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Avoiding the ‘Black Hole’ of Customer Engagement

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Avoiding the ‘Black Hole’ of Customer Engagement

Automated appointment systems make life so much easier for both businesses and their customers. Booking and executing an appointment have never been more efficient. However, you need to be careful about falling into the “black hole” of customer engagement that can form around automation. 

Too many automated appointment systems facilitate client interaction during the booking process but end there. There are no response mechanisms or continuing interaction throughout the rest of the customer journey. Make sure you don’t lose people after they click the “Submit” button by following these tips:

Keep an Agent Within Reach

While online appointment software and other digitized features have nearly endless benefits, sometimes customers just need to talk to someone. It gets frustrating when you’re stuck with a chatbot and need to ask a more complicated question that only a human can answer. 

One of your employees doesn’t have to be available to help customers 24/7, as chatbots are able to do. Still, make sure your customers know they can speak with a customer service agent during business hours for more complex problems and concerns. 

When solving customer problems, your CS representatives have an excellent opportunity to further engage with customers. They can ask leading questions to get customers to provide feedback that, in ordinary situations, they might just keep to themselves. Have your reps record any comments customers make so you can take action on the issues they think need to be addressed. 

Send Out Customer Surveys

Customer engagement after the appointment is just as important as engagement before and throughout. The feedback you receive from customers provides valuable information on ways you can improve or practices you should continue using. 

After an appointment, send out a short email thanking customers for their business. Include a survey link in each email and ask customers to respond to questions about their experience. Make sure the survey link is easy to locate within your message. 

Use Social Media Regularly

If you want to engage with your customers when they’re not at your business, turn to social media. Roughly 70% of Americans have a social media account, most of which are used regularly. There are plenty of opportunities for customer engagement here.

Social media can spur customer engagement in several ways. An ad campaign will gather clicks that can lead to more appointment bookings. Inviting comments on posts provides another platform for customers to voice their comments and mention concerns the company can address.

Track Key Data Metrics

When customer engagement gets placed on the back burner, you have to find new ways to bring it back to the forefront. Set goals to track key metrics using customer data. In order to accomplish these goals, you’ll have to monitor customer engagement via online interactions. 

Set up your website to track customer engagement online. You’ll be able to see how long customers spend on your website, what pages they visit, and your landing page bounce rate. This information will help you adjust the layout to place forms and resources where they’ll best be seen. 

Data metrics can be drawn from your in-house team as well. Tracking the percentage of customers who accept an upsell will show you how customers are responding to this sales tactic. If percentages are low, you’ll know you need to change your strategy.

Incentivize Engagement

Some customers will purposely place themselves in the black hole of customer engagement because they simply don’t want additional interaction. If something goes wrong, they’ll either grin and bear it or take their business elsewhere without a word. 

Customers have the right to keep their thoughts to themselves, but your business benefits from their feedback and engagement. To draw them out of the woodwork, incentivize engagement to get the highest engagement rates possible.

A common business strategy is to take survey responses and use them as raffle tickets. Customers who leave feedback are entered into a drawing to win free services or other perks that are valuable to them. Using this tactic, you’ll receive more feedback than just the occasional review from those with strong opinions. 

Be Transparent

Nowadays, customers might associate surveys and unprovoked emails with marketing schemes intended to make a sale. Be transparent about the real reason you’re looking to boost customer engagement so they don’t shy away from your overtures.

For example, you might be reaching out to customers to inquire about a service package your company provides. Make it known from the get-go that you’re sending the survey to gauge whether you should continue to offer the package (or whatever your reason is). Customers won’t feel like you’re only trying to sell them something and will be more likely to provide honest feedback. 

Make Engagement Count

Finally, when you gather feedback, do something about it! Customers will fail to see the need for interaction and engagement if your company isn’t listening or reciprocating. 

Let’s say customers consistently mention the long wait times they experience before each appointment with your business. Instead of just nodding in sad agreement, come up with a solution. Do you need to install self-check-in kiosks in the lobby or take measures to stop appointments from running long? Your actions will inspire customers to continue to provide feedback, as they’ll know it is being used to improve their experience. 

Learn to spot the signs of a customer engagement black hole so you can steer clear of it. As soon as you feel your business being drawn in, take the necessary steps to adjust your course. By doing so, you will retain more customers and keep your operations running smoothly.

How to Develop New Forms of Leadership

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How to Develop New Forms of Leadership

What do all successful leaders have in common? They’re on a constant quest for knowledge. Whether through books, workshops, or shadowing peers, it’s an essential leadership trait.

Why is this the case? Because it keeps them up-to-speed on the latest trends and sparks creativity. And, most importantly, it ensures that they can grow into an inspiring and productive leader.

With Gen Z entering the workforce, this is more important than ever. After all, how boomers and millennials were lead are completely different than what Gen Z would expect. One area that you shouldn’t overlook is developing new forms of leadership so that you can connect with this demographic.

Increase your leadership capacity.

“Developing leadership skills is one of the most powerful moves you can make to transform your professional and personal life,” states Team Tony. “It’s an empowering process of harnessing your natural talents to inspire others.” During this journey, you’ll also “become more attuned to your strengths and weaknesses, which creates self-awareness and the ability to relate to others.”

How can you achieve this? By asking yourself the following three questions;

  • Do I know what my leadership style is? “Understanding your leadership style opens the door for building managerial skills in harmony with your true nature,” the authors add. “Is your leadership approach democratic, visionary, coaching, affiliative, pacesetting, or commanding?” Knowing “where you fall in these categories, you’re better equipped to develop leadership skills.”
  • What are my weak spots? Be honest with yourself here. It’s the most effective way to pinpoint what skills or form of leadership you need to address.
  • How can I take action? Now that you’re aware of your strengths and weaknesses, you can take steps to develop leadership skills. For example, if you want to become more of a coach, then you’ll want to focus on areas like becoming more self-aware and how to ask guided questions. And, you also have to practice offering guidance as opposed to micromanaging others.

Get in the trenches.

Do what separates a boss and leader? Bosses believe that they’re above the team. True leaders, however, are a part of the team.

Instead of hiding out in your office or distancing yourself from your team, spend time with them. You can do this by eating lunch with, scheduling one-on-ones, and working next to them. Besides giving you the chance to get to know them better, which you can use to motivate them, you can also learn new forms of leadership from them.

