Category Archives: Time Management

Life’s a Beach: 6 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Summer

By | Time Management | No Comments
Life’s a Beach: 6 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Summer

Life’s a beach is a light-hearted phrase that reminds us that there is still so much good in the world to be enjoyed. Slip into complacency, and you’ll miss out on a lot of opportunities for both fun and personal progression.

With your Calendar, you can take advantage of both the productivity and fun these summer months have to offer. All you need to do is consciously manage your time to make sure that every day contains a moment to remember before the season ends:

1. Plan a Trip

Summer is prime time for vacation, especially for families with children who don’t have school to worry about. The wonderful weather also enables various pleasant trips, from weekend camping trips and day hikes to a week-long vacation on a tropical beach.

Don’t feel pressured if you can’t fit a big family vacation into your budget every year. You can make just as many memories and have a lot of fun doing something smaller. For example, plan a campout in the backyard or take a day trip to the lake as your summer trip. You’ll be glad you did something, no matter how small.

2. Chase Down Some Goals

Not sure how to spend all of your summer downtimes? Set some goals to pursue during the season. These goals will give you something to work toward instead of spending every afternoon in a backyard hammock (which is perfectly fine every once in a while, it’s important to rest).

The beauty of a summer goal is that it can be anything you want it to be. Want to learn a new skill? Schedule some classes and practice time in your online calendar. Want to tackle some home improvement? Your online calendar will help you work out some time to build that new deck or repaint the basement.

It’s important to note that summer is short, typically containing fewer than the 104 days Phineas and Ferb get to enjoy. With that being said, set realistic goals that are within your limits. You’ll only have a few months to complete a summer goal, and setting your sights too high can leave you feeling discouraged when fall arrives and your goal is left incomplete.

3. Get Your Tan On

The sunlight is oh so good for you, and it will do you well to catch some rays throughout the summer. Sunlight is known for helping people stay healthier and more positive. But, unfortunately, not getting enough rays is part of why seasonal depression is so prevalent; the cold weather and shorter days make it more difficult to get sunshine in your life.

Just 15 minutes of sunlight can have a positive impact on your day. If you spend all day in an office, you can squeeze in a little outdoor time during your lunch break. Filling your online calendar with outdoor activities over the weekend will also get plenty of Vitamin D into your schedule.

Of course, there’s always the concern that too much sun can be a bad thing. Just be sure that you have on some sunscreen and some covering to reduce your risk of skin cancer and sunburns. This is especially important for kids with more sensitive skin.

4. Attend Every Event

When kids don’t have classes to attend, parents will often fill their schedules with other activities to don’t spend every day glued to their electronic devices. So whether they’re participating in sports, dance classes, or music lessons, make time to attend every one of the events.

Even if your kids decide they don’t want to participate in whatever extracurricular activities they’re pursuing, they’ll be happy that you were always there to support them. So add any recital or match into your online calendar, and do your best not to miss a single event supporting your family.

5. Limit Your TV Time

We get it; electronics are awesome. Sometimes there’s nothing better than watching your favorite TV show at night or playing video games all weekend. However, if you’re not careful, those electronics can take away your entire summer and leave you wishing you did a little more.

To make sure you don’t waste your summer on the internet, use your online calendar to monitor your screen time. You can designate specific blocks of time to try a new video game or set a consistent bedtime, so you don’t stay up all night binge-watching movies, messing up your entire routine.

Helping your kids stay off of electronics will be quite the challenge as well. When schedules and routines fall short, a few incentives might do the trick. Have them spend some time outside or doing some chores to earn their screen time. Looking back on their summer, they’ll be glad that they were able to experience more than just their electronics.

6. Get Involved in the Community

Your town or city will be putting on a number of activities and events this summer. Getting involved in your local community will be one of the best decisions you make this summer. Besides, it won’t take a lot of planning to fill up your online calendar when you import the city calendar over.

Few experiences will be as memorable as a Fourth of July parade, a summer reading program, and outdoor theater nights at the park. You’ll be able to meet new friends, visit new places in your town, and try a lot of new things that can become traditions for years to come.

Summer is almost over, so get started today to make sure you have no regrets once fall arrives. Then, start making plans for next summer to make it even bigger and better than the last.

Ensuring You Have Stamina Throughout the Summer Months

By | Time Management | No Comments
Ensuring You Have Stamina Throughout the Summer Months

Are you experiencing “summer slacker syndrome?” Don’t beat yourself up over it. The warmer months of the year trigger this phenomenon — even among the most motivated individuals.

Why does this happen? There are actually several reasons. For starters, we tend to be more tired during the summer because we’re acclimating to the heat, and our metabolism has slowed down. In addition, if you’re a parent, you want to spend time with your kids while they’re on summer vacation. And, there are a ton of summer activities that are pulling you away from work — why stay cooped up inside when you could be sipping a cold beverage on the beach?

Regardless of the exact reason, it’s not uncommon for us to drag during the summer. But, if you still need to get things done, here are 9 ways to ensure that you have stamina throughout the summer months.

1. Stay hydrated.

If you’re dragging this summer, there’s most likely a simple culprit. You’re dehydrated.

“In the heat, one byproduct of the increased temperature could be dehydration,” Jonathan Cane, exercise physiologist, and co-owner of City Coach Multisport,” told Aaptiv. “If not in a clinical sense, certainly in the low-level, chronic, less-than-optimal hydration sense.”

“Dehydration is a critical component that often leads to excessive fatigue and lack of energy when it comes to how individuals handle the heat,” adds Dr. Joel Seedman, neuromuscular physiologist, performance specialist, and owner of Advanced Human Performance. “In hotter climates, individuals are more likely to become dehydrated due to the body’s adaptive mechanism of perspiration and sweating.”

Even if you feel like you’re drinking enough water, we’re sweating more often to keep cool. As a consequence, our bodies are losing water faster than usual. “This can lead to electrolyte imbalances and a number of physiological consequences that can promote lack of energy and even physical ailments if not properly attended to,” Seedman says.

To make sure that you’re hydrated, try;

  • Chugging a glass of water as soon as you wake up.
  • Keeping a pitcher of water in the fridge and/or having a water bottle in sight.
  • Setting a timer or using an app Waterlogged to remind you to drink take a swig.
  • Infusing your water with fruits or herbs, so it’s not as boring.
  • Replacing soda with seltzer water, smoothies, or juices.

2. Snack on water-rich fruits and vegetables and spicy foods.

I know on those scorching dog days of summer, I don’t have much of an appetite. But, you need food to keep running. It’s just like filling your car with gas when it’s approaching empty.

The smart move to keep your energy up is to eat lightly throughout the day. Specifically, eating fruits and veggies like celery, green peppers, oranges, and watermelon. Besides being loaded with nutrients, they also contain lots of H20.

“Make sure you pair them with a protein, to keep your blood sugar levels stable,” advises Elisah Tashjian, a holistic nutrition consultant in Prevention Magazine.

What else should you chow down on this summer? Spicy foods. That may sound counterproductive, but it’s worth it.

Curry and chili can stimulate heat receptors in the mouth, which enhance circulation and cause sweating, in turn helping to cool the body down,” says Donald Deblock, a nurse practitioner with Rutgers University Health Services in Newark, NJ.

