Scheduling Self Care When Working From Home

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Scheduling Self Care When Working From Home

Even though many people have already been working from home since before the pandemic began, these past two years have increased the need for remote and flexible work. Gallup’s May 2021 study says that 7 in 10 U.S white-collar workers are still working remotely. In that same study, it was concluded that 4 in 10 white-collar employees prefer the option of working remotely. As remote working numbers increase, the habit of scheduling self-care becomes more and more crucial.

Mental health is a big part of that because working from home can bring a lack of socialization that most people had previously to our words being turned upside down in early 2020. Working from home may seem like it’s better for your work-life balance on the surface. However, it can also blur the lines of work and personal time way to easily.

If you still want to prioritize yourself while working from home, here are some top tips for scheduling self-care.

Commit to a Schedule That Honors Self-Care

Scheduling self-care all starts with creating a daily routine and calendar that leaves room for prioritizing yourself. Create your ideal daily schedule including time you spend working and having meetings, along with time spent on household tasks. Then, be sure to work in breaks and room for self-care as needed.

Define what self-care means to you and add it to your daily calendar so you’re never lacking it. When you work from home, staying active and healthy can easily be scheduled around meetings throughout the day especially if you are in control of what goes on your calendar. Some assignments can be mentally tasking so instead of jumping right to the next task getting a walk around your neighborhood or other exercises in can be great for both you and the next coworker or client you interact with.

Start Your Day With a Healthy Breakfast

A healthy breakfast has been recommended ever since many of us were young and in school. Don’t turn away from this principle now that you’re an adult and working from home. Eating a healthy breakfast is one of the best ways to replenish your body after receiving 8 hours of sleep.

Better Health calls breakfast the most important meal of the day. It replenishes your glucose to help boost your energy and alertness. According to WebMD many studies have pointed eating a healthy breakfast to better memory and concentration which are key ingredients to a successful workday. They also mention the low blood sugar in your body when you wake up and how important breakfast is to replenish it. Some of those items that give you those essential vitamins and nutrients are grains, dairy, and fruits.

Get Up Early

Getting up early could be your ticket to a productive day. Scheduling self-care can be as simple as making sure you get 8 hours of sleep each night. Your body needs time to rest and recover from all you do each day. The key is to make sure you get to bed around 8 hours before you plan to wake up.

Setting yourself up to wake up earlier will also give you more opportunities to practice self-care and adopt a better routine. You could work in 30 minutes of exercise or 10 minutes of meditation which can go a long way in helping keep you focused and feeling great throughout the workday. Or, you could journal, read, or do something that fills your cup during the day. These tasks are just a few of the many that you can use to shift your mindset before starting work or even throughout the day as you schedule self-care.

Schedule a Hard Stop Each Day

Starting your day on the right foot is important, but so is ending it as well. I have heard of plenty of stories when people are noticing work emails come in and out late into the night. It doesn’t have to be like that. Don’t put your brain through that. Find a time that you want to call it quits for the day and make that happen. It’s easy to want to work all hours of the day if you work from home. That’s not something you did when you worked in the office though.

You may not be able to actually ‘clock out’ and head home as you finish your workday. However, you can schedule a time when you can turn off your notifications until the next workday. Those emails and calls can be a distraction that isn’t healthy. We shouldn’t have to worry about work every minute of the day. Working from home should also include taking time for you and your families.

Be Intentional About Rest and Play

Take advantage of the opportunity to work from home. If your schedule allows, get a change of scenery and work from a coffee shop one day. A different place to work might give you just the boost you need to get a big project or task done.

Sometimes, being at home can be a distraction so getting out to somewhere that can help you be more productive can make both your boss and clients happier. Get out and spend time with friends and family for lunch. What better way to promote self-care and socializing than getting together with loved ones?

Create your schedule so you have time to do something relaxing like go get a massage or attend group class and interact with others. People who work during the day don’t have this opportunity so you might get lucky enough to schedule self-care that would be more challenging to obtain if you worked a 9 to 5 job in the office.

Plan to Get Dressed for the Day

Getting out of your pajamas and into clothes for the day can help signal that it’s time to get into work mode. This is part of your morning routine that doesn’t have to change. Getting cleaned up and putting on a new set of clothes can be the simplest but also very effective way to practice self-care. It can act as a mental shift that it’s time to get serious and start getting work done.

Be sure to simplify and plan out what you’ll wear each week in advance. That way, you can get dressed each day with ease while working from home.

Summary

Working from home is the norm for many across the nation. While working from home can seem flexible and freeing on the surface, it can also add to your stress levels and deter your self-care efforts. The best way to combat this is to prioritize scheduling self-care.

Set self-care goals, and prioritize your schedule. Make the boundaries clear early on and get a schedule in place so you’re not working up until bedtime. These tips along with the many others we mentioned will play a big part in making sure your self-care is included in your workday.

6 Appointment Software Trends Businesses Can Implement Before 2022

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6 Appointment Software Trends Businesses Can Implement Before 2022

The world of business never stops moving forward. Innovation is required to remain competitive, whether that’s by forging your own path or latching onto popular trends, like appointment software, for example. 

Appointment-based businesses have a lot of trends they can look at leading as we move into 2022. The sooner you integrate these trends into your own business, the better you’ll be able to keep up with the competition. 

To help prevent you from falling behind, here are six of the top trends appointment-based businesses should implement before the next year:

1. Expanded Online Payment Options

One of the best features online appointment software offers is a quick and easy payment method. Customers and clients can streamline their appointment experience by paying in advance or after an in-person or virtual visit. 

Most companies that have online payment systems accept debit and credit cards. However, other payment methods are growing in popularity with users, including several online payment apps and alternatives. This includes payment apps such as PayPal and Venmo, as well as spending cryptocurrencies through their associated wallets. 

Cryptocurrency as a whole is a trend you can jump on. Many small businesses were able to boost their sales for a short time by accepting the latest trending coin. They easily made waves across the internet, with excited consumers looking to make a commemorative purchase. 

2. Increased Personalization

Consumers have a growing desire to have their experience and interactions with companies be as personal as possible. Personalization makes customers feel like a business cares about and meets their needs to the fullest. Even small amounts of personalization in your appointment software can make a huge difference. 

Start with something small, like making it possible to change color schemes and font sizes within your booking pages. Not only will this better fit individual preferences, certain settings will even help your company fulfill certain ADA requirements

Another easy form of personalization for appointment software is reminder settings. Customers will want to receive reminders at different times, whether it’s a week prior to or the morning of their appointment. Options can also include how the reminder is set, such as through a text message, email, or through your company app. 

