Category Archives: Appointment

Make Your Home Office Better for Productivity

By | Appointment | No Comments
Home office

Since‌ ‌the‌ ‌COVID-19 pandemic began, remote working has thrived. ‌According to Nick Bloom of Stanford’s Working From Home Research Project, about 25% to 35% of workers work from home.

Despite attempts to return to normal operations, many companies will likely switch‌ ‌to‌ ‌a‌ ‌fully‌ ‌remote‌ ‌or‌ ‌hybrid style‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌near‌ ‌future. ‌Therefore, it is likely that you will‌ ‌need‌ ‌to‌ ‌establish‌ ‌a‌ ‌more‌ ‌permanent WFH‌ ‌setup.

But, how exactly can you make your home office better for productivity? ‌Here are some tips for designing a home office for your comfort, productivity, and needs.

Think — “Small is Okay.”

No. I don’t mean scouring the fridge for a cheesy treat. ‌Instead, locate the quietest spot in‌ ‌your‌ ‌house. ‌Others find any noise bothersome, even if they need some background noise to work.

“I’m much more efficient in a quiet, distraction-free space,” says John Gerard from Our Home from Scratch. “Our home office is far enough away from the television and the play area that, with the doors closed, I can easily work in peace.”

Do not let your workspace coincide with anyone else’s to prevent this from happening. Ideally, you want to ‌select‌ ‌a‌ ‌room‌ ‌with‌ ‌a‌ ‌door. Maybe this could be a spare bedroom, basement, or attic. Some people convert closets into a home office if space is tight.

Remember to Maximize Natural Daylight.

Researchers have found‌ ‌that exposure to natural light throughout the day has positive effects on our mental and physical health. ‌So, it will be beneficial for you to open the blinds and let the light in.

“Ideally you should position your desk next to a window to enjoy the best natural light levels,” says interior designer Chantel Elshout. ‌Direct sunlight, however, can make it difficult to see your computer screen. “Adjustable window treatments, like plantation shutters, are a real savior and can be tilted as the sun moves to keep the sun out of your eyes while maintaining decent natural light levels overall.”

If you don’t have access to sunlight, a simple soft light desk lamp, such as the Mi LED Desk Lamp, will be just fine. ‌The soft glow of your work environment can contribute to a more relaxed, less stressful environment. And this will also avoid eye strain.

Turn up the tunes.

One of my favorite parts about working from home? I can play my music as loud as I want. That’s not to say I’ve tossed my headphones. It’s just that this won’t distract anyone with no one else around.

Of course, you might have to be mindful if you have a roommate or a partner. But, if not, just let the music play to your content. ‌It has been proven that listening to music during the day enhances productivity, creativity,‌ ‌and‌ ‌memory‌ ‌retention. Whatever you choose, just know that different playlists are better suited for various tasks.

For menial and tedious work, go with more upbeat music. But, when it’s time to focus on deep work, you’re better listening to the relaxing beats and soothing tones of instrumental ambient music. And, certainly know when to work in silence without your tunes.

Prioritize Comfort.

A comfortable home office makes you less likely ‌to ‌get restless‌. ‌For this reason, a strategically planned interior design is crucial.

Make sure your office chair is comfortable and ergonomically designed for your health and productivity. After all, it’s a simple way to prevent back pain over time. ‌Another option to improve posture and comfort is to use a standing desk with a rubber foot mat. I like my desk to be up sometimes and down sometimes — the variety is favorable for many things.

Although you may not think this applies to you, about 90% of adults have experienced back pain at some point in their lives, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. ‌What’s more, ‌50%‌ ‌of‌ ‌Americans have back pain annually. Desk chairs that don’t properly support your back can negatively affect your health, mood, and work performance. I really like my gaming chair in my home office for work and wish I had one for my office desk.

Upgrade Your Gear.

When you’re working remotely, technology will be your best ally. ‌But, is your existing electronic device, such as a computer, printer, or connection, prone to technical problems? ‌If so,‌ this doesn’t just slow you down, it’s ‌also ‌a nuisance.

You are likely holding on to your old equipment because it still works and upgrading seems too expensive. Think back — you’ve wasted a ton of your time troubleshooting the old stuff and likely even have lost opportunity costs. At least get the newest pieces of equipment you can afford.

Remember, any lost time will negatively affect your productivity — and your mood as well. Can you imagine the stress you’ll have if your system crashes right before a deadline?

Depending on your work, the devices you use will vary. So, make sure that you have the best tools at your disposal. Moreover, make sure that your software is up-to-date. And, if you haven’t done so yet, ‌be confident that you have a reliable and fast wireless router. You may also need area boosters to get your signal throughout your workspace.

Design Flexible Layouts.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a manager or have tons of responsibility in your current company; in today’s flexible work environment, a well-planned home office layout can help you adapt to your job better.

If you are running back and forth from office to home office — it can be helpful to design both your spaces similarly.

For an efficient home office, consider installing a Murphy bed. These are kind of expensive — but really worth it. With the Murphy bed setup, when you are not working, you can use your home office as a guest room. ‌Choosing light and minimalist furniture that you can rearrange easily is also a good idea. For example, if you want to combat a sedentary lifestyle, you can move things around to exercise or leave a balance board or weights by your desk.

An ideal home office allows for ‌movement‌ ‌and‌ ‌flexibility. ‌If you don’t like some aspect of your home office in the future, you can change it without investing in a significant renovation.

Organize Your Desk for Efficiency.

“Regardless of your preferences or inclinations, your workstation should be set up for the best time management, efficiency, and, yes, comfort,” states Robert Half. “After all, you may spend more time at your office desk than you do in your own bed.”

There is no better time than now to tidy up your files, piles of papers, and general disarray if you are constantly overwhelmed by them. ‌Here are some suggestions on arranging your environment to maximize productivity for a more manageable process.

Methodize Your Stuff.

For instance, put away non-essential items from your desktop on Monday morning. ‌Put back only what is necessary to complete the task on your desk while working. ‌Put everything still on the floor into a drawer, closet, or recycling bin at the end of the week.

Determine Your Best Workflow.

Left-to-right thinking is prevalent among many people, and they like to place items in a certain way, left to right. ‌Don’t worry about following these norms. Watch yourself a day or two to see what feels the most comfortable for you. Where is the best place for your computer?

Where will you place your phone, so it’s always where you want it? Keep a clear workspace in the middle, and completed paperwork can be on the right — unless you are left-handed. Organizing your desk depends mainly on your work style and ‌how‌ ‌you operate but try a few new things to see if they will work for you.

Allow Yourself to Have Open Desk Space.

You will likely feel more comfortable with some open space on your desk. Have an area where you can spread things out a little. If you want a space to be clear of junk — don’t put anything in that space, no matter what. To keep my clear spot clear — I set a couple of books I’m reading in the “keep clear zone.” Two books are easy to move when needed — other things are not.

Clear off Desk Clutter Everyday Before You Go Home

Despite an orderly desktop, it’s hard to keep it clean, and you may have too many distractions. ‌For example, some workers use sticky notes on their computers or monitors. This habit drives me insane — I didn’t know that until someone told me to stop that habit. Instead, use your desktop notepad or put notes on a spreadsheet. Some have laughed at my spreadsheet — but I know what I get done or need to do every single day — and there are no sticky notes to cause a distraction.

For Better Mental Health, Have Something You Love on Your Desk.

Your workspace doesn’t have to ‌be‌ ‌sterile. ‌Author Marie Kondo advocates putting things in your environment that will bring‌ ‌you joy. ‌Organize your desk, bulletin board, or wall with something that has a meaning for you. Don’t overdo it — just something simple.

Going Digital Will Save You From Excess Clutter.

We are all trying to save the Earth — and that can start with caring about trees. Okay, so maybe I have too many Amazon boxes piled up — but most of your desk clutter will be from paper stuff. Get rid of it and sync it to your calendar, to-do list, and memo pad. There are notification options in your digital productivity tools. Set up meetings, appointments, tasks, and appointment alerts from your tools. Keep thinking: no paper.

