All posts by Choncé Maddox

4 Simple Things to Do Every Evening to Make Your Mornings Easier

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4 Things Every Evening Make Mornings Easier

Mornings are supposed to be calm and relaxed, welcoming the new day ahead. And yet, more often than not, they are rushed and chaotic as you scramble to get out the door in time. Add young children into the mix as well as partners, pets, or roommates, and you have yourself a full-on nightmare each day. That’s no way to greet the new day; however, it’s a habit many of us have fallen into.

Thankfully, there are ways to prep the night ahead to set yourself up for success in the a.m. Even if you are exhausted and ready to call it quits, setting some time aside to prepare for the next day is beneficial to your mind and body. It may also shave off a few minutes of the allotted time, allowing you to have a more calm, established morning routine.

Obviously, the pandemic has changed all of our schedules. So knowing how to set yourself up for a breezy morning can be easier said than done. Not sure where to start? Read on for four simple things to do this evening to make tomorrow morning even easier. Your future self thanks you.

1. Check Your Schedule

Before you close out of work for the day, look at your calendar or schedule for the next day. See what you need to get done tomorrow and what tasks you need to carry over from today. Knowing what is ahead can ease your mind. And you can also proactively change or move meetings to accommodate your schedule better.

Of course, if you are a parent, you also need to be on top of your children’s and perhaps your partner’s schedules. For example, if your youngest child has soccer practice after school, you’ll need to decide who is in charge of dropoff and pickup. Or, if your child is on snacktime duty tomorrow, you’ll need to quickly figure out what 30 individually packaged snacks look like.

These are all items you and your partner can discuss the night before. Doing so will help alleviate any unnecessary tension in the morning.

2. Plan and Pack Up

Planning and packing up considers all things that you need to either wear or bring to work tomorrow. This includes figuring out what you will wear by checking the weather forecast. Laying out your clothes or hanging them on one hanger can save precious time getting ready. While you’re at it, put your shoes by the door as well.

You’ll also want to pack your bag, ensuring you have all your devices and chargers at the ready. How many times have you left home without your laptop charger? Guilty. Once your bag is ready, place it by the door, so it’s one less thing to think about. The same goes for any of your children’s backpacks.

3. Do Your Food Prep

The worst time to think about what’s for lunch is in the morning when you’re feeling rushed. Leaving your food prep to the morning is also another way for you to wind up just getting another overpriced takeout lunch again. While you’re cleaning up dinner, go ahead and make your lunch and put it in the fridge. It can be helpful to designate one shelf in the refrigerator to everything that you — or your family — need to grab in the morning. No lunch or water bottle left behind with this trick.

This can also be the time when you prep your breakfast. Smoothies, chia pudding, and oatmeal are all excellent grab n’go morning noshes. If you’re a coffee drinker, now is the time to either pre-set your machine or at the very least pull out your to-go mug and grind the beans. Meal planning the night before can help save you time and money. It can also be a healthy jumpstart, knowing that you have homemade (or at least home prepped) meals waiting for you when you rise.

4. Tidy Up

Ok, cleaning is likely the last thing you want to do after a long day. That said, waking up to a filthy or messy house is the last thing you want to see when you open your eyes in the morning. So doing a quick tidying up the night before can be beneficial to how you start the next day. It helps close out the day and transition yourself out of work mode into nighttime mode.

We aren’t saying you need to pull out the vacuum cleaner, per-see. But doing small tasks like wiping down the counters can mean smooth sailing in the a.m. If you live with others, you can make this a family chore or a roommate task. Ask everyone to go around the house and pick up any loose clothes off the floor or help load the dishwasher. It’ll take less time when everyone is involved, and maybe a chance for the mess to not happen in the first place.

Takeaways

A productive, less stressful morning starts the night before. Whether you are a morning person or not, these four tips will help you feel better and calmer each morning. By checking your schedule and planning ahead, you’ll know what to expect and how to approach the next day.

And by doing all of your meal prep and tidying your space, you will fall asleep knowing you really have to grab and go before heading out the door. So start implementing these tips today and start welcoming more calmer mornings.

4 Simple Things to Do Every Evening to Make Your Mornings Easier was originally published on Calendar by Choncé Maddox.

Image Credit: Lisa Fotios; Pexels; Thank you!

Why You Should Use Scheduling Software

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Why Should Use Scheduling Software

Using scheduling software improves time management. But not everyone is making use of this new technology. When you don’t utilize your time management software — it’s similar to having a new Ferrari, but driving it barely five miles under the speed limit.

To unlock a sports car’s ultimate speed, you must understand its engine. You must learn software advantages and how to leverage the power it has to boost your productivity. You’re only getting surface value for your software if you’ve looked at it solely like the Ferrari above — and only been interested in the paint and leather seats. Change how you think about your scheduling software.

Anticipate What Your Software Can Do for Productivity

Living in the moment is exciting but not very productive when you’re thinking about software. So you need to plan if you want to maximize your time using the software. Ask any industry leader or successful entrepreneur how much planning goes into their daily lives — and the same goes with using a piece of software.

You should plan daily, weekly, and monthly by changing your schedule program’s perspective. Above all, with daily planning, you may schedule challenging tasks at times when you know you are more productive. For example, plan all meetings and deadlines weekly. Monthly planning allows you to review your own KPIs and prepare for a more productive month. Meanwhile, your scheduling software lets you and others cooperate and plan together when you all have open times.

