Our copywriters picked their favorite–or least favorite–articles of the week to share. Bonus: they weigh in with their own opinions through some back-and-forth conversation.
Ten Tips on Organizing Your Mind – The Wall Street Journal
Shela Ward, Copywriter: I thought I was a super-organized person, until I read this list. Maybe I’m just super-organized compared to the chaos of the rest of the Copy Team…? Either way, I like most of the suggestions presented in this article to keep your mind organized.
Paul M. Johnson, Senior Copywriter: I’m not very organized, and my cluttered desk – which is a running joke in Creative Services – is proof. I’ve taken stabs at addressing this at different times over the years, but it just doesn’t take. Would I be a better employee if I were more organized? I don’t think so. My conceit is that I’m a messy genius. OK, I’m done thinking about that.
Shela: This article’s first suggestion is to take 15-minute breaks every one or two hours. I like this, and I think Boss-Man Paul should mandate a 15-minute break for the Copy Team every hour, on the hour. I would use this time to incorporate another suggestion from this article, which is to take naps at work. I see no way this could go wrong.
Paul: I certainly believe in breaks, but 15 minutes every hour or two? Who can afford that, other than people who work for the guvmint? We don’t exactly have an indoor break area, so I only take them when it’s comfortable outside, which is about 70 degrees and above. My last place of employment had a little room with a Nintendo Wii, and that was a great way to pull your brain away from work for a while. I got really good at bowling.
Shela: One item in this list I struggle with is purging old work/emails. I keep everything, and I can’t imagine deleting an email that isn’t at least six months old. Some people (PAUL) delete/throw things away almost immediately, which just baffles and frightens me. Maybe there’s some middle ground?
Paul: I love purging emails and documents, which might run counter to my general lack of organization. First thing each morning, I go to my sent emails from the day before and delete the ones that I don’t need to track. I also delete Word docs regularly, even when they contain info that might be needed at some point. That point will probably never come.
Shela: The final point in this article is to leave work at work, something I’m a big proponent of, though that can be a pretty unpopular opinion. I dedicate my brain activity completely to my work when I’m at work, but when I’m at home, I rarely (if ever) think about work. Could this be because I’m just a lowly copywriter, with little to no influence in any company decisions? Probably.
Paul: Point number two – “Set up different computer monitors for different activities” – was a revelation. I am going to look at this as soon as I get organized. Seriously, this could be a big help. I usually have about 15 things open on my computer at a time, so with two monitors I’ll have 7.5 on each. While I’m working, it’ll be like watching a tennis match as my head swivels to look from one monitor to the other. Then I’ll get neck pain and go back to one monitor.
This Makes you Look Bad in Meetings – Business Insider
Shela: Well, this article is going to make me paranoid about underlying meanings in things people say during meetings. But it’s also an interesting look at the sly ways people can get their feelings across. The first item says, “I don’t need all the details. Let’s just get to the bottom line.” I can completely agree with this being on the list. It sounds condescending to me and I’d be a little put off if someone said that to me during a meeting. Same with “I can see why you might think that” and “Well, these are the facts.”
Others are a little murkier. “You might be right” could be completely innocent, or it could be undermining. “You did a great job on that, Pat!” could be genuine, or it could be a personal jab at poor Pat. I think it takes knowing the speaker and being able to infer their intention.
Or you could just be cynical and assume the worst. Paul?
Paul: Like a lot of lists that pop up as articles on Facebook, this one is pretty arbitrary. Maybe if the headline was “Types of Phrases That Will Make You Look Bad in Meetings.” Then they could just include the category of “Saying anything condescending and patronizing.” Nearly all the phrases in this piece would fall under that grouping.
But why stop at phrases? Body language can be just as insulting and damaging, and perhaps even more so. A good eye-roll can be devastating. Even keeping a straight face, without showing emotion or enthusiasm for someone’s comment, can send a strong message.
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