How to Be a More Productive Manager

Being a successful manager means enabling your team to achieve maximum efficiency. Therefore, being productive with a minimal amount of effort. When a manager steers their team into a workflow that works, the business starts to largely manage itself. Of course, there will always be work for a manager to do. But with an efficient team, managers can focus their time on other important tasks.

However, when a manager prioritizes productivity above all else in the wrong way, it can cause enormous damage to their workforce. Worse still, managers run the risk of burning out their employees. They achieve a short-term boost in productivity but rapidly burn out the team; thus, demoralizing them.

If you want to be more productive in your workplace, you need to go about it the right way. The wrong approach will sink your business and actually decrease your productivity. You need to increase your productivity in a way that is sustainable in the long-term.

Using Empathy

This is really important if you are going to get the most out of your team. Ideally, you should actually try and experience your business from the perspective of your frontline workers. This might mean going into a retail store to spend time serving customers. It could also mean going through the back of house administrative procedures and seeing for yourself the efficiency of your current processes.

Not only is this a fantastic strategy for improving productivity, but it will also go down well with your workers. It will demonstrate to them that you care about their experience of your business. It’s all well and good telling your workers that you care about them and that you value them; but, this will be a firm and undeniable demonstration of your commitment to them.

Reduce Stress to Increase Productivity

Stress is a common cause of inefficiency, both for an individual and at a systemic level. Stress can come from a variety of sources in our personal and professional lives. Some people are able to roll with the punches and remain unphased by everything; other people are in a perpetual state of anxiety and worry constantly about things. Both personality types are capable of being productive.

People who worry will always worry, but you can help them to channel their anxieties into thoroughness. Instead of worrying about a big project, worry about the smaller steps involved that you can easily achieve. Encourage your workers to see their larger goals as smaller, more manageable steps. This is the least stressful way of approaching large projects and it also encourages productivity.

Be Patient

You won’t be able to transform your business’ productivity overnight; you will need to have patience with your employees and with yourself. They will require your patience because new procedures and policies often take a while to sink in. Whether you are learning to play an instrument or training to lift weights, practice is the key to success. It is natural that we are not very good at things that we have little to no experience with; the more we do them the better we become.

Managers who attempt to increase productivity by cracking the whip harder and browbeating their workers will rapidly deplete the morale of their workforce. This is when those worker burnout scenarios begin to arise, and productivity ends up decreasing. If you want your productivity increase to be sustainable in the long term, you will need to be prepared for it to take time to implement the necessary changes.

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Be A Consistent Manager

When you first start implementing your new productivity measures, you might need to adjust them. Even the best ideas on paper often need to be adjusted after they come into contact with reality. Your productivity measures will be no exception. For example, you may well design a new procedure for managers in your business to complete their end of day admin work that seems like a great idea on paper. However, when you actually go through the procedure for real, you will often notice other, more efficient methods.

If you want to reduce the amount of runway, you need to get your new productivity measures off the ground. Consider sending your managers to a first line management training course that companies like The BCF Group provide. Their first line management course will equip your managers with all the skills they need to not only boost their productivity but to increase their overall efficiency. First line management courses will provide your managers with the training that they need to perform their job correctly. For the best first line manager training courses, check the link.

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Productivity is one of the most important metrics for measuring how well a manager is performing. A workplace that is productive is a workplace that is making money. However, a productive workplace should also be a happy workplace. As a manager, you have the power to induce long term changes to your business’ productivity. Start planning today for a more productive and more profitable future.

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I may receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here.

Daily Activities That Can Help Raise Motivation

Motivation in human beings is incredibly important. It is the thing that makes most things in our lives happen. In other words, if we don’t have the will to do something, we won’t do it at all. And motivation is what drives our will, what makes us do things to change something in our lives.

That’s why it’s essential to master motivation on a daily basis, to be able to inspire ourselves even if sometimes nothing goes our way. Motivation is what will move you to create new experiences and grow as a person. So, you need to know how to evoke motivation through a number of daily activities and help yourself.

1. Eat some chocolate

The effects that chocolate has on our brains are no myth. The release of dopamine it causes increases your heart level, which then increases your motivation. And not just that – it also increases serotonin and phenylethylamine that bring you both calm and the much-needed stimulation. So, in just one minute after eating chocolate, you’ll be feeling positive effects.

5+ Ways to Promote Relaxation At Home house plants houseplants

2. Surround yourself with green

We all know certain colors affect our mood, and in only 10 minutes you’ll get a boost in motivation if you surround yourself with color green. And how can you do that when you need it? Well, easy – go outside! Take a short walk in your garden or go to the nearest park. Just go to a place filled with bushes and trees, and you will feel the motivation rising in you

3. Connect motivation to good feelings

It’s hard to feel motivated if you’re doing something you don’t like. The trick is to connect that annoying activity with something positive, like a favorite song. So, every time you need to do something you’d rather skip, just play your song and soon the feeling you get when you listen to your favorite song will prevail the feeling of annoyance because of the activity, and you’ll start feeling motivated.

