Category Archives: Business Tips

How to Handle Time Management When They Don’t Work

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Time Management

The internet is full of “time management tips.” Everything from personal blogs to peer-reviewed papers provides tips on how to save stress and increase productivity.

Even though some of these techniques sound great, others aren’t. As a result, the right approach will depend on the type of people, preferences, tasks, and teams involved.

What’s more, the process of learning how to manage your time can be complex and different for every individual. But what if you have tried every time management method under the sun and they have not worked for you? Well, you might want to give these eight time management alternatives a try.

1. Stop trying to actually manage time.

“While this may sound counterproductive, if not unconventional — you can’t actually manage time itself,” says productivity and time management expert John Rampton, co-founder and CEO of Calendar. “As such, it’s futile to even try. Instead, you should be focusing on addressing what you have control over. The only thing you have control over is yourself, so how will you make the most of it?”

So, instead of homing in on time management, work on these items instead:

  • Energy. “Instead of bulldogging through tasks, take a break if you’re drained,” John suggests. It might be necessary for you to do this now and then. It will, however, sap all of your energy reserves if you do it continuously.
  • Priorities. Put your priorities on your calendar before anything else. Make sure they come first. After all, it’s not worth it to waste time on tasks you could have delegated, rescheduled, or deleted.
  • Brain. “Neuroplasticity is the concept that the brain (even the adult brain) can build new pathways,” clarifies Ted Deshane over at the Enterprisers Project. “Each time you train your brain to eat the frog, it gets easier to do next time. That’s because you’re building a pathway and retraining your brain to do something that’s challenging.”
  • Focus. The author of Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction, Chris Bailey, believes it is much more important to manage your focus than managing your time. “You can show up to meetings when you’re supposed to and are fully capable of keeping your calendar on track. Most of us are good at managing our time,” he writes. “What we’re not good at is managing our attention.” Monique Valcour, an executive coach, recommends taking time to reflect on your performance every day. By doing so, you can identify what is working and what isn’t, as well as how to tackle the next day at a more efficient level
  • Emotions. The effects of negative emotions can be both exhausting and distracting. Schedule time for self-care or fun, as both are essential for your health.

2. Not all urgent tasks need to be accomplished first.

It feels good to accomplish simpler, more urgent tasks first because it builds momentum before focusing on what matters most. However, you may miss out on strategic planning and creative thinking opportunities if you succumb to what researchers call the “mere urgency effect.”

Time management requires that you filter and order tasks critically, avoid prioritizing based on what causes the most stress, and set long-term goals.

“If you haven’t clarified your A-item priorities, or if you are trying to take on too much, it’s hard to avoid getting sucked into the black hole,” writes Michael D. Watkins, author of The First 90 Days. Keeping a few clear outcomes in mind will help you stay on top of your game. “Devote some time to clarifying and getting buy-in for them. Write them down. Put them up on the wall. Look at them every day and ask yourself, ‘How does what I’m doing help to advance these?’”

For minimizing stress-based prioritization, rounding up time estimates is one of the best time management tips. “Assuming a project will take between 10% and 25% longer than you expect is typically a good place to start,” notes the University of Texas at Austin professor Art Markman. “It’s basically just a way …to make room for your mental blind spots in the time-management department.”

3. Write a stop-doing list.

There are psychological (and productivity) benefits to keeping a to-do list, and it can help you manage your time better. However, it might not be right for everyone. If you find the structure of a to-do list stifling or uninspiring, or if you can’t stop yourself from writing 20 items, you might want to give it up.

“Some activities benefit from not being reduced to tasks, says communication expert Judith Humphrey. For example, writing down “take a walk.” Now, “that activity would instantly lose its appeal. When the idea of going for a stroll remains in my head, I can look forward to it expectantly–because it’s a choice, not a duty.”

The best thing you can do, however, is to remind yourself to stop buying things that don’t bring you joy or add little to your long-term goals. As a result, you’re less likely to spend a lot of time doing time-sucking, non-rewarding tasks, freeing up your time to focus on the work that has long-term benefits. And you can accomplish this by writing a stop-doing list.

4. Replace decisions with principles.

“Continually facing decisions with important consequences and imperfect information can lead to what scientists call cognitive overload, in which the demands from the mental work we need to do outstrip our abilities to cope,” explains Dane Jensen, CEO of Third Factor. “Cognitive overload both increases the likelihood that you will make errors and contributes significantly to feeling overwhelmed.”

By replacing decisions with absolute principles, you can reduce the cognitive load you are under, he adds. As an example, weight loss science has found that it is much more effective to say, “I will not eat after 7 PM” than “I will limit my snacking after 7 PM.” The latter decision creates an infinite number of further decisions: “Can I have this cup of yogurt?” How about some fruit? By saying no food after 7 PM, the door will be shut permanently. Suddenly, the decisions are gone.

In the words of Tim Ferriss, a successful author and podcaster, this means “finding the one decision that removes 100 decisions.” In his case, this meant not reading any new publications in 2020. With this blanket principle, he was able to free himself from hundreds of book-by-book decisions after being deluged by eager authors and their publicists for years.

“Steve Jobs famously decided to wear the same thing every day to remove the decision fatigue of choosing an outfit every morning,” states Jensen. It was Jon Mackey, the managing director of Heidrick & Struggles’ Canadian operations, who established the rule of no meetings on Fridays. “After failing to protect time for deep work through individual decisions on which meetings to accept or reject, he created a day a week in which he can focus.”

