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Add These 101 Phrases to Your Calendar for Productivity

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Productivity

Why do we love quotes? Well, many of us can be inspired by a quote on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. For example, when need to be re-energized when motivation has lost its luster. In addition, using quotes as a ‌guide‌ ‌can‌ ‌help‌ ‌us‌ ‌achieve‌ ‌specific‌ ‌goals and increase productivity.

Whatever reason you tap into the power quotes, the key is to keep them front and center. And, what better place to do that than by adding the following 101 phrases to your calendar for productivity. This way when you review your daily schedule or receive reminders, you’ll also get that much-needed productivity boost when needed.

1. “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” — Paul J. Meyer

2. “A wind that blows aimlessly is no good to anyone.” — Rick Riord​an

3. “Focus on being productive instead of busy.” — Tim Ferriss

4. “Lost time is never found again.” — Benjamin Franklin

5. “It’s not knowing what to do, it’s doing what you know.” –-Tony Robbins

6. “Use your mind to think about things, rather than think of them. You want to be adding value as you think about projects and people, not simply reminding yourself they exist.” — David Allen

7. “Luck is only important in so far as getting the chance to sell yourself at the right moment. After that, you’ve got to have talent and know-how to use it.” — Frank Sinatra

8. “It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”– Henry David Thoreau

9. “Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.” — Dale Carnegie

10.. “Time is the school in which we learn, time is the fire in which we burn.” — Delmore Schwartz

11. “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.” — Stephen Covey

12. “Action is the foundational key to all success.” — Picasso

13. “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” — Bruce Lee

14. “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” — Theodore Roosevelt

15. “Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.” — Franz Kafka

16. “If there are nine rabbits on the ground, if you want to catch one, just focus on one.” — Jack Ma

17. “Ordinary people think merely of spending time, great people think of using it.” — Arthur Schopenhauer

18. Stressing output is the key to improving productivity while looking to increase activity can result in just the opposite. — Paul Gauguin

19. “The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.” — Oprah Winfrey

20. “Life is too complicated not to be orderly.” — Martha Stewart

21. “It’s not always that we need to do more but rather that we need to focus on less.” — Nathan W. Morris

22. “You may delay, but time will not.” — Benjamin Franklin23 “Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” — Coco Chanel

23. “Don’t confuse the urgent with the important.” — Preston Ni.

24. “The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends, there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.” — Thomas A. Edison

25. “The least productive people are usually the ones who are most in favor of holding meetings.” — Thomas Sowell

26. “Make each day your masterpiece.”– John Wooden

27. “My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do.” — Francine Jay

28. “The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.” — Benjamin E. Mays

29. “The best way out is always through.” –– Robert Frost

30. “Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.” — Leo Babauta

31. “Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.” — Peter Drucker

32. “Position yourself to succeed by doing the other things in your life that rejuvenate you. Exhaustion affects your quality and productivity.” — Jeff VanderMeer

33. “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” — Albert Einstein

34. “Both good and bad days should end with productivity. Your mood affairs should never influence your work.” — Greg Evans

35. “You don’t need a new plan for next year. You need a commitment.” — Seth Godin

36. “Saying ‘I don’t have time’ really means ‘it’s not a priority.’ If someone offered you a ton of cash to do whatever you claim you don’t have time for…you’d probably find the time!” — Laura Vanderkam

37. “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” — Stephen King

38. “Sometimes the biggest gain in productive energy will come from cleaning the cobwebs, dealing with old business, and clearing the desks—cutting loose debris that’s impeding forward motion.” — David Allen

39. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” — Steve Jobs

40. “When one has much to put into them, a day has a hundred pockets.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

41. “Great acts are made up of small deeds.” — Lao Tzu

42. “‘Tomorrow’ is the thing that’s always coming but never arrives. ‘Today’ is the thing that’s already here and never leaves. And because that’s the case, I would much prefer to invest in today than sit around waiting for an arrival that’s not arriving.” — Craig D. Lounsbrough

43. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” — Walt Disney

44. “Stop measuring days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence.” — Alan Watts

45. “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” — Muhammad Ali

46. “Time is not refundable; use it with intention.” — Unknown

47. “Effective performance is preceded by painstaking preparation” — Brian Tracy

48. You can’t get much done in life if you only work on days when you feel good. — Jerry West

49. “The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.” — Tom Peters

50. “There is no waste in the world that equals the waste from needless, ill-directed, and ineffective motions.” — Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Sr.

