productivity

Overwhelm? Strategies to Overcome!

We’ve all felt it - this time of year can be simultaneously wonderful and stressful. Between wrapping up presents and wrapping up projects, planning parties and planning the next year’s strategies, it’s not hard to slip down the slope of feeling overwhelmed.

This exact thing happened to me last night, and I found myself worked up and worried I was missing important to-dos.

I wanted to share with you a few of the strategies I used last night, and a few more that you can mix and match to overcome that feeling of overwhelm, so you can focus on the slippery snowboard/ski/sledding slope instead.

  • Write down everything you’re stressed about or that’s floating around in your mind. Work, personal life, projects, people to call, gifts to give. You can sort it into categories if you want to, or just go for it and get everything down. Often seeing it on paper shows me there’s less going on than I think before I start writing, or some of it isn’t as big a deal as I’ve been making it in my head.

  • Next, write down everything you’re appreciative of or thankful for. Again, just start somewhere and write until you’ve gotten everything out you can possibly think of to be grateful for. I find that when I take a moment to appreciate all of the amazing things that are happening, whether it’s the fact that my heart beats without me having to think about it or for someone who did something unexpectedly kind, this practice is a powerful tool to shift my entire energy. I might even do a little abunDANCE.

  • Now that you’re feeling clear about exactly what’s on your plate and you’re feeling pretty great about this crazy thing we call life, you can come back to that list. I like to pick three things that are priorities and I can work on right now.

  • Set a timer and crank! Length depends, but I like to focus for 42 minutes, then take a break for 18 minutes - here’s a post about my strategy for using the timer and a couple other favorite productivity tools.

  • Walk away (then come back). Sometimes after making a list of everything I’ve got going on, I need to step away and clear my mind. Exercising, stretching, watering plants, meditating, whatever to get yourself in a physically new space to be able to let go for a bit. Then, once the mind is refreshed, coming back and making a plan of attack is a little easier.

  • Finally, be kind to yourself. You’re human, and a damn fine one at that. You work hard, but remember also to give yourself time to refresh. You’re generous with others, so do yourself the favor of being generous with yourself too.

conversketch_abun-dance

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

  On Vacation!  I took last week completely off and spent time with my partner and family. :D

On Vacation! I took last week completely off and spent time with my partner and family. :D

  In the Studio:  Filming a  video  about enjoying our national parks safely in hot weather.

In the Studio: Filming a video about enjoying our national parks safely in hot weather.

How to Explain the Value of the Graphic Recorder to the Folks Making the $$$ Decisions

Are you planning an event that you think could use some graphic recording, but the decision isn’t up to just you? Here’s a few ways you can help your team or leadership understand why it’s a great idea to get visual.

Start Planning Early: We all know there’s a million ways to spend an event budget. Make sure to reach out to your visual partner early on so you can be sure to have engaging, thought-provoking visuals to support your group!

Thought Partner: Find a visual practitioner who can help you understand your options about what’s possible and will help you craft custom elements and even processes that will make the most of your time together.

Science Rules: Graphic recording and facilitation isn’t just mesmerizing and fun, there’s a heap of science behind why it works! For example, did you know that the brain processes a visual 60,000 times faster than text (Semetko & Scammell, 2012)? Here’s a blog I wrote about the science behind graphic recording. And here’s a list of my favorite resources online and published, and if you want to geek out even more, ask me about my master’s thesis work around using graphic recording to help communicate complex science.

Money Matters: …and not just the operating budget for the event. Think of the value of the time (and salary!) of each person in the room. Why WOULDN’T you pull in someone who can help you make the most of your participants’ time? Bringing in a graphic facilitator to design a custom-tailored process or capture content visually can support your people as they make connections more quickly, think big, and collaboratively!

learn-to-draw-cash-money-graphic-recording-conversketch

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Now you’ve got ‘em all convinced, let’s talk about your event!

