Categories
Life Progress Self-awareness

15 Priceless Productivity Tips for Procrastinators

Reading Time: 3 minutes

What a paradox that to write about productivity for those who always postpone things, I am procrastinating myself while scrolling productivity and business tips on Twitter. The problem is that I shouldn’t focus on productivity to be productive. Instead, I should focus on my goals. And develop effective habits.

The trick is just to start doing what you planned. And so I started, and in this article, I will give you a glimpse of those habits that you should develop to live a more thriving and meaningful life.

Know your WHY’s

Always be aware of why you are doing what you are doing. You will always have very little motivation if your reasons are vague.

Do you work just for survival? Or for financial stability? Or for recognition? Or for impact? Or for self-expression? 

Finish what you started

Decide in advance which of your projects are to be finished and which of them are just experiments.

Don’t start working on new projects until the old ones are completed. Learn the habit of getting things done.

Focus on your strengths

Nobody is perfect. Everyone has their flaws. As well as their strengths. 

Don’t be sorry about what you can’t do. Identify what you can do best, and make that even better. 

Ask others for help when it’s too hard to handle yourself or takes too much time.

Start now with what you have

Perfect conditions will never exist. So you have to start doing what you want or need to do now. Not next month, not next week, not tomorrow. But now.

Start ideating, prioritizing, and planning. Take the first steps. Even if that’s for 20 minutes. The goal is to build productive habits.

Create TODO lists

Have three TODO lists: “Must do,” “Should do,” and “Want to do.” Execute tasks from those lists according to your priorities and energy levels.

Don’t waste your time on “wants” if your “musts” are not done yet.

Break big tasks into smaller chunks

Sometimes your tasks are so huge that you just get overwhelmed and perplexed. Where should you start? How can you plan and estimate?

The trick here is to split the big task into smaller ones and evaluate them separately.

Find your prime biological time

Identify your most productive time of day. Maybe it’s your mornings, maybe afternoons, or maybe nights.

It’s your Power Hours that you should use for the most critical or creative work.

Schedule daily work time in blocks

Split your days into segments and dedicate those segments to different types of work. For example, 13:30 – 15:00 is for writing and replying to emails.

Do only one thing at a time. Don’t switch contexts. You will be more productive, focussing on only one type of work at a time.

Gamify your work

Try not to break a chain by working on something for a regular time daily. For example, building something for 1 hour every day.

Or, if you have some tedious tasks to do, decide on some point system to reward yourself for a certain amount of completed tasks.

Choose peace, not conflict

When communicating, aim to be calm, understanding, and harmonious. Unnecessary conflicts just drain your energy and make you less than productive.

Usually, complicated people are so because of their difficult pasts. So be aware of that, and it will help you be more peaceful.

Have an accountability partner

Struggling on your dreams alone might be difficult. There are a million reasons not to do something you wish to have done. The tiredness after the primary job, wishing to spend time with your friends or family, exciting TV show, or a new series on Netflix.

Don’t make excuses, and have a friend to talk with about your progress. This will make you more inspired and accountable against that person.

Control your devices

Don’t fall into the trap of digital devices. Instead, make smartphones, computers, and TV work for you, not control you.

Switch off most notifications not to distract you. Then, when you need more focus, go to Airplane mode.

Install apps that let you prioritize, plan your time, focus better.

Focus on the 20% most important tasks

The Pareto principle says that by doing just 20% of the most critical tasks, you can achieve 80% of the impact.

Identify which tasks make this 20% of your lists and focus on them.

Work hard on your mindset

Life is as finite and fatal as you define it. You can have a fixed mindset, thinking that you have developed during your childhood and youth, and nothing can be changed afterward.

Or you can be in a growth mindset thinking that you can continuously develop yourself, survive mistakes and learn from them, and work on life-changing projects.

Hold yourself accountable – drive your own life

Don’t wait for someone else to fix your life and make your dreams come true. Be the driver of your own life.

Design your life, take action, and go forward!

Invitation

There is more to that. If you learned something new and want to dive deeper, check these concise productivity tips I recently published. There are many more tips there (80 to be exact) for your goal setting, motivation, self-awareness, priorities, planning, efficiency, and growth.


