Mondays don’t have to be the worst, most painful day of the week.
In fact, use Mondays to set the tone for your week. Monday is when you decide where you want your week to go. You set your own priorities. You remind yourself of your goals. And you put habits into motion that will get you there quickly and effectively.
Do these eight little things, and you’ll be off to the races:
1. Make a list of everything you want to get done, and group similar items together.
This theory comes from Tony Robbins. He calls it “chunking.” It is an incredibly effective productivity technique.
Make a list of everything you have to do, and then group similar to-do items together and tackle each “chunk” at a time. The reason behind it? It’s much more difficult (and time intensive) to bounce between different kinds of tasks than to get into one specific zone and crank through all the things that align with that same mindset.
2. Monday morning, get one thing done immediately.
There is nothing more satisfying than feeling like you’re already in the swing of things. And the easiest way to trigger that feeling is to get something small on your list done. Maybe you’ve been meaning to email someone back for a while—knock that off your plate. Maybe you’ve been putting off uploading a simple blog post—do that quickly and voila! It’s done.
Do something that will get your subconscious in the right mode of efficiency and productivity.
3. Make your social plans for the week in advance. You’re going to do something social this week, so plan that out now. And as absolutely best as possible, do not say yes to anything that pops up outside of those plans.
A lot of people let their schedules dictate them, instead of dictating their schedules. And a big mistake people make in terms of time management is leaving huge windows of time open for other people to fill. Don’t leave that responsibility up to someone else.
4. Pick one primary goal for the week, and measure your success on that basis.
Every week, try to pick one particular goal to have accomplished by the following Sunday.
Don’t pick something massive like, “Write a book this week.” Start with a chapter. Start with a page.
Maybe this week your primary goal will be to finally make that new hire. Or to reorganize your closet. It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as you get in the habit of choosing a primary goal for the week and making sure you can at least get that done.
Once that’s a habit, you can set bigger and more frequent weekly goals. Just remember to start small.
5. Do your grocery shopping for the week on Monday.
Just get it done. Failure to prepare means preparing to fail, and food is a great example.
Instead of letting your schedule dictate your eating, plan ahead. Go to the store, get what you need for the week, and maybe even make some things in bulk that you can eat between Monday and Friday.
6. Drink a cold-brew coffee.
It takes almost no time to order, and drinking it will increase your productivity exponentially. It’s a fact. Don’t like coffee? Try some tea with caffeine or some chocolate instead.
7. Don’t check your email until noon.
Just try it.
Your Monday morning will be so much more productive if you start your day by getting a difficult task done, instead of immediately falling victim to answering your inbox and wasting time piddling around in your inbox. Humans are pre-programmed to procrastinate, and checking email is a prime avenue for procrastination to thirve.
8. Set alarm reminders to take five to ten minutes to yourself every one and a half to two hours.
Whoever says being productive is all about grinding for hours on end without ever taking a break has clearly never maximized his or her productivity.
One of the best things you can do to make your Monday (or any day) more effective is intentionally stepping away from what you’re working on to clear your head.
Now, don’t be one of those people who leave their computer only to stand outside and stare at their phone. That defeats the whole purpose. Leaveyour computer. Leave your phone. Go for a walk outside, and you’ll come back ready to dive in again.
It’s that time of the year again: you start to see a dip in productivity and begin to experience migraines on a daily basis. And between holiday shopping and overloading on carbs, it’s not a surprise you have no energy to do anything, let alone be productive.
So the goal here is not to help you be productive (because we know that’s not going to happen). Rather, the goal is to help you steer clear of migraines and to prevent your workload from morphing into the all-consuming blob.
Here are 3 quick tips to keep your sanity intact and under control this holiday season.
Plan ahead. November and December seem to be one big holiday. You have days off, office parties, family get-togethers, and lets-have-a-potluck-during-office-hours-because-we-feel-like-it. Before you know it, January 2nd is here, and it’s time for you to face the music. To avoid this, you need to plan ahead. If you have projects due in the last half of December, do it when you have the time. Break it up into segments and chip away at it piece by piece. Your slow weeks may seem like the ideal time to get lost in BuzzFeed articles, but if you work on that December project instead, you’ll thank yourself later.
