K is for… Knowledge Management & Sharing

After a short break we are kicking off again with the A to Z of Skills.

This week we are picking up at the letter ‘K’.

K is for knowledge Management.

What is Knowledge Management?

There are numerous opinions on what is defined as Knowledge Management. In simple terms it is intellectual assets –  knowledge, information and data.

Knowledge Management strategies are implemented in the workplace to identify, capture, structure and share an organisations intellectual assets to enhance the performance of both its employees and the organisation. By enhancing performance, it can also make the organisation more efficient, more profitable, and more competitive.

There are 3 key reasons why actively managing knowledge is important:

  1. It can help to make decisions. Key decisions.
  2. It builds a learning and sharing routine. Sharing knowledge can ensure that employees learn from experience and use and combine knowledge to improve and enhance performance.
  3. It stimulates change and innovation.

Simply put: Knowledge can get you ahead!

Why is Knowledge Management and Knowledge Sharing important to employers?

Employers place value on intellectual assets, not just their physical assets. After all they have invested in their people, their employees. The employ and retain individuals for their knowledge and the ability to utilise and share that knowledge.

Knowledge within a company should be managed and shared – key individuals can help with that but it is usually a case of the Employer and the Employees working together to put a system in place to allow for faster innovation by improving R&D resources and allowing others to build upon the ideas and work of others.

Knowledge management is not strictly an individual skill  However, as an individual you should be expected to manage your own knowledge, share your knowledge and contribute.

A perfect example of what you can do as an individual is to create and use Knowledge Files.

Skill Development Plan

  1. Work on your individual Learning and Knowledge (this should always be building and growing).
  2. Share your knowledge and participate in your organisation’s KM system. Help it build, help it grow and maximise your own learning.
  3. If there is not one in place suggest they set up a knowledge management system or if you are an SME or have not got a budget for it – Do it yourself!!

Action Point: Write a Knowledge Management Strategy.




When should you be time recording?

This month we have addressed:

This week is the last part of the time recording series and we are thinking about when you should be time recording.

When should you be Time Recording?

For those readers who work the 9-5 professionally you may already have time recording obligationsand if you don’t it can be hard to say that you SHOULD be incorporating time recording into your routine without first considering the advantages – and seeing if they apply to YOU! and whether they could work for your EMPLOYER (if it is not an industry standard it is unlikely that it should be). That said, it can be a powerful tool for you as an individual.

Time Recording can be of a great benefit for start-ups, solopreneurs, coaches and bloggers. Depending on the type of business you run or what you do should determine what activities you should record your time for. It is unrealistic to expect to be able to charge for everything that you do so think about what your chargeable (or billable) activities will be and at minimum record your time for these activities. You can also record your time for non-chargeable items if you are interested in carrying out a time management analysis.

So that leaves you with two options – only record your time for chargeable activities OR to record all your time (both chargeable and non-chargeable) activities and take the time to review at regular intervals.

Which shall YOU choose? What are YOUR chargeable activities?

Career Dev Prompt #1: Create a Knowledge File

What is a Knowledge File?

Well there are many types of knowledge files and a number of them will probably be mentioned at various times on the blog, but today I am talking about ‘on the job knowledge’ and things that you learn from research, industry news and more experienced members of staff.  

I have built up shelves of knowledge files which I have categorised based on the type of work I am doing (particularly if it is not something I do day to day and might need to refer back to in the future).

So if this is a long term practice – what prompted this post?

Last week I spent half an hour on the phone to HMRC being passed from department to department from helpline to helpline. I am not a tax expert or a tax advisor. I am not even great with numbers. However, understanding tax is ancillary yet important to my job and while most of it is standard I keep a file of handy information that I might need to refer to in the future, particularly if I might need to double check the wording or requirements of a particular tax relief for example. Last week I reorganised my tax file.

An example using my Tax File:

My tax file (which is of course an ongoing project) is currently set up in a lever arch file with the following sections:

  1. Contact Details (Helplines and Addresses)
  2. Standard Procedures  (Guide for dummies)
  3. HMRC Guidance Printouts (which are then split into sub-categories)
  4. HMRC Forms and Checklists  including worked examples
  5. Training Materials (and other advice)
  6. Copies of Research (for more complex points)
  7. News and Updates including online articles (to keep up to date)
  8. Company Procedures
  9. Legislation and other guidance (from other sources not HMRC)
  10. Historic Material (outdated updates)

The file provides easy reference when my boss or a client asks for more information and when I need to explore a tax point further in my day to day job. This file works for now, but I anticipate that I will need to expand so that I have different sections for different types of tax.

So yes, this type of file is specific to my job and what I do – but it makes a great and more importantly unique resource which makes my job so much easier as I don’t waste time checking the same point – and my boss knows he can ask.

Prompt: create knowledge files for your job.