Are Your Power Cords Tripping You Up?

Legroom is essential, so don’t ignore it. ‌Check under your desk and tame the wild cord-snakes. We have a 21-hole medusa between each set of four desks at work — and it works great. (Two desks on one side and two on the other facing each other with the long power cord in the center.) ‌Only two of us have filing cabinets on the side of our desks.

At home, I have all the power cords and surge protectors in the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet, with one cord plugging into the wall.

Clean Up More Than Clutter — Wipe off Your Desk and Station

Make a habit of regularly cleaning your desktop and equipment. In one company I worked in years ago, the office manager came around on Monday morning with hand sanitizer on a cloth. We all wiped everything down — our computers, keyboard, monitor, and phones (even our cellphones). ‌As a company, this practice cut down on illness by 70%. Of course, I kept asking if I sneezed on my own keyboard could I catch a cold from myself? That question was never answered — but we had less sickness overall.

Scenting the Air is Popular

I like diffusers, but I read somewhere about taking hot water with a few drops of essential oil and setting it on your desk. I also use non-smoking candle wax. “Traditional aromatherapy suggests that certain scents‌ ‌can‌ ‌make‌ ‌us‌ ‌feel‌ ‌calm (lavender)‌ ‌or‌ ‌energized‌ ‌(citrus).”

No matter what your opinion on fragrances, they can ‌be‌ ‌‌enjoyable. For instance, adding eucalyptus or rosemary to your workspace can make you happier. On the other hand, sometimes artificial smells such as baked goods give me a headache, so watch your new scent trials.

Go Green.

Never underestimate the power of nature. ‌Additionally, having plants in your home office (and your office-office) can make you happier.

The proximity to nature, including access to window views of natural scenery and office plants, improves workers’ morale. ‌In addition, nature of almost any kind will increase productivity and reduce‌ ‌stress.

Have Your Distraction Nearby — But Not in‌ ‌the‌ ‌Way.

Despite their bad reputations, distractions‌ ‌can‌ ‌be‌ ‌healthy and beneficial. ‌Distractions, for instance, can give us a break from ‌routines,‌ ‌our‌ ‌work,‌ ‌our‌ ‌stress‌ ‌, and‌ ‌our anxiety. In addition, research shows that people can distract themselves, alleviate pain, cope with problems, and stop bad habits — all with distraction.

Distractions also help me remember that I get to choose how I spend my time. ‌‌‌It’s also nice to know I have things to do when I need a break. ‌Instead of trying to escape reality, distractions are better to relieve stress. And, they’re better than unhealthy habits like being too lenient with flex time.

Choose a distraction that you can do for only a few minutes — may‌ ‌be‌ ‌a‌ ‌walk, a computer game, guitar‌ ‌, or the piano in‌ ‌the corner. ‌Pick whatever activity you enjoy in a relatively short period and distract yourself every once in a while for your health.

Whatever you do — learn to accept and love your home office hours.

Image Credit: Tima Miroschnichenko; Pexels; Thank you!

Make Your Home Office Better for Productivity was originally published on Calendar by Deanna Ritchie

5 Appointment Software Features You Should Be Taking Advantage Of

By | Appointment | No Comments
Appointment Bookings

When you think of appointment software, the first thing you think of is likely to be simple booking. A customer logs onto your network and selects a time slot for their next appointment. With just this feature, appointment software is a valuable tool for your business. However, it isn’t the only feature that can provide value.

In addition to creating a simpler booking process, appointment software has numerous other features that make life for both businesses and customers better. The following are five examples of appointment software features that can enhance your business beyond appointment times:

1. Payment Integration

Every appointment your business books likely comes with an expected cost. How payments are processed is part of the customer experience, for better or for worse. Using your appointment software to make payments easier is one way to stay on your customers’ good sides.

Paying for appointments the instant you book them is fast and convenient. Customers don’t have to spend extra time at the service desk when attending their appointment. A more streamlined appointment experience is always welcome.

This appointment software feature is also helpful for customers who frequently change their payment methods. Whether they’re switching to a new credit card or want to try using Paypal, this feature allows them to do so on their own time. Customers can also get instant digital invoices for all the appointments they book through a singular platform.

2. Reminders and Wait Lists

Perhaps the most valuable appointment software feature of all is automated reminders. Appointment reminders have been proven to effectively reduce no-show rates and late arrivals. Both of these can cause major problems for your business and sending out reminders is an easy solution.

Humans are far from perfect. Even the most well-intentioned individuals can mix up dates, get distracted, or simply forget they made an appointment booking in the first place. Appointment reminders sent a day or even a week before appointment times help to jog their memory. At the very least, it reminds customers that they need to cancel or postpone appointments before it’s too late.

3. Rewards Tracking

Appointment-based businesses thrive off of customer retention. Getting a regular customer to book weekly appointments is much more valuable than getting a bunch of customers that never return. One way to improve customer retention is by implementing a rewards program.

Some programs have tools that can track customer visits to reward them for repeat business. This is more reliable than offering a punch card that can be lost or manipulated. Using appointment software for rewards tracking also allows both businesses and customers to easily view when the next milestone is approaching.

Appointment as a program itself has features for creating gift certificates and discount cards to give to customers. For example, on a customer’s 10th visit you can create a gift card for them equal to the amount of a day’s services. With appointment software you can also keep track of how and when gift cards were redeemed.

4. Calendar Syncing

As helpful as appointment software can be, sometimes you’re just more comfortable with your personal online calendar. This especially might be the case when your appointment software is specifically built for use on a desktop computer. When you’re on the road and only have access to a mobile device, it’s nice to have your appointments synced with your personal calendar.

Let’s say you’re getting ready to leave for work and you want to catch a glimpse at your appointment schedule for the day. If you have calendar sync enabled, you can get an overview of your schedule on your personal calendar. As new appointments are booked online, these will be added for real-time updates.

This feature also adds value for workers who travel. Consider a traveling massage therapist, for instance. They might not always have access to their appointment software on the road, as they visit clients. However, a quick glance at their phone’s calendar will ensure that they’re always headed to the right place at the right time.

5. Data Tracking and Reporting

As the years go by, data has become increasingly valuable for businesses of all sizes and industries. While numbers aren’t the end-all-be-all of business operation, certain data metrics can prove to be extraordinarily helpful. However, data is useless if it isn’t being collected properly, which is something you can set up with most appointment software.

Some examples of appointment data metrics include time spent at your business, the average number of visits per customer, and demographic information. These numbers can tell you about the type of customers you have, what strategies are working, and the weak points in your business model that you could work to improve.

You might be surprised by just how much value you can get out of a single piece of appointment software. Even accessing one of these features in addition to regular appointment settings can be a massive asset for your organization. Start looking into available features now so you can start reaping the benefits today.

Image Credit: Pixabay; Pexels; Thank you!

9 Tips: Cultivate a Green Thumb With an Online Calendar

By | Appointment | No Comments
Your Online Calendar

It’s so fulfilling to watch something grow under your care. Whether it’s your business or your kids, raising something from scratch is a whole lot easier with your online calendar.

Gardening is another great way you can capture those feelings. Planting a seed and watching it grow into an entire plant is a miracle of nature. But as any gardener can tell you, a thriving garden takes time and attention to detail.

Cultivating Your Online Calendar

If you’re looking to work that green thumb of yours, these nine tips for using an online calendar can get you growing in no time:

1. Prepare Your Plot of Land

First things first: You need a spot to plant your garden. You can start small by growing a few plants on the back porch or tilling up a patch of dirt in the yard.

Schedule a day in your online calendar to get this done. You don’t want to put this off because it can affect the entire growing season if you fall behind.

2. Know the Best Planting Times

There are so many varieties of flowers, bushes, and crops that you can grow. Each plant has an ideal time for planting.

