All posts by Deanna Ritchie

Let’s Talk About Quiet Quitting

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Quiet Quitting

Despite the misconception that we’re lazy or entitled, we work a lot. The U.S. could be considered the most overworked nation in the world. But with little to show for it.

Don’t believe so? Here are a few data points that compare us with our peers worldwide.

  • There are laws setting a maximum work week in 134 countries; there is none in the U.S.
  • The average number of hours worked by American workers is 1,767 per year, compared to 1,687 for OECD countries.
  • Based on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, American workers have become more productive since 1950 by 430%.
  • The United States does not have a law requiring paid sick days.
  • In the industrialized world, the U.S. is the only country without a legally mandated annual leave policy.
  • In the Americas, only the United States does not offer paid parental leave. A typical European worker receives over 20 weeks of paid leave and over 12 weeks anywhere else.
  • A Gallup survey conducted in 2021 found that on average, full-time employees work 44 hours a week, while 41% work 45 hours or more.
  • ADP discovered that employees work a weekly average of nearly nine unpaid overtime hours in 2021. A remote employee clocks 9.4 hours of unpaid overtime, while a hybrid employee clocks 9.8 hours. In that case, they would have worked close to 50 hours per week.

Why are we logging so many hours at work? Your mileage may vary. Some, however, have difficulty disconnecting from work. Others may feel pressured to be accessible 24/7. And, if your business is understaffed, you may have no choice but to carry this additional workload.

The Downside of Overworking

I’m not saying you should work fewer hours. However, when you are genuinely passionate about what you do, there’s no limit on how many hours you can work.

In many cases, however, more work is associated with more significant stress and a lower standard of living. A balanced life can’t be achieved without time to unwind, take care of your home, spend time with family, enjoy hobbies, and connect with friends.

More specifically, working too much can have the following effects:

What is Quiet Quitting?

Again. We work a lot. And not only is that detrimental to all aspects of our lives, it offers little in return.

So, no wonder people have embraced “quiet quitting.” But, what exactly is this phenomenon?

“Contrary to how it sounds, quiet quitting doesn’t mean slacking off, sabotaging, or outright quitting your job,” states Corey Wilks Psy.D. “It means rejecting the idea you have to go ‘above and beyond at work.”

In other words, you come to work, do your job, and go home.

A TikTok user known as zaidleppelin kicked off the conversation with a video he posted on July 25. “I recently learned about this term called ‘quiet quitting’ where you’re not outright quitting your job, but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond.”

“To me, quietly quitting just comes back to setting your boundaries about what your outputs are going to look like at work,” TikTok user Amanda Henry told CNBC Make It.

“For some, that might mean just doing the bare minimum because that’s all they have to give at the moment for a variety of reasons. For others, it just means not burning yourself out.”

“I realized no matter how much work I put in, I’m not going to see the payoff that I’m expecting,” add Zaid Khan, a software developer and musician said, in a Bloomberg interview.

“Overworking only gets you so far in corporate America. And like a lot of us have experienced in the past few years, mental and physical health really takes a backseat to productivity in a lot of these structured corporate environments.”

Do you think this is just a social media trend? According to an August 2022 survey of 1,000 Americans by, nearly a quarter say they are quiet quitters.

What the critics are saying.

As with any trend, there are some downsides.

It’s understandable that people unhappy with their current job situation may not want to work particularly hard. But quitting quietly may not be an effective strategy. Instead, unsatisfied employees should talk to their managers about how to improve their current situation or begin looking for a job that’s more fulfilling.

Kevin O’Leary, a Shark Tank star and investment mogul, calls quiet quitting “a really bad idea.”

“People that go beyond to try to solve problems for the organization, their teams, their managers, their bosses, those are the ones that succeed in life,” he explains on CNBC. “People that shut down their laptop at 5, want that balance in life, want to go to the soccer game, 9 to 5 only, they don’t work for me.”

“Despite employment ‘experts warning people of the risks of quiet quitting (like being passed over for promotions or getting laid off first), it’s important to remember the source of this advice—employers and their spokespeople,” adds Wilks. “In reality, quiet quitting could be just what the proverbial doctor ordered—for your mental health.”

How to Stop Overworking

No matter whether this fad sticks or not, working too much can have dire consequences. As such, here are some suggestions on how to stop overworking.

1. Review your values.

Do you ask yourself the same question every time you open your eyes: why should I bother getting up? If so, you should ask yourself another question: “What do I live for?”

“If it is hard to figure it out by yourself, try talking to the people who know you well,” writes Andrey Zagorodniy in a previous Calendar article. “Without finding the proper motivation, you won’t be able to get out of the pit of your burnout.”

According to Daniel Goleman’s best-seller Emotional Intelligence, there are two types of motivation. Extrinsic motivation stems from rewards, financial gains, or avoiding punishment, as well as promises of rewards. A person’s intrinsic motivation is determined by the inspiration they receive from within.

“The first type is a powerful stimulus to push you in the right direction if you remind yourself that you will get a promotion and a salary increase once you have accomplished the project,” adds Andrey. This, however, will only boost your motivation temporarily.

In contrast, the second type may stem from something that is particularly meaningful to an individual and remains with them throughout their lives. In order to become a better version of yourself, Goleman recommends focusing on it and picturing your ultimate goals.

Additionally, you should be thankful for what you have rather than regretting what you lack. “Such wistful regrets are destructive and won’t bring you anywhere,” notes Andrey. Be grateful for what you have and value what you have.

2. Adjust your priorities and expectations.

Jim Collins famously said, “If you have more than three priorities, you have no priorities.” I understand that everything may seem like a priority for you. However, how much progress are you making if you’re moving a million pebbles at once?

Moreover, isn’t this a tedious and impossible challenge? Yes, you’re right.

How about focusing just on three giant rocks? Sure. This isn’t the easiest feat. But, it’s certainly easier and more manageable than moving millions of pebbles.

Consider asking yourself, “What are the three things you have to accomplish today?” before getting overwhelmed. The activities you engage in should be ones that help you achieve your goals.

Whenever you identify these, mark them on your calendar. The reason? This will make it easier to establish boundaries. For example, if you have a doctor’s appointment after work, then that’s a top priority for the day. As such, that means you can’t work overtime.

Similarly, I’d also recommend that you also adjust your expectations. You may never become a Fortune 500 CEO, the next Jeff Bezos, or a better tennis player than Serena Williams. As long as you lead a fulfilling life that you love, that’s fine.

Leaving your perfectionism behind is also a good idea. You don’t need to create a masterpiece for every email or report.

3. Go beyond work-life balance.

“For years, work-life balance was the answer to having your cake and eating it too,” says Calendar co-founder John Hall. “Unfortunately, it’s a myth.”

“For starters, there will be times when work bleeds into our personal lives and vice versa,” adds Hall. “That could be putting out a fire or responding to an important email. Attempting to maintain this non-existent balance will only stress you out” leading to burnout.

Is there a better approach? Integrate as much as possible.

“Examples could be having your child file, sort, or organize your office or having a work call while taking your dog for a walk,” Hall states.

Additionally, he lists the following myths as needing to be dispelled;

  • It is important to compartmentalize your life. “You can’t evenly split up your time between work and life,” Hall explains. “Rather, you need to devote the right amount of time to your current priority.”
  • You can have it all. Unfortunately, I have bad news to share. It is inevitable that you will have to make some sacrifices in life.
  • Managing your time is the key. That’s not exactly true. The key is to manage your energy and focus.
  • More time will be available to you thanks to technology. Despite the fact that these can be valuable, not everything in life can be automated. Also, in some cases, productivity tools can make you less productive.
  • It’s the most important thing to employees. Flexibility is important. But meaningful work, recognition, and empathy are even more important.
  • Early birds catch the worm. “Unless you’re a morning bird, don’t fight against your circadian rhythms.”
  • During off-hours, you never work. On some days, you will have to work 12 hours. On the flip side, there will be some workdays that will only last four hours.
  • You’ll be happier if you work less. “Even if you worked a 20-hour week, would you be happy if you spend the majority of your time just watching Netflix?” asks Hall.
  • You need to schedule everything. “Outside of your essential tasks and appointments, you can leave some free space so that you have a little wiggle room.”

4. Identify your non-negotiables.

“Most every work decision we make involves consequences and compromises,” writes Jayne Hardy in Making Space: How to Live Happier by Setting Boundaries That Work for You. “If we’re asked to work overtime, there’s a trade-off that occurs somewhere else because we can’t be in two places at the same time.” Many of us don’t realize we’re making this sacrifice.

“It’s helpful to have a nonnegotiables list, pre-written when we have the time and space to weigh up the implications of the choices that we might make where work is concerned,” adds Hardy. “If we’re saying yes to overtime, what are we saying ‘no’ to? Or even, what are we saying ‘yes’ to?”

Working overtime, for example, is only acceptable if you need to make a down payment for a home or launch a new product. You could put your family first, such as never missing a birthday or caring for an ill family member. Another option is to take a good lunch break so you can decompress and reenergize.

“Our non-negotiables could be about methods of communication,” asserts Hardy. “Perhaps we don’t want to be contacted by our work colleagues via WhatsApp, text message, or social media because we prefer to use those with our close friends and family.”

“Creating a list of nonnegotiables helps us uncover what’s important to us,” she continues. And, “from them, we can create, communicate and negotiate boundaries to support and shield our priorities.”

5. Clearly define your availability.

Your coworkers should know when you’re working, taking calls, and off-limits.

How? Well, you could share your calendar with them. Often, this simply involves sending them a link to your online calendar. Once they have access to this, they can see when you’re available.

Of course, you don’t want to share personal too much information. Thankfully, you can customize your calendar so that some entries can be kept private.

At the same time, non-work activities should be scheduled on your calendar in order to make them appear more official. And overall, a shared calendar can be especially helpful if you share it with coworkers or family members who can provide support.

Enter “busy” entries in your calendar for the following:

6. Purposefully overestimate.

When estimating the duration of a task or project, add a little buffer time. It’s a simple way to prevent going over hours.

For instance, let’s say that at 3 p.m., you dive into your final priority of the day. You believed that it would take under two hours, meaning you can leave by 5 p.m. Unfortunately, it’s closer to 3 hours, meaning you’re working overtime. If you had overestimated the length of this task, you could have either started it earlier in the day or waited until tomorrow.

7. Ask for help.

“Stop trying to do everything yourself. It’s impossible, advises Choncé Maddox in another Calendar article. “This is why at most jobs, there are teams.” Be realistic with your supervisor about your capacity and ask your team for support.

“If you’re self-employed, consider hiring a virtual assistant or someone who can take a time-consuming task off your plate,” Choncé Maddox adds. “I know this will require some money, but it’s worth it if it allows you to be more productive and build your business.” If you want your business to grow, don’t hesitate to invest in it. In addition, you’ll avoid some of the health effects caused by overworking.

8. Share your needs.

Chris Edmonds, founder, and CEO of The Purposeful Culture Group, recommends speaking with your manager after figuring out what you need for your position and life to be successful and fulfilling. After all, there is no substitute for communication.

“You may have one idea of what your job responsibilities are, and your boss may have another,” Kathy Caprino, author of The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss, said. “If you stop doing some tasks because you feel they’re outside your scope, it could look like you’re slacking if your manager thinks those are part of your job,” Caprino added.

“Even running my own team, if I suddenly stopped doing work that everyone assumes I’d be doing, there would be trouble, and things would fall through the cracks. In order to get fairly compensated, tell your manager about your job performance and what you’ve accomplished,” she advised.

