How to Set Up Your Employees for Success

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How to Set Up Employees Success

Managing a team can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s a challenge that must be taken seriously. As a manager or team leader, it is your responsibility to set your employees and team members up for success. Their performance will reflect on your capabilities as a leader.

There are many ways for you to help your employees reach the next level, but is there a best way? That largely depends on your team and their needs. Consider implementing these ideas to help your employees be more successful than ever.

Provide Easy Access to Helpful Resources and Guides

There are so many advantages you can extend to your employees beyond a regular paycheck. To set them up for success, providing additional resources is a must. For example, many full-time employees get access to benefits packages, such as health insurance and retirement contributions, so they don’t have to seek out these things individually.

The resources you supply to your employees can go far beyond the basics. Consider making safety and training manuals easily accessible to your team. Referring to this information may help employees improve their job performance without the need for a formal training meeting or direct supervision.

Set Them Up With Project Management Software

It’s amazing how the addition of one simple tool can completely transform how your employees work. Implementing project management software may help your team increase productivity and improve efficiency. Using this program will make it so much easier for your employees to succeed every single day.

Project management software became more popular during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. With many companies shifting to a remote workforce, this tool allowed team members to effectively communicate and collaborate even when working from separate locations. The same software is helpful for teams that are hybrid or in person, too.

With project management software, you can store important documents, send instant messages to anyone within the organization, and plan out projects in detail with assigned roles, deadlines, and to-do lists. These functions will streamline so much of what your employees are already doing.

Help Them Manage Their Time

No one likes to be the person who snaps at employees to get back to work. Instead of resorting to such behavior, try teaching your team members to manage their time more effectively. Higher efficiency, due to improved time management, will allow for more lightheartedness in the office, along with many other benefits to job performance.

Team scheduling software is an easy place to start. This will make shift scheduling simple, which is especially useful for companies with numerous part-time employees and inconsistent schedules. Team calendars, scheduling links, and time management training are other measures to take into consideration.

Provide Excellent Hiring, Onboarding, and HR

Setting your employees up for success begins the day they are hired. Your hiring and onboarding process determines how quickly new hires can hit the ground running and how supported they feel right out of the gate. A good onboarding process will also help you maintain higher retention rates, allowing you to continue working with the same team long-term.

When hiring, be sure to establish fair expectations during the interview process. Be honest about the nature of the job and what you expect from the role the new hire will fill. Being transparent about your company and its operations also helps new employees be better prepared when gearing up for their first day.

Onboarding is the process of getting a new member of the organization trained and acclimated as quickly and effectively as possible. A great way to do this is to run a mentorship program. A veteran employee can take a new hire under their wing to answer their questions and teach them how to complete tasks efficiently. Mentorship also enables new team members to create friendships early on for quick team-building and camaraderie that will lead to your team’s success.

Keep in Touch

In addition to everything else you do, it’s important to check in regularly with each of your employees. Implementing weekly or monthly check-ins will help with accountability and progress reporting. It also gives you numerous opportunities to touch base with each team member and ask for their feedback on various topics.

Your employees have a pretty good idea of what they need to help them succeed and can share with you a different perspective on workplace matters. For instance, you might have no idea that the breakroom microwave needs to be replaced because you never use it. While that may be a small and silly example, the point still stands. Keeping in touch with employees will allow them to communicate these types of concerns and other more important issues.

Constant communication between management and employees is essential for success. Listening to your employees’ feedback can lead to innovative ideas that improve your business and increase the trust shared between both sides.

When your employees succeed, you succeed. Give some of these tips a try and watch how your employees grow and improve within your organization.

Image Credit: Alexander Suhorucov; Pexels; Thank you!

Five New Workflow Improvements to Add to Your Calendar

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Workflow Improvements

A typical eight-hour workday includes about three hours of work spent on personal or unnecessary tasks. Or, to put that another way, every week, 15 hours are wasted on non-productive tasks.

