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5 Ways to Remain Focused at Work

focusedSometimes it is difficult to keep your concentration at work. It could be because you have been working long hours and you are exhausted or it could simply be because you cannot find a solution to an issue. Whatever it is, if you are finding it hard to concentrate, use some of these tips to find your focus and power through the tasks ahead of you.

Organize your desk

If your desk is a mess, it can lead to your mind being a mess as well. Clean up your desk so you can better focus on other things.

Have a snack break

Sometimes you just need a little bit of water to quench your thirst and refresh you. While you are at it, you should consider a good, healthy snack to give you a boost of energy.

Go for a short walk

If you really cannot get focused, walk away for a few minutes and let your mind relax. Take a lap or two around the office so you can mentally reset and will be better prepared to get the job done.

Prioritize

If you have a few things you need to get done, you should take the time to prioritize everything you need to get done so you can focus on the more important things first.

Put on some headphones

Whether you want to listen to some soothing music or simply want to drown out all of the other distracting office noises, headphones can accomplish this for you and allow you to focus on what is in front of you. If you are listening to music, make sure you choose the right one for you. Sometimes high energy music can pump you up but it is not always the best for each situation. Listen to the music that you need to focus.

We all have moments where it is difficult to remain focused at work. When you are having trouble, these tips can help you find your focus again and get back on track.

 

Tips to Improve Your Home Office

homeofficeAs great as it can be to work from home, you will still need to have a good home office if you are to get anything done. Your home has a lot of distractions that can cause you to go off-task, which is a serious problem when you’re trying to get work done.

If you’re serious about working from home, here are five things you will need in your home office:

1. A Dedicated Space

You will need a dedicated space for your home office. While it is easy to set up a laptop at the kitchen table or in your living room and try to get some work done, you will be far more productive if your office is a dedicated space. An extra bedroom that you aren’t using is ideal, but you might have to settle for setting up a partition somewhere in your home. In any event, this space should only be used for work; keep your TV, books, gaming consoles or anything else you might use for leisure in other parts of your home.

2. A Comfortable Chair

If you have the kind of job that requires you to be sitting down for hours at a time, you will need some comfortable seating. This will most likely be an office chair that offers plenty of support. Try to find an ergonomically designed chair for the best results. While you don’t want to sit in any chair for longer than an hour at a time, an ergonomic office chair might prevent you from developing back pain or other ailments that come from sitting at a desk for too long.

3. Better Lighting

A desk lamp is a great thing to have in a home office, but you will need more lighting than just that. If you have lighting fixtures in your ceiling, experiment with lightbulbs of different brightness and intensity to find out what works best for you. It’s not just about visibility, either; bad lighting could give you bad headaches and increase eye strain. If you can, set up your home office in a room that receives plenty of sunlight. You will feel better throughout the day, and you won’t have to rely as much on artificial lighting for your workspace.

4. An Organization System

Nobody likes to work in a disorganized office, even when they’re working from home. When you set up your workspace, invest in file cabinets, bookshelves and other things that will allow you to stay organized. Have a place for everything you might need, and make sure it stays there when you aren’t using it.

5. A Personal Touch

Just because you will be using your office strictly for work doesn’t mean that it can’t be inviting. Your office should be a place where you feel comfortable, so include some personal touches to make it feel warmer and more pleasant. Being able to do this is one of the biggest advantages to working at home, so do whatever you want to make your office a place you like without sacrificing your organization system.

Applying the Principles of Feng Shui in the Workplace

Untitled design (7)You may have heard of feng shui for the home, but did you know that you can apply the concept in the workplace, as well? This ancient Chinese art, used for centuries to improve the flow of energy, could have a dramatic impact on the overall productivity level of your office. If you’ve been looking for actionable ways to boost productivity at work, you might want to give this method a try.

1. Getting Started

You can utilize feng shui whether you are a corporate executive, a sales manager or an employee. Much of what you’ll be doing simply involves removing and repositioning objects; by doing this, you can make your workspace more functional. The first step you’ll need to take is to get rid of the clutter that is occupying your work area. Do you need several photos of your last vacation pinned to your cubicle wall? Try removing all but one, and replace the rest with a print that makes you feel relaxed but focused, such as a calming scenic print.

