Crappy jobs. We’ve all had them. Soul-suck as they may, they’re a means to an end – a pay cheque.
Like most working stiffs not born into money, I paid my dues at junk jobs in high school and college. I’ve scrubbed toilets, sliced bagels and made sandwich art, er, I mean subs, thankfully not all at the same time. I’ve also felt strangers up and down for weapons and drugs at concerts. Hey, at least I got to watch the shows for free while on security duty. The only drawback: Not being allowed to rage in the mosh pit while on the clock.
After all, rage and crud jobs go together like jerk bosses and, well, crud jobs. If you work for a soul-crushing boss at a dead-end job, you’re not alone. Until you land your dream job, all you can do is shake it off at the end of a bad day. These cathartic songs will help you do just that. Or maybe they’ll motivate you to become your own boss, an entrepreneur.
Put your weary feet up, crack open a cold one and prepare to relate. Hard. Here we go.
Muse – “Uprising”
“Flick the switch and open up your third eye,” people. “Rise up and take the power back. It’s time that the fat cats had a heart attack.” Uh, metaphorically only, of course. If Muse’s powerful lyrics strike a burning chord deep within about your work situation, it’s probably also time to get your resume in order.
Remember, if you have another job to jump to (or a tidy oh-shit fund), you don’t have to suck it up and stay where you punch a clock now. You’re in control. No one can force, degrade or control you – unless you let them – and you WILL be victorious. Rise up and rock on.
Johnny Paycheck – “Take This Job and Shove It”
Why the crusty throwback? Because a list like this wouldn’t be complete without good ole curmudgeonly Johnny Paycheck.
Besides, who hasn’t wished, hoped and dreamed for the guts to say “I ain’t workin’ here no more!”? Don’t forget the sweet Southern twang when you finally do. It’ll add a lil’ somethin’ extra special to your exit.
Canibus – “Shove This Jay-Oh-Bee”
Remember the hilarious movie “Office Space”? We do, and, don’t worry, we promise no Michael Bolton here. Hold that middle finger and save this doozy for your earbuds. And for those oh-so productive “in-between” moments, when you’re spacing out at your desk, zombie-staring at your computer screen, like you’re in deep thought or something.
Wiz Khalifa – “Work Hard, Play Hard”
When you “got so much money you should start a bank,” so much paper right in front of you it’s hard to think, then you’ve got 99 problems and keeping your job ain’t one. Until you’re at that point, baller, you better work. And if you’re going to work hard, you might as well play hard, too. Speaking of, is it Friday yet? Cheers to the freakin’ weekend. We’ll drink to that.
Heads-up: This song is loaded with so many swears, it’s not even close to SFW. Don’t blast it in the office, not unless you like the colour pink, as in pink slip.
Thundamentals – “Quit Your Job”
This is your jam if you want to quit your job but can’t afford to. Afraid if you complain you’ll “get the boot”? Know anyone like that? Yeah, that’d be pretty much everyone in this bunk economy.
Do what the Thundamentals did. Vent about your B.O. double S in a fun song, so when he or she hears it, “the whole world will know” they’re a “fool.” Beats quitting in anger and collecting unemployment scraps. The video’s worth the watch, too. (Those poor kids. The boss-men took their candy.)
Queen – “I Want to Break Free”
God knows you want to break free, worker bee. You’ve done fallen out of love with your 9-to-5 and you can’t get over the way your boss treats you like he (or she) does. Break free, just don’t break down in the break room in front of everyone, OK? Oh, and don’t break away without being a professional champ and giving the customary two weeks’ notice. You want a good recommendation, don’t cha’?
Hot tip: Don’t miss the official video for this song. There’s perhaps nothing more freeing than eyeballing contortionists as they twist themselves into pretzels in Spandex…or seeing Freddie Mercury vacuum floors in a teased-up wig, high heels and a leather skirt.
Beck – “Soul Suckin’ Jerk”
Sorry to be a buzzkill here, but yes, you are gonna work for some soul-sucking jerk. Everyone does at one point or another. At least Beck is there for you, singing your pain in a sorta drunk kind of way, reminding you that there’s hope. One day you too will rock “the town like a mouldy crouton.” Like when you gather up the gumption to quit, find another job or, better yet, win the lottery.
Fifth Harmony – “Work From Home”
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the office. Work from home. Bonus: You can wear “‘bout nothin’,” except for during video meetings. So what if Fifth Harmony is really singing about putting in a different type of work? If you telecommute (like this homebody writer), “You don’t gotta go to work, but you gotta put in work.” You might as well work to cheesy tunes like this, because you can. On full blast, if your heart so desires. Your boss will never know.