4. Change the question

Sometimes when you get stuck, and your mind runs out of ideas, an easy solution could be to just change your focus. And in order to change focus, you need to change the question you have been asking yourself. It is usually a negative question, for example, “What is wrong with this situation?” or “What am I doing wrong?” Of course, you’ll find tons of answers to that, meaning just listing negative things and you won’t get motivated that way. Instead, change it to a positive question, like “What is good/right about this situation?” You will quickly start finding all the good things about it and slowly feeling your motivation is back.

5. Split your to-do list in half

If you take on too many things to do on a daily basis, you are bound to be disappointed, demotivated and angry at yourself. You need to be more realistic about how many things you can get done in one day, so the road to success is to cut that list to half. That way, you’ll enable yourself to do all of the things on the list, which will make you feel good about yourself and instantly motivate you to take on the tasks of the following day. It’s easier to be motivated when you have already achieved something and empowered yourself.

6. Move your physical boundary

To be a complete person, you need to awaken your motivation when it comes to testing your physical limits, no matter how small they are. Start with giving yourself a task on a daily basis that includes, for example, crossing a bicycle route that you’ll frequently change and maybe even make longer as the time passes. To avoid any problems like a flat tire (that will affect your mood and, of course, kill the motivation flow) and bad terrain, you should be prepared for all conditions. Buy high-quality tires, carry a bike pump with you and get a good mudguard – there won’t be anything to interrupt you daily motivation route.

7. Get your focus

This modern tech time brought us 24/7 connection with the whole world, making us constantly swarmed with messages, emails and video calls. The internet and all the gadgets we carry in our pockets and keeping next to us while working distract us from what we are trying to do, interrupting our chain of thoughts and preventing our motivation to spread its wings. So, next time you are trying to do something meaningful and are in need of motivation, disconnect from all the sources of unnecessary information and fun and get to work. Focus.

Final words

Small tricks that you do in 5-15 minutes can do wonders for your everyday motivation. Of course, they won’t all work with the same intensity for you, and maybe some of them won’t work at all. You just need to find out which ones do you well the most.

Meet the Author

This post was written by Audrey Taylor. Audrey was born in San Francisco and moved to Adelaide at the age of five. Marketer researcher and social media manager on hold, full – time mommy of a cheerful two-year-old. Graduated from Queensford college, worked in a couple of marketing agencies across Australia, eager to learn more about business and share her experiences. Traveled across Europe. Her hobbies include home decorating, fashion, travel, music, old movies.

Keep Productive All Day With These 7 Tips

Being productive throughout the day can be such hard work when you got to organize your day and plan your day thoroughly (which takes time). But really, it isn’t! Sometimes, even if you don’t feel productive in those days, try to experiment with what works best and what doesn’t and keep it a daily habit in your life.

Tips to Stay Productive All Day

Don’t be afraid when you missed a day or two. I know it took me some time to get used to the habit and when I failed to do so, I start again and continue on these habits. Seriously, I’m only just a student! Sometimes, work can build up, and I have to have late-nighters writing up two essays equalling up to 2500 words and a project that I need to complete within the next week. But the reason you’re here is that you want to find out ways to be more productive throughout the day and end the night feeling accomplished.

1. Wake up early

The recommended time to wake up is 5 – 7 am. If you want to wake up early, then you got to sleep early (that’s how it works, folks). I’ve tried waking up at 5 AM before, and the end result came to me finishing off more work than I usually did waking up at 8-10am.  Oh yeah, I also got more time to myself later in the afternoon, and I felt much more accomplished. And can we talk about watching the sunrise? It’s so uplifting to see the sun waking up with you. Oh, nature. And when you use an alarm, make sure you don’t snooze or hit that snooze button!

notebook on blanket

2. Use a Planner with a To-Do List

Having a planner is a great way to keep you on the right track when it comes to planning out your day. You can either use a physical, digital or even just a piece of paper for writing down your to-do list. There are plenty of free digital planners that are available in the app stores that can be installed on your phone and computer.  I personally like to use physical planners because I don’t have to worry about losing my data if my phone or computer crashes (this actually happened back then when I forgot to back up my data. Oops).

3. Eat a Good Breakfast

Start the day off by making breakfast with food that is high in protein like eggs, beans, dairy products and meat and add in vegetables and fruits (of course). You got plenty of time to do this because you’ve wakened up early. Protein helps repair cells, builds tissues in our system and is important for our bones, muscles, cartilage, blood, and skin. With Protein, you’re also inputting energy into your system so you can focus on what you’re doing.

7 Ways to Keep Productive All Day

4. Meditate after you wake up

Ever since I started meditating at 6 AM each morning, the way I handle my day better improved. It helps to reduce anxiety, stress, and insomnia that I use to have. Start meditating in the morning after waking up because you’re well rested and ready to start the day. Everyone is still asleep giving you a reason to have peace & quiet with no distractions.

