Remote Work Digest: March 20, 2018

The latest on all kinds of information, news, and resources that help you make working remotely better.

How To Become The Type Of Manager People *Actually* Like Working For | Erin Bunch, Wellandgood.com

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Some seriously successful boss babes weigh in on how to conquer the imposter syndrome most first-time managers experience and become the type of leader that your team (it’s your team now!) would be excited to work for.

Tips on how to successfully transition into a management role:

1. Avoid micromanaging
Stephanie Horbaczewski, founder and CEO of the Marketing Services Agency and Media Company StyleHaul, first and foremost calls out an all-too-familiar misstep she’s watched new managers make: micromanaging. “The most consistent misjudgment I see in managers is not recognizing when to have enough confidence in their teams to work autonomously to produce great results,” she says. To remedy this, she suggests allowing individuals to have more ownership and accountability for their own projects. “When team members grow, the company does, too,” she says.

2. Become “radically candid”
Communication, my boss babes say, is also key. “One of the biggest management challenges is [learning how to be] radically candid, or giving feedback that is direct, thoughtful, and ongoing,” says Katerina Schneider, founder of the buzzy supplement company Ritual. “I’m still learning how to do this, but the best mentors and leaders I’ve ever encountered are masters at helping their team constantly evolve and grow through feedback that is honest and caring.”

3. Tailor your management style to each person
It’s also important to recognize that cookie-cutter techniques may not be the most efficient way of dealing with individuals, says Sakara Life co-founder Danielle DuBoise. “Each person needs to be managed in their own unique way, and you have to adapt your communication styles accordingly,” she says. “This way of building a team is very effective because people feel seen and heard as individuals, rather than as worker bees.” Getting to know a person’s specific strengths and weaknesses will also, she says, help you to assign projects accordingly.

4. Teach, don’t tell
Meanwhile, Meg He, co-founder of Aday, posits that the most effective communication sometimes involves less talking and more doing. “Telling rather than teaching [is a big mistake I see new managers make],” she cautions. “This approach does not enable an employee’s growth.”

5. Allow others to be “smarter” than you
Whitney Tingle, co-founder of Sakara Life, agrees with this approach. “One of the biggest mistakes I see managers make is thinking they have all the answers instead of asking the right questions,” she says. “True leadership isn’t about having all the answers; it’s about surrounding yourself with amazing and intelligent people and making sure all that effort is aligned with the company’s mission.”

6. Start slow
Bandier founder Jennifer Bandier, meanwhile, cautions against a management mistake that can rankle a new team right off the bat. “New managers tend to come in and want to create immediate change; however, I believe that you should first learn about the existing processes and listen to your teammates and employees,” she says.

7. Celebrate success
In today’s fast-paced work environments, it can be tough to slow down enough to appreciate progress, Aday co-founder Nina Faulhaber says. She tells me that she loves to be “in the weeds” with her team, from creation to execution of a project or idea, but that sometimes she’ll move on too quickly once a project’s been completed. “This means I often forget to celebrate wins,” she says. “I’m so grateful when our team reminds us of successes and the moments we should cherish together.”

9 traits of successful programmers that kids can develop now| Mike Melnicki, Venturebeat.com

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Qualities like curiosity, perseverance, and empathy are critical and, frankly, harder to learn the older we get. If you want to equip your kids with the skills and traits they’ll need to make it as a software developer, start early and get them to go beyond the keyboard.

1. Focus
While there are lots of ways to foster focus in kids, I encourage parents to go the route of giving their child unstructured time to dive deep into whatever they enjoy doing. Let them understand what it feels like to be totally absorbed in something. Whether they’re shooting hoops or drawing, they’re building the muscle memory they need to see a task through to completion.

2. Collaboration
Making software is a team sport: It takes developers, designers, product managers, marketers, and customer support engineers. So what better way to learn how to work with others toward a common goal than by playing a team sport? Or if your kid isn’t interested in athletics, they can form a band, build a clubhouse with friends, or team up to work on a project. All of these collaborative activities teach kids how to divvy up the work, play their positions, and support each other.

3. Leadership
Providing opportunities to practice leadership at home can also lighten the load for parents. Find something your child can be in charge of: a flower bed, one day of your next family vacation, Grandma’s birthday gift, etc. It’s not about making them do it all themselves (delegating is an important skill, too!), it’s about giving them ownership of something. Let them make decisions about what gets done, and how.

4. Emotional Intelligence
Empathy is the key not only to creating software your customers love but to being a great teammate as well. Experts have written extensively about how to build empathy in kids, but I have a few favorites. The classic game of “what does that cloud look like?” introduces young kids to the idea that different people have different perspectives.

5. Curiosity
If you aren’t constantly learning and growing, your skills will atrophy and you’ll eventually be left behind. As with focus, unstructured time to explore an interest is a good way to foster curiosity. Better yet, parents can nurture their child’s curiosity by connecting them with books, activities, and documentaries on whatever subject they’re into. Bonus points for parents who demonstrate passionate curiosity about their own interests.

6. Growth mindset
Kids whose parents set an example by admitting what they don’t know (and inviting their child to come along and find the answer) have a leg up when it comes to developing a growth mindset. See also: kids whose parents take the time to explain complex concepts or systems to the best of their ability. Answering tough questions with “Well, that’s just the way it is” is expedient in the moment but does no good in the long run.

7. Writing
Very young kids can get a head start by telling you about what they did at school (and don’t hold back on the follow-up questions!). Parents of older kids can encourage journaling or writing short stories. When they’re ready, encourage them to write to companies whose products they use or to their representatives in government to advocate for things they are passionate about.

8. Storytelling
Asking kids to recount things that happened at school is a good way to foster this skill. So is making a short adventure movie with a smartphone for their friends – the more drama the better. As a bored teenager, I and my group of friends started organizing a show-and-tell event in the neighborhood where we’d tell a story about an object and why it was meaningful to us. It began with five attendees and grew to beyond 50 people on a monthly basis.

9. Teaching
Most kids love to show off what they know, so channeling that energy into teaching usually isn’t a hard sell. They can help younger siblings learn how to tie their shoes, fold clothes, braid hair, skateboard … whatever. Older kids can hone their teaching skills even futher by becoming peer tutors at school.

Learning and enrichment are the keys to future success, but burn-out is real. Heed the warnings of those child-athlete-gone-bad documentaries and encourage your kids to find their own path through early life and then send me their resumes in 10 years so I can hire them! A well-rounded childhood sets them up for a fulfilling career in software development, or wherever they ultimately choose to go.

Avoid Making These 7 Mistakes When Designing Your Home Office | Annie Pilon, Smallbiztrends.com

A home office can offer entrepreneurs a low-cost, convenient and comfortable place to run a business. But if it’s not designed well, it can also lead to plenty of distractions and loss of productivity.

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Blake Zalcberg is the president of OFM, a furniture manufacturer and distributor based in North Carolina. In addition to his design acumen, Zalcberg is also familiar with the importance of an effective home office due to the fact that a good portion of the OFM team works from home on a regular basis. So he’s familiar with a lot of the concepts that go into designing an effective workspace, along with some of the most common mistakes.

If you’re working to design your own home office, here are some missteps to avoid.

Designing Your Office as an Afterthought
Zalcberg says, “A lot of people just end up putting the office in that old formal living room that used to have plastic over the couches because it’s just not really used or they think they don’t need a dedicated office space at that time, even if they will in the future.”

