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Give It 20! Or, How to Jump-Start Any Project.

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 by Lucy A.

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February is the month where winter goes to die. Sparkling, soft snow has dwindled into gray, crusty blobs, and weary people trudge through their days with little, personal clouds hovering overhead. Gone is that rush of energy delivered in New Year’s happy grasp. It takes all we have to finish that white paper, let alone take on the PowerPoint presentation for that looming spring conference. And forget self care! Pass the double stuffs and Buzzfeed!

But this year was different.
Oh, yes. This year? I found the solution.

Give it 20!

I’ve discovered that 20 minutes is just enough time to get things done, but not so much of a commitment as to be overwhelming. I can do anything for 20 minutes. And I can limit myself to 20 minutes. And so can you.

Take a notebook and carve your day into 20-minute intervals (with a few minutes in between for transitions). Then assign these intervals to your desired—or dreaded but unavoidable—tasks. And pull out your stopwatch app.

  • Give those projects 20: Commit 20 minutes to those work projects, and little by little they won’t seem so daunting. After a few minutes, you’ll probably be so engaged with that case study that the time just flies by—and by all means, cluster the 20-minutes slices if you’re on a roll. 
  • Give your body 20: Throw on a coat and get out and walk for 20. If you work at home, a short YouTube fitness video will give you an extra burst of energy. And for something soothing, 20 minutes of yoga will bring you back to your center while giving your body a good stretch.
  • Give your spirt 20: Meditating for 20 minutes is bearable for even the beginner. And Harvard studies have proven that daily meditation—no matter how brief—is nothing but healthy for the brain.
  • Give your home 20: Pop in your earbuds, hit play on a podcast, and focus on one area for 20 minutes. You’ll get the satisfaction of visibly completing something, and you’ll chip away at the dreary prospect of an all-day clean.
  • Give your creativity 20: Always wanted to write a book? Paint a portrait? Commit to it for 20 minutes a day, and see where it takes you. You may find yourself wanting to go longer—don’t! Limit yourself and you’ll be dying to get back to it the next day.
  • Limit yourself to 20: Play time  and zoning out is important for productivity and general happiness—but falling down the internet / gaming / YouTube rabbit hole can also lead to depression and a decrease in output. I’ve found that playing for 20 minutes is satisfying enough, while removing the rabbit-hole guilt. You can even try limiting your email periods to 20 minutes, and see how efficient you can become.

And remember—if you’re stuck and need some help, the Content Bureau is always here for you every month of the year. Got any productivity ideas you’d like to share with us? Leave us a comment—but don’t spend more than 20 on it!

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How to Write an Award-Winning Tagline

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 by Laurel

Part three of a three-part series. One of the most fun categories to judge at the 2016 LIA Awards was taglines (endlines). This was because—as we say in the naming biz—we had seven words rather than seven letters to play with and consider! The taglines we reviewed were mostly from advertising campaigns, both print and […]

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The Best Valentine’s Day Blog Posts of All Time

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017 by Stacy

As you might guess from looking at our website, or my stationery collection, or my closet—freakishly awash in red and pink, with a dash of metallic glitter—Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday. This giant painting in my home office sets the tone for my entire life. If there is one word I would have tattooed […]

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Words to Watch: The Stocking-Size Style Guide

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016 by Dave

We love creating editorial style guides and brand guidelines because they can help a company to produce more effective content for years. These references can be especially helpful for people in your organization who produce content but don’t count writing as a core skill. But not all companies want or need a comprehensive new guide. […]

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Copy Blocks: Really, What Can’t They Do?

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 by Lisa S.

At the Content Bureau, we produce a lot of marketing assets. A few are crucial but short-lived one-offs, for events or other special occasions. Most—like web copy, case studies, and infographics—are designed to serve your business for much longer, in a variety of situations. And then there are copy blocks. As the name implies, they’re […]

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How to Write Award-Winning Copy

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 by Laurel

Part two of a three-part series. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was recently invited to join the judges of the Verbal Identity panel of the 2016 LIA Awards. Now that the LIA winners for Verbal Identity have been announced, we can examine why those Gold and Silver winners took the honors. I […]

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Why the Best Bylined Articles Are a Team Effort

Friday, November 18th, 2016 by Chris

I’ve never liked pure “ghostwriting”—that is, writing all of the words under someone else’s name without any input from the person who’s actually taking the credit. I’m not annoyed that I don’t share the spotlight. I just think that writing falls flat when there’s no authentic input from the “author.” This is especially true when […]

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How to Enter Your Work in an Industry Contest

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 by Laurel

Recently, I was honored to be included as a judge on the Verbal Identity Panel of the LIA Awards, held in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. Although the LIA has been rewarding excellence in advertising for 20 years, 2016 was the first year that Verbal Identity was added to the judging categories. I learned a lot over the course […]

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How to Create All Your Marketing Program Content At the Same Time (Quickly, Cost-Effectively, and with No Drama)

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016 by Stacy

Yes! This is possible! It’s all about bundling. Our clients—ambitious marketers at large B2B technology and financial services companies—tend to use us for the “hard stuff.” These days, the “hard stuff” isn’t just the long stuff, it’s a bundle of marketing program assets that work together to nurture our clients’ customers along the buyer’s journey. […]

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That would be fantastic!! Or: Why our emails have become so effusive

Thursday, October 20th, 2016 by Lisa S.

It starts innocently enough:           Thanks so much for sending.           I’d love to set up a call for later this week!           Wow—that would be great! But then we find ourselves writing lines like this:           I’m really […]

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