How You Can Lead More Attentive Meetings

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Have you ever sat in a meeting and played around on your phone the whole time? If you answered no then you’re probably lying. The reason why you were on your phone is probably because whomever was leading the meeting wasn’t able to keep your attention. So how can we lead more attentive meetings? While there’s no single solution there are definitely strategies that you can take to capture the attention of those in attendance.

Here’s how you can lead more attentive meetings at work, life, or anywhere.

Define a Purpose

When calling a meeting you need to define a clear and definite purpose. Typically when we call a meeting we feel we’re being proactive and productive. The problem is some individuals call meetings for that reason only. If you don’t have a clear defined purpose for the meeting it’s probably not even worth gathering. One strategy is to write it down on paper first. Once you’ve gathered your thoughts try to create a few action items from your topics. If there’s isn’t much to execute on and or you don’t think it was worth writing down then you should rethink the meeting altogether. The biggest issue with keeping attention is that you don’t have many chances. If your team associates your meetings a lack of purpose then you’ll lose their attention before they’ve arrived.

Respect Everyone’s Time

One of the best ways to lose focus and worst of all respect from your team is to be constantly late for meetings. When you call a meeting you need to be absolutely sure you are there at least 10 minutes early. Yes of course things come up and we are late from time to time. But the old “I’m sorry I’m late something came up” or “my last meeting ran over a few minutes late” can only be used so many times. If your meetings are constantly running late then that shows your team a bit about your time management skills. Another reason why you want to be early is because you should be the one kicking off the meeting. If you stumble into a meeting room with the team already chatting about various topics you’ll have a hard time gathering the focus back onto you.

Phones Where You Can See Them

No matter what someone says about their phone it will always serve as an immediate distraction if buzzed. If their phone is in their pocket and they receive a call or text it’s almost guaranteed that person will at least look at their phone. Even if they don’t answer it still serves as a distraction to not only them but the rest of the group as well. I suggest having every member in attendance silence their cell phone and put it in the middle of the table turned face down. This way you can ensure that everyone’s attention will remain on you and they won’t get distracted by calls, texts, or even worse social media notifications.

Define Rules

One of the golden rules of focus and productivity is organization. If you’re concise and organized most things will fall into place. As you send out meeting agenda’s or hold meetings with new teams or groups make sure your rules are clear and written down. A disciplined group is a focused one. As long as your rules are respectable and concise I’m sure your team will have no problem following them.

Final Thoughts

Leading meetings is tough. When half the group isn’t paying attention it’s really tough not to mention a bit demoralizing. That said you should follow the tips above so you can lead more attentive meetings and a more disciplined team!  
Originally published here.

Appointment Recognized as Top Scheduling App For Small Business by ReadWrite

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More small business owners, startup founders, and enterprise executives recognize that scheduling and appointments are a critical element necessary for providing an exceptional customer experience. They seek proven tech solutions that can help them deliver on these expectations without killing an often limited available budget for software investment. 

 

Recognizing this need, ReadWrite, a top tech review and news site, recently tested and reviewed numerous appointment scheduling platforms and apps. In a recently published article, ReadWrite named Appointment to the top of its list of the 10 best appointment scheduling software for small businesses. 

 

Among the accolades listed, Appointment was praised for its robust platform and comprehensive set of features ideal for service-based businesses with high volumes of appointments. 

 

Other standout features noted in the article included the ability for Appointment to handle multiple departments, locations, and categories. SSL encryption, fine-grained access controls, reporting capability, and customization further set Appointment apart from other appointment scheduling apps. 

 

ReadWrite also highlighted integration with PayPal, powerful API capabilities, gift certifications and discount cards, reminders and waitlists, and calendar syncing with Outlook, Google, and iCal.

Appointment was in good company with many other notable appointment software solutions listed, including Square Appointments, Appointy, and Calendar.

Read the entire article here.

4 Affordable Ways to Reward Your Employees For Their Hard Work

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A business is nothing without the employees who grind day in and day out to make it run. As the business owner, or manager, you need to show your team how much you appreciate their hard work. When you reward your employees for their efforts, it will also lead to increased productivity and motivation. Especially in startups, it’s tough for business owners to allocate a budget for these rewards. Truth is, you don’t have to break the bank to show your employees your appreciation. It really comes down to being creative and connecting with them on a personal level. If you’re short on ideas, take a look at these four affordable ways to reward your employees for their hard work.

