Oftentimes, we will get this spark of energy that motivates us to embark on bettering ourselves and improving our productivity. This may be a new diet idea, workout plan, or side hustle. Sadly, these don’t always get to fruition, as life sometimes gets in the way and the idea of a new undertaking is just too overwhelming.
What if it didn’t have to be overwhelming? What if you were able to better your life with just a little effort each day?
This is possible with monthly challenges you can set for yourself. What we’ll focus on today is productivity and how to make your everyday life more efficient.
Below, you’ll find a list of 30 ideas that you can complete within one month – some are easier than others, some are common sense, others will leave you with aha moments. Pick one a day to implement and stick with, and by the end of the month, you will have new habits and find more productivity in life.
- Organize your email inbox. Take a few minutes to delete emails you don’t need, or create folders that’ll make organization easier.
- Get a file folder and organize some documents. For example, break down each file into a category of bills, and file the paper away once each bill is paid. If you ever need it later on, you’ll know exactly where to find it.
- Make a to-do list for the week ahead. Pay close attention and see if having a to do list helps you to be more productive and efficient. If it does, implement that into your routine.
- Keep track of your activities and see how long each of them takes. See if you can save yourself time by eliminating steps.
- Try setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier than normal.
- Make a playlist that will keep your energy elevated throughout the day. (No James Blunt!)
- Set time aside to learn something new that might inspire you. Listen to a podcast, watch a Ted Talk, strike up an interesting conversation with someone, etc.
- Pick out your outfit the night before.
- If you’re working on a new goal, ask one of your friends or loved ones to check in on your progress. Sounds silly, but it actually helps to have accountability.
- Drink eight glasses of water throughout the day to keep you hydrated and alert.
- Clean out your desk. You probably don’t need that Pizza Hut flyer from 2005 anymore.
- Set a list of goals and prioritize them by importance.
- Choose a habit you would like to improve and actively work to better it.
- Alternatively, choose a habit you’d like to eliminate and work to lessen it.
- Make time for self-care. Seriously.
- Only let something pass your desk once.
- Develop a positive and beneficial morning routine.
- Try and stop multitasking. Focus on one task at a time.
- Use a calendar to schedule your tasks.
- Silence your phone an hour before bedtime in order to decompress from technological stress.
- Switch up your working environment; it may spark inspiration.
- Make time for breaks to give your mind and body some rest.
- Like this list, break your tasks down into bite-sized pieces.
- If you commute by taking public transportation, use that time to read or listen to something inspiring. Don’t just mindlessly scroll through social media.
- Move your alarm clock across the room to force yourself to get out of bed when it goes off.
- Go to bed at the same time each (week) night for a week. Do the weekend, too, if truly committed.
- Always keep a pad of paper and pen nearby to write down any helpful ideas that may pop into your head.
- Then, make time for these ideas to come to life.
- Try your best to leave work at work.
- Reward yourself for all of your efforts (this takes us back to #15).
And after these 30 days, you’ve set yourself up for productivity success – congrats!
Keep your company’s operations lean by following these proven strategies
(BUSINESS) Keeping your operations lean means more than saving money, it means accomplishing more in less time.
The past two years have been challenging, not just economically, but also politically and socially as well. While it would be nice to think that things are looking up, in reality, the problems never end. Taking a minimalist approach to your business, AKA keeping it lean, can help you weather the future to be more successful.
Here are some tips to help you trim the fat without putting profits above people.
Artificial intelligence frees up human resources. AI can manage many routine elements of your business, giving your team time to focus on important tasks that can’t be delegated to machines. This challenges your top performers to function at higher levels, which can only benefit your business.
Consider remote working
Whether you rent or own your property, it’s expensive to keep an office open. As we learned in the pandemic, many jobs can be done just as effectively from home as the workplace. Going remote can save you money, even if you help your team outfit their home office for safety and efficiency.
In today’s world, many are opting to completely shutter office doors, but you may be able to save money by using less space or renting out some of your office space.
Review your systems to find the fat
As your business grows (or downsizes), your systems need to change to fit how you work. Are there places where you can save money? If you’re ordering more, you may be able to ask vendors for discounts. Look for ways to bring down costs.
Talk to your team about where their workflow suffers and find solutions. An annual review through your budget with an eye on saving money can help you find those wasted dollars.
