Entries with tag time management .

6 Tips for Effective Delegating

If the thought of asking someone to do something for you causes you to cringe, read on.  We've got tips to help you become far more successful at delegating:

  1. Analyze Your Needs.  First, you'll need to determine what you want to delegate.  For people who are uncomfortable delegating, it helps to start with a small project.  Doing so will make it easier to relax and trust the project will be completed successfully.

  2. Pick the Right Person.  Once you've analyzed your needs, determine whether there are any special skills required to do the job successfully.  With those considerations in mind, identify the best person to tackle the job.

  3. Offer an Explanation.  Now that you've selected someone, it's time to delegate!  Meet with the individual you've chosen and explain why you're asking them to do the job.  For instance, you might tell a team member, “I'm asking for your assistance in creating a social media strategy for Brand XYZ, because you successfully created our widgets' marketing strategy.”

  4. Be Specific.  To really excel at delegation, you need to be specific.  Tell the individual you've selected exactly what you need done and when you need it by.  For example, you might request a social media strategy in 2 weeks that's designed to increase Facebook followers by 10% over the next 6 months.

  5. Trust.  For many people, this is the most challenging aspect of delegation—relaxing and trusting that the person you've delegated to will successfully accomplish the job in the way you wanted.  However, it's important to remember here that you chose this person for a reason.  Rather than micromanaging their work, instead take a more hands-off approach and just ask for regular status updates.

  6. Say Thanks.  People like to be rewarded for hard work.  Rather than ignoring someone's successful completion of your project, say thanks and let them know how appreciative you are.  Doing so is more likely to ensure your future delegation efforts are just as effective.

Going on Vacation? 5 Things to Do Before You Leave the Office

Have you ever taken a vacation, returned to work, and felt like you never left at all?  Unfortunately, that isn’t an uncommon occurrence.  However, that feeling can be prevented if you handle your work responsibilities in an organized way prior to your departure.  Check out our 5 suggestions for things you should do at the office before your next vacation:

  1. Plan for Your Return.  It may be tempting to schedule lots of meetings for the day you return but rather than doing that, plan to ease your way back into work.  Avoid making your schedule on the 1st day too heavy and instead, spend the majority of your time getting caught up on emails and voice mails.

  2. Let People Know You’ll Be Away.  To cut down on the aforementioned emails and voice mails, let your colleagues and clients know a week or two in advance that you’ll be out of the office.  Then, provide them with the name of a point person to contact in your absence.

  3. Clean Your Desk.  There are few things worse than returning from vacation to a desk overflowing with papers.  Before you leave, make sure that your desk is clean, papers are filed, and that you’ve left yourself a comfortable work environment to return to.

  4. Prioritize.  In the month prior to your vacation, you should assess your work priorities and determine which tasks are most important to tackle before you leave.  Handling high-priority items in advance of your departure will make it easier for you to relax while you’re away.

  5. Handle Administrative Tasks.  Change your voice mail message and set up an email notification letting contacts know that you’re out of the office.  Don’t forget to include the date that you’ll be back, as well as the name of a point person to be contacted in case of emergencies.

10 Travel Hacks that Will Save You Time and Money

With summer vacation on the horizon, now seems like the perfect time to share with you some of the best travel hacks we’ve come across.  Here are some hacks worth incorporating into your vacation routine:

  1. Use private browsing when visiting hotel and airfare websites.  Travel sites will often track your visits, raising prices after your first visit.

  2. If you travel often, TSA PreCheck is a no-brainer.  PreCheck allows you to experience an expedited screening process in the airport, meaning that you won’t have to wait in long lines or remove shoes, laptops, belts, or jackets.  The cost of PreCheck is $85 for 5 years of expedited screening.

  3. Use a smartphone app—like Scannable—to scan your passport and driver’s license before traveling, then send the scans to your email address.  Hopefully, you won’t need to display the scans but they could be helpful in a worst-case scenario.

  4. Want to travel at a substantial discount?  Volunteer to be bumped.  Airlines typically overbook flights and if you’re traveling alone, not checking luggage, and approach the gate agents early on to volunteer, there’s a good chance that you can earn a travel voucher toward your next vacation.