51. “We have a strategic plan. It’s called doing things.” — Herb Kelleher

52. “You don’t get paid for the hour, you get paid for the value you bring to the hour.” — Jim Rohn

53. “You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” — Zig Ziglar

54. “If you have time to whine then you have time to find solutions.” — Dee Dee Artner

55. “All things will be produced in superior quantity and quality, and with greater ease, when each man works at a single occupation, in accordance with his natural gifts, and at the right moment, without meddling with anything else.” — Plato

56. “Light tomorrow with today.”– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

57. “Don’t confuse activity with productivity. Many people are simply busy being busy.” — Robin Sharma

58. “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” –– Dwight D. Eisenhower

59. “Busy is a decision” — Debbie Millman

60. “People often say that motivation doesn’t last long. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” — Zig Ziglar

61. “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” — Amelia Earhart

62. “There is never enough time to do it right, but there is always enough time to do it over.” — John W. Bergman

63. “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.” — John F. Kennedy

64. “Just do what works for you because there will always be someone who thinks differently” — Michelle Obama

65. “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work in hand. The Sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus” — Alexander Graham Bell

66. “Every day that I procrastinate, every day that I sit stagnant in fear, every day that I fail to better myself, someone else out there with the same goals and dreams as me is doing the exact opposite.”– Noel DeJesus

67. “Where your attention goes, your time goes” — Idowu Koyenikan

68. “I get to do what I like to do every single day of the year.” — Warren Buffett

69. “Pick a problem that hurts enough for enough people and go solve it – execution is much more important than the perfect idea.” — Cristina Junqueira

70. “If you commit to giving more time than you have to spend, you will constantly be running from time debt collectors.” — Elizabeth Grace Saunders

71. “Someday is not a day of the week.” — Janet Dailey

72. “Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.” — Caterina Fake

73. “Reflect on what you do in a day. You may have never realized how some simple, harmless activities rob you of precious time.” — Vivek Naik

74. “Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law” — Douglas R. Hofstadter

75. “A year from now you may wish you had started today.” — Karen Lamb

76. “The key to productivity is to rotate your avoidance techniques.” — Shannon Wheeler

77. “Start by doing what is necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” — Saint Francis of Assisi

78. “Sometimes, things may not go your way, but the effort should be there every single night.” — Michael Jordan

79. “Long-range planning works best in the short term.”– Doug Evelyn

80. “Over the long run, the unglamorous habit of frequency fosters both productivity and creativity.” — Gretchen Rubin

81. “Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes in a day.” — Denis Waitley

82. “The happier you are, the more productive you will become.” — Chris Bailey

83. “You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.” — George Lorimer

84. “Don’t worry about breaks every 20 minutes ruining your focus on a task. Contrary to what I might have guessed, taking regular breaks from mental tasks actually improves your creativity and productivity. Skipping breaks, on the other hand, leads to stress and fatigue.” — Tom Rath

85. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” — Martin Luther King

86. “Want to be more productive? Uncover the subtle nuances that steal your productivity and fix those.” — Allison Graham

87. “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. It comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.” — John Wayne

88. “Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.” — Charles Richards

89. “Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” — Sam Levenson

90. “Your daily choices and actions should be rational and productive.” — Sunday Adelaja

91. “Successful people are simply those with successful habits.” — Brian Tracy

92. “Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.” — Napoleon Bonaparte

93. “What gets measured gets managed.” — Peter Drucker

94. “What looks like multitasking is really switching back and forth between multiple tasks, which reduces productivity and increases mistakes by up to 50 percent.” — Susan Cain

95. “You don’t need more time in your day. You need to decide.” — Seth Godin

96. “Each minute is a little thing, and yet, with respect to our personal productivity, to manage the minute is the secret of success.” — Joseph B. Wirthlin

97. “Fall in love with the process, and the results will come.” — Eric Thomas

98. “Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves.” — Lord Chesterfield

99. “My future starts when I wake up every morning. Every day I find something creative to do with my life.” — Miles Davis

100. “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” — H. Jackson Brown

101. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” — J.R.R. Tolkien

Image Credit: Bich Tran; Pexels; Thank you!

Add These 101 Phrases to Your Calendar for Productivity was originally published on Calendar by Deanna Ritchie

Get More Done with the DRY Principle

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Get More Done Dry Principle

Take a minute and think about your everyday tasks. I’m sure that many of them are likely to be repetitive and time-consuming — whether you’re working in an office or from home. But, is there a way to reduce this workload to get more done so that you’ll be productive instead of being busy?

Thankfully, there are several strategies you can try in order to get more done. Examples include the Eisenhower Matrix or the Pareto Principle. But, have you tried the DRY Principle?

What is DRY, and How Does it Work?

Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas, in their book The Pragmatic Programmer, coined the phrase “don’t repeat yourself” in 1999. They describe DRY as “Every piece of knowledge must have a single, unambiguous, authoritative representation within a system.”

In software engineering, DRY is a technique for reducing repetition in code. Coders streamline coding using a single, reusable source, aka “snippet,” whenever appropriate. Hence, the name, don’t repeat yourself.

As well as saving time, writing the same thing multiple times means that there is less room for human error. After all, if you make a mistake once, you’ll probably make it twice. Plus, if you decide to make any changes, you only have to do this one time.

The bottom line is that less code is good. It saves time and energy. It’s much easier to maintain. And, it also reduces the likelihood of bugs.

