How Time Management Plays A Major Role In Your Success

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Management

When I became my own boss I was thrilled that I could set my own hours and work on whatever I felt like working on. In the beginning, this may have worked. I was wasting time and falling for time management myths like multi-tasking and focusing on being “busy.” After my epiphany, I realized that the only way I was going to succeed was if I started to manage my time more effectively. The conclusion is that time management plays a major role in your success — any person’s success. And time management certainly was going to play a major role in my success.

Time is a Limited Resource

“Time is your most precious resource,” writes Brian Tracy. “It is the most valuable thing you have. It is perishable, it is irreplaceable, and it cannot be saved.” It’s true. We all have the same amount of time. When the time is gone — it’s gone — and it’s gone forever.

Realizing the fact that time management means everything, can put things in a new perspective. For example, you could spend all day watching Netflix. But, that time could have been better spent on exercising, reading, learning a new skill, catching up with an old friend, or networking.

In other words, when you really understand that time is a finite resource, you begin to cherish every second of it.

Reduces Stress

Stress kills.

Chronic stress can lead to heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, and cirrhosis of the liver — well, the list goes on. I don’t want to dwell on that. Stress can also affect your brain, suppress your thyroid, cause blood sugar imbalances, reduce your immunity and ability to heal, and even cause some to commit suicide. But there are some great stress reducers you can use in your company.

Here’s the thing, stress management and time management go hand in hand. When you manage your time more wisely, you feel more in control. You’re able to meet deadlines and prevent last-minute surprises. You also become more efficient and prepared to handle anything that life throws your way. Eventually, you become more relaxed and less stressed.

You Accomplish More With Less Effort

When taking control of your time you can improve your ability to focus and eliminate distractions, which in turn will make you more productive.

This because when you’re aware of what needs to get done, you don’t lose momentum. You focus on the task at a time and block out distractions, like email and social media notifications. As a result, you’ll breeze through your tasks more quickly.

Less Re-work

Time management rules encourage you to work more efficiently by being organized, staying focused, and single-tasking, you won’t make as many mistakes. This doesn’t mean that your work will be perfect, but you’ll notice that you’re no longer having to redo a task because you forgot to add it to your list. You will not be forgetting an important item nor making severe errors anymore.

“Don’t make the same decision twice. Spend time and thought to make a solid decision the first time so that you don’t revisit the issue unnecessarily. If you’re too willing to reopen issues, it interferes not only with your execution but also with your motivation to make a decision in the first place. After all, why bother deciding an issue if it isn’t really going to be decided?” — Bill Gates

Small Steps Lead to Big Goals

Richard Branson once said, “If you don’t have time for the small things, you won’t have time for the big things.” I love that quote. In order to become successful, you need to set goals. Obviously, you’re not going to achieve them overnight. It takes time. It also involved baby steps.

Think of it like when you see a set of stairs. You know that you want to reach the top, but in order to get there, you need to take one step at a time. Time management helps you focus on each of those steps so that you can reach the top.

Identifies Your Top Priorities

Perhaps the greatest influence that time management is that it allows you to prioritize. This is because it forces you to focus on what is most urgent and important right now. As Sheryl Sandberg has said, “You can only do so much. There are five more projects you want to do, but you pick the three that are really going to matter, and you try to do those really well, and you don’t even try to do the others.” Other founders have determined to deploy a “no meeting day” companywide in their companies.

Improves Decision Making

When it’s crunch time and you have an important decision to make, this pressure may lead to making the wrong decision because you don’t have all the information or time to mull it over. When you’re not pressured for time, you can sit back, reflect, and analyze the information you have to make the best decision possible.

Eliminates Wasted Time

When you know what you have to do next, you won’t waste valuable time wondering what you’re going to do next. You can jump right into the next task so that you’re one step ahead.

Boosts Your Reputation

How successfully do you think you’ll be if you’re constantly showing up late to a meeting or missing deadlines? No one wants to work with someone who is so flaky and unreliable.

Time management ensures that you’re always going to show up, meet a deadline, and follow-through on what you promised to do.

Gives You More Free Time

While managing your time better won’t actually give you more hours in a day, it does help you make the most of these hours so that you can have more leisure time. For example, instead of spending a lot of time composing emails in your office — formulate your response during your morning and afternoon commute so that you can get home earlier.

Successful people realize that they can’t be on the clock 24/7. They need time away to destress, recharge and refocus. The only way to achieve this is by effectively managing your time so that you can stop and smell the proverbial roses.

Rules for Successful Time Management

While there’s no denying that time management plays a major rule in your success, how can you become a master of time management? Start by following these rules:

    • Start your day on the right foot. Have a morning routine where you have time to gather your thoughts and prepare for the day.
    • Have a plan on what you want to accomplish. Set reasonable and practical goals that you can achieve that day.
    • Break large tasks down. Large and complex tasks can be overwhelming — which leads to procrastination. Break these down into smaller chunks that are more achievable.
    • Prioritize and eliminate the non-essential. Focus only on your three most urgent and important tasks for the day and forget everything else. You can add these to your to-do-list.
    • Delegate. If there are tasks you aren’t strong at or dread doing, hand them off to someone else to complete so that you can focus on more pressing matters.
    • Use timers. A timer can keep you on track when you get distracted or make sure that you don’t spend too much time on a specific task.
    • Stay organized. Make sure everything has a home and is returned when not in use. This way you aren’t wasting time looking for an item when you need it.
    • Review your calendar. At the end of each day review your calendar. This way you can plan accordingly for tomorrow.
    • Spend your downtime wisely. Read, write, learn something new, socialize with friends, volunteer, and build your network. Do any of these instead of working 24/7 or spending your free time on activities that don’t contribute to your success.

How Time Management Plays A Major Role In Your Success was originally published on Calendar by John Hall

Productive Things to do During Downtime

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Even the busiest workers have a noticeable amount of downtime. Yet, there are ways to still accomplish productive things in that downtime. Whether it’s been scheduled or it’s your body’s way of saying “slow down, take a break” downtime during your workday can often be used as an opportunity to tie up loose ends and be productive with low-effort tasks. Here are 5 productive things you can do that make you feel good whenever you find that there’s downtime in your schedule.

Exercise

Exercise has a ton of benefits which is probably why successful people make time to stay active. While I used to find it easy for me to get lost on YouTube to start binging Netflix during my downtime, I started breaking up my day to exercise during the early afternoon slump instead. Exercise will help you stay healthy and keep your mind sharp and motivated to crank out some more great projects during the remainder of the workday. It doesn’t require a huge time commitment either. Even if you only have a few minutes, you can go for a walk around the corner or do a few exercises before starting back up again.

Read

It’s no secret that successful people read. The average millionaire is said to reads two or more books per month. Take the time to read blogs, news sites, fiction, and non-fiction during downtime so you can soak in more knowledge. If you’re often on the go, you may want to try audiobooks or listen to podcasts for fun or to learn about things like personal development, personal finance, or entrepreneurship.

Network

Networking can be valuable when done correctly. It shouldn’t always be your main focus but it’s important to squeeze in time to attend networking events and reach out to other either online or in person. Downtime is the perfect time to do some networking, maintain current relationships or follow up with people you’ve reached out to previously.

Open and Respond to Emails

Checking emails throughout the day can be tempting, but it’s an easy way to waste time and energy. I check and respond to my most important emails when in the morning and toward the end of the workday. I save the rest for small moments of downtime when I just need to do something easy and catch up. Managing emails can definitely become overwhelming if you don’t take time to stay caught up throughout the day. However, this doesn’t mean you have to waste time by checking in every 10 minutes. Focus on what’s important throughout the day, then save the rest for downtime.

Reorganize Your Calendar

Unexpected downtime like a meeting cancellation can be a great time to look at your calendar to make sure you’re on track and even plan for the next day. Planning your days in advance is one of the best ways to stay organized, motivated, and get a lot done. Successful people don’t waste time wondering what they’re going to do and when they’re going to do it. They already have a plan scheduled out and ready to execute. If you are experiencing way too much downtime throughout the day, you may want to reorganize your calendar and make sure you’re working efficiently and making the best use of your time.
Originally published here.

You Should Consider a Companywide “No Meetings Day”

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No matter the size of the company — meetings are a necessary evil. Meetings are where you and your team set a strategy, brainstorm ideas, gather team insights, and check the status of a project. But, founders should consider a companywide, “no meetings day.”

You already have a handle on the fact that your talent isn’t too keen on meetings either. Meetings often feel like a waste of time to your team when they are so busy. Particularly difficult on your team are, the status meetings, check-ins, regular team meetings and of course, those pesky update meetings.

Would your team rather watch paint dry than have a company meeting?

According to one poll, 46 percent of respondents stated that they would prefer to do anything else besides sitting in a meeting. What’s more, 17 percent said they would choose to watch paint dry, while eight percent reported that they would rather have a root canal.

But, it’s not just the employees who aren’t fond of meetings. A report published by Harvard Business Review found that over 70 percent of the 182 senior managers surveyed agreed that meetings are unproductive and inefficient. Respondents added that meetings prevent them from completing their own work (65 percent), partaking in deep thinking (64 percent), and missing out on other opportunities to bond with their team (62 percent).

As a result, more and more organizations are choosing to set a “No Meeting Days.”

Why you should consider a companywide, “No Meeting Day.”

To be fair, this isn’t a groundbreaking idea. The idea of having a companywide “no meeting day” has been implemented by many businesses over the years.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Since 2013, Asana has a company-wide rule “No Meeting Wednesdays.”
  • After becoming CEO Aria Healthcare Kate Kinslow instituted “No Meeting Fridays.”
  • Kelly Eidson, the cofounder of Moveline, has swamped meetings on Tuesdays or “Maker Days.”
  • Tristan Walker, founder, and CEO of Walker & Company only schedule meetings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Why have these organizations, and many other organizations, decided to take a stand against meetings?

Dustin Moskovitz, the cofounder of Asana, writes, “The gist is that the “makers” suffer greatly from interrupting meetings in their flow time. Managers are generally used to having a schedule-driven day — so it seems easier for them to throw a disruption into somebody else’s calendar,” the memo reads. “Makers also do this to each other.”

Kelly Edison tells Fast Company that the Tuesday, “‘Maker Day’ is a day where the goal is for people to be productive with a big problem they are trying to solve.” Edison adds, “People in the [product] team can work wherever they want and don’t have to be accessible to anyone but themselves.”

Tristan Walker says that on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays “I try to take zero meetings so I can get work done. Tuesdays and Wednesdays it’s usually back-to-back-to-back meetings.”

Between project management software, automation, and the fact that meetings waste both her personal and professional time, Amanda Abella writes in a previous Calendar article that she’s ditched team meetings altogether.

If you’re still not convinced, then consider that businesses lose $37 billion in unnecessary meetings every yearas well as:

  • Between preparation, traveling, and attending a five-person meeting eats-up 53 hours and 24 minutes.
  • 91 percent of meeting attendees admit that they daydream during meetings.
  • Meetings also can add stress to employees. 73 percent are stressed because the meeting takes time away from their family. 64 percent mentioned that they are concerned about work piling up.
  • According to Public Health England CEO, Duncan Selbie, “sitting in too many meetings can slow down metabolism and reduce the body’s ability to regulate sugar and blood pressure. This can lead to serious health concerns like obesity, diabetes, and cancer.”
  • Your organization can boost productivity by 20 percent by eliminating meetings.

How to establish a meeting-free day every week.

It’s one thing to say that you’re going to implement a “No Meeting Day,” but how can you follow through?

The first step is to make a commitment.

Time coach and author of How to Invest Your Time Like Money, Elizabeth Grace Saunders, suggests, “To start, I blocked off every Wednesday on a recurring basis on my calendar. That way, when people used my online scheduling system, Wednesday simply wasn’t an option.”

Set boundaries.

Saunders adds, “Making a meeting-free day a recurring event instead of picking the day week by week increased my chances of setting boundaries and following through.”

Once you’ve decided to make the commitment, Saunders recommends that the next step is to, “Discuss your strategy with close colleagues and your boss. That conversation can include why you see this as an important part of your schedule. It also says what people can expect from you — not only in terms of meetings — but also in terms of communication. This clearly shows when you will (or won’t) be available on email. The goal is uninterrupted focus.”

