Tag Archives: Publishing jobs

How to be Productive: 6 tips to maximise productivity in high-frequency publishing

Last week we went to the PPA event 6 Pro Tips to Maximise Productivity for high frequency publishers. A lot of information and advice was given and we learned a lot! Here we have summarised the big takeaways for you.

6 pro-tips:   

  1. Break tasks down into smaller chunks of work
  2. Time-Boxing
  3. Removing Repetition
  4. Automation in all areas of pure process
  5. Talk about email habits and practices
  6. Leave work on time

Here we dig a little deeper into these tips by summarising what the main speakers had to say and discuss the relationship between technological and cultural productivity.

Simon Weare – PCS Development Officer

                   Estimate all the things little and often

Simon defined productive as the most relevant and valuable thing that you should be doing right now. `Best resource we have is our mind and our time.’

Simon is an advocate of technological productivity. He says we need to use a module/software that embraces change and allows for organisational visibility. There should be no hidden activity, all effort and work should be demonstrated and shown. The system should manage productivity in a way that is visible to everyone; everyone should be able to see what each other is working on and what stage it is at.

Within this system there should be mechanisms to evaluate priorities, frameworks and estimates to assist in understanding the activity and review these frequently.

Resistance to change is a productivity killer and can slow down the progress of your team. To be productive we have to adapt to change and manage it. To do this we have to allow and allocate for the scope to change, this means you won’t disappoint by not delivering but will adapt when the deadline changes or progresses.

Simon says: `if you aren’t measuring it, you aren’t managing it’.

Rich Mansell – PCS Solutions Manager

Rich is also an advocate of technological productivity. Rich says we live in a time critical environment and we need to think productive in terms of software.

We need to reduce the number of systems in place and instead have just one that can distribute content to all places. Including software that sends content out to the web.

We need to think in terms of how software can aid and store content. Most companies have a large amount of folders, we need to remove this inefficiency so that we can locate content more quickly without manual intervention.

This will improve staff morale by reducing clicks and tasks. Templates will also help in removing this repetition of work.

4 key areas when choosing any system are: partnership approach, analyse the current workflow, design the bespoke workflow and learn from past experiences.

Hayley Watts – Productivity Ninja

Hayley is an advocate of cultural productivity. When are you the most focused? When do you procrastinate? Hayley says we need to manage our attention energy and pinpoint our most productive hours in our working day and do the most important things then. Right activity, right time.

Making lists is one of Hayley’s tips; they help in knowing what to do when your energy and focus is at a lower level. It helps to also have a done list to keep track but don’t dwell on what you have not done. Instead focus on what is going to make the most impact and put your energy into that.

Another one of Hayley’s tips is to make your emails work for you. Which emails do you want to be copied into? Communicate your preferences of what will work for you to your team.

It is important to protect your productivity levels. We are more likely to make mistakes when stressed, tired, multitasking or overloading. This will result in decision fatigue. Rather than carrying on it is more beneficial to take a break and come back with a clear head. In your break do activities that increase your energy levels; go for a run, do some reading, or socialise. Find what works for you.

It is important to communicate your own deadlines `I’ll be free at 1, I have to do this task at the moment’. This will protect your hours without impacting your team.

Be calm, ruthless, weapon savy and human not superhero – Hayley’s definition of a productivity ninja.

There is a marriage between technology and culture; simplifying is the key. We need to manage our focus and energy whilst being able to digest content and integrate systems. Dealing with change by being flexible and open is also key to being productive. It is important to recognise that not all employees are going to be open to change but by working and going on a journey together change is positive.

Think Productive – Getting your inbox back to zero course

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Cover Letter Dos and Don’ts

You have found the job of your dreams, researched the role and the company and perfected your CV. Wait, and you still have to write your cover letter, right? Yes you do!

Do not underestimate the importance of the cover letter, it works simultaneously with your CV to reflect and highlight the skills you have outlined.

A well written cover letter will help you to stand out and increase your chances of the recruitment manager remembering you.

We know how daunting application writing can be, so we are sharing our top dos and don’ts.