Field trips.

Let’s take a quick moment to reminisce on our many years at school. Remember, when a teacher would announce a field trip? The level of excitement from the students was typically through the roof. Even if the trip was months out, you better believe every student had it on their calendar. This level of excitement can also be brought to your company. Team outings are a great way to reward your team as well as build chemistry. Whether it’s a trip to the bowling alley or a team dinner, there are plenty of cheap options that will have a huge impact on team morale.

Executive lunches.

As your organization grows, your staff will become increasingly distant from the executives who ultimately run the business. That distance will cause a naturally disconnect between the employees and their leaders. A great way to bridge that gap is to schedule lunches with the team and the executives or founders. Lunch meetings are productive for many reasons. First and foremost, they put the attendees in a much more casual setting compared to a conference room. This will encourage discussions beyond business and allow the employees to connect with executives on a personal level.

Flexible work days.

Rewards and perks go hand in hand. One perk, that literally costs nothing, is a flexible work day (or days). Whether you allow them to work completely remote or reduced hours, they will feel like they are being given a special privilege. Not only that, working remote has actually been found to increase productivity for some employees. The best way to leverage this policy is to leave it loose. For example at our company, being in the office on Friday is optional. If you’re able to finish your work before Friday, then you can enjoy an extended weekend. You should focus on measurable output rather than just hours worked.

Gym memberships.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle goes hand in hand with living a happy and productive life. Odds are, most of your employees are looking to get a gym membership to say active. Nowadays, memberships at quality gyms can get quite expensive for a single member. Luckily for the business, plenty of gyms offer corporate or group membership packages that allow you to equip your entire team with a membership. This is a small gesture that will be well-received by everyone. Keeping your employees happy is no easy task. However, a loyal employee will stick with you through thick and thin. That said, use the four strategies above to make sure you’re rewarding your team for their efforts.
Originally published here.

Time Management Secrets from Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and 5 Other Highly Successful People

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Managing and maximizing your time is no easy task. However, who better to turn to than some of today’s most successful people for guidance. By taking a look at some of the tips and tricks that people like Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett have come up with, your one step closer to better time management and higher productivity. However, the time management concepts that some of the world’s highest achievers have created were based on their own schedules and needs. So taking ideas from some of these people is great for inspiration, yet your best bet might be figuring out your own strategies that work best for you and your time. Just take it from Amazon’s Bezos who has his very own meeting philosophy called the “two pizza rule,” which means he won’t attend any meeting that’s too big and that two pizzas can’t feed. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh came up with his own email management method called, “Yesterbox,” where he only responds to emails from the day before. To learn more about these quirky time-saving tricks, here are seven time management secrets from the world’s most successful people.

1. Zappos CEO’s “Yesterbox”

Today, email alone can feel like it’s sucking up most of the work day. And even after responding, deleting and archiving, the idea of “inbox zero” is still far-fetched. When Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh felt this way, he came up with a solution, which he coined “Yesterbox.” Yesterbox is Hsieh’s very own email management system, where instead of trying to tackle everything in his inbox at once, Hsieh only responds to his list of messages from the day before. Unless they are urgent, the rule of thumb is that Hsieh never responds to any of the actual day’s emails.

2. Richard Branson’s “social sweep”

After waking up at 5 a.m. and starting his day with some kitesurfing or tennis playing, Virgin Group billionaire Richard Branson finishes up his morning with a major “social sweep,” where he logs onto his Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts and catches up on news as well as addresses any messages and other activities. “Social media has opened up the world, and given the public the power to really have a say — it’s a wonderful thing,” Branson says. Another great perk of a social sweep, is you take care of it all at once, instead on constantly logging on and off of social media all day long, and becoming distracted.

3. Warren Buffett’s simple approach

Famous billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s approach to time management is as simple as it gets: say “no.” He’s not far off either, because letting yourself get overloaded with work by constantly saying “yes” to new projects and assignments will lead you straight to burnout. According to Entrepreneur, Buffett once said, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”

4. Jeff Bezos’ “two pizza rule”

The richest man in the world doesn’t have time to waste in meetings. That’s why he has his own meeting philosophy to make sure he maximizes his time. Calling it the “two pizza rule,” Bezos refuses to go to meetings if they are too big. How does he measure this? If two pizzas can’t feed the amount of people that are supposed to go to a meeting, then it’s too big.

