Make one of your goals for the New Year to be more selfish. Seriously. Say “no” more often and take time for yourself. Why you ask? Because it’s good for business.
People who take time out of their busy work lives to spend some quality with themselves are more likely to enjoy their work and be more productive. Here are some simple ways to treat yourself right – even when you’re at your busiest.
1) Schedule an hour in your day planner every day that is just for you. Fill it with a hobby, a class, a nap – whatever you like, as long as it’s just for you. If you look at it like it’s an appointment that you have to keep you are more likely to honour that time.
2) Take an electronic break – see what happens when you turn off your phone, blackberry, iPod, TV, computer and radio. A study of 3000 students by the Kaiser Family Foundation ending in May 2009 revealed that on average they were spending seven and a half hours per day working with electronic devices!
3) If it’s in your budget, schedule yourself a massage once a month. If a massage is a little too pricey, enjoy an
at-home spa day once a month. Taking a break under the warm hands of a masseuse or in tub full of bubbles can help with mental vacation from your stress.
4) Go to your to-do list and see what you can eliminate – maybe you don’t really have to do it anyway. If you have been procrastinating doing something for a long time, ask if it is really important. If it, is make a plan. If it isn’t, get rid of it. No sense in it haunting you from the list. Better yet – see who else could do it.
5) Shut your door – Research suggests the average manager spends three hours a day dealing with interruptions.
6) Take a real lunch break. Give yourself time to eat in a relaxing atmosphere and read, listen to music, or do nothing.
7) Say no. We are inundated with requests every day to give up our time – and our sanity! Learn to politely refuse when asked to volunteer or donate your time to a cause that you aren’t fully behind. Save your time and energy for causes you truly believe in. Direct your energies in fewer areas where you can be more and fully engaged.
8) Under promise – over deliver.
9) Break out of “The Zone.” It can be really hard to walk away from a project at the end of the day if you’re feeling in the groove, but you need to respect the boundary between work and home. You’ll find your groove again tomorrow, right now you need to walk away and go do something else.
10) Hit the gym, go for a run, practice yoga, take a walk around the block. Beyond the obvious health benefits, the endorphins that are released when you exercise give you a much needed emotional boost to fight through stress and fatigue.
11) Embrace the power of sleep. It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do for your emotional well being. Set your DVR to record, so you don’t miss your favourite show, and head to bed an hour earlier – your brain will thank you in the morning!
Make yourself a priority this year. If you take care of yourself physically and emotionally, everything else in your life will fall into place. Now is the time to make yourself a priority – and you will find that your business ventures will be more successful as a result.
You know that the key to a long and happy life is good health, but it also makes good business sense. Consider this: Physically fit employees not only take fewer sick days, they also are more productive, and that helps to keep your bottom line healthy too. While you can’t push your employees to adopt a healthier lifestyle, you can encourage and provide them with opportunities to get and stay fit, such as:
– Take stock of your office vending machine. Replace high-fat and high-calorie items like pop and chips with more healthy and nutritious snacks.
– Do you have an office cafeteria? Look at adding health-smart items to the menu.
– When it comes time for a team-building retreat or exercise, why not choose a program or location with physical activity opportunities?
– Reward employees who make healthy choices. For example, sponsor your company’s softball team.
– Office events and parties are great opportunities to promote healthy living while having fun, like a skating party.
– Create a team of executives and employees to look at and promote the benefits of good health in your business.
– Install a water cooler. Drinking more water is essential to losing weight and staying healthy.
– Offer a weekly lunchtime program where employees can learn how to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Make it fun and interactive; have cooking classes with a local chef where employees can learn how to prepare more nutritious meals, and then sample them for lunch.
– Make your office more exercise friendly. Install a shower for employees who bike to work or jog at lunch.
– Because fitness club fees can be expensive, look into corporate rates to give your employees added incentive to get fit.
– Make physical fitness a contest between departments. This is a great way to build team spirit in your company. Start a walking or running club and keep a weekly tally of weight lost or kilometers walked and offer a monthly prize to the team with the best overall performance.
