All posts by Max Palmer

A Beginner’s Guide to Intuitive Calendar Management

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Calendar Management

Entrepreneurs and business professionals have a lot on their plates. There are forms to sign, meetings to attend, and a work-life balance that’s always teetering on edge. But, while the focus of business is almost always money at the end of the day, the real currency for businesspersons is time. The adage “time is money” is more true today than ever before.

If you can genuinely harness your time, there’s almost nothing you can’t accomplish. However, mastering time management is easier said than done. A lot of effort is required to manage time effectively, as well as a solid desire to structure your life and business with extra precision.

To satisfy the time management needs of every person possible, the calendar in its physical and digital forms was made. By learning better calendar management, you can make huge strides forward in your personal time management. Here is a beginner’s guide to help you get started:

Aim for Purpose and Results

When it comes to time management, everything you do should be intentional. Don’t just fill your calendar for the sake of looking busy. You will find a lot more success by aiming for a specific purpose and focusing on results.

One way to ensure that your scheduling remains intentional is to follow a tried-and-true planning method from a time management expert. For example, the Rapid Planning Method from renowned motivational speaker Tony Robbins is crafted with intentional time management in mind.

Use an Organizational System

Once you have a good idea of how you want to use your calendar to improve time management, you need to keep it nice. If you purchase a three-ring binder but fail to follow an organizational pattern, you’re not going to get much value out of it. However, if you’re utilizing a system by using things such as tabs and dividers, you’ll find the binder to be quite useful.

Your online calendar of choice will have various options and features you can use to stay organized. One of the most common and effective options available is color-coding. This will change how your events appear based on how you want to organize them. For example, you can match work events with your company’s logo to easily differentiate them from the rest of your schedule.

The great thing about online calendars is that they are highly flexible. You can use your own combination of color-coding and organize in a way that works specifically for you. Key points to remember are not doing too much and using a practical and memorable system. Too many colors can be challenging to keep track of.

Take Advantage of Recurring Events

As you’re setting up your calendar, note any repeat events you see. For example, you might have a team huddle every Monday morning or attend a spin class on Friday nights. Instead of manually inputting every single one of these events into your calendar, you can take advantage of recurring events.

When you set a recurring event, it pops up in your calendar at an automatic interval. This can be done for monthly, weekly, or even daily activities. This will save you a lot of time when planning out your schedule, as you don’t have to input the same event over and over again manually. This also will ensure that you never accidentally miss an event because you didn’t happen to add it to your calendar once.

Recurring events are also helpful for scheduling routines. You don’t always need to put a morning routine into your calendar, but doing so for a few weeks can help you adapt to a new schedule. For instance, if you’re moving from day shifts to night shifts, you might want to plan out the specifics in your calendar with recurring events until you’re used to the new schedule.

Learn How to Batch

At this point, you should have most of your calendar squared away. You can now start working on fine-tuning your calendar to make it work even better for you. One such thing you can learn to tune up your calendar is how to batch tasks. This will condense your calendar, making it appear less cluttered while still getting just as much done.

Most people batch tasks by starting with a to-do list. This is separate from the schedule that ends up in their calendar. Once you create a to-do list, you can organize each task by function and priority. This will give you batches of tasks that can be added to larger time blocks in your calendar instead of individual pieces that have you bouncing all over the place.

Don’t Forget Buffer Time

If you’re still concerned about how to fit everything into your busy schedule without overlapping, be sure not to forget about buffer time. Adding buffer time to all of your events can be a daily life saver. More often than not, you’ll be glad you included buffer time even if you didn’t need it.

Always leave some amount of time in between your meetings and events. For example, if you have back-to-back meetings, you might try and schedule them on the hour to fit them nicely into your calendar. Including 15 minutes of buffer time in between meetings will protect you if one meeting happens to run long and threatens to make you late for the next.

If you don’t need to use the buffer time, you can always have a backup plan for how you can use that time. For example, you can do some bonus prep as you move on to your next meeting, take care of some emails, or outline your next blog post. Of course, none of these tasks are urgent, but you might as well take advantage of any opportunities you find.

Who knew that something as simple as a Calendar could be used for so much. Simply using a calendar regularly is already a step in the right direction. Add these details along the way, and time management will begin to come naturally to you, and there won’t be anything you can’t achieve.