5. Exercise

Exercising releases adrenaline, keeps you fit and makes you more motivated and more likely to be productive. Say, go for a run, jog or stroll in the morning or later during the day. I take a stroll later in the day because depending on the weather, mornings are always freezing! You don’t have to go to the GYM all the time (unless you want to). You can exercise at home using free apps or looking up on Pinterest.

6. Make Your Bed

We can agree than organizing, or spring cleaning is like the best way to feel motivated, confident and happy. Being organized can also increase your productivity. You will start the day off more accomplished since you just did your first task; making the bed! Decluttering helps you reduce anxiety. It involves physical activity, so you’re keeping fit. Decluttering is also mindfulness because it doesn’t take a lot of thinking and creates confidence and self-efficacy.

notebook on blanket

7. Set a Goal

Lastly, set at least 3-5-day goals or make a weekly goal that you want to achieve that day. The purpose of setting a goal is to make yourself feel accomplished, motivated, satisfied, focused and confident. Confident that you could achieve anything as well as point you in the right direction toward being more productive. Isn’t that what life’s purpose is?

I always set a weekly goal and write down things that I have accomplished every Sunday. Sundays are like my only days off, but depending on you, you can either do this at night or whatever time fits you best.

7 Ways to Keep Productive All Day

Meet the Author

Bio: This post was written by Ellen of ZyraKuma. Ellen is a blogger and owner of her lifestyle site ZyraKuma. She writes posts about lifestyle, self-care and blogging tips. She is currently a student in Australia who is pursuing a career in Illustration or Graphic Design. Ellen loves to draw, play video games, read and help people. She also has a pet duck. You can view more from ZyraKuma on Instagram, Pinterest and, Twitter

A 3-Layered Study Plan to Green Light Your Education

The fact you’re reading this post suggests you’re struggling to get your head around college organization. Fear not. A shocking number of students feel as though they could drown under that pressure. And, it’s no surprise when you have teachers telling you that how well you do here will dictate your life. Talk about stress! Read on for more on our 3-layered study plan!

3-Layered Study Plan

One of the main things we struggle with as students are finding the time to study. Sadly, that’s about the most critical part of your college career. Even if you attend all the lectures and their extras, not making time to study could see you struggling to survive your first year of college.

But, that knowledge may leave you asking, how can you find the time? If you’re already struggling (and most students are), how can you create space for even more work? It might seem like an impossible task, but trust us; it isn’t. In truth, all you need to do to get on top here is a bullet journal and a three-layered study plan like this one.

Layer 1: The Time You Don’t Have

The blank page is the most daunting thing about starting a bullet journal. How do you even begin to section your life into a workable plan? Well, jotting down the times when you know you’re busy could be a good start. This will help you develop at least some idea of your timetable, and that’s most important of all. So, step one is to create pages which outline everything from your class times, any educational trips you have in the pipeline, and even planned social occasions. After all, meeting up with friends is also essential if you want to keep your sanity. Use a red pen for these areas to show that they’re no-go’s. You won’t need to worry about those hours because they’re taken and accounted for.

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Layer 2: The Time You Could Have

Next, move onto the time you could use for study. By this, we meantime which isn’t strictly free but could still be put to good use. You know the type of stuff; lunch hours, commute times. These are periods of your day which are taken, but only loosely. Fill these in yellow. Then, you can leave aside quick-fire study tasks for occasions like these. If you have an activity which will only take half an hour, set it aside and don’t pick it up until there’s a yellow square on your study horizon.

Layer 3: The Time You Do Have

The hard part is out of the way. You’ve separated the time you spend doing stuff in your day. Now, grab a green pen and get into the body of your study plan. If there are white squares left on this journal page, consider using them for your studies. Of course, we all need downtime. Make sure to leave yourself at least one blank space a day. But, the rest of your schedule should be used to get your studying done!

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here

Elephant Themed April 2017 Bullet Journal

Did you know that this month there is an Elephant Day! Yes, April 16th is Elephant Day! To celebrate Elephant Day AND spring, this month’s bullet journal plan-with-me theme is Elephants and the color green. Keep reading to see my layouts and read more about my inspirations. This post may contain affiliate links

April Bullet Journal Theme | Elephants & Green

As I mentioned, this month’s theme is green and Elephants. Green was chosen as my secondary color because it is the color of fresh grass and the leaves on the trees. Plus, it is my favorite color and elephants are my favorite animal, so it just works. The green that I chose was the Mildliner green because I love both the color and the pen.

The elephant part of the theme was incorporated with the use of elephant washi tape. I went on a spree and bought a whole bunch of elephant washi tape on Etsy. I have not yet received all of my tapes but you can see the tapes I do have, and I will share with you where I got them in the next section. In addition to the washi tape, my hello April page features a geometric elephant and a minimal cursive title in green.

April Bullet Journal Layouts

The format of this month’s bullet journal layout is nearly identical to March’s layouts. The most significant difference is the titling and washi tape choices in the weekly layouts. As I mentioned before, I purchased some elephant washi tape to feature. I also decided to go with a bubbly minimal cursive for the title instead of the neat regular print I usually use. I definitely prefer the cursive!