2. Set the Mood With Lighting

Just as you would set the right mood for a romantic dinner with candles and subtle lighting, you can use light to set the right tone for your workspace. If your office has a window, be sure to draw the blinds and let the sun illuminate the room naturally. Replace fluorescent lights with bulbs that replicate natural light. Another trick is to install a natural light filter on your computer. You will be more focused throughout the day, and your eyes won’t feel strained and tired when you’re ready to go home.

3. Get a Few Plants

Humans were not meant to spend many hours per week in an unnatural environment, but most people can hardly avoid that if they need to bring home a paycheck. Plants bring living energy into any room, and that kind of energy can be a great asset on the job. Plants also purify the air, which may be quite useful in a room full of people. A few plants should suffice – the idea is not to make the space look like an exotic jungle, but simply to install a little nature in your workplace.

4. Sit in the Correct Position

Another feng shui tip that you might implement at work is to sit in the right position. Don’t sit with your back to the door if you can help it. Instead, reposition your desk and chair to face the door. If you don’t have the option of moving your desk or chair, you can place a mirror above your desk, so the door may be seen in the reflection. Taking these steps automatically puts you in a position of power as opposed to vulnerability – you won’t be surprised by anyone who comes through the door and sneaks up behind you. Whether it’s done intentionally or unintentionally, being surprised like that can startle you and instantly cause you to lose your sense of focus.

Staying productive in the workplace may be challenging, but there are ways to combat a lack of energy and improve your concentration. Applying the principles of feng shui to rearrange your office is a way to work smarter instead of harder. By making a few changes to your workspace, you may truly become more productive.

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/melissathompson/2017/02/18/how-entrepreneurs-can-use-feng-shui-to-stay-productive-in-the-office/2/#5a77d57647e8

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-10774/6-fast-easy-feng-shui-tips-that-work-for-everyone.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-gen-y-guide/201511/how-feng-shui-your-workspace

3 Ways to Increase Business Productivity in the Office

Untitled design (6)Business productivity is a major concern for every business owner. However, it can be hard to pinpoint what areas need adjustments and what changes will actually lead to better business productivity. Below is a list of three ways to increase business productivity in the office that you may have never thought of before:

1. Use Technology

Technology is definitely a great way to eliminate the extraneous work involved in a lot of mundane office tasks. When used properly and by well-informed employees, various B2B (Business-to-business) programs can assist and even elevate the productivity of tasks. Some of these types of programs include production management tools, project management systems, accounting software and POS (Point-of-Sale) software. Integrating the newest technology and gadgets (tablets and other mobile devices) into everyday tasks also helps you and your business keep up with the changing times.

2. Take Plenty of Breaks

Have you ever noticed that after working on something for a long period of time, you begin to loose focus? Unfocused employees lead to poor work output not only in terms of speed but accuracy. Ensure that you and your employees take regular breaks to help counteract the dreaded “afternoon slump.”

3. Encourage Gym Use

Exercising may seem like something employees should do on their own time, but studies have shown that businesses that invest in the physical fitness of their employees–even during the workday–are more productive overall. Not only does a regular workout ritual boost employees’ energy, meaning more work gets done, but it also strengthens the immune system, resulting in fewer sick days, while improving mental health. Encouraging gym use could come in the form of having an office gym, providing employees with gym memberships and setting up exercise goals/competitions among workers. A healthy employee is a happy and productive employee.

Remember: when you evolve, your business evolves, too. These three tips to increase your business productivity is only a starting point for revitalizing your business and its long-term performance.

Three Ways to Get More Work Done Today

Untitled design (6)1. Write it Down

Sure, it seems like basic advice, but there’s a reason it’s first on this list. Instead of randomly entering meetings, notes, and to-do lists into different apps, write a list of your goals for the day or week on paper. This is a great task for the end of the work week. Spend a few minutes on Friday making a list of what you want to accomplish the following week, or even just the following Monday. You’ll come in to work ready to break that list down into manageable chunks.

Yes, the big stuff can go in your phone’s calendar app (missing a big meeting is the opposite of productive, after all), but the act of writing information down on paper has been shown to increase productivity and memory. Even if tasks go unfinished for whatever reason, taking the time to outline your day or week has positive effects on your performance.