3. Don’t skimp on the z’s.

Are you having difficulty sleeping in the summer? You’re not alone. It happens to the best of us. And, there’s a valid reason.

“The longer daylight hours and the higher, sometimes humid, temperatures make it difficult to sleep well,” says Kat Lederle, Ph.D., MSc. “Your body clock, which is located in your brain, uses light and darkness as signals for day and night,” she says. “The longer we ‘see’ light, the longer the body clock will tell the body it’s daytime and it needs to stay awake.”

Also, with longer days, comes lifestyle changes. For example, you might be staying out later with friends or family. There’s also a chance that you’re eating dinner once it gets dark. And the alcohol might be flowing more liberally.

Still, you need to get a solid 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night. To make this possible, stick with a consistent sleep-wake schedule. Have a wind-down ritual, like reading, when it approaches bedtime. And, make sure that you keep your bedroom dark and cold.

Personally, I like white noise when I sleep. So, I actually sleep better when there’s a running fan or AC unit. Plus, it keeps my room nice and cool throughout the night.

4. Rethink your exercise routine.

“Exercising or performing physical activity in the heat actually burns more calories than other climate conditions,” says Dr. Seedman. “Our bodies tend to fatigue more rapidly, involving a relatively higher heart rate response, and thus require more ATP (or energy) expenditure to maintain physical activity levels.”

At the same time, physical activity is a proven way to build up our stamina and maintain our energy. It’s also one of the best things that we can do for ourselves physically and mentally. So, what can be done?

Well, go ahead and work up a sweat. Just don’t overexert yourself. For example, instead of running or cycling, go swimming or paddleboarding. Swap out cardio for exercises that work out large muscle groups, like lifting weights. You could also try team sports like beach volleyball or pickleball.

If you want to run or cycle, try first thing in the morning or during the evening. Or, stay indoors and get on a treadmill or stationary bike.

5. Get your wrists wet.

Who doesn’t enjoy jumping into a pool, lake, or the ocean on a blustering, sunny day? But, sometimes, you just can’t go for a refreshing swim. Sure, a shower might work. But, what if you’re stuck inside working?

The answer? Running cold water over your wrists.

“Arterial pulse points are the areas in which the arterial blood vessels come closest to the surface of the skin,” explains Deblock. “Arterial blood flows away from the heart, so if you cool it with cold water, it will circulate the cooler blood throughout your body and ultimately lower your core temperature.”

And, this trick also works if the heat and humidity are making it difficult to fall asleep. “Rinse your wrists or your feet with cold water before you hit the hay, and it will help you drift off,” he says.

6. Schedule your priorities.

I get it. I would much rather enjoy the summer than being chained behind a desk, even though I enjoy the work that I do. But, there’s more to life than all work and not play.

At the same time, I have bills to pay. More importantly, I have work responsibilities that I still need to attend to. Thankfully, there is a way to find a happy place.

Rather than focus on everything you think has to get done, hone in on your priorities. That’s not always the easiest feat to accomplish. But, in a previous article, Calendar co-founder John Hall says it’s possible if you;

    • Determine your “big three.” These are your three most important tasks that must be completed. No exception.
    • Enhance your time management skills. Some recommendations would be to work when you’re most energetic, keeping a time log, and following the two-minute rule. Also, don’t forget to reduce distractions, cluster smaller tasks, and avoid the “urgency trap.”
    • Feel in-balance. This is possible “by maximizing your time at work, stop overcommitting, and not bringing work at home,” says Hall. “You should also establish boundaries. For example, if you’re spending time with friends or family on a Saturday night, then don’t respond to any work-related correspondence.”
    • Innovate, learn, and grow. Brainstorm ideas to improve a product, service, or product. Take a class or attend industry events. And stay on top of the latest trends.
    • Get to know the people in your neighborhood. By this, I mean fostering relationships with customers, business partners, investors, and employees. Outside of work, spend quality time with friends and family.
    • Grow your network. Find mentors, mingle with potential employers, or just attend a local meetup or virtual conference.

After identifying your priorities, add them to your calendar so that there aren’t any conflicts.

7. Work in sprints.

Your mileage may vary on this, but I’ve found this to be an effective strategy.

If possible, kick into high gear for a couple of days. For example, you could put in 10 or 12 hour days. But, only for three or four days. Then, with your priorities out of the way, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor the rest of the week.

8. Prioritize fun.

In addition to prioritizing your work, also pencil in time for fun. You don’t need to squeeze in everything. But, if there’s a ballgame, concert, or backyard activities that you really want to attend, go for it. After all, you only have a small window of time to enjoy your favorite summer activities!

Besides, having fun reduces stress, strengthens relationships, and sparks creativity. It also recharges your batteries. And, when it’s time to get back to work, you’ll be more productive since you’re refreshed.

9. Encourage vacation.

According to Time Off’s latest State of American Vacation 2018 report, on average, employees receive 11 days of paid time off per year. However, employees only use 5 of those days. And, since there was a pandemic in 2020, most of us haven’t gone on a vacation in quite some time.

Why’s that a problem? Because vacations are good for you physically and mentally. What’s more, vacations help prevent burnout and increase happiness. But, how can you realistically take a vacation?

In another Calendar piece, Angela Ruth recommends;

  • Getting ahead of your work priorities. “You’ll feel a lot less stressed if you can clear some deadlines on the days directly following your vacation,” writes Angela. “In addition, using time management techniques in your online calendar, such as time blocking, can help you focus and get more done in the same amount of time.”
  • Bring some work with you. “This is a tricky one, but it might be worth your time to take some work with you on the road,” she adds. “Just be sure not to let it take over your entire vacation. Otherwise, you’re just paying way too much for a remote workspace.
  • Plan in advance. “Grab your online calendar and start planning when you want to take your next vacation,” advises Angela. “This way, you can weigh the pros, cons, and prices of different dates and locations. Then, leading up to your departure, you can spread out all of the tasks you need to complete before you embark with plenty of time to spare.”

How to Stay Productive During the Summer Slowdown

By | Time Management | No Comments
How to Stay Productive During the Summer Slowdown

When warm, summer days arrive, work may be the last place you and your team want to be.

It’s the time of year when many businesses experience significant decreases in productivity. Your employees could be on vacation or taking a personal day. Or they may need time off to care for children who are now home because schools are closed. 

All of these factors can make your workplace look like a legit ghost town during the summer. 

It’s no wonder that workplace productivity usually drops 20% during the hottest days of the year, according to a Captivate Office Pulse study. 

So how can you transform the annual office work slump into a productivity jump? Here are six ways you and your staff can stay productive all summer long.

1. Emphasize Exercise 

It’s no secret that an active body equals an active mind. Studies have shown that there are tons of connections between exercise and productivity.

Along with all the physical benefits exercise brings, it also improves memory, cognitive skills, and mood. All these are factors that can make your employees healthier, happier, and way more productive at the workplace.

So how can you reap these benefits for yourself and your team during the slow, summer months? 

If your office has (or is near) a gym, encourage your employees to get in a quick workout during the day. Or take some brief time out to do a fitness class like yoga, spin, or Zumba. You and your team will appreciate the extra energy boost and glow that a good workout can bring.  