Image Credit: cottonbro; Pexels; Thank you! 

The 13 Most Accessible Calendar Apps of 2022

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Accessible Calendar Apps

Is staying organized on your list of goals for the coming year? If so, it is essential to choose a time management app that offers the proper functionality for your needs.

Here are the topmost accessible calendar apps of 2022:

1. Calendar App

The Calendar App is unique in that it utilizes machine learning to help improve your productivity. For example, you can send a link to a colleague, and they can pick the best time for your next meeting without any additional correspondence. It also includes time tracking features, time zone availability, and more. What else makes this one of the best accessible calendar apps? You can analyze your schedule to see how your day is broken up by task type.

2. Google Calendar

There’s a reason why Google Calendar is trusted by millions of people around the globe. This robust program easily syncs across multiple devices, making it easy to track your entire day in one spot. Plus, it integrates with thousands of other apps, programs, and time tracking tools to really give you optimum productivity. It is also free.

3. Apple Calendar

Those who generally tend to lean towards Mac and iOS devices should consider Apple Calendar. Included as part of the iCloud platform, it comes automatically installed and integrates with your Apple Watch. Sadly, there is no Windows or Android option, but that isn’t a big deal for some people.

4. Outlook Calendar

If you’re familiar with Microsoft Office, then you’ll probably enjoy using Outlook Calendar. This product is automatically installed on Windows devices, but a separate iOS app and Mac program are available.

5. Calendly

Those who have clients regularly self-scheduling meetings or calls should consider Calendly. This app integrates with many other programs, including Zapier, Salesforce, Stripe, Zoom, and others. The app also integrates with your website, making it simple for customers or clients to set their own appointments within the structured time blocks you’ve set.

6. My Study Life

Students have a lot to keep track of during the week. Unfortunately, general calendar apps aren’t always as useful as they could be for improved productivity. Instead, My Study Life makes it simple to track class schedules, assignments, lectures, and more. As one of the few student planner apps on the market, it’s worth checking out.

7. Trello

While Trello itself isn’t precisely a calendar app, it does make it possible to see projects visually on a Kanban board. These digital cards allow you to easily see what’s due on a project and what state each step is in. Additionally, you can sync it to your existing Google, Apple, or Outlook calendar. This is especially handy as a tool for teams or those looking to increase productivity for specific projects.

8. Any.do

Those interested in a task management app that offers robust functionality should check out Any.do. More than just a calendar, it provides ways for you to balance your personal and business lives by offering task lists, grocery lists, trackers, and more. This is a good blend for balancing personal and business tasks during the week.

9. Cozi

If you’re looking for a family-friendly calendar program, then you’ll like Cozi. Designed as a lifestyle planner, the program is designed for users of all ages to keep track of household necessary tasks, events, and outings. Additionally, the easy-to-use interface is simple and effective for just about anyone to use.

10. OurHome

Families with little ones will adore the OurHome app. This calendar tool works great for adults, while a unique chore tracker makes checking off tasks fun for the kids. Best of all, it is available for both Android and iOS devices.

11. TeamUp

Managing groups of people is much easier with an app like TeamUp. This calendar program is specifically designed to keep individuals organized with what’s going on. Best of all, it is free for small groups, too.

12. Float

If you like visual planners, you’ll want to check out Float. Designed specifically for teams, it makes it simple to see where each person is on an individual project and what they have going on for a specific day. Additionally, you can log hours to ensure billing meets up with invoicing, payroll, etc.

13. Plan

It’s always a beautiful thing when project management and calendar apps come together. Plan allows you to assign tasks, check status, and work directly with your team to complete tasks. Additionally, it offers quite a bit of integration with other tools like Google Mail, Outlook, Github, Google Drive, and others.

Top Calendar Apps of 2022

Now that we’ve discussed the thirteen most accessible calendar apps, it is time to try them out for yourself. It might be hard to narrow it down to your favorite with so many features and integrations.

Here’s to a productive and stress-free coming year!

Image Credit: George Pak; Pexels; Thank you!

5 Ideas for Staying Busy During the Slow Season

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Ideas for Staying Busy During the Slow Season

For many businesses, the winter months tend to slow down considerably. Unfortunately, a slower season is a reality for those businesses who depend on seasonal tourism in the summer months — or reduced activity due to colder weather, among other things. During this time, the challenge for business owners is finding ways to keep themselves and their employees busy until things pick up again.

If your business has started to slow down and you want to keep productivity high, there’s no need to fret. This list will help get your gears turning as you fill your Calendar with meaningful activities that will boost your business even during a slow season:

1. Start a Deep Clean

Sometimes your business is just too busy to put together a proper spring cleaning. With that being said, now is the perfect time to start a deep clean while you have the time. A clean business space leaves a good impression on customers and creates a better workspace for all employees.

Start by making a list of all the deep cleaning needs to be done. Year-round you’re staying on top of basic cleanings like taking out the trash and vacuuming, but now that there are fewer customers to take care of, it’s time to put in a little extra elbow grease. Carpet cleaning, painting, and digging through old files to see what can be shredded are all examples of deep cleaning activities you can add to your to-do list.

Once you have a list of tasks, use your Calendar to schedule appropriate times to tackle your list. For example, you can schedule times for cleaning between meetings and appointments, or designate the closing hours of each shift for some deep cleaning.

2. Dive Into Your Data

All year you’ve been gathering data. If you haven’t, you’re really missing out on the benefits of data and should start doing so immediately. Assuming you have some data to work with, now is as good a time as any to do some thorough analysis to see how it can improve your business during the upcoming year.

Take a look at all of your data from the past year. This will include sales data, customer data, as well as marketing numbers, and statistics. Can you spot any trend lines that might be of importance? Then, you can use data patterns to try and repeat your success in the coming year.

For example, data gathered from your website might show you that most of your site traffic occurs after five P.M. You can use this information to alter your marketing strategy so that your ads are pushed harder in the afternoon than in the morning. If the data holds true, this should lead to an even more significant increase in traffic and sales growth.

3. Experiment With Something New

If your busiest time of year is the summer, as is familiar with many industries, there isn’t much time to experiment with new things. All of your time and attention is focused on taking care of all the customers lining out your door or flooding your website. However, during a slow season, there’s more wiggle room for trial and error and taking a careful approach to a new experiment.

Let’s say you’ve been wanting to try using video as a marketing tool. There simply isn’t the time to plan out and produce videos for your business during the busy season. This is the perfect time to try out video production now that you’re able. You can even stock up on content to release over the course of the year. Having videos to post during the summer could pay off handsomely for your business.

An off-season or slow season is also a great time to do some product development, try new marketing platforms, or experiment with a new vendor. If things don’t go your way, you have time before the busy season starts to get realigned.

4. Focus on Training

You can fill your employees’ extra downtime with some quality training. Training is never a mistake and will up your business game by better equipping them for when business picks up again and help them feel more capable for any challenge they will face. In many cases, employees won’t pursue this training independently, so take advantage of this time to give them a lift.

Every industry could do with some customer service training. Look up some courses online or look into adding a seminar into your Calendar with a certified instructor. Of course, industry-specific training will always be a good idea, so look into options that fit your organization as well.

Other general training like marketing, writing, and public speaking will also be beneficial. This training will also prepare your employees to take more significant roles within your company or elsewhere. Finally, employees that leave for greener pastures are sure to leave a good word behind in gratitude for your assistance.

5. Run a Promotion

If you really want your off-season productivity to bring in revenue, try and run a special promotion. The holiday season is chock-full of opportunities for promos, such as Black Friday deals, Christmas events, and even a New Year’s special. A great deal can bring in extra customers in an otherwise slow-paced season.

Get creative with the promotions you run. Since business is slow, you can put a little extra effort into the promotions you put together. Just make sure your team is prepared for things to pick up the pace all of a sudden once a promotion is launched.

Just because you’re in a slow season doesn’t mean it has to be a slog. Filling up your Calendar with these activities will ensure you’re staying just as productive as you always do, even if it’s a different way than usual.

How to Power Calendar Your Meetings

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How to Power Calendar Your Meetings

Being a leader typically means giving time to your team. But, what is the right amount of time? As businesses grow, they develop a system for keeping schedules (mostly) organized. Here are some helpful tips to ensure that your time stays in order.