Do your research, and consider your climate zone. Generally speaking, plants can go in the ground earlier if you live closer to the equator.

Think about whether you’re starting from seed or working with sprouted plants. Seeds need to be planted a few weeks earlier than existing plants.

Set reminders in your online calendar once you’ve picked what you’re going to plant and found out when the best time for planting is. It’ll push you to get going when the time is right, so your gardening can have the best possible start.

3. Get a Head Start

Some plants can begin to grow indoors before being transferred outside. So why not get a head start? Plant some seeds in a cup next to a sunny window, and you’ll have shoots already coming up when planting season begins.

Use your online calendar to plan a timeline for your little indoor plants. Don’t let them live in pots too long, or they may not bear flowers and fruit as they would if they were planted in the ground. Timing this correctly will make all the difference in the outcome of your plants.

4. Set a Watering Schedule

Your plants won’t grow without plenty of water. On the other hand, too much water can be just as damaging. Different plants might need watering schedules tailored to their needs. For example, tomatoes need a lot of water in order to grow, while succulents can easily be overwatered.

Set up a watering schedule to ensure that your plants are getting the right amount of water — no more, no less. Find the right balance for your garden, and use recurring reminders to tell you when it’s time to turn on the hose.

5. Keep an Eye on the Weather

The elements will significantly affect how your garden grows. Staying up-to-date with the Weather will let you know the conditions your plants will be growing in and any steps you should take to protect them.

Make a note of important weather updates in your online calendar. For example, if heavy rain is in the forecast, you can postpone your watering schedule for a day or two. Likewise, if high winds or hail are on the horizon, you can take precautions to protect your plants from injury.

6. Weed Ruthlessly

Weeds: the bane of every gardener’s existence. They need to be removed from your garden constantly so they don’t overrun what you’re trying to grow. This can be tedious and unforgiving, but it’s part of the gardening experience.

If you can’t bring yourself to weed frequently enough, use calendar events to invite other members of the household to your weeding schedule. You can set reminders for them, just as you would with any other chore.

7. Keep the Creepy-Crawlers Away

Little bugs can create big problems. For example, they’ll eat away leaves and kill plants before they can fully blossom.

To combat the little monsters who threaten your crops, you can use different types of insecticide to keep them away. Use your online calendar to schedule spraying times: Apply chemicals too often and that will harm your plants and make fruits and vegetables inedible. But, on the other hand, doing so too frequently can hurt your harvest.

8. Beware of Jack Frost

Some plants grow best toward the end of the warm season. The trouble is, cold snaps can freeze their leaves or outright kill them.

Don’t let your hard work go to waste. Mark your online calendar with frost dates to be aware of when your crops might be in danger of freezing.

Do some research to learn the best way to protect your plants: Will simply covering them cut it, or should you take them indoors if the temperature dips into the 30s?

9. Time to Harvest

Your labors’ fruit, or vegetables, will be harvested at the end of the season. Add harvest dates to your calendar to make sure you pick them at their peak.

For some plants, this may be multiple times a season. Record when you pick from each plant and put a reminder on your calendar — that’s timed for the next harvest.

The best part of gardening is enjoying what you’ve grown, but the process is rewarding. So put gardening chores on your calendar, and get ready to put lots of fresh produce in your pantry.

Image Credit: by Sasha Kim; Pexels; Thank you!

9 Tips: Cultivate a Green Thumb With an Online Calendar was originally published on Calendar by .


10 Priorities to Add to Your Online Calendar This Summer

By | Appointment | No Comments
Online Calendar

“Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.” —Jenny Han. While I couldn’t agree more, not everything deserves your time and energy during these three remarkable months. But how exactly should you spend your summer then? Here are ten priorities to add to your online calendar to make this summer memorable and productive.

Priorities to add to your Online Calendar

1. The most critical task you need to complete.

According to research, 25% of employees feel less productive during June, July, and August than ‌during the‌ ‌rest‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌year. ‌This can be caused by many factors, including summer distractions, excessive heat, and lack of vacations.

In addition, even if you’re still working hard, your employees, investors, vendors, and clients might be away. Or, there’s the possibility that you’ve implemented shorter summer hours. ‌With decision-makers away or a shorter workweek, things are hard to accomplish.

So, now might be the perfect time to do less. And in my opinion, that starts with identifying only three critical tasks.

“Before filling up your entire calendar, limit yourself to just three tasks per day, suggests Calendar co-founder John Hall. “If you finish them ahead of time, then definitely begin working on something else.” Or, you could dip out early and enjoy the park.

No matter what, the goal‌ ‌here‌ ‌is‌ ‌not‌ ‌to‌ ‌overwhelm‌ ‌yourself. ‌In addition, it is impossible to accomplish everything in a single ‌day.

“When you’ve identified your three most important priority tasks, add them to your calendar,” he adds. “To prevent under-or-overestimating the correct amount of time, you need to block, track your time for a couple of weeks, or review past calendars.”

When these tasks are added to your online calendar priorities, they‌ ‌become‌ ‌non-negotiable. “Let’s say that you’re planning to work on your pitch deck this afternoon.” ‌A friend texts you before lunch inviting you to see the latest Marvel movie. ‌You would love to see it. “But, you’ve already committed to cranking out that pitch deck.” But, if you have Friday afternoon open, catch that matinee.

2. Your health.

In our busy lives, we often‌ ‌neglect‌ ‌our well-being. ‌Yet, despite this, making your health and well-being a priority‌ ‌can:

  • Anxiety and stress‌ ‌are‌ ‌reduced. ‌These factors boost the immune system and prevent health problems, such as hypertension.
  • Work productivity increases when you’re healthy.
  • You’ll have more energy to do the things you love.
  • Taking care of yourself makes it easier‌ ‌to help‌ ‌others.
  • Sleep quality is improved.
  • In addition to feeling better, you’ll attract more people.
  • It‌ ‌helps you model better behavior‌ ‌for‌ ‌your‌ ‌children‌ ‌and employees.
  • Feeling good mentally and physically gives you more confidence.
  • You can save on health care and‌ ‌unhealthy‌ ‌habits‌ ‌like‌ ‌smoking.
  • Provides new opportunities, such as meeting new people and supporting‌ ‌local‌ ‌businesses.

Thanks to the nice weather, getting in shape is easy and affordable. After all, who wants to be stuck in a sweaty gym when you could be outside? Also, being in nature can improve your mood.

In other words, the summer is an ideal time to prioritize your health. And you can do this by hiking local trails or riding your bike. You could even see if there are summer camps or sporting activities like baseball or swimming.

If you have the space, you could even plant a vegetable garden. Or, if you have a balcony, you could try growing veggies in a container.

3. Healthy relationships.

One of your main priorities in life is, without question, your relationships.

“This idea of feeling connected becomes very reinforcing to all of us. It contributes to happiness, it contributes to mental health, and it does also contribute to physical health,” said psychologist John Northman.

“It’s well known that when people feel better connected, that they feel better physically, they’re certainly less likely to feel depressed — or if they do, they’re in a better position to get out of being depressed.”

“Overall, it leads to a feeling of a greater degree of support and connection psychologically,” said Northman.

Research indicates that close friendships are more beneficial close friendships are more beneficial while family ties are essential. ‌As our friends tend to choose us and are more comfortable around us, that shouldn’t be all that’s surprising. Further, studies show that close relationships improve our overall well-being and make us happier.

While many of us wait until the holidays to catch up with our nearest and dearest, I’m all about summertime gatherings. Is there anything better than family reunions, BBQs, road trips, or watching fireworks with friends or family.

4‌. ‌Bask in‌ ‌the‌ ‌sun.

According to Harvard University scientists, cold weather actually boosts worker productivity. Why? ‌The majority of us would rather be outside than indoors.

Researchers reached this conclusion after conducting the study for two and a half years. ‌When it rained, workers got more accomplished. ‌A similar conclusion was reached in other experiments.