5. Basecamp CEO’s 32-hour workweek

Jason Fried, the CEO of Basecamp, offers employees 32-hour workweeks during the summer. “You can get plenty of stuff done in 32 and 40 hours if you cut out all the stuff that’s taking up your time,” Fried explained to CNBC. However, other than summer, employees are required 40-hour workweeks during the rest of the year. Fried also shared to CNBC that his company does not require that any meeting be mandatory, so people can pick and choose the meetings they think they need to attend.

6. Microsoft executive’s laziness approach

Julia Larson-Green, Microsoft’s Chief Experience Officer, admits she’s lazy. In fact, Larson-Green has found a way to use laziness to her advantage. In an interview with Fast Company, Larson-Green explained, “Being lazy makes me more efficient, because I try to find ways that I can do the best work in the most minimal amount of time. I also know that I need pressure to perform, and procrastination is one of the levers for creating that pressure.”

7. Airbnb exec depends on Apple Notes

Airbnb’s Chief Business Affairs and Legal Officer Belinda Johnson attributes Apple Notes to much of her productivity successes. In an article by Fast Company, Johnson explains how Apple Notes help her stay organized and on top of things: “I use it all day long. As I’m going through my email, I’m either taking care of things in the moment or making [an entry] in Apple Notes that I need to deal with it later. At the end of the day, I go through all my notes and make sure I’ve addressed everything.”  


Originally published here.

8 Steps to Planning Digital Content in Less Time

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I’m a planner. I love writing things down and preparing myself for the work week in advance. Still, as a content producer myself, planning website content isn’t always an easy task.

When you do finally force yourself to sit down and start planning content for your website, blog, email list, etc. it can be a very time-consuming process. If the major brain dump method doesn’t work for you either, check out these 8 steps to planning digital content in less time.

Step 1: Use Current Copy as a Foundation

The best place to start is to look at your existing content for your business. Even if it sucks, you have someplace to start. Look at analytics to see which content resonated well with your audience and what didn’t.

For example, if you’ve been getting some great feedback on social media for a particular article, see if you can expand on the subject and plan to produce some follow-up content in the future. Keep a running list of topics whenever you gain inspiration or think of ideas that could be useful. It only takes a few minutes to do this each week and it’s the best way to jumpstart the content creation process.

Step 2: Make Sure You Understand Your Audience

Don’t waste time planning digital content before you get to know your target audience. Interact with them on social media, ask your email list questions, save helpful feedback, and ask your audience to a short market research survey every few months. 

This will help make the content planning and creation process much simpler because you’ll know who your audience is and what they want. Sometimes, I practically drive myself crazy trying to brainstorm content ideas. Ever since I started asking my audience what they wanted to see and listening to their recommendations, the digital content planning process has been pretty painless and quick.

If your audience is telling you multiple things, segment your website visitors into the primary, secondary, and tertiary audiences and determine how you’ll address their needs in future content types.

Step 3: Use a Calendar to Map Everything Out

If you’re planning digital content without a calendar, you’re doing it all wrong. Using a calendar tool can help you stay organized and begin to work ahead.

I like to set up days dedicated to brainstorming, outlining, creating/scheduling, polishing, and promoting. Yes, the content production process is pretty tedious, but having a solid plan laid out in writing can make all the difference.

Coming up with headlines and outlines at this stage is very important. It’s interesting to note that doing this in advance will literally cut a lot of time out of the content creation process and keep you focused so you can finish and release your content more efficiently.

By storing everything on a digital calendar, you can set reminders to hold yourself accountable for meeting specific deadlines and allowing yourself enough time to prepare what you need to complete the content.

Step 4: Work With Others

Ask others to help you research, edit and review when you’re planning digital content. This will save you a ton of time. For example, if you’re writing for search engines or trying to rank some of your web pages, you may want to have someone do SEO research. 

If you’re producing social media copy you may want to have a consult with a social media marketing expert to help you come up with a clear strategy so you don’t waste time making rookie mistakes.

This can be ongoing or just a one-time thing depending on your needs.

Step 5. Storytelling vs ‘Storyselling’

You don’t have to use your website to merely tell your own story. The stories that matter are those of the people who have used your products and services and found them beneficial.

Nobody is interested in knowing how wonderful a business you have. Give your audience results and evidence. The language you use should speak to them. Offer your products as the solution to their products.