Cover photo by cottonbro

Categories
Business Decision Making Entrepreneurship Progress

10 Ways to Use Smart Prioritization for Your Business

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Some decisions in business can be made based on intuition and emotion. Still, the more risk we have to manage or the bigger our ambition, the more critical it is to make decisions intelligently. When we have to solve a big problem, one of the rational ways is to divide it into small parts and deal with each of them separately. When we have a mattering list of things to prioritize, it’s beneficial to look at it from different perspectives, evaluate it by several criteria while respecting common knowledge and your values, and then combine the results into calculated conclusive priorities.

“1st things 1st” is an innovative online tool to do that easily without struggle nor paralysis by analysis. In this article, you will grasp how you can use it to advance your business. With “1st things 1st,” you evaluate anything by multiple criteria and get your priorities calculated, sorted, and grouped into those “to choose for sure,” those “to consider,” and those “to skip, eliminate, or outsource.” Let’s look at 10 examples, how you can benefit from this tool in your business.

1. Weekly Planning

Weekly Planning

When you consider prioritizing, you usually think about weekly or daily tasks. Spending 20-30 minutes every Sunday to plan what needs to be done for the next week is an advisable habit to have.

Using “1st things 1st”, before anything else, you would define your task criteria, like:

  • How urgent is it?
  • How important is it?
  • Is it unavoidable?
  • How manageable is it to accomplish?
  • How impactful is it?
  • Is it ethically, socially, ecologically responsible?
  • Does it make money or reduce costs?
  • Does it make your clients happy?
  • Does it bring new customers?
  • Does it remove bottlenecks in your business processes?
  • Does it motivate you?
  • Does it support your company’s goals?
  • etc.

Then you would enter your TODO list and evaluate your tasks by your defined criteria.

The online tool would calculate and sort your tasks by your priorities.

If you are using the Premium account, you can also enter time estimations and budget for each task and see how many tasks you can afford to get done that week.

2. Setting Quantitative Goals

Setting Quantitative Goals

But as you know, doing work without having goals is like traveling without a map: it might quickly use up all your resources, and nothing much will be achieved on the way. Businesses should have goals, and these can also be prioritized. It’s recommended to have SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-phased.

To prioritize goals with “1st things 1st”, you would define your goal criteria, like:

  • How specific is it?
  • How measurable is it?
  • How attainable is it?
  • How realistic is it?
  • How time-phased is it?
  • How ethical is it?
  • How environmentally sound is it?
  • How relevant is it for your business?
  • How challenging is it?
  • Is it legal?
  • and so on…

Then you would enter your list of goal candidates and evaluate them.

Your goals will get sorted by your priorities. It is recommended to use no more than 3–7 goals to pursue.

If you are using the Premium account, you can also enter time estimations and budget for each goal and see how many goals you can afford to achieve in a period.

3. Choosing Strategic Outcome-oriented Goals

Choosing Strategic Outcome-oriented Goals

Your business can focus on one of many strategic business goals. For example, you could aim to get more profit, provide the most value, have the happiest clients, increase recycling, improve a particular skill, or maybe make your workplace the best place to work at. The list could go on. But how could you prioritize it?

You would start prioritizing with “1st things 1st” by defining questions about each of your goals, like these:

  • How much does it support your mission and vision?
  • How much does it support your core values?
  • How much does it optimize your strengths?
  • How much does it compensate for or eliminate your weaknesses?
  • How much does it help you plan ahead for deadlines?
  • How much does it help you allocate job roles?
  • How much does it help you stay on track for your project goals?
  • How much does it maximize efficiency?
  • How much does it help you allocate resources?
  • How much measurable is it?
  • and others…

Then you would list your goal candidates, for example:

  • Ensure financial sustainability
  • Maintain profitability
  • Grow sales from new products
  • Provide the best value for the cost
  • Provide reliable products or services
  • Increase revenue
  • Have the most innovative products or services
  • Differentiate the product
  • Reduce waste by a certain amount
  • Reduce energy usage per unit of production
  • Increase recycling
  • Improve reporting and transparency
  • etc.

After evaluating strategic goals by your criteria, you would see them sorted by how much they match the requirements. And it would be crystal clear what to aim for.

4. Choosing a Brand Name

Choosing a Brand Name

When you introduce a new product to the market, it’s crucial to choose its name well. How you name a brand has a lot of influence on how people perceive it and buy it.

