An executive’s days can be bumpy and noisy without a moment’s pause to reflect, make plans, and contemplate solutions to problems. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of becoming a taskmaster that ends up doing the same things over and over again without ever actually advancing the ball forward. These times are essential to build into your routine in a way that best serves your needs—an undistracted slot of time for your brain to explore and put issues to rest.
The leader of a company is both blessed and cursed: he has the burden of a lot of tasks to get through and decisions to make in a day, but if the company is of a certain size, he has the benefit of handing off tasks to other members of the organization. Some items will naturally flow from superior to subordinate, and it’s always excellent to see a person’s effort made more effective when it can be divided well amongst supporting staff. But where is the line between what should and shouldn’t be handed off to someone else to take care of? And how do you delegate without letting anyone else think you’re a lazy manager who can’t do things for himself?
The contemporary work zeitgeist has spoken: if you’re sitting down while working, you’re dying. If you stand, you’re more productive. Standing while working has a faddy appeal to the point that it’s no longer uncommon to see people standing throughout their workday. Behold, the standing desk is here to stay.
The data is in and the results are unusual: workers are living farther away from the office in a way that they never have before. This increased distance between our work life and our home life is not only inefficient, but it’s dangerous to the point of affecting our health and the economy. It’s a reflection of jobs increasingly being pushed into the suburbs, where commute times are notoriously longer due to sprawl between communities. Compare this to a densely populated city like New York, where most people get by without owning a car at all.
What kind of talk do people most associate with you? Are you quick to help and encourage, or are you eager to criticize and put down?
If you suspect that your name is more synonymous with the less desirable latter, we suggest you work on pursuing the former: by consciously choosing to stop complaining, you can drastically affect small but important pockets of your personal and professional life. There’s a positivity that going on a complaint diet — avoiding complaining at all costs — can bring about in anyone. And all you have to do to be successful here is think before you speak.
Too many people fall prey to bad habits. Maybe it’s an inability to turn off the TV, maybe they eat junk food for every meal, and so on. But there are good easy habits one can adopt that no only take very little time, but will make you into a far more productive person once they’re successfully folded into your work routine.
Real life happens all the time and work is only one component of it. We’re born, we die, and a lot of stuff happens to us in between, good and bad alike. A lot of it even happens to us while we’re at the office.
Rocky moments, from the romantic and emotional to the medical (or maybe even criminal) can manifest in a flash to derail an otherwise productive employee or colleague. What do you do when the personal meets the professional in an unavoidable way?
Everyone wants a vacation, but we don’t seem to be able to agree on how to let our employees take them. Corporate vacation policies can be anything from liberal and permissive to harsh and constraining. You want to be sure that your own company’s policy drives a happy medium between the two. Employees should feel they can take vacation easily and when they need to, but employees also need to know the time spent away from the office is just that: time spent away from the office.
Navy SEALs are commonly acknowledged as the most hard-core, devoted, relentless military personnel ever. They are physically strong, emotionally resilient, and simply never give up. Their skills have been used with great success all around the world.
So what can we learn from the way that they are trained in order to bring the same kind of excellence to the workplace? It might be easier than you think to bring the same warrior mentality to work. It has to do with establishing good habits. Let’s get into them:
It’s easy to dismiss the act of meditation as a frivolous exercise for long-haired hippies and people who don’t know how to function in the real world. After all, you work in the world of business! There’s no time for such silliness as sitting still and doing nothing, concentrating on your breath without being productive.
Did you know that you can go to MIT for free? Did you know that there are endless educational resources waiting for you to consume them online?
There’s a new educational movement afoot, seeing prestigious universities and educational institutions putting their materials online almost always for free. If you are a committed self-starter, there’s no reason you can’t learn about a topic that you’ve been curious about for years without acting on. These are commonly called MOOCs, short for “massively open online courses.”
Making careless mistakes online can end up having real-world repercussions for your business or your personal life. It seems like malicious hackers are only increasingly intent on wreaking havoc on digital assets, so there’s an increasing amount of attention needed to be paid to how you communicate with others and go about business online.
If you work in a field that’s interesting to young students or those who have recently graduated, you both may benefit from your offering an internship program. An internship is nothing more than knowingly taking someone into your organization who doesn’t have all the knowledge and experience to thrive. But this is the genius behind the internship — these people gain the skills to not only become a productive member of your industry, but to your specific company as well. It’s no small wonder why many people are able to turn their internships into full-time jobs.
Last year I left a company that ran on Pyrus to join a much larger company that simply relied on email to get everything done. It was hard to get reacquainted with email in everyday work, but it only means I discovered another industry which badly needs a Pyrus-style communications product: IT support.
If your business is going to be competitive in every respect, this means ensuring that you have the time to work on the most important tasks at any given time.
But this doesn’t always line up with reality. Minor problems that can’t be ignored will pop up from time to time. Small must-do errands will appear from nowhere when you have more significant things requiring your attention.
For better or worse, people are social creatures who are only able to get things done by communicating with each other. When these communication styles don’t mesh well, things can get bumpy between individuals. When those individuals work together, it can get uglier still.