The monthly layout is the same except I used the green metallic brush pen to write “April” and added a little gray elephant at the tail of the “L.” Similarly, I used the green Mildliner to label the days of the week and the “running to-do” and “goals” sections. The little gray elephant was also drawn with a Mildliner pen.

For week 1, I used a gray elephant washi tape with tiny red details. This washi tape came in a pack of 9 tapes and was purchased here. Week 2 does not yet have washi tape. Week 3 utilizes my favorite washi tape, a gold geometric elephant washi tape. This tape came with another roll; I purchased this tape here. Week 4 also does not yet have washi tape.

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Want to keep up with my bullet journal daily? Follow my Instagram!!

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Easy Steps to Create a Stunning Home Study Space

I don’t know about you, but I always found it easier to concentrate when I’m in a pleasant environment. In fact, being comfortable, and having an organized and personalized space around me seems to help me keep my mind focused and get much more done. With that in mind, you may be considering creating a space dedicated to study and work in your home. However, before you do check out the advice below for some help.

Choose A Location

Before you can put in a study space, you need to pick where it will go. You have to be pretty smart about this as well. You want to be smart because you don’t want to be stuck getting distracted all of the time. To this end, an area such as the attic or basement can be the perfect spot. These secluded spaces make it more difficult for people to find you and distract you. This more private space means you will get left alone most of the time to concentrate.

However, before you go ahead with installing your study space, you need to ensure that the area is suitable for long periods of time. That can mean installing basement waterproofing, heat, and light into a subterranean space, or cleaning out an attic room. Also, remember to make your that the floor is sturdy enough to hold the furniture you need.

Easy Steps to Create a Stunning Home Study Space

Pick Furniture

The next step on most folks’ lists when creating a study space is to pick out the furniture that the will need to get work done. Usually, this is a desk and chair and sometimes some books shelves and draws to keep things organized as well. Find your space becomes cluttered fast? Check out these tips.

Make sure that the items you pick are not only fit in with the decor you want but are also comfortable and sturdy. After all, you will spend quite a bit of time in that space. So, the furniture you pick needs to fit the space.

Otherwise, you could end up with a painful back for being in a chair that isn’t supportive of your posture, or even developing RSI if you don’t have your desk at the right height for your computer keyboard.

Add Personal Touches

To finish off your study areas and make it your own it’s nice to include some decorations and personalized touches. What you pick is entirely up to you of course, and many folks are happy enough with a few photos of their family and pets on the desk.

However, if you want the space to have a more cohesive look, you could choose colors that fit in with the broader scheme. Plants in metallic pots are in style this season. Additionally, hanging decorations like the paper pom poms that you can DIY are an easy decor choice.

Follow these tips and you will have the perfect study space to encourage productivity in your studies.

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here

How to Boost Productivity Working from Home

More and more people are choosing to work from home. Whether you have a home-based job, you run a business from home, or your employer offers flexible working options, it is important to be as productive as possible. There is an assumption that working from home is easy, but this should not be the case. Working from home suits many people, but others prefer the structure and formality of an office. If you are switching to a home office or you are spending more time at home, here are 3 simple ways to fulfill your potential and maximize productivity away from the office.

Establish A Routine

When you have an office job, you know that you have got to sign in and sign out at certain times. With a home-based role, there is more flexibility, but that does not mean that you should throw routine out of the window.

Most of us work better when we have set patterns in place. Establish a routine that works for you. If you are an early riser and you are more productive in the mornings, start early and tick off the most arduous or complex tasks first. If you do not feel alive until 10 am, consider a later start and work until later in the day.

You may also need to factor in time zones. If you negotiate with clients in different countries or states and the other person’s schedules. Similarly, if you participate in meetings or catch-ups with colleagues on a regular basis, take note of time zones when establishing your routine. If you are not used to working at home, it may take you a few weeks to figure out what works best for you. But you may find that this more flexible approach to working hours suits you perfectly.

Get Your Working Environment Right

When people say they are working from home, it is easy to envision them lying around in loungers with a laptop balanced on their knee and the TV on. The reality is that you are not going to be able to make working from home work for you unless the environment is right. No matter what you do and how much time you spend out of the office, you need an area that is geared towards work. This space should be a place that affords peace and the ability to focus, concentrate, and enjoy some privacy. Spare rooms, attic rooms, and garages can all work well as home offices.

Once you’ve chosen a space, think about how you want to decorate and present it. Choose furniture that will provide comfort, as well as a style. Add touches that will help you feel relaxed, but also energized. You might add houseplants or a scent diffuser machine. If you can, position your desk close to a window, as natural light is proven to increase productivity. It is also a lot more pleasant to look out over fields, ocean waves, or a garden than it is to stare at blank walls.

3 Ways to Boost Your Productivity Away From The Office

Be More Organized

When you work from home, you need to be organized. You can use the same scheduling tools as you do at the office, or you can use a wall planner or an in and out tray system that will enable you to keep track of what you have done. Establish a list of tasks and jobs every day and work on them. For more information about office organization check here, and for more information about time management check here.

