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6 Tips to Supercharge Customer Support With Scheduling Software

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What distinguishes your business isn’t just the quality of your product or service; it’s also how your product or service is delivered. In fact, 73% of consumers say the experience is their main consideration after price and product quality. 

One way to ensure that you’re delivering a great experience is using scheduling software. By using automation technology to manage from appointments to service calls to follow-ups, you’ll help your company stand out. 

Scheduling software is a set-it-and-forget-it system for customer support. But like any system, it isn’t foolproof. Use these six tips to get it right:

1. Default to self-service.

Most scheduling software gives you a choice: Either you schedule clients’ appointments, or you let them do so themselves. Letting clients choose is a win-win: Your team saves time, while your customers are able to book when and as often as they want.

From transportation to lodging to restaurant reservations, online booking is what today’s customers are used to. In healthcare, for example, 77% of patients see self-scheduling as important.

Why do customers insist on self-booking? The practice lets them:

  • Schedule appointments during hours when you’re closed for business. 
  • Take time to compare your availability to their own calendar.
  • Cancel and reschedule appointments on their own.

 

2. Send purposeful reminders.

Reminding customers about their appointments is important because they have busy lives. In the rush of modern life, it’s easy to forget even things they schedule themselves. 

Sending reminders can reduce your no-show rate, but it can also demonstrate that you are eager and ready to provide for your customer. Customers shouldn’t have to contact you to make sure you’ll be ready for an appointment. 

The reminders you send should be timely and meaningful. You wouldn’t send the same notification to someone whose appointment is booked for tomorrow as you would a person who has an appointment a couple of months from now. And if every reminder looks the same, customers are less likely to pay attention to them. 

With scheduling software, you can automate reminders based on how far away the meeting is. These can be delivered through emails or text messages, and you can tailor the notification to match the circumstance. 

3. Be flexible with payments.

Depending on your line of business, you might be able to accept payments before or after an appointment. If you can, give customers that option.

Some people like to make payments when they book so they can forget about it. Others would rather wait to pay in person. Still others want to receive the service before they pay. 

Scheduling software that integrates with payment services lets your customers choose. Providing that flexibility shows that you’re confident in your product or service. 

4. Add value with follow-ups.

With scheduling software, you can keep customers in the loop of what’s going on at the business. Doing so takes you from just a business to a part of their community. 

When you follow up, include an incentive or educational content — and ideally both. You can offer customers a range of items, such as:

  • Discounts
  • Bonus gifts
  • Invitations to events
  • Tip and tricks
  • Refund policies

Like reminders, these follow-ups should be unique to the situation and customer. Try dispensing certain ones, like discounts, after a set number of appointments. Others, like bonus gifts, might be best sent for the customer’s birthday. Exclusive event invitations might be based on the customer’s package or price point. 

5. Keep their data secure.

Customers value security. Keeping their information secure is simple with scheduling software. 

For example, you can set appointment notifications to be sent only to team members who need to know about them. This is particularly important in industries like healthcare, which are governed by privacy frameworks like HIPAA.

Scheduling software also encrypts sensitive information. That way, payment details or patient records aren’t compromised in transit. 

6. Always ask for feedback.

Do not expect customers to give feedback if you don’t ask for it. After an appointment, around renewal times, and whenever you roll out a new service, reach out to customers for comments.

Use your scheduling software’s reminder and follow-up features to do this. Include a quantitative portion — a 0-10 satisfaction scale — and a qualitative prompt. Often, the best insights into what you could be doing better come from customer comments.

There’s no single formula for customer support, but there is a singularly important tool: a scheduling system. To take your customer experience to the next level, embrace it. 

What’s Your Most Productive Work Time? Here’s How You Can Find Out

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Beach at sunrise

Whether you call them your golden hours or peak work times, or biological prime times, these are when we have the most concentration and energy. As such, we shouldn’t waste these hours. Instead, we should spend them on our most important and challenging tasks. But, before we get there, we first need to identify when you’re actually the most productive.

The most productive hour, day, week, and month of the year.

You likely already know when your most productive time is. For example, I’m a morning person, and wake-up at 5:15 am every day. Because of this, I’m more alert in the A.M. But, I also have also worked with people who are night owls, and forcing themselves to wake-up as early as I do would be counterproductive.

However, after analyzing 1.8 million projects and 28 million tasks gathered from Priceonomics customer Redbooth, says that the most productive time of year is at 11 am on a Monday in October.

That timeframe is extremely specific, but they also found “that most people don’t really get going until 7 am (a typical start time). The study shows that after 5 pm (typical finish time), work quickly tapers.”

However, the “percentage of tasks completed (9.7%) peaks at 11 am — just before the typical person takes lunch.” The data has shown that productivity takes a hit between 11 am and 1 pm, “and after 1 pm, productivity never quite returns to its peak.”

“The highest percentage of tasks (20.4%) are completed on everyone’s favorite day of the week: Monday,” Priceonomics reveals. “Tuesday (20.2%) is just behind — and after that task completion perfectly tapers off as the days progress toward the weekend.” Fridays are “nearly 20% less productive than Monday.”

“We complete far more tasks in the latter months — September (8.8 percent), October (9.5 percent), and November (9 percent) — than in the earlier months,” notes the post. “We only complete 7.2 percent of our yearly tasks in January,” The reason?

Priceconmics suspects that it “maybe because the early year is typically for setting goals, not completing them — and as we near year’s end, we’re struggling to get everything done.” You have to learn how to work smarter — not harder.

How to find your most productive hours.

Hopefully, the data from Priceconomics can be of use. For example, instead of scheduling a meeting on Monday mornings, you do that on Friday afternoons when most of us aren’t as productive.