9. When you leave work, leave work.

“I’ll admit that I’m just as guilty as anyone else when it comes to answering work emails at all hours of the day,” says bestselling author James Clear. “That said, on the evenings when I’ve ignored my inbox, I’ve noticed something: nothing changes.”

“When the work day starts, I still have things to do and people to respond to,” he explains. “The additional time the night before doesn’t make the next day any easier.”

“Give your email a rest for a night or two and see if work is any different the next day, “Clear advises. “Your time outside of the office should be spent on you and the people you care about, not in your inbox.”

10. Let go of the guilt.

Do you clock out while everyone else is still at the office or online? You shouldn’t feel bad, says Psychologist Adam Borland, PsyD.

“There tends to be feelings of guilt,” he says. “Remember in order to be the best wife or husband, parent or child, sister or brother, you need to take care of yourself.”

“In our society, it’s almost like a badge of honor to say, ‘I worked this much on this little amount of sleep,’” says Dr. Borland. “We need to adjust that type of mindset.”

The Role of Leaders

Business leaders and owners can also take practical measures to help their employees make healthier schedules — even though understaffing and client pressure won’t go away. When you do, your team won’t just be more productive, you’ll increase your chances of retaining them.

Make sure breaks are assigned.

It is possible for employers to designate lunch breaks for their employees and use employee monitoring software to make sure they are taken.

Executives can also use these tools to identify team members who should be encouraged to take time off by tracking how much each member is working.

Don’t burden your team with unplanned work.

“Unplanned work is similar to packing your travel suitcase without conscience,” states John Hall in a previous Calendar article. “You’ll never be able to fit your items properly if you randomly throw in stuff.” If you want everything to fit properly, arrange it carefully so that every corner is utilized.

Employees should not be stressed by unplanned work, especially by managers. Employees can be overwhelmed by last-minute tasks and shifting priorities.

Reduce meetings.

It may be a good idea for managers to limit the number of meetings they schedule for their employees. Employees can be less distracted if only necessary meetings are held, or if certain meetings are combined.

As a result, they can spend more time crossing off items from their to-do lists during their working hours. And, more importantly, at the end of their shift, they can feel confident that they have completed their work for the day.

Procedures and expectations should be reevaluated.

Due to the expectations placed on them and the procedures they must follow, employees may work longer hours. When companies evaluate duties and processes, they may discover inefficiencies. And, if corrected, would reduce workloads and improve performance.

The workplace can be reorganized, roles redefined, and protocols implemented to ensure employees don’t work more than 40 hours a week in a healthy environment. People’s work hours need not reflect their accomplishments; some staffers are capable of completing a robust workload in less time simply because they are more efficient.

Offer flexible working arrangements.

“People don’t want a full, nine-to-five day of meetings,” Brian Elliott, executive leader of the Future Forum, tells Fortune. “They want the flexibility to turn off notifications when it’s right for them. Maybe for caregivers, it’s the flexibility to log off from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., and then come back and do some heads-down work after the kids are in bed.”

In fact, knowledge workers prefer flexible hours to hybrid work by an overwhelming 95%. ‌

There are several types of flexible work arrangements, including:

  • Remote work. ‌During the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home has become a necessity for most office workers rather than an optional perk.
  • Flextime. Flexibility in work arrangements allows employees to organize their days or weeks as they see fit. ‌Rarely does it happen, however. ‌Most flexible work arrangements require employees to work a certain number of hours each day. ‌In spite of this, they have the option of choosing their own start and stop times — within certain limits.
  • Compressed workweek. This arrangement requires employees to work fewer than five days a week on average. ‌In compressed workweeks, employees work four 10-hour days rather than‌ ‌five‌ ‌eight-hour‌ ‌days.
  • Job-sharing. ‌Shared jobs are held by two permanent employees. ‌A worker’s salary and benefits may be prorated according to how much of the job he or she shares. An effective job-sharing arrangement requires both employees to be qualified for the job and able to function well together.
  • Less than 40 hours. ‌A limited work schedule is suitable for employees who wish to limit their working hours. The average workweek lasts between 20 and 29 hours. There are times, however, when employees can choose which days to work and how long to work.

Don’t skimp on healthcare.

Wellness should be a priority for both in-person and remote employees. Employee assistance programs can provide workers with services that will improve their personal and professional lives by providing them with benefits that boost their physical and mental health. As a bonus, these perks can increase employee retention.

Enforce “off” hours.

In order to allow workers to disconnect, employers must let them know it’s okay. It is even possible for businesses to disable email access during nighttime hours and on approved holidays. In order to achieve a healthier work-life balance, workers should be encouraged to take a break after their shift is completed.

Let’s Talk About Quiet Quitting was originally published on on Sept. 21, 2022, by Deanna Ritchie. Featured Image: Sound On; Thank you!

What Scares You? 101 Quotes to Overcome It

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What Scares You? Fear Quotes

There is no doubt that fear is one of the most powerful emotions our minds can conjure up. As a result, you may have difficulty thinking, or your voice may quiver while speaking. In addition, when its grip is tight enough, it may even make you feel immobile.

In its simplest form, fear is helpful. This is your body’s way of alerting you that something is wrong. In our minds, physical dangers (such as a bear chasing us) are mistaken for social dangers (such as hosting a meeting).

Embrace your physical dangers; they’ll help you survive. There’s no question about it: if a bear is staring you down for its next meal, you better be scared.

Fear can, however, be crippling as well. By not seizing opportunities, avoiding experiences, and failing to grow as a person, we are preventing ourselves from becoming stronger, better people.

One of the most important steps toward personal and professional development is overcoming our fears, whether they are fears of the unknown, failures, or successes.

These quotes about fear can give you strength. You can use them to conquer your fears and overcome them.

1. “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” — Vincent van Gogh

2. ”If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” — Dale Carnegie

3. “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” — Helen Keller

4. “Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” — Bertrand Russell

5. “Fear is 100% dependent on you for its survival.” — Steve Maraboli

6. “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

7. “Do not be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” — John Rockefeller

8. “Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem to be more afraid of life than death.” — James F. Byrnes

9. “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.” — Japanese Proverb

10. “Don’t let fear or insecurity stop you from trying new things. Believe in yourself. Do what you love. And most importantly, be kind to others, even if you don’t like them.” — Stacy London

11. “Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.” — Benjamin Franklin

12. “Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.” — Rudyard Kipling

13. “He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.” — Aristotle

14. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” — Nelson Mandela

15. “Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.” — Judy Blume

16. “Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” — James Stephens

17. “Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.” — Anonymous

18. ”We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

19. “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” — Jack Canfield

20. “Ignorance is the parent of fear.” — Herman Melville

21. “To overcome a fear, here’s all you have to do: realize the fear is there, and do the action you fear anyway.” — Peter McWilliams

22. “You always have two choices: your commitment versus your fear.” — Sammy Davis, Jr.

23. “Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure; it just means you haven’t succeeded yet.” — Robert H. Schuller

24. “Laughter is poison to fear.” — George R.R. Martin

25. “Fear is the enemy of logic.” — Frank Sinatra

26. ”As soon as the fear approaches near, attack and destroy it.” — Chanakya

27. “Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street.” — Zig Ziglar

28. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

29. “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” — Steve Jobs

30. “Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less.” — Marie Curie

31. “Fear has its use, but cowardice has none.” — Gandhi

32. “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” — Marcus Aurelius

33. “No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” — Edmund Burke

34. “If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” — Sun Tzu

35. “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” — Yoda

36. “Fear is the lengthened shadow of ignorance.” — Arnold Glasow

37. “Do the thing you fear most, and the death of fear is certain.” — Mark Twain

38. “The eagle has no fear of adversity. We need to be like the eagle and have a fearless spirit of a conqueror!” — Joyce Meyer

39. “Fears are nothing more than a state of mind.” — Napoleon Hill

40. “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” — Anais Nin

41. “Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.” — Louis E. Boone

42. “Living with fear stops us from taking risks, and if you don’t go out on the branch, you’re never going to get the best fruit.” — Sarah Parish

43. “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” — Susan Jeffers

44. “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”– Rosa Parks

45. “Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.” — H. Jackson Browne

46. “Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.” — Jim Morrison

47. “Have no fear of perfection. You’ll never reach it.” — Salvador Dali

48. “If you’re not willing to risk, you cannot grow. If you cannot grow, you cannot be your best. If you cannot be your best, you cannot be happy. If you cannot be happy, what else is there?” — Les Brown

49. “Fear not, we are of the nature of the lion and cannot descend to the destruction of mice and such small beasts.” — Elizabeth I

50. “He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

51. “Keep your fears to yourself but share your courage with others.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

52. “Where fear is present, wisdom cannot be.” — Lacantius

53. “Being brave isn’t the absence of fear. Being brave is having that fear but finding a way through it.” — Bear Grylls

54. “I failed my way to success.” — Thomas Edison

55. “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” — Joseph Campbell

56. “Fear is the most subtle and destructive of all human diseases.” — Dr. Smiley Blanton

57. ”How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.” — Florence Nightingale

58. “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” — Theodore Roosevelt

59. “There are times when fear is good. It must keep its watchful place at the heart’s controls.” — Aeschylus

60. “Worry gives a small thing a big shadow.” — Swedish Proverb

61. “I say I am stronger than fear.”– Malala Yousafzai

62. “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” — Abraham Lincoln

63. “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” — Plato

64. “Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me danger is very real, but fear is a choice.” — Cypher Raige (Will Smith from the film After Earth)

65. “Limits, like fear, are often an illusion.” — Michael Jordan

66. “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” —Babe Ruth

67. “The best way out is always through.”– Robert Frost

68. “Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed.” — Michael Pritchard

69. ”If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?” — Confucius

70. “No man is a failure who is enjoying life.” — William Feather

71. “Obstacles are like wild animals. They are cowards but they will bluff you if they can. If they see you are afraid of them… they are liable to spring upon you; but if you look them squarely in the eye, they will slink out of sight.”– Orison Swett Marden

72. “The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one.” — John C. Maxwell

73. “Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” — Francis Chan

74. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill

75. “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.” — Anonymous

76. “Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.” — Karl Augustus Menninger

77. ”Don’t fear, just live right.” — Neal A. Maxwell

78. “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.” — Elbert Hubbard

79. “Fear has a large shadow, but he himself is small.” — Ruth Gendler

80. “Fear is a habit; so is self-pity, defeat, anxiety, despair, hopelessness and resignation. You can eliminate all of these negative habits with two simple resolves: I can. I will.” — Anonymous

81. ”Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” — Andre Gide

82. “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance…Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” — John Lennon

83. “Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not.” — Virgil Thomson

84. “The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.” — Oprah Winfrey

85. ”Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.” — Dorothy Thompson

86. “There is no illusion greater than fear.” — Lao Tzu

87. “Anything I’ve ever done that ultimately was worthwhile… initially scared me to death.”– Betty Bender

88. “Listen to what you know instead of what you fear.” — Richard Bach

89. “It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.” — Mandy Hale

90. “Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will.” — W. Clement Stone

91. “We are taught to understand, correctly, that courage is not the absence of fear, but the capacity for action despite our fears.” — John McCain

92. “Ultimately, we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.” — Marilyn Ferguson

93. “To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.” — Katherine Paterson

94. “We are held back by fears, not limitations.” — Anonymous

95. “I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them.” — Clara Barton

96. “When you are afraid, do the thing you are afraid of, and soon you will lose your fear of it.” — Norman Vincent Peale

97. “To escape fear, you have to go through it, not around.” — Richard Norton

98. “True success is overcoming the fear of being unsuccessful.” — Paul Sweeney

99. “Great work is done by people who are not afraid to be great.” — Fernando Flores

100. “You miss 100% of the shots you didn’t take.” — Wayne Gretzky

101. “Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear and how to be free from it.” — Veronica Roth

What Scares You? 101 Quotes to Overcome It was originally published on on Oct. 4, 2022, by Deanna Ritchie. Featured Image: Suzy Hazelwood; Thank you!