With those first two steps out of the way, you should also consider scraping status meetings entirely. Instead, use project management software. Use communication channels like Slack, companywide newsletters, or even just a spreadsheet mounted to the wall work well. This way everyone remains in the loop and are aware of the status of projects without having to attend a pointless meeting.

There are still some meeting you must have.

Yes, there are still some meetings you must have. However, think about replacing meetings with something fun, such as a public outing. This way you and your team can still exchange ideas and information and bond with each other without being stuck in a conference room.

Conclusion

Finally, realize that there will be times when you still need to have meetings. This will include times such as when meeting with a potential client or kicking-off a new project. To ensure that meetings are highly productive, use the following tips:

  • Send out an agenda at least 24-hours in advance so that everyone is prepared.
  • Follow Jeff Bezos’ “two-pizza rule” — and keep meetings as small as possible.
  • Clearly define the role of every attendee.
  • Keep meetings short — ideally no more than 18 minutes.
  • Enforce a “no cell phones” rule.
  • Instead of sitting in a conference room or office, have a standing or walking meeting.
  • Consider lunch meetings.
  • Assign tasks at the end of the meeting.
  • Send out a follow-up email.

If worse comes to worse, here is the best advice we can on how to run a meeting that doesn’t suck.

Moon Calendar

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Moon Calendar

Measuring time has always been important. Scratch that. It’s essential. Measuring time is crucial, not just because you may run late to a meeting, which is a big deal. But, measuring the time used to mean the fact of whether or not you would survive. For example, if you planted a crop during the wrong time of year, you wouldn’t have food to eat throughout the winter.

Because keeping track time was so vital, people turned to a reliable source: the moon. As a result, a calendar was created using the phases of the moon. It may not be used today, but it was a tool that played a significant role in people’s daily lives for centuries. And, it’s influence can still be felt today.

Overview of a moon calendar.

A moon calendar, or more commonly called a lunar calendar, is easy to define. It’s a calendar that follows the monthly cycles of the phases of the moon. It’s one of the oldest calendars in the world that creates lunar months, also known as synodic months. Don’t get caught up in the complicated terminology. A lunar month is simply one that occurs between two successive syzygies, such as new moons and full moons.

Although solar calendars, which are determined by the solar and have influenced the Gregorian Calendar, lunar calendars were essential. And, there can impact can still be felt today.

For example, each lunation is approximately ​291⁄2 days (29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 3 seconds, or 29.530588 days). Because of this, it helped determine where each month alternates between 29 and 30 days. The word month is derived from the word moon.

Additionally, ancient civilizations used the phases of the moon to help identify the seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter). Since each season has three full moons, this guided them in knowing when to schedule vital activities like harvesting and hunting.

Today, the moon calendar is used for ritual purposes, as opposed to official business. Easter, Ramadan, Rosh Hashanah, and the Chinese New Year are just a handful of holidays that rely on the lunar calendar.

The lunar calendar further explained.

Are you still a little confused about how a moon calendar works? If so, we hope to clear things up in the following section.

The days between each moon phase.

Again, on average, there are 29.53 between each phase of the moon. How was this figure determined? Well, some incredibly smart folks figured out a long time ago that a new moon appears every 29.53 days. It should be noted. However, that does vary just slightly. Some months it’s 28 days while others can be 30.

What’s fascinating is that it takes the moon around 27.3 days to orbit the earth. However, it needs 2.2 days to “catch up.” The reason? Our little third rock from the sun travels roughly 45 million miles around the Sun during the time the Moon completes one orbit around Earth.

Another question you may have is the first day of the month start on moon calendars? Well, it depends. For example, lunar calendars, such as the Hebrew and Hirji, began when a lunar crescent was noticed. The Hindu calendar started the day following a new or full moon. And, lunisolar calendars like the Chinese determined the first day of the month by when an astronomical new moon occurred in a particular time zone.

Are lunar calendars more accurate?

Lunar calendars may have been accurate when establishing months. But, it’s a bit off when it comes to the number of days there are in a year.

A lunar year is only 354 days. So, if you were to use an accurate lunar calendar, you would lose 11 days annually compared to the widely used Gregorian Calendar. That’s because it takes 365 days for the earth to orbit the sun.

After three years, the lunar calendar would be about a month behind the solar Gregorian Calendar. Some moon calendars have taken this into account and get back in sync with solar calendars every 33 years.

Solar calendars also have their flaws. Take leap years as an example. They were meant to address inaccuracies. But, one day still drifts around every 3216 years. Lunar calendars, on the other hand, only have an error of merely 2 seconds annually. If you’re keeping track, that comes out to 1 day every 31,250. If you were to use this measure then, lunar calendars are ten times more accurate then the Gregorian Calendar.

The moon phases of the lunar calendar.

There are eight lunar phases within the Lunar calendar. Each phase is determined by where the moon is located in relation to the sun. As Deborah Byrd explains on EarthSky, “The moon, Earth and sun are aligned with Earth in the middle. The moon’s fully illuminated half – its dayside – faces Earth’s night side.” Additionally, the moon will always rise in the east and set in the west. Its orbital motion is also towards the east.

With that out of the way, here are the eight moon phases in order:

New Moon

The first phase is called, appropriately, a new moon. The new moon occurs when the moon is directly between the Earth and the sun. When the moon is between the Earth and the sun, the dark side of the moon is facing the Earth. So, the new moon is often not visible to us.

Waxing Cresent

Have you spotted just a sliver of the moon in the sky? This is the beginning of the Waxing Cresent phase. But, thanks to “earthshine,” there may be times when you can see the rest of the moon. This phase usually occurs a couple of days after a new moon.

First Quarter

This phase begins when the moon is to 90 degrees between the sun and the Earth. It received its name because at this point the moon has completed ¼ of the lunar cycle.

Waxing Gibbous

Technically, this phase covers the time between the first quarter and full moon phases. This is because waxing gibbous means “growing shape.”

Full Moon

Two weeks after the new moon, it becomes wholly illuminated. Hence, we have a full moon, and its orbit is halfway completed. A supermoon appears when the moon is at its closest orbit point with the Earth. A micro-moon is when it’s at it’s furthest. Also, a lunar eclipse happens when the moon passes through the shadow of the Earth.

