7 Ways to Quickly Re-Set a Bad Business Day

It happens to the best of us. You get up in the morning and hit your head, or you kid throws a tantrum, or you don’t feel well, or, perhaps you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. We all have those “off days.” While there is a certain level of acceptance to that fact that some days will just be harder than others, at the same time you don’t have to let any erstwhile negativity rule the next 24 hours.

how to turn around a bad business dayHere are 7 simple things you can do to quickly turn a bad business day around for the better:

1. Laugh or smile… even if you’re faking it. Various studies have found that the act of laughing can positively influence one’s mood and outlook. The same is true for smiling– even if the smile itself is fake.

2. Listen to upbeat music. Recent research has highlighted the connection between mood and music. Not only that, but some researchers even suggest that the music you listen to can also affect the way you perceive the world. So, turn the volume up, and if you’re feeling inspired, sing along. It may also help to lighten your mood.

3. Clean out the clutter. Want to regain your focus so you can concentrate on running your business and push those negative thoughts aside? Why not start the day cleaning off and organizing your desk? Even if you spend a mere half an hour on the task, the effect can be significant. In a recent study, scientists found a connection between clutter and a person’s ability to focus and process information.

4. Reach out to a friend. A few years ago, researchers studied 34 students at the University of Virginia, taking them to the base of a steep hill and fitting them with a weighted backpack. They were then asked to estimate the steepness of the hill. Some participants stood next to friends, while others made the climb alone. The students who stood with friends gave lower estimates of the steepness of the hill, and the longer the friends had known each other, the less steep the hill appeared.

5. Help someone out. Focusing on a giving to another person releases a hormone called Oxycontin that can soothe and calm even the most frazzled nerves. So, start your day by giving a little money to your favorite charity, answering another person’s question, or hugging someone you love.

6. Go for a walk. Need a fresh perspective on your day? Make time for a 30 minute walk. There is a growing body of research that suggests even moderate exercise, such as walking, can significantly boost your mood and general feelings of well-being.

7. Make a schedule change. Is there some task you have to do today that’s making you feel anxious and blue? Make sure you do that task first and maybe reward yourself with a short workday or a longer than usual break afterward. Not only will you feel relief having completed the unpleasant job, but the time off can also help clear out your mind.

So, there you have it. Seven quick ways to boost your mood and brighten up the gloomiest days. Have you tried any of the above strategies or have some of your own? Let us know in the comment section below.

Image credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

The Top 5 Micro Jobs Sites in 2013

If you are running a small business, time management may seem like a never ending game of tail chasing. Let’s face it, there are only so many hours of the day- no matter how much we try to squeeze into every minute or manage our time.

teamwork_2But for those of us who have been in business for a while, there are some tricks of the trade that can give you back some your precious minutes and hours. The trick to time management is to focus on those tasks that only you can do, the things that bring real value to your business, while smartly “outsourcing” all the rest.

Enter the micro job market. Numerous micro-job sites have been popping up all over the place lately. While the lure of getting a service (and sometimes even a product) for what’s essentially pocket change, has no doubt done much to fuel the interest and growth of these platforms, people are also pressed for time. This sites offer business owners in particular a way to unload some of the items on their to-do lists without putting much of a dent in their profit margins.

What kinds of things can you outsource? Practically anything! And, if you spend some time finding quality workers, you can even get some talented, trained professionals for a fraction of the cost it would take to hire someone directly.

That said, here is a look at the top five micro job market places online:

1. Fiverr–  Fiverr is perhaps the most well-known micro jobs site. All jobs cost $5 per task, but most sellers offer job “extras” that will enhance the task and naturally cost you a bit more. They just revamped the site making the process of searching for and buying “gigs” there a pleasure.

2. Amazon Mechanical Turk – One of the oldest sites in the list, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a a crowdsourcing Internet marketplace that enables individuals or businesses (known as Requesters) to request HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks), or tasks that cannot be done artificially by a computer. Some tasks sell for as little as one or two cents.

3. Micro Workers– This site boasts “400,000 workers worldwide.” The best feature of this site is the ability to post micro tasks and geo-target only specific workers

4. SEO Clerks– As the name suggests, this site is specifically targeted to SEO, coding, and other web-related tasks.

5. GigPayrr– This is a pretty obvious Fiverr knock-off micro jobs site. But, it does sport a pretty active community of users. So it’s worth a look.

Just a word of caution over here: make sure you really spend some time hiring the right people. Knowing how to hire a freelancer is a skill that will take some time to learn. But, once you get it right, you may be amazed at how much more productive you can be.