Even if you don’t have a ton of space options for your office, try to choose or outline a space that will actually be conducive to good work, rather than just throwing a desk in the corner of the dining room.

Putting the Office Near Distractions
Distractions can be different for each worker. Some people can work with the TV on but get distracted if they see people walking down the street. So while it may not be possible to eliminate every potential distraction while working from home, think about the things that are most likely to derail your work and try to limit those as much as possible.

Failing to Soundproof your Office
No matter what your distraction levels might be, there’s value to having some level of soundproofing to your home office, whether that involves acoustic wall tiles or a solid wood door to shut out the rest of the house.

Zalcberg says, “Think about if you’re on a conference call. Do you want the person on the other line to hear the dog barking and doorbell ringing and kids running around, or do you want them to feel like you’re really focused on what they’re saying?”

Include Subpar Lighting
Poor lighting can also be a major hindrance to good work. If your office is in a room with minimal windows and you don’t have adequate overhead lighting, you’re likely to strain your eyes and get tired or worn out quickly. However, even if the only space you have is the basement, you can install bright LED bulbs in your overhead fixtures and then add table lamps to your space to make a big difference.

Forgetting About Comfort
Another source of distraction for some home office workers is the furniture. If you have an old desk and uncomfortable chair, it can make your office an unwelcoming space and even lead to back and neck problems. Instead, find an ergonomic chair that feels comfortable for you.

Failing to Plan for Avoiding Clutter
Once you outline the space to use and eliminate potential distractions, you then have to think about how to lay everything out effectively so that all of your items and documents have a set space. Think about your typical workday and the items you use most often to make sure that nothing will be left just floating around your desk or workspace.

Automatically Going with “Office Style”
According to Zalcberg, there’s been a major shift in home offices over the past several years. Before, offices in the home strongly resembled traditional offices, with similar furniture styles and generic office decor. But now, more entrepreneurs and professionals are taking the opportunity to get creative and make the office feel more like a part of the home. This doesn’t mean you should avoid generic office furniture. But you certainly don’t have to opt for this style just because you’re designing an office space.

The BEST lifehacks for a good night’s rest – including exercise and sex | Jeff Parsons, Mirror.co.uk

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According to The Sleep Council, nearly half of Brits are only getting about six hours of sleep a night. And an alarming four out of five people complain of disturbed or inadequate (or ‘toxic’)sleep.

Thankfully there are a range of techniques compiled by that can be used for a better night’s kip.

Here’s ten of the best from GPDQ, the UK’s first GP on-demand app:

1. Develop a sleep routine
Start developing a sleep routine a couple of hours before bed, to get your body and brain prepared for a restful night.

Firstly ensure that you go to bed at the same time every night, and as tempting as it may be to have a lie-in, it is also important to get up at the same time each morning.

Secondly, become a creature of habit, repeating the same bedtime routine every night to help to regulate your inbuilt body clock, (the circadian rhythm) and give your brain the cue it may need to know when it’s time to unwind and go to sleep.

2. Avoid white light before bed
Watching TV or using your computer or phone before bed may be considered a good way to relax before bed, but it can sometimes be detrimental. Namely because the bright light emitted, may act as an environmental cue to your body that it is wrongly day time, and therefore hinder any biological desire to fall asleep.

3. Take a warm bath
As well as the relaxation-factor it provides, research has shown that if you take a warm bath one to two hours before bed, the rise in temperature, followed by the drop-in temperature when you then enter a colder room induces sleep.

4. Listen to electronic music
A state of relaxation can be achieved in many ways including by reading, or listening to music. The influence of music in relaxation has becoming increasingly studied – most will listen to classical music or piano playlists; however an acclaimed DJ is encouraging people to turn to electronic music. DJ Tom Middleton, has created a sleep album called ‘Sleep Better’ designed to help Britons drift off, and it’s backed by science.

5. Reschedule your potential nightmare worries
If anxieties keep popping into your head, stopping you from falling asleep, acknowledge and accept them, but avoid feeding them with too much of your time. Rather than ruminating over these worries, write them down and pick them back up in the morning with a fresh head.

6. Learn relaxation techniques
Gentle relaxation exercises like simple yoga stretches, combined with steady breathing can reduce your blood pressure and heart rate to help you relax. Other practises such as mindfulness and meditation may be useful to get into a calming state.

7. Pamper yourself
Self-care can also be a big part of relaxation – pampering yourself in the evening with soothing oils or body lotion can make starting a bedtime routine an enjoyable process.

8. Exercise regularly
Exercising is an important part of our physical and mental health, and is a good way to manage stress and anxiety through endorphin release.

We also know that exercising in the day can improve sleep quality, however if you’re having difficulty sleeping and considering hitting the gym a couple times a week to help catch some Zs, just keep in mind that you need to make exercise a more frequent activity for a prolonged period before you begin to see tangible results.

9. Sex will make you sleepy
This is thought to be due to the production of oxytocin, a hormone that will counteract the stress hormone cortisol, allowing you to feel more relaxed and transition nicely into sleep.

According to nhs.uk: “Unlike most vigorous physical activity, sex makes us sleepy. This has evolved in humans over thousands of years.”

10. Optimise your diet
In general, avoiding eating heavy meals before bed and reducing caffeine intake (ensuring none is consumed for at least 6 hours before bed) is likely to help.
We also know that whilst alcohol is likely to send you off to sleep, it is also likely to result in poor quality sleep, waking you up several times through the night.

What experts say:

“The most important myth of sleep is the 8-hour rule,” said Nick Littlehales a sport sleep coach that recently partnered with Braun UK. to help people lower their blood pressure.

“If you tap it in your browser you’ll realise that when that lightbulb was invented, we always slept in a polyphasic way. This means to sleep in shorter periods more often. People worry about sleep and try to do it all at night for 8 hours or more, which is really difficult,” he added.

“In sport we use a polyphasic approach where you sleep in shorter periods more often, by using naps at midday and early evening. We should aim to change our perspective of sleep and view it as recovery in 24 hours, instead of recovery eight hours at night.”

 

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Remote Work Digest: February 19, 2018

The latest on all kinds of information, news, and resources that help you make working remotely better.

Working From Home? Use These 5 Tips to Stay Comfortable and Productive | Ronald Stanford, Classycareergirl.com

Working from home comes with certain challenges, especially for employees accustomed to working in an office environment. Read on to discover a few helpful tips for working from home, including ideas on how you can stay productive and comfortable so you can thrive at your job.

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1. Pin Down Your Work Habits
If you’re working from home, you may be setting your own schedule, and that means you need to learn to pay attention to how you manage your time.

Give yourself a few minutes before you start your day to make sure you have everything you’ll need, from a notepad and pens to a pair of headphones and a cup of coffee. Set specific times for breaks, including a lunch break, during which you should take the time to stretch your legs and get some fresh air.

2. Create a Schedule
Set an alarm and wake up at the same time every day. Eat a healthy breakfast and go about your morning routine as if you were heading into the office. Set up in an office or bedroom where you can close the door and concentrate.

3. Be Comfortable, But Not Too Comfortable
One of the most common mistakes made by at-home employees who ultimately find themselves lacking in productivity is that they attempt to work in their pajamas from their beds.

