6 Tips for Getting a New Job

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6 Tips for Getting a New Job

There is a major labor shortage happening in the United States right now. There are many reasons why this might be the case, but regardless of the circumstance, this could be an excellent opportunity for many working Americans. Thousands of new job openings mean that this could be the perfect window of opportunity to chase a dream job or change careers.

Tips for Getting a New Job

Getting a new job can be just as daunting for seasoned workers as it is for college graduates. There are a lot of factors to consider when applying for a job that could ultimately lead to success. This article aims to guide you through the process so you can take the next step in your professional career no matter where you are now.

1. Review Your Resume

Your job résumé is your first impression when applying for a new position. That being said, it’s one of the most important resources you have when searching for a job. As a result, most candidates are sifted out based on the contents of their résumés.

Different hiring managers look for different things in a résumé. Of course, they’ll want to see relevant experience and a work history that shows you’re reliable. Try and keep your résumé concise no matter what and have the most important information in clear, bold lettering. There are plenty of formatting guides and templates that can aid you in your résumé design.

If you. have a complicated or complex resume — consider hiring a service that can give your resume the polish it deserves.

2. Brush Up Your Interview Skills

Almost every job you’ll ever apply for will have some sort of interview process. Some smaller companies will hold a single, semi-casual interview, while others have applicants undergo a more extensive screening process. Others still might meet with you over the phone and call that good. So you need to be prepared for anything.

Every interview will be different, so you can’t memorize a list of questions and the answers you’d like to give. You can prepare for basic questions, however, such as “why do you want this job,” “what do you know about this company,” and “why do you feel like you’re a good fit for this position?”

Get a trusted friend to pepper you with questions, hop on YouTube and watch interviews, listen to some podcast interviews, watch a few TedTalks for good speaking with clarity tips, and don’t forget to stand in front of the mirror and ask questions.

Don’t work yourself up too much. You don’t have to be a master negotiator in order to nail a job interview. Most employers just want to ask a few questions and get to know you a little better. Team chemistry and job fit can be a big deal, so coming across as respectful and eager to learn is often better than acting arrogant and overconfident in your abilities.

3. Flood the Mailbox

Don’t just apply for a single job and wait to hear back. Who knows how long this can take. Moreover, while you’re patiently waiting for a single response, you could be missing out on dozens of other opportunities. Instead, take a shot at a position you don’t feel qualified for yet; you might surprise yourself.

Set a goal to send your resume to a variety of different companies.  You could aim to send out one new application each day or a set amount of 10-20 by the end of the month. Job posting website Indeed recommends you send even more than that, up to 10-15 applications a week or 2-3 per day.

Even if they don’t have a job posting listed, send them your resume in an email just to reach out. Then, you might hear back from an organization that is at least willing to guide you in the right direction.

4. Take Advantage of Networking

That segues nicely into this next section. Networking is your best friend when looking for a new job. Having reliable connections can get you to people and places you had no idea existed or couldn’t find independently.

For example, you might inquire at a local hospital if they have any job openings available even though none are posted. Even so, you might be able to connect with someone who has a friend running a local clinic that is hiring. Without networking with the hospital, you might have never found this job opportunity.

Another great way to network is through social media. Websites such as LinkedIn provide a great platform for connecting with industry leaders and professionals from around the world, not just in your local community. You can get great advice from here as well as access to certification courses to advance your education and career.

5. Take an Internship

Sometimes you just need to find a way to get your foot in the door. An internship can do just that, giving you training and networking opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to you. For example, it’s a lot easier to get an internship at Google than to become employed there without a previous relationship.

Unfortunately, many internships are unpaid or pay a lot less than regular employment. This can be a tough situation for someone looking for a job to pay the bills. However, a part-time internship at a more promising company or in a new field you’re interested in might make for a bountiful long-term investment.

6. Steady the Course

Don’t let your job search impact your work performance at your current employer if you do, in fact, have on. Many companies will contact former employers to inquire about you as a worker. But, of course, you want them to say only good things about you, so don’t cut the slack even if you’re planning on making a move.

Also, don’t give up. Job searches can get exhausting quickly when applications are sent back, and doors seem always to be closing. Instead, keep working on improving yourself, networking, and seeking out opportunities and eventually, you’ll find an opening.

Best of luck on your job search now and any time in the future you look for a change of scenery. Keep these tips in mind and bet on yourself. You’ll be amazed by what you’re able to accomplish.

4 Ways to Up Your Social Media Marketing Game

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4 Ways to Up Your Social Media Marketing Game

Let’s get straight to it. Your company’s success relies on social media. Why? Because that’s where the consumers are. Today, there are about 3.78 billion social media users worldwide. And these users have high expectations. 

In today’s ever-changing and demanding world, consumers expect a lot from their social media feeds. They want to be informed, engaged, and entertained. They also want to learn something new from time to time. This puts a lot of pressure on businesses, particularly new ones trying to establish a social presence. 

Building an engaged and involved social media following takes time. Setting your social media goals is a true first step in establishing your social media game. With goals, you have a clear sense of direction for your company’s brand. Not to mention, you also have a plan for you and your team to get behind and work toward. 

Read on for four ways to give your social media marketing a boost. 

1. Post Consistently 

This is arguably the easiest but also the most fruitful way to gain more followers. Posting consistently creates a rhythm to your platform. It helps create a sense of reliability and continuity. Your users will start to expect content at certain times of the day, month, or year. 

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re managing a new restaurant’s social media. Users will be looking for food content at times they are hungry. If you post a special menu photo at 5 p.m. each day, that will resonate with users who want to try the restaurant for dinner. The next time users are looking for a place to eat, they may return to your social channels. 

However, if you only post that menu photo once and then don’t post anything for another week or two, users will quickly forget about your original post. Your audience won’t be engaged and will be unlikely to return to your feed. 

Maintaining a consistent social media schedule may seem daunting at first. Luckily, there are tools such as Hootsuite and Agorapulse that can alleviate the stress of scheduling social media posts. 

Struggling to create content in advance? Seek out special holidays and observances such as Freedom Day (February 1) or Retro Day (February 27) for some inspiration.

2. But Also Post Consciously 

Social media users are constantly sharing and reacting. Sharing and reacting to world events. Sharing and reacting to other posts. Sharing and reacting to a brand’s stances. It’s you and your company’s responsibility to stay up to date on what is happening both on and off social media. 

For example, June 2020 was a monumental month for the social world. The Black Lives Matter movement grew significantly and steadily due to social media. Businesses that reacted sensitively in the moment retained their loyal followers. On the other hand, companies that posted inappropriately worded content or ignored the movement altogether took a major hit. 

So, what does this mean for you? While there isn’t one right way to handle any situation, there are wrong ways. Be conscious of what is happening — even while you’re on vacation — and pivot your planned social tactics accordingly. You don’t necessarily need to be the very first company to react to something. However, you should create a strategy when major events surprise the social world.  

3. Be Flexible and Adaptable

Setting up a new social account or taking one over can be intimidating. What works one day may not work the next. However, think of social media as a world of opportunities. If a company is stuck in the past, it won’t be moving ahead. This opens up the door for newer ones to take up space in a crowded field. 