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It is perfectly possible to be as productive at home as you are in office. Simply apply these tips, and you will be cruising through your to-do list in no time!

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to write a post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here

3 Ways to Boost Your Productivity Away From The Office

How to Create Effective Goals | Includes Free Worksheet

With every new year comes new goals and hopes to achieve these goals. Unfortunately, many of us create goals that never get completed. Why is this? One reason you might not achieve your goals is that the way you wrote it is too vague, not realistic, or has no deadline. This post is all about how to write effective goals that you can achieve. This post may contain affiliate links.

Learn how to write Long-Term Goals HERE or Learn more about SMART Goals HERE.

How to Create Effective Goals

Define Your Goal

The first thing you need to do when writing effective goals is to define the goal. What do you want to achieve? This is the easy part—getting your idea written down. However, there is more to a goal than just writing it down. Your goals need to be specific, measurable, time-sensitive, achievable, and realistic.

Make Your Goals Specific

An effective goal is a specific goal. If you do not clearly define your goal using measurable terms, you will be less inclined to complete it. Your goal needs to be so specific that it might involve smaller more specific goals to achieve the overarching goal. Read more specifically about these smaller step ladder goals here.

Make it Measurable

An effective goal needs to be measurable. This means that you need to define how you will measure your goal. Are you measuring your goal by smaller tasks or deadlines within your large goal, are you measure with time or an amount? No matter how you choose to measure your goal, measure it.

How to Create Effective Goals

Set A Realistic Deadline

If your goal does not have a due date, you will feel no pressure to complete it. How can a goal be effective if you are not motivated to complete it by a specific time? Make sure this deadline is realistic and that you have used the specifics and measurements define above to create your deadline. Having a realistic deadline can make a goal that might otherwise not be effective.

How to Create an Effective Goal

Is Your Goal Achievable and Realistic?

How likely is it that you can reach your goal by the dates you have set for yourself? To determine achievability, you must be honest with yourself. It’s common that our expectations are unrealistic, thus, making them unachievable. We get excited and don’t think about how our goal will fit into daily life. It’s often the issue that we set a date that is too soon so that we feel overwhelmed. It’s also common that we set dates that are too far away and we put off achieving our goal, leaving it to the last minute.

Effective goals written in this format are commonly known as SMART goals. They are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive. Follow this format, and you are sure to have an effective goal!

Now that you know how to write an effective goal, sit down with a pen and paper, and create your goal!

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4 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Office Space

Whether it’s a whole room in your house or apartment, a carefully proportioned square in an office building, or something in between, odds are you’re spending a substantial portion of the day in your office. Because of that, your office space – like you – has a lot of work to do. It has to be a productive space, but also one that inspires, keeps you healthy, and is generally as pleasant to be in as possible.

There’s no reason to spend 8 hours a day in an unpleasant space. So, if you feel like your workspace isn’t all it should be, read on to find out a few areas you can look to for improvements.

Hang It Up

First things first: No matter how big or small your office is, one thing you’re always in absolute control of is what’s on your desk. And if that’s a bunch of clutter, it could actually be hurting your productivity. Learn more about decluttering your desk here.

One way to fix that is adding storage, of course. But if you’ve got limited space, and no room for shelving? Try hanging things up – keys, headphones, and similar items can go straight onto hooks. Get a hangable container for your pens and other writing utensils. Anything that helps you get the random items off your desk immediately improves your workstation. 

4 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Office Space

Write It Down

In some ways, this is a lifestyle change. I won’t spend a lot of time convincing you; I remember a time in my life when I laughed at people for being so organized to carry a planner. Now? My planner never leaves my side. Let me at least say this: Writing things down gives your important tasks a physical space and keeps them from zooming around in your mind all day.

This is another simple upgrade because it’s hard to start writing things down if you don’t have the materials. And those materials come in many forms: a planner, a calendar, sticky notes – it’s all a matter of what works for you.

Feel like you’re wasting paper? Try a whiteboard for your lists. There’s nothing more satisfying than erasing items one at a time until everything’s cleared.

4 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Office Space

Add Some Life to Your Office Space

This isn’t an organization technique – it’s a way to improve your mental state. You could take this literally, and grab yourself a potted plant. If your office lacks much light, a shady plant is great – alternately, it’s hard to kill a cactus.

Of course, pictures take a lot less effort. You could hang up scenic photos, an image of your favorite painting, or even a movie poster of one of your favorites.

Adding life could mean adding bits of your own life, too. Try dedicating a space in your office to some personal effects. Photos of hobbies, a statuette of a musical instrument you play. For me? It’s a small shelf just above my desk with a handful of my favorite novels that I’ve read dozens of times.

Get creative with your space, and it’ll be a much nicer place to be.

Take A Stand – Or A Better Seat

On a more sobering note, the research is in – and sitting is truly terrible for you. To that end, I can’t stress enough the wisdom of investing in a standing desk – or, for flexibility, an adjustable one.

