All posts by Rose Leadem

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

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

1. Zappos CEO’s “Yesterbox”

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

2. Richard Branson’s “social sweep”

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

3. Warren Buffett’s simple approach

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

4. Jeff Bezos’ “two pizza rule”

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

5. Basecamp CEO’s 32-hour workweek

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

6. Microsoft executive’s laziness approach

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

7. Airbnb exec depends on Apple Notes

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

Originally published here.

7 Creative Ways Companies Are Making Meetings Less Boring and More Productive

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It’s common to find yourself trapped in a two-hour meeting, discussing irrelevant topics and losing sight of your day. However, if you do them correctly, meetings can be productive, to-the-point and engaging. While it can be a struggle to check off all three of these things, a number of companies are getting creative in the ways they approach making meetings less boring.

Ways to Make Meetings Less Boring

From Pixar’s “Note’s Day” to Buffer’s “Masterminds,” check out these seven out-there ways companies are revamping their meeting methods.

1. Note’s Day

It’s no surprise that one of the most creative companies in the world also has some of the most creative internal strategies as well. In order to keep employees engaged and create an open dialogue of idea-sharing at every level, Pixar created “Note’s Day.”

On Note’s Day, the entertainment company puts things on pause in order to facilitate company-wide brainstorming sessions. On this day, Pixar employees gather in small teams to share ideas and discuss relevant issues and company challenges. Leaders from various departments drop into other teams’ meetings to understand and hear the varying viewpoints.

2. Goalfest

When it comes to reaching goals and tracking performance, it can be tricky to find an effective method. However, cloud computing platform DigitalOcean discovered its own way of doing so: “Goalfest.” In an hour-long meeting once a week, the small team at DigitalOcean joins a shared Google Spreadsheet, where they each set and share their goals for the following week, and publicly score how well they did on achieving the previous week’s goals.

Not only is this a good way to keep employees accountable for their work, but it also opens up discussions for improvements, recognitions, and challenges.

3. Masterminds

At social media management company Buffer, their program “Masterminds” has been one of the forces behind their happy and effective workforce. Because the Buffer team works entirely remotely, the company came up with a creative way to connect employees.

Dubbed Masterminds, the internal program pairs up two team members who provide regular support and advice to each other. The pairs connect once a week and typically share their progress and achievements, as well as their top challenges and setbacks.

4. Talks at Google

It’s not always about bringing people together within a company—sometimes bringing influential figures and industry professionals in is also a surefire way to boost employee morale and engagement. At Google, the tech giant launched its own speaker series for employees called “Talks at Google,” where it invites a variety of guests to speak on a range of topics.

Whether you’re a Google, a million-dollar startup, or a six-person team, bringing in influential speakers and resources outside of the company is a great way to keep things fresh and innovative within the company. Suddenly, your team sees meetings as less boring.

5. Hackathons

Hackathons have become highly popular amongst today’s startups and tech companies. Now, they are a way to make meetings less boring, too. Businesses have started to organize company-wide hackathons where employees collaborate intensely on tech-related projects over a certain period of time. Facebook has become particularly famous for its hackathons.

In fact, they are basically a part of its DNA and one of the network’s oldest traditions. Facebook holds hackathons throughout the year, and they have not only become a great way for employees to interact and work together, but a plethora of beneficial things have been invented as a result of them like tagging friends in Facebook comments and “Liking” friends’ posts.

You don’t have to be Facebook to host a hackathon either. Today, a number of tech companies are hosting their own hackathons, discovering the abundance of benefits that come out of them, from teamwork and relationship-building to new products and innovations.

6. Moment of Zen

Amidst all the chaos, Poll Everywhere manages to find some balance in attempting to make meetings less boring. At the end of every internal meeting, the tech company has a “Moment of Zen” where they take time, as a group, to learn something new or reflect on their day. At this time, leaders will share inspiring quotes or stories and team members will discuss wins and highlights and give compliments to their co-workers.

7. The Swear Jar

No one likes a two-hour meeting that was scheduled to be 30 minutes. Lost time from meetings is a common phenomenon in the workplace. The team at found a fun a solution: using a stopwatch, anytime a meeting goes over 30 minutes, the person who called the meeting must put $5 into the company’s “Swear Jar” (AKA happy hour fund).

Are you ready to make meetings less boring? Grab one or more of these tools now!

5 Surefire Tactics for Boosting Employee Productivity

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

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

1. Give regular feedback.

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

2. Organize social outings.

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

3. Implement incentive programs.

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

4. Offer flexible work options.

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

5. Celebrate the small wins.

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