But what if you want to find out when you’re most productive? Well, here is a simple process that can help you figure this out.

Choose a time tracking period.

The first step you need to take is to determine when you want to start tracking your time and for how long. Some suggest that you can get away with just tracking your time for a week. But I disagree. The longer you follow your time, the more accurate of a picture you’ll have. Ideally, you should do this for 30 days.

Get the right tools.

You can honestly stay old school and use a pen and paper for this activity. You could also use a notebook or index cards. Other options would be creating a spreadsheet (or this one from Chris Baily) or premade worksheets like the 168 Hours Timesheet.

If you prefer to go digital, you may want to try out time tracking tools. Some of the best available are RescueTime, Clockify, Toggl, or ATracker — and of course, Calendar.

Maintaining your time log.

Here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for, actually tracking your time.

Jeremy Anderberg writes that there are two necessary frameworks for tracking your time. The first tracking is using the time of day. If you go this route, “you’ll write down your activity for a set chunk of time, say 9–9:15 am. Set a timer for every 15 minutes (at first, at least; it can be longer as you’ve gotten into it), and take a quick second to jot down what you’ve been doing.”

The second is by the task. “With this method, you’ll go about your day and activities as normal, and simply write down what time you change tasks and start something new,” explains Anderberg.

Jeremey suggests that you try both out and see what works best for you. “For my first few days of time-tracking, I did so by the task. I’d write down, to the minute, when I started and stopped doing something and moved on to a new activity.” For him, this helped “figure out how long things actually took, and how my day was naturally being structured

“After that, I went into tracking by time increments, which is more useful for planning purposes, understanding what times of day you’re more likely to waste time, how to structure your breaks, etc.,” he adds. “Another benefit is that when you have a timer to “remind you to write down what you’ve been doing, it re-focuses you if you’ve gotten off track.”

Regardless of which approach you take, there are some essential things to keep in mind:

  • Be honest and consistent.
  • Record your activities in real-time.
  • Note when you start and end an activity, as well as the duration.
  • Be meticulous and include as many details as possible. For instance, instead of just writing done “working,” record the specific thing that you were doing. But, you don’t have to be perfect.
  • Don’t just focus on your workday. Create categories and subcategories for home, family, social, commuting, and health and wellness.
  • Make sure that you write down how you feel for each activity.
  • Leave room for additional notes like what interrupted you or if a task took you longer then expected to complete.

Chris Bailey, the author of “The Productivity Project,” also suggests that you eliminate factors that may affect your productivity, such as caffeine, diet, waking up without an alarm, or staying up too late. He also recommends keeping a log of your energy levels every hour.

After you’ve done this for around month, go ahead, and analyze your data. Pay close attention to patterns — primarily when there’s a surge or dip in focus or energy. For most of us, because of ultradian rhythms, this would be after working for 90 to 120 minutes.

You should also be on the lookout for how much time you’re dedicating to low, medium, or high impact activities and where you can improve. Think about using time tracking — don’t think of it as time policing.

How to create more “peak” hours during the day.

That may seem like a lot to take in. But, after a week or two, tracking your time should become a habit. But, the main takeaway here is that you also listen to your gut. As I’ve said, you probably have a clue when you’re most productive without having to track your time. But, it’s still worth doing to see what exactly you’re doing and spending your time.

Knowing this, you can then use your “peak” hours more wisely. For me, I’m ready to tackle the day before 8 am. So, I block out from 8 am to 10 am for the most critical task of the day in my calendar. I then take a 30-minute break and get back to work until noon.

Since my energy may start dropping by then — my afternoons are spent on lower energy tasks like meetings. Then I have a snack later in the afternoon, take a break, get revived, and get going again for several hours.

I’ve also been able to create more “peak” hours in the day by taking care of my health — mainly getting enough REM sleep, eating a nutritious diet, and finding ways to relieve stress like meditating and exercising. The reason? All of these can impact your productivity.

Additionally, I also remove the unnecessary items from my calendar. The easiest way to do this is through delegation or dropping them entirely. It’s an effective way to ensure that you aren’t wasting your golden hours on things that aren’t important.

The Best Remote Work Setup To Keep You as Productive as Ever

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Just a few months ago, remote work was a luxury. But for many of us, it’s now a necessity that’ll take some getting used to. 

Not only do you have to adapt your workflow and make communication simpler for team members, but you also have to adjust your work environment to optimize productivity. That desk in a dark, dingey corner of your basement is far from an ideal workspace. 

What does an ideal remote workspace look like? To get more out of your day, upgrade your desk with:

1. Your office favorites

When you’re at the office, you have access to all the tools you need for the job. Highlighters, legal pads, your favorite pens — whatever helps you work faster and more efficiently. At home, you may not.

Splurge a little next time you’re at the office supply store. If you really want that top-of-the-line desk organizer, get it. Throw those cute paper clips that cost too much in the cart, too. Those small joys are worth it. 

Think, too, about your personal wellbeing. A water bottle at your desk keeps you hydrated. If you don’t have a coffee maker to keep you when the days get long, invest in one.   

Other than that, be selective about what you keep at your desk. When you take a broad essential, it opens the floodgates for a stream of inessential things. Before you know it not only does your desk get cluttered but also your mind. 

2. Lighting

You know how hard it is to work in a dim space. Adequate light reduces eye strain and fatigue.

Studies suggest access to natural light trumps a host of other office perks. It makes workers more energetic and can even improve mental health.

Keep lighting in mind as you perfect your home office setup. Instead of working in a space that is wholly reliant on artificial light, move your workspace to a room with a window.

If you don’t have that kind of natural light available, there are also lamps that simulate daylight. These are great for fighting seasonal affective disorder during times when you find yourself inside a lot. They are also useful if you need to work at night. Don’t let your circumstances keep you from getting the right amount of light. 