A boss doesn’t need to be your friend, but it needs to be someone you can work with (and for) effectively. Otherwise your work life can become a torturous situation. For your sake, and your boss’s sake, here are some things to do when it seems like you just can’t get along with your superior.
There’s never enough time, unless you manage it carefully and keep a diligent calendar. And surely we all want some more open and free spaces on our schedules, so let’s revisit some key tactics in making short work of your work day.
Delegate, delegate, delegate. It’s easy to forget that if you’re in charge, you’re supposed to be spending your time quite differently from everyone. ideally this is because you have talents that are better plied elsewhere while still advancing the overall goals of a company. Delegating work to others frees you up to spend time doing that which you find makes you most effective. In general, if there’s an item in between you and your preferred task and that item can be delegated, then delegate the heck out of it.
They say you need 8 hours a night, but way too many of us dip into sleep as work time. Before long, you’re scraping by on 6 hours of sleep, perhaps even less.
But quality sleep is directly related to how you behave at work. Some forward-thinking workplaces even offer their employees nap rooms for a quick middle-of-the-day nap. Solid science tells us that regular sleep makes you happier, keeps you healthy, improves your mood, and maintains motivation and focus at work. If sleep isn’t one of the tools you’re using to find success at work, then you’re doing it all incorrectly.
It’s too easy to say yes to everything at the office. Whether you have your own boss to impress or your own employees to help, there’s a very real temptation to be the guy who’s available any time for anything. But this is hardly some sustainable model for how to govern a business. Knowing what is effective and appropriate to do is just as important as knowing what isn’t effective and is inappropriate when it comes to propelling your business forward.
You don’t need to make casual friends with your coworkers and hang out with them every weekend. But it can certainly help make the work week more manageable. Rather than “dealing with coworkers,” your workday begins to feel more like “hanging out with friends,” and that’s always a better option provided that you can still be productive together.
A new “device” called the NoPhone is designed to encourage people to reevaluate how they interact with their technology. It’s a single piece of plastic the same size as a smartphone. It doesn’t send or receive emails, take pictures, or do anything at all. It’s a perfect device for those looking to disconnect over the holidays. Here are some other suggestions for how to make your vacation an actual vacation in the truest sense of the word.
A comfy chair. Your workaholic friend no doubt spends a lot of time crouched in front a computer. Why not make this an easier, more relaxing experience for him or her? Try the delightful kitsch of a super-comfortable La-Z-Boy for some office furniture that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Put a pin in the seat so they don’t spend too much time staring at screens.
This is important: the quality of your employees’ work lives directly affects the quality of the work they do. Of course no one’s focused on making his or her best effort if they’re too distracted by persistent negative thoughts about the job. As you’re in charge, it’s on you to monitor morale and respond accordingly. Here are some suggestions on how to make your workplace into the right kind of fun environment.
Thanksgiving can be a pain to organize. Who will buy ingredients, decide on a menu, do the cooking? Turns out that Pyrus can quickly accommodate planning even these relatively mundane tasks.
It starts with the turkey:
Then you get your feedback and move forward.
Here Tanya suggests finding a vegan-friendly dish for our guests.
What if there were a way to beat that all-too-familiar 2 PM slump that most of us feel during the course of our workday? It turns out that there are a number of worthwhile strategies you can adopt to fight it back, and they mostly revolve around having a plan for your morning.
Starting your mornings intentionally can yield all kinds of benefits, catapulting you into the workday with a clear head and plenty of energy. Here are some ideas for making sure you have amazing mornings.
Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own. -Anonymous
Jealousy! It can occupy so much of your mind that all other work comes crashing to a halt. Maybe someone got a promotion who didn’t deserve it. Maybe a colleague got picked to work on a project that you know you’re better suited for. Whatever the cause, the feeling is nearly inevitable — we will at some point be jealous of our coworkers’ successes. The only thing that matters is how you respond to that domineering emotion.
From sense to nonsense, talking heads were on hand at Web Summit to dish out their thoughts on how companies and employees might make the best of their time and resources to stay formidable competitors in the business landscape. Attendees were on hand to capture their observations and tweet them, of course.
Twitter provides a beautiful live, scrolling commentary on nearly any topic you could want. Given the number of hyper-connected tech aficionados in Dublin for this year’s Web Summit right now, it’s no surprise that some curious observations are bubbling to the surface.
Some are wonky, some are weird, and others are just plain true.
1. BONO IS A FEATURED SPEAKER.
Sure, he sang lead on 1987’s incomparable “The Joshua Tree,” but he’s also the voice on the irrelevant album that Apple somehow forced everyone to download to their iPhones earlier this year. We love solid music and Bono’s various campaigns for social good, but we also kinda wish he would…do it quietly? Yet here’s the man in his Dublin hometown, commenting on the world of tech, media, and whatever else some panelist is sure to ask him about.
How often do you find yourself checking in with your employees to get updates on their projects? Before you do it again, you might want to reevaluate your approach.
No one likes being babysat while at work. If you’ve hired the proper people, they’ll buckle down and get done what needs to get done without needing to be pinged by a superior. Instead of emailing a worker to see what’s the latest, just check out the task you’ve assigned them to see what kind of headway he or she is making.