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Taking Ag to the Next Level


Seventy ideas from professionals in the agriculture, writing and marketing industries.


  1. When packing, roll your clothes and carry a smaller suitcase.

  2. Study your electronics and learn the shortcuts to help save time in the future.

  3. Keep three-ring binders of information you utilize often.

  4. Learn to say no.

  5. To avoid tangled necklaces, separate them into small baggies.

  6. Develop a schedule for checking emails and only check at those times.

  7. If you manage a team, ask employees to develop their own options and then make the decision between those options.

  8. When working, learn to cut-and-paste your information.

  9. Set an alarm with your parking information for five minutes before you land. When you turn your phone on, your parking spot will pop up.

  10. Plan a week's worth of meals in advance.

  11. Connect your social media channels so you only have to update one platform, or use a social media tool to connect them together under one (e.g., HootSuite).

  12. Be mindful of where you put things and make an effort to remember.


  1. Put the attachment on your email first.

  2. When forwarding or sending an email, delete the content off the bottom from previous forwards.

  3. Write the body of the email first to be more mindful of to whom you should send it.

  4. Gmail has an "attachment" feature that you can turn on to prompt you if sending an attachment.

  5. Start noticing when you do your best work and schedule your time accordingly.

  6. When writing an email, proofread - proofread everything.

  7. When drafting an emotional email response, leave and come back later to reread.

  8. Use Siri to add calendar notices when you're hands are busy (e.g., driving).

  9. In international business, start your emails with "Dear" and end with "Best Regards." Other countries seem to think that Americans are a little cold with informal emails.

  10. Be mindful of when to check your emails in group settings and meetings.

  11. Pay attention to what your spouse, coworkers or speakers are saying.

  12. When carrying equipment (cameras, etc.), be sure to check batteries and equipment in advance.


  1. XE.com: For exchange rates.

  2. Help! app: For writers that need a little push to get started.

  3. Poynter's NewsU: Online training for journalism and media programs.

  4. Extension service websites are very helpful when doing research.

  5. Copyblogger: Advice on how to write a blog, tips on headlines to use, etc.

  6. Do not go to stores to purchase new battery cords; instead purchase them in advance online.

  7. Doodle.com: Scheduling site to create meetings, invite attendees and confirm dates.

  8. Check the lost and found at your hotel for chargers.

  9. When traveling, go to the state's website for weather conditions. Google the state (e.g., "IA Road Conditions") and you can find out where construction is, weather, etc.

  10. Navigator app on Android is very helpful for GPS/directions.

  11. Iowa Six is developing new Apple apps with navigation apps that talk to you.

  12. EverNote: A cloud based program that allows you to take notes from your phone, computer, tablet, etc. and store it in one place.

  13. Viper: Free security app

  14. American Airlines allows you to download your boarding pass directly to your phone.

  15. Walgreens Mobile allows you to take a picture of your medicine barcode and send in a refill order.

  16. HootSuite and TweetDeck are great apps to manage all your social media channels in one spot.

  17. If managing multiple company pages, use the Pages app to toggle between them all.


  1. Know that you cannot do it all.

  2. Write down the five things that take up the majority of your time (work, organizations, etc.), then write down your top five values. How do they relate? Determine if you're spending your time how you really want to be.

  3. Know there need to be times that you are away from your phone. Leave it in the car throughout the day or turn it off during the night.

  4. You will learn as you go along that there are certain things you do not enjoy doing. Learn to say no to those things.

  5. You can't do it all right now. Prioritize based on what stage of life you're in (job, kids, etc.).

  6. Involve your family for cooking decisions and have them participate in making dinner.

  7. Quit comparing yourself with others, because often their priorities will be different.

  8. Look around or read about people who have lost everything. People who have had a catastrophe learn to prioritize.

  9. Live life to the fullest - don't forget to do what you love. For example, if you enjoy photography, make a point to incorporate it into your daily life and you will notice an attitude shift.

  10. Know what staples you need in your household, and keep those in stock. It can help alleviate the pressure when cooking for family.

  11. Find space to make use of silence. Silent time can be very therapeutic, restorative and allows you to decompress and relax.

  12. Let routine make your life easier, from menu planning to general lists.

  13. Life is a balance between holding on and letting go.

  14. Take those 15 minutes to spend time with others (e.g., catch with your son in the front yard).

  15. Do one thing for 30 days and eventually it will become habit.

  16. Sit down Sunday evening for 15 minutes to prepare a list of to-dos, reminders, etc., based on your weekly schedule

  17. Don't be so hard on yourself if something doesn't go your way (e.g., a Pinterest project). Realize that there's time to perfect it.


  1. You can achieve the APR accreditation with 5-7 years of industry experience and some courses.

  2. Connect and network with folks at conferences like AMS, then reach out to those people as mentors in the future.

  3. Find others with your same interests and learn from them.

  4. If you have the time, get involved in non-profit organizations because they can provide you with an abundance of knowledge and experience.

  5. Fred Pryor seminars provide training for Outlook, Excel and more.

  6. Leaders read books. Ask mentors if there are certain books they recommend. Suggestions:

    • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
    • Drive by Daniel H. Pink
    • Harvest Business Journal
    • Read almost forgotten authors, like James Thurber and Damon Runyon
  7. The more active you are, the more you'll get out of your professional development.
  8. Really listen to those closest to you when they provide you feedback on issues, whether you like to hear it or not.
  9. Watch documentaries with differing opinions and it will help you identify what might be the shortfalls in your industry.
  10. CardMunch app: Snap photos of business cards and the app will automatically connect you via LinkedIn.
  11. Make an effort to speak with those you don't know when attending networking events.
  12. Be careful of your work posture because you can eventually injure yourself. Staying fit is important for your mental and physical health. Consider walking while you work (e.g., get a treadmill in your office) or try sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair.