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5 Virtual Holiday Ideas For Your Calendar

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5 Virtual Holiday Ideas to Lighten Up Your Calendar

In recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed and even canceled plans for the holidays as people strive to stay safe and stop the spread of the virus. Many people are wondering how it can be possible to enjoy the Christmas season without many of the activities and events they love this time of year. Luckily, a lot of organizations have put together some digital Christmas events to try and provide some holiday spirit to everyone staying at home. The following are examples of events that can be added to your Calendar this December and give you an idea of other virtual holiday events:

Try a Virtual Holiday Cooking Class

There’s a lot to be excited about during the holiday season, but the food is definitely toward the top of the list. This special time of year means you can justify pulling out all the stops on extravagant meals and delectable desserts. However, not all of us are expert chefs, so we can use all the help we can get.

A fun way to prepare delicious treats for the whole family is to join a holiday cooking class. For example, you can visit a website such as Cozymeal to join a guided cooking class held over a Zoom call. You’ll be instructed on what ingredients to bring and how to combine them into dishes that will be the talk of the town.

This class by Chef Zach will give you an idea of what sort of cooking classes are available. Not only will a professional chef be a helpful guide, cooking with a group will be a lot of fun.

Dates: December 4th, 2021, December 10th, 2021, December 11th, 2021

Price: $39 per device

Take a Virtual Tour of the Holy Land

Christmas has deep roots in the Holy Land of Israel. Many people are unable to make the long trip to visit these locations. Though a virtual tour can’t make up for a real trip, it will still be very satisfying. If you’re still wary about travel, this is an excellent decision for your upcoming Christmas plans.

Taking a virtual tour of Jerusalem is great for everyone. Most religions consider this a sacred place, which makes this an appropriate activity for those celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, and more. Even if you’re not religious, the history, geography, and architecture are fascinating enough to capture your attention.

Another potential virtual tour opportunity is seeing the city of Bethlehem, the birthsite of Jesus Christ whose namesake marks this holiday season. Below is an example of one of the virtual tours you can take, this one offered by the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America.

Date: December 12th, 2021

Price: One ticket per household received after donation

Join a Virtual Choir

Most of the virtual events you will find online involve some sort of singing. There are so many memorable tunes to choose from, and radio stations are already broadcasting some of their favorites. Listening to some Christmas carols or even joining in yourself is sure to bring the spirit of the holidays into your home.

Many concerts are offered for free, especially those provided by local organizations. However, there are also concerts that use ticket sales to support a worthy cause. For example, the UK branch of the Alzheimer’s Society is putting on a fabulous concert show that will bring light to many families and bring in donations to help many more. Their virtual option is affordable and allows you to participate in the event from afar while still extending your support to the organization.

Date: December 15th, 2021

Price: £10.00 for an online ticket

Enjoy George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

This exquisite production performed by the New York City Ballet has become a Christmas classic. The first premiered this show in 1954 and it has been an annual tradition ever since. They are welcoming back fans and guests in person this season, but not everyone can make it to New York to witness such a performance.

Luckily, there are virtual performances of The Nutcracker that you can watch from home. One of these events comes courtesy of the Pacific Northwest Ballet. With a show time of just over two hours, your family can enjoy a movie-length show while wearing Christmas PJs and stocked up on treats. All you need to do is buy a digital pass one time and enjoy it with as many friends and family as you can.

Date: December 20, 2021 – December 28, 2021

Price: $49 flat rate

Participate in a Virtual Holiday Run

Believe it or not, running is a holiday tradition for many people and families. With COVID-19 concerns, a lot of races have gone virtual as an extra precautionary measure. One of many virtual fun run events is the Christmas Jingle Virtual Run, with registration open until Christmas Day.

All you have to do is sign up for a virtual run and they’ll ship you your race gear and finisher medal. Participate in the event on your own time and see how you square up with other virtual runners. Many of these events also donate proceedings to foundations and charities, making it an even more heartwarming holiday tradition.

Date: December 25, 2021 – January 23, 2022

Price: $5 – $40 per participant

Add one or more of these to your online calendar for a completely unique Christmas experience. You can also plan your own virtual event with family, hosting a bake-off, caroling session, or unwrapping presents together virtually on Christmas morning. Do whatever it takes to make the season bright. You may even come up with a fun new tradition to come back to every year.

5 Virtual Holiday Ideas to Lighten Up Your Calendar was originally published on Calendar by 

Fall Back Into Productivity: 100 Quotes to Get More Done

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Fall Back Into Productivity: 100 Quotes to Get More Done

It may not seem like it. But, a lot is going on in the autumn. Between getting back to a routine after your summer vacay to getting the kids back to school and adjusting to the end of daylight saving time (which happened on Sunday, November 7th), now you’ll have to finalize business plans for the holiday season. It’s easy for your productivity to get derailed.

The good news? If you find that you’re struggling with productivity this fall, use the following quotes to get you back on track.

Planning Quotes

If there is one secret to being productive — it’s planning.

You’re more likely to operate at peak productivity when you plan how you’re going to spend your time in advance. The alternative is taking things as they come and without a plan.

In turn, this almost guarantees both low efficiency and productivity. It’s also a chaotic way to live when you have a full plate.

1. “By Failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

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

3. “Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” – Gloria Steinem

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

5. “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

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

7. “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra

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

9. “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” – John F. Kennedy

10. “Your daily choices and actions should be rational and productive.”– Sunday Adelaja

11. “The more time you spend contemplating what you should have done…you lose valuable time planning what you can and will do.” – Lil Wayne

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

13. “A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.” – Confucius

14. “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell

15. “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso

16. “Unless you have definite, precise, clearly set goals, you are not going to realize the maximum potential that lies within you.” – Zig Ziglar

17. “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.” – Tom Landry

18. “Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” – Richard Cushing

19. “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” – Leonard Bernstein

20. “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” – Thomas Edison

Priority Quotes

The definition of productivity means being more than just busy. Being productive requires that you remain focused on achieving all of your goals in the most accurate and efficient way possible. And, that’s only possible when you do the right things at the right time.