3. Plants and greenery

Another way to foster a productive work environment is to surround yourself with plants. Like natural lighting, greenery brings the great outdoors inside. 

Studies have shown that plants can give you a productivity boost of up to 15%. The reason is reduced stress levels: A little nature can help you move forward with ease and certainty. Caring for your plants can provide a sense of purpose.

Maybe now is the time to start the garden you’ve been wanting to grow in your home. If you don’t have a green thumb, you can always buy pre-grown plants. Either way, the added greenery will cheer you up whenever you look away from the screen. 

4. Sounds

Home noises can be distracting, but not all sounds are bad for productivity. Boosting your productivity is as easy as tuning into the right ones. 

Classical music can actually enhance brain function. It’s called the Mozart Effect, and it’s been known to help students perform better on tests and study better. The same kind of focus is great for powering through your more involved work tasks.

If you’re not a classical music fan, a great alternative is nature sounds. A relaxing waterfall or a chorus of birds make great background noise. And if you need a pick-me-up along the way, you take a break to listen to some of your favorite songs.

To enjoy your nature sounds or songs to their fullest, get some stereo speakers. Noise-cancelling headphones are an even better solution, but they can be pricey.

5. Art

You might assume that a focus-first workspace should be as bare as possible, but that’s not the case. Enriching your environment with art can actually increase your productivity. 

What art you choose isn’t necessarily important. What matters is that your selections inspire you and make you think. You don’t need to be an expert in art history to appreciate something that’s aesthetically pleasing to you. 

Experiment with different media. Choose some paintings for the walls. Add a small sculpture to your desk. Hang something with stained glass in your window. 

6. Aromatherapy

Your home workspace should look, sound, and feel like your own — but it should also smell appealing. Aromatherapy is a great way to give your home office that finishing touch.

Smell is an underappreciated sense. An essential oil diffuser can give you a whiff of lavender when you’re stressed. Try mint or eucalyptus for an energy boost. If you’re feeling short on fresh air, why not go for a soft forest scent?

Whether you’re working remotely by choice or doing so by necessity, you can always improve your space. Experiment: If a stationary set doesn’t bring you joy, find one that does. Make it your own, and you’ll see the difference in your mood, output, and more. 

The 10 Best Business Calendar Apps of 2020

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No disrespect, but the days of hanging a calendar on the wall or placing one on your desk are probably over. You have a calendar with you 24/7 in your pocket thanks to your smartphone. It’s your smartphone and laptop where you can tap into the best business calendar apps. Now, we have the calendar apps of 2020 to keep us organized.

Unlike those old-school paper calendars, an online calendar allows you to access your calendar from multiple devices. Schedule meetings and appointments from anywhere, set-up reminders, create recurring events, block out time for specific events — all in your hand.

If there’s one catch, however, it’s that there are hundreds of online calendars and apps out there. So, which one should you rely-on? To be fair, the online calendar you’re using should already be pretty solid. Google Calendar, Microsoft Calendar, and Apple Calendar have been used by most people to organize and manage their lives successfully for some time. These may be already on your list of top calendar apps of 2020.

However, it seems like every day there’s some sort of new calendar tool launching. We decided to make your life easier and share with you the ten best calendar apps that are currently available. You can either switch over to a new calendar or use these apps to beef-up your existing online calendar.

Best Business Calendar Apps of 2020

We’ve put together a list of the ten best calendar apps of 2020:

  • Calendar for smart scheduling, calendar and productivity tool integration, meeting transcriptions, and analytics
  • Rooster for the ability to manage your calendar and to-do list simultaneously within one app
  • CloudCal for syncing with Google Calendar, Microsoft Exchange, Trello, Evernote, Eventbrite, and Meetup
  • Vantage Calendar for its clean interface and scrolling, visual calendar
  • Business Calendar 2 for its user-friendly dashboard and task organizer that syncs with Google Tasks 
  • Plan for its potential to improve organization and integration with your email, JIRA, Zendesk, Salesforce, and Github
  • TimeTree for sharing your calendar, tasks, and schedule with others
  • Fantastical 2 for its Apple compatibility, sync capability, natural language processing for smart scheduling
  • aCalendar for its customization features and automatic data import from Google Calendar and Facebook.
  • Trevor for its AI power to create smart scheduling and sharing

1. Calendar

Launched in 2017, Calendar solved one of the biggest headaches surrounding scheduling — it eliminated those back-and-forth emails.

By using a smart scheduling link, you can now share your calendar availability with others. When someone sees an open date that works for them, they chose the date, and it’s automatically added to everyone’s calendar.

The free app can also harness the power of machine learning so that it can make smart meeting suggestions based on your previous calendar date.

With Calendar, you can also quickly create events using natural language and a glimpse at your schedule with an innovative map view. It’s timezone friendly, categorizes projects, and has the ability to send invitation follow-ups — Calendar is ideal for teams.

2. Rooster

This app helps you stay on top of everything because you can manage both your calendar and to-do-list in one app. What makes this app unique is that it comes with a single-view design. That means you can just glance at both at the same exact time. With the QuickCal Keyboard, you can add appointments in just a couple of taps.

Another handy feature is the ability to prioritize your tasks by pinning your most important tasks at the top. You can also receive a summary of your schedule, share your calendar with others, and it works with Apple, Google, and Outlook Calendars, making it one of the best calendar apps of 2020.

3. CloudCal

CloudCal is an Android app that has been around for several years. But, it’s one of the few calendars that can unite all of your calendars in one convenient location, making it one of the top calendar apps of 2020. It syncs with Google Calendar, Microsoft Exchange, Trello, Evernote, Eventbrite, and Meetup. This makes organizing and scheduling your calendar a breeze.