Managing workflow improvements and efficiency procedures can help you eliminate these timewasters. However, just be aware that it’s impossible to avoid every delay completely. But, hey. We’ll take what we can.

But, what are some ways you can implement these changes? Below are five workflow improvements to add to your calendar to increase productivity.

How Do Wasted Hours Affect Productivity?

When we spend more time on admin tasks, we lose valuable productivity time. Because of this wasted time, meaningful, project-related work is reduced. What’s more, administration tasks divert attention from more important work. Even worse, when we’re occupied with these tasks, this causes us to focus and drains our energy.

As if that weren’t bad enough, these repetitive and mundane activities aren’t t intellectually stimulating. That might not sound like a biggie. But, that can make you fill unfilled and unsatisfied. Which, of course, will hinder your productivity.

And, if you think that’s tough on you, just imagine what it does to your team if you’re a leader. Just like you, they want to get more done in less time. But, they also want to dedicate their time and energy to be productive, not just busy.

Basically, all of these wasted hours significantly impact a company’s productivity. So, from the top-down, everyone will be more productive if they invest more time in project-related work. And when everyone’s engaged, this leads to greater satisfaction and productivity.

Causes of Reduced Workflow Efficiency

Because workflows have many moving parts, a simple change in one part can affect the whole structure and stymie your organizational progress.

Listed below are some causes of slow workflow, both within teams and organizations as a whole.

Tasks that are irrelevant or unproductive.

If your operations change due to internal factors or external circumstances, you might find that some parts of your workflow are no longer necessary.

When these tasks are not removed, they become bottlenecks in your workflow, consuming resources that could have been spent on more productive procedures, and stagnating work in the long run.

Lack of coordination of information.

Every functional workflow relies on information since it facilitates insight into where your work is at, what factors apply, and what steps you need to take to keep delivering results now, and in the future.

Because information flow isn’t managed intelligently in workflows, you and your team members will spend more time locating the relevant information instead of actually getting work done.

Team management is disorganized.

If your team members do not know which part of the workflow they should be working on and have no idea who to consult in case of an issue, a large pool of personnel will go unused.

Five New Workflow Improvements to Add to Your Calendar

In the workplace, unclear and unnecessary tasks are top time-wasters, as are long meetings and unclear assignments. However, these problems can be reduced by putting the proper tools in place.

At the same time, streamlining your workflow procedures doesn’t happen overnight. But it will save you money and time in the long run if you put in the effort today.

But, where do you start when it comes to workflow improvement? Well, the most glaring would be reviewing and analyzing your current workflow. Doing so will help you spot any bottlenecks so that you fix them.

Another obvious suggestion? Leaning on automation tools for recurring and tedious tasks. And, if working with others, you definitely need collaboration tools.

Outside of these noticeable workflow improvements, here are five new ones to focus on.

1. Align Your Most Important Work With Your Chronotype

.“Your chronotype is just a fancy way of saying ‘your body clock,” explains Amantha Imber, founder of behavioral science consultancy Inventium and the host of How I Work. We all follow this natural cycle of sleep and wakefulness. “Everyone has a unique chronotype, and it influences the peaks and troughs of energy we feel throughout our days.”

“Around 10% of people are stereotypical larks, who feel most energetic in the mornings,” explains Imber. “At the other end of the spectrum are the 20% of the population who are owls, or people who do their best work at night.” As a result, we tend to spring into action in the morning, have a power lull after lunch, and end the day with a bang.

You can achieve more by paying attention to your chronotype and planning your priorities around your energy peaks, suggests Dan Pink, author of “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.”

“On days I plan to write, I do it in the mornings, when I’m most alert,” he told Imber. “I set myself a word count, and I won’t do anything until I hit it.” Furthermore, he won’t use his phone in the office or check his email. “Once I’ve hit my goal, I’m free to do other things.” Instead, pink uses his morning energy to focus on his work and avoid distractions.

He tends to stay focused on doable tasks during his afternoon energy slump. For example, he answers emails or files documents.

