crenshaw answers common questions about starting and growing a business, including the basics of entrepreneurship, ways to foster great customer relationships, social media marketing tips, pitching to investors, and planning ahead.
Which tips did you find most helpful? What kinds of questions would you ask a business coach? We look forward to your comments and feedback!
What would you do if you knew you’d be a success? Perhaps ask for a promotion? Brush up on your Photoshop skills? Start a business? Find balance between life and work?
In Achieving Your Goals, one of our March 2012 Business-segment releases, author Dave Crenshaw offers smart ways to envision and develop a quantifiable goal, turn your goal into actions, and share your commitment publicly to establish accountability. One tool Dave offers is a process called dividing to conquer, which focuses on tackling a big problem one small step at a time. Using the dividing to conquer technique, most projects can be broken down into two planning phases:
1. Set a vision for yourself and then determine how you’ll measure its success. For example, if my goal is to become an advanced Excel user, I may measure my success in minutes, knowing I’ve realized my vision when I’m able to cut report interpretation time from 20 to 10 minutes.
2. Break that measure of success into six-, three-, and one-month goals. For example, in six months, I’ll aim to be halfway there—having cut my Excel processing time from 20 to 15 minutes. Breaking it down further, at the one month mark, I’ll aim to have completed Excel 2010 Power Shortcuts, and in three months, I’ll aim to have completed several advanced Excel courses.
What are you going to achieve this year? Please let us know in the comments section.
I’m particularly excited to help you take the next step in your journey to becoming invaluable to your industry in 2012. Once you’ve determined your passion, skills, and most valuable activities, the logical next step is to apply this knowledge to develop your business savvy.
Since the release of our first course, Invaluable: Unlocking Your Abilities, I’ve been inspired by the feedback we’ve received. It makes my day when I hear about ways that we’ve helped you succeed!
Our lynda.com courses are a massive team effort and we’re constantly refining the message in order to deliver what we believe is the best possible learning experience.
In order to make our courses the best they can be, and to serve you better as individuals, I’d like to hear from you. I’d appreciate anything you have to offer. To give you some ideas, here are some questions I’d love to get your thoughts on as you go about unlocking your abilities and developing your savvy:
What are the biggest challenges in your career right now?
What do you love about your current job? What do you hate about it?
What motivates you at work every day?
How entrepreneurial are you? Are you considering breaking out on your own?
What keeps you awake at night about your work?
What would you like to change about your professional future?
I’ll be monitoring this blog post and replying directly to your comments, so please, be as specific as you’re willing to be. I look forward to hearing from you!
Have you ever wished you knew the keys to excelling at your job, understanding your market, or connecting meaningfully with your customers? In our second course in the Invaluable series, Invaluable: Developing Your Business Savvy, Dave Crenshaw teaches you how to become a student of your company, your market, and your customers.
Business savvy is surely something we all intend to develop as we go about our daily jobs. But in the bustle of heavy workloads and demanding responsibilities, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the things that define long term excellence, customer connections, and a clear picture of the market.
For example, how would you answer the following questions?
What does my company want from me?
Where is my company headed, and how do I fit with its direction?
What’s happening in my field, and how does that affect me?
What’s my competition up to?
Who is my customer, and how can I serve that customer?
When I took some time to ponder these questions, I was pleasantly surprised by the volume of insights I gleaned in a short amount of time. Whether you’re beginning a new career or hoping to grow in your current role, you’ll find that Invaluable: Developing Your Business Savvy is full of practical tips to help you explore questions like these.
The quest to become an invaluable professional is one that’s full of self-discovery, tough questions, and big rewards. Please let us know how you’re enjoying your journey in the comments section.
Taymar Pixley, lynda.com live action director, shares her team's experiences after working on our new time management course.
Time management is something that I have always struggled with personally, so I was a little nervous about directing the course Time Management Fundamentals, which released to the lynda.com Online Training Library® this week. I imagined that the author, productivity expert Dave Crenshaw, would be a highly organized, type-A personality who might look down on my less-organized self.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that Dave is a very down-to-earth, approachable person. He has had his own struggles with staying organized, and these led to his success in creating such an effective system and teaching it to others who struggle with the same problems.
What a relief it was for me to realize that Dave wasn’t a naturally organized perfectionist teaching principles that would never work for someone like me. Because Dave is a renowned author, presenter, and consultant on the topic, I took every opportunity to glean as much information as I could from him while we worked together to create this course. And since I figured everyone on the crew would probably also benefit from Dave’s expertise, I asked Dave to assign us a bit of homework each day of the two-week shoot based on the movies we had shot that day. We learned a lot, and I asked the crew to share some of their favorite tips they picked up while working on this course.
The team’s tips
Loren Hillebrand, production lead
“Organizing always seemed overwhelming to me because I wouldn’t know where to start. While working on this I was able to see what steps I could take, and it feels doable now. My wife and I are planning on watching this together to tackle some of our clutter.”
Josh Figatner, production lead
“What I learned from working on this course helped me to organize my email inbox, which was no small feat. I had over 4,000 unsorted emails. Now my inbox is one of my main gathering points. When things come in I’m able to get to them quickly, instead of it just functioning as a big generic bin for all of my messages, it’s all sorted. Stuff comes in and I’m able to see it and take care of it in a timely fashion.”
Jeff Layton, training producer
“One action item I took while working on this course was to consolidate my voicemail accounts. As a producer, I often returned to my desk after a stretch of days in the recording booth and found that I had new messages awaiting my response. After working on this course, I programmed my desk phone to automatically forward all calls to my cell phone. Not only do I not miss any calls, but I now have only one voicemail account to check.”
Kirk Werner, senior training producer
“After working with Dave and the rest of the team during our course prep, I set up a consolidated email inbox where my desk phone calls are forwarded as an audio file to my work email. I also built more than a dozen email rules where non-essential emails are shuffled to a folder to be dealt with during my daily email processing. Now I can focus on the important messages and deal with them appropriately.”
My favorite tip from Dave is something that is not in the course, but that he mentioned to me in conversation. Since Dave works at home, he schedules a half an hour at the end of his work day to play video games. This allows him to switch gears so that he can be really present for his wife and children. I think that this is a great tip for anyone who works at home or who has trouble turning their brain off after a long work day.
Swtiching gears and making time
Working on this course was really life-changing for me. The weekend after we finished I bought supplies and set out to apply some of the principles that I learned. I have a seven year old whose room was out of control. Together we gathered everything that was out of place, and created a home for it just as I had learned from the course. It was an amazing transformation, and since then my son has been able to keep his room organized because everything has a place. (Content manager Bonnie Bills recently blogged about how she too was able to apply the techniques in the course to her home life as well as her work life.)
Now that the course has been released I am excited to watch it again, and apply more of these techniques to my life. I hope you will take the time to watch it. I can’t think of anything better that you could do for yourself than to give the gift of more time.