Category Archives: Knowledge Base

How to Tackle Your 5 Toughest Summer Goals

By | Knowledge Base | No Comments
summer goals

Summer goals are great to set to make sure you accomplish everything you need to before the “back-to-school” season begins. Now that we’re in June, summer has officially arrived — and it’s moving faster than anyone can imagine. So have you accomplished your toughest summer goals?

I know summer is a popular ‌time‌ ‌to‌ chill and ‌hang‌ ‌out — whether‌ ‌by the pool, the beach, or attending concerts with friends. ‌‌‌But, unfortunately, summer isn’t about all those things, even though I love them.

Instead, be thinking about your summer‌ ‌goals — specifically, the goals you want to achieve by fall. Have you worked out your personal, professional, and academic progress goals?

Even though summer is often the season of reflection, refreshment, refocus, and rejuvenation — it’s also a great time to explore and try new things. And, because you have more availability thanks to vacations or summer breaks, you can actually focus on your goals. ‌

Thanks to the warm weather, you’ll also have more energy and a better mood. As such, you’ll be able to start tackling your dusty, and un-completed bucket list.

You can still enjoy your summer.

You can still enjoy your summer. Image Credit: Juan Salamanca; Pexels; Thank you!

Tackle Your Five Toughest Summer Goals

Tackling your most challenging summer goals is not easy, especially when you want to be outside and have fun in the sun.

Use these tips to tackle your goals and still enjoy the dog days of summer.

1. Setting forth the goal.

Summer goals are no different from any other goals. ‌The first step is to make‌ ‌a‌ ‌list. To not feel overwhelmed, your list should be lean and mean. In other words, prioritize the things that have value.

Planning your goals is also essential. ‌Holding yourself accountable is also crucial. ‌Writing down your goals helps you do‌ ‌this.

“Vividly describing your goals in written form is strongly associated with goal success,” writes Mark Murphy, founder of “And people who vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish them than people who don’t.” This is thanks to external storage and encoding.

Best of all? You can refer back to this whenever you need it.

The next step is to choose a deadline. ‌By setting a deadline, you will remain‌ ‌on‌ ‌track. Deadlines also keep you accountable and motivated.

Last but not least,‌ ‌make‌ ‌this‌ ‌list‌ ‌visible. ‌Put it somewhere you can see it daily, for example, on your fridge, computer, or calendar. ‌Daily reminders will ensure that you stay on track.

Another option? ‌Write‌ down your‌ ‌goals‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌journal. ‌Then, you may reflect on them or make any necessary changes at the end of the day.

2. Change your mindset about summer and goals.

Instead of treating this transition period as a break, see it as an opportunity for change. ‌This mindset will make a huge difference.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” said Dr. Wayne Dyer, an‌ ‌author‌ ‌, and‌ ‌motivational‌ ‌speaker. ‌Think of the summer as a time for a change, as well as renewal. ‌Thinking about Summer less traditionally can be the key to starting and completing even your most demanding ‌goals.

It’s no secret that our minds are strong. ‌But, if you place your mind in vacation mode, you’ll think, “let’s take a break.” ‌But, on the other hand, setting your mind on a time for change sets your attitude to “what’s next.”

Even better? Consider adopting a freedom mindset to align with the Fourth of July. ‌Essentially, this growth mindset allows you to break free of‌ ‌whatever‌ ‌is‌ ‌holding‌ ‌you‌ ‌back. To develop this type of mindset, be a little selfish by turning down requests if they interfere with your priorities.

3. ‌‌‌Establish monthly, weekly, and even daily goals for yourself, and check in periodically throughout the process.

“Truthfully, goal setting is easy,” writes Nicolas Cole in Fast Company. “It’s the accountability side of things people struggle with.”

“Instead of thinking about your summer as one massive chunk of time (90 days), try to visualize your summer as three separate chapters (June, July, and August),” Cole suggests. ‌Then,‌ ‌divide each of those chapters into smaller chapters‌ ‌(Week‌ ‌1,‌ ‌Week‌ ‌2,‌ ‌Week‌ ‌3,‌ ‌Week‌ ‌4). “And then within those sub-chapters, really internalize each day that makes up each one of those weeks (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7).”

The next step is to set micro-goals ‌for‌ ‌each by asking:

  • By the end of June, July, or August, where would you like to be?
  • To get there, what goals must you achieve?
  • Next, what can you do to break down those goals ‌into‌ ‌weekly‌ ‌milestones?
  • Finally, can you break down each of those milestones ‌into‌ ‌daily‌ ‌micro-milestones?

“The more you can help yourself see the next step in front of you (as opposed to the entire three-month journey), the more likely you are to remain consistent and connected to the process,” Cole adds.

4. Don’t fall into a summer slump.

There is no secret that productivity is at an all-time low during the summer months — ‌especially‌ ‌in‌ ‌July‌ ‌and‌ ‌August. ‌According to Captivate Office Pulse’s study, productivity drops by 20 percent during the summer months. ‌In addition, attendance dropped by 19 percent and work turnaround time increased‌ ‌by‌ ‌13‌ ‌percent.

There are several reasons why. For starters, people are on vacation. Maybe your gym buddy is out of town, meaning you don’t have someone to hold you accountable. Perhaps you can complete a project at work because your collaborator is out of the office for a long weekend.

We also tend to develop serious cases of FOMO. Why focus on your goals when you want to be at the beach with your friends? And, of course, as already mentioned, there’s the weather.

How can you prevent falling into the summer slump? Well, you could look for inspiration. Maybe reading a book while chilling by the pool. Perhaps, you could schedule a walking meeting with a mentor or someone who pushes you.

Or, you could take a class or attend events to learn new skills to help you reach your goals. And, if the workplace is quieter than usual. Primarily — making plans and the steps to achieve them.

5. Make keystone habits a part of your daily routine.

In the summer, you have many chances to improve your life. For example, let’s say that you want to prioritize your health. ‌Incorporating healthy practices into your daily summer routine could transform these seasonal habits into second nature before frost and cooler weather set in.

For example, studies show that spending time in nature lowers stress, heart rate, and blood pressure, all risk factors for heart disease. The summer months are a great time for friends and family to enjoy sports such as walking, swimming, biking, and hiking. ‌Incorporate outdoor activities into your family’s weekly schedule by setting aside time for them on the calendar. What’s more, this can reduce your screen time usage.

If you want to achieve your goals, you should instill keystone habits.

In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhig aptly describes the keystone habit. As the cornerstone of any structure, the keystone holds everything‌ ‌in place. ‌Additionally, keystone habits encourage the development of other good habits while helping eliminate bad ones.

If you develop keystone habits, you’ll be able to achieve your goals while also improving your time management.

Image Credit: Josh Willink; Pexels; Thank you!

How to Tackle Your 5 Toughest Summer Goals was originally published on Calendar by .

Increased Productivity Will Increase Your Happiness

By | Knowledge Base, Time Management | No Comments
increased productivity

You might not give happiness the attention it deserves in your quest to achieve increased productivity. However, productivity is often associated with burnout and unhappiness. This is because productivity can be connected to a rushed, task-oriented lifestyle void of fun and relaxation. And those emotions can prevent you from being as productive as you’d like to be.

With that in mind, it’s not really surprising that happiness and productivity are linked. Various studies have shown that happy people are more productive — by as much as 12 percent, according to a University of Warwick study. However, this isn’t a one-sided relationship as productivity can also affect happiness.

Why Being Productive Feels Good

You’re happier when you check off your to-do list.

There is no doubt about it. You get a great sense of accomplishment when you cross out tasks or mark them as complete on a to-do list.

The reason? Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel light and happy, is released when we check off tasks. Also, this neurotransmitter is responsible for feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction. As a result, you feel pretty awesome. Moreover, you’ll be motivated to continue completing tasks and continue to enjoy that pleasant experience.

Progressing towards goals can make you happy.

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” — Albert Einstein

Not surprisingly, Einstein was spot-on.

It has been shown that achieving personal goals based on your interests increases your emotional wellbeing. So you’ll be happier when you achieve your goals.