3. Mobile Optimization

As a consumer, you’re probably aware of how common it is to use your mobile device when researching brands, making purchases, and booking appointments. However, many companies have yet to optimize their online appointment systems for mobile devices. This is a trend that businesses must capitalize on now in order to succeed in 2022. 

One way to ensure a great mobile experience is to develop an app. Most large-scale brands have done this already. But smaller appointment-based businesses might not have jumped on board this trend quite yet. Even if you’re just operating a local mechanic shop, a mobile app can provide an improved experience to your customer base. 

4. Integrations Galore

There are hundreds of useful apps in circulation today, each with a specific function and dedicated user base. Being able to integrate these apps and programs into your online appointment system will win over a lot of new customers. 

For example, customers might find it easier to log into appointment software by linking their Google or social media accounts. This functionality can also carry over into integrated online calendars for more effective appointment reminders. 

Your business will love using integrations as well. For example, you can use Salesforce for better financial tracking or ETLrobot to store and organize data for future use. Online appointment software will be the hub for all of your important applications, streamlining their interactions with one another. 

5. Greater Focus on Data

Speaking of data, every year its value grows higher and higher. Businesses can make more calculated — and therefore effective — decisions by looking at data as a reference point. This almost always wins out over-educated guesses. 

Appointment-based businesses generate lots of data every day. By looking at past appointments, you can determine what demographics you should target with your marketing. You can also figure out how likely a customer is to make a return appointment. This knowledge should directly impact your strategy and decision-making, building a springboard for your business to enter 2022. 

Despite the well-known value of data analytics, fewer than two-thirds of businesses are currently using them to their advantage. You can easily overtake that final third of companies by placing an emphasis on data within your own organization. 

6. Going Virtual

The use of virtual appointments grew exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in medical settings. This enabled doctors to continue consulting with their patients when we had few defenses against the virus. Even though most pandemic lockdowns have been lifted, virtual appointments are expected to remain commonplace in various sectors of the medical field.

Some industries are simply unable to have virtual appointments. A hairdresser isn’t able to style your hair over a Zoom call, for example. However, there are other appointment-based businesses that will certainly benefit from enabling this feature.

Alongside physicians, dentists may be able to hold quick digital consultations with patients instead of having them visit the office. This could provide an opportunity to ask some follow-up questions remotely and save both parties a lot of time. 

If you can’t be a trendsetter, at least recognize which trends can guide you to long-term success. Now and into the future, the appointment software trends listed above will help you find your footing in the business world and create a better experience for all the customers you serve. 

9 Best Life Hack Sites That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

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Best Life Hack Sites That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

Everyone is looking to make the most out of their time these days and one of the best ways is through life hacks. People are so passionate about these that there are several sites available that document and provide useful pointers on life hacks.

Below I’ve compiled a short list of some of the best sites that can supercharge your productivity if you apply the lessons they offer.

1. Lifehack

As the name suggests, Lifehack is loaded with all kinds of practical tips to help you “hack” your life. It doesn’t just focus on productivity but also tried and true methods including the Full Life Framework to enhance relationships, improve health, and help you live a balanced, fulfilling and successful life.

What’s also nice about this site is unlike others, the design of the site makes it easier to read. It’s comforting and convenient, making it one of the best life hack sites around!

2. Digital Inspiration

Digital Inspiration houses all kinds of helpful – and inspiring – things that are in the tech world. They cover things like website tools, blogging, tech news, computer help, provide online guides and much more. Their premise is to provide you with digital inspiration and practical tips to solve problems that we could run into when doing those things. It’s all around a handy site.

3. MakeUseOf

A self-explanatory name for the site, MakeUseOf is about leveraging items that enhance your productivity. Where it differs from other life hack sites is that it focuses on digital productivity.

We all use digital products in our lives. Being suggested other digital gear or getting tips on technology can help us. Especially if they all help us in being more productive than before.

4. Productivity501

Productivity501 exists to remind us that there are different kinds of productivity. Yes, all productivity works towards the same purpose – results, comfort, and happiness. However, this site breaks down and shows how even the simplest of tasks can be done in a more productive way.

For example, one productivity trope that’s used often is how we can be doing more by simply doing more. Productivity501 provides gentle reminders how things like learning how to prioritize tasks is a much better way to get things done rather than trying to do everything all at once.

5. Dumb Little Man: Tips For Life

Immediately with the name it’s intriguing. The last thing you’d expect is for DumbLittleMan to be another one of the best life hack sites around. But it’s the truth. It’s overflowing with smartness and several useful tips on life.

Even though the site focuses on general happiness, success, and wealth, it’s still a good productivity site. The advice that it offers is short and to the point about what you need to know. It’s not rambling on for minutes about what are the best strategies. This gives you more time to go and apply the things they mention so you can see the results for yourself.

6. HowStuffWorks

As the name suggests, HowStuffWorks is able to cover a wide array of things and explain how it all works. How this ties into productivity is simple. In order to make the most out of certain tactics, it helps to know how things work. Everything from beef jerky to how we are specifically impacting climate change, understanding how these things work allows us to better address those issues.

Paired with the fact the site covers things like adventure, auto, lifestyle, science, tech, culture and many more, it’s a site that comes in handy if you want to figure out how stuff works.

7. How-To Geek

Being a geek these days isn’t that big of a problem compared to what it was like a few decades ago. At this point, most people have embraced this lifestyle, though haven’t leveraged it. Case and point: How-To Geek is a site created by geeks for geeks that share all kinds of useful tidbits of information like how VPNs work or how to number or label equations in Microsoft Word.

While it’s a tech magazine first and foremost, a geek lifestyle is something more than being interested in technology or gaming as this site suggests.

8. Gizmodo

This site has been recommended many times over from all kinds of other productivity sites so naturally this site makes the list. Gizmodo focuses on technology with more emphasis on gadgets and devices as well as overall technology.

If you’re looking for insider tips on coping with technology today and leveraging it, check out the site.

9. AddictiveTips

The last of the best life hack sites to show off is AddictiveTips. This is not just another tech blog, this site leans more towards free and simple solutions to everyday problems. For example, the site talks about shortcuts in Gmail and what torrent sites are still working.

On top of that, the tips and tricks they mention are true to their name in that they’re highly addictive. They’re addictive due to their simple application and makes you feel like you should be doing these for the rest of your life. There is a surprising number of tips mentioned in the site that can be applied to the world at large.

Final Thoughts

The best life hack sites around are meant to make our lives easier and these sites do live up to that expectation. They cover a wide array of topics and the advice and tips offered are simple to apply and quick to read through and uncover.

If you have some downtime and want to make the most of it, check out any of these sites and see what they have to say about certain aspects.