Leaders must juggle several jobs, duties, and deadlines. Your scheduling software will also assist in decreasing manager-team misunderstanding and miscommunication. For example, X’s new blog post is due tomorrow morning, with editing by an in-house editor at the end of the day — is that on the editing schedule? You need to have a spot to manage your team’s metrics for your scheduling software. He says the metrics help team leads and managers plan their time for each development cycle.

Personal-Professional Balance

Even if your profession is vital to your lifestyle, your family and yourself should always come first. According to a Deloitte study,  organizations that promote work-life balance see double the employee productivity. Therefore, the most excellent scheduling software encourages work-life balance.

Set aside time for family. Schedule dates with your spouse and your children’s athletic events and recitals. These events should be non-negotiable, and you may arrange them using the same tools you use for your business.

The balance between work and life is much easier to accomplish. Use scheduling strategies that help you maximize your productivity while on the clock. For example, the Pomodoro technique divides work into little blocks with brief pauses in between. Using this scheduling strategy will help you focus better during the day, do more things in less time, and take less work home.

Color Coding for Geeks — Great at-a-Glance Scheduling

A unique color-coding system helps you to comprehend your itinerary quickly. Each item on your timetable can be assigned a different color. Red can be used to highlight important client meetings. For example, yellow can represent longer-term tasks like planning or reporting. Blue may stand for family time, personal obligations, etc. To complete activities faster, you’ll want to establish your schedule’s priority. There are many ways to accomplish this.

Visual cues can help people understand information faster, so go ahead and be colorful. Once you learn your color code, your daily schedule will inform you where and when you need to be. For example, a red light indicates a board meeting that you must prepare for. Consequently, no matter what the event is, a sliver of blue at the end of your schedule will remind you that you can’t work late tonight because you have a family event.

Set Alerts on Scheduling Software

Scheduling an event isn’t always enough — you’re not using scheduling software to its full potential if you don’t set reminders for important events. Therefore, setting up reminders for each meeting or appointment will help you keep track of your schedule. Remember to set an alarm for your travel time as well.

Your reminders will serve as a backup if you forget something or misplace your paper notes. There’s nothing worse than missing a critical meeting or giving the incorrect impression — these types of things damage careers. Use your scheduling program to avoid this.

Reminders can also help you prepare for upcoming occasions. Consequently, a half-hour notice before a big presentation provides you time to gather your thoughts and organize your materials. You should know yourself well enough to see if you need more time than a half hour. That’s all you will need if you have prepared the night before and have everything ready to go for that meeting.

Others to Contact in Scheduling Software

Preparing and attending a meeting where the other party does not show is counterproductive. Both parties must agree on a schedule. Even if you do everything perfectly —  there are times when someone may be late or not show up for a meeting. All your planning and organizing will be for naught.

To avoid this, send reminders to folks with whom you have made plans. Most scheduling software allows you to set up reminder messages.

Leaders can create the perfect reminder once and use it for all future engagements for everyone on their team.

People won’t have to worry about colleagues or clients skipping meetings or writing personalized emails every time. They may also share a meeting agenda or a scheduling link to improve collaboration — and the same process and work while managing your hybrid teams’ hybrid work schedules.

We need to cease utilizing our scheduling software for only the basics. Instead, leaders should use this software tool’s array of valuable features to boost productivity companywide.

Start today to make the most of your time. Remember that using your scheduling software — “now” — spelled backward means you’ve “won.”

Why You Should Use Scheduling Software was originally published on Calendar by Choncé Maddox.

Image Credit: Vlada Karpovich; Pexels; Thank you!

Reasons to Stop Planning Too Much — Live in the Now.

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Reasons Stop Planning So Much Live Now

It seems easy enough, yet we humans struggle to appreciate the present. Why? We frequently speak only of our future plans — but what about building your now? You hear, “Know your why.” Start thinking, “Know your now.”

Some people think we lose out on fantastic moments because we are too busy rehashing previous events or preparing for the future. We seldom pause to smell the flowers. We don’t enjoy the moment. Keep the destructive process from becoming the precedent.

It’s sad not to be in your own personal time zone — since we don’t know how many more moments we’ll have. Meditation and many of the healthy habits we work to learn are all about living in the now.

Go ahead and plan your life in detail.

This is not suggesting we spend less time planning. To leave out the planning is terrible counsel. Setting goals is critical to our personal and professional happiness. Setting and achieving realistic objectives fosters personal accountability. Careful planning is a kind of goal-setting that gives significance to our lives since it requires devotion, hard effort, and tenacity to achieve.

Some people feel our culture has gotten obsessed with planning. We frequently speak about constructing for the future, but what about building the now? We all want true pleasure, and to experience it, we must live in the now. Focusing only on the future causes tension and negative thoughts and even uncertainty to enter our thought processes.

Why should you concentrate on living now instead of preparing too far ahead?

1. Right now is the only moment you can control.

No matter how much you plan, you can never predict how life will unfold. You will only know when you are there.

The only moment you can control is this one right now. You may either appreciate or despise the situation. And of course, you may also choose to squander the moment by ignoring it, but the choice is yours.

Planning won’t get you out of the moment. It may help you achieve your objectives, but it will not enhance your current quality of life. Planning for the future won’t ensure a desirable result, so why not focus on the now?