5 Innovative and Strategic Solutions for Improving Business Performance

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Innovative Business Performance

Productivity is essential in evaluating business performance. However, it is also worth noting that productivity isn’t the same as busyness. Productivity often goes hand in hand with efficiency. When people can get more done with less effort, they’re productive. It’s the classic “work smarter, not harder” mindset.

One of the best ways to boost productivity is by finding innovative tools and methods to streamline existing tasks. Unfortunately, there is no shortfall of creative options in the modern, entrepreneurially-focused, tech-driven world. That said, here are some unique strategic solutions that can help improve business performance.

1. Simplify (and unify) marketing solutions.

Software solutions are powerful business tools. They can do an endless number of tasks, from collecting and analyzing data to automating mundane activities.

For all of the benefits, though, software solutions can be a two-edged sword. As a company utilizes more third-party tools, its tech stack grows. When that happens, it’s easy to become inundated with information and notifications.

Fortunately, it’s possible to find the solution within the problem itself. An entirely new generation of tools is starting to emerge that work to reduce complexities associated with technology. In other words, they streamline tech-stack management.

For instance, outsourcing CMO and marketing agency Hawke Media recently released its Hawke AI marketing and analytics solution. The tool provides a dashboard where a brand can funnel data from multiple digital marketing platforms. From there, the software organizes the information into a single view that reveals critical analysis and insights. In addition, the AI tool tracks performance against goals and even utilizes machine learning for predictive analysis of future trends.

Tools like this can help condense the complexities of data and analytics — especially in areas like marketing, where too much dense stat-crunching can hurt creative output. In addition, organizing analytics into a single location avoids wasting time chasing down numbers and creating statistical takeaways. It also avoids the issue of leaving important data unused and lost in a backwater databank on the back end of a company’s tech infrastructure.

2. Control SaaS spend and Shadow IT.

The growing use of tech stacks also leads to many underutilized applications. Each of these is a recurring cost for an organization, regardless of whether they’re optimized.

As companies incorporate a growing number of software solutions into their internal operations, keeping tabs on everything is important. It’s easy to leave applications unused or for one team to use them but not another.

Torii is a startup developing a suite of tools to address SaaS management. Its creators designed the software solution to help businesses get the most out of their tech stack by understanding how each third-party software tool or platform is helping their operation.

For instance, the application addresses Shadow IT by discovering unknown or hidden apps (that aren’t on IT’s radar) within a company’s infrastructure and bringing them into the light. It also tracks SaaS spending and ensures that companies optimize each app for maximum utility. The tool even identifies if a SaaS solution is sufficiently helping an organization or if it can remove the item from its tech stack — and consequently its budget, too.

3. Improve data observability.

Another way to address inefficiencies created by data infrastructure is by improving data observability. Data observability platforms provide key insights into how a company’s internal applications are interacting.

The goal of data observability is to identify blind spots like data silos. These can lead to lower performance, reliability, and data quality — all while increasing cost.

Tools like Databand provide comprehensive data observability even for intricate internal networks. This keeps systems operating smoothly and provides an intimate knowledge of what is happening behind the scenes regarding a company’s data.

In addition, the software solution monitors for risks like data drift and bottlenecks. This allows companies to stay ahead of potential threats. As a result, they can operate from a proactive and preventative position rather than reacting to data concerns when an issue has already developed into a crisis.

Gaining and maintaining control over a company’s data can be challenging. However, suppose a business can use a software solution to restore a sense of control. In that case, it can naturally improve data efficiency, sharpen informed decision-making, and boost productivity in the process.

4. Invest in team building.

In the post-pandemic era, talent is at a premium, and retention is in the spotlight. In response, everyone is talking about upskilling and reskilling existing workers to meet the needs of a company from within. And these are undoubtedly critical aspects of long-term retention.

However, there are other elements of retention that deserve consideration. For example, one of the most overlooked items of the post-pandemic era is team building.

As remote work has taken a foothold in the modern business model, teams are becoming increasingly isolated and disconnected. No matter how skilled an individual may be, it can be challenging to be effective if they aren’t connected to their coworkers.

Companies like Gomada have created solutions that bridge the team-building gap created by online and hybrid work environments. For example, the innovative team-bonding platform provides remote-friendly activities that can help bring teams together.

Some of these focus on general fun and getting to know one another from afar. Others address more significant concerns, like providing support during layoffs or improving communication.

Whatever a business’s work environment may be, leaders must look for ways to bring their teams together. Team building, whether it’s in person or on a computer, improves coworker interactions. It can keep a group on the same page and help them boost productivity on a daily basis.

5. Create standards and guidelines.

As companies operate in a more decentralized manner, the need for organization and oversight is becoming more important. Yet, at the same time, it’s too easy for managers to squelch business performance through micromanaging.

One way to improve productivity without overseeing every activity is by instating clear standards and guidelines to guide an organization. Standards, in this case, refer to quality control, communication protocols, and other rules and regulations that set the tone for a company’s operation. By creating these, a leader can set expectations for behavioral activity without the need to shadow every employee.

Creating guidelines for specific areas of business activity is also a good idea. For instance, if a marketing department has a lot of personnel or works with contractors, a CMO may want to create brand guidelines. This can create consistency throughout the content creation process.

Dropshipping app Oblero points out that good brand guidelines should include basic elements, like logos, typography, and a color palette. It should also provide information about a brand’s voice and tone. That way, whenever someone, either inside a company or out of it, creates something, they can maintain consistency and save time they would have spent asking questions and making edits.

Maintaining peak business performance takes continual effort. So it’s important for leaders to remain aware of the tools they can use to ensure that their enterprises are both efficient and productive. Then, use the solutions above to find ways to improve your business’s performance — all while working smarter, not harder.

5 Innovative and Strategic Solutions for Improving Business Performance was originally published on on Sept. 19, 2022, by Deanna Ritchie. Featured Image Credit: Startup Stock Photos; Thank you!

Calendar Full? 5 Ways To Maximize Your Meetings

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Calendar Full? 5 Ways To Maximize Your Meetings

No company operates in a vacuum, and very few businesses are one-person operations. Even if you’re a solopreneur, you’ll likely need to coordinate with clients. In short, business means collaboration. Working with others translates to the necessity of meetings. And meetings can either be a drain for your schedule and productivity. Or, when you maximize meetings, a chance to ensure you’re on the same page with your collaborators, work out kinks and develop actionable plans for your projects.

Most of us have experienced those meetings that we know by the “could have been an email” trope. They’re the ones that seem to have no clear direction, in which the group collectively spins its wheels. This might be due to participants getting sidetracked or simply because the content of the meeting is redundant.

It’s not a great feeling to sit through an entire hour while silently stressing about the tasks we could be doing instead. Packed calendars are ubiquitous; no one wants or deserves a time-wasting meeting. If you’re in charge of periodic or regular check-ins with your team or clients, everyone involved will thank you for running smooth and effective meetings that support their tasks.

A great meeting should help participants resolve stuck points, get team members on the same page, clarify project next steps and generally save time and energy. Carefully planning your meetings and sticking to the plan will help the members of your team get the most out of face-to-face time.

Remember that time is money and budget meeting time accordingly.

It’s important to periodically evaluate the frequency and time demands of your team’s meeting schedule. Ask yourself:

Do you need a weekly or bi-weekly face-to-face to stay on track?

Can some meetings be skipped if no pressing concerns need to be addressed?

How will holding a meeting impact your team’s productivity: will it enhance it by alleviating stuck points, or will it hinder it by pulling people out of their zones?

Evaluate whether your team requires standing meetings.

Try not to get stuck in the mindset that meetings, especially standing meetings, are necessary to keep everyone moving forward together. Sometimes, it really can be an email. Being thoughtful about when and how you conduct your meetings could translate into significant cost savings for your business. Remember, you’re paying for everyone’s time during that meeting. You’re also potentially losing productive time on tasks if you’re meeting unnecessarily. It might be enlightening to get out a calculator and run the numbers for your company’s spend on weekly meeting time.

Have a clear meeting agenda and stay on task.

When you and your team have determined that a gathering is warranted, whether virtual or in-person, it’s vital to have a clear action plan. Before each meeting, clearly identify what you want to accomplish, who needs to be involved and how you will organize the time. Try not to require attendance from teammates if you don’t need to take up their time. It’s essential to create and share an agenda for each meeting – and stick to it.

“If I don’t have an agenda in front of me, I walk out,” Annette Catino, chief executive of the QualCare Alliance Network, told the New York Times. “Give me an agenda or else I’m not going to sit there, because if I don’t know why we’re in the meeting, and you don’t know why we’re there, then there’s no reason for a meeting.”

Tips for Maximizing Your Meetings

Developing a plan ahead of time will help everyone involved know what to expect, keep discussions corralled and save everyone time.

Here are five tips you can implement today to help you and your team ensure efficiency and that you all get the most out of your collaborative time.

1. Have a meeting agenda available for your team before you get together.

A well-thought-out meeting agenda is the heart and soul of effective team collaboration. Think of it as a playbill for success, a guide that sets the stage for smooth performance. Your agenda should include the essential who, why, what, and how information.

Your team should know who is attending. Communicate expectations to each attendee for their contribution to the conversation. You should also have a clear goal established, even for standing meetings. What are your team’s pain points and how will you address them during this time? If you can’t answer the big “W” questions, you may want to back up. Assess whether your team needs to meet at all.

The agenda does not need to be a fully fleshed-out document, with paragraphs of explanations or instructions. Instead, simply identify the items that need to be dealt with, in an order that makes sense, and note who is invited to contribute to each point. You may end up going off script at times, but having a clear outline will go a long way to keeping everyone on task.

2. Use your meeting agenda to stay on task and ensure efficiency.

To help maximize any meeting, it’s vital for every participant to receive a copy of the agenda beforehand. If possible, allow enough time for feedback and questions. You might find your team helps you improve on your plan beforehand.

If you’re a traditional brick-and-mortar operation, you could distribute hard copies of your agenda before you meet. But that isn’t a viable option for hybrid or remote gatherings. Emailing an agenda document to everyone is a possible solution. Or, you might consider tech tools that can help organize the process from start to finish.

One tech tool option to maximize your meetings is Fellow. Fellow’s software includes meeting templates, so you don’t have to start with a blank page when organizing your agenda. The agendas also allow you to keep your team accountable and informed about key decisions. Having a multi-feature tool for your team is one way to keep everyone on the same page and keep track of needs and progress at a glance.

3. Stay on task and cut down on distractions.

Depending on your culture, you may want to spice up your meetings a little to keep your team engaged. But if you do, it’s a good idea to keep everyone otherwise focused and on task. Make sure everyone has the space to contribute and you’re working to help with pain points or sticking points.

If you’re running the meeting, strive to serve as its moderator. Foster open communication. Be ready to step in when it’s time to redirect or move the meeting along to the next agenda item. As you tick down the list, stick to a rhythm of communication, brainstorming, and settling.

Talk about where you’re stuck or what needs to be addressed about a particular point. Allow the team a reasonable amount of time (given your schedule and the meeting length) to discuss approaches and then commit to a strategy to address it before moving on. If something doesn’t work, you can revisit it later.

4. Encourage note-taking and active listening.

Meetings can be rich opportunities for teams to work through roadblocks collaboratively. If you plan them out thoughtfully, stick to the plan and allow participants to bring their challenges and solutions to the table, you can accomplish workplace miracles.