Hopefully the prompt and the above example will be enough to get you started but if you love the idea of doing this properly why no check out our Knowledge File Action Plan which is available as part of our premium plan.

Career Dev Prompts: Let’s Get Started Already!!

I have been putting off starting the blog prompt series because:

1.       I wanted to finalise the prompt collection for my upcoming book which includes career development and career journal prompts (which are not available on the blog).

2.       It is always a hard to decision to decide where to start.

The book guides you through the set-up of a Career Journal (or your career plan), but here on the blog we want to share things that you can do at any time and choose whether or not to follow the weekly prompt.

AND if you want to go even further you can sign up for our premium content which will help you create an Action Plan (and includes printables and downloads).

How to Record your Time

Last week we talked about Time Recording including what time recording is and the advantages of time recording. Today we want to talk about different methods of recording your time.

There are three main ways that you can record time:

  • with pen and paper;
  • using a spreadsheet;
  • using a time recording tool.

I use a combination of pen and paper and Toggl. I use Toggl to physically record the time but I use the pen and paper to actually keep a record of the time. I have weekly targets – and on paper I record the etimate/target time and actual time spent – but this data comes from my Toggl timesheets. In my mind it is the perfect combination of both.

I use a combination of Filofax inserts to record my time – namely my weekly and monthly review inserts.

An alternative to toggl is my minutes as it helps you identify where you are spending your time, and a further alternative to time recording is completing work in 30 minute Intervals with the 30/30 iphone app which helps you keep focused with short bursts of productivity and enables you to break down your todo list into bite sized chunks.

The variety is endless – find an option that works well for you.

What apps do you enjoy using?

What is Time Recording?

Last week for Time Management Tuesday I wrote about Toggl, an online time recording product that I use for my website and blog.

So what exactly is time recording or time tracking?

This post is intended as an introduction for those of you who don’t use it professionally, but may want to consider using time recording for your start-up, blog or side hustle.

A time recording system allows you to record start and finish times so that the time spent on an activity can be recorded.  This could be a project as a whole or could be broken down into specific tasks.

A lot of professionals use time recording in their day job whether it is for billing for their time or booking to a cost code for a large scale project practices are decided and dictated by industry practice.

Today I want to tell you that you too can use time recording at home as a time management practice. You can use it for:

  1. Your Blog;
  2. Your Business;
  3. Your Art and other Crafty projects;
  4. Your Services.

What ever you use it for – time recording can be a useful tool.

How much you use a process like
time recording will depend on what your business or product is – but
just because you don’t or can’t use it on a daily basis does not mean that it
does not have advantages.

Last year when I first started blogging at Printed Portal I wrote about how I did time recording – simply with a stopwatch and some Filofax inserts and I also used a number of personalised inserts to manage my time recording. I found that it helped plan my blogging time much more effectively. I originally got the idea from one of Helen Conway’s guest posts on Philofaxy last year. It is a great post – worth a read.

I won’t lie setting up a time recording system and getting into the mind set can be frustrated and use up your precious time. So it is important to keep it as simple as you can (but more on that next week).  For now I want to explain a bit more about the benefits of time recording.

Advantages of Time Recording

There are plenty of advantages for time recording – these are my favourites, and reasons why I believe that everyone should use an element of time recording:

  • By keeping a record you know EXACTLY how you have been spending your time.
  • By KNOWING how you spend your time, you can evaluate how you are spending your time and identify areas for improvement.
  • By EVALUATING how you spend your time you can change what you do to ensure the time that you do have is well spent.
  • The practice of Time Recording teaches you to FOCUS on one activity at a time, deters you from procrastinating and enables you to get more done.
  • Time Recording helps you PLAN current and future projects by enabling you to use the data to produce more accurate estimates and schedule and budget your time.
  • Time Recording provides information that can be used for BILLING your time, services or product.
  • Time Recording gives you an insight into the cost and VALUE of your work.

Do you record your time? If so, what do you think the best advantages are?  Share your experiences in the comments.

Time Recording with Toggl (Product Review)

Toggl is a time-recording tool.

What drew me to Toggl initially was its simplicity as a tool – combined
with functionality. It is available both online and as an app so I can
use it both when I am at my PC and when I am on the go – which for me is
perfect for time recording wherever I am.

The great thing about Toggl is that it can be put to use straightaway.
Just sign up and start tracking the time you spend on projects,
activities and actions. It is pretty flexible.

Just hit the start and stop button – simple.

You can also restart the clock on particular projects if you are for example wishing to bill on a per- hour basis.

For my purposes time recording is a tracking and cost estimate tool – I
do not bill directly for my time so I have not needed to upgrade to the
paid version of Toggl.

If you are looking to do bills and invoices – you
will need to upgrade to the PRO version. However it is a reasonable
price at £5/mo and you can try it for free in advance.