How IT Consulting Makes Business Expansion Easy

When you think of business expansion, does IT consulting come to mind? Probably not. There are so many other factors when it comes to expanding your company that IT is likely at the very bottom of your priority list.

 

But what if we told you that utilizing the right managed service provider and their IT consulting services could save you heaps of time and money? Chron’s report on growth strategies in business says that some common growth strategies include market penetration, market expansion, product expansion, diversification and acquisition. Regardless of what growth strategy you’re considering, partnering with the right IT company is critical.

 

Let’s examine how exactly IT consulting will make your business expansion dreams come true.

 

Technology Solution Engineering

In this digital day and age, technology makes the world spin. If you’re thinking about expanding your business, you need to make sure your new location is prepared to run efficiently right off the bat. Take this advice from Entrepreneur in their article on key steps to a growth strategy: if you don’t have a tangible plan, you’re actually losing business—or you’re increasing the chance of losing business to competitors.

 

By partnering with a managed service provider, you’ll have the right technology solution for your new location. And not just any random collection of computers, printers, and phones. A thought-out, structured solution that is engineered exactly for your business. This means you’re only paying for what you need to run your new location with maximum results.

 

And if you’re considering acquisitions, you won’t have to worry about the existing infrastructure bringing down your bottom line. With professional IT consulting and solution engineering, you’ll be able to keep what you need, replace what’s not working, and continue to watch your business grow.

 

 

Project Management

According to American Express’s article on growth strategies small business can use, small business owners have to wear many hats. A large project can seem very daunting on top of everything else, but with the right managed service provider, it won’t be something you have to worry about. Regardless of how you’re expanding your business, you’ll have experts managing the technology to make sure nothing goes awry.

 

Onsite Implementation

When the time comes for a new location to be outfitted or an acquisition’s existing infrastructure to be replaced, the right managed service provider will handle all of the onsite implementation. No longer will you have to deal with boxes of cords and equipment being dropped at the doorstep and left with unreadable instructions for you to figure out.

 

Because you made the choice to have your IT engineered specifically for your company’s needs, implementation can be seamless and quick. And if it’s not? Not your problem. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

 

Technology Business Reviews

Once things are up and running, you aren’t left high and dry. It’s not like that used car you bought from that weird guy in college, the one that ran fine when you test drove it but suddenly fell apart the moment you paid for it. And when you tried contacting that guy? He was nowhere to be found, of course. After all, the car wasn’t his problem anymore, right?

 

That situation won’t happen when you partner with a managed service provider and utilize their IT consulting services. You’ll receive technology business reviews to make sure everything is running to your satisfaction, and if it’s not, you can voice your challenges and walk away from the meeting with a plan to fix them.

 

Another perk of technology business reviews is getting to see exactly how well your technology infrastructure has been doing. It’s easy to forget about all the digital worker bees behind the curtain, but they deserve some recognition every once in a while. And it feels good to see your staff happy, your equipment running smoothly, and everything going well.

 

Telecommunications Review

When expanding your business, you might acquire a new location, build a new place, or decide to target a new market. Whatever your expansion strategy is, a thorough telecommunications review always comes in handy. According to LinkedIn’s report on telecommunication expenses, small and medium businesses are exceedingly affected by public high rates and a low quality customer service from many of the major telecommunication companies.

 

You may be spending way more than you need to be on your phone and internet service, and only professionals with industry experience can truly evaluate what your business needs are. So let your managed service provider go to bat for you, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

 

7 Questions to Ask a Managed Service Provider

Every business, from small to large, should have a managed service provider (MSP). The benefits that come from partnering with an MSP and the headaches that are avoided make the investment well worth it. You’ll be able to scale to meet demand, receive cloud computing expertise, have the proper technology to meet your needs, and benefit from the right privacy and security regulations, among many other perks, according to this article on the benefits of partnering with an MSP.

 

But how do you know which MSP is right for you and your company? We’ve compiled a list of seven important questions you need to ask when you’re looking to partner with a managed service provider.

 

How do you deliver and charge for managed services?