The coolest feature offered by CloudCal is the ‘Magic Circles’ feature. This transforms days of the month into clock faces. This way you can see the hours when you’re busy and free with just a glance.

The app also allows you to customize your day, week, and month views, color-code your calendars, receive reminders and invite contacts to meetings through email.

4. Vantage Calendar

This app is equipped with a clean interface that provides a scrolling, visual calendar. This gives you a birds-eye view of your schedule. If you need more details, you can tap on an event to see more information.

Next to your events is your to-do-list. You can simply drag them over a date to make them appear there. To separate the various areas of your life you create “books.”

Vantage also lets you color-code your calendar, assign due dates to your todos, and iCloud, Google, Exchange, Facebook. You can only download Vantage on iTunes.

5. Business Calendar 2

Business Calendar has been a popular Android app for some time now. And, it’s easy to understand why. The app is user-friendly and was designed specifically with professionals in mind. As such, the app lets you navigate easily between month, week, or day ¾views. The task organizer syncs with Google Tasks, you can add event details with your voice, invite attendees to events, and create notifications for recurring events.

While you can download the app for free, you may want to purchase the Pro version to access all more of the robust features to get the most out of this tool that makes our list of top calendar apps of 2020.

6. Plan

This is a newer app that has a ton of potential since it can be used to organize your life.

With Plan, you can sync all of your tools. This means that instead of bouncing between a variety of apps, you can access your tools. You can use a calendar, email, JIRA, Zendesk, Salesforce, and Github in one platform. Plan states that this can save you and your team around 15 hours per week.

Speaking of teams, with Plan you can use its dashboard to see who’s responsible for certain tasks and when they’re doing it in realtime.

This calendar is optimal for one or two users — and you can use Plan for free. Larger teams will have to opt for the $9/month plan.

7. TimeTree

If you’re looking for an app that allows you to share your calendar, schedule, and tasks with your family or co-workers then TimeTree is arguably your best option.

With TimeTree everyone can put their schedules onto one shared calendar. You can then add and edit events or tasks so that everyone in on the same page. There’s also a communications section where you can add comments and attachments.

Perhaps the coolest feature is that you can share your schedule with anyone — even if they haven’t downloaded the app.

TimeTree offers support for Google, Apple Calendar, and Outlook Calendars. It can be downloaded for free at both the App Store and Google Play. You can also download the app directly to your desktop.

8. Fantastical 2

Fantastical 2 has long been a favorite among Apple users as one of the best calendar apps of 2020. It’s packed with features like the ability to sync schedules with others, create events and reminders quickly with natural language and time zone support, and alerts.

The app can also let you know when it’s time to leave for a meeting. There’s also support for Google, iCloud, Facebook, CalDAV, Exchanged, and iPhone calendar.

A lot of users really dig the “Dayticker” feature because it allows you to quickly see which days have been booked out and what’s available. Another popular feature is the “Today Widget” which allows you to access your schedule without having to open the app.

You can give Fantastical 2 a spin for free for 21 days.

9. aCalendar

Here’s another one of the most popular calendar apps of 2020 made for Android users that’s free to download.

With aCalendar, you can customize the calendar by changing the view or colors as you see fit. It transitions smoothly between day, week, and month view. And, you can use it to assign tasks, invite people to events, and create recurring events.

aCalendar also automatically imports all your data from Google Calendar and Facebook.

10. Trevor AI

Finally, we have one of the many AI chatbots that have been given a human name.

Trevor is pretty much a personal assistant that connects your calendar with your phone’s task list. Doing so can help you manage your time more efficiently. How? Because Trevor can find available time slots for you to complete these tasks automatically.

For example, let’s say that you need to pick up groceries or office supplies. You can tell Trevor what you need to buy and after analyzing your calendar Trevor can text you suggested times that would be best for you to run this errand. When you find a time that you like, text Trevor back and the app will schedule this task into your calendar.

Currently, the Trevor app only integrates with iOS Reminders and Todoist. But, more app integrations are expected to arrive soon.

Download Best Calendar Apps of 2020

Even better is that many of these best calendar apps of 2020 are free or low-cost. With more people working remotely than ever before, it even makes sense to see which best calendar apps of 2020 have team tier pricing to ensure everyone has access to these productivity tools.

 

6 Things That Can Jeopardize Your Morning Routine

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Morning Routine

We all have those days when things just won’t go our way. More often than not, they start with a hectic morning.

The morning is an opportunity to set the tone for the rest of your day. That’s why a morning routine is so important: When you make good use of the first few hours, you generate momentum that helps you be productive throughout the afternoon and evening. 

Of course, you can’t plan for everything. Disruptions happen, but they don’t have to throw your entire morning out of whack.

The key is proactivity. If you know what disruptions to expect, you can minimize them. If they do happen, you can mitigate their impact on the rest of your day. These are the top culprits:

1. Your Alarm Doesn’t Go Off

It happens to the best of us: No matter how sure we were about setting our alarm clock, it doesn’t go off.

Maybe you forgot to activate it. Perhaps you set a “p.m.” time instead of an “a.m.” It could have come unplugged from the wall.

The solution is to wake up at the same time every morning. Within a week or two, your body will start naturally waking up at that time.

If you truly need an alarm, get one with a battery backup. Look for a “set it and forget it” model that automatically chimes every morning at the same time.  

2. You Check Your Phone First Thing

These days, you need a smartphone. But that doesn’t mean you should be scrolling through it first thing after you wake up. With all the things to do online and in apps, you may find yourself deeply distracted.

Checking your phone first thing may keep you in bed too long. It can also get in the way of more productive morning habits, such as meditating or exercising.

