jonforknell – Tweak Your Biz https://tweakyourbiz.com Business, Marketing, Entrepreneur Articles. Sun, 24 Jun 2018 04:19:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 https://tweakyourbiz.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/cropped-tyb_trans-32x32.png jonforknell – Tweak Your Biz https://tweakyourbiz.com 32 32 5 Ways to Get Your Employees Out of the Office https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2018/03/06/5-ways-get-employees-office https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2018/03/06/5-ways-get-employees-office#comments Tue, 06 Mar 2018 07:00:01 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/?p=15620 The question isn’t whether you should let your team members escape the office. The question is rather, how can you encourage your employees to leave their desk and take a more modern approach to work?

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It wasn’t too long ago that business schools taught employees the importance of never leaving before the boss. It wasn’t that long ago that hunkering down at your desk before the office opened and staying at your desk long after the office closed was considered admirable and worthy of a promotion.

Today, things are different. Today, more businesses have found benefit in getting team members away from the confines of the office. Employees’ productivity increases. Their happiness levels increase too, making them more loyal to the company. There’s a direct benefit to your business when you give your team members freedom.

The question isn’t whether you should let your team members escape the office. The question is rather, how can you encourage your employees to leave their desk and take a more modern approach to work? Here are a few suggestions.

#1. Schedule Team Events

Getting out of the office should feel rewarding to your team. When you schedule team events, such as a happy hour after a long project is complete or a beach day when the weather gets warm, you show your team that you value them as people.

These trips away from the office work as team building experiences too. They allow you to learn each other’s communication styles, get to know what motivates each other, and discover new sides to each other that might not have been uncovered in an office setting.

The key to having team events is to ensure as many people are there as possible. To do this, put your team events on your schedule so your staff has something to look forward to and can plan to be there, even if the event is after working hours.

#2. Force Time Off

Do you have an employee who resists taking time off? There tend to be a few culprits in every office. These people hoard vacation days so that they don’t miss out on any work. They fear taking time off because they worry it’ll put them too far behind on a project. There’s just one problem with this. Hanging around the office is a recipe for burn out. Productivity decreases. Morale plummets. It’s not healthy for anyone.

The reality is, some people need to be forced to take time off. If you want to save your employee’s sanity and inspire a more productive office, forcing time off can be a healthy leadership move.

#3. Allow Employees to Work From Home

Working remotely a few times per month can boost productivity, according to a survey by CoSo Cloud, which found that 77% of respondents reported greater productivity when working off site. Still, despite it’s dramatic increase in popularity, many employers worry about allowing employees to take their work with them away from the office.

Many fear that they won’t be able to know with certainty that their employee is working. This concern is easily resolved by using chat apps, such as Voxer or Slack.

Many others fear that teams won’t know when an employee is at work and available for collaboration. This worry is solved by using online scheduling apps, such as ScheduleBase.

Still, some managers are concerned about security of their business intelligence. By requiring the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you can keep your data secure regardless of location.

There are many answers to common concerns with today’s technology, which makes now the best and easiest time to give your team freedom to work where they feel most productive – even if it’s just a few days a month.

#4. Hold One-on-One Team Meetings Off Site

You know what’s easy? Calling an employee into your office for a brief meeting for a performance review or project discussion. Although convenient, you might be more productive by hopping in the car with that employee and going to a local coffee shop.

When people break away from the confines of an office, they’re more likely to open up. If you’re talking about a sensitive topic, such as poor performance, or if you need a dose of creativity to spice up your project, getting away from the walls of your office can help.

#5. Meeting With Clients in a Coffee Shop

It’s tempting to want to meet with clients at your office. After all, you have the technology you need at your office to show presentations or pull up quick information. Still, taking these meetings with clients off site can actually have a positive impact on your team’s ability to build the relationship.

By separating yourself from the office, you break into a different cognitive level with your client. This means, you might be able to hear a different perspective than you would if you met in your office or in theirs. This natural expansion in the conversation lends itself to better productivity. Your team will be able to pull out new selling points to use to deepen the relationship, making your client more loyal and devoted to you.

Coffee shop meetings, specifically, are a healthy alternative. Not only are they cheaper on the expense report but they also lend themselves to being quick and productive. Unlike lunch meetings, you don’t have to wait for a waitress to take your order and spend an hour eating a full meal with the client. You can keep the meeting shorter, showing that you respect the client’s time. Because these meetings tend to be quick, it’s easier to get the client to agree to meeting with you.

How Are You Encouraging an Escape From the Office?

In today’s technology fueled world, it’s easier than ever for your team to break free from the confines of the desk and conference room and work from somewhere else. The increased productivity that comes along with this new way of working is a win for your business too. So, the question becomes. What are you doing to encourage your team to leave the office?

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How to Create Habits That Stick https://tweakyourbiz.com/growth/2018/02/05/create-habits-stick https://tweakyourbiz.com/growth/2018/02/05/create-habits-stick#respond Mon, 05 Feb 2018 19:00:44 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/growth/?p=12268 If you’ve found yourself or your team in a motivational rut without the new habits you’d hoped to develop in 2018, here are a few tips to help.

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It’s February, which means it’s the month to celebrate love and heart health. It’s also the month after many people drop their habits, nixing their New Year’s resolutions.

Actually, New Years resolution dropping happens much earlier. Fitness tracking app,

If you’ve found yourself or your team in a motivational rut without the new habits you’d hoped to develop in 2018, here are a few tips to help.

Give Yourself Time

In the 1950s, Dr. Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon, noticed a trend amongst his patients. Any time a major surgery was performed, such as a nose job or amputation, it would take approximately 21 days for the person to adapt to the change. He went on to observe his own behavior and found the same. It took him about three weeks before he was able to adopt a new habit.

“These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell,” he wrote in his book, Psycho-Cybernetics.

