22 Aug

What Time Are You?

Blog No Comments by Travis Jones

What Time Are You?When someone asks us “what time is it?”, they are asking something about the world that is “outside of us” and objective. So to answer their question we usually look to the nearest clock, phone, or computer screen to tell them the socially agreed upon time at that moment. But if you ask someone to meet you somewhere at 7pm or to estimate the amount of time to drive to New York, you realize quickly that individual perceptions of time are much more “fuzzy” than the numbers on an alarm clock. And since none of us has an internal digital clock in our minds, understanding individual perceptions of time has far reaching implications for time management, vision casting, financial forecasts, and all the other time sensitive needs of an organization.

Unlike clock-time, which has universal standards of measurement, social-psychological time changes with every individual, culture, or circumstance. Psychologists John Boyd and Philip Zimbardo in Time Paradox have developed, through years of exhaustive research, a time perspective inventory designed to locate ones time “personality.” The ZTPI, Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory, rates individuals on a scale of six temporal personalities based on their responses to questions regarding their perceptions of time related issues. They are: past-negative, past-positive, present-fatalistic, present hedonistic, future, transcendental future. There are 56 questions like “Ideally, I would live everyday as if its my last”, “Before making a decision, I weigh the costs against the benefits” and “My life path is controlled by forces I cannot influence.” Their research has confirmed that people vary in degree in how they think about the past, present and future, and their time personality has implications for virtually every area of their lives.

The decisions you make about your health, finances, and relationships can largely be traced back to your particular time personality. Are you more risk aversive now for a future benefit later? Do you think about past events before making decisions? Do you mostly live in the moment and worry about consequences later? As Zimbardo admits, the research on time personality is growing but is also very new and constantly changing. Their work is important because it lays a foundation and makes a case for the importance of taking time personality seriously. If you have never done so, I encourage you to take the ZTPI at  www.thetimeparodox.com to see what your time personality is in order to better navigate all of the time constraints on your personal and professional life.

Manage Your Time & Get Organized!

13 Aug

Getting It All Done: 7 Apps to Improve Your Productivity

Blog 4 Comments by Mareisha Winters

Getting It All Done: 7 Apps to Improve Your Productivity Does it feel like there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done? Do you sometimes wish you could clone yourself or hire a personal assistant in order to complete everything on your to do list? If you answered yes, keep reading.

We often talk about unplugging as a way to get ourselves back on track and get things done. The increase in technology and our constant need to be connected sometimes hinders our ability to accomplish tasks. One survey estimated that we spend approximately 23 days a year looking at our phones—and let’s be honest, during those times we are not being very productive. But, this constant connection to our smartphones and other devices is not all bad and can actually be helpful.

Loaded with the proper apps, your smartphone can be an unbelievably helpful tool for simplifying tasks and organizing your work and personal life. There are a number of productivity apps on the market for all of the major smartphone platforms, you have to find out which ones work best for you. We have compiled a short list of some of the top apps on the market for managing your time and boosting your productivity to help you get started on the road to a more organized life.

clear-app

Clear

If you are like me and work better when you create yourself a daily “things to do list”, then this app is for you. Dubbed “iPhone’s most beautiful to-do list app” by The Verge and “perfect for busy people” by Gizmodo, Clear is an incredibly user-friendly list-keeping app for those who care just as much about aesthetics as they do functionality. Clear is designed with simplicity and flexibility in mind and works great with any list—work tasks, shopping list, personal goals, etc.

yast appYast

Do you know how much time you waste in a day by getting sidetracked? Not managing your time can kill your productivity. Yast is a time tracker app that can help add some much needed discipline into your daily routine. Yast keeps track of the time spent on projects and tasks. Do you work on projects where you have to bill your client for time spent? Yast can help you keep track of the amount of time individuals and entire teams spend.

evernote_appEvernote

Evernote is one of the more popular productivity apps out there.  Evernote helps you “remember everything”. Listed by New York Times as ‘Top 10 Must-Have App’, Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet and the web.  If you see something you like online or in the real world, Evernote lets you use your smartphone to take a picture of it, record audio, and any other notes and save them. And if you want to share the information with colleagues, you can do so with ease thanks to Evernote.

cloudonCloudOn

Have you ever been in a pinch and needed to access a Microsoft Office® file, but were nowhere near your computer? Fear no more!  Recommended by Mashable for boosting work productivity, CloudOn puts Microsoft Office® on your favorite devices to create documents on the go. Users can sync with Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive accounts, and also email files to contacts directly from mobile devices.  And if that wasn’t enough, the built-in Adobe Reader and File Viewer lets you open and view virtually any file type, including PDF, JPG, PNG, GIF, etc.