Don’t use your phone as an alarm clock. Better yet, keep it out of the bedroom altogether. If you struggle to stay accountable to yourself, ask your spouse to remind you. 

3. Your Wi-Fi is Down

Although you shouldn’t stare at your phone first thing each day, there are reasons you might need to get online. You may want to check your online calendar in order to internalize what’s ahead of you. Or you may want to answer emails before you head to the office. 

If your Wi-Fi goes down regularly, there are two ways to get the information you need. You could get a back-up access method, such as a hotspot. You could also do some legwork upfront to keep your morning routine offline. Start by:

  • Saving your calendar offline.
  • Keeping a physical copy of your schedule.
  • Reading a newspaper instead of internet news.
  • Downloading exercise classes, relaxing music, or other streamable media.

4. Your Housemates Interrupt You

If you live with other people, there’s always a chance that they could disrupt your morning routine. Maybe your roommate steals the bathroom when you want to take a shower. Or maybe your kids are demanding attention while you are trying to make breakfast. 

The best way to prevent others from distracting you is to talk with them about your morning routine. Ask about theirs, too. If necessary, post everyone’s morning tasks and times in a public place, like on the fridge.  

Just because you’ve laid out a perfect routine for yourself doesn’t mean it works for everyone else. Be civil, set expectations, and remember that mistakes happen.

5. You’re Stuck on Yesterday.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could start every day with a fresh slate? That’s what mornings are meant for.

With that said, you might struggle to get something from the past out of your mind. Maybe some tragic news event is bothering you. Perhaps you received bad news about a loved one. A fight with a partner can bother you for days.

If you can resolve issues before going to bed, do so. If not, allow yourself time in the morning for introspection. You can meditate or write in a journal during this time. It’s important to get in tune with your emotions so that they don’t overwhelm you. 

6. You’re Missing Your Must-Haves.

You’ve finished most of your morning routine and you are about to leave the house — but you can’t find your keys. You search everywhere, but you can’t seem to find them. Plus, you’re now running late. 

In this scenario, “your keys” could represent anything that you need to leave the house, like your wallet or bus pass. Not being able to find them when you’re leaving can create stress that lasts the rest of the day. 

The key (pun intended) is to keep these items in the same place at all times. Make it a ritual that every time you return home, you put your keys in the same place. 

Disruptions tend to happen at the worst possible times. But a little preparation can go a long way toward preserving your morning routine. And the more consistent you can keep it, the more ingrained it will become. 

What Do You Do When You Don’t Have a Team to Delegate To?

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One of my cousins recently reached out to me for advice. He wants to start his own photography business. For the time being, it has to be a side hustle until the business takes off on its own. So far, so good, I told him. Here is what to do when you don’t have a team to delegate to.

The problem with my cousin is that he doesn’t have the time or resources right now for all for administrative tasks and content marketing. You know. The important parts of starting and growing a self-sustaining business that is often delegated to someone else.

I can totally emphasize with him. When I was just starting out, this was also a problem. Since I didn’t have a team yet, it was my responsibility to take care of these tedious tasks. Suffice to say, I was putting in a lot of hours and feeling extremely overwhelmed.

Thankfully, I learned some tricks to get out of this dilemma along my own entrepreneurial journey. I didn’t hesitate to share these options with my cousin. And, now, I want to pass them along to you, and anyone who is starting up a business on their own.

Everything is not a priority.

My first suggestion was to come to the realization that not everything is a top priority. I know. Easier said than done. But, my Calendar co-founder John Hall has previously explained how to achieve this in a Calendar blog post.

Before doing anything else, clear your head by taking a deep breath. Next, “think, compose a list or look at your calendar to see everything that’s on your plate.” Sure. These items may be important, but “they don’t all deserve equal treatment.”

“Instead of believing that everything needs to be done right now, determine which actions indeed are your priorities,” adds John. “Ideally, these should be the tasks that move you closer to achieving your goals. Other factors include urgency, due dates, ROI, or the consequences of not completing the task or project.”

Now, in most cases, you could create a priority matric, like the popular Eisenhower, to help you separate the urgent from important. However, that usually still involves delegating less important tasks to someone else. So, an alternative would be to “triage.”

“If you’re somewhat with the medical industry, then you’ve probably heard of the term triage,” John explains. “If you’re not, triage determining which patients need immediate treatment. For instance, if you went to the ER because of the flu, you would be seen after the older adult who is in cardiac arrest.”

When it comes to prioritizing your work, you can use triaging to identify what you need to do right now by placing them into the immediate category. For the “non-life threatening” tasks, schedule them for later or remove them from your list or calendar.

Done is better than perfect.

Sometimes good is enough. That doesn’t mean phoning it in or deliver subpar work. It just means that you shouldn’t obsess over being perfect.

For example, my cousin needs to get a website up to display his portfolio. My advice is to just get a domain and set-up a standard WordPress site with a theme geared towards photography. The site doesn’t have to be “perfect” just yet. It can tinker with his site until it’s more to his liking.

But, for the time being, he needs to get a site up and running. It’s all about taking that first step, enjoying the process, and setting the bar at “good enough.”

Negotiate your time.

Look, when it comes to your time, some things are non-negotiable. Usually, these are your priorities that you’ve already added to your calendar. For example, if my cousin already committed to a photography gig, then he can’t accept another job on the same date and time.

But, what if this request doesn’t have an exact timeframe? He may be able to find an alternative. Let’s say someone asked him to snap pictures for their LinkedIn profile on the same day that he’s already working a wedding. The wedding is non-negotiable. But, my cousin is free the following day so this other job then.

Or, depending on his niche, he may recommend certain jobs to someone else. My cousin may not have the time or equipment to do travel photography. So, he may recommend this job to a photographer who specializes in this area.