Consider this example. Just recently, Instagram announced it was no longer just a “photo-sharing app.” The platform will be focusing on video content and entertainment in the months to come. Why? It’s likely because the app is looking to compete with popular video platforms such as TikTok and YouTube.

This news could shock a lot of businesses, particularly those that focused solely on posting photos and copy. Instagram’s algorithm will make it harder for users to see these brands in their feeds. Therefore, companies need to adapt, and so do their social media feeds. By posting Instagram Stories, Reels, and IGTVs, for instance, businesses can better stay ahead of the game. 

4. Tailor Your Posts to the Platform 

What works on Instagram may not necessarily work on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, or LinkedIn. Users adapt their needs to where they are. So a cute cat photo on Instagram won’t really be appropriate for LinkedIn, for example. 

Getting to know your customer is part of tailoring your posts effectively. Keeping an eye on your social metrics can also help you determine what kinds of posts work best for your business. 

Let’s go back to the restaurant example. If a Facebook post introducing a new menu item doesn’t resonate, look at what the call to action is. Could you make it clearer to the audience that this item is “back by popular demand”? Could you say the item is “available only for a limited time”? Using these types of words could help. 

If you’re still not seeing the traction you want, try another platform. The same photo could work better on Instagram and garner more attention if that’s where your foodie audience is. 

These four tips aren’t the only ways to up your social media marketing game. They are, however, strategies you can start to implement today to meet your goals. Be aware, though, that it takes time. Just like your business wasn’t built overnight, neither will your social media presence be.

Learning to Speak With Clarity

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Learning to Speak With Clarity

In terms of content, it’s essential to structure our thoughts logically, as well as choose our words carefully. Just as important are projections, pronunciation, and diction. After all, in order to be a good communicator, you need to go beyond language skills.

In other words, you need to learn to speak with clarity

Whether you’re having a one-on-one meeting, speaking at an industry, or just shooting the breeze with friends or family, communicating with clarity shouldn’t be overlooked. It ensures that you’re delivering the right message. And, more importantly, that the other party gets that message loud and clear.

What’s more, it’s possible to learn to speak with clarity. And, to get started, here are nine strategies to utilize.

Identify and overcome obstacles.

In my opinion, identifying the obstacle should definitely be you’re starting point. How can you speak clearly without first identifying the overcoming the obstacles holding you back? It’s like trying to go on a bike ride when you have a flat tire.

While everyone has their specific hurdles, one way to identify your obstacle is to play time management games. These games reveal to you where you have unclear speech, as well as time issues.

Here are the most common challenges to clear speech and communication — and how you can resolve them.

Fast rate.

Unclear speech results from a variety of factors, such as being nervous. As a consequence, words become muddled up with consonants since vowels have become shortened. In fact, it’s when speaking, we should aim for about 140 words per minute.

Slowing down your speech and talking deliberately (at first) helps form your sounds more accurately. And, this gives your listeners time to process what you’re saying.

But, how can you slow down? One suggestion would be practicing deep breathing while speaking. You can also try the following;

  • “Practice Speaking and Self-Monitoring” exercises
  • Recording yourself practicing a speech. Not only does this let you hear how fast you’re talking, reciting your speech builds confidence.
  • “Shadowing” others, such as watching TED Talks and then, mimic speakers.
  • Working with a coach or consultant.

Slowing down naturally can best be accomplished by breathing deeply while speaking. After you gain clarity — in this day and age — I also think we need to step up the pace again when speaking. Slow speech aggregates those who are in a rush — which is most of us. Become clear in your speech first — then speed it up again. (I’d say it takes six months to a year to get this right, you can’t rush it — and it takes a lot of practice.)

Mumbling.

Another common culprit is mumbling. And, this usually goes hand in hand with fast speech. The reason for this is that the mouth doesn’t open as much when speaking quickly. In turn, the sound of your speech gets distorted since it’s being squeezed between your teeth.

The best way to address mumbling is by relaxing your jaw and tongue. Doing so will allow you to speak clearly and with greater precision. You can also use some of the strategies listed above, such as recording yourself. A more strange technique would be speaking with a cork in your mouth because it makes your mouth work harder to pronounce the words more clearly.

Some people mumble because of self-confidence — they don’t really believe what they have to say is important. Believe what you have to say has merit, and it will help with clarity. If you know you are mumbling today — just be quiet and listen.

A quiet voice.

Speaking too softly or not loud enough will result in a lack of clarity. What do your listeners have to work with when you aren’t putting enough sound into the room?

The more breath you take and the more vibrations you feel in your body, the more power you will be able to produce without straining. Keep in mind though, that your voice will appear louder to you than to your listeners. This is awkward, but don’t worry too much about it. Again — record and listen to your voice — continually adjust to the correct volume for the situation.

An accent.

Others may find it difficult to understand you when you have a thick accent. But, there’s nothing wrong with having an accent — all of us have one. But, depending on who is listening to it, it may be difficult to understand.

An accent is more problematic when combined with a weak voice or fast rate. As a result, a strong accent may cause confusion and frustration. Before you start speaking, make sure that you’re projecting well and speaking slowly. It could be as simple as that.

Usually, with a thick accent, you will need a coach. Listen to Arnold Schwarzenegger in his first movies — you can hardly understand him. Listen when he was California’s governor — quite a bit better in his speaking. Listen to him today — he’s understandable. Schwarzenegger put a lot of time into his muscles — and in speaking better — with tons of work, many coaches, and practice. Speaking well and with clarity doesn’t happen by accident; it takes difficult work and practice.

Speaking with clarity is like anything else worth doing well — it takes practice and concentrated work to get it right. There are many YouTube’s about speaking well — look up a few of these.

Stay in your wheelhouse.

“The ‘most natural’ way to project confidence when we speak is when it’s done from the position of authority or as an expert,” says writer and wellness advocate Evelyn Marinoff. “We all tend to pay close attention to such individuals and believe pretty much everything that they say. Because they ‘know their stuff.’”

“So, find your strengths and passions, and further develop thembecome the best you can at what you do.”

This was actually a conversation my brother and I recently had. My argument was that I get turned off by people who are considered experts because they have a platform. It’s like when a celebrity champions a diet. They may not be wrong. But, they aren’t nutritionists and, so you should take their advice with a huge grain of salt.

Being an authority figure doesn’t just give you “brownie points with others—mainly, in the form of respect and appreciation, it will also breed confidence. In turn, this “makes us better armed to face the world, to weather adversities, and to calm down our nervousness and self-doubting.”

You don’t have to use big words.

It’s not uncommon for educated people and thought leaders to use a lot of big words when speaking. I can’t vouch for them all personally, but I believe it’s because they think that this will validate that they “know thief stuff.”

However, this isn’t always true. For some, having an extensive vocabulary is merely a tactic to hide behind. As a result, your arguments become misrepresented. And, that defeats the whole purpose of communicating with others.

Does this mean you should avoid big words all the time? Of course not. Sometimes they are more accurate and superior to their smaller cousins.

If you don’t want to exasperate or offend your audience, define big words before using them.

Captivate and engage others.