When you’re most productive, lock in your priorities first in your calendar. Then, after tackling your preferences, you’ll have the momentum and energy to breeze through your remaining responsibilities.

2. Stop Multitasking

Multitasking is never an efficient way of spending your time, even if it might seem so in the moment,” explains Deanna Ritchie in another Calendar article.

“When we multitask, we rapidly switch between multiple tasks, which expends brainpower, takes energy, and reduces our productivity,” Deanna explains.

Most people who boast that they can multitask effectively don’t realize that they are actually less efficient at solving many tasks at once than they are at completing one task at a time.

You should ask yourself how efficient you want to be whenever you find yourself wanting to multitask. You should be aware of the time and effort you need to devote to specific tasks. These tasks may require you to take time away from other tasks so you can devote your undivided attention to these tasks.

“When you stop multitasking and begin focusing entirely on a single task at one time, you’ll see your productivity increase,” she adds.

3. Get Organized

In my opinion, this can be a broad workflow as it encompasses both the big and the small.

For example, you could block out 10-minutes at the end of the workday to clean organize your workspace. You could also go through your inbox, update your to-do list, or revise your calendar for the week.

You will see a long-term improvement in your workflow if you eliminate this small amount of clutter.

On the bigger side of organization, you need to establish an effective organizational system. It’s a simple way for you and your team to save time when looking for documents and resources. Moreover, you can keep your team on task by implementing organizational strategies and data management systems.

I would also suggest assigning clear deadlines to both you and your team. Again, this will keep everyone on the same page and prevent hiccups. Ideally, you would use a team calendar so that everyone can view upcoming tasks and projects.

4. Schedule a ShipIt Day

The Atlassian Company developed the concept of letting employees work on any project for 24 hours. Employees become motivated when they have the chance to do something they are passionate about when creativity is encouraged in this way. After completing their task for the day, employees return to work feeling accomplished and motivated.

Even if you aren’t leading a team, you can still apply this concept. For instance, you could schedule a ShipIt on Fridays. Why? Because most of us are spent by the end of the week. And, for some, having a 4-day work week can increase your efficiency and workflow.

5. Keep Calm and Workflow On

It is only possible for your workflows to remain cutting edge if you prioritize analyzing them regularly and finding out what works, what doesn’t, and what to improve.

To achieve workflow efficiency, you must;

  • Plan your workflow for manual review,
  • Monitor your issue tracking workflows constantly,
  • As needed, refine your workflows
  • Make sure your workflow can continue to meet your targets by testing and improving.

To get more done with less, it’s easier to eliminate unnecessary steps and focus on what it takes to improve your workflow.

Where does your calendar come into play here? To ensure that you don’t forget to continually review and improve your workflow, add this to your calendar ASAP. How often? That’s up to you. But, for newer workflow improvements, I wouldn’t go more than a month.

However, you can schedule this as a quarterly or annual task in most cases.

Image Credit: Fauxels; Pexels; Thank you!

Five New Workflow Improvements to Add to Your Calendar was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

How Remote Work Is Changing How We Think About Productivity

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How Remote Work Changing How We Think About Productivity

It has been over two years since we first learned about COVID-19. There are a lot of things we will remember about those first months of the pandemic. The weird Netflix specials we binge-watched and the toilet paper we panic-bought are burned into our memories.

However, one of the most impactful things to come out of the pandemic isn’t our collection of homesewn masks or the rush of curbside pickup services extended by local businesses. What will continue to live on long after COVID-19 is remote work.

In order to keep businesses running and incomes alive, numerous companies experimented with having their employees work from home rather than in the office. This experiment ended up being incredibly successful and is a trend that many workers want to continue. Here are just some of the reasons why many are fighting to retain remote work and what we’ve learned from the experience thus far.

Happier Employees Work Harder

One of the most important points to touch on when talking about remote work is employee well-being. Simply put, working from home makes it a lot easier for workers to maintain a proper life balance. Taking away the commutes and morning prep times allows employees to spend more time with family, pursuing hobbies, or even getting the rest they need to clock in again the next day.

