How to Make Sure Your Personal Life Doesn’t Negatively Affect Your Business

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Let’s be real. Sometimes, your personal life can wreak havoc on your business. As much as we try to keep personal and business separate, we’re human. The problem is when the issues in our personal lives affect our productivity. In recent weeks, I’ve engaged in multiple conversations with business owners who have all been dealing with things in their personal lives. No one makes it public, of course. However, when they are in circles with other business owners they trust, all the personal life dramas are shared. I’ve also had my fair share of drama in my personal life in recent months. As such, I’ve learned several strategies for not allowing it to affect my business. Here are some of the strategies I find work best.

Always prioritize savings.

As a business owner, the amount of money you make can be directly correlated to your output. Sometimes, things in our personal lives do require more of our attention and it causes us to take a temporary step back. That’s why it’s always good to have savings in the bank. For example, a couple of years ago I had to take a step back from my business to help my family with some things. Because I had savings, I was able to do it without any issue.

Give yourself a set period of time to feel your emotions.

Making sure your personal life doesn’t affect your business doesn’t mean ignoring things. This can actually escalate conflict and make everything worse.  It simply means managing them. For example, if you’re going through an emotional period in your personal life, give yourself a set period of time to feel your emotions. Christine Hassler, a life coach for millennials, suggests giving yourself a few minutes each day to really feel your emotions. This way, you’re not ignoring them, but you’re also not letting them affect your business.

Be careful who you surround yourself with.

Sometimes, issues in your personal life can be traced back to those you surround yourself with. While you may be careful who you surround yourself with your business, perhaps this is a lesson you’re still learning in your personal life. I know I definitely am. If you notice that drama always seems to surround one or two people, then it’s time to cut them out. The last thing you need as a business owner is to always be involved in some mess because of the company you keep. Keeping your personal life out of your business becomes impossible when the people in your life consistently drag you down. Toxic people can easily overrun your life with their energy, which is why they need to go if you plan on running a successful business. Bottom line is if you don’t want your personal life ruining your business, then you need to take the preventative measure of making sure unnecessary drama won’t be caused.
Originally published here.

25 Ways to Make Your Meetings Less Productive

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Meetings Less Productive

Unfortunately, we have all sat through meetings that did not accomplish anything. Many of us probably have one or two of these time-wasting meetings on our Calendar. At present, many of our calendars are filled with unproductive meetings, and here are 25 ways to make your meetings less productive.

We know the low productivity meeting is coming, and many are not sure how to stop that big ball rolling down upon you in the meeting “cave.” Typically these unproductive meetings have many participants and few outlined objectives. Here is a look at the ways that you can potentially make your meeting less productive. Now, all you need to do is the opposite. You can always Implement the “good” strategies appropriate for your workgroup.

1. Forget to set an agenda.

It is easy to assume that everyone knows what is supposed to be happening at the meeting. That is usually an untrue assumption that leads to all around confusion. It is always a good idea to set up an agenda and send it out to the participants before the meeting. An early agenda warning gives everyone a chance to come prepared. If no one is sure what the meeting will cover, then they will be less likely to be aware of the current status of agenda items.

2. Don’t bother taking notes.

Although we wish that we could remember everything talked about during a meeting, that is just typically not possible. It is a good idea to designate a note taker before each meeting starts. The note-taker should send out their summary of the meeting to the participants soon after it ends. New AI-enabled calendars will record your meeting and send out the actions needed for the meeting — plus your notes. Everything recorded and noted will make subsequent meetings more productive because everyone should be on the same page.

3. Start late.

This one is obvious. If you start late, then you set a lousy precedent for all meetings. Bad starts are never a good thing, especially when it comes to meetings. Start on time – end on time. Period.

4. Don’t create a time frame.

When you are creating the agenda, you should set up time frames for each topic. Of course, there is some room for adjustment during the meeting. However, these time frames allow people to see approximately how much time each subject will take. It is especially important to let any presenters know what their time limit is. Otherwise, someone could take over the entire meeting with their presentation slides.

5. Invite Everyone.

Instead of inviting the entire office or team, just invite critical team members. Anyone that does not have a direct in the meeting or project is just someone that does not need to be there. It is possible they will take valuable time and resources away from the meeting.

6. Disregard introductions.

If anyone in the room is new or unfamiliar with the project, then it is a good idea to break the ice. Of course, it can be as simple as introducing everyone, especially if prospects are present.

7. Overdo the icebreaker.

Do not spend too much time on icebreakers because it can potentially cut into your actual meeting time. One time I went to a meeting with a three-hour icebreaker. What a time-suck. It ended up running into the rest of the meeting and forcing us all to stay late. Keep an icebreaker to a couple of minutes and very, very simple.

8. Skip breaks.

Although breaks are not strictly productive, it is important to give everyone a chance to breathe. Even if it is just a five-minute coffee break, it will help. Typically people come back refreshed and ready to dive back in following a break.