Waning Gibbous

If waxing means increasing, then waning stands for decreasing. A week after a full moon, it appears smaller since the amount of the moon that is visible decreases,

Third Quarter

This name was given to this phase because it’s ¾ completed. Sometimes, however, it’s also called the Last Quarter phase. Regardless of the term you use, it happens three weeks following a new moon.

Waning Crescent

The Waning Crescent is the final lunar phase where the moon appears to be just a tiny sliver in the sky. It occurs four weeks after a new moon and concludes when the sun and moonrise at the same time.

Do want to know what phase we’re currently in? You can visit sites like timeanddate.com. Or, if you’re crafty, you can create your own moon calendar.

What about the Harvest Moon?

On top of the eight phases of the moon, each full month of the year has it’s own unique name. These names were usually related to agriculture or the weather. For example, the Harvest Moon occurs when the moon is closest to the autumnal equinox — this is usually in September. Because it’s so bright out, farmers were able to work late harvesting the crops they planted in the spring and summer.

Here is a list of the common names used in North America:

  • January — Moon after Yule
  • February — Snow Moon
  • March — Sap Moon
  • April — Grass Moon
  • May — Planting Moon
  • June — Honey Moon
  • July — Thunder Moon
  • August — Grain Moon
  • September — Fruit Moon (or Harvest Moon)
  • October — Hunter’s Moon (or Harvest Moon)
  • November — Frosty Moon
  • December — Moon before Yule

What about a blue moon? This occurs on average every 33 months when there are two full moons in one calendar month. Because there are only 28 days in February, there will never be a blue moon in that month.

How the moon affects the Earth.

“The moon is the easiest celestial object to find in the night sky — when it’s there. Earth’s only natural satellite hovers above us bright and round until it seemingly disappears for a few nights,” writes Charles Q. Choi on Space.com. “The rhythm of the moon’s phases has guided humanity for millennia — for instance, calendar months are roughly equal to the time it takes to go from one full moon to the next.”

More importantly, and despite being ⅙ of the size of earth, the moon has a profound influence on our planet. Most notably, the rise and fall of sea levels — aka tides. Believe it or not, tides can also take place in lakes, the atmosphere, and within the Earth’s crust.

According to Choi, “The moon’s gravitational pull may have been key to making Earth a livable planet by moderating the degree of wobble in Earth’s axial tilt, which led to a relatively stable climate over billions of years where life could flourish.”

Additionally, if the Earth didn’t have a moon, the length of a day wouldn’t be 24 hours. It would be just 8 hours. In other words, the Earth would be spinning at a much faster speed. And, that would result in some pretty intense winds.

It’s also been found that animal behavior is influenced by the moon; this is true when it comes to tides and moonlight. One study even found that pet emergency visits increase during full moons.

Because of all of these, it’s no surprise that the moon has influenced everything from popular culture to calendars.

The origin on the moon calendar.

As already mentioned, lunar calendars are some of the oldest calendars ever used. But, who were the first civilizations to fully embrace the moon calendar?

Encyclopedia Britannica states that the “Sumerians were probably the first to develop a calendar based entirely on the recurrence of lunar phases. Each Sumero-Babylonian month began on the first day of visibility of the new Moon.”

“Although an intercalary month was used periodically, intercalations were haphazard, inserted when the royal astrologers realized that the calendar had fallen severely out of step with the seasons,” continues the Britannica article. In around 380 BC, however, “fixed rules regarding intercalations were established, providing for the distribution of seven intercalary months at designated intervals over 19-year periods.”

It was eventually Greek astronomers that “devised rules for intercalations to coordinate the lunar and solar years. It is likely that the Roman republican calendar was based on the lunar calendar of the Greeks.” It was also the Greeks who took note of how the moon influenced everything from tides, agriculture, and human behavior. This information was input into their calendars.

Jutta Russell over at Living With The Moon, adds that “As the first tribes settled down and agriculture evolved around 9000B.C. the Ancient Lunar Calendar was the essential tool for planting, harvesting, to raise taxes and worship the gods.” These ancient lunar calendars were “passed down from one generation to the next and followed by urban and rural populations alike.”

It was the Babylonians who were created with developing the lunisolar calendar. Perhaps the most famous example of this is the Chinese calendar. Unfortunately, by around 1582, people began to rely more on the Gregorian calendar. However, it was adopted by China until 1912 and Russia in 1918.

Are lunar calendars still used?

Today, the lunar calendar has fallen out of favor. Pretty much corner of the world now uses the Gregorian calendar. There are some exceptions, though. Saudi Arabia, for instance, still uses the Islamic calendar, which is genuinely lunar. The downside is that they’re usually 11 or 12 days behind everyone else.

Outside of Saudi Arabia, moon calendars are mainly reserved for religious and cultural purposes. Easter and the Chinese New Year are celebrated in accordance with the moon. This why the dates vary from year to year.

Additionally, Ramadan starts and concludes with the first sighting of the Waxing Moon. Because of this, it explains why the crescent moon is incorporated symbol in many flags of Islamic countries. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, also uses the moon to determine when the Jewish calendar begins in the autumn.

These events are so important that today they’re legal holidays in most countries.

Moon Calendar was originally published on Calendar by Deanna Ritchie

8 Out-There Apps to Boost Your Productivity Levels

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Apps to Boost Productivity

From email follow-ups to meeting prep and note-taking, thanks to technology some of today’s most menial tasks don’t have to take up your precious time anymore. In fact, there is pretty much an app for everything nowadays. But what apps boost your productivity levels?

The app FollowUp compiles all of your most urgent emails and unanswered communications so you don’t forget anything. Charlie puts together information on a person you’re meeting with. And Squid converts your hand-written notes into digital files. It is safe to say there is an app to help with anything you do today.

If you are not sure where to start, take a look at these eight out-there apps to help boost your productivity levels.

1. FollowUp

When you’re busy, it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks. However, FollowUp wants to make sure you don’t forget anything. FollowUp congregates all of your most important emails, text messages and unanswered phone calls in one place, so you’re reminded to get back to them.