Piggybacking from the last point, an audience that doesn’t understand you won’t be able to benefit from your expertise. And, that might be because you’re using jargon. Remember, just because you and your colleagues throw around industry terms freely doesn’t mean that everyone is aware of their meanings.

Unless you know your audience, like their backgrounds and motivations, steer clear of the complicated words or acronyms that your audience is not familiar with. It’s a surefire way to lose them and prevent them from being engaged and captivated.

Another suggestion? Keep your explanations simple and clear. This guarantees that your audience can relate to and understand them. And, when they, you’ll be able to maintain their attention

In the words of Albert Einstein, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Read a Thesaurus.

Using different words can ensure that other people will understand what you’re saying. By using synonyms and changing a sentence structure, it will be much easier to get someone’s attention. But, repetition is needed to initially grab their attention.

Repetition has a special quality that’s called “specialty.” This is because people can say the same thing in a variety of ways. It will be in your best interest to learn a wide range of synonyms and related words.

Here are just a couple of examples in action:

  • When you can’t think of a specific word, for example the word goal, you could say, “aim” or “objective” instead.
  • When you’re talking to someone and they don’t understand what you mean — you can use goals or intentions.
  • When you wish to reiterate your point — if you say, “we need to reduce expenses by creating a budget. This would save us a lot of money.” The short explanation gives clarification to the sentence.

Write more often.

It becomes easier to speak more clearly when you’re able to write well. Over time, your vocabulary, sentence structures, and arguments will become second nature.

The reason? It helps you prepare and think ahead. As a result, you do not need to focus on your structure or vocab. Instead, you can focus on your presentation structure in order to avoid mistakes. Even if you’re busy as heck, try writing in a journal during your morning routine for a couple of minutes may help.

Avoid sub-clauses.

Another benefit of writing? It allows you to put several arguments inside one another. In other words, writing allows your audience to find the beginning of your sentence so that they don’t get confused. You can’t do that when you’re speaking.

Therefore, don’t nest ideas inside each other. Be concise when writing and end one thought before starting another. When you clearly end a sentence — you won’t lose your audience. More importantly, the listeners can walk away with the key points you wanted to relay.

How Analytics Can Help Your Small Business

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How Analytics Can Help Your Small Business

In our increasingly digital age, it can be all too easy for a small business owner to become overwhelmed by a sudden glut of available data. It seems like every new gadget or operations upgrade connects to the internet and includes an opportunity to accurately measure something or other to which they previously gave very little thought.

Some business owners make the rookie mistake of collecting as much data as possible, meticulously entering it into spreadsheets, and more or less leaving it at that. Successful entrepreneurs, on the other hand, understand that increased opportunities for data collection can be helpful, but only when those analytics are leveraged. Simply stated, they know the difference between raw data and actionable data.

The time to be impressed by internet-enabled devices that spit out new forms of previously uncollectible data is over. Small business owners, in particular, need to bring an increased level of discernment to data that’s merely “cool” vs. data that can help them increase efficiency and profits.

The best place to start is not by compiling all the data available to you but instead pausing long enough to write down a few simple questions. Only after you’ve decided which questions you’d like to answer can you begin to assess which analytics might actually prove helpful. Listed below are four questions just about any small business owner can adopt or adapt, along with pointers for how newer forms of data can help provide actionable answers.

1. Where are we wasting time?

The difference between time and money is that money can be replaced. Business owners and managers should be setting the tone in terms of effective time management during office hours. When management consistently demonstrates respect for the value of time, that attitude tends to filter down to the frontline staff. Conversely, managers who call meetings for no apparent reason can’t reasonably expect employees to place much value on anyone’s time.

Nowadays, there are many scheduling apps that include reporting features that will allow you to more effectively track how you’re spending time and whether or not that investment is paying off. For example, time-tracking analytics can be cross-referenced against customer billing numbers to assess ROI. This relatively simple exercise can be eye-opening in terms of surfacing high-maintenance individuals who, as it turns out, are not contributing all that much to revenue. 

Is the relationship worth the ongoing effort? Time-reporting analytics can help you decide whether to limit specific client contact to certain levels of time commitment or not.

2. Which demographics are falling away?

An investment in customer relationship management (CRM) software can provide individualized feedback on customer preferences, allowing your business to tailor its offerings accordingly. Marketing campaigns can be tweaked to highlight products and services that seem to strike a chord with your regulars. Emails can include a higher degree of personalization. Special events can be designed to respond to feedback.

Additionally, CRM data can chart changes in your customer base and help you do a little exploration. For example, visits to your salon by your 50+ customers may have driven the lion’s share of high-end sales, but those visits have declined precipitously. Is the falloff in any way related to how your business is operating in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic? Or did your product or service line shift such that your more mature customers are no longer interested? 

If the latter, are you OK with that shift? Analytics provided by just about any CRM package should provide the data you need to analyze who your customers are, what they care about, and how you can tailor your business to their needs.

3. At what point do our website visitors lose interest?

Website analytics, in particular, are one area where it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of available data. This is where your ability to formulate relevant, niche-specific questions before you start excavating data is most likely to save you from being over-informed and under-actioned. In particular, owners of appointment-based need to pay close attention to website bounce rates and abandoned scheduling forms.

Did you lose the booking when they read your terms and conditions or when you requested prepayment? Was the user confused by being presented with too many options too soon? Website analytics can provide the when, but you might need to investigate further to find the why.

If, for example, you notice a high bounce rate on a website resource that features one of your most popular offerings, that definitely merits a closer look. The problem might be tied to something as complex as mobile browser compatibility or something as easy to fix as a lousy photo. As you study online analytics, scan for any anomalies as your first step.

4. What do our Wi-Fi analytics reveal about peak business hours?

By encouraging customers to freely use your on-premises Wi-Fi, you can learn a lot. What days and times of the week see the most walk-in traffic? You can use this information to make sure you have enough staff on hand to serve these impromptu clients.

If users sign on via their social media accounts, you can glean further insights from demographic data. Are certain age groups more apt to patronize your business at certain times of day? You can tailor everything from promotions to in-office music choices accordingly.

Proceed with caution, though. There’s a fine balance to be struck between using Wi-Fi analytics to enhance your bottom line and being too nosy. Customers are growing increasingly wary of the data that any service provider collects, so you’ll want to be proactive about this. 

A simple disclaimer informing customers that you collect data to enhance their experience with your business is typically sufficient. Not every customer will agree to your terms and conditions, but many will, thereby helping you increase the overall effectiveness of your staffing and outreach.

Analytics can be powerful tools … or they can be powerful distractions.

There is no denying that objective, empirical data is a good thing. The question every business owner needs to address is whether or not specific forms of data can be utilized to foster growth. Depending on the niche you occupy, newer forms of analytics might be interesting but not helpful. Focus on data that facilitates needed changes.

Don’t fall into the trap of collecting and charting data merely for the sake of collecting and charting data. As you encounter newer forms of analytics that can be conducted, stop and ask yourself whether you should. By keeping an ongoing log of relevant business issues you hope to address with data, your data-sifting process will become much simpler.

