Ways to Stay Focused & Productive as a Busy Funeral Director

Posted March 17, 2017

5 min read

Do you ever feel like you can’t keep up with the latest technology…even though you know it could help you be more focused and more efficient in your business and even in your personal life?

That’s where technology expert Beth Ziesenis comes in. Also known as “your nerdy best friend,” it’s Ziesenis’ mission to help funeral directors and others discover technology that can help you work in a way that is more focused, effective, and efficient.

Ziesenis has been featured on Best Speaker lists by Meetings & Conventions magazine and MeetingsNet. Her latest book, Nerd Know-How: The 27+ Best Apps for Work and How to Use ‘Em, is a favorite for people looking to improve the way they work each day.

Ziesenis will be speaking at the NFDA’s Professional Women’s Conference, the premier event for women in funeral service, set to be held on April 7-9, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee. We sat down with Ziesenis to ask her for practical advice for the busy funeral professional looking to get more out of the technology they’re using each day.

She shared some of the top ways you can become more efficient and organized as well as two of the ways she’s using tech to stay as focused as possible throughout the day.

Q: You help people become more organized, efficient, and effective at home and at work. What are a few of your top tips for people who are trying to embrace and adopt more technology in their lives?

Beth Ziesenis: Funeral pros can focus on two ideas to adopt the technology that will help them at home and work:

First, they should think of small changes they can make, based on small problems they have. For example, if someone finds herself taking too long to create PDFs, search for a PDF tool that will streamline the process.

It sounds like a simple concept, but sometimes we don’t take the time to figure out where the inefficiencies are so we can address them.

Second, when choosing technology, think in terms of seamless systems. If you buy a Google Chromebook and try to use Microsoft products and throw in an Apple mobile device, you’re going to find yourself struggling to get the devices to talk to each other. Try to stick to one system or find great apps that bridge the gaps. 

Q: Focus is critical for maximum productivity. Can you share two of the ways you are staying focused right now?

Beth Ziesenis: The Pomodoro Technique. It was created by an Italian guy with a tomato-shaped kitchen timer (“pomodoro” is Italian for “tomato”). He’d set the timer for 25 minutes and focus on ONE TASK… just ONE… for the entire 25 minutes. He’d block out calls, emails, dings, dongs and dancing babies. When the timer went off, he’d take a 5-minute break to catch up on other things, then dive back into another 25-minute stretch.

The cool thing about the Pomodoro Technique is that you can do it with a kitchen timer, a fancy app or just the stopwatch on your phone. I have a couple of timers on my Mac, including one cleverly called PomodoroApp. On my phone, I like FocusDots, which counts the number of focus sessions you have in a day…But you don’t have to use my recommendations. There are TONS of these apps. Just search Pomodoro.

I also use Noisli. I have a very tough time working in complete silence — something has to be on in the background. These days I usually have a small tablet tuned to reruns of “Matlock,” but if you don’t have that option, just pull up the Noisli site for sounds that will help you get stuff down. You can click on some pre-programmed Productivity button to hear birds chirping and a gentle creek flowing, or you can fine-tune the sounds by clicking around the icons. I like the sounds of a coffee shop mixed with the rain.

Q: Do you have any advice for when we (inevitably!) become frustrated with technology?

Beth Ziesenis: When you get frustrated with technology… Google! Most of the time you’re not the only person who has gone through the problem you’re facing. Type the error message into a search engine, and you’re likely to find forums and sites that have discussed the problem. 

Q: What can funeral professionals look forward to when hearing you speak at the NFDA Professional Women’s Conference?

Beth Ziesenis: At the NFDA Professional Women’s Conference, come ready to learn! And download! And laugh! We’re going to make technology understandable and accessible, and we’re going to find the humor in nerdiness. 

Learn more about the Professional Women’s Conference.

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About Beth Ziesenis

Meet your new nerdy best friend…Beth Ziesenis is an author, speaker and nerd. Although the only real trophy she ever won was for making perfect French fries at McDonald’s in high school, Beth Z has been featured on Best Speaker lists by Meetings & Conventions magazine and MeetingsNet. Since her first Commodore 64 computer, Beth has made a verb out of the word nerd. She helps computer users all over the country filter through thousands of apps, gadgets, widgets and doodads to find the perfect free and bargain technology tools for business and personal use through presentations and her books, including the latest title, Nerd Know-How: The 27+ Best Apps for Work and How to Use ‘Em.

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