Use your calendar as a time-saving and efficiency tool. These suggestions will help you keep an edge while working smart.

1. Don’t hold meetings on a specific day.

Create a company policy that says, “No meeting on Wednesdays.”It’s the day everyone puts up their feet and daydreams. With no interruptions, it’s much simpler to maintain the workflow. Try it; you’ll love it!

2. Let your team plan brainstorming sessions, updates, and meetings. Allow them to do their own scheduling. Your teams can do all their own planning and execution on the actual presentations. Just give them the lead and see what happens. You’ll notice they become more fully vested in the meetings. Your team may need a quarterly meeting to plan when to meet during the quarter.

3. Have the Team Lead check that everyone is prepared.

See to it that everyone is prepared. For example, if you plan to use audiovisual equipment, ensure that your tech staff has all the equipment set up before time. If you are able, conduct a test run-through before the event to ensure that everything is “ship shape and Bristol fashion.”

A quick run-through is especially important when presenting a PowerPoint or when using video-conferencing software such as Zoom for the first time. Make sure that everyone on your team is familiar with all new equipment and tools. Have regular pieces of training.

4. Create an agenda.

Meetings that produce the best results begin with an agenda and a clearly defined objective. If you’re trying to establish the plan for your meetings — confirm the appointment of an employee, or simply exchange ideas — describing the goal of the meeting can help set the expectations of all participants.

5. Follow the guidelines.

Allow time for an open stream of thought, but make sure everyone realizes that time is money and that your meeting sticks to an exact time schedule.

Keeping on an exact schedule for your meetings (and everything else) holds the entire team responsible for intelligent time management. No one should have to delegate the responsibility for managing time — everyone present should be present, engaged, and eager to display the ability to optimize everyone’s time.

6. Track your time.

Break your meeting times into 30-minute blocks. Ask the question: do you really need a full half-hour to hold your conference, or can it be done in just 15 minutes? It’s astonishing how much your team could achieve when everyone is time-sensitive. Have a clock on the wall — fully visible at the time of the meeting and in any meeting room. Clocks make everyone more aware that time marches forward.

7. Plan meetings in blocks.

If you can, schedule your meetings in blocks. It doesn’t matter if your meetings are in the morning or in the afternoon — using a time-blocking schedule will allow for a smoother operation.

Meetings are not the goal. It’s the actions that come from the meetings that are essential. One word of caution: with longer meetings, do not forget to schedule an interval of 15 minutes during your meeting block so you can take care of “nature’s call” and tummy treats.

Employees will want a drink of water or take a bathroom break and grab a quick healthy, and nutritious snack during the meeting. Having snacks available in the meeting room sometimes cuts down on needed break time.

8. Audits are held at the close of every quarter.

In the first week of every quarter, look over your regular gatherings and consider if it is appropriate to keep the meeting in the future? Should they be regularly scheduled, or is it possible to move to a biweekly, perhaps even an annual one?

Repetitive meetings can quickly take over your schedule. For instance, at the beginning of each Calendar Quarter, some companies eliminate all scheduled events from Calendars and start making a new Calendar.

9. Simply tell them “no.”

Be aware of the fact that time and energy are entirely yours to regulate. You have the option of saying “no” when you are asked to use your time. It’s quite a powerful practice. It’s crucial to are taking the time to review strategies, prioritize and ensure that your business is moving in the proper direction.

As leaders, our responsibility is to support our teams and convey the results to our managers. A vital aspect of a manager’s job is to present themselves as confident and enthusiastic. It’s challenging to stay confident and move forward in your business when you’re trapped in a void of meetings which only create more meetings.

Don’t have your company meetings only to decide not to continue to have meetings. Ensure that every meeting counts and that your team is all on board to get your work done. Then intersperse group meetings with one-on-one and face-to-face meets to keep your team rotations fresh, efficient, and valuable information exchanges.

