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Curing corporate A.D.D. caused by being overly connected

With the connectedness of modern society, it seems like work never ends, and the sense of pressure can lead to corporate A.D.D., but there are ways to circumvent this from happening or continuing in your life.

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What is corporate A.D.D.?

It’s not uncommon for work to take over your life in today’s world. Gone are the days where at 5:00, you leave work and enjoy a relaxing evening at home. Today, with cell phones, laptops and tech tablets, you have access to your work email at all times, and if clients have your cell phone number, forget it. They know how to reach you at all hours. These are helpful technology tools, but they also can become distractions that actually take away from your work productivity. Enter Corporate A.D.D. — the common disorder that is stressing you out.

Corporate A.D.D. refers to the stress that you feel to get a large number of tasks accomplished each day. Instead of remaining focused on the work that you need to get done, you get easily distracted by the phone ringing, emails flooding your inbox and the text messages that seems to create an endless buzzing on your cell phone. When you add these additional stressors to your workload, it is easy to see how you can actually spend a longer time on any given task, thereby slowing you down and taking some of your much-needed free time away.

Three tips for overcoming corporate A.D.D.

So, what is the cure? Well, while we can’t ignore these tech tools altogether (although some days, you might be temped to), instead, you should try employing some of these time management tools:

•    Try to stay in the “Proactive Zone.” Think of your stages of activity as being proactive, reactive, distraction, or waste. Reactive refers to urgent demands. In my opinion, the definition of “urgent” has gotten far too relaxed. If a client is genuinely upset and panicked, then yes, by all means, make them a priority and stop what you’re doing to help them. If they simply want a question answered within the next 24 hours, finish what you’re doing and then address it.

If you spend all day in the “Reactive Zone”, you’ll never get anything done. Proactive refers to planning and preparing for your day and executing the important tasks that need to be done. This also includes down time and re-charging your batteries. Your quality of work will never remain high if you don’t take some time to relax. Try and stay away from the distraction and waste zone, as they refer to unneeded interruptions or excessive trivial activities. If you focus on staying proactive all day, and know when to enter the “reactive zone”, you’ll get more done even faster.

•    Try time-blocking. Whether it’s your weekly Zumba class or time spent checking and responding to emails, block a few times each day or week to do important tasks. Whether the activities are personal or professional, you need to block time for the things that are important to you. Here’s the kicker: don’t compromise that time block for anything that isn’t urgent. This isn’t easy to do, but it’s important to staying stress-free and positive.

•    Keep your personal time personal. No, really. You can claim to be spending time with your loved ones but if you’re spending the whole time on your phone checking and responding to work emails, are you really using it as free time. Unless there is something urgent that needs to be addressed immediately, (again, this is REALLY urgent, not a false sense of urgency), just stay out of your inbox and let work calls go to voicemail. Your quality of work will go down if you’re burnt out, so your personal time is important. Don’t be afraid to take it.

Improving productivity, curing corporate A.D.D.

If you can put some of these practices into use as you go about your work week, (and stick to them), you’ll find that you’re less stressed out, more productive and able to grow your business. Cure that corporate A.D.D. by managing your time and knowing when to ignore outside distractions. This won’t be easy to implement-it’s easy to give in to the temptations of distractions both inside and outside of work, but if you stick with it, you’ll find yourself easily able to get things done. Best of luck!

Carrie Gable & the Real Estate Virtual Assistant team at RealSupport, Inc. work virtually for many top real estate agents & brokers nationwide, offering marketing campaigns, branding, website & logo design, listing marketing efforts, lead management, technical support, marketing presentations, social media setup & management, copywriting, blogging and much more.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. matthewloewen

    May 21, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Great article.  With all the distractions nowadays, we definitely have to be proactive and block out time for important tasks.  Good advice.

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Price-predictable subscription to legal help for startups

(BUSINESS) Startups in growth mode need extra help, and legal services is not where successful companies cut corners. Check out this subscription option for your growing company.

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legal help for startups

If you’re running your own business or are planning to start one, legal help is probably low on your list.

Most of us have access to free resources from your local Chamber of Commerce or state website, or may have a “friend” who can help you with the forms and other things.

For a lot of things, a DIY attitude won’t cost you much. You could float your own drywall for example. But when it comes to the law, you must trust an expert. Trying to cut corners on legal expenses can cost you a lot in terms of liability or lead to a few headaches, disputes, and litigations. And even if it didn’t cost money, it will cost you time.

Fortunately, you may not have to pay a lawyer directly, as there are several online solutions, including LegalZoom or LegalShield that can help you with forms, provide advice or help you get your business started. Legal advice could cost you hundreds per hour, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Although online legal services are available, one thing that may be challenging for startups is that it can be difficult to budget for: cost transparency isn’t always available and it may be contingent on demand, time and resources.

Atrium is legal firm specifically designed for startups. This firm was founded by Twitch founder Justin Kan, and Silicon Valley lawyer, Augie Rakow in response to what his needs were as a startup: fast, reliable, and transparent services.

To date, Atrium boasts 890 completed startup deals; $5B raised by companies, and 10 companies started by it’s members. Atrium breaks down its services into four areas:

Atrium Counsel – which provides standard day to day legal processes, including board meetings, NDS, contract/personnel review, etc. – this is available as a subscription service or if you have unique needs, there are special projects available.
Atrium Financing – to help work with venture capital transactions and help explain the deal and it’s process, including upfront price estimates for advice with pitches.
Atrium Contracts – to help with contract review and form generations.
Atrium Blockchain – to help provide legal advice on the many regulatory issues involving blockchain issues.