Why? Our emotions will remain optimistic if we set short-term, realistic, easy-to-attain goals. Regardless of the goal, as long as we’re tracking our goals and making headway, this increases positive feelings.

More specifically, pursuing achievable goals will positively impact your well-being. In addition, it is usually more satisfying, rewarding, and enjoyable when you achieve a goal you have been working on.

Also, just like crossing items off your to-do list, there’s a dopamine release when we reach goals. Furthermore, this motivates you to move forward and achieve other goals. And a combination of long- and short-term goals helps ensure that you look forward to and enjoy what you are doing.

A sense of purpose makes you happy and healthy.

In 2013, in collaboration with scientists from the University of North Carolina, UCLA researchers discovered that happiness is derived from purpose as opposed to pleasure-seeking. But why’s this the case?

For starters, don’t conflate being busy with fulfilling your purpose. Yes, you’ve worked your tail off and earned a raise. However, “these types of achievements often don’t bring the kind of fulfillment that comes with finding your personal sense of purpose,” explains Maggie Wooll over at BetterUp.

“A personal sense of purpose is less of a specific end goal and more of an ongoing impact on the world, large or small,” Wooll explains. “Purpose is your why.”

You are guided and sustained by this sense of purpose. “Day-to-day and through the years.” Having a purpose gives you stability and a sense of direction, even in times of setbacks and turmoil. “That’s why finding purpose is essential for living a happy, healthy life,” she says.

It may seem lofty to ask your purpose, but it’s a question you shouldn’t ignore. But, attempting to answer it is essential. Having a sense of purpose in your life can open up greater joy and fulfillment in every aspect of your life.

Boredom can be hazardous to your health.

“It is such a universal, human experience,” said Jacqueline Gottlieb, a neuroscientist at Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute who recently convened a group of leading scholars in the field for a discussion. “Yet, there is a lack of knowledge about boredom. Until recently, scientists paid it little attention.”

At some point, we’ve all experienced boredom. And, in small doses, that’s not exactly a bad thing. Research suggests that boredom, particularly if it is temporary, can spur creative and productive thinking by letting the mind wander.

As of now, most research suggests boredom does more harm than good to our lives. For instance, chronic boredom is linked to impulsive behavior, reckless behavior, compulsive gambling, substance abuse, reckless thrill-seeking, and self-destructive behavior.

Additionally, people who are easily bored are prone to depression, anxiety, anger, academic failure, poor work performance, and loneliness.

The more productive your day is, the more driven you’ll be to get things done.

Best of all? You don’t have to accomplish anything extraordinary. You just have to do something. Case in point, rather than picking up your phone because you’re bored, read a book, go for a walk, practice gratitude, or strengthen a skill.

Exercise improves your mood and happiness.

Yes. Getting your body moving releases endorphins. But, that’s just scratching the surface. Exercise can lower stress, relieve depression and anxiety, and boost your immune. Also, physical activity can make you more confident and fortify your bonds with others if you have a workout buddy.

In addition to keeping your body active, exercise can also keep your mind occupied. For example, when you are busy finishing a project, you have less time to dwell on negative emotions. As a result of staying active, you can focus and concentrate on the positive.

Cleaning and decluttering can make you happy.

Clutter has been proven to interfere with productivity. Princeton University researchers found in 2011, for example, that visual clutter, such as a messy home, interferes with your ability to concentrate. On the other hand, even healthy eating and generosity are associated with an orderly house.

Mr. Clean also studied physiological responses to cleaning, such as heart rate. Scientists concluded that cleaning creates an almost adrenaline rush-like feeling of excitement. A majority of 62 participants reported feeling at ease after a deep clean, while 81 percent reported feeling accomplished and in control.

Another study conducted by Clorox found that cleaning for an extra hour per week could boost happiness levels by 53 percent. According to the study, maintaining a clean environment also leads to a variety of benefits, including better sleep, increased productivity, and even improved focus.

Ways to Boost Productivity and Happiness

As you can see, there are simple ways to boost both your productivity and happiness. This includes scheduling time in your calendar for physical activity, decluttering your life, and tracking your goals on your calendar.

But, if you really want to take this to the next level, you should also add these happiness hacks to your calendar;

  • Kick-off each morning on your own terms, like setting an intention instead of diving into emails.
  • Every morning or evening, write in a journal to acknowledge both the good and bad.
  • Since you have the most energy in the morning, do your hardest task first.
  • Plan get-togethers set reminders for checking in or establish traditions with friends and family.
  • Move your body for at least 11-minutes a day.
  • Spend more time outside in nature.
  • Take microbreaks throughout the day.
  • Listen to your favorite song.
  • Learn something new and help others
  • Limit your screen time, like leaving your phone behind when taking a walk.

In the words of Buddha, “There is no path to happiness; happiness is the path.”

Image credit: Julia Avamotive; Pexels; Thank you!

Increased Productivity Will Increase Your Happiness was originally published on Calendar by John Hall.

4 Ways to Boost Your Productivity When You’ve Hit a Wall

By | Knowledge Base | No Comments
4 Ways Boost Productivity Hit Wall

If being productive were easy, everyone would have scads of Employee of the Month plaques and closets stuffed with achievement awards. Alas, productivity doesn’t come so easily to everyone. A lot of dedication and resilience is required to maintain peak productivity over long periods of time, and even those who are able to do so need all the help they can get.

It’s likely you’ll hit a wall every now and then, even when your best intentions are focused on being productive. What the world’s greatest achievers do when they hit that wall is to find a way around it. Here are a few strategies that they use to boost their productivity during these times and that you can implement in your own life as well:

1. Take a Screen Break

Most jobs today require people to spend a lot of time in front of a screen, and your position is probably no exception. Everyone from marketers to music producers spends hours in front of a computer navigating through different tools and apps to complete their daily tasks. After extended periods of time, the strain from screen light and the sameness of the work can take a toll on your productivity.

You can fix this by scheduling in some period screen breaks. Taking a pause from work does not mean switching to your smartphone to scroll through social media. Instead, take a short walk outside or do some simple meditation. This will allow your mind and body to reset and recover from the stress and strain of the workday. You’ll be able to return from your quick break feeling refreshed and reenergized.

2. Eat a Healthy Snack

Your body uses up a lot of energy while working, even if you’re just sitting at a desk. Getting up for a stroll can help, but what if you are in a time crunch and need to kickstart your productivity to meet an upcoming deadline? Try a healthy snack instead.

Even a couple bites of the right foods can give you the energy you need to push through the next hour or so of work. A protein bar is an excellent example of a snack that can provide a lot of energy in a short period of time. Healthy snacks are always best because they contain ingredients that will actually lift you up rather than give you a quick sugary buzz.

Many people drink coffee or other caffeinated drinks to boost their productivity throughout the day. This is a fine idea as long as you’re able to moderate your intake. While caffeine does boost your brain’s serotonin levels, too much coffee can leave you jittery and worse off than before you grabbed your third cup.

3. Get an Accountability Buddy

There will be days when, despite your best efforts, there is nothing you can do to boost your productivity on your own. On days like this, you’ll benefit from having an accountability buddy. This is a friend, family member, or co-worker who will keep you accountable to the goals you set and the responsibilities you hold to make sure you’re doing everything you need to.

A common example of an accountability buddy is a gym partner. Unfortunately for many of us, getting motivated to exercise is not an easy task. A gym buddy will inspire you to continue chasing down your health and wellness goals even on the days when you’d rather sleep in.

An accountability buddy can help keep you honest when you’re trying to start a business, break a bad habit, or even finish one last task before clocking out of work for the day. If you know your buddy’s going to ask whether you made all four of your planned sales calls today, for example, you’ll be less tempted to leave the fourth for tomorrow. In return, you can be an accountability buddy for them. Together, you’ll help each other to be a little bit better every single day.

4. Switch Gears

If you’re stuck on a particularly difficult task or project, it’s much easier to hit a productivity wall. Instead of bashing your head against it repeatedly hoping it will budge, consider changing course for a moment instead. By shifting gears to a new task or project, you can maintain your productivity for the day and avoid losing momentum.