Using “1st things 1st,” you would begin prioritizing your options for brand names by setting success criteria, for example,

  • How short is it?
  • How simple is it?
  • How much does it suggest a category of products?
  • How unique is it ?
  • How alliterative is it (does it rhyme)?
  • How speakable is it?
  • How shocking is it ?
  • How personalized is it?
  • How easy is it to spell?
  • Do all shareholders like it?
  • How well does it sound together with a company name?
  • Doesn’t it have any negative associations?
  • Does it have a nice meaning?
  • Is it ethnically appropriate?
  • and so on…

Then you would list your brand name candidates and evaluate them by these criteria.

The prioritizer would calculate and show you the priorities sorted out. Then it’s straightforward to pick the best one.

Moreover, similarly, you could choose a name for your company.

5. Choosing Marketing Strategies

Choosing Marketing Strategies

When you have a product, one of the puzzles is to decide how to best market it. There could be many marketing tactics and strategies, like updating a website, regularly posting on certain social media accounts, recruiting guest bloggers, creating contests, doing A/B testing of specific widgets, advertising on certain platforms, using affiliate programs, developing introductory videos, writing cold emails, etc. To choose your most optimal marketing strategy, you have to prioritize.

With “1st things 1st”, in the beginning, you would define success criteria for your marketing strategies, something like:

  • How likely does it aim at your target market?
  • How likely does it support your niche?
  • How much does it develop brand awareness?
  • How much does it build credibility?
  • How much does it maintain focus?
  • How accessible is it for the customers?
  • How measurable is it?
  • How much can it be analyzed?
  • How ethical is it?
  • How innovative is it?
  • How much value does it provide for its cost?
  • How skillful are you to use this strategy?
  • and others…

Then you would list the options for marketing strategies, for example:

  • Do A/B testing.
  • Refine ad targeting.
  • Personalize website content.
  • Create more engaging ad copy.
  • Add compelling design elements.
  • Improve website speed.
  • Develop editorial content for content sharing.
  • Regularly post on the Facebook page.
  • Regularly post on the LinkedIn feed.
  • and so on…

After evaluating individual options by each criterion, you would have an overview of which strategies to choose, which to consider, and which to skip.

6. Choosing Innovative Technologies

Choosing Innovative Technologies

Would you agree that to keep up with innovations and keep your customers engaged, you need to upgrade your products and services from time to time? Blockchain, Internet of Things, drones, 5G connection, and other novelties never sleep. So which of the new technologies should be integrated into your business?

With “1st things 1st,” you can figure that out by asking these questions at the beginning:

  • How relatable is it to our business?
  • How high impact would it make for our business?
  • How cost-effective is it?

Then you would list the innovative technologies, like:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Internet of Things
  • Blockchain
  • 3D Printing
  • Mobile Apps
  • Autonomous Cars
  • Robotics
  • Virtual Reality
  • Augmented Reality
  • Wireless Power
  • Quantum Computing
  • 5G Connection
  • Smart Assistants
  • Cybersecurity
  • Mobile Internet
  • Drones
  • Chatbots
  • Personalized offerings
  • Home delivery
  • E-commerce

After answering those questions for each technology, you would clearly see what’s worth pursuing.

7. Choosing a Software Solution

Choosing a Software Solution

When you have to evaluate and choose one of several software products of the same category for your company, “1st things 1st” can help you with that too.

In the beginning, you would list out success criteria for the winning software solution. These criteria could work:

  • Usability
  • Reliability
  • Security
  • Manageability
  • Performance
  • Availability
  • Scalability
  • Maintainability
  • Supportability
  • Reusability
  • Testability
  • Integrity
  • The size of the user community
  • etc.

Then you would list out your 2 or more software solutions that you want to compare and choose from.

After evaluating each option by each criterion, you would immediately see which of the systems to choose.

8. Choosing Productivity Tools

Choosing Productivity Tools

Or, let’s say, you need to choose a productivity tool to improve your and your team’s productivity and get everything better organized. You could prioritize productivity tools by matching the benefits and features as well.