This holds true for you too. If you’re changing a familiar behavior, you must give yourself time to adjust mentally – 21 days, at least. During that process, you’re going to have up days and down days, but recognizing that habit forming takes time will help keep you motivated to the end.

Find an Accountability Partner

On the days when you are tempted to revert back to your old way of doing things, it’s important to bring in some outside help.

Having an accountability partner can help you avoid looking too much in your rear view mirror. Choose a person you trust and feel comfortable working with, and then ask him to hold your feet to the fire in adopting a new habit. If you’re a runner, choose a running buddy to hit the pavement with. If you’re trying to adopt new technology at work, ask your team members to only accept requests or changes via this new technology instead of your old pattern of doing things. The more people you have forcing you to stick to a new habit, the more likely you are to break out into the uncomfortable new pattern.

Make It Routine

It’s easier to stick to a routine than it is to constantly feel like you have to remember to do something. For example, if your goal is to run 10 miles a week, it’s easier to plan out when you’ll run than to rely on yourself to make it out the door a few days a week. Big goals are vague while routine is precise.

When you’re working to form a new habit, schedule it into your day. If you want to start journaling, schedule a time to journal and force yourself to stick to it. Don’t let yourself slack or drop a day – especially not during the first few weeks. Make the new habit a routine and soon it’ll become so ingrained in your daily behavior that it will feel more uncomfortable to not do it than to adapt to the change.

Keep It Simple

Forming a new habit is hard enough. Don’t add difficulty to it by making it more complicated than it needs to be.

The simpler you can make your new habit, the better. For example, if you’re trying to create a new habit of looking at your next day’s schedule every night before bed, set a reminder for yourself and then follow through. Don’t come up with an elaborate plan to sit in a specific chair with a cup of hot tea in your hand while you mull over the schedule. Instead, set a reminder and when it goes off, look at the schedule on your phone. This way, no matter where you are, you can follow through, even if it’s a quick glance instead of an in-depth analysis of the day ahead.

Replace What’s Lost

When you create something new, you’re also leaving something old behind. This something old can feel like a loss, and in a way, it is. For example, if you’re giving up smoking, leaving those cigarettes behind is a loss.

Fill that void with something else to avoid any setbacks. Instead of having a cigarette when you wake up, have a cup of coffee. Instead of having a cigarette after lunch, go for a walk around the block. By filling that void, you won’t miss the old quite as much, which will help you stay on track toward the new behavior you’re striving to achieve.

Focus on the Negative

It’s not often that you’ll be encouraged to focus on the negative, but when it comes to forming a new habit, negative thinking can be inspirational in a sense.

If you’re struggling to develop a new habit, you might not understand the consequences of not adapting to your new ways. Consider what would happen if you were to have a setback. Would you lose money in your business? Would you lose clients? Would you lose team members?

By understanding the negative outcomes associated by not adopting a new habit, you can spur your motivation to force yourself into creating a new routine for yourself. Keep those negative outcomes in focus as you surge ahead.

This is Your Year

New habits can feel daunting. If you were one of the many who gave up on forming a new habit in mid-January, try again. With a little bit of discipline you can find new motivation to make yourself have a productive year where you make a change for the better.

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Productivity Tips to Handle Your Mornings Like a Boss https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2018/01/02/productivity-tips-handle-mornings-like-boss https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2018/01/02/productivity-tips-handle-mornings-like-boss#comments Tue, 02 Jan 2018 19:00:35 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/?p=15477 With the start of the New Year, now is the time to make that shift, so you can achieve your goals for a more productive 2018. Here are a few tips to get you started.

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If your top goal for 2018 is to become more productive, the first thing you should look at improving is your morning routine.

The way you start your day has an impact on how the rest of your day progresses. What you eat, what time you wake up, how quickly you get to work, and what you choose to tackle first can all have an impact on how productive you are throughout the next 12 hours.

If you haven’t mastered a morning routine that feels right for you, it’s time for a change. And with the start of the New Year, now is the time to make that shift, so you can achieve your goals for a more productive 2018. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Take Your Time in the Morning …

In today’s hurried world, the standard is to rush, rush, rush out the door. When you think of a morning routine for a boss, you most often probably think of checking email before you get out of bed only to realize you’re late, so you jump in the shower, quickly scrub off and get dressed, before jetting out the door to your first early morning meeting.

Some of the most well-known bosses in history had a very different looking routine – namely President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Both of these politicians woke up between 6:30 and 7:30 every morning and started the day slowly.

Barack Obama made it a point to read the newspaper and eat breakfast with his family before getting down to business at 9 a.m. Winston Churchill stayed in bed until 11:00 a.m. eating breakfast, reading and dictating to his secretaries.

Both men took their time getting a pulse on what was happening in the world, but neither man rushed into the office to start the day. They took it slow. They nourished their bodies. And, they still managed to run their countries in the process.

… Or Embrace the Morning (If You’re a Morning Person)

Although President Obama and Prime Minister Churchill chose a slow start to their day, that doesn’t mean you need to do the same – especially not if you’re a morning person like Ernest Hemingway.

The famous author, Hemingway, woke up and began writing with the sunrise. He did not stop either. He wrote and wrote until he was drained of all the words he had in his mind and on his heart. Then, he stopped. If you’re a morning person, don’t push off work during your most productive hours. Schedule yourself into work early, so you can tackle as much of your to do list as possible while you feel most productive. Then, stop. Take a break and clear your head.

Get Active and Eat Right

This might not come as a surprise but successful celebrities often choose to start their day with a workout.

Jennifer Aniston reportedly works out for several hours every day before nourishing her body with a protein shake and a healthy breakfast.

Kim Kardashian has a similar routine. She wakes up every morning at 6 a.m. and goes for an hour long run before coming home and eating a protein packed breakfast.

This isn’t a modern fad either. Marilyn Monroe said in 1954 that she would warm a cup of milk on a hot plate in her hotel room and then break two raw eggs into the milk, whipping them up with a fork and drinking them. This is just another example of a high-protein breakfast for a high-profile woman.