Get up, get dressed, put on shoes, and sit upright at a desk or table. Studies have shown that this has a psychological effect for many people, putting them in a productive state of mind that helps to increase focus and improve results.

4. Get Rid of Those Distractions
Your smartphone can be a huge source of distraction, especially if you don’t have a supervisor hanging out over your shoulder. If you need to leave your smartphone on, turn it upside down on your desk and turn off all push notifications. Use apps specifically designed to block social media during set hours.

5. Remember to Eat Lunch
Forgetting to eat can you to lose motivation, get tired, and even become combative when you don’t need to be. Just remember to give yourself half an hour to an hour of lunch time.

Follow these tips, stay focused and energized, and you’ll have everything you need to be a model remote employee!

Why Offering Paid Leave Is Good For Your Business | Adam Uzialko, Business.com

Yes, paid leave policies represent an additional cost, but the benefits they provide pay for themselves and some.

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Image from Business.com

Researchers have demonstrated that offering paid leave results in higher productivity, greater employee morale, and a net cost savings for companies in the long run. So, while budgetary-minded business owners might initially be wary of the additional expenses added to the balance sheet, the numbers show that paid leave more than covers itself in the end.

Family and medical leave
In some states, paid family leave is offered through state-backed Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) programs, meaning employees pay into the system but, generally, employers do not. In states without a TDI program, however, the only mandated requirement is that companies extend 12 weeks of job-protected leave – without pay – to employees under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Paid sick leave, on the other hand, is generally an employer-sponsored plan not mandated or supported by the government in any way. It’s important to note this distinction when discussing the types of paid leave policies and who is funding them. Each offers important benefits, though, to both companies and workers.

Greater productivity
In terms of paid sick leave, workers who would otherwise come into work sick – either because of a need to make money or fear of losing their position – are free to stay home, thereby protecting the rest of the workplace from infection. The spread of communicable disease has a devastating effect on productivity; for example, a New Jersey restaurant was forced to shut down for more than a week after a sick worker caused a mumps outbreak.

“Presenteeism is when people go to work sick and cause public health issues,” White said, “and the fact is that if people were able to take the time to stay at home and take care of themselves [with pay], this would not happen as often.”

On the family leave side, many employers already offer family leave, even if they are not required to do so by law. However, many small businesses do not or cannot extend paid leave to their employees. When workers have the security of knowing they won’t miss out on pay due to caring for a newborn or a family member, they tend to be less stressed in the workplace and more focused on their assigned tasks, reducing mistakes and increasing overall productivity.

“A happy, more satisfied employee who is not stressed out about family care issues is much more able to focus on doing a better job,” White said.

Heightened employee morale
Paid leave policies also have the impact of boosting employee morale, which leads to improved retention rates and better talent acquisition. By offering paid leave, companies are promoting a healthier work-life balance, which also contributes to the aforementioned stress reduction that translates into better day-to-day productivity.

“We did research on women in law firms, and what we found was that law firms invest an enormous amount of time and resources in hiring and training new attorneys, but if they don’t provide paid family leave, when female attorneys go off on maternity leave, they are less likely to return,” White said. “So off goes all those training dollars, time, and resources invested in that person.”

By offering a paid leave program and boosting retention rates, companies can avoid losing workers they’ve already substantially invested in and who know the way the workplace operates.

The case for paid leave
Paid leave, particularly family and medical leave, offers tangible business benefits that not only improve workplace morale but can help boost profitability in the long-term. From improved employee retention to heightened productivity, business owners reap the rewards of offering their employees what they need.

As Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Records has said, putting your staff first translates into success for your customers, your shareholders, and your overall business. Paid leave isn’t just a cost, it’s an investment in your staff, and it pays big dividends.

9 Time-Saving Life Hacks For Extremely Busy Working Women | Sonali Kokra, Swirlster.ndtv.com

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Image from Swirlster.ndtv.com

In the fast-paced, hectic and chaotic world we live in today, there are always too many things to do, too many places to be and too little time to do it all in. Fortunately, there exist life hacks that can make the ride a little bit smoother, by saving you little pockets of time on days when pulling off the balancing act between professional, personal and health commitments successfully can seem like an impossible dream. Here are nine life hacks that can help you in little ways every single day.

Learn to say ‘no’
Learning how to say no – politely, but firmly – is the single most important life skill to save time and be able to prioritise what’s truly important.

Buy a portable charger, already
It’s a pain in the posterior when your phone decides to blink with the annoying sign of a low battery at the precise minute you’re supposed to be on your way to keep an appointment. Save yourself some serious heartache by investing in a powerful battery pack for your phone.

Flip your mattress every three months
Flipping your mattress every few months will even it out and prevent it from sagging, which, in turn, will save you from a world of pain in the form of poor posture and backaches. Flipping your mattress will take a couple of minutes, but a hurting back will take a whole lot longer to deal with.

Keep snacking
If you take very long breaks between meals, your body will start tiring due to lack of glucose and productivity will dip. Snacking every couple of hours is not only good for your metabolism, but will also keep your energy levels high, enabling you to work at your optimum.

Keep salt, pepper, etc. in your drawer at work
You never know when you might need them and there’s nothing that can sour one’s mood faster than having to eat a bland meal because there was no time to run to the cafeteria for basic supplies.

Don’t incessantly check emails
Stopping what you’re doing to check every new email can distract you and make you lose focus on the current task. So allot specific times in the day to check and respond to emails – perhaps once when you start work, once before lunch and one before you wrap up for the day.

Unsubscribe from useless lists
Take 10 minutes every fortnight or so to unsubscribe from mailing lists you have no use for, especially e-commerce websites. They’ll draw you in with a product you never intended to buy and before you know it, you will have spent a lot of easily-saved time and money on the site.

Park your car a few lanes away
Force yourself to walk at least a little by parking your car a few lanes away from work. In addition to giving your body some physical exercise, it will give you time to think, which in turn increases productivity.

Keep wrist/ankle weights in your drawer at work
You may not have the time to go to the gym and do weight training, but there’s really nothing that is stopping you from stocking up from ankle and wrist weights at work and using them to tone and stretch your muscles a little. Use them while taking calls or during a brain-storming session with your peers to relax stiff muscles and get the blood flowing.

4 Common Sources of Job Frustration – and How to Cope with Them | Maurie Backman, Host.madison.com

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Image from Host.madison.com

Though no job is perfect, there comes a point when all of the negative feelings about one can really come to a head. If you’ve been down on your job lately, here’s how to get past some of the aggravation sources you might be dealing with.

1. Being micromanaged
Dealing with a micromanaging boss is never fun, especially if that person not only annoys you, but actually causes you to waste valuable time by constantly butting in and demanding updates on the work you’re doing. If you have the misfortune of reporting to a micromanager, your best bet is to figure out why your boss is constantly at your back. Is it a function of his or her personality, or is it something you did?

2. Having a packed meeting schedule
Be more judicious in the meeting invites you accept. Before you agree to attend a meeting, review its agenda and make sure your presence is truly required. If you can free up even an hour or two of time per week by saying no here and there, it’ll make a difference in your workload.

3. Your constant barrage of emails
Carve out a chunk of time each day to respond to emails, and ignore them otherwise. This way, you’ll be less likely to get distracted while working on important tasks.

Furthermore, having a set amount of time to address messages might enable you to vet them more properly.