For instance, maybe it’s difficult for you to give up control. That’s understandable as a business owner. But, encouraging ownership is one of the most effective ways to motivate your team.

But, after spending time with a team member, you realize that they possess more of laissez-faire or hands-off style. You can then pick their brain or shadow them to see how you can delegate more effectively, promote a more autonomous work environment, and how to let go of control.

Embrace 360-degree feedback.

A 360-degree feedback approach is when leaders use a full circle of viewpoints to evaluate their performance. Examples include feedback from subordinates, colleagues, customers, and their own self-assessment. When done correctly, this can increase self-awareness, clarify behavior, and encourages personal development.

The biggest hurdle to jump is being willing to listen to negative feedback. Don’t take it personally. Use it as an opportunity to learn, grow, and make changes.

Learn from a coach, mentor, or consultant.

Whether it’s hiring a coach, catching up with your mentor, or bringing in outside consultants, these types of relationships are priceless. They can share with you how they achieved past victories, as well as setbacks.

Moreover, they can challenge you to try out new forms of leadership. Or, you can be inspired by them and put your own twist on their style.

For example, you may look up to Steve Jobs or Elon Musk for being innovative, decisive, or encouraging teamwork. But, you don’t have to romanticize their bad behavior. As such, you could blend those styles with empathy.

Work outside your organization.

“One of the simplest and most powerful sources of learning is simply to have worked within different organizations,” writes Ben Brearley BSc. BCM MBA. “Leaders who have spent much of their time within a single organization tend to become accustomed to the status quo.”

To prevent this, spend time in other work environments. When you do, you become exposed “to new ideas, new people and new organizational models,” adds Brearley. “It also provides you access to more diverse leadership approaches, because you’ll have had many different bosses to report to.”

“If you are somebody who has worked at the same organization for a long time, you need to ensure that you continue to learn from as many different external sources as possible,” he suggests. Hopefully, this will “provide you with diverse outside information that you can bring into your current role.”

How can you work with other organizations? You could find a part-time job, volunteer, or collaborate with partner companies. Some ideas for the latter would be co-sponsoring an event, co-branding a product/service, or publishing research together.

If the above is too overwhelming, seek opportunities to take on new roles and responsibilities within your organization. Maybe you could spend a day working for your sales department manager to see how they lead.

Share what you know.

“If you want to learn — teach,” advises Sally Fox, Ph.D. “Those of us who teach leadership professionally know this secret: We have to develop ourselves, keep learning, and model what we believe.”

“No matter where you are in your career, you can mentor others, offer what you know, share your questions, exchange insights, and keep learning,” Dr. Fox adds. “By so doing, you’ll further your own education.”

In addition to mentoring, write blog boats, host a podcast, or start an online course. I also think that speaking opportunities are clutch since you can also mingle and network. Overall, there’s no shortage of ways for you to pass along your knowledge.

Schedule “me” time.

Most of us avoid spending time alone. After all, we’re social creatures. And, loneliness can be detrimental to our mental and physical health.

However, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in some solitude occasionally. In fact, this can be beneficial as this can reduce stress, encourage gratitude, and build mental strength.

Moreover, spending time by yourself allows you to plan and develop compassion. Most importantly? It gives you a chance to reflect and learn more about yourself so that you’re comfortable in your own skin.

Introduce yourself to new and disruptive ideas — as often as possible.

As a leader, I’m positive that you’re surrounded by your favorite books, podcasts, and websites. And, there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, these resources are proven ways to keep learning and growing.

But, you should also expand your horizons. Ask your network what book you should read next. Listen to a brand-new podcast while you commute or exercise.

You can also subscribe to innovation blogs like Innovation Management or Both Sides of the Table. Another idea would be following influencers on social media or stay updated with hashtags. And, you should become a TED Member and dig into leadership reports from organizations like Criterion.

Appointment Deals Your Business Should Consider

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Appointment Deals Your Business Should Consider

Every business, even appointment-based businesses, runs a deal at some point to bring in new customers and to give back to their loyal following. Special events renew interest in your brand and can tip the scales in your favor when customers are on the fence. 

Appointment-based businesses will approach deals differently than other industries. While promotions will have to be implemented in different ways, they can still be just as effective at building your customer base and giving revenue a short-term boost. Here are some ideas you can use for your next appointment deal:

Online Booking Promotions

If you’re trying to move toward online appointment booking software, run a promotion that rewards the first customers to adopt it. Even if you explain all the benefits of online appointment booking, you’ll have some customers who don’t like change and will be hesitant to make the switch. Offer them extra reward points, discounts, and flexibility during the first weeks of implementing the new software, and they’ll be more willing to jump on board. 

The real benefits will be enjoyed by your business. Online appointment booking is faster and more reliable than traditional booking. You can easily keep track of appointments, quickly make adjustments, and conveniently access customer information. Your customers can book appointments whenever they please and can even prepay online. 

Loyalty Punch Card

When extending deals to your customers, your primary goal should be to incentivize them to return as often as possible. While new faces are great, it costs five times as much to acquire customers as it does to keep them around. For that reason, many businesses across a variety of industries provide loyalty punch cards to their current fans.

The concept of a punch card is simple. Each time a customer leaves an appointment, they get a punch or a mark on their card indicating they’ve completed a visit. After a certain number of appointments — 10 is typically the magic number — they qualify for a reward. This could be a free appointment or any other incentive that would get customers to pursue the end goal. After their punch card is used up, they can start a new cycle.

First-Time Bonus

Just because getting new customers is more expensive than retaining existing ones doesn’t mean you should stop trying. A healthy business continues to gain new customers as others fade away and need to be replaced. To incentivize new customers to commit to their first appointment, offer them a small bonus.

A first-time appointment bonus should be big enough that it lures in new customers, but not so large that it devalues future appointments they would potentially book. A $10 cut in price or a free additional service will work just fine. A free service — an eyebrow wax with a haircut, say — will also give new customers a taste of what they can enjoy at future appointments. This will act as another incentive to get them to return. 

Bulk Discounts

Another technique to keep customers coming back again and again is to offer a discount for bookings made in bulk. Let’s say you run a chiropractic office, and a regular adjustment costs $60. Over the course of 10 appointments, the bill would run to $600. With a bulk discount, customers can pay for all 10 appointments up front, lowering their total cost by a set amount. A 10% bulk discount, for example, would result in a cost of only $540.