“What we found was consistent with the field data,” says Francesca Gino, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard. “Once again, we see that people tend to be more productive on a bad weather day than on a good weather day.”

“When the sun is out, you’re sort of thinking about the many different things that you could be doing outside,” adds Gino. But, “when the weather is bad, that doesn’t even come to mind because that’s not even an option.”

But, how can we spend more time outside? ‌

Working outside is the obvious solution. ‌For instance, I have a folding outdoor table. ‌For me, it’s my preferred way to get work done while being‌ ‌outside. However, you could set up shop in a park or schedule walking meetings.

Another‌ ‌idea? ‌Start early or finish late. ‌In the summer, when the weather is nice, I get up early and get to‌ ‌work. ‌Later, I spend the day relaxing in the sunshine. ‌Everything else I need to finish, I will‌ ‌do‌ ‌at‌ ‌night.

5. Fun and relaxation.

We have too little time to work round the clock or surround ourselves with‌ ‌negativity. ‌Instead, take your life for what it is and enjoy it. ‌

For starters, plan a family vacation or camping trip. ‌Also, consider taking a day off of work. You could then spend that day relaxing at the pool or beach or just reading in your backyard. Maybe you could catch a concert or baseball game with friends.

Overall, enjoy the little things in life when you’re away from work.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle starts with making leisure a priority. This will result in a more fulfilling life that’s more enjoyable and meaningful.

6. Team building activities.

As part of its investigation of why summer makes us lazy, the New Yorker cites‌ ‌a‌ ‌Harvard‌ ‌study. ‌According to the study, viewing pictures of others enjoying activities such as eating outside or sailing caused them to lose focus‌ ‌at‌ ‌work.

“Instead of focusing on their work, they focused on what they’d rather be doing,” the New Yorker observed. “The mere thought of pleasant alternatives made people concentrate less.” What’s more, we may get a server case of FOMO. After all, you want to be stuck working when you see people on social media soaking up summer.

Sure. Reducing your time on social media is one solution. That might sound like an impossible task. However, it’s possible to build your team while enjoying summer. Here are a few ideas:

  • Reward your team with a visit from an ice truck.
  • Going on a field trip like an amusement park or baseball game.
  • Playing games outside like volleyball.
  • Volunteering for a park or beach cleanup.

What if you have a remote team? You could start a virtual book club or campfire.

7. Gain an edge‌ ‌at‌ ‌work.

As mentioned above, we all experience a summer slump. But, instead of slacking off, ‌try to be proactive.‌Try to be proactive.

“It’s okay to enjoy the slower summer months,” says Ishviene Arora, co-founder, and COO at Vested, a financial services communications agency. The way to do it is to “work smarter, not harder.” ‌If, for example, your industry slows during the summer, take advantage of your downtime to experiment with projects you may not usually be able to pursue.

“You have an opportunity to get more visibility when you go the extra mile,” agrees Addie Swartz, CEO of reacHIRE, ‌whose mission is to enable women to return‌ ‌to work‌ ‌after‌ ‌a‌ ‌career‌ ‌break. ‌As a result, more people will be out on vacation or taking long weekends during summer. “If you can help solve a crisis when others are checked out, it can make a difference,” Swartz says.

Some other suggestions would be:

  • Complete projects ahead of the deadline.
  • Offer to help others at work.
  • Tie up any loose ends.
  • Learn or enhance your skillset.
  • If caught up, volunteer for a new task or responsibility.
  • Attend industry events.
  • Expand your professional network.
  • Evaluate your future goals.

8. Be a part of the community.

We feel a sense of belonging when we are a part of an engaging community. As a result, we can become closer to each other and support the endless growth of ourselves, each other‌ ‌, and‌ ‌the environment. ‌But, more importantly, it can provide opportunities for connection with people, goal-setting, and feeling‌ ‌safe and‌ ‌secure.

You can foster a sense of community through team-building activities or hosting cookouts. But, I’m talking about using the summer to engage with your actual community by:

  • See if your city has any events scheduled. There is a wealth of information about upcoming events on city websites. ‌Check your city’s online calendar for parades, festivals, concerts, and volunteering. Also, check online ticket sites or visit your local radio station’s site.
  • Visit your city’s ‌Chamber‌ ‌of‌ ‌Commerce‌ ‌website. Chamber of Commerce websites often list upcoming events  ‌in your‌ ‌area. ‌The events can range from local business meetups to local plays and performances.
  • Participate in local activities in your town with local groups. For people who get together for fun activities — check out meetup sites or social media groups. ‌This summer, join one of our adventures and meet new people.

9. Summer breezes mean summer cleaning.

It may have just seemed like you did your spring cleaning. However, that doesn’t mean you get to let your guard down now. After all, with the added heat and humidity, you can expect foul odors and mold or mildew. Also, it’s common for dust to be more prevalent.

Additionally, certain chores are ideal for the hotter months of the year. Examples include washing your vehicle, the outside of windows, or pulling weeds. You could even go all out and powerwash your home or workplace.

But that’s not all. If you’re feeling the dog days of summer, you might want to engage in some cluttering. This could be your pantry, office desk, or event calendar. You could even clean out your inbox if you’re procrastinating.

10. Streamline fall planning.

“As summer ends and we inch our way back into the school year, you’ll have to plan back-to-school events for your kids,” writes Calendar’s Abby Miller.

“You can use an online calendar to schedule back-to-school shopping times for efficiency.” You can also add shopping lists for your children on the online calendar.

You’ll save significant time by planning all your children’s back-to-school activities online.

What if you don’t have kids? Even though it seems far off, you can still plan for a productive fall.

Most notably, as everyone returns from vacations, your workload will increase. So, start blocking out your online calendar priorities for upcoming work tasks. For example, if there will be a weekly team meeting on Mondays at 9 a.m., schedule that recurring event to prevent conflicts.

On top of that, there are fall priorities you should add to your online calendar. Again, this will prevent clashes while ensuring that they get done. These include cleaning out gutters, planning seasonal parties, fiscal year budgeting, or holiday content for your business. Use the tips to schedule your online calendar priorities.

Image Credit:; Pexels; Thank you!

10 Priorities to Add to Your Online Calendar This Summer was originally published on Calendar by Deanna Ritchie

Successful Founders Do the Morning Routine Better

By | Appointment | No Comments
morning routine

“Most of us would agree that having a healthy morning routine allows you to achieve your goals and ambitions easier and faster,” Dovile Sinke writes for 21 Day Hero. “Several health benefits such as better mental health, lower stress levels, increased energy, improved sleep quality, etc. can be achieved due to having a daily morning routine.”

As such, it’s no surprise that the most successful founder not only have a morning routine, they do it better. How? Well, here are just 12-morning routines that successful founders swear by.

1. Make sure you get enough sleep.

A study conducted by Royal Phillips showed that over five years, 44% of respondents had reported worsening sleep. In addition, nearly one in three Americans sleep less than six hours a night.

What’s the big deal about that?

According to the experts, we should sleep between 7 and 9 hours a night. If that doesn’t happen, it can lead to a variety of disorders, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and cognitive decline. All of these can lead to death.

Although we’re not trying to play down this issue, it is clearly impossible to perform well if one isn’t in tiptop shape physically or mentally.

It’s for this reason that successful people prioritize sleep. However, if you are struggling, the CDC recommends adopting these habits:

  • Consistency is key. In other words, get up and go to bed at the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Try to create a cave-like atmosphere in your bedroom. That means it should be cool, dark, and quiet.
  • TVs, smartphones, and other electronics should be banned in your bedroom.
  • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
  • During the day, do some physical activity.

Putting in place a relaxing evening routine is also essential. A few ideas include meditating, reading, journaling, taking a bath, or reviewing your schedule for tomorrow. Clearing your mind and relaxing are two simple and effective ways to unwind.