With “1st things 1st”, at first you would define your criteria, maybe something from this list:

  • Does it get me organized?
  • Does it improve habits?
  • Does it increase focus?
  • Does it save time?
  • Does it save money?
  • Is it easy to start?
  • Is it easy to learn?
  • Is it worth the price?
  • Is it effective?
  • Is it highly recommended?
  • Does it have all the necessary features?
  • Is it available on mobile devices?
  • Is it available on desktop computers?
  • Does it integrate with other tools I use?
  • Is it accessible?
  • Is it collaborative?
  • Is the user interface intuitive?
  • Is there an offline mode?
  • Can it be synced across devices?
  • Is it affordable?
  • Is it fast?
  • Is it mature?
  • Do you like it?
  • Does it offer technical support?
  • Is it made by a reputable company?

You get the idea.

Then you would list out the productivity tools:

  • 1st things 1st
  • Asana
  • Basecamp
  • Doodle
  • Eisenhower Matrix
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Docs
  • Google Workspace
  • Grammarly
  • IFTTT
  • Microsoft 365
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Monday.com
  • Notion
  • Pen and paper
  • Slack
  • Slite
  • Trello
  • Zapier
  • and so on…

After evaluating each of your options from each perspective, you would have a clear view of what to start using in your daily workflows.

9. Choosing an Office Location

Choosing an Office Location

One of the essential material choices to make is choosing an office space to rent. Here you can also look at your choices from different perspectives and let “1st things 1st” help you decide.

At first, you would define your criteria for your best office location. These could be some examples:

  • Can our clients get there without a hassle?
  • Can our employees get there easily?
  • Can we afford to pay a three-month rent deposit on this office right now?
  • Are all the costs transparent?
  • Is the office space furnished?
  • Is the office space not overpriced?
  • Will there be at least 6.5 m² of floor space per person?
  • Is there enough room to grow the team?
  • Is there a dedicated space for meeting with clients?
  • Will our employees be happy with their social and recreation areas?
  • Is there 24/7 access?
  • Does it have a kitchen?
  • Does it have a shower?
  • Is the space pet-friendly?
  • Is the WIFI available?
  • Are cleaning services available?
  • and so on…

Then you would list the addresses of office spaces to rent that are interesting to you.

After evaluating each office by each criterion, you would clearly see which of the locations most suit to your company.

10. Choosing a Coworking Space

Choosing a Coworking Space

Similarly, if you work remotely, in a small team, or alone, you might like to choose a coworking space to rent. Without a doubt, you can use “1st things 1st” to prioritize these options too.

These could be some of the features that you would expect from an ideal coworking space:

  • Are there enough desks for the number of people you need?
  • Is the internet available?
  • Is a phone available?
  • Are mailboxes available?
  • Are there meeting rooms?
  • Is there a reception?
  • Are there phone booths?
  • Is there a quiet place for meditation?
  • Is there a bike rack?
  • Are there showers available?
  • Is the space accessible for a wheelchair?
  • Is the kitchen available?
  • Are there cleaning services?
  • Is there enough light?
  • Is there a coffee machine?
  • Are there fridges for your own food?
  • Are drinks or snacks available?

The questions could go on…

Then you would list the addresses of coworking spaces to rent that are interesting to you.

After evaluating your options by each of those questions, you would clearly see what to choose.

Final Thoughts

Whether you prioritize immaterial things like tasks, goals, or strategies, or material things like office spaces, tools, or technologies, you can use “1st things 1st” to make business decisions intelligently by looking at your options from different perspectives. Let your essential choices not be driven just by emotion and spontaneity but instead by common knowledge, your values, and your rationality. Let your decisions be smart. And with “1st things 1st,” you can do that quite easily.


Photos by Daria ShevtsovaThirdmanNORTHFOLKTima MiroshnichenkoAnna ShvetsAnnie SprattRon McClennyKevin KuBermix StudioAnna Nekrashevich.

Categories
Decision Making Life Progress Self-awareness

Short-term vs. Long-term Decisions

Reading Time: 4 minutes

“Most people spend more time planning a vacation than they do planning a life.”

― Chet Holmes

When choosing your future, some of your decisions will have long-lasting effects and can lead to lots of success or disappointments, whereas some others will be valid only for a day or two, so why bother about them too much. You could follow the Pareto principle saying that for 80% of the effect, you will need 20% of effort, so you should identify the 20% of what’s long-term and act on it. Let’s explore which decisions are short-term and which are long-term.