5 Reasons Appointment Software Is Thriving Right Now

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5 Reasons Appointment Software Is Thriving Right Now

Not too long ago, in order to book an appointment, you had to call your optometrist’s office or hair stylist during regular business hours and speak with a representative. Hold times, conflicting schedules, and the occasional bad case of the Mondays often made this process a grueling one. 

Luckily, appointment software has rapidly grown and is providing quality booking solutions to businesses and their customers all across the world. There are so many reasons why online appointment software is in such a good place.

Let’s take a look at why this appointment software trend is here to stay:

1. Rise in Automation

Taking the path of least resistance with regard to appointment scheduling doesn’t make you a lazy entrepreneur or standoffish business owner. On the contrary, looking for the most efficient solutions to all of your needs is just good business sense. You free up more time to focus on other aspects of your business to create a better organization from top to bottom. 

When you implement online appointment software, your employees need to spend much less time manning the phones. With that extra time, they can focus more of their attention on taking care of on-premises customers as well as a host of other tasks that might get left on the back burner.

This concept of using automation to streamline workflows is already widespread. The online appointment space is continuing to grow in its efficiency while still remaining an effective form of booking. 

2. Self-Service Over Customer Service

The modern consumer prefers self-service over speaking with a customer representative. In fact, a survey conducted by Nuance Enterprise found that 75% of consumers believed self-service solutions were more convenient and even superior. While customer service skills are still important, businesses are transitioning toward more self-service options.

Online appointment software is the ultimate self-service tool. Clients can look at availability and pricing without ever having to encounter a customer service representative. Not only is this a dream come true for the introverts of the world, but it’s also much faster for them to book their own appointment rather than wait for an employee to key it in. 

Many research studies have also shown a growing trend of consumers using mobile devices to book appointments and make purchases. By making online appointment software easily accessible on all devices, you make it incredibly easy for anyone to schedule an appointment no matter where they are. 

3. Incredible Convenience

Speaking of making the appointment-booking process easier, there are two other aspects of online appointment software that are worth noting. 

The first is that with an online platform, customer information can be stored and accessed upon a return visit. This means that repeat customers can book return appointments almost instantaneously, creating an even faster booking process. For businesses, important notes and details about each customer can be stored and accessed again and again with very little effort.

The second convenience that appointment software offers is its 24/7 availability. If someone is looking to book an appointment at 10 p.m., they no longer have to wait until the following morning to place a phone call. On the business side, booking slots can be filled all day long, helping to boost revenue with more customers making appointments. 

4. Increase in Virtual Appointments

For years and years, appointment software has been used to enable businesses to cater to the needs of on-premises customers. While this is still true, a new aspect of the appointment experience has boomed in recent years. Virtual appointments are becoming more common, which will increase the demand businesses have for quality appointment software.

Since virtual appointments happen online, it only makes sense to put a digital focus on the entire customer experience. Being able to book and attend an appointment online is convenient for busy parents, workers on break, or the three-quarters surveyed who prefer the self-service options. 

At the moment, virtual appointments can primarily be found in the medical field. During the height of COVID-19, this approach enabled doctors to speak with their patients or consult with new ones about the virus. As new industries start breaking into the virtual appointment space, the demand for online appointment software will continue to grow. 

5. The Value of Data

Almost anything can be made digital these days. If you can digitize an encounter, you can generate and collect data about it. Modern businesses have come to realize how valuable data is for optimizing their operations, and online appointment software becomes invaluable for that reason. 

Every time a customer books an appointment through your online software, there is data you can collect. Demographic data, high traffic times, and the number of days in between booking a time and the actual appointment are all pieces of information you can use to fine-tune your business. Without this information, your efforts to innovate your operations may resemble playing darts blindfolded and hoping you hit your target.

Let’s consider how your business might use appointment data to its advantage. By analyzing all your appointment data from the past three months, you might notice that most of your no-shows involve new customers. With this information, you can craft a strategy to help new clients commit to their appointments and increase both your conversion and retention rates. 

Online appointment software is helping businesses and consumers save time and get more out of their booking experiences. It’s no wonder these tools are thriving now and will continue to be used for a long time to come. 

Why Every Gig Worker Needs an Online Calendar

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Why Every Gig Worker Needs an Online Calendar

The spotlight was shined on the gig economy during the heat of Covid-19 as thousands of workers looked to earn paychecks as businesses closed around them. While most of the world has since reopened, the gig economy is still alive and well. There are a lot of positive aspects of being a gig worker that has kept people around for the long haul.

Several skills are helpful when becoming a gig worker, but none are as important as that of time management. When you’re not being paid by the hour, time is extremely valuable to you. That’s why every gig worker should have an online calendar. Let’s dissect the reasons why:

Managing Your Workload

Not having direct supervision as a gig worker is both a blessing and a curse. On the positive side, you get a lot more freedom and flexibility than you would by working on a salary. On the opposing end, though gig work is exciting and much more interesting — becoming a successful gig worker requires a lot of drive and initiative to get moving.

You also need to be careful about biting off more than you can chew. By tracking projects in your online Calendar, you can see if you’re getting a little overloaded and need to stop taking on new projects for a short time. For example, it’s better to complete three projects in a week with time to spare than to take on five and need to push back deadlines and endure some stressful, sleepless nights.

Meeting Deadlines

As a gig worker, the most essential aspect of your job will be to meet a plethora of deadlines. If you miss deadlines, you don’t get paid, and you’ll quickly lose customers. You want to be known as a reliable worker so that the request and recommendations continue to roll in.

What do you need to do in order to meet deadlines? Perhaps you need project management software to break down your projects into manageable pieces. On the other hand, maybe an endless stream of reminders and notifications is what you need to stay on track. Find out what methods work best for you and put them to work using your online Calendar.

Balancing Work and Home

A lot of gig workers are actually able to work from home. For these individuals, the lines between work and home can sometimes blend together. If you’re not careful, work can overtake your personal life entirely, which can be dangerously unhealthy.

With your Calendar in hand, make a proactive effort to dedicate time to family, friends, and hobbies. Learning where and how to use your time might feel forced at first, but it will help you learn how to prioritize the various aspects of your life and create time for everything. Of course, if that means you have to schedule in your family dinner in your Calendar — so be it.

A great way to tell how your work-life balance is faring, turn to Calendar analytics. This page of your Calendar will display the usage data of your time for accurate comparison. For example, if you’re noticing a very low percentage of your planned activities are geared toward family, you’ll know it’s time to plan some more activities in this area.

Scheduling helps you make sure that your created life pans out according to your dreams and the goals you’ve set for yourself.

Connecting With Clients

Your customer and client meetings are essential to both schedule and master to provide the best results to customers. Using your Calendar, you can start every meeting off on the right foot by being punctual every single time. Showing up late to your own meeting is never ideal for a first impression.