However, if he doesn’t have the availability or the job isn’t worth the time or money, then he needs to get comfortable saying “no.”

Use technology to your advantage.

Thanks to AI and machine learning, there is plenty of technology at your fingertips that can handle repetitive tasks. For example, my cousin could use scheduling software like Calendar to take care of all of their scheduling needs. He could simply share his calendar on his site or through an email. The client then sees when he’s available and books him. It’s a simple way to eliminate those back and forth communications.

A business owner can also use tools to automate his emails, social media accounts, marketing, and sales. If he can’t find a free option, most are affordable enough that they’re within his budget. And, while he’ll still need to put in the occasional human touch, it can help reduce the number of recurring tasks he’s responsible for.

Ask for help or outsource.

What about the things that he can’t automate? Well, he could ask for volunteers or outsource them.

When I launched my own business, I asked family members for help. My wife assisted with administrative tasks, while my sibling produced content for me. All startups can learn to barter with other people. My cousin found he could work a wedding for his accountant’s daughter in exchange for preparing his taxes.

If that’s not an option, you can find low-cost outsourcing alternatives. Like my cousin could go on Fiverr and find freelancers to optimize his website or promote his business on social media at a reasonable price. Know when you should outsource.

Know when to hire team members.

Depending on your business, this will vary. I doubt that my cousin would need a full-time PR agent. But, at some point, he may decide to hire a Virtual Assistant to handle things like scheduling and billing.

But, when should he does this? Well, Neil Patel writes in a previous Entrepreneur article that you shouldn’t hire because you’re desperate or don’t have “a defined set of responsibilities and expectations for your new hire.” Instead, it should be when they can either make or save money for your business. Most importantly, they should have specific skillsets that you don’t possess.

After you’ve begun hiring team members, delegating work to them should be straightforward. I mean if you hired a developer, then you know that those tasks go through them. However, you still need to learn how to delegate, like clearly explaining expectations and outcomes. And, you need to be willing to give up some control and grant them ownership.

Working While Home-Schooling: 5 Tips for Parents

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Working While Home-Schooling: 5 Tips for Parents

Being a parent is a full-time job. But with schools closed amid this coronavirus pandemic, you suddenly have a second full-time role: teacher. On top of that, of course, is your actually full-time job.

Working from home while home-schooling your kids is a lot to ask. Tackling what is, in effect, three full-time jobs can seem downright impossible. It’s understandable that some parents have decided to give up on home schooling altogether.

But in times like these, you have to step up. Your household needs an income, and your kids need an education. Here’s how to balance both worlds without losing your sanity:

1. Revamp your schedule.

Any time you take on a new role, whether at work or in your personal life, you need to give your schedule a second look. Even if you were home-schooling your kids previously, the pandemic has almost certainly shaken up your life. 

Between tutoring your kids, completing work tasks, and taking care of household chores, you almost certainly won’t be working from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Your kids probably won’t be doing school work on their normal 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. schedule, either. Sync your personal and professional calendars to help you make use of the whole day.

If your typical routine isn’t doing it for you, experiment with alternatives. You might:

  • Alternate between school days and workdays.
  • Designate blocks of time for teaching and work. 
  • Trade teaching days with your spouse.
  • Work fewer hours but more days per week.
  • Designate a day for just housework

Readjust your schedule based on what works for you, not what you feel like you should be doing. Be mindful of your prime productivity hours so that you can schedule your toughest tasks for when you have the most energy. 

2. Get your kids on board.

Your new schedule could be bulletproof in terms of work, but you won’t be able to balance it with home schooling unless you get your kids on the same page. 

Your kids need to understand that this isn’t a vacation from school. However, you also don’t want them interrupting you with homework questions while you’re working either. Be sure to set boundaries of space and time so that you don’t have to worry about them invading your Zoom calls.

Don’t try to make all the rules, though. Involve your kids in the process of planning your schedule. Incorporate some of their ideas: If they want to try a four-day school week, let them.

If they have trouble with motivation, come up with a reward system for accomplishing work. Perhaps you can all get takeout for dinner on Friday if they do their homework every day of the week.

3. Coordinate with your spouse.

If you have a spouse or significant other who’s working from home, consider yourself fortunate. Especially if you have kids in multiple grades, you’ll need a teacher’s aide.

Together, decide who will be home-schooling and working when. If one of you works better in the morning, that person can home-school during the afternoon. 

Another good way to divide up the work is by subjects. If one of you loves to write but can’t do algebra, perhaps one person should take English and the other math. Play to your strengths. Teaching, like parenting, is all about teamwork.

4. Stay motivated.

There may be times when you feel like you can’t handle the work. When that happens, it’s easy to lose motivation. But getting down on yourself or letting responsibilities go undone will only make you more stressed.

Instead, take some time to reconnect with your passions. Remember that you’re working toward something that is worth the effort. Your best is always enough: at home, at your job, and with your kids.

Easy, inexpensive ways to rediscover your “why” include:

  • Journaling 
  • Meditating
  • Taking walks
  • Reciting affirmations
  • Practicing gratitude

5. Don’t forget to have fun.

Between housework, home schooling, and regular work, the responsibilities can feel crushing. The solution isn’t to grind yourself into the ground; it’s to enjoy the little things in life. 

Involve your kids and spouse, who are likely feeling the strain as well. This could be a great opportunity to establish traditions like movie nights or game nights. Bonding with your kids will also reduce discipline problems and boost their own motivation. 

That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t also enjoy time to yourself. At least once a week, enjoy a good book. Go for a run, tend your garden, or call up your best friend from college. 

