Starting a business used to be a distant fantasy, something you tossed around while at your desk in corporate SA. But now you’ve done it. And though you’re proud, you’ve also got 14 things to do before breakfast – and space for only nine. Think you can’t get through it all?
Here are experts’ methods to keep you from going mad:
1. Stop whining.
Stop wasting time worrying; it’s self-defeating. Your job is to get things done. The more time you spend worrying, putting things off and spinning your wheels, the more you add to your workload. Watch how quickly that pile on your desk disappears when you stop killing time and actually attack it.
2. Eschew perfection.
Perfectionism is your enemy. Many people don’t turn in work – never get things done, never start a business -because they’re waiting until it’s perfect. Life isn’t perfect; you’re always doing things that are less than optimal. You have to take a risk. Maybe you’ll make a wrong decision, but you have to make the decision and move on.
3. Meet smart.
If you find yourself in an unavoidable meeting, make sure your time is well spent. Try scheduling 20-minute meetings,either 20 minutes before lunch or 20 minutes before 5pm. People want to go to lunch, and they want to go home. Tell them, “We’re not leaving until we finish”, and watch how quickly the work gets done.
4. Make time to have fun.
Remember what it is you’reworking for. You started a business to enjoy your life more fully, not to be at the mercy of anyone else’s schedule. Scheduling fun time to relax is just as important as scheduling that management meeting. It will refresh you and give you the energy you need to tackle more work.
How to do it? By being efficient.Get your work done as soon as it comes in – when it’s out of the way, you can move on to the fun stuff.
5. Treasure your family time.
The one organisational tool you can’t live without is family support. Time together may not always be possible,but squeeze in even an hour a day, and make sure it’s quality time.
6. Don’t dwell on the past.
This goes for past victories as well as defeats. Don’t complain about what went wrong. If you’ve just had the worst sales year in the history of the company, go out and cool off for 10 minutes and then get back to work.
And if you’ve had the best sales year in the history of your company, go out and celebrate for 10 minutes and then get back to work and improve it. You celebrate victories for a short period of time, and you mourn defeats for a short period of time.
The key to juggling all the stuff in your life? Be passionate about what you’re doing. If you love it, you can do it. Also, remember to enjoy the process of growing your business. It’s why you got started in the first place.
How Entrepreneurs Can Use Coloured Lights To Stay Productive
Colours in your workspace aren’t just for Christmas anymore. They actually have a surprising impact on focus and creativity.
Colours drive the world around us. Plants use colour to absorb the energy of the sun. Animals use colour to hide from predators or to attract mates. Humans use colour in an infinite variety of ways that are cultural, social, positive – and negative. It should come as no surprise, then, that colour impacts our lives in a million little ways.
Nor is the impact of colour in your business always just about branding or advertising. The colour of your office space, for instance, can have a big impact on productivity. Cool greens and blues, and natural hues, tend to improve our focus and efficiency while instilling a sense of well-being.
Warmer hues, like red, can indicate something the viewer should be passionate about – or something worthy of concern. That’s why red is the colour of valentines and of warnings against fire. Yellow, meanwhile, is energetic and refreshing, helpful for innovation.
Updating the “idea” bulb
There has been a trend in recent years to infuse an office or workspace with colours appropriate for the tasks at hand. Think: A new age, psychology-backed Feng Shui. Yet this notion of decorating has drawbacks: For example, if you paint the walls of your office, you’ll find it difficult to shift colours as your business shifts gears. Choosing one colour over another can result in a feeling of staleness, and changing up decorations is certainly a chore.
The good news is that modern technology provides a solution to this problem, and that solution lies in upgrading the lighting in your workplace.
Modern innovations are extending our already commonplace knowledge of good lighting practices. Cool versus warm lighting, bright blue-white LEDs versus warmer yellow-white incandescent bulbs: All have their place. Even variations in white lights can affect productivity and creativity when customised for office spaces.