2. Drink 12-16 ounces of water.

If you have slept for eight hours, you most likely feel lethargic and probably dehydrated. After all, during those hours of sleep, your body is working to recuperate from the day’s wear and tear. And, what’s more, your brain also requires water.

With that said, whenever you wake up after a deep sleep, slam plenty of water as soon as you wake-up. It is beneficial to drink water within 30 minutes of rising because it boosts blood flow, improves overall wellbeing, boosts alertness, and increases mental clarity.

What if you’re a coffee lover? You can still enjoy your morning cup o’ joe. But, you may want to wait. Research suggests that the best time for drinking coffee is mid-to-late morning, about an hour or two after your cortisol levels have dipped back down. So, if you wake up at 7:00 a.m., you should drink your coffee between 10:00 a.m. and noon.

3. Stimulate your mind.

“As an entrepreneur, you are a visionary and a dreamer who constantly thinks of new ideas or solutions to problems,” writes Nancy Solari for Lifehack. “It can become overwhelming having so many goals in your head, and you might feel like you are biting off more than you can chew.”

“To process your thoughts constructively and efficiently, you should stimulate your mind first thing in the morning,” such as;

  • Journaling. Consider the week ahead, note down tasks you’d like to complete, or just jot down whatever thoughts you need to get rid of. Writing in a journal can help you declutter your mind, which can help you feel refreshed when you wake up.
  • Self-reflection. Set aside anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes for this. By becoming aware of your feelings and emptying your head of anything holding you back, you will find it easier to focus on other things.
  • Read or solve a crossword puzzle. You can also improve your concentration by reading or doing a crossword puzzle in the morning. You can read just a page or one article in a newspaper in the morning if you feel you don’t have much time.
  • Watch the news. Watch the news or listen to a funny or inspirational podcast if you want to relax and veg out in the mornings. You don’t have to do much to do these activities, but they allow you to be aware of what is going on and provide a reprieve from constantly thinking about your business.

4. Practice mindfulness.

One of the most common habits of highly successful people is a quick meditation session in the morning, and ten minutes of mindfulness every day can help you get started in the right direction. Harvard researchers found that meditation effectively reduces stress and anxiety, so meditation can help people focus, sleep better, make better decisions, and regulate their thoughts.

Many widely successful entrepreneurs like Oprah, Arianna Huffington, Jeff Weiner, Russel Simmons, and Marc Benioff all meditate. In fact, Winfrey meditates each morning and evening for 20 minutes consistently. She explains that meditation allows her to be in tune with her mind and body. A quick meditation session in the morning is a must for Arianna Huffington as well.

5. Get the blood pumping.

There’s no way to overstate how good exercise is for you.

“I find exercise the most natural and effective mood booster there is,” writes Richard Branson. “You only have one body and one shot to look after it – and the older I get, the more important I realize my health is.”

“If people feel their best, they will be their most productive selves at work,” adds Branson. “I find exercise the most natural and effective mood booster there is.” In addition to increasing your energy, this morning routine improves memory and mental sharpness, promotes creativity, and reduces stress.

Know that you might not have the availability as Branson. Ideally, though, you should try to squeeze on 20 to 30 minutes per day exercising. If you’re really crunched for time, at least go for a morning run or walk or a 10-minute yoga workout.

And if done consistently, it can keep you in better physical shape and better health, allowing you to be more productive. So try to spend at least 20 to 30 minutes of exercise per day, even if you can’t squeeze it into your morning routine.

6. Engage in self-care.

Entrepreneurs and founders rarely discuss self-care or don’t make it a priority. However, you must also take care of yourself if you want to succeed.

Self-care can take many forms, but one or two of these acts should be included in your daily routine. The key is to slow down whatever you are already doing. For example, instead of grabbing a cereal bar or hitting the drive-thru for breakfast, make a healthy omelet. And, while you do, listen to your favorite tunes.

7. Make your bed.

“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day,” said Naval Adm. William McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, in his commencement address at the University of Texas at Austin. “It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.”

“By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed,” he added. “Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”

“If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right,” said McRaven.

“And, if you have a miserable day by chance, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

8. Jump into a cold shower.

Some highly successful people swear by cold therapy, even though a cold shower may sound like the absolute last thing you’d want to do to start the day. For example, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey begins his day by taking an ice bath every morning.

In addition to creating a jolt to the system, a cold shower can increase oxygen intake and circulation — getting you ready for an eventful day. Moreover, there is research that cold showers can strengthen your immune system and relieve symptoms of depression.

However, be aware of the risks as well. For instance, if you have heart disease, the stress of a cold shower could lead to an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia.

But, if you want to proceed, exercise physiologist Zach Carter, CSCS, recommends giving your body time to adjust. You can receive some results from thirty seconds under a cold stream. And, after three minutes, the benefits of drinking cold water start to wane.

9. Declutter.

When your home or office is clutter-free, you’ll feel less stressed and less anxious and spend less time getting ready for your day. But does that mean you have to spend several hours each day doing this? Nope.

You could dedicate 10-minutes in the morning to filing paperwork, cleaning out your calendar or inbox, or putting or your breakfast dishes.

10. Set your goals and priorities in stone.

If you want to succeed, you can’t ignore the importance of goals; they serve to motivate you while providing direction for your life. Many people, however, do not set smaller goals daily even when they have solid long-term goals. Examples could be spending less time in your inbox or mapping out your social media content calendar for the month.

Think about the day’s most important goals and priorities during the morning. What would you like to accomplish? What are your top priorities?

After identifying your goals and priorities, add them to your calendar. When you do, this makes them non-negotiable. And it prevents less essential items from eating up your valuable time.

11. Focus first.

Doing your most important work first makes sense, and many entrepreneurs swear by this concept. Why? Because this is often when we have the most energy and fewer distractions like your kids or non-stop notifications.

Dr. Ivan Zakharenkov, whose company helps veterinarians transform their business operations, says, “the first 90-180 minutes of the day is when the brain is most productive in combining the information deposited in the long-term memory during sleep.” So he takes advantage of this valuable time.

“I drop into doing the most important work that I lined up the night before with all distractions turned off.” While business coach Melitta Campbell plans each day ahead of time, “so I wake up with intention. Before getting out of bed, I remind myself of that day’s goal and my first steps toward this. It prevents me from being distracted by social media or email, i.e., other people’s priorities!”

The founder of the eCommerce store Brown Skin Dark Lips, Natalie Glover, has an innovative approach. “Every day, I log into Zoom at 5:30 am to join a power hour with fellow entrepreneurs. We sit in silence with our cameras on, and I focus on tasks which need uninterrupted quiet time and concentration before the children wake up.”

Glover is building her business while she finds companionship here. “Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey, something only fellow entrepreneurs can empathize with. So if I can physically see that I’m not really alone, it’s encouraging and motivating on the difficult days.”

12. Be predictable, yet flexible.

Although most entrepreneurs don’t enjoy predictability, sticking with the same morning routine can sometimes be a good idea. When the following chain of events and activities is predictable, getting ready for the day requires less mental energy and focus. As a result, you can focus on what’s truly important and conserve your energy.

At the same time, if your morning routine is no longer cutting it or you feel that you’re in a rut, don’t hesitate to shake things up. Remember, it’s your routine. So, do what works best for you.

Image Credit: Taryn Elliott; Pexels; Thank you!

Successful Founders Do the Morning Routine Better was originally published on Calendar by John Hall.

Ways to Have Some Fun While in Virtual Meetings

By | Appointment | No Comments
Ways to Have Fun Virtual Meetings

Virtual meetings have become a weekly or even daily affair for many professionals as firms have transitioned to entirely or partly remote work arrangements in the past several years. These hybrid virtual meetings bother some employees, but you may as well lighten up and have some fun. You can remain professional while you have fun in a virtual meeting.

While virtual meetings are a crucial method to keep communication lines open, they may be difficult for people who are not used to appearing and speaking on video. Furthermore, everything from technical difficulties to the increasing problem of “reading the room” can lead to stiffness and formality in proceedings — making it difficult to inject the personal interactions and “little bit of fun” that make in-person meetings so beneficial for relationship-building.