Audrey Hepburn was also known for never skipping breakfast. Her morning meal of choice was two eggs and a slice of whole wheat toast.

There’s a common theme here, aside from protein and exercise – it’s nourishment. Each of these successful celebrities uses their morning to give their body fuel. If you’re in a rut of eating sugary cereal or worse, not eating at all, you might be stealing your body of valuable energy to start the day. Reconsider what you do for your physical health each morning and in turn, you could see a benefit to your mental health and productivity throughout the rest of the day.

Start Big Before Going Small

Famous author, Mark Twain, once said, “eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” This expression should not be taken literally. Instead, it should be understood that the live frog is something big and hard to swallow on your plate. Do that first and everything else you do that day will make you feel successful.

The late, famous Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, would agree with this mindset. He’s famous for saying, “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” He too put his mornings in perspective by tackling the most important things first. These were the tasks that would push him closer to his bigger goal and the legacy he would eventually leave behind.

You can take a page from these two playbooks by doing the same. Start on whatever task is going to get you furthest to your end goal and then do (or eat) that one first.

What’s Right for You?

As you can see from these examples, there’s no one set pattern that will automatically steer you to success. The first step toward finding your morning routine is to uncover when you’re most productive. Then, schedule in your working hours around those times. If you’re a morning person, work like Hemingway. If you’re a night owl, work like Prime Minister Churchill.

To be productive every day, fine tune your morning routine around you. Then, make your routine known, so everyone you work with can respect your time to produce and your time to unwind.

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How to Get Motivated for 2018 When You’re Feeling Anything But https://tweakyourbiz.com/growth/2017/12/01/get-motivated-2018-youre-feeling-anything https://tweakyourbiz.com/growth/2017/12/01/get-motivated-2018-youre-feeling-anything#comments Fri, 01 Dec 2017 19:00:48 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/growth/?p=12088 How to get motivated to push ahead when you’re feeling stuck and frustrated is easier said than done.

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What are your New Year’s resolutions? What will you achieve in 2018? These are common questions that you might hear, or be asking yourself. But, if you’re feeling less than motivated these days, they can be hard to answer.

Sure, you know you need a change. Sure, you know you’re ready to try something different. But how to get motivated to push ahead when you’re feeling stuck and frustrated is easier said than done.

To help, here are a few ways you can ditch the ho-hum attitude that inevitably comes post-holiday celebration time and embrace the New Year ahead.

#1. Take an Honest Look Internally

Before you can find external motivation, you have to take an honest look at your feelings. What specifically is causing you grief? What specifically gets you excited? Look deep inside yourself and get honest about your strengths and weaknesses.

Honesty with yourself is key here. Sometimes, what you want to do isn’t always a strength. For example, if you have always wanted to work in the service industry but you’re a people pleaser to a fault, you might be better suited in a role that doesn’t involve confrontation from buyers.

Get familiar with your inner desires, emotions, and motivators. The more you understand about your true inner feelings, the easier it’ll be to spot why you aren’t feeling as motivated as you’d like to about the New Year.

#2. Separate Fact From Emotion

With your emotions in check, it’s time to look at the reality of your situation. Sometimes, that reality is hard to see through a cloud of emotion – especially if you’re feeling frustrated with your current position.

You’ve already done the internal analysis. Now, it’s time to step outside your body and do the external analysis. Look at yourself and your current situation from an outsider’s lens. Take emotions out of the mix as you analyze what’s working and what isn’t for you.

#3. Get Creative On The Job

Once you’re in tune with your emotions and have taken a good look at your situation from an outsider’s perspective, it’s time to start thinking of how you can shift your position so you are motivated and excited to show up every day. Many times, that involves getting creative on the job.

No job description is set in stone, especially if you’re a leader in your company. So, when you see that something in your professional world is draining your energy reserves dry, it’s time to make a shift. That shift doesn’t have to be an ordinary horizontal or vertical movement. You’re not a robot. Try thinking outside of the box when it comes to how you can inspire yourself to be more motivated (and thus, more productive) at work.

One example might be that if you love working with customers but don’t like to sell, you could move to the floor instead of behind the register. Or, if you like getting your hands dirty but don’t like working in the day-to-day operations of your business, you could take on a consulting role where you’re still out in the field but working from a bird’s eye level in your business.

Or the change might be as simple as making a tweak in your office environment.

#4. Try a Personality Test

Sometimes, knowing exactly where you need to make a change is difficult, even after you’ve done your self-analysis and external analysis. In these cases, it’s a good idea to leave it up to personality experts.

There are many personality tests available to take today. One of the most popular in the business world is the Myers Briggs personality test, which aims to tell you if you’re one of 16 different personality types. Answer some questions and you’ll get better insight into how you fit in, which can help you find new ways to get pumped about your job (or new directions to take at work).

#5. Resolve to Learn Something New

Is your lack of motivation sparked by a lack of forward momentum at work? It might be time for you to go back to school – or at least take a class or new training.

Learning a new skill can help you get promoted, or simply help you feel like you’re doing something to push your career ahead. Invest in a new certification. Take an evening class. Sign up for a conference in your industry. Whatever you do to deepen your knowledge, learning something new is a great way to spark (or at least rekindle) motivation in your professional life.

#6. Start Adopting Technology

Are you technology averse? Or, is there a piece of technology you’ve heard will make your job easier but you haven’t wanted to go through the learning curve? Let 2018 be your year to start.

Technology continues to advance. With new apps to ease common stressors in your life, or new programs to make your job a little less tedious, embracing the world of technology can help you overcome motivational humps.

Identify what’s causing you stress or a lack of motivation. Is there an app or program to help? Try it out. You might be surprised at how a simple shift like this can change the way you feel.

#7. If All Else Fails, Try Something New

Have you tried everything you can to get motivated about your position and just can’t seem to muster the energy to care enough? That might be the universe telling you it’s time to move on.