Do:

  • Research the role and the company before you start writing
  • Have a clear structure; use paragraphs and an easy to read font
  • Have an opening sentence with a positive tone that also signals that you are applying for this specific role `I am writing to apply for….’
  • Highlight why you are interested in the role, and what is attractive about the company
  • Let them know why they should interview you by summarising your strengths and skills that make you the best candidate to do that job
  • Your skills and strengths should be tailored to the requirements and objectives set out in the job description
  • Emphasise what you can do for the company, you can outline a career goal that meets with the company’s objectives or expand on the key skills in your CV
  • Thank the employer for their time and that you look forward to hearing from them
  • If you start with `Dear name’ you should end with `yours sincerely’ and if you start with `Dear Sir/Madam’ you should end with `yours faithfully’.
  • Check your spelling and grammar not once, but twice or three times  

Don’t:

  • Send a generic, untailored cover letter
  • Write more than one page. The aim of a cover letter is to summarise concisely why you are applying for the role, why you are the right candidate for the job and why you want to join the organisation
  • Use creative fonts, colours, abbreviations
  • Include unnecessary personal information or skills/qualifications not specific to the job
  • Include your salary preferences or requirements unless asked by the employer
  • Generalise or be too casual in tone. Instead be specific in how you have excelled in previous roles
  • Write without having researched the company and what your role involves
  • Send your cover letter without checking you have addressed it to the right company and contact

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Ten Things you should never say in an Interview

Ten Things

Interviews can be scary and sometimes we say things which we really shouldn’t! Here are ten things you should never say in an interview.

  1.  ‘I don’t know – If you don’t know the answer to a question ask them to re-phrase it. ‘I don’t understand’ is ten times better than ‘I don’t know’. If the question they ask is something like ‘Where do you see yourself in five years’ time’ definitely don’t say ‘I don’t know!’ Talk about your career plan, your ideal future, anything but ‘I don’t know.’
  2. I hate my old boss! – Imagine how this looks to a prospective new boss. Answer: not good. It’s not the right attitude and it isn’t the right etiquette for an interview. No matter the circumstances with regards to the parting of the ways, you should never bad-mouth professionals to other professionals, particularly in interviews!
  3. ‘What is your sick leave and absence policy? – This is a worrying thing for an interviewer to hear. If you’re asking about time off before you’ve got the job then why employ you in the first place? If you have a long-term illness or an unwell family member/friend under your care, then by all means let the employee know, if they need too, but never ask about sick/absence policy during an interview.
  4. What does your company do?’ – Not only does this show poor preparation it also shows lack of interest. If an interviewer has one job and five applicants, and you ask this question then they are not going to employ you. Even if you have the best CV. Understanding your prospective role in a company and having knowledge of the company itself is crucial to surviving in a job, not to mention an interview. You should always prepare for an interview by looking at the company’s website and the job description given!
    Interviews
  5. I just want a job!’ – Many of us have been in that situation when all you want is a job or a change of scene, but saying this in an interview is unsuitable and off-putting. It will make the interviewer doubt whether you are there because you are genuinely interested in the position, or if you are simply trying to earn a wage.
  6. *BEEP* – Don’t swear! It will make you come across as aggressive, rude and inappropriate. You’ll put off your interviewer and may well end the interview early, depending on the severity of the language and the context it is in.
  7. Where did you get your shoes?!’ – There is a time and place for questions and compliments like this – the interview room is not one of them! It is distracting and inappropriate, and if shoes (or other physical attributes) are the first thing on your mind when you enter an interview then you won’t come across as professional or good candidate material.
  8. No, I don’t have any questions – This shows a lack of interest! If the interviewer has been incredibly thorough throughout the interview, or your mind goes blank from an information overload, ask them to repeat something – the wage range, what training is offered, who you will report to etc. It shows regard whereas simply asking nothing will bring the interview to an abrupt end, and it can quickly become awkward with you coming across as disinterested. Not the lasting impression you want.
  9. I’m Motivated, Reliable, Organised, Creative & Intuitive’ – Never say just these 5 things when asked ‘Describe yourself in 5 (+/-) words’, they are over-used and almost always a cover for not knowing how to answer. Instead of these use less-used or more exciting adjectives like: ambitious, punctual, honest, confident, diligent…among others. Stand out from the crowd and mean what you say!
  10. So when do I start?’ – Be confident Yes! Arrogant no!

For more tips about jobs and interviews make sure you follow Atwood Tate on all our social media: @AtwoodTate, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn! 

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