January 2017

Avoid Problems By Preventing Them

2017-03-01T11:44:15+00:00 Categories: SandBlog, solve, TWAW|Tags: , , |

An excellent way to solve problems is by not letting them happen in the first place, through prevention.

Prevention is why we bring our cars in for maintenance, visit our doctor for an annual exam, and have a mid-year check-in with our boss.

We want to avoid surprises and discover potential issues while they’re forming to prevent bigger problems in the future. We examine something, monitoring it comparing now to the past looking for any changes.

How would you like to be ahead of your colleagues in knowing what’s happening in your industry with your products, and among your competition? Oh… and for free without the investment of a research marketing firm?

Your Secret Tool: Google Alerts

A great free tool to let you monitor your business is Google Alerts.

Just enter your search terms, your email, and frequency of delivery and Google searches the internet for this information. When it finds a match, it will send you an email with links to relevant content. It is free and only takes a moment to set-up.

A great way to track your company, your competition, and your industry.

Sample searches include:

  • your company name,
  • your product(s) name,
  • your industry, or
  • your competition.

Combine those words with other keywords such as:

  • your company name + “trends,”
  • your product category + “developments,”
  • your industry name + “legislation,” or
  • your product category + “innovation.”

Before you read another email or visit another website, right now, create a few Google alerts for yourself. Here’s the link: Google Alerts.

These alerts are an effective and efficient way to stay informed and get the latest information and trends. I promise you very few of your co-workers have these set-up. Get ready to impress your co-workers!

August 2016

Do First Things First

2016-08-08T15:04:13+00:00 Categories: TWAW|Tags: , , |

Where to start, huh?

No matter what system you use to plan your activities – paper or digital – sometimes it can be difficult to determine what to do first. Especially since *all* of it is important, right?

I’ve tried lots of approaches over the years, the ABC/123 method combined with a prioritizer tool has worked the best.

ABC/123 Approach

This was taught as part of the Franklin planner system, later the FranklinCovey system, which is still around.

Basically, you rank everything you need to do with either an A, B, C.

  • A = Must do,
  • B = Should do, and
  • C = Could do.

The next step is to take all of the “A” activities and number them 1, 2, 3, etc. with 1 being the most important. You could do this for the lists of B and C items as well.

ABC_TasksI know. I know. It is nice to have items ranked by urgency, but… you’re still stuck trying to determine what is #1 or #2?

That used to happen to me as well. So, I had someone develop code for an online Prioritizer tool. It takes the list you type in and presents you with only two items at a time. You select which of this is more important. It continues to present pairs of items until you’ve ranked them all.

I love it. You will too. Over the years I’ve received letters of “thank you” for making this available.

Using The Prioritizer

To use the Prioritizer, type in all the items in your A-list. (Use “tab” to move from one cell to the next… it works best that way). You’ll hit “Next” at the bottom when you’re done entering.

Next, the Prioritizer will pair up and present items from your list, prompting you to pick which of the two items is most important. It is so much easier to prioritize when you only focus on two things at a time and eliminate the noise of all the other tasks.

choiceWhen you’re done choosing, voila the Prioritizer gives you a prioritized list you may print.

prioritizerSave the Idea Sandbox Prioritizer as a bookmark in your browser. It works smartphones and tablets as well.

ABC_123_TasksSometimes I find myself mid-week, after finishing tasks and projects given new things to work on. I will simply visit the Prioritizer and re-working my list.

Let me know how it works for you. I hope you love it and spend the upcoming weeks and months working on first things first.