Related: Work from Home Doing What You Love
U2 – “Bad”
“Let it go. Surrender. Dislocate.” This is Bono’s big, bad battle cry for the oppressed workers of the world. At least we’d like to think it is. Once you’re wide awake, not sleeping on the job, and you realise that, damnit, you deserve better and your talents will be better recognised and utilised elsewhere, let it go. Let it fade away. That is, after you brush up your resume and alert your references, you know, just to be prepared.
Black Flag – “I’ve Had It”
Hold onto this classic punk screamfest for when you’ve absolutely had it and might explode. Again, not in the office, please. Head-banging and air guitar are best done in private and off the clock, not unlike snooping Glassdoor for what your co-workers are saying about your company or trolling LinkedIn for job leads. You wouldn’t want to get busted for those big no-no’s on the cube farm either.
The Smiths – “Frankly, Mr. Shankly”
Yeah, sometimes we feel it, too, Morrissey. Like that frigid recycled office air, “the 21st century” is “breathing down” our necks. If you feel like “a sickening wreck,” that the work that pays your way “corrodes [your] soul,” this one’s for you, pal. No one does melodrama like The Pope of Mope. Dig deep and feel all the Mozza feels.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Business Travel Is Alive And Paying Off
The rise of conference calls and video conferencing systems like Skype and Google Hangouts may seem like the end of face-to-face business encounters, but experts don’t agree.
A number of business leaders and industrial psychologists reckon that there’s no substitute for meeting someone in person, especially at critical junctures in a business relationship, like introducing yourself or closing a deal.
So how do you make business travel easier and worth your while? Dawn Weir, Head of kulula work, suggests the following:
Maximise the business benefits
Business travel can benefit the individual traveller and their business, whether it’s a small enterprise or a multinational conglomerate. kulula work for example, guarantees you the best fares of the day on kulula.com and British Airways (operated by Comair), and you won’t pay booking or flight change fees — only the difference in fare and the airport taxes. You can now also earn and redeem Avios loyalty points whilst flying with kulula.com. Not only will earning more Avios graduate you to higher tiers where you can, for example, get cabin upgrades and access to business lounges, but you can also use the points to, say, take your family on a business and leisure holiday
Get rid of unnecessary paperwork that can weigh you down and store your boarding pass on your smartphone wallet app when you check in 24 hours ahead of departure.
Take a breather
Airport lounges provide a haven from the hubbub of departure lounges, but not all are equal by any means. The best ones have space for some work, fast WiFi, a good selection of food, a decent wine list, and facilities to shower and freshen up. The Slow Lounges at a number of South African airports have these facilities. There’s even one at the Radisson Blu Hotel opposite the Sandton Gautrain station, SLOW in the City that provides boardrooms, lounges, and can arrange for quiet areas to do media interviews. A new lounge called SLOW XS, has also opened at Lanseria International Airport and has, among its many attractions, wine tastings offered by local drinks specialists Winesense.
Add some colour
Many business travellers will go to great lengths to ensure they only travel with cabin luggage, but if you do have to check luggage into the hold, take a moment to familiarise yourself with bag-drop arrangements and any restrictions on the size of cabin luggage. Also, many travellers find it helpful to mark their luggage with a brightly-coloured tag of some sort that makes it readily recognisable on the conveyor.
Stash it all
So, you have your boarding pass on your smartphone and you’ve stashed keys, wallet and change in your carry-on baggage, to save you time passing through the metal-detectors at the security checkpoint. If you’re travelling internationally, you may have opted to wear slip-on shoes and to pack your belt in your carry-on luggage to avoid having to take them off and put them back on again at security. We’ve all stood behind fellow travellers who arrive at the checkpoint with coins and keys in every pocket, and electronic devices in the bottom of a suitcase. There’s not much you can do about that, but you can make your own passage through the metal-detectors easier.
Related: Kulula: Erik Venter and Gidon Novick
Remember to rest
Many business travellers tend to put in more working hours when away from the office and home. Rather than thinking that every mail in your inbox must be answered immediately, get some work-life balance by taking a walk or a run, or just a nap.
To make sure you are on time — every time — comfortable, refreshed, organised and stress-free when you seal your next deal, use kulula work to take care of your travel arrangements. Our team includes professionals dedicated to your account who will assess your business travel needs so that you have a healthy combination of work and play, on your road to success.
The following is exclusively available when your next business trip is booked via kulula work:
- Best fares of the day on kulula.com and British Airways (operated by Comair)
- Flexible flight changes (only the difference in fare and taxes will apply)
- No booking fees
- Competitive car hire rates with Europcar and Avis
- Great hotel rates with Protea Hotels and City Lodge Hotel Group
- Invoicing and reporting
- Account management
- Access to our qualified Corporate Reservations team. *
* Legal stuff applies
Managing Your Schedule Like A Boss: Tips The Experts Never Tell You
Time management is at the top of the short list of reasons why some people succeed and most don’t.