5. Go with the flowtime technique.

You can use the Pomodoro Technique to get through chores that you do not enjoy or require little thought. It can also enhance your sense of value, improve your planning, and break your multitasking habit. Additionally, it can assist you in dealing with distractions, maintaining motivation, and overcoming fatigue.

There is a problem with the times because they are far too brief.

In order to get into our deep work zone, where our best work occurs, we need to spend 23 minutes on average. Just as you enter deep work mode, you take a break with the Pomodoro Technique. Additionally, your brain is not allowed to recover from the microbreaks of the allotted time.

Moreover, some find the Pomodoro Technique to be too rigid.

With that said, you might find the Flowtime Technique to be a more effective alternative.

This technique “measures your productivity habits and your focus with a timed system,” explains Albert Costill in a previous Calendar article. “As a result, multitasking is discouraged in favor of solo work, where you stay focused on one task until it’s complete.”

“This method has become popular as an alternative to the Pomodoro Method, which consists of a fixed amount of work followed by breaks,” he adds. “However, although many have found the Pomodoro Technique highly effective, the time intervals can feel restrictive and stressful.”

The Flowtime Technique eliminates these time constraints. Therefore, a timer will not distract you from your focus.

6. Rather than crossing off tasks, think about outcomes.

Making a to-do list before you start your day is a tried-and-true time management trick. Although some find the act of keeping a list of to-do’s soothing and useful, others may find the rigidity of routines overwhelming.

A to-do list helps us stay on top of things and feels satisfying when we check things off. It is possible, though, that focusing on accomplishments and prioritizing productivity could limit our creativity. Often, to-do lists are effective because they provide a clear path to a certain outcome — do A, then B, then C -– but Wisconsin School of Business research shows that giving people clear problems with clear solutions can restrict their creativity.

For me — I say, “Who cares about creativity when I just want to quickly get a list done. And when someone has spent their valuable time finding a solution, I’m thrilled not to waste my valuable time trying to find a different way. I don’t invent the wheel — I just hurry and accomplish the task!”

Rather than focusing on tasks, try focusing on outcomes for a more flexible approach to time management. “This approach focuses people and teams on a concrete result, not the process required to achieve it,” says Jennifer Robison, a senior editor at the Gallup Business Journal. “Employees, then, have a high degree of autonomy to use their own unique talents to reach goals their own way.”

Innovation and engagement in an organization can be increased when leaders adopt an outcome-based company culture. Consider an alternative to individualized task management if focusing solely on outcomes is not feasible for you and your team. Identify priorities every day, ask your team to check in asynchronously online, or work with a project manager to create a task management system.

7. Be pessimistic.

Time management consultant Laura Vanderkam says that “good time management means planning a resilient schedule, not a perfect one.”

In her experience, even those who plan ahead often forget to specify the time for unforeseen circumstances. When everything goes according to plan, they are successful at time management. The downside is that they may have to give up hobbies, self-growth, or family time if something unexpected happens.

As a backup approach, Laura suggests an approach that is more “pessimistic.”

In this situation, you don’t plan on keeping the schedule minute by minute. Rather, you set aside extra time in the week for work tasks. Although it can be challenging with a busy schedule, it allows you to stay on top of everything.

8. Practice anti-time management.

Richie Norton, author of Anti-Time Management: Reclaim Your Time and Revolutionize Your Results with the Power of Time Tipping, explains how traditional time management tools measure every single drop of sweat, blood, and tears from workers.

“[They were] never designed for freedom,” he says. “The question is, ‘Who manages my time under time management?’ Traditionally, it is about control. Your employer controls your time. They create your schedule. They tell you what to do, when, and where. And, if you want to get crazy, they determine that you only have two weeks out of the year for vacation and when you get to retire.”

Rather than being the opposite of time management or the opposite of time management, Norton proposes embracing “anti-time management.” “You control your time,” Norton asserts. “You decide what you want to do, when and where. You decide if you want to create space or not.”

If you want to practice anti-time management, start by identifying what Norton calls “final causes.” “It’s a term from Aristotle,” says Norton. “The idea is [that] an acorn becomes an oak tree. But in real life, a lot of us are planting seeds thinking they’re going to be an oak when they never will. Why not just plant an oak tree from the start?”

A “final cause” is the reason why something is done. Rather than the goal itself, it’s the success that follows. “Once you realize the final cause, you can change the decision tree around who you want to be and what you really want to do and set up from the dream instead of working endlessly toward it,” says Norton.

How to Handle Time Management When They Don’t Work was originally published on on Oct. 19, 2022, by Howie Jones. Featured Image: Eugene Shelestov; Thank you!

5 Items to Have In-Office to Prepare for the Winter Months

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5 Items to Have In-Office to Prepare for the Winter Months

As seasons change, so do businesses. There are adjustments that need to be made so that the winter months run just as smoothly as the summer months. There are things that you would do earlier in the year that just won’t work as well now.

Examples of these changes range from marketing promotions changing themes to store decorations being swapped out. You may also adjust the thermostat and business hours to accommodate the changes in weather. What you need to be prepared for more than anything is the cold and snow that blows in during cooler months.

To keep you and your customers safe and warm, add some of these items to your business before the snow really starts coming down:

1. Healthcare Items

People get sick more often during the winter months. This could be because people spend more time indoors, due to the cold, where illnesses spread more easily. Immune systems might also be weaker during the winter, and the cold, dry air certainly isn’t helping.

You don’t want your employees and customers to get sick at all, let alone while at your place of business. While personal hygiene can’t be enforced, you can provide some helpful items for customers to pick up upon entry. Face masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes can all assist in keeping illnesses at bay.

