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How to create a positive routine when working from home

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Week 2 of Covid19 self-isolation and we are well into the official Lockdown, here in London. 

We are all going through a time of unprecedented global uncertainties and anxiety. And unless you’ve experienced working from home before, you’re also experiencing a lot more time in and around your kitchen than you’ve ever thought possible.

I’ve used my lounge, bedroom and garden as offices for some time, and to stay grounded without the standard office life to break up the day, I’ve come up with a guideline structure that helps me get through the #stayathome times.  

Here’s how you can create a positive routine when working from home, or when forced to stay at home.

PICK THE RIGHT TIME ZONE

When the usual routine goes out of the window, and you’re all of a sudden having to spend more time at home, things can get tricky.  

With a new level of flexibility, access to colleagues and clients worldwide at various hours and resources available online at any time, it’s quite easy to get overwhelmed and lose track of the time of day. 

You may find yourself getting up at a strange hour, eating brunch at dinner time and feeling wide awake in the middle of the night. Don’t panic. A new time zone may actually work well with your organic body and mind clock. But if you find it to be unproductive, be honest with yourself and pick a time zone that serves you best.  

The 9-5 slot may be well ingrained in your programme, so sitting at your home desk by 9 may feel reassuring. But why not also test out new ways. You’re the boss. You may find your neurones come to life at dawn or become more creative later in the evening. Experiment with your time zones. 

Very little beats waking up naturally, alarm-less, for a productive and happy start of a day. 

CREATE A VOLUNTARY POSITIVE ROUTINE

If the idea of creating structure feels daunting and you fall into a more spontaneous type of personality who needs direction, call it a voluntary positive routine, and the game changes.  

Yes, the times are uncertain, but we can still control how we react to it all. Let’s take some control back by designing our own perfect day. 

Each day I make a list of the things I want or need to get done, then allocate an estimated time next to each task. Include your favourite essentials, such as meditation time, tea breaks, eating well, connecting and laughing, walking your dog, playing with the kids, moving, dancing, and doing something fun and creative, etc.  Basically as many things that you know will eat into your day, including procrastination habits. 

The time allocation is helpful to ensure I don’t over-stretch it, which could lead to feelings of disappointment.  Stop as you get to around 6-7 hours in total. We tend to underestimate how long things take. Ticking things off is rewarding and will make you feel good. 

Best to over-accomplish than to be left with a lot undone.

My positive routine to create the best day possible out of working from home, goes something like this:

  1. WAKE UP WITH GRATITUDE:  

As soon as I am aware of my awakening, I smile. Then I do a little 3, 2, 1…countdown and jump out of bed like a rocket.  I open the curtains, let the sunlight in and I greet my new day with a loud THANK YOU! 

  1. SHARE THE POSITIVITY WITH “GOOD MORNING!”:

I love wishing everyone a “good morning”. But if you don’t leave the house, it’s hard to find those opportunities.  So I send a happy message or voice note to my dearest ones, and sometimes post it on my social to share the positive vibes.

  1. HYDRATE AND REFUEL WELL: 

Before anything else, except for a mandatory trip to the loo, I rehydrate with a big glass of water, or better even warm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Followed by a healthy habit of refuelling my body with organic superfood powders diluted in water or juice (dreammagicsuperfoodpowder.co.uk).

  1. MAKE YOUR BED:

I make my bed almost as instantly as I get out of it. Even if I know I’m going back in it and might be working from there most of my day. A tidy and clear environment helps me feel better, and keeps my mind clear too. All positive ingredients for a productive day.

  1. MEDITATE:

If you’re not into meditating yet, believe the hype. Meditation has become a daily must for me. Even if I just manage 5 to 10 minutes, preferably in the morning to set my day on fire. It helps me get into the right mindset.  Bedtime is also a great opportunity to go inwards with a meditation. I enjoy Oprah and Deepak Chopra 21-day challenges and I regularly use Insight Timer or Calm.