The Secret to Getting Things Done

Have you ever looked in amazement at one of those super doers? You know who I’m talking about. Those people who seem to defy the confines of time to get a seemingly insurmountable list of things done, day after day. Have you ever looked at these people and wondered what you are doing wrong?

Even if you accept the fact that some people are by nature multi-taskers, this still doesn’t explain all the highly productive people out there who aren’t. What is it that they are doing differently?

The big secret to being exceptionally productive in your business and other areas of your life is not to try to change who you are, but to recognize how you process information, how you make decisions, and how you approach tasks in general. Once you’ve figured this out, you can then look for ways to either fill in the gaps or purposely set up some natural opposition in those areas where you tend to go astray.

With this is mind, here are several steps to consider:

Identifying the problem areas. If you really want to improve your productivity, then one of the first steps is figuring out where in your daily routine you are slowing down or getting held back. Are there certain tasks that you always seem to push off? Are there activities that you are doing that are not providing enough payback- not in the short-term, nor in the long-term? When are your least productive hours of the day? Sometimes a slow down in productivity can happen at certain times of the day or in particular venues.

Determine why things are not getting done. Once you’ve pinpointed the problem areas, try to figure out the causes behind them. Trying to fix the problems without identifying the root cause won’t get you very far. Are there tasks you just dislike doing or aren’t good at? Do you get very tired towards the afternoon? Are there too many distractions in front of you? Are you working too many hours or trying to accomplish too much in too short a time? Are there any external factors that may be affecting your productivity, such as health-related issues, money stress, or marital problems?

Getting to the right tools and techniques. There are many groups out there from time management “experts” to productivity app developers all proclaiming that they have the definitive list of tips, tools, techniques, etc to make you productive beyond your wildest dreams. But, the unavoidable truth is that some things will work, but others won’t because everyone and every situation is different. If you are in touch with who you are, where you are not being so productive and why, you can then devise methods to help alleviate the situation.

So, for example, if you tend be a bit scattered and forgetful by nature, then having a good time management app or productivity tool could be a real plus. If you find that you are more productive in the early morning or late by night, then you could try to re-arrange your schedule so you are doing some work during those peak times. If you are having a hard time being productive and motivated at work in general then you could tweak your break schedule and make sure to get some time away from work. If there are tasks that you dislike doing, you could break the tasks down into small increments, you could hire someone to do those tasks for you, or initiate some other changes to make the task a bit more fun or enjoyable… You get the point?

Get others involved. Where possible, getting others involved in your daily routine can make you a lot more productive. But here “getting involved” can mean a few different things: hiring someone to do the task for you, working alongside other people who are doing similar things, asking a co-worker or friend to help push you through the task by checking in on your progress, or even just having the emotional support and encouragement of others around you.

In short, the secret to getting things done is being in touch with yourself and the work that needs to be accomplished and being able to sift out the very unproductive tips, tools, and techniques that claim to increase your productivity, yet will only worsen it.

Five Tips to Avoid Burnout on the Job

As any small business owner will tell you, the onus of responsibility for the business’ success or failure falls squarely on his or her shoulders. Stress seems to come with the territory when you are trying to set up your own company, particularly when the general economic environment is uncertain.

 

How can you avoid burnout on the job? Here are a few tips that will help you to find a healthy balance between your business and the other vital factors in your life.

  • Make a schedule and try to keep to it – Build a reasonable schedule according to the tasks you need to handle each day. Don’t stress yourself by over scheduling and be sure to leave a few minutes for transition and resting between tasks. If you are coming up short, allot more time for each item. Over time, you will be able to build up a schedule that works for you.

 

  • Learn how to delegate – Although you would probably prefer to do everything on your own (most small business owners/entrepreneurs do), as your business grows this becomes physically impossible. Delegate less critical matters to others. Consider hiring a virtual assistant or freelancers. If you assign less attractive tasks to others, you’ll be able to concentrate on tasks you enjoy, thus keeping burnout at bay.

 

  • Be methodical – To maintain control, you must manage your time effectively. Here technology comes to the rescue: There are many online tools to help you manage your time. Making use of them will leave you important quality time to spend with your family.

 

  • Avoid becoming a workaholic – Burnout is guaranteed if you are determined to work 24/7. Make sure to set aside time for your friends and family. Determine a time that you will leave the office every day and stick to it (unless an emergency arises). If you want the “uptime” you are going to need some vital “down time.”

 

  • Exercise – Laboring your brain 24/7 doesn’t count as a workout. Physical activity can help you to handle stress more effectively. Choose the kind of activity you enjoy and go for it. Whether you prefer tennis, swimming or even brisk walking, just a few minutes several times a week can make all the difference and restore your sense of equilibrium.