Coaching your team on active listening (listening to understand vs. listening to respond), and good note-taking will help participants maximize the benefits they reap from each face-to-face meeting.

Some form of note-taking, whether by hand or with a digital device, will help team members remember next steps and other action items. If you meet online, you might consider creating a digital recording of important meetings. Attendees can review details asynchronously later.

5. Go forth and turn those bullet points into action.

You want your time to be used to maximum efficiency when you gather your team. As a result, make sure your meeting allows for planning and the next steps. You could have a recap at the end of each session, quickly summarizing each relevant topic, outlining how the team will address the issue, and clarifying who is responsible for what.

To maximize your meetings, you could also work this into each agenda item as you move through the meeting itself. Everyone should leave the table (whether it’s in your meeting room or virtual meeting space) with a clear understanding of actions they will take to move forward. If each attendee leaves the meeting empowered with the knowledge of what and how to do next, you can save significant time and energy as a project progresses.

Whether you and your team operate in person, remote or hybrid, meetings are likely a staple of your weekly or monthly scheduling. You need to collaborate, and sometimes face-to-face is the best way to do that. These steps can help you ensure a smooth and productive meeting online or in person, and help you avoid wasting your and your team members’ time.

In short, great meetings involve a lot of clear communication, from beginning to end. Start by evaluating whether you should have a meeting and who is essential to the process. Clearly outline points to be addressed in a succinct meeting agenda. Keep the meeting flowing on task. Ensure everyone walks out knowing what to do next. A little extra planning and preparation will save your team a healthy amount of time, cost and stress.

Calendar Full? 5 Ways To Maximize Your Meetings was originally published on by Deanna Ritchie. Featured Image Credit: Christina Morillo; Thank you!

The Importance of Creativity in the Workplace

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Creative Mural on Building

The cornerstones of productivity are staying organized, mission-driven, and efficient. But, staying creative shouldn’t come at the expense of those pillars. On the contrary, creativity is becoming an increasingly valuable asset in the workplace for both individuals and teams.

Furthermore, the World Economic Forum states that creativity is or is related to nine of the ten skills that will define the world in 2020 and beyond. In addition to increasing confidence and collaboration, being creative increases problem-solving skills.

But that’s not all. In business, creativity has the following benefits.

Goes hand-in-hand with innovation.

Innovation requires two ingredients: novelty and utility. Unfortunately, despite the importance of creativity in generating unique and original ideas, they’re not always practical. Creative solutions, however, are essential for innovative solutions.

Leads to productivity.

Creativity fosters productivity as long as the work environment allows them to coexist. As a result, creativity can lead to productivity in the following ways:

  • Prevents getting stuck in a rut.
    • There’s nothing wrong with routines. However, sometimes you need to shake things up and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Doing so will expose you to fresh ideas and perspectives.
  • Solves bigger problems.
    • You and employees will be able to see the bigger picture and focus their energy on issues that significantly impact the company when creative thinking is encouraged. When employees can apply these efforts to bigger-picture problems rather than simply churning out work, they are more productive — and the business thrives.
  • When employees are encouraged to be creative, their workplaces will be changed for the better.
    • Motivation comes from allowing people to make a tangible, visible difference in their workplace. You don’t want to feel like a drone, mindlessly completing tasks without any apparent impact on your life.
  • People get emotionally involved in it.
    • Quite simply, work without passion is tedious — especially for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. Some people, however, require a little more motivation to spark that passion at work. Participating in the creative process empowers workers, regardless of their department or role.
  • By promoting creativity, failure becomes less likely.
    • People need the freedom to fail if they are going to foster a creative environment. Creative environments that fear failure are crippled and hamstring the flow of ideas. As a result of fear, we tend to color outside the lines, preventing us from identifying new and more effective ways of working, improving processes, streamlining operations, and creating new products.

Provides adaptability.

It may not always be necessary to adjust your business model when creatively addressing challenges. For example, to improve the efficiency of your operations, you might develop new products or services. However, don’t reject an idea because it doesn’t match the scale of a problem.

Business is a world of constant change, and adapting to it requires creative solutions.

Growth depends on it.

The idea that there is only one way to approach or interpret a situation or challenge is one of the main hindrances to a business’s growth.

It’s easy to fall into cognitive fixedness because it can be tempting to approach every situation the same way you have in the past. There are, however, differences between each situation.

A company’s leaders can stagnate if they do not take the time to understand the circumstances they face, foster creative thinking, and act on findings.

The skill is in demand.

Top industries like health care and manufacturing value creativity and innovation. It is mainly due to the complexity of challenges faced by every industry.

How to Encourage Creativity in the Workplace

So, we know that creativity is essential. But, how exactly can you encourage creativity in the workplace?

1. Schedule opportunities for creative thinking.

“Creative thinking can often be overlooked if it doesn’t get time on our calendars,” writes Nathan Rawlins in CIO. “There will always be more meetings and tasks to check off our lists, so it’s important to actually book time for creative activities.”

For example, hackathons have resulted in significant updates for our product offerings. In two to three days, teams spend a lot of time thinking creatively, collaborating, and testing out ideas outside the box. “The results are fantastic features that bring value to both the product and the company,” adds Rawlins. “Additionally, these events boost morale and demonstrate our commitment to creativity and innovation.”

2. Instill autonomy.

Increased responsibility and autonomy will likely lead to the generation of more ideas, as well as a greater sense of pride and confidence in your team’s skills.

Broadly, this could allow your team to work however they want, instead of micromanaging. More specifically, you let your team choose the agenda when meeting one-on-one.

3. Implement flexible work hours.

Consider offering flexible or work-from-home hours for specific roles requiring only an internet connection. When employees work from home, they can think more clearly, come up with more innovative ideas, and reduce their stress levels.

Establish clear expectations and guidelines to ensure steady productivity at home. And plan a flexible schedule that suits managers and their teams and the company’s requirements.

4. Don’t worry about “how.”

“Leaders unknowingly weaken their team’s creativity by focusing too early on implementation,” says Lisa Guice, Lisa Guice Global-Vision, LLC. “The fastest way to kill the creative process is by requiring your team to produce tactical solutions in tandem with creative ideas.”

This not only stifles the creative flow but also shifts the work environment into a “produce while editing” mindset, which results in a diminished individual contribution.”

5. De-silo your organization.

For innovative teamwork to take place, it is essential that a collaborative and social environment is created. Managers will notice a significant difference when they take steps to “de-silo” their organizations.

In addition to working on their own projects, employees can interact with colleagues in other departments and learn more about the company. As a result, ideas and inspiration will flow freely throughout departments, sparking workplace creativity.

Furthermore, humor is great for team building, inclusivity, and creativity.

What if you have a primarily remote or hybrid team? You might want to set up a Slack or similar chat channel called “water cooler.” By doing so, your employees can engage in some friendly office banter. Or, at the end of your team meetings, schedule time for everyone to discuss their plans for the weekend.

Playfulness creates a sense of belonging and safety, inspiring creativity.

6. Get walking.

Regarding fresh thinking, walking is one of the oldest and most effective sources. “Walking meetings” were a popular method used by Steve Jobs to foster connection and creativity with coworkers and collaborators.

In addition, Harvard Medical School researchers found that walking meetings enhanced creativity by 5.25% and engagement by 8.5%. Stanford University researchers also discovered that walking increased creative thinking by 60%. The movement itself energizes the brain, regardless of how long or where it takes place.

7. Don’t let good ideas go to waste.

Incentives should be provided to encourage employees to share their ideas. One suggestion is to implement the best ideas and to acknowledge other people’s efforts. To let the employee know you plan to implement their ideas, I suggest you personalize your message. Finally, if the change is successful, notify the team of the inspiration behind it.

To foster innovation, it is important to address and publicly commend good ideas. As a result, team members feel more inspired to share their ideas and opinions.

8. Encourage self-reflection.

You’ll find that your employees become absorbed in their work and forget the importance of what they’re doing when the workload picks up. To combat this, make check-ins for self-reflection a habit for employees. By doing this exercise, they are inspired to see things from a different perspective, both in terms of what they have achieved and what lies ahead.

Your team can also see the concrete results of their hard work and innovative solutions by sharing monthly or quarterly achievements.

9. Allow for failure.

When you ask your employees for their creative input, ensure they know you don’t expect perfection or thoroughly polished work. To be able to take risks without negative consequences, staff members need to be allowed to develop plans that go awry. The ability to fail wisely is a valuable skill for managers and companies.

“Once [employees] see, firsthand, the value of putting out what we call a ‘low-resolution prototype’ and getting feedback from a key constituent, and seeing how that direct[s] the next step, people start to become believers in that process,” explains Graham Henshaw, executive director of the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center at William & Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business, on the W&M Leadership and Business podcast. “[Innovators must have] an openness to risk… You’re willing to take risks where you might fail, but you learn something from that failure and move forward,” he continued, emphasizing, “[You need] a tolerance for ambiguity…you’re withholding that need for immediate closure.”

10. Set a tone of risk-taking.

Most professionals feel that their firms and departments are not taking enough risks. However, the risk is essential to enhance your business’s competitive advantage and encourage workplace creativity.

When appropriate, empower employees to make bold decisions and push them to take calculated risks instead of micromanaging them.

The Importance of Creativity in the Workplace was originally published on by Deanna Ritchie. Featured Image Credit: NextVoyage; Pexels. Thank you!

14 Ways to Find the Best Back-to-School Bargains This Year

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back-to-school bargains

It is never too late to start thinking about back-to-school season. Families spend a lot of money each year to get kids ready for back-to-school. For example, families with school-aged children expect an average of $848.90 for back-to-school supplies and gear. That’s a total expense of $37.1 billion spent nationally, according to the National Retail Federation, which is an all-time high reported in the annual survey.

Families can save some of that expense by planning for back to school and following some basic steps along the way. You can get organized by using your favorite online calendar to help plan your attack and to keep tabs on budgeting for your back-to-school shopping.

Here are some top ways to save while preparing to send your children back to school with everything they need.

1. Start Early With Weekly Shopping

It’s time to get organized and plan your back-to-school shopping. Prices change frequently, so you want to stay on top of what sales are possible for items your child may need in their backpack. Make a list of items you know will be required for school, focus on the stores with the best selections and prices, collect their sale notices and listings, and schedule your visits to those stores around their sales.

It’s a good idea to enter each store’s sales period in your calendar to keep track of those discount periods. Then, for harder-to-find items, consider watching for price drops at a particular store with good discounts and buy even if you don’t find them on sale to beat the back-to-school rush.

2. You Can Delay the Basics

Some school items will probably drop in price the closer you get to the start of school — such as paper, pens, and notebooks. However, there are also other ways to save on these items, so don’t rush out early to buy the basics. Instead, focus on more specific types of supplies, like a particular calendar or science gear.

3. Scour Everything For Coupons

You probably have access to more coupons than you know. They come through direct mail sent to your mailbox, email spam that includes coupons for specific stores, and even those circulars that are inserted into newspapers. Be diligent about scouring everything and everywhere for coupons.

For example, you can even search online for coupons and discounts for specific items. For example, Amazon frequently offers coupons on school and office supplies, so make sure to check for those bargains. Also, make sure to keep track of coupon expiration dates on your favorite online calendar to make sure you do not let those slip by.

4. Keep Track of Good Deals to Price Match

As you compare prices and collect coupons, keep track of deals at office supply stores or retailers. Then, you can use those deals to negotiate discounts at other retailers that match prices. This is handy, mainly when supplies are limited or sold out at the store offering the initial deal.