2. Enjoy every minute in the now.

Nobody knows how many moments you will get to experience. This is vital to understand. Nobody knows when their next moment will be gone. Your next moment isn’t specific, so why not make the most of it?

You can’t have this perspective if you’re always planning your next level. You can only feel this excitement for life by living in the now. It’s trite and impractical, but it’s true.

Don’t waste time. Plan when needed, but not at the price of enjoying the moment. Life is brief, so enjoy it while you can.

3. Being present reduces stress.

Too much future and past thinking generate stress. Some of the stress that comes from not living now may be harmful to one’s mental, physical, and emotional health. Yes, your thinking takes a controlled effort to remain within a balanced life — but the effort will be worth it.

The over-planners hinder themselves from living in the present and cause unneeded tension in their life. Invigorate your life with present-focused living practices.

You certainly don’t have time to meditate for five hours a day and not make plans for the future, but making tiny adjustments will help decrease stressors and help you be able to get a jump on the inevitable problems that come up in life.

Observe when your mind starts focusing on the future instead of the current moment. Ask yourself whether this is required. Being conscious of your thoughts can help you be more present.

4. Plans seldom come to fruition as expected, so live in the now.

Know that you have planned the best you know-how, and expect that things don’t always turn out as your plan dictates whether you like it or not. How often have you attempted to plan something that didn’t work out? What happened? Did you become offended, or did you accept and comprehend the situation, do something else, or move forward?

Plans go awry. You fail a lot as an imperfect species. It is inevitable.

Trying to plan every stage of your life is tricky and unhealthy. Plan for the best — but be determined that you will not be annoyed or disturbed when those plans don’t work out.

You don’t have to prepare for the worst — just have contingency plans here and there in your life — then, just let life happen and be.

Make preparations if that helps you, but don’t lose sight of the moment. If your plans don’t work out, try to accept them.

5. Being present makes you happy now and in the future

Some people don’t like using the term “makes you happier” since nothing makes you happier than yourself. With that in mind, living in the now is one of the surest ways to achieve true joy in your life. But, yes, happiness is a choice most of the time.

Without going into all the statistics and studies, it is clear that living in the now is one of the most important keys to happiness. Too much long-term planning will keep you from enjoying the moment.

Take a moment each day and observe how living in the now has made you feel? How can you make a better plan? How can you remain in the present if your plans take a dive off the planned course? Plan when necessary, but keep an eye on the present.

Strike a balance between spontaneity and forethought. You can only control the present moment.

You’ve heard it before if you’ve worked on mindfulness at all — this moment is a gift. Try to believe that and be okay with the statement. Enjoying the present reduces stress. Recognize that plans don’t always go as planned. Accept the moment and be joyful.

Plan as you see fit. Save for a family and a home — then invest in yourself. Set and achieve objectives. As you plan, put yourself first and don’t lose sight of where you are now.

Reasons to Stop Planning Too Much — Live in the Now was originally published on Calendar by

Image Credit: Jill Wellington; Pexels; Thank you!

Is There an Ideal Meeting Time?

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Ideal Meeting Time

Are you encountering meeting mortification? There are ways to tweak your meeting time to make a meeting marvelous — or at least productive and bearable.

When it comes to efficiency and productivity — time is everything.

When it comes to meetings, the one thing you’ll want in every meeting is efficiency. Of course, it’s necessary to handle your meetings in a professional manner, but the time you hold it is almost as crucial to success.

When is the optimum time to schedule a meeting?

Let’s look into the ideal time and day for a meeting for your company. The general consensus is that the best time of day for meetings in business is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

If a typical workday lasts from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., the day is divided into two halves. The schedule is basically the same in every office.

Earlier in the day, 9 –10 a.m.

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Lunchtime; 12–1 p.m. – Lunch break

Afternoon; 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Afternoon/Evening — late afternoon/early evening; 4 p.m. and forward

This leaves you with five-time periods to choose from.

So, seeing this schedule at a glance — what are the advantages and disadvantages of each timeframe?

The early bird

Early in the A.M. — Having a meeting first thing at first light might be beneficial if you want to be quick. Power people and very busy CEOs often want this time for their meetings. A fast 15-minute stand-up meeting or a quick check-in is best done early in the morning.

On the other hand, early morning meetings should be avoided for some types of employees, such as graveyard employees, since those workers may still be tired. In addition, you don’t want to spend time repeating yourself or waiting for someone to return from the coffee machine.

Teach your employees to prepare the day before

Meetings at the start of the day require employees to prepare the day before or arrive early. As most tech businesses get going early — you can teach your employees to better navigate this world by showing them how to set plans and goals — prepare the night before.

If you have given leeway during covid for your staff to start at various times of the day, getting everyone in the same room at the same time to start the meeting might be challenging. Get everyone back on the same schedule, if you can, for success.

Many employers have found that mid-morning meetings are more productive since the change from home to the office. In addition, if you use mid-morning meetings, often employees have had time to settle in, and they aren’t in the flow yet. In this case — mid-morning meetings tend to be more productive. Around 10 or 11 a.m., flexibility also seems to increase.

Some workers don’t want to spend time in a meeting shortly before lunch because they believe you will drag on and they’ll be late for lunch plans. So always start and end meetings on time.

How about a lunch meeting?

Lunchtime/Lunch break: Meeting timings are often influenced by mealtimes, so grabbing and paying for your employees’ lunch can be a great week to connect. If you’re holding a conference during a meal, plan on supplying the food — and let that be known.