When it comes to changing your employees’ lifestyles and habits, think of it as an investment. It takes considerable time, effort and dedication, but it’s one that will result in significant returns for your employees (an improved quality of life) and for you (improved profitability and profits).
Dining at Your Desk
8 Reasons to Make it a Dining Don’t
Eating lunch at your desk happens to the best of us – we’re slammed with projects, there’s a meeting in the break room and it’s cold or wet outside. In fact 50% of people who work in offices eat regularly at their desk.
While it’s convenient, eating at your desk is a habit you may consider breaking. Organize Anything has 8 reasons why you should mix up your lunchtime routine.
1. Breaks are beneficial. Sitting at your desk for 8 hours straight does nothing for your productivity. Even getting up and walking to the break room will increase your mental stimulation and increase your output for the day.
2. Etiquette at work matters. Consider your cubicle-mates. No one wants to listen to you crunch down on your salad or smell the garlicky leftover pasta from last night. Don’t have a lunch room? Don’t fret, find a quiet corner and eat elsewhere.
3. Better Thinking. Often inspiration hits in the most unusual places, and if you’ve been sitting at your desk staring at your computer screen trying to write the last paragraph of the annual report you know just what we mean. By running out for lunch or taking a walk around the office will force your brain to switch gears and you may be inspired!
4. Face time creates collaboration. Use lunch to get to know your co-workers. You share an office with them; why not forge friendships as well? Lunch time chats help build moral and a sense of teamwork amongst your colleagues.
5. Fresh air and daylight rejuvenates. Take advantage of beautiful weather and pop outside to eat your lunch. Even if you’re just sitting on a bench in the parking lot, you’re getting all the benefits of fresh air and sunshine. It’ll rejuvenate you for the second half of the day.
6. Avoid mindless eating. If you keep snacks in your workspace, you can fall victim to mindless snacking. Handfuls of easy-to-eat snacks disappear while you’re spending long hours at your desk. Cut down on the calories and promote intentional snack and meal breaks.
7. Escape from the germs. Did you know that the surface of your desk is 600 times dirtier than a toilet? If that’s not enough to put you off your lunch, eating at your desk can also expose you to all the germs that are floating around the office. The intern who’s carrying the flu just dropped off a pile of paperwork on your desk on top of your lunch bag. Think about it.
8. It’s good for business. If you’re feeling refreshed, creative and productive after lunch you’re boosting business. Your colleagues will notice and so will customers. No one wants to deal with an unfocused employee.
Break the habit by aiming to eat somewhere other than your desk at least once a week if you’re normally someone who works through lunch. You’ll be amazed the difference it makes.
Here’s how to create a rockin’ routine or to rework one you already have:
1. Make a list of some of the regular activities you do in the run of a day like getting the kids ready for school, exercising, email or a report at work.
2. Estimate how much time it takes to do each task.
3. Try to group actions by similar activity and location to minimize the amount of time you spend running back and forth, such as preparing supper, getting dressed for work, or items to be photocopied or sent out at work.
4. To finish your routine, write down your tasks in the order you will perform them along with the time allotted for each.
5. Use the times to limit the amount of time you spend on an activity (like getting dressed or primping).
6. Add up the times to determine a start time to begin your routine.
7. Be sure to give yourself a buffer zone of extra time for unexpected events.
8. Save time and adapt to curve balls by completing tasks before you need to do them.
9. To create some new habits try linking them to ones that are already in place. Put a load of laundry in as you start to make supper.
Once you make your routines rock, you’ll see how it can save you time, toil, and trouble every day.
Ready to get organized to better manage your time? Here are some helpful tools to get you started.
Day Planner. Use one place to record all your appointments and special dates. Be sure to record telephone numbers along with appointment details so you can call if you are running late or need to cancel the appointment. Instead of writing To Do lists on scraps of paper that easily get lost, record them in the notes section of your day planner. Make a habit of carrying it with you everywhere and don’t leave anything to memory. There a lots of different styles and sizes of day planners. Think about which kind will work for you. Will it fit in your bag or purse? Do you like to look at a day at a time, a week at a time, or a month at a time?