5. Sell What You Don’t Need Before Buying

Make sure to go through old office supplies, equipment, and accessories to sell anything you no longer need for school. While at it, check around the house for anything you can sell that is no longer being used. This will give you a good head start on the cash you will need for back-to-school shopping.

6. Save When You Buy in Bulk

If you, a friend, or a relative have access to bulk shopping centers, consider buying items to save money. You can join forces with relatives, friends, neighbors, and other school parents. Buy large quantities of things like pens, pencils, paper, tissues, crayons, brown paper bags, cleaners, and anything children need. Split the cost with your group and divvy up the supplies equally.

7. Shop Without Your Kids

An easy way to save money on back-to-school shopping is to leave your children at home. When you bring your children to the store, they may pick more expensive items than are necessary or ignore your effort to save money. If your children insist, leave a few things that need to be purchased for them to pick out at a store you have already scouted for good prices. Let them pick folders or notebooks, or you can say they can choose their backpack within a budget you give the

8. Buy Used When Possible

If your children must buy textbooks for their classes or certain books needed for other purposes, buy used when possible. This is particularly true for higher education classes, where you can quickly pay hundreds of dollars for one textbook. Check out online selling forums on Facebook, eBay, and other programs that allow sellers to post items. You can find lots of great bargains here, not only on textbooks but on other supplies and equipment.

9. Search for E-Textbook License and Other Textbook Bargains

If you have trouble finding used books, consider alternatives to buying new textbooks. For example, see if you can buy a less expensive e-Textbook license for your book. You can also consider comparing prices at certain retailers for textbooks and checking for coupons before you buy. There is TUN’s Textbook Save Engine or CampusBooks’ search feature that can help you find the cheapest options for specific books.

10. Find Exclusive Student Deals

Many retailers offer student discounts for certain supplies and equipment. For example, Best Buy features College Student Deals, and some technology companies offer specific discount pricing, including high school students. These exclusive student deals can save you big bucks on necessary technology and equipment.

11. Budget For Backpacks

One of the most expensive back-to-school purchases typically is that new backpack that your student thinks they must buy. You can save a good amount by avoiding expensive brand-name backpacks and those themed after movies or cartoon characters. You might find you can make a deal with your high school student, for example, by paying a little more for a quality backpack from Timberland or Rockland. The value is, however, that they have to agree to use it throughout high school. Otherwise, a sturdy, heavy backpack without the flashy brand name will save you money.

12. Time Your Electronics Purchases

Plan those purchases if you know you will have expensive electronics purchases on your back-to-school list. There are two things to consider when planning those expenses. First, consumer experts note that the spring and fall are the best times to buy computers and other electronics. Second, many states waive sales taxes on back-to-school items.

Find out if and when your state tax holiday is and add it to your calendar. Then line up the specials at electronics retailers to see if you can make your purchase at a time when they overlap with your sales tax holiday. Add them both to your calendar to stay on top of the deals.

13. Look for Clothing Deals

It can be expensive to buy new wardrobes for your children to return to school. So start looking for bargains early for clothes. If you have a large network of parents with older children, you can host a clothing swap to see if some items are for your kids and theirs. You can also check with second-hand stores to find clothing your child will like.

14. Take Advantage of Credit Card Offers

You may have credit cards that offer rebates and rewards to help you save money on back-to-school shopping. Make sure you take advantage of those rebates on items you know you will have to buy anyway. Depending on the credit card promotion, you can earn between 2% and 5% back on every purchase. Remember that even small amounts of money can add up!

Image Credit: Oleksandr Pidvalnyi; Pexels; Thank you!

14 Ways to Find the Best Back-to-School Bargains This Year was originally published on Calendar by .

15 Habits That Can Destroy Workplace Relationships

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workplace relationships

No matter what field you work in, having connections with your peers can help you succeed. ‌Research ‌shows‌ ‌that‌ ‌having‌ ‌friends‌ ‌at‌ ‌work has a variety‌ ‌of‌ ‌benefits. These include job satisfaction, higher productivity, and support for personal or work-related‌ ‌issues. Moreover, 63% have reported that friends make work more enjoyable. But some habits can destroy your workplace relationships.

Having Great Workplace Relationships Makes Life Better

Positive relationships with coworkers improve collaboration, creativity, health, and retention. ‌Plus, having good relationships with the people you spend a lot of time with, on average 7.8 per day, can boost your morale. As a result, this can improve your performance.

Having‌ ‌employees‌ ‌who‌ ‌get along with each other isn’t just good for morale and wellbeing. ‌It’s good for the entire organization as well.

In the workplace, though, there’s a right way and a wrong way to connect with people. While unhealthy methods may be quicker, they usually cannot be sustained over time. ‌That’s not good for relationship building, either.

Here are 15 habits that can destroy workplace relationships.

1. Gossiping.

Gossiping at the office doesn’t just ruin‌ ‌relationships. ‌It ‌can‌ ‌also make you sick by causing‌ ‌anxiety‌ ‌and‌ ‌depression.

In addition, workplace gossip can turn a workplace into a battlefield, where people have to take‌ ‌sides. ‌Besides creating a hostile environment, it also destroys any trust between‌ ‌colleagues.

Keeping workplace gossip at bay isn’t ‌easy. ‌However, whenever you hear a story being passed along the office, ask yourself if it’s true — and stop spreading it.

2. Unreliability.

Each of us has worked with an individual who is frequently late, cannot attend meetings because of an emergency, or does not follow through on promises.

That may seem harmless at first. ‌But, when an employee doesn’t perform and deliver, it sets the whole team back. It also wasted their valuable time. And it harms the reputation of the business.

Overall, it doesn’t matter how intelligent, skilled, or‌ ‌capable‌ ‌the‌ ‌employee‌ ‌is. ‌Unless they deliver consistently, their potential is ‌wasted.

Personally, to fix the problem, I stopped overextending myself and committing to things I’d never finish. ‌Sometimes, I may have to say “no” and keep my calendar clean. But, if you can’t meet a deadline, be upfront and tell the person before it’s too late.

And, if you’re in a leadership position, you can also help your team be reliable and productive. For example, you can reduce phantom workload. As Marilyn Paul, Ph.D., and David Peter Stroh defined phantom workload “is the unintentional work created when people either take expedient but ineffective shortcuts or avoid taking on such as essential.”

3. Jumping to conclusions.

“You interpret things negatively when there aren’t facts to support your conclusion,” Kare Anderson wrote in Forbes. There are two common ways that we jump to conclusions.

The first is ‘mind-reading.’ ‌In this case, “you arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you,” explains Anderson. The other is ‘fortune-telling.’ Here “you assume and predict that things will turn out badly.”

To prevent jumping to conclusions, always gather the facts and ask questions. But, of course, you may also want to take another perspective. ‌And if you make assumptions, you should constantly actively challenge them.

4. Poor communication.

Nobody likes to admit they have poor communication habits — even if they could affect their job. ‌Even so, most of us see some of these habits in people we work with daily. ‌By reminding yourself of these habits, your chances of these habits affecting your business and relationships can be significantly reduced.

These can include;

  • Interrupting others when they’re talking.
  • Topping others’ stories or experiences.
  • You’re dropping names for no reason.
  • One-directional communication, like talking and not listening.
  • Getting distracted when communicating with others.
  • Dismissing what others tell you, like their troubles or feedback.
  • Being non-responsive, like not returning an email or participating in meetings.
  • Lack of punctuality, such as hoping on a Zoom call late.

Be sure to engage in good communication with your coworkers. To start, pay attention to others, return calls and emails promptly, and be open-minded.

5. Passive aggression.

“Passive aggression is a deliberate yet covert way of expressing feelings of anger,” explains Signe Whitson L.S.W., C-SSWS. “Fearful that life will get worse if other people know about their anger, the passive-aggressive person expresses feelings indirectly, through a range of behaviors designed to ‘get back’ at another person without that person recognizing the underlying anger.”

Some of the most common examples include;

  • Missing deadlines or losing ‌important‌ ‌documents.
  • Procrastinating or‌ ‌performing tasks inefficiently.
  • Avoiding taking steps that could prevent a problem.
  • Holding back‌ ‌vital ‌information.
  • Undermining‌ ‌or‌ ‌humiliating‌ ‌others.

“The goal of a passive-aggressive person is to cause others to feel frustrated and act out the anger that the passive-aggressive person is harboring internally,” adds Whitson. “The passive-aggressive coworker gains satisfaction and a sense of personal power when his/her actions lead someone else to overt expressions of anger; making a colleague lose their cool is considered a win for the passive-aggressive office-mate.”

It is best to understand how passive-aggressive coworkers operate. And, although not easy, “to make a conscious decision to remain calm and professional‌ ‌no‌ ‌matter‌ ‌what‌ ‌they‌ ‌say‌ ‌or‌ ‌do.”

It’s best to be aware of when you react passively or aggressively on a personal level. And, if you begin seeing red, give yourself some time before responding.

6. Procrastination.

Personally, I know some people who do their best work right before the deadline. They claim that this gives them more flexibility and time to work everything out. ‌But, unfortunately, even though it’s useful for the person working alone, it’s not always a good practice or fair to the rest of the team.

The more procrastination there is, the more people scramble to get things done‌ ‌last‌ ‌minute. But unfortunately, it also prevents the entire team from moving forward. ‌In addition to stressing out colleagues, it can also lead to resentment.

For some, overcoming procrastination isn’t easy. I’ve found that narrowing down my priorities helps. Usually, these are the three most important tasks for the day. I schedule these in my calendar first. Everything else is planned for later, delegated, or dropped.

I’ve also found that working on my most challenging or unpleasant task also helps me not procrastinate. Why? Because it gives me less time to talk myself out of doing it. And it also builds momentum for the rest of the day.

7. Being negative.

You might feel negative if you work longer hours, don’t get along with a coworker, or are frustrated with slow progress. ‌No matter what the reason, negativity can bog you down. And, your coworkers may not want to work with you if you ‌are full of negativity.

Understanding what frustrates you and exploring ways to improve it can help you get over your negativity. ‌For example, maybe you can delegate some of your work or work a more flexible schedule. Also, you could share your troubles with your teammates. Not only is this good for your wellbeing, but it can also strengthen work relationships.

8. Self-sacrificing.

The practice of self-sacrifice is another way to ruin relationships at work. ‌Of course, it’s great to have someone in the workplace who is willing to lend a hand. ‌But, at the same time, if this is your relationship foundation, it depends upon‌ ‌giving.

In the long run, this habit can cause resentment between you and your coworkers because you won’t get anything back. ‌Plus, it’s ‌unsustainable. ‌Eventually, taking care of your own responsibilities and those of your colleagues will burn you out. And this can prevent you from focusing on your priorities.

9. Keeping score.

“We all know someone who is a Points Shaver,” says Blaine Loomer, author of Corporate Bullsh*t: A Survival Guide. “They keep score on everything.” ‌Whatever they do for you, they expect to get paid at some point.

“Points Shavers seem to remember what they have done for you,” Loomer adds. But, they “forget what you have done for them.” ‌So, whenever ‌you‌ ‌ask‌ ‌for a favor, they go on and on about how they have helped you in the past and how you’re indebted to them.

“When dealing with a Points Shaver, keep in mind that the score is never tied,” Loomer states. “Don’t bother keeping score unless it’s worth your time.” ‌It might be best to avoid the Point Shaver altogether. And don’t be one yourself.

10. Apologizing too often.

Don’t get me wrong; there’s a time and a place to apologize. Apologies for anything and everything (no matter the issue) that can contribute to your colleague’s thinking you can’t handle the regular job duties. This can also affect your own confidence.

Over-apologizing is especially common with women, as they tend to define offenses more broadly than men, causing them to apologize more often.