Using an online calendar will also help your clients be more timely with proposed meetings. It’s mighty frustrating to waste idle time for a customer to show up for a preplanned meeting. Reminders will often come in the clutch, and the ability to share video conferencing links directly in event invitations for any digital meetings you have.

Handling Money

Many contracted workers in the gig economy have found that there is more money to be made by being your own boss. However, paychecks can be inconsistent, and company benefits are no longer available. Therefore, you need to be smart with your finances if you want this to be a viable long-term commitment.

While online Calendars are known for their ability to help you manage your time, they are also helpful when it comes to budgeting. For example, you can set recurring reminders to set aside money for taxes, contribute to a savings account, or stay on top of bills. When you stay on top of your bills, it will help your finances feel consistent even when your paychecks aren’t.

Marketing

Gig workers are basically just miniature versions of entrepreneurs. Instead of running an entire business, they operate through a personal brand. With that being said, how you market yourself is incredibly important.

Depending on your line of work, there might be umbrella companies that can help you with marketing and advertising or eliminate the need entirely. Ridesharing or food delivery, for example, typically run through apps that customers use without requesting a specific driver. In addition, gig worker sites such as Fiverr provide a platform for all sorts of different contracted projects to increase visibility.

Other gig workers might need to use other means to draw attention to their services. Social media is an excellent example. Let’s say you’re an independent plumber working under your own name. A simple social media page can have contact information, pricing, and examples of your work to help increase customer acquisition.

If you want to see if the gig economy is right for you, pick up a few projects in your downtime to ease into the transition. If you decide to make the complete switch, keep these tips in mind so your new lifestyle can be a successful one.

7 Tips for Making the Best Use of Your Resources

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7 Tips for Making the Best Use of Your Resources

Just as there aren’t a lot of shortcuts to success, there’s no foolproof formula for driving your particular business ahead. Establishing your brand and business presence will take time.

This is especially the case when you’re up against established competitors. Business growth and development will be an ongoing process. To succeed, you must consistently put in your best effort and remain focused on your business goals.

While there’s no secret path for surpassing other businesses, there are several proven methods for reaching growth milestones and moving on to your next level of success. One of the best ways of achieving this is to make optimal use of all your existing resources. Listed below are seven strategies that can help.

1. Put the right people in the right places.

Connecting the right person to the right position can have many positive outcomes. It can boost performance, enhance employee value, and ensure consistent, high-quality output.

Far too many companies don’t do a great job with this simple process. To determine the right person for the right job, managers must accurately assess employee skills and compare them to overall company goals. They must then make the best possible use of those skills by placing that employee in a position where opportunities to excel exist.

It’s important to maintain focus on your company’s goals as you seek to achieve better productivity throughout the organization. Before that can happen, you must put together a solid team with the necessary skills to help you achieve those long-term goals.

2. Focus available resources on customer experience.

Every now and then, we all need a reminder that our customers are the reason why we’re in business. The way they perceive your business can make or break your hoped-for future. Customer experience is one area where you must maximize your focus.

Marshall the resources you do have to remain committed to delivering great experiences in terms of quality and service. Over time, your customers will place your brand on a social media pedestal. Falter in this critical area, and they can pull down your brand in no time.

A quick look at the strategies of the most successful businesses will reveal that they all have customer service as the topmost priority. They keep customers happy by offering new and innovative products and services. They make sure customer complaints are addressed quickly and satisfactorily. This helps achieve brand loyalty and long-term customer relationships.

Going one step further, engaging with your social media audience is also helpful. Personalizing their brand experience can ensure a strong bond and repeat business.

3. Avoid waste by developing your ability to adapt quickly.

Successful companies typically embrace the trait of adapting quickly to market demands and responding to change successfully. The ability to switch directions without missing a beat — or losing a customer — represents a huge win. Assuming anyone ever was skeptical of the value of a quick pivot, 2020 served to erase those doubts entirely.

Test different approaches to your audience and then compare various efforts to the resulting analytics. Put numbers to all of your campaigns. Give your team freedom to explore new ideas as a way to discover what works best for your market. At times, you may fail. However, an agile approach will help you pick yourself back up again and keep going.

4. Conduct adequate research on your competition.

Competitor research is one resource you must leverage with a high degree of accuracy. You absolutely must know what your primary competitors are up to. Failing that, it will be incredibly difficult to create a clear marketing strategy for your business.

Identify your competitors. Seek to find what has worked for them. After that, work out how your business can chart a different course. Doing so will help you identify, develop, and implement a different strategy. Competitor research typically leads to a more productive business strategy which, in turn, can lead to better sales and profitability.

5. Practice corporate social responsibility.

Consumers today not only look at businesses as commercial enterprises but often as social platforms as well. They are demonstrating an increased preference for businesses that are passionate about social causes. This frequently goes way beyond “reduce, reuse, recycle.”

Make a habit of practicing corporate social responsibility. Making meaningful contributions to your local community and lending support to causes that make the world a better place are good for your bottom line. They improve your image and earn customer respect.

Express your support publicly. Seek out underserved communities, retirement homes, the physically challenged, environmental causes, and others. You can find many ways of being a socially responsible business. Find and focus on a few that all your employees can affirm.

6. Host community events.

Attending and actively participating in local events can be a great way of growing your network. However, hosting your own events within the community can have a more profound impact on your reputation and brand visibility.

Whether managing a fundraiser or sponsoring a local event, put your best foot forward in an agenda-free fashion. Doing so will help create a better awareness of your business. More importantly, it can create a unique and personalized experience for your customers. The likely outcome will be fostering more personal relationships with your target audience.

7. Participate in (and host) networking events.

Nowadays, networking is one of the most important and influential methods for driving your business prospects. You’ll need to do it regularly to build long-term relationships with customers, vendors, and experts. Your presence at industry-specific events can not only help you learn new things but can also prove to be fertile ground for generating new ideas.

Networking provides the perfect platform for learning from others and sharing your views with industry leaders. Every business needs a solid support system to help sustain and surpass benchmarks. Networking can help you build and maintain that support system.

Summing Up

Businesses must constantly innovate and improve their processes to remain relevant and competitive in their niche. While you might wish you had an unlimited budget for pursuing all these tips with abandon, you live in the real world. You can start small with these ideas and then expand on them as your efforts gain traction.

Making the best use of your available resources is vital for maximizing your ROI. There are many other ways of improving your business prospects, but you have to work with what you have. Keep looking for opportunities, then act on them quickly … before your competitors do.

Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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Are You Addicted to Productivity?

“It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013 — “Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools. And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

“The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post. “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

This is my mantra:

I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

Addiction to Productivity is Real

Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

“A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC. “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

“It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

“A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

“There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today. “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

“For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

  • Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”
  • Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”
  • Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

  • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
  • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
  • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
  • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
  • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
  • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
  • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

1. Set limits.

Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

2. Create a not-to-do list.

Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

3. Be vulnerable.

By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with this, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

4. Understand why you procrastinate.

Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.