Staying healthy has been a great priority since the COVID-19 pandemic changed people’s lives. While vaccines are readily available and mask mandates are mostly gone, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Having those options available really helps customers who still feel unsure about COVID and other illnesses. They can also benefit clients who have medical conditions that force them to be more cautious.

2. Snow Removal Gear

For much of the country, winter months bring snow and ice. This means a couple of things for your business. First, you may need to have some snow shovels and ice melt handy in case Jack Frost pays you a visit. You’re responsible for clearing out parking lots and walkways so that your customers can enter your business safely.

The next thing you need to worry about is the snow and slush that customers drag in with them. Grab a thick entry rug that they can wipe their boots off on so that your floors don’t get too wet and dirty. Not only is it inconvenient to clean them frequently, but dry floors continue to ensure customer safety.

3. Hand Warmers

Even with climate control in your building, some customers will still feel cold inside. The problem with space heaters is that they might make spaces too warm for other customers. An individual solution can work better in this scenario.

Consider having a package of hand warmers available for any customers who need it. Hand warmers are easily placed in gloves and don’t emanate any heat to the other individuals in the building. You can also consider stocking up on some blankets that can be kept in the waiting room for use. Just be sure to clean them regularly.

4. Clothing Storage

During the winter you’re likely not going anywhere without a thick coat on. However, this presents a little challenge when you enter a building. Inside it’s not cold enough to keep the coat on, but it’s so bulky that carrying it around can be awkward. Multiply this by however many customers are in your waiting room at one time and you can see how this can get problematic.

What you need is a designated spot for coats, hats, scarves, and more to stay while customers finish up their appointments. If you don’t have a large storage space readily available, a few coat racks should do. This gives customers the option to hang up some of their belongings until they’re ready to leave again.

Such a system will inevitably lead to a lost and found situation. Do your best to hang onto and keep track of missing articles, so they can be returned promptly. If you’re unable to find the owner, consider donating items to charity so that those in need can be bundled up better.

5. Warm Food and Drinks

There are days when during the winter months when it gets so cold that no number of layers seem to keep you warm. The trick on those days is to get something warm into your system. A cup of hot chocolate can quickly make your spirits bright even on the draftiest of winter days.

Speaking of which, a seasonal hot chocolate bar will certainly be a hit in your waiting room this winter. You can provide a variety of different flavors, even tea packets if you’d like. This will surely be a welcome treat for the cold, weary travelers that come to your business for an appointment.

Every once in a while you can offer some bonus items as well. Your earliest customers might be lucky enough to enjoy a warm pastry to get them through the morning. Little things like this can leave quite the impression on your customers now and in the following seasons.

Winter can be a challenge for many reasons. Dangerous road conditions and seasonal depression can greatly affect the lives of your customers. Taking a few steps to help them feel a little warmer and welcome during their appointments will mean a lot.

Featured Image: Josh Hild; Thank you!

Is the Dashboard Dying?

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Is the Dashboard Dying?

While dashboards are one of many methods, there are situations when a dashboard is still the best tool to assist in making the correct choices.

Dashboards are associated with analytics. It moved us away from the early days of legacy reporting when IT was the only data specialist. But they also spawned a plethora of modern-day corporate issues.

Some of the annoying issues with dashboards are that they constantly change user processes, learn new skills, and dig through comprehensive data too frequently with too many unconnected insights. And how about those executive meetings where a dashboard is an ineffective tool?

Is a dashboard a waste of time or not?

As a consequence, analytics are moving away from dashboards. Apps help us react to emails, find new music, and even monitor our health plans and health goals. Companies design software that predicts cancellations and no-shows based on past data. However, Gartner expects that these dashboards will be obsolete in the future. Incoming automation will take over, and they’ll dynamically create insights adapted to a user’s demands. This allows anybody in the company to get insight from data professionals.

What if the issue with standalone dashboards is that they are merely an app? What if we could give dashboards a curated blend of particular, practical data insights — to users at their point of consumption?

A new way of thinking about dashboards and analytics.

The user’s workflow and context must come first, followed by the insights required — and their presentation. Dashboards are one of many methods to communicate data insights to knowledgeable workers. Still, there are situations when a dashboard is still the best tool to assist leaders and employees in making the correct choices.

Quick decision-making knowledge

The dashboard in our cars is one of the first instances of a dashboard, and it does its functions well.

Why? Behind the wheel, drivers constantly judge speed, braking, steering, road conditions, and even the vehicle’s condition. If made simply on intuition, these judgments may have life-altering consequences without supporting facts. Dashboards are vital in a vehicle. It presents several parameters that drivers may quickly assess and utilize to adjust the vehicle in real-time.

In many other real-time business contexts, the dashboard is the best approach to incorporate data insights. We see great dashboards with utilities wanting to measure usage, emergency rooms that must monitor supplies and patient diagnoses, warehousing coordination of thousands of items, truck deliveries, and customers.

In each of these cases, we require a selected collection of particular insights to act. Dashboards may let employees quickly get real-time information, make choices, perform an action and repeat the ongoing processes of a business.

Assisting teams in dashboard action

Before COVID, many business people passed by TVs showing firm KPI dashboards. While many organizations have returned or are returning to the office — others will use online conference rooms, collaboration tools, and corporate portals to interact. These shared workspaces are a great area to include data insights in dashboards.