Remote meetings can be made less formal and more engaging for attendees using the following components. The most essential element of our meetings is not to get to business and not waste time — so keep that fact in mind as you plan to lighten the mood of virtual meetings. Try a few different variations of the themes below and find the best fit for your team.

1. Begin with some one-on-one conversation.

One firm decided to make it a practice to begin each meeting with some personal banter — meaning, nothing work-related. Not having continual work topics at the beginning of the meetings helps employees unwind, share an intriguing anecdote or two, and maybe even chuckle. Casual conversation is stimulating and refreshing and it helps attendees to slip in a few minutes of humanity before getting down to business. Touching base as humans, and not simply coworkers will bring warmth to virtual meetings.

2. Post photographs that are irrelevant to your job.

Request that team members contribute a non-work-related picture. Whether it’s a photo of a pastime, family, or pet, it helps team members to see another side of their colleagues’ personalities. Indeed, it may help each person relate to and understand each other better. Showing a photo will also create a comfortable environment for team members to be open and honest since they choose what to share. Transparency, in turn, aids in the development of connections.

When you first start showing photos you will notice that are bland. With the continual practice of showing photos, your employees will warm up to you and each other, and you will notice a change in the nature of the photos.

3. Show off your pets.

Do you have a lot of pet owners in your workplace? When you host a meeting in the future, start by having everyone introduce their furry companions. It’s a terrific way to bond with your team, and it always results in a grin. We’ve always had the ability to bring our pets to work in the office — and a photo of the furry friends brings back these memories and good times.

4. Pose a virtual meeting “connection inquiry.”

Before the meeting, connect with individuals by asking “connection questions” that bring everyone together. Ask everyone to tell a story around a common theme (give them a time limit). People like talking about themselves and sharing information about themselves.

5. Honor birthdays.

One office manager noted, “We celebrate one other’s birthdays by sending something special (usually food-related) on that day or week of the birthday — and having a sing-a-long song. It is consistently well-received. We spend the remainder of the catch-up time talking about things other than work, which is refreshing and vital.                             

After your sing-along and chat, you can dive into work information and topics.

6. Experiment with different backgrounds.

Getting creative with your video backdrop is one way to add extra fun and boost relationship-building in virtual meetings. A new subject for each meeting, such as a favorite location visited or a bucket list trip destination may help break up the monotony of the day. Indeed, act as a meeting icebreaker, and allow for more in-depth relationships among team members. These change-ups don’t have to take a ton of time.

7. Play around with virtual reality.

Another office manager said, “We experimented with virtual reality, and the results were unexpected. We had meetings, played games, and even attended Virtual Burning Man as a group. The experiences of being in the same place are pretty effective in forming relationships. This is subconscious and highly ancient: but it means we belong to the same tribe.”

8. Hold virtual meetings coffee and lunch get-togethers.

Virtual coffee or lunch meetings with two to four team members may benefit relationship development. Center the plan on connecting rather than addressing work matters. These ties often result in better professional partnerships. Do you allow anyone on your team to do virtual meetings invites? For casual get-togethers — consider allowing others on the team to be the host.

9. Include a ‘human’ aspect.

Adding a “human” factor to virtual meetings is one approach to make them more enjoyable. You can hold video meetings at workers’ homes. Moreover, this is something that is physically left behind while working from the office. Use meetings hosted at individual team member homes to your advantage by asking “about me” questions. Or you could engage in scavenger hunts. Indeed come up with other innovative methods to engage people. It’s the small things that count.

10. Hold competitions and happy hours.

Make meetings more enjoyable by hosting virtual happy hours or competitions, such as “Best Zoom Background” or “Best Home Office.” The distinction between home and workplace has blurred, so have fun with it. During Zoom meetings, we get to meet family members and pets. We’ve moved the office into the houses where we live. Working connections have grown more casual as a result of this new phenomenon. On a personal level, people have reported that they are feeling more connected.

11. Assign various team members to serve as virtual meeting hosts.

Building camaraderie isn’t intricate in theory, but it does need work. Try having various members of your team host. This encourages involvement and introduces fresh ideas to the discussion. Utilize internet games on occasion. Encourage members to give each other informal acknowledgment at the start or finish of each meeting. Most importantly, don’t take anything too seriously. It’s simply a gathering. And sometimes, as a leader — you should let your team have meetings without you.

12. Allow everyone a turn in the spotlight.

When there are a lot of workers in the virtual meetings, strive to close the sessions with activities that give each employee a chance to shine. One amusing example is ending meetings with newborn images of staff. Indeed, asking everyone to vote on who that baby grew up to be.

Image Credit: Ivan Samkov; Pexels; Thank you!

Ways to Have Some Fun While in Virtual Meetings was originally published on Calendar by Hunter Meine.

4 Ways to Spring-Clean Your Business Processes

By | Appointment | No Comments
4 Ways Spring Clean Business Processes

Spring cleaning isn’t necessarily the year’s most fun activity, but it’s certainly one of the most important. We all need a little motivation to clean those hard-to-reach areas and finally organize the coat closet we’ve avoided all year. After all the hard work, it’s nice to feel more comfortable in our homes again.

For business owners, spring cleaning is for much more than just routine tidying and organizing. Businesses need to continue to improve and become more efficient if they want to remain relevant with their customers. If you’re not spring cleaning your business processes, you can fall behind.

This spring, it’s time to look for ways to streamline and improve your business processes. This means keeping the processes that help your businesses to be more efficient and getting rid of what’s not working so you can take on more customers, retain new and existing ones, and increase business revenue. Let’s get started:

1. Out With the Old

It can be unfortunately easy to fall into the trap of amassing subscription services with the intent to use all of them. However, more often than not, there will be at least one service that you continue to pay for without getting much value in return. You’re going to have to learn to let go of some of these services even if it’s difficult to do so.

Start by inventorying all of the services you pay for. Include every piece of customer relationship management software, payment program, and streaming service listed under your business. Which ones are you actually using regularly? If your knowledge management software is only getting updated once every month or two, you’re probably better off saving that money and canceling the subscription.

Even if some of the products you have look useful on paper, too many moving parts can be difficult to manage and even counterproductive. Your business will run a lot more smoothly when it only has what is necessary pushing it forward.

2. In With the New

In some cases, your problem might be that you’re not using enough subscription software services to your advantage. Technology is wonderful, and it can add a lot to your business when implemented properly. In this scenario, spring cleaning is accomplished by adding something new.

Take online appointment software, for example. This tech solution will keep track of customer information and make it much easier for customers to book appointments on their own. You can get rid of stacks of paper and can free up your phone lines by enabling more self-service. Just by adding this one solution, you can make your business process flow a lot more easily.

Be careful not to overload your business, though, or you’ll have to go back to step one again. Less can be more in some cases, but something is almost always better than nothing.

3. Get an Audit

A business audit will put a fresh set of eyes on the inner workings of your organization. A trained professional can take a look at your business and tell you exactly where your inefficiencies lie and give recommendations on how to fix them. Just having their expert opinion and insight can be a helpful place to start.

An auditor can also tell you what you’re doing right. In the process of spring cleaning your business processes, you don’t want to inadvertently mess with something that was working before. Your audit will help you take note of the good aspects of your business processes so you can preserve and enhance them.

An annual business audit may be the spring tradition that your company needs to reach the next level. Such audits can help you stay on top of your game by placing a trusted professional by your side for guidance and support.

4. Reevaluate Your Goals

The goals that you set in the first year you started your business are probably outdated now. When your goals change, so should your processes. Otherwise, you’ll end up treading water instead of making real progress forward.

When you launched your business, your goal might have simply been to break even and get back your investment. Once you’ve accomplished that, your next goal should be to start turning a profit. In order to do so, you’ll need to make changes to your business processes that either cut down on expenses or generate more revenue.

