Strategies for Saving Time and Staying Social Online

Confession, I am not an early adopter to new social media platforms. It took me a year to install SnapChat, and even it took longer before I started using Facebook actively. I much preferred to read blogs, forums, and random websites on StumbleUpon. I found the depths of the internet far more important than the early Facebook feed of lunches and cats.

Now, the advancements of social media has truly created a thriving system of communicating with other human beings across the globe. Facebook has become more than the clunky content of the early days, we share news, safety check in, voting reminders, and even our cat and food pics come with an air of providing value to others. Just like letters and telephones, Facebook has provided another sophisticated lane for human connection.

This is why Facebook or other types of social media are adopted by businesses, both small and large,  and leaders hoping to extend their presence. Connecting with people through this tool gives us a great space to listen to what  is happening, share something important, and help others from anywhere there is an internet connection.

Yet, social media is a tool that could easily spin out of control into a level of deterring you from living, laughing, and loving to your fullest. According to this recent  New York Times article, users spent roughly 50 mins per day on social media, which shadows the one-minute spent on Twitter or 2-minutes on LinkedIn. We can easily slip into the endless scroll of latest news, family developments, and friend achievements.

So how do we balance building our authentic brand while staying active on social media?

Here are a few strategies that have helped me tremendously so far.

Have a Plan

If you are using social media for a purpose, keep track of the purpose and goals you have in mind when it comes to engaging on social media. Whether it’s sharing success tools or tips on baking the trendiest cookies, have a core reason for doing what you do.

Schedule Ahead of Time

Once you have a plan, figure out what you want to post and use a scheduling tool. Spend 1-2 hours per month scheduling some consistent pieces of content that you are sure you want to share regularly. I personally use Hootsuite, which offers a great free option and an even more useful paid option.

Have a Minimum and Maximum Use Time Budget

A lot a set amount of time per day to use social media, then at +/- 10 minutes to give your self space to engage more or less. Giving yourself a range allows for the flexibility of life and provides a safe space of time for you to work with

Try this Tool 

Once you’ve decided on your minimum and maximum time, choose a tool that blocks social media sites so you can’t access them for certain times of the day. StayFocusd is a simple app that allows you to block sites after a certain amount of time, on certain days and times, and even requires a challenge to turn the feature back on if you want.Set it for the maximum time budget you set in the strategy above.

While personalizing your strategy depends on you, these are steps easy enough to incorporate and use right away. How do you use social media, while still investing your time in your important priorities.

quote created by zinga hart success quotes the can be no peace without understanding

 

What are some of your time saving strategies? I’d love to know! 

Free Higher Ed Approved Tools for Your Authentic Success

If you’ve ever connected with me on LinkedIn, you know I am a proud higher education professional. I honestly believe improving the higher education industry will help unlock the purposeful potential of our nations. So far, it’s been a long journey of leadership, suppression, growth, challenge, contradictions and support. It is an industry that frustrates and excites my energies to no end, and I will not stop until I figure out how to tie higher education to the trillion-dollar ROI it can naturally and organically produce?

Wondering what is a higher educational professional? 

Essentially, we staff colleges and universities in the various roles and positions needed for the organization to effectively and efficiently run. We are the admissions counselors who talked you through the ins-and-outs of campus living or the advisor who helped you consider majors. Our role also extends to presidents, government consultants,  faculty, and residence services. A higher education professional is many-faced, multifaceted, and mold-as-you go role that truly attracts those who are flexible, service-oriented, and enjoy problem-solving as a whole.

zinga hart higher education winter is coming joke

Credit: WinterisComing.Com

For me, it is a career interwoven with my destiny.

What have I learned so far?

Ever since 2013, when I made it my personal mission to show the world the value of education,  I studied and obtained my M.Ed. in Higher Education, with a focus on adult development and success. From my journey, I have learned many things, but the first thing I would tackle in my mission is sharing the tools we use to help develop others. It amazed me, how Meyers-Briggs was only taught for the first time in college and Holland was discussed only in a career-development course in graduate school. These are tools that could be freely accessed by anyone, but only randomly encountered on a syllabus for some students to see.