9. Forget the snacks.

If you are planning to host a long meeting, then you should provide some light snacks and beverages. No one can think on an empty stomach.

10. Invite distractions.

Everyone is accustomed to having their phones and laptops at the ready. It is too tempting to get distracted by the internet instead of focusing on the meeting.

11. Don’t address action items.

It is essential to create action items. It is also important to follow through. Do not just write them down, actually address these and quickly run through them. Your AI-enabled notes and assignments will take care of the rest.

12. Ignore deadlines.

Just like action items, you need to keep all deadlines in mind and be precise. Set deadlines for team members and follow up during meetings.

13. Start the conversation.

Although the leader of the meeting may need to say a few words, it is a good idea to open the floor to the group. Opportunities to address issues and concerns that you may not have been aware of are crucial to stay connected to your team.

14. Stay too formal.

Formal meeting settings have their place. However, it is usually a good idea to invite discussion from the team and build on the ideas presented by team members. Most of the meeting can be formal but allow for a little discussion time or round robin that will include team members and their opinions.

15. Get sidetracked.

Try to avoid going down any rabbit holes. If there is a problem that needs to be addressed at a different time, then make that an agenda item for the next meeting.

16. Create long sessions.

No one wants to sit through a six-hour meeting. It may be required for certain situations, but attempt to keep the meetings as short as possible.

17. Throw out the agenda.

You can adjust the agenda if needed, but it should only be as a last resort. If at all possible stick to the agenda and work through the items on that list.

18. Squeeze in everything on your to-do list.

Typically you cannot squeeze an entire project into one meeting. You can (and should) spread of the process across multiple shorter meetings.

19. Have meetings for no reason.

Sometimes we can get into the habit of having a meeting scheduled every week or every other week. Although this is a good way to keep the time open on your Calendar, sometimes these meetings are not necessary. Make sure that your scheduled meetings have meaningful and productive goals before you get started.

20. Keep the spotlight on a few people.

Some projects will have a few key players that present at every meeting. However, you should make an effort to involve everyone. It will help to keep everyone interested and engaged in the meeting.

21. Ignore the next steps.

After every meeting, the participants usually come away with tasks or action items to focus on. Make sure that everyone is clear about the next steps before they leave the meeting.

22. Figure out the technology at the last second.

Many of us use virtual meeting systems. It is excellent to involve long-distance team members. However, you should test out the technology before the meeting starts. Technical errors are a great way to harpoon the productivity of your meeting before you even get started.

23. Set it for lunchtime.

No one wants to sit through a meeting on their regular lunch hour. Everyone is hungry and just not interested in the meeting.

24. Leave no room for error.

In your agenda, you should schedule some buffers into the time frame. People talk and get off track; this built-in time will ensure that it does not affect the productivity of the meeting too much.

25. Have hours of PowerPoints — sometimes — but rarely.

PowerPoint is an excellent tool for some presentations. However, not every meeting needs hundreds of slides. It is an easy way for your audience to start tuning you out as you flip through your presentation.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you can avoid these productivity zapping activities in your next meeting.

25 Ways to Make Your Meetings Less Productive was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton

15 Ways to Increase Your Freelancing Success

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In some ways, freelancing can seem like a battle happening within your Calendar. As a freelancer, you have a million things to do, and your Calendar dictates that you only have a certain amount of time to accomplish all of your freelancing goals. It can be challenging to find the time to freelance successfully. Try implementing a few of the 15 ways to increase your freelancing success.

Best ways to increase freelancing success

Successful freelancers are a particular type of person that is extremely resilient and adaptable to changes. It may take time to see progress, but remember that Rome was not built in a day and neither is a successful freelancing career. Although it can be a long journey to success, the rewards will be worth it for you. You may even find out that you’re an entrepreneur.

1. Build your brand

It takes time to build a brand that people can identify with. However, it is a crucial part of a successful freelancing journey. Potential clients are likely to value your skills more if there is a brand to back up your story. A small pool of people can complete most freelancing assignments quickly. Clients are more likely to hire people with a proven track record that predicts a successful outcome for their project.

2. Pitch (a lot)

Pitching new clients is a crucial part of earning new business. Without pitching, many freelance careers would have never gotten off the ground. However, many new freelancers are nervous to start constantly pitching because it can be hard to receive rejections continuously. Although it is usually uncomfortable, pitching often is one great way to improve your freelancing career. You never know until you ask, so it is essential just to send the pitch and hope for the best. You will win some and lose some, but it is worth the effort in the end.

3. Use your Calendar well

Communicating with your clients through a variety of meetings is typically a part of freelancing. Think of all the emails you have sent attempting to set up a meeting a mutually convenient time. Just the act of setting up a meeting can take up a lot of time that could be used more productively. Use your Calendar well.

Use Calendar to help you plan your meetings more efficiently. Once you have all of that time back, you can use it to do more productive things for your freelancing business.