4. Too much work and too little time
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your workload, your best bet is to set priorities and arrange your schedule around them, if possible. This is something you can do on either a weekly or daily basis, depending on which works best for you. Knowing what items you really need to tackle will help you stay focused and avoid getting sidetracked by minor tasks that can wait.

We all go through bouts of frustration at work, but if you’re looking to improve your experience at the office, it pays to address those issues at the source rather than let them fester. Follow these tips, and with any luck, you’ll soon come to be more content and less disgruntled.

 

 

Introducing Work Schedule

We are excited to introduce a new feature called Work Schedule. In many cases, the users in an organization need to work during specific hours in a day. For example, some companies need their employees to work between 9:00am and 5:00pm on every day. To facilitate such use case, we have developed Work Schedule feature to help organizations better control when users are allowed to log time.

As a manager, you can set up one or more work schedules. For example, you have two groups of employees, one local and one working from offshore. You can have a work schedule named “Regular hours” that specifies the time range of 9:00am to 5:00pm. You can also set up another work scheduled named “Offshore shift” that specifies the time range of 5:00pm to 10:00pm. Then in a project, you can assign the “Regular hours” schedule to your local employees so that they can only log time between 9:00am and 5:00pm. Likewise, you can assign the “Offshore hours” schedule to your offshore employees so that they can only log time between 5:00pm and 10:00pm. This way, you can make sure that each employee works during the specified hours.

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What happens if a user is assigned a schedule but he tries to log time outside of the time range specified in the schedule? Worksnaps Client will be able to handle this elegantly. If a users tries the select a project to log time but the current time is outside of the time range of his assigned schedule, he will get a warning and will not be able to select the project. If the user has been logging time in a project within the assigned schedule and the end time of the schedule has been reached, the time logging will be paused and he will be reminded that he cannot log time to the project anymore. Worksnaps Client will be the gatekeeper to ensure that the assigned schedule has been followed.

If you are interested in using the Work Schedule feature, you can check out this help file that tells you the details steps about how to set up a work schedule and apply it.

If there is any feedback or comment, as usual we would love to hear from you.

 

 

In Need Of Motivation? Try These Simple Tried And True Productivity Tips

This article was written by Danny Forest, founder of Power Level Studios, an Ontario-based independent video game development company. With him (and his team) being full-time, remote workers currently creating the studio’s flagship game titled “Soul Reaper: Rise of the Unreaps” and “Soul Reaper: Unreap Commander,” he has seen his fair share of productivity and motivational issues. Find out how he combats these problems and how you can too with these tips.
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Think about this simple idea: Productivity leads to wins. Wins lead to momentum. Momentum makes you unstoppable. Being unstoppable means that motivation almost becomes irrelevant.

You get the idea.

But this all starts by being productive.

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” — Tim Ferriss

And being productive is not all about working more than others, it’s also about working more efficiently. Differently. Thinking outside the box.

Apply the following 5 tips. Let them inspire you to come up with your own. Let me and the world know what works for you in the comments. Let’s all be productive and build our momentum!

Tip #1: Split Tasks into their smallest components

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Is an orange a single component?

Well, no. When you break it down into its smallest components, there’s quite more to it.

A lot of our tasks are similar. For some reason, we don’t dare break it down into smaller components.

I personally aim to break everything down into about 10–15 minutes tasks.

As proven by science and explained in this article, the brain dumps a little dopamine every time we successfully accomplish a task — no matter how big or small.

This habit also has a tendency of keeping you moving toward your goals, and clearing the mental clutter in your mind. — TheMindUnleashed.com

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https://eduwithtechn.wordpress.com/2007/02/26/improving-student-achievement-through-small-wins-introduction/

Tip #2: Start the day with one or two easy tasks

Even though I consider myself to be highly motivated, I still need a “win” or two to start my day. After completing easy tasks, I have the motivation and energy to tackle the real hard problems.

Working as a programmer, I typically start with an easy bug fix or small UI change that can be done in 10 minutes or less. Pushing the code up and moving the Trello card to “Done” gives me the drive to keep going.

Working out? Do 10 push-ups as you wake up. You’ll be ready to go to the gym.

Writing? Start by praising a writer you like.

Or even easier, start by making your bed. I personally find it a little too easy and doesn’t really work towards my own personal goals, but it works for other people.

Tip #3: Work on your hardest tasks when you work best

For me, it happens in the morning, right after I finish my one or two easy tasks. I start so early that I don’t have any distractions for about 2 hours, and I have all the energy from having woken up not too long ago + coffee + dopamine rush from previously completing tasks. It’s a recipe for success!

Hard tasks for me include game design/balancing and engineering new systems. Things that require all my brain power. It will be something different for you.

The point is: Don’t spend your high-quality energy on low-importance tasks, otherwise you’ll end up with high-quality results for low-importance tasks.

1_97-nTzZhf-ZVz-tORV_4awAlways aim for high-quality results for high-importance tasks. It’s that simple!

“Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.” ~ Peter Drucker

Tip #4: Prepare your next day the night before

This greatly helps with waking up in the morning! At the end of my workday, I write down all the tasks I’ll be working on for the next day and review it before going to bed. This helps me wake up with a sense of purpose. I know what needs to be done, and I want to do it!

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As a bonus, my brain keeps working while I sleep, so sometimes I come up with genius ideas on how to complete my tasks while I sleep! Everyone has heard the expression: “sleep on it”. Well, there you go! It’s been proven many times that it helps and here’s an explanation:

REM [sleep] helps to stabilize, consolidate, and enhance connections between memories. Information that was stored in long-term memory during the day is activated (also called rehearsed) and turned into useful connections while we experience REM sleep. — factmyth.com

Tip #5: Take breaks and relax

Have you ever worked on a problem you couldn’t figure out for hours, and later went back to it and solved it in a matter of minutes? Often right?

The problem is we obsess over problems we can’t solve. We spend the little energy we have left trying to figure it out, but the mind just doesn’t work as it should. Take a damn break! It’s a skill that takes practice: figure out when and how to take breaks. Don’t do it on a schedule, that makes no sense. Take a break when you can’t solve a problem that you should be able to solve with minimal to low-effort.1_-6HMxgBiG9tG9FyP-DZbXg

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My favourite ways to re-energize are: Power Naps, Coffee Naps, Walking, Showering and Meditating, in no particular order.

Bonus tip: Ignore the people judging you for taking a well-deserved break.

People may label you as a slacker but they’re wrong. Ignore them, reap the rewards and be more productive than them!

Conclusion

Remember that being unstoppable all starts from being more productive.

Whatever you find hard to get motivated on can be made simpler with a series of small productivity wins.

The tips above help you manage your expectations, but also help with respecting your body and mind.

Have you tried applying any of these tips?

Which ones work for you?

What are some of your personal favourite tips?

Feel free to share your experiences in the comments and inspire the rest of the world!

You can do this!

 

Remote Work Digest: January 23, 2018

The latest on all kinds of information, news, and resources that help you make working remotely better.

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Image from Shutterstock.com

4 keys to working from home successfully | MT Staff, Managementtoday.co.uk

There are a plethora of benefits for both employers and employees to working from home including a reduction in commuting time, decreased amount of sick days taken, increased productivity and a significant saving in office rent. However, the lack of supervision is a large drawback for employers offering working from home to its employees.