Still don’t like the idea of standing? You can at least make sitting healthier and more comfortable. If your back is hurting while you work at your desk, it could mean you’re not sitting correctly. Sitting properly depends on a number of factors, and it can at least be partially addressed by getting a better chair. So, make yourself comfortable in your office – it’s good for you.

Is your office space hurting your productivity? Pick at least one of these simple upgrades to implement into your own office!

Meet the Author

This post was written by Issac, a Director at 3 White Hats, a New Zealand based online marketing agency.



4 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Office Space

2018 Bullet Journal Spread Plan-with-Me

With the new year approaching, I have decided to completely switch up my bullet journaling routine. Instead of one overarching bullet journal. I am switching it up by having multiple journals each with a different purpose. Let’s dive in and see what I have going on for my 2018 bullet journal!

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The Perfect Beginner’s Bullet Journal Notebook Review

The Journals

This year I have four bullet journals. My planning journal, collections journal, list journal, and my Jihi Elephant bullet journal. Each of these journals has a washi tape label on the binding and a watercolored title page. For the title pages, I used the Arteza watercolor brush pens and the Tombow Dual Brush Pens.

Customizable Hand-Drawn Bullet Journals

I have chosen to move to dot journals this year, though I am on a tight budget and could not splurge for a Lechtturm 1917 for all of them. So, I found a cheaper alternative, Northbooks Dots Hardcover Notebook. So far, I like the journal, the pages are thicker than I have used previously, the dots are a nice change from the gridline, and the binding seems to be durable. A few things I wish were different is that I prefer faux leather or real leather covers (out of my budget), and I wish they came with elastic bands holding them closed. I can easily find a cheap headband to solve the last issue though.

One of my journals, as you will read below, is not a Northbooks. J. B. Welly was kind enough to give me a Rhodia Goalbook, which I am using for my business journal. Scroll to the bottom to read more.

2018 Bullet Journal Planning

2018 Planning Bullet Journal

My main bullet journal is my planning journal. This is the one I create all my to-do lists, calendars, and goals in. This one will include both personal, educational, and professional lists and goals. Here, I will mark holidays, birthdays, events, etc.

I will keep a similar form to how I have been doing my layouts previously, though there will be changes.

The key and index of fundamentally the same this year, though I have reduced the number of icons on my key. I got rid of every icon on my key that I never used in 2017, then I added a color variety to account for the various types of pens I have, and included a washi key. The index will still be two columns, though it is no longer color-coded and is in chronological order.

2018 Bullet Journal Year at a Glance Page

I love my year at a glance page. I will always include one. This one is nearly the same as all my previous ones.

2018 Bullet Journal Year at a Glance Page

One final difference this year is the use of a goals page. This page I use my Arteza watercolor pens and Tombow brush pens again. I categorized these goals: blog, legacy, logistics, home, health, and fun. Read more about my 2018 goals here.

Collections Bullet Journal

I cannot remember where I found this idea, but I have decided to have a collections journal. This is where I keep all of my pen test pages, collections trackers (i.e. reading list, movie list, etc.).

These pages are not restricted to the time in which I keep my planning journal and will not have to be remade every time I switch journals. Nor will I need to keep it on me like I do my planning journal.

While I have not completely filled this journal yet, here are the pages I have completed so far.

Customizable Hand-Drawn Bullet Journals

List Bullet Journal

I have decided to keep a list bullet journal so that I can keep my packing lists, gift lists, and idea lists separate from my planner and collections journals. This one won’t be used nearly as often as the others, but I have loved it thus far. Check out my pages in this one!

2018 Blogging and Business Bullet Journal

This final journal is extremely exciting for me. It will allow me to be more organized in my business without it being muddled by my own personal goals and to-dos. I am drawing up this bullet journal in the Rhodia Goalbook which you can find over at J.B. Welly. You can read all about this journal here.

Customizable Hand-Drawn Bullet Journals

I’d love to see your bullet journal for the new year! Join my Facebook group to share your own layouts with other bullet journalers! Not a bullet journaler yet? Check out my bullet journal beginner’s challenge!

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Plan with Me | 2018 Bullet Journal Set-up

Tracking Bullet Journal Layout Ideas

Bullet Journaling is my favorite way to stay organized! Bullet journals are super customizable which is my favorite part. You can add anything you want to help you keep organized. I like to add tracking pages! Here are a ton of layout ideas!

If you’d like more bullet journal page ideas, check out my post 15 Simple Bullet Journal Page Ideas!

Habit Tracking

I find it really difficult to build habits all on my own. The only way I have found I can build them is to track them and keep myself accountable. However, if I use the same tracker all the time, they lose their effectiveness. Am I the only person who finds that to be true?

Here are a bunch of ways I have tracked my habits! Get creative and find something that works for you!