Lou Gerstner, the former CEO of IBM, once said, “Never let anyone own your schedule.”
I don’t know about you, but I love that quote. It’s so simple, yet true. After all being deliberate with your time is one of the best ways to have a happy life in the business world. Of course, try as hard as you can, that’s not always the reality. Life is kind of known for throwing a monkey wrench into your plans every now and then.
But, it’s still possible to manage your schedule like a boss by following these can’t-beat tips.
Create a routine
Next up you need to create, and stick, to a routine.
Start by blocking times for specific activities, such as checking emails, exercise and spending time with your family. You can then convert your calendar into a series of blocks for you to place activities in the prepared spaces. If something isn’t planned and placed into a block, don’t do it.
Keep in mind that your routine will probably change throughout the year. But, it’s better to have a plan that changes than no plan at all. For example, if you’re launching a start-up, then you should block times for activities like customer discovery, coding and hiring. Next year you may have to block out times for marketing, growing your business and customer service.
Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week
“This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going,” write Joe Mathews, Don Debolt and Deb Percival on Entrepreneur.
“You’ll see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions.”
Add time buffers to manage your schedule
Have you missed a couple of deadlines because you jumped from project to project? It’s probably because your didn’t add time buffers. A buffer is something like this:
You just landed a new client for your freelance business. They assign you a deadline to complete the task. Instead of entering their exact deadline, your put your own deadline that’s 24-48 earlier. Those hours are the buffer.
Why’s that such a big deal? When you have a buffer, and something happens that you can’t control, you still have those 24-48 hours to meet the deadline.
Schedule your calendar like a to-do-list
If you have things on your schedule that have to be done, I personally like scheduling out time on my calendar for them. Much like a meeting, they have a set and scheduled time for this task to be accomplished.
For some people like myself, this includes blocking out time for working out, eating, walks and other important activities in my life. If I don’t make time for them, other things will always get in the way. I find that when I block out those times on my schedule, I’m much more proactive as well as I feel better about myself.
Use batching and time-blocking
In my early days of freelancing I multitasked like it was going out of style. I eventually realised that doing more than one thing at a time is ineffective and stressful. I was stressed beyond endurance because, as research now shows, the human brain isn’t capable of multitasking.
A study conducted by Microsoft Research, shows that switching from task to task is less productive than staying on the same task, or the same types of tasks, over a block of time. That’s why batching is so awesome.
Batching is basically where you find similar tasks and then lump them all together to make a task-batch. You then sit down, set a timer, and focus only on those similar tasks. For example, setting aside 6 am to 7 am to check emails and then 8 am to 10 am to write blog posts.
Another strategy that you should try is using time-blocks. When you have outside meetings, block two and a half days per week for those meetings. Only attend those outside meetings during those time-blocks. To make blocking more effective, color-code your calendar so that you can visually glance at your calendar.
Chandler Bolt wrote a great book, The Productive Person, that you should read if you want to learn more about time-blocking.
Optimise time for different meeting types
To be honest, 30-minute meetings and 10-minute calls are ideal. A 10-minute phone call with a prospective client is more than enough for me to know what their needs are and if we click. Better yet, Google Hangout or Skype can be used to see the person instead of just hearing them.
If you have a remote team, you can host a virtual meeting via Zoom,RingCentral Business, Zoho Meeting, Join.me or GoToMeeting.
Here are some suggestions on the types of meetings that you might want to book and schedule:
- 45-minute meeting that’s outside of the office. Allow 15 minutes for travel and 30 minutes for the meeting over coffee.
- 30-minute weekly staff meeting.
- 30-minute meeting in the office to get to know colleagues or catch up.
- 15-minute daily standup if you’re a start-up or leading an engineering team.
- 10-minute phone call to offer someone advice.
Whatever meetings you decide to hold a meeting, you should group them into blocks. If you think that a particular meeting needs more or less time, then you can adjust the block accordingly.
Still, just remember that it’s impossible to get everything done. “Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results,” say Mathews, Debolt, and Percival.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
How To Optimise Your Productivity After Quitting Your Job
You’ve done it. You’re your own boss. All the time in the world. Now the problem is – you’re used to 10 hours of your day being allocated elsewhere – there’s almost too much time now. So much time… and so many ways to waste it.
The idea of having control of our own time is bliss. In many ways, nothing could be better than the idea of “freedom”, of having “full control” of one’s life. The reality is that it can be incredible, however it can also be life’s biggest trap. If there is no strategy to optimize this available time, it will turn into one major procrastination session.