2. Charlie

Whether you’re meeting a new client or going into an interview, it’s important to know some background about who you’re meeting with. Instead of taking the time to research people on the web, Charlie can do this for you. The app goes through hundreds of sources to create a one-page document with information about the person you’re going to meet with.

3. Things

To-do lists can get messy and congested, and the app Things seeks to fix that by helping users make the most of their day.

For Mac and iOS, Things organizes your to-dos in different lists including today, this evening, upcoming, checklists and other customizable headings. It helps create an outline for not only your day, but months in advance.

4. Squid

Built for Android and Windows, Squid helps you save time by converting your handwritten notes and other documents into images or PDFs. You can annotate and write on the new images, and you can also scan and sign any documents without needing to use a printer or scanner.

5. Atlas Recall

Few of us are born with a photographic memory, although with the help of today’s technology, we can feel like we have this power. Atlas Recall creates a searchable index of all of your content, including browser history, email accounts, social media, chat messages and more. Calling itself a “searchable photographic memory,”

Atlas Recall helps users find anything they’ve come across on any device, apps and cloud services.

6. Strides

Strides isn’t just another daily to-do app. It helps you track your goals and habits, letting you know how close you are to achieving the goals you’ve set. It groups habits and goals in four categories: target, habit, average and project. It will not only help you reach your long-term goals, but also help you kick any bad habits.

7. Feedly

With the abundance of news outlets out there today, there’s a ton of overlap when it comes to breaking news and other content. Feedly helps users quickly filter through articles published by their favorite news outlets — allowing them to organize, read, save and share stories that they care about.

8. Realtime Board

Communication is key when you’re working with a team. Realtime Board is an online whiteboard designed for collaborative work environments that helps keep every team member on the same page. Users can work on research together, sharing images and creating mood boards, conduct visual brainstorming sessions, work on user experience and design together and more. Realtime Board puts everything in one place and lets every team member chip in and see what’s going on.

Now, you can get started with any one of these apps to boost your productivity levels.

8 Out-There Apps to Boost Your Productivity Levels was originally published on Calendar by John Hall

15 Ways to Unplug Completely on Vacation

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Unplug Completely on Vacation

The upcoming vacation that you have set on your Calendar may be the most exciting thing you have planned for the near future. If you’re dreaming of a blissfully relaxing retreat from your everyday life, then you need to find a way to unplug completely. The constant connection to your electronics invites unwelcome work complications while you are supposed to be enjoying your vacation. If you genuinely have trouble disconnecting from your regular responsibilities, here are 15 ways to unplug entirely on vacation.

Ways to unplug completely on vacation.

Although it can be challenging to unplug on vacation completely, it is not impossible. You can make the disconnect a reality by working to unplug yourself completely. You may also need to know how to work and schedule from different time zones. Here are our best tips to create an unplugged vacation.

1. Plan.

Unplugging on vacation starts before you leave the office. In the days and weeks leading up to your vacation, you need to anticipate what potential problems or events could distract you from your vacation. Try to get ahead on any big projects. If there are pressing deadlines while you will be away, then make sure complete those tasks before you take off. It helps to plan many weeks or months in advance and get your team cooperation to complete your assignments for you while you’re gone. Then, you will return the favor while they are out of town or on vacation.

2. Put vacation on your Calendar.

Make sure to add your vacation days to your schedule. It is essential that your coworkers are aware that you are on vacation. Hopefully, they will be respectful of the fact that you are on vacation. Most people will not bother you if they know you are out on vacation, especially if they have had several weeks warning.

When you add the vacation days to your Calendar, you may be to prevent any critical meetings from being scheduled while you are away. Although it’s possible that you will miss some meetings, everyone will know that you won’t be there ahead of time. The information you provide will keep any expectations about your attendance in check.

3. Consider your work schedule.

Many of us would prefer to plan our vacations without a second thought about working. However, considering your work responsibilities can help to reduce the need to check into work while on vacation. Put in some extra time so that you know exactly what is going on with your work, your team, and all projects coming up. If you have given a lot of notice, people are usually willing to help. Don’t wait until the last minute.

Choose to go on vacation at a slow time for work. If you know that work will be busier during a specific period, then try to plan your vacation for after the main company rush. Also take a look at personal schedules, such as extended family responsibilities.

4. Take shorter vacations.

If you cannot leave work for an interruption-free vacation for two whole weeks, then consider taking shorter trips. If you can get away for an interruption-free week, then it may be worth the shorter trip. We have a few people at work that take every Friday off for five weeks each year, and then take one week of time off. Using this schedule of time-off works well for them and from a team member perspective — they are heroes.

5. Let people know.

In addition to adding the vacation time to your Calendar, you should also reach out to some coworkers directly. Of course, you will have to tell your boss. Also, tell coworkers that you work with regularly to expect no interaction for the time your plan to be away. Make a list early of precisely who you need to let know about your vacation. Sometimes you will be surprised who makes it onto the list.

6. Turn off notifications.

It can be tempting to check your inbox every time you hear the ding from your phone. The simplest way to avoid the temptation to check notices is by turning off all notifications related to work. You can even put all work-related apps into an “off limits” folder on your phone. Putting the apps in a place that requires extra effort to find may help to stop your habit from checking your inbox every couple of minutes automatically.

7. Resist the urge to purchase wifi.

Throughout your travels, you will encounter areas that have minimal wifi. When in this situation, you have the option to seek out a coffee shop with reasonably fast wifi or pay for wifi through your hotel or phone service provider. Wandering around to find wifi on vacation wastes time that could be spent enjoying your destination. Paying for wifi abroad can be extremely expensive and may not worth the cost. I’ve found the price worth skipping the aggravation.

Avoid options and choose to be disconnected. If you cannot be reached, then you are more likely to enjoy your new surroundings. Be sure to set all of your devices to “out of town,” and the dates that you will not be available. Most importantly also have the exact date and time when you will be back on your outgoing auto message

8. “Accidentally” forget your charger.

This “accident strategy” is semi-sleazy, but, if you have coworkers that won’t, or cannot leave you alone, then consider “accidentally” forgetting your charger. I call it, “the option of last resort.” Man-up — Woman-up — say, “no.”  Nowadays coworkers will usually not bother you about things that could wait until you return. Sometimes people will not take the hint; just understand that if a coworker will not take the hint — that is your problem — not theirs.