As hard as it is to call it quits on your old life, that might be exactly what you need to do. Sometimes, moving on is more motivating. If you’re not moving forward in your new position, you’re stuck. And if you’re stuck, you will not have the energy you need to power through the tough times and accomplish new goals. You’ll feel crummy and lousy, which is a recipe for disaster over time.

A New Year is right around the corner. This might just be the time for you to pick up and make the change you’ve known deep in your heart is the right one to make for a while now.

Ready or Not, Here Comes 2018

Ready or not, it’s coming. A New Year and a new season of your life is upon you. Now is the time to figure out your next steps and make resolutions to get back on the motivation train.

What are you doing to spark motivation in the coming year?

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Are You Sabotaging Your Own Productivity? https://tweakyourbiz.com/growth/2017/11/01/sabotaging-productivity-2 https://tweakyourbiz.com/growth/2017/11/01/sabotaging-productivity-2#respond Wed, 01 Nov 2017 19:00:46 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/growth/?p=11991 On the surface you might think you’re operating in a way that is productive, but are you? Here are several ways you could be sabotaging your productivity.

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Business owners are magicians. We take a concept and turn it into a reality time and time again. Then, we iterate on that concept, making it better, faster, stronger, over time.

But almost every business owner I know struggles with one thing in particular – productivity. How do you get enough time in the day to work all of the tricks you want to work? How do you use those hours to produce?

It’s not as easy as it might seem. On the surface you might think you’re operating in a way that is productive, but are you? Here are several ways you could be sabotaging your productivity.

Not Getting Enough Rest

Are you burning the midnight oil? Or are you waking up too early to try to squeeze in more productive hours during the day?

Although your intentions are good, you might be hurting your productivity more than you are helping it by cutting your sleep short. By not getting enough rest you could decrease your information retention, experience higher mood swings, and make it harder for your brain to focus during the workday, according to an infographic by the International Journal of Occupational Health and Medicine and the UC Berkeley Walker Sleep Lab.

To make yourself perform better when you are behind your desk, it’s imperative that you give your body the chance to hit refresh every day. Rest. Sleep. You’ll be more productive if you do.

Trying to Do It All By Yourself

As a small business owner, it’s tempting to try to go it alone. You like to learn. You like to understand what’s happening in your business. And although both are good traits, they’re not ideal when it comes to your personal productivity.

As a leader, it’s up to you to determine which tasks are better to delegate. Many tasks won’t be in your zone of genius and that’s okay. Take off the hats that are causing you to slow down and perform poorly, and then hand them off to someone else who is an expert in that specific area. The more you delegate, the less you’ll try to take on more than you need to.

Obsess Over the Wrong Issues

Every project is made up of thousands of tiny details. Although you might be a perfectionist wanting to ensure every single detail is ironed out before sharing your work with the world, doing so will stunt your productivity.

Prioritize each issue within each project. Sometimes, the issues you’re obsessing over aren’t as relevant to your success as you might think. In those cases, let go. Submit to a lack of perfection, so you can focus your attention on the items that matter.

Rehash Old Topics

When you meet with a team or a client, the goal is to move the needle forward on specific issues, so you can stay productive, right? Yet many people only partially close a chapter on an issue when leaving a meeting. Then, when they reconvene, they open the chapter right back up and start rehashing what was already discussed.

This merry-go-round of conversation might feel productive but in actuality, it’s leading you in circles; not forward on your path to success.

As you work with your team and with your clients, make a conscious effort to wrap things up before leaving so you avoid the trap of rehashing old topics at your next meeting.

Meeting Too Often

Speaking of meetings, how often are you stepping away from your desk to convene with your team or clients? Although face-to-face time can be productive, too much of a good thing can steal away from your working hours, causing you to fall behind in the tasks that’ll get you closer to your goals.

Learn how to say no to meetings. Schedule them sparingly and when possible, schedule them for short periods of time. Give yourself a hard stopping time, so you can ensure you are the most productive during the time you have.

Getting Sucked Into the Internet Abyss

The Internet is full of information. It’s also full of status updates, gifs, and memes. If we’re not careful, it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of scrolling through a newsfeed for the sake of research, or spending too much time on social media.

Do a gut check to determine how much time you’re really spending on productive tasks while you’re on the Internet and how much time you’re wasting. If there are specific sites you tend to get sucked into (like Facebook or Reddit), put a time limit on yourself for the time you’re on those pages. Set a timer, so you can remind yourself to stop scrolling and start producing.

Multi-Tasking

You have a lot on your plate, so it makes sense that you want to tackle as much of it at once as possible. And while multi-tasking on small projects might feel productive, it’s not.

By not focusing your full attention on one thing at a time, you actually spend more time on tasks than is necessary. You also leave yourself open to making more mistakes, which could come back to cost you more time in the long run.

Set a timer for 30-minutes. Then, mentally commit to focusing on one specific task for the duration of that time. You’ll be amazed how much more you’re able to accomplish.

Not Harnessing Technology

Many people are afraid of technology for one reason or another. But the reality is, it’s helpful – especially when it comes to taking tedious items off the to-do list.

With the right tools in place you can quickly become more productive by freeing up your schedule to focus on the work that’ll move you toward your goals faster. For example, with a customer relationship management (CRM) tool in place, you spend less time shuffling through old emails and communications to find notes about each account. Or, with a scheduling app, you spend less time managing your people’s time, so you can have more time for your other work.

Take an Active Role in Staying Productive

Ultimately, productivity is up to you. If you find yourself procrastinating, take active measures to stop. If you find yourself spending long hours at networking events without results, revisit your goals and learn how to make the most of your networking opportunities.

The responsibility is yours. By taking proactive measures to boost your productivity, you will do yourself more favors in the long run and see better results from the time you spend in the office.  