Inflation must also be taken into account. Prices fluctuate over time, and the business process that worked years ago might be too expensive to maintain now. With the rising price of gas, for example, in-person sales calls may need to go virtual. Not only can you make your business more efficient with process changes like these, you can help it to become more cost-effective as well.

Spring only lasts so long, so make some plans to start cleaning up your business processes as soon as you can. This will put you in a great position for success throughout the rest of the year.

Image Credit: Julia Filirovska; Pexels; Thank you!

How to Help Your Peers Be More Productive

By | Appointment | No Comments

For your team to be at its best, each member must be working productively. And that doesn’t mean just thinking about your own productivity: When was the last time you evaluated your impact on the team’s productivity?

For most of us, that answer is somewhere between “not recently” and “never.” And what we see as being friendly may actually be throwing a wrench in our colleagues’ productivity.

Thankfully, there are some things you can do to help your coworkers perform to the best of their abilities. Here are some easy ways to support your peers’ productivity:

Make Sure You’re Following the Project Timeline

We work in an age of project-based work. And in the game of projects, deadlines are everything.

Because of the deadlines, it’s essential to make sure you’re handing in your deliverables on time. Your teammate may need your deliverable to be able to move on with their own project. Are you holding teammates up without understanding your role in the overall success of the team?

Staying aware of all factors in the game (your work perimeters) can make all the difference to your teammates.

Missing a deadline can create a cascade effect. If you fail to plan ahead, you may put others in stressful, down-to-the-wire situations. So help your team avoid the waiting game by making sure you stick to the project schedule.

Don’t Interfere with Their “Off” Time

It’s all too easy to become a workaholic, and it’s even easier for workaholics to export their bad habits to others. Working all the time puts pressure on others, and we all need breaks.

That’s why it’s essential to respect your teammates’ time off the clock. Maybe your colleague takes lunch at a different time than you, or perhaps they’ve decided to dip into their PTO benefits.

Whatever the reason you and your colleague aren’t in the office at the same time, you shouldn’t be contacting them for work-related issues. That means no text messages or phone calls asking for files that you could have asked someone else for, or worse, found yourself.

Keep a Positive Attitude

Having a bad day? We’ve all been there. Unfortunately, the workplace or sometimes home life can come with stresses that put us in less-than-good spirits.

Bad attitudes hurt everyone’s productivity. Studies have shown that individuals can ruin their day of productivity just by being in a bad mood when they come to the office in the morning. It’s essential to try your best to remain positive throughout the workday because your attitude impacts not just you but also your wider team.

Human beings are social animals. Just like a cold, a lousy attitude spreads. Something as small as your Monday morning blues could affect the whole team’s productivity.

Minimize Unnecessary Noise

No one likes distractions, and noises are a particular culprit. The rattling A/C, the bustling of the traffic, the buzzing of a fly outside the window — the number of noises that can cause a distraction are endless. But what if the noise problem is you?

Frequently, we aren’t aware of how loud we’re being when we’re performing tasks. The noise factor is particularly true for those of us that work in an open office environment. Anything from shuffling papers to slamming drawers can be much louder than we intend it to be. It can also be valid for the phone calls that we take and, for some of us, the music we listen to.

Try to keep this in mind when you’re sitting at your desk, especially if it’s in an open area. If possible, try to take phone calls elsewhere, make sure your music isn’t playing too loudly from your headphones, and help keep the noise level to a minimum.

Limit Your Visits to Others’ Desks

Speaking of distractions, while we all love to engage in some water cooler talk now and then, it’s important to limit the number of conversations you have with your coworkers.

You read that right.

It’s crucial to build relationships with your team — but you need to make sure you’re doing so at the right time and place. Stopping by your colleague’s desk or stopping them in the hallway for a prolonged conversation probably isn’t the best idea. A recent survey shows that 80% of people consider chatty coworkers to be one of their top work distractions.

Approach Conflict in a Healthy Manner

Finally, make sure you’re addressing office conflicts in a healthy manner. Just like all relationships, you’re bound to find some conflict at some point when in the office. What matters is how you approach the situation.

Are you upfront? Are you respectful? Are you working to find a solution? Avoid bottling up your grievances or resorting to passive-aggressive behaviors. Personal behaviors can escalate the situation and upset both you and your colleague. And we already know what happens to productivity when you’re upset: It plummets.

When you’re working in a team, you must find ways to support your teammates. While there are always ways you can improve your own productivity, don’t forget to be conscious of how your actions impact your colleagues as well.

How to Boost Your Productivity Game in 2022

By | Appointment | No Comments
How Boost Productivity Game 2022

If you are one of those people who make New Year’s resolutions, being more productive likely made the list. In fact, it probably makes the list for all people — year after year after year — because productivity can be elusive for all.

Even if you started 2022 with a constructive few months — by April, you may already be waning. The commitment to productivity in your job and personal life may be as unused as your gym membership. “Maybe tomorrow” turns into “maybe next week,” then “maybe next month,” and so on.

Before you allow your good intentions to pave that road to you-know-where, take note. There are ways you can restore that drive for productivity and make it a habit rather than a hope. Don’t just resolve to boost your productivity game in 2022; make it happen.

Establish Some Boundaries

If you don’t set limits on what you do and don’t want to do, you’ll keep landing out of bounds. Deciding what you’re not going to do in 2022 will keep you focused on what you do. Those limits will help you say “no” to wasting time and “yes” to getting things done.

Boundaries are rules used to guide interactions with others. Those interactions could be with family, friends, co-workers, or even the barista at your favorite coffee joint. That means they are personal, professional, and transactional.

You may decide this is the year to not indulge in office gossip. Or perhaps you’ll choose to not run to the bathroom and hide every time that annoying co-worker approaches you. Imagine what you could accomplish just by placing those two activities out of bounds.

Your productivity will rise if you are centered rather than lurking on the periphery. Obviously, you need to set some boundaries to know where they are. But once you do, you can focus on what matters and leave what doesn’t outside the lines.

Breathe Life Into That To-Do List

Now that you’ve set some rules for what you aren’t going to do, make a list of what you are. To-do lists come in all forms and lengths, so begin by deciding what format will work best for you. If you aren’t sure, don’t be afraid to try a few on for size.

Make sure your list doesn’t linger on your desk like the company’s last strategic plan that’s sitting on the shelf. A good list should be consulted and revised every single day, marking items off, and adding new ones. If that isn’t happening, adjust the way you’re doing the list or don’t bother having one.

You can add structure to your list by using your calendar instead of a series of sticky notes. It will force you to think realistically about the time it will take to accomplish a task. Moreover, you’re less likely to overschedule the volume of tasks on a day filled with meetings.

To-do lists may do more harm than good if they overwhelm rather than encourage. If your current method isn’t working, give it some oxygen. Done correctly, your list, (and that strategic plan), should be a living, breathing thing.

Free Up Your Prime Time

Everyone is more productive at some times than others. The time of day, day of the week, or month of the year are all variables. The trick is determining where your productivity sweet spot is and using it to your advantage.

If Monday morning at 11 with two cups of coffee down is your prime time, block it off your calendar. Schedule a task for that time instead, especially one that’s important, on a tight deadline, or difficult. It’s a great opportunity to check off a loitering assignment.

Freeing up those chunks of time when you are most productive also means eliminating corresponding distractions. Close your office door (if you have one) and hang up a “do not disturb” sign. Stick your phone in a drawer and silence those pesky notifications so you aren’t tempted to look.

If you can develop a habit of preserving your most productive times for actual production, even your coworkers will notice. That may help them avoid distracting you despite working in a cubicle or an open office space. You’ll be more than ready for prime time.

Employ Some Tools of the Productivity Trade

Productivity apps have become ubiquitous. They’re all designed to boost productivity at work, at home, among individuals, or teams. In fact, you can skewer your productivity by spending too much time figuring out which ones you want to use.