This question is basic, but you need to make sure you fully understand how the service will be delivered and what you’re paying for. The gold standard for MSPs is usually a flat rate that never changes, unless you add a new project or new services. Be careful of MSPs that wiggle around this question, or say it will change from month to month. You may end up paying a lot more than you expected, and no one likes unexpected charges at the end of the month.

 

What is your recommendation regarding hardware and software?

A legitimate MSP will come take a look at your existing hardware and software and lay out a plan for anything that needs replaced, fixed, or updated. The goal of an MSP should be to work with what you have and act as a true business partner, not try to nickel and dime you to death. If you have a couple computers that need replaced in order for the MSP to successfully support your network, that’s normal. If an MSP comes in and wants to replace everything, from printers to routers to software, without first auditing the infrastructure you DO have, steer clear.

 

What accreditation and certifications does your company have as an MSP?

It’s always smart to vet your options when it comes to partnering with a new company. You don’t want to sign an agreement with an MSP that isn’t certified in some of the basics, such as CompTIA’s A+, Network+, and Security+; various Microsoft certifications, like MTA and MCSA; and server infrastructure certifications like MCSE.

 

What is your business data security policy?

The number of U.S. data breach incidents tracked in 2017 hit a new record high of 1,579 breaches, according to the 2017 Data Breach Year-End Review released by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and CyberScout. The review indicates a drastic upturn of 44.7 percent increase over the record high figures reported for 2016.

 

In this day and age, you HAVE to make sure your company’s data is protected. With hackers seeking financial gain by holding your information ransom, you’ve got to ensure the MSP you partner with has a solid data security policy. Ask how they’ve tested their security plan and how they monitor risks for your company. If you sense any type of hesitation or confusion, move on. Risking your data for an inexperienced MSP isn’t worth it.

 

What happens if the engineer assigned to you leaves the MSP?

This one should have a clear answer. Engineers at legitimate MSPs should be cross-trained, meaning that even if the technician you’ve been dealing with moves away, you’re still being supported 24/7 by experienced staff members. There shouldn’t be any lapse of service or lack of monitoring because one technician leaves the MSP. Ask how many technicians the MSP has on payroll, if there are plans to hire more, and what the strategy is if one leaves unexpectedly.

 

Do you have experience working within our industry and with our size of company?

You need to make sure the MSP you chose has ample experience with your industry and the size of your business. If you’re a one-man-shop and the MSP you chose only works with enterprise-sized companies, you can bet that all of their solutions and experience will not apply to you or your company. You need to feel confident that your MSP understands what kind of challenges you face on a daily basis, and will be there to support you 100%.

 

What processes do you deploy to ensure our organization is compliant?

Compliance challenges are common in the workplace, especially as the laws change and develop. Protection of the customer’s privacy is a hotbed issue, and if you operate any kind of business that deals with health records or credit cards, you must be compliant or face fines and penalties. For example, HIPAA violations are expensive. The penalties for noncompliance are based on the level of negligence and can range from $100 to $50,000 per violation (or per record), with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million per year for violations of an identical provision. Violations can also carry criminal charges that can result in jail time, according to True Vault. Make sure you ask what steps your MSP will take to assist you in meeting compliance laws, whether it’s HIPAA, PCI, or whatever other compliance law you need to meet.

 

As you can see, asking the right questions will pair you with the best MSP for you and your business. As CIO says in their article on how to get the most from a managed IT services provider, companies should resist the urge to go with the lowest-cost provider in favor of partners that understand your business and can help you achieve strategic goals. So take these questions and make the right decision for yourself and your company. You’ll be glad you did.

Top 3D Printing Advancements

It was hard to corral the top 3D printing advancements, simply because 3D printing has affected many, many industries and individual people. And just like motorized automobiles, 3D printing is changing every aspect of life in developed countries. Very simply put, a 3D printer is a robot that creates a three-dimensional object by layering certain materials. Various types of businesses are taking advantage of the endless opportunities 3D printers provide. If you’re looking to capitalize on 3D printing (or better understand it), below are a few of the industries utilizing 3D printing. Take some notes!