If you have a phone designated just for work, then another option is to leave your work phone at home.

9. Use an app to limit your phone usage.

There are many apps available that you can limit your phone usage through. The basic idea of each app is that you set a time limit for the amount of time you can be on your phone. Once you hit that limit, you will be reminded that you have hit the limit through a notification or it will lock your phone.

10. Make it fun.

If you are traveling with a group that has a similar phone addiction, then consider stacking your phones. The game is to place your phones in the middle of the table at dinner. Whoever picks up their phone first loses. The competition will encourage you to avoid looking at your phone for extended periods. Also, having a traveling companion answer your phone, saying, “Hello, Howie’s secretary,” will generally get a hang-up that you are happy about. Your “secretary” or “assistant” can also say that you are busy and on vacation.

11. Limit your check-ins.

Some of us can get stressed out by not checking out work emails. It’s tough to break the connection to the office, but don’t let it ruin your vacation. Instead, set up specific times that you can check-in each day. Schedule your check-in’s for after work hours so that you do not get caught up in an email chain all day — or night.

12. Be realistic about your disconnect.

Although unplugging entirely from your office is a great goal, that is not possible for everyone. Understand the expectations set by your company before you go on vacation. If you are required to be at least somewhat accessible, especially if you are the head on a project, then honor that requirement. You should not lose your job over the need to disconnect — but understand and be fully aware of all possibilities. If losing your job is part of the equation, plan accordingly, and make provisions.

13. Set up an automatic reply.

Create an automated response for emails that make it to your inbox. The immediate information that you will be out of the office is great for colleagues to know. Most will be respectful of your vacation time and leave the questions until you get back. You can also make your calendar available to everyone so that they can begin scheduling their appointments on your calendar for when you return.

14. Download travel information.

Many of our travel plans are conveniently saved in our emails. However, each time you check your travel plans, it can be tempting to check the rest of your inbox. Download your travel information to an accessible place — like your calendar.

15. Enjoy your vacation.

The best way to unplug is to plan a vacation that demands your full attention. For example, if you are hiking through the Grand Canyon, it is highly unlikely you won’t be tempted to check your phone. Make plans that include your favorite activities. It is much easier to avoid your electronics if you are genuinely engaged in your vacation.

Final thoughts

Vacation should be a time of enjoyment without the constant pull of your office responsibilities. If you struggle to disconnect yourself, then try these tricks. Enjoy the unplugged feeling on your next vacation.

15 Ways to Unplug Completely on Vacation was originally published on Calendar by John Hall

Why and How to Sever Ties With Bad Clients

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Sever Ties with Bad Clients

No founder enjoys losing a client. That goes double when the client has been with the company for years or contributes a large amount of revenue. However, when a client turns toxic or prevents the company from growing, founders have no choice but to cut ties. There are rules of why and how to sever ties with bad clients.

A client who is bothersome or needy does not necessarily merit firing.

An infographic from Invesp details that new customers are more expensive to acquire than existing ones is to retain, less likely to try new products and more profitable in the long term. By firing a client, the company might solve some immediate problems but create larger ones down the road. Every successful founder will eventually sever a few relationships, though. To keep company growth on track without creating unnecessary, hurt feelings, leaders need to understand when they have no other choice.

When to fire a client.

Startups should only fire clients in a few situations. Most importantly, if keeping the client is preventing the business from growing, founders should cut loose quickly. A company that started in one field but found massive opportunities in another cannot continue to dedicate resources to older, less profitable areas of business.

Clients may also merit firing when they have a negative effect on employee retention. Happy employees are productive employees. When workers continuously have to deal with a client who is never satisfied and always rude, they get less satisfaction from work, increasing the likelihood of burnout.

Talented and committed employee teams are far more valuable than any single client. In some cases, firing a bad client is like kicking a belligerent regular out of a restaurant. The company might miss the income, but the staff will be grateful knowing that management has their backs when push comes to shove.

Firing a client the right way.

Most clients won’t be happy about losing a vendor. Once the decision becomes final, the founders need to know how to navigate the conversation without causing unnecessary problems.

Keep these rules in mind when cutting ties with a client:

1. Leave pride at the door.

Before making the first move, think about the factors driving the confrontation. If this client is generally good for the business, don’t let one lousy interaction sour the relationship beyond repair — especially if the company is at fault.

Be willing to make amends if the client suffered the first insult. Michael Luchies, the founder of TrepRep, recommends full ownership of mistakes in times of strife. Only if the relationship has become harmful for the business (and not just personal pride) should the firing process proceed to the next step.

2. Decide on acceptable solutions.

If the relationship is broken beyond repair in its current state, outline acceptable solutions to the problem first. Would this relationship be better if the client continued to use some services but not others? Could this relationship resume later? Has the relationship deteriorated beyond the point of repair?

Answer these questions before making any ultimatums. Don’t let the client come in with an unconsidered compromise. If that happens, it may prolong an inevitable separation and create bad blood on both sides.

3. Outline an exit plan.

With the final decision to separate, walk the client through the exit strategy. Be willing to complete all current projects on time and budget, if possible, or be prepared to talk about how to hand over the unfinished work.

If you are leaving a client behind, it is an excellent time to be familiar with the contract, but don’t let legalese set the tone of the conversation. Relying on “Section 5, Article 4, Paragraph 3,” is a cowardly way to end a relationship.

Instead, talk to the client like a human being and be clear about expectations for the future. Knowing the underlying agreement provides structure for the conversation, not ammunition for an attack.

4. Stay committed to the plan.

Bad clients who get fired don’t always take the news well. If you think you can burn a client via email, they might call and start yelling. If they’re already on the phone, they might try to guilt or bargain their way out of the situation.

Remember all the research and difficulty that led to this hard decision. Bring a written list of reasons into the conversation as a reminder of why this became necessary. Offer recommendations for other providers but stay committed to the final decision.