2. Encourage a Growth Mindset 

The workplace should always be a place that encourages growth for everyone. Many businesses experience sales lulls in the summer as clients go on vacation and responses slow to a trickle. That dip in activity makes summer a perfect time for you and your team to update knowledge or learn new skills you need in the workplace.

By focusing on growing your knowledge, you and your team members will be prepared to provide solutions that the company needs. For example, you can organize summer training for skills such as web design, social media marketing, communication, or leadership. You can also offer e-learning courses that allow employees to study at their own pace, away from the office.

3. Conduct an Office Clean-Up

With many of your employees out on summer vacation, why not seize the opportunity to organize the office? Organizing your office setup may not seem exciting, but it plays a big part in keeping productivity levels up at the workplace. A clutter-free space contributes to clutter-free minds.

A summer cleanup can be as simple as sorting and putting items where everyone can find them. Clear filing cabinets of outdated documents and tidy shelves. Do an inventory check of office supplies and restock any that are needed. Buy desk organizers, whiteboards, or any stationery that you think will help life at work go as smoothly as possible.

4. Embrace Flexible Work Arrangements

Who wants to slog away in an office while warm weather and endless sunshine beckon outside?

It may seem counter-productive, but if you want your team to get more work done during summer, consider reducing work hours. You can experiment with a four-day workweek in the office or have reduced hours on certain days.

For example, Iceland saw productivity rates go up when workers participated in trials where they worked a four-day week. It was considered an “overwhelming success.” Now around 85% of workers there can choose to work a four-day week with the same pay. 

Recent studies have also shown that employees are more productive when they work from home. Because of COVID-19, many companies have already adopted remote working. For your employees whose children are on summer vacation, it’s a solution that lets them work and be with their families. Because workers feel like they have more freedom and control over their work, they ultimately get more work done.

5. Take Time to Get to Know Each Other

Between WFH arrangements and employee vacations, summer can make your workplace look like it’s perpetually in the midst of mass exodus. The last time you counted, it was just you, a few colleagues, and the office fish left behind. 

Although engaging with this depleted group may not sound tempting, this is a good time to get to know whom you’re working with. If you make time to interact with your staff, it almost always results in better communication and increased productivity. Those who might feel stuck in the office while their peers are off recreating will appreciate your overtures.

You can make interaction easier for introverts and extroverts alike by organizing work lunches away from the office. It’s a nice way for everyone to get to know each other outside of the work environment. It is also an opportunity for you to get feedback from your employees on company or personal issues they may face.

Team-building activities are another fun way to get people talking with each other. A group hike or family picnic can go a long way toward creating positive feelings among your employees.  These positive vibes often lead to stepped-up productivity when employees get back to the office.

6. Process Vacation Requests in Advance 

According to a study by Healthline Media, 50% of Americans plan to take a summer vacation this year. This could mean that half of your staff would be unavailable at some point during summer if vacations aren’t planned in advance. Productivity will take an instant hit just because there are not many people working.

Having employees submit vacation requests before summer starts is key to ensuring that there are always enough people at the office to keep work flowing. In addition, it allows your HR department to find fair ways to deal with those who have conflicting vacation times. They can also make plans to hire temporary staff if needed.  

Summers Don’t Have to Mean a Productivity Slowdown

If you plan ahead, summer months don’t have to mean reduced productivity for you and your team. Less office work and extra time mean everyone is able to spend more time on personal and professional growth. You can also use this time to recharge your mind and body for busier days that will come.

11 Morning Routines to Save Your Day

By | Time Management | No Comments
11 Morning Routines to Save Your Day

The morning routines of nearly every person have been turned upside down over the past year. As a consequence of lockdowns, self-isolation, working from home, and other family responsibilities, creating productive morning routines can seem like a difficult task. And, now that things are somewhat returning to normal, routines are shifting yet again.

However, instead of dismissing these changes as an inconvenience, implement a morning routine that will save your day. As Hal Elrod, author of “The Miracle Morning”, writes, “Focused, productive successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days – which inevitably create a successful life.”

With that in mind, here are 11-morning routines you should try out today.

1. Wake up 15-minutes and be selfish.

Mornings, according to Chief Hop in Stranger Things, “are for coffee and contemplation.” And, I couldn’t agree more.

Personally, I’ve never been the type of person to roll out of bed and jump into the day. I need to wake up and just be for a couple of minutes. Coffee or tea is another requirement. And, as I’ve gotten older, this quiet time allows me to catch up on the news, respond to emails, or review my plans for the day.

At the same time, I also understand that this isn’t possible for everyone. If you have a newborn, having any amount of free time is wishful thinking. But, if you constantly feel like your mornings are a chaotic rush, you might want to get up earlier.

That doesn’t mean forcing yourself to get up at 5 a.m. — especially if you’re not a morning person. But, you could just set your alarm 15-minutes earlier. It might not seem like much, but you can spend that time however you want, like engaging in a daily self-care routine.

2. Engage in creativity.

“Creativity in and of itself is important for remaining healthy, remaining connected to yourself and connected to the world,” Christianne Strang, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Alabama Birmingham and the former president of the American Art Therapy Association, told NPR.

“Anything that engages your creative mind — the ability to make connections between unrelated things and imagine new ways to communicate — is good for you,” adds Girija Kaimal, a professor at Drexel University and a researcher in art therapy. Specifically, being creative helps you imagine a more hopeful future and activates the brain’s reward center. And, it can lower stress and strengthen your focus.

Know that you have 15 extra minutes in the morning, you can color, sketch, write, or knit part of a scarf.

3. Exercise…for under 10-minutes.

“The benefits of breathing and meditation are undeniable; just a couple minutes of relaxation can make your mind sharper, your senses more alert, and your entire body more peaceful,” notes Lily Herman over on The Muse.

“But in practice? Taking time to step away and meditate can seem daunting, not to mention confusing and difficult in the beginning,” says Herman. “I’ve personally tried getting in the zone to meditate on many occasions and have never really been able to find pure relaxation.”

The answer? Trying out the following two super-quick exercises;

  • To increase your energy, set a timer and close your eyes for two minutes. Next, breathe in through your nose and four counts and out for three. This will stimulate your sympathetic nervous system making you feel more active and animated.
  • To feel calmer, do the opposite. Inhale for three counts and exhale for four. This will trigger the parasympathetic nervous system making it easier for you to relax.

If you want to get your body moving, and you have the time, consider going for a morning run — or at least a brisk walk. You could also try a 10-minute yoga workout. Physical activity increases blood flow, stimulates the brain, and enhances your mental performance.

4. Establish a tech-free zone.

For the most part, I’ve done a solid job of following my circadian rhythms. Because of this, I tend to follow the same wake-sleep pattern. And, that means I’m not reliant on an alarm — my dog also shares this routine and gets me up at the same time every morning.

But, not everyone is as fortunate. So, it wouldn’t hurt to have an extra layer of security. In this case, an alarm clock.

Instead of using your phone though, go out and purchase an actual alarm clock. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. After all, it serves one purpose, to wake you up at a specific time.