Architecture

Revolutionizing the way things are made, it’s no surprise that 3D printing holds a significant impact on the architectural industry. Scale design models are created faster, with more durability and more detail—giving clients a better visual of the final project. This process saves time and leaves no question unanswered. Instead of architects or assistants pouring over meticulous detailed models for hours, days, weeks, or months, 3D printing allows for exact dimensions and precise creation in less than a day (depending on the size and scale of the project).

Why it’s important:

By saving time, architects and their support staff can tackle more projects. They can deliver quality models in less time, and work more closely with clients on adjustments because those adjustments won’t take extraneous amounts of time to create. And with the specificity of 3D printing, measurements and dimensions don’t get lost in the creation of the model.

Healthcare

Science and 3D printing are coming together to create real-life miracles. Current projects include: the printing of human skin to help burn victims and those with skin conditions, printing of organs and body parts to advance research and work toward the goal of full organ replacement, printing of precise patching to repair heart conditions, and printing cost-efficient prosthetics.

Why it’s important:

By utilizing 3D printing, the healthcare industry has been able to make leaps and bounds. With more detailed 3D models, researchers and scientists can test theories in new ways without harming a living person or animal. Teaching becomes more advanced, and the flat paper of a medical textbook turns into a lifelike 3D model.

Manufacturing

3D printing brings a variety of benefits to the manufacturing industry such as increased customization and output. From aerospace to consumer goods, 3D printing gives companies the tools they need to be more innovative and specific. Because 3D printing has the ability to eliminate certain manufacturing verticals (those that produce smaller items from common materials), some companies have to be careful how they utilize this new technology.

Why it’s important:

Manufacturing has to be vigilant about how they use and promote 3D printing. As of now, large items are still created the old-fashioned way, so industries revolving around those types of items are safe. But when a person can print his or her own fidget spinner at home, why would they buy one? See the challenge?

Fashion

Jewelry, accessories, shoes, avant-garde design — when it comes to fashion, 3D printing is limitless. Well-known fashion giants like Nike, Adidas and Chanel have incorporated 3D printing into their pieces, including Nike’s 3D printed duffel bag made for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Why it’s important:

Because of 3D printing’s exact measurements and ability to create almost anything, the fashion industry now has no limits to what they can create. The human element has been eliminated in the sense of having to rely on a person to figure out how to create an item. 3D printing produces the item down to the last millimeter, which allows for exact designing.

Electronics

Consumers demand three features for their electronics—mobility, design, and efficiency. And 3D printing makes this much simpler. 3Dprinting allows manufacturers to easily fit detailed parts together, to create high-quality prototypes, and to use unique materials for production.

Why it’s important:

The technology and electronics industry are one of the fastest-growing sectors of our world right now. New products come out constantly, and technology companies are always fighting each other to be the best and biggest. How will they do that? Successful prototypes, useful products, and the ability to create new things from new materials as quickly as possible can catapult one company ahead of another very easily.

Education

Schools with access to 3D printing are going beyond text books and teaching in three-dimensions. Since 3D technology is the future, this hands-on experience can help children get bigger, better jobs after graduation. Understanding the world as it really is—in 3D—will allow for better comprehension and retention. 3D printed models will be especially helpful for courses that rely heavily on hands-on training.

Why it’s important:

The more educated and fulfilled our children are, the more advanced the world becomes as they progress into the adult environment. By using 3D printing to give them the best education possible, we’re setting ourselves up for success in the future.

 

Tips for Easing Workplace Stress

It’s common for everyone to experience workplace stress at one point or another in their careers. Unfortunately, none of us work in a perfect office. Most companies don’t have an entire website and multi-million-dollar side projects dedicated to perfecting people and workplace culture like Google does. And since neither of those two things are available for the run-of-the-mill business, your professional habitat can be a difficult place to exist in.

Tempers. Egos. Frustrations. Uncontrollable emotions. Poor judgement. All of these are types of things you’ll encounter in the workplace, just as much as you will outside the workplace. And sometimes, every awful, horrible human trait that you can possibly imagine will exist within the same coworker, and there’s nothing you can do about it—that is, except go into the office every day and work side-by-side with that awful, horrible human being.