This program benefits your regular customers who were already prepared to pay the full fee for all their appointments. Additionally, it may sway some new customers in your direction as they weigh their options before committing to a business. The promise of a substantial discount on future services when compared to the competition will win over many.

You might be wondering whether this large of a discount will hack away at your revenue. After all, a 10% price reduction can add up over time, especially if multiple customers take advantage of it. What you need to consider is the fact that you’re filling up several appointments in advance. Appointments at a 10% discount still pay more than an empty appointment slot. 

Referral Bonus

Referrals are a powerful asset for your business. A Neilsen study found that more than 80% of U.S. consumers actively seek recommendations before making a purchase. They’ll ask friends and family or poll their social media following to get insight on the brands and businesses those individuals prefer before making a decision for themselves. 

With so many potential customers already looking for recommendations, your task is to get your current loyalists to bring those customers to you. A referral program will incentivize your fans to be more vocal about their decision to do business with you. They’ll talk with their friends and family and guide them to you, receiving a bonus for their efforts.

What should your customers receive for making referrals? For many, additional perks at their own appointments will be a welcome reward. Otherwise, gift cards, lottery tickets, and other prizes may do the trick. You can even hold a referral contest where the winner gets their next five appointments for free or dinner at the hot new restaurant in town. 

Offering the right deals to your customers will help your business grow and flourish — it will also make your customers happy. Don’t be afraid to cycle through these types of deals every once in a while to keep things fresh. New deals and promotions will continue to pique interest in your company year-round. 

What the Best Appointment-Based Businesses Have in Common

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What the Best Appointment-Based Businesses Have in Common

No matter what type of business you run, you can learn a lot from industry leaders in your field. Small grocery stores can take a page out of Walmart’s book, and up-and-coming tech companies can look to Apple and Microsoft for inspiration. The same can be said for your appointment-based business.

Whether you offer haircuts or oil changes, there are some things that all of the best appointment-based businesses have in common. Implement them into your business model, and you’ll have happier customers and a schedule packed to capacity. Use this checklist to add the features you need to be among the best of the best:

User-Friendly Online Appointment Software

The best of the best in appointment-based business use online appointment software to make life easier for themselves and for their customers. With online appointment software, customers can create bookings from any device at any time of day. Appointment slots are automatically updated to notify businesses at opening time.

The key to capitalizing on this convenience is to make your online appointment software as user-friendly as possible. Start with your website. Add an easily visible call to action that directs visitors to your booking software. Next, improve your loading times so customers don’t get discouraged and ditch the process altogether. 

Clear Policies for Late Arrivals and Cancellations

Try as you might, late arrivals and cancellations will happen even to the best appointment-based businesses. What sets the leaders apart from the rest is how they handle these situations when they arise. They establish clear late and cancellation policies in advance and stick by them.

How do you plan to handle customers who show up late or cancel? In the former case, having to cede their place in line to other customers is a fair way to discourage tardiness and reward on-time arrival. For the latter, consider adding a surcharge to appointments cancelled without 24 hours’ notice. Display these policies clearly on your website and make sure whatever actions you take are well understood and equitable for everyone. 

No-shows can fall under the cancellation category. If a customer commits to an appointment time and fails to arrive without notifying you, there should be a policy in place that covers that. You might consider charging a portion of the appointment fee to make up for lost revenue and wasted time. But remember that life gets in the way at times, and some changes will be unavoidable. Above all, strive to be fair. 

Short Wait Times

No one wants to get to their scheduled appointment only to be kept waiting for 30 minutes. Appointments should begin promptly. When customers are on time, businesses should do their best to uphold their end of the bargain.

Of course things will happen that will push appointments back, but good businesses take precautionary measures to keep wait times to a minimum even when something goes wrong. To enable this, make a note of when appointments run long. Does this happen at particular times, with particular services, or with particular clients? Identifying the root causes can help you make scheduling adjustments. You could add buffer times between appointments or find ways to improve workflows through automation to help your business run more smoothly.

A Safe and Comfortable Waiting Room

Even when wait times are short, you’ll want to make those waiting customers as comfortable as possible. This adds to the experience and will put customers in a better mood come appointment time. Shoving all your patrons into a crowded room with limited seating options won’t reflect well on your business, especially as the Covid-19 pandemic persists. 

Do what you can with the space you have. Even in a small waiting room, a complimentary coffee machine or a television set can really add to the space. Also be sure to keep health guidelines in mind as long as the coronavirus presents a threat to your employees and customers. Stay up to date with local ordinances, making sure chairs are spaced apart and masks are readily available as necessary. 

Top-Notch Customer Service

You can nail all the logistics of appointment setting and still have customers walking away leaving a one-star review. Why does that happen? Because customer service skills aren’t up to par. Running a successful appointment-based business is just as much about the love and care you put into your craft as it is how efficiently you deliver it. 

Provide your employees with continual customer service training. Emphasize building relationships with each visitor so they become more than a name that pops up on your online appointment software. Sincerely attentive customer service will enhance the appointment experience, boosting your retention rates. 

Data Analytics

One of the most helpful benefits of implementing online appointment software is the constant access to data. This information will prove to be invaluable to your business, giving you the insight you need to make decisions that will improve your appointment experience from beginning to end. 

For example, data analytics will show you the average length of appointments, the ratio of no-shows to made appointments, and key demographics you can target with your next marketing campaign. Without these numbers, your decision making is based on little more than guesswork. With data at your fingertips, your plans will have direction and purpose. This data will also show you how your numbers improve after implementing the tips mentioned above. 

Note the changes you make and how they impact your business. Soon enough, you’ll be the best appointment-based business in town, and fellow establishments will start emulating your recipe for success. 

How to Optimize Your Videoconferencing Setup

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How to Optimize Your Videoconferencing Setup

To say that Covid-19 has changed things would be an understatement. Perhaps the biggest change we have had to make concerns our jobs. Even if you were fortunate enough to keep yours, there is a good chance you quite literally moved from the boardroom to the bedroom. While there might have been some bumps along the way— maybe involving that pesky mute button or maybe a lack of pants — by now, you probably consider yourself a videoconferencing pro. 

With the possibility that remote working will be here to stay, however, it could be time to think about things you could be doing to get more out of your setup. These six tips will help you become a videoconferencing master:

Use Better (or More) Lighting

Everybody wants to see your bright, shining face. It is essential that the room you’re in has enough light. It also needs to be in the right place. Moving a lamp closer to you or putting one behind the device or even just facing a window can make a big difference. 