checkmark_appCheckmark

This app allows you to create reminders based on time and location. Dubbed by LifeHacker as the best location-based app around, Checkmark is the fastest way to remind yourself of all the things you have to do in your busy life. So how does it work? Just add your favorite locations to the app (like your house, the bank, the grocery store, and work), and create tasks for any of those locations when you think of them. When you pass by or enter one of those locations, Checkmark will remind you of what you have to do. How cool is that?

dropbox_appDropbox

Have you ever saved important data to your computer at work or home, only to find out that you need it once you’re out on the road?  That’s where the Dropbox app comes in to save the day.  Dropbox lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Access any file you save to your Dropbox from all your computers, smartphone devices, tablets and even the Dropbox website. This is a lifesaver for busy people who are constantly on the go. Concerned about security? All of your Dropbox files are secured with advanced encryption as well as two-step verification.

skitch_appSkitch

The Skitch smartphone app is all about collaboration.  In short, if you need to share feedback or important ideas, Skitch allows you to do just that.  You can communicate visually with your co-workers in an instant with this app. Annotate images and documents with arrows, shapes, text, and more. Use Skitch to sketch something new, mark up maps, screen captures, or even a photo. Then save or share your Skitch annotation to help others see and understand your ideas. Getting everyone on the same page has never been easier.

Have you used any of the apps listed above, what do you like or dislike? What other apps do you use to help you be more productive? Share your favorites in the comments.

Manage Your Time & Get Organized!

25 Jul

Handling Stress Before It Turns Into Burnout

Blog No Comments by Travis Jones

Handling Stress Before It Turns Into BurnoutAre you feeling overworked? Is the concept of “work-life balance” far fetched? You’re not alone. Working longer hours is becoming more and more common. Overwork can have negative effects on your health, happiness and productivity.  This month we’ll focus on how to tell if you’re overworked and what you can do to change your situation and become a happier, healthier employee!

New research on the physical and mental effects of work related stress is troubling to say the least. The list of possible symptoms that you are reaching unhealthy levels of burnout from work is much longer than this post could possibly cover and a list of suggested remedies would be even longer. However, as you seek to maintain a healthy work-life balance, understanding the difference between stress and burnout can be a helpful guide to keeping you from the harmful conditions of being overworked.

It is inevitable that you will experience at least some level of stress in relation to work in your lifetime and given the changing 24/7 work climate the chances that you have already experienced some health related issues because of work is also very high. Since stress has become a natural consequence of being overworked, it is important to distinguish between expected, normal levels of stress and unhealthy, excessive levels leading to burnout. Stress occurs when you feel overworked with the pressure to accomplish more than you have time in the day. But many people who experience stress also feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that they will eventually complete the tasks before them. The experience of burnout however, occurs when levels of stress leave one with an overwhelming sense of defeat. Below is a helpful chart distinguishing the degrees to which stress and burnout differ.

Stress vs. Burnout
Stress Burnout
Characterized by over engagement Characterized by disengagement
Emotions are over reactive Emotions are blunted
Produces urgency and hyperactivity Produces helplessness and hopelessness
Loss of energy Loss of motivation, ideals, and hope
Leads to anxiety disorders Leads to detachment and depression
Primary damage is physical Primary damage is emotional
May kill you prematurely May make life seem not worth living

One way to diagnose yourself in regards to levels of stress and burnout is to look for varying degrees of sustained symptoms. Signs that you may be experiencing mental and physical effects of burnout are simply the persistent symptoms of stress. Physically, you may be developing semi-permanent symptoms such as over-eating and weight gain, consistent lack of sleep, a prolonged sense of depression about work, or a growing detachment from your other social relationships. Mentally, you may find yourself experiencing long periods of depression, mental fatigue, distraction, and lack of motivation.

The most recent research in psychology and neuroscience suggests that the mind is a flexible organ that creates sustained patterns of thinking based on repeated experiences. This means that if you allow periods of stress from work to become more frequent, you are increasing the likelihood of experiencing burnout. The key then to avoiding the unhealthy symptoms of burnout, is to address the early signs of stress that are often our body’s “warning signs” for what’s ahead. The challenge is recognizing these early signs of stress in an environment where stress has become the expected norm. You must build into your busy schedule purposeful “stops” in order to check your mental and physical vital signs, so that the sparks of stress do not engulf into flames of burnout.

Overcome Being Overworked!

 

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