We’ve all been there. Trying to relax after a hard day, only to find ourselves re-living that argument with Susan over and over and over again. So how do you handle difficult workplace interactions and coworkers without bringing your pent-up frustrations home with you?

Here’s what we suggest.

First of all, it’s very important to remember that not everything is worth the effort, the battle, or the emotional turmoil. If it’s an issue or dispute that is relatively small in the grand scheme of things, then just drop it. Save your fight for another battle. Make this a re-occurring habit of yours, and when an issue is larger than normal, no one will be prepared for the fight you’ll bring to the table.

You have to recall that there’s a reason people differentiate your professional life from your personal life. Not just because they’re lived in two separate realms, but because one is legitimately personal and the other is not. Do your best to keep personal emotions out of the workplace, and you’ll find that it’ll be much easier to handle difficult people and interactions.

However, this does not mean to be completely emotion-free at work. Emotion is a great thing to utilize in a business setting in the right amount, because it can lead to new ideas and a bigger vision.

Secondly, just like avoiding your negative emotions, it’s best to avoid other’s emotions as well. Now, don’t completely write off the stress or anger that a coworker is feeling in a situation—this can be seen as inadequate interpersonal communication skills. But, you should try really hard to set these emotions aside while you attempt to rectify the actual issue. Try saying, “I understand that this situation is really affecting you at the moment. Let’s take a few minutes to catch our breath and then we’ll come back to the table to address what the real problem is here.” The sooner you can get this out, the sooner you can get to work.

If someone is angry and you choose to get angry back at that person, odds are things will only get worse from there. At this point, you should take note of the previous suggestions. Not every issue is worth the hassle. Most work issues should not be taken personally. And it’s important to address the issue, not the person. If you can remember these tips, then it shouldn’t be all that difficult to maintain your calm.

And if you can manage to stay calm, others will usually follow suit. Emotions tend to mimic other emotions—mostly because it looks rather ridiculous when someone is acting rude or out of control and you’re just sitting there with a smile on your face. So, try to stay calm and realize that yelling back at Susan won’t get either of you anywhere.

9 Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Great Again

It’s 2018, and it’s time to make your LinkedIn great again. Most of us were forced to create a profile during our school days, or told by our employer to make one as soon as possible. After that, it sat there collecting dust. But now is the perfect time to revisit your LinkedIn page and make it shine. 2018 is the year of new beginnings, so start with your social media and put your best face forward. But what if you already have an “All-Star”rating from LinkedIn? Unfortunately, that just speaks to completeness, not quality, and quality matters the most because your LinkedIn profile plays many important roles in your career success. It delivers your first impression. It helps show you are ready for the next rung on the ladder. It connects you with important people who become a part of your brand community. So focusing a little attention on your profile can have a big impact on your career trajectory. Here are nine ways to create the most powerful LinkedIn profile.

Make it magnetic.

Your LinkedIn profile needs to attract the attention of people who matter. That means it needs to have all the right keywords so you’re found. And once the right people find you, they should want to stay connected with you. Make your LinkedIn a place people want to stay and hang aroud in, because you are just that cool.

Make it human.

Credentials and experience are important. They’re the table stakes that get you into the game. Without them, you won’t be considered for a new role or a board position or a business partnership. But when it comes to deciding who we want to work with, people want to work with people—not credentials. A profile filled with amazing experience and accolades will work against you if it’s devoid of personality and human recommendations.

Make it authentic.

Your profile can make you look like a senior leaderof a large team even if you’re a junior middle manager. But it likely won’t fool too many people. People can tell when you’re blowing smoke. And what you put online is more likely to be scrutinized by a wide audience as LinkedIn has morethan half a billion members. So don’t try to pretend you’re someone you aren’t.

Make it aspirational.

While your profile needs to be based in who you really are, it needs to position you for where you want to be next. When crafting it, you need to be clear about what your objectives are. If you haven’t identified your career goals, how will others know where you want to go? How will you?

Make it relevant.