Happier employees tend to work harder. A positive attitude makes it easier to put your nose to the grindstone. In addition, employees who are pleased with their company’s work conditions will be more likely to give their all to the organization that has made this balance possible.

A study of employees who moved to remote work during the first six months of the pandemic showed that productivity was up considerably when compared to the same time period the year before. This came during one of the most stressful and uncertain times in modern U.S. history, so you can only imagine how beneficial remote work can be now that stability is returning somewhat.

Less Is Sometimes More

To grasp the full impact of remote work, let’s turn our focus away from the employees themselves for a moment. Productivity is part of cost management. Every task, product, and project comes with attendant costs. A productive workplace is also an efficient one, and remote work enables that more than nearly anything else.

For starters, companies can spend a lot less on daily expenses when employees work from home. Utility bills are lowered, less paper is consumed, and expensive office spaces with large floor plans are no longer necessary. Even if your employees are only working at 90% capacity in a remote setting, the significant savings you can get from making the move might be worth that and more.

With lower overhead costs, your company can sustain the same bottom line even if it brings in fewer sales or produces fewer deliverables. Yet if you work on keeping your remote workers motivated and productive, which is entirely doable, you’re likely to maintain — or even exceed — previous revenue numbers.

Convenience Is King

Another example of how less can sometimes be more is in the simple convenience of working from home. Employees often feel more comfortable working in their own space, which leads to higher productivity. A Stanford study estimated a 13% increase in productivity for remote workers when compared to productivity in the office.

A quieter, more familiar atmosphere and the ability to continue getting work done when feeling too sick to show up at the office are some of the biggest reasons for the productivity boost. It’s also nice not having to wear dress pants to every meeting and having easy access to the kitchen whenever you want a drink or snack.

Companies around the world spend billions of dollars trying to create ideal workspaces for their employees to get them excited about coming into the office to work. Even if you have a state-of-the-art coffee machine and an expansive lounge, oftentimes the same results can be replicated simply by letting employees work in their own homes.

KPIs Don’t Have to Be So Rigid

Most organizations use a collection of key performance indicators, or KPIs, to measure employee productivity. Unfortunately, many of these KPIs are a bit outdated. The shift to remote work is an opportunity to reevaluate the metrics you track in an effort to improve organizational productivity.

For example, many establishments rate their employees based on how punctual they are for shifts and how much overtime they are willing to put in. While these certainly can be signs of a good employee, they often miss the bigger picture. With remote work, time logged can be much less relevant, so measuring other KPIs will give you a better look into how your team is performing.

Instead of monitoring how much time your employees are sitting in front of a computer, track how many tasks they’ve completed or sales they’ve closed. If they’re accomplishing their regular workload and more, does it really matter when they started work or how many hours they clocked in?

Remote work certainly isn’t for everyone. Some people thrive in an office space, but many others are benefiting from remote work and the productivity boost it has delivered. Modern businesses should seriously consider remote work or hybrid work options for their teams. These flexible arrangements are likely to produce happier employees who work harder and stick around longer.

Image Credit: Ivan Samkov; Pexels; Thank you!

Ways to Have Some Fun While in Virtual Meetings

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Ways to Have Fun Virtual Meetings

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

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

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

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

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

2. Post photographs that are irrelevant to your job.

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

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

3. Show off your pets.

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

4. Pose a virtual meeting “connection inquiry.”

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

5. Honor birthdays.

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

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

6. Experiment with different backgrounds.

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

7. Play around with virtual reality.

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

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

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

9. Include a ‘human’ aspect.

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

10. Hold competitions and happy hours.

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

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

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

12. Allow everyone a turn in the spotlight.

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

Image Credit: Ivan Samkov; Pexels; Thank you!

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

Why Your Business Should Plan for Vacation Season Now

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Vacation Season

Summer — and vacation season — will be here faster than you know it. With it comes sandy beaches, tan lines, snow cones, and grilling on the patio. School is out for most kids, and weather conditions are ideal for taking trips and spending money on souvenirs and other pleasures.