Run an audit on your apologies, understanding where and when you choose to do so (and don’t be afraid to enlist the help of your colleagues as well). Being mindful of this habit will help you to determine when it’s best to apologize and when it’s best to reframe your response to something more positive and productive for all involved.

11. ‌Being a “lone wolf.”

Working alone has its perks. ‌Say, finishing a report before the‌ ‌deadline. ‌However,‌ ‌you‌ ‌can’t expect to succeed if you’re known as the ‌”lone‌ ‌wolf.” ‌Teamwork can make you stronger personally and professionally. It’ll also make you realize that the team goal is more important than your own.

Being a team player builds trust and motivates people to work together on a project and support one another. Or course, this can be a challenge for introverts or those working remotely. But, you can still respond to others in a timely manner or jump in on the occasional Zoom call.

12 Taking credit for something you didn’t do.

I’ll ‌keep‌ ‌this‌ ‌‌brief. ‌You show you don’t care about anyone else when you take credit for their work. ‌As a result, your colleagues may quickly turn against you due to this selfish act. ‌Always give proper credit to the person who deserves‌ ‌it.

13. Violating trust.

For any relationship to work, trust is vital. After all, it’s been found that those working in a high-trust environment are more engaged, productive, and aligned with the company’s purpose. They’re also less stressed.

At the same time, it can be scary to build trust. It requires you to be authentic and vulnerable. But, it’s vital to both your individual and team’s success.

Try sharing one thing you loved or accomplished this week to get things rolling. ‌Then, you’ll be able to connect with coworkers genuinely over something simple like your favorite food, movie, or productivity hack. Also, going to the first point, don’t spread gossip — especially if you were told something in confidence.

14. Abusing privileges.

You may have abused your company’s leniency. For example, you may have a flexible schedule that allows you to work from home twice a week. However, you’re now working from home three days a week. Even if that’s been approved by the higher-ups, you can see why teammates following the schedule could get upset.

You should respect your job and whatever freedoms and powers your employer has given you, and you should stop abusing them.

15. Working in disorganization.

Another bad work habit that fractures relationships? Being disorganized.

You might miss deadlines, take longer to complete work than expected, and not be prepared for meetings if you are disorganized. Moreover, this can lead to other problems, like showing up late for a team meeting.

Creating a system that works for you will combat disorganization—for example, using time blocking your calendar for what’s most important. Additionally, organize your computer files into folders and tidy up your ‌desk. And put buffers between calendar entries so that you have time to prepare and arrive on time.

Image Credit: Christina Morillo; Pexels; Thank you!

15 Habits That Can Destroy Workplace Relationships was originally published on Calendar by Deanna Ritchie.

Use Your Online Calendar to Manage Your Home Repairs

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home repairs

It’s the little home repairs that keep your home together. I know. That sounds hyperbolic. ‌However, by repairing that leaky faucet, cleaning your gutters, and weatherstripping your windows, you can prevent more significant problems, such as‌ ‌severe ‌water damage.

Simple maintenance, beyond checking that everything works, can also extend the life of your appliances and systems that maintain your home. ‌You can also save money by performing regular maintenance. ‌Additionally, it reduces the threat to your family’s ‌safety.

A survey by the real estate marketplace Zillow found that 75% of pandemic-era homebuyers regretted their decision. The top regret? ‌Buying a house that needed more maintenance than they anticipated

Although managing your home repairs can seem daunting and expensive, there isn’t always a need to spend money on these expenses. ‌It is usually just a matter of remembering to do these chores. ‌What is difficult is knowing what needs to be done to maintain your house at what time.

So, the easiest solution? ‌Utilize your online calendar to remind yourself of the most important, common home maintenance tasks. ‌If you schedule home projects of all sizes, from small touch-ups to whole-room remodels, you’ll be able to accomplish them faster and more easily. And, this is how your time-management‌ ‌tool‌ ‌can‌ ‌help.

Schedule Daily Cleanings

Even if your week is jam-packed, you can still incorporate daily house cleaning into your schedule. ‌But how? ‌Through your online calendar.

Start by assigning certain chores to specific‌ ‌days‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌week. ‌By doing so, your to-do list will become less overwhelming. ‌As‌ ‌a‌ ‌result,‌ ‌your cleaning tasks will be more manageable.

For an example of what a little strategic planning can accomplish, check out the following house cleaning checklist.

  • Monday: Clean your bathrooms. After the weekend, your bathroom probably needs some attention. ‌Take care of this chore ‌early‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌week, like cleaning the toilet. ‌Don’t deal with any‌ ‌heavy-duty cleaning,‌ ‌like‌ ‌scrubbing‌ ‌grout until the weekend though.
  • Tuesday: Dust common areas. You should lightly dust all surfaces in the living and dining rooms. You can use an upholstery attachment to clean drapes and furniture after vacuuming to remove any dust that may have fallen.
  • Wednesday: ‌Make the kitchen sparkle. As part of your regular house cleaning routine, you already wipe down your countertops after meals and wash your dishes on a daily basis. ‌This time, you’ll clean other kitchen areas as well, like warping the stovetop and cabinets.
  • Thursday: Attend to your bedroom. Go ahead and dust your dressers, vacuum, and put away unused items like shoes or clothing.
  • Friday: ‌De-clutter‌ ‌your‌ ‌mind. ‌Congratulations on sticking to your daily routine all week. Veg out in your clean‌ ‌home. ‌Do some laundry if you must clean. ‌As it washes and dries, you can read a book or watch a movie while it is doing its thing.

Prepare a Home Maintenance Plan

The frequency and season of your tasks can be noted either online or offline. ‌Remember that there is no right or wrong way to do things. In other words, you can do things when and how it works for you and your family. ‌

But, to get you on your way, you can use this house maintenance calendar to keep track of monthly, quarterly, and annual activities. Also, to ensure you don’t forget, use calendar reminders.


  • Make sure all the locks and deadbolts on your doors and windows are working.
  • Check and replace your HVAC filters as needed. ‌You may need to change your filters every 2-3 months if you have a small family and no pets or allergies. ‌If not, do so every month.
  • Keep your kitchen sink disposal clean. ‌When the disposal is dirty, run homemade vinegar ice cubes through it. ‌The blades will be sharpened and the area will be cleaned.
  • Filters on your range hood need to be checked. ‌Use an auto degreaser diluted in hot water to clean the filters.
  • Ensure your GFCI outlets and power outlets are working properly.


  • Check your smoke and CO‌ ‌detectors. ‌They usually come with‌ ‌a‌ ‌test‌ ‌button. ‌When you press the button, you should hear an alarm. ‌Replace the batteries if not.
  • Make sure your garage door is working. ‌The auto-reverse feature should work properly. Placing a log of wood on the ground will allow you to see whether the door reverses automatically. ‌Place something in front of your photo-electric sensors if you have them installed. ‌Your sensors will go ‌up‌ ‌immediately.
  • If a toilet is unused, such as in a guest bathroom, flush it. ‌To prevent grime or any buildup in the bathroom sinks, run water.


There are different times of the year to perform annual home maintenance. ‌It’s important to prepare your house for each season. ‌In order to do so, regular maintenance must be performed.

Spring home maintenance.

  • Make sure that your gutters and downspouts are clean. ‌Get rid of leaves and debris, grime, or sediment left over from the winter.
  • Replace storm windows with screens and wash windows.
  • Ensure that your drainage system is working properly. ‌The landscape so that rainwater or any other water flowing from the house and its foundation will flow away.
  • Clear your property of any dead plants or tree stumps. ‌Your shrubs and bushes should also be trimmed. ‌Your home’s exterior cracks can be damaged further by wayward plants. ‌Check that no trees are interfering with your electric lines as well.
  • Plant a garden.
  • Carry a roof inspection for signs of damage or leaks. Take professional help for any roof repair.
  • Examine your house’s ‌exterior‌. ‌Look for peeling exterior paint, damaged siding, foundation cracks, or broken windows‌ ‌and‌ ‌doors. ‌Hire‌ ‌a‌ ‌professional‌ ‌to fix these problems.
  • Before summer, make sure your air conditioner is serviced. ‌Consult the user manual when you maintain your HVAC system yourself. ‌A central air conditioner is a more complex system than a window air conditioner and should be handled by a professional.

Summer home maintenance

  • Wash your patio or deck. ‌Restain the deck if necessary. ‌You should also check for any loose boards or posts, as well as any problems with the railing.
  • Look for damage to your tile grout in the bathroom and kitchen.
  • Find any leaks in the plumbing system. ‌Make sure the water pressure is good as well.
  • Make more space for your summer projects by cleaning and organizing your garage.
  • Get rid of lint and blockages in your dryer vent.

Fall home maintenance

  • Put a tarp or cover over your AC until‌ ‌next‌ ‌season.
  • Check the caulking and weatherstripping on windows and doors.
  • Inspect your hot water heater for leaks and sediments. This will prolong your heater’s life and increase its efficiency.
  • Prepare your heating systems, furnaces, and fireplaces.
  • You should winterize your sprinklers.
  • Check your sump pump’s functioning. ‌That’s especially true if you live in a rainy area.
  • Look for cracks in your driveway or pathways. ‌Before winter, seal all the cracks so snow can’t freeze and expand. If not, this can cause ‌more‌ ‌damage.
  • Clean and store patio furniture, as well as garden tools.

Winter home maintenance

  • Watch out for ice dams and icicles on your roof are not only dangerous, but they can cause water damage in your home too.
  • Make sure all tubs and showers are working and caulked properly.
  • Maintain a high water pressure by cleaning the showerheads.
  • Take a look at the basement and see if any mold or mildew is growing.


  • Check the pressure relief valve on your water heater. ‌If you check it regularly, you can avoid corrosion and mineral buildup. ‌Furthermore, you will use less energy.
  • Every six months, deep clean your whole house. ‌Keep your appliances, garage, basement, doors, and windows clean to prevent dust buildup.
  • Smoke and carbon dioxide detectors need to be recharged every six months.
  • Using a vacuum cleaner, clean the coils of your refrigerator. ‌You’ll be able to maximize the efficiency of your appliance by doing so. ‌

Arrange Appointments as Soon as Possible

Home improvement professionals can make all the difference. ‌Your home’s foundation is protected by pest control by keeping away bugs and critters. ‌Plumbers can‌ ‌stop leaks from causing‌ ‌mold. And, HVAC specialists ensure that your home remains comfortable and is energy efficient.

Here’s the problem. ‌Last-minute bookings of home professionals can be stressful. ‌It’s better to contact them before an emergency arises. And, ideally, you should also book them when they aren’t as busy. For example, why wait to schedule your annual chimney cleaning until November? Instead, make an appointment when they have more availability, like in August or September.

In that sense, you can schedule appointments in advance thanks to your online calendar. Additionally, a calendar is an excellent‌ ‌record-keeping‌ ‌tool. ‌With digital home repair scheduling, you can look backward to see when your roof was last replaced, for instance.

Budget For Home Repairs

You can have trouble making home repairs if you don’t have the funds. ‌The best way to deal with emergency repairs is to budget for them. ‌A good way to budget is to use your online calendar.

With an online calendar, you can start your home-improvement fund easily. ‌Put a reminder in your pay period to add a little‌ ‌to‌ ‌your‌ ‌fund. ‌You won’t be caught short of funds by a surprise home repair if you set aside just $100 per month.

Nonetheless, when you are planning your home repair budget, the 1% rule of thumb is a good place to start. “Using 1% as a rule of thumb for home maintenance is actually a great example of when the common wisdom for something is pretty spot-on,” according to Mischa Fisher, a chief economist at HomeAdvisor and Angi.

