productivity tips

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!

Checking In With You

I'm facing a really nice conundrum here. I'm up to my eyes in projects: multiple videos, live graphic recording and facilitating events, and teaching a one credit facilitation workshop to graduate students at CSU.

Which means I need to take some of my own advice and prioritize to get stuff this email is short. I didn't want to leave you hanging, so I wanted to check in, let you know that I'm thinking about you all, and I'll be back in February with your regularly scheduled wit, wisdom and sketchiness. And this February in particular has some big stuff going on for ConverSketch, so stay tuned!

In the mean time, if you're looking for some new tunes to keep you groovin' and in the Productivity Zone, check out Radio Garden -- you can tune to any radio station worldwide and stream what they've got going on!

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

You're busy too. So let's make life easy and schedule a time to talk about your projects.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

This winter I had the honor of co-leading a volunteer trip to Kenya through Colorado State University's Alternative Breaks program. This was my fifth time in Samburu, Kenya and each time my heart overflows with appreciation, love, laughter and strength that just radiates from the women and youth at Unity Village and the surrounding community. Here I am with little Karina, who's about 3 now. Interested in learning how educating young women and men can change a community for the better? Ask me about the Samburu Youth Education Fund, a non-profit run for the community, by the community.

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. 

My Top 3 Tips to Rock Your Work Day in 2016

Hey there!
I don't know about you, but I'm feeling rejuvenated and energized for 2016. Yes, it seems like everyone is posting online about how kickass 2016 is going to be, how excited they are and what big plans they have in store for us.

You may be thinking along the lines of "Yes! I've been planning and 2016 is going to be spectacular for me too!" Or, you might find yourself wondering "How is everybody so brilliant and productive around the holidays? What will 2016 hold for me?"

If you feel like you're asking those questions, here's a post I wrote about the benefits and tips for creating a Vision Board. (Pssst! Just because it's not January 1 doesn't mean it's too late!)

To be honest, toward the end of 2015 I had a difficult time staying motivated and focusing on important work from day to day. The beginning of a new year is an intuitive time to look back on the year, learn, visualize and plan for success, so I decided to take a hard look at what I was doing (or not doing) and how to shift my daily practices to better reflect the love I have for my work. 

So here for you, lovely readers/doodlers, are the fruits of my self-reflection and observation: The 3 top tips that have helped me refocus and rock the first couple of weeks in 2016.

3) Your Daily Top 3. Each evening, I take a few minutes to write down my top 3 projects or to-do's for the next day somewhere I can see it clearly. This tip is from Marie Forleo (if you haven't checked out her weekly business Q&A videos I recommend it). Taking time at the end of the day to prioritize and organize helps me jump right in instead of flopping around the next morning trying to decide what to do when. I've tried this in my phone, on my computer, and on a note-pad on my desk, but for me, I've found that writing it on the corner of my Ridiculously Enormous Graphic Recorder-Sized Whiteboard is most helpful because I can see them all day and cross them the heck off when I get them done! It's the little things, right?

2) 15 Minute Bites. Sometimes the hardest part of a project is starting it, and Ariana Friedlander of Rosabella Consulting shared this tip with me to overcome that barrier. I like to set a timer for 15 minutes and tell myself to just focus on the task at hand for that long. It's such a short chunk of time I can ward off the typical procrastination techniques...I can wait 15 minutes to get a snack, or check my email after I've done 15 minutes of work on a project...hold on, my timer just went off...

And my #1 Tip for staying focused and rocking on the daily is...

1) Start Analog. For me, this means not turning my computer on first thing, but sitting down with a pencil or paintbrush and doing some sketches or painting (for at least 15 minutes!). I find that once I get going, even if it's just for a short time, my momentum from that carries me deeper into the art or inspires me to move on to the next thing on my list. That feeling of having completed something, even if it's just a small sketch, is incredibly powerful in setting a productive tone for the day instead of getting sucked into the wormhole that email can become. 

(Hint: click on the image below to see the larger version)

There you have it! I hope these tips help you kick some ass and inspire those around you to crush their days too. With your powers combined, anything is possible! 

Do you have any tips or tricks to share that help you rock and roll on the daily? Share in the comments below so others can benefit from your wisdom. 

If you liked this tip, please sign up for my emails and if you'd like, I'd be so grateful if you shared it with your friends!

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 that you're crushing your work day, 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?

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at my set-up for filming explainer videos. This one is for Creek Consulting describing deliberative facilitation and how it can help your organization. Check my YouTube channel later this month for the finished video!