9 Best Life Hack Sites That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

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Best Life Hack Sites That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

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

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

1. Lifehack

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

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

2. Digital Inspiration

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

3. MakeUseOf

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

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

4. Productivity501

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

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

5. Dumb Little Man: Tips For Life

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

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

6. HowStuffWorks

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

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

7. How-To Geek

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

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

8. Gizmodo

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

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

9. AddictiveTips

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

Best Types of Apps for Business Travelers

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Best Types of Apps for Business Travelers

Numerous work capacities require a lot of annual travel. Some occupations travel for a living, such as hotel inspectors that need to hit multiple cities throughout the year. Entrepreneurs and business owners might travel to each of their companies or meetings with other business leaders in their industry.

The average business traveler takes almost seven trips a year. That’s the equivalent of jumping on a flight at least every other month. Therefore, taking advantage of travel time is crucial to making the most of all of these trips.

Being equipped with the right software makes traveling so much easier and more effective. The following list will detail the six most valuable types of apps business travelers should have downloaded for every trip:

Time Management

Time is a businessperson’s most valuable asset. Managing your time on a trip is just as important, especially if you’re juggling a heavy meeting schedule with a business back at home. That’s why a time management app should be your highest priority to download.

Of course, Calendar is an excellent option for all the business travelers out there. Time zone recognition seamlessly moves all of your appointments and reminders to your geographic location. Your team can also see your schedule, so they know when they are able to contact you in between travel commitments.

Using Calendar will also help you stick with good routines even while on the road. Keeping up with morning and evening routines can be difficult without a Calendar schedule to give you some needed structure.

Sleep and Meditation

When you’re on the road, sleep can sometimes be elusive. However, that doesn’t make it any less important, so you need to do what you can to get enough rest each night. An app that helps you fall asleep can do just the trick.

Sleep apps use white noise or guided instructions to help you wind down for the night, even in a strange hotel or in a different time zone. These apps also have guided meditation to relax and focus before a big meeting or for nervous fliers.

Your smartphone might even have a built-in app for monitoring your sleep. While this might not be as useful for ensuring that you get good rest, it can help you evaluate your sleep and if you need to make any changes to your routine.

Communication

Let’s say you’re taking an international business trip where your cell phone service coverage is sketchy and doesn’t reach you. So how do you stay in touch with family, friends, and coworkers? A simple communication app will fix all of your problems.

WhatsApp is an excellent example of a communication app you can download for an international trip. It can work off of a Wi-Fi connection alone, meaning you can send texts and make calls without the need for a cell phone connection.

Most social media apps also have communication features, such as Facebook Messenger. For example, you can send messages back home to friends and family quickly this way.

Fitness and Exercise

Getting your daily exercise is essential even on the road. An exercise app can help you put together workouts and commit to exercise even without access to your local gym or home equipment. You might even be able to find a workout routine that you can do in your hotel room without any equipment.

An app such as MyFitnessPal will also help you keep track of what you eat. A balanced diet is another essential aspect of health and fitness, and one where you might lose control throughout a trip. Keeping an app on hand will help you stay conscious of your health goals and actively pursue them.

Project Management

When the cat is away, the mice will play. This saying is a common phrase used to describe a work setting when the boss is out of the office. Without direct supervision, workers are more likely to slack off and kick their feet up. Of course, this is just human nature, but it’s not what a manager wants to see when they’re away on a trip.

Entrepreneurs and corporate leaders often turn to project management software to ensure that work is still getting done. These programs allow managers to assign tasks in great detail over a long period of time. The boss can even send notifications while they’re in a different city.

Most project management software has a mobile app that allows leaders to guide even from afar. In addition, you can download programs such as ClickUp or Slack to your smartphone or tablet to check in from time to time and keep things running smoothly.

Ridesharing

Most business travelers will choose ridesharing over renting a car. Ridesharing is less expensive, especially if you don’t need to drive around much. Having your rideshare app ready to go ensures you get where you need to go at the exact time you need.

Uber and Lyft are the two big ridesharing companies right now. You can easily download both apps to compare prices and availability in the area you have traveled to. This way, you know you’re getting the best rate and the quickest service no matter where you are.

Open up your smartphone and take inventory of the apps you have. Then, start downloading everything you might need for your next trip and give them a try. After some trial and error, you’ll have the ideal digital suite for all of your traveling needs.

What Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower Can Teach You About Time Management

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What Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower Can Teach You About Time Management

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States of America. He was elected in 1953 and was elected for a second term in 1956. He would serve as President until 1961. He accomplished a number of things during his presidency, including the Federal Highway Act of 1956 and effectively ending the Korean War.