21. “Life is short. Focus on what really matters most; you should change your priorities over time.” – Roy T. Bennett

22. “When my company started really growing, I didn’t have any help in my house at all. I had the upkeep of my daily life, I had a one-year-old and a three-year-old, and I had my house. So I had to prioritize.” – Julie Aigner Clark

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

24. “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” – Albert Einstein

25. “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” – Stephen R. Covey

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

27. “Set aside time to plan how you will spend your time. Think about what’s most important. Then do those things first.” – Frank Bettger

28. “Our greatest danger in life is in permitting the urgent things to crowd out the important.” – Charles E. Hummel

29. “The necessary has never been man’s top priority. The passionate pursuit of the nonessential and the extravagant is one of the chief traits of human uniqueness.” – Eric Hoffer

30. “Learn how to separate the majors and the minors. A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.” – Jim Rohn

31. “Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions.” – Dallin H. Oaks

32. “Instead of saying ‘I don’t have time’ try saying ‘it’s not a priority and see how that feels.” – Laura Vanderkam

33. “When you have too many top priorities, you effectively have no top priorities.” – Stephen Covey

34. “Let us reflect on what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives, and set our priorities on the basis of that.” – Dalai Lama

35. “When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar.” – Victoria Moran

36. “Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.” – H. L. Hunt

37. “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” – Russian Proverb

38. “Think of priorities, not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.” – Dan Millman

39. “The Principe of Priority states (a) you must know the difference between what is urgent and what is important, and (b) you must do what’s important first.” – Steven Pressfield

40. “Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities, and be intentional about new habits. We can make our new normal any way we want.” – Kristin Armstrong

Quotes to Help You Eliminate Obstacles and Adversity

No matter what task you try to accomplish, and how the amount of planning you did, there are always going to be obstacles in the way. These challenges aren’t just frustrating; they can also interfere with focus and flow state. In some cases, they may cause procrastination.

41. “If you have time to whine, then you have time to find a solution.”– Dee Dee Artner

42. “When someone tells me “no,” it doesn’t mean I can’t do it, it simply means I can’t do it with them.”– Karen E. Quinones Miller

43. “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”– Winston Churchill

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

45. “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”– Earl Nightingale

46. “One who conquers the sea today is ready to conquer the ocean tomorrow.”– Matshona Dhliwayo

47. “We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”– Barbara De Angelis

48. “A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it.”– Ray Davis

49. “Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.”– Susan Gale

50. “The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.”– Jean-Baptiste Poqeulin (Moliere)

51. “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”– Haruki Murakami

52. “Because some people see a wall, and assume that’s the end of their journey. Others see it, and decide it’s just the beginning.”-  Angeline Trevena

53. “There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.”– Malcolm X

54. “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”– Christopher Reeve

55. “If you are facing a new challenge or being asked to do something that you have never done before, don’t be afraid to step out. You have more capability than you think you do, but you will never see it unless you place a demand on yourself for more.”– Joyce Meyer

56. “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.”– Francis of Assisi

57. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”– Robert Kennedy

58. “The individual who says it is not possible should move out of the way of those doing it.”– Tricia Cunningham

59. “You can’t get much done in life if you only work on days when you feel good.”– Jerry West

60. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”– Wayne Gretzky

Quotes to Inspire, Motivate, and Take Action

Need a shot in the arm? Use the following quotes to get you inspired, motivated, and take action.

61. “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” – Thomas Jefferson

62. “Dream big, start small, but most of all, start.” – Simon Sinek

63. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

64. “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar

65. “An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.” – Arnold Glasow

66. “Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking.” – William B. Sprague

67. “Be content to act, and leave the talking to others.” – Baltasar Gracian

68. “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes but don’t quit.” – Conrad Hilton

69. “People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.” – Lewis Cass

70. “Many great ideas go unexecuted, and many great executioners are without ideas. One without the other is worthless.” – Tim Blixseth

71. “Let your performance do the thinking.” – Charlotte Brontë

72. “Take action! An inch of movement will bring you closer to your goals than a mile of action.” – Steve Maraboli

73. “Well done is better than well said.”- Benjamin Franklin

74. “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden

75. “Action is the antidote to despair.” – Joan Baez

76. “Doing nothing gets you nothing.” – Sean Reichle

77. “Stay focused and don’t allow distractions to fill your mind or derail you from taking continued action.” – Byron Pulsifer

78. “You cannot score a goal when you are sitting on the bench. To do so, you have to dress up and enter the game.” – Israelmore Ayivor

79. “You’re a doer, because you’re prepared to make the necessary effort to translate your dream into action.” – Paul McCabe

80. “There is only one proof of ability—action.” – Marie Ebner-Eschenbach

81. “Nothing is impossible; the word itself says ‘I’m possible!’” – Audrey Hepburn

82. “The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today.” – Nolan Bushnell

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

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

85. Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence. – Vince Lombardi

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

87. “Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions” – John Randolph

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

89. “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.” – Norman Vincent Peale

90. “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure, or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.” – Thomas Watson

91. “If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.” – David Allen

92. “Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Picasso

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

94. “You don’t actually do a project; you can only do action steps related to it. When enough of the right action steps have been taken, some situation will have been created that matches your initial picture of the outcome closely enough that you can call it ‘done.’” – David Allen

95. “Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

96. “The path to success is to take massive, determined actions.” – Tony Robbins

97. “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” – Japanese Proverb

98. “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie

99. “Use the word PERHAPS to change your negative beliefs to possibilities that invite ACTION and, ultimately, to positive beliefs and probabilities.” – Anita Foley

100. “If you spend time getting ready to be perfect and do not start out to accomplish your dreams, you will find out later that you could have accomplished your dream if you had just acted.” – David DeNotaris

How to Use Appointment Planning to Secure Required Resources

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How to Use Appointment Planning to Secure Required Resources

When planning an appointment, setting the date and time is the easy part. The more difficult logistical challenge is making a list of everything else you need and checking it twice. Having the materials you need — or not — can make or break a meeting really quickly.

Once you’ve sent out appointment invitations to all of your guests, it’s time to iron out the nitty-gritty details. Different people will have intertwined responsibilities to keep track of. Room reservations, technology needs, even refreshments all need to be planned, prepared for, and executed. 

Sounds like a handful, doesn’t it? Now you can see why party planners get paid so handsomely! Fear not, using online appointment software can make sure you secure all the resources you need without breaking a sweat.

Set Deadlines for Confirmation

You often expect a guest to RSVP if they plan on attending an event. You should do that and more for attendees who also need to arrive to a work event with the required resources. They should have a deadline set before the gathering in question to report to you, or whoever is leading the event, that they are set to bring whatever they are responsible for.

Let’s say you’re planning a work conference that relies on Steven from accounting bringing a projector from home. Not only should he have an appointment reminder for the training itself, but he should have an additional one confirming that he will or already has brought the projector to work. This way you won’t have to stress until the moment it arrives, hoping that he and the projector show up on the same day. 

Secure Your Venue

Certain meetings and events require a venue that isn’t in your possession. In fact, you might not have even picked a site yet. You’ll need to set up some appointments to tour a couple of venues before you come to a decision

Once you’ve visited your locations of choice, you’ll only have so long to book them before someone else claims the dates you’re aiming for. Use your online appointment software to make sure you don’t miss the cut. Appointment reminders will help you stay on top of things.

Even if you own the venue in question, you might need to coordinate times with other parties who might want to use the space. A shared appointment schedule will ensure there are no double bookings when claiming conference rooms for meetings and more. 