While the DRY Principle originally applied to software development, it can be adopted into other facets in order to get more done. For example, on a daily basis, how many emails do you send and receive? Essentially, you’re recreating the same structure with slightly different wording with each email. And, when you’re calendar is already booked, this can be very tedious.

DRY requires that you take note of all your actions throughout the day, one at a time. You can include tasks that are within the following categories in order to meet this requirement:

  • Unplanned events, such as a phone call from a client or urgent text from a colleague.
  • Monthly and yearly obligations, like annual reports and one-on-one meetings with team members.
  • Everyday routines and your top priorities.

Once you’ve compiled this list, you can determine which ones apply to the DRY Principle. From there, take note of how repetitive, time-consuming, and intimidating each one is, and mark them down. If the top candidates are DRY Principle qualifiers, you can automate as many of these as possible.

In some cases, you will not be able to automate all the duties. However, you can streamline certain parts to help you get more done.

Where Are You Repeating Yourself?

Have you ever used a system like Getting Things Done (GTD)? If so, the DRY Principle should be easy to understand as both follow a similar process. DRY, however, aims to avoid redundant processes.

To get started, keep a daily journal for at least a week. Then, you should track your time for a more accurate picture for a month or so. This allows you to take note of your routine tasks. But, this should also help you identify less frequent occurrences as well.

Here are some pointers you can use while tracking your time.

  • Add unplanned or unscheduled tasks, like responding to a client’s email.
  • Keep track of monthly and annual tasks. Examples of these are quarterly reports, audits, invoicing, and tech maintenance.
  • Ask others what their routine tasks are to fill in any gaps.

Hopefully, you now have a bird’s-eye view of your tasks. Next, you need to decide which tasks are best suited to DRY.

You can do this using whatever tools you rely on to track your tasks. For example, you can create tags or labels for each category in your to-do list or time-tracking app. The categories can then be added as columns in a spreadsheet. Or, you can go old school and write them down with a pen and paper.

To make this process easier, hone in on the corresponding categories;

  • Pain points. These would be the activities that you dread so much that they cause you to procrastinate
  • Bottlenecks. Which tasks are bogging down the rest of your day?
  • Tasks that require a lot of time. Review your time-tracking results and determine which tasks consume most of your time.
  • Work that repeats itself. Which tasks do you find yourself doing over and over?

As a result of categorizing your tasks, you can now identify which tasks are suitable for DRY. DRY is most likely to benefit tasks with a repetitive nature. You can eliminate repetitive tasks from your list if they aren’t essential so that you can focus on what’s important.

Create Templates

After discovering where you’re repeating yourself, you can now find ways to eliminate them so you can get more done. And, perhaps the most accessible place to start is through templates.

In most cases, templates are blank documents that need to be filled in. You can either create one from scratch or download a premade online. Regardless, templates will save you time since you’re no longer constantly creating emails, invoices, or calendars every day.

Generally speaking, templates are most needed in the following areas:

  • Emails. Office workers receive an average of 121 emails each day. As a result, there’s a possibility you’re sending the same emails repeatedly. You can create your own template by removing all the personal information and saving it for later use.
  • Internal communications. Examine your most recent communications and search for patterns. Even a minimal template can ease your stress and save you time.
  • External documents. Contracts, proposals, invoices all seem to look the same. However, when you remove the information specific to your clients and partners, you’ll have a template to use, and you can customize it as needed.
  • Presentations. Prepare a presentation template if you deliver more than one presentation a year. Then, regardless of how different each presentation appears, the basic structure can remain the same.

One more thing with templates. You should consider them as non-static documents. You should, therefore, update the template if you notice that you’re always making the same changes.

Automate Routine Tasks

During the course of your workday, you perform several repetitive tasks. But, what business tasks should you consider automating?

For starters, scheduling appointments. It’s easy to schedule appointments with calendar apps. You can send your calendar via email or link it to your website. You can now show others your availability so they can select a time and date that works for them. Once chosen, the event will be automatically added to schedules for all attendees.

Sorting and responding to emails, posting to social media, and filling out online forms can also be automated. This is also true for proposals, invoicing, customer service, and data backup.

You may only have to spend a couple of minutes on each task. But they add up quickly and divert your attention.

Follow the 30x Rule

Until now, we’ve only discussed the many ways you can leverage tools and messages to save time. However, DRY can also be useful in your daily activities.

“Most managers would think it’s crazy to spend 2.5 hours training someone to do a 5-minute task because they think ‘it would just be faster to do it myself,” notes Management consultant Rory Vaden. “That is because most managers are stuck in classic ‘urgency’ thinking of only evaluating their tasks inside of the construct of one day.”

“In which case, it never makes sense to spend 2.5 hours training someone to do a task that they could do themselves in just 5 minutes,” says Vaden.

According to Vaden, you should allocate 30X that amount of time to train others for any task that can be delegated and repeated. For example, a five-minute task delegated and trained for 2.5 hours will save you 1100 minutes (over 18 hours! ), according to the 30-X rule.