Consequently, we have collated advice from a range of experts who provide their top tips on how to make the most out of working from home to benefit both employers and employees.

1. Communication is key
Before offering remote working to employees, clear communication methods need to be set. How often you will speak and if this will be expected to be via the phone or Skype need to be clearly indicated to all participating. Frequent communication will prevent duplication of tasks and avoid mistakes occurring from a lack of communication.

2. Establish Clear Objectives
Karen Meager and John McLachlan, co-founders of Monkey Puzzle Training, suggest that if an individual is not fully briefed on a task then mistakes are highly likely, which can be costly for a business as time and money is wasted. Also confusion can be demotivating for employees and can lead to them becoming easily distracted at home since they are not enjoying their work.

3. Prioritize a healthy work-life balance
When working from home the boundaries between ‘home’ and ‘work’ can easily become blurred, so separate the two as best as you can. This could be achieved through having a set-apart office for work or working in coffee shop or libraries. This separation helps your mind realize it is time to work and creates a more productive environment which can boost your concentration.

4. Stay Motivated
Susanne Jacobs, author of Drivers suggests the best way to combat this and stay motivated is through focusing on your sense of purpose. Remember your strengths and break down a goal into achievable smaller tasks to help retain your sense of purpose and productivity.

7 Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise | Robert J. Davis, Time.com

If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to get in shape, now comes the hard part: sticking with it. This is the time when many of us begin to see our efforts derailed by an array of obstacles, including jobs, family responsibilities, a dislike of exercise or simple inertia.

Seek instant gratification
The key is identifying what the short-term payoff of exercise is for you. Is it sounder sleep? A better mood? Clearer thinking? Less pain? More patience? Such benefits may not be instantly evident if you’re new to exercise, so determining which ones apply to you can take a little time. But once you figure it out, keep those rewards in mind – or better yet, post them on your bathroom mirror, fridge or anywhere else you can readily see them – so they provide a nudge, especially when you feel your willpower flagging.

Set goals
While your goal should be challenging, it shouldn’t be unrealistic. For example, if you’ve never run before, it’s not reasonable to expect to run a marathon in a month. Nor is it realistic to think that walking for 30 minutes a day will give you a beach body. Setting goals such as these can lead to discouragement and cause you to give up when you fail to achieve them.

Keep track of your progress toward your goal. For some people, wearable fitness trackers or smartphone apps can be useful by providing hard data and encouragement. But you don’t have to use technology if it’s not your thing. Keeping a journal of your activity is perfectly fine. What’s important is to record your activity, in whatever way works for you, so you can see how well you’re doing.

Have a game plan
Just as your goals should be realistic, so should your planning. For example, if you tend to be too tired or busy with family duties at the end of the day, don’t schedule a workout then; find another time that’s better suited to you. Likewise, if you plan to exercise at a park or a gym, choose one that’s nearby. The farther out of your way you have to go to work out, the more likely you are to blow it off.

Shorten your workouts
A lack of time is one of the main reasons for not sticking with exercise. But a growing body of research suggests that so-called high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, can greatly reduce the amount of time you need to exercise while producing benefits that are the same as—or even greater than—what you get from conventional moderate-intensity cardio workouts.

Entertain yourself
Like fitness game apps, other forms of entertainment, such as books on tape, podcasts, movies or TV shows, can reduce boredom while you work out and provide a distraction from any discomfort you’re feeling. Saving certain entertainment — a series on Netflix you’ve been wanting to watch, for example — for only when you’re exercising can be especially motivating. That way, you’ll have something to look forward to and associate your workout with a treat that you don’t otherwise get.

Work out with a buddy
This boost in motivation happens when others around you are just moderately better than you. If they’re far more advanced at an activity, the result can be just the opposite: You may be more likely to get discouraged and quit. That’s why if you’re, say, just beginning to jog, it’s probably not wise to work out with triathletes.
Of course, finding a suitable workout partner or group isn’t always possible. And some people simply prefer to go it alone. If you’re a solo exerciser, you may still be able to get the motivational benefits of a workout buddy or group via social media. In a study of people who participated in a Web-based walking program, those who were randomly assigned to an online community where they could communicate with other walkers were more likely to stick with the four-month program than those who had no access to the community.

Pay yourself
Being rewarded for hard work can be a powerful incentive to continue. A review of 11 randomized studies collectively involving about 1,500 people concluded that using money as a reward makes recipients more likely to exercise and stick with it for up to six months and possibly longer.

Putting your own money at stake can be an effective motivator, according to research. In one study, employees of a large company who made fitness commitments backed by their own funds went to the gym 50% more often than those who didn’t have this incentive.

Millenials Are Ready To Be Leaders: Here’s How They’re Doing It | Larry Alton, Forbes.com

According to research from the Harvard Business Review, the average age of first-time managers is 30, and the average age of people in leadership training is closer to 42. This poses an interesting problem for most managers, who don’t receive training until they’ve been on the job for 10 years (if they receive training at all), but it also shows that we’re falling squarely into an age with Millennials taking the helm of their own teams.

So how are Millennials succeeding in these roles, and how are they changing the workplace?

Why Millenials Are Ready

Let’s look at some of the main reasons why Millenials are prepared on leadership roles:

  • Age and experience. With a decade or more of experience under their belts, they’re ready for bigger roles.
  • Numbers. Millennials have officially become the largest generation as of last year, and represent the largest percentage of the workforce.
  • Autonomy and confidence. Millennials crave autonomy, and have confidence in their skills; those characteristics drive them to take charge of more people and more responsibilities.

How Millenials Are Changing Things

So how are Millenials leading in ways different from their older generational counterparts?

  • More and better feedback. Only 19% of surveyed Millennials said they received routine feedback, but nearly all Millennials wanted feedback regularly; they also refused to ask for it. This urge for feedback and understanding of feedback’s importance will likely follow them into leadership positions, except as leaders, they’ll have the power to institute a powerful system.
  • More fluid adoption of new technology. According to Karoline Holicky of Meisterplan, “Millennials trust the power of technology, and know that adopting better systems is the most efficient way to make better decisions.” Overarching platforms, like project portfolio management software, may become more common as Millennial leaders rely on its abilities to make better decisions and organize resources.
  • More flexibility and fewer rules. According to a Bentley University study, 77% of Millennials agreed that more flexible working hours would make their generation more productive. Carrying this philosophy into a position of leadership, Millennial leaders will likely instate more flexibility, including customizable hours, more remote work, and even more relaxed rules in the office.
  • Higher demands for brand values and company culture. Values have always been an important cultural institution for Millennials, when choosing an employer or a supplier, and now they get to create and enforce those values within the context of their own teams.
  • Preparation for generation Z. Millennials are aging, and will likely be looking over their shoulder as the next generation—usually referred to as “generation Z” or the “post-Millennial” generation—as they start rising through the ranks themselves. Millennial values are starting to fade, and workplaces won’t remain under their firm vision or leadership for long.

Soon, generation Z will start graduating from college and flooding the marketplace, and Millennials will be able to join their generation X and baby boomer counterparts to complain about a new host of youthful characteristics. Until then, Millennials will have a brief period of enjoying the energy of youth alongside the experience necessary to drive true changes in the workplace.