Our Collective Loss of What’s Normal

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Our Collective Loss of What’s Normal

While it was certainly an adjustment, overall, I felt like I came out of COVID-19 unscathed. I’m certainly not trying to brag. I was, and still am, fortunate to work from home when I need or want to — and most of our employees are able to do the same. I was really grateful for the quality time with my family, finally getting around to projects that I’d been putting off, and it even enhanced my business savvy.

Our Collective Loss of What’s Normal

With so many other people suffering and trying to get back to work — and the economy is struggling — I don’t take it for granted that I’m grateful every morning when I wake-up. I do, however, long for the good-ole-days.

I’m certainly not the only one. Anecdotally, when I catch up with friends, family, and colleagues — some still want to meet virtually — I can hardly tolerant virtual meetings anymore. And now, the numbers have started going up in many areas of the country because of non-vaxxers.

In short, we all started to miss what we considered “normal.” According to David Kessler, author and grieving expert, that’s because we started feeling different types of grief.

Why we’re grieving — All of these things happened in Covid — and some still feel it.

“We feel the world has changed, and it has,” Kessler told HBR. “We know this is temporary, but it doesn’t feel that way, and we realize things will be different.”

“The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection,” he adds. All of these are “hitting us, and we’re grieving. Collectively. We are not used to this kind of collective grief in the air.”

Additionally, we’re also dealing with anticipatory grief — like when the numbers started going up about a week ago — what if we have to do this all over again? We will go through anticipatory grief when we’re uncertain about the future. “Usually, it centers on death,” he says. “We feel it when someone gets a dire diagnosis or when we have the normal thought that we’ll lose a parent someday.”

“Anticipatory grief is also more broadly imagined futures,” he says. “There is a storm coming. There’s something bad out there. With a virus, this kind of grief is so confusing for people.”

The reason for this is because our primitive minds realize that “something bad is happening. However since you can’t see it, “our sense of safety” is broken, he adds. “We’re feeling that loss of safety.”

“I don’t think we’ve collectively lost our sense of general safety like this,” Kessler says. “Individually or as smaller groups, people have felt this. But all together, this is new. We are grieving on a micro and a macro level.”

If there’s any silver lining, though, it’s that there are simple and effective ways to cope. For starters, Kessler recommends understanding the stages of grief and learning calming techniques. But, you should also try these nine other strategies to help you accept and manage your feelings.

1. Don’t get stuck.

“I see a lot of jokes on social media about drinking at 10 a.m. and sharing ‘quarantinis’ over video chats, almost to the point of normalizing these self-medicating behaviors,” writes Megan Seidman, a primary therapist at Caron Renaissance. “People are cut off from their usual methods of coping, and many are turning to unhealthy ways of immediate gratification to numb their discomfort.”

It should go without saying that not only is that dangerous in the short term, but it could have long-term implications. Besides putting your health and wellness in jeopardy, being funny about the consequences of much sadness may give people ideas who are on a different level of pain — and could lead to substance abuse.

Some people never allowed themselves to grieve, and now they think we might be back in the same problems that happened a year ago. They “haven’t allowed themselves to feel the loss, fear, and grief they have,” they may experience “complicated grief and post-event trauma.”

“Complicated grief becomes all-encompassing, making it difficult for people to think about anything else,” explains Seidman. “They cannot accept the reality of the losses they’ve experienced and therefore fail to adjust to the new reality.”

What’s more, it’s going to be more challenging for these individuals to get “back into their former routines.” Seidman warns that we could “see issues in ongoing relationships, divorces, rumination over losses, and difficulty sleeping. Once the social distancing is alleviated, if people haven’t worked through this process, they’re going to have a harder time reconnecting with others.”

2. Add predictability.

You may have never thought about this until your routine was broken due to the pandemic. But they’re incredibly important. First, Northwestern Medicine notes, “offer a way to promote health and wellness through structure and organization.”

Now we’ve headed back to the office — but maybe you haven’t committed to going into the office every day as before. Maybe you don’t have a routine yet — this can make you suffer from stress, unhealthy eating, and insomnia.

If you gained a few (or a lot) of the Covid-pounds — you may have gotten yourself in poor physical condition. And, you may be ineffectively using your time and feeling non-productive.

To counter the above, add some predictability to your life. Personally, I’ve started a new routine. It took some trial and error. But I set a routine of when I will be in the office and when I will work from home. I also had all of the employees commit to a determined schedule. It helps all of us to know what is going on and when.

If you’re struggling with this, here are some pointers to get you on your way:

  • Build your resistance. Don’t waste your energy fighting against change. Instead, accept it, practice some self-care, and focus on your current priorities.
  • Follow your usual patterns. If you wake up at 5 am, start work at 9 am, and eat dinner at 6 pm, try to keep that schedule. You may need to be flexible, but sticking to your previous schedule as close as possible gives you a sense of normalcy.
  • Schedule your habits in your calendar — schedule healthy habits like exercise or writing so that you’ll follow through. Physical activity is a proven way to reduce anxiety and depression.
  • Create an optimal environment. If you’re working from home, create a dedicated space reserved only for work. Don’t forget to keep it cleaned and organized as well.
  • Ask for help if you’re struggling — reach out to your support systems like a mentor or friend.
  • Take a reset day. Sometimes you need to take the day off and get things in order. But don’t squander this opportunity. Instead, use it to clean your house, review your goals, or tie up any loose ends.
  • Be the tortoise. A new routine won’t happen overnight. So be patient and work your way back into a routine.

3. Connect with others.

Last year — all the stay-at-home orders, quarantine, and social distancing took a toll on your mental health. Why? According to Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience and director of the Social Connections and Health Research Laboratory at Brigham Young University, it’s because “being socially connected in meaningful ways is actually key to human health and survival.”

While this was a concern before the pandemic, it does highlight the importance of connecting with others. So if you are still in some kind of a funk since Covid — make it a point to connect more completely with your loved ones. Just do it — pick up the phone — you are free to meet with people for now. Take advantage of that.

4. Practice gratitude.

Realize that the glass is not still empty — practice gratitude to put things into perspective.

Furthermore, gratitude can make you happier and improve your relationships. It may even help reduce physical ailments. These include headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and respiratory infections.

And, when it comes to being grateful — there are several ways to go about it. The most obvious would be writing in a daily gratitude journal. But, you could also send someone a ‘thank you,’ paying compliments to others and viewing each day as a new opportunity. Going for a walk outside and reflect for a moment at the end of the day and write down your wins.

5. Make time to play.

Your “play” doesn’t have to be like when you were a kid in school literally. But, scheduling time to play can give you that much-needed mental boost since it reduces stress hormones and releases endorphins. Additionally, it can make you more creative by encouraging problem-solving.

What counts as play? Anything. Board and video games, kicking a soccer ball around the backyard, puzzles, coloring, and singing are considered to play. If you can call someone to come over — do it. Our office has started to play pickleball every day at lunch and for an afternoon break. We invite other offices to join in our “tournaments.” It has been so refreshing. After such a long quarantine, sometimes we forget to get other people to come. If this is you — mark it on your Calendar or set an alarm.