Plan a Practice Run

Sometimes you won’t realize what you need until it’s already too late. This is a presenter’s and event planner’s worst nightmare. To prevent such an omission from spoiling your event, plan a practice run at least a day before the set date.

You can send a few attendees appointment reminders to attend your practice run so they can give you their perspective on how things went. This can include how well the chosen technology performed its function or whether the seating arrangement could use some rethinking. 

A simple meeting will likely only need a test run of the technology needed to direct the agenda. Larger events such as full-blown conferences might require more run-through, as there will doubtless be more moving parts. Be sure to take these varying time commitments into consideration when setting these appointments. 

Get Your Supplies Delivered

Running out of notepads for employees to take notes during a training session or copy paper to print out new manuals? You’ll need to schedule an order from your office supply vendor. You can use appointment planning to make sure you’re always stocked up no matter what’s on your calendar.

Most, if not all, retail businesses offer some sort of pick-up or delivery system. Using appointment planning, you can set recurring dates for supplies to be shipped. A monthly delivery can be easily planned and organized. And, you’ll never have to worry about being short of materials again. 

Tune Up Your Systems

Not all of your required resources are tangible, so to speak. Take Wi-Fi, for example. Your entire business likely relies on a stable internet connection to function. So, too, will many of your meetings. You’ll want to be assured that your Wi-Fi and other necessary resources are working when your event rolls around.

If your infrastructure operations are ever in doubt, set an appointment with a professional who can give your system a check-up. You won’t always need someone to come in and check your Wi-Fi connection before a big meeting, but if you’ve been experiencing problems recently, it certainly wouldn’t hurt. 

Organize Your Staffing

Last but certainly not least is your staffing. For many events, you’ll need some bodies to help set everything up. Whether this is to help unload a trailer full of folding chairs or to clean up a venue after the meeting has adjourned, you need to get everyone’s watches synchronized.

Use online appointment software to coordinate your manpower. You can dictate when and where you want everyone to be with a simple shared schedule. With confirmation, you won’t have to worry about putting together your set-up and clean-up crews while you’re elbows deep in the event at hand.

Take a deep breath and get ready to nail down all the resources you need for your next meeting or event. Seeing it show up on your schedule will no longer bring a sense of dread now that you’ve used appointment planning to ensure there’s nothing left but smooth sailing. 

Don’t Be Busy. Be Present

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Don’t Be Busy. Be Present

From the moment your alarm jolts you from a dream to when your head hits the pillow at night — your day is non-stop. Between all of your work and personal responsibilities — you somehow have to squeeze in one day, you’re “busy.”

Take a second to think — this may not be the way to live. It’s an idea that Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard explored in his 1843 treatise Either/Or: A Fragment of Life by writing, “Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy — to be someone who is brisk about their food and work.”

“Therefore, whenever I see a fly settling, in the decisive moment, on the nose of such a person of affairs, or if he is spattered with mud from a carriage which drives past him in still greater haste, he adds. “Or the drawbridge opens up before him, or a tile falls down and knocks him dead, then I laugh heartily.”

In short, Kierkegaard’s response to the “busy” individual was to laugh at them. That may sound mean-spirited. But he may have been on to something here.

Don’t Be Busy. Be Present.

To be busy and productive feels great, but people who have to fill every waking moment with something — anything — even if it’s unimportant are the ones who are not present. For some, frantic busyness provides an escape. Others, however, seem to belong to a cult of busyness.

Interested in this phenomenon, researchers from Columbia University, Harvard, and Georgetown explored why we’re so impressed with being busy.

“In general, we found that the busy person is perceived as high status, and interestingly, these status attributions are heavily influenced by our own beliefs about social mobility,” wrote the authors Silvia Bellezza, Neeru Paharia, and Anat Keinan. “In other words, the more we believe that one has the opportunity for success based on hard work, the more we tend to think that people who skip leisure and work all the time are of higher standing.”

The problems with being too busy.

Are there obligations that must be met? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean you have to be doing something constantly.

It’s been found that being a member of “the cult of busy” creates a chronic stress response in your body and mind. As a consequence, you might experience symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, headaches, and gastrointestinal discomforts. You’re also asking for possible cardiac issues as well.

But, it’s not merely our physical well-being that we’re putting in harm’s way. There’s also a link between stress and depression. Additionally, relationships and work performance suffer too.

Specifically, when you’re busy, you’re;

  • Not giving essential tasks and relationships you’re undivided attention.
  • Missing out on new opportunities
  • Not effectively prioritizing your time.
  • Making excuses for actual problems.
  • Forgetting about your “why” and self-care.
  • Aren’t working to your full potential.
  • Failing to set healthy boundaries which can lead to burnout.
  • Not giving yourself time to think, reflect, and dream.

In other words, being busy negatively affects every part of your life. As such, it’s time to leave this cult. And, you can make that possible by focusing on the present instead.

Don’t ignore the past and future.

Let’s be real here. Living in the moment is a formidable force. And, you can thank evolution for that.

“Human psychology is evolutionarily hard-wired to live in the past and the future,” explains Eyal Winter Ph.D. “Other species have instincts and reflexes to help with their survival, but human survival relies very much on learning and planning.”

“You can’t learn without living in the past,” adds Dr. Winter. And “you can’t plan without living in the future.”

Rather than trying to shut out the past or future completely, find a healthy balance. For example, you could reflect on a past accomplishment or mistake during your morning or evening routine. If you’re worried or anxious about a future event, jot it down and develop a plan of action.

Most importantly, take and do these new actions in small steps and small doses. Personally, I allocate no more than 15-minutes of worrying time per day. During this time, I get all of these thoughts out of my head and organize them for later so that I can focus on the task at hand. You may need a little longer — but too much time worrying can easily overwhelm some people.

Fewer, but better.

As I’ve already said. There are responsibilities that you must follow through with. However, most of the items on your to-do lists could probably be removed. Maybe that’s why 41% of to­-do items are never completed.

The fix? Do less.

That may sound easier said than done. But, it’s possible to use techniques like the Pareto Principle, aka the 80/20 Rule.

“The Pareto Principle is a concept that suggests two out of ten items, on any general to-do list, will turn out to be worth more than the other eight items put together,” clarifies Brian Tracy.

“The sad fact is that most people procrastinate on the top 10 or 20 percent of items that are the most valuable and important,” which is known as the “vital few. Instead, they “busy themselves” with the least important 80 percent, aka the “trivial many.”