Let’s say you’re a student working on a particularly difficult math assignment. One of the early problems is giving you a lot of trouble, and now your productivity is at a standstill. Instead of redoing the same problem over and over again, skip it for now and give the next one a try.

By changing gears ever so slightly, you can reset yourself while still getting work accomplished. The next problem might be easier to solve and may even shed some light on what you were doing incorrectly before. At the end of the day, you’ll at least have part of the assignment completed instead of struggling with the same equation all day long.

Once you’ve developed the perfect strategy for breaking down your productivity barriers, you’ll be able to fill your days with many more achievements. Don’t be afraid to take some breaks every now and again, but also be sure you don’t let a little wall get in the way of having a productive and fulfilling day.

Image Credit: Anna Shvets; Pexels; Thank you!

12 Happiness Hacks to Add to Your Calendar

By | Knowledge Base | No Comments
12 Happiness Hacks Add Calendar

What is happiness? Is it a feeling? Or, is it a state of being?

The exact definition of happiness has been debated and evolved throughout history. But, regardless of what it is, there’s no denying that happiness plays a pivotal role in our daily lives.

For starters, happiness is important to our physical health. Why? Because it reduces stress, strengthens the immune system, and is linked to better heart health. Additionally, happiness improves relationships and sparks creativity. And, at work, happiness increases productivity.

In short, happiness can change your life for the better. But, how can you raise your happiness levels on a consistent basis? Well, here are 12 happiness hacks that you can practice daily after being placed in your calendar.

1. Start your morning on your own terms.

Michelle Was traveled to all 50 states in 2019 to understand how Americans achieve inner happiness whatever their circumstances. The American Happiness documentary chronicled her journey and learnings while interviewing more than 500 self-described happy people.

She discovered that the happiest people start their days on their own terms.

Starting your morning on a positive note is one of the most impactful things you can do to develop day-to-day happiness,” she wrote for Fast Company. “This doesn’t require hours of your time, but it has the power to transform your day.”

“Instead of immediately rushing into the day or grabbing your phone to scroll through social media, take a minute to yourself without any distractions to set intentions for the hours ahead,” she adds. “What do you want to achieve, how do you want to achieve it, and with what attitude?”

Choose your reactions to situations deliberately rather than constantly being reactive. By doing this exercise, you become more present and intentional with your actions, Wax explains.

2. Reflect on the good and bad.

“Acknowledging the complexity of life may be an especially fruitful path to psychological well-being,” states psychologist Jonathan Adler of the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. In other words, a range of positive and negative emotions can contribute to happiness, he believes.

Adler and his colleague Hal Hershfield examined this experience of mixed emotions and how it relates to positive psychological wellbeing. The participants filled out questionnaires before each of the 12 weekly therapy sessions that they went through. They found that feeling dejected and cheerful at the same time preceded improved mental health.

As an example, someone could say, “I feel sad because of the recent losses in my life, yet I am also happy and encouraged to be working through them for a positive outcome.” Adler explained, “Taking the good and the bad together may detoxify the bad experiences, allowing you to make meaning out of them in a way that supports psychological well-being.”

In a follow-up study, Hershfield examined the link between mixed emotions and health. During a 10-year study, he and his team discovered that accepting mixed emotions (like “taking the good with the bad”) is directly linked to good physical health.

What does this all mean? Well, don’t ignore your negative feelings. Block out time to acknowledge and embrace them, like writing in a journal in the morning or evening. When you do, you’ll be able to find ways to overcome whatever obstacles you must overcome.

3. Tackle your hardest task first.

As the founder of Inner Mammal Institute and author of “Habits of a Happy Brain,” Loretta Graziano Breuning asserts that humans can rewire their brains.

How? By recognizing that we possess certain “happy chemicals” inherited from earlier species, and using that knowledge to develop habits that activate them, explains Catherine Pearson for the Huffington Post.

Dopamine is one of these chemicals which Breuning describes as “a sense of accomplishment.” To stimulate it, you should tackle your most difficult task first thing in the morning.

An example would be returning an email you’ve been putting off or completing a task with a deadline. To make sure that tackle these items before anything, add them to your calendar. And, ideally, you should block out times for these when you’re most alert and energetic. For most of us, that would be in the morning.

4. Be a social butterfly.

Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert, the author of the widely read humorous book “Stumbling on Happiness,” says;

We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.

Among these happiness hacks, this is probably the simplest. Additionally, it’s the one that arguably gives the most. After all, who else could make you as happy as your family or friends?

With that in mind, you can use your calendar to stay close to your nearest and dearest. For instance, you could schedule get-togethers, set reminders for check-ins, or establish traditions. And, you could also make sure to block off your calendar when you have quality time scheduled, like when eating dinner with your family.

5. Move 11-minutes per day.

Put aside the excuse that you do not have time for exercise. An 11-minute bout of moderate exercise can boost your lifespan, according to a recent study. Furthermore, physical activity is proven to boost your mood and increase your energy levels.

Exercise can be as simple as taking a walk or using the treadmill. Yoga, dance, or a combination of squats, push-ups, and running in place would also be great options as well.

So, even if you have a packed schedule, you should be able to squeeze in a little bit of physical activity. Personally, I always go for a walk after lunch. Besides burning off some calories, it clears my mind. and recharges me for the rest of the day.

6. Spend more time outdoors.

As Shawn Achor, who has lectured at Harvard University and Wharton School of Business, says in his book, “The Happiness Advantage.” spending 20 minutes outside in nice weather can improve your mood. It can also broaden thinking and help improve working memory.

Multiple studies have confirmed this claim from Achor. Cornell University researchers found that spending at least 10 minutes a day in natural spaces, such as parks or walking trails, improved students’ mood, focus, and physiological markers such as blood pressure and heart rate. The authors of this study believe that “nature therapy” could help patients who are anxious, stressed, or depressed.

7. Take microbreaks.

It’s been found that watching funny videos online during a quick break during work has high emotional payoffs and makes people feel more energetic, happy, and less stressed, says Allison Mango.

In addition to improving your mental health, this is also extremely easy to do if you are in a bad mood. And, you’ll also boost your metabolism while you’re at it.

8. Focus on your favorite song.

Researchers have found that happy music can improve your mood and increase your awareness when you practice mindfulness meditation.

Listen to one of your favorite songs over and over again, focusing on a different layer each time, such as the solo, harmonies, guitar, bass, and so on,” said Dr. Chandan Khandai, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “Not only will your favorite song bring a lot of joy, it will also cultivate mindfulness as you listen to a particular part and filter out the others.”

9. No matter how stressful it is, learn something new.

Can learning a new skill be stressful? Absolutely. But, in the long run, this can increase your happiness. In fact, you will be happier every hour, every day, and over the long haul.

The Journal of Happiness Studies published a study in 2009 detailing the benefits of this investment in time and effort. According to the study, participants who engaged in activities that enhanced their competency met their autonomy need or helped them cultivate relationships with others reported less happiness at the moment. However, they eventually experienced increased happiness each hour and every day.

The key? Choosing the right new skill to master. Or, one that pushes you outside of your comfort zone. Happiness is increased most when you learn a skill you choose rather than one you believe you should or are required to learn.

10. Limit your screen time.

12 hours and 9 minutes.

That’s how much time Americans spent with media in 2019. Per day. It was forecasted that this amount would increase by another four minutes even before COVID-19.

Is this a problem? Yep.

You can feel anxious or depressed when you spend too much time on your phone. This can also disrupt your sleep. It can also negatively impact your performance at work.

But, research has found that cutting back on screen time results in;

  • 75% of people believe that they get more done and are more productive.
  • 57% stated that they’re motivated to do their best.
  • 51% feel more confident.
  • 49% reported that they’re happier.
  • 44% claim that they deliver higher quality work.