It needs to speak to the people you are looking to influence. It must be clear to them immediately that you are the right person for them to get to know. That means you need to highlight the elements of your profile that tell your target audience, “I’m one of you and here’s why!”

Make it compelling.

The ultimate goal for crafting a great profile is to compel the right people to take action. When reading your profile, people should say, “This is someone I need to know.”They should not only want to add you to their network but also follow your blog posts or partner with you on a project.

Make it current.

If you haven’t updated your profile in a while, and it focuses on your work in healthcare even though you have moved to information technology, you’re telling people, “I just don’t care.”There are horrid cases of senior executives who haven’t updated their profiles since they created them back in 2003 when LinkedIn launched and they held a junior role in the company. Embarrassing.

Make it validated.

You need others to speak on your behalf. Most of your profile is you speaking about you. It becomes much more credible when others deliver testimonials that prove you right. With LinkedIn, you can invite this validation through endorsements and recommendations. You can also add quotes about yourself from executives or the media in your summary. This is a great way to boost yourself and what you bring to the table.

Make sure it’s well-proofed.

Nothing destroys a perfect profile like a typo or bad formatting. If you invest copious time making your content relevant and interesting, invest a little extra time to make sure the layout is beautiful, without any embarrassing grammar errors. Now go and take a look at your LinkedIn profile with a fresh set of eyes and measure it against these nine important characteristics. Then grab some time in your calendar to polish your profile so that it reflects all nine.

4 Easy Event Technology Strategies

Figuring out the best event technology strategies can be overwhelming. With all the options out there, how do you know which ones are worth the effort? Before we dive into that, we have to stress that events are incredibly important. Whether it’s gathering your customers together, an industry conference, or an employee celebration, your business should put on its fair share of events. These events are crucial and require considerable time to plan, market, and execute, which can limit how much effort you devote to other tasks. It would be ideal to have an entire team devoted to event planning, but if you don’t have the budget for a team, you can leverage event technology instead, including tools and event platforms that automate the event management process. Here are some ways that you can more effectively manage your events, no matter how big or small.

Understand event planning automation technologies.

Event planning automation is advancing in many ways Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology — which has been around for a while—is now becoming a more common tool for automating aspects of an event. For example, the system can be used on attendee wristbands for large-scale events, saving considerable resources and eliminating manual checks. In addition, the stored information can help you enhance the customer experience at the event. Attendees will not need to worry about carrying credit cards or a ticket but can just enjoy the show. Furthermore, the data from those RFID wristbands can be analyzed through machine learning to deliver new insights that can lead to improved events for you and your audience. Various types of intelligent analytics can now be used to look at every aspect of the event to identify what the audience liked, what delivered the greatest return, and what needs more thought.

Utilize event platforms.

Eventbrite is the world’s leading event technology platform. Besides providing a framework for hosting all types of events, such as music festivals, conferences, contests, fundraisers, gaming competitions, and more, the event technology company provides an increasingly automated and integrated system for creating, promoting, and hosting these events. The good news is, many of the aspects of an event can now be integrated and automated. There are more than 130 extensions that shorten the time you need to spend on an event. Many of these extensions you may already recognize and use, which makes employing an event platform even easier. For example, you can use MailChimp from the Eventbrite event platform to send personalized, automated emails to sell event tickets. Survey Monkey automates the event feedback process to determine what your guests thought of the event and what you might improve. Also, Eventbrite has a Publish to Facebook tool and the ability to integrate with Hootsuite to get the word out about your event. Finally, Zapier extends the automation capabilities within the platform to perform numerous event-related tasks, thus removing the need for any manual data entry.

Offer rewards for feedback.

The only way to know if your event worked is to ask those who attended. You may feel like it was incredibly successful, while the attendees may think differently. You don’t want to figure that out at your next event where no one shows up. To combat this potential embarrassing situation, use surveys and offer rewards to those who complete them. Let’s say you’re hosting a lunch and learn at your facility. Create a digital version of your survey, let your attendees know that if they complete the survey at the end of the lunch, they’ll be sent a T-shirt or other promotional material. It’s a fast and easy way to get feedback, and your events will positively evolve over time.

