4 Organization Tips

Org picStaying organized is what everyone wants to do, right? Hopefully some of my tips for staying organized will help you out:

1. Write It Out 

There are some people who will argue that if you keep everything in your phone you don’t need to write it down in a planner. So why write it down?  Here’s why: Writing things down helps you remember them AND get them done. A study at Dominican University found that people who wrote down their goals, shared them with friends, and maintained accountability for them were 33% more likely to actually achieve those goals! The act of writing stimulates the reticular activating system (RAS) which forces you to focus on the task at hand, making you more alert. Also in more layman terms, using your hand to form letters involves more brain function so you’re more alert to what you actually writing.  I keep most weekly work meetings in my phone calendar so each morning I am reminded of them when I wake up. And I admit I love the reminder feature on the iPhone that will tell me that I need to pay my electric bill by next week. However, I only really use electronic calendar on more of a day to day basis. It was really helpful in college, for knowing which classes I had that day. I also have a written planner where I use all sorts of colorful pens to remind me of what I have going on each day of the week. I use the written planner more for a weekly overview and to remember important days, such as a friend’s birthday. In terms of goals I tend to write in the color green small tasks I want to get done after work that are usually part of a larger personal project I am working on, like for instance, spending 30 minutes practicing a programming language.

I also got in the habit this last month of writing down all my work tasks for the day in a notebook when I get in each morning. This helps me check off each thing I need to get done during the day, and also keep a log of exactly what I do which is helpful when I compile monthly reports. I’ve even started writing down lines of code to help me remember certain programming things. Of course, I would never write out more than a line or two, but its a nice reference to have and it helps me visualize everything a little bit better.

2. Communication 

So you’re probably thinking what does communication have to do with organization besides sharing a common suffix? Communication helps you stay organized because you do things more efficiently when you consult others  about what you working on. A lot of the time coworkers may have encountered something you are working on at that time in one of their projects, because as “coworkers” they work on a lot of the same things as you. If they can offer a resource that will help you move along faster it could be worth bringing up. Also you may work in a team on a project and its so important to keep the lines of communication open so you can split up your time evenly. Most know about Google Docs already, but if not, I highly suggest it for collaborating on projects. If you’re working at an event where your team will be split up, try the app, GroupMe. It’s not as annoying as mass group messages, it’s free, most smartphones get it and you can manage multiple groups.

3. Clean Daily 

This seems pretty basic, but there’s a rationale explantation about why this is so important. Whenever you try to procrastinate one of the things some people do is clean up to waste time, if it’s already clean though you can just focus on your work! Try to keep the main areas you live in, which for me is my bedroom as clean as possible. If your bed is always made you’ll be less inclined to hop in and doze off for a nap.   If you clean daily you spend less time distracted, and don’t have to spend a whole day cleaning at a later date. It’s a real treat to wake up each morning to a clean slate, doing so will help you make time for what really matters. Also if you don’t get around to cleaning for a long time you’ll just end up feeling burdened until you do, so save yourself the stress.

4. The Extra Shirt 

I’m not necessarily talking about backing up your computer, but that’s good too! Part of being organized is being prepared. I had a professor once pass along this tip: always keep a spare business appropriate shirt in the back of your car. He was a big coffee drinker, as I am as well, so after a few instances of spilling on himself and being trapped in meetings all day he starting bringing along an extra shirt. Obviously there is a lot you can’t prepare for, that’s what makes life fun. However like my professor, who would occasionally spill coffee on himself, it’s worth eliminating the risk. So figure out what your vice is and prepare for it so next time it won’t be such an issue.

The most important thing is, not everything works for everyone, so find what works for you. Some studies suggest warmer temperatures increase productivity, and even pictures of baby animals. Find what works for you to stay productive and organized.

Why Google + Matters

My Google + Profile Let me start off by saying I know most people, especially young people are not on Google +, and I get that. However, I feel people overlook the importance and potential of this social platform. It took a really long time for me to understand the benefit of Google +, besides the fact that it felt less saturated that other social networks with cluttered advertising and posts from friends I found irrelevant. The Google + network has 396 active monthly users , which is significant but far from the 1.1 billion plus active monthly users on Facebook.

Understanding Google + 

I often explain Google + as a hybrid between Facebook and Twitter. Google +’s layout mirrors Facebook, though it is considerably less cluttered. The Circles feature which allow you to group friends, coworkers, and family separately reminds me of TweetDeck, a free tool to monitor twitter  activity. Obviously the ease of searching on Google + resembles the Google search engine.

As a social media user ,with many accounts, what’s the benefit of using yet another network that is arguably a hybrid of two of the major ones I already use?

An answer, in short: Google Authorship. It’s the one feature of Google + I think it is slowly going to become very important. It allows you to claim authorship over your content scattered around the web. The more content that is traced back to your common name will help you build authority on the web. You are able to also link your blog posts to your Google + account so that each time someone comments on your blog post the comment will appear on Google +. Google + will then also notify you whenever your content is shared or commented on anywhere the web.Google + is optimizing content marketing. It’s giving people more control over what they create AND share.