Nevertheless, distancing yourself from your phone and computer is not easy. Listed below are a couple of easy ways to start;

  • Organize your tasks in batches. Stay connected and avoid FOMO by blocking out a time in the morning, afternoon, or early evening for email and social media. During the times when you are not doing this, turn off your notifications or set up apps to block them.
  • Establish tech-free zones. Your bedroom, bathroom, and eating areas should be free from electronics.
  • Find ways to distract yourself. Take a walk, clean your house, or read when you’re bored.
  • Delate social media apps. Social media can be harmful and addictive. Logging in on your PC/laptop and batching these tasks can be useful for branding or networking.
  • Meet in person or pick up the phone. When feasible, arrange more in-person meetings or catch-ups. Or, make a phone call instead of using chat or email threads if necessary.
  • Leave your phone behind. When you go for a walk or grocery shopping, don’t take your phone with you. Don’t worry. The world will keep spinning if you disconnect for a couple of minutes.

11. Help others.

Buying things for ourselves boosts happiness less than spending money on other people. This is what’s known as “prosocial spending.”

In 2012, Harvard researchers gave away money to study participants. In one-half of the cases, they were asked to spend the money on themselves, and in the other half, on others.

Here are the results;

“Participants assigned to recall a purchase made for someone else reported feeling significantly happier immediately after this recollection; most importantly, the happier participants felt, the more likely they were to choose to spend a windfall on someone else in the near future. Thus, by providing initial evidence for a positive feedback loop between prosocial spending and well-being, these data offer one potential path to sustainable happiness: prosocial spending increases happiness which in turn encourages prosocial spending.”

Giving to others does not always mean spending money. You can also donate your time through volunteering or mentoring othersThere is a study out of Zurich, Switzerland which supports the idea that volunteering can lead to greater life satisfaction.

How much time should you dedicate to helping others? Well, according to Adam Grant’s book “Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success,” 100 hours per year — or 2 hours per week.

12. Be flexible.

Todd Kashdan, a professor of psychology at George Mason University and an expert on wellbeing, says;

“Human beings have the potential to tolerate better and effectively use emotions, thoughts, and behavior to extract the best possible outcomes in varying situations. This wide range of dynamic abilities forms the essence of health.”

After all, a healthy person is someone who can manage themselves in the uncertain, unpredictable world around them, where novelty and change are the norm rather than the exception.”

Believe it or not, your calendar can assist with this. How? By leaving free blocks of time in your schedule. This way you can shuffle your day around in case you have to address an emergency or overcome procrastination.

12 Happiness Hacks to Add to Your Calendar was originally published on Calendar by Deanna Ritchie.

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels; Thank you!

Reasons to Stop Planning Too Much — Live in the Now.

By | Knowledge Base | No Comments
Reasons Stop Planning So Much Live Now

It seems easy enough, yet we humans struggle to appreciate the present. Why? We frequently speak only of our future plans — but what about building your now? You hear, “Know your why.” Start thinking, “Know your now.”

Some people think we lose out on fantastic moments because we are too busy rehashing previous events or preparing for the future. We seldom pause to smell the flowers. We don’t enjoy the moment. Keep the destructive process from becoming the precedent.

It’s sad not to be in your own personal time zone — since we don’t know how many more moments we’ll have. Meditation and many of the healthy habits we work to learn are all about living in the now.

Go ahead and plan your life in detail.

This is not suggesting we spend less time planning. To leave out the planning is terrible counsel. Setting goals is critical to our personal and professional happiness. Setting and achieving realistic objectives fosters personal accountability. Careful planning is a kind of goal-setting that gives significance to our lives since it requires devotion, hard effort, and tenacity to achieve.

Some people feel our culture has gotten obsessed with planning. We frequently speak about constructing for the future, but what about building the now? We all want true pleasure, and to experience it, we must live in the now. Focusing only on the future causes tension and negative thoughts and even uncertainty to enter our thought processes.

Why should you concentrate on living now instead of preparing too far ahead?

1. Right now is the only moment you can control.

No matter how much you plan, you can never predict how life will unfold. You will only know when you are there.

The only moment you can control is this one right now. You may either appreciate or despise the situation. And of course, you may also choose to squander the moment by ignoring it, but the choice is yours.

Planning won’t get you out of the moment. It may help you achieve your objectives, but it will not enhance your current quality of life. Planning for the future won’t ensure a desirable result, so why not focus on the now?

2. Enjoy every minute in the now.

Nobody knows how many moments you will get to experience. This is vital to understand. Nobody knows when their next moment will be gone. Your next moment isn’t specific, so why not make the most of it?

You can’t have this perspective if you’re always planning your next level. You can only feel this excitement for life by living in the now. It’s trite and impractical, but it’s true.

Don’t waste time. Plan when needed, but not at the price of enjoying the moment. Life is brief, so enjoy it while you can.

3. Being present reduces stress.

Too much future and past thinking generate stress. Some of the stress that comes from not living now may be harmful to one’s mental, physical, and emotional health. Yes, your thinking takes a controlled effort to remain within a balanced life — but the effort will be worth it.

The over-planners hinder themselves from living in the present and cause unneeded tension in their life. Invigorate your life with present-focused living practices.

You certainly don’t have time to meditate for five hours a day and not make plans for the future, but making tiny adjustments will help decrease stressors and help you be able to get a jump on the inevitable problems that come up in life.

Observe when your mind starts focusing on the future instead of the current moment. Ask yourself whether this is required. Being conscious of your thoughts can help you be more present.

4. Plans seldom come to fruition as expected, so live in the now.

Know that you have planned the best you know-how, and expect that things don’t always turn out as your plan dictates whether you like it or not. How often have you attempted to plan something that didn’t work out? What happened? Did you become offended, or did you accept and comprehend the situation, do something else, or move forward?

Plans go awry. You fail a lot as an imperfect species. It is inevitable.

Trying to plan every stage of your life is tricky and unhealthy. Plan for the best — but be determined that you will not be annoyed or disturbed when those plans don’t work out.

You don’t have to prepare for the worst — just have contingency plans here and there in your life — then, just let life happen and be.

Make preparations if that helps you, but don’t lose sight of the moment. If your plans don’t work out, try to accept them.

5. Being present makes you happy now and in the future

Some people don’t like using the term “makes you happier” since nothing makes you happier than yourself. With that in mind, living in the now is one of the surest ways to achieve true joy in your life. But, yes, happiness is a choice most of the time.

Without going into all the statistics and studies, it is clear that living in the now is one of the most important keys to happiness. Too much long-term planning will keep you from enjoying the moment.

Take a moment each day and observe how living in the now has made you feel? How can you make a better plan? How can you remain in the present if your plans take a dive off the planned course? Plan when necessary, but keep an eye on the present.

Strike a balance between spontaneity and forethought. You can only control the present moment.

You’ve heard it before if you’ve worked on mindfulness at all — this moment is a gift. Try to believe that and be okay with the statement. Enjoying the present reduces stress. Recognize that plans don’t always go as planned. Accept the moment and be joyful.

Plan as you see fit. Save for a family and a home — then invest in yourself. Set and achieve objectives. As you plan, put yourself first and don’t lose sight of where you are now.

Reasons to Stop Planning Too Much — Live in the Now was originally published on Calendar by

Image Credit: Jill Wellington; Pexels; Thank you!

Adding Your Goals to Your Calendar is Not Difficult

By | Knowledge Base | No Comments
your goals

Have you already given up on your goals for New Year’s Resolutions? Don’t be too hard on yourself. Only 8% of people actually reach their goals. But, why?

Well, there are a lot of factors. But, here’s a problem that often gets overlooked. We don’t set goals correctly.

Typically, when we set goals, we assign a deadline to them. And that can be counterproductive.

“We focus on the end goal that we want to achieve and the deadline we want to do it by,” explains James Clear. “We say things like, ‘I want to lose 20 pounds by the summer’ or ‘I want to add 50 pounds to my bench press in the next 12 weeks.’”

“The problem with this is that if we don’t magically hit the arbitrary timeline that we set in the beginning, then we feel like a failure … even if we are better off than we were at the start,” he adds. “The end result, sadly, is that we often give up if we don’t reach our goal by the initial deadline.”

“In my experience, a better way to achieve your goals is to set a schedule to operate by rather than a deadline to perform by,” adds James.

“Instead of giving yourself a deadline to accomplish a particular goal by (and then feeling like a failure if you don’t achieve it), you should choose a goal that is important to you and then set a schedule to work towards it consistently,” he suggests.