2. Break Up the Day

Dedicate a chunk of time to a particular task – answering emails that have been piling up and stressing you out, perhaps. Or, simply set a timer and work without interruption until that timer goes off. Breaking your day and duties into manageable chunks makes an overwhelming to-do list much less daunting and enhances the quality of your work. They key is to stay focused during your ‘on’ period and truly take a break from your work when that time is up. Get up from your desk, take a short walk around the office, or chat with a coworker for a few minutes.

3. Turn Off Your Phone

Again, this suggestion isn’t terribly earth-shattering – but, the reason you see it in just about any post about productivity is because it needs to be said. Bouncing around social media, emails, and apps wreaks havoc on your attention span. It also kills momentum. When you’re in the middle of one of your chunks of dedicated email answering or phone call returning time, the last thing you need is distraction in the form of Facebook or text notifications buzzing on the phone you set aside. If you have friends or family that text often during the day, let them know you’re trying to minimize distractions and may not be available until lunch. If possible, turn your phone on airplane mode, or even off altogether, to eliminate the temptation to check it throughout the day.

These three simple changes can boost your productivity right now. See for yourself!

3 Ways To Retain Great Employees

Untitled design (7)Every business should understand how important it is to retain great employees, as they are crucial to overall success and growth. They’ve already been trained, keep customers satisfied and have likely formed positive relationships with their co-workers and leaders. While the real cost of employee turnover has been widely debated among many industries, some studies show it can cost as much as 20 percent of the annual salary for mid-range positions and 213 percent of the annual salary for highly educated executive positions. For a small to mid-sized business, calculating exactly how much money employee turnover is costing you can be extremely difficult if you don’t have systems and policies in place to track intangible costs. For example, the cost of job screening, interviewing, training and lost productivity time for actual work looks different for every company. It’s important that every business works to retain great employees and here are three ways to do that:

1. Offer Opportunities for Growth

Most employees have some sort of long-term professional goal—whether it’s to become CEO or to receive a promotion every year or two. If your company doesn’t offer any room for growth, you can bet your great employees will look elsewhere when they’re ready to achieve their next goal. Victor Lipman, executive coach and Forbes contributor advises, “The potential for growth is a huge motivational difference maker. Even when major financial rewards aren’t forthcoming, other kinds of growth opportunities can still motivate.” Never overestimate the motivational power of progress, such as allowing your employees to broaden their skill set and knowledge of the industry. In addition, hire internal candidates whenever you can, as it’ll keep your employees motivated to work toward bettering your company.

2. Give Your Employees Freedom When Possible

Research shows that over 20 million Americans choose part-time work—rather than full-time—because it gives them more freedom. A healthy work-life balance has become increasingly more important to employees, especially the millennial workforce. No one wants to work 40+ hour workweeks without any vacation time and people are actually turning down companies that have this mindset. Employees who have the option of working when they want and sometimes where they want are known to be less stressed and more productive. Consider restructuring your office hours or allowing some flexibility in scheduling. In addition, reevaluate your vacation policy to ensure that every employee feels encouraged and supported to take a break.

3. Emphasize Communication

Communication in the workplace is great way to improve morale and generate success for your company. When employees feel they can communicate freely with their leaders and each other, they’re more likely to feel valued, satisfied and motivated at work. Finding a boss who eagerly listens to questions or concerns is harder than you think, so make your company and leadership style stand out with effective communication. Try holding weekly team meetings and encourage every employee to share their ideas and feedback on big projects. You’ll not only help the team’s morale, you’ll help your business by fixing any issues that might arise. Open communication is a win-win because it keeps you in the know and others feeling connected and accountable.

Making Your Workspace Yours

Untitled design (6)Working in an office environment has its share of challenges, such as dealing with personality clashes, juggling multiple priorities, and feeling like you don’t have enough personal space of your own. When you have a small, drab office or cubicle, it can affect your attitude towards work and your productivity. It might seem like there’s no connection between decorating your workspace and the quality and quantity of your work, but something as simple as adding a bit of color can do wonders.

Color Makes You Feel More Alive

Would you rather work in a cubicle all day with dull gray surroundings or something with a splash of color? Interior decorators have long said that blue helps people feel calm and focused while red is ideal for people who need to pay strong attention to detail and turn in highly accurate work. If allowed, choose a small painting or plaque with some color to help lift your mood and give you a sense of uniqueness in a sea of cubicles. Putting a plant or fresh flowers on your desk can have the same effect.