Bust a Myth: You Can’t Create Strong Teams with People Who Are Remote | Carey Woodhouse, Business2community.com

Creating a high-performing team can be hard enough; is it too big of a risk to expect great results from a team with freelancers, or is it just a simple change in mindset?

First, let’s talk about some characteristics that make a team a good one—and then look at how remote professionals can not only help teams align with these traits but ultimately help them grow stronger.

Communication is the thread that ties every team together, whether you’re talking about a two-person startup or 100-person teams spread across different countries. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the same room or working from home; poor communication can happen in any team, and when it unravels, so can a strong team. Similarly, lack of communication and passing the buck when mistakes happen can sometimes foster doubt and mistrust, and weaken a team structure.

Remote work reality: Remote workers are independent professionals who know trust is ultimately key to their own success.
The right mix of technology can help create a more tight-knit vibe between professionals, making “remote” a smaller part of the equation. That said, solid communication comes down to the individual more so than the tools they’re using. Holding important meetings via video conferencing“ can create a solid foundation for collaboration and communication that feels as “in person” as possible.

Trust is a two-way street. Be sure to be timely in communication, provide adequate feedback on the work delivered (positive or constructive), and respond to invoices—remote workers will respond by delivering great work.

Strong team trait #2: Cooperation, collaboration, and support
We’re living in the heyday of collaboration tools. Team members can easily contribute no matter where they are, thanks to tools that provide a snapshot of a project and visibility into deadlines and milestones. It all boils down to seamlessly working together and keeping the ball rolling, and there’s no shortage of apps designed to help you do just that.

Remote work reality: Remote workers help teams be results-driven where it counts
If the success of your team is at all measured by its output—both quality and quantity—supplementing your team with remote workers dedicated to performing specific projects can be the difference between meeting and missing production goals and tackling tight turnarounds. Results-driven work cultures are all about holding each member of a team accountable for the work he or she is to execute, a model that lends itself particularly well to working with remote workers.

If you have an existing team, set them up for success with a hybrid team model so no one is stretched too thin. Quick deadlines and increased production demands put stress on everyone in an organization, especially teams already operating at capacity. Help your business move faster by giving projects to remote team members. This can also prevent burn-out and cut down on the rush to get things done, which often leads to a decrease in quality and more room for error.

Strong team trait #3: Innovation and willingness to take on new challenges
A team that pushes one another, rather than one that makes excuses, is a team that continually grows and improves. Finding a better way to get something done (even if the current process isn’t malfunctioning) is a clear sign of a high-functioning team.

Remote work reality: Freelancers bring innovation with flexibility, focus, and specialized, niche skill sets you don’t have in-house.
Teams that leverage freelancers can boast impressive results, expand capabilities, and break ground with new and cutting-edge skills. It can be difficult for a professional working 40 hours a week to find the time to learn something new, but continuing to evolve—especially in areas like engineering and development—can help teams thrive.

When you value every member of your team but want to try a new tool or program (say, turning data analysis into business intelligence), freelancers can step in and help when and how you need it. Remote workers can move things forward whether it’s bringing in the expertise just to advise your team on the new tool or program or to set up a whole new program for success.

Strong Team Trail #4: Relationships and respect that go beyond workplace formalities
You don’t have to be best friends outside of work, but building a rapport and taking the time to learn about the people you work with demonstrates respect in nearly all cultures—and is a big part of the remote work equation.

Remote work reality: Freelancers are people, too, and with a little up-front effort, it’s easy to establish relationships based on trust, respect, and enthusiasm.
Although freelancers are small (or sometimes bigger) businesses, you’re still communicating with a person. Although a majority of your communication happens online (and what modern relationship doesn’t have some degree of the digital?), that doesn’t mean you can’t tailor that communication to be personal and respectful. Bookend conversations with casual questions and chatter and your working relationship will reap the benefits. Video chats make it easier than ever to create face-to-face interactions and pick up on visual cues.

Conclusion
At first glance, it might seem like having remote workers who aren’t all under the same roof might make some of these attributes a challenge—or maybe even impossible. But the way we work is changing, and modern teams that adjust to this new work reality are the ones that stand to thrive.

 

Remote Work Digest: December 23, 2017

The latest on all kinds of information, news, and resources that help you make working remotely better.

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Image from Getvero.com

Working from home? Four excellent ways to make it count | Tania Ngima, Sde.co.ke 

The holidays are around the corner. Are you one of the few people going to be fortunate enough to be off work with no demands on your time?

The idea of no dress code, ad hoc meetings and the liberty of walking into the kitchen to fix a snack whenever the need arose seemed like a dream.

The reality, though, is a bit starker. Say you work from home and the usual interruption come knocking. A phone call from a family member – they have an emergency and need help.

Or a friend has a crisis at work and needs a listening ear and shoulder to cry on. If you’re working from the office, it is very easy to say no, albeit apologetically.

When working from home though, it is much harder because you, in reality, could drop what you’re working on and help. But the question is, should you?

Set work hours

Block up a chunk of time to focus on your work. A time that doesn’t allow for other activities.

Grace Saunders, a time management coach says blurring the lines between your work time and personal time is a dangerous precedent. Other research shows that the way the human brain is wired is that if you have work related tasks that need to be completed, especially those that have deadlines, they will be constantly taking up space in your consciousness.

Create structure

Structure your day for success. First, avoid meetings or conference calls during your most productive hours.Most of us know when our most high energy levels are. Use these to work on reports, do analysis and respond to the very important emails.

Disable the notification that comes with your emails and chat messages for this period of time. Become deliberate about what time you sit to work, when you take breaks and when you have lunch.

Set boundaries

Be clear that you’re not simply at home but that you have a task list and need to get work done by the time you knock off.

Stay out of sight for the whole time you are working so it is understood that you’re not game for a quick chat or to play, especially if you have kids.

Be responsive

Working from home may be seen as shirking work-related responsibility.

For this reason, you will need to be available for the conference calls or meetings you have committed to, as well as on email or for important phone calls.

If you do not, the out of sight out of mind adage may apply and lead to you being seen as a less than effective team player.

Yes, You Can Run a Successful Business with a Remote Workforce | Andre Lavoie, Business.com

Distributed teams are difficult to manage – especially with employees in different time zones. Also, collaborative projects and team-building exercises are tougher to accomplish with remote workers.

Even so, success is possible with teams distributed across the country, or globe. Here are three steps to achieve it.

1. Overcome a lack of trust

When you’re not able to physically see employees working, it’s easy to assume they’re slacking off. When you don’t get immediate responses to questions, you can’t tell if the message was received.

Overcome this challenge by encouraging brief but frequent check-ins throughout the day. These can be as simple as a brief status update. Even notice of snack breaks and the like will let you know that the employee is online and connected.

Investing in the right project management software can also help you overcome any trust issues. This software allows workers to see their own tasks and how their personal work factors into the overall project completion. Many platforms also allow you to leave notes and questions to promote frequent communication with employees.

2. Place a priority on communication

Beyond work conversation, it’s important to help remote workers feel connected on a personal level. Don’t overlook the importance of small talk. Online chat platforms allow employees to post thoughts and funny photos, and also notify fellow team members about brief interruptions (lunch breaks, dog walks).

While immediate feedback isn’t always possible with distributed teams, you can still schedule one-on-one project update sessions at least once a month. Connecting in this way creates a greater sense of belonging and loyalty.