If you run an appointment-based business, you may also experience an upswing in summer business. For some, going barefoot on the beach requires regular pedicures. Dental appointments for the kids and physicals for fall sports are easier to squeeze in when school is out of session. Whatever the nature of your business, summer may mean an increase in activity, not a series of lazy, hazy days.

If you’re prepared for it, summer business can result in exciting growth and earning potential. It could even take your small business to the next level. The trick is planning for vacation season now instead of waiting until the first day of summer break officially begins. These are just some of the reasons why your business should be preparing right now for the upcoming summer vacation season:

1. Failing to Plan Is Planning to Fail

This old adage holds a lot of truth in it. While no one is actively planning to fail, you’re essentially setting yourself up for disaster — or at least missed opportunities — by failing to plan for a seasonal uptick. Not only could you face overburdened staff, you could also leave current and potential customers dissatisfied.

Review your game plan from the year before so you have an idea of what worked and what didn’t last season. Consider hiring some seasonal employees to take on the additional workload or prepare self-service resources to take the weight off of your team when there’s a full house. Anything you can do to plan and prepare for the influx of business will help you delight more customers.

2. Employees Also Want Vacation Time

Customers aren’t the only people who are wanting to make the most of popular vacation times. At least one of your employees will be making plans for that same time period. If you’re not planning employee schedules in advance, you might find yourself short-handed during a busy time of the year.

You and your team need to touch base well before vacation season picks up. Right now is a good time to talk about summer plans with your employees as the weather continues to get warmer. Coordinating PTO and making sure schedules are covered before planes take off will help ensure that everyone gets their deserved vacation without leaving the rest of the team high and dry.

3. You Can Boost Your Sales With Prepared Content

Any time consumers are primed to spend is a good time to prepare some promotional content. For example, the right marketing campaign for the Christmas season can make an instant impact on your sales numbers for the final quarter of the year. Without posting any content, your business may get drowned out by the many other brands and competitors clamoring for attention. The same goes for snagging consumer attention during the summer months.

Your content and promotional deals will reap far more benefits if they are prepared well in advance. For example, your mother-daughter mani-pedi deal will flop if you don’t have enough staff scheduled to apply the required polish. Throwing together a promotion on the fly will not be nearly as effective as a well-thought-out and carefully executed plan. You should be conceiving and fine-tuning your promotional content weeks before it is set to go live.

4. Things Can, and Will, Go Wrong

Your normal business operations are probably doing fine at the moment. However, the vacation season can add a lot of strain on your normal workflows and daily operations. This added strain can make a lot of new and unexpected problems show up at the most inopportune times. It’s always a good idea to prepare for the worst.

What happens if your star stylist comes down with a case of post-picnic food poisoning and has to cancel days’ worth of appointments? This isn’t something you can predict, but it’s one of those scenarios you should be prepared for regardless. Having other staff ready to pitch in can make sure his clients don’t have to head to the beach without their highlights. The better your backup plan, the fewer annoyed customers you’ll have.

5. You’ll Only Reach the Goals You Set

You can accomplish a lot of things with your business this summer, but only if you start your planning now. Let’s say you’ve started a new business, and you want to use this busy season to pay off one of your business loans. Getting rid of those monthly payments would sure be helpful, but you need an actual plan in order to achieve that.

With a goal in mind, what can you do in the prep phase to make things happen? Perhaps it’s by designing and running a killer digital promotion that will bring in new revenue. Maybe your plan is to set up an information tent at ball games, concerts, and other busy public summer events to get the word out about your new business. Plan these efforts now, and you might actually meet the goals you set.

So much can go right, or wrong, depending on the amount of planning you put into your business. With appropriate preparation, you increase the likelihood that summer vacation season will make — not break — your business.

Image Credit: Oleksandr Pidvalnyi; Pexels; Thanks!

Should You Have Full Meetings or a Quick Slack Chat?