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Are You Sabotaging Your Own Productivity? https://tweakyourbiz.com/growth/2017/10/02/are-you-sabotaging-your-own-productivity https://tweakyourbiz.com/growth/2017/10/02/are-you-sabotaging-your-own-productivity#respond Mon, 02 Oct 2017 18:00:16 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/growth/?p=11931 By taking proactive measures to boost your productivity, you will do yourself more favors in the long run and see better results from the time you spend in the office.

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Business owners are magicians. We take a concept and turn it into a reality time and time again. Then, we iterate on that concept, making it better, faster, stronger, over time.

But almost every business owner I know struggles with one thing in particular – productivity. How do you get enough time in the day to work all of the tricks you want to work? How do you use those hours to produce?

It’s not as easy as it might seem. On the surface you might think you’re operating in a way that is productive, but are you? Here are several ways you could be sabotaging your productivity.

Not Getting Enough Rest

Are you burning the midnight oil? Or are you waking up too early to try to squeeze in more productive hours during the day?

Although your intentions are good, you might be hurting your productivity more than you are helping it by cutting your sleep short. By not getting enough rest you could decrease your information retention, experience higher mood swings, and make it harder for your brain to focus during the workday, according to an infographic by the International Journal of Occupational Health and Medicine and the UC Berkeley Walker Sleep Lab.

To make yourself perform better when you are behind your desk, it’s imperative that you give your body the chance to hit refresh every day. Rest. Sleep. You’ll be more productive if you do.

Trying to Do It All By Yourself

As a small business owner, it’s tempting to try to go it alone. You like to learn. You like to understand what’s happening in your business. And although both are good traits, they’re not ideal when it comes to your personal productivity.

As a leader, it’s up to you to determine which tasks are better to delegate. Many tasks won’t be in your zone of genius and that’s okay. Take off the hats that are causing you to slow down and perform poorly, and then hand them off to someone else who is an expert in that specific area. The more you delegate, the less you’ll try to take on more than you need to.

Obsess Over the Wrong Issues

Every project is made up of thousands of tiny details. Although you might be a perfectionist wanting to ensure every single detail is ironed out before sharing your work with the world, doing so will stunt your productivity.

Prioritize each issue within each project. Sometimes, the issues you’re obsessing over aren’t as relevant to your success as you might think. In those cases, let go. Submit to a lack of perfection, so you can focus your attention on the items that matter.

Rehash Old Topics

When you meet with a team or a client, the goal is to move the needle forward on specific issues, so you can stay productive, right? Yet many people only partially close a chapter on an issue when leaving a meeting. Then, when they reconvene, they open the chapter right back up and start rehashing what was already discussed.

This merry-go-round of conversation might feel productive but in actuality, it’s leading you in circles; not forward on your path to success.

As you work with your team and with your clients, make a conscious effort to wrap things up before leaving so you avoid the trap of rehashing old topics at your next meeting.

Meeting Too Often

Speaking of meetings, how often are you stepping away from your desk to convene with your team or clients? Although face-to-face time can be productive, too much of a good thing can steal away from your working hours, causing you to fall behind in the tasks that’ll get you closer to your goals.

Learn how to say no to meetings. Schedule them sparingly and when possible, schedule them for short periods of time. Give yourself a hard stopping time, so you can ensure you are the most productive during the time you have.

Getting Sucked Into the Internet Abyss

The Internet is full of information. It’s also full of status updates, gifs, and memes. If we’re not careful, it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of scrolling through a newsfeed for the sake of research, or spending too much time on social media.

Do a gut check to determine how much time you’re really spending on productive tasks while you’re on the Internet and how much time you’re wasting. If there are specific sites you tend to get sucked into (like Facebook or Reddit), put a time limit on yourself for the time you’re on those pages. Set a timer, so you can remind yourself to stop scrolling and start producing.

Multi-Tasking

You have a lot on your plate, so it makes sense that you want to tackle as much of it at once as possible. And while multi-tasking on small projects might feel productive, it’s not.

By not focusing your full attention on one thing at a time, you actually spend more time on tasks than is necessary. You also leave yourself open to making more mistakes, which could come back to cost you more time in the long run.

Set a timer for 30-minutes. Then, mentally commit to focusing on one specific task for the duration of that time. You’ll be amazed how much more you’re able to accomplish.

Not Harnessing Technology

Many people are afraid of technology for one reason or another. But the reality is, it’s helpful – especially when it comes to taking tedious items off the to-do list.

With the right tools in place you can quickly become more productive by freeing up your schedule to focus on the work that’ll move you toward your goals faster. For example, with a customer relationship management (CRM) tool in place, you spend less time shuffling through old emails and communications to find notes about each account. Or, with a scheduling app, you spend less time managing your people’s time, so you can have more time for your other work.

Take an Active Role in Staying Productive

Ultimately, productivity is up to you. If you find yourself procrastinating, take active measures to stop. If you find yourself spending long hours at networking events without results, revisit your goals and learn how to make the most of your networking opportunities.

The responsibility is yours. By taking proactive measures to boost your productivity, you will do yourself more favors in the long run and see better results from the time you spend in the office.  

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People Analytics: What They Are and Why They Matter https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2017/09/04/people-analytics-matter https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2017/09/04/people-analytics-matter#comments Mon, 04 Sep 2017 06:00:44 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/?p=15258 If you’ve never heard the term ‘People Analytics,’ you’re not alone. After all, people are people; not a number.

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If you’ve never heard the term ‘People Analytics,’ you’re not alone. After all, people are people; not a number. It’s not always easy to track people’s behaviors, interests, and preferences like data, but that’s precisely what we must do in the world of human resources.

But people analytics are becoming increasingly common and more readily paid attention to in today’s world. Coursera defines this term as, “a data-driven approach to managing people at work.” What does this really mean and why does it matter? Let’s dig in.

Looking Closely at the World of People Analytics

Businesses have been slow to adopt any kind of HR-analytics program, yet professionals across the board agree that understanding what’s happening with a company’s people is critically important.