Use event engagement technologies.

Attendee engagement is a vital part of the event management process. It could make the difference in the number of attendees who return to future events you hold, as well as the recommendations—or complaints—they share with their network. These technologies offer an incredible range of ways to engage with your attendees, such as gamification, social walls, live streaming, second-screen technology, people discovery, content sharing, and attendee logistics. Although event engagement technologies like the virtual reality viewers work well for large-scale events, you can still utilize engagement techniques for smaller events like lunch and learns or client appreciation days. Having social media contests, live streaming, and content sharing opportunities makes your event stand out from the crowd. This intriguing list of event technologies illustrates the significant changes that have occurred in event management in recent years. There are many ways to reduce the time you spend managing events while also increasing the overall experiences you create and the insights you can glean from them. Even better is that these event technologies are fairly affordable and have proven investment.

Why the Internet is Actually the Wild West of Today

Instead of beaver fur, the digital frontier is trading in stolen credit card information and hijacked passwords. Old fashion duels with pistol in hand have been replaced with keyboards and complex coding. And robbingidentities has become more exciting than robbing banks.

The internet is the 21St century version of the Wild West.

It doesn’t seem like anything is getting better, either. Every time security advances, digital threats find some new, innovative way to be more malicious than ever. The two are constantly neck and neck; while no one ever truly wins, people do lose.

So to make sure you never end up unarmed and friendless in the Wild West, here are a few basic steps to maintain internet vigilance.

Are you letting the Wild West slip in?

Keep your devices up-to-date with the latest security patches and browser extensions. Never, ever postpone them. Your device is prompting you to update for a reason and they remind you over and over for a reason. Many times, they’ll even try to force it on you (your device will shut down in the next ten minutes unless you postpone).

Take the hint.

When you delay critical updates, you create holes. The longer you wait, the larger they become. Holes are wonderful opportunities for hackers, viruses and worms to slip through.

Excuse me, have we met before?

Stick with ol’reliable. This is the most effective way to stay safe while browsing (although it is slightly unreasonable). If you remain on sites from known companies like Amazon, Etsy and Wal-Mart and widely used and accepted sites like Google, Pandora and Business Insider, your vulnerabilities probably won’t be so open to exploitation.

However, there will be times when you decide to venture further into the unknown—you’ll want to read a blog you discovered 12 pages deep into a Google search or purchase a T-shirt from an obscure website you heard about from a friend of a friend.

So if you do decide to willingly meander off into the Wild West, make sure you’re armed.

There’s a new sheriff in town and he goes by Browser Extension.

When you take a whirl in the digital sector, you should stay as safe as possible and adding a few browser extensions will help. There are many different forms of extensions, like ad blockers, anti-tracking and anti-cookie. These extensions encourage privacy and keep you more secure when you’re off exploring the dark corners of the web. To nudge you in the right direction, here’s a list Lifehacker compiled of popular browser extensions.

Well, howdy there HTTPS.

If you’re entering in your credit card information somewhere, glance up to the top left of your screen. If you notice http and not https, you need get out of there.

Https means your data will be encrypted and harder to intercept by hackers camping out in the middle somewhere. Http, on the other hand, may leave your data vulnerable during a transfer.

Utilize Your Chronotype to Overpower Those Work Blues

Yes, there’s actually a best time to do everything: from scheduling a meeting to asking for a raise—even binge-watching Netflix. We all have an internal clock that ticks to its own beat, influencing when we’re most productive and most prone to sleep. Yet few people harness their natural rhythms for maximum work efficiency.

So what’s a chronotype?

Everyone has an internal circadian rhythm and chronotypes are the identifications of these rhythms. Chronotypes are genetically pre-determined. There are four chronotypes: dolphins, who are light sleepers and commonly suffer from insomnia; lions, who tend to wake early with lots of energy but get exhausted by early evening; bears, who track the rise and fall of the sun and need 8 hours of sleep each night; and wolves, who are most energetic in the evenings and don’t like mornings. How can you tell what chronotype you are? The easiest way to self-select is through a couple of questions. For example, when do you start getting tired in the evening? Lions get tired between 9:30-10:00PM, bears get tired between 10:30-11:00PM, wolves get tired at 11:00PM or later, while dolphins are insomniacs and are usually tired all the time. Dolphins can be determined by process of elimination. About 55% of the population are bears, while lions, dolphins and wolves are about 15% each.