The smart home and home-automation industry has also been growing year over year, and one of the primary innovations it has brought is programmable or controllable light bulbs, including those like the Philips Hue, LIFX A19, Ikea’s Tradfri and the GE C bulbs.
Through apps, remote controls, Bluetooth connections and programmable systems, these bulbs can be controlled to deliver thousands of colours in varying intensities, without the need to repaint or redecorate.
Want a productive shade of blue for your office? Set your lights to blue. Done with work and want to relax? Switch those lights to a light green. Entertaining for a party? Rock those Christmas colours.
On top of all of that, lights work just fine in all white, with just a hint of warm or cool colour to bring on the desired psychological effect. You don’t need to plan out which bulbs go in which room of an office; just programme in a few settings for common uses and run one set of bulbs.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of using a smart lighting system, be it in a corporate environment or in an individual work-from-home office, is the ability to tailor lighting to your own specific preferences. Sure, blue might work to increase your productivity, but what if the shade of blue in the overhead lights just doesn’t work for you? With smart bulbs, you can pick the exact “hex” value for the shade of blue you prefer.
Entrepreneurs are nothing if not highly opinionated individuals. No two offices are the same. Some people prefer standing desks; others prefer desks with bikes or treadmills attached; and still others just want a room with a view. Everyone has his or her own preferences, so being able to find and select the specific lighting for the specific tasks you’re performing is an enormous boon.
All it requires is a bit of investment into a smart bulb system, some introspection to monitor moods and productivity while experimenting with colour and probably a good firewall.
Installing a bunch of smart bulbs is not going to have an immediate 200 percent productivity increase attached. There’s a lot of room still to experiment, and a lot of psychology and biology left to explore. Smart lighting can accentuate a natural workflow, but it won’t allow you to bypass natural circadian rhythms without issue.
With this in mind, it’s worthwhile to accompany smart lighting with control over other light sources. F.lux, an app to adjust the colour temperature of computer screens to follow daylight, is a great companion. As the sun sets, and the bright white-blue of your home computer screen becomes a harsh glare, the app adjusts and dims your screen and adds a warmer hue. You can then follow with similar adjustments in ambient light: The result is you may find it easier to fall asleep.
Using fully colour-adjustable lighting is still a very new field for entrepreneurs. There are no easy-to-follow guides to set up the perfect colours. It’s an investment that requires self-awareness and monitoring personal data to optimise. If that sounds like a worthwhile experiment or even a fun thing to try, smart lighting in the office just might be for you.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
How The First 20 Minutes Of Your Day Can Set You Up For Success
Engage a positive routine right after waking, and you’ll tap into the power of your subconscious brain.
You all know about that morning-routine thing: Everyone raves that waking up early and sticking to your routine will help you get more done. But whether you get out of bed at 5 a.m. or 3 p.m., it’s the first 20 minutes of your day that can set you up for success.
The brain produces electrical patterns, often referred to as waves. Scientists have found a correlation between the frequency of brain waves and the body’s state.
When you first awake, your brain operates at around 10.5 waves per second. The range from eight to 13 Hz, or cycles per second, is the alpha stage. It’s been called the gateway to the subconscious mind.
Have you ever gone into a semi-daydreaming state while commuting? A few minutes pass, but you don’t remember what happened. It’s likely your brain entered the alpha state.
Without getting too deep into the science of brain activity, it’s safe to say your subconscious mind is most active right when you wake up.
You can train your brain to use this subconscious activity to think positively and accomplish more throughout your day. This quick checklist outlines six simple things you can do to make the most of these first 20 minutes:
1. Don’t click the snooze button
Don’t ever click your alarm’s snooze button. This tells your brain it’s OK to procrastinate by putting your day on hold.
2. Do make your bed
Your room will look cleaner and feel more organised – both of which train your mind to want to get things done, right away. It’s a small win, but you can build on it as your day continues.
3. Visualise your life
This is probably the best thing you can do in the alpha state. Visualise your life.
What will it be in five years, when you’ve achieved your goal of building your business? How about your relationships? Concentrate on how they’ll look in the future and what you need to make them real.
