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Change Your Phone Display to Grayscale, and 6 More Tips for Print Pros This Spring

It’s a little-known hack for breaking your phone’s hold on you.




MANAGEMENT Ask This Question

According to management guru Peter Drucker, this is the one question that will trigger more improvement than any other in your staff: What do I do that wastes your time without contributing to your effectiveness? “Ask it without coyness,” he urges.

PRODUCTIVITY Use “Will-Do” Not “To-Do” Lists

When trying a new business venture, always try the wackier, quirkier stuff first, says Jason Fried, founder and CEO of Basecamp and author of the business bestseller Getting Real. “The deeper you get into a project, the more conservative it tends to get. Stranger ideas are more at home earlier in the process,” he recently wrote on his Twitter feed.

SOCIAL MEDIA Plan Ahead for Pinterest

Something most people forget about Pinterest is that it’s essentially a search engine, so if you‘re pinning things you want people to see right now, you’ve left it too late. A better approach is to plan and pin two months ahead of time for holiday graphics, for example. It takes time to build rank and credibility as users search for fashion and style information.

MEETINGS Hold Your Piece

According to business consultant Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, the typical business meeting follows this pattern: The manager outlines the problem, says what he thinks, and then asks staff for opinions. But by then it’s too late, Sinek says. The direction of the discussion has already been set. The ability to hold your opinions has two benefits, he says. “One, it gives everyone else the feeling they have been heard. And two, you get the benefit of getting to hear what everybody has to think before you render your opinion. Simply sit there, take it all in. The only thing you’re allowed to do is to ask questions. And at the end, you will get your turn.”


MANAGEMENT Keep It Positive By 5 to 1

We all know employees are more motivated by positive feedback than by negative comments. But we never knew the proper ratio for parceling out praise and punishment – until Tom Rath and Donald Clifton spelled it out in their book, How Full Is Your Bucket? They say the optimum ratio is five positive comments to every negative one. But don’t overdo it: Increasing the ratio to 13 positive comments to every negative one does more harm than good.

HABITS Every Day, Getting Better and Better

If you’re still scratching around for a guiding principle for 2023, consider this one from Gretchin Ruhin, author of the bestselling The Happiness Project: “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” That applies not only to the life’s work you build daily, but also how you spend your money. Do you need that huge SUV if you only ever drive to work and home?


Worried your relationship with your phone is less than healthy? Switch your display from color to grayscale, recommends Catherine Price in her book How To Break Up With Your Phone. (This is apparently so threatening to phone makers’ addiction business model, it’s hidden five levels deep on the iPhone: go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filters.) Instantly, your phone is vastly duller. Try it for a day.


TRY MORE, PLAN LESS Get A Taste of New Fields

Working out what you want to do with your life, or with your business for that matter, seems to be something that should be settled in college or at a young time in your shop’s life. But executive director of Stanford’s hugely popular design program, Bill Burnett, says it’s actually a question you will be asking yourself over and over again, right up until you’re in your 60s or older: What do I want for an encore career? What do I want to be doing in 10 years? “Our best advice is don’t try to plan your life – prototype,” Burnett says, recommending instead that you get out there and start doing things, talking to people in parts of the wide-format digital print industry who interest you, and volunteering to do stuff for people as a way to get a taste of new fields. “Planning doesn’t work. Trying stuff does,” he says.



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