  5. Avoid baggage fees by gate-checking your bag.  While we can’t guarantee this works every time, former airline employees report that if you have a bag of carry-on size, you can bring it to your departure gate and check it there.  The gate agents will send it to your final destination for free!

  6. Put a dryer sheet in your luggage to keep your clothes smelling fresh while traveling.

  7. Don’t pay for car rental insurance.  Instead, call your credit card company and find out if car rental insurance is covered.  Typically, it is.

  8. Going out of the country?  Call credit and debit card companies before you go.  You don’t want to be flagged for suspicious charges while you’re away and not have access to your money.

  9. If you’re on a flight with dinner service, consider ordering a special meal—vegetarian or kosher, for example.  Typically, you’ll get served before everyone else and you can then fall asleep right away, without having to wait for the full dinner service.

  10. Roll clothes rather than folding them.  This technique will not only save space, but it will also prevent wrinkles.

5 Ideas for Sneaking More Exercise Into Your Day

If you read our previous article, 5 Surprising Benefits of Exercise, then you’re already aware that exercise seems to have miraculous abilities—it reduces stress, increases productivity, boosts creativity, improves sleep, and seems to lessen the impact of aging.  Yet as amazing as exercise is, many people find that it can be difficult to make the time for it.  Below we’ve got some suggestions to help you subtly sneak exercise in.

  1. Wear a Pedometer.  Naturally, a pedometer isn’t going to force you to exercise.  However, most people find that just by wearing one, they start to increase the number of daily steps they take.

  2. Join a Team Sport.  An adult kickball team or dodgeball class sounds more like fun than exercise.  Consider joining a team sport to make new friends, play, stretch those muscles, and get your heart going!

  3. Get Creative.  There are a number of ways that you can subtly introduce more exercise into your life.  For instance, you can park farther away from work, use the staircase to get to your office, do calf raises when blow drying your hair, count out 10 squats while you’re brushing your teeth, etc.  All of these activities will help you boost your health and none of them require a lot of time.

  4. Try Something New.  Have you always been interested in hip-hop dancing, scuba, yoga, or Tai Chi?  If so, don’t put it off any longer.  While technically signing up for a class doesn’t seem like you’re “sneaking” in exercise, the sneaky part is that doing something that you really enjoy is going to make it seem less like work (i.e. exercise) and more like fun!

  5. Become a TV Warrior.  While many people find it hard to make time to exercise, they often don’t have that problem when it comes to catching up on a favorite TV show.  The next time you turn the tube on, accompany your television watching with crunches, push-ups, and some jogging.  

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercise

This is that time of year when most people try to sheepishly “forget” about their New Year’s resolutions because they’re not making any progress.  However, if exercising more was one of your goals for the new year, we have some information that is going to make it easier for you to get excited and motivated about your resolution again.  Keep reading to learn more about the unexpected benefits of exercise.

  1. Exercise Reduces the Effects of Stress.  Exercise doesn’t just increase our levels of “good” chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, it also can reverse stress’ toll on the aging process, says U.S. News & World Report.  According to a 2010 study, researchers found that stressed women who exercised vigorously had cells that showed fewer signs of aging compared to stressed, inactive women.

  2. Exercise Increases Productivity.  While it might seem that squeezing in exercise would cut down on productivity, that isn’t the case.  Research shows that workers who exercise regularly are more productive and energetic than their more sedentary peers.

  3. Exercise Boosts Creativity.  Research indicates that aerobic activity increases creativity for as long as 2 hours after a workout.  To amp up your stream of creative ideas, try working out in nature—a brisk walk outdoors may just offer the inspiration you’re looking for.

  4. Exercise Improves Sleep.  While it might seem counterintuitive to imagine that exercise actually improves sleep, it’s true.  According to the Mayo Clinic, “Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep.”  Just make sure not to engage in heart-pounding activity too close to bedtime or exercise may have the opposite effect.

  5. Exercise Can Help Arthritis.  You might imagine that arthritis sufferers should minimize movement to reduce pain.  Not so, research shows.  According to the CDC, doing about 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, low-impact aerobic activity can improve pain management and the quality of life for those who have arthritis.

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