I can get behind that. But, to make this possible, you need a Calendar. So, to make this less intimidating for you, here are eight pointers on how to add your goals to your Calendar as easily as possible.

1. Determine how long you will need to accomplish each task (to plan your day accordingly).

Have you ever had one of those mornings when you woke-up feeling like the world was at your fingertips? In your mind, you tell yourself that you’re going to cross everything off your to-do list. You’re also going to finally return those essential phone calls, schedule meetings for the next year, and still make it to the gym — while somewhere still squeezing in family time.

I don’t want to dampen your enthusiasm. But, seriously, how likely are you to succeed in accomplishing all of that?

In addition, most of us drastically underestimate the amount of time we spend every day managing email, making phone calls, preparing meetings, and commuting.

When it’s all said and done, you’re lucky if you’ve accomplished half of what you hoped. In response, you feel defeated and frustrated because your expectations were not met.

This is precisely when a Calendar can be useful. It can help you plan your day more effectively by estimating your time more accurately. And, when you know how you’re time is being spent, you can learn how to schedule your goals appropriately.

To help you figure this out, you can use time tracking tools or a productivity journal — or both if you prefer. Ideally, the longer you record your daily activities, the more accurate picture you’ll have.

2. Know thy goals.

With that out of the way, which goals deserve to be scheduled? That varies from person to person based on their priorities and values. But, whatever they are, they need to be specific and challenging.

According to Edwin Locke and Gary Latham’s research, people who follow these two principles (specific and challenging goals) perform better 90 percent of the time. For example, if your goal is to shed 30 pounds before the start of summer, that might be too ambitious. It’s also too vague and not specific enough.

Instead, break this goal down to be more specific and achievable. For instance, “In March, I will lose five pounds by reducing sugar, bread, and sodas. In addition, I will walk briskly for 20 minutes a day.” The more precise your goals are, the more likely you are to reach them.

In short, there are definitely right and wrong ways to set goals. However, setting your goals incorrectly will almost certainly lead you to miss something. In turn, this will force you to go back and redo things, or otherwise deviate from your intended course.

With that said, once you’ve identified your smart goals, you can insert them into your Calendar so that you don’t schedule anything else ahead of them. So, for example, you could schedule your brisk walk daily from 1 pm to 1:20 pm.

3. Choose your Calendaring method.

You know how you’re spending your time and have set your goals correctly. What’s next? Well, it’s your Calendaring method.

By this, I mean do you want to use an online Calendar? App? Paper planner? That’s totally up to you as each has its own pros and cons.

For example, an online Calendar or app gives you 24/7 access to your schedule. That can come in handy when you need to update or review your Calendar. What’s more, you can receive reminders, customize, or share your Calendar with others to help with accountability or prevent conflicts.

At the same time, digital Calendars can quickly become cluttered or time-consuming if you’re frequently adding notes. In addition, Dr. Gail Matthews of Dominican University in California conducted a study with 267 participants on goal setting. Putting your goals on paper increases your chances of achieving them by 42 percent.

Overall, there’s no right or wrong Calendaring method. The most important takeaway here is that you actually have a Calendar to add your goals to you it.

4. Divide your day into blocks of time.

As with your Calendaring method, this is totally up to you. It depends on what time of the day you’re most productive. For example, most people are most alert and energetic between 8 and 9 am. As a result, you should focus on your most important task or goal during that time.

Moreover, you may want to try 52 minutes of work followed by 17 minutes of rest when working towards a daily goal. In sports, this is called interval training. The authors of Peak Performance, Brad Stulberg, and Steve Magness, concluded it wasn’t only for gifted athletes to adopt an interval-based productivity approach.

According to one study, its most productive employees usually spend 52 minutes immersed in their work, then take a break of 17 minutes before returning to their work. Therefore, to remain productive toward meeting your goals, you have to work smarter by taking frequent breaks throughout.

5. Let’s be honest; less is always more.

If you are prone to packing too many tasks into one day, you’re not alone. However, you may be headed in the direction of Burnoutville.

A Calendar can show you how full your schedule actually is. You can use this visual to keep your daily goals realistic and spread out your activities.

Here are a few more tips:

  • Keep your Calendar light. Trying to fill your day with too much may leave you feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and less likely to meet your goals.
  • Make time for the things you care about. Plan activities and hobbies that you enjoy in your Calendar. By switching off ‘busy mode,’ you have a chance to rest and recharge to stay energized and focused on your goals.
  • Schedule time for breaks between your meetings, appointments, and tasks. You can make the most of your momentary pauses by reflecting, preparing, and resting your mind. During these breaks, go for a walk or just sit silently in reflection.

This structure may make you wonder how you’ll accomplish your priorities. However, not taking frequent breaks can leave you feeling zapped and overextended.

6. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Want to succeed in reaching your goals? Then you need to stay focused by reducing distractions.

As an example, let’s go back to your weight goal. If you surround yourself with people who don’t have a healthy diet, then there’s a good chance you’ll be eating just as poorly. Or, what if you don’t go grocery shopping and the only thing to eat in your home is junk food? And, if you don’t protect your time, someone meets to schedule a meeting with you during your walk.

I know. That’s a lot I just threw at you. But, in short, you can keep your eye on the prize by;

  • Add your goals to your Calendar before anything else. This way, if someone tries to schedule time with you, it won’t be during that block.
  • Share your Calendar. Another way to prevent others from eating into your valuable time. When they view your Calendar, they can see when you aren’t available and when you’re free.
  • Block out electronic distractions. If you need an hour to focus on your goals, then block or turn off any notifications during that time so that you won’t get distracted.
  • Schedule declutter and organization time. Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly event, your environment plays a huge role in achieving your goals. According to research, you have a harder time focusing on one visual stimulus when multiple ones compete for your attention. So, set aside time to declutter and organize everything from your desk to Calendar on a consistent basis.

7. Record your progress.

According to research published by the American Psychological Association, the more often you monitor your progress, the more likely you are to succeed if you have a goal. In addition, by reporting your progress publicly or physically recording it, you increase your chances of success even more.

“Monitoring goal progress is a crucial process that comes into play between setting and attaining a goal, ensuring that the goals are translated into action,” said lead author Benjamin Harkin, PhD, of the University of Sheffield. The study appears in the journal Psychological Bulletin. “This review suggests that prompting progress monitoring improves behavioral performance and the likelihood of attaining one’s goals.”

How often should you track your progress? Again, that depends. When it comes to daily goals, you should reflect on what worked on what didn’t at the end of every day. You can do this every couple of days or make this a weekly event for larger goals. No matter how often you do, make sure that this is also scheduled in your Calendar.

8. Follow through.

“Ok, so you’ve created your schedule, figured out the tasks/steps you need to take to accomplish your larger goals, and put them tidily into your daily planner. Now what?” asks entrepreneur Alexandra Hsie.

“The follow-through is the hardest.” And while sticking to your schedule helps, this is all about making incremental changes.

“Establish small habits that build up into greater habits,” Alexandra advises. “For example, want to wake up earlier? Change your wakeup time by fifteen minutes each day until you get to your goal wakeup time.”

What if you’re still missing your goal? Your wakeup time should be changed by 15 minutes every week instead of daily. “The point here is to make a large goal, like waking up at 6 am when you generally get up at 11 am, a set of manageable and small tasks that build into a habit.”

Another tip? Organize a group of people to hold you accountable for your goals. For example, if you want to lose weight, schedule a time to go with friends or have a text chain to motivate each other.

Also, be sure to recognize and celebrate your accomplishments. “Say out loud to others what you’ve achieved that day. Accept their congratulations and allow yourself to be proud of what you’ve done,” suggest Alexandra. “And if that feels weird to you, at least take a moment to yourself to fully realize what you’ve accomplished because you deserve to be recognized for all of your hard work.”

Image Credit: Freestocks; Pexels; Thank you!

Adding Your Goals to Your Calendar is Not Difficult was originally published on Calendar by John Hall.

Want to Save More Money This Year? Put it on Your Calendar

By | Knowledge Base | No Comments
save more money

Each day, you probably consult a common item that can help you save more money. It’s probably sitting right there on your desk, wall, or conveniently on your phone or laptop.