Shared dashboards are ideal for group analytics for two reasons:

First, dashboards show the same stats regardless of the viewer. This keeps groups on the same page. Employees may monitor their progress together. Boards may advise CEOs to use the same measures. Public corporations must give particular quarterly figures (typically in raw tables), so public investors may compete.

Second, asynchronous shared dashboards keep teams aware of vital but less urgent information depending on their particular processes. This allows teams to behave as one, such as at a meeting. Others who merely need to be informed may concentrate on their task without being distracted. Finally, everyone stays on the same page, working at their own speed.

Using analytics at work

With each new generation of analytics and business intelligence, we grow closer to using data to make choices. This is why we must constantly emphasize people’s workflows and consumption points, not the other way around.

Consider analysts who interpret data. It’s their primary app, not a different one. So they should be using analytics and BI tools. A dashboard might help salespeople receive a quick snapshot of their quota progress or which accounts to follow up with when they first log into their CRM.

Dashboards, at a glance, may be vital for physicians, mechanics, and facility managers. In each case, the dashboard provides valuable information depending on the user’s workflow and environment.

Finally, how we display data insights is a decision. Going beyond the dashboard doesn’t imply we don’t need IT-led reporting in some instances.

Simple future: Find out where knowledge workers are working, and then give ideas that can help them. The dashboard is the best option in certain circumstances, and we’ll know because people will utilize it and make better judgments. This is just common sense for our uncommon times. We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

Is the Dashboard Dying? was originally published on on Oct. 15, 2022, by Hunter Meine. Featured Image: Josh Sorenson;; Thank you!

5 Ways Appointment-Based Businesses Can Delight Their Customers 

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appointment-based customer

Customers put a fair amount of thought into booking an appointment. They likely have several businesses to choose from, and each entails various parameters to weigh against each other. How far out is availability? What is the pricing like? What kinds of policies do they need to be aware of?

Each appointment-based business will operate in a slightly different way. While it’s important to stand out, there are a few things that most customers will always love. If your business can accomplish them, you’ll be in a good place.

1. Reduce wait times.

One of the biggest complaints people have regarding appointment-based businesses is the wait times. Showing up on schedule to your appointment only to be told to wait is admittedly disappointing. While sometimes this occurs due to unforeseen circumstances, customers love and notice when a business is making an effort to keep wait times short.

Think of strategies for reducing wait times for your appointments. Maybe you need to go as far as hiring more employees so you can help more customers. Perhaps booking fewer appointments in a single day will make schedules more manageable.

A lot of the changes you make might take place behind the scenes. Customers won’t immediately know what you’re accomplishing, but they will begin to notice when wait times are regularly reduced. They will then tell their friends they can breeze right in to appointments at your business, and you’ll have to expand your capacity once again!

2. Use reminders effectively.

Any good appointment-based business will implement a reminder system for their customers. No-show appointments are costly, and late arrivals are difficult to work with. As a result, sending reminders helps keep both situations to a minimum.

However, businesses need to be careful about how they use reminders. Too many notifications can feel overbearing or just plain annoying. Reminders sent either too early or at the last minute aren’t very helpful. You need to find a happy medium.

You’ll see a lot of success by letting customers set their own appointment reminders through your scheduling system. Let them choose the frequency at which they receive reminder messages, as well as the means by which those reminders are sent. They will create the most effective reminder system for themselves, and your appointment software will do the rest.

3. Enable self-service.

Even if you have the nicest employees in town, some customers just want to stay in their own lane. They want to book an appointment, get in, and get out with as little human interaction as possible. These customers love when appointment-based businesses enable self-service solutions.

An example of customer self-service is simply being able to book your own appointment online. You don’t have to speak with a representative, and you can take as much time as you need when choosing a time slot. You can even schedule an appointment outside of normal business hours with no employees on the clock.

Self-service isn’t just limited to the introverts. Being able to take matters into one’s own hands appeals to those who like to feel in control of their environment. They can customize their appointment experience by choosing the self-service features that fit their needs best.

4. Create a comfortable environment.

The more comfortable a person feels at an appointment, the better their experience tends to be. Think of a medical clinic as an example. If patients feel relaxed in waiting areas and in exam rooms, their doctor’s appointments will go a lot more smoothly.

This is an important aspect for every type of appointment-based business. Patients who feel comfortable are more likely to open up to their therapist. Likewise, kids will be more cooperative with the dentist if the waiting room helps them to feel welcome. Customers waiting for their oil change won’t mind longer wait times if they have snacks and reading material at their disposal.

There are a lot of different ways you can make your business space more comfortable. Update your furniture, play some light music, use bright colors when decorating. Anything from a hot chocolate machine to a TV in the waiting room can help make the entire appointment experience more enjoyable.

5. Show flexibility.

Appointments won’t always go as smoothly as you would like each day. Consequently, it’s important to remember that bumps in the road affect your customers just as much as they affect your business. If you work on being flexible and empathetic when handling unplanned situations, you’ll draw your customers in rather than push them away.

Let’s say you have a cancellation policy that prevents customers from canceling an appointment fee-free without 24 hours’ worth of notice. A customer calls you in the morning stating that their car isn’t starting, so they are unable to make it to their appointment that day. You could choose to stick to your policy and charge them, or you can be understanding of their plight.

Now, not every customer will be truthful when calling to cancel an appointment. However, by being flexible and willing to work with your clients, you’ll develop a greater trust with everyone. Loyal customers will continue to come back even if they once had to cancel a booking at the last minute.

Customers of appointment-based businesses want what they want. However, if you’re able to meet such expectations, you’ll see a lot of appointment bookings and a lot of success in your near future.

