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Experience Building

Experience Building

The difference between Starbucks and McDonalds from a coffee perspective is what? The experience. Starbucks wants almost $4 for a cup of coffee near me, and McDonalds wants $2. Starbucks wants $6 an hour for wifi, and McDonalds wants $2. It’s far more cost effective for a road warrior to sit in a McDonalds doing their internet chores.

But would you tell a client you’re sitting in a McDonalds? Would you say Starbucks? See?

I think the difference is in the experience and how it’s been crafted. By the way, McDonalds is working on it. They’re putting in leather sofas and tile and all kinds of things to support a change of experience. But enough about my example. Let’s talk about experience building and how it relates to life hacking.

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Experiences

I’m using this term as a noun. I mean to call this something similar to a “chapter” or a “scene” in a book or play. An experience has a beginning, middle and end. An experience is a small measurement, where an “event” is the larger collection of these. Going to a wedding is an event (a series of experiences). Having a private moment with the two sets of parents in a private setting by a stream during the reception is an experience. Make sense?

Experiences can be built around job interviews, if you’re the interviewer. A series of experiences can be built into a dinner party. One might be the entrance to the party. You can let guests come right to the door, or you can start the evening with a big banner that says, “Bring your best ideas to this dinner.” A team meeting can be an experience. A software code review can be an experience.

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Oh, a quick disclaimer: just because you craft an experience doesn’t mean people will get the desired result you want. I once went to a well-crafted dinner party. The hostess had French cuisine, soft lighting, lots of new artwork for us to view, and a carefully crafted series of compact discs loaded with the soundtrack of our night. Two discs in (and several beverages later), someone said, “Hey, I’ve got the sountrack to ‘Undercover Brother’ with me!” Off went the hostess’s disc; in went the

Elements of an Experience

The following are the elements or levers or building blocks that you can use to generate an experience:

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  • people- you need someone to experience the experience. Right?
  • time of day- is a breakfast meeting more fun than dinner?
  • lighting- Barry White or 2001 white?
  • music- Soundtracks to experiences
  • food- if you serve pizza or jumbo shrimp skewers, what’s the difference?
  • mood- your face and tone set the stage too, right?
  • props- having a cookout? What would some inflatable palm trees do? Bring sponge gavels to the next meeting.
  • scripts- this gets hoaky, but remember, you can plan the conversations a bit, or at least seed them.
  • plants- not bushes, but people allied to the cause. Imagine a dinner party where you “hire” friends to make sure the conversation works right.

Why Bother?

Sometimes, the reason to bother is self-explanatory. When you plan a birthday party, you’re crafting an experience. Why wouldn’t you want it to be fun? Do you have pin the tail on the donkey? That’s an experience within the event. Are you planning a pirate theme? Ditto.

The plan here, or the way to think of this, is to consider the crafting of experiences in non-traditional settings. How would a team meeting feel if you took some account to some of the elements listed above? Do you need your team to be more energetic? Why bring them to a room in the building with no windows, nothing but white? Bring them to the mall. Take them somewhere that stimulates. Go out to a nature observatory.

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Mod This

Have you noticed that I write most of my hacks with the ending reading something like How would YOU change this? That’s on purpose. The best hacks are the kind you can make your own, right? Before iTunes and playlists, I had to just deal with other people’s sorting methods for my music. Before blogging software, I had to craft HTML to fake it. But my blog is different than this blog, is different than blog software pressed into service as a catalog.

Posting comments about how you’d make this hack your own is part of the process. That grows the experience. We love to read them. Most of you have received personal emails from me after a comment. That’s because the conversation is part of the hack and the offering of such.

Jump in. Tell me it’s stupid. Tell me how to take the part that works. Move it forward.

–Chris Brogan is Chief Content Officer of Grasshopper New Media. He blogs at [chrisbrogan.com], which lately has been pretty much nonstop PodCamp. That’ll change soon.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

More Time Management Techniques

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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