Mathematically speaking, it’s Total Task Time (5 minutes 250 working days) – Training Time (5 minutes).

It’s All About Staying DRY

Because all these processes are getting done in the background, you will have more free time because you won’t need to perform repetitive tasks manually. So when it comes to time management, the DRY Principle is an effective tool to experiment with.

By maximizing your output now, you will have more time to spend on the things that matter most in the future. And, to get started, take a look at your current workload, and see if there is anything you can automate under the DRY Principle.

Image Credit: Enikő Tóth; Pexels; Thanks!

4 Ways to Up Your Social Media Marketing Game

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4 Ways to Up Your Social Media Marketing Game

Let’s get straight to it. Your company’s success relies on social media. Why? Because that’s where the consumers are. Today, there are about 3.78 billion social media users worldwide. And these users have high expectations. 

In today’s ever-changing and demanding world, consumers expect a lot from their social media feeds. They want to be informed, engaged, and entertained. They also want to learn something new from time to time. This puts a lot of pressure on businesses, particularly new ones trying to establish a social presence. 

Building an engaged and involved social media following takes time. Setting your social media goals is a true first step in establishing your social media game. With goals, you have a clear sense of direction for your company’s brand. Not to mention, you also have a plan for you and your team to get behind and work toward. 

Read on for four ways to give your social media marketing a boost. 

1. Post Consistently 

This is arguably the easiest but also the most fruitful way to gain more followers. Posting consistently creates a rhythm to your platform. It helps create a sense of reliability and continuity. Your users will start to expect content at certain times of the day, month, or year. 

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re managing a new restaurant’s social media. Users will be looking for food content at times they are hungry. If you post a special menu photo at 5 p.m. each day, that will resonate with users who want to try the restaurant for dinner. The next time users are looking for a place to eat, they may return to your social channels. 

However, if you only post that menu photo once and then don’t post anything for another week or two, users will quickly forget about your original post. Your audience won’t be engaged and will be unlikely to return to your feed. 

Maintaining a consistent social media schedule may seem daunting at first. Luckily, there are tools such as Hootsuite and Agorapulse that can alleviate the stress of scheduling social media posts. 

Struggling to create content in advance? Seek out special holidays and observances such as Freedom Day (February 1) or Retro Day (February 27) for some inspiration.

2. But Also Post Consciously 

Social media users are constantly sharing and reacting. Sharing and reacting to world events. Sharing and reacting to other posts. Sharing and reacting to a brand’s stances. It’s you and your company’s responsibility to stay up to date on what is happening both on and off social media. 

For example, June 2020 was a monumental month for the social world. The Black Lives Matter movement grew significantly and steadily due to social media. Businesses that reacted sensitively in the moment retained their loyal followers. On the other hand, companies that posted inappropriately worded content or ignored the movement altogether took a major hit. 

So, what does this mean for you? While there isn’t one right way to handle any situation, there are wrong ways. Be conscious of what is happening — even while you’re on vacation — and pivot your planned social tactics accordingly. You don’t necessarily need to be the very first company to react to something. However, you should create a strategy when major events surprise the social world.  

3. Be Flexible and Adaptable

Setting up a new social account or taking one over can be intimidating. What works one day may not work the next. However, think of social media as a world of opportunities. If a company is stuck in the past, it won’t be moving ahead. This opens up the door for newer ones to take up space in a crowded field. 

Consider this example. Just recently, Instagram announced it was no longer just a “photo-sharing app.” The platform will be focusing on video content and entertainment in the months to come. Why? It’s likely because the app is looking to compete with popular video platforms such as TikTok and YouTube.

This news could shock a lot of businesses, particularly those that focused solely on posting photos and copy. Instagram’s algorithm will make it harder for users to see these brands in their feeds. Therefore, companies need to adapt, and so do their social media feeds. By posting Instagram Stories, Reels, and IGTVs, for instance, businesses can better stay ahead of the game. 

4. Tailor Your Posts to the Platform 

What works on Instagram may not necessarily work on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, or LinkedIn. Users adapt their needs to where they are. So a cute cat photo on Instagram won’t really be appropriate for LinkedIn, for example. 

Getting to know your customer is part of tailoring your posts effectively. Keeping an eye on your social metrics can also help you determine what kinds of posts work best for your business. 

Let’s go back to the restaurant example. If a Facebook post introducing a new menu item doesn’t resonate, look at what the call to action is. Could you make it clearer to the audience that this item is “back by popular demand”? Could you say the item is “available only for a limited time”? Using these types of words could help. 

If you’re still not seeing the traction you want, try another platform. The same photo could work better on Instagram and garner more attention if that’s where your foodie audience is. 

These four tips aren’t the only ways to up your social media marketing game. They are, however, strategies you can start to implement today to meet your goals. Be aware, though, that it takes time. Just like your business wasn’t built overnight, neither will your social media presence be.

What Should Your Office’s PPE Policy Be?