One of the easiest ways I work storytelling into my digital content planning process is to simply be authentic. When I experience things or have conversations that I believe could be pivoted into inspiring content for my audience, I add the idea to my content calendar with a date and a brief outline. In less than 2 minutes, I have quality content planned that I can produce quickly.

Step 6. Write For Search Engines and Humans

SEO is important. However, crowding your content with too many keywords can only render it unreadable. Include the keywords as naturally as possible to avoid coming out as a robot. If anything, you don’t have to stick to your specific keywords. Use variations that will still give the same meaning.

As you’re planning your content for the web, it helps to determine a focus keyword ahead of time so you know what to base your content around. I like using the Google Adword Keyword Planner tool because it’s free and easy to use when you’re researching keywords and narrowing them down.

Step 7. Have an Action-Oriented Copy

All of your content should have a goal behind it. It’s likely that you want to help turn readers into leads and paying customers. To do this, you need to make sure you plan out content that has a clear call to action.

This will prompt your audience to do something. This is something I failed to do in the beginning stages when planning content for my business and I regretted it. It’s important to focus on providing value, but you also want to let people know what you want them to do. Is it to call you, email you, or make an online purchase? Show them the step they need to take next. Provide links or email address so that they can find it easy to reply and take action.

Step 8. Make It Visually Appealing

Content and visuals go hand-in-hand. When you’re planning digital content, be sure to include ideas for illustrations, charts, and images to support the text. Alternatively, use testimonials, bulleted lists or larger pull quotes. Divide sections with subheadings and use short paragraphs.

Again, planning all this out on a calendar will help you stay organized and on track. Remember, you don’t have to actually follow through will all of your ideas for content, images, SEO, etc. All you have to do is jot them down and organize them. 

The whole process can be done in under 20 minutes weekly or once a month as a huge content overhaul.

Do you plan out your content at all for your business? If so which one of these steps to you find most valuable?

 

Originally posted here.

5 Surefire Tactics for Boosting Employee Productivity

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As a leader, it can be easy to let the morale of an office slip away. However, to get it back, it’s not as hard as you think. And if one thing’s for certain it’s that happy employees translate to a more productive work environment, and thus, a thriving business. The core of every business is its employees. That’s why, as a leader, it’s more important than ever to go the extra mile when it comes to boosting employee productivity. Of course, you can’t expect every employee to be at peak productivity every hour of the day, but there are things you can do to help them get there. From implementing incentive programs to organizing social outings, take the time to develop ways to motivate employees — you’ll thank yourself later.

To learn more, here are five surefire tactics for boosting employee productivity around the office.

1. Give regular feedback.

Feedback is critical to the success of a company — and that doesn’t just mean feedback to employees, but from them too. Developing a comfortable work environment that fosters open communication, honesty and two-way feedback will help make your entire company more effective and productive. Regularly giving feedback provides guidance, an opportunity to learn and makes people feel valued. When employees know they can also give feedback to their managers, this helps to develop a more cohesive team. In an earlier Gallup survey, 67 percent of employees whose managers focused on their strengths were fully engaged in their work, while only 31 percent of employees whose managers focused on their weaknesses said this. Of course, while not all feedback is good, be sure to balance the negatives with positives.

2. Organize social outings.

Work hard, play hard. And that applies to the office too. One of the best ways to boost employee morale and productivity is by spending some time outside of the office. Get to know your employees as individuals and not just employees. Organizing social outings is a great team-building tactic. This will also get your employees away from their desk and give them some time to recharge. Recreational sports, retreats and happy hours are only a few ideas to get your employees mingling and getting to know each other. According to an article published in Inc., “Work performance depends on recreational activities — or at least, can be boosted with it.”

3. Implement incentive programs.

Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest motivators for most employees is money. That’s why offering incentives with awards in the form of money typically boost employee performance by 22 percent, according to a large-scale study by the Incentive Research Foundation. Not only that, but these monetary incentives, on average, boost team performance by a whopping 44 percent. Of course, it depends on how you create and implement an incentive program. The study also found that longer-term programs outperformed shorter-term programs.