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

  Boulder:  Working with startups and seasoned executives in the optics business to co-create and brainstorm ways to foster success on the leading edge of the industry. Thanks to  Sanitas Advisors  for the photo!

Boulder: Working with startups and seasoned executives in the optics business to co-create and brainstorm ways to foster success on the leading edge of the industry. Thanks to Sanitas Advisors for the photo!

  Windsor:  Supporting the Town Board and municipal leadership as they envision and plan for their future!

Windsor: Supporting the Town Board and municipal leadership as they envision and plan for their future!

We Had A Kickass Retreat. Now What Do We Do with Those Drawings?

You pulled it off.

The right people in the room, excellent process design, a location that stimulated creativity and collaboration, excellent food. You even had a graphic recorder visually capture the conversations for you, which captivated participants and helped them see connections and build ownership of the ideas generated. The retreat. Was. Amazing. Everyone left feeling energized, with clear direction and shared understanding about where you’re headed and why.

Now what?

Aside from a cold beverage to celebrate pulling off such a stellar event, you know that you’ve got to figure out a way to keep participants motivated and energized after the retreat. How can you make sure they don’t get distracted with the day-to-day urgency of their work, and are able to keep the clear vision and energy front-of-mind?

Lucky for you, when the retreat is over, my job isn’t. The visual charts that are created are incredibly useful during, and also after the event. That’s why I create a custom list of suggestions to use the charts after the event, tailored to each of my clients’ needs and goals.  

And today I’m going to give you a sneak peek into what goes into them. A huge shout out to Lisa Arora for the framework I’m about to share.

4 P's of using a graphic recording chart after the event

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Want to get more ideas for how to use your charts after an event? Let’s put your visual meeting notes into action for your organization!

Cheers!

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

 In the Studio: Filming videos for the National Park Service and US Forest Service about climate change and wildfire risk planning. Things are heating up around here!

In the Studio: Filming videos for the National Park Service and US Forest Service about climate change and wildfire risk planning. Things are heating up around here!

 Albuquerque: To graphic record for a women’s health mentorship program. Looking forward to  cactus  and desert vibes.

Albuquerque: To graphic record for a women’s health mentorship program. Looking forward to cactus and desert vibes.

Analog or Digital? How to Use Your Tools for Focused Creativity

Hey!

Have you ever noticed sometimes it’s just easier to be creative with specific supplies? What I mean is, have you ever tried starting a project on the computer, but it just hasn’t made sense until you picked up a pencil and started sketching or writing by hand?

Last week I learned about a podcast called “Hurry Slowly from Jocelyn K. Glei. When I saw one of the episodes was an interview with Austin Kleon, I had to listen.

The whole 45-minute conversation is worth a listen if you find yourself interested in art, creative process, the role of movement in creativity, and design. If, however, you only have a few moments and I’m lucky to have gotten you to even open this email, here’s a quote that eloquently summarizes the phenomenon I mentioned up there at the top:

“The notebook is the place where you figure out what’s going on inside you or what’s rattling around. And then, the keyboard is the place that you go to tell people about it.”

How do you think best? What sparks your creative flow? What tools do you use that really bring you to a space that facilitates joyful creation?

For me, it’s a handful of markers and a massive sheet of paper. The large scale helps me feel open to make connections and include all the ideas floating around, make connections, then pick the direction I want to focus in on.

What about you?

conversketch-learn-to-draw-a-pencil

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Need a couple of helping hands (and markers) to get your creative process flowing? Let’s talk about your ideas.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

  New Mexico  - Two weeks ago I graphic recorded for the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force. Healthcare professionals from clinics and hospitals around the state shared about how to support new moms and babies to be healthy starting from that very first hour.

New Mexico - Two weeks ago I graphic recorded for the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force. Healthcare professionals from clinics and hospitals around the state shared about how to support new moms and babies to be healthy starting from that very first hour.

  Vacation Time!  I took last week almost entirely off and enjoyed hot sprints, mountain biking, and thanksgiving with loved ones.