You can encourage this by;

  • Simplifying your to-do lists with the Eisenhower Matrix. You can also try mapping out your main priority, 3 medium priorities, and 5 smaller to-dos.
  • Tracking your time so that you dedicate the right amount of time to complete your most important tasks.
  • Restructuring your routine so that you’re working on your MITs when you’re most productive.
  • Training yourself to bolster skills like concentration.
  • Thinking beyond work. Following the 80/20 Rule will allow you to pursue other interests outside of the workplace that can make you healthier and happier.

Consider the opportunity cost.

The opportunity cost is often used when making a financial or investment decision. In a nutshell, it’s determining the return you’ll receive from each option you’re weighing.

For example, you decide to spend $2000 on a new Macbook. While you now have a new laptop, you also can’t put that money towards something more beneficial in the long run — such as making sure your emergency fund is full.

You can also use this concept when it comes to how you want to spend your time. You could accept that meeting invite. But, it’s an hour-long and doesn’t have a clear purpose.

Instead, you may determine that that block of time could be better spent finishing an important task so that you can leave early to spend time with your family.

Let go of the narrative so that you can focus.

“If you are feeling fear, shame, overwhelm, anxiety, worry … this is completely natural,” writes Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. “Let yourself feel it fully for a moment.” From there, “see if you can let go of the narrative that’s causing the fear.”

“What narrative are you playing in your head that’s making you afraid?” he asks. Are you concerned about not meeting a deadline you set or being perfect? “These are not necessarily false narratives, but they’re hurting you no matter how true they are.”

Narratives, like the examples above, “keep us from being present, pulling us instead to thinking about other things,” states Babauta. They also “add fear and worry to our experience, which makes it harder to focus.”

“So think of the narrative as a soap bubble that you can just pop,” he advises. “Pop! And it’s gone.”

Bring more mindfulness into your life.

Well, you know that this was eventually going to pop up.

“According to thousands of years of tradition, Buddhists meditate to understand themselves and their connections to all beings,” writes Jill Suttie, Psy.D. in Greater Good. “By doing so, they hope to be released from suffering and ultimately gain enlightenment.”

Research, however, also shows that “mindfulness affects many aspects of our psychological well-being,” adds Dr. Suttie. These “include improving our mood, increasing positive emotions, and decreasing our anxiety, emotional reactivity, and job burnout.” Moreover, mindfulness is good for our hearts, improves immune response, and decreases cognitive decline.

Even better? You can introduce mindfulness into your daily life via;

  • Start each day on the right foot. Rather than jumping directly on your phone, ask, “What is my intention for today?”
  • Visualize your goals.
  • Practice peaceful eating and savory every bite.
  • Conduct body scans throughout the day.
  • Take frequent mindful breaks, such as going for a 20-minute walk outside.
  • Activate the “slow brain” by creating new patterns, such as a series of “If this, then that” messages.
  • Be more clear about the aim of your physical activity.
  • Drive yourself calm during your commute. For instance, before turning over the engine, engage in breathing exercises and checking for any body tension.
  • Review your day and practice gratitude.

Stop making yourself busy.

There’s a rule that I’ve followed for years when you feel over-committed and need to decide where to trim the fat. “If you’re not saying ‘HELL YEAH!’ about something, say ‘no,’” recommends Derek Sivers.

“When deciding whether to do something, if you feel anything less than ‘Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!’ — then say ‘no.’”

“When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say ‘HELL YEAH!’”

Whatever you’re invited to, regardless if it’s a meeting or social function, if you’re not 100% into it, politely say “no.” And use this thinking with any other time requests that come your way as well.

Connect with people — in real life.

“In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? Or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal?” writes Omid Safi.

“What is this haal that you inquire about?” Safi asks. It’s “the transient state of one’s heart.” That means that you’re genuinely asking, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?”

“I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox,” he states. “I want to know how your heart is doing at this very moment.” Whether it’s filled with sadness or joy, this builds a stronger connection with others.

“Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing,” adds Safi. “Tell me you’re more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list. Have that conversation, that glance, that touch.”

“Be a healing conversation, one filled with grace and presence,” he advises.

Make everything negotiable.

“You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.” — Charles Buxto

I can’t stress this enough. You are the gatekeeper of your time. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be disrespectful of others. For instance, when you get paid to do a job on an agreed-upon deadline, then you have to see that through. On the flip side, if you’re at full capacity, don’t commit to anything new until you have the availability.

The key is to be transparent and flexible upfront. Sharing your calendar, in my opinion, is the easiest way around the stress of being transparent and flexible. As opposed to role-playing as Tom and Jerry, they can see when you’re free to have a conference call, meet for lunch, or start a new project.

Establish tech-free zones.

While you can’t completely go-off-the grid, you do need to establish boundaries with technology. Your phone, as an example, has a knack for distracting and pulling you from the present. Just think about how many times you’re in the zone or relaxing only for a text to transport you to some future event.

While turning off notifications or blocking apps/websites at certain times can help, there’s always the temptation to look at our phones. In fact, there’s even a phenomenon known as phantom vibration syndrome where we think that our phone is ringing or vibrating when it’s not.

The best way to counter this? Go on a tech detox by designating tech-free zones.

When it’s time to eat dinner, leave your phone in the living room. Have your family do the same is that everyone is fully engaged in conversation. When it’s bedtime, turn your phone off and keep it somewhere else in your home — even if it’s just across the room.

While leaving your phone in another room may be uncomfortable initially, it will get easier over time. Eventually, you’ll realize that you don’t always have your phone beside you 24/7. And, that will improve your relationships, encourage a better night’s sleep, and make you in-tune with your surroundings.

Spring Cleaning Tips for Appointment-Based Businesses

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Spring Cleaning Tips for Appointment-Based Businesses

Spring has sprung, and with blooming flowers and singing birds comes the yearly rallying cry of spring cleaning. Something about those first rays of sun melting the snow motivates people to deep clean after their winter hibernation. While this is a beneficial practice for your home, spring cleaning should occur in your business as well. 

Whether it’s taking a broom and mop to the floor or cleaning up your operations, a good spring cleaning will keep your business running on all cylinders. The following ideas can help you direct your spring cleaning efforts to where they’ll be most effective:

Tune Up Your Website

When was the last time you looked at your website layout? There might not be anything inherently wrong with it, but it’s always good to tune up your online presence from time to time. After all, as an appointment-based business, you’ll get a lot of traffic to your website from customers looking to book appointments online.

Start by testing your loading speeds. If your website is taking longer to load as time goes by, focus your spring cleaning on backend solutions geared toward faster speeds. Also pay attention to how your website performs on mobile devices and determine whether a change in design is needed to recapture the attention of customers. 

Amp Up Your Business Marketing

While you’re online, take a look at your marketing strategy. Is it accomplishing what you set out to do? Is your ROI acceptable? Taking the time to reevaluate your marketing campaigns is always a good idea.