Personalize Your Work Space

Anything you can do to make your space at work look like you’re the one who belongs there and not someone else ultimately boosts your productivity. Knickknacks you enjoy, photos of your family, friends, or pets, and framed degrees or awards you have earned on the job help you to feel more driven and appreciated. The more personal you can make your space, the happier and more productive you’re likely to be.

Three Things You Can Do Right Now to Be More Productive

Untitled design (5)1. Make a Plan

You already know that a to-do list will help your productivity. Writing out what you need and want to get done for the day, or week, helps get it out of your head and on to paper, where it’s easier to visualize. This helps your tasks feel more concrete and maneageable – and less of a swarm of obligations taking up space in your brain. Take your to-do list one step further and actually plan out your day. Carve out the time for phone calls, meetings, research, and errands and write that down. Taking ten minutes at the beginning of your day or week to plan what that time holds is a great way to feel less stressed about being able to fit everything in.

2. Take A Break 

Yes, you have definitely read this tip before. But, let’s take it one step further. Take a break from work – and your phone, and your Facebook, and anything else that involves sitting and looking at a screen. If you work in an office, taking a break from one screen to look at another doesn’t reset your brain or give you a real breather. Leave your phone at your desk. Walk around your office. Refill your water bottle. If possible, keep any snacks you bring to work away from your desk, so you have to actually move from your workspace to retrieve them. Make time for a quick break every 90 minutes. 

3. Mute Phone Alerts

Most of us have a smartphone, and most of it use it as a crutch when we’re bored. Work isn’t always the most exciting thing, so we reach for our phones almost reflectively throughout the day. The more disciplined among us are able to leave it in our bags or pockets during work hours, and reach for it only when it dings or buzzes. You may think that that’s only a minor distraction, but if you’ve got your phone set to alert you every time you get a text, a Facebook notification, or an email, you’re going to spend more time than you think searching for a better bitmoji so you can one-up your sister or watching cat videos on Facebook. Leave on only the most important alerts – your child’s school, or your spouse’s texts, for instance – and turn off ones that only serve to distract from your work.

Avoiding Workplace Burnout

Untitled design (4)Working overtime may seem like a good way to earn extra money and impress your employer, but it often comes with a price. Overtime is usually anything above 40 hours a week, which usually boils down to working five days a week for eight hours a day. This may be a standard work week, but that itself might be exhausting depending on what you do. Adding on more work hours is sometimes more than someone can handle, but it can be worth your while if you can avoid burning out.

Know Your Goals

One of the leading causes of workplace burnout is not having a clear goal. Many people work extra hours just to work extra hours and have a bigger paycheck, but that extra time should be accomplishing more than that. If you must work overtime, remember what task you will be working towards and what needs to get done.

Create a Routine

Routines help you stay on task and organize your work. Even when you’re working longer hours than you normally would, you should be sticking to certain procedures and rituals that can make the job easier.

Stay In Shape

People tend to think of physical exercise as something that only helps the body, but it is also great for the mind. Being in good physical shape will help you concentrate and stay focused on any task you need to complete.

Know Your Limits

Finally, you need to know when you’ve had enough. There is no shame in turning down overtime work if you’re feeling exhausted. In fact, your productivity will probably suffer if you can’t stay awake and alert at work. Listen to your body, and get some rest if you feel like you need it.

Tips for Better Employee Onboarding

Untitled design (3)When it comes to keeping employees happy, your job starts before they even walk in the door. If you do not already have an onboarding plan for your new hires, you should develop one so you can ensure they remain excited and will be more likely to stay with your company longer. Use these tips to get started.

Set Up The Desk

Before they come in for their first day, take the time to ensure their desk is ready and fully stocked. They should not have to search for basic supplies on their first day. You can take it one step further and put a small gift on their desk as well.

Ensure They Meet with Their Manager for Training and Orientation

You need to have a full schedule for them on the first day. Whether that consists of an orientation schedule so they can begin to understand the way the office works and its layout, or simply training with their manager is completely up to you. Make sure you have this planned out before they start so their first day does not consist of confusion.

Set Up a Feedback Plan

The first 90 days of work is crucial and you want to make sure that the new employee understands how they are doing and how they can improve. Schedule regular meetings to discuss how they are performing as well as a time for them to ask any questions.

A strong process for employee onboarding is essential if you want your new employees to be happy with the position and feel welcome.