Vacation Time! I took last week almost entirely off and enjoyed hot sprints, mountain biking, and thanksgiving with loved ones.

Annual Gratitude Shower of Goodness

Hi Blog Readers,

I am SO GRATEFUL you're here!

This is one of my favorite posts to write, because if there’s one thing I know, it’s that having an Attitude of Gratitude makes life absolutely splendid (also, if you click that link you can learn to draw a turkey!).

Time and again, when I’m focused on appreciating, that’s when I tend to attract exactly what I need. And the more I practice being grateful, the more I want to give!

There are a limitless number of ways you can cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude. Sometimes I make a list (love those), sometimes Spencer and I will go back and forth sharing things we’re grateful for when on a long drive, and sometimes I think about it when I’m exercising or painting.

This year, I want to give you a little Gratitude Doodle. You can write, draw, doodle, leave it blank and just think about what you’re grateful for… this downloadable image is for you (right click, save and print!)!

conversketch-gratitude-visual-fun-sheet

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Want to thank your people? Let’s talk about how to use visuals to create meaningful gifts for speakers, employees, bosses, and more!

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

The Studio

This week and last have been full of a big studio project for Colorado State University’s new Women and Philanthropy initiative. I’ve been listening to focus groups of women of different generations (Traditionalists to Generation Z) and capturing them visually. These illustrations will be used to show themes and inform the University about how women want to give back!

New Mexico

Today I’m headed to Albuquerque to graphic record for the New Mexico Breastfeeding Taskforce Summit – they’re all about providing resources to hospitals, clinics and other healthcare hubs to support breastfeeding mothers.

Avoid this Meeting Pitfall

When everyone is in favor…it’s almost certain there’s confusion over what’s being decided.
— Seth Godin

This quote is the epitome of Seth Godin’s wisdom: pithy, accurate and makes sure to jump-start the reader into critical thinking. It encapsulates a common pitfall for meeting facilitators and organizers: jumping on consensus as full agreement within a group. It’s easy to ride the feel-good wave. It’s easy to take that and move on. However, it’s likely whatever is being decided on will not sustain itself long-term if it’s only buoyed by false agreement.

This is why it’s so important to repeat the goals of the day or activity multiple times. This is why it’s important to take time to cultivate an environment where it’s okay to be vulnerable or to disagree (with curiosity rather than hostility, thank you very much CPD!).

And all this is why bringing in a facilitator can make all the difference in the world when you’ve put resources into bringing your best and brightest into the room for the day, or even the hour. Having someone who asks the potentially uncomfortable questions, who takes a step back and clarifies what’s being decided, is exceptionally valuable.

conversketch-learn-to-draw-confused-face

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Bringing your people together for an important meeting? Let’s talk about how to avoid this pitfall and make some real decisions.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

 AARP  Yep, you read that right! I had the pleasure of capturing stories from volunteers with the AARP at the Denver Botanic Gardens this week. I loved drawing their stories before their eyes and seeing faces light up when they recognized their sketch!

AARP

Yep, you read that right! I had the pleasure of capturing stories from volunteers with the AARP at the Denver Botanic Gardens this week. I loved drawing their stories before their eyes and seeing faces light up when they recognized their sketch!

 In the Studio:  Editing a video about Fire Adapted Communities, Journey Mapping for an international corporation, and illustrating a holiday card for a local foundation! Since I don't photograph myself in the studio, here's a fun sketch I did for International Day of the Girl, celebrating adventures and mud puddles for girls everywhere!

In the Studio:

Editing a video about Fire Adapted Communities, Journey Mapping for an international corporation, and illustrating a holiday card for a local foundation! Since I don't photograph myself in the studio, here's a fun sketch I did for International Day of the Girl, celebrating adventures and mud puddles for girls everywhere!

How to Get the Most Out of Your Work Day

Last newsletter I shared my new Kickass Guide to Productivity tool with you. This week I want to give you the Guide Version 2 as well as my top tips for getting the most out of the tool (and therefore your day…and therefore your LIFE!).

