Maximising your tools can save you time and increase your skills and confidence.
Why maximise our tools?
There are many tools we use in life and in our work and not all save us time. Maximising your tools can assist you to:-
Have confidence in your personal and professional life
Increase your return on investment
You wont have to work so hard to achieve the same level of quality and/or quantity of work
It is easier to improve the quality and/or quantity of work or output
Tools we can maximise?
Tools of the trade – a hairdresser has combs, scissors, curlers/rollers, hair dyes, etc,; a painter has paints, brushes and finishing implements
Lifestyle Tools – mobile phones, DVD players, video Cameras, Ipad
Hobby Tools – someone knitting has knitting needles and yarns; someone doing woodcraft has chisels, sand paper, lathes, etc
Technology Tools – computers, software, electronic sensors, etc
How to maximise our tools?
Read the manual
Read guides and instructions written by someone who has mastered the tool and is a leading knowledge in that area
Participate in a basic and / or intermediate course that is hands on using the tool and that is ongoing until you have learnt all there is to learn about that tool and you are not learning anything new
Find tutorials on the internet that can assist you to master that tool with practical examples and exercises - videos or documents
Participate in a users group for that tool. The manufacturers of your Tools of Trade and Technology Tools can often point you to user groups and guides that may be of great value, they should also be able to tell you of people near you who have mastered that tool.
Which tools to maximise first?
Start with the tool you use most, then progress through your tools in this way, then move to those that you are least confident with. Work with each tool in this way until you have mastered all your tools of trade.
As most of us know from your own experience, at times ideas and information comes flooding in to our already busy and loaded minds. This may make us feel overloaded, overwhelmed and maybe even unable to cope, sometimes. What can we do to relieve ourselves from these feelings and pressure and still receive new ideas?There are a number of strategies we can employ or utilise to organise our thoughts and improve the use of our time, in the long term. All strategies involve writing notes in some form, writing and reading it back to ourselves is important because it helps to clarify what we are thinking and meaning, it also organises our thoughts logically. One of the benefits of organising your thoughts is that it allows you to plan more efficiently. Creatively it can expand or add depth to ideas, opening the power of the mind to association and imagination, potential.
Buy a couple of A6 (half A5) notebooks with coloured covers, have one colour for your personal life and another for your business. If you have more than one business have a different colour for each.
Buy a pack of post-it tabs, with a few different coloured tabs
Think about the different areas of your personal life and mark off different sections of the notebook for each area (if necessary make a note in the front of the notebook as to which colour tab is used for each area of your life). The different areas you may like to include are:– family (you may even have one for each member – partner, child 1, child 2, parents, in-laws); finances; social; health; hobbies; spiritual/ religion; goals/dreams; self
Think about the different areas of your business and mark off different sections of the notebook for each area (make a note in the front of the notebook as for mentioned above). The different areas you may like to include are:– financial; promotion/marketing/ advertising; products/services; business planning/growth; website; customers; suppliers; outsourcing; goals/dreams; networks; administration; miscellaneous
Keep these notebooks handy, somewhere you spend a lot of time, but is not in your way
Each time you get a thought of any kind that you cannot action or give complete attention to immediately, no matter how minor or silly it may seem, write it in your notebook in the related section. Write each new topic, idea or action on a new page. Write as much detail as you can and in point form
Each time you get more parts of the picture of your dreams or details add them to the notes you have already made
Each week go through your notebooks and pick one item from each. Make detailed notes and plans to put them into to action and complete them that week. When you have completed each item write the date on the relevant page in your notebook
When you have completed an item you could even photocopy the relevant page in your notebook, take some photos of the results and compile them in an achievements book for that year. This is a great idea to see what you have achieved for the year and for kids to understand they can achieve anything, it also sets examples/proof that goals and dreams are achievable, no matter what. It is also useful if are intending to write a book in the future or create a legacy that will outlive you
With electronic tools you can even do this now with mobile applications such as Evernote, OneNote, Adler Notes.
2. Mind Mapping
Have a large piece of A4 (or bigger) and many various coloured textas ready. Colour is important because it adds vibrancy and keeps your mind energetic and active
Place a picture or keyword in a circle in the centre of the page, this allows your brain to be creative and free in any direction. Pictures work much better than words because it says more than a keyword can
Connect the main areas of your topic to the central circle with curved lines. Subtopics are then connected to the topics or next level of detail, and so on. Curved lines are more organic and relax the mindThen when you are ready to plan and action each level, starting at the outside of your map, add detail to it.
With electronic tools you can even do this now with applications such as Mind...