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As the COVID-19 crisis drags on, offices everywhere are reopening. Work has to get done. With that said, there’s no reason to subject your staff or customers to unnecessary risks. 

There are many things to consider when reopening your business. You must reorganize the office to allow employees to work at a safe distance. You need to be vigilant about cleaning. You also need to adjust the way customers interact with your business by restricting things like drop-in appointments. 

The biggest challenge, however, might be effectively utilizing personal protective equipment (PPE). Depending on the nature of your business, masks, gloves, and employee-customer barriers may be necessary.

Not sure where to start? To figure out your next steps, take a look through the following questions:

1. Do I need a PPE policy?

Yes, you do. COVID-19 is contagious, and you have a responsibility to keep your customers and employees safe. That starts with a clear policy on PPE usage. 

Policies provide a level of accountability that recommendations can’t. A cancellation policy for appointments can lower no-show rates more than “soft” guidelines ever could, for example.

The same is true when it comes to wearing protective equipment. Don’t leave something so important up to chance or choice.

2. How common is COVID-19 in my area?

No matter where your business is located, having a PPE policy is worthwhile. With that said, it’s important to build yours around conditions on the ground. 

More drastic types of PPE, such as face shields, should be used in hotspots. If you’re in a place where the coronavirus is under control, regular cloth masks may be plenty.

The bottom line is, you can’t throw caution to the wind. But you shouldn’t go whole-hog if there are only a few cases in your country. 

3. How will PPE affect productivity?

There’s an argument to be made that PPE can be distracting. But when people use it long enough, it becomes the norm. The real productivity drain, in fact, comes from anxiety caused by a sense of unease at work. From that perspective, wearing PPE might actually help employees be more productive at a time like this. 

What if employees claim their PPE is getting in the way? Look for workarounds. Perhaps someone who finds a face covering to be distracting would be better off working at home. Simply getting him or her a softer mask could solve the issue. 

4. How will I get employees to comply?

When introducing new policies, there’s always a question about how workers will respond. If they don’t buy into your plan, then it isn’t going to be effective. The key is to involve your team in crafting the policy.

Solicit their input when putting together your PPE policy. Keep them in the loop about your decisions related to how and when to re-open the office. Transparency boosts engagement and encourages compliance. 

Most importantly, listen to your employees’ concerns about returning to work. Take steps they suggest to make everyone feel more comfortable. 

5. What should I provide?

According to OSHA, employers must provide the PPE necessary for employees to do their jobs safely. That guideline, however, has a lot of room for interpretation. Arguably, no customer-facing job is perfectly safe right now. 

The basic piece of equipment is a face mask. While employees may opt to bring their own, it’s important to provide backups if necessary. Keeping gloves and hand sanitizer stocked and accessible is also a good idea. 

If your employees interact intimately with customers, plexiglass shields should be provided. At high-risk companies, such as nursing homes and doctor’s offices, full-body protective coverings may be necessary as well. 

6. What consequences should I impose?

The toughest part of creating a PPE policy is figuring out what to do if employees break it. Not every infraction is intentional, and not all sanctions work with all employees. 

What will you do if someone forgets their PPE on accident? What if it slips off in the course of their work? And what if the same team member keeps violating your policy?

For first-time accidents, a verbal warning is plenty. Perhaps repeat offenders are required to work from home for a certain length of time. Intentional offenses should be punished more seriously.

No one knows how long the pandemic will last. It’s probably safe to say, however, that the virus isn’t going away anytime soon. Using PPE at work may become the “new normal.” Design your policy thoughtfully, and get buy in across your team: You may need it for the long haul.

7 Questions to Ask Before Accepting Drop-Ins During COVID-19

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When you run an appointment-based business, scheduling clients beforehand is key to your efficiency. At the same time, you’ll inevitably have to contend with drop-ins. 

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, accepting drop-ins had its pros and cons. They may have netted you more business, but they might also have upset your staff. It was a question of how drastically drop-ins affected your efficiency. 

Now, however, drop-ins are also an issue of safety. Even if your state’s prohibitions have been relaxed and everyone is wearing protective equipment, drop-ins could still pose a danger. Not only can they make social distancing more difficult, but they increase the chances that you’ll accidentally interact with someone who’s sick. That can make customers feel uncomfortable, whether they tell you or not. 

These days, you can’t decide on a whim whether or not to allow drop-ins. There’s a lot more to consider than your bottom line. To choose, ask yourself the following questions: 

1. What are the conditions in my community?

In the U.S., the federal government’s approach to managing COVID-19 has been to put state and local governments in charge. So, before deciding whether or not to accept drop-ins, be sure you consider the conditions in your city and state.

There are two parts to this: laws and cases. First, you’ll want to look into what’s allowed in your community. Are there occupancy restrictions you might run afoul of? Must everyone wear masks in public places?

The second piece of the puzzle is active cases. Rather than checking any one day, look at trends for the truest picture of conditions on the ground. Across the last three days, week, and month, have cases generally been rising or falling? 