6. Reduce screen time.

Now that the pandemic is over — determine to limit your screen time. Get outside and do stuff, especially since it’s summer and we can. Make a list and go do everything you dreamed about when you couldn’t get out. It is amazing how many great things are out there that are free or of little cost. But you can’t get out and do extra things if you are glued to the TV.

I’ve also established tech-free zones in the house. And, before listening to podcasts before bed — go back to reading books. You’ll be amazed at how well you sleep.

7. Focus on what you can control.

How to let go of control is no easy feat — especially for entrepreneurs. But, if there has been one key takeaway from the coronavirus, it’s that no matter how much you demand it — there are plenty of things in life that are out of your hands.

Right now, you can do things like getting on a plane, host a party and even go to a concert or sporting event. So go do each of those things. It is amazing how quickly you will perk up and be more productive.

If you are back at the office — go out and get some plants (all our office plants died). So we all went out and picked plants for the office together at a nursery — because we could. Also, get some new pillows for the office couch out front.

8. Stop worrying about being productive.

We live in a world where we obsess about being productive. And that can be problematic. Being “on” 24/7 and trying to maximize every minute of your day can make you anxious and exhausted. So to be productive and motivated — keep yourself fresh with new ideas and thoughts and do something fun.

If you feel up to getting things done, go for it, work fast and do it. On the other hand, if you are lagging in your new “back to the office” zone, give yourself a break — you’ve been through a lot.

9. Be aware of red flags.

Finally, pay attention to your grief if you have it. Don’t swallow! But pay attention to the red flags. Has your alcohol consumption increased? Are your sleeping or eating patterns different? Do you feel hopeless? If any of these things are still bugging you since the end of covid — look for a way to pull yourself out of it. It sounds cliché — but eat right, sing, dance and exercise. Ask around what others are doing, or if someone feels the same way you do.

If you answered yes to any of the above, then please seek help immediately. You can start by talking to your spouse, partner or best friend. But, you may need to reach out to a mental health professional. Please do this sooner than later so that you can move forward.

9 Pro Tips for Conducting a Hybrid Meeting

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9 Pro Tips for Conducting a Hybrid Meeting

As companies return to having employees in the office, they may realize hybrid operations are a must. 

Now instead of having meetings with everyone in person or everyone online, you need a hybrid solution. However, this solution creates a new set of meeting challenges to overcome. 

Here are a few smart tips for including video attendees in important in-person meetings without making it awkward for everyone.

1. Share the Agenda

Meetings run smoother when you have an agenda and stick to it during the meeting—sharing it before the session helps attendees prepare. It also helps keeps remote workers connected so they know what is going on and meeting expectations. Add any online references or links to resources that everyone will need. The central information center will help keep the entire team in sync.

2. Use the Most Current Technology

If your conference room equipment hasn’t been updated in a while, now is the time to do it. After a year of everyone being on video conferencing, people expect to see and hear everything clearly. As a result, old conference room telephone systems and outdated audio need to be replaced to keep remote participants engaged.

Don’t forget to check for software updates too. For example, platforms are adding emoji options to give video participants ways to react and share feedback without disrupting the meeting. Some providers are also developing new tools so participants in the room can use chat along with online members. 

3. Show Everyone’s Face if Possible

Remind online participants to keep their videos running and show their faces. If that isn’t possible, encourage them to use a professional headshot for their off-video setting. You also want to have cameras set up in the conference room to capture people’s faces in the room. 

It also helps if you can use a big screen to show the gallery view of participants. Helping everyone be able to see each other’s faces and expressions builds a connection with online participants. In addition, it helps remind speakers to make eye contact with people not in the room by looking at the camera as another person in the room.

4. Start the Video Before the Meeting Starts

Assign someone to start the online meeting room before the official start of the meeting. This can serve a couple of purposes. First, it’s a good time to troubleshoot any technical issues. Second, it gives you a chance to ensure video and audio are working so you can save the meeting time for the agenda.

Finally, it also gives online participants a chance to accomplish a tech check of their own. They’ll be more engaged and less stressed if they aren’t trying to fix their tech issues after the meeting has started.

As a bonus, they’ll be able to take part in the informal conversations and watercooler talk that happens between in-person attendees while they are waiting for meetings to start.

5. Discourage Side Conversations

Online members can’t hear what’s being said clearly when more than one person is talking. Microphones will pick up the side conversations, even whispered sounds. It’s a sign of respect to your video participants to make sure only one person is talking. That way, everyone can hear and participate.

Sometimes the conversation may get exciting, and people try to talk over each other. You may want to add a touch of humor and a trick to moderate this by using a physical “talking stick.” The only person allowed to talk is the person with the stick. When they are finished, they can pass the stick to the next person. The meeting leader should proactively make sure that online members get a virtual stick and a chance to speak too. 

6. Be Deliberate to Include Online Members

It’s easy to overlook people who aren’t in the room. To keep them connected and engaged, be deliberate about making sure to include them. For example, when the meeting starts, greet them by name and ask them to recap their weekend. Giving them a chance to share helps people in the room connect with the virtual audience as well.

As the meeting occurs, don’t forget to ask those on video if they have questions or comments. And remember, silence can be your friend here. It may take people a moment to come off mute, so don’t be in a rush to fill the quiet.  

At the end of the meeting, go around and ask everyone for their takeaway from the meeting. And start with those online. That guarantees members have a chance for any final questions or comments they needed to add. 

7. Plan Facilitation Help

Meeting leaders may find it helpful to ask a co-worker in the room to act as a facilitator. Their role here is to watch the online participants for indications they need to add a comment. For example, virtual members may turn off mute or use the raise hand function to indicate they want to speak. If members in the room don’t notice, the facilitator should mention it to the room so the online members can share. 

8. Use Group Collaboration Tools

Many times, meetings include whiteboard activities. Most platforms have added virtual whiteboards that video participants can also see. If the virtual whiteboard isn’t an option, make sure you have a way of showing the papers in the room on camera so that everyone can read them.

Another good practice is to use polling software that can consolidate responses from people in the room and online. That may mean employees in the room also need to have an online device with them in the meeting. Let them know this ahead of the meeting to have their device with them and the app installed.

9. Get Feedback

As people start returning to offices and in-person meetings, hybrid meeting practices will grow and evolve. Seek feedback from meeting attendees. Ask them to rate the meeting and provide suggestions for how to improve the experience. It may also help to make sure facilitators occasionally attend hybrid meetings virtually. This first-hand experience will help them get a feel for the online experience and what can be done better.

Conclusion

A recent survey conducted by McKinsey shows that nine out of ten executives expect to have hybrid work. Moreover, as people return to in-person operations, most people expect more remote work than before the pandemic.

The tips above can help make sure your hybrid meeting runs smoothly and keep everyone engaged wherever they happen to be located.

Life’s a Beach: 6 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Summer

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Life’s a Beach: 6 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Summer

Life’s a beach is a light-hearted phrase that reminds us that there is still so much good in the world to be enjoyed. Slip into complacency, and you’ll miss out on a lot of opportunities for both fun and personal progression.