The reason? It’s a simple way to prevent you from laying in bed and scrolling through emails, social media, or the news. In addition to being a waste of time and distraction, it’s not good for your health and well-being. Case in point, in the midst of this seemingly neverending pandemic, doomscrolling has become an unhealthy habit.

5. Take care of the little things and then eat your frog.

If you’ve ever searched for productivity hacks, I’m sure you’ve come across the saying “eat the frog.” You’re not eating an amphibian for breakfast. Rather, it’s a metaphor for your tackling your most important or challenging tasks for the day first.

In theory, this makes sense. We tend to have the most energy and focus not too long after waking. What’s more, this presents distractions and procrastination from holding us back. And, we can all take a sigh of relief once these responsibilities are done and over with it.

But, there’s something to be said about addressing the little things first. While you may not consider these a priority, they can interfere with your focus by creating mental clutter. For example, if you have to make an appointment with your vet or answer a question in an email, these will keep nagging at you until they’re crossed off.

So, why not get these out of the way bright and early? As an added bonus, this will also help you build momentum to actually eat that frog.

6. Quell negative thoughts and refocus.

Dr. Greg Hammer, a physician and professor at Stanford University Medical Center and author of Gain Without Pain: The Happiness Handbook for Health Care, recommends taking a four-step intentional approach to start your day.

  • Gratitude. Regardless if this is in a journal or a mental note, acknowledge three things that you’re grateful for.
  • Acceptance. Observe, feel, and accept whatever you can not change.
  • Intention. Make the decision to direct your energy towards the things that“are healthy, whole, kind, praiseworthy.”
  • Non-judgement. If you catch yourself categorizing something as good or bad, stop yourself and embrace“benevolent indifference”

7. Listen to your morning playlist.

“Regardless of whether you end up at a downtown office or sitting behind your in-home office desk, the morning is where you find the energy you need to power through the day,” writes Jordan Taylor Sloan for Mic.

“Scientists have found that songs with heavy bass (hard rock and hip-hop) inspire feelings of power, and produce a surge of confidence and more complex conceptual thought — a perfect start to any day,” he adds.

8. Activate all of your senses.

You’ve probably never realized this before. But, as soon as you rise and shine, all five of your senses are being put to work. It could be the sound of the alarm clock or birds chirping. If you have a coffee maker with a timer, you might smell that brewing. And, you can feel and see the sun on your skin.

Instead of tuning out, pay attention to these five senses. And, infuse them into your morning routine. Examples could be noticing how your feet feel on the floor when you first get out of bed or what colors you see. Savor the taste and smell of your breakfast. And, consider how your morning playlist makes you feel.

Tapping into your senses will help you make better decisions. And, more importantly, it can help you slow down, be more present, and appreciate what you have at the moment.

9. Take a shower.

“Humans tend to perspire at night,” says Dr. Gary Goldenberg, a dermatologist in New York and a professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “When you wake up in the morning, there’s all this sweat and bacteria from the sheets that’s just kind of sitting there on your skin.” So, taking a shower in the morning will “wash all of that gunk and sweat off that you’ve been sleeping in all night.”

While we tend to balk at taking a cold shower, you might want to give it try. Exposing yourself to cold water can increase blood flow and neurotransmitters.

10. Soak up the sun.

In the morning, sunlight promotes wakefulness in the body. The reason? It suppresses the production of melatonin, which gives you more energy. Open the blinds as soon as you wake up and/or flip on the lights to give your body energy. And, make sure you get plenty of sunlight throughout the day, whether you’re walking your dog or sipping your cup of coffee on the patio — just don’t forget the sunscreen.

What if you wake up before the sun has risen? Purchase an alarm clock that can mimic a sunrise. Examples include the Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock or the HomeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock.

11. Don’t overload your morning routine.

It may seem counterproductive to say this after giving you so much advice. However, your own morning routine should be one that is most effective for you. Also, make sure to keep it short and simple so that it’s not overwhelming. After all, it’s not sustainable to have a morning checklist or routine that makes you stressed before you even wake up.

How to Show Up to Video Meetings on Time and on Point

By | Time Management | No Comments
How to Show Up to Video Meetings on Time and on Point

It happens to the best of us. It’s 10:20 a.m., and you realize you forgot that the morning video meeting started at 10. After scrambling onto the call and making a quick apology, you struggle to catch up with the rest of the team. 

Luckily, there are several tools and strategies to prevent these videoconferencing snafus. The tips below will help you knock every video meeting out of the park. 

Schedule Some Breathing Room 

Whether you’re the meeting planner or just an attendee, plan for video meetings to take longer than they are scheduled for. Block out an additional 10 minutes on either side of the allotted time to give yourself some leeway. That way, if a call runs long, you’re less likely to be late to the next one. If the meeting runs short, you’ll have extra time to take a break, grab some water, or answer emails.

Adding at least a 10-minute buffer around meetings also helps to ensure that you have time to wrap things up before your next commitment. If you need to follow up individually with a member of the team after the group meeting ends, you’ll have time to do so without throwing off the whole day’s schedule. 

Use the Right Meeting Software

Enlist technology to keep you on time and in the know. While some people prefer written calendars, digital calendars excel in making sure that nothing slips through the cracks. The straightforward design and layout of these tools make them incredibly user-friendly. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find a paper planner that can send you pop-up notifications of your upcoming commitments! 

When you use scheduling software, you can set it to give you a 10-minute reminder before any scheduled video meeting. This way, you have enough time to get set up, settle in, and resolve any technological problems that may arise. In today’s Zoom world, bad Wi-Fi is no longer a valid excuse for missing a meeting. 

Some scheduling software, like Calendar, allows you to sync calendars from Google and Outlook together. You can combine important personal, work, and family schedules into one main calendar. This way, you never accidentally set up a phone call with a customer at the same time as a team meeting — or your daughter’s soccer game. Nothing gets overlooked when everything is synced together. 

Business scheduling apps also ensure that the calendar event has the link to the call, the meeting agenda, and everything else you need for the video meeting. There’s no more last-minute searching through old emails looking for the link. 

Be Prepared For Every Meeting

Being punctual is only one factor in excelling in online meetings. Being on point and making strong contributions are critical as well. 

Before any meeting, jot down at least two thoughts, ideas, or suggestions and two questions. These notes can focus on the nitty-gritty specific or be more big-picture. Your questions and comments don’t have to be ground-breaking; they just have to be relevant and helpful. When someone asks you, “Well, what do you think?” you’ll be ready. 

If the meeting centers on an ongoing project or issue, take a few minutes before the meeting to review relevant files and notes on the subject. You’ll re-familiarize yourself with the matters at hand and ensure you don’t get lost or caught off guard in the meeting. This is especially helpful if this is the first meeting about a project in weeks. 

If you are leading the meeting, be sure to have an agenda to follow and provide it to attendees beforehand. Attach it to your calendar invite along with the videoconferencing link so everyone will have it at the ready. 

While it is important to be flexible and allow other discussion topics to come up naturally, sticking to an agenda keeps the team on task. You also show yourself to be a capable leader who values your co-workers’ time. 

Create a Professional Setup

The last key element to making an impact in your company’s digital meetings is the space around you. 

