Motivation: It’s Now About What You Know, But Who You Know

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When it comes to your career, networking can make you or break you. People often say it’s not about what you know but who you know. The same can hold true for your productivity and ultimately, success in whatever you choose to do.

How you might ask? It’s pretty simple. No matter what it is, everything we do and everything we are is influenced, to an extent, by someone else. There are people we look up to, people we love, people we love to hate, etc. The list can go on and on.

Let’s take a closer look at one particular list – the people who motivate us. Motivation in itself is something that is hard to create and even harder to keep going.  While it’s something you can only create for yourself, the people around you have a heavy influence on it at well. Here are the 3 groups of people you should surround yourself with:

People with the same goals.

When you want to get something done, the best way to do it is to surround yourself with people who want to achieve the same thing. Whether your goal is big or small, being in the same company as people who want the same thing as you will do wonders for your productivity, efficiency, and overall success. As a group, you will help each other stay focused and get to your end goal faster. You’ll also be able to trade ideas and brainstorm. Two minds are better than one.

People who you want to be five years from now.

If you’re looking at a more long time goal, one of the best ways to achieve it is to learn from someone who already has. Network as much as you can. Meet people who have already been in your shoes and successfully gotten to where you want to be. It’s amazing how much you can learn just from hearing someone’s experiences. Even if you don’t choose to follow the same path, you can gain so much knowledge just learning about what worked and what didn’t work from someone who has already been there.

People who understand and support your goals.

Even if the people around you don’t have the same goals, it’s important that they at least understand what your goals are and support them as well. You want to surround yourself with people who want you to succeed and will push you in the right direction when you need it.

How to Create a Productive Home Work Space

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Not everyone has the option to work from home. But if you’re an entrepreneur or work remotely, you are able to every once in awhile or all the time. Many people envy those who work from home. They’re able to set their own hours and create their own work environment. It’s true that working from home allows you much flexibility but it can also be more challenging at the same time.

Creating the right work environment conducive to maximum productivity can be challenging. Since you’re not in an office setting, there aren’t any rules. You make your own. You have to create your own structure – and it starts with your workspace. Many people don’t realize the importance of creating the right workspace. If you’re working in a pile a clutter, you probably won’t be able to focus or get much done.

If you want to create the perfect workspace in your home office, consider these tips:

Find the right chair.

Surprisingly, the one thing that can make or break your work environment (literally) is your chair. Since you sit in your chair all day long, you want to make sure you find the right one. Otherwise, you can be faced with uncomfortable back pain that can even lead to longer term problems. Find a chair that gives your back and body enough support. You want to feel like you’re sitting on a cloud, not a rock. You may also want to consider the health benefits of a standing desk.

Isolate yourself from the rest of the house.

The most common issue people have when working from home is being distracted. It can be tough to find a space all your own in your home but even if it’s just a corner, try to isolate yourself when working. If you have kids or roommates around when you are working, it’s hard to really focus when there are other things going on around you.

Keep your desk clear.

Things, not only people, can cause distractions too. Our desk can become overrun with papers, files, and random knick knacks. If we try to look for something, it takes twice as long and you end up wasting time. Make it a priority to keep your desk organized at all times. Keep only the things you need and put away the rest.

Differentiate workspace from personal space.

Whenever possible, try to differentiate your workspace from your personal space. For instance, it’s not always the best idea to set up your desk in your bedroom, since you can get easily distracted and want to take a nap. Your home office is still an office and separating yourself from your own personal space will help you keep your productivity up.

Set the ground rules.

Lastly, be sure to set some ground rules – for both yourself and those living in your home. The hardest part of working from home is the distractions. Limit those as much as possible.

4 Tips To Craft Emails People Will Actually Read

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Let’s face it. We spend a lot of time writing and drafting emails but more often than not, people don’t read them. And we can’t really blame them either. Our inboxes get flooded with dozens of emails everyday and it’s hard to keep track. When you come across a particularly wordy or pointless email, you’re inclined to not read it and toss it in your trash folder.