Featured Image Credit: by Max Vakhtbovych; Pexels; Thanks!

Let’s Talk About Quiet Quitting

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Quiet Quitting

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

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

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

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

The Downside of Overworking

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

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

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

What is Quiet Quitting?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What the critics are saying.

As with any trend, there are some downsides.

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

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

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

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

How to Stop Overworking

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

1. Review your values.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Adjust your priorities and expectations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Go beyond work-life balance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Identify your non-negotiables.

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

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

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

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

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

5. Clearly define your availability.

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

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

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

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

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

6. Purposefully overestimate.

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

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

7. Ask for help.

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

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

8. Share your needs.

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

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

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

9. When you leave work, leave work.

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

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

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

10. Let go of the guilt.

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

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

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

The Role of Leaders

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

Make sure breaks are assigned.

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

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

Don’t burden your team with unplanned work.

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

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

Reduce meetings.

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

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

Procedures and expectations should be reevaluated.

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

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

Offer flexible working arrangements.

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

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

There are several types of flexible work arrangements, including:

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

Don’t skimp on healthcare.

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

Enforce “off” hours.

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

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

What Scares You? 101 Quotes to Overcome It

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What Scares You? Fear Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Ways to Show Your Customers You Appreciate Them

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customer appreciation

A business that fails to appreciate its customers won’t get very far. As a result, part of your company’s strategy needs to involve focusing on members of your customer base and making them feel important. Likewise, if they sense your business doesn’t care about them or value them, they’ll move on to others that do.

The watchword here is appreciation. You want your customers and prospects to feel valued for their patronage. When they do, they will lift your business up with increased revenue and positive word of mouth. Here are a few ways you can make that happen.

1. Develop a rewards program.

The customers you really want to show your appreciation to are the ones that continue to show up time and time again. Returning customers provide a lot of value and consistency to your business. As a result, a rewards program makes it worth their while to stick around, while also drawing in new customers to take part in your program.

What typically makes a rewards program desirable is the ability to save a significant amount of money. Points earned with each appointment can make subsequent appointments cost a lot less. The more appointments a customer books, the lower their average cost becomes.

However, you don’t have to develop a complicated rewards program with points and tiers in order to express appreciation to your customers. Even a small rewards program like a punch card or a referral bonus can be positive. Just make sure that whatever benefits you offer make sense and are worth pursuing.

2. Provide early access.

If you’re preparing a brand-new product or service, consider giving your loyal customers a sneak peek before releasing it to the public. This could be a perk that’s included in your membership rewards program. Likewise, even opening early access a day or two for long-term customers can help them feel extra appreciated by your business.

Let’s say you operate a beauty salon. Your team has decided it wants to take advantage of the hottest hair-coloring trends and expand your line of services.

Instead of just adding balayage and “curl-lights” to your list of offerings, consider taking this opportunity to ask your regular customers to try the services first. Consequently, they’ll love this unique opportunity and will be more reliable sources on whether or not the results were what you hoped for.

3. Get personal.

Businesses that develop sincere relationships with their customers can more easily show their appreciation. As a result, this is one of the biggest positives that come with running an appointment-based business. You often see the same faces repeatedly, giving you many opportunities to learn customers’ names and stories.

Developing a personal relationship is all part of a good customer service strategy. Likewise, speaking with customers and making them feel welcome enhances their appointment experience. A positive experience makes it much more likely that they book a return visit.

Do things like address customers by name and ask how their family members are doing. Hair stylists are known for being good at this. It enables them to build relationships with clients and helps those clients feel more comfortable during an appointment.

4. Listen to feedback.

Another way to treat customers like human beings and not like metrics is to solicit their feedback and genuinely listen to it. Consequently, customers whose voices are heard feel appreciated. Plus, customer feedback can actually lead to major improvements in your business.

Look to provide numerous opportunities for customers to leave their feedback. Links can be included at the end of emails and in text reminders for upcoming appointments. Additionally, you can also add a form on your website for feedback and invite guests to leave a review for your business online. The more feedback you can get, the better.

Once the responses start rolling in, put them to good use. Likewise, look for trends in responses that point to positive and negative aspects of your customer experience. Keep the things that receive good marks and work to change the processes that leave something to be desired.

Finally, thank your customers for their feedback. You may even incentivize feedback responses by offering discounts to individuals who share their thoughts.

5. Celebrate special occasions.

When adding new customers to your database, one thing you might ask for is their birthdate. If this intel is something you record, you can celebrate the birthday of each of your customers. Sending a simple birthday message with a discounted appointment voucher or free product coupon can mean a lot to your customers.

Celebrate regular holidays as well. You can put on a trunk-or-treat event for customers and their kids to celebrate Halloween.

The holiday season provides numerous opportunities to give gifts to everyone who walks through your doors. Even smaller commemorations like National Donut Day can make for a special occasion that allows you to give back to your customers.

As you get to know your customers, you can celebrate more special occasions with them. You can offer congratulations for graduations, anniversaries, and work promotions. Likewise, you can even celebrate the anniversary of the first appointment they ever made with your business.

Customers who feel appreciated will return the favor to your business time and time again. As a result, pay attention to their needs and desires, and you’ll rarely go wrong when directing your business.

Featured Image: Antonio Sokic; Thank you!

Best Ways Small Businesses Can Tap Fintech Opportunities

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Fintech Opportunities

Businesses have, in the last couple of years, become increasingly digital. At the onset of the global pandemic, many business owners quickly realized the value of utilizing fully integrated digital systems.