Staying on top of your many roles right now is about perseverance. Be strong, and keep at it. And remember, there will come a day when you can drop your kids off at school again. Then, you’ll only have two full-time jobs to worry about. Doesn’t that sound nice right now?

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.

5 Keys to Keeping a Routine When Working From Home

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Just a couple of months ago, “normal” looked like waking up in the morning, getting ready, commuting, working, and heading back home. Now, working from home is actually starting to feel normal.

By now, the allure of structureless days has faded. Our new challenge is to make sure that our new normal is one worth maintaining. For that, we need routines.

The Real Work of Routines

Routines are the route to happier, healthier days. Deeper sleep, lower stress levels, and improved mental health all start with routine. For all of those reasons and more, routines make us more productive.

What if you’re struggling to set or, more likely, stick to new routines? Five steps are key:

1. Start Out Simple

Mapping out a complicated routine right off the bat all but ensures that you’re not going to maintain it. Nestling routines within routines is overwhelming at best and self-defeating at worst.

With these complications, you’ll likely find any excuse to remove things. Before you know it, any semblance of structure will be gone. 

There’s a lot to be said about the power of simplicity. Easy routines also tend to be efficient and effective routines. Effective routines are easy for us to follow because we can see them working.

Need a place to start? Put together a solid morning routine: What do you need to put yourself on the right path for the workday? Make sure it includes time for:

  • Exercise
  • Dressing and grooming
  • A healthy breakfast
  • Self-reflection, meditation, or journaling
  • Workday preparation

2. Avoid Disruptions

When you’re trying to get a routine going, the smallest of disruptions can throw you off. Maybe you’re in work mode, but you get a notification that you can’t resist responding to. Perhaps your kids bust into your private office space. You might even see an advertisement that plunges you into an online shopping spree. 

In an ideal world, these disruptions wouldn’t happen. And when you’re working from home, the barriers that would keep you from goofing off are significantly relaxed. You need to be proactive.

Make a habit of turning your notifications off before beginning work. In your online calendar, let your colleagues and members of your inner circle know the times when you are unavailable. That way, they won’t schedule meetings with you when you’re trying to be productive. 

3. Dedicate Spaces for Major Routines

When working from home, don’t spend the majority of the day in the same room. This can leave you feeling fatigued and make the different parts of your routine blur together. Switch up your environment based one what routine task you are doing. 

Try to carve out space for each of the major routines in your day. Perhaps you decide to:

  • Sleep in your bedroom
  • Exercise in your activity room or outdoors
  • Eat in your dining room
  • Work in your home office
  • Tutor the kids in their bedroom
  • Wind down in your living room

Your physical space is a cue for your mental space. When you walk into your kitchen, for example, you’ll know it’s time to cook. When you’re in your office, you’ll buckle down and work. You get the picture. 

4. Pick a Partner

Your routine may ultimately be your own, but that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Synchronizing your routine with someone else’s can fight a sense of isolation. Perhaps simply socializing with them is an important routine for you. 

Find an accountability partner, such as your spouse, a co-worker, or a friend. Ask what routines they follow, and describe the ones you want to follow. You don’t have to do every routine together, but do identify and work together on areas of overlap. Check in with one another daily to see how things are going and to provide encouragement. 

5. Reward Yourself

Sticking to a routine is a goal like any other. Giving yourself rewards for accomplishing that goal can motivate you to keep going. Giving yourself a treat boosts not just your energy, but surprisingly, your self-control as well. 

Rewards do not have to be big or flashy to work. Cooking yourself a nice dinner can be a reward, as can having a glass of wine after a long day. Consider coordinating rewards with your accountability partner: positive affirmations are simple, free ways you can reward one another.

Big Goals Take Small Routines

Not every routine is fun, but routines are critical if we want to reach our goals. If we can’t solidify our small, daily habits, we’ll never be able to accomplish the big things. The way we establish, maintain, and reinforce our routines is what makes them slip or stick. 

Why wait until the crisis is over? Pick one healthy habit you want to add to your life. Start something that will last even after you no longer need to work from home. 

10 Time Management Tips for Building a Business as a Parent

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Juggling parenthood and entrepreneurship is probably one of the most challenging experiences you’ll ever go through. But it’s not impossible. You can be successful and be a good parent. Try the following ten time management tips, and you may be surprised at how easy these tips will help you to build a business as a parent.

1. Live by your calendar.

“If it doesn’t exist on my calendar, it’s not real,” said Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec. More valid words have never been spoken. But, what exactly should go into your calendar?

Well, my calendar only includes date-specific appointments, my most important tasks, and blocks of time reserved for networking, learning, or relaxing. But before all of that, I schedule all of my personal obligations first, such as vacations, school functions, or doctor’s appointments.

“Plan as much as you can a year in advance and stick to it,” added Herjavec. For him, that’s booking his calendar a year in advance. That meant sitting down with his children’s school counselor and his assistant and going through “each” school holiday and event they had off.

“Because of that, I never missed a swim meet. I never missed a school play. I never missed anything,” Herjavec said. “I’d fly from L.A. back to Toronto to be with my kids for one day. That’s the great thing about having your own business — the freedom to control your schedule and to do with it what you want.”

2. Tune into your personal rhythms.

“For an efficient workday, that truly respects our human nature, the first thing to focus on are ultradian cycles,” writes Leo Widrich at Buffer.

“The basic understanding is that our human minds can focus on any given task for 90-120 minutes,” he explains. “Afterwards, a 20-30 minute break is required for us to get the renewal to achieve high performance for our next task again.” So, instead of focusing on how much you can get done in an eight-hour day, focus on what you’ll accomplish in the next 90-minute session.

