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Keep resolutions: Don’t call them goals, think of them as rules

Have you made a resolution this year? We’re about a month into the new year, and are you still as dedicated to your goal as when you made it? Maybe instead of creating a “resolution” this year without any type of affirmation, perhaps you should consider generating rules that intermingle into achieving these goals.

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Add a rule to your resolution

According to statisticbrain.com, approximately 45 percent of American’s make a resolution. If you’re an avid gym goer, you may have noticed the influx of new faces, but how long does the rush usually last?

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Have you made a resolution this year? We’re about a month into the new year, and are you still as dedicated to your goal as when you made it? Have you stopped making progressive steps toward reaching it all together? If so, you’re in good company, only about 8 percent of people who create resolutions actually achieve them.

Bending and breaking

You see, this is the problem about with goals and resolutions. Instead of thinking of them like concrete rules that you MUST abide by, goals or resolutions seem more pliable. You can bend and even break them without consequence, and most people do.

I realize I’m about a month late, but instead of creating a “resolution” this year without any type of affirmation, perhaps you should consider generating rules that intermingle into achieving these goals.

How it works

For instance, if your goal this year is to read more, a rule you might enforce to make this resolution happen might look something like this:

I will go to bed 20 minutes earlier on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and spend that 20 minutes reading.

OR

I will spend one hour every Saturday morning reading while drinking my coffee.

Creating small, realistic rules that supplement your goals will eventually help you form good habits.

Habits create success

Okay, so most importantly, the rules break your big goals down into bite-sized, attainable baby steps. Be certain to create rules that are easy to implement and complement your goal.

For instance, if you want to make sure you’re exercising every day, the rule might be to do at least 20 minutes of walking during the day, or to do 10 pushups as soon as you wake in the morning. Start with something that doesn’t seem overwhelming and gradually work yourself up to more rules that have a higher level of difficulty.

Sometimes it takes time to incorporate new things into your routine, but most of us have apps and cell phones that can help us stick to our guns. If you plan to do something every day at a certain time, set an alarm on your phone and do it. It’s that simple.

Here few great apps for various goals:

MoneyPad – tracks finances and helps you manage your budget

Juice – a wellness app that helps you track sleep, diet and exercise

Quitter – helps you break a bad habit (like smoking)

RE.minder – an app that includes an alarm that repeats each minute, hour or day until you complete a task

Don’t forget to cut yourself some slack

You’re going to be tired, you’re going to get lazy and there are going to be times when you get too busy. Remember to allow yourself a bit of flexibility. If you fall off the wagon, remind yourself that it’s a part of the process and get back on! Good habits aren’t created overnight, folks.

Now, go forth and create healthy, productive rules that help you grab those resolutions by the horns!

#RulesNotGoals

Staff writer, Ashley Lombardo, earned her B.S. in journalism from The University of Florida and has used her skills to report on everything from the economy to productivity. She is well-known for her tremendously positive presence, and when she's not trying to save the world she indulges in red wine, friends, fitness, books, bubble baths, shoes, family and love.

Business Entrepreneur

Small businesses must go digital to survive (and thrive)

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) A study at Cisco reveals how digitizing small businesses is no longer optional, but critical to success, thanks to the pandemic.

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Black woman working on a laptop on a couch, running her small businesses' needs digitally.

As digital transformation efforts ramp up due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study released by Cisco has highlighted some key insights into how small businesses will need to adapt in order to survive in the “new normal.”

The study, conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC), analyzed more than 2,000 small businesses across eight different markets, including the United States, Canada, Germany, Mexico, United Kingdom, Brazil, Chile, and France. Using a four-section index to assess a small business’s digitalization efforts, the research found that 16% of companies said they were “thriving and feel their businesses are agile and resilient.” While 36% stated they were in “survival mode.” Regardless of where they were ranked in the index, the study concluded that 70% of firms were in the process of ramping up digital transformation within their company due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the digital divide that was already present in the small business market, and it is forcing companies to accelerate their digitalization,” said Daniel-Zoe Jimenez, AVP, head digital transformation & SMB research at IDC. “Small businesses are realizing that digitalization is no longer an option, but a matter of survival.”

The study also highlighted several challenges associated with digital transformation. The three biggest obstacles that businesses seem to face during the process were digital skills and talent, budgetary issues (lack of funds or previous commitment of funds), and cultural resistance to change. Despite these roadblocks, 45% of companies surveyed stated that they expect over 30% of their business to be digital by 2021. And 32% responded that they are planning on developing a digital strategy. This included investing in talent with the right set of digital skills moving forward.