Still, only 5% of investments made in Big Data are in human resources, found a study by Tata Consultancy Services.

Let’s be clear. There isn’t a shortage of data available. Just about everything can be tracked today from recruitment to how we perform after years on the job and the number of hours we work, call in sick, or need to add flexibility into our schedules. Promotions, job descriptions, and compensation packages are also trackable. Even the way team members work together on projects and employees interact with customers is able to be tracked.

So what’s stopping businesses from utilizing more people analytics to make the workplace stronger?

Why People Analytics Aren’t More Readily Used

You might already have scorecards in place in your business. Perhaps you’re already using performance reviews or software to track your people. The question then becomes, why are you using these? If it’s simply to keep a record of performance, you might not be getting as much out of them as you could.

People analytics can give you so much more than a simple record to keep on file. With them, you can learn:

  • How efficient each department is in your business;
  • How well your people are delivering your service;
  • The impact your people are having on your business (and where there’s opportunity to grow);
  • The quality of big decisions made in your organization.

Recently, John Boudreau, a professor and research director at USC’s Marshall School of Business and Center for Effective Organizations, as well as his colleague Wayne Cascio, took a deep dive to answer why people analytics matter on a deeper level. They dug into the reasons that organizations could and should use data to get better outcomes. Their conclusion: You must push people analytics throughout your entire firm in order for them to be effective.  

How to Appropriately Push People Analytics in Your Small Business

For small businesses, this might seem like an added task to an already full to do list. But it’s worthwhile, at least according to 1,700 surveyed CEOs. 71% of these executives agree that human capital is one of the best ways to compete in today’s world, according to an IBM survey.

Rethinking the approach that people are a competitive advantage gives different weight to the matter, do you agree? With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to push this Big Data through your organization to become more competitive.

Define the Outcomes of Analyzing What’s Happening With Your People

Why do people analytics matter? Yes, they can help you compete, but how? That’s an important question to answer. Knowing this can give purpose to setting up a tracking system and digging into the statistics. If you understand the exact outcome of your analytics, you’ll understand why it’s worth the effort.

For example, if you look closer at the analytics behind your scheduling practices, you might be able to make your team more productive, which in turn could lead to more sales for your business and higher customer service levels.

Use the Right Tools

You aren’t expected to drum up these analytics on your own. That’d take too much time. Instead, by using the right tools, you can get a better handle on your company analytics, quickly measure and analyze your processes, and find new ways to implement strategic changes based on your findings.

There are many tools available to you today. Instead of listing all of the resources available, I feel it’s more important to look at how the tools should be used, so you’re more likely to get better results with the new tools you choose to implement. Understanding this will help you find the best solutions for your small business. So, with this in mind, here are a few important considerations to make:

  • Find a tool that delivers the analytics to you in a timely manner;
  • Find a tool that you’ll commit to using and then schedule it on your calendar to regularly check in with the analytics;
  • Embrace analytics as your competitive advantage and keep this in mind as you’re reviewing the findings;

With these in mind, you can make better decisions for your business, which in turn will enable you to use people analytics to yield tangible results.

Create a Communication Plan

You’re on board now, but what about your team? With your new analyses in place, you must communicate your new strategy and your streamlined techniques with your team. Deliver these new approaches at the right time to have the maximum impact.

Using the same scheduling example, if you notice that a certain group of people has the highest customer service levels when scheduled at a certain time, let your team know during a regular meeting that you’ll be keeping them on the job more during those hours. And like point one suggests, it’s important to emphasize (or push) the why on your team so they understand the importance of the new change.

Getting Started

Although this concept might feel daunting up front, it’s an important one for businesses of all sizes to consider. Without understanding how to effectively recruit, hire, and manage your entire team, you could be losing a powerful competitive advantage in your industry.

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Is This Why You Keep Procrastinating? https://tweakyourbiz.com/growth/2017/08/02/is-this-why-you-keep-procrastinating https://tweakyourbiz.com/growth/2017/08/02/is-this-why-you-keep-procrastinating#respond Wed, 02 Aug 2017 13:04:28 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/growth/?p=11697 Are you procrastinating? Read this post. Clarify your reasons for working and then get moving. You can do this!

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There are plenty of ways to

Are You Guilty of These Most Common Reasons for Procrastination?

Procrastination isn’t uncommon but it is avoidable. The first step in overcoming your tendency to put off work is to identify why you’re dragging your feet to get started.

The bulk of the time, procrastination isn’t caused by a physical roadblock. It’s caused by a mental block that you put up on your own to avoid certain tasks. You’re not alone in doing so either. Here are five of the most common reasons people avoid work.

  1. You just don’t feel like doing it (this is most common with chores and other mundane tasks);
  2. You’re not quite sure how to do something;
  3. You’re worried that you aren’t good enough to do the job well;
  4. You’re bored by the task at hand;
  5. You’ve been told to do something, which has made you want to avoid doing it that much more.

Which one of these statements sounds most like you? Or, perhaps you can relate to several of these statements, changing up your reason for procrastination depending on the task at hand. Regardless of why you’re procrastinating, the important thing is to identify what’s standing in your way mentally of getting the job done. Then, you can take the next steps to start overcoming your roadblocks and start getting productive.

Once you’ve determined that you’re ready to push excuses to the side, here are a few ways you can continue to commit to your plan and stay on task.

Publicize Your Solitary Time

It’s inevitable. You’ve pushed the mental dust (read: excuses) to the side and sit down at your desk ready to dive in deep to your work. Then, about five minutes after you start, the phone rings. It’s someone who wants to talk to you about an idea she had. So, you stop work and listen.

Then, as you dig back into what you’re doing, there’s a knock on your office door. Someone brought cupcakes to the office because it’s her birthday. Do you want to grab a quick bite?

Distractions are everywhere in office settings. Even when you work from home, you’re still tempted by distractions from children, chores, or a pesky door-to-door salesman.