Embedding my habit tracker into my monthly calendar page is a great way to track a few habits and saving space! I love the idea but it just doesn’t work for me. I don’t look at my monthly calendars very often, so I end up forgetting about building habits.

january bullet journal 2017

Water Consumption

Water is something I definitely don’t get enough of. Keeping a water consumption chart in my bullet journal keeps me accountable and reminds me to drink more water. There are a million ways to track your water consumption (I like cute little pictures), here are a few that I have used.

blue week Nicole
Customizable Hand-Drawn Bullet Journals

Financial Tracking

Tracking finances and savings is another useful bullet journal page. You can track your spending, or work towards a saving goal! Here are a few ways to track a savings goal. Want to see more examples? 

Hobby Trackers

I suppose this isn’t always to track my habits as much as it is organizing a collection. But really, lists are just another form of information tracking. Hobby layouts don’t have to stop at reading, you can track any hobby you want!

Here are the book or reading layouts that I have used in my last two bullet journals.

Like I mentioned, hobby tracking doesn’t have to be reading! I collect Disney classics over at Disney Movie Club (not sponsored). They have amazing deals when you sign up for a membership (right now the deal is: get 5 movies for only $1 each, PLUS free shipping!!). Sign up here if you are interested!

Use your bullet journal to track your collections and goals!

Mood and Gratitude Trackers

Keeping track of your mood is extremely helpful when it comes to understanding yourself better. You can keep an eye on patterns or learn more about your triggers. That way you can learn to control them if you’d like, or it’s nice just to know.

Customizable Hand-Drawn Bullet Journals

I love keeping track of gratitude! Some people keep gratitude journals or do social media challenges. But, I like to make it a part of my bullet journal. I am already interacting with my bullet journal on a daily basis. So, I find it easier just to keep everything in one place. I find it less overwhelming to keep everything in one place.

Miscellaneous Trackers

Another page I tried was the weather. My moods are very interlaced with the weather. Because of this I thought maybe keeping tabs on the weather, and my moods would help me increase my self-awareness. However, the weather where I live changes drastically on the hour. So, I felt this tracker wasn’t as accurate as I had anticipated. If I move somewhere with more consistent weather, I will be re-adding this to my weekly bullet journal tracking.

What tracking pages do you find useful? Let me know how you track in your bullet journal!

Bullet Journal Tracking Layout

5 Tools to Improve Time Management

We live in a fast-paced society surrounded by incredibly busy people. And when you are an incredibly busy person, it is hard to keep everything straight. A lot of the time this internal chaos is the result of poor time management. This article provides 5 tools for improving time management.This article utilizes Amazon Affiliate Links

Sleeping

#1 Sleep

The first step in time management improvement is to get enough sleep. When you are running on less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep your brain isn’t functioning at its highest capacity. Because of this, you become more easily overwhelmed, exhausted, and lazy feeling. Learn more about designing your bedroom to get a good nights sleep here.

When you are able to get 7 hours of consecutive sleep you will feel amazing! You will be more capable of handling the crazy chaos each day brings.

To Do

#2 Daily To-Do List

There are a million ways to improve your time management and one of the most common methods is a daily to-do list. While I prefer a planner with everything all laid out in one portable spot, a to-do list is super simple and easy for anyone to use.

A to-do list doesn’t have to be anything fancy or costly. All you really need is a pen and some paper.

When it comes to utilizing a to-do list, I recommend referring to it each morning. Before you get anything done, read over your to-do list and revise it if you need to. Now you know what your goals are for the day and you can get started!

#3 Planner

My favorite time management tool is my planner! There are, again, a million types of planners. You can use a bullet journal, premade planner, notebook, or an app on your phone or computer.

Bullet Journal & Notebook

I currently use a bullet journal (see my 15 simple bullet journal page ideas post or the bullet journal beginners challenge for more detail). Before making a bullet journal, I recommend looking at other bullet journals to give you some ideas. You can see a wide variety of page ideas over on my Planners and Calendars Pinterest board. Once you have figured out how you want your journal to work, you’ll need a notebook. I highly recommend the Essentials Grid-lined Notebook.

Customizable Hand-Drawn Bullet Journals

The bullet journal is one of the most customizable planner options. A notebook is very similar though. If you choose to go the notebook route, then good for you! Each person is different and the important thing is that you find something that works for you and your needs.

Premade Planners

The third option is a pre-made planner. There are a million brands and styles out there to choose from. Check out these planners by At-A-Glance, there are some great options!

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Apps & Websites

The final option is phone or computer apps. There are so many apps nowadays that it is hard to keep track. Some apps that I use and love for time management assistance include myhomeworkapp.com, Google Calendar for Android, and Microsoft OneNote.

myHomeworkapp

myHomeworkapp.com

I like myhomeworkapp.com because it is explicitly for homework and delivers customized notifications to my phone to remind me to get my projects done on time. Myhomework is also amazing because it works on both my phone and my laptop, providing me with access to my homework no matter where I am. Lastly, the myhomework phone app is amazing because it comes with a widget that displays my homework right there.

google calender

Google Calendar App

Google Calendar for Android is nice because it links right up to my google account making it accessible both on my laptop and on my phone. I used this app more before I discovered bullet journaling but still tend to keep it around for the reminders feature.