4. Set up systems

Do not just “wing it.” Throughout your freelancing career, you will encounter obstacles along the way. Try to create systems for your freelancing that makes things easier. For example, set up an invoicing system that allows you to track everything without a hassle.

5. Just say no

You cannot do everything, so do not even try. It is impossible to please everyone, and it is very difficult to achieve success when you are being pulled in many different directions. Try to create a vision for your freelancing career and stick to it. It is good to adapt along the way, but try not to jump entirely off course. You can balance your help for others and still get things done. Just say no.

6. Make time for the work

Any freelancing involves a lot of work. If you are determined to be a successful freelancer, then you need to be ready to work hard to achieve that dream. Without hard work, it is just improbable to happen. To do the job, you need to make time for it. Set aside time each day, week, or month to work on your freelancing. Remember, you will get out what you put into the business, so be honest about what you want out of your freelance career and set aside the appropriate amount of time.

7. Ignore the haters

As a freelancer, you are going to encounter some haters. I cannot count the number of times someone has told me that freelancing is a bad idea, a “nice hobby,” or a waste of time. Each time, it is tempting to believe them but don’t. Remember, the haters will hate, but as you achieve your dreams, you will hopefully realize that it does not matter what other people think about your freelancing. As long as you believe in the vision, then it is no one else’s business to judge your freelancing passion.

8. Work hard

Okay, this one is obvious, but it is worth mentioning. Some freelancers think that success will come with little to no effort on your part. Freelancing is not a get quick rich scheme, but it can be a way to improve your life, follow a passion, or increase your income. To achieve success, you will need to put in the work.

9. Network

Do not think of other freelancers as your competition; think of them as potential allies. Many job leads and tips can come through a close network of freelancers in the same area. It is tempting to try and ignore the other freelancers in your space, but it is better to work with them and share success.

10. Set boundaries

It is very tempting to let freelancing take over your life. If you are continually working on your freelancing, then it can be hard to time to do other essential things. You should not ignore your other responsibilities, family, or friends. Set clear boundaries for your freelancing and stick to them.

11. Take care of yourself

In a similar vein, do not let freelancing ruin your physical or mental health. Although you may feel that you need to work yourself to the brink of exhaustion, that is not the best way to freelance. Remember to take care of yourself. Without a happy mind and a healthy body, it can be challenging to perform at your best. By taking care of yourself, you will likely be able to complete your freelancing duties even more effectively.

12. Attend events for in your field

One of the fastest ways to achieve success is to meet clients, but where do you meet them? Look for events in your area that will bring you into the same room as your potential clients. Go to the event and find clients in person.

13. Create a morning routine

Starting your day off right can set the tone for the entire day. Creating a morning routine that leads to a productive day may help your freelancing to go more smoothly each day. Set up a great place to work so that you can ignore distractions.

14. Use your natural energy to accomplish more

In addition to making time in your Calendar, try to do the bulk of your freelancing when your energy levels are naturally high. If you are a morning person, try to accomplish big tasks in the morning. Night owls may want to plan their work for later in the day. Build the schedule that harnesses your natural energy and sticks to it.

15. Acknowledge your success

As you make progress, make sure to celebrate it along the way. It is unlikely that you will build your dream freelancing career in a few short days or months, it may take a while to reach the level you desire. However, each part of the process is important progress, and you need to acknowledge that small success along the way. Otherwise, it is easy to give up when you feel like you have not accomplished anything.

Give yourself a pat on the back each time to hit a milestone.

15 Productivity Hacks to Get More Done Each Day

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productivity hacks

In an ideal world, you would breeze through your to-do’s and still have time to do everything you enjoy. Unfortunately, many of us come home from working feeling discouraged because we wish that we could have gotten more done. Instead of beating yourself up for not getting enough done in 2020, start using these 15 productivity hacks to get everything you want, accomplished.

1. Become a time management ninja using your Calendar.

If you want to be more productive then you should only be focusing on activities that deserve your time. The best way to achieve this is by effectively managing your calendar.

As Renzo Costarella writes in a previous Calendar post, “On a basic level, most people use their calendar to schedule meetings, with each empty slot representing a time when you’re available. If you only had a couple of meetings scheduled in a day, this leaves considered free time.”

“A great strategy to use for calendar management is time blocking. As you schedule meetings on your calendar block out times throughout the day for finishing specific tasks,” adds Costarella. “That way you’ll accomplish what you need without over-extending yourself to meetings or unfocused tasks.”

2. Stick to a “work uniform.”

Yes, he gets in hot water over and over, now. But, as a business professional, did you ever wonder why Mark Zuckerberg used to wear the same outfit over-and-over again? The same orange t-shirt was because it saved him time and stress. Instead of spending 20-minutes looking for an outfit and worrying how he looked in it, Zuck already knew what he was going to wear and how’d he look.

