6 Benefits of Using a Daily Planner

When you lead a busy life, it’s essential that you keep it organized. Very few people have the cognitive capacity to keep track of all the demands of career, family and social life. For that, you need a daily planner. Here are six reasons why.

1. Maintain Effective Schedules

Effective scheduling is a crucial part of time management. You achieve the best results when you prioritize and plan your tasks before working on them. Using a daily planner to schedule the exact time for office tasks, personal errands, appointments and so on ensures that you prepare well for these events.

2. Enhance Your Productivity

Your level of productivity has a direct effect on your professional and personal lives. At work, being highly productive lets you complete your tasks and projects on time. High productivity at home ensures you’re not overwhelmed by chores and other household duties. A daily planner helps you stay on top of tasks at work and home by organizing them efficiently.

3. Manage Your Stress Levels

We all feel the pressure of stress from time to time. One of the most common causes of stress is having a hectic schedule that drains you physically and emotionally. Your daily planner helps you plan important tasks so that you don’t have to deal with the anxiety and fear of failing to meet your obligations.

4. Enjoy Many Health Benefits

You can use a daily planner to track and plan your diet, sleep and exercise. You’ll get your vitamin D and plenty of fresh air when you schedule time to spend outdoors. Use some of the pages in the planner for daily journaling, which can be quite cathartic.

5. Exercise Your Creativity

Setting a firm schedule for all your compulsory activities at work and home helps you find time for creative endeavours such as learning a new skill or engaging in a hobby. The daily planner itself can serve as a canvas on which to express your creativity by adding decorative items such as pictures, art and stickers.

6. Maintain Reliable Records

Many productive people used their daily planners as a record for notes, appointments and tasks. For example, if you can’t remember when you last reviewed one of your important goals, you can check your daily planner. You can also keep track of how long it’s been since you spent time with a family member or close friend.

Enjoy many productivity and health benefits by starting to use a daily planner today to schedule your activities and keep records.

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6 Tips for Staying Healthy in the Fall

You’ve been actively participating in healthy outdoor activities in the summer, but your motivation might be taking a hit as the fall starts and work routines get back to normal. Here are six ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle in the fall.

1. Be Firm About Your Bedtime

With school back in session, many parents set a routine and bedtime for their kids. You should do the same for yourself. Give your mind and body time to heal with seven to nine hours of quality sleep. Proper sleep boosts your immune system and reduces risks to your health.

2. Prepare Dinner and Breakfast Together

Start your healthy morning routine the night before by making breakfast as soon as you finish dinner. Satisfying high-protein breakfast options for the fall include breakfast burritos, chia pudding, mini quiches and overnight oats. You’re less likely to grab an unhealthy snack on your way to work if you have a healthy breakfast ready when you wake up.

3. Set Up a Games Area

Sustained social interactions with your family and friends help you maintain good mental and emotional health. As the weather chills in the fall, create engaging social spaces in your home. Make it easy to transform your dining area into a board game area, and invite friends and family for some relaxing hangout time.

4. Get Your Flu Shot

The flu is common during the fall and winter. Protect yourself by getting your flu shot early. This respiratory infection is highly contagious, and it causes great discomfort at the very least and can lead to severe health complications. Getting your flu shot lowers the risk of missing workdays due to flu-related complications.

5. Visit the Fall Farmers Market

We all love our summer fruits, but the fall also brings with it a host of fresh, delicious produce such as apples, pears, onions, beets and squash. Use these nutritious whole foods in your snacks and meals. Steer clear of processed foods that are laden with artificial ingredients, have a high fat content and are low in important nutrients.

6. Try Some Indoor Workouts

It’s easy to let the fitness momentum you had going in the summer wane as it gets chillier outside in the fall. Keep up the momentum by bringing your workouts indoors; find YouTube exercises for work or home or download apps for workouts, yoga and meditation.

6 Life Hacks to Maximize Your Productivity

Improving your productivity helps you accomplish more at work and at home. Productivity life hacks cover everything from better ways of planning your work, study and chores to more effective ways of doing the task. Here are six hacks to increase your efficiency.

1. Forget About Multitasking

Your productivity falls up to 40% when you multitask, so focus on one task at a time. Multitasking is an illusion. In reality, you’re simply switching from one task to another, and your brain takes several minutes to settle on the new task. When you prioritize your tasks and focus on them one at a time, your productivity improves noticeably.

2. Disable Unnecessary Notifications

Cut down on notifications on your computer and mobile devices. Don’t give every website and app permission to interrupt you anytime. You can put a lid on apps that are relentless about posting notifications by using the “do not disturb” features and notification management tools available on Android, iOS, Windows and Mac.