Why Google + Will Appeal to Younger Users 

I predict that heightened level of control will appeal to younger generations. There is already some evidence of this, though indirect, in a recent story published by Mashable, written by 13 year-old Ruby Karp titled, “I’m 13 and None of My Friends Use Facebook.” In the article, which created a great deal of discussion at the time of its publication, Ms. Karp cites the fact that family members constantly monitor activity on Facebook to the point younger users, such as herself, are being held accountable for posts on the social network as one deterrent from using the network. Additionally, those same family members and other adults are limiting the access to social networks such as Facebook so much so that younger generations are adapting different networks instead. Design also plays a part, Ms. Karp mentions the fact that Facebook lacks the simplicity of networks like Twitter.  Google + has the simplicity of Twitter and allows users to control which “circle” content is shared with, addressing the issues of concern with family members seeing everything on Google +.

So, will Google + be the social network of the future?  Google + will reinvent social networks, in the same way LinkedIn has, at least in my opinion. LinkedIn has created a professional social network. Google + I see more in line with LinkedIn, it will be one of those things most will need to have to establish authority on the web. So no, Google + is not the new Facebook. Facebook is Facebook, it’s informal and candid. Google + aspires to be much more than that. It’s aspires to be the hub of all our activity on the web.

Breaking Bad: A Marketing Analysis

Breaking Bad is nothing short of a cultural phenomenon at present. A television show that has captivated the nation, as friends, family and coworkers band together to try and figure out what Walter White will do next.

Working in marketing, I suppose I always have an interest in anything that captivates mass audiences, I mean isn’t that what I’m supposed to do anyway?  I may get mocked for my love of “mainstream” music, but I’ll be honest I admire an artist’s ability to go mainstream. It’s not easy pleasing everyone, and still managing to create something new. It’s really something that a single show of complete fiction can evoke such vivid emotions in people, so much that we wonder if Walter White lived on our very street, ran our local car wash, or taught us chemistry at some point in time?

Breaking Bad captivates audiences because it is incredibly real. The show depicts  OUR lives each Sunday night on the screen before us with a sick twist. And as one becomes more involved in the show, tormented as the characters time and time again struggle to survive, we vicariously ‘break bad’ though them. If a 50 year-old chemistry teacher can become a legendary drug manufacturer in less than a year, what’s stopping us from pushing the boundary in our own lives.

Walter White manages to be real enough for us to relate to, yet risky enough for us to seldom attempt to replicate. The show as a whole is also unsettling in many respects, think about the fact that one of  your local fast food restaurants could be a meth enterprise?

But in all honesty, don’t most of us hope that a real Walter White does exist? We all love seeing a regular guy succeed, of course only when he is motivated by  extradordinary circumstances. What fascinates me is why we don’t perceive Walter White as the criminal he truly is at the end of the day. One might argue it’s because we know him,  we have an emotional connection. That’s a great point.

Hank though, despite his two decade long-relationship with Walt feels no sympathy in trying to bring Walt to justice. So why do we knowing Walt for considerably less time feel more for him than his own brother-in-law?  Especially considering all the crime shows the average American watches, wouldn’t it make more sense for us to identify with Hank as a detective?

I theorize it’s because the average American viewer respects Walt’s sheer genius. Sure his ability to cook is one thing, but his ability to build his drug empire fascinating to watch. I’m also willing to bet a lot of people like Gus Fring, probably because he was a briliant businessman and criminal. Gus and Walt share the same good intention. Walt wants to provide for his family, and Gus wants to bring his friend’s killers to justice (which according to him is murder). Does the end justify the means? In the minds of Americans, at least for Walt, it does. And as he breaks all the rules to do so, as viewers we become more and more impressed with him.

In Walt’s case the means overpower the endgame. I can conclude thus far that the reason this series is so successful is the fact that the audience is able to like someone so bad, so taboo. The show draws viewers in with a relatively good man as he develops though the viewer sees the logical progression. So even as bad as Walter becomes because the audience understands why he did what he did, they are able to root for him. He is a man who uncovers his hidden potential he’s had all this time. He’s a man with a dream that was crushed by a failed business endeavor previously and he found a way to gain fame and fortune decades later. Breaking Bad is the American Dream, Americans love the American Dream.

The real question now is will this American Dream  become a nightmare?

Six Ways to Get That Job After College

1. “First things first, be first.” The response rate for jobs I applied for the minute they were posted has been exponentially higher than jobs I applied for after they had been up on job boards for a while. This is especially important if the company is looking to fill the position quickly. Not to put you down, but even if you are not the most qualified, the sheer fact you applied early could be key in getting you the job. First thing in the morning check job boards, also keep an eye on them throughout the day, the payoff will be worth it!