There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

5. Don’t be a copycat.

Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

6. Say yes to less.

Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

7. Stop focusing on what’s next.

“In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack.

“That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

  • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
  • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
  • Establish realistic goals.
  • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
  • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
  • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

8. Simplify.

Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

9. Learn how to relax.

“Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

“But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

“And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

  • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
  • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
  • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
  • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try.
  • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
  • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
  • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
  • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
  • Visit a massage therapist.
  • Just breathe.

“Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

It’s great to create and push forward —  just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus,  put in big time and then relax.

5 Needs Appointment Software Can Meet for Your Business

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5 Needs Appointment Software Can Meet for Your Business

Every business has needs. Even though specific brands and industries will differ in a lot of ways, many needs are universal. Though some companies may try to disrupt the status quo, at the end of the day, your business will probably need to fulfill these needs to stay afloat. 

Business owners are always looking for the best solutions to keep their entrepreneurial dreams alive and serve as many customers as possible. When it comes to meeting business needs, few tools are as versatile as online appointment software

While a single program might seem one-dimensional at first glance, it can actually fill a number of roles in your business. Here are just five common business needs you can knock out by implementing appointment software into your business model:

1. Timely Supply Delivery

Even appointment-based businesses require materials to run. A dentist’s office will need periodic deliveries of fluoride rinse; a hair salon will have to re-up its shampoo supplies. This means working with suppliers to manage shipments that are both timely and cost-effective.

With appointment software, you can schedule shipments more accurately. You’ll be able to minimize the risk of materials coming in late and interrupting service to your customers. 

On the other end is gauging demand for various products. By tracking the different kinds of appointments (cleanings vs. extractions, haircuts vs. colorings), you’ll be better able to anticipate which supplies you’ll need to have delivered and when. Appointment software will help you fine-tune your process so that there are no kinks in the system. 

2. Social Media Strategy

What’s the easiest way to connect with customers? Those same social media sites probably fill up a lot of your break time. Social media platforms are free to use and can help businesses reach thousands of new and existing customers creatively in real-time. 

Finding success through social media requires consistency. Using appointment software, set up a content calendar that prompts you and your team to create and post content on a consistent basis. By posting actively, you will have more data to use for improving your social media strategy over time. 

Besides keeping a social media calendar, use your appointment scheduling tool to make time for social media audits and game planning. Put that data to use and regularly make adjustments to your content so that you’re always heading in the direction you want with social media. 

3. Scheduling and Employee Management

Every employee has an obligation to come to work on their assigned days. In that sense, they’re maintaining an appointment scheduled with your business. Using appointment software will help both sides stay accountable to their time commitments. 

Employee scheduling mishaps can be a nightmare if you depend on team members to arrive punctually every day. Some creative roles can be more flexible, even working from home without direct supervision, but customer-facing roles don’t have that luxury. Appointment software will help keep everyone on time so your customers aren’t kept waiting. 

Managers benefit from using appointment software by being able to better connect with employees. If an employee needs to speak with their manager about a certain issue, they can check their availability via the appointment software. This ensures that communication always happens at a good time and as soon as possible. 

4. Customer Acquisition

For businesses, customer acquisition is an endless battle. Every business has some level of turnover rate, and that must be combated by introducing new consumers to the brand. 

How does appointment software help with customer acquisition? For starters, it’s a user-friendly tool that works in conjunction with your website to bring customers to your physical location. Accessibility to appointment-booking online is a huge selling point for many customers who want to make the appointment process as painless as possible. 

Online appointment software also provides your target audience with the perfect call to action. A link to your scheduling platform can be placed in social media posts, blog entries, and even email advertisements. You can expect a healthy click-through rate for this CTA thanks to the ease and convenience of online appointment scheduling. 

5. Customer Retention

You’re selling your business short if you don’t prioritize customer retention just as much as you do an acquisition. Gaining new customers is certainly important, but it’s more expensive and time-consuming for businesses. By focusing on retaining existing customers, you’ll keep revenue high by reducing turnover. 

Online appointment software makes it easy for customers to keep coming back for more. Booking an appointment online can be done in a few clicks, eliminating the need for phone calls or walk-ins. Keep improving your user experience, and you’ll be able to cater to your customers’ every need. 

Appointment software also opens up a new world of retention-focused communication. You can use appointment reminders and notifications to help customers arrive on time and urge them to make return appointments. 

If you’re encountering some problems with your business, ask yourself how online appointment software can help. You’ll be surprised to see just how multifaceted this tool can be and how many holes it can fill. 

22 Ways You Can Power Up for Productivity

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22 Ways You Can Power Up for Productivity

What would you rate your level of productivity on a 1-10 scale? I know — sometimes you feel like you don’t want to keep thinking about productivity. But you have to keep thinking about productivity for the renewable energy in yourself.

You can power up for productivity by thinking about it differently — think of productivity as your power source. Productivity is your PERSONAL RENEWABLE POWER SOURCE.

Start rethinking your thoughts about productivity and make it your best friend. Train your brain to have positivity about productivity and work if you want to keep going strong.

Even if your current level of productivity is high, there’s always room to improve.

Since I’m very results-oriented, I’ve been on a seemingly never-ending quest to boost my productivity. As such, I frequently experiment with different approaches and systems. If I find one that has helped me achieve my goals, I keep it. For the techniques that don’t work, I throw them out like yesterday’s trash. Ultimately, this ensures that I’m only using the best of the best.

With that in mind, here are 22 strategies that I’ve found to be the most useful for powering up my productivity. So, without further ado, let’s get ready to level up your productivity.

1. Choose your own prioritization method.

I’ve been a baseball fan all my life. And, I’ve always been fascinated with batting stances and swings. Sure. There are the sweet ones like Ken Griffey Jr. and Ted William. But, I always enjoyed the more unique stances from players like Gary Sheffield and Kevin Youkilis.

While Junior had the most beautiful swing in baseball, it didn’t work for everyone, especially players like Sheffield and Youkilis. The same is also true with prioritization methods.

Learn everywhere and from anyone you can. I’ve learned a lot from former President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the popular Eisenhower Matrix.

“The Eisenhower Matrix works by dividing tasks into four quadrants,” writes Max Palmer in a previous Calendar article. “The rows and columns help you determine which tasks should go where.