Better yet, think about utilizing multiple lights in your workspace. Try placing a lamp on each side of your desk. For the best illumination, you may also want to consider buying a lighting kit.  

Improve Your Camera

The camera in your computer or other device is…fine. If your meetings are typically just brief check-ins with team members, it might be all you need. 

However, if you have to give presentations or demonstrate visuals that your team will need to see clearly, your best bet is to buy a webcam. While there are many to choose from, pick one with HDMI capabilities for high-quality video. Also, be sure that it is compatible with Zoom or whatever videoconferencing app you use. 

One more tip: Keep the camera at eye level. This is a great way to simulate real, face-to-face interaction.

Upgrade Your Mic

Like the camera in your device, the built-in mic will also probably get the job done. However, if people are constantly complaining that they can’t hear you well, it could be time for an upgrade. 

With the rise of telecommuting (not to mention all of those podcasters), there are now tons of mics available, and prices vary widely. Wearing a lavalier mic, a very affordable option, can vastly enhance your audio.

Consider Headphones

Speaking of sound, if you frequently have to ask people to repeat themselves, the problem could be you and not them. Headphones will immediately enable you to get better sound quality. Plus, if you have a noisy household — maybe you have a kid or two at home who’s learning online — they will let you tune out of the cacophony at home.

Those big, over-the-ears, Princess Leia headphones are one option. If you think they’re too obtrusive, earbuds are the much subtler choice. 

Boost Your Signal

None of the stuff mentioned above will mean much if you often have trouble connecting with your team. If your internet connection is slow or inconsistent, don’t wait to troubleshoot it. 

Try simply moving your device closer to your router. If, however, the router is old or unreliable, a new one may be in order. If getting a new router doesn’t help, try a wired connection. And if even that doesn’t help, ask your internet company to come take a look. 

Think About What’s Behind You

You may have the latest bells and whistles, excellent image quality, and audio so clear you could hear a pin drop. But what about all of the clutter on your desk or that stack of laundry behind you? 

If you have a mess in your home, you’re certainly not the only one. While you could clean it up before the meeting, just pushing it out of the frame might be your best option. Or, if you can, move your webcam to change the viewing angle. 

Whether your stint as a remote worker is winding down or just getting started, don’t wait to master virtual conferences. Even if you go back to the office, rest assured: You have many, many more videoconferences ahead of you. 

8 Tips for Cutting Down on Unnecessary Customer Emails

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8 Tips for Cutting Down on Unnecessary Customer Emails

The daily task of reading and responding to unnecessary customer emails can feel like an endless routine. You might think you’ve communicated every piece of information clearly and thoroughly. But some customers just don’t do their homework before sending an email with a question you thought you had already answered. 

Finding ways to cut down on unnecessary customer emails will decrease the amount of time you spend in your inbox and increase the amount of time you can grow your business. Here are some helpful tips for reducing unnecessary customer emails while keeping customers happy to continue working with you. 

Implement Online Scheduling

Your business may thrive on a personal touch that includes friendly small talk every time a customer calls to make an appointment. It’s more likely, however, that people want to quickly schedule, cancel, or confirm appointments as quickly as possible and move on. 

Offering an online scheduling option is a win-win for you and your customers, as it lets busy people communicate important information quickly and efficiently. Online scheduling also reduces scheduling errors, which are both frustrating for customers and costly in terms of staff time.

Better still, an online scheduling system gives customers the power to choose their preferred date and time for an appointment. This feature helps eliminate any potential back-and-forth emails and promotes a heightened sense of appointment “ownership.” Customers are far more likely to keep an appointment they set themselves.

Make Information Available Across Multiple Channels

Pay attention to the questions that seem to require an infinite number emails from you and your staff to answer. This is perhaps the simplest way to determine what information you should be providing to the public. The channels you select to convey that information may vary — your website, social media, and/or print — but the need to do so is plain.

Not that you’re trying to cut your customers off from all human contact. You’re simply seeking to serve them by heading off frequent questions. In doing so, you make your life easier as well.

Be the Change You Want to See in the World

Of course, no business will be able to entirely dispense with email anytime soon. Given that reality, consider the following tips for sharpening your own email conduct. After all, one of the best ways to encourage the behavior you want to see in others is to model it yourself.

Send Fewer Emails

This may sound overly simplistic, but every time you send an email, you invite the recipient to click the “Reply” button. Letter writers like to say “You gotta write ’em to get ’em,” but the reverse is also true. If you want to receive fewer emails, stop sending so many yourself.

Communication theorist Marshall McLuhan famously said, “The medium is the message.” Keep his point in mind when deciding whether email is in fact the best medium for the information you need to convey. A quick phone call, Slack message, or in-person conversation might be more appropriate.

Think Twice Before Clicking ‘Reply’ or ‘Reply to All’

Have you ever been part of an endless email thread of office lunch orders? If yes, did you enjoy putting work on hold long enough to read Ben’s request for beef on rye?

There are two equal and opposite errors to avoid when considering the dreaded “Reply to All” button. The first is needlessly copying a message to tons of people who don’t need to see it. The second error is not replying to all when all parties actually need to be informed. Choosing the right mechanism probably takes less than two seconds of thought and demonstrates respect for other people’s time.

Improve Your Subject Lines

We all skim our email inboxes trying to sift for important messages. Writing clear, specific, concise subject lines will endear you to your email recipients as it enables them to prioritize reading and responding as they think best. Providing only pertinent information will serve to minimize confusion.

Best practices include limiting every email message to one topic. If your email includes multiple issues and questions, it’s likely that one or more of them will be missed in the response. Don’t drift; stick to providing details only on what you’ve highlighted in your subject line.

Get to the Point ASAP

When speaking, it’s common to include superfluous details that help illustrate your point or reference a related situation as an aside. If you compose emails the same way you talk, though, even the simplest requests can turn into a novella.

Your goal should be to minimize the amount of time required for a customer to interact with your message, not win an essay competition. Lengthy emails will fatigue your recipients and increase the likelihood of a confused response.

Keep your salutation friendly but brief. Get to the point. Use your first few words to tell your recipient why you’re reaching out, what you hope to accomplish, and the expected time frame for a response. By doing this, you’ll avoid miscommunication and head off further emails requesting clarification.

Remember when email promised to make our work lives so much easier? The daily grind of reading and responding to unnecessary messages has since ballooned into a major contributor to lost productivity. But by following these tips to cut down on unnecessary emails, you’ll soon be able to reclaim your inbox — and your sanity.