Atrium’s major competitive advantage is the end of the billable hour paradigm and the focus on subscription models. This is great for a startup in growth mode because you can get a lot of value for a fixed price.

That said, Vitality CEO, Jamie Davidson said, “Just had a call with these folks. You pay a minimum of $1K a month (based on your company size) to be able to ask them questions. You then pay above-market prices for actual legal needs, like privacy policy/TOS generation ($5K), GDPR ($10+K), etc. Our current lawyer does not charge me to ask him questions, but he does charge for actual legal work.”

Others have noted Atrium’s technological advantage and expertise, so mileage could vary.

If you find that community resources aren’t available or not meeting your needs, Atrium could be the service that helps take you to the next level. If you’re considering shopping for legal services, check out Atrium’s site, get to know their team, and see if it’s the right fit for you. The bottom line is that there are a lot of places to cut corners for your growing business, but legal services are not one of them.

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Courts to decide if ‘overqualified’ is being used as a code word for ‘too old’ to hire?

(BUSINESS) Many have long held that job seekers are told they are “overqualified” when some employers mean they’re just too old and they’ll carry higher cost and leave quickly. The court system is considering this contentious topic as we speak.

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According to AARP, “age discrimination in the workplace is alive and well.” But a case before the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago questions whether older job applicants can sue for certain biased recruiting practices.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the case “raises a critical question about whether job applicants can pursue” a lawsuit raising the argument whether the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects external job applicants.

Therefore, the question is, does 'overqualified' truly mean an applicant doesn't have the right qualifications, or is it a code word for someone being too old to hire?Click To Tweet

The case is Kleber v. CareFusion Corp digs into this challenge. Dale Kleber applied for a position with CareFusion. The job description asked for “3 to 7 years (no more than 7 years) of relevant legal experience.” Kleber had decades of experience, after all he was 58. The company never even interviewed him.

They ultimately hired a 29-year-old to fill the position. CareFusion insists that Kleber’s age had nothing to do with him not being considered for the role. Kleber argues that “overqualified” is a code word for “too old.”

The case has been working its way through the courts. The first judge dismissed the claim, ruling that the statue doesn’t cover external applicants, but that decision was reversed on appeal by a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit which stated it “could not imagine” that Congress intended to only protect internal applicants from age discrimination.

CareFusion was given a rehearing in front of the full court in September. Depending on their ruling, the case could go before the U.S. Supreme Court.

What does this mean for you?

This case is just one of many that attorneys are filing with various courts. There is a case in Arizona in which two firefighters, the oldest in the district, were let go due to their age. Age discrimination could affect anyone, because everyone eventually becomes eligible. The courts are conflicted over the types of protection offered by the ADEA, but it’s also difficult to prove when age discrimination has occurred.

For small business owners, it’s imperative that you look at your hiring practices. Think about your recruiting practices. Do you simply look for talent at your local college? You miss valuable talent if you’re not looking at older applicants, and people are working well into their 70s these days, no longer retiring early. Think about the connections and experience an older team member could bring to the job.

If you (or your company) refuse to care about any of those things, fine. But consider this – based on the results of this and other lawsuits, you could be opening your business to being sued if you overlook age in the recruiting and hiring process.

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Business News

Killing the 9-to-5 work day can improve workers’ output

(BUSINESS) Doing away with the tradition of working 9 to 5 in a cubicle can work wonders for a team’s productivity – let’s discuss why this isn’t an imaginary dream, but today’s reality.

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As we’ve seen in recent years, many of the old concepts about work have been turned on their heads. Many offices allow a more casual dress as compared to the suit and tie standard, and more and more teams have the option of working remotely.

One of these concepts that’s been in flux for a bit is challenging the norm of 9-to-5 work days. Offices are giving more options of flex hours and remote work, with the understanding that the work must be completed effectively and efficiently with these flexibilities.

Recently, I got sucked into one of those quick-cut Facebook videos about a company that decided to test out the method of a four day work week. This gave employees the option of what day they would like to take off, or, it gave employees the option to work all five days of the week, but with flex hours.

Despite the decrease in hours worked, employees were still paid for a 40-hour work week which continued their incentive to get the same amount of work done in a more flexible manner. With this shift in time use, the results found that employees wasted less time around the office with mindless chit-chat, as they understood there was less time to waste.

The boss in this office had each team explain how they were going to deliver the same level of productivity. The video did not share the explanations, but it could be assumed that the incentive of a day off would encourage employees to continue their level of productivity, if not increase it.

This was done with the goal of worker smarter, rather than harder. Finding ways to manage time better (like finishing up a task before starting another one) help to stay efficient.

During the trial, it was found that productivity, team engagement, and morale all increased, while stress levels decreased. Having time for yourself (an extra day off) and not overworking yourself are important keys to being balanced and engaged.

There is such a stigma about the way you have to operate in order to be successful (e.g. getting up early, using every hour at your disposal, and using free time to meditate).

Let’s get real – we all need a little free time to check back in with ourselves by doing something mindless (like a good old fashioned Game of Thrones binge). If not, we’ll go bonkers.

Flex hours and remote working is not all about having time to do morning yoga and read best-seller after best-seller. Flex hours gives us the time to take our kids to and from school and comfortably wear our parenting caps without fear of getting fired for not showing up to work precisely at 9 AM.

Bucking the 9-to-5 cubicle life can improve the quality of work and even increase quantity of work.Click To Tweet

The 9-to-5 method is becoming dated and I’m glad to see that happen. So many people run themselves ragged within this frame and it’s impossible to find that happy work-life balance. Using flex options can help people manage every aspect of their lives in a positive way.

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