Short term

Short-term decisions are usually triggered by life events and news and are often made based on emotions. Short-term considerations could be caused by fear of missing out or worry about what other people will think about you. On the other hand, they can be spontaneousplayfulopportunisticopen-minded as well.

  • Things to do during the day. Unless it’s some life event like a birthday party, wedding, job interview, conference talk, or a show, you usually won’t need lengthy preparation.
  • What to wear. Why spend too much time thinking about what to wear on a regular day? Instead, just choose something that matches together, fits the weather, suits the occasion, and is comfortable.
  • What to eat. Choose whatever you like or are used to unless you are on a special diet.
  • What music to listen to. Listen to what follows your mood or supports the mood you would like to get into.
  • What presents to give to your friends, family, lovers. Most of the celebrations in life are recurring and relatively frequent. So surprise your people with something spontaneous.
  • What TV programs or movies to watch. Choose whatever seems essential or entertaining to you.
  • What galleries or museums to visit. Take opportunities to see whatever interesting exhibitions are open in your city or the city you visit.

As a proverb says, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

Long term

Long-term decisions are usually based on personal philosophy of life. You use logic and strategies to direct your energy towards growth. Otherwise, your life will likely stagnate or destroy you, and you will have lots of regrets about living conditions.

  • Where to live. Your living location and conditions will have an effect on your solitude or social life, career, love life, speed and rhythm of daily routine, etc. You can choose to live with your relatives, in a shared apartment with flatmates, in a dormitory, in a rented or owned apartment, house, or villa. And all that will have different outcomes on your future life.
  • What to study. Your job opportunities, quality of life, and overall happiness in your life will depend on what you learn at University, College, Academy, or Professional School. Will you study something that you are interested in or something that your parents were impressed about? Will you learn something that you are passionate about, something that the market demands, or something in between?
  • Where to work. Will you work for survival, self-expression, self-fulfillment, or a local or global mission? It all depends on what job you will choose and how it matches your personality. Will, each of your employment, be the basis for your following ones, or will they be just a waste of career experience while searching for your field?
  • What name to give to your baby. In my life, I’ve met people who hated their first or last names because those names made them difficult to reach the expectations they had from life. Not in all countries, it is possible to change your name. So when choosing a name for your newborn, choose wisely.
  • What name to give to your company, product, or service. Just as for the baby name, the name of your business can also have a long-lasting effect. Especially if you care not only about the sales but also about your company’s branding and distant future.
  • What goals to aim for. You can have many passions in life and lots of possible directions to go with your life. But which of those directions is the most optimal for your character, skills, and needs?
  • What’s your main reason for living. Why were you born on this planet? What’s the purpose of your life? These existential questions are definitely long-term and require deep self-analysis.

“Maturity is achieved when a person postpones immediate pleasures for long-term values.”

– Joshua L. Liebman

It depends

Some decisions can either be quick and spontaneous or thoughtful and logical depending on what kind of person you are:

  • What events, conferences, or festivals to go to. Are you going to different gatherings for entertainment or getting information and resources for your projects?
  • What books to read. Are you reading books to have rest or to get knowledge for your career and self-development?
  • What podcasts to listen to. Do you listen to podcasts to fill your silence with chitchat or to learn something valuable and inspirational for life?
  • What country to visit for vacation. Do you choose your traveling spontaneously, or do you have a bucket list for life?
  • What newspapers or magazines to subscribe to. Do you read whatever is popular or what supports your knowledge for lifestyle or career?
  • What theatre plays to watch. Do you go to theaters to have a good time or to widen your viewpoint?

If you consider that your time is limited, you will probably try to save it by choosing what goes along with your values and goals. You will visit events, read books, and listen to podcasts useful for your primary activities. On the other hand, if you consider that your time is limitless, you will make decisions based on what feels right at the moment: you will go to events that will seem attractive, shocking, or inspiring. You will read books that entertain you much. You will listen to podcasts where the people seem most charismatic or grounded according to your preferences or where the topics seem interesting to you.

How to solve short or long-term decisions?

You can make short-term decisions using intuitioncommon sense, or randomness. For example, it doesn’t really matter so much what exactly you gonna wear today at work. What matters more is what clothes you buy to wear for work. It doesn’t really matter what dish you are going to try today. What matters more is what diet you are going to take in your life. It doesn’t matter too much what song you will listen to today at your lunch break. What matters more is in what mood and mindset your playlists are going to put you into.