If your time is not carefully managed, your entrepreneurial journey could become months of regret and self-loathing because of wasted opportunity. On the flip side, Peter Thiel has been paraphrased in saying that one of the beauties of an entrepreneurial life, is that if someone were to put a gun to your head and demand that you achieve 10 years worth of goals in 6 months, it would be possible. If time is used extremely effectively, anything is possible. That, in my view, is something to get excited about, and is reason enough to want to put tangible methods in place.
Note that many of these methods were inspired by Tim Ferriss and the many world class performers he has interviewed on his podcast. I have since experimented with recommendations and have found that the below have worked best for me.
1. Organise meetings
This may sound counterintuitive, because meetings are commonly considered (at least in the corporate world) to be the ultimate waste of time. The reason for that perception is that there is usually so much work to be done, and corporate meetings classically aren’t necessary for all the attendees, and do not result in a definitive next step.
My argument for organising meetings is to conjure momentum when none exists early on in the process. If you are sitting with a blank calendar and a blank agenda, by arranging meetings with potential clients, partners, employees or investors, this will create a sense of scarcity; a simulated “due date” that will force you to do the appropriate work to be ready for said meeting, and could put you on an exciting unforeseen path post-meeting.
These meetings also get people on the same page as you; to buy into your vision and to get them excited by what excites you in your entrepreneurial journey – you never know what doors can open from connecting with the right people at the right time.
I read a quote recently that said “great opportunities never have ‘Great Opportunity’ in the subject line”.
2. Say No
You may receive a deluge of exciting propositions and projects out of nowhere that others less committed than you would like you to work on. These can be extremely tempting, but as Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks says, “The single most important distinction in life is to distinguish between an opportunity to be seized and a temptation to be resisted”.
Derek Sivers makes this distinction by removing any middle ground – if he doesn’t feel that the opportunity is a “HELL YEAH!”, it’s simply a “no”. Another tool you could use is to rate opportunities out of 10 – but you’re not allowed to use the number 7. When in doubt, you have to either rate the opportunity as a 6 or an 8. If it’s a 6, it’s a definite “no”.
Saying no can be infinitely more difficult than saying yes. That’s why, it can be argued that nurturing the ability to decline mediocre opportunities is one the most important skills on the path to success.
3. Don’t let others set your agenda for you
You will wake up to several emails, whatsapp messages and a missed call. You are then faced with a difficult decision – to reactively respond to all before pursuing your agenda for the day; or proactively completing your agenda first and then addressing the needs of others.
The risk of the reactive approach, is that there is a high probability of getting derailed entirely by requests from other people. A seemingly short request could end up cascading into several hours of back and forth. It is quite possible that by the time this has reached completion, you have no energy left to allocate to the most important tasks for the day. You will leave feeling unfulfilled, as if the day was wasted – a routine you desperately need to avoid.
You should set your own agenda, and when the key tasks are completed, you attend to the emails and requests of others.
4. Set your most important 3 tasks each day
On any given day, you may have 32 important things you want to achieve. Where does one even begin to prioritise these? Typically, we may start with the easiest of the 32 to get that “small win” feeling. The downside is that the easiest may not be the most important or urgent, and could leave you feeling in a similar position to where you started. That’s why I set the most important 3 each day.
They may take 5 minutes each or 5 hours each, but if you can consistently overcome the most important 3 tasks on a daily basis, you will not only make tangible progress in your work, but develop an unrivalled (and somewhat addictive) sense of productivity.
In addition, I recommend setting these 3 tasks at the end of each working day, so that you can get straight into them the next morning. I find that setting the next day’s objectives is a nice way to wind down the day, and reduce chances of morning procrastination the next day because your agenda will already be pre-constructed, leaving no room for excuses.
5. Find the environment that speaks to your working soul
Some people thrive in 8am-5pm busy office environments, while others can only work from night time when it feels like the world around them is asleep. Some people love absolute silence while others need the madness of boisterous conversation and loud music. There is no perfect way to work.
I have found that the ambience of coffee shops is conducive to a productive environment – being surrounded by people of different backgrounds and occupations leads to a complementary sense of both community and urgency, and removes any sense of loneliness. Furthermore, don’t underestimate the power of the right music to aid productivity.
Certain melodic lyric-less music could help create a rhythm conducive to productivity (Tim Ferriss highly recommends Gramatik as an aid to his book writing). Some people prefer music they are extremely familiar with, and even play the same song or album on repeat for hours; the familiarity could create a sense of comfort, and you won’t get distracted by the lyrics.
There is no perfect formula for productivity. There is no script, as much as others may try enforce theirs onto you. That’s why this journey is so exciting – you can use any of the methods above and do what works for you. Be productive by using your mind, not your time.
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