As businesses grow, so does the technology that helps to fuel their expansion.

But, again, the narrative here speaks for itself. The more businesses require the right set of digital tools to help them remain relevant in a highly competitive market; the quicker certain technologies will be developed to help cope with the increasing demand.

One specific category of tech tools that have genuinely captivated and helped advance how businesses interact and connect with their clients is financial technology or fintech.

Experts have found that fintech now encompasses more than the traditional applications and products it was initially designed for.

Fintech has become a key player in the overall success of small b businesses against the backdrop of an increasingly competitive marketplace and how they can successfully organize their finances.

In a Forbes Advisor article, journalists covering the topic suggest that fintech refers to as “platforms enabling run-of-the-mill tasks like depositing checks, moving money between accounts, paying bills or applying for financial aid. However, they also facilitate technically complex concepts, including peer-to-peer lending and crypto exchanges.”

Tools and apps help to enhance the digital financial experience.

Today, it’s clear how these tools and applications have helped to enhance the digital financial experience for billions of consumers. And research shows just how quickly fintech has been adopted across consumer markets.

In 2019, around 64% of the global population was using fintech applications, according to an Ernst & Young Global FinTech Adoption Index Report. The same report found that back in 2015, roughly 16% of global consumers were using fintech-based technologies. Today, 3 in 4 consumers use digital money and online payment solutions.

With the growing digital population, and the developing world rapidly coming online in droves, fintech will help catapult both consumers and small businesses into the next generation of technology and digital mobility.

Slow Digital Adoption

Despite the positive growth the fintech industry has experienced in the last couple of years, mainly during the height of the pandemic, research by the Center for Financial Inclusion showed that some small businesses have been slow in transitioning to digital.

In countries such as India, Indonesia, and Nigeria, small and medium enterprises have been slow to adopt essential digital and fintech tools. Across some countries, such as India, there has even been a decline in recent years towards digital adoption.

Are you educated enough to see the vast span of technologies in fintech?

The issue with the slower adoption of fintech and other tech-related products or services is that small business owners are not aware or educated enough of the potential these technologies can bring to their businesses.

Additionally, many small business owners are unsuccessful in implementing the right set of tools due to a lack of digital literacy or financial challenges restraining them.

While there is proof that some small businesses have been actively working to improve their adoption and utilization capabilities of fintech tools, there’s still a lot that business owners will need to learn in terms of how these tools work and how much of a facet they can become for their business.

Fintech as an Inclusive Industry for Growth

As more and more people come online, whether, through mobile devices, or the transition into the virtual workplace, small businesses will need to start looking at ways to tap deeper into the pockets of financial technology.

There are many ways to enhance and improve their business activities, simply by looking towards tech and software for the answer.

Although it’s not an easy task, as not all small businesses are in the same financial position to opt-in on high-tech payment and banking tools, owners and entrepreneurs should remain open to the growing market of opportunities that await them.

Going forward, there will still be an immense amount of challenges that small and medium business owners face outside of their traditional operational problems.

The fast pace of the digital economy needs resources to take off.

The digital economy is only starting to take off, but at a rapid pace, and unfortunately, those with limited access to resources and related tools will be left behind. Therefore, it’s important for the industry – fintech – to look towards broadening its efforts to become more inclusive in financial and social dynamics.

For small business owners, it’s essential to look at ways in which they can create more opportunities for improvement, both within their businesses and for those who are only now learning to adapt.

Through a more community-driven approach, it’s possible that small business owners, regardless of their level of digital literacy, or access to high-end fintech tools, will learn new ways to become more resilient in the face of economic uncertainty and find technological tools that can help with small business protection.

Tapping into the Opportunities Provided by FinTech

To make better sense of the economic pyramid, which sees a slew of consumers and small business owners at its base adopting digital payment tools, we can take a closer look at how small and medium-sized businesses can start tapping into these opportunities.

Digital Payments

Digital payments are perhaps one of the most essential and biggest buckets captured under the umbrella of fintech. Research by the World Bank found that roughly two-thirds of adults now make or receive digital payments. Moreover, in the last couple of years, digital payments have become the go-to for many consumers, both sending and receiving payments.

For small businesses, accepting digital payments puts them in a position where they can serve more customers, both in-store and online, through digital payment options. As a result, digital payments have become a safer and more suitable replacement for many small businesses looking to grow their client base but also pivot towards the future of successful business innovation.

Above and beyond is the notion of how digital payments have helped to increase efficiency among team members and to help narrow the digital gap between the consumer and the business.

Digital Lending

On the opposite side of digital payments is the captivating innovation of digital lending. While the concept is still somewhat new in terms of what it is and how it will work, some businesses, more so those in the financial services sector, have already seen significant growth in consumer usability for digital lending.

Digital lending can help speed up the process, help banks make more accurate decisions, and help both parties to seamlessly collect and compile information or data more quickly.

Between March 2020 and late 2021, commercial banks in the United States saw a surge of 34% in deposits from corporate clients due to the ongoing pandemic at the time. What this means for businesses, both small and corporate-sized, is that the lending and borrowing process is becoming more streamlined and less complicated altogether.


Wealtech is a category frequented by individuals and small businesses looking for simplified and convenient ways to help them manage their money and savings.

Perhaps the most common feature of wealtech is robo-advisors, which in recent years have become a significant player in the world of investing and trading on the public market. It’s all part of the simple tasks businesses can now fully automate with the help of technology, the internet, and other software-based tools.