It’s worth noting that one of Eisenhower’s longest-lasting accomplishments didn’t come from his presidency, although it did influence his service. As a general in the US Army and in other military leadership positions, Eisenhower developed a system that helped him to prioritize his daily task list. This effective prioritization made him a better leader for both the military and his country.

The Urgent-Important Matrix, also known as the Eisenhower Matrix, will help you prioritize your task list and increase your daily efficiency and productivity. Let’s break down how it works and how you can implement it in your own life:

Learn the Quadrants

The Eisenhower Matrix works by dividing tasks into four quadrants. The rows and columns help you determine which tasks should go where. The columns represent urgent and non-urgent tasks, while the accompanying rows indicate important and non-important tasks. Combined together, you get these unique quadrants:

Quadrant 1: Do

The first quadrant contains all of your most important tasks for the day. This is the cross-section between urgent and important, so naturally, this is where your attention will primarily be focused. Next, this is the ‘do’ quadrant, meaning these tasks must be done as soon as possible.

Your previously designated deadlines will go here, especially the ones that don’t have any flexibility. That will include meetings with clients, scheduled flights, or fixed editorial deadlines. Tasks of this nature will get your attention first thing every morning.

Unplanned tasks can often creep their way into this quadrant, and you must be ready for them. For example, if your entire office loses internet, you’ll have to make room for this emergency in your schedule by shifting your priorities on the fly.

Quadrant 2: Decide

Some people will confuse important tasks with urgent ones. This second quadrant will help you keep the two apart. While these tasks are certainly important to you, they can be scheduled in their own due time instead of being forced into available spaces in your Calendar.

For example, maintaining your physical health is important, but it might not have the same urgency as a project deadline with a set due date. So take the time here to add times to go to the gym into your Calendar. This will help you ensure that you’re making time for your physical health without letting it become a stressful endeavor.

You can use this quadrant to schedule more intentional time with your family, time to pursue a personal hobby, or even read a leisurely book to unwind in the afternoons.

Quadrant 3: Delegate

Some tasks are urgent but not quite as important as those tasks that fill up quadrant number one. These are the tasks that you should delegate if possible to someone else. For those in a leadership capacity, this is a particularly important quadrant to focus on. Many leaders can get so wrapped up in the details that they spend too much time cramming quadrant one when they could be pushing some tasks off into quadrant three.

Just think about the types of assignments you would pass on to an assistant or a department lead. For example, scheduling appointments in your Calendar might be urgent, but won’t be as important as the meeting you’re on your way to attend. The responsibility of scheduling can be delegated to a secretary instead.

Quadrant 4: Disregard

Here lies the final quadrant of the Eisenhower Matrix. These tasks are neither urgent nor important and, as such, should be forgotten. Some will call this the ‘don’t do’ section or even the ‘delete’ section, as you have three other quadrants of far more important tasks to worry about first.

Some of these tasks won’t even make it onto your Calendar, such as scrolling through social media or taking a nap. These tasks just aren’t important or urgent in the grand scheme of things, even if they can be enticing. Part of why the Eisenhower Matrix works so well is that it shifts your attention away from these distractions to more productive projects.

Get Started With Your Matrix

Everyone will have a different matrix depending on their occupation, seniority, and choosing to prioritize their own tasks. However, here are a few steps you can take to get started:

List Out Your Tasks

Kick things off by listing every single task you hope to accomplish in the coming days. List out important deadlines, goals, and appointments. Feel free to add even the smallest items to this list, as you’re going to be sifting through it later.

As you’re getting used to using a matrix to prioritize your task list, don’t worry about which quadrants everything belongs in just yet. Instead, focus first on making sure you have all of your tasks laid out in front of you so you can determine how to organize it all.

Start at the Top

Now that you have your to-do list straightened out, it’s time to draw out your Eisenhower Matrix. You can draw one in a notebook or use an online program such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to do this. Your matrix will consist of four squares forming a larger square together.

Quadrant one, the ‘Do’ quadrant, will be positioned in the top left corner. Quadrant two will sit directly to the right, with quadrant three positioned directly below. The fourth and final quadrant will take up the remaining spot in the bottom right corner.