Finding Your Motivation After Startup Failure

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Finding Your Motivation After Startup Failure

The journey that entrepreneurs embark on is full of twists and turns. Sometimes you become a success overnight. Other times you have to pivot into something completely different. And, there are times when you stumble along the way and fail.

As someone who has experienced failure, I can honestly tell you that it sucks.

Not only can it lead to an empty bank account, it also makes you feel physically sick. And, even worse, it makes you never want to go through the experience again.

The thing is, failure is a big part of the journey — not just for startups and entrepreneurs –but failure is part of the journey of life. That’s why you need to find motivation after your startup has failed.

It may not be easy, but it’s possible if you follow this advice.

Remember, most startups fail.

There’s a stat that startup founders are constantly reminded; 90% of startups fail. While that’s not exactly true, some believe it’s around 79%, the fact of the matter is that failure should be expected.

In fact, the greatest of entrepreneurs have failed at some point. Prior to Microsoft Bill Gates launched the failed Traf-O-Data. Andrew Mason, the founder of Groupon, struck out with a company called The Point.

I could go on and on. The idea is that failure isn’t uncommon. It’s to be expected and is almost viewed like a rite of passage.

So, don’t beat yourself up too much over this. Take comfort in knowing that failure is just another step you have to take in order the achieve success. Pick yourself up and try again, just like Gates, Mason, and the thousands of entrepreneurs who did the same.

Take time to heal emotionally.

At the same time, I’m not going to deny that failure isn’t a heartbreaking experience. And, it’s not something that you’ll recover from overnight.

So whether if you failed on your product launch or filed for bankruptcy it’s going to take some time to get motivated again. And that’s alright. You’re going to need a little bit of time to heal.

When my first business failed my wife and I went on vacation to Disneyland. The short trip didn’t completely heal the heartbreak, but it was the start of the healing process. It still took months to recover, but I needed that time to reignite that spark.

Build a support group.

In our darkest times we turn to the advice and comfort of our support group. This could be your spouse, best friend, mentor, or fellow business owners. Essentially, it’s anyone who builds you up and doesn’t criticize you about the failure of your startup.

You’ll need the guidance and support of your support group to prepare you for your next business attempt. They’ll also be there to help you heal emotionally.

You can’t be neutral.

Being inactive isn’t good for you emotionally, mentally, and physically. While it may a challenge to pick yourself up, you have to get moving again.

Of course, this could be different for everyone. Personally, one of the first things I did after I experienced failure was to start working on my next project. It helped my focus on something other than my previous venture folding. Since that started making a little bit of cash, it helped rebuild my confidence.

This is exactly what Bill Gates and Paul Allen did following Traf-O-Data. They started working on their next business, which became a little company called Microsoft.

But, what if you’re just not ready to start a new business? You can still get active and stay active by starting to work out, reading inspirational books, or learning a new skill. All of these are effective ways in improving yourself physically and professionally so that you’re ready to conquer your next challenge.

Startup Failure doesn’t Mean You Can’t Experiment.

I absolutely love this advice from James Altucher;

“Sometimes people say Thomas Edison failed 999 times before he finally came up with the lightbulb on the 1000th try.

This is a total lie. It is normal in a lab to experiment with many many materials before coming up with the right one.

Oh! Your experiment didn’t work? OK, change something and let’s try a new experiment.”

Rehearse past successes.

You obviously experienced some sort to get your startup up and running. For example, you had an idea that was supported by your support group, investors, and customers. And, it took a lot of guts and hard work to make that idea a reality.

Even though things didn’t turn out the way you liked, you should still reflect on those past successes. Give yourself some props by speaking positive, affirming, and congratulatory words to yourself. For an extra boost, place visual reminders on a vision board to remind yourself that you’re not a failure.

Tap into your intrinsic motivation.

Harvard leadership expert and best-selling author Bill George argues that entrepreneurs should chase their intrinsic motivation instead of extrinsic motivations. This is usually done by aligning your strengths with your intrinsic motivations.

For example, Bill Gates was driven by making a difference in the world. Guy Kawasaki focused on meaning instead of making money. Steve Jobs was motivated by doing great work.

Other entrepreneurs have been motivated through personal growth and accomplishment. And, others such as Elon Musk, found motivation by helping others achieve their goals.

Before you can stage your comeback, think about what you’re passionate about. What do you enjoy doing? What do you find interesting?

Focusing on your intrinsic motivation will encourage you to pick yourself up so that you can move mountains.

Shift your focus.

Have you purchased something like a new wardrobe or car and then noticed everyone else wearing the same jacket or car? You have your Reticular Activating System(RAS) to thank.

Kris Hallbom and Tim Hallbom explain that the “RAS is the part of your brain that serves as a filter between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. The RAS, which is located in the core of your brain stem, takes instructions from your conscious mind, and passes them on to your subconscious mind.”

In other words, RAS regulates your attention.

As the Hallbom’s further explain, “Setting your intent plays a key role in encouraging your subconscious mind to bring forth a desired goal, as well the most optimal future.”

So, instead of focusing on past failure, think about your next endeavor. This will guide you in finding the necessary resources, actions, and ideas to make your next startup a success.

For me, when I founded my other company Due, my goal was to have one of the best invoicing platforms for small businesses. My intent, however, was to provide a platform that could help freelancers and small businesses grow. We’ve been able to do this by continuing to add new features and publish daily content that assists businesses in improving their business.

Sounds simple. But shifting my focus keeps me motivated each and every day to reach my future goals. As a such, the failure I experienced in the past is now just a distant memory.

How Much Does Your Workspace Affect Your Productivity?

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How Much Does Your Workspace Affect Your Productivity?

Our physical environments have a major impact on our well-being. If you fall asleep in your bedroom with the lights on and the TV blasting do you think you’ll have a good night’s rest?

The same can be said about your workspace. If it’s filthy, cluttered and located in a dreary basement with no light — the likelihood of a highly productive day won’t be possible.

You want a place that gives off  happy, creative, and productive vibes. An office spot that inspires you. Simply put, your workspace needs to be optimized so that you can be more efficient and productive.

With that in mind, here’s a closer look at how your workplace can affect your productivity. You can make the appropriate changes.

Desk Clutter

While a little clutter may encourage creativity, the fact of the matter is that cluttered workspaces are threatening your productivity.