Well, today, I see and share, so that you can take one more move towards building your authentic legacy of success. Check out three of my favorite tools to use that will help you unearth your inner brand and tap into your personalized success strategy.

Your Learning Style

There are certain ways that people process and use new information. If you want to make any form of learning easier on yourself, discover your learning style and implement any useful techniques immediately. The VARK test was first shared with me by my biology professor, who I later discovered would teach me a lot about learning. VARK stands for Visual, Auditory, Read-Write, and Kinesthetic. These are four basic domains or learning and familiarizing yourself with your special way will cut down on a lot of the time it takes to build new skills, like skills you will need to achieve your final vision of success.

Try the VARK Quiz

Your Work Preference 

The Holland Code was named after John Holland, a person who used military job duty classification to devise a test for work preferences and how they affect success in certain roles. From this research, he came up with six main types of preferences: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Conventional, and Enterprising.  These six preferences will help you narrow down and understand why you prefer to crunch numbers over writing songs, or why helping people motivates you every day.

Discover your work preference with O*Net.

Your Personality

Myers-Briggs is more popular, but it is still not as widely-used as I’d prefer. This inventory is longer but allows you to understand and describe some of your personality traits and how they interact with others. One, great version of this test is through 16-personalities. What’s your type?

All three of the options are useful tools for discovering and articulating your uniqueness. Of course, everyone is a bit of everything so nothing will be a 100% accurate to you, but it gives you a great headstart.

 

 

unplug in order to increase productivity and live an authentic life

One More Move: Unplug

unplug in order to increase productivity and live an authentic lifeHappy Monday! On our journey towards authentic success, leadership, and overall self-improvement, it is important to note progress is a process. In order to make progress you must be aware of where you currently are, then you must plan and move to where you want to be, and along the way measure you growth. Our process may be creative and no two journeys will ever be exact copies, but there are some steps we must take before being able to take another. A part of my process for self-improvement is finding time to unplug.

Naturally, I am an INTP/J, which is a personality type that loves to analyze and absorb an abundance of information to soothe an insatiable hunger for new ideas. This personality means the internet is bottomless source of pleasure to feed my need. I read e-books to improve myself as an employee, board leader, entrepreneur, landlord, writer, mother, friend, etc. I follow news websites and my Feedly covers a gamut of topics. Sometimes, I’ll have a news article in one hand, an audio book in the background, and a Youtube video going on branding. It then when I realize the information overload has to stop. Talk about overload! This easy access can cause some serious hurdles on the journey for authentic self-development, but there are easy ways to overcome and the main one is unplugging. 

Before the internet grew to be my cheap buffet of information, I lived a relatively simple life. It was not until high school that I got my first internet-ready computer and at that time I was still a Hebrew Israelite. A sect under Judaism, which means every Friday night to Saturday night we unplugged as a family. We started this routine when I was five years old, so I easily spent over a decade, living one full day out of the week disconnected from television. Several religions later, an enrollment in an out-of-state college, and I soon lost interest in keeping a Sabbath. Now 7 years later, I set aside time to unplug as a crucial part of my week.

What are the benefits on unplugging?