Version Deux is a PDF you can fill out digitally so if printing and writing isn’t your thing, you’ve still got a way to use this Productivity Guide.

To go along with this tasty PDF Version, I also want to share 4 tips to get the most out of the tool.

Plan Ahead: Take 5 minutes at the end of your day to plan your next morning’s routine and at least one topic for your Focus Sessions. My expert tip: I have a PDF version saved with my morning routine, start time, and what I’m grateful for already filled out. Then I save it as a new version with the date and at least one Focus Session filled in.

Use A Timer: Simple but effective. If I don’t set a timer for my focus time or my break time, I lose track and the tool immediately loses its power for me. The concept of being hyper focused for a designated period of time and knowing I’ll get a break at the end is what makes this thing work so well. If you just keep working or lose track of time, pretty soon it’s 4:30 and you’re on Instagram again…

Keep a Scrap List Nearby: If you’re like me, the moment you sit down and start to get into a project, something “urgent” pops into your mind. Instead of gratifying the urge to take care of it and get that instant gratification you’re craving, jot it down on a scrap piece of paper and take care of it during a break or once you’ve completed 4 Focus Sessions.

And Finally…Iterate: And yes, I’m using a fancy buzzword to mean don’t be hard on yourself. If you find yourself getting distracted or not getting finished in the time you set for yourself, it’s okay. That’s what the bottom of the sheet is for, to reflect and think about how to improve…then do it! Make two Focus Sessions on the same project, or make it a longer Session next time.

If you want this tool RIGHT NOW, sign up for my newsletter and you'll get a secret link to download both versions of the Guide for free!

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

This week I’m back home working on video projects and supporting discussions on mental health for youth and children. But after a week in Las Vegas at ConEXPO, I wanted to share a graphic recording wall complete after a day talking with folks about solutions they’re seeking and trends they’re excited about in the industry.

Introducing...A Kickass Visual Guide to Productivity Just for You!

Happy Wednesday, people!

This week I’m delighted to share with you a productivity tool I’ve been working on and refining this year for a very special group of people. People who think critically and creatively, who care about others in their lives, and who want to make this world a better place through their unique gifts and contributions.

Yep, I’m talking about YOU!

As a creative freelancer, I’m my own boss. Which is phenomenal in many ways, but it does mean that nobody else is there to hold me accountable or be an accountability buddy. I mean, Moxie does try to help, but tends to lose interest or fall asleep when I try to get feedback from her.

So, as a result of working from a home office and having some very productive days, and some not-so-productive days, I’ve been checking out focus and time management tools from successful business people and beta testing them to see how they work for me.

One theme I’ve seen is that breaking work into chunks helps me stay focused. Just doing one project, even if it’s only for 15 minutes at a time, and writing down things that pop into my mind to take care of later, rather than jumping from task to task. Another is to take time to appreciate what you’re grateful for – whether or not it’s directly related to work or the project. Then there’s always the principle of learning from your mistakes – learning from what didn’t go as well as you’d hoped. But I’d take it one step further, and suggest that it’s also important to learn from what DID go well too, and do more of that! And finally, giving yourself time to relax and refresh between intense focused periods. For many people, taking some time to move around is an integral part of processing information and improving memory!

So this week I’m going to share with you a tool I’ve adapted from the work of other entrepreneurs and thought leaders and given a visual spin.

And I’d like to ask you a favor: Will you help me make it better? If you use this tool, will you let me know what you love and what you’d like to see changed to improve it? Iterative design, my friends…iterative design. And the collective brain power, experience and critical thinking of this group is exactly the ticket, I think!

*Right click to download!

 

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Currently: Las Vegas, Nevada for CONEXPO! I’m here with Gates Safety illustrating expo attendees’ big ideas, concerns and solutions…right before their eyes!