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Should You Have Full Meetings Quick Slack

Before COVID the question of whether you should have a full meeting or a quick slack chat would not even have been on the radar of issues needing to be addressed. One study showed that 55 million meetings are held worldwide each week. Another study discovered employees spend two hours a week attending unnecessary meetings. This is not only a massive waste of time but $541 billion in resources as well.

In light of the studies — it is not surprising that most of us question each and every meeting on our Calendar. And, certainly, the seeming craziness has gotten more ridiculous following COVID-19, but what action to take is less apparent.

Virtual meetings used to take up two hours a week, but now they take up more than ten. In other words, we spend one-fourth of our work week in virtual meetings, whether through Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and the like.

However, it might be possible to replace your full meetings with a quick Slack chat to save you and your team time, money, and sanity.

Not All Meetings Are Quality

“Meetings have become a necessary evil in the post-pandemic world,” notes Howie Jones in a previous Calendar article. “Many, if not most, can be done remotely. On Zoom, or some other remote platform. And there are ways to keep them from becoming too annoying.

Meetings are not completely effective even in ideal circumstances, say people from all levels of a company, including the CEO, he adds. The pandemic, the current turbulent labor market, and the pressing needs at home make today’s corporate climate a challenging one.

“Executives and teams simply cannot afford to squander time and resources,” says Howie. Meetings typically squandered people’s time and rewarded grandstanding and egomaniacs before Covid-19. “In 2019, Korn Ferry reported that 51% of workers thought the excessive time spent on calls and meetings hampered their effect at work, while 67% stated excessive meetings hindered peak performance.

Only 11% of respondents thought all meetings were useful. Sometimes, though, a meeting is the best approach to bringing everyone together.

It’s About The Medium

Meetings can be very productive. Others can be awful. No matter what, they play an important role in the work of every organization. What separates them, however, is the goal of each meeting, as well as the medium.

For example, meeting one-on-one for a performance review has a more formal vibe than the laid-back atmosphere of catching up over lunch. There’s also a different feel to a scheduled meeting at a conference table compared to an impromptu chat at someone’s desk.

Electronically, emoji-filled texts convey a different mood from emails. What’s more, Slack notifications are handled differently than a distracting ringing phone. Regardless, use every channel at your disposal to reduce or prep for meetings. And, don’t overlook tools like Calendar which allow you to streamline schedules.

Whatever you meeting you choose, make sure you have everything you need for productive interactions. And, to ensure that, you can answer the following questions;

  • Are you going to need to refer to your documents during the conversation?
  • Can this conversation be conducted over the phone while you walk?
  • Does it matter to you that you can see each other?
  • Would a file-sharing program be better suited for this particular collaboration?

After you’ve established the best method of communication, make sure you formally document those guidelines. In the case of a chat function, it might be perfect for exchanging short ideas. On the flip side, it’s not ideal for sending documents or important dates. After all, a long conversation can lead to too many details being missed.

It’s probably best to send information via email. As for collaboration, you can’t go wrong with Google Docs — particularly when real-time evaluation is needed. When you need to talk privately or have a two-way brainstorming session, the trusty phone should suffice.

Providing these guidelines lets your employees know what to expect from a phone call or an app notification. Additionally, creating clear expectations makes communication more effective, avoids misunderstandings, and reduces stress.

Meetings That Go Great With Slack

Generally, video chat, phone, or in-person meetings are some of the best methods of handling meetings. However, Slack interactions can be used to replace certain types of meetings.

The daily status meeting.

“One of the best candidates to be replaced by activity in Slack is the daily status meeting,” states the Slack Team.

During these meetings, team members share what they are working on today, what they finished yesterday, and any issues holding them back. But, the facilitator may find it difficult to enforce and prevent discussion creep even if you limit each update to 60 or 90 seconds. For example, if you have a dozen people on your team, you would spend at least 15 minutes every morning in these meetings, which would amount to three person-hours per day, they add.