Once you’ve finished the simple drawing, start filling each quadrant with the tasks that fit. Start with the urgent and important tasks first, and slowly work your way down through all the quadrants. As you get more familiar with how the matrix works, you’ll better organize your tasks in such a manner.

Keep it With You

The Eisenhower Matrix isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it model unless you have an impeccable memory. As you’re getting started, keep your matrix with you so you can refer to it throughout the day. This can be easily done if you’re tracking it online and can access your matrix from any electronic device.

This is an important step since there will be times when your matrix might need to be adjusted, as was mentioned previously in the case of an unplanned crisis. Additionally, referring to your matrix often helps ensure that you’re adhering to the parameters you set for each task.

Now that you have a feel for how the Eisenhower Matrix is constructed, it’s time to put it to work. Give it a test run during the next week to get a feel for how prioritization changes your approach to work and affects your productivity.

How to Get Just as Much Done this Month With Only 28 Days

By | Time Management | No Comments
How to Get Just as Much Done this Month With Only 28 Days

February is the shortest month of the year. 28 short days mark the end of the winter season. This month is marked by Valentine’s Day, and the Super Bowl. Sorry, this year is not a leap year — so NO 29th day this year.

Even though it’s only missing a few days, February can feel painfully short. Trying to maintain productivity and reach your monthly goals will be much more challenging. However, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to regardless of time restraints if you leverage your online calendar. Getting just as much done in a shorter month only requires some time management:

Calendar Your Goals

Take your New Year’s resolution, monthly goals, or February aspirations and start adding them to your Calendar. Break them down into actionable steps, perhaps by a week or even by the day, to really visualize what you have to do in only 28 days. You’ll have a productivity map from start to finish that shows you just how much you need to accomplish.

Take a fitness goal, for example. If your goal is to run 100 miles each month, you’re going to have to add in some longer runs during the month of February. As you bundle up for some chilly morning jogs, you can take comfort knowing you’ve planned ahead and won’t need to participate in a marathon on February 28th to meet your quota.

Wake Up Early

Waking up even a few minutes earlier than usual will open up so much more time in your day. This won’t be easy if you’re a night owl, but the productivity boost you’ll see will be worth the sacrifice. You could opt for a late-night, but after a long day of work, your productivity is bound to take a hit once the sun goes down.

Use your Calendar to craft the ideal morning routine. Start by pushing your alarm back, as horrible as that may be to do the night before. Then, fill your morning schedule with activities that will get you going as soon as your feet hit the floor. Try 15 minutes of stretching and a timed shower, so you don’t doze off and end up wasting the morning hours you so carefully squared away.

Pack in Your Weekend

While the weekend is a great time to get some needed rest before returning to work on Monday, it’s also your best chance at fitting in with everything else you hope to do this month. Even a few hours on Saturday and Sunday will significantly escalate what you’re able to accomplish in a short month.

Open up your online calendar for February and look at their weekends. Are they barren of any activities? Look for ways to fill them. You might notice that your evenings are overflowing with plans that you can push back to the weekend, allow you to focus on things one at a time, or squeeze in an extra task to help reach your monthly goal.

Stay Focused

It takes an average of 23 minutes to regain focus after you’ve been distracted. That’s a lot of wasted time that quickly adds up if you find yourself distracted frequently. To truly make the most out of each and every day, you’ll have to figure out how to keep distractions to a minimum.

Start by eliminating obvious distractions from the surrounding area. Keeping your cell phone on silent and face down is a great start, as smartphones are perhaps the number one distraction in the world today. Take note of any music or images that distract you as well so they can be removed.

If you still find yourself flipping tabs to social media or losing concentration over the course of the day, try a time management technique to help hone your focus. For example, try this guide on the Pomodoro method. It’ll insert scheduled break times into your online calendar to give you hyperfocus in short bursts.

Learn to Say No

It’ll be challenging, but you may have to say no to a few situations to ensure you have the time you need to meet your goals. Instead of going out for drinks on Friday night, finish up some tasks for your startup or finish the house project you’re determined to get done by Spring.