With your Calendar, you can take advantage of both the productivity and fun these summer months have to offer. All you need to do is consciously manage your time to make sure that every day contains a moment to remember before the season ends:

1. Plan a Trip

Summer is prime time for vacation, especially for families with children who don’t have school to worry about. The wonderful weather also enables various pleasant trips, from weekend camping trips and day hikes to a week-long vacation on a tropical beach.

Don’t feel pressured if you can’t fit a big family vacation into your budget every year. You can make just as many memories and have a lot of fun doing something smaller. For example, plan a campout in the backyard or take a day trip to the lake as your summer trip. You’ll be glad you did something, no matter how small.

2. Chase Down Some Goals

Not sure how to spend all of your summer downtimes? Set some goals to pursue during the season. These goals will give you something to work toward instead of spending every afternoon in a backyard hammock (which is perfectly fine every once in a while, it’s important to rest).

The beauty of a summer goal is that it can be anything you want it to be. Want to learn a new skill? Schedule some classes and practice time in your online calendar. Want to tackle some home improvement? Your online calendar will help you work out some time to build that new deck or repaint the basement.

It’s important to note that summer is short, typically containing fewer than the 104 days Phineas and Ferb get to enjoy. With that being said, set realistic goals that are within your limits. You’ll only have a few months to complete a summer goal, and setting your sights too high can leave you feeling discouraged when fall arrives and your goal is left incomplete.

3. Get Your Tan On

The sunlight is oh so good for you, and it will do you well to catch some rays throughout the summer. Sunlight is known for helping people stay healthier and more positive. But, unfortunately, not getting enough rays is part of why seasonal depression is so prevalent; the cold weather and shorter days make it more difficult to get sunshine in your life.

Just 15 minutes of sunlight can have a positive impact on your day. If you spend all day in an office, you can squeeze in a little outdoor time during your lunch break. Filling your online calendar with outdoor activities over the weekend will also get plenty of Vitamin D into your schedule.

Of course, there’s always the concern that too much sun can be a bad thing. Just be sure that you have on some sunscreen and some covering to reduce your risk of skin cancer and sunburns. This is especially important for kids with more sensitive skin.

4. Attend Every Event

When kids don’t have classes to attend, parents will often fill their schedules with other activities to don’t spend every day glued to their electronic devices. So whether they’re participating in sports, dance classes, or music lessons, make time to attend every one of the events.

Even if your kids decide they don’t want to participate in whatever extracurricular activities they’re pursuing, they’ll be happy that you were always there to support them. So add any recital or match into your online calendar, and do your best not to miss a single event supporting your family.

5. Limit Your TV Time

We get it; electronics are awesome. Sometimes there’s nothing better than watching your favorite TV show at night or playing video games all weekend. However, if you’re not careful, those electronics can take away your entire summer and leave you wishing you did a little more.

To make sure you don’t waste your summer on the internet, use your online calendar to monitor your screen time. You can designate specific blocks of time to try a new video game or set a consistent bedtime, so you don’t stay up all night binge-watching movies, messing up your entire routine.

Helping your kids stay off of electronics will be quite the challenge as well. When schedules and routines fall short, a few incentives might do the trick. Have them spend some time outside or doing some chores to earn their screen time. Looking back on their summer, they’ll be glad that they were able to experience more than just their electronics.

6. Get Involved in the Community

Your town or city will be putting on a number of activities and events this summer. Getting involved in your local community will be one of the best decisions you make this summer. Besides, it won’t take a lot of planning to fill up your online calendar when you import the city calendar over.

Few experiences will be as memorable as a Fourth of July parade, a summer reading program, and outdoor theater nights at the park. You’ll be able to meet new friends, visit new places in your town, and try a lot of new things that can become traditions for years to come.

Summer is almost over, so get started today to make sure you have no regrets once fall arrives. Then, start making plans for next summer to make it even bigger and better than the last.

How to Use Appointment Planning to Secure Required Resources

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How to Use Appointment Planning to Secure Required Resources

When planning a meeting, setting the date and time is the easy part. The more difficult logistical challenge is making a list of everything else you need and checking it twice. Having the materials you need — or not — can make or break a meeting really quickly.

Once you’ve sent out appointment invitations to all of your guests, it’s time to iron out the nitty-gritty details. Different people will have intertwined responsibilities to keep track of. Room reservations, technology needs, even refreshments all need to be planned, prepared for, and executed. 

Sounds like a handful, doesn’t it? Now you can see why party planners get paid so handsomely! Fear not, using online appointment software can make sure you secure all the resources you need without breaking a sweat.

Set Deadlines for Confirmation

You often expect a guest to RSVP if they plan on attending an event. You should do that and more for attendees who also need to arrive to a work event with the required resources. They should have a deadline set before the gathering in question to report to you, or whoever is leading the event, that they are set to bring whatever they are responsible for.

Let’s say you’re planning a work conference that relies on Steven from accounting bringing a projector from home. Not only should he have an appointment reminder for the training itself, but he should have an additional one confirming that he will or already has brought the projector to work. This way you won’t have to stress until the moment it arrives, hoping that he and the projector show up on the same day. 

Secure Your Venue

Certain meetings and events require a venue that isn’t in your possession. In fact, you might not have even picked a site yet. You’ll need to set up some appointments to tour a couple of venues before you come to a decision

Once you’ve visited your locations of choice, you’ll only have so long to book them before someone else claims the dates you’re aiming for. Use your online appointment software to make sure you don’t miss the cut. Appointment reminders will help you stay on top of things.

Even if you own the venue in question, you might need to coordinate times with other parties who might want to use the space. A shared appointment schedule will ensure there are no double bookings when claiming conference rooms for meetings and more. 

Plan a Practice Run

Sometimes you won’t realize what you need until it’s already too late. This is a presenter’s and event planner’s worst nightmare. To prevent such an omission from spoiling your event, plan a practice run at least a day before the set date.

You can send a few attendees appointment reminders to attend your practice run so they can give you their perspective on how things went. This can include how well the chosen technology performed its function or whether the seating arrangement could use some rethinking. 

A simple meeting will likely only need a test run of the technology needed to direct the agenda. Larger events such as full-blown conferences might require more run-through, as there will doubtless be more moving parts. Be sure to take these varying time commitments into consideration when setting these appointments. 

Get Your Supplies Delivered

Running out of notepads for employees to take notes during a training session or copy paper to print out new manuals? You’ll need to schedule an order from your office supply vendor. You can use appointment planning to make sure you’re always stocked up no matter what’s on your calendar.

Most, if not all, retail businesses offer some sort of pick-up or delivery system. Using appointment planning, you can set recurring dates for supplies to be shipped. A monthly delivery can be easily planned and organized, and you’ll never have to worry about being short of materials again. 

Tune Up Your Systems

Not all of your required resources are tangible, so to speak. Take Wi-Fi, for example. Your entire business likely relies on a stable internet connection to function. So, too, will many of your meetings. You’ll want to be assured that your Wi-Fi and any other needed resource are in working order when your event rolls around.

If your infrastructure operations are ever in doubt, set an appointment with a professional who can give your system a check-up. You won’t always need someone to come in and check your Wi-Fi connection before a big meeting, but if you’ve been experiencing problems recently, it certainly wouldn’t hurt. 