Those decisions fall in line with Cisco and IDC’s recommendations. These include creating a three-year technology road map and building a workforce with the right skills to succeed in a digital world. Other suggestions include finding the right technology partner, and keeping up with industry trends. Leveraging financing and remanufactured equipment can aid with cash flow and budget requirements.

As small businesses continue to adapt to consumer behavior and the whirlwind of ever-changing rules that have come with the coronavirus, digital transformation will continue to play a major role in the post-COVID world. According to the report, if half of the small businesses surveyed can reach the second-highest tier of the index by 2024, those companies could end up adding an additional $2.3 trillion to the eight markets’ gross domestic product (GDP), contributing to the global economic recovery.

As we approach the six-month mark of the pandemic, just when and how the “new normal” will emerge is still uncertain. But there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for small businesses — even if it’s faint green and contains zeroes and ones.

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Business Entrepreneur

Choose your startup business partner wisely

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) Creating a startup business with a friend sounds amazing, but consider carefully if you may be better off as friends.

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Young couple working on startup together.

So, you want to be your own boss? Maybe get out and into a new career to crawl out from under the corporate drone motif? What better way to do it than to go into a startup business for yourself?

Hundreds of Americans have ideas that could turn into a new career. But not as many have the support structure, either financial or social, to make these dreams become a reality. A few of these people might look for someone to go into business with to help with the financial burden.

Can you think of a better way to start off a new business than with your best friend by your side? I sure as hell can.

My best friend and I get along great in our personal time. We’re both zombie horror nerds. He’s straight, I’m gay. He’s a cop, I’m an out of work geophysicist/bartender/writer – the jokes don’t quit with us. Our typical nights together include drinking at bars and smacking the other one upside the head as deemed necessary. We’re both slightly better than Neanderthals some days. And most importantly, neither of us should be trusted to work together.

Now of course that’s probably more specific to my situation, but let’s just realize that finding two people who can be the closest of friends and business partners is pretty rare.

There are a few people who have figured it out though and you can find a number of pointers online for new/established startup companies. A few of these tips include: Lots of structure to try and keep the fun at home and the business in the office, clearly defining roles, honest open communication, and strictly defining fiscal expectations.

So basically, it’s like committing to another marriage, which is what another set of people do for their startup business as well. Numerous married couples have put together careers and their relationships, and a great many of them are very successful.

So, if you have someone who you can commit to another potentially lifelong relationship with, and you trust to follow all of these rules, then go for it.

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Business Entrepreneur

Kanception simplifies your project management with nested tasks

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) There are already many available options for project management tools. Kanception.io offers a new approach with nested Kanban boards.

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Project management tool by Kanception.io shows nested Kanban boards.

Project management tools are a project manager’s best friend. They help organize client requirements and keep track of team tasks, timelines, budgets, and various project restraints. Being able to streamline and delegate work in one place helps PMs be more efficient. At least, they should.

If a PM has to spend more time managing the software rather than managing projects, that clearly isn’t a good sign. The key to productivity is finding the platform that best suits your needs. Any new or seasoned PM will tell you that even the best scoped out projects will receive last-minute requirement changes from stakeholders. So, taking into consideration extra padding to make adjustments for a project’s new feature is important.

So, what is the best project management tool? There are a lot of good management software tools out there, and each one is slightly different. Finding the right one is difficult because there is no one-size-fits-all software. Thanks to Kanception.io, that decision just got a little harder (or easier).

This “team based project management software” has simple boards and cards just like Trello, but with an added kick. And better yet, it’s free!

Getting started with Kanception is simple enough. You sign up for a free account on their website and start creating your board. Using the “Invite Team” option, you can add and share projects with teammates. After you’ve named and created your board, you can create cards (tasks). These cards can be moved from the Backlog to In Progress with a simple drag and drop operation. But creating your Kanban board doesn’t have to stop there!

This Kanban board has a nested card feature. Large tasks can be broken into “bite-sized, nested subtasks.” It’s a Kanban board within a Kanban board within a Kanban board. The levels of nesting are infinite. To access any nested card, all you have to do is single-click on a card. Then, you are easily taken to that card’s inner Kanban board.

The tool also lets you track time and project planning with the Gantt chart. By double-clicking on a card, you can schedule to-dos. With the calendar, projects can be viewed at a glance. This is helpful when you are trying to display tasks in terms of time.

“Here at Kanception, we believe apps should be intuitive and simple to use,” Kanception’s website reads. On the surface, the app does appear very straightforward. Overall, if you work with large projects and need a more organized approach, this could be the project management tool for you. The nested Kanban boards will help break down all your subtasks into clean and tidy bits.

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