Employees will feel more productive and invigorated if they are given some beverages or little snacks, even if it isn’t a full dinner. Still, a lunch meeting with great food can also go under the team-building budget for your dollars. In addition, these meetings bring your team closer together as they talk with each other before and after the meeting.

Afternoon: Employees are generally lethargic soon after lunch, but by three p.m., the energy picks up. I used to have a boss that always said, “Every person caffeinated, and we’ll meet in the conference room in twenty minutes.”

The vote by workers is that they are far more inclined to accept meetings after three p.m. than early morning. As a result, they’ll be more enthusiastic and have had more time to think about and prepare for the pow-wow.

A three p.m. meeting allows you and your colleagues more breathing space than a nine a.m. conference, which you must attend as soon as you get to work. Note though that for your three p.m. meetings — most of the day is passed, so your participants leave straight after the meeting.

This meeting is not for you if you have a team that works late and gets a lot done.

Never too late for a meeting

Late Afternoon/Evening Meetings: During late afternoon or evening conferences, workers may watch the clock tick and wonder when the day will conclude. If the purpose of your meeting is to increase employee passion for something, the enthusiasm will fade as the person approaches the conclusion of their workday.

Following an examination of the five time blocks in a research done by Keith Harris of WhenIsGood.com, — he said that he discovered the ideal time for a conference seemed to be about three p.m. (afternoon), even if you live in the metaverse.

By three p.m., employees have completed most of their tasks, had a meal, and regained their energy.

Three p.m. is break time. Everyone knows that. So offer snacks and beverages if you’re meeting at that time. Otherwise, food is a distraction.

Monday is the best day of the week for a conference type meeting

Let’s move on to the best day of the week to have a meeting now that we’ve discussed the optimum time. Because workers may utilize personal or vacation days to have a three-day weekend, Mondays and Fridays are typically the least productive days for holding meetings.

On Monday, employees are often still in a weekend mood and ready to leave the workplace on Friday. Yet, you must consider that sometimes your Monday meetings get your team all there and revved up for work. If planned correctly (not last-minute role call), this MO can be motivational and productive.

Days and daze

Some offices claim that conferences should be held in the middle three days of the workweek to maximize productivity and participation. However, the most significant days for conferences are the middle three of the week, and the afternoon is the optimum time for a meeting.

So, when is the best time to conduct a conference throughout the week?

According to a recent survey conducted by the meeting scheduling service WhenIsGood — the optimal time for most of their workers and respondents is Tuesday at three p.m.

While Tuesday was the favorite day in that study — it may not be for you. So if you have a real go-getter team that isn’t afraid to talk meetings and productivity — send out a survey.

Choose the day that resonates most with you and your staff, no matter what your preconceived notions turn out to be.

Image Credit: Christina Morillo; Pexels; Thank you!

Is There an Ideal Meeting Time? was originally published on Calendar by Choncé Maddox.

Significant Development Goals

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Significant Development Goals

Set goals. With the start of the new year comes the bold attempt to “manage time better,” “be more productive,” and “focus on what matters.”

If you are a “project creep” person, you miss deadlines, and an ever-growing to-do list is all too frequent both in your life and business. These two areas must be put on your significant professional development goals. Large-scale polls consistently show time management abilities among the most wanted workforce talents and among the most difficult to find.

What goals could manage your time better?

There is no shortage of advice – books, blogs, hacks, and applications — all designed to improve time management.
The most irritating fact for anyone wanting to better their time management is that these techniques are unlikely to help.
Simply said, these tools and apps assume a person’s underlying talents, but time management skills come first.

Do you think buying a decent set of knives, high-end kitchen equipment, and fresh food will automatically turn you into a five-star chef? No way. Similarly, utilizing a scheduling tool without time management skills is unlikely to provide favorable results. However, developing a new skill or skill set keeps you on the cutting edge.

Fortunately, a lot of studies have been done on time management abilities.  Timing management is the practice of adjusting one’s time to changing external conditions. Time management effectiveness requires three specific skills:

First, recognize that time is a finite resource.

Organize your objectives, plans, timetables, and projects to maximize your time.

Adaptation: adapting to interruptions or shifting priorities while doing tasks.

Arranging is perhaps the most recognizable ability, given that most applications and hacks deal with planning and scheduling. However, awareness and adaptive abilities are not as widely recognized.
This presents essential development questions:
Are they equal?
Are some harder to master than others?
What about rarity?

Time Management Tests

To find out, I looked at over 1200 people’s findings from a 30-minute micro-simulation meant to measure time management abilities. Participants were assigned the role of a freelance designer and had to handle work and relationships with customers and colleagues using email, instant messaging, and cloud storage.
They had to cope with scheduling problems, prioritize customer requests, and manage their time.

Some solid evidence emerged for goals

First, all three abilities were equally crucial for time management.
So strengthening one’s scheduling and planning abilities overlooks two-thirds of the skills required to manage time properly.
That’s why it’s so discouraging to try new technology and then feel like we’ve never improved as time managers.

Second, respondents had the most trouble with awareness and adaptation abilities, with scores 24 percent lower than arranging skills.
This study implies that awareness and adaptability are uncommon talents that require direct assistance to achieve.
Also, awareness skills influence how effectively participants avoid procrastination, and adaptability skills influence how well they prioritize activities.