Organize Your Staffing

Last but certainly not least is your staffing. For many events, you’ll need some bodies to help set everything up. Whether this is to help unload a trailer full of folding chairs or to clean up a venue after the meeting has adjourned, you need to get everyone’s watches synchronized.

Use online appointment software to coordinate your manpower. You can dictate when and where you want everyone to be with a simple shared schedule. With confirmation, you won’t have to worry about putting together your set-up and clean-up crews while you’re elbows deep in the event at hand.

Take a deep breath and get ready to nail down all the resources you need for your next meeting or event. Seeing it show up on your schedule will no longer bring a sense of dread now that you’ve used appointment planning to ensure there’s nothing left but smooth sailing. 

Ensuring You Have Stamina Throughout the Summer Months

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Ensuring You Have Stamina Throughout the Summer Months

Are you experiencing “summer slacker syndrome?” Don’t beat yourself up over it. The warmer months of the year trigger this phenomenon — even among the most motivated individuals.

Why does this happen? There are actually several reasons. For starters, we tend to be more tired during the summer because we’re acclimating to the heat, and our metabolism has slowed down. In addition, if you’re a parent, you want to spend time with your kids while they’re on summer vacation. And, there are a ton of summer activities that are pulling you away from work — why stay cooped up inside when you could be sipping a cold beverage on the beach?

Regardless of the exact reason, it’s not uncommon for us to drag during the summer. But, if you still need to get things done, here are 9 ways to ensure that you have stamina throughout the summer months.

1. Stay hydrated.

If you’re dragging this summer, there’s most likely a simple culprit. You’re dehydrated.

“In the heat, one byproduct of the increased temperature could be dehydration,” Jonathan Cane, exercise physiologist, and co-owner of City Coach Multisport,” told Aaptiv. “If not in a clinical sense, certainly in the low-level, chronic, less-than-optimal hydration sense.”

“Dehydration is a critical component that often leads to excessive fatigue and lack of energy when it comes to how individuals handle the heat,” adds Dr. Joel Seedman, neuromuscular physiologist, performance specialist, and owner of Advanced Human Performance. “In hotter climates, individuals are more likely to become dehydrated due to the body’s adaptive mechanism of perspiration and sweating.”

Even if you feel like you’re drinking enough water, we’re sweating more often to keep cool. As a consequence, our bodies are losing water faster than usual. “This can lead to electrolyte imbalances and a number of physiological consequences that can promote lack of energy and even physical ailments if not properly attended to,” Seedman says.

To make sure that you’re hydrated, try;

  • Chugging a glass of water as soon as you wake up.
  • Keeping a pitcher of water in the fridge and/or having a water bottle in sight.
  • Setting a timer or using an app Waterlogged to remind you to drink take a swig.
  • Infusing your water with fruits or herbs, so it’s not as boring.
  • Replacing soda with seltzer water, smoothies, or juices.

2. Snack on water-rich fruits and vegetables and spicy foods.

I know on those scorching dog days of summer, I don’t have much of an appetite. But, you need food to keep running. It’s just like filling your car with gas when it’s approaching empty.

The smart move to keep your energy up is to eat lightly throughout the day. Specifically, eating fruits and veggies like celery, green peppers, oranges, and watermelon. Besides being loaded with nutrients, they also contain lots of H20.

“Make sure you pair them with a protein, to keep your blood sugar levels stable,” advises Elisah Tashjian, a holistic nutrition consultant in Prevention Magazine.

What else should you chow down on this summer? Spicy foods. That may sound counterproductive, but it’s worth it.

Curry and chili can stimulate heat receptors in the mouth, which enhance circulation and cause sweating, in turn helping to cool the body down,” says Donald Deblock, a nurse practitioner with Rutgers University Health Services in Newark, NJ.

3. Don’t skimp on the z’s.

Are you having difficulty sleeping in the summer? You’re not alone. It happens to the best of us. And, there’s a valid reason.

“The longer daylight hours and the higher, sometimes humid, temperatures make it difficult to sleep well,” says Kat Lederle, Ph.D., MSc. “Your body clock, which is located in your brain, uses light and darkness as signals for day and night,” she says. “The longer we ‘see’ light, the longer the body clock will tell the body it’s daytime and it needs to stay awake.”

Also, with longer days, comes lifestyle changes. For example, you might be staying out later with friends or family. There’s also a chance that you’re eating dinner once it gets dark. And the alcohol might be flowing more liberally.

Still, you need to get a solid 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night. To make this possible, stick with a consistent sleep-wake schedule. Have a wind-down ritual, like reading, when it approaches bedtime. And, make sure that you keep your bedroom dark and cold.

Personally, I like white noise when I sleep. So, I actually sleep better when there’s a running fan or AC unit. Plus, it keeps my room nice and cool throughout the night.

4. Rethink your exercise routine.

“Exercising or performing physical activity in the heat actually burns more calories than other climate conditions,” says Dr. Seedman. “Our bodies tend to fatigue more rapidly, involving a relatively higher heart rate response, and thus require more ATP (or energy) expenditure to maintain physical activity levels.”

At the same time, physical activity is a proven way to build up our stamina and maintain our energy. It’s also one of the best things that we can do for ourselves physically and mentally. So, what can be done?

Well, go ahead and work up a sweat. Just don’t overexert yourself. For example, instead of running or cycling, go swimming or paddleboarding. Swap out cardio for exercises that work out large muscle groups, like lifting weights. You could also try team sports like beach volleyball or pickleball.

If you want to run or cycle, try first thing in the morning or during the evening. Or, stay indoors and get on a treadmill or stationary bike.

5. Get your wrists wet.

Who doesn’t enjoy jumping into a pool, lake, or the ocean on a blustering, sunny day? But, sometimes, you just can’t go for a refreshing swim. Sure, a shower might work. But, what if you’re stuck inside working?

The answer? Running cold water over your wrists.

“Arterial pulse points are the areas in which the arterial blood vessels come closest to the surface of the skin,” explains Deblock. “Arterial blood flows away from the heart, so if you cool it with cold water, it will circulate the cooler blood throughout your body and ultimately lower your core temperature.”

And, this trick also works if the heat and humidity are making it difficult to fall asleep. “Rinse your wrists or your feet with cold water before you hit the hay, and it will help you drift off,” he says.

6. Schedule your priorities.

I get it. I would much rather enjoy the summer than being chained behind a desk, even though I enjoy the work that I do. But, there’s more to life than all work and not play.

At the same time, I have bills to pay. More importantly, I have work responsibilities that I still need to attend to. Thankfully, there is a way to find a happy place.

Rather than focus on everything you think has to get done, hone in on your priorities. That’s not always the easiest feat to accomplish. But, in a previous article, Calendar co-founder John Hall says it’s possible if you;

    • Determine your “big three.” These are your three most important tasks that must be completed. No exception.
    • Enhance your time management skills. Some recommendations would be to work when you’re most energetic, keeping a time log, and following the two-minute rule. Also, don’t forget to reduce distractions, cluster smaller tasks, and avoid the “urgency trap.”
    • Feel in-balance. This is possible “by maximizing your time at work, stop overcommitting, and not bringing work at home,” says Hall. “You should also establish boundaries. For example, if you’re spending time with friends or family on a Saturday night, then don’t respond to any work-related correspondence.”
    • Innovate, learn, and grow. Brainstorm ideas to improve a product, service, or product. Take a class or attend industry events. And stay on top of the latest trends.
    • Get to know the people in your neighborhood. By this, I mean fostering relationships with customers, business partners, investors, and employees. Outside of work, spend quality time with friends and family.
    • Grow your network. Find mentors, mingle with potential employers, or just attend a local meetup or virtual conference.