4. Offer flexible work options.

Flexible work options are not only a great way to boost employee productivity, but also job commitment and happiness. A recent study analyzed and compared employee well-being at a Fortune 500 company over a nine-month period where half of the employees were given flexible work options, while the other half kept their regular 9-to-5 office hours. In the end, employees with flex schedules were happier at work and less prone to burnout than their 9-to-5 counterparts. They also found employees with flexibility to be sick less often, achieve more and work longer hours.

5. Celebrate the small wins.

Everyone likes to be recognized for something positive they’ve done, whether it’s big or small. However, despite size, every success should be celebrated. In an article published on Harvard Business Review, researchers examined what motivates people and the answer was simple: progress. When employees know they are progressing at work in some way, even if it is just the slightest bit, they will in turn be happier, more motivated and continue to keep up the great performance. That’s why celebrating the small wins is an effective tactic to help employees feel like they are progressing. Which in turn will boost performance and productivity.
Originally published here.

Productive Things to do During Downtime

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Even the busiest workers have a noticeable amount of downtime. Yet, there are ways to still accomplish productive things in that downtime. Whether it’s been scheduled or it’s your body’s way of saying “slow down, take a break” downtime during your workday can often be used as an opportunity to tie up loose ends and be productive with low-effort tasks. Here are 5 productive things you can do that make you feel good whenever you find that there’s downtime in your schedule.

Exercise

Exercise has a ton of benefits which is probably why successful people make time to stay active. While I used to find it easy for me to get lost on YouTube to start binging Netflix during my downtime, I started breaking up my day to exercise during the early afternoon slump instead. Exercise will help you stay healthy and keep your mind sharp and motivated to crank out some more great projects during the remainder of the workday. It doesn’t require a huge time commitment either. Even if you only have a few minutes, you can go for a walk around the corner or do a few exercises before starting back up again.

Read

It’s no secret that successful people read. The average millionaire is said to reads two or more books per month. Take the time to read blogs, news sites, fiction, and non-fiction during downtime so you can soak in more knowledge. If you’re often on the go, you may want to try audiobooks or listen to podcasts for fun or to learn about things like personal development, personal finance, or entrepreneurship.

Network

Networking can be valuable when done correctly. It shouldn’t always be your main focus but it’s important to squeeze in time to attend networking events and reach out to other either online or in person. Downtime is the perfect time to do some networking, maintain current relationships or follow up with people you’ve reached out to previously.

Open and Respond to Emails

Checking emails throughout the day can be tempting, but it’s an easy way to waste time and energy. I check and respond to my most important emails when in the morning and toward the end of the workday. I save the rest for small moments of downtime when I just need to do something easy and catch up. Managing emails can definitely become overwhelming if you don’t take time to stay caught up throughout the day. However, this doesn’t mean you have to waste time by checking in every 10 minutes. Focus on what’s important throughout the day, then save the rest for downtime.

Reorganize Your Calendar

Unexpected downtime like a meeting cancellation can be a great time to look at your calendar to make sure you’re on track and even plan for the next day. Planning your days in advance is one of the best ways to stay organized, motivated, and get a lot done. Successful people don’t waste time wondering what they’re going to do and when they’re going to do it. They already have a plan scheduled out and ready to execute. If you are experiencing way too much downtime throughout the day, you may want to reorganize your calendar and make sure you’re working efficiently and making the best use of your time.
Originally published here.

How to Make Sure Your Personal Life Doesn’t Negatively Affect Your Business

By | Business Tips, Knowledge Base | No Comments
Let’s be real. Sometimes, your personal life can wreak havoc on your business. As much as we try to keep personal and business separate, we’re human. The problem is when the issues in our personal lives affect our productivity. In recent weeks, I’ve engaged in multiple conversations with business owners who have all been dealing with things in their personal lives. No one makes it public, of course. However, when they are in circles with other business owners they trust, all the personal life dramas are shared. I’ve also had my fair share of drama in my personal life in recent months. As such, I’ve learned several strategies for not allowing it to affect my business. Here are some of the strategies I find work best.

Always prioritize savings.

As a business owner, the amount of money you make can be directly correlated to your output. Sometimes, things in our personal lives do require more of our attention and it causes us to take a temporary step back. That’s why it’s always good to have savings in the bank. For example, a couple of years ago I had to take a step back from my business to help my family with some things. Because I had savings, I was able to do it without any issue.

Give yourself a set period of time to feel your emotions.