Tap into your subconscious mind to request what you want and then make your brain drive your actions.
4. Watch a motivational video
When you’re up, not even a tough day can get you down. If you’re truly motivated, you know you’ll reach your milestones – no matter what.
Big achievements are never easy. During the past year, I’ve found inspiration in quick-hit videos that help me refocus when I start to burn out between work and my studies. After you complete your visualisation exercise, watch a video that reinforces the connection between intention and action steps.
5. Repeat your affirmations
Simple affirmations such as “I will make this day the best day in my life” can have a huge impact on your life. It worked for Steve Jobs. First, compile a list of affirmations that fit your beliefs and core values. Repeat them aloud every morning.
6. Keep a journal
During the past year, I intentionally developed several habits to become more mindful. Keeping a journal ranks near the top of the list in terms of impact on my life.
You can use a journal to write down some of your affirmations, spread positive thinking and plan your day through these “morning pages.” Clear your mind of any thoughts that may interrupt your focus.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
10 Tips to Turn Your Brain Into an Idea Factory
Our creativity may vary in style, but never in quality.
I like to believe that we are all born creative. Our creativity may vary in style, but never in quality. And while you might have lost touch with your idea-generating department, you can always reach it again.
Here are 10 tips on how to start producing ideas on a daily basis.
1Start an idea notebook
Always carry a notebook and write down everything. An idea is like bait, once you get a glimpse of one, you use it to catch bigger and better ideas. Write down everything that you think might be a starting point.
2Hold intense brainstorming sessions
Here is when you go fishing. Let your mind wonder and go from one idea to the other. Brainstorming sessions will get your mind into creative mode.
3Write 10 new ideas every night
Think of this as a plan for tomorrow. Write down ideas before you go to sleep and wake up the next day with the basis for your work. It will give you direction and can prevent a creative block. I do this every night. It’s easy to come up with the first six, and the last four take a little extra brain power. Try it.
Let your hand scribble on the paper and your mind will wonder. Try expressing your ideas into drawings and sketches. And remember, you don’t have to be an actual artist to get the most of the benefits picture has to offer. It’s fun. I like to draw out websites I build.
Lead an experience-driven life. Experiencing new things will widen your perspective and will give you a bigger “inspiration pool.” People with full lives are better at being open, creative and producing new ideas.
Related: Strategic Creativity Drives Growth
6Turn off your electronics
Get away from the computer. Even when brainstorming or taking notes, use good old pen and paper. Turn off your electronics and remove your mind from distractions. You will find that not only you are more awake, but you will be better at directing your attention and maximising the production of new ideas.
Coffee wakes up the brain and sparks creativity. Think of it as fuel for your idea generator. Combine it with any of the previous tips, and you’ll feel limitless. I only drink caffeine a couple times per month, so when I drink it, it has a profound effect on me to the point I feel like I can walk through walls and see into the future.
8Surround yourself with creatives
Hang out with creative people, those who can inspire you and give you feedback. Network and bounce off ideas with each other. Get inspiration from people in your social group, and then expand your social group. And if the idea calls for it, by all means, collaborate.
Get in the mode of finishing things. Once you start thinking of an idea, think it through and don’t abandon it. Feeling accomplished will provide a dopamine boost, and help establish a craving that in turn develops a habit. Yay, habit loop!
10Don’t put yourself down
Never think that you are not creative enough or don’t have what it takes. Creative is a mood, not a brain type. Give yourself a break if things don’t come as naturally in the beginning and take it light. Rather than forcing it, create a habit of producing ideas and realise that habits take time.
Whether you need it for your job or want to lead a more creative life, transforming your brain into an idea-generating factory can be life-changing on all levels.
Word of caution: create ideas at your own risk, the effects could be a more focused, enriched, creative way of living. You may find more time and joy in the things you already do, and discover newfound opportunities and experiences. Not everyone will be ready for the profound effects. So “idea” wisely.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.