2. How much space do I have?

Your operating capacity has to factor into your decision. Even if you’re nowhere close to fire-code limits, you may not have enough room for people to stay 6 feet apart. 

If that’s the case, it’s important to serve the people who booked an appointment first. Customers will feel cheated if they’re denied entry because someone off the street stole their time slot. 

The larger your space, the more likely it is you’ll have room for drop-ins. If you’re working in cramped quarters, don’t take the risk. 

3. How much do I rely on drop-ins?

For some companies, denying drop-ins is no big deal. If your customers are religious about making appointments, there’s no reason to take the risk of letting random people in. 

If you’ve been keeping track of your traffic, you can get a good idea of how many drop-ins you’ve had in the past. Compare that with data from your scheduling software. Determine what proportion of your business comes from each source. 

What if your customers are mostly drop-ins? You may need to encourage more people to use your scheduling software. Offering a slight discount for booking online is a good way to do it. 

4. How much do my clients value a drop-in option?

Some clients are more likely to drop-in than others. Know your regulars, but realize that things may change due to the pandemic.

In order to gauge your clients’ feelings, send out a survey. Offer a gift card to encourage responses. In your survey, ask about:

  • How frequently they plan to come in during the pandemic
  • How concerned they are about safety
  • Whether they’re able to make appointments using your software
  • How much they care about flexibility

Surveys are great for at-a-glance feedback, but you may want to get your top clients on the phone. Set up feedback calls to get more detailed insights. Your customers are critical to your business, so they should have a say. 

5. Do I have a drop-in policy?

If your company already has a drop-in policy in place, take a moment to review it. It may be time to start enforcing it. What if you haven’t set guidelines on drop-ins? Now is the time to create them. 

Drop-in rules run the gamut. Some companies accept them unconditionally, while others forbid them entirely; most fall somewhere in between. 

An “in between” answer might be a waitlist. That way, if someone cancels an appointment, a drop-in customer could  take their slot. 

Figure out how much time drop-ins will have to wait if they show up.  Set expectations with a sign on your door. You don’t want to surprise people with an hour-long wait. 

6. How will I publicize my policy?

If you have a drop-in policy, it’s important that customers can find it. A sign on your door isn’t sufficient because some of your customers likely drive dozens of miles to do business with you.

Be sure to post your drop-in policy online. Add it to your social media sites. Consider using a business SMS service to share it with your most loyal customers. Proactively informing people of your policy doesn’t take much time, and it’s important for a sticky customer experience.  

7. Should I do it immediately?

Just as states are reopening in phases, so are many companies. It’s up to you: You could choose to disallow drop-ins until cases drop to a certain level, or until you can look deeper into your foot traffic. 

For financial and personal reasons, you probably want to get back to normal as soon as possible. The trouble is, throwing caution to the wind could make things worse than they already are. It may not seem like a big deal, but how you handle drop-ins could have big consequences for your company.

Leading With Empathy From Home

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10 Deliberate Sacrifices You Must Make if You Want to be Successful

As you’re all well aware, the world is going through a pandemic. As a result, people are anxious, frightened, and suffering. And, they’re looking for answers on how this crisis is affecting them and when things can go back to “normal.” Here are a few suggestions about leading with empathy from home. Recently, I returned to the quote listed below.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”  — Leo Buscaglia

While you can’t address all of their concerns, as a leader, you can at least be empathetic with your team. Even before COVID-19, empathy was often seen as one of the most important leadership skills to possess. After all, empathy is in our DNA and can create a more loyal, engaged, and productive. Empathy can also increase happiness, teach presence, and foster innovation collaboration.

However, empathy is more important than ever before. But, how can you be there for your team when this virus has forced you to be apart? Well, you can fix that problem by leading with empathy from home using the following ten techniques.

1. Support your team’s emotional and mental health.

I don’t think that I need to pull up any figures that highlight just how stressed and anxious everyone is right now. With that in mind, you don’t want to put any additional emotional or mental strain on your team. So, ditch the “tough love” approach and offer your support during this trying time. Social support has been found as the best way to alleviate stress.

How can you be supportive right now? The most obvious place to start is merely letting your team members know that you are there from them. Make it known that they can reach out to if they need to discuss any issues — even if it’s not work-related. In a way, this kind of like having a virtual open-door policy.

You should also schedule frequent check-ins with them to see how they’re doing. If they’re taking care of family members or busy homeschooling their children, you may even want to suggest that they take some time off. Most importantly, if you notice signs of distress, please have them contact outside sources like a support group, crisis outline, or mental healthcare professional.

2. Ease-up on rigid schedules.

Not that long ago, having a regimented schedule was one of the drawbacks regarding flexible schedules. Right now, though, that doesn’t matter.

Yes, for many businesses, they still need their team to be accountable and meet deadlines. But, they can still achieve these without putting in a specific set of working hours each day. As long as they’re getting stuff done, it doesn’t matter when they’re working or for how long.