As an added perk, wearing the same thing ensured that he was saving his energy for more important decisions. “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community,” Zuckerberg said. He also mentioned that he had “multiple grey shirts.”

When it comes to your work outfit, it can actually be whatever you prefer. Steve Jobs wore turtlenecks, while some professionals have a handful of suits on rotation. The idea is to have a minimalist and comfortable wardrobe that also reflects your industry. Grey t-shirts may be acceptable in Silicon Valley, but times are changing. And even an incredible t-shirt is not okay in the courtroom. I see the millennials looking quite snappy these days. Do cast a critical eye around every once in a while — so you don’t look like you are homeless.

3. The Pomodoro Technique

This is one of the most well-known hacks out there. And, for good reason, it’s been used by successful and productive people for decades because it helps:

  • You focus on the task at hand.
  • Eliminates multitasking.
  • Develops a sense of urgency.
  • Helps you stop being a perfectionist.
  • Reduces stress because you’re doing one thing at a time.
  • Gives your brain a chance to relax and recharge.

If you’re new to this concept, it’s simply where you break all of your tasks into 25-minute blocks of time. After those 25-minutes are up, you take a 5-minute break. After four of these 25-minute blocks you take a longer break — usually 15-30 minutes. Of course, people have modified this technique to better fit their own personal preference habits — but the idea is the same.

4. Keep one-day a week meeting free.

“One of my favorite hacks is No Meeting Wednesdays, which we borrowed from Facebook,” writes Dustin Moskowitz, CEO of Asana. “With very few exceptions, everyone’s calendar is completely clear at least one day out of the week. Whether you are a Maker or a Manager, this is an invaluable tool for ensuring you have some contiguous space to do project work. For me personally, it is often the one day each week I get to code.” This also eliminates the time wasted at unproductive meetings.

5. Group “like” jobs.

Also known as batching, this is a productivity hack where you group similar tasks together and complete them at the same time. This way you’re using the same frame of mind and not constantly shifting focus. For example, checking all of your emails, texts, and social messages first thing in the morning. Another example would be doing most of your cooking for the week on a Sunday since this involves not just preparing the meal, but also cleaning up afterward.

6. Follow the two-minute rule.

From David Allen’s bestselling book, Getting Things Done, this rule simply states that if something takes under two minutes to complete, then you should just do it. With the two minute rule, you can cross off all of these small tasks before they consume your thoughts and time.

7. Limit your phone usage.

What’s your biggest distraction? It’s most likely your phone, and that makes sense. Every time you phone buzzes, you stop what you’re doing and check out the notification — whether if it’s a text, email, or social media notification. That may not sound like a big deal, but considering that it takes 25-minutes to return to the original task, you can now see why you should limit your phone usage.

If you have the self-discipline, put your phone on silent on airplane mode. If you can’t then use the Moment app. If you’re Android 6.0 Marshmallow then make use the Do Not Disturb mode. Schedule in specific times to check your phone, like eight a.m., noon, and 4:30 p.m. and you’ll still remain in the loop without checking your phone every five minutes.

8. Listen to music.

Music has been found to maintain focus and help you stay productive, but, pick your music wisely. Listening to pop music may not be effective since you’re singing along. There’s a nifty app called Focus At Will that can help determine which type of music helps you concentrate best. As a result, you’ll boost your productivity.

9. Use a bullet journal.

Most productive use notebooks to jot down their thoughts and ideas. It’s a surefire way to help them remember these things. But, instead of a notebook, start bullet journaling. This strategy is basically an empty notebook that is your calendar, to-do list, sketchbook, and a diary in one location. What makes it so useful is that it can be organized any way you want.

10. Set macro goals and micro quotas.

There was a study on motivation that shows abstract thinking can be an effective method to help with discipline. In other words, you need to balance “dreaming big” with intrinsic motivators, aka the self-determination theory.

The best course of action here is to set “micro quotas” and “macro goals.” While your goals should relate to your big picture, the quotas are the minimum amount of work you must do daily to achieve those goals. For example, if you’re writing a book, then your quota could be writing two pages a day.

11. Chew more gum.

I love coffee. It’s delicious and gives me a much-needed boost — like I’m sure it does for you. However, like everything else in life, too much of it can be a bad thing. For example, coffee has been found to trigger anxiety — and you don’t want that when you’re already stressed. Instead of pouring another cup of Joe, chew some gum. Studies have found that chewing gum can helps with concentration and retaining information.

12. Use red and blue.

Your workspace has a major influence on your productivity. That’s why you should always keep it organized and clutter-free — along with getting some plants and exposing yourself to natural sunlight. However, you should also incorporate some red and blue around your workspace. According to a Science Daily study, red can help increase attention to details while blue can spark creativity.

13. Procrastinate productively.

You turn on Netflix to decompress or clear your head. Next thing you know you just watched an entire season of a show. That’s not good. Here’s the thing. We need to procrastinate occasionally. It’s a great way to recharge and refocus. But, you should be procrastinating productively. As opposed to watching Netflix, pick-up a book or take your dog for a log-walk.