According to Fisher, the numbers are reasonably‌ ‌accurate. “Our latest’ State of Home Spending’ report has average [annual] upkeep spending at $3,192, roughly 1% of the median home value in the U.S., which is a little over $300,000.”

If you’re considering buying a “fixer upper,” you’ll likely need to budget for substantial home repairs from the get go. Especially for first time home buyers, you may need more cash for repairs than you have set aside. Sure, you might think you have plenty saved up, but down payments and other closing fees can deplete your savings quickly.

So for those fixer upper expenses, you’ll want to navigate the mortgage pre-approval process accordingly. That means letting your lender know about including repair expenses in the mortgage and estimating how much it will cost.

Don’t Clutter Your Calendar

You can better handle stress when you manage your time effectively. ‌‌‌As an example, if your schedule is organized, an unexpected issue at home, such as a broken pipe, or clog will not catch you by surprise.

While time management can be improved in many ways, the end goal remains‌ ‌the‌ ‌same. ‌You want to be in control more of your time. ‌Getting to bed earlier or arranging childcare more efficiently might help you make better use of your mornings. But, I’m also big on not cluttering your calendar as well.

What does that mean? Well, it simply means leaving some blocks of time wide-open. So, if there is an emergency at home, that’s when you can attend to it. More importantly, when you have some free time on your hands, you can get a head start on a home repair. Or, maybe you can do a quick inspection that makes sure that everything’s in tip-top shape.

Image Credit:; Pexels; Thank you!

Use Your Online Calendar to Manage Your Home Repairs was originally published on Calendar by Deanna Ritchie.

Daily Ways to Build and Inspire Yourself and Others

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Inspire yourself and others

We all have those days when we don’t feel like doing anything. ‌Mentally and physically, we are exhausted. ‌It’s tough getting out of bed in the morning.‌ And, it’s a challenge just to get out of bed, let alone seize the day.

As much as we wish we could stay in bed all day, we cannot. ‌So when you feel uninspired, you can overcome that emotional hurdle with these 20 daily techniques.

1. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike.

“Inspiration is for amateurs,” said painter and photographer Chuck Close. “The rest of us just show up and get to work.”

“If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens,” he further explains. “But if you just get to work, something will occur to you, and something else will occur to you, and something else that you reject will push you in another direction.”

Instead of wasting your time and energy waiting to feel inspired, tap into the power of a daily routine. And this is actually something that successful creatives and entrepreneurs have long known. ‌William James, the famous psychologist, once said that habits and schedules are necessary because they “free our minds to advance to really interesting fields of action.”

While there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to scheduling your calendar, here are some tips to get you started:

  • Schedule time for planning. For example, every evening, create and review your schedule for tomorrow.
  • Jumpstart your day with a morning ritual. Some ideas would be journaling, exercising, meditating, or reading.
  • Time block your calendar. Establish specific times for specific tasks throughout the day.
  • Designate a “most important task.” Always include the one absolute task that needs to get done for the day.
  • Leverage the power of breaks. Breaks are needed to help you refresh and recharge.
  • Give names to time slots and downtime. This ensures that you use this time purposefully, like s “Tuesday a.m., break 15 min walk,”
  • Be flexible. Even if you’re consistent, the unexpected is always lingering around the corner. So leave blank spaces to address the unanticipated.

2. Connect to your values.

“This is the ultimate secret,” notes author and Director of Innovation at Microsoft

J.D. Meier. “If you can connect the work you do to your values, even in small ways, you can change your game.”

It’s important to J.D. Meier to learn and grow as a person — a worthy goal for all people.

“I find ways to grow my skills in any situation,” he adds. For example, he just doesn’t “call back a customer.” Instead, he aims to “win a raving fan.” He doesn’t merely “do a task.” Instead, this is a chance to “master my craft.” ‌And, it’s more than “get something done.” Rather, it’s an opportunity to “learn something new.”

3. Add your goal to your calendar.

Did you know you can boost your internal motivation by setting‌ ‌a‌ ‌target‌ ‌date? It’s true.

As‌ ‌such,‌ ‌whatever‌ ‌your goal is, schedule it. ‌If you’re working toward a goal, you might have a deadline. For example, preparing for a meeting presentation or submission date for a project.

By establishing a realistic deadline, you can add structure to‌ ‌your‌ ‌goal. Target dates also help you stay motivated. And, when added to your calendar, it lets you keep track of your progress. ‌As a result, you are always aware of how far you need‌‌ ‌‌to‌‌ ‌‌go.

Also, once you’ve established your goals, share them with someone else, such as a mentor.

You’re more motivated if you share your goal with someone higher up because just caring what they think of you makes you accountable. ‌For example, you might be more motivated to get promoted if you tell a mentor or manager than if you merely tell a friend or peer.

4. Turn off distractions.

I think this is a no-brainer. ‌However, I’m talking about turning off distractions the entire day long instead of just during certain times. When you do, you’re taking your inspiration game to a whole new level.

It’s easy to lose track of time and focus constantly being glued to our phones, the internet, and social media. ‌It does not matter if you are reading a book on the subway or listening to a podcast or playlist while exercising. As a result, I’ve found myself instinctively reaching for my phone during periods of downtime, allowing myself to scroll mindlessly on Instagram or Facebook. ‌Despite how helpful and entertaining it is to be tuned in, tuning out can leave your mind wandering for hours.

5. Create a feeling of gratitude.

You may find it hard to motivate yourself when you’re stuck in a rut. ‌Think about how you feel before trying to motivate yourself.

Motivation comes much easier when you feel appreciated for who you are.

Gratitude is the quickest way to lift your spirits. After all, it’s almost impossible to be grateful and feel depressed  ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌same‌ ‌time.

Get in the habit of practicing gratitude by writing down three things you’re ‌grateful‌ ‌for. ‌From your morning coffee to your pet, or even your comfortable chair, there are many things you can appreciate.

To stay motivated, you should include this in your daily routine. Also, when your grateful for the people in your life, let them know that you appreciate them through thank you notes or social media shout outs.

6. Take advantage of others’ motivation.

There are always words or artwork from others to turn to when you need extra inspiration.

Making a playlist of songs that excite and inspire you can be a great place to start. After all, ‌music‌ ‌can‌ ‌elevate your mood and change your perspective. ‌I dare you not to get up and move when you listen to “Gonna Fly Now” from Rocky.

In addition to music, books, movies, and Ted Talks can inspire and guide you. Also, you can search for tweets with the hashtag #inspiration or discover blogs of people who have overcome adversity.

Furthermore, hundreds of motivational quotes from successful people can make you more optimistic immediately by changing your mindset.

7. Ask, “What Would Dolly Parton Do?”

It doesn’t exactly have to be Dolly. But, come on. She’s a national treasure.

Anyway,‌ ‌looking through a different lens can be powerful. ‌After all, when imagining yourself seeing the situation from the perspective of someone else.

Consider your favorite role model, but use their perspective to gain insight. ‌It’s a great way to think outside the box and to gain a fresh perspective.

For example, if you want to improve your leadership skills, ask “What would Richard Branson or Barack Obama do?”

If you’re overcoming adversity, ask “What would Oprah, Nick Vujicic, or Bethany Hamilton do?”

8. Embrace and share vulnerability.

Nowadays, we’re all about Instagram likes and Instagram followers. ‌Being perceived as anything less than perfect is a daunting prospect. ‌A dangerous facade of success can be created by the glossy social media statuses of our lives.

However, sharing defeats‌ ‌and‌ ‌admitting‌ ‌failure is‌ ‌a‌ ‌powerful‌ ‌motivator for moving forward. ‌Do not let your emotions get the best of you. Instead, work through them. ‌Afterwards, move on to something more productive.

As a result of sharing these vulnerable moments, peer relationships are also deepened. And, it might just inspire them as well.

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing,” states Brené Brown, a research professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host. “It’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”

9. Get back to nature.

Our daily lives can be enriched by learning from nature’s lessons. ‌A hike or watching the water of a river pass by, for example, is said to calm one’s prefrontal cortex, allowing it to access other regions that might produce insights or‌ ‌new‌ ‌ideas.

The experience of being‌ ‌in‌ ‌nature‌ ‌also‌ ‌inspires‌ ‌a‌ ‌sense‌ ‌of‌ ‌awe. ‌”Expansive thinking” arises when we realize the world is much bigger than we can understand. It allows us to consider different perspectives and can result in innovative solutions.

It might be tough to do this daily. But, you could start by going on a walk with a coworker after lunch or with your family during the sunset

10. Put together a win list.

“I have exchanged my to-do list with a win list,” Ken Gosnell, CEO of Experience tells Forbes. “A win list is a list of actions and behaviors that I know will create momentum for me and my organization.”

“I focus on at least one win a day and then I record all the wins, big and small, at the end of the day, to review everything that I feel good about accomplishing that day, he adds. “Often, one win can lead to the next one and many other wins.”

You can also do this with your team. For example, kicking off a meeting with what everyone accomplished in the past week. Or, create a dedicated Slack channel where people can share their success stories.

11. Compete in a friendly way.

Try to finish a boring or routine task first with a coworker at work in a friendly competition. ‌A little gamification usually keeps things lively.

In addition, you can also add a small prize, like pizza or coffee the other person, to motivate the winner.

12. Embrace positive peer pressure.

Achieving your goals is ultimately up to you. ‌Other people, however, can motivate you in a very positive way.

It has been shown that teamwork can boost perseverance, engagement, and performance — even if you’re flying solo. What’s more, this can also keep you accountable or pus‌h you when you’re not in the zone. Depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌what you want to accomplish, this might mean a running team or joining a professional organization.

And, again, sharing your goals can strengthen your commitment to achieving them, according to another study. ‌If you have work goals, consider sharing them with your supervisor or mentor.

13. Reframe questions.

“Let’s say that you are demotivated by a problem that seems impossible to solve,” writes Scott H. Young over at Lifehack. “What you can do is invest a lot of time upfront framing the right questions.”

According to Timothy Ferriss’s Tribe of Mentors, readers should ask themselves, “How would it look if this [endeavor, goal, etc.] were easy?”

In The‌ ‌One‌ ‌Thing by Gary Keller asks, “What is one thing I can do that would make everything else less important or unnecessary?”

“Think about the problem you want to solve, and ensure you ask the right questions,” adds Young. “Also, consider if you have assumptions baked into your line of thinking.”

Asking (the right) questions is always better than assuming. ‌An inspiring solution can be found by using these methods.

14. Cut your to-do-list in half.

Our ability to achieve success is hindered by long lists. ‌These lists impede our progress instead of helping us advance. So, what’s the solution? ‌Focus on the most completing items first by cutting your to-do lists in half.

In some studies, people don’t accomplish any tasks if they have more than seven on their list. ‌Nevertheless, if you have only three items listed, there is a high likelihood of finishing them all.

15. Don’t be a critic, be a coach.

A person can either be their best coach or their‌ ‌worst‌ ‌critic. ‌It’s up to you what you choose.

Whether you beat yourself down or lift yourself up, you know best how to do it. ‌You can give constructive feedback to your inner coach, and give your inner critic a rest.

As soon as you choose to become your best coach, you will gain a fresh perspective on yourself. And, it can take your potential to levels you’ve never dreamed of.

Also, keep this in mind when sharing feedback with others. Instead of being too harsh, keep the feedback constructive.

16. Reflect on how far you’ve come.

When is the last time you paused to appreciate and refelct all you’ve accomplished? ‌It’s likely that you undervalue all your accomplishments in the face of all your growth.

Spend a few minutes daily reliving and feeling your successes, no matter how small. You could do this as a part of your morning routine. Or, even, when taking a break from work.