In the past, studies have found that flexible schedules leade to happier and more productive employees. And, considering that they currently have other priorities, like taking care of themselves and loved ones, this is the best gift you can give them. And, they will reward by continuing to deliver quality work.

3. Rethink how you ask questions and listen.

Actively listen to your team. While that may sound simple, it’s going to take some effort. For instance, listening means giving the other person 100% percent of your attention when they’re conversing with you via Zoom, the phone, email, or Slack. Listening also involves making yourself as available as possible without wearing yourself out — I suggest sharing your calendar with your team so that they can see when you’re free to chat.

Additionally, you also need to ask empathy-building questions, like:

  • How are you feeling?
  • What’s distracting you?
  • How can I support you?

If they respond with a short answer, like “fine” or “nothing,” don’t accept that. Be honest with your team, and encourage them to open up so that you can get to the root problem.

4. Model healthy work habits.

Although you need to be available for your people, the truth is you also need a break. So, set regular “business hours” and lay down some guidelines. For example, suggest that there’s no work-related contact after work hours or during the weekend.

And, even though you can’t go out, let your team know how you’re spending your downtime. Maybe share with them a project you’re doing around your home or a new hobby you picked-up. And encourage them to let you and the rest of the team know how they’re enjoying their downtime.

5. Train yourself to be more patient.

Whether if everyone is adjusting to working from home or meeting virtually, expect some growing pains. We’re all trying to adjust and get through this together. And, one way to handle this is by training yourself to be more patient.

Personally, this is something that I’m still working on. And, according to studies, it depends on your personality, history, and situation. But, it is possible by:

  • Identifying when you’re impatient and what emotion you’re feeling.
  • Reframing how you think about the situation.
  • Thinking with purpose in mind.

6. Normalize the new normal.

If you’ve ever sought advice about effectively working from home, you were probably told to get dressed and set up shop in a quiet, dedicated workspace. Both suggestions are correct in working at-home procedures. But, that was a different time and place.

Take that home office you’ve carefully set up. It’s now being shared by your spouse for their work stuff and likely even your kids while they are on the “learning virtually” track. At this time, because of the non-virtual sharing — your team might have to use the kitchen table to work, or even meet on a video chat. Don’t chastise them for choices that they have to make that may be totally out of their control. Space is limited, and they need to work whenever they can.

Problematic choices have to be made right now — even down to getting dressed. Obviously, if a team member is on camera they’ll be wearing clothes, but let it slide if they’re in sweats or jeans and a T-shirt. The last thing that should be on their minds is getting all dressed up like they would if they were in the office.

7. Educate your team.

There are several ways you can do this. Pass along information on how your team can stay safe and healthy during this pandemic. Advice from the CDC and WHO are reliable sources for this. You could also let them know what your insurance plans do and do not cover.

What’s more, keep them up-to-date on your business and the industry so that they’re not left out in the cold. And, while you’re at it, provide them with resources on how they can be more focused while working from home.

8. Give them something to look forward to.

It’s impossible to make too many plans right now. But, you can still give your team things to look forward to besides work. You could start a virtual book club or host a number of events remotely. Ideas could be a happy hour, movie night, or online game tournament. Another idea could be sending them a care package containing handwritten notes, healthy snacks, or items that could make them more productive at home, such as headphones or a standing desk.

9. Meet more frequently.

Yes. Meetings are usually dreaded because they are boring, pointless, and distracting. But, right now, connecting with others is crucial — particularly for your team members who live alone.

Schedule more meetings than you normally would, like a brief 10-minute daily huddle or weekly progress meeting. Besides offering your team to interact with others, it also gives you more of a chance to monitor how they’re doing with their work and life.

Just remember to follow some basic virtual meeting etiquette guidelines. These include picking the right technology, speaking clearly and concisely, not multitasking, and muting your mic when not speaking.

10. Help others.

Finally, lend a helping hand to your team. If you have the means, this could be financially assisting them. But, you could also purchase an app like Calm or Downward Dog to help them relax.

You could also ask each person how, as a team, you can help each other. Maybe you could purchase gift cards to local businesses, put together with care packages for health care workers, or volunteer virtually.

Helping others isn’t just a welcome distraction. It gives back to the community, builds camaraderie, and puts you and your team in a better mood.

What Are the Main Priorities in Your Business Life?

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To-Do List

Regardless of whether you’re looking to climb your way up the corporate ladder or grow your business, we need to have priorities for our professional life. Without establishing your priorities, we won’t be as effective at our jobs or meet goals and deadlines. Priorities are also needed to protect resources like time and money. Essential to business and personal growth — are priorities.

But, you already knew that, right?

Even if you are aware of the importance of priorities, what are the main ones for you to focus on? Well, here are six main priorities that are required if you want to thrive in your business life.

Determining your “big three.”

Here’s an experiment. Write down all of the tasks that are tied to your professionally for the next month. I have no doubt that it’s quite the list. And, it probably contains several high priority items. But, in reality, this list could be drastically trimmed down.