If you haven’t figured this out yet, I’m referring to the trusty Calendar.

We all have them on hand, whether they are in the form of the old-fashioned paper copy or an app that can be edited and shared. Without a calendar, you wouldn’t be able to remember deadlines, important meetings, or social functions. But, besides making our lives more organized and productive, we can also use calendars to help save more of our hard-earned money.

Use Your Calendar to Create a Budget

Do you put together a monthly budget? If you don’t, you’re not alone. A survey by The Penny Hoarder shows that over 55% of Americans do not manage their money with a budget.

But, it’s never too late to budget. And, thanks to your online Calendar, this has never been easier. After all, when you use an online calendar for budgeting, you track your spending, schedule savings reminders, stay motivated with milestones. So, for example, if you planned to save $1,000 in six months, you could book an affordable weekend getaway to reach that goal.

If you want to buy a new car or eliminate debt, then budgeting is how to do it. And, thanks to the Calendar app — it can help you budget like a pro.

To get started, create a repeating event for the first of the month. Then, make sure you check your expenses against the targets you set to see if everything is still intact. If not, don’t be afraid to revise your targets – or spending – if they’re too low or too high.

Put Due Dates on Your Calendar

According to a report from several years ago, about one in five credit card accounts incurs late fees. That cost is added to the amounts in 170 million accounts. According to this astounding statistic — $11.4 billion is going to credit card companies instead of your pocket.

However, while past-due credit card debt rose during the pandemic, 30-day delinquencies declined to an all-time low in early 2021. Still, that doesn’t negate the fact that missing any type of payment could have serious ramifications.

Usually, this is a late fee charge of around $25 to $45. That’s not a lot. But, when you’re trying to save more money, every dollar counts. More problematic, though, is that late payments can increase your interest rate, decrease your credit score, and show up on your credit score for up to seven years.

When it comes to recurring bills, whether if you’re manual or automatic payments, never be taken by surprise. Place these due dates into your Calendar and set reminders to ensure that these payments go through without a hitch.

Schedule “No Spend” Days

There are days when you don’t spend a dime, don’t you? Shocking, I know. But let’s say that you’re working from home all day since you’re fortunate enough to have a hybrid work schedule. Because of this, you aren’t spending money on gas, Starbucks, or ordering takeout for lunch. Instead, you brew your own coffee and make a salad from the items you have in your fridge.

Of course, that’s not the daily day for most of us. Even if you aren’t going to the workplace, you still might be spending a ton of money online — probably on stuff you really don’t need. The average American drops $18,000 a year on non-essentials.

To balance this out, consider imposing “no-spend” days.

Your online Calendar should contain and maximize both types of days. For example, if you need to get out of the house, then block out Friday afternoons for grocery shopping, dinner, and maybe a movie. However, on Thursday and Saturday, put the brakes on your spending and look for free activities, like going for a hike and making your meals at home.

Set Reminders for Free or Reduced Days

Many locations offer certain popular family attractions for free on certain days of the week, such as museums and aquariums. And, on certain days, like Tuesdays or Wednesdays, movie theaters offer cheaper tickets and snacks.

In addition, you can usually save money at your favorite restaurants during the midweek period. On Tuesdays, for instance, you might find $1 tacos at your favorite Mexican restaurant. But, what could is that going to do you on Wednesday when you’re craving a taco?

To make sure that you can take advantage of these deals, mark them down in your Calendar. Of course, you don’t have to partake every. But, at least it gives you options when trying to save money.

Add To-Do-List Items to Your Calendar

In addition to recurring bill payment dates, you should also mark the due dates of your personal federal and state taxes for the upcoming year on your Calendar. Adding a reminder to yourself to prepare your taxes sooner is better than waiting until the last minute.

Moreover, you should also schedule the following household items into your Calendar;

  • Appliance warranty dates. Note on your Calendar how long it is until the warranty expires. Let this serve as a reminder to take advantage of the warranty before it expires.
  • Vehicle maintenance and inspection dates. Make sure those car maintenance and inspection dates are on your Calendar. Treating your car well can prevent expensive repairs, as well as tickets if you’re driving around with an expired inspection.
  • Household repair and maintenance. Just like your car, add home maintenance reminders, like HVAC and gutter cleaning, to your Calendar to keep your home in tiptop shape.
  • Insurance. Check all of your insurance policies, whether your home, auto, life, or renters. It doesn’t hurt to know about these dates in advance, even if you receive alerts from companies during the year.

Also, don’t forget to schedule doctor’s appointments and check-ups. Staying on top of your health could prevent costly medical bills down the road.

Note When Free Trials End or Set Reminders to Cancel Subscriptions

You may have taken advantage of Netflix’s free trial because you had to check out that new Ryan Reynolds flick. But, if you aren’t using Netflix after that trial ends, make a note to cancel it before you get charged.

Or, maybe you used to love going to the gym but now prefer to work out from home. Cancel your memberships instead of forking over this money each month.

Implement Savings Challenges

“Sure, everyone wants to have more money available for their needs and wants, but the process of actually doing it?” asks Lisa Rowan in Forbes. “It brings up images of depriving yourself of activities you enjoy or eating the same meal over and over to save a few bucks.”

“But changing your approach to saving money could motivate you to develop better habits as you watch your nest egg grow,” she adds. Making saving a game, even if it’s a brief one, can increase your chances of saving money.

Many money-saving challenges run over an extended period of time, like an entire year. However, if you set a resolution to save long after January 1, you can still start any of these saving challenges whenever you want. And to track your progress, you’ll also need to rely on your Calendar as well.

  • 52-week challenge. As you save each week, you will put away $1 on week one, $2 on week two, and so on until you reach week 52: you will have saved $52.
  • Dollar savings challenge. Set a goal of saving a dollar each day. You can keep this up throughout the entire year to build your savings fund in a manageable way.
  • $20 savings challenge. Is saving $1 a day too easy for you? How about multiplying it? Put aside $20 each week for the year.
  • The 26-week challenge. Those who get paid every other week, do this rather than the 52-week challenge. Savings will be the same over the year but adjusted according to your biweekly pay period.
  • The 33.3 challenge. You only have 30 days to save $1,000. You might feel more able to achieve this if you think of it as $33.33 per day.

Schedule Meetings With Your Advisor

According to one poll, 44% of Americans without financial advisors said that major events in the United States in 2020 and their effects on their finances have made them realize the advantages of working with a professional. Of these, 54% are 18-to-34-year-olds, 58% are 35-to-44-year-olds, and 60% are Hispanic.

It will be a challenging job for advisors, as Americans have a variety of goals and priorities related to their money. In 2021, Americans with financial advisors (33%) and Americans without financial advisors (30%) both identified and prepared for long-term financial goals as their top priority in working with a financial advisor.

What are the top priorities among Americans without advisors? The creation of an emergency savings fund (28%) and paying off debt (26%)

Set up a regular meeting with your financial advisor of choice in your Calendar. A monthly meeting should suffice to start. But, depending on your preferences and needs, the frequency can be adjusted in the future. Be prepared to discuss your game plan with your advisor at each meeting by bringing your questions and thoughts.

A financial advisor will, for instance, ask you about your goals during your first meeting. Next, your advisor will outline a preliminary plan and provide risk management advice in the next step. Eventually, meetings can focus on specific assets or how you should spend a bonus, raise, or tax return.

Image Credit: Pixabay; Pexels; Thank you!

Want to Save More Money This Year? Put it on Your Calendar was originally published on Calendar by John Hall.

4 Cybersecurity Protocols to Add to Your Appointment-Based Business

By | Knowledge Base | No Comments
Cybersecurity Protocols Appointment Based Business

Running a business in the 21st century provides access to so many useful tools. From electronic mail to online appointment software, technology makes every aspect of business so much easier. However, there are some cybersecurity dangers of relying so heavily on technology that you should be wary of.