When working from home, have a designated work space or desk that you intentionally leave clear of anything but the essentials: laptop, relevant documents, etc. This will help prevent clutter from distracting other attendees from you and your ideas. Be sure that the space behind you is neat and clean as well. 

If video meetings are commonplace in your work, consider upgrading your microphone and using high-quality headphones. If your connection is poor, increasing the internet speed or changing to a different provider is worthwhile. While small improvements, these updates will ensure that everyone can clearly and easily understand you. 

When it comes to time management and personal performance, video meetings can pose challenges. But with the right tools, strategies, and setup, you can ensure that you are a valuable part of any online meeting.

Should You Bring Work On Your Vacation?

By | Time Management | No Comments
Should You Bring Work On Your Vacation?

Summertime is a popular time for vacation-goers. Sometimes when I’m headed on vacation with friends, it’s easier to get off work at other times during the year. But when you want to head out of town with the kids, summer is the best time because they are out of school for the next few months.

Parents still have to take time off work, which can be a bit of a logistical problem at times. For this reason, many working parents debate on whether or not they should take some work with them on vacation.

The obvious answer to some might be no, that ruins the point of a vacation. However, there is some merit to taking a little work with you on a trip if you play your cards right. This article will dissect both the pros and cons of such a decision for your upcoming family trip:

Why You Should Take Work on Vacation

There are some scenarios when bringing work on vacation with you can actually be a good idea. For those who really struggle with the stress of taking off work, bringing a few assignments along may provide an ideal balance:

Take More Time Off

When you take work on the road, you might be able to squeeze in some more time off. In addition, the ability to take on a few tasks and assignments even when you’re out of the office means that you’re not needed back as quickly, buying you some more vacation time.

Let’s say there’s a simple project that you need to get done by the end of the week. By picking up that task and taking it with you, you can fulfill an obligation with work without the need to show up at the office. In addition, with this project getting done, you can feel better about the time you’re spending away from the company.

Keep Up With Deadlines

What happens when you want to take a vacation, but you have some deadlines coming up? Trying to jam them all into your online calendar before your trip is extremely stressful and can really damage the quality of your work. On the other end of the spectrum, pushing all of your deadlines back until you get home from your trip can fill your entire vacation with dread.

Instead of trying to alter your schedule too much, just plan around your vacation to include a few deadlines throughout the duration of your trip. A deadline or two sprinkled into your online calendar won’t take up too much time and will help ease your concerns about missing work for an extended period.

Stay Fulfilled

There are a lot of people in the world that work hard every day. Sometimes people do extra work because they crave the sense of fulfillment they get from a job well done. Taking a week off to relax, however beneficial for them, can be a challenge when they’re not checking off boxes or turning in assignments.

If you’re one of these people that gets a little antsy without your work — taking a bit of work with you on vacation can provide the relief you want. Whether it’s the fulfillment you need, or something else, you don’t need to feel guilty about bringing along your diversion. You also don’t need to worry about kicking back.

This concept also applies to anyone trying to pursue some lofty goals this summer that are work-related. Completing some tasks even while on vacation helps ensure you stay on the right track toward completing the goals you set for yourself, like qualifying for a promotion or a pay raise.

Why You Shouldn’t Bring Your Work Along

While we applaud productivity here, oftentimes, a vacation needs to be just that. Trips are to explore the world, experience new things, and take a break from your daily stress and responsibilities. Bringing work along can end up being counterproductive in that sense. But you can slowly work toward the goal of working less and less on vacations until you hit your best compromise.

Lose Time With Family

When you’re on a family vacation, your highest priority should be spending quality time with your loved ones. Nothing should get in the way of that, especially not work. So what’s the point of even taking a trip with your family if you’re not going to be participating in the trip with them?

If you plan to bring work with you on a trip, use your online Calendar to make sure it doesn’t get in the way of quality time with family. Block off time, specifically very early morning or later at night when vacation activities aren’t scheduled, and people are in bed. In this way, you’re not missing out on the family fun. Correct scheduling is the way you can have the best of both worlds.

Builds Up Stress

Vacations are meant for relaxing. It’s a chance to forget about work and relish in a life free of worries. So why bring work into the mix when it can easily mess up that chemistry?

Of course, not bringing work with you might be the source of your stress. Stress can eat away at you, especially if you have just started your business or are a true entrepreneur.

Until things are set up in certain ways, maybe with a few more employees, it may only be you who can make the business running smoothly when while. You’re on vacation.

Whatever the case is for you — if you have a team, just make sure you set your team up right and only respond to emergencies as needed. Then, they’ll be able to do the heavy lifting while you take a much-needed break away from it all.

Increases Burnout

Taking a break from work is meant to reduce the risk of burnout. However, when burnout strikes, it strips you of motivation and drive, leading to a sharp decline in productivity and quality of work. This can be costly when it comes to staying in good standing with your current job.

If you truly feel like you need to take some time off to forget about work, make your number one priority. Let your company know that you need this time so you can return an invigorated and energized employee. If they start sending you calendar notifications for meetings and assignments, let it be known that you plan to decline every single one of them until you return.

In the end, it’s up to you whether or not you bring work with you on vacation. Consider what you hope to accomplish and let the pros and cons help you make the right decision.

8 Backyard Activities for Your Online Calendar

By | Time Management | No Comments
8 Backyard Activities for Your Online Calendar

Summer is full of so many fun opportunities, especially with the kids having extra time off from school. However, there will be many days when your kids complain about how bored they are. Is it your job to never let that happen? Well, no, it’s not your job exactly — but here are some fun activities that will tickle your young ones.

With the Fourth of July on Sunday, I hope you can get away — but if not, try a couple of these fun activities.

8 Backyard Activities for Your Online Calendar

One way to keep your kids busy and active all summer long is to use your imagination by turning your backyard into a play place. This article outlines just 8 of the many activities you can put in your online calendar this summer and for years to come.

1. Camping

You don’t have to venture out into the wilderness in order to go camping. You can have just as much fun pitching a tent in the backyard. Your lawn will be a lot more comfortable than the uneven ground you normally find at a campground, and being within walking distance of the kitchen and bathroom doesn’t hurt either.

If you want to make it feel more like camping, add in some activities that you would normally participate in on a normal camping trip. Set up a fishing game in a backyard pool and put together a fire pit to roast some marshmallows.

2. Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt will keep the kids entertained for hours if set up correctly. You’ll be able to get some alone time or focus on a summer project while your kids scour the yard for clues leading to a secret treasure or reward. Invite some friends over to load up the search party and so that everyone can have some fun with it.

successful scavenger hunt will take some planning, so use your online calendar to take some time to make it just right. Write up clever clues, stash away hints, and add some decorations to make the hunt seem like a pirate’s treasure hunt of the incredible journey of some sci-fi adventurers.

3. Movie Night

There’s nothing quite like enjoying a movie in the backyard. All you have to do is get a white sheet, set up a projector, and enjoy the show. A couple of extension cords should be enough to hook up the projector and some speakers for a nearly authentic movie experience.

With your online calendar, you can plan the perfect night where the weather is ideal. Rain clouds or stifling heat will quickly ruin a movie night, so it’s best to avoid a dreary forecast. Additionally, scope out the days when the sun sets early to not keep the neighbors awake with your late-night movie watching.