3. Be creative with team-building opportunities

It’s difficult to get a distributed team in the same place at the same time. However, that doesn’t mean team building has to suffer. You just have to be creative to keep remote workers connected.

For instance, schedule virtual holiday functions or social video chats. It’s important for employees to see each other and interact on a personal level, rather than an atmosphere of strictly business all the time.

Other fun ways to stay connected include shared music channels and innovative challenges or games. This prompts conversation about preferences and encourages workers to let their guards down.

It’s possible to embrace the growing trend of remote work while still making productivity and inclusion priorities in your company. Through frequent communication and creating an atmosphere of camaraderie, your distributed workforce will feel connected to each other as if they were all in the same office.

Exactly How To Work From Home Without Losing Your Sanity | Christine Chen, Thriveglobal.com

A quick checklist of  things you’ll need before you see if you’re cut out for it.

1. Great Internet – When it comes to that all important video conference with the CEO on your first day working from home, you need your upload speed just as much as your download speed so pay attention to this. It’s worth paying that little extra for FTTC+ rather than scrimping on ADSL and hoping nobody ever calls you or needs you to do anything. You’re not hiding away; you’re boosting your productivity.

2. Space – Prepare yourself a comfortable workspace. This doesn’t have to be an office – though it could be. The dining table is not in use during the day or even your bedroom dressing table could be turned into your workspace with the right amount of tweaking.

3. Collaborative Tools – Something to keep you in touch with the people in the office effectively. This could be anything from Skype to Slack to WhatsApp. Your business needs to or already has made a decision to what they use for communications, this just needs to be extended outside of the office.

4. Cloud Storage – It’s no good being accessible if all your hard, collaborative work ends up stored on your laptop where nobody else can see it. Onedrive, Sharepoint, Dropbox and the likes provide the rest of your organisation access to work on the document you just slaved over all day and gives your boss a clear view of the amount of work you’re doing.

5. Breaks – Go out for lunch if you want to, pop to the gym, walk the dog. It’s just as important to balance your work / rest when you’re in your home workspace as it is when you’re in the office to avoid burnout.

6. Reliable Equipment – Finding the correct office headphones is one of the most significant things that every proficient businessman will need. Selecting the right headsets for desk phones that deliver clear audio and can be used lively is exceptionally essential if you want to uphold high standards and look professional. Selecting a headset for desk phone may appear like a straight forward procedure but with a number of varieties obtainable it can simply become an intimidating task.

7. Dog – Right, maybe not a dog but you will need something to keep you sane. There will be days where you don’t hear from anybody and are fully focused on completing that project with the tight deadline. This could be a really good Spotify playlist, the radio, your secret knitting hobby.

8. Cookery Skills – If you don’t want to be buying food when you’re working at home and know you’ll get fed up with beans on toast everyday then work on your cooking skills.

9. Windows – Imagine looking around in distraction as you remove your eyes from the screen and seeing nothing but walls, notepads and coffee cups. Fresh air and a little scenery go a long way.

10. The Right Company – The company you work for needs to trust that you can be left to your own devices (literally) and help you on that journey. The company you keep in your workstation is crucial. If the thought of making conversation with your parents all day is mind numbing then working at your parents’ house is not for you. Perhaps having your friend over from another company would get you through the day – you’ll find the perfect fit eventually.

How to Discourage Workaholism in Your Remote Workforce | Greg Kratz, Flexjobs.com

In order to avoid this problem, managers should take steps to actively discourage the development of workaholic tendencies among remote employees.

Here are a few suggestions to help discourage workaholism among your employees:

Set clear and reasonable expectations.

Talk to your remote employees about their goals and the company’s plans. Assign tasks and projects that will let them grow, develop, and stretch themselves, but that won’t require them to ignore their personal lives and focus only on work.

Establish regular working hours.

This may be tricky, since remote workers sometimes put in time outside of the normal 9-to-5. It can also be complicated if your virtual team is scattered across different time zones across the country or around the world. Despite the challenges, make the effort to clarify when you expect them to be “on” and available.

Communicate effectively and frequently.

Schedule regular one-on-one meetings via video conference, so you can both see and hear each other while you talk. Be available via email, instant messaging, and online portals, as well. Figure out how they prefer to communicate, and use that method most frequently.

You must be in close contact with them if you want to make sure they’re succeeding, but not tipping over into workaholism.

Build a support system.

Create online chat areas for your team and encourage office personnel to engage their remote coworkers in conversations. It may also help to bring those remote employees into the office for a week or two now and then, to further strengthen those bonds. Not only should this help virtual team members engage with others, but it also could give them friends who will help them fight against workaholic tendencies.

Encourage both short and long breaks from work.

With no external influences nearby, your remote workers may get so engrossed in a project that they work for hours without taking a break. Or, even worse, they may work for weeks and months without escaping for a few days of vacation. Again, this might seem good from a productivity standpoint, but the reality is that people need both short and long breaks from work to relax and recharge.

Offer wellness programs.

Make sure your remote employees can get equivalent benefits, whether that means membership to a local gym or counseling sessions with therapists near them. When you meet with your virtual team members, check that they know how to take advantage of those benefits, and encourage them to do so. Physical and emotional health will help them stave off workaholism.

Pay attention to warning signs.

Do your remote workers seem to be frustrated more frequently? Are they quick to anger, when they were always calm in the past? During your conversations, can you sense they are becoming disconnected from family or friends? Are they starting to turn in sloppy work or miss deadlines? Do they look tired when you’re communicating via video? If you notice any of these things, investigate. Ask about their work habits, and make sure they’re not overdoing it.

Remember that one of your responsibilities as a manager is to make sure all of your employees have the tools and assistance they need to be as productive and successful as possible. While you may think a short-term boost in productivity as the result of sliding into workaholic behaviors is a positive thing, it won’t last. By following these suggestions, you can help your remote workers avoid that problem and build healthy behaviors that will keep them engaged and effective over the long haul.

 

Remote Work Digest: November 24, 2017

The latest on all kinds of information, news, and resources that help you make working remotely better.

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Image from Gearpatrol.com

 

Four Ways to Improve Your Focus When You Work from Home | Stephanie Vozza, Fastcompany.com

Working from home can be a lot more productive than working in an office if you set some parameters.

“Working from home can be successful only if organizations and individuals embrace work-life integration instead of work-life balance,” says Holger Reisinger, author of Get S#!t Done! and senior vice president of headset manufacturer Jabra. “Rather than trying to balance work and personal lives, employees should organize their work so it seamlessly blends with family and recreational time. This enables employees to achieve tasks when they’re most productive, and when it’s most convenient.”

Instead of fleeing to the local coffee shop, maintain your business focus at home by using these four tricks:

1. FOLLOW YOUR ULTRADIAN RHYTHM
Find your rhythm by keeping track of the time of day you feel most focused and the time you feel fatigued. During those left-brain cycles, tackle important tasks, and during right-brain cycles, take advantage of working from home and by using the time for your favorite activities like reading a book, practicing yoga, or grabbing your favorite snack from the kitchen.

2. ASK FOR PRIVACY
If you work from home and there are others around, don’t just assume they’ll know you’re busy or need to concentrate—tell them, says Reisinger.
“You’re rarely interrupted if your spouse or kids truly understand that you’re under pressure to perform,” he says. You can also use a subtle reminder, such as closing the door to your home office or putting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your desk.