Of course, you don’t have to say no to everything, but be aware of your limits. Achieving maximum productivity requires some self-mastery. Your friends will understand if you need to take a bow a few weekends in order to tend to your business, home, or career while on a time crunch.

Do as Much as You Can in Advance

Procrastination gets the best of everyone. Unfortunately, even a tiny mistake in time management can cost you big time. By planning things in advance, you can hedge yourself against procrastination, laziness, and fatigue slowing you down.

One example can be found in meal planning. Say you work from home and want to take a lunch break. If you don’t have anything prepared, you’ll spend valuable time preparing something or running to a less than healthy fast food restaurant. If you used your weekend to prepare meals for the week, you wouldn’t have to sacrifice as much time and would be able to focus on your work.

These time management tips and tricks will help you year-round, not just during the shortest month of the year. Keep that Calendar handy, and be proactive with how you use your time, and you’ll never fall short of what you hope to accomplish.

Tension In The Office? Here’s How to Promote Harmony In the Workplace

By | Business Tips | No Comments

Tension in the office can poison a company from within. For starters, your customers and clients will feel the tension when visiting or calling, and the strife might even start to  unsettle the rest of your team. You might think that such internal issues will remain private, but in today’s uber-connected world – it just won’t. In fact, websites like GlassDoor specialize in unearthing and publicizing these internal company problems. To attack this poisonous problem at the root, here’s what you need to do.

1. Recruit Well

Ever heard the term, ‘prevention is better than cure’? Ensuring that you employ agreeable and socially positive people is the absolute best way to ward off tension in the workplace. So, before taking any other step, get the ball rolling on improving your recruitment process.

2. Set Ground Rules to Stop Tension In The Office

Next up, your employees – both new and existing – should be made aware of the ground rules in the workplace. If you don’t have any rules, you need to make some. Without boundaries, you’re giving your employees the freedom to annoy the patience out of everybody else in the office with their bad habits and traits. Most of the time, those annoying employees won’t even realize their mistakes – until it’s too late.

3. Encourage Communication

A breakdown in communication is usually the cause of conflict in any relationship, including a professional one. Company intranets are a good way to encourage communication, although you should also consider opening up anonymous avenues of communication between you and your employees in order to make it easier for them to voice their suggestions and concerns.

4. Organize Outings

Team bonding sessions and retreats are a great way to foster positive relationships within your workforce. It could be something simple like a paintballing session, or you could go all out and book a weekend retreat. However, if tensions are already high, I’d recommend steering clear of activities that require your team to travel and sleep in close proximity.

5. Take Charge

If your employees struggle to respect each other, the least they can do is get along out of respect for their boss. Be sure to exercise your leadership skills in order to handle disputes and dish out verdicts. Hopefully, your authoritative presence will overpower the guile your employees have for in-fighting.

6. Don’t Have Favourites

Some employees will impress you more than others, which is natural. But if you start playing favourites publicly (or even privately), you’re bound to stir up trouble. Jealousy might set in among other workers, or accusations of unfair treatment may be made. And this time, it will be your fault. Instead, play it safe and treat everybody the same – and yes, that goes for family, too.

7. Accept That Not Everybody Gets Along

As serious as office tension can be, sometimes, nobody is to blame. The fact of the matter is, two perfectly good employees may simply dislike each other, and that’s okay. The solution is to recognize that even employees are human, and so it’s your job to separate them from each other as much as possible. If the two employees are team players, they’ll make it work. If not, this next tip is for you.

8. Eliminate Disengaged Employees

Yes, you read that correctly. Firstly, take steps to hear them out and provide solutions to their problems. An engaged employee will welcome your attempt to bring about a conclusion – whereas a disengaged employee will resist it. And make no mistake; a disengaged employee is toxic to your brand. With that in mind, if this approach fails, it’s high time they packed up their stuff. No employee is bigger than the company, and if they’re determined to cause trouble, you simply can’t afford to keep them.

Build Company Culture

The long term solution to tension in the workplace is to build a company culture that employees want to be a part of. You should be actively injecting personality into your brand from the inside by firstly following the tips above, and also by making your office an enjoyable place to work. As the boss, the responsibility of creating that company culture rests with you. How do you ward off negativity in the workplace? Let us know about your process in the comments section below!


Originally published here.

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