Even if your marketing efforts are exceeding your every expectation, you should be preparing your next approach. Rarely does a single marketing campaign survive without eventually going stale. A new strategy will attract customers whom your original plan didn’t appeal to and will keep your content fresh.

Your social media pages will need the most upkeep. Consumers are heavily influenced by what they see on social media, with over half of them using social media to research new products. Take a moment to review your profiles and newsfeeds and look for ways to improve your brand image. A change of wording or a new profile picture is a small touch but can make all the difference. 

Have Your Business Go Paperless

As useful as it can be, paper is easily wasted and can slow down your operations significantly. How many times have you dug through stacks of paper looking for a particular document only to come up empty-handed (or, if you did find it, taking twice as long as you had expected to do so)? Fine-tune your operations by going paperless.

Converting your paper-based system to digital platforms is much easier than it might sound. Cloud storage will take care of those paper stacks cluttering your back office, and online document management software will make it even easier for customers to fill out and sign paperwork associated with their visits. Other software applications will help with project management, communication, and any other requirement your business needs to fulfill. 

Clean Up Working Space

What’s spring cleaning without some actual tidying of your business? Now’s the perfect time to deep clean your workspace before the warmer weather and looser COVID restrictions bring customers pouring in. They’ll appreciate the clean and tidy atmosphere just as much as you will.

Start by cleaning everything visible to the customer. Bathrooms should be spotless, reception desks immaculate, and waiting rooms prepped for royalty. A clean business makes a good first impression and sets the tone for a successful appointment. 

Renovations are more expensive, but they are also worth considering. Long-term customers will especially appreciate the improvements you make to your business, such as a state-of-the-art waiting room, increasing the odds that they’ll continue to be loyal to your brand.

Organize Your Bookkeeping

Your business handles hundreds, if not thousands, of transactions per week. Bookkeeping is the active processing, tracking, and recording of these transactions. Bookkeeping is how invoices are sent and received, employee pay is monitored, and financial reports are generated. 

With so much information to keep track of, bookkeeping can be a daunting process. If the task is getting beyond your staff’s capabilities, consider outsourcing it to an accounting service or implementing accounting software like QuickBooks or Sage. Clear all your outstanding balances and check for discrepancies in your accounts. The more accurate and efficient your bookkeeping is, the better your business’s financials will be. 

Evaluate Your Goals

Your goals could probably use some dusting off as well. Are you on track to meet your annual goals? Have you been keeping pace with weekly and monthly goals? If your goal-setting has been lacking these past few months, now’s your chance to pivot in the right direction.

If your annual goals seem too lofty after the first quarter of the year, reevaluate them to make them more feasible. Let’s say your original goal was to triple your customer base by the end of the year. If progress has seemed slow, consider changing that to double. 

Then, establish weekly and monthly goals that will help you reach your new target. You might set a goal of getting five customer referrals per week or increasing walk-in appointments by 25% per month. By creating weekly and monthly goals that break down your year-end goal, you can use them as stepping-stones to get there.

Many hands make light work, so get your team together and dive into your business’s spring cleaning. Once you’re finished, make a plan to stay on top of all the areas you just tackled. Next spring, it will be much less of a project to rejuvenate your business.

How to Use Appointment Software in Your Personal Life

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How to Use Appointment Software in Your Personal Life

Businesses use appointment software for all sorts of reasons. Making it easier for customers to book appointments is one. Another is helping the team manage its workload. 

Believe it or not, however, the benefits of appointment software extend beyond businesses. Some people use it in their personal lives as well. 

Why? Let’s take a look:

Staying Connected

Even though social distancing has taken over your social life, you can use online appointment software to stay in touch with friends. The software makes it simple to coordinate schedules, whether you’re meeting in person or virtually.

You can use online appointment software to show your availability to friends. Then, they can select a time that works best for a phone call, video chat, or meetup. This will help you stay connected even when conflicting schedules keep you apart.

Want to keep your friends on the hook? Each member of your group can rotate through being in charge of scheduling the next activity. With online appointment software, you can send a payment to them if they foot the bill. 

Networking

Connecting with business professionals is a great way to get ahead in your field. Networking events can be difficult to put together, given how busy industry veterans can be. Online appointment software makes it easier to coordinate with them.

Opening up appointments to mentors and people you’re trying to network with makes it easier to fit them into your schedule. It also eliminates the back-and-forth communication involved in pinpointing a time, helping you meet more people in less time. 

Hobbies and Side Gigs

Do you use online platforms to peddle some of your old trinkets? Hosting an online yard sale can be tricky. When you’re trying to find the right buyer, you may need to set up a time to chat.

Instead of playing phone tag with half a dozen people, let your online appointment software get the job done. Post your item of choice on the internet with an appointment link that allows a buyer to schedule a time to pick it up. Once a time is selected, you can close the software off to stop anyone else from booking after the sale is made. 

Your other ventures also benefit from online appointment software. Side gigs don’t get much love and care under normal circumstances, but online appointment software can help you book meetings with buyers and better organize your efforts. 

Event Hosting

While COVID-19 is putting most events on hold for the time being, the day will return when you’re able to put together fun family events once more. Be ready for it with appointment software.

Online appointment software can help you gather RSVPs to get a head count for seating, refreshments, and venue size. The software can also enable you to share the event easily, reaching everyone you wish to invite in a matter of seconds. 

Recreational Activities

Got a tennis buddy waiting for a rematch? Don’t keep them waiting! Use online appointment software to squeeze in some time on the court.

Online appointment software can help you organize all sorts of recreational activities. From planning a workout with your gym buddy to a family holiday event, appointment software makes schedule coordination simple. 

Tutoring and Coaching

Want to make 2021 your year? You can start by looking for ways to improve yourself. Schedule tutoring and coaching sessions that help you achieve personal development and fulfillment. 

Coordinate with your tutors and coaches using online appointment software. Tell them what you hope to achieve. Ask them to help you lay out the steps to get there. Book frequent appointments with them to measure your progress and to hold yourself accountable.

Meeting Deadlines

Deadlines can be easy to miss. To make sure you don’t let any slip through the cracks, block them off in your appointment software. 

Balancing class assignments, work initiatives, and personal projects can be difficult. Use your online appointment software to block off time prior to each. The rest is just a matter of buckling down.

Juggling Schedules

Even the most level-headed of people forget things. You don’t want to miss your daughter’s piano recital because you were too focused on scheduling out your work deadlines. Online appointment software will help you strike the perfect balance in your daily schedule.

Online appointment software is as flexible and useful as you make it. Download one, and you’ll see why it’s such a staple of the business world. 

Planning Appointments Around Winter Weather

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The weather outside is frightful, and while your waiting room might be delightful, it’ll take some extra effort to get customers there this time of year. Cold weather, slick roads, and dark afternoons make it more difficult to book and keep appointments.