Nonetheless, if you find an app that makes you more focused, more organized, and more productive, use it. You may find some are handy for everything from working out to whittling down the honey-do list at home. Using productivity apps for more than your job will make you more adept at using them.

Employing apps and productivity hacks for more than one purpose at a time may make you more productive on multiple fronts. For example, kill two birds with one pomodoro technique that you’re using to maintain focus on tasks. During those five-minute breaks, do some squats or sit-ups and get your workout done too.

The fact is that productivity devices don’t work for everyone. But if you haven’t tried any because you don’t think they’re your thing, you should. Any job is always easier if you’re using the right tool to get it done.

Give Your Productivity a Leg Up

Everyone needs a little help sometimes to keep their resolutions going — or to start over. It’s okay to ask for help, stumble a bit, and restart when necessary. Abandoning the attempt to become more productive is the only real failure.

As you focus on your resolve to improve, celebrate your wins, and don’t beat yourself up over the losses. Productivity is, after all, work. Boost yours even a little this year, and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

How to Boost Your Productivity Game in 2022 was originally published on Calendar by Max Palmer.

Image Credit: Olia Danilevich; Pexels; Thank you!

The Profound Impact of Productivity on Your Soul

By | Appointment | No Comments
Profound Impact Productivity Soul

People are constantly looking for new ways to improve their productivity. This is because there are only so many hours in the day, and yet there is always so much to do in the allotted time. Productivity habits not only motivate us but also help us lay claim to time that is slipping away, unused, or wasted on activities that are done out of boredom — time we actually want.

Productivity should be an essential focal point for anyone who wants to live a more fulfilling life. This article will discuss productivity and its impact, far beyond simply checking tasks off your list. It will address how productivity can evoke positive thoughts about ourselves and our work, which will allow us to grow into more productive people in the long term — and help us fill our time with soul-filling activities.

Productivity and Its Impact Beyond Work

Finishing what you set out to do feels great. Have you ever had a rush of satisfaction after checking off that last item on your to-do list? Feeling satisfied and fulfilled about what you are doing is the essence of great productivity. Of course, it means you are getting stuff done, but you are also getting stuff that is actually important and meaningful.

Here is why productivity can mean much more than simply crossing something off your list of things to do.

Helps You Contribute to Society

We feel more fulfilled when we contribute to something more than ourselves. Lazy days can help us visualize our impact better. We all have these lazy days, and sometimes they are nice — but they can leave us with a sluggish feeling, sometimes nagging thoughts, and a guilty feeling of lost time.

While it is important to treat ourselves to a break, and wisely use some time for self-care — being a productive person can rid us of the dissatisfaction of not being a contributor. In addition, productivity can make us feel overall better as individuals because we have a sense of accomplishment.

Encourages You to Embrace Yourself

When we “do,” we share a piece of ourselves with the world. Our work can speak volumes about ourselves. Every time we decide to be productive and take action to complete something, we are embracing our identity and who we are. Being able to choose our efforts and be who we want to be is a rewarding feeling.

However, it is also essential to ensure you are doing it for yourself and are not trying to meet someone else’s expectations of you. For example, some younger kids will play sports that they hate to ensure the happiness of their parents. The kids are doing it for their parents, rather than themselves.

What happens when you don’t do it for yourself is twofold; First, you become dependent on someone else’s validation. Second, you cannot truly embrace who you are as a person. Productivity can be a fulfilling tool, but if you are not being productive for the right reasons, then it can backfire and hurt your wellbeing.

Helps You Achieve Balance

For example, productivity applies to many more areas in your life than work. Productivity can apply to sitting down and reading that book you have always had on your nightstand. Or, further, it can apply to prioritizing time to spend with your family.

Productivity isn’t just about getting work done; It’s about using your time effectively to live the balanced, fulfilling life you want to live. You shouldn’t stretch yourself thin to get an impossible amount of tasks done. Instead, try to focus on the things that give you the most happiness and satisfaction.

Below are several actionable steps you can take to be more productive.

Actionable Tips to Be More Productive

1. Understand the 80/20 Rule

Learn how to use the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule states: “20% of your efforts actually contribute to 80% of your results.” For instance, 20% of your effort in a sales role may contribute to 80% of actual sales. To understand this rule in your life, write down all the tasks you do daily.

Afterward, try figuring out how each task relates to concrete results. While the rule is certainly not infallible, it does help us think about how we use our time. For example, what are the 20% of efforts that actually lead to results? How can we prioritize these efforts and minimize the other 80% of actions that do not lead to anything?

Understanding more about how our efforts contribute to actual results helps us get more out of our actions and, in turn, will help us achieve a more accomplished and fulfilling life.

2. Organize Your Schedule

Develop a schedule that works for you. If you get specific tasks better at certain times in the day, it might make sense to align those times with the tasks on your schedule. Productivity may be more about planning out an excellent strategy for getting things done rather than complete execution. If we embrace a plan to organize our time, we’re setting ourselves up to accomplish the tasks we have set out for ourselves — and this is productivity.

We become less worried about whether we’re using our time in the most productive way because we’ve already pre-optimized our schedule. From your schedule organization efforts, you’ll be able to organize your day into something that works well for you.

3. Find Ways to Prioritize

Prioritize what’s important, and focus your efforts on that. For instance, you could write down the single most important thing to get done for the day, and then plan on making it the first task item you start your day with. Understanding what is most important each day can help you avoid meaningless tasks. In addition, you will begin to feel better about yourself when you start focusing on what you deem meaningful and vital.

4. Write Down Your Why

Take some time to write down your why. In other words, try understanding the reason behind all that you want to accomplish. For example, you might write that your why is “providing for family.” Or, perhaps your why might be “getting to do exciting things in life.”

That piano is not going to practice itself, the gym will not come to you, Babbel isn’t going to finish your Spanish lesson, your next research paper won’t be written if you don’t do it, the drawing sitting in your creative room will not complete itself, and a visit to a sick friend won’t happen without you. And are you missing out on this level of productivity because you got sucked into a video game? Well, I do, and most people I know admit to doing the same time-suck activities.

You want a life lived in the present.

No matter what you write for your why — this exercise helps you understand what drives you. You’ll be motivated and driven with a revitalized understanding of why you started something in the first place. This also enables you to ensure that what you are doing actually provides fulfillment and purpose in your life. If you are doing something that does not align with your true whys — it might be a good idea to eliminate it from your life.

5. Listen to Music

Listen to music more. Next time you’re doing dishes, you could try playing some upbeat music in the background from top-hit artists, such as Pitbull, to get some energetic beats going. Science shows that listening to music while working actually makes people more productive. So not only can music be fun, relaxing, and exciting to listen to, It’s also going to make you feel great as you see yourself in a new, productive, and music-loving light.

6. Be More Consistent in Communicating Tasks

Be more consistent in communicating tasks with teammates. For example, let coworkers with whom you work closely know when you start a new project. You want to avoid any miscommunication or potential duplication of project efforts.

This goes back to the idea that productivity is not just about getting things done; it is about getting things done with a purpose. Knowing that you are starting a fresh, new project makes you feel like a more fulfilled teammate since you know you’re doing something valuable.

7. Use Time Tracking Tools

Using time tracking tools is excellent for productivity – and accountability. For example, you could set a 25-minute focus timer on an alarm clock to get a task out of the way. Many apps even have AI to help analyze how you are spending your time. There are plenty of time-tracking tools out there to find.

Final Thoughts

Find which productivity method works for you, and start reaping the benefits to your soul.

You’ll find yourself feeling more focused and level-headed — and happy. When you start getting more done, you’ll feel satisfied knowing that your planning efforts have been successful. Overall, your productivity will reflect in more areas in your life than just one, giving you more time to spend on what truly matters.

The Profound Impact of Productivity on Your Soul was originally published on Calendar by Deanna Ritchie.

Image Credit: Cottonbro; Pexels; Thank you!

Register Now & Get a 30 Day Trial Register Now