Change the clock – change your routine

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 August 2014 07:28 Written by Ed Beckmann Tuesday, 30 October 2012 05:10

Picture your ideal working hours and try to introduce them

The Working Hours clock from BVD Design

Because the clocks changed in the UK last weekend I have started winter “split shift” system.

Using the Clock changes to your advantage

If, like me, you find the darker evenings and daylight savings time (DST) takes away your leisure or exercise time in the winter, think about how to split up your working day.

The concept of split shift working

The concept is simple and very common many workplaces – do your day’s work in several chunks, rather than one go with a short meal break. Many people are used to starting early, taking a few hours out mid-morning or mid-afternoon then returning to do more work later. If you are your own boss, it can be very tempting to keep the traditional routine of office hours and more. In winter you can find that sports, gardening or just a walk outside to unwind can all get ignored.

So consider setting yourself a break of several hours in daylight then return to running your business as it starts to get dark. The extra focus when you return means that you can still get things done by a reasonable time, and you will not have missed out on stress-reducing down-time and leisure activities.

What about missing calls or customers?

Of course, the business cannot flourish unless you satisfy your customers. So you will need to make plans for dealing with enquiries etc. But remember, there are other times you may be unobtainable during the day because of meetings etc. and you already manage that. Also, remember that you may actually make yourself more available by being open in some evenings – you know your customer needs so give it some thought.

Employees

The concept of split shifts or different working hours may suit many colleagues or employees, so before making any decisions have a discussion about the whole concept of working hours. As long as everyone is in agreement, most arrangements are possible.


Go on – take a few minutes to consider how you could keep some of your daylight pleasures when the daylight hours are shorter! Some timetables can not be changed, but many can with a bit if thought.

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Making the most of LinkedIn (part 1)

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 August 2014 07:28 Written by Ed Beckmann Wednesday, 28 March 2012 03:26

linked in logo

Linked in is a very popular site with loads of uses, but you can waste a lot of time and project a poor impression if you do not use it skilfully.

In 3 articles I will summarise what is on offer, how to make a plan and how to make sure that you get value for the time you spend on the site.

First steps

This first article will give you some familiarity with it and suggest a plan of action. My suggestion is that you print this out and explore the linked-in site. There is plenty of online help so I won’t waste space here giving click-by-click instructions.

  1. make a plan – although it is not complicated, a plan will get you more success for less effort overall. So read the steps, make some notes, look around the site a bit and then make your entries
  2. go into the settings and read through them. Initially turn notifications of changes off, otherwise people will be bombarded by every entry you make when you set up – this will make them insensitive to things that you post once you get going
  3. decide what you want your ‘headline’ to be. The headline is the text that appears immediately after your name.
  4. prepare a good photo that portrays the image you want
  5. enter your past job roles in reverse order, so the most relevant is first in the list
  6. company pages need bona fide email address @companyname and not @btconnect, @hotmail etc.
  7. bear in mind your ‘keyword’ information that you worked out for your company website
  8. enter the links to your website(s) and make sure that you amend the titles of web links, especially if you are listing several
  9. set profile display as public when you are ready
  10. think about who you want as connections
  11. import contacts but be selective who you invite, or systematically find and invite people
  12. always invite with a personal message – it shows you have thought about them
  13. hide your connections to avoid contact-snoopers. If you do not hide contacts, then sales and recruitment agencies effectively have a free view of your address book just by visiting your page
  14. put your contacts into groups to that you can post messages to easily. Avoid overloading people with ‘noise’ from your social media, they get so bored with bland updates from you that they miss the valuable items
  15. set up company page
  16. set up your products and services before getting recommendations
  17. when asking for a recommendation, indicate what you are proud of or want to stress. This will reinforce your message rather than simply be a list of nice comments
  18. use Q & A areas to be seen as being helpful and constructive
  19. make comments weekly but not daily, to demonstrate that your aim is to make a comment when it has value
  20. if you set up a group, do something useful with it
  21. look at a group to get to know the tone before posting to it
  22. really challenge yourself whether a posting you plan to make is of real worth to readers. If it is blatant self-promotion, you will be joining about 75% of the noise that is flying around and you are less likely to be respected

Summary

This has been a very general whirlwind tour of linked-in, and hopefully you can appreciate the difference between being noticed and being respected on it. In the following articles I will progress with company pages and your products and services, but will not be covering the use of Linked in for harvesting leads.

Useful resources

LinkedIn for Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))
LinkedIn: A complete guide for Individuals, Self Employed and Businesses
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Grant for Creative People and Places

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 August 2014 07:28 Written by Ed Beckmann Wednesday, 22 February 2012 03:31

14 February 2012 – New Creative People and Places Fund Launched

Arts Council England is accepting applications to its new Creative People and Places Fund. Arts Council England is offering funding to local consortiums to help get local people involved in the arts across parts of England where arts involvement is considerably below the national average.

Funding will be given to these areas to establish long-term partnerships between local communities and arts organisations, museums, libraries and local authorities, called Creative People and Places. The programme aims to empower them to experiment with new and innovative approaches to develop inspiring, sustainable arts programmes that will engage audiences in those communities.

A total of £37 million will be available to establish around 15 projects between autumn 2012 and autumn 2015.

It is anticipated that the majority of proposals will be for between £500,000 and £3 million over three years. It is expected that at least 10% of total project costs should come from other sources. This can also be in kind.

Consortiums of local communities, arts organisations, museums, libraries and local authorities are eligible to apply. If you are not familiar with applying for grant funding there is some guidance and support at www.ruralfunding.co.uk, and a course will also be available soon.

Intentions to apply should be registered by 23 March 2012. The deadline for first round applications is 13 April 2012.

A second round of applications will take place in autumn 2012. For more information, visit the Arts Council England website (opens new window).

Source: Arts Council England, 13/02/12

Useful resource

Perfect Phrases for Writing Grant Proposals: Hundreds of Ready-to-use Phrases to Present Your Organization, Explain Your Cause, and Get the Funding You Need (Perfect Phrases Series)

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