  • You make decisions using your own faculties. Have you ever been in this situation? You are wondering what you should have for dinner so you google it and then 1 hour later you are knee deep Pinterest recipes and running to the store to buy ingredients you didn’t have or need before? When you are disconnected from the internet, you are forced to rely on your environment and mental faculties to aid in your decision making. Search around your cabinets, make up a recipe! Not having the answer readily available helps us exercise our imagination.
  • You can practice your patience. Sometimes we have to wait in life. Prior to having the internet in our pockets, waiting including creating a conversation with a neighbor or watching the comings and goings around us. Now in a rush to constantly be doing something we cultivate this idea that we need to always be doing something. Disconnecting reminds us that at its best the world is at peace and when we are patients we can be at peace with the world.
  • You can feel more rested. Constantly engaging with information is tiring. As it constantly churns to connect, store, and retrieve information it takes away from our energy of just being.  Walking away from this engagement gives our brain time to rest so it can grow in the long term. Just like the refreshing feel we get after a good nap, walking away from our screens for a while replenishes our capacity to continue discovering more.

unplug, disconnect, self sustenance

While complete unplugging might not be possible (how would you read this blog?) it is something we can set aside time to do. Here are ten things to do instead of powering up electronics, phones, or any other device.

  • Birdwatch
  • Dance
  • Go for a walk
  • Meet a neighbor for a talk
  • Paint
  • Sew
  • Volunteer
  • Read a physical book
  • Write
  • Build something

Simple, yet effective. Making times to get away from all the information is essential to staying motivated, productive, and calm. If you still need ideas here are more things to do sans the internet from Gala Darling. Do you unplug? How do you rest from being connected all the time?

photo credit: AC power plug/socket via photopin (license)

Akron Women in Tech: One Year Grown!

I didn’t post a One More Move article yesterday because I was attending the One Year Anniversary of Akron Women in Tech! It was at the Nightlight Theater in Akron and the event went pretty well. Here’s some highlights:

The Group

I found Akron Women in Tech on MeetUp. The group hosts discussion meetings, workshops, and work meetings for women to come together learn, code, and grow. Every event I have attended (around 3) has been a great way to bond, talk latest tech trends, and just meet other women in Northeast Ohio. They’ve had 20 MeetUps so far and have definitely gained credibility quickly in the community.

Check out their online slides!

The Venue

I’ve never been to The Nightlight Cinema Theater, but I will definitely be back. The quaint venue was spacious enough for a mid-to-large group and the mix of theater seating with antique coaching helps make you feel like you’re balling enough to be in your own home theater. The Nightlight shows independent films for you Netflix scrapers and on Mondays they contribute to good community causes. Definitely worth supporting.

The People

Networking with others is a cornerstone of leadership and knowing there is a community of tech interested women in Northeast Ohio is definitely worth meeting. The discussion on crappy C- movies, latests technologies, and new tidbits like FreeCodeCamp being recognized on LinkedIN as an educator was definitely worth carting out my daughter and driving to Akron for a great celebration.

Props to Akron Women in Tech! I wish you all well with your new 501c3 status and hope you can collaborate with Limitless Ambition one day!

Take 1 Hour To Automate Your Social Media

I manage the social media as a part of my role. It is a small percentage of my day so to stay consistent with my schedule I set aside 2 hours a month to plan and organize posts I like on HootsuitetEREUy1vSfuSu8LzTop3_IMG_2538With the ups and downs of working in higher education, it can be easy to forget to reach out on a daily basis. Using a social media management system can help you to share your own content and build your brand by displaying what interests you value. Here’s how I would split up the time.

10:00  Review my annual social media plan – Make any adjustments and add in any new creative ideas around the events happening in my local area.

10:05 Scan through Feedly and look for articles that match the month’s theme and my brand’s values. I right click through the ones I like and write relevant reviews with a short link going back to the original post. Read through the articles, write a short summary, and find a relevant picture to represent it. Sometimes there will not be a picture that represents well enough, so I will often find a better article or create the picture myself using Canva  or find one on Photopin.

10:35 It averages about a minute per post to get the month scheduled for one post per day. Doing this grew the social media page by 300% over the past three years. It’s small, but steady, growth, and engagement averages around 27% percent of organic views, where organic reach for a page my size benchmarks at around 11%. So once I’m done I check to make sure every day is posted and review for typos.