3. SET YOUR OWN BUSINESS HOURS
When you’re working in an office, you can clearly see when colleagues are signing on and off for the day, but when you work from home you will likely create your own schedule. If your employer allows for a flexible workday and you aren’t needed to be online or available at a particular time, then form your own workplace traditions , says Doherty, whose company recently implemented a “work-from-anywhere” policy, encouraging employees to work wherever they feel most productive.
“The beauty of being a remote worker is having the flexibility to tailor your workday to your personal needs,” he says. “Embrace it.”

4. GET IN THE RIGHT MIND-SET
Focusing at work can be easier, because being in the space reminds you that you’re there to work. When you work from home, however, you don’t have that separation, so you might need to rely on tools to get in the right mind-set, says Patric Palm, CEO and cofounder of the planning and collaboration app Favro.

“Use noise-conflation earphones,” he says. “Even if you’re in a quiet area, there’s something about noise-conflation earphones that get you in the zone to focus. Additionally, listening to instrumental music with a good rhythm can minimize distractions while working from home.”

Would a Remote Tech Team Work Out for Your Startup? | Sanchita Das, Entrepreneur.com

For a lot of startups, before building the business side of things, getting the product right is of utmost importance. Here comes in the tech team – the coders and believers who stay up until late hours furiously coding on their laptops until they have a eureka moment and the product runs perfectly. But their work doesn’t just end with product development. Given the changing needs of the audience, the product needs to be improvised at every step while ensuring there are no bugs or failures. So, needless to say the tech team is core to the growth of the business.

Outsourcing The Tech

Abhishek Daga, co-founder of Thrillophilia, who does have an outsourced department, believes that the need arises if you are working on specific technology and you aren’t finding the right resources in your city to match the pace of development. While he agrees that outsourcing could get expensive, he said that it is advisable if one already has an in house technology team.

“The people working remotely should be individual contributors, engineering managers working remotely seldom works. Also, having freshers or people with less experience in remote teams in initial few years is not advisable. They need to be an integral part of the product and adopt the culture of the company. However, this way, you can hire across the globe and build capability fast,” said Daga.

Better Access to Talent

Ashwin Ramesh, from Synup agrees that it is talent that drives most of these remote tech teams. At Synup, they create tech products for US clients, where they become the remote tech team. “The cost is significantly lower for our clients while also giving them access to some of the best tech talent in the world. With technology like Slack or Skype where one can easily communicate and align their tasks with the clients, collaborative work from far off locations has seen a huge boost,” he said.

For them at Synup, it also becomes easier to allow their employees to work out of anywhere, giving them flexibility of timing as well. Talking about how coding and creating a product is a process that requires a lot of mental thought, Ashwin believes it gives their employees the ease to work better and increase efficiency. “Now, our employees work out of anywhere be it from a cafe or if they are working from home or even while they are travelling, giving them a break from monotonous work schedules,” he said.

Communication Plays an Important Role

While functioning with a remote tech team, brainstorming too becomes complicated. In remote teams, someone needs to own the workflow as interaction with other business unit gets challenging, believes Daga.

So, a clear communication process is essential when you have a remote team. Having said that, most entrepreneurs agree that the pros of outsourcing your tech far outweighs the cons. With collaborative softwares that enable the process, it leaves the entrepreneur focus on expanding the business operations while having the technology sorted at the same time.

5 signs you’re appreciated at work (and what to do if you’re not) | Anna Johansson, Nbcnews.com

Studies show that employees who feel appreciated and are shown signs of gratitude can be up to 50 percent more productive. On top of that, appreciated employees have higher morale and satisfaction, leading to lower rates of turnover.

If you’re not appreciated at work, you’ll get less work done, you’ll be unhappy and your entire environment may become less conducive to collaboration and productivity. So how can you tell if you’re not being appreciated, and what can you do if it’s affecting your performance?

Signs of Appreciation

The following signs of appreciation are general indicators that you work in a positive workplace:

  • Verbal praise. Verbal praise is one of the simplest and most effective forms of appreciation. It costs nothing, can be given in a matter of seconds, and can easily make someone’s day. A simple comment like “excellent work on that project,” at least a few times a week, is usually enough to make employees feel appreciated. If you aren’t getting any at all, it’s a problem.
  • Raises and promotions. As a complement to the verbal praise, your company should be doling out at least occasional raises and promotions. These don’t need to be constant, and don’t need to be extensive, but even a small raise as a reward for a job well done can give employees the positive feedback they need to maintain their productivity.
  • Employee appreciation events. Employee appreciation days are also effective ways to show employees they’re valued. Again, these don’t need to be expensive or grandiose; something as simple as a lunch party in the middle of a Friday can be enough to make people feel good.
  • Feedback. Strangely enough, even negative or critical feedback — telling employees they need to improve or have missed their goals — can be an effective tool to making them feel more integrated with the group.
  • Peer commentary. Showing support for your fellow employees with words of kindness, sympathy, or even acknowledgment can make people feel like an engaged part of the community.

4 things you can do if you feel under appreciated on the job

Do you feel under appreciated? It might seem like a helpless situation, since appreciation comes from other people. However, there are some key strategies you can use to make yourself more appreciated in the workplace:

  • Talk to coworkers more openly. Be more open in talking to your coworkers and colleagues; give them feedback on their work, support them when you collaborate, and make them feel appreciated.
  • Request more feedback. Tell your supervisors and bosses you’d like to receive more frequent, critical feedback on your performance, and thank them when they give you the opportunity.
  • Prove your worth. If you want to receive extraordinary feedback, consider accomplishing more extraordinary feats. For example, you could take on new projects outside your usual realm of responsibilities, or put in extra hours to demonstrate your full potential.
  • Consider finding a new environment. If you aren’t receiving the benefits of an environment of mutual appreciation, consider moving to an environment where you can.

Employee appreciation isn’t especially common, but it’s incredibly valuable for any work environment. Working with your coworkers and supervisors, it’s possible to create a more robust, appreciative environment— and one where both you and your colleagues can be happier and more productive.

3 Practical Tips To Stay Active At Work | Sharon Schweitzer, Huffingtonpost.com

Staying physically active can reduce your chances of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. It can also give you more energy, help you handle stress, and activate your mind for productive tasks – all important skills to succeed in your professional career.

Here are 3 ways you can stay active at work and the numerous health benefits you can gain.

1. Implement a Workout Session Dopamine is what gives us the natural high after going on a jog or working out at a nearby gym. Workout sessions will release these happy chemicals and create a stronger bond among coworkers and make the everyday work atmosphere fun and exciting.

2. Move Around Every Now and Then If you’re feeling sleepy or unmotivated at work, get up and walk around the office for a couple of minutes. Try to walk to the nearby coffee shop or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Stretching your body can also help you feel more focused and ready to work.

3. Customize a Personal Workout Plan If you’re a morning person, motivate yourself to take a jog before work. Working out early in the morning jump starts your metabolism, regulates your body, and avoids the afternoon slump, or nap time. If you’re a night owl, utilize the treadmill or do yoga at least 2 hours before you sleep to avoid post-workout alertness before going to sleep. It’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses to customize the most ideal workout plan.

Don’t let laziness get the best of your health and well-being. Stay active at work by implementing these three practical steps to help you achieve personal and professional accomplishments.