Third, the results contradicted prevalent beliefs about the benefits or drawbacks of multitasking.
A post-simulation poll examined how people felt about multitasking.

Their inclinations for multitasking (what academics call “polychronicity”) had nothing to do with time management abilities.
People’s time management skills have little to do with their multitasking preferences.
So the emphasis on multitasking that many time management experts place on it is unlikely to deliver genuine results.

Fourth, the research shows that people misjudge their time management skills.
For example, just 1% of people’s self-ratings matched their objective skill scores.
Also, self-ratings only accounted for only 2% of real-time management ability differences.
In prior research, people lack proper self-awareness of their competencies, which impedes transformation and leadership growth.

Time Management Skills Development

So how can people improve their time management skills?
To begin, decide where to focus. The only way to honestly answer this question is to examine your present skill levels.
You may fuel your development efforts in three ways.

Improve your self-awareness of time management. This can be achieved by objective evaluations like microsimulations, peer or supervisor feedback, or by defining a baseline of behaviors against which progress can be measured.

Perception matters more than thinking. Understanding one’s time management preferences or personality traits, such as multitasking or being proactive, can help identify areas where reform efforts may fail.
Skills, not personality, are the most flexible personal traits and deliver the best return on investment.

Identify and prioritize your skill gaps

The goal is to prevent self-improvement that is “inch deep but a mile wide” when efforts are scattered out over too many requirements. Prioritize your skill development, starting with the most urgent skill requirement and working your way up.

There are several proven methods for improving time management. Here are a few. Remember that techniques establish underlying abilities that will ultimately enhance time management.
Using these strategies isn’t the purpose.

Increasing awareness. Effectiveness is doing things well, whereas efficiency is doing things quickly. Both are vital. Efficiency is counterproductive.

Find your performance peak. Divide your day into three to four-time slots and rate them from most to least productive throughout a week (most productive is peak performance).

Treat time like cash. Make a time budget for a typical week. Then, sort time into fixed (must do) and discretionary (want to do).

Timing-up

Not how much time you have left, but how long you spend on things with defined deadlines.

Evaluate your time management skills. After concluding a job, compare your expectations to the actual time it took. This process is good development of skills.

Consider “future time.” Consider how your current actions will affect future activities (e.g., how will today’s project tasks affect next week’s tasks?).

“Sunk cost fallacy.” When you believe you’re spending too much time on anything, take a step back and assess its value (e.g., who will be affected if it’s done or not).

Learning to organize

The learning curves and time requirements for unfamiliar but critical jobs might be severe. Developing arrangement skills means taking control of your life and then organizing your job around it.

Prioritize tasks and duties

It’s not enough to just mention your assignments and meetings.

The 5 Habits that can Change Your Life

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Habits that can Change Your Life

Having habits and routines are essential aspects of our everyday lives. Whether you want to meet a goal, be more productive, or live a more balanced life, habits are those small changes that can add up to significant results over time.

One of my favorite books, Atomic Habits by James Clear, talks about how developing habits doesn’t have to be complicated or feel foreign. You have the power to select the habits you want that will help you make progress. If you’re not quite sure which habits to add to your daily routine, here are five key habits to start that can change your life.

1. Wake Up At a Reasonable Time

Getting up early can make a significant impact on how your day is going to shape out. Of course, this isn’t to say that you have to get up at five am each day. However, training your body to wake up earlier is an excellent habit that will provide a big reward.

Getting up early gives you the time to complete your morning to-do list and be able to craft the best routine to tackle the day. Even getting up 15-20 minutes earlier than you usually do can be a great habit to develop. It might not seem like much, but it’s a start and will add more time back into your day, so you’re not overwhelmed with your schedule.

Waking up earlier doesn’t have to mean you’re getting less sleep either. In 2019, Sleep Cycle, a free app to track sleeping routines, released a study of their three million active monthly users. They concluded the average person sleeps 7 hours and 18 minutes each night. In addition, the average bedtime was 11:39 pm, and wake-up time was 7:09 am. So Americans are getting sleep, but also not oversleeping.

Getting enough sleep but still being able to wake up early is key to starting your day on the right track. Not everybody needs an alarm to wake up, though, and that’s okay. Waking up around 7:00 am is actually something that leaders like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg practice each day. Waking up early will set you in a nice daily routine that can help you be productive.

2. Schedule Out Your Day

Scheduling out your day is another vital addition to this list of habits that can change your life. It’s important to know what you’re doing for the day to avoid getting distracted and losing focus. In addition, scheduling out your day can give you an idea of your priorities so you can accomplish what’s most important to you.

With a clear schedule, you can be productive and not overwhelmed and bogged down by all your responsibilities. But, of course, there are some things that just won’t make it into your schedule, and that’s okay. We want to have a plan but also don’t want to work ourselves to the point of exhaustion.

If your current schedule isn’t working, that’s okay; there are ways to fix it. We’ve highlighted a few tips on how you can get your schedule catered to you. Of course, some things are more important to schedule into your day than others. We’ve mentioned seven crucial components that should be included in your daily routine.

Expressing gratitude and scheduling downtime are just a few of the habits that can be added to your day. Sure, you can prioritize productivity, but you also need to be kind to yourself in mind as well. Time is our most valuable resource, and something we can’t get back once it’s gone. Having a schedule will help you successfully use those minutes and hours and help establish a good routine instead of wasting away time.