Not all bad clients require active damage control when they get fired. Plenty of them understand the reasons and wish the best for both parties. When that happens, feel free to leave the door open for collaboration down the road. Just remember – the situation deteriorated for a reason. Unless the factors that soured the relationship change, a second attempt would end up the same as the first.

Why and How to Sever Ties With Bad Clients was originally published on Calendar by John Hall

How to Manage Multiple Clients (Without Suffering From Burnout)

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Manage Multiple Clients

Can you manage multiple clients without losing your mind? When you first start your business, your goal is just to land a single client…any client. As time goes on and your business grows, you’ll start to develop new client relationships which will require you to split up your time.

One day, you may even get to the lucky place where you can be more selective with who you work with. Regardless, you will still need to learn how to manage multiple clients. Freelancing businesses especially can be very feast or famine so want to do your best to maintain the clients you have without getting overwhelmed or burned out.

If you’re finding it challenging to manage multiple clients, here are some tips and strategies that can help.

1. Prioritize Your Clients Throughout the Week

Depending on how many clients you have, you will likely have to split up your workload so you can focus on each client on a particular day and time. If you have 5 clients and work 5 days per week, you may want to dedicate a few hours each day to each client.
But what if you have more and don’t want to work Monday through Friday? Odds are each of your clients have different needs. Some may need communication and provide bigger projects while others may be more hands-off and assign smaller tasks.
Set your schedule up each week so that you know which clients you’re working with and how much time you’ll need. Bigger clients may need to take precedence toward the beginning of the week or vise versa. Keep deadlines in mind and come up with a schedule that works best for you and allows you enough time to perform well for each client.

2. Realistically Manage Client’s Expectations

Have a conversation with clients early on about their expectations and how you can accommodate them. Be honest about what your schedule/availability looks like along with the fact that you have other clients as well.
If you don’t work weekends, speak up and let clients know. Also, let clients know when it’s the best time to reach you to discuss projects and other topics. If Monday – Wednesday works best for you to prioritize a particular client, communicate that to them and they will likely feel special and appreciated that you are dedicating a specific time block to their needs.

3. Consider Using a Project Management System

I don’t know how I managed clients in the past without using a project management system. Sites like AsanaTrello, and Basecamp allow you to organize your tasks and separate projects which is great for being able to manage multiple clients.
I personally use Asana and I like how I can see everything I need to do for each client daily along with the deadlines. Asana automatically sends email reminders when a task or coming up due or it’s overdue. This way, I never forget a client project large or small.
You can also share files in Asana and communicate easily with clients by leaving a comment under the task. If you’re working on a team, Asana is also great for this because you can create sub-tasks for each task and assign different roles of the process to different people. This saves me time and eliminates a lot of stress when I’m trying to effectively manage all my clients and meet deadlines.

4. Schedule a Meeting Day

If a lot of your clients request to have meetings with you, consider scheduling them all on the same day. Sure, this can sound like overkill, but it can actually do the opposite when it comes to your productivity. Having a meeting every day or even multiple times during the week can slow you down.
You have to stop what you’re doing to attend your meeting which means a lot of your projects will be partially completed throughout the day. It’s probably better to just load up all your client meetings on one day. That way, you can knock everything out at once and won’t have to worry about refocusing on important tasks.
Also, be sure to bill clients for meetings that take you away from your work or factor those costs into your project rate.

5. Do One Task a Time

You may think you need to multi-task because you have several clients but this couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve done the stop-and-go routine when by working on several different projects at once and it never pans out.
Instead, stick to your schedule and do one thing at a time. If you feel overwhelmed at the start of the day, pick a specific client project to work on and don’t switch gears until you’re finished.
Schedule in time for breaks or to check email but try to focus on the task at hand and cross it off your list before moving on.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

In order to effectively manage multiple clients, you need to know your limits and be comfortable with saving no. If having 10 clients is too much for you, be honest about it and either say you’re fully booked, or hire help and raise your prices.
Saying no may be tough especially if you feel like you’re turning money away but realize there are plenty of opportunities that will come and go. If you don’t have the time or energy to take on an extra client or project, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by taking it on anyway.
Don’t compromise your quality or attention to detail by overloading your schedule. This will lead you to get extremely burnt out. Instead, know your limits, hire the right help, and schedule in downtime so you can take breaks and decompress as needed.

How many clients do you have and how do you manage them all while maintaining your sanity?

How to Manage Multiple Clients (Without Suffering From Burnout) was originally published on Calendar by Deanna Ritchie

Rules of Time Management are Different for CEOs and Employees

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Rules of Time Management

Leaders and their employees have different concepts of time. What’s important to one party is not always a priority to the other. Innocent miscommunications can lead to unnecessary strife, missed deadlines, and unintended insults. Varied time management is critical for CEOs to learn, so they respect the time of their employees without undervaluing their own. Rules of time management are different for CEO’ and employees.

CEOs don’t just work more; they have to spend specific amounts of time making others better.

The research discussed in Harvard Business Review highlights the differences between CEO time and employee time. The average CEO in the study worked 62.5 hours per week, more than 50 percent above the 40-hour work week of the average employee.

One study from the National Bureau of Economic Research measured the working habits of 1,114 CEOs and found that leaders spend most of their time working with others. CEOs in the study spent just one-fourth of their time alone, using the rest of their time to meet with teams and plan new strategies.

Employees are responsible for realizing the visions set by their company’s leaders and CEO’s.

The employees work is no less important, but it does require most employees to spend more time working alone on tasks and less time collaborating. Even managers who oversee large teams don’t have the same total-vision responsibilities of CEOs. If employees spend their time on tasks and CEOs spend their time on vision, how can each side understand the other’s perspective?

The answer begins with leadership — and the consequences of leaving time management to chance can be dire.

What CEOs stand to lose in the rules of time management.

When employees don’t feel like their leaders value their contributions, they don’t contribute as much as they could. Jostle studied employee engagement and discovered four factors that impact engagement. Two of those four correlate directly to CEO time management: employee respect for executives and employee belief in the value of work.

Employees who don’t respect the leaders of their companies don’t care whether their best efforts help line the pockets of others.

Leaders who don’t command respect can lose their status because they fail to treat others with the respect they deserve. Showing appreciation for the time of others is one of the most direct paths toward mutual respect, so CEOs must be vigilant about demonstrating to employees that their contributions do not go unnoticed.