When it comes to short-term decisions, choose what inspires you or solves a problem.

When it comes to long-term decisions, it’s better to weigh the options before making a decision. And for this reason, the most valuable tool to do that is probably the strategic prioritizer “1st things 1st”. Half an hour of prioritizing with “1st things 1st” can save you from months or even years of frustration and regrets. “1st things 1st” lets you make the most optimal decisions based on your knowledge and intuition.

This is how it goes. First, you start prioritization by defining your success criteria. Second, you list out things to prioritize. Third, you rate each item by each measure. And lastly, the tool calculates your priorities and groups them into something to choose for sure, things to consider, and things to eliminate or skip. It’s as easy as that.

Interested? Try it out for free.


Cover photo by Brayden Law

Categories
Entrepreneurship

How to Strategically Select Stories for Your Weekly Newsletter

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The problem: lack of clarity

Let’s say you have a mailing list with a few thousand subscribers. You send a newsletter every week on Tuesdays at 2 pm. You want to keep your subscribers engaged with some news related to your service and some industry news and opinions from around the world.

You use Quora, Twitter, and LinkedIn feeds, medium.com blogs, and your secret source to discover new exciting information from your industry. How would you decide which of the findings to send in the newsletter? You probably don’t want to send randomly selected news, because it matters to you how many subscribers you will have and how many of them will click on your links and buy your products.

You will carefully select your stories by the following criteria:

  • Is it relatable to your target user?
  • Is the news source trustworthy?
  • Are the events described actual?
  • Is the story captivating?
  • Does it create positive vibes?

One of the best ways to make a decision is to use the strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st.

The solution: using 1st things 1st

The workflow of the strategic prioritizer is pretty straightforward and consists of four steps:

  1. Defining criteria
  2. Listing out stories (or other things)
  3. Evaluating stories by each criterion
  4. Exploring priorities
Workflow

Let’s have a look at how to do that!

⚙️ Project setup

Log in to 1st things 1st and create a new project. From the prioritization project templates, choose “Blank”.

The project creation wizard will guide you through the essential questions:

1. Enter a project title and optionally a description. For example, you can call your project “Stories for the Newsletter”:

Enter project title

2. Decide how to name things. In this case, we will be evaluating Stories by Criteria.

Decide how to name things

Now when you created the project, let’s explore the main steps of prioritization.

🧭 Step 1. Add criteria

The first step of prioritization is adding criteria. Choose Bulk add criteria and enter these criteria one per line:

Relatable
Trustworthy
Actual
Captivating
Positive

Choose the evaluation type From “definitely not” to “definitely” for them.

Bulk add criteria

You will get five criteria created in your project. Now to set the importance of any of the criteria less than 100%, edit that criterion.

Criteria listed

💡 Step 2. Add stories

In the next step, you will add stories to prioritize. For example, you want to sort three stories about Augmented Reality:

Choose Bulk add stories and enter the titles one per line:

Facebook teases a vision of remote work using augmented and virtual reality

Copy and paste the real world with your phone using augmented reality

This augmented reality eyepiece lets firefighters see through smoke
Bulk add stories

You will get the stories added to the project. There you can edit each of them and, for example, add the links in the descriptions:

Stories listed

🎚 Step 3. Evaluate stories by criteria

Now evaluate all stories by all criteria. Go through the whole list and mark your choices. Be aware that the number of evaluations will be equal to criteria × stories.

Let’s say, the first two stories are probably relatable, because lots of people work from home and copy-paste, but the story about firefighters are possibly relatable because not so many people extinguish fires. The first two stories are definitely trustworthy, because verge.com has high Alexa site ranking, and the third story is probably trustworthy because the ranking is lower. The story about Facebook’s employees working from home is probably not very captivating, because the video is of poor quality, but the other two stories are pretty captivating. 

Evaluate stories by criteria

📊 Step 4. See priorities

The prioritizer shows calculated and sorted stories grouped into the ones:

  • to choose for sure,
  • to consider, and
  • to skip.
Explore priorities

As a result, all of the chosen stories are pretty strong, but the story about copying and pasting in augmented reality would be the most worth sharing in the newsletter; it got the priority of 90%. The story about firefighters got 85%; maybe you can share it next week. And the last one, the story about using Augmented Reality at the home office of Facebook employees, got 75%.