10:40 For the rest of my time, I scan my social media feeds on Hootsuite and share relevant content from my community, specifically from other social media contributors within our organization, such as what’s happening in the Facebook groups, on our Listservs, or other events emailed to me.

10:50 Finally, I will add in a few posts supporting initiatives I have in my department.

When it comes to social media marketing, what you share from others should balance to four times of what you self-promote. Linking together is key to building a strong voice and vision with your social media brand.Finding time to consistently post is a matter of scheduling and automation. There are plenty of tools to use but Hootsuite is definitely tech I pay to have.

What are your biggest social media management challenges?

3 Ways to Attract Your Audience Online

Do you own a shop in a local town? Where I’m from in Northeast Ohio there are a ton of local shops popping up in mid-size towns around me. I am happy to see small business owners serving and providing the community with a diverse set of offerings. The shops all have their own unique style, yet the ones that see the most action are the ones inviting to the customer to linger and offering a quality product. Like shops, our websites play an important role in inviting our customers, clients, or members to seek more from us.

3 Ways to Attract Customers Online

Attract Customers With Open Doors

photo credit: Sainsbury’s – High Street, Longbridge Town Centre – entrance via photopin (license)

How do customers feel when they approach your website? Are they turned off by the design? Your competitors are using better strategies to ensure the user experience is as exceptional as would be in real life. Here are three ways to keep your site on par.

Improve your display

Your website is a window to your products or services. Like in local business marketing all parts of your business- from a menu to a bar of soap- must be displayed as if it is in a Macy’s window in the middle of New York. Keep your aesthetics clean and related to your brand. Make your colors appealing to the eye, yet let them represent the values of your brand.

Here’s Inspiration
95 Inspiring Websites of Web Design Agencies

Form, Function and Beauty on Brand Websites

Simplify your navigation

Your site might be too complicated If a customer has to ask: how do I make a reservation or get to the checkout? Users are used to making their next move quickly. If your customers can not simply find what they are looking for then they will leave for a site that is easier to navigate.  While designing navigation avoid having the level of navigation go beyond three. If you are having trouble getting rid of levels, consider: What can be consolidated or removed? Links help connect people to infinite amounts of content, rely on proper linking over a cluttered navigation menu.

Optimize for Mobile

Web sites must be mobile friendly. 50% percent of shoppers are browsing on their phones. Google, the most-used search engine so far, also rewards websites in search engines if they are optimized for mobile viewing. Test your website today using google’s mobile-friendly test. In addition, to the design of your site being optimized for mobile, your content should also offer users quick and easily scannable information. Here’s results from my mobile friendly test!

zingahart.com teaching abundance as the value of education ZIngahart.com abundance is the value of education

How does your site measure up on the mobile-friendly test?

Tech Review: Build a Cleaner Resume with Resume

When job searching it is important to spend a time catering your resume to each and every position. Taking the time to keep track, modify, and distribute multiple resumes can be draining, add making them modern and beautiful and you can find yourself consumed with time spent on just your resume alone. One website that helps makes this process easier for the job search is Resumonk.

online resume builder resumonk

Resumonk offers users easy design, fair pricing, and a sleek interface. Although there are some cons overall, the website delivers and has become a favorite since emurse went away.

Easy design

When first using Resumonk users have the option to start from scratch or import their LinkedIn Profile. The import tool was great because it brought in all facets of my profile, including any recommendations others have left. One downside was it listed all my skills. While useful you will have to pare down as it will take up a lot of space on your resume. It is easy to navigate from section to section, and there are many options to design your resume as you see fit.

Fair pricing

Resumonk is a freemium website. While you can use it for free, I ended up purchasing the subscription because I enjoyed the premium resume designs offered. A lifetime plan is $59 dollars while a 1-year plan is $20. Depending on how long your job search will take $20 for a year should be plenty of time to design, re-design, and distribute an unlimited amount of resumes.