Making sure your personal life doesn’t affect your business doesn’t mean ignoring things. This can actually escalate conflict and make everything worse.  It simply means managing them. For example, if you’re going through an emotional period in your personal life, give yourself a set period of time to feel your emotions. Christine Hassler, a life coach for millennials, suggests giving yourself a few minutes each day to really feel your emotions. This way, you’re not ignoring them, but you’re also not letting them affect your business.

Be careful who you surround yourself with.

Sometimes, issues in your personal life can be traced back to those you surround yourself with. While you may be careful who you surround yourself with your business, perhaps this is a lesson you’re still learning in your personal life. I know I definitely am. If you notice that drama always seems to surround one or two people, then it’s time to cut them out. The last thing you need as a business owner is to always be involved in some mess because of the company you keep. Keeping your personal life out of your business becomes impossible when the people in your life consistently drag you down. Toxic people can easily overrun your life with their energy, which is why they need to go if you plan on running a successful business. Bottom line is if you don’t want your personal life ruining your business, then you need to take the preventative measure of making sure unnecessary drama won’t be caused.
Originally published here.

11 Best Tools and Tips to Promote Teamwork

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There are a lot of good things about working with other people at your job. For one, having a co-worker allows you to share common goals for your company or employer. Another is fostering a good working relationship with other people and turning them into friends. But anytime you work with other people there’s bound to be conflict from time to time too. Fortunately, there are certain tools and tips you can use to promote teamwork and get along better.

1. Shared Calendar

One of the best tools to promote teamwork in an office environment is to use a shared calendar. In fact, there’s more than one advantage to using a shared calendar. Working on group projects is easier with a shared calendar. All team members can see when certain tasks are to be done and who is doing them. In addition, project meetings can be scheduled once on a shared calendar that everyone has access to. This saves time and keeps everyone on the same page, so to speak.

2. Business Website

Another way to promote teamwork is to have a business website. Even if there are only two or three people in your company, they can be featured on the site. This is helpful in making them feel like an important part of the business. It also allows other people, such as the public, to see what role they play in the business.

3. Scheduling System

Whether you’re a business owner, manager, or simply an employee, you can help promote teamwork in your business. One of the tools you can use to do this is a scheduling system much like Calendar has been named in the past. Scheduling systems allow all team members to see the various tasks involved in a large project. What’s more, as tasks and sub-tasks are completed and marked off, everyone knows it. If one or more tasks seem to be holding things up, all team members can see which task it is. They can then go to that worker and offer help or suggestions to get it finished. There are scheduling systems that allow messages to flow back and forth among team members. This is particularly helpful on projects that involve several people. It allows everyone to easily stay current with the project.

4. Workload Sharing

If you want another tip to promote teamwork, try workload sharing. In other words, a worker without enough to do could offer to help another who is overloaded with work. Obviously at times managers will have to step in and redirect workers to other projects. Either way it happens, the redistribution of work improves both efficiency and productivity. Workload sharing encourages teamwork as workers communicate where projects left off for seamless continuation of work tasks.

5. Limit Distractions

When you’re constantly getting phone calls or noisy notifications it disrupts your train of thought. It can also distract other employees around you who are trying to work. If neither you nor your fellow workers can concentrate, you won’t get as much done. Consequently, to promote teamwork in your place of business, try to limit distractions and productivity killers. Turn off your cell phone, put it away, or set it in another room entirely. While you are at it, shut off email, text, and social media notifications if possible. Set specific times of day when you can check for voicemail messages, emails, and texts. Completing this task in batches a couple of times a day enables everyone to be less disrupted by task changes. Your co-workers will appreciate your thoughtfulness whether or not they think to mention it. Not only that, but everyone will get more done.

6. Track Time

Did you know time tracking can promote teamwork in your workplace? When you track the time it takes to complete tasks, work can be assigned more evenly. This keeps one worker from being given too much work and another too little. An uneven workload can cause resentments among those who work together. Therefore, to build a better team you should track how long it takes to finish work duties.  

7. Brainstorming Sessions

Sometimes when you have a work problem it requires brainstorming to solve it. Since two heads are often better than one, try asking a co-worker to brainstorm with you. You may come up with the right solution to the problem quicker. In addition, two people can bounce ideas off each other increasing creative ideas.