For starters, when we have a messy and disorganized workplace it’s much harder to find items when you need them. For example, if you wrote down an important phone number on a post-it and it’s somewhere in a pile of papers, how much time will waste looking for it? Even worse, there’s a good possibility that it’s gone for good.

In case you’re curious, the average American spends 2.5 days annually looking for misplaced items. It also costs households a whooping $2.7 billion a year in replacement costs.

Secondly, neuroscientists at Princeton University have found that physical clutter negatively affects your focus and ability to process information. That’s because instead of focusing on the task at hand that workspace clutter is distracting you. What’s more, clutter like multitasking forces you to shift focus, overload your senses, reduces creative thinking, and makes you feel more stressed.

This doesn’t mean that your workspace needs to be Mr. Clean approved every day. It just means that it should be tidy and organized so that you can easily locate items when needed and eliminate being distracted.

If this is a challenge, here’s a couple of ways to get started:

  • File your documents and properly identify them using folders.
  • Trash any documents you no longer need.
  • Group notes by priority and chuck any notes pertaining to completed tasks.
  • Keep frequently used items nearby.
  • Give everything a home and return them when not being used.
  • Label items so that you can locate them when needed.

Background Noise

Unless you’re in solitude, there’s most likely going to be background noise from others talking. It could be your spouse on the phone while you’re working at home, a couple chit chatting next to you at the coffee shop, or co-workers gossiping next to your desk.

This isn’t just annoying and distracting, it’s also the hardest noise to tune out.

Here’s where this harms your productivity. You spend a lot of energy attempting to filter out this type of background noise. As a result, you deplete your executive functions faster and have to work harder than you have to. That’s definitely not good.

To block out background noise from others, try to find a quiet space when working on your most important and challenging tasks. If that’s not an option, then you might want to invest in some noise-cancelling headphones and download an app like Noisli or White Noise.

Lighting and Color

Did you know that Americans on average spend 90 percent of their time indoors? That’s not just depressing, it also proves that we need more access to natural light.

Alan Hedge, a professor in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University, conducted a study that found that “workers in daylit office environments reported an 84 percent drop in symptoms of eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision symptoms, which can detract from productivity.”

Additionally, the study found that employees sitting next to a window reported a two percent increase in productivity.

“The study found that optimizing the amount of natural light in an office significantly improves health and wellness among workers, leading to gains in productivity,” said Hedge. “As companies increasingly look to empower their employees to work better and be healthier, it is clear that placing them in office spaces with optimal natural light should be one of their first considerations.”

If you don’t have access to natural light work under “blue-enriched” light bulbs that are 17,000K. These bulbs can boost work performance by supporting mental acuity, vitality, and alertness. Researchers at the University of Greenwich discovered that those working under “blue-enriched light bulbs” reported feeling “happier, more alert and had less eye strain.”

Besides proper lighting, choose the right color for your job. For instance, since red is stimulating it’s a great fit for those in physically-demanding jobs. Blue and green are calming and aids in concentration so it’s ideal for office workers. Yellow is perfect for innovators and entrepreneurs because it sparks creativity.

Add Plants and Artwork

One of the simplest, and most effective ways to optimize your workspace is by surrounding yourself with a plant or two. Researchshows that office plants can reduce stress, improve attention capacity, and help employees recover from demanding activities.

On top of surrounding yourself with plants, bring-in some artwork as well.

As Karen Higginbottom writes in Forbes, “Research by Exeter University’s School of Psychology found that employees who have control over the design and layout of their workspace are not only happier and healthier — they’re also up to 32 percent more productive.”

Temperature

There was another study conducted by Cornell that found when employees are cold they make more mistakes, while warmer workers perform better.

To find this out, researchers recorded the amount of time employees in an insurance office keyboarded and the amount of time they spent correcting errors. For this specific study they used an environmental variable; temperature.

“At 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the workers were keyboarding 100 percent of the time with a 10 percent error rate, but at 68 degrees, their keying rate went down to 54 percent of the time with a 25 percent error rate,” said our friend Alan Hedge.

“Temperature is certainly a key variable that can impact performance.”

Ergonomics

“One of the surprising factors that can affect productivity is workplace ergonomics,” writes Kayla Sloan in a previous Calendar article. “Not everyone buys into the concept, but it truly does have an impact.”

This actually makes a lot of sense since ergonomics can help reduce health risks. Poorly designed workstations can definitely affect your back, hands, wrists, and joints. As a result you feel drained and are focused on how much you ache. Productivity can drop if you have little aches here and there. When this happens — you may not even know it’s pain because you have gotten so used to b being uncomfortable.

Here’s a couple of ways that you can change the ergonomic environments around in your office — even your home office:

  • Invest in an ergonomic chair.
  • Position your computer screen correctly by using a screen or laptop support.
  • Use a palm rest on your chair can help keep everything aligned when you are typing.
  • Keep your hand, wrist, and forearm aligned when using your mouse — the palm rest can help with this situation as well.
  • Use footrests so that you can rest your feet naturally. Much of the ergonomic sense is according to your height and weight.

Air Quality

Finally, after a 10 year study researchers at Columbia, the University of Southern California, and the University of California, San Diego found that air pollution like dust in the air, carbon emissions, and forest fires can lower productivity.

Plants and air filters can help improve the air quality in your workspace. However, if there is a pollutant that you can’t reduce, you may have to set-up shop in a location that has better air quality.

Online Appointment Software Says a Lot About Your Business

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9 Collaboration Mistakes You’re Making With Your Remote Team

Not every company uses online appointment software, at least not yet. Your business is sure to stand out — in a good way — if you choose to become an early adopter. Potential customers will take notice of your willingness to embrace newer technologies while simultaneously appreciating you for making their lives easier.

Your company may have chosen to transition to online appointment-making for the sake of convenience, financial incentives, or both. The good news for you is that your decision sends several positive signals. If you’re on the fence about diving in, it might help you to consider some of the positive, unspoken PR an online system brings with it:

You Respect People’s Time

Using online appointment software isn’t just about saving time and money, though it will definitely save you both. In addition to those benefits, online appointment-making saves your customers time and hassle. They’ll appreciate anything you can do to make their interactions with you as simple and pain-free as possible.

Few things frustrate a customer more than long wait times and unexpected delays. Online appointment software combats both of those problems by having customers choose from a predetermined list of options. Studies have shown that you are actually doing your customer a favor by limiting their options.