Ideally, you should try to sync your personal rhythms with your family’s schedule. A family schedule can get tricky, but it is possible. For example, I’m up at 5:15 a.m. daily because I’m a morning person. Plus, the house is quiet. However, I’ve timed it to take a break at around 7 a.m. as everyone else is waking up. I’ve already worked for about 90-minutes and ready for a break. But, once my family is out the door, I’m ready to jump back into work.

3. Budget your time like you would with money.

As an entrepreneur, I’m positive that you’ve created and are sticking to a budget. If not, I don’t think your business will survive, right?

You can use the same concept to improving your time management by knowing what to spend your time on. For most of us, that would be getting organized, creating a healthy routine, setting goals, learning, recharging, and spending time with our family.

Another advantage of creating a time budget is that it allows you to see where you’re wasting your valuable time. For example, are spending countless hours each week on tedious daily tasks like bookkeeping, writing, customer service, or administrative tasks? While all important, these responsibilities aren’t the best use of your time and should be delegated.

4. Admit that you can’t be in two places at once.

Even heroes like Superman and The Flash don’t have this power. And, neither do you. The sooner you admit that, the sooner you will be able to create a more realistic schedule.

Now, I’m not saying that this will be a walk in the park. You’re going to have to make sacrifices and get comfortable saying “no.” But, if you know what your priorities are and schedule them first, you’ll have less conflict and friction in your life. Begin to understand that people who pare-down their tasks to fewer tasks, will get more done.

5. Don’t work from home.

As I’m writing this, the world is pretty much on lockdown to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. So, this advice isn’t recommended right now. But, as Mark Daoust, founder of Quiet Light Brokerage and father five, explains in a previous Entrepreneur piece, there’s an excellent reason why you should consider this.

“As I tried to focus on my work, I could hear my wife shushing the kids and telling them, ‘Daddy has to work,” he wrote. “I won’t do that again: I would feel guilty listening to family life happening just outside my door and feel that I should be involved.”

“And as if that weren’t bad enough, my brain would refuse to tell me where the ‘off’ switch was,” Mark added. “The kids would be telling me what they’d learned that day, and I would be mentally working on the business problems that had just unfolded. In short, there’d be too much to handle.”

“Instead, I’ve found that I need an outside office with a short commute,” he continued. “That short commute home helps me to turn off my work brain and enter back into family mode.”

Between the usual suspects, like coworking spaces and coffee shops, there are plenty of other free affordable options to work from. Some entrepreneurs have set up shop in parks, libraries, bars, and hotel lobbies. People like Maya Angelou even rented hotel rooms when she wanted to write without being interrupted.

If you can’t leave your property for whatever reason, there are a couple of other options. For example, I have a friend who has a car garage that’s not attached to his house. He converted it into an office so that he’s still technically at home, but has a little more privacy. I’ve also come across people who have placed tiny houses and used them as their workspace.

6. Learn how to leave work at work.

In a perfect world, you could clock out from work at a specific time and not think about it until it’s time to clock back in. Unfortunately, that’s not how we entrepreneurs believe. We’re always “on” and thinking about our business.

That’s not always a bad thing. I’ve had some of my best ideas when out in the real world and away from the office. But, you also don’t want to let work bleed into your home life — primarily work-related stress.

Again, this isn’t always the easiest of tasks. But, I’ve made it a point to quit work and be home at a specific time each day. If I do have to stay late, my family has plenty of notice in advance. Before I leave, I review my calendar for tomorrow and organize my desk. I then transition from “work” mode to “home” mode by listening to a non-work related podcast.

And, as I’ve already mentioned, I also schedule my family first in my calendar. So, if a client wants to meet with me on a Friday night and my family already has plans, then that meeting has to be rescheduled.

7. Get your family involved.

Of course, you can’t hire your family as full-time employees. But, you could have your kids lend a hand when they get home from school or when they’re home because of an in-service day. Maybe you could delegate some of the tasks to your partner when the kids aren’t around.

Besides giving you more opportunities to spend time with your family, this also teaches your children values that will make them exceptional. These include everything from responsibility to teamwork to problem-solving.

I’ve followed Sherrie Campbell, a psychologist, on raising children. Campbell has straightforward, understandable advice. Here are the seven values Sherrie suggests we can use to teach children about life to be successful. We all need actionable, doable information where children are concerned.

8. Prioritize your well-being.

As a parent, to both children and your business, how can you possibly attend to your well-being? Well, believe it or not, there are some realistic ways to achieve this.

For starters, when taking that break during an energy drop, go outside and walk. Meditate, journal, or do office exercises for a couple of minutes. All are realistic and don’t’ involve you waking-up earlier or adjusting your schedule too much.

You can also fill your office with healthy and nutritious snacks instead of eating from a vending machine. Also, you should get into the habit of preparing your meals for the entire week so that you don’t have to eat out. As an additional bonus, you can do this with your kids and also prep their meals, so you don’t have to do this throughout the week.

As for sleep? That can be impossible if you have a newborn, or children in general. But, there’s nothing wrong with taking a catnip if you feel rundown.

9. Be reliable and follow through.

When you block out time for specific tasks, then that’s where 100% of your attention should be. On the flip side, when you’re spending time with your children, then that’s what you should be focusing on.

That may sound easier said than done. But, if you’ve planned ahead and have established boundaries, it’s entirely possible. As a result, you’ll earn the reputation of being a reliable business owner and parent without spreading yourself too thin.

10. Don’t set it and forget it.

Finally, you need to reflect and adjust your schedule accordingly. For example, your children’s school schedule may be different this year because they’re in a new school. They may have dropped soccer and are not focused on playing a musical instrument — which means an entirely different calendar.

On your end, an organization that was meaningful to you a couple of years ago may now be considered a burden. So, why keep wasting your time there?

Make sure that your calendar is up-to-date and reflects what your priorities are at the moment.

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