3. Use Keyboard Shortcuts

You’ll be surprised by how much faster you can work when you use keyboard shortcuts on browsers, Windows and Mac. The few seconds you save from not using the mouse or trackpad to click around menus add up to hours over time.

4. Set Up Aggressive Email Filters

All major email clients provide an email filtering feature to organize your inbox. One effective way to manage your mail is setting up different accounts for different purposes (work, newsletters, family/friends) and using one app to manage all the addresses.

5. Use the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management method that helps you complete projects faster by maintaining focus. The process involves budgeting your time into a “Pomodoro” (25-minute period for work) followed by a five-minute break. After three or four Pomodoros, you take a break for 15 to 20 minutes. This technique improves your productivity because the frequent breaks keep your mind fresh so it’s easier to remain focused.

6. Use Your Downtime to Learn Something New

Productive people are always looking to learn something new during downtime while commuting, waiting in line and so on. Don’t let the time pass as you scroll your social media feed, check your mail or stare out the window. Instead, read an article or e-book or listen to an audiobook or podcast.

Using these tips will help you complete your tasks at work and at home faster and get the best possible results.

Millennials & Generation Z in the Workplace: 3 Ways to Support Their Productivity

It’s not uncommon to see three or four generations at work these days. According to the Pugh Research Center, millennials were born from 1981 to 1997, and many have dubbed the newest generation Gen Z. Gen Xers born between 1965 and 1980, and the post-WWII baby boomers often share office space with these younger generations.

These groups may have different priorities, making it difficult for employers to create a more inviting workplace that appeals to everyone. Here are some tips to support the productivity of multigenerational workplaces:

1. Keep Office Furniture and Technology Updated

According to the Staples 2019 Canadian Workplace Survey, new technology and equipment and ergonomic furniture were the top priorities of all age groups. However, millennials preferred open workspaces more than previous generations.

Younger, tech-savvy Gen Z employees were born into the digital age. They are excited to try out new tools and the latest gadgets and apps. Feeding their need for tech is one key to keeping Gen Z happy in the workplace.

2. Prepare Millennial Managers for Gen Z

As millennials enter their mid-30s, they are beginning to manage Gen Z employees. To succeed, managers should understand that Gen Z responds to face-to-face communications but also has an entrepreneurial streak. This interesting dichotomy in working style can lead to misunderstandings. To be successful, millennial managers should cater to Gen Z’s desire for mentorship and communication. The good news is that 77% of them are prepared to work harder than previous generations to earn their place at the table.

3. Support Social Causes and Sustainability

About 30% of Gen Z workers surveyed said they would take a pay cut to work for a company with a mission they cared deeply about. This generation grew up hearing about the importance of climate change and social causes. Companies that take care to reduce their carbon footprint, source material locally and act as good stewards of the environment are likely to win the loyalty of both Gen Z and millennials with a deep commitment to their core values.

Creating a more inviting workplace and culture can improve retention and productivity. Companies that wish to create a productive space for multiple generations can also ask their employees what’s important to them and slowly integrate changes, such as creating spaces suited for a variety of work styles, including socialization, concentration, collaboration and training.

Must-Have Items For Your Fall Marketing Calendar

The fall brings with it many opportunities for marketing. Everyone’s starting afresh: kids are heading back to school, and people have returned from vacation. Here are some marketing ideas to include in your calendar for the season.

1. Run a Contest on Instagram

Invite your followers to post their pictures as they engage in fall activities they enjoy with a hashtag of your choosing. Select a winner, repost their photo on your account and give them a gift.

2. Sponsor a Local Team

Provide young athletes with support in a way that’s relevant to your business. For instance, if you sell women’s apparel, consider partnering with a local girls’ soccer team. Maybe you operate a restaurant; make it the official spot for parents and players to hang out before and after the game.

3. Place Ads on Local blogs

Find the most popular blogs in your community that align with your business, and place ads for special promotions for the readers. In addition to inexpensive rates, these blogs can help you expand your reach to your target market.

4. Celebrate Holidays Other than Just the Popular Ones

We all love Halloween and Thanksgiving, but you can set yourself apart with fun holidays that align with your business and lend themselves well to social media marketing. Examples include International Coffee Day and International Day of the Girl Child.

5. Make Seasonal Pitches to the Media

Reach out to popular TV/radio stations and popular podcasters and YouTubers to pitch seasonal stories, such as seasonal recipes and fashion updates, that are relevant to your brand.

6. Hire Top Talent

You might be in need of a new social media manager, graphic designer, product photographer and so on. Reach out to local design school, colleges and even high school, and hire young talent to inject fresh perspectives into your business.