If you want to avoid this problem, you should set a start time for this kind of meeting so everyone can submit an update on time. By using Calendar, you can easily manage this.

Brainstorming sessions.

New ideas are the lifeblood of businesses. Meetings to brainstorm are essential if you want the river of ideas to flow.

“Brainstorming meetings are designed to generate a lot of ideas over a short period of time—and they’re critical if you’re trying to solve a problem or achieve a goal,” says David Chaudron, an organizational psychologist and the managing partner of consulting firm Organized Change.

How can brainstorming meetings be successful? Don’t focus on the outcome of the meeting, but on the ideas.

According to Chaudron, brainstorming sessions should be open to ideas “without having to judge them right then. Figure out what works and doesn’t work after you do the brainstorming. It’s important you have a separate [meeting] just for the brainstorming itself.”

When using Slack for brainstorming sessions, you should integrate it with collaborative tools like Dropbox or Google Drive. You should also set up a dedicated brainstorming channel in Slack. And, whenever you brainstorm, always create tangible materials such as sheets, documents, or even doodles

Reviews and approvals.

‌‌Another type of meeting that might be handled better through text is a project review and approval meeting. It is possible for these meetings to lack focus, resulting in lengthy and ineffective gatherings.

As an alternative to meeting face-to-face or video conference, upload any relevant images or documents to Slack. Once completed, you can ask for feedback from everyone involved. Depending on the culture of your workplace, some people request emoji responses here.

Furthermore, Slack can also be used to discuss how to improve the current project or how it might be structured in the future. By doing all of this over Slack, participants can think about their responses at their own pace, as opposed to feeling like they’ve been put on the spot in a face-to-face meeting.

Team building activities.

During team-building meetings, members gain a better understanding of each other, develop trust, and strengthen their cohesion. Increased productivity and employee satisfaction can be achieved by improving employee collaboration as well.

Through the use of games or team challenges, team-building meetings are meant to create a fun and interactive atmosphere. Leaders and organizers have a great opportunity to connect with their teams and build stronger bonds.

Virtual team-building meetings are becoming more and more important as more people work remotely. These programs engage and connect remote workers who may feel isolated from their teammates and organizations. It is important for companies to engage with remote employees to prevent morale and the company culture from deteriorating.

Post-survey meetings.

Because there are so many types of surveys, each of which serves a different purpose, you can use surveys to improve virtually all aspects of your team.

In low-trust environments, anonymous surveys can assist with tracking team morale, employee feedback can be collected and analyzed, and there are also team feedback surveys. Moreover, running surveys in Slack saves time and stores historical data for future reference. And, Slack threads are perfect for follow-ups.

Are Slack Meetings Better?

In a nutshell, no.

You can easily conduct daily check-ins, brainstorming sessions, and review meetings using a text-based application, like Slack. It’s also handy for team-building and surveys. The majority of other meetings, however, are better conducted by phone, video chat, or in person.

You can enhance your team’s connection and relationship with face-to-face meetings. Even when people are many miles apart, phone calls can help them feel connected. Both make teams more productive.

In others, use Slack for quick chats or collaboration. But, for more complex and detailed conversations, a full meeting still serves a purpose. Furthermore, you can use Slack to prepare for one-on-ones and full meetings. For example, you can send attendees the agenda, prep questions, and a log to track progress.

When appropriate, use Slack to save time and energy so that your team’s meetings can be as productive as possible. And, more importantly, quick Slack chats can improve efficiency and preserve your and your team’s energy.

Image Credit: Tirachard Kumtanom; Pexels; Thanks!

Should You Have Full Meetings or a Quick Slack Chat? was originally published on Calendar by Deanna Ritchie.

4 Ways to Spring-Clean Your Business Processes

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4 Ways Spring Clean Business Processes

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

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

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

1. Out With the Old

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

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

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

2. In With the New

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

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

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

3. Get an Audit

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

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

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

4. Reevaluate Your Goals

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

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

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

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

Image Credit: Julia Filirovska; Pexels; Thank you!