Prioritize your list—or, at the very least, make a list. Gather all your to-dos, tasks, and projects and assign deadlines to them. If you can’t fathom assigning an actual due date to any of it, then rank your items by importance. If you get halfway through your list by the time Christmas rolls around, then you’re probably better off than most of your coworkers. And the same goes for personal tasks: if you make a list and stick to it, your shopping trip during lunch will take 30 minutes instead of an hour and half.
Know when everyone will be out. While everyone in your office might be checked out long before the holiday rolls around, find out when the MVPs in your professional and personal lifewill be physically checked out. If you’re banking on completing a project with the help of a coworker, and then that coworker decides to take off to Hawaii for the last two weeks of December, you’ll be working on that project all by yourself and probably be harboring some resentment when the new year rolls around. And be sure to inform your team of when you’ll be gone as well, in case someone in the office was hoping to get you to edit a document while you plan to be in the Poconos. Communication goes a very long way, especially during the holiday season.
Not even considering how the digital realm has affected our personal lives, let’s talk about how it’s affected our workplace. Things have really changed since technology came into the picture. Here are our four top ways technology has changed the way you work.
Your reality is now virtual.
Virtual reality technology took the world by storm because it became something no one ever thought it would be—affordable. You can thank Samsung and Google for that. For this reason, virtual reality will probably have a major influence on how we do business, from training employees and traveling the world to product demonstrations and new customer experiences.
If you want a quick and affordable way to turn your business into something exciting, virtual reality is the way to go. And if you don’t do it, your competition most likely will. So stay ahead and harness technology!
Work anywhere, anytime.
Mobile technology is here to stay, anyone can see that. It’s having a drastic impact on how we interact with the workplace as well. In fact, the future of “the office” is no office at all. These days, office workers don’t enjoy being shackled to a desk. They probably never enjoyed it, but without the freedom of technology, they didn’t have much of a choice. That paper project lived and slept at the office, not on Dropbox.
Today, enhanced mobility creates a more flexible work environment, boosts productivity, and leads to new opportunities. Maybe Tim from accounting hits his stride at 6AM, while Susan from records really gets going around 4PM. Now they can both maximize their preferred working hours, instead of being corralled into an 8-5 day.
So if you’re a business owner, how do you prepare for this digital freedom? Think outside the traditional 8-5, Monday through Friday desk job. Instead, it may behoove you to think, Whatever works!
Time to wear it.
Wearables are quickly infiltrating their way into the business world. Like any new technological innovation, we’re already experiencing wearables in many different ways. Once the foundation of wearables took root, they’re now everywhere. Think the iWatch and FitBit craze.
Moving forward, expect to see wearables used in more innovative ways like monitoring the stress levels of workers in high-risk occupations such as construction and manufacturing. Or used for medical research on patients who may experience environmental sickness. The opportunities are endless, and the more ways we can get technology to work for us, the better.
Take it to the Cloud.
If you’ve embraced the non-traditional office experience and expect your staff to work from anywhere (and effectively!) then you also need to embrace the full capacity of Cloud computing. Eliminating data management stress and reducing employee frustrations, the Cloud is a cost-efficient, mobile-friendly place to be. We’ve already seen extensions and improvements of Cloud computing—like Fog Computing—which means the Cloud isn’t going anywhere but up.
So make sure your company is set up properly with a reliable Cloud solution and watch the productivity of your staff really take off.
Potential customers can easily tap into your personal life with a simple click, so it’s important to represent your company 24/7. For everyone in this digital age, your personal social media profiles are impressions of your business. This means less late-night selfies and more professional posts. What is your social media presence saying about your company? Here are a few possibilities:
It’s educational with a hint personality.