Cybersecurity threats cost businesses trillions of dollars annually. That’s right, global corporations are losing trillions of dollars due to different forms of cybercrime. You can lose a lot of money and credibility when data breaches occur in your own organization. Small businesses, in particular, can be delivered massive blows as they often lack the necessary resources to recover from a cyberattack.

To survive in this day and age, you need to add these cybersecurity protocols to your appointment-based business as soon as possible. This guide will walk you through what each of them entails and why they will be of benefit to you and your customer base:

1. Require Two-Factor Authentication

Most organizations require at least one form of identification in order to book an appointment. More often than not, all that is required is a username and password used to access some sort of customer or patient portal. While this is better than using no barriers at all, you can do better.

Two-factor authentication is gaining popularity among businesses because it’s a simple addition that adds a lot of extra security. In addition to the username and password, customers need to use an additional method of verification before booking an appointment or making a payment. This can be done by accepting a security code via email or text message in a matter of seconds.

Thanks to two-factor authentication, anyone trying to access your customer’s account will be stopped in their tracks unless they also have access to their smartphone or other devices. This extra barrier to entry doesn’t take up much extra time for the consumer, but it’s enough to fend off most intruders.

2. Implement Security Programs

There may be times when customers need to input sensitive info when booking an appointment or updating their customer portal. You hold a great responsibility to protect any information that customers share with you. Implementing digital security programs will help your customers feel safe and protect the information you collect from them.

For example, you can force visitors to your website to open a new secure window using a security program whenever they need to enter sensitive information. This is a strategy many banks implement to prevent the risks associated with account information.

Of course, there is a certain amount of responsibility that consumers need to take when handling their personal info online. Still, the company in question will almost always be the first to be blamed if data is ever breached. Don’t take any chances and use a security program to keep your customers as safe as is within your power.

3. Secure Your Mobile App

In addition to protecting customers using your website, you should also make sure to keep the mobile resources you use safe. In particular, if you offer a mobile app, you should have security options enabled and even required for consumer use.

Common security options for mobile apps include requiring an account ID with a PIN, including a secret word chosen by the customer, or even FaceID for select devices. Each of these options helps to keep customer accounts secure in a variety of situations.

Another feature you should consider implementing is automatic inactivity log-out. This feature boots customers off of the app or website if they are inactive for a period of time. This reduces the risk of someone having time to access their account in person or hack into it online.

4. Safeguard Your Network

Your cybersecurity protocols should extend all the way to your lobby. If you offer complimentary Wi-Fi to your guests, you should only do so on a secure network. Public Wi-Fi is notorious for being insecure and an unsafe browsing option. So, you don’t want your place of business to be an example of that.

Start by making sure your physical equipment is in a secure location. You can spend a lot of time working on the digital side of security, but someone with physical access to your internet router can override all of that.

Next, you can start working on the digital side of things. Put up an extra firewall, require login for internet use, and separate the access points between your business hardware and personal devices in your lobby. Keep your software and hardware updated, and you shouldn’t encounter very many problems.

One should never take cybersecurity lightly. You would be frustrated if a business you patronize lost your personal data, so don’t let a data compromise happen to your customers on your watch. Implement these protocols without delay and continue to look for ways to keep your security as strong as possible.

Image Credit: Cottonbro; Pexels; Thank you!

How to Protect Your Team’s Mental Health

By | Business Tips, Knowledge Base | No Comments
team mental health

In a given year, approximately 1 in 4 adults in the United States suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. Unfortunately, according to the report Mental Health Has Bigger Challenges Than Stigma, 45% of people with a clinically significant mental illness fail to seek help. But, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our collective mental health has deteriorated to the point that we’re not facing a crisis.

As a result, this can have serious repercussions when not addressed. By neglecting your mental and emotional needs, you’ll suffer from a decreased quality of life. What’s more, you can expect diminished physical health and strains on your relationships. And, your professional life will also be impacted.

Why you need to protect your team’s mental health.

Suffice to say, as a leader, it’s time to make your team’s mental health a priority. Not only because it’s the right thing to do, but it also creates a more supportive environment. As a result, this will;

  • Boost productivity. Studies show that nearly 86% of employees with depression report improved work performance. Researchers have found that treating depression can reduce presenteeism and absenteeism by between 40 to 60 percent in some studies.
  • Sparks creativity. It’s not surprising that anxiety and stress hamper creativity. What’s more, the effort involved in doing creative work increases for people with mental health challenges. On the other hand, when people report struggling “not at all” with mental health, creative work involves 23% less effort.
  • Improves retention. In a 2019 survey, half of millennials, (defined here as 23-38 years old) and 75% of Gen-Zers (18-22 years old) left a job, both voluntarily and involuntarily, partly because of mental health issues.
  • Decreases health care and disability costs. Those with serious mental illness have twice as many heart and metabolic diseases as those without.

Globally, depression and anxiety are estimated to cost $1 trillion in lost productivity per year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the WHO, treating mental health concerns has a return of $4 in improved health and productivity for every $1 invested.

And, finally, an American Heart Association CEO Roundtable report called “Mental Health: A Workforce Crisis” identifies this link between physical health and mental health. In the document, employers are called upon to provide comprehensive programs that address mental illness prevention and treatment. “The cost of doing nothing is higher than investing in evidence-based prevention and treatment,” the report found.

But, how exactly can you protect your team’s mental health? Here are ten suggestions to achieve this goal.

1. Create policies that promote a culture of safety, inclusion, and equality.

The culture of your organization is comprised of its values, expected behaviors, and practices. As a result, this will guide your team in how to view, engage, and follow leaders. Because of this, the National Safety Council has identified six areas that are fundamental to workplace mental health policies:

How your organization interacts with everything from customers, vendors, and employees is established by the policies you develop. It can also improve your team’s mental health, as well as your company’s performance. Make sure, however, that these policies, both written and unwritten, provide a safe, inclusive, and equal environment.

2. Develop EAPs.

Programs that help employees resolve personal issues that could affect their lives are called employee assistance programs, or EAPs. These programs are intended to help employees deal with personal problems, like substance misuse or relationship challenges before they impede their work performance. Employee assistance programs are provided for free by stand-alone vendors or by providers included in comprehensive health insurance plans.

In spite of the fact that EAPs can significantly reduce absenteeism and workplace stress, they are largely untapped. Studies show that less than 10% of companies use EAPs.

If you’re looking for a top EAP program, consider Modern Health, Spring Health, Ginger, Talkspace, or Anthem.

3. Promote the importance of mental health and stress management.

Many employees are unaware that there are resources and benefits are available to them. Often, individuals do not know where to find lists of options, let alone what they are or how they are relevant to what they are going through.

How can you solve this problem? Here’s what the CDC recommends;

  • Deliver mental health self-assessment tools to all team members.
  • Offer free or subsidized depression screenings and follow up with feedback and referrals when necessary.
  • Provide mental health counseling and medications with no or low out-of-pocket costs.
  • Offer lifestyle coaching, counseling, and self-management programs for free or at a reduced cost.
  • All employees should be provided with materials, such as brochures, flyers, and videos, about mental health signs and symptoms and treatment options.
  • Organize seminars or workshops on depression and stress management techniques, such as mindfulness, breathing exercises, and meditation, to reduce anxiety and stress in the workplace and increase focus and motivation among employees.
  • Allow employees to take part in decisions regarding job stress issues.
  • Managers should receive training on recognizing stress and depression in team members and urging them to seek professional help if needed.

Will this be a lot of work to implement? I would think so.

However, you should know that a survey of employees throughout the nation found that what people want in the workplace is training and access to easy-to-find mental health counseling information. Moreover, the survey finds that employees would prefer an open culture regarding mental health at work.

4. As part of your health care plan — include mental health coverage.

Take the time to get to know the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. Why? Well, a mental health condition, including substance use disorder, must be covered in the same way as other medical problems.

With that in mind, don’t buy plans with “phantom” mental health coverage. Instead, discover the number of psychologists and psychiatrists who are in-network with your plan. And, consider, incentives, such as health savings accounts (HSAs, that can offset out-of-pocket expenses.

5. Overcommunicate.

“Our study with Qualtrics and SAP showed that employees who felt their managers were not good at communicating have been 23% more likely than others to experience mental health declines since the outbreak,” write Kelly Greenwood and Natasha Krol for HBR.