3. Give Yourself Deadlines

Giving yourself deadlines to achieve each day is one of the best habits you can develop. Most people don’t like deadlines or the pressure that comes with them, but this can actually be helpful when you change your perspective.

Having a goal in mind when a task should be completed can greatly impact your day. Instead of never having a time in mind when something should be done, give yourself that timeline with a deadline. Deadlines have helped me so much in the past because I often procrastinate. There are some things I probably never would have gotten done if I didn’t have a specific deadline.

There are a few key benefits you can gain working under a deadline. Accountability is a big one. Hold yourself accountable if your deadline comes and goes and you still don’t have the task completed. Do you have someone you can count on to be your accountability partner? If not, consider asking a trusted friend or family member to help you.

Having that accountability allows us to access why the task wasn’t finished and how we will improve by hitting a deadline in the future. Having a deadline in place can also help you build momentum. Knowing you have that completion time in mind can help you stay motivated and limit distractions.

4. Make Time For Movement

Establishing a habit of moving your body throughout the day can change your life. It’s not good for us to be sitting all day without getting up and moving. According to a Mayo Clinic 2019 study, people who sit for eight hours a day with no physical activity have the same risk of dying similar to someone who smokes or is obese. This is bad news for many Americans because sedentary jobs in America have increased more than 83% since 1953, according to the American Heart Association. According to the same survey, only 20% of Americans have physically active jobs. The average office worker actually sits 15 hours a day.

That number is even higher for people who are still commuting to the office every day. Sitting without exercise can raise our chances of many different health risks, including high blood pressure, stroke. Heart disease, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and more. What can we do to offset these health risks and work from our seat lifestyle?

Well, we need physical activity in our lives. Something as simple as using a treadmill or walking around the block can make a significant impact on your health. Make sure to take breaks and get up from your chair. Standing up as often as every 30 minutes can be huge for you. If you can even stand while doing phone calls, this can be an excellent way to move around and get your legs moving while also getting working done as well.

5. Prioritize Practicing Self Care

Believe it or not, you are your most important asset. We need to take care of ourselves above all else. Make sure you are making time daily to address your self-care. It could be something as simple as meditation, prayer, reading, journaling, or even just focusing on a non-work-related goal you have in mind. Prioritize passion projects that you have as well.

Self-care focuses on both your mental and physical health. We need to keep our health in mind and shouldn’t overwork ourselves. If your time allows scheduling a course can be good for you. It can be job-related or just in a passion that you’ve had. It’s essential to prioritize ourselves and our well-being.

Summary

There has been a shift to working from our desks that hasn’t been seen before. We can’t let our physical or mental health be affected by this way of life. Work is vital, of course, but we are our most important asset. These habits can help you prioritize yourself and improve your life in every way.

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.

Scheduling Kids Activities as a Working Parent

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Scheduling Kids Activities as a Working Parent

Being a working parent can make your life extremely busy by itself. That’s not even including scheduling kid’s activities in as well. With students back in school and fun activities now more of an option, it’s only natural that kids will want to do more, and as a parent, this will fill your weekly schedule. However, kids can thrive in these activities and learn so much. They keep children busy and are also a great way to meet new friends.

Instead of getting overwhelmed by scheduling kid’s activities, the key is to establish a routine and start working these after-school activities into your current schedule.

Here are a few ways to help carve out the time and energy for the kid’s activities as a working parent while still balancing and finishing work in other areas of your life.

Specify Your Daily Schedule First

The great thing about scheduling kid’s activities is that you’re in charge of which days and times you sign up for. So be sure to look at your current Calendar first to see when the best time would be to add an activity. Now, you may not be able to fully control precisely when practices or meetings are, but knowing when you’d have free time can help you narrow down the best kid’s activities for the current season you’re in.

Establish a Good Routine Post Work 

Once you have your schedule settled in, a crucial aspect is establishing a good routine once you’re out of work. Your routine is key because if you don’t get tasks done between getting home and bringing your child to a program, you’ll be in bad shape.

Go in with a game plan and use that time block between work to schedule important prep tasks. For example, your game plan could include preparing dinner, household chores, or errands. If you have other kids around the home, assign them a household chore as well and get organized.

If your partner is home around the same time and can help too, that’s even better. Divide and conquer. You can also intentionally schedule fewer things on activity days. By narrowing down your schedule and keeping a detailed calendar, you can prepare by having dinner cooked in advance or ordering out on busy days. You can also have your kids do their chores the night before to clean the house or postpone errands to a less busy day.

Utilize After-School Transportation

If your child is doing an after-school activity and transportation is provided, be sure to take advantage of that. For example, if basketball practice runs directly after school until 5 pm, this can give you more time to finish up work tasks and take care of other responsibilities. In addition, joining activities through the school means your child doesn’t have to leave campus, and there may even be transportation options afterward.

If transportation is an issue, see if you can team up with another parent and carpool. For example, assign a day or two where you can pick up your child and a friend from their activity and another day where the other parent can take over that responsibility.

Limit Activities and Consolidate Other Tasks

Avoid overwhelming yourself with too many activities. No parent wants to be running around across town every afternoon. Know your schedule and limit yourself to maybe one-weekday activity and one-weekend activity. Or, alternate if you have a few kids. For example, one child could do an activity in the fall while another child does an activity in the winter or spring.