Belief in the value of an employee’s work also relates closely to the time management of the CEO.

Workers who feel that their productivity does not matter are far less likely to be productive. Leaders need to show their employees that their work is vital to the success of the business — and what better way to demonstrate that truth than to exhibit respect for employees’ time? CEOs cannot sacrifice their time management for the sake of their employees’ time, though.

With only one CEO and teams ranging from a dozen to thousands of people, leaders of companies do not have enough time to provide regular engagement on a personal level.

Rather than take personal responsibility for the productivity of each employee, CEOs must step back and let their decisions speak for themselves. When an employee invests a day in the wrong task, the company might suffer a little. When the leader spends a full day in a misguided pursuit, the effects can be far more severe.

CEOs must make the right decisions about their time management and give employees space (and respect) they need to contribute.

Best practices for CEO time management.

Savvy CEOs approach time management through a three-pronged approach.

  • Reflection
  • Collaboration
  • Leadership.

Not all alone time is created equal. CEOs who lock themselves in their offices to answer emails and make calls might complete more tasks. Whether they have busywork, or mastermind work — closeting themselves away prevents all employees from realizing the full potential of their leaders’ knowledge and experience.

Leaders need time to think about how they see the company moving forward.

Many CEOs are so busy; they don’t take the necessary time to breathe. Only by making deliberate time for quiet reflection can CEOs create the headspace they need to lead their organizations. As Harvard’s study found, most CEOs spend their days meeting with others. Sometimes meeting others means one-on-one meetings.

But Harvard’s research discovered that CEOs meet with groups more often than individuals. Company leaders need to take time to collaborate with their executive teams and other departments, but that does not mean they can afford to attend every meeting invite.

CEOs should limit their presence at meetings as much as possible.

If someone can represent the leader at the table, someone should. With so many conflicting demands, CEOs can only afford to go to meetings where no one else’s presence would suffice. CEOs must take an active role in company leadership to help their organizations grow.

Scheduling one-on-one sessions with department heads and offering employees an opportunity to air their concerns will save the CEO many hours of extra work.

Open-door policies work for some, while others prefer to schedule regular town halls.

Whichever tactic proves most effective, CEOs should never let other priorities overtake internal leadership. Otherwise, they may find their best employees leaving for companies that are more vocal about respect for their workers’ time. If only CEOs could exchange some of their stock options for more hours in the day, this balancing act would be more accessible.

Unfortunately, compensation via time is not currently an option. CEOs can maximize their time management and respect their employees in the process, but to do so, they must learn to acknowledge the value of others’ time without giving up too much of their own.

Rules of Time Management are Different for CEOs and Employees was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton

How to Break Your Bad Time Management Habits

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Time management habits

Many founders love to compete on who gets the fewest hours of sleep, who works the longest and who takes the most infrequent vacations. This toxic attitude about time is not only unhealthy but unproductive. Here are some ideas about how to break your bad time management habits.

Americans are especially bad about working long hours. If you are in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world working too many hours, you need to break your bad time management habits.

The International Labor Organization found that Americans average 137 more work hours per year than Japanese workers and 260 more than British workers. That’s nearly one extra working month per year compared to Japan, a country that has a word for “death due to overwork.”

In a nation of over-workers, founders seem to work more than just about everyone.

It’s easy to see why. Popular media idolizes founder martyrdom, and people like Gary Vaynerchuk tell would-be entrepreneurs that they have to work 18 hours a day to succeed.

Fortunately, there’s more to success than working long hours. The most successful founders are not the ones who force themselves to work late into the night, but the ones who do more in eight hours than most people do in those elusive 18 hours.

Use these tips to get more from the workday and let other people handle the late shift:

1. Schedule it, do it and forget it.

No one can multitask, even people who pride themselves on their ability to do so. Research from the American Psychological Foundation found that multitasking carries a host of hidden costs. According to the researchers, the best way to multitask — is not to do it at all.

Avoid the temptation to multitask by scheduling time to handle batches of small tasks throughout the day. For example, set one time during the morning and one time during the afternoon to answer emails, then ignore the inbox outside those windows. Schedule a couple of short breaks to avoid burnout and maintain focus.

Practice decisiveness by setting deadlines on when to make final choices.

That might mean deciding on a new vendor by the end of the week. Decide on which flight to take by the end of the next 10 minutes. Get into the habit of acting on available information to cut down on unnecessary balking. If the decision isn’t correct — you can pivot just as quickly.

2. Fight the urgency effect.

Founders who answer every email, phone call, and meeting summons barely have time to sleep, let alone work on their companies. Determine quickly whether a task requires the attention of the founder and delegate any work that someone else could handle just as well.

A phenomenon called the urgency effect, covered in the New York Times, describes why people perform minor tasks they don’t need to do, even when larger projects await. Human brains enjoy the satisfaction of completing tasks, so they direct people to complete everything in front of them regardless of how those tasks affect the big picture.

Fight the urgency effect by following a straightforward rule: if someone else can do it, someone else should do it.

Founders face plenty of work that only they can accomplish (such as high-level sales and investor relationships). Don’t waste precious time on administrative work or in meetings that someone else could attend.

3. Keep a notebook.

Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, could use any productivity tool in the world. He could even hire a team of developers to build one just for him. Instead, he uses the most straightforward tool possible — the note-taking app on his iPhone.

Dorsey understands what every innovative person does: thoughts are fleeting. A potential solution to a longstanding problem might seem obvious in one moment, but when it comes time to tackle the issue again, the brilliant idea may not seem so clear.

With a bit of practice, efficient entrepreneurs can make impressive progress in just a few hours.

Keep a notebook throughout the day to jot down ideas, short to-do lists, and anything else that merits a written reminder. Get into the habit of externalizing thoughts. Entrepreneurs have plenty on their minds, and they can’t keep track of everything without a few things slipping out. Less time spent reconstructing old ideas means more time to execute and move on to the next something.

Why work late into the evening when a few productivity adjustments during the day work just as well? Drop out of the additional content on hours logged and start doing more with the rest of the workday.

How To Break Your Bad Time Management Habits was originally published on Calendar by John Hall

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