Besides this, wealthtech branches into the world of small-medium enterprises (SMEs) to help business owners better control their cash flows and help build a safety net of savings in case of any sudden economic downturn.

This could mean that wealthtech tools and platforms can help business owners generate more micro-investments and build their understanding of digital brokerage applications. Digital wealtech has not yet been fully explored by businesses or their owners, but it does carry the potential to become an important facet of business in the coming years.

Digital Capital Raising

For business owners taking a step towards expansion, digital capital raising has become the best way to help deploy your business into the minds of potential investors and stakeholders.

Transformative digital tools have now enabled many business owners to become more connected with investors. Digital capital raising has plenty of perks, and there are different ways in which business owners can leverage the possibilities to help expand their ventures.

Today, business owners can share insightful information with investors faster and more seamlessly. Financial contributions can be in the form of fiat currencies or digital currencies through the use of the blockchain. In addition, rewards and interests can now be transferred to clients and investors via the internet or digital platforms.

Whatever it may be, the growth potential isn’t limited only to a few online services but also to how it can become a financial asset to the business. As a result, digital capital raising can become part of the broader business map that can help business owners find a suitable path for their business.

Digital Custody

Businesses and organizations often have to deal with a slew of legal and custodial regulations related to the ownership of financial assets held within the business. And while these regulations are all argumentative, the need for more digital custody could be the key driver to helping businesses unlock the potential of the digital economy.

While there are many different branches of digital custody, it’s often closely tied to the ownership of traditional financial assets, where a custodian will take responsibility for securing investors’ assets.

For small businesses, digital custody could mean that financial assets can be transferred between owners, investors, or stakeholders. It also helps make these financial assets more accessible by helping business owners tap into the growing market of cryptocurrencies.

Digital custody comes with its own set of challenges and will need to be explored further in the coming years. However, despite the burdens, digital custody is already proving itself a valuable asset for many business owners.

Final Thoughts

Although fintech encompasses a broad spectrum of categories, the growing need for digital innovation in the financial services sector has only meant that small businesses can now benefit from the key facets brought on by fintech.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, business owners will help to find that fintech solutions are not only an advanced alternative but also a financially sustainable solution for their businesses and their customers.

There is a lot that business owners can do to improve their experience and assist those that have limited access to the right tools and resources. However, some of these challenges may require that business owners look towards a more community-driven approach to mitigate high levels of digital illiteracy among owners, entrepreneurs, and consumers.

The bottom line is that businesses need financial technology, not just from an operational point of view but also in terms of how the business can grow, expand and play a key role in its marketplace.

Best Ways Small Businesses Can Tap Fintech Opportunities was originally published on on Sept. 27, 2022, by Carma Khatib. Featured Image: Nappy; Thank you!

5 Ways Appointment-Based Businesses Can Contribute to Sustainability

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Businesses Contribute to Sustainability

As someone who owns or operates an appointment-based business, you have myriad responsibilities and expectations. At the top of the list is providing quality services to customers and establishing a profitable business that can support you and your employees. While these concerns are of utmost importance, they shouldn’t be the only ones on your list. Sustainability also needs to be in there somewhere.

Sustainability is a topic that many businesses skirt around, choosing to place their focus elsewhere. The reality is that a sustainable business can not only be profitable, but it’s also one of the best ways to benefit your company and its surrounding community. We only have one world to share, and our collective efforts to promote sustainability will improve the quality of life for everyone. Here are some ways you can make a difference:

1. Go Paperless

One of the biggest changes you can make is to go paperless. Businesses use a lot of documents every day. If you’re logging data and completing tasks the old-fashioned way, you’ll burn through a lot of paper. More paper means more deforestation is needed to supply business needs.

There are other obvious benefits from going paperless besides being more environmentally friendly. By going completely digital, you no longer have to pay for reams of paper. Digital storage and search capabilities also mean less time spent filing and retrieving documents. The time savings will be quite significant and can be devoted to additional sustainability measures.

There are a lot of ways you can eliminate paper usage if you continue to look. For example, rather than printing menus, many restaurants are using QR codes that enable customers to pull up menus on their phones. Other businesses can mirror this tactic by using QR codes to share service options, replacing pamphlets in waiting rooms.

2. Embrace Recycling Programs

Recycling programs have been in place for many years. However, not enough people seem to be participating in them, especially in business settings. This can be due to a lack of interest, accessibility, or information on how to do so.

Your business can embrace recycling programs, helping both employees and customers take part in the effort to make the world more sustainable. Start by placing recycling bins in appropriate areas in your building. Then, if there’s no scheduled municipal pickup, make sure the collected materials get taken to the proper locations for processing. This will give customers the opportunity to recycle used containers and paper without having to worry about the logistics.

3. Reduce Energy Usage

Electricity comes from many sources, but a lot of it is still produced by burning fossil fuels. It’s no secret that fossil fuels aren’t great for the environment. You probably can’t dictate the method your local electric utility uses to generate electricity. But you can shrink your personal carbon footprint by reducing your energy usage.

One way to do this is to become more energy-efficient. Replace old light bulbs with more efficient LEDs that don’t run your electric bill so high. Smart thermostats, updated appliances, and a new HVAC system will all contribute to more efficient energy usage.

The next thing you can do is remove the need for energy in certain instances. Turn off lights in rooms that are not occupied. Unplug appliances that aren’t in use, like the microwave in the break room. While these actions might seem small at first, they add up over time.