You don’t need to let the winter blues affect your business. With a few tweaks, you can make sure your customers feel welcome and comfortable:

Revamp Your Waiting Room

Few customers will brave winter storms to trek to your business if your waiting room is cold and dismal. Up the festivity by making your waiting area more comfortable and warm for your guests.

Start, of course, with social distancing measures that protect customers from COVID-19. Next, look for ways you can make the area more homey. Space heaters, Christmas decorations, or a COVID-safe hot chocolate bar are all solutions you can implement.

Amend Your Late Policy

Icy roads and snowy weather make driving difficult. They also make travel times unpredictable. 

You shouldn’t punish customers for travelling safely. Consider amending your late policy for the rest of the winter.

Show some leniency to late customers. For example, you might make it a rule that they must call to advise you of their tardiness in order to receive amnesty. You can also tack on a few minutes to your policy before late charges and cancellations kick in.

Your no-show and cancellation policies might also need a glance over if you live in an area that experiences heavy snowfall. A blizzard can put even regularly paved roads out of commission. You can’t blame your customers for not showing up if they can’t use the roads.

Increase Buffer Periods

Another step that can help careful drivers feel comfortable making appointments is by increasing your buffer times. This way, you have some wiggle room if a customer shows up late. 

Buffer periods are particularly useful in winter. A break between appointments can be used to shovel snowy sidewalks, switch out wet floor mats, or stoke the fire if your waiting room has a fireplace. 

Add Incentives

If you’re struggling to convince customers to venture out, it might be time to break out some incentives. Rewards can motivate even customers in deep hibernation to make the trip out, helping you flesh out your appointment calendar.

Holiday deals are an easy — even expected — marketing strategy to boost winter appointments. Discounted prices are always motivating, especially when holiday parties and presents take a big chunk out of consumer budgets. If you can’t afford to offer a discount, consider a goodie bag or gift card. 

Mind Your Exterior

When snow and ice come, prioritize taking care of the outside area of your property. Promptly clearing parking lots and sidewalks of snow and ice will prevent injuries. Plus, it increases your curb appeal, which can encourage walk-ins.

Check with your city counsel to see if they take care of snow removal in your area. If not, hire someone to plow your parking lots for you. If all else fails, send an employee out with a shovel.

Make House Calls

Here’s your chance to experiment with a new business model. If you’re having a hard time getting customers to come to you, bring your business to them. If your business allows it, this can be an effective way of maximizing your bookings. 

For example, hair stylists can bring their scissors, comb, and hair dryer to a client’s home. Mechanics can perform an oil change in someone’s driveway. As long as you can keep your employees safe and follow COVID-19 guidelines, give it a shot.

Do Some Cold Calling

Winter is made for cold calling. All jokes aside, reaching out to potential customers may be enough to get them to give your business a shot in the winter months. 

With each call, be sure to point out the efforts you’re making to provide an excellent appointment experience. Cover your COVID-19 precautions, your waiting room’s features, and your speedy service. The better it sounds, the more likely your sales pitch is to work.

Adjust Your Hours

If all else fails, you can adjust your business hours to accommodate your appointment list. Reducing store hours, for example, can cut down on your heating and electric bills. If you can’t get customers in the door, don’t waste your money. 

When in doubt, ask customers about their preferences. You may simply need to shift your business hours up or back a few hours. 

Winter can be a tough time for both businesses and consumers. Put in the effort to lift their spirits, and they’ll put a little something extra in your stocking, too. 

Why You Should Always Verify Appointments (And 5 Ways to Do So)

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Why You Should Always Verify Appointments (And 5 Ways to Do So)

Getting customers to book appointments is one thing. Getting them to keep those appointments is another. In the never ending tug-of-war to get customers through your doors, take the time to verify each and every appointment.

Verifying appointments ensures they run more successfully. Customers are more likely to adhere to their appointment times, and you can keep operations running smoothly day after day.

Sounds great, right? Let’s dig in.

Why Verifying Appointments is Important

Verifying appointments has a number of external and internal benefits. This simple action can:

Reduce Cancellations

Cancellations do nothing but waste time. When you plan your schedule around appointments, you don’t have flexibility for anything else. The trade off is that you get guaranteed customers — until they decide to cancel.

Verifying appointments urges customers to honor their commitments. The more who actually do so, the more consistent your company’s revenue, and the better you can stick to your schedule.

Encourage Timeliness

People are forgetful. Customers can lose track of time or forget they’d booked in the first place, resulting in late arrivals. These push back other appointments, which stresses out employees and can frustrate other customers. 

By sending out verification messages, customers will be reminded of their commitments and be more inclined to arrive when they should. Timely appointments allow operations to run flawlessly.

Improves Brand Image

Show each customer that they mean something to your business. By reaching out to them in between the time they set the appointment and the time they arrive, you show how much you appreciate them. 

Be careful not to be too clingy. Too much contact can be off putting. Consistent contact at the right frequency, however, can be reassuring and motivating for customers, especially those on the fence about their appointments.

Solidifies Your Schedule

A well-organized day is a productive day. By verifying customer appointments, you make it easier to stick to your plan each day. When customers don’t show up, your mental bandwidth is spent trying to put together a new plan. 

By sending verification reminders, you’ll also receive cancellations and postponed appointments. While these are never good news, be glad you’re learning about them sooner rather than later. The fewer last-minute surprises you can avoid, the better.

Easy Ways to Verify Appointments

Appointments can be verified in multiple ways. Choose the one that works best for your business. Reach out through more than one channel only if you’re not getting a response.

1. Email

Send a confirmation email with the customer’s appointment information. Make sure to include the appointment date and time in large, bold lettering that’s easy to see. Below, include your cancellation policy, contact information, and anything else that might be useful.

With this route, you can also send promotions and coupons that can convince customers to book return appointments. Be judicious, as too many messages in their inbox will earn you a one-way ticket to the spam folder.

2. Text Message

Sending a text restricts the amount of information you can send, but it’s a more direct form of communication. In fact, customers are 35 times more likely to view a text from a company than an email. 

Be sure to get a phone number from customers when they book online. Give them control over whether they receive verification texts. Some cell phone plans charge by the message, so don’t assume everyone wants to receive them. 

3. Phone Call

Verifying appointments over the phone requires the most effort from employees. Assuming customers do answer the phone instead of letting it go to voicemail, employees need to be ready for any questions or concerns that may arise.

Despite your urging to the contrary, some customers will hold off on said questions until the last minute. You might have to recite your cancellation policy on command, or change around appointment dates for customers who failed to plan ahead.

While less efficient than other means, phone calls do offer a great opportunity to reschedule appointments that customers can’t make. Give your team members a customer service refresher if you’re going to issue appointment reminders through this channel. 

4. Social Media 

You might have customers who prefer to contact you on social media. If so, sending them verification messages through the same channel makes sense. 