14. Find your “golden hours.”

You’ve probably heard that you should eat a frog each morning. Not literally. It actually means that you should get your most important task done and over with first thing in the morning. We tend to be focused and energetic in the morning. Instead of eating that frog, schedule your most important tasks for the time that works best for you. If you’re unsure about your own “golden hours” then check out “The Perfect Workday to Maximize Motivation.”

15. Just be you.

Darrin Brege, the Creative Director and strategist at HelloWorld, encourages his team to design, build, and race paper boats. Adrienne Weissman, the chief customer officer of G2 Crowd, choreographs a dance routine to her favorite song in her head.

While these hacks are able to make you more productive in 2020, the truth is they may not work for you. If there’s something you do that keeps you pushing forward, then go ahead and keep doing it.

15 Productivity Hacks To Get More Done Each Day was originally published on Calendar by John Hall

10 Ways to Stay Productive During a Move

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Stay productive

It is easy to get stressed out during a move, especially if you already have a busy Calendar. When are you supposed to find time for moving activities? Moving starts with finding a new place that suits your needs and working out the financial logistics. First, you have the packing of everything you own into boxes and physically moving your stuff to a new space. Once you get to the new place you have to unpack, which will take hours of effort. But here are 10 ways to stay productive during a move.

Ways to Stay Productive During a Move

1. Find your new place early.

Moving can be extremely stressful if you wait until the very last minute to find a new place. Although you cannot always predict when you will need to pick up and move — renters that know when their lease will expire should prepare in advance. Otherwise, you will be scrambling for a place which can be very time-consuming.

Instead, line up a place months before your current lease ends. Not everyone has this option, however, but you can start looking for a new location early. Finding a new home in advance allows you to spread out your moving activities and leave more time on your Calendar for other responsibilities.

2. Be realistic about your time.

DIY moving can be the most cost-effective way to get into your new place. However, doing everything by yourself can be extremely time-consuming. Even if you enlist the help of a few friends, moving your things will take a lot of time.  If your Calendar cannot fit moving boxes and furniture into your schedule, then consider hiring movers. A moving company can help make the logistics of moving less overwhelming and give you more time to work on other tasks.

3. Simplify your belongings.

Instead of waiting until moving week to go through your belonging, slowly declutter your home. This concept is simple; the less stuff you have, the easier your move will be. Simplifying could be as simple as throwing out old magazines or as daunting as purging your entire closet.

Any effort to reduce the number of your belongings could make your move easier. With less stuff to move, you may find more time to work towards other goals. Think of the old TV show, “Hoarders” and throw out anything non-essential.

4. Simplify your schedule of moving activities.

Before and after the big moving day, you will have countless small moving tasks to accomplish. Make a complete list of everything you need to accomplish and make time in your Calendar. You can find the time to schedule 15 minutes here and an hour there that can be explicitly dedicated to moving tasks.

You may have to tackle these tasks onto the end of your workday, but try to accomplish at least one moving related job a day. Otherwise, the little things can add up and leave you with no choice but to focus on moving activities when you really should be working on other things. The easiest is to pack and clean as you go — you want that cleaning deposit back.

5. Enlist help.

Even if you cannot hire movers, inviting friends and family over to help with packing could save you tons of time. Having people there also helps you not to get depressed. You have helped them all out through the years — it’s okay to ask them to help you. (Yes — make sure you have helped them out through the years.)

Not only can the friend and family help make a difference to accomplishing the primary task of packing the boxes, but you can also spend some time with them. Most true friends are happy to help, be sure to provide pizza and drinks as a thank you for their efforts. All of this saved time can be dedicated to your other responsibilities.

6. Pack the most important things last.

As you start packing up your life, leave the necessary things for last. Keep everything that you need to function available in one box that you always keep with you. Make sure that you don’t leave yourself with only that giant mountain of boxes to unpack.

Try pulling out a small number of essentials to set aside before you start packing. Ensure that you have what you need available throughout your entire move. Your computer, phone, all charging cords (I always have a medusa with a long cord), work assignments and work clothes, maybe pajamas, toiletries, medication and essential documents (driver’s license, passport, birth certificate). I like to have a few photos with me of people I care about.

Think about this what you like — when I move, I want to have my lucky rock and lucky coin in my pocket. Always have about a shoebox-sized box with food and your favorite treats in it — such as protein bars, and other easily edible foods. Having access to these basics will help to avoid extra stress. With less stress, you’ll be more productive.

7. Schedule working days.

If you have a flexible work schedule, it can be especially challenging to stay productive. When you know your move out date, it is easy to let the mountain of moving tasks to take priority. Setting up a strict working schedule can be critical. Block off days that can be dedicated entirely to work. Focus on your work tasks first, then moving tasks. Forcing yourself to accomplish work tasks first will help your day stay more productive — and everything will move along relatively smooth.

