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How to Know If You’ve Been Productive This Year

Plus more tips for print pros as the holidays approach.




Give Back Locally

“A core principle of our company has been, from the start, to work with a spirit of generosity. That generosity can take the form of donating time, talent, and treasure for worthy community charities and nonprofits,” says Mary Smith, CEO, operations manager, ImageSmith Communications. “Being generous in the community with your expertise builds goodwill, and, perhaps more importantly, establishes your authority and skillfulness in your field.”

The Truest Test

If you think you’re being productive and making progress, author and management guru Tom Peters suggests you ask yourself a question: “What have I done this year?” Answering that question succinctly puts the focus on your big achievements – or lack thereof – over the past year.

What to do When Disaster Strikes

“Don’t wait for your insurance company or government support,” says Susan Otterson, president of ABL Imaging. ABL was covered in six feet of water, which destroyed their equipment, products, and building during the Calgary floods in 2013. “Do what you have to do, do what you do best, rebuild your business, and make it better than before.”

Repair Your Relationships

If you’re renovating, Entrepreneur magazine’s “Ultimate Small Business Marketing Guide” says you shouldn’t forget about the impact of your project on your neighbors. Drop off cards that read “Pardon our mess and thanks for understanding!” Cookies help, too.


Shorten Your Years

Consultants Brian Moran and Michael Lennington aren’t big believers in the value of a year, at least when it comes to setting goals. A year’s too big to get your head around, they argue in their book The 12-Week Year, and there’s too much unpredictability involved in planning for 10 or 11 months in the future. In its place, they advocate dividing your year into quarters, and to think of each 12 weeks as a stand-alone “year” – a stretch long enough to make significant progress on a few fronts, yet short enough to stay focused.

Get a Three-Month Review

From Seth Godin’s The Big Moo: Do what entrepreneurial hotelier Chip Conley does at his Joie de Vivre hotels. Make it a habit to sit down with your new hires at about the three-month point. But don’t give them a performance review – have them give your operation a performance review. After three months, their eyes are still fresh enough that they’ll be able to see things you’re missing. And they’ll have been on the job long enough to know how things work. Chances are good that they’ll have a few great ideas to contribute, Godin says.



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