12 Happiness Hacks to Add to Your Calendar

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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!

How to Marie Kondo Your Schedule (or Work Life)

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How To Marie Kondo Your Schedule

Marie Kondo is a master of organization. She began a tidying consultant business as a 19-year-old student and has since become an author and TV show host. She is now heralded as a master of tidiness and organization and is an individual who many look up to when trying to get their messy lives back on track. While much of Kondo’s advice is for tidying up your physical space, she can teach you a lot about tidying up your schedule and your time management.

By taking her decluttering approach to your schedule, you will be less stressed and have more free time. Here are just some of the ways you can channel your inner Marie Kondo to take control of your daily schedule:

Combine Your Calendars

Your schedule consists of many different parts. There’s your work schedule that contains your weekly shifts, team meetings, and project deadlines. A family schedule reminds you of all of your kids’ after-school events and homework due dates. Finally, you have a personal schedule for pursuing hobbies and tending to certain responsibilities, such as bills and dentist appointments.

Managing all of these calendars separately can be exhausting. Instead of clicking through multiple calendars trying to get through every day, try combining them into a single schedule. Most online calendars have this function, allowing you to combine your separate schedules and even share them with others.

Once you’ve combined your calendars, all you need is a proper organizational method to keep everything tidy. This could be as simple as color-coding your events based on different criteria. For example, all of your work events could be labeled in red so that at a quick glance you know exactly what’s going on at work that day.

Prioritize Your Task List

Some tasks need to take higher priority than others. Subconsciously, it can be difficult to remember which items on your task list should be labeled as higher priority. If you haven’t made a priority list before starting your day, you can get caught up in the menial tasks that get in the way of completing meaningful work.

Start by writing down your entire daily or weekly task list. Next, start marking the tasks that have urgent due dates or can’t be delayed. Other parameters you can use include the amount of time required to complete each task and whether certain events rely on another person.

Once you’ve done this, you can lay out your schedule more effectively. Low-priority tasks can take a back seat to the items that made the top of your list. This can help you cut down on the busywork and focus on the tasks that really matter.

Learn to Say No

A big part of Kondo’s philosophy is learning to let go of certain things. Clutter builds up when we are unable to discard certain items or clear our space of the things that hold little value. You can bring this same mentality to your schedule by learning when you should say “no” to certain events and commitments.

Sometimes you need to decline an invitation to a meeting that you know you won’t benefit from. You can say no to certain tasks that aren’t your responsibility rather than forcing you to pick up others’ slack. And you can even learn to say no to certain bad habits, such as sleeping in or going out to eat for lunch every day.

By saying no every once in a while, you can free up your schedule a little bit. This will give you more time to focus on the most important things in your life rather than letting a jam-packed schedule stress you out.

Let Automation Do the Work

Any time there’s the possibility of automating your schedule, you should look into it. By automating simple tasks, you can save time for the things that really matter.

An example of automated schedules is scheduling links. These links display your availability to others. For example, a client of yours can look at your scheduling link to see when you might be free for a phone call. They can book a time with you straight through the link, automatically filling your schedule with important events.

Another thing you can do is add recurring events to your calendar. These events will cycle through your calendar on a designated loop. You won’t have to constantly add events to your schedule, and you’ll always receive the reminders you need for each event.

Time management requires discipline and a concentrated effort over time. However, it certainly helps to have people like Marie Kondo to learn from. Take advantage of the tips above to seize control of your life through more effective time management.

Image Credit: Energepic.com; Pexels; Thank you!

How to Boost Your Productivity Game in 2022

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How Boost Productivity Game 2022

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

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

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

Establish Some Boundaries

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

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

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

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

Breathe Life Into That To-Do List

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

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

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

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

Free Up Your Prime Time

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

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

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

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

Employ Some Tools of the Productivity Trade

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

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

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

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

Give Your Productivity a Leg Up

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

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

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

Image Credit: Olia Danilevich; Pexels; Thank you!

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