Keeping customers informed and educated should play a key part in your social media strategy. With that being said, your personal social media outlets are a great way to start a conversation, because you never know who’s watching. Twitter is the perfect outlet to share industry articles, the latest technology finds or your own daily apple-a-day-keeps-the-doctor-away advice. This type of social media approach will make you look professional and passionate about what you do, and will gain you a niche following.
It’s friendly, but professional.
Posting pieces of daily life is what makes social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram so fun, but it’s important to set boundaries for yourself and other key players in your company. From the type of photos you post and the articles you share to religious and political messages, know what aligns with your company and use your profiles to gain trust and enhance your business.
It’s set to private if you have strong opinions.
Luckily for us, freedom of speech is in the Constitution. If you regularly post statuses or photos that could be considered controversial and you have no intention of stopping, at least make sure your profile settings are set so that potential customers (or even current clients) can’t see your page if they go searching. That way, you can keep the reputation of your company intact while still feeling free to post what you’d like.
It’s always looking to grow and improve.
Platforms like LinkedIn and Sermo are just a couple ways you can use your personal presence to grow your network. When customers see these sorts of professional profiles, it communicates that you care about your business and that you’re always looking to expand your knowledge of the industry. Making this online effort to improve yourself and your business will not only grow your professional network, but will also lead to a successful company.
In a time when almost everyone’s lives—both personal and professional—are online, you have to find a way to bridge that gap and make sure you not only give thoughtful, personal attention to your customers, but also make sure your personal social media presence is responsible and professional. And if you can’t manage to clean up your personal profiles, ensure that they’re set to private so that you don’t end up unintentionally harming your business.
Because mobility and accessibility are crucial to your competitive edge, you don’t have the option to eliminate all those connected devices accessing your company database and sensitive client information. BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, is a major security concern for businesses of all types.
Here are a few good tips to keep your data private but your staff mobile.
If a member of your team loses their phone or if their laptop is stolen, you need the ability to remote wipe their data. Even if someone has physical access to the device, they won’t have full access to your company’s database or the ability to view confidential documents. The only caveat here is that a remote wipe usually deletes everything from a device, including personal documents, photos, and music. So make sure your staff knows the consequences of a remote wipe before they store irreplaceable images or music on their laptop or phone. A good alternative is to suggest a cloud storage option, so even if a device gets wiped, personal data is safe on the cloud.
If you notice devices floating around your office or if you know your staff is accessing their emails and reports from home, then it might be time to draft a BYOD policy. A written policy is your chance to teach your staff right from wrong and to make sure they understand the risks associated with on-the-go work. Your BYOD policy will give you the right to remote wipe and to install anti-virus software on all connected devices.
A huge area you need to focus on within this policy is what happens when someone is fired or quits their job. How do you handle the information stored on their devices? On that same note, will you monitor the location of these devices? At all times? Will your employees be okay with this?
Mobile Device Management
You might want to consider a full-blown Mobile Device Management program like MobileIron or AirWatch. Using a program like these two will give you full control over all connected devices. Configure device settings, prevent data loss, receive unbroken visibility, and impose restrictions on downloads and Wi-Fi access. Make sure to have an open conversation with your employees before going this route, as MDM strips a lot of privacy and independence from a person.
Like a good password, device locks are crucial. Every device should have a password that keeps it locked when not in use or after a certain number of seconds. A device lock is the moat around your castle. It provides the first line of defense against physical intrusion. All it takes is an employee leaving their smartphone on the table at a coffee shop while they run to the restroom and someone grabbing it on the way out. With no device lock, that stranger now has full access to your network, data, client information, and everything else.
If you have a company-wide email platform, CRM, or file-sharing program, distinguish rules to enforce certain password restrictions. For instance, you are unable to use the combination “123” and you are not allowed to use your name. You have to use at least one capital letter, one number, and one special character. This way, if someone gains access to an employee’s phone or tablet, it’s considerably more difficult to hack into the company’s CRM through their personal account.