4. Barbeque

The smell of a backyard barbeque should bring back some summer memories. Why not make some more by grabbing your apron and spatula and whipping up a delicious meal for the whole family. There are all kinds of different meats to try and even vegan options that will add some flavor to your summer.

Suppose you like a party, the more, the merrier. Have some friends, family, and neighbors come over to enjoy the perfect summer meal. Send them a calendar invite asking them to bring drinks, silverware, or a side dish to complement your grilling. Who knows, they might invite you over to their own barbeque later in the summer as their way of saying thank you.

5. Obstacle Course

Has your family watched any American Ninja Warrior this summer or plan on watching the Olympics? Unleash your inner athlete by putting together an obstacle course in the backyard. The best time wins a trip to their favorite restaurant the upcoming weekend.

Your obstacle course can be as creative as you want it to be. Anything you can find or build can become an obstacle. Just be sure to keep safety first! You can even add some water features to make it extra challenging.

6. Photoshoot

When was the last time your family took a picture together? Maybe this summer is the opportunity for you to get an updated portrait together. Even if your backyard is nothing fancy, it’s home. The pictures you take will be full of the memories you make there.

A family photoshoot doesn’t have to be perfect. Candid shots can be a lot more fun than static, cheesy smiles if you plan them right. You might have even more fun having a themed photoshoot with costumes, props, and more.

7. Water Fight

Is it really summer if you don’t have at least one water fight? Whether it’s splashing each other in the pool or running around the lawn with water guns, getting soaking wet is a must if you really want to say you beat the heat this summer.

Tossing water balloons at each other in the backyard is one thing. Getting the entire neighborhood together for a full-out water war is another. Wage one side of the street against the other for the mother of all water fights to highlight your summer activities. You can coordinate with other families by sharing online calendars and deciding which day will be the best for everyone to get soaked.

8. Sports

There are so many sports that can take place in your backyard. Put together a family whiffle ball game or simply play catch together in the shade. Set up some soccer goals, take each other on, or have a penalty shootout to see who has to do dishes that night.

Even some of the more obscure sports can come into play here. Try something your kids might not have heard of before, like bocci ball or croquet. These lowkey sports aren’t as likely to disturb the neighbors or get a ball launched over the fence and can quickly become family traditions.

The possibilities really are endless. Grab your online calendar and start planning out some fun and games today so that the remainder of your summer is jam-packed full of fun from end to end.

Host a Successful Yard Sale With Your Online Calendar

By | Time Management | No Comments
Host a Successful Yard Sale With Your Online Calendar

We’re back in the office and we need to dejunk to get a fresh start. Most homes need a little dejunking too. Yard sales are an American staple. They’re a fun way to get rid of some excess belongings while turning a quick profit. However, yard sales are hard work and require a fair amount of time and effort to pull off.

Using an online calendar makes organizing a yard or garage sale that much easier. Planning things out will help them run more smoothly, leading to a more successful experience. This guide will help you put together the best yard sale in town:

1. Schedule Your Dates

The first step toward a successful yard sale is pinning down your dates. This will get your plans in motion under a set time parameter. Everything else will be so much easier if you know exactly when your yard sale will be.

Weekends are generally the best time for yard sales because more people are free to come and visit. The summer months have a little more flexibility, as families with kids out of school will be looking for extra activities through the week to fill their time. Once you’ve selected the days and times you want, it’s time to move to the next step.

2. Organize a WorkForce

You need manpower to run a successful yard sale. The larger the sale, the more help you’ll need. Using an online calendar you can schedule shifts for friends and family to help make sales and manage merchandise for your own little pop-up shop.

For those outside of your household or your office team who are pitching in to help, you can share your online calendar. Your Calendar will let them know the exact times of the yard sale and when you’re hoping they can come help out. With an online calendar, your scheduling is a smooth operation.

3. Leverage Social Media

Getting the word out about your yard sale is key to its success. After all, without customers, your efforts will be in vain. In today’s world, one of the easiest ways to reach people is through social media.

Use your online calendar to plan out a content calendar for social media posts advertising your yard sale. Schedule posts throughout each day of the sale to maximize exposure over as many platforms as possible. People scrolling through news feeds will see your post and be prompted to make a visit.

4. Include the Neighbors

To ramp up the scale of your yard sale, ask your neighbors if they’d like to be included. Even if they only have a few items to contribute, they can provide an extra set of hands and can further spread the word about the event. The bigger and better the event is, the more worthwhile it is for customers to stop in.

Once again, you can share that online calendar to sync schedules with anyone who’s interested. Even just making them aware of the yard sale can be of benefit, as word of mouth can lure in more prospective buyers.

5. Allow for Prep Time

A yard sale doesn’t set itself up. Before you open your doors, or lawn, to the public, everything needs to be in its proper place. Otherwise, the early birds who select you as their first stop of the day won’t be able to fully participate in your yard sale.

Schedule preparation time in your online calendar. You can prepare a lot of things in the days leading up to the sale, and will also need some time the day of to get everything arranged. Decide how much time you need and use your online calendar to make it happen.

6. Plan a Cleaning Day

You might already have a pile of stuff dedicated to your yard sale. If not, or if you want to expand your inventory, plan a deep cleaning day. Throughout this clean, look for other items you don’t mind letting go of to add to the pile.

Periodic deep cleans get rid of the clutter that so frequently fills American homes and offices. This will not only help your current yard sale efforts, but it will also help you feel like your home and office are much more open and clean, making it a more comfortable living and working space.

7. Provide Refreshments

For the most memorable yard sale experience, provide refreshments to all your guests. You can offer some simple free beverages, or let the kids set up a lemonade stand or snack shop to earn a little change themselves.

Providing refreshments will require some prep of its own. Make sure you have all the ingredients you need for whatever you supply. Then, use your online calendar to remind you to restock throughout the yard sale so there’s always something available for customers.

8. Scope Out Other Yard Sales

If you’re still looking for a way to set yourself apart, scope out some other sales happening in your area. You can look for postings in the newspaper and online to find places to go. Seeing a yard sale from the perspective of a customer will help you know what you should include in your own.

Plan a day or two to go sale hopping. Add the times and locations of sales into your online calendar so you can make time for the trip and plot the best route. You can learn a lot from what you see, so be sure to take notes.

9. Schedule a Day to Donate

When it’s all said and done, you probably won’t have sold every single item from your yard sale. Instead of packing these things back into storage to sit for another year or throwing them out, seriously consider donating them to charity. There are plenty of individuals and families that would be grateful for such a gift.

Research local charities and organizations in your area. Once you’ve selected one, plan a day in your online calendar to drop off the remaining items from your yard sale. This will be the perfect end to your hard work and efforts.

A successful yard sale will depend on the work you put into it. Follow these tips and get excited for a great time and you won’t be disappointed.

Don’t Be Busy. Be Present

By | Time Management | No Comments
Don’t Be Busy. Be Present

From the moment your alarm jolts you from a dream to when your head hits the pillow at night — your day is non-stop. Between all of your work and personal responsibilities — you somehow have to squeeze in one day, you’re “busy.”