Gates Safety ConExpo Graphic Recording

I’m also tickled to share the newest Video from my studio. This one is for the CSU Alumni Association, and I’m proud to say it’s the first video I’ve produced from script to final edits!

Reflection & Vision - A Custom Tool to Help You Design Your Life

Hello and Happy Holidays friends!

I hope so far yours have been filled with laughter, light, and lots of merriment.

It’s wild to think that this will be the last email to you all in 2016. Last year at this time I wrote about the power of having a clear vision for the next year(s), and how I like to create a Vision Board each New Year. I’ll definitely be taking some time to be intentional, plan and set goals for 2017.

One thing we may not take enough time to do for ourselves is to look back and appreciate what we’ve accomplished. Making time to think about what I’ve done helps keep me energized. In the day-to-day, it’s easy to be caught up in what’s next, what didn’t get done, which graphic recording or video client I need to communicate with, what deadline is around the corner. It’s all important. And so is wrapping your head around what you’ve finished, nailed, achieved, sailed beyond, and rocked. Reflection can also be a time to learn from your year – things often go differently than we plan and sitting with and open mind and reflecting on what you’d do differently helps you improve and refine your work.

So go ahead, pour yourself some tea (or wine) and take some time to reflect on what you’re proud of in 2016, and visualize the year ahead. I’ve created this custom, printable template to help you get started, or feel free to create your own from scratch!

Right click then select download to save and print your own!

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Want to create a beautiful, visual plan of action for 2017 with your team? Click the button to find out how we can work together to create a vision and strategies that you'll actually want to look at every day.
 

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

As you read this, I’ll be on the first leg of a two-week trip to Samburu, Kenya. This will be my fifth time taking students from Colorado State University to a rural community where we’ll be helping Unity Women’s Village with whatever small building project they need, teaching in schools, listening to students’ stories who are attending high school through scholarships, and discussing conservation with young girls in the community. Mostly though, we’ll be learning, building relationships, and thinking about some of the world’s most intense challenges: poverty, access to health care, women’s rights, access to clean water, culture and technology, equality…the list goes on. We will have irregular internet access so thanks in advance for your patience until January 13. To keep friends and families in the loop, the students be posting stories and photos to this blog most days. Happy New Year!

A Simple Way to Keep from FALL-ing Off the Crushing It Train

We’re entering the last few months of 2016, and I want to encourage you to take a step back from the day-to-day grind for a moment and think about the bigger picture you have for this year.

For those of you who have been with me since last December, this is the perfect time to revisit your Vision Board, or whatever form you might have articulated your goals for the year. If you haven’t written or drawn anything so far, take a few minutes to write down a few goals, ideas, or projects you’d like to mark “Nailed It” when 2017 rolls around.

Now ask yourself:
- What have you completed that deserves celebration?
- What’s still on there you haven’t finished, or maybe even forgot about?
- Are these things still relevant?

Take an honest look -- it’s cool, you still have ¼ of the year left! -- and decide which of these things are your top 3 priorities. Then, whip out that calendar. What do you need to do to achieve these goals? By when? I strongly suggest writing something down or making actionable goals to Get. It. Done.

This is what this looks like for me: I have my vision board posted on the wall at my desk where I see it every day. To take action, I like writing down a running list of my graphic recording & other projects and goals on a whiteboard, also next to my desk. Above that, each evening I write my top 3 priorities for the next day. This helps me keep things organized, and I get to cross things off a list when I complete them. Ahem, like so:

And now, some autumn leaves to inspire seasonal doodles. For fun try using little leaves instead of normal bullet points.

Click on the image below to see the larger version.

If you liked this tip, please sign up for my email newsletter, and I'd be so grateful if you shared it with your friends using those handy links below!

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina



Need someone to help your team define shared goals...then actually move forward together? Click to get in touch about your next meeting or event that could use a touch of graphic recording magic.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

The US Fish & Wildlife Service is getting their story on. Here's one of many charts from the four day workshop at the end of September.