The columns represent urgent and non-urgent tasks, while the accompanying rows indicate essential and non-important tasks. Combined together, you get these unique quadrants:

  • First Quadrant: Do
  • Second Quadrant: Decide
  • Third Quadrant: Delegate
  • Fourth Quadrant: Disregard

But, just because this works for me doesn’t mean it will work for you. As such, you should experiment with various prioritization methods until you find a swing that works best for you. Some suggestions, besides the Eisenhower Matrix, include:

Two Big Traps

“Be sure to watch out for ‘decibel prioritization,’ in which the loudest voice heard gets top priority, and ‘threat prioritization,’ in which stakeholders holding the most political power always get what they demand,” writes Karl Wiegers in a Medium post. “These traps can skew the process away from addressing your true business objectives.”

In or Out

“The simplest method is for a group of stakeholders to work down a list of requirements and decide for each if it’s in or it’s out,” states Wiegers. Using the project’s business objectives as a guide, pare down each task to the absolute minimum required for the first release.

“When that iteration is underway, you can go back to the previously ‘out’ requirements and repeat the process for the next cycle,” he adds. “This is a simple approach to managing an agile backlog of user stories, provided the list of pending requirements isn’t too enormous.”

Pairwise Comparison and Rank Ordering

Priority sequence numbers are sometimes assigned to requirements. Rank ordering involves comparing all the needs pairwise to see which one is more important. Over a few dozen criteria, however, this becomes cumbersome. As a whole, it might not cover all the requirements for a system of this size, but it may work for granularity.

“Rank ordering all requirements by priority is overkill, as you won’t be releasing them all individually,” explains Wiegers. Instead, it’s best to organize them by release or development iteration. The dividing of requirements into features, or into small groups of conditions that share the same priority or need to be implemented together, is sufficient in most cases.

Three-Level Scale

“A common approach groups requirements into three priority categories,” he writes. When you use three categories, you will have high, medium, and low priorities. They are typically subjective and imprecise. Each level in the scale must represent a specific outcome that the stakeholders can agree on.

“I like to consider the two dimensions of importance and urgency,” Wiegers suggests. “Every requirement can be considered as being either important to achieving business objectives or not so important and as being either urgent or not so urgent.” It’s a relative assessment of a set of requirements, not an absolute comparison.

MoSCoW

A MoSCoW priority scheme is divided into four different categories indicated by capital letters:

  • Must: The requirement must be met for the solution to be deemed successful.
  • Should: The requirement is crucial to success, but it is not essential.
  • The capability is desirable, but it can be delayed or eliminated. If resources and time permit, implement it.
  • Won’t: A requirement that won’t be implemented at present may be implemented in a later version.

“The MoSCoW scheme changes the three-level scale — high, medium, and low — into a four-level scale,” clarifies Wieger. “It doesn’t offer any rationale for deciding how to rate the priority of a given requirement compared to others.”

MOSCoW leaves room for ambiguity, especially regarding the “Won’t” rating: does it mean “not in the next release” or “not ever?” This scale takes urgency and importance into account and focuses specifically on the forthcoming release or iteration.

2. Break the procrastination and perfectionism loop.

If you haven’t received the memo, procrastination and perfectionism reduce productivity. Mainly this is because they can cause anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Moreover, they impede innovation, limits opportunities, and make you reluctant to make decisions.

If you want to break free from the destructive procrastination and perfectionism loop, Deanna Ritchie in another Calendar piece, recommends:

  • Lowering your standards and expectations — You don’t have to be perfect! Just get ‘er done — and done is way better than not done.”
  • Keeping your tasks bite-sized.
  • Focusing on one thing at a time.
  • Practicing self-compassion.
  • Surrounding yourself with positive support.
  • Incorporating mindfulness.
  • Reducing your commitments.
  • Rewarding yourself.
  • Tracking your time.

3. Get your body moving.

No surprise here. If you feel sluggish all of the time, then you aren’t going to have the energy and stamina to make it through a full day of work.

While you could hit the gym before or after work, go for an afternoon stroll when you take a break at work. Sit and stretch at your desk — some of us may feel strapped for time, and we use it as an excuse not to move our bodies — don’t get in this mentality.

The good news? You can work out and stay active from anywhere. For example, you could switch to a standing desk, have walking meetings, playing your kids or dog, or launch a fitness challenge. You could also get creative, like doing heel-raises while making coffee or squats while folding the laundry.

The point is what? Just do something — absolutely anything to raise your body moving quotient.

4. Master your skills.

Your skills must be mastered before you can do your work efficiently and well. Gamers refer to this as leveling up. Practice the skills you do most often. Make sure you don’t have to look up a YouTube on a how-to-do part of your job you should have memorized.

Photographers, for example, cannot take the highest-quality photos unless they master their tools and photography skills. You can improve your skillset through training, learning, and reading tutorials specific to your core responsibilities.

5. Dilute micro-distractions.

“We are an over-connected society which is addicted to our devices and a slave to our notifications, “writes resilence keynote speaker Heidi Dening. “In open-plan workplaces that are poorly designed with no opportunity to do distraction-free work, we take longer to get our work done and we make more errors.”

The reason for this phenomenon? Because humans are wired to not switch tasks like that, we cannot focus if we’re being interrupted constantly by beeps, tweets, pop-up windows, and other interruptions.

“The number one adjustment you can make that has MASSIVE impacts to your productivity is to turn off the sounds and notifications on your devices,” suggests Dening. “Now, if this statement has scared you because you realize you are addicted to being notified when someone likes, comments, re-tweets, or contacts you, then take it one step at a time.”

  • For the first week, turn off the sounds on your devices.
  • Then turn your email pop-up off for the following week.
  • Once that is done, turn your social media feeds off for the following week.

“If you take little steps, it won’t seem so overwhelming, and you can test the impact these small modifications have on your productivity, she adds.

6. Try intelligent planning.

When you plan intelligently, you will learn how to be productive while switching between various activities throughout the day — or staying fresh while working on larger responsibilities.

Researchers have found that you should work in sprints that last no more than 90 minutes. More importantly, you need to take frequent breaks.

The reason? You need breaks to rest, recharge, and clear your mind. Overall, this keeps your concentration and performance high.

Furthermore, breaks can be beneficial for your physical and mental health as well. You might consider a short gym session or yoga during your workday if you feel your energy is waning. Increased workplace productivity, a boost in metabolism, more efficient brain function, and a positive attitude will follow.

7. Suck it up and ask for help.

There’s no shame in asking others for help. In fact, it’s not a sign of weakness. Rather it’s a strength as this is a surefire way to gain new perspectives and insights.

Furthermore, various research shows that this develops resilience, relationships, and is a sign of high performers. It can also improve your mental health. Additionally, it’s been found that sitting next to hard workers boosts one’s work ethic.