In addition to limiting activities, try to consolidating other tasks to free up more time. One example is to prepare simple dinners on activity days. Whether it be 15-minute meals, crockpot meals, or grab-and-go options, these are just a few of the ways to consolidate dinner and make it easier to get back out the door.  For those dinners using plastic, utensils can help you avoid a pile-up in your kitchen sink. Be sure to stock up on paper plates, cups, forks, and spoons. That way, you are filling up the garbage can instead of the dishwasher or kitchen sink.

If your kids have study hall at school, encourage them to do homework during that time or stay after class one day of the week for tutoring from the teacher. Having children manage homework directly at school can limit time spent doing homework at home and clear their schedule for an activity. In addition, I have found that managing homework in a more business-like manager can help teach and prepare kids for working in an office.

Order things online to save time spent at the store and consider using local grocery pick-up options. As a family, you can also deep clean your home once a week or hire someone to do it, so all you have to do is maintain it during the weekdays.

Use Your Calendar!

Another way to get or stay on track is by utilizing your Calendar every day. It may sound like a small part, but this is one of the most important. Life is busy, and things can get skipped or forgotten. So you shouldn’t set an expectation for yourself to remember every little thing and keep every little appointment.

If you have everything on your Calendar, then you should be in a good place. Calendar makes it easy to schedule out your days that way, you can turn your attention to the things that matter. Calendar strives to help you organize your schedule. One tool is the smart scheduling link which enables you to avoid the back and forth emailing to schedule meetings with other people.

It’s also easy to add any events on Calendar, and you can even connect calendars that sync with Outlook and Google. But, of course, the other benefit to syncing these calenders is having everything in one place, so you know what time slots you have open and what days are your busier ones.

Summary 

Scheduling kid’s activities as a working parent and maintaining your sanity is possible. Work is essential; we all need to make money to take care of everyday expenses.

Working as a team with coworkers — and working as a team, especially in your own home is essential. But, as always, staying organized is your key to success.

Try to make time to allow after-school activities for your children. The reality of after-school activities for our children can make all the difference to their success when they enter the adult world.

Please take some steps to make your child’s world a great place to come from — and remember. Hopefully, these steps can help you make it all work.

Moving? Make it Easier With an Online Calendar

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Moving? Make It Easier With an Online Calendar

Moving to a new city can be equal parts exciting and nerve-wracking. It can also be a logistical nightmare if you’re not prepared for the challenge. There’s no need to make moving harder than it already is. You will likely. move many times in your life for a variety of reasons. Learn how to make the best of the moving process.

To make moving as easy as possible, leverage your online calendar. This wonderful time management tool will help you break down the project at hand, so it’s more easily managed. Check out these 7 online calendar tips for your upcoming move:

Go on a Shopping Trip

What kind of materials do you need to accomplish your move? In most cases, this means acquiring an absurd number of boxes and bags to store your belongings. However, if you don’t have enough, make a trip to get everything you need.

An online calendar can help you plan the most efficient shopping trip ever. Track the best times to miss crowds and traffic, and organize your to-buy list, so you don’t forget a thing.

Hold a Yard Sale

Getting rid of some clutter makes packing up a lot more manageable. Of course, you could throw some stuff away, but you might as well try and land some extra cash by holding a yard sale. Use your online calendar to plan your sale days in advance, leaving enough time to advertise it to the community.

For anything you’re unable to sell, consider donating it to a local charity. This will be one final act of goodwill before you pack up and leave the place you’ve called home for so long. If you have family and close friends around, you can send some gifts to them as well. Many young families will jump at hand-me-down clothes or baby toys.

Organize Your Packing

Once your move is in the works, you’ll need to start packing up your belongings. This will take a lot of time, and isn’t a task you want to put off until the last minute. To ensure it’s all done promptly, organize your efforts with an online calendar.

With this planning tool, you can set aside time every day to chip away at your packing. This way, you can log continuous progress up until the day of the move. Then, stick to your packing schedule, and there will be little to do once that day arrives, saving you a lot of stress and headache.

To further organize your packing, you can break down your time and where you concentrate your efforts. Your schedule can look a little something like this:

  • Monday – Pack any kitchen appliances and dishes you won’t be needing
  • Tuesday – Clear out and box up storage closets and bathroom cupboards
  • Wednesday – Pack the basement and deep clean
  • Thursday – Bubble wrap and box up pictures, wall decor, memory albums, books, and any fragile household items
  • Friday – Pack up guest and laundry rooms as deep clean

Of course, the days and tasks are totally up to you. The important thing here is that focusing on singular tasks will help you be more effective than just chipping away at random little things.

Plan the Trip

Does your move include a cross-country drive hauling a trailer of belongings? If you don’t have the necessary moving equipment, you’ll need to rent some. Moving companies typically charge by the day, so planning an efficient trip can prevent the costs from piling up.

Your online calendar will not only make your drive more efficient but more enjoyable as well. Plan hotel stays and stopping points along your drive, and you’ll make the trip in a timely manner. This will help you get some needed rest and make memories along the way.

Enlist Some Help

On the day your moving truck arrives, there will be a lot of packing and lifting to be done. To get this done as quickly as possible, you can enlist the help of family, friends, and neighbors.

To organize volunteering efforts, make an event in your online calendar. You can share this event with others to collect RSVPs and get all of the work done in a single time period. This will get all hands on deck to complete the project instead of a little bit of help trickling in here and there. You might even whip up a batch of cookies the night before to thank your helpers.