After identifying your priorities, add them to your calendar so that there aren’t any conflicts.

7. Work in sprints.

Your mileage may vary on this, but I’ve found this to be an effective strategy.

If possible, kick into high gear for a couple of days. For example, you could put in 10 or 12 hour days. But, only for three or four days. Then, with your priorities out of the way, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor the rest of the week.

8. Prioritize fun.

In addition to prioritizing your work, also pencil in time for fun. You don’t need to squeeze in everything. But, if there’s a ballgame, concert, or backyard activities that you really want to attend, go for it. After all, you only have a small window of time to enjoy your favorite summer activities!

Besides, having fun reduces stress, strengthens relationships, and sparks creativity. It also recharges your batteries. And, when it’s time to get back to work, you’ll be more productive since you’re refreshed.

9. Encourage vacation.

According to Time Off’s latest State of American Vacation 2018 report, on average, employees receive 11 days of paid time off per year. However, employees only use 5 of those days. And, since there was a pandemic in 2020, most of us haven’t gone on a vacation in quite some time.

Why’s that a problem? Because vacations are good for you physically and mentally. What’s more, vacations help prevent burnout and increase happiness. But, how can you realistically take a vacation?

In another Calendar piece, Angela Ruth recommends;

  • Getting ahead of your work priorities. “You’ll feel a lot less stressed if you can clear some deadlines on the days directly following your vacation,” writes Angela. “In addition, using time management techniques in your online calendar, such as time blocking, can help you focus and get more done in the same amount of time.”
  • Bring some work with you. “This is a tricky one, but it might be worth your time to take some work with you on the road,” she adds. “Just be sure not to let it take over your entire vacation. Otherwise, you’re just paying way too much for a remote workspace.
  • Plan in advance. “Grab your online calendar and start planning when you want to take your next vacation,” advises Angela. “This way, you can weigh the pros, cons, and prices of different dates and locations. Then, leading up to your departure, you can spread out all of the tasks you need to complete before you embark with plenty of time to spare.”

How to Stay Productive During the Summer Slowdown

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How to Stay Productive During the Summer Slowdown

When warm, summer days arrive, work may be the last place you and your team want to be.

It’s the time of year when many businesses experience significant decreases in productivity. Your employees could be on vacation or taking a personal day. Or they may need time off to care for children who are now home because schools are closed. 

All of these factors can make your workplace look like a legit ghost town during the summer. 

It’s no wonder that workplace productivity usually drops 20% during the hottest days of the year, according to a Captivate Office Pulse study. 

So how can you transform the annual office work slump into a productivity jump? Here are six ways you and your staff can stay productive all summer long.

1. Emphasize Exercise 

It’s no secret that an active body equals an active mind. Studies have shown that there are tons of connections between exercise and productivity.

Along with all the physical benefits exercise brings, it also improves memory, cognitive skills, and mood. All these are factors that can make your employees healthier, happier, and way more productive at the workplace.

So how can you reap these benefits for yourself and your team during the slow, summer months? 

If your office has (or is near) a gym, encourage your employees to get in a quick workout during the day. Or take some brief time out to do a fitness class like yoga, spin, or Zumba. You and your team will appreciate the extra energy boost and glow that a good workout can bring.  

2. Encourage a Growth Mindset 

The workplace should always be a place that encourages growth for everyone. Many businesses experience sales lulls in the summer as clients go on vacation and responses slow to a trickle. That dip in activity makes summer a perfect time for you and your team to update knowledge or learn new skills you need in the workplace.

By focusing on growing your knowledge, you and your team members will be prepared to provide solutions that the company needs. For example, you can organize summer training for skills such as web design, social media marketing, communication, or leadership. You can also offer e-learning courses that allow employees to study at their own pace, away from the office.

3. Conduct an Office Clean-Up

With many of your employees out on summer vacation, why not seize the opportunity to organize the office? Organizing your office setup may not seem exciting, but it plays a big part in keeping productivity levels up at the workplace. A clutter-free space contributes to clutter-free minds.

A summer cleanup can be as simple as sorting and putting items where everyone can find them. Clear filing cabinets of outdated documents and tidy shelves. Do an inventory check of office supplies and restock any that are needed. Buy desk organizers, whiteboards, or any stationery that you think will help life at work go as smoothly as possible.

4. Embrace Flexible Work Arrangements

Who wants to slog away in an office while warm weather and endless sunshine beckon outside?

It may seem counter-productive, but if you want your team to get more work done during summer, consider reducing work hours. You can experiment with a four-day workweek in the office or have reduced hours on certain days.

For example, Iceland saw productivity rates go up when workers participated in trials where they worked a four-day week. It was considered an “overwhelming success.” Now around 85% of workers there can choose to work a four-day week with the same pay. 

Recent studies have also shown that employees are more productive when they work from home. Because of COVID-19, many companies have already adopted remote working. For your employees whose children are on summer vacation, it’s a solution that lets them work and be with their families. Because workers feel like they have more freedom and control over their work, they ultimately get more work done.

5. Take Time to Get to Know Each Other

Between WFH arrangements and employee vacations, summer can make your workplace look like it’s perpetually in the midst of mass exodus. The last time you counted, it was just you, a few colleagues, and the office fish left behind. 

Although engaging with this depleted group may not sound tempting, this is a good time to get to know whom you’re working with. If you make time to interact with your staff, it almost always results in better communication and increased productivity. Those who might feel stuck in the office while their peers are off recreating will appreciate your overtures.

You can make interaction easier for introverts and extroverts alike by organizing work lunches away from the office. It’s a nice way for everyone to get to know each other outside of the work environment. It is also an opportunity for you to get feedback from your employees on company or personal issues they may face.

Team-building activities are another fun way to get people talking with each other. A group hike or family picnic can go a long way toward creating positive feelings among your employees.  These positive vibes often lead to stepped-up productivity when employees get back to the office.

6. Process Vacation Requests in Advance 

According to a study by Healthline Media, 50% of Americans plan to take a summer vacation this year. This could mean that half of your staff would be unavailable at some point during summer if vacations aren’t planned in advance. Productivity will take an instant hit just because there are not many people working.

Having employees submit vacation requests before summer starts is key to ensuring that there are always enough people at the office to keep work flowing. In addition, it allows your HR department to find fair ways to deal with those who have conflicting vacation times. They can also make plans to hire temporary staff if needed.  

Summers Don’t Have to Mean a Productivity Slowdown

If you plan ahead, summer months don’t have to mean reduced productivity for you and your team. Less office work and extra time mean everyone is able to spend more time on personal and professional growth. You can also use this time to recharge your mind and body for busier days that will come.

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