Take a second to think — this may not be the way to live. It’s an idea that Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard explored in his 1843 treatise Either/Or: A Fragment of Life by writing, “Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy — to be someone who is brisk about their food and work.”

“Therefore, whenever I see a fly settling, in the decisive moment, on the nose of such a person of affairs, or if he is spattered with mud from a carriage which drives past him in still greater haste, he adds. “Or the drawbridge opens up before him, or a tile falls down and knocks him dead, then I laugh heartily.”

In short, Kierkegaard’s response to the “busy” individual was to laugh at them. That may sound mean-spirited. But he may have been on to something here.

Don’t Be Busy. Be Present.

To be busy and productive feels great, but people who have to fill every waking moment with something — anything — even if it’s unimportant are the ones who are not present. For some, frantic busyness provides an escape. Others, however, seem to belong to a cult of busyness.

Interested in this phenomenon, researchers from Columbia University, Harvard, and Georgetown explored why we’re so impressed with being busy.

“In general, we found that the busy person is perceived as high status, and interestingly, these status attributions are heavily influenced by our own beliefs about social mobility,” wrote the authors Silvia Bellezza, Neeru Paharia, and Anat Keinan. “In other words, the more we believe that one has the opportunity for success based on hard work, the more we tend to think that people who skip leisure and work all the time are of higher standing.”

The problems with being too busy.

Are there obligations that must be met? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean you have to be doing something constantly.

It’s been found that being a member of “the cult of busy” creates a chronic stress response in your body and mind. As a consequence, you might experience symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, headaches, and gastrointestinal discomforts. You’re also asking for possible cardiac issues as well.

But, it’s not merely our physical well-being that we’re putting in harm’s way. There’s also a link between stress and depression. Additionally, relationships and work performance suffer too.

Specifically, when you’re busy, you’re;

  • Not giving essential tasks and relationships you’re undivided attention.
  • Missing out on new opportunities
  • Not effectively prioritizing your time.
  • Making excuses for actual problems.
  • Forgetting about your “why” and self-care.
  • Aren’t working to your full potential.
  • Failing to set healthy boundaries which can lead to burnout.
  • Not giving yourself time to think, reflect, and dream.

In other words, being busy negatively affects every part of your life. As such, it’s time to leave this cult. And, you can make that possible by focusing on the present instead.

Don’t ignore the past and future.

Let’s be real here. Living in the moment is a formidable force. And, you can thank evolution for that.

“Human psychology is evolutionarily hard-wired to live in the past and the future,” explains Eyal Winter Ph.D. “Other species have instincts and reflexes to help with their survival, but human survival relies very much on learning and planning.”

“You can’t learn without living in the past,” adds Dr. Winter. And “you can’t plan without living in the future.”

Rather than trying to shut out the past or future completely, find a healthy balance. For example, you could reflect on a past accomplishment or mistake during your morning or evening routine. If you’re worried or anxious about a future event, jot it down and develop a plan of action.

Most importantly, take and do these new actions in small steps and small doses. Personally, I allocate no more than 15-minutes of worrying time per day. During this time, I get all of these thoughts out of my head and organize them for later so that I can focus on the task at hand. You may need a little longer — but too much time worrying can easily overwhelm some people.

Fewer, but better.

As I’ve already said. There are responsibilities that you must follow through with. However, most of the items on your to-do lists could probably be removed. Maybe that’s why 41% of to­-do items are never completed.

The fix? Do less.

That may sound easier said than done. But, it’s possible to use techniques like the Pareto Principle, aka the 80/20 Rule.

“The Pareto Principle is a concept that suggests two out of ten items, on any general to-do list, will turn out to be worth more than the other eight items put together,” clarifies Brian Tracy.

“The sad fact is that most people procrastinate on the top 10 or 20 percent of items that are the most valuable and important,” which is known as the “vital few. Instead, they “busy themselves” with the least important 80 percent, aka the “trivial many.”

You can encourage this by;

  • Simplifying your to-do lists with the Eisenhower Matrix. You can also try mapping out your main priority, 3 medium priorities, and 5 smaller to-dos.
  • Tracking your time so that you dedicate the right amount of time to complete your most important tasks.
  • Restructuring your routine so that you’re working on your MITs when you’re most productive.
  • Training yourself to bolster skills like concentration.
  • Thinking beyond work. Following the 80/20 Rule will allow you to pursue other interests outside of the workplace that can make you healthier and happier.

Consider the opportunity cost.

The opportunity cost is often used when making a financial or investment decision. In a nutshell, it’s determining the return you’ll receive from each option you’re weighing.

For example, you decide to spend $2000 on a new Macbook. While you now have a new laptop, you also can’t put that money towards something more beneficial in the long run — such as making sure your emergency fund is full.

You can also use this concept when it comes to how you want to spend your time. You could accept that meeting invite. But, it’s an hour-long and doesn’t have a clear purpose.

Instead, you may determine that that block of time could be better spent finishing an important task so that you can leave early to spend time with your family.

Let go of the narrative so that you can focus.

“If you are feeling fear, shame, overwhelm, anxiety, worry … this is completely natural,” writes Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. “Let yourself feel it fully for a moment.” From there, “see if you can let go of the narrative that’s causing the fear.”

“What narrative are you playing in your head that’s making you afraid?” he asks. Are you concerned about not meeting a deadline you set or being perfect? “These are not necessarily false narratives, but they’re hurting you no matter how true they are.”

Narratives, like the examples above, “keep us from being present, pulling us instead to thinking about other things,” states Babauta. They also “add fear and worry to our experience, which makes it harder to focus.”

“So think of the narrative as a soap bubble that you can just pop,” he advises. “Pop! And it’s gone.”

Bring more mindfulness into your life.

Well, you know that this was eventually going to pop up.

“According to thousands of years of tradition, Buddhists meditate to understand themselves and their connections to all beings,” writes Jill Suttie, Psy.D. in Greater Good. “By doing so, they hope to be released from suffering and ultimately gain enlightenment.”

Research, however, also shows that “mindfulness affects many aspects of our psychological well-being,” adds Dr. Suttie. These “include improving our mood, increasing positive emotions, and decreasing our anxiety, emotional reactivity, and job burnout.” Moreover, mindfulness is good for our hearts, improves immune response, and decreases cognitive decline.

Even better? You can introduce mindfulness into your daily life via;

  • Start each day on the right foot. Rather than jumping directly on your phone, ask, “What is my intention for today?”
  • Visualize your goals.
  • Practice peaceful eating and savory every bite.
  • Conduct body scans throughout the day.
  • Take frequent mindful breaks, such as going for a 20-minute walk outside.
  • Activate the “slow brain” by creating new patterns, such as a series of “If this, then that” messages.
  • Be more clear about the aim of your physical activity.
  • Drive yourself calm during your commute. For instance, before turning over the engine, engage in breathing exercises and checking for any body tension.
  • Review your day and practice gratitude.

Stop overscheduling yourself.

There’s a rule that I’ve followed for years when you feel over-committed and need to decide where to trim the fat. “If you’re not saying ‘HELL YEAH!’ about something, say ‘no,’” recommends Derek Sivers.

“When deciding whether to do something, if you feel anything less than ‘Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!’ — then say ‘no.’”