Execute Your Arrival

The move doesn’t end when you arrive at your destination. There will be just as much unpacking to do as there was packing. Everything you did to depart will need to be replicated for your arrival.

You can plan these efforts the same way you organized your leaving. Enlist help, have cleaning supplies handy, set time for unboxing, and make a plan to follow in your online calendar. This will help make it less of a chore and allow you to better settle into your new home.

Get Familiar With Your New Home

Unless you’re moving back to a previous residence, there will be a lot of unknowns in your new hometown. You will need to get familiarized with key locations such as gas stations, schools, and grocery stores. You’ll also be interested in hitting up local sites like movie theaters and parks for entertainment.

Schedule times to hit the town in your online calendar. This way, you can see as much as possible in the shortest amount of time. In addition, the more comfortable you get with your new surroundings, the sooner you can call it home.

Leaving one place in favor of another is a challenge in itself. There are so many things to get accustomed to, and the difficulty of moving shouldn’t stop you from making the transition as positive as possible. Use these tips and your online calendar to make moving a cinch, and get down to business in your new home.

How 15-Minute Meetings Can Keep Freelancers and Solopreneurs on Track

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How 15-Minute Meetings Can Keep Freelancers and Solopreneurs on Track

We’ve all probably heard that meetings may not be best for productivity. In fact, Harvard Business Review found that 65% of the senior managers they interviewed said that meetings kept them from completing their own work.

While most people can agree that poorly-run unproductive meetings can be a waste of time, I’d argue that short, focused, and intentional meetings can be very effective. With virtual meeting technology advancing, shorter meetings will save time and are proven to help most workers become more productive.

If you’re a freelancer or solopreneur working from home, short 15-minute meetings can help you too. Here’s how and why you should consider giving meetings another chance if you’re still struggling with productivity, efficiency, and overall focus during your workweek.

15-Minute Meetings Can Be Great Braindump and Planning Sessions

I’m a very type A person and a planner, but sometimes taking too long to plan something out results in a major delay in terms of what I’m able to produce. I’ve found that short 15-minute meetings are great opportunities for me to brainstorm and plan with clients and other team members.

If you’re a freelancer with a client who is planning a big project, short meetings can help you set deadlines, divvy up responsibilities and go in with a game plan. Plus, it can eliminate lots of long email chains that could result in you missing out on some important information.

As someone who’s also a solopreneur, I run my own financial education company and hop on short meetings with companies and other clients to discuss speaking opportunities, upcoming content, and more. Even if the meeting is short, it’s important to have a clear agenda and desired outcome so you can stay focused and leave the meeting with more clarity and direction than what you had coming in.

Get to Know Your Clients Better

Working from home has its perks, but the constant isolation can be a real disservice to your business and mental health. Brief 15-minute meetings can also be a great way to get to know your clients better and humanize yourself as well as the other people you send emails to regularly.

As a freelance writer, I find that it can be so easy to just get lost in the shuffle with some of my editors. Whenever I get a new editor, I like to go the extra mile and propose a quick call or meeting to learn a little more about them, their goals for content, and the ways that I can help. This helps me avoid becoming just another email address that could be easy to forget when sending out writing assignments for the month.

While I don’t think it’s necessary to have virtual happy hours with your clients each week, sometimes jumping on a quick call to ask a question or gain clarity can be helpful and allow you to build a better professional relationship with the people you work with.

Short Meetings Help You Get on the Same Page With Team Members

If you work with larger teams, short 15-minute check-in meetings can be a great way to make sure you get on the same page. Plus, again, it allows you to feel like you’re part of an actual team or community when working from home. I have one client who likes to have monthly meetings and while they’re effective, they don’t last too long.

It just opens up the floor to share any new announcements, check in with deadlines and make sure that everyone is on the same page with the workflow. Sometimes, if there’s not much to discuss, the meetings don’t last for longer than 10 minutes.

As a solopreneur, I also hire a few virtual assistants so I can delegate tasks. Over time I noticed that one of my VAs was often late turning things in or would message me during times when I wasn’t working and it slowed down a lot of my processes. I didn’t want to delay certain projects due to a lack of timely communication so we decided to start having weekly or bi-weekly 15-minute check-in meetings.

This allowed us to touch base, adjust deadlines, discuss questions and become more efficient with the workflow overall. After committing to regular quick meetings, I noticed an uptick in productivity for both of us all around and more tasks were able to get accomplished. This also helped me get more value for the money I was paying to outsource as well.

It’s Easy to Schedule and Automate Short Meetings

Almost everyone has a 15-minute time block available in their daily schedule. This means it will be much easier for you to propose a short meeting to clients and team members in order to boost productivity. People don’t want to lose an hour of work for an unproductive meeting – and luckily they don’t have to.

Schedule your 15-minute meetings through your online calendar and even consider recording them so people can review them later if needed. So long as you record audio from a meeting, you can even get this audio transcribed so it can be even easier for team members to digest if they need to catch up and stay in the loop.

Summary

Fifteen minutes can really fly by, but it has been so helpful in several areas of my business. If you’re a freelancer or solopreneur, realize that short and intentional meetings can really help boost your productivity and help you stay accountable for certain deadlines and goals.

Have you tried 15-minute meetings in your business yet? Why or why not?

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