  1. MOVE YOUR BODY!

Don’t forget to move your body. It’s amazing how much movement is cut down when you don’t get out for work.  There are so many new online PT training and classes. No excuses, there’s something for everybody. And while we’re still allowed to go outdoors for a daily workout, take advantage of it. Solo-dancing around the living room is also a secret hobby of mine. It sets me up with the right energy even before an important call or task.

  1. CRACK ON WITH YOUR LIST:

You’re almost set to go. Grab a cup of tea or coffee, and get cracking with your awesome list.  Start if you can with the least pleasant but most important and impactful items first. As you get more distracted and tired through the day, you’re more likely to still commit to those easier tasks. When you start losing focus, move to some of the more fun items: take breaks, move, walk, hydrate, meditate. Find what sparks you. And as you cross things off, big or small, celebrate achievements!

  1. JOURNAL:

Keep a journal to take notes throughout the day: morning lists, jot down ideas, release nagging thoughts, share daily gratitude and fun moments, create new plans, what feelings come up for you, and so on. You can have different journals for different content, or use the same for everything. Journaling releases tension, keeps your thoughts organised, encourages creativity, records ideas and boosts wellbeing especially when expressing gratitude and recounting happy times. 

  1. STAY CONNECTED

It’s so easy to get through to a whole day without talking to a human soul, especially if you live alone. Pets and plants are great listeners but make time to stay connected with your people people. Schedule in catch-up calls and online coffee breaks when possible. Check in with friends, family and neighbours who are also home-bound. Share tips and positivity, offer help and humour.

  1. SELF-CARE

I can’t over emphasise the importance of self-care in any given moment, and even more so during uncertain times of pandemic lockdowns and working from home.  There are many great ways you can be kind to yourself.  Meditation, journaling, moving around, reading a captivating book, hot candle baths, indulging in your favourite body cream, eating a healthy yummy treat, connecting with nature, doing something funny, asking for help with anything you struggle with, etc. 

CREATE VARIABLES AND NON-VARIABLES

My positive routine includes variable and non-variable elements. There are some things that I look to repeat on a daily basis and others that depend on what I need or want to get done that day. I then leave room for changes and spontaneity.

You can go creative with your list, until the non-variables of your positive routine become second nature.  You could write the MUST Dos permanently on a white board for example and leave space to add the other variable tasks below.  Or remind yourself of these with an acronym or mantra repeated on each page of your diary.

My daily deal-breakers include: Gratitude, Meditation, Exercise, Self-care, Connect with people, Create and have Fun. 

I hope you find value in this guideline, to help you make up your own positive routine. Consider what you always wanted to experience on a perfect day in your work life. If you are new to working from home, and need help creating a happy structure that boosts your wellbeing and productively, get in touch with us here at the Female Entrepreneur Association and let’s work on it together.

Words by Francesca dal Bello of Gr8fool Limited.

The post How to create a positive routine when working from home appeared first on Female Entrepreneur Association.



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There was this one major problem I see plaguing B2B SaaS companies.

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Put simply, it's waste of scale.

It's when you are marketing and building a large e-mail list of 1,500 potential customers but in the end, you've ended up as with 30 paying customers.

There are various reasons for this:

  1. You are not targeting the right audience/you don't understand who you are targeting effectively: Your product isn't a need for business, the right business, or even needed by the right businesses at that that time. It's not like your leads are going to signal that they need your product right away. It just doesn't happen so you're in the wild goose chase trying to find the prince in sea of per 1,000 frogs.
  2. You're not filtering out the wrong businesses top-of-funnel: There are many potential businesses that would be great fit for your funnel but unfortunately, they just don't see the value in your product. You may have already validated your concept, got a few paying customers already, but the conversion process takes months on end and you have to worry about churn on top of that. Qualifying leads top-of-funnel is the best way to ensure that you have higher conversion down the funnel by manually (or automating) identifying traits that leads display in order to ensure that you are getting the right leads.
  3. Targeting a non-essential problem in businesses: This one has to deal with product-market-fit when it comes to getting right customers. Not all markets are the same. In our case, we went after the CRM market. On the outside, we saw that many businesses use CRM so we've built one with a lead search genius so companies can save time finding clients. If you're curious, you can check it out here. What we got wrong was that the CRM market was overly saturated and everyone was comparing us to Salesforce and Hubspot. We built a great CRM but if we missed one feature, we would be losing out on a customer. So, we've focused on what we did first: being a great lead search genius company.