This doesn’t bode well for the times you actually want people to read your emails. If something urgent in nature has come up, you want to make sure everyone is reading your emails so that they are on the same page as you. So how do you write an email people will actually want to read? Email writing is an art and an science. Here are 4 tips on how to write a good email:

1) Have a purpose.

How many times have you read an email, re-read it again, and still wasn’t able to understand the purpose? If you’re sending out an email, make sure you have a purpose. No one likes to get pointless emails that just clog up their inbox and take time to read. Respect other people’s time and make sure you have a point to get across.

2) Keep it structured.

In high school, your English teacher probably told you to include a beginning, middle, and end to every essay you write. The same holds true for any email you write. A email should be easy to read. If you write an email that is just one giant paragraph, people will most likely skim through it and miss the important parts. Make sure your have a quick introduction, a supporting paragraph, and a conclusion to every email.

3) Don’t forget the subject line.

The subject line is the first thing someone’s sees. First of all, make sure you include a subject. Many people forget to include one. If so, your email may go unread. Also, make sure your subject line is concise, yet too the point. You want to make sure that that it conveys exactly what your email conveys, in about 5 to 8 words maximum.

4) Keep it short and simple.

Lastly, try your best to keep your emails simple and short. No one likes a long winded email that takes a few minutes to read. Try to avoid lines and lines of fluff. People are more concerned about the issue at hand, not how you are feeling. If you follow the tips above, you should be well on your way to writing emails people will read.

10 Ways to Beat Boredom

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Boredom. We all have to face it at one point or another.

We spend a lot of time here discussing how to maximize the limited amount of time we have. But sometimes, you find yourself with the exact opposite problem – you have too much time and nothing to do with it.

While a little free time is nice, no one should have too much time. If you do, that means you’re not spending your time wisely. Sometimes, a little bit of boredom is welcomed, especially if you’re used to a hectic and fast paced lifestyle. But once that boredom lasts a little longer, you start feeling restless and well…unhappy.

If you find that you are bored and need to spend your time a little more productively, here are 10 things you can do:

  1. Read a new book – Most people complain that they don’t have enough time to read. If you find that you do have extra time, read a new book. Try something you normally wouldn’t pick up – who knows, you might actually like it.
  2. Organize your email – Inboxes can get out of control. When you’re busy responding to one email after another, remembering to delete or file them can be last on your list. Spend some time organizing your email. Your days will go much smoother.
  3. Try a new recipe – many of us don’t have the time to cook a quick meal, let alone try a new recipe. If you have extra time, try cooking something you’ve always wanted to but never have. It’ll be much better than your usual take out.
  4. Write…about anything – Writing is a great creative outlet and anyone can do it. Sit down and write, about anything. See where your creative mind takes you.
  5. Do a puzzle – Puzzles aren’t just for kids. Try working on some logic or problem solving puzzles to keep your mind sharp.
  6. Catch up with an old friend – How often do we say that we wished we had the time to catch up with old friends? If you’re bored, then it’s the perfect time. Ask a friend to grab a coffee or a quick bite to eat.
  7. Go for a run – Most of us never get enough exercise. If you have a little bit of extra time, go for a run. It’s free and great for your body.
  8. Clean out your closet – Similarly to our inboxes, our closets can get ridiculously cluttered and clutter can cause unnecessary stress. Take some time to clean it out. Anything you don’t want can be donated.
  9. Try a new show – Television isn’t always mindless fun. There are a bunch of critically acclaimed and/or thought-provoking shows out there. Try one of them.
  10. Get a head start – Lastly, there is always something to be done, either now or later. If you find that you are bored, get a head start on whatever you have to do next.

4 Ways To Build Your Brand: Looking Above The Bottom Line

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“Branding” is a word often stifles business owners. By its very nature, the idea of a brand is in many ways nontangible, and therefore hard to quantify. What does it mean to have a brand? What does it have to do with improving my bottom line?

Creating a brand means looking beyond just the supply and demand of your service, and the bottom line of your business. Ironically, when you do this, you will in turn see your business improve, as more and more people begin to connect and identify with your company.

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