Wall Calendar. A calendar with large blocks or a wipe off calendar is useful for keeping a family organized or for scheduling multiple projects. Try color coding different family members or projects to keep things easy to read. Keep the family calendar in a popular place in your house and encourage children to check the calendar to see what they have to do today. Schedule start dates and deadlines for your projects.
Email. Sign up for free email reminders for important events (birthdays, appointments, school events). E-cards can be scheduled to be sent on a specific date on most e-card websites. Take 20 minutes to schedule birthday cards to be sent to all your family and friends. Don’t forget other occasions such as mother’s day and father’s day. This way if your birthday present, card, or phone call is late, they will at least know that you have not forgotten them.
Clocks. If you find yourself always running late in the morning, make sure you have a clock in view of each area where you get ready—in the bathroom, in the kitchen, in your bedroom. Many people have stopped wearing watches, since they can check the time on their cellular phone. This is actually harder than glancing at your wrist (and less subtle) so consider getting a new battery for your Timex.
Timers. Using a kitchen timer or hour glass is a great way to measure out lengthy projects into measurable chunks. Constantly checking the clock can create a lot of stress and distraction. Setting an alarm can allow you to concentrate on the task at hand without worrying about being late. If you have difficulty estimating time, using an hour glass is a great visual to help you see the passage of time.
Inboxes and other boxes. Label trays to help cut down on massive piles of paper. Try labeling them according to subject (school, work, home) or action the must be taken (Email/Mail, Look Into, File). Try setting up a special box that children can put notices from school and papers to be signed in. If you do not have desktop trays you can make your own our of cereal or courier boxes. Cut out half of the front of the box. You can stack these on a desk or pin them to the wall. To create magazine organizers measure three inches from the top of the box and also three inches from the bottom the box, cut boxes diagonally from these points. Boxes can be painted or covered for a neater appearance.
Think about what will best fit your style and pick up the appropriate day planner, calendar, clock, or timer. Picking the right time management tools for your lifestyle and personality will help you achieve the efficiency you desire.
Running late and keys are nowhere in sight? You’ve retraced last night’s steps to no avail, and once again have to dig out the spare? Once you do find your keys, you swear you will never let them out of your sight again. Yet the cycle continues to repeat itself. To always ensure a speedy dash out the front door, follow these practical stepsto end the frustration of misplaced keys.
1) Be consistent by always keeping your keys in the same place. Regardless of how tired or distracted you may be when you get in the door, take the time to go directly to the spot to aid in starting this routine. Keep sticky notes on the inside of the front door, bathroom mirror, or fridge to remind you to immediately go back and put them in place.
2) Make sure the keychain you purchase is sturdy. Your key ring holds important items to you—keys to your home, car, office, and personal mail. Spend a little more money on your keychain to ensure their safety.
3) Do a key audit. If you do not like carrying a lot of keys on your chain, sort through them and get rid of ones you do not frequently use. Make sure all keys work and that you know what each is for. For easy identification, you can purchase keys cut with designs and patterns. Or, for a simple trick, paint the body of the key with colourful nail polish. Mount a hook rack on the wall and label them for quick and easy access when needed.
4) Whether you choose a hook, bowl, or basket by the door, make it fun. Buy an inexpensive funky coloured hook or pretty bowl that catches your attention. If you immediately hit the fridge when you walk in, keep your keys on top of the fridge. Try to choose somewhere out in the open where you can easily see them. Putting them in your jacket pocket can lead to panic when you cannot remember you put them there. In your bag, briefcase or backpack, find a regular home for keys and get them back to this spot just as you would in your home.
5) Being absent minded is no excuse to losing keys. A good memory is often related to developing good daily habits. The key is to follow the routine of always using the same location. Once the habit kicks in, you will do it without even realizing you did.
6) Accidents can happen, so keep an extra house key tucked in your wallet or with a close friend.
With these helpful tips, you’ll never have to worry about misplaced keys again. If you enjoyed this article, please pass it along to others who would find it useful and sign up for our Organize Anything newsletter on our homepage at www.organizeanything.com.
To maximize productivity for the following day, it is important to start off on the right track. Preparing yourself for your day’s events begins with a good night’s sleep. If you are tired of tossing and turning, follow these 8 tips to enjoy an uninterrupted night of shut eye.
