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Tools to Be More Productive Working Remotely

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

Since I started working for myself as a media strategist, author and speaker, a few years ago, I’ve become an expert at working from home. I really love it actually. 

But I know all about how hard it can be to adjust to remote work when you’re used to an office environment and being around people all day long. 

Many more employees are working remotely now because of coronavirus (COVID-19) — and if you’re one of them, you might have run into new challenges with keeping up your motivation and productivity. 

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If You’re a Spreadsheet Nerd – You’ll Love AirTable

Not so long ago the most revolutionary organization tool was the filofax. Once home computers became popular this was replaced with programs like Excel spreadsheets or Outlook. Nowadays there’s a million and one productivity tools to choose from. How do you know what to pick?

Personally, I’ve always felt there was something about spreadsheets that really stands the test of time. They present your data in an easy to read format and you can tab between the various options. I use Google Sheets for example to keep my blog schedule and ideas organized. Read more

5 Time Wasters to Get Under Control

(Photo Credit: www.fitlike51.com)

(Photo Credit: www.fitlike51.com)

I go to a lot of conferences and meetings and when I ask people “how have you been?” they often say “busy.”  I get it – we are all busy but some people are addicted to this idea and this mentality.  They say busy as a place holder and it becomes their story.  But when you really think about it — all that busy time could probably be a lot more productive if you canceled out the time wasters.  While those extra commitments can help fill up your time, it doesn’t always mean that you’re using your time wisely. Most people waste time each day without even realizing that they’re doing it!

Here’s a list of time wasters that tend to sneak up on us:

1.     E-mail: While e-mail can be a quick and easy way to communicate, there are times when a phone call can get the job done quicker. I love e-mail, but sometimes it can be a pain waiting around for someone to respond—and sometimes people forget and never do! When needed, it can be more effective to pick up the phone or meet in person to get a question answered faster.

2.     Multi-tasking: It’s great to be eager and take on as much as possible, but there comes a point when enough is enough. When you take on too many projects at once, it often results in nothing getting done. By prioritizing your tasks (with a to-do list!) you’ll be able to focus and plan out what task to do when to make sure it gets accomplished. Plus, I don’t believe in multi-tasking, it’s impossible.

3.     Meetings: Nothing is more frustrating than unproductive meetings! There are so many times when meetings lose focus and nothing gets accomplished. It’s important to make sure there is an agenda that is being followed at all times. If you’re going to be using any kind of technology in the meeting, be sure to set that up ahead of time so people aren’t waiting around. Plus, write down a few key points that you hope to get across so when it’s you’re time to speak you can be succinct and efficient.

4.     Using your computer mouse: Who knew that something as simple as reaching for the mouse can waste your time! By using keyboard shortcuts, tech experts say you can save two seconds per minute. While it may not seem like a lot—believe me, it can add up! When the clock never stops ticking, even the smallest things make a difference.

5.     Social Media: Probably what we’re all most guilty of– wasting time on the Internet. Quickly checking your notifications on Facebook or Twitter can lead to hours of wasted time—even when we don’t mean for it! It’s natural to click from one thing to the next and end up with no progress on your work at the end of the day. If you find yourself guilty of this, there’s an app called SelfControl that lets you block specific websites for up to 24 hours.

What’s your biggest time waster?

Say Goodbye to CardMunch App

The app will be shutting down on July 11 (Photo Credit: gigaom.com)

The app will be shutting down on July 11 (Photo Credit: gigaom.com)

In case you didn’t hear, CardMunch, one of my favorite apps is being discontinued in July! The app allows you to scan business cards and have them synced with your contacts. When I first found out, I was disappointed.  Why does every app I love have to go away? First it happened with Astrid and then Orchestra and even Lemon!

I’ve used CardMunch for years and have recommended it to so many people. I even posted about it just a few months ago. Fortunately, CardMunch is being taken over by another app that I love, Evernote!

Transferring your contacts is super easy and Evernote even offers some cool, new features.  After scanning your cards, you can enter comments and geo-tag the location where card was scanned. LinkedIn, which owns CardMunch, is also offering two free years of Evernote’s business card scanning service if you transfer your info. I already moved mine over and I recommend you do too in order to get adjusted as soon as possible.

Here’s how to transfer your CardMunch cards to Evernote:

1.     Login to Evernote and LinkedIn from this site. If you do not already have an Evernote account, you’ll have to create one. Read more

Use Your Five Senses to Get More Done

The five senses (Photo Credit: Onefleshmarriage.com

The five senses (Photo Credit: Onefleshmarriage.com

I’ve recently started meditating using the HeadSpace App and one of the exercises is to really pay attention to everything around you. Close your eyes and tap into what you’re hearing, how you feel, what you’re smelling and what your feet feel like on the floor. It’s a tedious practice at first but this attention can really do wonders in the long run. The same idea goes for your workspace.

We all have our favorite places to work, but have you ever thought about why? Whether you realize it or not, the five senses do more than just provide us with nice smells and pleasant tastes—they actually influence our productivity habits.
Next time you go to sit down in your office, here’s how you can use the five senses to impact your productivity:

1. Sight: Next time you paint your walls, remember that blue is the most productive color. Moredays.com says it stimulates a high work performance, which can keep you plugging along for long periods of time. Blue provides a calming and soothing effect, which helps to improve the mind too.Blue is even the recommended color to wear on a job interview because it symbolizes loyalty!

If you can’t change the color scheme in your office, add a small desk plant. While desk plants help to spruce up a workplace, two recent studies show that plants actually help to improve productivity, as well. Nature helps brighten moods and regain focus, but if you don’t have time in your schedule to go for a walk outside, a desk plant will do the trick.

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