17. Declutter and tidy.

In the event of a messy desk, it’s impossible to inspire and motivate yourself. The same is true when you’re calendar is cluttered with useless tasks that prevent you from achieving your goals.

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to go on a daily cleaning spree. But, you could set aside 15-minutes at the end of the day to declutter and tidy your workspace. And, maybe this will inspire yourself and others to follow suit as well.

18. Do some mood-lifting.

The quality and quantity of work are both improved when a person is in a good mood. ‌Having a positive attitude every day isn’t realistic, though. ‌Mood lifts can get you going if you’re lacking in the inspiration department.

Looking for some mood-boosting ideas? ‌The following might be helpful:

19. Treat yourself.

“Biologically, rewards increase dopamine levels in your brain,” Elizabeth Perry for BetterUp. “Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps us feel happy and increases our memory retention, helps us sleep, and regulates our mood and appetite.” ‌When dopamine surges, specific behaviors are reinforced.

“Experiencing a rise in dopamine levels is addictive, and we physically and mentally crave that feeling again,” adds Perry. “When we’re content, we’re more productive.”

Don’t worry about getting hooked‌ ‌on‌ ‌rewards though. As you work hard, you train your mind to view it as‌ ‌a‌ ‌reward‌ ‌in‌ ‌itself.

Moreover, rewarding yourself reduces procrastination, sharpen your focus, and eliminate distractions.

But, when and how should you reward yourself? Well, you can treat yourself when you complete your to-do list for the day. If so, you can start rewarding a new book, watch a TV show, make plans with friends, or take the day off.

20. Shake up your routine.

While having a routine is key to inspiration, sometimes we get into a rut. So, occasionally mix things up.

Switch up your commute, rearrange your schedule, or work somewhere else. Experiment with different activities as well. ‌Simple changes these can make a big difference when you need inspiration.

Image Credit: Designecologist; Pexels

Daily Ways to Build and Inspire Yourself and Others was originally published on Calendar by Deanna Ritchie

Share Your Troubles With Your Coworkers; Boost Productivity

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boosting productivity

Boosting productivity is always important, but it’s also important to note that each of us has problems; and we all need a listening ear. ‌Maybe it’s a friend, spouse, or parent. Whatever the case, it’s nice to know that you’ve got someone you can talk to whenever you’re feeling low.

Further,‌ ‌the‌ ‌boundaries between work and home have become increasingly‌ ‌‌‌entwined over the past two years. In these cases, turning to a coworker could be beneficial. ‌‌‌In particular, Susan Cain, author of Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole, found that it could result in stronger coworker connections and a greater boost in ‌productivity.

In her book, Cain cites the example of a company that normalized sharing personal issues. The billing department at Midwest Billing, a community hospital in Jackson, Michigan, created a culture in which every employee was assumed to have a personal problem. ‌Rather than be seen as a problem, teammates demonstrated compassion by sharing their troubles. Employees‌ ‌helped each other out with divorces, domestic violence, deaths in the family, and even when someone was ill.

Not only is sharing troubles with others good for your mental health, but it is also good for business productivity as well. “During the five years prior to the study, Midwest Billing got its bills collected more than twice as fast as before, beating industry standards,” writes Cain. “The turnover rate in the unit was only 2%, compared with an average of 25% across all of Midwest Health System, and a significantly higher rate across the medical billing industry.”

Honestly, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Why Talking About Our Problems Helps

Talking about our problems helps us a lot, according to previous research.

In research from U.C.L.A., “affect labeling” is a method for putting feelings into words so that the amygdala is less triggered when confronted with upsetting things. ‌In this way, you can slow down your stress response over time. ‌

Being in a car after a car accident, for example, can be emotionally overwhelming. ‌But, as you talk the situation through, put your feelings into words, and process what happened, you won’t feel that way when you get back into the car.

Additionally, studies at Southern Methodist University found that writing about traumatic experiences or undergoing talk therapy helped patients’ immune systems and health. ‌It was found that suppressing thoughts and emotions increases stress. ‌Either way, the negative feelings are there, but you must work to suppress‌ ‌them. ‌When your brain and body are overworked, you are more susceptible to getting sick or feeling miserable.

How to Your Troubles At Work

While you may feel awkward sharing your troubles with your teammates, here are some pointers on how to do so.

Think about whether it’s a topic worth discussing.

Work may seem like the perfect place to vent, but it is not. ‌Never share what you are going through personally at work. ‌The exception? When a problem affects your career, sharing personal information should be reserved.

In fact, this kind of sharing can sometimes‌ ‌help‌ ‌‌‌strengthen ‌work‌ ‌relationships. Some examples‌ ‌of‌ ‌appropriate personal topics to share are:

  • An‌ ‌illness‌ ‌that’s impacting your performance.
  • You’ve got a family issue that’s affecting your‌ ‌work‌ ‌schedule‌ ‌or‌ ‌ability‌ ‌to‌ ‌work.
  • Pregnancy.

On the flip side, you should avoid discussing the following:

  • Financial concerns.
  • Problems with your children include drugs, arrests, and troubles‌ ‌at‌ ‌school.
  • Relationship problems of any kind.
  • Litigation, neighbor wars, car troubles.

If you steer clear of these conversations, you avoid being labeled as someone who has so many issues that it hinders your career.

And, one more thing. If you have a serious medical problem or family emergency, it’s probably best to discuss this with your boss. You can then brainstorm possible solutions like a leave of absence or a flexible work schedule.

Speak with the right people.

In the past, if you shared how you felt with someone and didn’t seem to yield any results, ‌it might be because you weren’t talking to the right‌‌ ‌‌person. ‌The support of someone you trust (without enabling bad habits such as co-rumination) is critical.

Find someone who has experienced the same problem and hopefully solve it. For example, if you’re struggling to meet deadlines or understand the scope of a project, ask a coworker for help. Hopefully, they can share their time management tips or clarify the work with you.

What should you do if you need a lot of time to talk? ‌Well, maybe you could schedule a recurring bi-weekly check-in. Or divide your conversations among several‌ ‌people. ‌Having a comprehensive social support system lets you distribute the load if one is worn out.

Schedule the right time and place to talk.

Even if it is a serious issue, it isn’t worth allowing to fester and linger. But, at the same time, you also don’t want to pour your heart when your coworkers are rushing to a meeting. So if you know when they’ll be less busy, pick a time that works for you. ‌

Also, pick a time when they’ll ‌be‌ ‌alone. After all, you don’t want to disclose a medical problem, for instance, at the water cooler or on a team call.

The easiest way to approach this? Share your calendar with them. This way, they can see when you’re available. From there, they can book a time to chat when they’re also free. You can even add a location, like a nearby coffee shop, to the invite to prevent other coworkers from eavesdropping. This will not only boost productivity, but it will help you be able to lean on someone for a quick listening ear.

Use “I” statements.

Thomas Gordon introduced “I statements” in the 1960s as a way to help kids understand emotions and behaviors‌ ‌during‌ ‌play‌ ‌therapy. ‌However, they can have many advantages during communication, including:

  • Feeling‌ ‌statements‌ ‌are a way to express assertiveness without provoking blame, accusation, defensiveness, or guilt in other people.
  • It’s easy to solve conflicts‌ ‌without putting‌ ‌people‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌defensive. ‌This focuses the conversation on solving a problem rather than assigning blame by focusing on the feelings and needs of the speaker.
  • Using I-messages can also be an excellent way to give constructive feedback to others. ‌The conversation is focused on the speaker’s feelings rather than how they feel‌ ‌about‌ ‌it.

Of course, not every situation requires using “I” statements. However, they can be helpful in the following situations:

  • If we need to confront someone‌ ‌about‌ ‌their‌ ‌behavior.
  • Feelings of injustice when others treat us poorly.
  • When‌ ‌we‌ ‌feel‌ ‌angry or defensive.
  • If someone is‌ ‌angry‌ ‌with‌ ‌us.

At the same time, there are potential disadvantages to “I” statements. These include being seen as expressing emotionalism, weakness, and what’s best for you.

Despite these concerns, when sharing your troubles with a coworker, they can boost productivity. For example, let’s say you’re collaborating with them, and they have a habit of not providing updates on their progress. You could say, “I get anxious when I don’t receive updates.”

Take action on solutions.

“Problem-solving makes you feel better, but getting things off your chest alone doesn’t make you feel better,” advises Kristin Behfar, Ph.D. ‌So keep multiple solutions in your back pocket, whether you offer advice or ask for it. ‌

Your next step should be to act. ‌This will ensure that you won’t complain simply for the sake of complaining.

Of course, putting that into practice isn’t always easy. ‌Here is a 10-step process devised by Brian Tracy for putting your plans into action:

  • Positively frame the problem.
  • Clearly define the situation or problem.
  • Take several different approaches to the problem using critical thinking.
  • Decide on‌ ‌the‌ ‌ideal‌ ‌solution‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌problem.
  • Select the most appropriate solution to ‌your‌ ‌challenge.
  • Prepare‌ ‌for‌ ‌and overcome the worst outcome possible.
  • Keep track of‌ ‌your‌ ‌progress.
  • Be fully responsible‌ ‌for‌ ‌your‌ ‌decision.
  • Set‌ ‌a‌ ‌deadline‌ ‌to solve the problem.
  • Solve your problem by taking action.

Set time limits.

If a colleague has taken the time out of their day to listen to you, then you need to pay them the same level of respect. How? By being respectful of their valuable time.

To boost productivity and make sure you stay focused, the first place to start is setting time limits. It’s unreasonable for them to block out three hours of their day to listen to your life story. So instead, a 30-minute should suffice.

To keep you on track, prepare an agenda — just like you would with a meeting. That means focusing on the work problem that’s giving you the most distress. Then, after identifying this issue, jot down and rehearse what you want to say to keep the talk concise.

Also, just like scheduling a meeting, leave a few minutes for possible response and brainstorming.

Another thing to keep in mind? Be on time. If you have scheduled this talk for 11 a.m. on Friday, then make sure you’re on time.

What Role Do Leaders Play?

Leading by example is often the first step in creating a sharing culture. ‌Ultimately, sharing culture can lead to a productivity boost. Cain tells the story of Rick Fox, one of the leaders of a Shell Oil oil ‌rig‌ ‌case‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌Gulf‌ ‌of‌ ‌Mexico. ‌Fox hired Lara Nuer, co-founder of Learning as Leadership, to solve problems with drilling schedules and oil production numbers. ‌Following a conversation with Fox, Nuer revealed that his biggest‌ ‌problem‌ ‌was‌ ‌fear. ‌Not only was the work dangerous, but also managing people and ensuring their safety.

As they worked together, Nuer encouraged them to speak with each other about their fears, including their personal problems. ‌During the transition from a macho culture to one in which the men supported each other, the culture shifted from one of the hiding weaknesses or asking questions.

“There were fewer accidents because the guys on the rig got more comfortable opening up when they didn’t know how to do something or didn’t understand how something worked,” says Cain.

Leaders, however, may find it hard to share their own struggles, Cain notes. “At least one study suggests that confiding one’s troubles in subordinates can cause them to lose confidence in and comfort with you,” she says. “At the same time, the best way to shift a culture is for leadership to go first.”

Leaders‌ ‌don’t have to share all their problems to be a perfect example or boost productivity. “They don’t need to speak to their employees the same way they’d talk to their therapist,” Cain adds. “It’s enough to move in the direction of open-heartedness.”

Image Credit: ANTONI SHKRABA; Pexels Thank you!

Share Your Troubles With Your Coworkers; Boost Productivity was originally published on Calendar by .

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