The Cornucopian ~ Bountiful Ideas in Modern Marketing and Design News | In This Issue: Transform Your Desktop | Good Reads
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Good Reads

"R" is for Random Reading Material, as I review a wide variety of blogs and articles online, from writing tips to design and business ideas. There's something here for you:
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Need serious help with office or home organization? Nancy Lochmann is local here in Napa. She has a dynamite newsletter packed with great tips for business and home organization. (Of course, if you need a serious closet organizer, you'll have to call me for help with that one. I have too many connections to list them all here!)
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Colin Harman asks "How Would You Like Your Graphic Design?" in this quick infographic that perfectly summarizes not only what you'd get when you hire me or any other designer, but it is also a perfect representation of the Magic Purchasing Triangle. 30 seconds will tell you everything you need to know.
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Here is yet another perfect infographic. This time it's Stairway to Brand Heaven and Hell. (Which staircase are you on?)
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Are you a student of success, an entrepreneur? You may find these short, Forbes' photo and caption anecdotes on The Greatest Risk They Ever Took fascinating. Warning: You must put up with the commercial on the landing page and probably have to scroll down slightly afterwards to see the headline of the story.
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I often look at showcased logos with great envy. ("Why didn't I come up with that?!") Here are 35 Great Geological or Eco-Friendly Logos starting with Eco Boy. (Take a look!)
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Have you ever suffered from PowerPoint disasters? Too much detail? Run-on sentences? Goofy fonts? With a nod to my friend Geni Whitehouse, who does NOT produce boring PowerPoint presentations, check out Life After Death by PowerPoint for a good chuckle.
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Are you a worrier? Do you get caught up in negative workplace politics? Are you afraid your work just isn't good enough? Good news: you can rewire your brain to stay focused on the positives. Check out Wired for Winning.
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Do you ever turn a product or company name over and over in your head, trying to decide if it's the right name? Nancy Friedman offers practical, simple advice in How to Evaluate a Corporate or Product Name.
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We all know that large, clear product photos go a long way towards selling the product. What you may not have known is that Vivid Print Ads can actually alter your memories. Researchers showed different groups of participants ads for popcorn. A week later, those who had viewed the ad but not been given samples were as likely to indicate they'd tried the product as those who were given actual samples of the popcorn but not seen the ads. (Invest in good product photos!)
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Have you proofread every page, every word on your website? Can a typo or spelling error cost you customers or sales? Oh, yes! Editorial Emergency takes a look at gaffes that could do serious harm to your bottom line.
Marcia Macomber Photo
Marcia Macomber is Creator-in-Chief at Cornucopia Creations, where she toils daily to maintain the well-ordered desktop. Fortunately, this takes up only a teeny-tiny amount of time, as she'd rather be writing for her clients or creating product artwork. While there's no profit in the clean desk, it may lead to a 'clean' marketing message or 'clean' campaign strategy. In The Cornucopian, Marcia cleans up on current marketing insights, tips and funny stories for you! 

Transform Your Desktop

My Desk in August!
“The desk of the average white collar worker holds 36 hours of uncompleted work. That desk's occupant spends 3 hours per week sorting piles to find and organize the projects being worked upon.”
From The Overload Syndrome, by Richard Swenson

Productivity starts with a well-ordered desk for me. (No, it doesn’t start with a glass of champagne. I’ll get to that in a minute!)

The glass of inexpensive Veuve de Vernay (on a Sunday afternoon) was my reward for not only getting my desk in order, but also for getting all my filing completed and the remainder of the office put in order. (And it’s stayed that way!)

DeCluttering My Brain

If my office is cluttered with piles of papers and files everywhere, you can bet my brain is cluttered too. For me, there is a direct correlation between what you see around me and how my head is functioning. (Those who know me well, please, hold your sniggers until the end.)

Is my office pristine all the time? Of course not! Things get away from me from time to time. Life intervenes!

I can function with a cluttered office, but it’s like my old Camry—the valves and cylinders often weren’t firing properly. It’s low-level functioning.

I make every attempt to maintain order. I get better and better at it all the time.

Below is my current strategy for maintaining order. Perhaps one of these may strike a nerve with you that would help your organizational skills and productivity.

Discovering Your Real Desktop

(Not your desktop computer – your real desktop.)
  1. Maintain your desktop as paper-free as possible.
  2. Re-file client files as soon as you’re finished with them. Don’t let a stack build throughout the day. Then you’ll blow it off to re-file at the end of the day.
  3. If in use daily, I keep my current account papers in folders stored on top of my desk (right of the monitor, above photo).
  4. Short on sorting and filing time? (It happens!) Shove them all together and make one or more neat stacks to deal with later. Whatever you do, don’t leave your desk looking like a tornado just blew through!
  5. Straightening up your office and desk at the end of the day will give you the feeling that you finished all the necessary tasks of the day (whether or not you really got them all done!) Start and end each day with a fresh desk for best results in your productivity.

Creating Better Paper Management

So much for computer files eliminating paper ones. In fact, paper consumption has increased dramatically since the advent of the PC. My method of coping:
  1. Create new client files as soon as I have one piece of paper for them.
  2. Often it’s just handwritten notes on a pad. If I anticipate lots of notes and/or client meetings, the pad gets filed with the client file too.
  3. Don’t wait to print file labels for a folder. Write the file folder names on the tabs immediately; print formal labels later when you can and paste them over the handwritten names.
  4. Stash 'hot' files in the aforementioned dividers on the desktop for quick reference. If that client phones, I want to be able to quickly grab her info and comment from my notes.
  5. Set aside time monthly, quarterly or semi-annually (whatever works best for you) to re-organize and cull files. Many may be ready for the circular file. Many may be archived and moved to storage. Clear away the clutter!


Prioritizing Business Goals and Tasks

Currently I’m using Chris Brogan’s daily goals management system.  It’s his approach to organizing his business:
  1. Work on long-term goals first. Block out 20 minutes or an hour for that ebook or seminar you’re creating. Maybe it's planning out how you'll open 3 more stores.
  2. Next, work on important stuff. (Sounds silly that way, eh?) Again, this may also be part of long-term goals you are implementing. You may be planning to roll out a new product line or service in two months. Get ready! Chip away at the tasks you need to do in order to launch your next big thing. This may be an activity with team members.
  3. Do your urgent tasks, which could include deadline projects for clients or yourself. It may be as simple as calling to secure an appointment with a prospect. For me, it's often making the press deadline that afternoon.
  4. Finally, take care of maintenance tasks. For some sole proprietors, this could translate to inputting billing or receipts in your accounting software. (My favorite! Not!) Or, maybe you need to allow an extra 10 minutes at the end of the day to re-file and organize your desk. (See those ‘clean desktop’ suggestions above.)
By the way, I printed out “1. Long term goals  2. Important Projects  3. Urgent Tasks  4. Maintenance Tasks” and cut them out and taped them to the top of my monitor. I see them ALL THE TIME as a reminder to stay on track.

Triumph Over Technology

Technology is simply a tool for accomplishing our business and personal goals. It shouldn't run your life. It works for you, remember? Not the other way around.

Turn off audio notifications when needed for incoming email, Tweetdeck, text messages, phone rings and colleagues walking into your office so you can think! We all have too many digital interruptions in our daily lives now. Shut them out to get concentrated blocks of time to accomplish your most important work.

The beauty of digital technology is that it will all be there later. As Chris Brogan says, "Email is a system that delivers other people’s priorities to your attention."

Friend, stick to your priorities first!

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