4. Enable Remote Solutions Where Possible

Speaking of fossil fuels, a lot of emissions come from employees commuting to work or customers driving to your place of business. In an appointment-based business model, this is often unavoidable. However, there are ways that you can reduce driving time to save people money and reduce overall emissions.

Start by looking at remote work arrangements for your company. Phone systems can be set up in an employee’s home, enabling them to answer calls during business hours without actually driving to the office. They can save time and money by working from home and enjoying casual Fridays all week long.

Certain remote solutions can be extended to your customers as well. While most appointments require in-person interaction, there are instances where things can be done digitally. For example, you can complete a quick check-up with the doctor via video call rather than an in-office appointment.

5. Donate to Sustainability-Oriented Causes

Corporations commonly make donations to different causes and charities. They often do this as a tax write-off, but some business owners genuinely want to help make a difference in their local communities. Your company can do the same by making donations to groups that are focusing on sustainability.

Begin by looking for local sustainability projects that may be in the works. If a local nonprofit is installing solar panels on behalf of low-income homeowners, for example, your business can be one of the sponsors. If you don’t find suitable projects at a local level, expand your scope to state or national endeavors. There are myriad worthwhile environmental organizations to which you can make a contribution.

Sustainability efforts reflect well on your business, which will contribute to its success. But these actions go so much further than that. You’ll be helping make the world a better place for the next generation at the same time.

5 Ways You Can Handle Customer Issues Smoothly

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5 Ways You Can Handle Customer Issues Smoothly

No business is an island. Each company exists only because of its customer base. Without paying customers, even the best products, services, and ideas will go nowhere. How you choose to handle customer issues is of utmost importance.

There are many ways that companies can convince consumers to spend money on their brand. Marketing campaigns and product design are important for that reason. However, many companies fail to focus sufficiently on one of the most important aspects of business: customer service.

How you treat your customers, especially when they have problems and concerns, says a lot about your organization. A positive customer service experience can convert a one-time buyer into a lifelong loyalist. In contrast, a poor customer service experience can permanently drive people away. Here are some processes you can establish to deal with your customers’ issues properly:

1. Provide Thorough Customer Service Training

Your frontline employees will be the people who handle most customer issues. The more training they receive, the better they can handle such issues. By budgeting for and conducting comprehensive customer service training, you set your workers up for success when dealing with difficult situations.

Fortunately, you don’t have to create your own customer service training program. That can be a lot of work to put together and execute, especially while running the other aspects of your business. Look for outside help to get your employees the training they need. There are plenty of qualified third-party training services you can reach out to.

That said, customer service training shouldn’t be a one-and-done event. Continuously remind your team of the importance of customer service. If additional training is needed, take the initiative to provide it in a timely fashion.

2. Solicit Customer Feedback

Try as you might to run a perfect operation, things will inevitably go south from time to time. When a customer has a bad experience — whether it’s an overlong wait or an uneven bang trim — strive to learn from the situation. This will help prevent repeat errors from occurring in the future.

A great way to gain insight into customer issues is to conduct surveys. Make your survey request after the initial problem has been resolved, and preferably via email. The last thing a frustrated customer wants to do is answer survey questions over the phone while trying to get a problem fixed.

Tailor survey questions to get at the root cause of each problem and ways future instances can be avoided. Ask customers what they would have liked to see done differently and try to implement their suggestions. Making positive changes is how you can better deal with similar issues in the future or avoid them entirely.

3. Offer Online Resources

Not all customer issues will occur within the 9-to-5 window. This doesn’t make them any less frustrating for your patrons. While you might not have someone available to help them at that specific moment, you can set up online resources that can provide helpful guidance.

Take chatbots as an example. These little AI-powered assistants sit within your website ready to answer simple questions website visitors might have. While they can only offer preset suggestions and responses, the assistance they provide is better than leaving impatient customers hanging.

Other resources such as an FAQs page or how-to videos can also be quite helpful. These pages are always accessible and may supply the assistance customers need before they place an annoyed phone call.

4. Maintain the Human Connection

Many companies are using automation to speed up a lot of their processes. While efficiency is always desirable, be careful not to lose the important human connection with your customers. Appointment-based businesses that develop relationships with their regulars should be especially mindful of this.

For example, an automated phone system can guide callers through booking an appointment or checking on wait times. This frees up employees from the phone lines so they can take care of in-house issues. However, not all customers can — or want to — navigate an automated system. If you’d like to implement an automated call menu, be sure to give callers the option of speaking with an in-house employee.

All your other automated systems should keep the human connection in mind. There should at least be access to a company representative for times when automation falls short. No automated system is perfect, and even if one was, many customers still prefer human interaction.

5. Stick to Your Policies

Unfortunately, you can’t just give in to every demand when a customer faces a minor inconvenience. Each customer service incident sets a precedent for future interactions. Having policies in place can provide helpful boundaries and protections for both customers and employees when resolving issues.

Take the common 30-day return policy, for example. A customer is entitled to return an item within a month of purchasing it. Exceptions are not made on day 31. This policy protects the employee from having to make difficult judgment calls and clearly tells customers what expectations regarding returns are.

Appointment-based businesses should establish their own firm policies as well. Your business may allow service animals at appointments, for example, but draw the line at regular pets. Some customers may take issue with that, but they should be required to respect the policy you have in place. In this way, you show respect for all those who visit your business.

Keeping customers content is an uphill battle companies fight every day. While it may seem like an endless challenge, the way you approach this will directly reflect on the success of your business. Take proper care of your customers, and they will take care of you in return.

Featured Image: Stefan Lorentz; Thank you!

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