When implemented correctly, this feature helps to narrow the window of time customers spend on the front and back end of their appointment. Who doesn’t like freeing up some extra time?

You Embrace Newer Technologies

Companies that embrace any innovation that makes doing business easier are a welcome respite from those that provide poor customer service. However, it’s important that you not adopt anything just because it’s new. Instead, look for newer tech that demonstrably makes your business run more efficiently. As your company fine-tunes its practices, your customers stand to benefit.

Consider a few ways using an online appointment system will improve your business operations. When customers are able to set up their own appointments, it frees up at least a few of your employees to attend to more pressing issues. Perhaps the increased efficiency will allow you to add an extra appointment slot per hour, thereby serving more customers and increasing revenue.

You’re Willing to Make Investments

Free business software is typically worth every penny you paid for it. Jokes aside, you’re unlikely to come across enterprise-level software that’s free and trouble-free. Once you’ve accepted that your business must invest in the software tools it uses, you won’t be as tempted to sabotage your business using cheap solutions.

Online appointment software is no different. Reliable packages often run on a subscription basis, typically with a monthly recurring fee.

Moving into new tech shows customers that your company doesn’t pinch pennies when it comes to making their experience pleasant. They’ll appreciate that you’re willing to invest in the technologies needed to facilitate their interactions with you.

Play the long game. You are committed to upgrading when needed, with an eye fixed on how your business operations make life better for your customers. They, in turn, will appreciate your stability and be less likely to start window-shopping your competitors.

Your Employees Are Capable

Is there anything more comforting than arriving at an appointment to be greeted by an employee who clearly knows their stuff? Efficiently handling appointments both online and as customers enter your facility leaves a lasting impression. 

In case you feel any trepidation, rest assured that no one needs a degree in information technology to operate online appointment software. You won’t need to hire a computer engineer from MIT to install your system, either. 

You will, however, need to commit at least some time up front to make sure all of your employees know how to use the new system. No need to stress, though. Most will get the hang of it in no time.

You Place a High Priority on Data Security

Online appointment software moves a lot of information around on a daily basis. Customers expect you to keep their information safe, preventing credit card or identity theft stemming from vulnerabilities in your system. While online appointment software increases data capacity, it does so while holding data in an iron grip.

Savvy customers will recognize that moving their appointments to an online system is in fact more secure than traditional means. Data can be quickly compiled, archived, secured, and deleted on command. Software vendors, for their part, have a huge stake in keeping the information of your clients safe.

Using online appointment booking enables stronger confidentiality. The risk of someone overhearing your information is eliminated. Patients visiting the doctor’s office can type out notes regarding the nature of their illness instead of announcing potentially embarrassing symptoms in a waiting room.

You Cultivate Relationships

In addition to offering increased convenience, customers will see that you want to establish a relationship with them. Tracking appointment frequency with your new system makes it easier to remember individuals who enter your business regularly. This allows you to demonstrate that your company sees people as something more than dollar signs, but individuals with names and faces. 

Make it a point to use the personalized aspects of online appointment software to your advantage. Personal interactions give infrequent customers more reason to become regulars. When an employee sees a name pop up on the screen as a customer walks in — or even a photo, if allowed — they can make a point of addressing the visitor by name. The employee will also have access to important details about the customer’s most recent appointments.

You Encourage Flexibility

Making life easier for your customers is almost always the right thing to do. When it comes to appointments, this means greater ability to roll with the punches that come with daily life. Personal matters and unexpected circumstances will arise that cause customers to reschedule appointments. Online appointment software can help with that.

With access to the internet, or even a mobile app, your customers can make adjustments to their appointments when needed. By allowing them to feel a heightened sense of control whenever life throws them a curveball, you ease your customers’ tension and demonstrate a willingness to help them refocus on more pressing concerns.

Implementing online appointment software will help place your business in a positive light. Making life easier for your employees as well as your customers sure sounds like a win-win. Schedule some time to look at your options, remembering to assess costs through the lenses of increased productivity and customer loyalty.

Want to Get More Done? Organize Your Thoughts

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Want to Get More Done? Organize Your Thoughts

I’m dragging today because I woke up at 3 a.m. and couldn’t fall back asleep because my mind was racing.

At some point, this happens to all of us. You may be thinking about an upcoming deadline, vacation, or just how much the world has changed. Obviously, not all of these are bad thoughts. But, they can prevent you from getting a good night’s rest to being productive — it’s impossible to focus when your mind is preoccupied with something else.

The answer? You need to organize your thoughts. In addition to improving your sleep and output, you’ll also become more positive, able to absorb information better, and finally, achieve your goals.

But, how exactly can you stop thinking too much and bring order to your thoughts? Well, here are 7 strategies that you can try today.

1. Choose your preferred thought-collecting method.

The first step in organizing your thoughts is figuring out how you want to get them out of your head. If you don’t do this, they’re just going to occupy valuable real estate in your mind. And, even worse, they’re just going to and you until addressed.

The method that you rely on is totally your decision. But, as a general rule of thumb, here are some pointers:

  • Anything that requires action, like scheduling a meeting or picking-up items at the store, could be placed on a list, calendar, or both. After all, we love lists since they bring order to chaos, relieve stress, help the mind focus, and prevent us from procrastinating.
  • Ideas, thoughts, or wishes can be placed on a sticky note, whiteboard, or organizational app like Evernote.
  • Numbers and contacts need to be added to your address book or phone.
  • Household responsibilities can be placed on your to-do-list, Evernote, or shared family calendar or apps like Cozi or OurHome.

Ways to organize your thoughts.

Rashelle Isip, aka the Order Expert, goes even more in-depth on how to organize your thoughts. Here are some of her excellent suggestions:

  • Practical ways for “those times when you need to take stock of the thoughts in your mind,” she writes. “Simply transfer thoughts from your mind onto sticky notes, index cards, or a piece of paper, and you’ll be able to analyze, evaluate, and manipulate your thoughts and ideas as needed.” Other suggestions are drawing a mind map or making a pie chart.
  • Unleash your creative side, and shake things up, by composing a handwritten letter or making a collage. Isip also says that you could create a table of contents, develop a timeline, or voice record yourself. Or, you could just take a shower.
  • “You may not have realized it yet, but you can ‘organize’ your thoughts through a variety of less active methods,” she adds. Examples include working on repetitive tasks, meditating, or sleeping on them.
  • Physical activities that “force you to step out of your mind and express your thoughts through body movement and interactions with others.” Spending time outside and exercise are obvious. But, you could also vent to a friend or family member or become a storyteller.