I know what you’re thinking, “I can’t trim down my list; it isn’t possible because everything on my list is a top priority.”

“If you review your list carefully, item by item, you will find that only three items on your entire list account for 90% of your value to your business,” writes Brian Tracy. So, how can you determine your “big three”? “Make a list of ALL your work tasks and responsibilities, from the first day of the month to the last day, and throughout the year,” suggests Tracy. “Then answer these three magic questions.”

The first question would be, “If I could only do one thing on this list, all day long, which one activity would contribute the greatest value to my business?” Because it’s so important, it will probably stand out from the rest of the items on your list. If you’re uncertain, it should be the one thing that will have the most significant impact on your business or career.

The second would is, “If I could only do two things on this list, all day long, what would be the second activity that would make the greatest contribution to my business?” These items should also jump out at you. However, they may not seem as apparent at first.

The third question is, “If I could only do three things on this list, all day long, what would be the third activity that would contribute the most value to my business?” As a general rule of thumb, only focus on completing three tasks for the day. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to accomplish any more than that.

Enhancing your time management skills.

Time management should never be overlooked. Sure. It’s nice to have some downtime. But, managing your time is a surefire way to improve your business life.

The most obvious reason is that you’ll be able to achieve more in less time. Because you’re more productive, you’re ready to meet deadlines. You will also earn the reputation of someone who is never late and is reliable. I don’t know about you. But, that is someone that I would want to business with or retain if I were a business owner.

Additionally, time management can be beneficial to your health. Since you have the time to attend to your well-being and aren’t working excessive hours, you’re less stressed. You’re also able to find time to exercise, make healthy meals, meditate, or get enough sleep. And, because you aren’t behind on your work, you’re not as anxious.

To get you on the right path, here are the necessary time management skills that you should develop:

  • Work the hours that best suit you.
  • Keep a time log.
  • Focus only on what you do best.
  • Implement the “two-minute” rule.
  • Break your activities down into simple problems.
  • Don’t fall into the “urgency” trap.
  • Schedule “me” time.
  • Cluster similar tasks.
  • Identify and eliminate distractions.
  • Arm yourself with the right tools.

Feeling in-balance.

Work-life is often a perk that employees demand. Some studies have previously found that this was a top priority for demographics like millennials. But, it’s also top of mind for small business owners.

It’s easy to understand why. Even if you’re a workaholic and love what you do professionally, you also need time away from work.

The reasons vary from person-to-person. But, mainly when you don’t let work bleed into your personal life, you have a chance to rest and recharge. You can also spend time doing things that are truly important to you. As a result, when you return to work, you’ll be more focused and rejuvenated enough to persevere.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Thanks to technology, we’re expected to be on-call 24/7/365. Sometimes you need to be kept in the loop, especially when you have to address an emergency.

Some ways that this is possible is by maximizing your time at work, stop overcommitting, and not bringing work at home. You should also establish boundaries. For example, if you’re spending time with friends or family on a Saturday night, then don’t respond to any work-related correspondence.

Innovating, learning, and growing.

If you want to advance your career and stay ahead of your competitors, then innovating, learning, and growing must be the main priority for you professionally.

For example, you should always be brainstorming ways to improve a product, service, or process. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. But, you should be on the lookout for ways to update or upgrade these areas. It may make you more efficient and stand out from the pack.

What’s more, you should seek out opportunities to learn and grow both professionally and personally. As an example, if you were to enhance your skillset, you would be more proficient at your job. Not only will this make you more valuable, but it will also help you work smarter and not harder.

You should also stay up-to-date on the latest trends, technologies, and external factors that may influence you professionally. Again, besides making you more useful, this will also help you adept.

And you should also find ways to grow. For instance, you may want to improve your communication skills by taking a public speaking class. You can use this new talent to make your meetings more effective. You could also apply to seek out speaking engagements to help you become an authority figure.

Getting to know the people in your neighborhood.

You don’t have to get to know everyone in your neighborhood — unless you want to. But, when you’re surrounded by kids, sometimes you have to do things like watch the 50th anniversary special of Sesame Street. I’m not complaining. But, I do have this song stuck in my head now.

Anyway, your neighborhood, when it comes to your business life, would be your business partner, employees, customers, or investors. The reason? Well, it will help foster a more positive and collaborative work environment. You’ll also be able to ease the pain points of your customers. And, if you need funding, you’ll know which investors to connect with.

Growing your network.

Whether if you do this online or in-person, growing your network is a priority that I feel many of us neglect. After all, networking is another way to improve your skillset or stay abreast of the latest trends. It can also help you find mentors, partners, or clients.

If you’re job searching, networking is a great way to mingle with potential employers or get hooked up with a referral. And, if you are self-employed, networking can be used to build your brand.

Do a little digging and find local meetups or conferences that you should attend for the upcoming year. And block out specific times in your calendar to schedule a phone with an industry expert or interact with your audience on social media.

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