Although most distractions come from other people, the burden is on you to publicize your schedule. Make it clear that you cannot be bothered during certain hours. Sometimes, this can be as simple as hanging a sign on your door that says, “Do Not Disturb,” but that will only prevent a few people from popping their head in your office. Take your publication of distraction-free time a step further and block off a chunk of each day on your company’s online calendar that says when you’re going into solitude to be productive. Choose the time that’s best for your zone of productivity and block off at least three hours.

This accomplishes a few things.

  1. First, it shares with everyone that you are not to be disturbed.
  2. Second, it signals to you that this is your time to get in the zone, which means you will have an easier time of pushing those excuses to the side and getting going. When you know it’s your time for solitude and productivity, you’re ideally less likely to open up Facebook and browse, or catch up on the latest load of laundry that needs folding. You’ve blocked off this time to work, so work is what you’ll do.
  3. Finally, it prevents you from scheduling distracting meetings that can steal from your most productive work hours. It ensures that you’re in the zone when you’re most focused and motivated to get the job done (no matter what that job may be).

Clarify Your Goals

You have your work schedule in place. Now what? How will you be sure you’re using this time to your full advantage? After all, working for the sake of working is rarely productive. Work that pushes you closer to your end goal is far more advantageous.

After you’ve blocked off your time to work, clarify your goals. What do you hope to accomplish? What are you working toward? What will success look like at the end of this work session? At the end of this week? At the end of this month? And so on.

By clarifying your direction, you’ll have an end goal in sight, which makes it easier to tackle the mundane, yet necessary, tasks that you must achieve in order to reach your end goals. Some people take this a step further by hanging vision boards and using those as motivators to continue working hard toward their end goals. Others set numbers on their goals and monitor their progress as they go. No matter how you track your way to success, the point is that you know what success will look like when you get there.

Understand the Purpose Behind Your Work

Rarely is a task on your to-do list because it looks good there. Everything you do, every project you take on, and every goal you set for yourself is designed to move you and your business forward.

Take the time to understand the purpose behind each task on your to-do list. For example, updating your books might feel mundane, but when you think of it in terms of helping you and your team stay under budget, it feels more important and is therefore easier to begin.

Keep the big picture in mind. Even though digging into the nitty gritty isn’t always fun (and is often times the reason we drag our feet), it is important toward reaching your end goals.

In The End, You’re Accountable to Yourself

Procrastination is such a tough beast to tackle because in the end, you’re only accountable to yourself. By understanding what it is that’s standing in your way mentally, then blocking out time where you can actively engage your brain and start eliminating excuses, so you can produce, you set yourself up for success. Clarify your reasons for working and then get moving. You can do this!

Image: Photospin

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A Guide for Attracting the Best Remote Workers https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2017/07/05/guide-attracting-best-remote-workers https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2017/07/05/guide-attracting-best-remote-workers#respond Wed, 05 Jul 2017 18:00:08 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/management/?p=15074 What if you could hire remote workers instead? What if you could hire the best candidate to fill your open positions by looking outside of your immediate geographic area?

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One of the struggles for many businesses when it comes to hiring look like this:

  • You know you need to hire help to fill vacancies in your organization.
  • You look in your immediate geographic area to find talented workers who can bring something valuable to the table.
  • You settle for someone who is a decent fit but not the best fit because they’re local.

And in doing so, your organization suffers. Nothing is worse for a business than bringing in someone who will only do a mediocre job when you know there’s someone else out there who can do stellar work.

When organizations narrow their scope and only look locally, two things happen:

  1. It takes longer to find quality help from the current pool of candidates so you hire quickly instead of smartly because there’s work to be done.
  2. Because the person isn’t the best fit for the job, you see higher turnover, making it harder to keep up with your HR demands and organization needs.

It’s a rut that too many businesses get into. What if you could hire remote workers instead? What if you could hire the best candidate to fill your open positions by looking outside of your immediate geographic area? You can but it takes a unique type of job search to find the perfect person for this increasingly common way of working. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Start Your Search in the Right Place

Remote workers are everywhere, but if you’re not looking in the right place, you could come up short. There are several spots where you can source potential remote working candidates. Here are a few to get you started:

  1. Social Media. Believe it or not, you could have a follower or fan who might be the perfect fit for your business.
  2. FlexJobs is ideal for part-time, contract, or freelance workers.
  3. SkipTheDrive is ideal for just about any industry and any type of job.

Search around the various websites out there. As you find resumes, you’ll quickly be able to determine the caliber of the people on that specific website and whether it matches with your expectations or not.

Get Clear on Your Expectations

Will your remote workers need to check in with you regularly? Will you require them to clock in and out at a specific time? Get crystal clear on your expectations before you start searching for candidates. This will help you weed out any candidates that look good on paper but might not be the right fit for the specific role you need to fill.

Be Ready to Contract Work Instead of Bringing Someone On As a New Employee

Often times, remote workers aren’t ready to commit to being an employee of a company. In many cases, these types of workers prefer to operate on a 1099 status (or as a contractor, for those of you who aren’t in the United States) instead of salaried or hourly as an employee.

This is actually a benefit to your company because it lets you have more flexibility. It also tends to be more cost effective.

If a contractor doesn’t match what you need for your organization, you can also take the contract-to-hire approach, where you take the person on as a contractor with the expectation that you’ll eventually bring him onto your team. Decide ahead of time what makes the most sense for your business.

Ask the Right Questions

It’s important to understand why a person works remotely. It’s equally important to understand how the person works. Ask the right questions to dig deeper into their motivations for choosing to take on remote work instead of showing up to an office each day. Perhaps the person is a working mom who needs to stay at home with her kids but still wants to earn an income and work. Perhaps the person lives rurally but wants to work in a role that best aligns with her talents. Understanding this will help you determine if it’s a good fit.