8. Unpack your essentials first.

Once you have all of your boxes in your new place, start unpacking the most important things first. Basic kitchenware (I stick-in paper products, plates, cups, and paper towels) clothes, your workspace, and pet supplies should be the first thing you unpack. The unpacking process does not need to happen in just one day.

Focus on the essentials of getting settled and get your work assignment done early. You don’t have to unpack quickly — unless you are an “all in one day” kind of person. Include one item a day on your “settling” task todo list, and everything will shape up reasonably quickly.

9. Stay calm.

There will always be an emergency. Just count on this hiccup and don’t let the unexpected bother you too much. Understand that unless you are a fortunate person — not everything will go according to plan. Flat tire, pulled-over, ticket, run out of gas, your dog gets car sick in your car (yes, really).

Think — your boss assigns something extra or you don’t have power and your WiFi isn’t up (hit Starbucks in town). Stay calm — or go out for a run. Something unexpected will happen, but you can handle it. Reevaluate the situation and adjust the plan on your Calendar. Reschedule things as often as necessary. Deploy your emergency back-up plan if you need to.

10. Enjoy the change.

Change is usually hard — even for those who like it — and moving is also hard for those who are used to moving. Moving to a new home is often accompanied by a new chapter in your life. It’s a transitional period — so stay out of your head and keep to a schedule and you’ll be fine. A firm wake up, work, and sleep schedule fixes most things. Eat right, Sleep right, and Exercise. Keeping a positive outlook can help to keep your productivity high.

Conclusion

First, Good Luck. Using your Calendar to plan out a move can be an essential way to minimize stress during this important chapter in your life. It may be a stressful time, but you can get through it. Take proactive steps to make your move easier and to keep your head in the game.

10 Ways to Stay Productive During a Move was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton

11 Best Tools and Tips to Promote Teamwork

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There are a lot of good things about working with other people at your job. For one, having a co-worker allows you to share common goals for your company or employer. Another is fostering a good working relationship with other people and turning them into friends. But anytime you work with other people there’s bound to be conflict from time to time too. Fortunately, there are certain tools and tips you can use to promote teamwork and get along better.

1. Shared Calendar

One of the best tools to promote teamwork in an office environment is to use a shared calendar. In fact, there’s more than one advantage to using a shared calendar. Working on group projects is easier with a shared calendar. All team members can see when certain tasks are to be done and who is doing them. In addition, project meetings can be scheduled once on a shared calendar that everyone has access to. This saves time and keeps everyone on the same page, so to speak.

2. Business Website

Another way to promote teamwork is to have a business website. Even if there are only two or three people in your company, they can be featured on the site. This is helpful in making them feel like an important part of the business. It also allows other people, such as the public, to see what role they play in the business.

3. Scheduling System

Whether you’re a business owner, manager, or simply an employee, you can help promote teamwork in your business. One of the tools you can use to do this is a scheduling system much like Calendar has been named in the past. Scheduling systems allow all team members to see the various tasks involved in a large project. What’s more, as tasks and sub-tasks are completed and marked off, everyone knows it. If one or more tasks seem to be holding things up, all team members can see which task it is. They can then go to that worker and offer help or suggestions to get it finished. There are scheduling systems that allow messages to flow back and forth among team members. This is particularly helpful on projects that involve several people. It allows everyone to easily stay current with the project.

4. Workload Sharing

If you want another tip to promote teamwork, try workload sharing. In other words, a worker without enough to do could offer to help another who is overloaded with work. Obviously at times managers will have to step in and redirect workers to other projects. Either way it happens, the redistribution of work improves both efficiency and productivity. Workload sharing encourages teamwork as workers communicate where projects left off for seamless continuation of work tasks.

5. Limit Distractions

When you’re constantly getting phone calls or noisy notifications it disrupts your train of thought. It can also distract other employees around you who are trying to work. If neither you nor your fellow workers can concentrate, you won’t get as much done. Consequently, to promote teamwork in your place of business, try to limit distractions and productivity killers. Turn off your cell phone, put it away, or set it in another room entirely. While you are at it, shut off email, text, and social media notifications if possible. Set specific times of day when you can check for voicemail messages, emails, and texts. Completing this task in batches a couple of times a day enables everyone to be less disrupted by task changes. Your co-workers will appreciate your thoughtfulness whether or not they think to mention it. Not only that, but everyone will get more done.

6. Track Time

Did you know time tracking can promote teamwork in your workplace? When you track the time it takes to complete tasks, work can be assigned more evenly. This keeps one worker from being given too much work and another too little. An uneven workload can cause resentments among those who work together. Therefore, to build a better team you should track how long it takes to finish work duties.  

7. Brainstorming Sessions

Sometimes when you have a work problem it requires brainstorming to solve it. Since two heads are often better than one, try asking a co-worker to brainstorm with you. You may come up with the right solution to the problem quicker. In addition, two people can bounce ideas off each other increasing creative ideas.