8. Cross-training

Cross-training can also promote teamwork, increase productivity, and improve moral in the workplace. Having one co-worker train another pushes them to work together and learn from each other. Through cross-training, employees can coordinate, as a team, to give businesses better work schedule flexibility. Workers can plan together so everyone enjoys time off for personal appointments and family events. Yet, while staff members are absent, none of the important work in the business gets neglected. Unexpected events, such as personal emergencies and sickness, won’t keep work from being completed as it needs to be. Other trained workers can fill in for the employee who is gone enabling coverage of the company. Productivity will increase, and the team, as a whole, will be stronger.

9. Job Swapping

If you really want to promote teamwork, try job swapping in your business. Job swapping lets one employee take-on the unfamiliar duties of another for a short duration. Obviously the positions being swapped need to be somewhat comparable. Otherwise, the results could be disastrous. Still, job swapping, unlike cross-training, is not necessarily done so employees can back up each other’s positions. That can be one benefit of a job swap, but it isn’t the only reason to do one. Alternatively, the idea behind a job swap is for workers to gain greater appreciation for their fellow employees. This is especially helpful for staff members who don’t always see eye to eye. Walking in each other’s shoes highlights the difficulties each person encounters on a daily basis. This can strengthen worker relationships and teamwork in your business.

10. Team Building Workshops

At times when you are trying to promote teamwork in a business you must seek outside help. That’s where team building workshops come into play. Off-site workshops allow team members to work together without the pressures of the workplace. Sometimes they can work together in different ways through team building activities. These types of activities allow co-workers to help each other and work cooperatively. Staff members may even improve any weak areas they possess with the help of team mates. At the same time, previously unseen strengths may come to light to managers and supervisors. Finding hidden knowledge and talents is a bonus to any business. It could even spur reassignments in the workplace later on.

11. Fun Activities

You can further your business and improve co-worker relationships with outside fun activities. Company picnics, Christmas parties, potlucks, and other activities help employees get to know one another. They also serve to let your hair down a little. It isn’t always possible to let loose and joke around in a high stress work environment. That’s why having a few fun activities away from the business are important. They allow workers to socialize together and see each other in a different light. Sometimes staff who didn’t necessarily get along in the past become friends through these events. That is why they are a great tool for team building as well as just being fun. There’s no doubt that when everyone in your business operates as a team you’ll enjoy greater success. Use these tools and tips to promote teamwork and that success won’t be far behind.
Originally published here.

How to Create A Time Budget (And Stick to It)

By | Maintenance, Time Management | No Comments
When most people hear the word “budget” they think of their finances. It makes sense because money is a resource that needs to be managed. However, your time is a resource too. In fact, I would argue your time is even more valuable because you can’t get it back. That’s why it’s important that you also create a time budget for your life.

What is the purpose of a time budget?

I like to think of a time budget as a guideline that helps you spend your time the way you want to spend it. Granted, sometimes there are things we don’t want to do – like go to the dentist or pay taxes. But, for everything else, it’s important that we find time for the things that matter to us. For most people that looks like relationships, health and their careers. The only way to do this is to manage our time wisely and with intention.

How do you create a time budget?

The first step is already done – which is to determine what matters to you in life. The next step is to figure out what each of these important things looks like. Remember, your time is a limited resource so it must be used wisely. Let’s start with career since that takes up a lot of our time each week. What does being intentional in your career look like? What tasks will actually move you forward with your goal? What tasks are a waste of time or cause you to move backward? When do you stop working each day. The last one is especially important because you have other areas of your life that matter to you as well. Chances are you didn’t go into business for yourself to work all the time, especially because many people crave work life balance. Once you determine when you work, you also need to determine when you do other things. For example, I go to a fitness class on Mondays and Thursdays. I also dedicate weekends to friends and family.

How do you stick to a time budget?

In order to stick to your time budget, you need to have certain things in place. Just like you use apps and boundaries for finances, you also need them for your time. Here are some things that will help you stick to your time budget:
  • A calendar application. Let’s be real, if something isn’t on your calendar it doesn’t actually exist. Furthermore, a calendar application can help you time block tasks and activities. It can also let others know when you’re not available.
  • Very strong boundaries. People will take advantage of your time if you let them. That’s why it’s up to you to have very strong boundaries. Don’t hand over control of meetings and learn how to say no. Otherwise, you give away too much of your most valuable resource.
time budget is just as important as a budget for your finances. Both resources need to be managed to the best of your ability for a balanced life. It’s up to you to determine how you want to spend your time and protect it.
Originally published here.
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