Beware that other customers may consider business outreach on these platforms inappropriate. Unless customers have previously reached out to you on these sites, sending appointment reminders through them should be a last resort.

5. Snail Mail

The slowest and most expensive delivery option, good old fashioned mail can work in some instances. For example, if your business caters to an older demographic, they may prefer to receive their reminders in the mail.

With that said, sending promotions and coupons through the mail isn’t a bad idea. Customers tend to take them more seriously than marketing emails. Consider starting a referral program in which a customer can get a discount for bringing in a coupon and a friend. 

Keep in mind that you can stagger your verification messages, in case the first one doesn’t get a response. Two weeks in advance you can send out an email, and then one week later send a reminder text. The day of, make a quick phone call or send a message through social media if you still haven’t received confirmation from the customer. 

Get to Verifying

The sooner you start verifying your appointments, the better for your business. You’ll realize more consistent revenue, and your customers will appreciate having a slot saved for them. Start locking in your appointments today. 

How to Plan Your Perfect Eating Schedule

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As wonderful as eating is, it takes a lot of time. Planning your meals can give you more time to enjoy your food, as well as more time to get things done. 

Meal-planning is not just about figuring what to eat. Eating at the right time can boost your energy, keep you feeling full throughout the workday, and cut down on your snack intake. 

We’re wired to think about eating in terms of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The trouble is, the same eating schedule doesn’t work for everyone. What if you work the night shift? What if you need to spend your lunch break running errands?

The solution is to find eating times that work for you. Here’s how to do it: 

1. Keep tabs on your productivity.

Everyone has their own daily rhythm. Some people are most productive in the morning, while others crank out their best work in the afternoon or at night.

To figure out when you should eat, think through your peaks and troughs. If you usually take lunch at noon but always feel groggy afterward, try a different time. Eating earlier in the day could keep you from crashing as hard. 

2. Monitor your hunger.

Hunger is your body telling you to feed it. Even if you’re in your groove at work, don’t ignore it. 

Try not to think of hunger as a binary. Are you hungry enough for a full meal, or would a granola bar be enough? There’s nothing wrong with putting a 3 p.m. snack on your schedule, as long as it’s truly a snack. 

Realize, too, that our body isn’t great at distinguishing hunger from thirst. Practice mindful eating: Sometimes, a drink of water is what we really need. At other times, our body might be responding to a nutrient deficiency rather than a lack of raw calories. 

3. Snack responsibly. 

Snacks can be part of a healthy diet, but they should not be arbitrary. Plan out your snack times so you don’t overeat, and so that you can focus on your work. 

Try to combine snacks with other break-time activities. Maybe you bring a bag of trail mix along with you on a walk. That way, your sole focus isn’t shoveling food into your mouth.

If you struggle with snacking, get an accountability partner. At home, encourage your spouse to say something if you grab the bag of chips right after dinner. 

In the office, social norms can keep people from speaking up. A good alternative is to ask your office manager to choose healthier snacks, which are both less tempting and less harmful if you do decide to binge. 

4. Consider when you exercise.

Planning meals around your workout schedule can be tough. If you prefer to exercise first thing, then you need to think through your morning routine: How are you going to wake up, work out, shower, eat breakfast, and still get out the door in time for work?

If you want to exercise after work, be sure you get a bite to eat 2-3 hours in advance. Depending on when you get off work, this might mean taking a later lunch than people typically do. And because making dinner takes time, it might also mean eating supper later in the evening. 

As important as exercise is, don’t let it dictate your meal schedule. Find a balance: Perhaps you work out earlier than you otherwise would so that you have time for a filling breakfast before heading to the office. 

5. Factor in your sleep schedule.

Most people have trouble falling asleep on a full stomach. Especially if you exercise after work, avoid eating dinner so late that it gets in the way of your sleep. Popping into the kitchen for a midnight meal is almost never a good idea.  

One exception? If you’re so hungry that you can’t sleep because of it, feel free to grab a late-night snack. Just be sure to practice portion control: Especially when you’re tired, it’s easy to overeat. 

6. Keep it consistent. 

Eating at regular times in the day keeps your metabolism stable. That, in turn, prevents swings in your mood and energy levels.

Be proactive: If you worry that you’ll be so busy tomorrow that you won’t have time for lunch, then it might be best to work a little more before you leave the office today. If you need to wake up early one day, postpone breakfast until your normal time. 

What about special occasions? Events like office parties and birthdays may require you to eat at odd times. That’s OK, as long as you get back to your routine afterward. 

Don’t let eating be a haphazard activity. Prepare healthy meals, choose the right time to eat them, and listen to your body afterward. For finding your ideal eating schedule, self-awareness is key.

Top 15 Calendar Planning Tools That Will Help You Love Your Calendar

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If you want to be more organized and productive than you absolutely need to be — use a calendar. But let’s be honest here. Calendars, while essential and useful — aren’t exactly the most fun. You just add an event to your calendar and that’s it.

How about some calendar planning tools?

Fortunately, you can use these 15 calendar planning tools to not only get organized and boost your productivity, but to also make you fall in love with your calendar.

1. Calendar

Let’s say you just made some high-profiles connections at a recent networking event. You want to follow-up with these individuals so you send them an email or text asking when they’re available to meet. Next thing you know you’ve exchanged several messages without finding an ideal time to meet-up.

Calendar eliminates those time-and-consuming back-and-forth emails for you.

A simple share.

Simply share your Google, Outlook, or iCloud calendar with others via an email or embedded link. After viewing your availability, they’ll pick a date and time that works for them. Once they’ve selected a meeting time the event is added to everyone’s calendar.

Machine learning.

Because this scheduling app uses machine learning it can also make smart suggestion on where, when, and what how your meetings can take place. In other words, this handy tool automates the scheduling process for you.

2. Plan

Most of us use several different tools throughout the day. As a result we spend a lot of time switching between applications. Even worse, we may make some innocent mistakes when planning our our calendars — like forgetting you agreed to meet with a colleague for lunch when you already committed to a meeting with a client.

Plan resolves this problem by syncing tools like your email, calendar, Salesforce, Zendesk, JIRA, and Github. Now you have a real-time dashboard to see who and when are handling specific tasks. This ultimately ensures that you and those in your life will never drop the ball on any task, meeting, or project again.

3. Fantastical 2

This is a robust and popular iOS app that provides a clear presentation of you events in either a daily, weekly, or monthly view. But that’s just the beginning. With Fantastical 2 you can set geofence or time reminders, time to leave notifications, and view the availability of your coworkers. If you need to add an event you can use natural language to do so with ease.

Today Widget

There’s also the handy “Today Widget” that allows you to easily view and manage your schedule on your desktop without having to open the app, your email, or any other tool that displays your schedule.