Find the balance
Operating lean doesn’t mean just saving money. It can also mean that you look at your time when deciding to pay for services. The point is to be as efficient as possible with your resources and systems, while maintaining customer service and safety. When you operate in a lean way, it sets your business up for success.
How to apply to be on a Board of Directors
(BUSINESS) What do you need to think about and explore if you want to apply for a Board of Directors? Here’s a quick rundown of what, why, and when.
What does a Board of Directors do? Investopedia explains “A board of directors (B of D) is an elected group of individuals that represent shareholders. The board is a governing body that typically meets at regular intervals to set policies for corporate management and oversight. Every public company must have a board of directors. Some private and nonprofit organizations also have a board of directors.”
It is time to have a diverse representation of thoughts, values and insights from intelligently minded people that can give you the intel you need to move forward – as they don’t have quite the same vested interests as you.
We have become the nation that works like a machine. Day in and day out we are consumed by our work (and have easy access to it with our smartphones). We do volunteer and participate in extra-curricular activities, but it’s possible that many of us have never understood or considered joining a Board of Directors. There’s a new wave of Gen Xers and Millennials that have plenty of years of life and work experience + insights that this might be the time to resurrect (or invigorate) interest.
Harvard Business Review shared a great article about identifying the FIVE key areas you would want to consider growing your knowledge if you want to join a board:
1. Financial – You need to be able to speak in numbers.
2. Strategic – You want to be able to speak to how to be strategic even if you know the numbers.
3. Relational – This is where communication is key – understanding what you want to share with others and what they are sharing with you. This is very different than being on the Operational side of things.
4. Role – You must be able to be clear and add value in your time allotted – and know where you especially add value from your skills, experiences and strengths.
5. Cultural – You must contribute the feeling that Executives can come forward to seek advice even if things aren’t going well and create that culture of collaboration.
As Charlotte Valeur, a Danish-born former investment banker who has chaired three international companies and now leads the UK’s Institute of Directors, says, “We need to help new participants from under-represented groups to develop the confidence of working on boards and to come to know that” – while boardroom capital does take effort to build – “this is not rocket science.”
NOW! The time is now for all of us to get involved in helping to create a brighter future for organizations and businesses that we care about (including if they are our own business – you may want to create a Board of Directors).
The Harvard Business Review gave great explanations of the need to diversify those that have been on the Boards to continue to strive to better represent our population as a whole. Are you ready to take on this challenge? We need you.
Average age of successful startup founders is 45, but stop stereotyping
(BUSINESS) Our culture glorifies (yet condemns?) startup founders as rich 20-somethings in hoodies, but some are a totally different type.
There’s a common misconception that startups are riddled with semi-nerdy, 20-something white dudes who do nothing but sip Nitro Brews and walk around the open office showing off the hoodie they wore yesterday. It turns out that it’s extremely rare that startup offices resemble The Social Network.
However, the academic backdrop for the real social network story (AKA Harvard), produced statistics that will serve to put the aforementioned misconception to rest. According to the Harvard Business Review, the average age of people who founded the highest-growth startups is 45. Say what?! A full-fledged adult?!
In fact, aside from the age category of 60 and over, ages 29 and younger were the smallest group of founders that are responsible for heading the highest-growth startups. I guess you can accomplish a lot when you’re not riding around the office on a scooter all day.
The study also found that older entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed. The probability of extreme startup success rises with age, at least until the late 50s. It was found that work experience plays an important role.
Many will argue, “Well, what about someone like Steve Jobs?” You could easily argue right back that it took Jobs until the age of 52 to create Apple’s most profitable product – the iPhone.
The study continues to answer questions like, why do Venture Capitalist investors bet on young founders? This goes back to the misconception at the start, and there’s a notion that youth is the key for successful entrepreneurship. Wrong.
There is also the idea that younger entrepreneurs are likely working with less financial options, so it may be common for them to take something from a VC at a lower price. As a result, they could be viewed as more of a bargain than older founders.
“The next step for researchers is to explore what exactly explains the advantage of middle-aged founders,” writes Pierre Azoulay, et al. “For example, is it due to greater access to financial resources, deeper social networks, or certain forms of experience? In the meantime, it appears that advancing age is a powerful feature, not a bug, for starting the most successful firms.”
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