If the results are entirely unexpected, try to adjust the importance of your criteria or change the criteria to match your values.

Final words

After prioritizing your news stories, create the newsletter, describe the story of high priority or link to the original, send it, and keep the number of subscribers growing.

Check out the strategic prioritizer at 1st things 1st.


Cover photo by My name is Yanick.

Categories
Life Progress Self-awareness

The Cycle of Long-term Success

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In my younger days, I was obsessed with finding the formula for happiness and success. Why do some people achieve more than others? Why do some people suffer when others enjoy their lives? What is the secret of some people’s advantage against some others? What do successful people do differently from the poor ones?

At some point, I realized that happiness and success are two different things. Happiness is something that you feel yourself, whereas success is something how others perceive you. There are happy people without significant achievements as well as successful but stressed and depressed people.

Success might be random, like a toss of a coin. That will likely be short-term. Have you heard that 70% of lottery winners spend all their money just in a few years after receiving the big amounts? There has to be something else. Something better than randomness.

As of now, I know that circumstances are one of the factors. But mostly everything depends on the mindset. A human being can change their mind and then be able to change the conditions or adapt to them.

Success happens through forming better habits and sticking to your goals.

As a great thinker and author, James Clear, once tweeted

There are 3 primary drivers of results in life:

1) Your luck (randomness).
2) Your strategy (choices).
3) Your actions (habits).

Only 2 of the 3 are under your control.

But if you master those 2, you can improve the odds that luck will work for you rather than against you.

Did you notice that in life, everything happens in cycles?

I want to introduce you to the cycle of long-term success as I see it today.

The Cycle of Long-term Success
  1. Everything begins with prioritization. It can be some productive work using mind mapping, TODO lists, decision matrixes, and other tools. It can be something that you do intuitively or meditatively in your head. Or it can be something that your managers and bosses do for you.
  2. Then there is planning. It’s dividing big tasks into small ones, assigning time for different tasks, deciding who will do what, choosing appropriate tools. Maybe you’ll also be using Trello, Monday, or Clubhouse, to name a few.
  3. Now it’s time for action. Do what you have to do to move towards your goal. Try to make progress. Try to fit the timetable. Remove all the bottlenecks. Make that call. Write that email. Create that masterpiece. Travel to that destination.
  4. The last step of the cycle is celebrating your successes. Or, if your actions failed, you have something from what to learn and improve for the next time.

And the cycle goes on and on again.


Cover photo by Grant Ritchie

Categories
Entrepreneurship

How to Choose Marketing Tactics for your Service to Achieve Your Goals in Time

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Do you have a product or a service, but you don’t know how to market it effectively? Today I want to show you how you can use the strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st to create the marketing strategy. We are going to evaluate a series of marketing tactics according to our chosen criteria to see on which of the tactics we should focus. To be practical, I will show you an example with the strategic prioritizer itself as a service that I want to promote.

The workflow of the strategic prioritizer is pretty straightforward and consists of four steps:

  1. Defining criteria
  2. Listing out tasks (or other things)
  3. Evaluating tasks by each criterion
  4. Exploring priorities
Workflow

Note, it would be best if you could invite a marketing specialist to guide you through this. 

Ready? Let’s start!

⚙️ Project setup

Add a new project to the organizational account. From the project templates, choose “Marketing Strategies”.

Choose project template

The project creation wizard will guide you through the essential questions:

1. Change or keep the project title and description. I will call my project “Marketing Initiatives for 1st things 1st”:

Change project title and description

2. Decide how to name things. The preselected values suggest evaluating Tasks by Criteria. I will leave them this way. Do Initiatives or Tactics sound more reasonable to you than Tasks? Do Values or Aspects seem better than Criteria? You decide.

Change how you name the things

3. Define your mission and vision. This step is not mandatory, but it helps you get into the correct mindset.

The mission of 1st things 1st is “Assist people in defining and following their direction.” 

And the vision is “1000 self-contented people and 100 successful teams in 3 years.”

Set mission and vision of your product

4. Define the timeframe for your project. This step is also not mandatory, but when you have the start and end in mind, you can better choose the tactics for that timeframe.

As you can guess from the vision, the timeframe for 1st things 1st will be from the January 1, 2020 till December 31, 2022. After that, the strategies might need to get revisited.