So, going back to the waste of scale problem mentioned earlier…

Our biggest problem as a B2B SaaS company is that we can save time finding the right leads for our company, we spend more time trying to convert the wrong leads. Prospecting individual leads works great because personalized conversations but at scale, that's not doable. The more scale you have with incorporating leads, the least efficient you are going to be when converting a lead into a sale.

So, we're turning our focus towards lead qualification where you can spend less time trying to convert the wrong leads and more time converting qualified leads and generating revenue for your B2B SaaS. For more info, feel free to look here.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

QUESTION: If you're a B2B SaaS company, I'm interested in how you are dealing with the waste of scale problem yourself?

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Social Media Trends to Watch in 2020 by @DONNAAMOS

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by Donna Amos | Featured Contributor 

There are trends that are occurring in social media that business owners can take advantage of to help them grow their businesses. As changes take place on platforms, it may benefit business owners to stay current on the changes so that you don’t use outdated practices that no longer work on social networking sites.

Growth of Tik Tok

This site has gained popularity as a social networking site for business owners. Tik Tok is a social networking site that has become very popular with Generation Z.

Individuals who are micro-influencers have gained popularity on this social networking video app. Influencers are aware that using the site to promote video can benefit small businesses because it’s not geared towards traditional sales. The lack of hard sales on the site is popular with users. By connecting with followers through good video content, it will help small businesses expand and provide opportunities to sell products. It’s expected that one of the social media trends for 2020 will include the expansion of Tik Tok to allow platform users to shop online like other social networking channels.

Increase in social shopping

Entrepreneurs can benefit from using social shopping on their company sites because of the growth of e-commerce. During the past decade, social networking sites have contributed to the growth of e-commerce. It’s now the norm for social shopping to occur on social networking channels. Customers enjoy connecting with brands and building relationships with them on social networking sites. Consumers enjoy having access to brands without leaving platforms to purchase products and services. Entrepreneurs can look to expand social shopping on their social channels.

The rise of small business owners as influencers

Small businesses can benefit from the increase in popularity that they have experienced as influencers. Users on various social platforms desire to connect with small businesses rather than huge companies. The ability to connect with an audience on a small-scale is something that small business owners can take advantage of because they have a unique following.

The use of social media to develop consumer confidence

Small business owners can benefit from using their social platforms to develop a relationship with followers that are based on trust. Followers can develop relationships based on the quality of content that is promoted that informs followers about the value that a business brings into the market. By having real conversations with followers and connecting on a human level, companies establish relationships on a much richer level because of the connection that is made by showing the company as a place where real people work.

Use of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a powerful social platform because the site is geared toward business professionals. Business owners can reach decision-makers on LinkedIn to grow their businesses. If a company has products and services to sell and its budget is limited, being active on the platform can help generate sales and gain the attention of decision-makers.

Fewer boundaries between personal and professional lives

Social media trends include witnessing fewer boundaries between the professional and personal lives of business owners. Small business owners can grow their online audience by interacting with followers and showing them aspects of the personal and professional lives. Sharing unique content that shows followers portions of the daily lives allows followers to connect with business owners on a genuine level.

An increase in the number of brief posts

Businesses are posting new content that is online for a short amount of time, and this will continue to increase in 2020. These posts occur on sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and Tikk Tok. The time-limited posts are primarily videos and allow businesses to share content that may be more personal and allows business owners to share special offers of their products and services.