8. Create a productivity playlist.

Depending on the type of music, this is another effective way to power up your productivity. So, as you create your super-awesome-productivity playlist, focus on the following genres:

  • Classical. In 2001, a literature review stated that listening to music by Mozart improved short-term spatial-temporal reasoning. However, it didn’t affect general intelligence.
  • Coffee shop sounds. According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research in 2012, medium levels of ambient noise increased creativity. But, low or high levels decreased it.
  • Ambient music. Spotify surveyed 4,000 adults from the U.S. and UK in 2021, and 69% of them said ambient music works best for study, with 67% saying slower beats are essential. Thankfully, there are already ambient playlists waiting for you in Spotify, such as Lofi Beats, Deep Focus, and Chill Lofi Study Beats.
  • Upbeat tracks. Listening to high-tempo music (170-190 bpm) enhanced athletic performance, according to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2020. Does this translate to productivity? 180BPM Instrumental music may be able to give you a productivity boost.
  • Nature sounds. According to a study by the Acoustical Society of America, in an open-plan office, the sound of a flowing mountain stream significantly increased workers’ mood and productivity. However, only 12 participants were included in the study.
  • Pink and white noise. One study published in Scientific Reports in 2017 found that listening to white noise while learning new words resulted in greater recall than listening to silence. White noise may enhance the acquisition of new words, according to the researchers.

9. Go on a productivity purge.

A productivity purge is “a simple strategy for coming as close as possible to satisfying the principle without giving up a quest for the unexpected next big thing.” The concept was popularized by Cal Newport and based on the Einstein Principle.

Newport points out that Einstein’s primary focus from 1912 to 1915 was his theory of relativity. But despite sacrifices, Einstein produced one of history’s most significant scientific works.

“We are most productive when we focus on a very small number of projects on which we can devote a large amount of attention,” explains Newport. “Achievements worth achieving require hard work. There is no shortcut here.”

Thankfully, going in a productivity purge isn’t as complicated as trying to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity.

  • Create three columns on a sheet of paper or word document; professional, extracurricular, and personal. In the “professional” column, you list all of the major projects you’re currently working on. Beneath “extracurricular,” include your side projects. Finally, under “personal,” have all self-improvement projects.
  • Then, under each list, “select one or two projects which, at this point in your life, are the most important and seem like they would yield the greatest returns,” Newport adds. “Put a star by these projects.”
  • Next, identify anything you can “stop working on right away with no serious consequences. Cross these out.”
  • If any projects remain unmarked, “come up with a 1-3 week plan for finalizing and dispatching them,” suggests Newport. “Many of these will be projects for which you owe someone something before you can stop working on them.” In that case, develop “a crunch plan for the near future for shutting these down as quickly as possible.”
  • By the time you’ve “completed your crunch plan, you’ll be left with only a small number of important projects. In other words, you have “purged your schedule of all but a few contenders to be your next Theory of Relativity.”

In his final tip, Newport emphasizes the importance of security. “Try to go at least one month without starting any new projects. Keep all commitments to a minimum during this month.” Rather, target “with an Einsteinian intensity, on your select list.”

10. Rethink what you eat.

Which is going to give you more energy to finish strong through the afternoon, a bacon cheeseburger or a salmon salad? Junk food affects more than just your weight. In addition, it can cause energy crashes and decreased productivity.

As such, be sure to keep healthy snacks at your office so that you can remain productive throughout the day.

11. Identify your productivity ebb and flows.

Everybody has times when they are more productive than others. Identify these times via a productivity journal or time tracker and plan your most challenging tasks around them. Then, in the other times, just complete the tasks that are simpler or of lower difficulty.

For instance, if you’re more productive in the morning, that’s when you should tackle your most important task of the day. In the afternoon, schedule meetings or mapping out your content for the next week.

12. Improve your work environment.

Don’t neglect your workplace. After all, this has a significant impact on your productivity. With that in mind, start by keeping your workspace clean and organized. You also might want to spruce it up with a standing desk and plants.

Also, maintain a comfortable temperature in the office. You will be distracted if the working environment is too hot or too cold. Ideally, the temperature should be between 68 and 70° F.

13. Move on.

Jobs in the creative industries can be extremely frustrating, especially during those gray days when nothing is inspiring to do. By repeatedly focusing on the same problem, you will create even more obstacles to your productivity — it’s like spinning your wheels when stuck in the mud.

As a result of frustrations like these, you begin to doubt your abilities or procrastinate. To avoid this, move on to an unrelated task. This way, you still get things done while calming down since your attention is elsewhere. And, with a clear head, and maybe even fresh ideas, you may be able to return to the original task with gusto.

14. Focus on meaningful work.

Several studies indicate that individuals who find meaning in their work are more motivated, engaged, empowered, and have greater career fulfillment and job satisfaction. In addition to being productive, meaningful work can help boost performance and engagement.

How can you find meaningful work? One suggestion would be doing what you love. Or, at least you are passionate about aspects of your job, like helping others or having an unlimited vacation.

Other recommendations would be seeking autonomy or asking others, “What’s the purpose of my work?” Or, you could amend your job description, aka job crafting, so that it’s more meaningful.

15. Become a master-batcher.

Did you know that focusing on more than one thing at a time reduces productivity by 40%? Peter Bregman explains why in a piece for The Harvard Business Review. See, we’re not really multitasking. Instead, “We switch-task, rapidly shifting from one thing to another, interrupting ourselves unproductively, and losing time in the process.”

Rather than focusing on one thing at a time, it’s best not to isolate. In other words, group together similar tasks and complete them all at once. As an example, instead of checking your inbox every time you receive a notification, you would check your emails three times a day, like in the morning, after lunch, or before you quit for the day.

16. Eliminate limiting beliefs.

Are you concerned about some hypothetical situation that has yet to happen? Negative thoughts weighing on your mind? Put an end to these negative habits and beliefs by deleting your thoughts. After all, you don’t want these things to prevent you from achieving your goals.

If you want to remove negative thoughts and instill empowering ones, one suggestion is referring to Day 26 and 27 of Be a Better Me in 30 Days Program.

17. Be optimistic.

“Rescue—if people are facing a daunting task, and their instinct is to avoid it, you’ve got to break down the task. Shrink the change. Make the change small enough that they can’t help but score a victory,” Chip and Dan Heath write in Switch.

Breaking down challenging tasks and boosting your self-confidence can help you feel more optimistic about completing them, even if you’ve avoided them for some time. Then, celebrate your progress as your sub-tasks are completed.

According to experts, keeping optimism alive during a project’s completion is possible by acknowledging progress instead of dwelling on setbacks.

18. Listen to your body.

If your body is screaming for nutrients, your mind cannot be productive. The problem is that unhealthy drinks containing energizing ingredients and junk food are favored by people seeking short-term energy boosts.