“Make sure you keep your team informed about any organizational changes or updates,” they suggest. Set clear work hours and expectations. Whenever possible, minimize stress by setting expectations about workload, prioritizing what must be done, and acknowledging what can be put off.

“Make your team aware of available mental health resources and encourage them to use them,” Greenwood and Krol add. “Almost 46% of all workers in our study said that their company had not proactively shared those. Don’t hesitate to share them again if you have already done so”

“And be aware that shame and stigma prevent many employees from using their mental health benefits to seek treatment, so normalize the use of those services.”

6. Embrace positivity.

Does the workplace have the power to energize and fulfill employees so that they are able to perform at their best? Absolutely.

As a result of leading with empathy, hope, trust, and compassion, work becomes a positive experience instead of a stressful one.  A solution such as Workhuman’s Social Recognition® can be a powerful tool to create positivity, purpose, and belonging. According to the science, social recognition in organizations leads to;

  • Aligning people and culture to the mission
  • Reducing voluntary turnover
  • Increasing engagement
  • Increasing employee happiness

Other ways that you can create a more positive work environment include;

  • Make the effort to build meaningful relationships with your team members, either individually or as a group.
  • Show your gratitude and appreciation, such as a handwritten “thank you” note or a team party.
  • Listen to everyone’s ideas and solicit their feedback.
  • Instead of micromanaging, grant your team autonomy.
  • Be spontaneous and have fun from time to time. For example, after a product launch, throw a surprise ice social, impromptu basketball game, or dance party.

7. Support well-being.

There are many components to mental well-being. For mental health support to be effective, many departments need to work together. Again, you can offer clinical depression and mental health screenings or host mental health workshops.

Beyond that, consider the following other ways to support your team’s well-being;

  • Schedules should be as flexible as possible for all employees.
  • Provide users with access to apps that can assist in sleeping and reducing stress.
  • Think about introducing a meditation room, mindfulness training, and/or yoga classes.
  • Encourage employees to take advantage of their vacation time. Some companies limit the number of vacation days employees can carry forward to encourage this.
  • Permit your team members to take mental health days.

Also, if you have people who need to take a leave of absence due to mental health issues provide accommodations and develop a return-to-work process for them. It’s an effective way to help employees feel supported upon their return.

Finally, provide employees with opportunities to build connections among themselves. Examples could be social events, affinity groups, or even virtually through electronic message boards or virtual lunches.

8. Provide mentoring opportunities.

Mentoring can offer an effective method of supporting mental health at work, according to the Mental Health Foundation. Mainly, this is because employee well-being is improved since mentoring encourages human interconnection. It’s particularly relevant today, given the challenges posed by remote and hybrid work environments in terms of added isolation and stress.

Furthermore, workplace engagement is improved through these meaningful relationships. In fact, it’s been found that having a best friend at work not only increases engagement, it also leads to innovation and a more positive work experience. Additionally, mentoring can make team members feel included and fosters a greater sense of purpose.

9. Improve the workplace.

The benefits of natural light, adequate personal space, greenery, and designated quiet spaces in offices are beneficial to employee productivity and satisfaction. You should strive to create a welcoming atmosphere in your office while making sure each space meets the needs of your employees. For instance, co-working can be a great place for some individuals. But others may prefer to work alone from time to time.

In short, stress and anxiety in the workplace often stem from its design. And, eventually, this can lead to employee burnout.

10. Adjust with changes.

There is no guarantee that what works today will work tomorrow. In the same way that circumstances may impact organizational strategy, team-based support is subject to change as well.

In the event of a change in circumstances, strategies and steps to support a team member’s mental health may be less effective. With that in mind, if you want to keep your team mentally healthy, leaders should maintain ongoing communication with them.

Image Credit: Madison Inouye; Pexels; Thank you!

How to Protect Your Team’s Mental Health was originally published on Calendar by John Hall.

4 Ways to Make 2022 Better than 2021

By | Knowledge Base | No Comments
Make 2022 Better

To be quite frank, 2021 was a really tough year for just about everyone. There was a lot of hope that 2021 would improve as the world got a grip on the Covid-19 pandemic, but different variants and new problems arising made it just as much of a challenge. As the calendar turns to 2022, we’re all looking for a better year to come.

If you want to make 2022 better than 2021, you can’t just wait idly for things to improve. You have to look for opportunities and take them head-on. You can control the direction of your ship instead of allowing the storm to carry you off. This guide will help you prepare yourself for the best year of the decade so far:

1. Make Better Plans

The first thing you need to do is tighten up your time management skills. How you use your time will directly reflect upon the success you have in 2022. Using your Calendar to make better plans will keep you active and engaged every single day of the new year.

Start by scheduling out any upcoming events you already have planned. Work schedules, holiday events, doctor’s appointments, etc. This will give your Calendar some good bones to work with.

Next, look for ways to improve the plans you’ve made. Do you need to coordinate with your team better for an upcoming work meeting? Should you reschedule an appointment so that it doesn’t take up as much of your day, allowing you to be more productive? Small adjustments like this will really add up over the 365 days of the new year.

2. Change Your Mindset

You need to start 2022 off with the right mindset, or at the very least make an effort to keep a positive one. Sure that’s easier said than done, but if you start changing your mindset in January you’ll be a new person by December. It’s high time you got rid of the doom and gloom that’s taken up residence in your subconscious.

A simple method you can employ to try and change your mindset is to use daily affirmations. These are little mantras or phrases that you repeat to yourself to keep your mind clear and your spirits high. Negative thinking and self-talk won’t get you very far, as is very evident from the years past.

An example of a daily affirmation you can use is “I can do this”. Rather than assuming that the task at hand or the global situation is too difficult to handle, you quietly remind yourself that you are capable of so much more. Whisper this phrase to yourself enough and you’ll replace negativity and doubt with courage and drive.

3. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

The past few years it’s been a little too easy to resort to our comfort zones. Ever since sheltering in place during the beginning of Covid-19 we’ve been hesitant to dream, to do, and to discover. Getting out of your comfort zone won’t be easy, but it will set the stage for a colorful and fun year.

Take a look at the blank spaces in your Calendar and start brainstorming ways to fill them. Maybe it’s time you tried speed dating for the first time or considered taking a boxing class as part of your New Year’s resolution to get back in shape. Under normal circumstances, you wouldn’t dream of pursuing such activities, but you never know what you’re missing out on until you venture out into the unknown.

Getting out of your comfort zone is usually easier with a friend, especially if you’re moving out of your own comfort zone into theirs. For example, you might have a friend that’s an avid rock climber that’s willing to show you the ropes, literally and figuratively. You can coordinate times to go out with them and have a buddy to accompany you as you try new things.

4. Prioritize Yourself

Nothing is more important in 2022 than yourself. If you prioritize yourself this year, you’ll see lots of improvements, especially in your physical and mental well-being. Those two aspects of your life have likely been affected in a negative way due to Covid-19 and the other challenges of the past couple of years.

Look for ways to use your Calendar to put yourself first. This can be done by planning specific activities for personal development or creating habits and routines that promote wellness and growth. Here is a list of ideas you can use to fill up and utilize your Calendar while prioritizing yourself:

  • Make time to exercise every day
  • Develop a good sleep routine
  • Schedule a regular mental health day
  • Get counseling and guidance as needed from professionals
  • Set aside time for things you enjoy
  • Create a meal plan for healthier eating

Each one of these bullet points is an example of something you can do in 2022 to take care of yourself better. This will raise your mental and emotional health which will enable you to have a much more enjoyable year. Prioritizing yourself will also build a strong foundation for many years to come, not just the next 12 months.

Nobody can promise that the events of 2022 will be any better. However, you can take control of your destiny to make this year much better than the last no matter what happens. All it takes is some grit and determination even on the toughest of days. Of course, your Calendar has all the tools you need to make anything happen.

Image Credit: Artem Podrez; Pexels; Thank you!

4 Ways to Make 2022 Better than 2021 was originally published on Calendar by .

Register Now & Get a 30 Day Trial Register Now