Sleek Interface

A lot of resume builders online are ugly and as dreadful as filling out an online job application. Resumonk gets past that by paying attention to the design. The templates are well worth using and the fact that it pairs the design with the cover letter makes this web application a true professional service. Finally your dashboard provides you with all your past resumes to copy, edit, and reuse, making your job application process much easier.

Cons

While I will be using Resumonk for a while. I do hope they improve their resume template options. Although there are 4 pages, without the promise of more to come, I worry their designs will become generic as more users purchase their services. It should also be easier to transfer sections and pieces of one resume over to others. Finally, the import from LinkedIN can be awkward as it tends to list your oldest job at the top, requiring me to re-arrange in present chronological order.

Overall Resumonk is a great resume builder and tracker. You get to make 4 free resumes with the free option so check it out today!

Resumonk

Tech Tool Review

Canva is a tool to buy to make your marketing life easier. Simple design, lots of options, and a simple pricing model make it a web app worth investing in. I run leadership events in Northeast Ohio and creating flyers for the event I almost immediately turn to Canva. It works so great, you won’t regret investing in it as a simple tool for your business.

Canva a semi-free graphic design app

Easy to use

Canva is a simple web app and you can access it anywhere and anytime. It’s easy to share using links and there is no download needed to share designs. It uses a two-panel design where you drag-and-drop images, designs, and clip art to your visual marketing content. There is also an option to automatically optimize design sizes using an array of pre-cut formats in the size of Facebook picture posts, twitter posts, web page banners, infographics, etc. Canva keeps it easy to use and there are a ton of ways to incorporate it in your marketing strategy.

Tons of free options

Free web apps are a dream for anyone charged with marketing for their start up. Canva offers tons of high-quality graphics and beautiful designs to use in your marketing material. I have used Canva to create many formats enhanced for web use. Colors are easy to change to add your can upload and use your own graphics for free adding even more to your design options.

Simple pricing model

Canva’s free options make web marketing easy and even fun. Canva monetizes its model by charging a dollar for premium flyer elements, clipart, backgrounds, and designs. It’s straight-forward and there is no need to sign up for a monthly subscription. While, I use the free options often, I buy the stock art they offer because it is good quality. It also makes it easy to market quickly and consistently.

5 Top Apps Worth Using Daily

In the entrepreneurial world, time is still money, and a major detractor of progress can be poorly built tools that have the guise of serving a purpose. Introducing, applications. While some mobile and web applications serve a great purpose, many can often suck away our time and leave us with very little results in the way of moving towards venture success. So what is worth it? I consider it only apps I have paid money for or am willing to pay money for in the future. Here are the top five I use towards strategic planning and executive leadership.

1. WeekPlan for daily planning. WeekPlan was the first app that was ever graced with my Paypal balance. With its sleek and simple design, the app incorporates Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s great features include planning your week according to quadrants, having a long-term option for listing goals/tasks and color coordinating tasks according to roles you designate. In addition, the customer service with the app goes above and beyond in authentically reaching out to clients.

2. Trello – If WeekPlan is in the trenches, Trello is in the war room. Great for long term strategic planning, Trello has the ability to break up and track long or short term projects.

3. Stitcher – Entertainment is great. Knowledge is power. Learning while commuting is one of the safer driving distractions and you feel the benefits of acquiring more knowledge. Stitcher allows you to access newly posted podcasts. Choose podcasts in business, leadership or success to help keep you moving towards your goal.

4. Pinterest – Visit your vision often to make sure you are on the right track. Pinterest is a great tool for visioning [article coming this week] and it is worth visiting often, especially if you are a visual learner.

5. Twitter – Connecting with the social world requires daily maintenance. The key is in planning well enough and simply enough so there is room for organic spontaneity. Twitter allows for a lot of simplicity and a way to connect with the worlds that intersect with your world.

Be wary of the apps you spend time on since they can make or break your progress. Find ones that leverage your see-saw of success and you will feel an authentic progress towards your desired purpose.