Coffee and Tea aren’t my thing — however (gag, my friends, if you must), sometimes a Red Bull is in order. But experiment with what works for you.

Also, unless it’s imperative that you’re available if you’re exhausted, go for a walk or take a catnap. It’s often a better solution than fighting against your tiredness.

19. Use a “blast-off” method.

It’s rare for us to have enough time to finish everything on our plates in a single day. Especially if the task is relatively simple and we aren’t inspired to do it. As a result, we procrastinate. But, this is most true on the things that we aren’t looking forward to doing.

The Five-Second Rule is a method that says you should count down 5-4-3-2-1 before starting a challenging task. Developed by entrepreneur Mel Robbins, this allows you to be more in control.

You can also succeed in any task by following the Five Second Rule. And, your sense of accomplishment will be palpable, and you’ll be inspired to keep going.

20. Challenge your mind.

The troubling lack of inspiration mentioned earlier shouldn’t keep you from starting your day on the right foot. Rather than allowing others to deal with that problem for you, take matters into your own hands by challenging yourself with intellectual challenges like Sudoku or crossword puzzles.

Fortunately, there are plenty of these games available online, and you can pick the one that suits you best.

21. Delegate like a boss.

Are you ever unsure of how you’ll possibly accomplish all the tasks on your to-do list?

Most of those low-value tasks can be outsourced, I’m sure. However, all of these activities will consume the precious hours of your day that you have to get work done. They include data entry, document formatting, and running errands.

Thanks to the internet, you can outsource these tedious tasks so that you spend more time on what’s truly important. Find out what you could outsource by checking out TaskRabbit, Fiverr, or Upwork.

22. Chronicle your development and achievements.

You could do this at the end of every day. But if that’s too laborious, doing this weekly could be an alternative. Regardless of how often you do this activity, the idea is the same. Take a couple of minutes and take note of your specific accomplishments.

It sounds simple. But, this is an effective way to acknowledge what you’re good at, as well as your progress. In turn, this will make you more self-confident and keep the motivation train rolling.

6 Hacks to Make Your Office More Productive

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Hacks to Make Your Office More Productive

With work performance metrics being tracked with ever more scrutiny, productivity has become the buzzword for just about every business. Our increased use of remote employees has, in turn, led to more meticulous research into various ways to boost office productivity.

We already have plenty of productivity tools. These are being relentlessly pitched to us from different platforms. However, relatively simple techniques and changes in habits can bring about a positive boost more so than tools and technologies. These changes take into account the preferences of modern digital workers. They also tackle the unique challenges associated with working in our hyperconnected age.

Changing the habits of one employee is not going to help much. You must find ways of reprogramming the default work style of your entire organization. Doing so can help overcome or mitigate resistance as you quietly implement widespread changes.

The six productivity hacks listed below encourage the development of habits that productive teams and employees must cultivate. Some involve retraining the mind to operate differently in the workplace or digital space.

1. Use collaborative scheduling software.

Any team can engage better with work when scheduling is made painless. Effective collaborative scheduling software can help employees accomplish more in less time and deliver better-quality results.

Nowadays, user-friendly scheduling software is easy for anyone to use and can be implemented without requiring extensive IT expertise. Scheduling programs can keep your team aligned on specific tasks and ensure equal distribution of workloads. Team leaders are empowered to monitor and manage individual performance and productivity throughout.

2. Plan work in short stints.

It’s a proven fact that the human brain can only focus on specific tasks for a short time. After that, both focus and interest begin to falter. Recent studies seem to indicate that attention spans are much shorter in our digital age.

To combat this phenomenon, many organizations have begun using the Pomodoro Technique. This involves working for a 25-minute session followed by a five-minute break. Workers can customize these sessions to fit their individual needs.

For example, try breaking up your work hours into slots of two hours. After that, apply the technique to create four 25- or two 50-minute sessions. Doing so can help you remain sharply focused on tasks for the entire 25-minute slot. Enhanced focus coupled with quick refreshers can be a real productivity booster.

3. Block distracting apps and sites.

Research on digital worker productivity reveals some interesting habits of the average employee. For example, they can’t seem to go more than six minutes without checking their email or messages on their smartphones.

The nature of our work and social life in the digital era serves to relentlessly pull us toward notifications. It’s almost like an involuntary, unconscious reflex response. This reality can become a constant source of distraction and hamper our ability to focus on tasks.

The most effective way to change this is to block app notifications and websites that distract you. Create a list of apps and websites you need to block during work hours. Even notifications can often be set to remain silent during work hours. Once work has been taken care of, you can fire up your smartphone and see what’s happened while you took care of business.

4. Create a cool and comfortable workspace.

Most employees spend the bulk of their work hours at a desk. Providing a comfortable environment can help them deliver better-quality work. It can boost productivity, too.

Several environmental factors can negatively affect productivity in the workplace. Lighting, noise, and temperature can all serve to distract and affect the mood of employees. A relaxed and comfortable setting is far more likely to yield better work performance.

Make sure your office is structured for optimal productivity. Ensure a sufficient inflow of abundant fresh air and natural light. Keep windows open, if possible. Use high-quality light bulbs to provide good lighting. Ergonomic equipment and sound baffles can also prove to be valuable investments for boosting productivity. They aren’t cheap, but they’ll likely more than make up their cost in the long run.

5. Provide the right snacks.

We all know that eating the right foods has a pronounced impact on productivity. We also know that glucose can energize the brain and help keep an individual alert and focused. A low level of glucose makes us lose focus. Similarly, foods high in carbohydrates or sugar release glucose quickly. This often results in a burst of energy followed by a quick crash.

This is one reason why eating right has a lot to do with productivity. Foods such as almonds, bananas, eggs, dark chocolate, yogurt, and others can put your employees in an energetic frame of mind. Stay away from bags of greasy chips, sweets, and fried items.

6. Encourage standing with adjustable-height desks.

Productivity is directly proportional to the health of your employees. Sitting for long hours at a workstation can create health issues, which in turn cause them to lose focus.

Spend the money to invest in adjustable-height desks. This is not some trendy digital-age hack. Standing desks demonstrably help your employees stay in better shape and minimize discomfort. Sitting at work for long hours is known to put heart health at risk. It can also cause back pain and contribute to obesity. 

A Texas A&M University study revealed that worker productivity could be increased significantly when employees switch to standing desks. The ability to work while standing helps improve energy levels and focus. Top tech firms such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter are all convinced. They all use standing desks in their offices.

Hopefully, these six hacks give you some ideas for promoting productive habits in the workplace. Of course, the best way to encourage others to change their habits in the workplace is to lead by example, adapting these practices to your own work style. True, it will take time to nurture a more productive working environment. However, you can make the change sooner rather than later through thoughtful planning and implementation strategies.

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