Fantastical 2 supports iCloud, Google, Microsoft Exchange, Yahoo, and any other CalDAV account.

4. DayViewer

This free online calendar comes with a daily, weekly, or monthly planner. You can also also add notes and create tasks and reminders. If you want to achieve goals you can record your days to see when you’re most productive and when you get distracted.

Assign and discuss tasks.

If working with others you can assign and discuss tasks so that there is no miscommunication when working on a project.

DayViewer is also working on an appointment booking system so that clients can book time with you without exchanging emails, texts, or phone calls.

5. Informant 5

Informant 5 is a powerful multipurpose calendar, tasks, and notes tool. You can create color-coded calendars and use emoticons in your calendar view. The popular 30 day view with “mini text,” uses Travel Assist to manage time zones, travel ETAs, and suggest locations when you create events.

Using natural language.

Additionally, Informat 5 lets you organize tasks into projects, create checklists, task modes like Simple, GTD, or Franklin Covey, and import reminders. You can even turn emails into tasks and use natural language to create tasks.

While there is a free version, you may want to opt for one of the subscription models to unlock the features you’ll really need.

6. Teamweek

Teamweek is a free online calendar planner that’s perfect for project managers, event planners, HR managers, and anyone who is working with a team. That’s because it’s a straightforward online calendar that lets you set deadlines, see who’s working on what in real time, check availability, and add notes.

You can also use Teamweek for scheduling appointments or meeting with clients by simply sharing a view only version of your calendar.

You can take this tool with you.

Besides the desktop version, you can take the tool with you on the go by either downloading the app on the App Store or Google Play.

7. Wunderlist

If you want to get your life more organized than give Wunderlist a spin. It’s a collaborative tool that makes coordinating with colleagues, family, and friends a cinch — since you just share todos, lists, and tasks with them.

Sharing and reminding.

You can also add reminders and set due dates for these items. If you do you and your collaborators will receive email, push, and in-app notifications.

Wunderlist also lets you track, complete, and share your goals with just the click of one-button. You can also assign tasks, add comments, and group related tasks in accessible calendar.

Available on most sites.

Wunderlist is available for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, as well as OS X and Windows; and Google Chrome.

8. RescueTime

RescueTime is a time management app that you can use to make sure that your days are as productive as possible. That’s because the app records how and where you spend your time.

Analyzes time spent on activities.

By analyzing the time you spend on emails, your favorite websites, or with meetings you have an accurate picture of what you days look like. You can then make the appropriate changes.

Alarm.

For example, if you’re spending 2 hours per day on emails, you can set a goal to spend less than an hour daily on emails. The app will then send you an alarm if you’re spend more than an hour going through emails. It will also block distracting distractions websites so that you can stay focused.

Once you know how you spend your days and improve your productivity, you can create a calendar that encourage you to be more productive and efficient.

9. ZenDay

This award-winning time management app, which is available on Google Play and the App Store, takes a timeline-style approach to managing your schedule. This is accomplished by a fluid 3D timeline where you can view all of your upcoming reminders, deadlines, tasks, and events in your calendar that are based on priority.

Syncs well.

ZenDay allows you to quickly add events, meeting, or reminders directly in the app or just allow it to sync with your existing calendar. You can then set deadlines and start dates.

One of the more unique features is the debrief mode which allows you to view how well you’ve kept up with your schedule in the previous weeks.

10. Day by Day Organizer

If you use Google Calendar and have an Android device then you can use this tool to plan your schedule and maintain to-do lists, as well view them in different formats across all your devices. So instead of bouncing between several applications you can view all of your events, appointments, and tasks from this app. Because it syncs with Google Calendar and Google information is shared automatically.

Voice will send to different sites.

For example, if you just made a doctor’s appointment, you speak into your phone or desktop and add the event in the Day by Day Organizer. The app will then add your doctor’s appointment to your Google Calendar.

One of the coolest features, however, is that if you don’t check-off a task it will automatically be moved to the following day.

11. TimeTune

This nifty app can be used as a calendar, timetable or daily planner, daily task reminder, time manager, routine schedule organizer, or productivity management tool.

Custom notification and tags.

You can then create custom notifications, such as by sound, popup, or vibration. You can also generate custom tags to easily identify activities and color-code your calendar so you can quickly glance at day, week, or month.

You can even create routines and schedules for others, like your family or employees, so that they can also stay organized and productive.

12. Any.do

Want to keep your life organized? There may be no better tool to accomplish this then Any.do. It’s an intuitive and straightforward planner where you keep all of your tasks, todos, lists, and reminder in one location.

Award winning app.

The calendar feature lets you manage and view your day, week, or month. And, this award-winning app also comes with the Any.do assistant that will handle all of your recurring tasks for your.

Any.do works seamlessly with Google Calendar, iCal, and Exchange Calendar. It also syns quickly across Android, iOS, web, and desktop. It even works with Alexa so that you can verbally add reminders or events or hear what you have planned for a specific day. It’s also been seen as a top calendar app as well.

13. HabitBull

Are you looking for a tool to help you break a bad habit or build some positive ones? If so, then HabitBull is just what you nee.

HabitBull is a smart tracker available for both iOS and Android based on Jerry Seinfeld’s “don’t break the chain” productivity hack. This allows you to mark off the successful days that you completed a goal, such doing 20 push-up or reading for 15-minutes a day.

Give yourself a star with goals completed.

Each habit comes with its own calendar. And there’s also reminders and graphs to help you stay on-track.

Additionally, there are discussion forums so that you can connect with other trackers and motivational quotes to help keep you focused and inspired.

14. Basecamp

Basecamp is one of the most popular project management tools on the market. And for good reason. The app’s dashboard display your team’s discussions, to-do lists, and events in one convenient location. This way everyone can stay on the same page throughout the course of a project.

View and track progress.

With Basecamp you can also view and track your team’s progress without nagging them for status updates. This way you know exactly what everyone is working-on today, tomorrow, and next so that you can plan accordingly.

You can also embed images into messages, comment directly on lists and tasks, attach code samples, and forward emails into Basecamp. Again, this keeps everyone in the loop, while also freeing up your calendar from sending these messages individually or switching between multiple communication tools.

15. Canva

Canva is an amazing tool that allows you to design anything. This includes logos, cards, brochures, newsletters, and infographics. You can also use Canva to create your own personalized calendar or personal daily, weekly, or monthly planner.

Lets you start from scratch.

Instead of using a generic template Canva lets you start from scratch. This means you can use whatever images, fonts, background, and colors you like. You can further customize your pages by breaking your days into hourly blocks or making sure that there’s plenty of space to jot down todos, lists, and notes.

After you’ve created your own calendar or planner you can share it as a PDF file, via email, or on social channels like Facebook or Twitter.

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