7. Make Donations to Auctions

Many charity organizations and learning institutions run fundraisers in the fall. Consider reaching out to our favorite organizations and offering your products for silent auctions or raffles. You’re not only being a good neighbor but also raising your brand awareness.

The Bottom Line

As the fall sets off the holiday season and consumers’ attention shifts toward product and services related to the season, smart marketers jump at the chance to capitalize off these trends. The online and offline campaigns mentioned can you help you grow your audience and access a larger market, ultimately improving your sales.

Why New Tech is Employees’ Leading Workplace Wish

When it comes to workplace wishes, 43% of employees put new technology at the top of the list. This is unsurprising when you consider that innovative technologies can help staff track their work easily and finish tasks quicker. New technologies can also help your employees work remotely, which can help you attract new talent as more than 70% of Canadian millennials would prefer to work from home.

Don’t overlook the benefits to your business. Employees spend 20% of their work week looking for documents, a task that can be streamlined by new technology. Consider the following technologies to keep your staff happy and on track.

Connect Seamlessly

When employees are spread out, communication becomes difficult. Instant messaging programs create a platform for conversations about finishing projects, as well as the casual connections that build a happy workplace and help foster innovation. Slack is the most well-known of these platforms, but newcomers Chanty and Fleep may better fit your business. You may also want to consider video conferencing software for face-to-face conversations and email management solutions to help staff stay on top of their inbox.

Manage Workflow

Employees want to easily see the status of projects and the steps they need to move the project forward. In the past, this was recorded on a whiteboard, but new apps allow teams to keep all tasks in the one place, easily add new steps and update in real-time what each they are working on. Plus, cloud technology allows everyone to access the app at once from any corner of the globe. Solutions like Trello and Asana also keep documents and resources in the one place so everyone on your team can work more efficiently.

Finish Faster

Everyone wants to finish their tasks faster, and new technologies can help your staff achieve this. Workflow automation uses rules to automatically complete tasks, like an out-of-office reply. This same concept can reach into nearly every area of a modern business. Automation can be used to create invoices, manage sales leads, enter data and organize documents. Look for a workplace automation solution that integrates with your other software to make sure you get the most from it. Zapier, Integrify and Kissflow are all popular options. Innovative time trackers and document management solutions can also help people finish their tasks more easily.

Tips for Setting Up an Effective Remote Workspace

Approximately 47% of Canadian employees work away from the office at least half the week. If you are in this category or want to be, it’s important to set up a comfortable, functional spot to work at home. There are also tools you should consider investing in to make it easier to work at the local cafe or a busy airport.

Establish a Work Zone

Set up a dedicated space so you don’t have to clear the clutter from the dinner table or kitchen counter when it’s time to work. Choose a place that’s large enough for a desk, printer and charging station for your phone and other devices. If you have a PC or lots of peripherals, such as speakers and computer screens, it may be worthwhile to invest in cord organizers and power strips that tuck away easily.

Stick to a Schedule

When you’re in an office with your supervisor across the aisle or down the hall, it’s easy to stay busy. To maintain focus at home, wake up at the same time every day and try to keep consistent working hours. The Pomodoro method calls for regimented working sessions with scheduled breaks, and many remote workers use it to balance out their work-from-home day.

Microphones and Headphones

To overcome distractions at home, you’ll need to block them out. The TV, dog, arguing neighbours and 100 other things can break your concentration.

You probably don’t need expensive technical equipment. However, if you put in long hours on Skype, FaceTime or Google Hangouts, headphones with a built-in microphone are a must-have. Customer service reps, captioners and call centre agents should choose headphones with high-quality sound. Noise-cancelling headphones come in handy for phone meetings and video conferences as well. They are also essential for getting work done in an airport or the local library.

Ergonomic Furniture

Hunching over the coffee table or standing by the kitchen counter puts a strain on your neck and back. To prevent long-term health problems, get a comfortable chair with back support and a desk that leaves room for you to stretch your legs. You may want to invest in a sit-stand desk that lets you change positions more often.

Laptop or Desktop Computer

Your job determines the technical requirements of your laptop or computer. If you work in graphics or gaming, you may need a desktop with high-quality resolution, fast processing capability and lots of memory. If you write blogs for a living, any computer with Windows OS and internet access may work. In general, choose a computer or laptop with at least 8GB of RAM and a 250GB HDD to store larger work files.

Whether you work as a virtual assistant or social media analyst, high-speed cable internet is the best choice for a reliable, speedy connection.

Some 39% of Canadians work remotely, and 54% work while travelling to meetings in other cities. That’s why it’s so important to have the right setup at home and on the go. You may even be able to get tax breaks on some of your remote work expenses.