How Do your natural rhythms affect your eating habits?

Your meals are your guideposts throughout the day. If you can eat at the right time, it really keeps your chronotype on the right rhythm. The more consistent you are eating lunch at the same time each day, the better. Dolphins and lions should eat lunch at noon, bears at 12:30PM, and wolves at 1:00PM. Lions should have a mid-morning snack around 9:30AM, since they eat breakfast so early, while everyone else should have a snack between lunch and dinner.

How can you take advantage of your natural rhythms in the workplace?

One of the classic things people screw up at work is scheduling meetings at the wrong times. Monday morning is not the right time for meetings, because people have social jet lag from the weekend, plus they have to plan the week ahead. The only people who are good at 7:00AM on Monday are lions, and a lot of managers are lions. If you can have a managers-only breakfast meeting, lions are fine with it. For everyone else, have a lunch meeting. Then, think about what is required of different work products. If you work at an ad agency, there are two sides: creative and business. Some 75% to80% of super creative people are wolves. You should have extended office hours for them. 8:00PM is when their juices are flowing. For selling ads, you want lions who get up early and get out there, because by 3:00PM they’re toast.

What’s the best time to ask for a raise?

People become more positive as the week goes on. Monday is not a positive day. Friday is a very positive day. Also, later in the day tends to be better. By 2:00PM, most people are in a good mood. If you can determine your boss’s chronotype, coordinate your request with his or her peak pleasantness and, therefore, peak receptivity to your request. Lions’ pleasantness peaks at 2:00PM, dolphins’ at 4:00PM, bears’ at 6:00PM, and wolves’ at 8:00PM. If your boss is a lion and a lot of bosses are —you don’t want to show up at 4:00PM on a Friday afternoon to ask for a raise.

How do these chronotypes affect us outside the office?

A lot of people don’t start watching TV until late at night. All of a sudden, you look up and it’s 1:00AM. Sleep is not an on-off switch. If you don’t show up on time, you might miss your window. If at all possible, you don’t want to binge-watch past 10:30PM. Bears and wolves have to be super careful binge-watching during the week, because they’ll stay up too late and it’ll crush them the next day. For dolphins, the best time to binge watch is between 10:00AM to 2:00PM and for lions, it’s 7:00PM to 10:00PM. For bears, it’s 3:00PM to 9:00PM on weekends; for wolves, it’s 5:00PM to 11:00PM on weekends.

How to Conquer Your Work Week Like a Boss

Crazy idea: use

Crazy idea: use Mondays to set the tone for your week. They don’t have to be the worst, most painful day of our lives like we’re taught from infancy. Monday is when you decide where you want your week to go. You set your own priorities. You remind yourself of your goals. And you put habits into motion that will get you there quickly and effectively.

But how do you conquer your week and bridle Monday?

Do these eight little things, and you’ll be off to the races:

  1. Monday morning, get one thing done immediately.

There is nothing more satisfying than feeling like you’re already in the swing of things. And the easiest way to trigger that feeling is to get something small on your list done. Maybe you’ve been meaning to email someone back for a while—knock that off your plate. Maybe you’ve been putting off uploading a simple blog post—do that quickly and voila! It’s done. Do something that will get your subconscious in the right mode of efficiency and productivity.

  1. Make a list of everything you want to get done, and group similar items together.

This theory comes from Tony Robbins. He calls it “chunking.” It is an incredibly effective productivity technique. Make a list of everything you have to do, and then group similar to-do items together and tackle each “chunk” at a time. The reason behind it? It’s much more difficult (and time intensive) to bounce between different kinds of tasks than to get into one specific zone and crank through all the things that align with that same mindset.