Once you’ve asked the questions, take a look at your expectations for the job. Do their answers align with what you have in mind? For example, does the working mom need to have flexible hours, but your expectations are for her to check-in every morning between eight and noon? Be sure their behaviors and your requirements mesh well before moving on to the next phase of the search.

Find Someone Comfortable With Technology

If you’re working with someone across the country (or across the ocean) you’ll need to use modern technology to communicate effectively. The person will need to jump on board with the technology you’re currently using in your organization to operate, such as chatbots or online schedulers.

To determine whether the person feels comfortable adapting to new technology, start using the technology during the interview process. This is an excellent opportunity to see how the person engages with the tools your business already uses, and how she’ll adopt to your modes of operation.

Provide Incentives

Remote workers still want to feel connected. They want to feel engaged with your business. By feeling like they’re a part of the team (even if they’re working as a contractor), they’ll feel more invested in your organization’s overall success, which will pay dividends in the long run.

Before you make your first hire, determine what these incentives will look like. Some companies send remote workers nice office furniture. Others offer gift cards to Starbucks for those times when they need to break free from the home office and work from a coffee shop.

No matter what the incentive, offering perks to remote workers will entice the cream of the crop to come forward and apply for your job.

Getting New (Remote) Talent on Board

Getting remote workers on board with your team doesn’t have to be hard. When approached the right way, you have the potential to find better talent than you could in your immediate geographic region. Don’t shy away from this new mode of operation in the business world. There’s tremendous opportunity here.

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Millennials Prefer Dentists Over Banks (and What This Means for Your Company Culture) https://tweakyourbiz.com/finance/2017/06/02/millennials-prefer-dentists-banks-means-company-culture https://tweakyourbiz.com/finance/2017/06/02/millennials-prefer-dentists-banks-means-company-culture#comments Fri, 02 Jun 2017 18:00:13 +0000 https://tweakyourbiz.com/finance/?p=4640 How can you create a culture that answers to the needs of each employee, including Millennials, in your business?

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Would you rather go to the dentist or visit your financial institution for advice? If you’re like 71% of Millennials today, you’d rather listen to the sound of a drill in your mouth than listen to a banker discuss the ins and outs of smart financial planning, according to the

So, how can you embrace the cross-pollination of generations in your company? How can you create a culture that answers to the needs of each employee in your business? Let’s take a closer look.

Drop the Stigmas

The Guardian recently published an article citing five of the top stereotypes against people born between 1980 and 1994 (the technical Millennial generation). These include:

  1. A sense of entitlement
  2. Laziness
  3. A desire to work to live (instead of live to work)
  4. Compulsive job hopping
  5. Ignoring experienced colleagues

Stigmas are a dangerous thing. In the case of Millennial employees, they blind us from being able to see the true potential of the people on our team. If we expect laziness, we’ll roll our eyes when we see a non-motivated employee do something differently than we would have. The response to subpar work tends to turn into a shoulder shrug and a hand off to a higher up to complete.

The problem with this is, it does nothing to motivate the employee. Perhaps the employee wasn’t clear on directions. Or, perhaps this has happened so many times in the past that the employee doesn’t feel invested in his work. He assumes someone else on your team will complete it for him, so he doesn’t push himself to his potential.

By dropping the stigmas, you can avoid falling into this trap. Instead, you’ll turn your company culture into one that’s motivating and encouraging. You’ll give each of your employees, regardless of generation, a reason to show up every day because their work is appreciated. This, of course, begs the question then. How can you infuse appreciation into your company culture? Here are a few ideas to get you going.

Get Comfortable With a New Way of Working

Millennials were brought up with iPhones and apps. This generation was raised with DVRs to fast-forward through commercials and search engines that replaced the need for encyclopedias. The way this generation was raised is vastly different than other generations because technology reshaped habits.

Today, Siri (Apple’s virtual assistant) can answer questions when people cannot. Around the clock communication has become more of an expectation with the proliferation of email, chatbots, and apps. Today, the way people engage with one another is different. It makes sense then that this new way of operating pours over into the workplace.

With access to more (and bigger) data comes the expectation that businesses will become more agile. The new way of working relies less on quarterly reports to make strategy decisions and more on regular data pouring in to change approaches quickly. It requires employees to adapt quickly, which in turn requires faster and more thoughtful action on the part of every team member.

With access to around-the-clock communication comes a new expectation of a flexible workplace. Is there a need to only work from behind a desk? No, according to many Millennial employees who feel more comfortable working from coffee shops or their home office.

Embracing this new approach to how people work will help you build a company culture that Millennials, and all generations, want to work for. Start shifting now to a new way of working and as more Millennials pour into the workforce, you’ll be in a prime position to attract the top talent.

Actively Build Trust

Part of the new way of working involves building a healthy level of trust with your employees. After all, you need to know that they’re producing quality work, even if they’re working from their kitchen table.

Give your employees the freedom to make more decisions. Actively work to build their trust by showing them that you trust their decision making skills. Yes, continue to have oversight. But also work to loosen the reins so you don’t suffocate your employees, or make them feel like they’re not able to make good decisions. Using apps and modern technology is a great way to achieve balance while still actively working to establish a deeper level of trust among your team.

Invest in Their Future

Almost three quarters of Millennials said they planned to leave their company in the next two years. The biggest reason why? Because their leadership skills were not being fully developed, according to a study by Deloitte.

Despite wanting to work from anywhere and have access to technology to make decision making on-the-job easier, Millennials also want stability and growth opportunities. They want to know that the future has potential for their individual goals.

In your business, you can help fulfill this need while retaining your top employees by investing in their future. Schedule regular professional development opportunities. Mentor your employees. Play an active role in their short and long term goal achievement. They’ll thank you by becoming more loyal to your company and working harder.

Shifting Company Cultures

Shifting company culture isn’t easy. It requires everyone in your company to drop common stigmas and change with intention. By acknowledging the way the world works today, you can reshape your culture to be more agile, more accepting, and more encouraging today and in the future.

Image: Photospin

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