Increase focus on customer interaction

Brands are working to focus more on customer responses in 2020. By responding to customer service issues that arise, businesses can learn what is necessary to meet the needs of their customers. Small businesses can gain attention from their followers by working to connect with followers and meeting the needs they address about the products and services they desire to purchase.

Expansion of the use of storytelling

Companies have increased their use of storytelling on social media sites using different types of media such as video and written content. By sharing what a company represents, it allows businesses to reach followers and potential customers. Business owners can engage with their audience telling stories on different social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Increase in video content

There is an increase expected in the amount of video content that brands produce in 2020 on social networking sites. Small businesses can increase their number of customers and followers by producing content that is appealing to followers. Business owners can determine which platforms work best for their followers and provide content that is based on what works best for their audience.

More social messenger apps

Small business owners can benefit from using social messenger apps to connect with their customers. The top messenger apps are used primarily by millennials. The top messenger apps include the following.

• Messenger
• WeChat
• Viber

There are over 2 billion messages sent on Messenger each month from businesses. The app is on over 1.2 billion phones. The potential exists for greater customer experiences to occur because of the growth of the social messaging service. Messaging apps that were developed using artificial intelligence have improved customer engagement. It’s expected that the customer experience will continue to improve because of the unique way that companies can improve the artificial intelligence they use to have more unique engagement with customers using social messaging services.

The use of messenger apps outranks the top social networking sites which include the following.

• Instagram
• Facebook
• Twitter
• LinkedIn

Small business owners can work to expand their businesses by using social networking sites and social messaging services. By working to create personalized experiences with customers and potential customers, businesses can expand and provide their customers with good experiences. Having an awareness of what their customers desire will help small businesses grow and effectively market to customers of all ages.

The post Social Media Trends to Watch in 2020 by @DONNAAMOS appeared first on She Owns It.



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Hard Decisions Require Empathy

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In the past two weeks we have entered perhaps to most surreal experience in any of our lives. I think intuitively many of us believe it may be a more lasting impact than just “60 days at home,” which is why we almost have a nervous laughter when we call (Zoom!) somebody we haven’t spoken to since before the crisis and acknowledge how bizarre we all feel right now. I have seen the insides of more people’s homes and apartments than I probably ever have as we’re invited into this intimate world of videoconferencing.

Just two weeks into it we are just starting to come to grips with what will no doubt wreak big financial, emotional and obviously dire health consequences and suffering for many.

In our business lives we’re having to deal with decisions that could have lasting impacts on our companies without any compass to guide us in the direction we’re heading . It feels a bit like choosing a fork in the road amidst dense fog and with nobody to guide us what to do.

In our personal lives we’re having to change our routines and figure out how to remain productive — often with other people sharing our homes who have their own ideas of how to use our collective space and time. What do we eat? Where do we shop? What is safe? What are my parents doing — are they being safe? Can I plan a Winter vacation or attend a wedding or travel anywhere again this year?

Who the fuck knows.

But you should know that everybody is in exactly this mind space. That’s what makes this so surreal. I find myself struggling to fully relax at bedtime, with my mind spinning about the world that lies ahead and the infinite amount of weekly decisions I’m having to process. I imagine many of you are, too. It goes without saying that if you find yourself in a really negative headspace PLEASE reach out to any trusted mentor, friend or family member. I promise we’ll all get through this some way and there’s always tomorrow, whatever that holds. I have lost friends who didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel in past economic hardships.

For founders of startups or for executives tasked with making decisions with all of this incomplete information, the moment calls for decisiveness on every front:

  • how to deal with customers,
  • what to do about expenses,
  • what to tell board members / investors,
  • what happens with fund raising,
  • do I need to lay off employees or deal with a furlough,
  • do I qualify for government assistance?

If your head isn’t spinning you haven’t fully grasped the severity of the situation.