1) Organizing yourself the night before can help to alleviate stress allowing you to benefit from a more restful sleep. Gather all materials that you will need for the next day. Prepare your lunch and breakfast to save time in your morning routine, finish your assignments the night before and have your bag packed and ready to go. When you are prepared, your mind can rest and stop racing about what needs to get done in the morning. Creating a routine of things you do before bed, as well as, what time you go to sleep and wake up at will help your body gear towards a healthy sleeping pattern.
2) Wash your bedding and sleepwear regularly. Use all natural products when doing your laundry. A good mattress and pillow can help with back and neck problems and other health issues. Poor sleeping patterns can have a negative effect on the immune system, therefore increasing injuries and illness. Just as you must change your running sneakers to guarantee proper support, you must change your mattress every eight to 10 years. Spend a little extra to buy a top quality mattress. After all, over a third of your time is spent in bed, so it should be comfortable and inviting.
3) Try not to exercise right before you go to bed. Instead, wake up half an hour earlier and begin your exercise routine as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. Exercise no later than early afternoon to give your body time to cool down fully. Another reason to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day is because people who exercise have an easier time falling asleep than non-exercisers do.
4) It is important to try to cut back on all caffeine products, but especially be mindful of your consumption before bedtime. Keep track of how much chocolate, tea, carbonated beverages, alcohol and coffee you drink. Instead, have a glass of water or juice. These healthier alternatives will not speed up your heart rate and keep you awake as caffeine products can. Avoid spicy foods and try not to eat at least three hours before you hit the sheets. If you are hungry, have a glass of milk. The serotonin will calm brain chemicals. The higher the level of serotonin, the more relaxed you will be and able to fall asleep easier.
5) Give yourself enough time to get a pleasant and relaxing sleep. Your body and brain need to replenish. We often underestimate how much sleep our bodies really need. We think we can function on as little sleep as possible, but our bodies need an average of eight hours per night. Doctors recommend falling asleep before 11pm. Go to bed earlier than you normally would. This can also help you to avoid constantly checking the clock and worrying about getting up. Also, keep the same sleep routine even on the weekends. Have a 20 minute nap later in the day if you are tired. Don’t overexert yourself and think you can catch up on your sleep on Sunday morning.
6) It takes some time to gear down from a mentally and physically exhausting day. Try to watch something light hearted on television before you go to bed, listen to soft music or read a calming book. Save repetitive and soothing chores for the end of the day, such as ironing or folding laundry. Pay bills and do heavy cleaning at least 2 hours before bed. Our minds continue to think about whatever we were doing before we fell asleep, so it is a good idea to create a restful mood for your mind and body. Turn off phones to avoid late-night disturbances and stop using your computer several hours before bedtime. Keep a notebook by your bed and record worries and task for the next day. This will help you clear your mind. After 20 minutes of unsuccessfully trying to fall asleep, get up and go into another room. The change of scenery will help you to get in the mood for sleep when you return to your bed.
7) Create a conducive and healthy sleep environment. Too much light may be keeping you awake. Dim the lights an hour before bedtime to prepare your mind. Turn your alarm clock away from you it has a backlight or digital display. Make sure your blinds block enough sunlight or wear an eye mask and earplugs. Providing full darkness for your eyes will aid you in falling asleep faster. Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature. You need lots of clean air space and a toxin-free room. Remove any candles or scented products that may be interfering with your sleep, and throw away piles of papers or old magazines in your room. Declutter any extra dust collectors that promote unhealthy air quality. Wash bedding and drapes in hot water to kill dust mites. Remember to replace your pillow every two years or at least wash it hot water periodically. Dust covers can be purchase to trap dust mites away in your mattress. To completely seal it off use duct tape over the zipper closure. Have you carpets cleaned periodically.
8) Try deep breathing while counting sheep. Try counting your breaths. Breathe deeply in and out through your nose.
The effects of sleep deprivation on our everyday performance can keep us from living up to our potential. Even a modest half hour lost per night can affect the way the body functions during the day. By following these suggestions, you will see an improvement in your sleep patterns and wake up feeling refreshed.