8. Cross-training

Cross-training can also promote teamwork, increase productivity, and improve moral in the workplace. Having one co-worker train another pushes them to work together and learn from each other. Through cross-training, employees can coordinate, as a team, to give businesses better work schedule flexibility. Workers can plan together so everyone enjoys time off for personal appointments and family events. Yet, while staff members are absent, none of the important work in the business gets neglected. Unexpected events, such as personal emergencies and sickness, won’t keep work from being completed as it needs to be. Other trained workers can fill in for the employee who is gone enabling coverage of the company. Productivity will increase, and the team, as a whole, will be stronger.

9. Job Swapping

If you really want to promote teamwork, try job swapping in your business. Job swapping lets one employee take-on the unfamiliar duties of another for a short duration. Obviously the positions being swapped need to be somewhat comparable. Otherwise, the results could be disastrous. Still, job swapping, unlike cross-training, is not necessarily done so employees can back up each other’s positions. That can be one benefit of a job swap, but it isn’t the only reason to do one. Alternatively, the idea behind a job swap is for workers to gain greater appreciation for their fellow employees. This is especially helpful for staff members who don’t always see eye to eye. Walking in each other’s shoes highlights the difficulties each person encounters on a daily basis. This can strengthen worker relationships and teamwork in your business.

10. Team Building Workshops

At times when you are trying to promote teamwork in a business you must seek outside help. That’s where team building workshops come into play. Off-site workshops allow team members to work together without the pressures of the workplace. Sometimes they can work together in different ways through team building activities. These types of activities allow co-workers to help each other and work cooperatively. Staff members may even improve any weak areas they possess with the help of team mates. At the same time, previously unseen strengths may come to light to managers and supervisors. Finding hidden knowledge and talents is a bonus to any business. It could even spur reassignments in the workplace later on.

11. Fun Activities

You can further your business and improve co-worker relationships with outside fun activities. Company picnics, Christmas parties, potlucks, and other activities help employees get to know one another. They also serve to let your hair down a little. It isn’t always possible to let loose and joke around in a high stress work environment. That’s why having a few fun activities away from the business are important. They allow workers to socialize together and see each other in a different light. Sometimes staff who didn’t necessarily get along in the past become friends through these events. That is why they are a great tool for team building as well as just being fun. There’s no doubt that when everyone in your business operates as a team you’ll enjoy greater success. Use these tools and tips to promote teamwork and that success won’t be far behind.
Originally published here.

How to Create A Time Budget (And Stick to It)

By | Maintenance, Time Management | No Comments
When most people hear the word “budget” they think of their finances. It makes sense because money is a resource that needs to be managed. However, your time is a resource too. In fact, I would argue your time is even more valuable because you can’t get it back. That’s why it’s important that you also create a time budget for your life.

What is the purpose of a time budget?

I like to think of a time budget as a guideline that helps you spend your time the way you want to spend it. Granted, sometimes there are things we don’t want to do – like go to the dentist or pay taxes. But, for everything else, it’s important that we find time for the things that matter to us. For most people that looks like relationships, health and their careers. The only way to do this is to manage our time wisely and with intention.

How do you create a time budget?

The first step is already done – which is to determine what matters to you in life. The next step is to figure out what each of these important things looks like. Remember, your time is a limited resource so it must be used wisely. Let’s start with career since that takes up a lot of our time each week. What does being intentional in your career look like? What tasks will actually move you forward with your goal? What tasks are a waste of time or cause you to move backward? When do you stop working each day. The last one is especially important because you have other areas of your life that matter to you as well. Chances are you didn’t go into business for yourself to work all the time, especially because many people crave work life balance. Once you determine when you work, you also need to determine when you do other things. For example, I go to a fitness class on Mondays and Thursdays. I also dedicate weekends to friends and family.

How do you stick to a time budget?

In order to stick to your time budget, you need to have certain things in place. Just like you use apps and boundaries for finances, you also need them for your time. Here are some things that will help you stick to your time budget:
  • A calendar application. Let’s be real, if something isn’t on your calendar it doesn’t actually exist. Furthermore, a calendar application can help you time block tasks and activities. It can also let others know when you’re not available.
  • Very strong boundaries. People will take advantage of your time if you let them. That’s why it’s up to you to have very strong boundaries. Don’t hand over control of meetings and learn how to say no. Otherwise, you give away too much of your most valuable resource.
time budget is just as important as a budget for your finances. Both resources need to be managed to the best of your ability for a balanced life. It’s up to you to determine how you want to spend your time and protect it.
Originally published here.

4 Ways You Can Improve Teamwork

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Regardless of how talented your individual team members are, you won’t get very far if they don’t work cohesively. As the business owner or manager, it’s your job to implement strategies that will improve teamwork. When your team works together, trust begins to build and responsibilities become clear. A healthy team knows how to be honest with one another even if it means putting forth harsh criticisms.