  1. Make your social plans for the week in advance.

You’re going to do something social this week, so plan that out now. And as absolutely best as possible, do not say yes to anything that pops up outside of those plans. A lot of people let their schedules dictate them, instead of dictating their schedules. And a big mistake people make in terms of time management is leaving huge windows of time open for other people to fill. Don’t leave that responsibility up to someone else.

  1. Do your grocery shopping for the week on Monday.

Just get it done. Failure to prepare means preparing to fail, and food is a great example. Instead of letting your schedule dictate you’re eating, plan ahead. Go to the store, get what you need for the week, and maybe even make somethings in bulk that you can eat between Monday and Friday.

  1. Drink a cold-brew coffee.

It takes almost no time to order, and drinking it will increase your productivity exponentially. It’s a fact. Don’t like coffee? Try some tea with caffeine or some chocolate instead.

  1. Pick one primary goal for the week, and measure your success on that basis.

Every week, try to pick one particular goal to have accomplished by the following Sunday. Don‘t pick something massive like, “Write a book this week.” Start with a chapter. Start with a page. Maybe this week your primary goal will be to finally make that new hire. Or to reorganize your closet. It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as you get in the habit of choosing a primary goal for the week and making sure you can at least get that done. Once that’s a habit, you can set bigger and more frequent weekly goals. Just remember to start small.

  1. Set alarm reminders to take five to ten minutes to yourself every one and a half to two hours.

Whoever says being productive is all about grinding for hours on end without ever taking a break has clearly never maximized his or her productivity. One of the best things you can do to make your Monday (or any day) more effective is intentionally stepping away from what you’re working on to clear your head.

Now, don’t be one of those people who leave their computer only to stand outside and stare at their phone. That defeats the whole purpose. Leave your computer. Leave your phone. Go for a walk outside, and you’ll come back ready to dive in again.

  1. Don’t check your email until noon. Just try it.

Your Monday morning will be so much more productive if you start your day by getting a difficult task done, instead of immediately falling victim to answering your inbox and wasting time piddling around in your inbox. Humans are pre-programmed to procrastinate, and checking email is a prime avenue for procrastination to thrive.

Easy Tricks to Manage Your Holiday Stress

Between holiday

ll thank yourself later

Between holiday shopping and overloading on carbs, it’s not a surprise you have no energy to do anything, let alone be productive. It’s just that time of the year: you start to see a dip in productivity and begin to experience migraines on a daily basis. So the goal here is not to help you be productive (because we know that’s not going to happen). Rather, the goal is to help you steer clear of migraines and to prevent your workload from morphing into the all-consuming blob. Here are 3 quick tips to keep your sanity intact and under controlthis holiday season.

 

Know when everyone will be out.

While everyone in your office might be checked out long before the holiday rolls around, find out when the MVPs in your professional and personal lifewill be physicallychecked out. If you’re banking on completing a project with the help of a coworker, and then that coworker decides to take off to Hawaii for the last two weeks of December, you’ll be working on that project all by yourself and probably be harboring some resentment when the new year rolls around. And be sure to inform your team of when you’ll be gone as well, in case someone in the office was hoping to get you to edit a document while you plan to be in the Poconos. Communication goes a very long way, especially during the holiday season.

 

Prioritize your list—or, at the very least, make a list.

Gather all your to-dos, tasks, and projects and assign deadlines to them. If you can’t fathom assigning an actual due date to any of it, then rank your items by importance. If you get halfway through your list by the time Christmas rolls around, then you’re probably better off than most of your coworkers. And the same goes for personal tasks: if you make a list and stick to it, your shopping trip during lunch will take 30 minutes instead of an hour and half.

Plan ahead.

November and December seem to be one big holiday. You have days off, office parties, family get-togethers, and lets-have-a-potluck-during-office-hours-because-we-feel-like-it. Before you know it, January 2nd is here, and it’s time for you to face the music. To avoid this, you need to plan ahead. If you have projects due in the last half of December, do it when you have the time. Break it up into segments and chip away at it piece by piece. Your slow weeks may seem like the ideal time to get lost in BuzzFeed articles, but if you work on that December project instead, you’ll thank yourself later.