Microsoft One Note

One Note

OneNote, like the other two apps, is mobile and laptop friendly. Here I can make quick notes or to-do lists from my phone when I do not have access to my bullet journal. I can then see these lists on my laptop.

With all your lists, to-do’s, and appointments in one place, you are now better prepared to take on everything the day wants to throw at you.

#4 Calendar

This next time management tool was already touched on a little bit, but I’ve decided to talk about it separately because of how useful it really is. Calendars provide a nice monthly overview and can include a variety of things and come in a variety of shapes.

Like I mentioned, I use my bullet journal calendar and Google Calendar for Android. However, my most-used calendar is a whiteboard. I’ve had my whiteboard calendar for so long, I don’t have a single clue where I got it. However, I was able to find a similar one, you can check that out here.

My whiteboard calendar is a life saver. I love it because it doesn’t waste paper, mounts right up on the wall with Command Strips, and can be easily accessed by everyone in my household. I usually put appointments, work schedule, and events up on this calendar, so it is less about detail and more an overview.

#5 Have an Organized Space

The final time management tool is having an organized space. If you are living in clutter, then you will feel cluttered. Having a space that is designated for your work and has all the supplies you require within reach is essential. If you would like to learn more about how to declutter your workspace head on over my 6 Ways to Declutter Your Desk Space post.

My Time Management Tools Resource List

Sincerely Elizabeth of Jihi Elephant

How to Create Do-able Long-Term Goals

When it comes to making a long-term goal, we are often discouraged by a goal that is too broad, seems to have no purpose or no roadmap. This post is meant to provide a step-by-step process for creating a do-able long-term goal.

Having a goal to work towards is so important, I cannot stress it enough. Goals are what keep people motivated to survive. Think about it, if you did not have a goal (even teeny-tiny ones), what would you be doing right now? Nothing, you’d probably be doing nothing. You wouldn’t need to do anything. You wouldn’t be motivated to.

More About Goals

Everyone has their own unique concept of goal-making. Some people write a daily checklist or to-do list, and others have long-term dreams. Even if we don’t notice or realize it, goals exist everywhere.

To Do List

You go to the grocery store and your goal is to get groceries, maybe you have a list, maybe you are winging it—either way, it’s a goal! You go to school, your goal is to get an education, or maybe to make friends. When you lay around the house all day and your goal might be to relax after a hard week—maybe the goal is to do nothing. There is a goal motivating everything that we do.

The Makings of a Goal

There are several components to a well-written and doable long-term goal. First, you must understand what the goal is. Next, identify the purpose of your goal. Then, identify several step-ladder goals. And finally, do it!

Recognize Your Goal

To create a quality goal, you must first know exactly what you want the outcome to be. This is essentially your goal. For example, my goal is to get a Master’s degree in clinical mental health.

Your goal can be as specific or as broad as you would like it. All that is required for this step is to know the desired outcome and to write it down.

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Identify Your Goal’s Purpose

Now that you have identified your goal, you need to know why that is your goal. This is called the purpose. A goal’s purpose influences how the goal is created and accomplished. The purpose is also the factor that motivates you to achieve your goal.

The purpose of my goal (getting a Master’s degree), is to be able to work as a counselor. An alternative purpose could be to further my education.

Whatever the purpose of your goal is, identify it and write it down.

Creating Specific Step-Ladder Goals

The final step to creating an effective long-term goal is to come up with a list of smaller goals or step-ladder goals. Step-ladder goals are meant to make the main goal seem less overwhelming and more doable.

 To complete my long-term goal of getting a graduate degree, I must first complete other smaller goals. My step-ladder goals include getting into graduate school, completing my required courses, completing my practicum, completing my internship, and completing the necessary requirements for state licensure.

For the alternative purpose (furthering my education), I have different step ladder goals. These might include taking a variety of courses, building a good professional relationship with two faculty members, getting involved in at least one club, and participating in at least one research study.

Generally, step-ladder goals are very specific and include more detail than my simplified example lists. These goals are meant to make your life easier and to provide a step-by-step process to complete your main goal.

It is important to remember that you may not know every detail for each step-ladder goal right away. Sometimes other steps must be achieved before others can be identified. For my example, details to most of the goals cannot be specified until I have chosen a graduate program. Once I have chosen a graduate program, I will input the nitty-gritty details into my list.

It is also important to recognize that these steps are not set in stone. Life happens and things change, so cut yourself some slack. If you get working towards your goal and realize that one of your step-ladder goals aren’t helpful or that something else would be more valuable, then change it!

Implement Your Step-Ladder Goals

It is one thing to have your goals written down, but it is an entirely different thing to actually do them. I can provide you with a nice organized PDF to help you organize this information, but I cannot motivate you to go through with it. That is up to you and you are more than capable of doing it!

Just remember to write it down, make it realistic, and be specific.

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Doable Long Term Goals