That all said, here are seven ways you can improve teamwork in your company.

Establish a clear team mission.

This applies to your overall company mission, and the mission of each project you kick off with your team. It may take five, ten, even twenty years to build a successful company. During that time, you may kick off projects that drag on for months if not a year. Regardless of what stage you’re in, you need to establish a clear team mission. If you can paint the big picture and align everyone with the same goals, your team will be motivated and productive.

Create a reporting infrastructure.

In every organization there will be problems. The last thing you want is to have an employee sit on an issue and not have anyone they can report to. On the flip side, you also don’t want that employee to gripe about their problems every time they arise. The best way to handle this is by creating a reporting infrastructure. First and foremost, you need every team member to understand their roles and to whom they report issues to. If there is a disagreement, there needs to be a process in which that issue gets discussed. Last but not least, you need to decide which members of the team make the final call. Establishing these ground rules is key to improving overall teamwork.

Make the right hires.

While this one sounds obvious, it’s surprising how many managers fill roles with unqualified employees. The problem is, most hiring managers overlook the importance of personality fit. A fancy resume and a proven track record may look good on paper, but if they don’t get along with the rest of the team what’s the point? As you go through your interviews you need to focus on both skill and personality qualifications. If they seem promising, you should always throw them in the mix and let them work amongst the team for a few days. If things don’t work out, try shifting things around or look for another candidate.

Build relationships outside of the workplace.

In order to build honest and lasting relationships you need to encourage team bonding outside of the workplace. Work can get stressful, and that stress can really weigh down on people. Instead of trying to fix things at the office, take your team out to lunch or organize a team field trip. Not only will this give your team a breath of fresh air, it’ll give them the chance to get to know each other on a personal level. One great option is to have your team join a sports league together. First and foremost, health and fitness is as popular as it’s ever been. Second, team sports is one of the best ways to build team chemistry. For tech companies, there are plenty of sports leagues you can join where you compete against other companies. This way you can network, exercise, and foster teamwork all at the same time! At the end of the day, building teamwork takes time – so it’s in your best interest to start now. For starters, use the four strategies above so you can improve teamwork.
Originally published here.

Productive Things to do During Downtime

By | Scheduling, Time Management | No Comments
15 Ways To Kick-Start 2021

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.

 

What productive tasks do you do during downtime?


Originally published here.

5 Rules for Using Shared Work Space

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Not everyone can afford to have their own business office space in a separate building. But they may not have room in their homes or apartments for an office either. A solution to that problem is to use a shared work space with others. Many businesses have filled that need by offering shared work spaces. For a fee most include desks, chairs, good lighting, and internet connections. Some will even allow you to use their business address, phone number, and conference rooms in rental agreements. But working co-operatively with other people you don’t know isn’t always easy. Everyone has different personalities and quirks that can make a shared work environment uncomfortable. Nevertheless, you can prevent problems from arising if you follow some rules for using shared work space.

1. Work Quietly

One of the rules for using shared work space is to work quietly. It’s difficult to accomplish what you need to, especially on a deadline, if you can’t concentrate. Don’t talk excessively to others who are also trying to focus on their own work. A simple “hello” or nod of the head when they look your way is an acceptable greeting that’s less disruptive.

2. Clean Up After Yourself

Imagine this scenario. You walk into a shared work space with your computer, coffee cup, and a stack of papers. After setting everything on a table you set up your computer and prepare to start working. Picking up your paperwork you see that some mystery liquid has soaked several pages on the bottom of the stack. Yuk! When working in a shared space you need to be mindful of the sensitivities of the other people around you. Follow the golden rule of, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. To put it another way, leave the area you work in as neat as it was when you got there. If you have any wrappers, paper cups, or other trash you should throw it away. Wipe up any messes or crumbs.

3. Stay within Your Own Space

Everyone’s approach to work is different. Some people like to spread out more and others just stack everything in one pile. The bottom line is that if you rent work space, don’t take up more than what you’ve paid for. Other people don’t like it when your stuff invades their working space. Keep your stuff on your side of the table.

4. Bring Your Own Supplies

Another rule for using shared work space is to bring your own supplies. It pays to think ahead. So each morning before work, think about what you will be doing throughout the day. Pack a small stapler, paperclips, pens, paper, or other supplies you may need to take with you. If you must borrow from others in your shared work space, thank them. Be courteous and return items in good condition as soon as possible.

5. Practice Good Hygiene

No one wants to work around others who smell bad. Make sure you are showered and fresh before you go to work in a shared work space. On the other hand, be mindful of the cologne you use. Try to keep it to a minimum because other people may be sensitive to strong scents. It isn’t easy to work elbow to elbow with other people when you’d rather have your own work space. However, it can be done without quarrel if you follow some easy rules for using shared work space.
Originally published here.
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