Define the timeframe

5. Choose up to 5 criteria. Check what resonates with you mostly.

6. Choose some tasks that seem reasonable to you or that you would like to try. You’ll be able to enter some more tasks as free text later too.

Now when you created the project, let’s explore the main steps of prioritization.

🧭 Step 1. Review and edit criteria

Now you can edit the list of criteria and change their importance or evaluation types. The default importance for all of them is 100%, and the evaluation type is the percentage from 0 to 100% (you will see them in step 3).

For example, this is how I set the criteria for the marketing tactics that I would like to use for 1st things 1st:

  • Develops awareness because people need to learn how to use it.
  • Aims at a target market because it’s not merely for everyone like food, air, water, and wifi.
  • Maintains audience focus because people need to get reminded about best practices if they want to live progressively.
  • Ethical because of GDPR and being fair with the customers.
  • Value for money because marketing tactics need to bring profit to the business.

All of those criteria matter to me, so I set the 100% importance to all of them.

Adjust parameters for criteria

Your criteria and their importance will depend on your attitude and perspectives.

💡 Step 2. Review and edit tasks

In the next step, you will see the list of our chosen tasks where you can change their titles and descriptions.

For example, at the setup, I chose these things:

  • Add compelling design elements, because that’s what attracts my attention when I see that on other websites.
  • Respond to questions on Quora, because that’s a place where intellectual people gather.
  • Design cover images for social profiles, because it’s a proper place to strengthen your brand.
  • Guest write for industry blogs, because that’s a way to reach your target audiences.
  • Interact with consumers via social media, because that’s how you create a dialogue with your users.
  • Develop contests to promote a service or a product, because it would be interesting to try that.
  • Do competitor keyword analysis, because that’s how you can attract more visitors to your site.
  • Develop demonstrations or tutorials, because people need to get informed on how to use the tool.
  • Do networking in person. because word of mouth is one of the most effective marketing techniques.
  • Write tips & how-to articles to share with prospects or customers, because that’s one more way to spread the knowledge about the usage examples of the tool.
  • Research affiliate programs, because that’s one of the ways to get more viral spread.
  • Send newsletters, because this builds the audience and allows us to do A/B testing of your marketing campaigns.
  • Publish videos on Youtube, because videos are the most attractive and viral media type at the moment.
  • Comment on articles and blog posts online, because that gives voice to your brand.
  • Send out product samples, because positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations can attract more customers.
  • Regularly publish blog posts, because people need to know your intentions and progress.
  • Send thank you notes or emails to customers, because they are who keep your business running.
  • Develop keyword lists for SEO, because we want to get higher rankings in the search engines.

Also, I added a couple of new tasks:

  • Regularly post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, because that’s where my target audience spends time.
  • Run ad campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, because that’s where I can find more people interested in this strategic prioritizer.
Add more tasks

🎚 Step 3. Evaluate tasks by criteria

Now evaluate all tasks by all criteria. Go through the whole list and mark your choices. Be aware that the number of evaluations will be equal to criteria × tasks.

Let’s say, answering questions on Quora builds awareness at 100%, but doing competitor keyword analysis builds awareness probably at 60%. Doing networking in person is 100% ethical, but commenting on articles and blog posts online with the intention to advertise is maybe 75% ethical. Developing demonstrations and tutorials brings 100% of value for money, but running ad campaigns of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, brings only 40% value for money. Most of those evaluations are based on my previous experiences and gut feeling. But a marketing expert could have more precise evaluations.


📊 Step 4. Analyze priorities

The prioritizer shows calculated and sorted tasks grouped into the ones:

  • to choose for sure,
  • to consider, and
  • to skip.
Analyze your priorities and take action

As the result, my most essential tactics are guest-writing for industry blogs, developing demonstrations or tutorials, writing tips and how-to articles to share with prospects and customers, regularly publishing blog posts, interacting with consumers on social media, publishing videos on Youtube, and sending thank-you notes. So, content, content, and more content. That’s what you can expect from this blog in the upcoming future.

Final words

After prioritizing your marketing tactics, it’s time to print the PDF version of the results, create user personas, the story you want to tell your customers, and start marketing your service or product.

Check out the organizational strategic prioritizer at our 1st things 1st.


Cover photo by Austin Chan.