Personally, when I need to sort things out, or just slow down my racing mind, I take my dog for a long walk. Of course, being outside is awesome. But, I engage in a little self-talk to work things out in my mind.

Regardless of what method you use, just know that you need some sort of system to gather and catalog your thoughts.

2. Add thought-collecting to your daily routine.

Sometimes, you just need to get a thought out of your head as soon as it pops up. For example, while writing this article, I randomly remembered to add pears to my shopping list. I made a note of that and immediately got back to the task at hand.

Other times, you need to strike when the iron is hot. Let’s say you met a contact at a networking event. You should scan their business card or add their contact right there on the spot. And, definitely add a calendar reminder to follow up with them in the very near future.

In most cases, however, you want to be consistent with organizing your thoughts. For me, that means making this a habitual process.

During your morning and/or evening routine, spend 5 or 10 minutes dumping everything out of your head via your preferred method. You don’t have to be overly detailed here. The jest is that you need to free these thoughts and decide what to do next with them.

For instance, you reserve Friday afternoon to plan for next week. You list everything you want to get done. However, you notice that most of your list aren’t priorities meaning you can outsource or eliminate them.

3. Chunk it down.

Have you ever wondered why Social Security numbers are in chunks, such as 123-45-6789? How about why there are hyphens in phone numbers? According to Mike Byster, Founder of Brainetics, LLC, “it’s much easier to remember information when it’s grouped into smaller chunks.”

“I find that my brain prefers to remember things in groups of five, but maybe groups of four or eight will be your magic number, he states.

“Groupings allow you to organize information and sometimes apply other memory strategies, such as keywords, or a code you totally make up using your imagination,” clarifies Byster. What’s more, “this method can be used for a wide variety of tasks,” ranging “from recalling lists of items to remembering basic concepts.”

“In a studying environment, if you’re trying to figure out how to commit to memory a long batch of notes, see if you can break down your detailed notes into chunks of five main concepts,” he suggests. You may find that this can “help you mentally organize all the material and recall the important facts.”

4. Make your ideas work together.

In addition to chunking, you can also sort your ideas by categories. Why? It’s a quick and easy way for you to notice a common theme or how they’re related.

You can even come up with subcategories. “For example, if you’re a fiction writer, you could group some of your ideas under ‘Stories’ and the form you think the story should be told,” writes Lifehacker Founder and CEO Leon Ho. “A drama script, a novel, or short story, etc. Then with separate subgroups for genre such as historical fiction or sci-fi.”

Ho also recommends that you “kill your darlings.”

“‘Kill your darlings’ is important advice for writers,” he adds. “It means that you have to get rid of your most ‘precious’ ideas and words.”

“Not all ideas are equal,” he continues. “In your notes, there could be a truly brilliant original idea, but the chances of them all being like this are unfortunately slim. There is no point wasting your time on an idea that will never work.”

“Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell which of your ideas are great and which are not,” adds Ho. “Trusting your gut can be a good way; talking to people about your ideas and seeing how they react can also be a good idea.”

Just remember to be honest and not let emotions cloud your decision. If that’s a challenge, ask for feedback from someone you trust.

“Once you’ve trimmed your ideas down to the very best, you can work on making them a reality.”

5. Reframe anxious thoughts.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more anxious. And, thanks to COVID-19, my anxiety is now through the roof. And, that’s a problem since anxious thoughts can be hard to shake — even if you’ve written them down, gone for a walk, or tried to categorize them.

Even worse? They can be paralyzing. And, they will certainly warp your view of reality.

How can you deal with these types of thoughts? Reframe them so that you can change your perspective and remove what’s not true.

To get started, here are some therapist approved tips courtesy of SELF:

  • Fact check yourself by making factual statements as opposed to emotional ones.
  • Switch from asking “Is this true?” to “Is this helpful?”
  • When engaged in negative self-talk, think about what you would say to a friend if they had the same thoughts.
  • Focus on being realistic and not just positive.
  • Swap “finding the bright side” with “finding meaning.”
  • Turn a thought into action.
  • Experiment with various techniques until you find what works best for you.
  • If reframing isn’t working, try something else, such as breathing exercises.

6. Take breaks and set shifts.

“Our brains and bodies simply aren’t wired for prolonged periods of work,” notes author and cofounder of TalentSmart Dr. Travis Bradberry. “While it might seem as though sitting at your desk for eight hours straight is the best way to get all of your work done, this can work against you.”

“Research has shown that the most productive work cycle tends to be fifty-two minutes of uninterrupted work, followed by seventeen-minute breaks,” he adds. “While it probably isn’t realistic to structure your schedule this rigidly, for most people, the battle is won by just remembering to take breaks.” I’d add that creating calendar reminders or using the Pomodoro Technique can encourage you to take frequent breaks throughout the day.

If that is too regimental for you, I’d say that you take breaks whenever it’s convenient for you. For example, if you’re trying to focus on your work, and your mind is racing, it might be better to stop what you’re doing and go for a walk to clear your head.

“Once you’ve taken a break, you must shift your focus back to your task,” advises Dr. Bradberry. “No matter how ‘in the zone’ you were before taking a break, you’ll sometimes find that you’re back to square one when it comes to focus.”

How can you do a proper set shift? “You have to reorganize your thoughts by:

  • Making sure that the task at hand isn’t too challenging or easy.
  • Controlling and managing your emotions.
  • Sustaining your focus by removing distractions.

“You’ll find that getting back into flow quickly after a break is very doable, he says. “But it must be done purposefully.”

7. Master the art of letting go.

Anger, frustration, and worry are all natural emotions. But, they’re not healthy or necessary. Furthermore, they consume your valuable time and energy.

If you can, let these feelings go. I know, easier said than done. But, it’s possible by trying tactics like:

  • Accepting what’s true and being thankful.
  • Focusing on what you can control.
  • Living in the moment through mantras and meditation.
  • Admitting that perfection doesn’t exist.
  • Finding creative outlets, like drawing or writing.
  • Being authentic by embracing vulnerability.
  • Seeking moments of solitude and silence to reflect and develop a plan.

What’s next?

After getting your thoughts out of your head and organizing them, you can pursue those that have value. As for the rest? You can toss them aside like yesterday’s trash.

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