Each of these decisions could be a blog post in its own right but for today I want to avoid tactical advice and offer something more about your temperament as you wade through complexity and deal with decisions that affects the lives and the livelihoods of others. To say it simply ….

Show empathy.

I know that I shouldn’t have to say that, as it seems obvious. But in the past two weeks I’ve heard many cavalier comments about: cuts, renegotiations, changing terms, “the market environment dictates this” or “never waste a good crisis” or “you just need to cut 25% of your staff” because it seems everybody is doing it. I know that many people are just short-handing given stressful times but do try and pause and think about your actions & words and how they will affect others (or whether they’re the right actions in the first place).

In the words of my friend and a CEO with whom I work,

“Yeah, I know I need to make some cuts because our demand has changed, but I want to do this with a scalpel and not with an axe.”

He produced a very detailed analysis of his customer base and which would be affected. He enacted a program to proactively offer payment holidays to customers in obviously “hit” industries like travel & entertainment. He showed industries where demand was likely to hold strong and he outlined a case for how he could protect as many jobs as possible. He asked for a few more weeks to gather market signals before enacting change. It was the thoughtful response of an empathetic leader.

The driver of your decisions must be logical, rational and economically sound. You need to consider:

  • Has demand for my product fundamentally changed in ways that will persist?
  • How long is my cash runway if this demand doesn’t recover for the foreseeable future?
  • Is there a viable path to raising money / strengthening my balance sheet as one solution?
  • If not, how much must a reduce costs to give our company enough runway to weather this current storm?

The inevitable decisions may mean you shed employees, suppliers, offices, bonuses, contractors — you name it. But here is where empathy becomes most critical. It is very easy to want to insulate yourself from feeling the extreme emotions that will come from the loss of a job or for a supplier of yours with the loss of an important customer. Don’t insulate yourself — handle things personally and be a leader that is present in times of crisis. And if you have to make these hard decisions, empathy goes a long way.

If you have to let employees go or have to furlough them do it 1–1 or have senior members of your staff divide up employees and do each one 1–1 (or 2–1 if you need to have HR in the room (or “in the Zoom”) but my point is that each affected employee deserves a private meeting. And they deserve compassion because whatever stress level you are under, your actions are going to make their stress levels just as bad if not worse.

They don’t need to hear you say in an antiseptic way, “Look, we have no choice. It’s your job or we all run out of cash.” That might be true, but it lacks empathy. It should be something more like, “Sadly we have made a decision that your job is being made redundant. I’m very sorry that this will affect you and I don’t take lightly what a burden it must be to you.” Of course that doesn’t change the outcome, but it’s the humane thing to say.

You can insert you own wording or phrasing but the point is to acknowledge the pain, the cost, the consequence of your actions — even if you had no choice. Let the other person speak. Let them emote. It might be that they have to cry or they might have to yell at you — whatever. This isn’t the time to argue back that you had no choice or that “they weren’t really pulling their weight anyways” or whatever else is playing in your head. This is the moment to let them have their say. It doesn’t change anything. This is a moment to be calm, let others vent and politely move on.

Empathy can also be financial. You need to make sure that you’re making sound economic decisions for your company so I’m not advocating being cavalier about money because ultimately if you run out of cash then everybody loses his or her job and every investor loses his or her money. But at the margin if there are things you can do to be compassionate about severance or medical benefits or helping people navigate government assistance — you should do all that you can. If your company can help with job search, or resume writing or providing references or calling other companies to tell them you did redundancies — you should do it.

The month of March, 2020 has been hard on our country and on the world and the sad reality is that this is still likely just the first act in a long series of heart-breaking stories and circumstances around the world. In times like these your friends, family, associates, colleagues, employees and business partners need you more than ever.

If we know each other personally and you think I can help you please reach out. I promise I will make time.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


Hard Decisions Require Empathy was originally published in Both Sides of the Table on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.



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