2. “Breakdown your previous experience be it work or philanthropy chair in your house, with bullet points.” Do you remember those two months you spent slaving over your sorority’s pancake breakfast philanthropy for XYZ charity? Now is your chance to let that hard work work for you. List out what you did, without being too specific, to give your prospective employer some idea of what you are capable of managing. Otherwise they are going to look over philanthropy chair immediately as just another activity, make it sound interesting so they’ll want to interview you so they can ask. One of my favorite interviews was one where they asked me “are you able to deal with difficult people?” I smiled, tried to not laugh, and proceeded to explain how I spent every Sunday night for the last two years attending officer meetings where all 36 of us sorority girls had to agree on some course of action for the chapter. One guy replied “you got 36 college girls to all reach a consensus on something, damn that is pretty impressive. We only work in teams of 5 or more here.”

3. “Don’t up your privacy settings, loosen them on social networks.” This seems like an odd tip, and that being said it’s not for everyone. Nowadays employers actually like to see that you are involved on social networks (especially key if you are applying to a job in marketing or advertising). While over a phone or in-person interview they only get to know you for a few minutes your online presence lets them see your personality. Maybe you have too many embarrassing Facebook photos, so no harm in keeping those private. Perhaps keep your tweet open and retweet articles about the industry you want to work in, keep a few Facebook photos public that show your involvement in that pancake breakfast you slaved over all in the name of charity. Trust me, it’s an easy way to let your employer know you are quality candidate.

4. “Quantity does matter” No, I’m not talking about the amount of work experience here; I’m talking about using numbers on your resume. One really easy way to give you an edge when you apply for a job is the ability to quantify what you have done. Your prospective employer may not know what a philanthropy or social chair does, even worse they may hate Greek life all together. However, everyone understands numbers, they are universal and therefore they are golden. If you sold 1000 Macbooks at the Apple store when you worked there over the summer, put it in a bullet point under your job on your resume. If you increased the traffic to a company’s Facebook page by 45% put it down! Obviously, there are some numbers you can’t get but in those cases use your best guess. Or another way is to ask your previous employer, they may be happy to help find the data you’re looking for anyway! Often employers have to report to someone with what you have done and therefore are constantly measuring your progress, so more often than not they have those numbers.

5.. “Mentor, mentor, mentor” Cinderella had a fairy godmother, you had a big sis in your sorority, it only makes sense you’d need a professional life mentor as well. You may very well find this person through Greek Life, a great deal of my sisters certainly have, but that’s not the only place you can look. My mentor is a former boss of mine from a well-known company. I chose her not only because she had been my supervisor for over two years and was a fantastic reference but also because she knew a lot about the industry. She had worked in technology for over 18 years. Beyond just advising you on jobs these mentors can sometimes provide a foot-in-the door to a job you want. Keep in touch with them, call them, email, and set up lunches so they won’t hesitate to call you should an opportunity arise.

6.. “Kill them with kindness” I once had this interview go horribly, it seemed like no matter what I did I couldn’t impress the people interviewing me. Despite knowing I was doomed early on I soldier through and sent a follow-up thank you. I got a response from them thanking me for following-up and some more questions about the field I was trying to get into. A few weeks later I was starting there as a paid intern. Also months later at that same job I overheard a woman talking about how one of the students she had interviewed had written her the most thoughtful thank you note after. Despite the fact the student wasn’t qualified for the position she ended up offering her a job for a year later if she came back with more experience.

“We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day”

In 1990 supermodel Linda Evangelista was quoted saying “We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day” (referencing herself and fellow supermodel Christy Turlington). Her statement was not without consequence, in fact, the consequence might be over a decade later that she is most famous for that very statement. Regardless, Evangelista’s statement really struck me in that I admire her boldness. I mean I had to really stop and think what’s my daily rate for getting up? What do I value getting out of bed for? 

I can tell you on Saturday mornings there are very few things that will get me out of bed. My Saturday mornings are mine to stay in bed and recover from the week during which I probably pulled a few late nights. But Saturdays aside, I guess what I get up for never has a dollar sign in front of it. 

I know most would counter that statement with the assertion that I get up for work and I make money by doing that. That’s completely true. That thought certainly crosses my mind when I want to turn over and go to back to sleep after being awoken by my alarm five days a week.

The fact I actually like going to the office. In my mind I could lay in bed all day and be content. Then again going to the office seeing my coworkers, debating television shows, and joking around is in the long term more fun than anything. Coming up with an original idea, creating a sick infographic, these are little things are worth getting up for each morning. I get up everyday because every single day I am surprised by mine and others’ potential. 

I sit at my desk like millions of Americans, and shake my head at tragedies being reported in the Twitterverse. I think why would someone commit that horrible crime? The potential for evil in humanity is astounding. 

Sure there will be at least one viral Youtube video that week that make me laugh. And yes, I will be amazed at some new gadget someone in this world created on the typical week and the fact everyone can fund strangers’ great ideas on sites like Kickstarter. Those sort of things, they expand my perception and faith in the human potential for good.

All in all, I start to feel kind of bad for Evangelista, that she only gets to live those days where someone is willing to pay $10,000 or more. I don’t get paid any specific amount to get up each morning but I like to think that in some way life has been paying me in experiences all along. I’m saving it all up, and collecting interest on it each time I take inspiration from it and utilize in my work and relationships.  

But that’s just what I like to think, I wake up to live.