“When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say ‘HELL YEAH!’”

Whatever you’re invited to, regardless if it’s a meeting or social function, if you’re not 100% into it, politely say “no.” And use this thinking with any other time requests that come your way as well.

Connect with people — in real life.

“In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? Or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal?” writes Omid Safi.

“What is this haal that you inquire about?” Safi asks. It’s “the transient state of one’s heart.” That means that you’re genuinely asking, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?”

“I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox,” he states. “I want to know how your heart is doing at this very moment.” Whether it’s filled with sadness or joy, this builds a stronger connection with others.

“Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing,” adds Safi. “Tell me you’re more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list. Have that conversation, that glance, that touch.”

“Be a healing conversation, one filled with grace and presence,” he advises.

Make everything negotiable.

“You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.” — Charles Buxto

I can’t stress this enough. You are the gatekeeper of your time. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be disrespectful of others. For instance, when you get paid to do a job on an agreed-upon deadline, then you have to see that through. On the flip side, if you’re at full capacity, don’t commit to anything new until you have the availability.

The key is to be transparent and flexible upfront. Sharing your calendar, in my opinion, is the easiest way around the stress of being transparent and flexible. As opposed to role-playing as Tom and Jerry, they can see when you’re free to have a conference call, meet for lunch, or start a new project.

Establish tech-free zones.

While you can’t completely go-off-the grid, you do need to establish boundaries with technology. Your phone, as an example, has a knack for distracting and pulling you from the present. Just think about how many times you’re in the zone or relaxing only for a text to transport you to some future event.

While turning off notifications or blocking apps/websites at certain times can help, there’s always the temptation to look at our phones. In fact, there’s even a phenomenon known as phantom vibration syndrome where we think that our phone is ringing or vibrating when it’s not.

The best way to counter this? Go on a tech detox by designating tech-free zones.

When it’s time to eat dinner, leave your phone in the living room. Have your family do the same is that everyone is fully engaged in conversation. When it’s bedtime, turn your phone off and keep it somewhere else in your home — even if it’s just across the room.

While leaving your phone in another room may be uncomfortable initially, it will get easier over time. Eventually, you’ll realize that you don’t always have your phone beside you 24/7. And, that will improve your relationships, encourage a better night’s sleep, and make you in-tune with your surroundings.

10 Activities for Your Inner Outdoorsman

By | Time Management | No Comments
10 Activities for Your Inner Outdoorsman

Sheltering in place for many long months has taken its toll. Now that the warm weather is finally here, it’s time to get outside! Your Calendar is just itching for you to fill it with some outdoor activities.

Activities for Your Inner Outdoorsman

Your inner outdoorsman might need some waking up after hibernating for the winter or from living in the city for too long. Luckily, there are a number of activities suited for everyone from the biggest homebodies to the backwoods enthusiasts:

1. Camping

Need to get away for a weekend? A camping trip will do just the trick. There should be at least one campground within driving distance from where you live, yet far enough away that you feel like you’re on an expedition.

If you’re unable to travel or just don’t feel like completely roughing it, camp out in the backyard. This can be just as fun, especially with small children who don’t travel well. Besides, camping within walking distance from the kitchen is the best of both worlds.

2. Hiking

The great thing about hiking is that you can go at your own pace. There are trails of varying difficulties so you can go on a calm afternoon stroll one day and get in a solid uphill workout on the next. You can also decide just how long you want to hike, simply turning around when you’re feeling ready to head back home.

If you live in the concrete jungle without access to nearby hiking trails, look for greenbelts and parks with walkways instead. These are beautiful and accessible places to talk a walk or go on a jog by yourself or with family.

3. Rock Climbing

Daredevils around the world chase the thrill of summiting the largest and most difficult peaks they can find. There’s a great sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a rigorous climb and enjoying the spectacular view of your achievement.

The reality is that not many people are willing and able to participate in outdoor rock climbing. However, you can have just as much fun doing some indoor rock climbing. Your innermost outdoorsmen will be just as entertained, and you’ll be much safer all the while.

4. Biking

You’ve heard the saying “it’s as easy as riding a bike”. There’s a reason this phrase has been around for so long; you never truly forget how to ride a bike. Put that to the test by saddling up for a bike ride.

There are varying degrees of biking for everyone from aspiring Olympic athletes to parents looking to unplug their kids from video games. You can take a mountain bike to hit the trails, get a street bike for some intense exercise, or take the family on a Sunday ride with whatever wheels you got. Biking can even replace your commute to work if you’re within riding distance.

5. Bird Watching

Want to enjoy the great outdoors without feeling like you’re only trying to survive? Give bird watching a try. This activity surrounds you with nature but encourages you to stay as still as possible instead of hiking up a mountainside.

Many bird watchers take a guidebook and a set of binoculars and try to spot as many species as they can. To take the hobby up a notch, grab a camera and work on your photography skills. The pictures you take will make a wonderful record of the time you’ve spent outdoors.

6. Golf

Another way to get outdoors without expending too much energy is to play a round of golf. You can get a good walk in or enjoy a ride in a golf cart, one of the best forms of transportation out there.

Most golf courses are immaculate. Groundskeepers do an excellent job keeping everything green and luscious. You’ll almost feel like you’re walking through a field in the woods instead of on controlled, manicured grounds.

7. Water Sports

You don’t always have to be a landlubber to be an outdoorsman. You’re depriving yourself of a lot of great experiences if you stay away from the many lakes and rivers in our country.

For the adrenaline junkies, white water rafting is one of the most exhilarating water activities you can find. For a calmer experience, take a canoe or a paddleboard onto a serene lake.

8. Archery

Archery has come a long way since it was first invented. Before it was a method of self-defense and survival. Today, it’s an outdoorsman hobby for testing technique and accuracy.

The reason that archery falls so far down the list is that it’s a fairly expensive hobby. Quality bows aren’t cheap, although arrows are reusable and targets can be made at home. You might be able to find a local archery range that allows you to rent bows and a range to give it a try before making a full commitment. If they offer archery classes, add one to your Calendar for some beginner instruction.

9. Fishing

There aren’t many activities as therapeutic as fishing. Minimal effort is required to set up a pole and wait for the fish to bite. After casting your line you can sit back in a chair and read a book or let your eyes rest for a moment.

If you have reliable data, you can even get some work done while at the fishing pond. Take the time to catch up on emails or schedule a phone call in your Calendar for the time you’re out fishing. Just make sure that work doesn’t completely overtake your outdoor experience so it feels like you’re still getting away.

10. Horseback Riding

Can you imagine a time before cars? While today people will commute many miles just to and from work, many years ago the distance a horse could ride was your limit. Getting back to those deep American roots will be sure to bring out that inner outdoorsman of yours.

There’s nothing quite like riding a horse. Commanding such a powerful animal is an experience not many can say they’ve had in today’s world. Setting up a horseback ride in your Calendar for a picnic or just to feel the wind in your hair is an event you won’t soon forget.

Pick a couple of these outdoor activities to add to your Calendar. Use up your weekends and afternoons to get out and experience the world while you can.

10 Activities for Your Inner Outdoorsman was originally published on Calendar by .

Register Now & Get a 30 Day Trial Register Now