Tag: Tips

Etiquette : The Proper Behavior

 

“Etiquette means behaving yourself a little better thank is absolutely essential.”

Will Cuppy

​Anyone who has ever worked with an overbearing self-promoter knows there is a big difference between a show-off and a superstar. Downplaying your skill set won’t do much for your reputation, either. The key to shining in the office is to find a balance between sharing and bragging and focusing more on being than seeming helpful, encouraging, organized, prepared and genuine.

Here are five ways to step into your spotlight in the office by adopting the proper behavior (without turning everyone off)

Behavior

Make an effort to connect.

There is truth in the saying that people will never forget how you made them feel. Instead of rushing to your desk and putting your head down, make an effort to say good morning/hello to everyone from your receptionist to your boss and ask them how things are going every once in awhile. In doing so, you can help to diffuse any misinformed projections, build relationships with your team that will inevitably boost productivity and set yourself apart from those who only acknowledge those who can help them in some way.

 

 

Start each day with a clear purpose.

Take a few moments each morning to understand what you want the outcome of your day to be. After you have a clear picture, identify the most important tasks to take on in order to achieve it. These are the ones that will bring you to the result you want to achieve and help you stay on track when the inevitable interruptions and social media temptations begin to seep in.

 

Be reliable.

This sounds obvious, but how many people know someone who is always running late, shows up to meetings without notes or always has an excuse for a missed deadline or sloppy work? Try and bring one well thought-out idea to each meeting instead of trying to shoot off five off of the top of your head (or offering none at all) and meet your deadlines with edited work instead of trying to beat them and move to the next thing.

 

 

 

Be proactive.

Give weekly updates and take it upon yourself to lead the charge when it comes to following up on projects (before they are due). Information exchange offers a great benefit to those who are opening the lines of communication. Not only are you showing the work you have done in a non-aggressive way, you are also leading team members who may have needed a reminder or a little guidance as to how to get things done.

 

 

Do your part, but no more.

This doesn’t mean to play the “that is not in my job title” card, but more a reminder to step up and give 100% but don’t take on other people’s duties to show off or play the martyr. You want to share your knowledge and wisdom without stepping on anyone’s toes or disempowering them. Teach them how to fish and hold them accountable the same as you expect them to.

 

If you respect and adopt these simple steps, your behavior ​will change and it will results in the workplace’s harmony where each member’s behavior contribute. All of those steps can be enhanced by Gamification.

A prime example of a company who is taking the gamification world by storm is Skylab Apps. At Skylab, one great use for Gamification is by incorporating it into the workplace. It can be an asset because it can provide employees with further work-related knowledge. This could be in regards to policies, standards, performance expectations, and so forth. Gamification makes learning about these various things actually fun and engaging, which in turn produces more educated and well-versed employees.”

 

Productivity

Its not about being Busy

 

“Unstoppable success even in the face of adversity is all about drawing on your resources and taking advantage of new opportunities.”

Dean Grey

At Skylab, we have a growing, but tight-nit group of core members.  Its immensely important (both for your professional development, and the increasing value of Skylab as a company) that every day, and every week, each individual team member is accomplishing definitive tasks, and producing valuable assets.

By having clear goals, and understanding perfectly the Vision and Expectations of your daily task or project, you can ensure that you stay productive.

You might think that productive just means “doing a lot of work” or “working really hard all day”.  Its far more than that, as this video should demonstrate to you:

 


Here at Skylab we want to help you create explosive productivity so you get big things done (and make your life matter).

That’s why we use the VEAC :  VEAC is at the heart of Skylab‘s Culture.  It is the process we use to go about our work day, start a new project, and communicate with each other.  Read each part of the VEAC carefully.  Incorporate these terms into your daily communication with the team and it will increases your productivity as a team and as an individual! Skylab supports all of its clients to use the VEAC model.

  • V – VISION  : Communicate and understand the scope and nature of the task or project. (Use ‘Active Listening’ skills)
  • EEXPECTATION :  Understand the timelines that your team lead is expecting this task to be done, and any required support/resources. (What will be delivered when)
  • AADJUSTMENT : If there is anything that effects the vision, expectation, or timeline while you are completing your task you will need to notify your team leader or teammates affected by this ASAP
  • C – CLOSE THE LOOP : When you feel the task is complete you must get a sign off from your team lead, and inform the other teammates involved with this accomplishment. (NOTE: Communication is not considered communicated until you have verbal or written acknowledgement or response. We operate in a fast paced situation emails, text or slack messages that are not responded to DO NOT COUNT as communication)

 

Here are 21 tips to get you to your best productivity from a leader in the self development world, Robin Sharma :

  • Check email in the afternoon so you protect the peak energy hours of your mornings for your best work.
  • Stop waiting for perfect conditions to launch a great project. Immediate action fuels a positive feedback loop that drives even more action.
  • Remember that big, brave goals release energy. So set them clearly and then revisit them every morning for 5 minutes.
  • Mess creates stress (I learned this from tennis icon Andre Agassi who said he wouldn’t let anyone touch his tennis bag because if it got disorganized, he’d get distracted). So clean out the clutter in your office to get more done.

 

 

“The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.”

Oscar Wilde

 

  • Sell your TV. You’re just watching other people get successful versus doing the things that will get you to your dreams.
  • Say goodbye to the energy vampires in your life (the negative souls who steal your enthusiasm).
  • Run routines. When I studied the creative lives of massively productive people like Stephen King, John Grisham and Thomas Edison, I discovered they follow strict daily routines. (i.e., when they would get up, when they would start work, when they would exercise and when they would relax). Peak productivity’s not about luck. It’s about devotion.
  • Get up at 5 am. Win the battle of the bed. Put mind over mattress. This habit alone will strengthen your willpower so it serves you more dutifully in the key areas of your life.
  • Don’t do so many meetings. Having the few meetings you now do standing up – and it’s created breakthrough results.
  • Don’t say yes to every request. Most of us have a deep need to be liked. That translates into us saying yes to everything – which is the end of your elite productivity.

 

“We all naturally want to become successful… we also want to take shortcuts. And it’s easy to do so, but you can never take away the effort of hard work and discipline and sacrifice.”

Apolo Ohno

 

  • Outsource everything you can’t be BIW (Best in the World) at. Focus only on activities within what I call “Your Picasso Zone”.
  • Stop multi-tasking. New research confirms that all the distractions invading our lives are rewiring the way our brains work (and drop our IQ by 5 points!). Be one of the rare-air few who develops the mental and physical discipline to have a mono-maniacal focus on one thing for many hours. (It’s all about practice).
  • Get fit like Madonna. Getting to your absolute best physical condition will create explosive energy, renew your focus and multiply your creativity.
  • Workout 2X a day. This is just one of the little-known productivity tactics. Here’s the key: exercise is one of the greatest productivity tools in the world. So do 20 minutes first thing in the morning and then another workout around 6 or 7 pm to set you up for wow in the evening.
  • Drink more water. When you’re dehydrated, you’ll have far less energy. And get less done.
  • Work in 90 minute blocks with 10 minute intervals to recover and refuel.
  • Write a Stop Doing List. Every productive person obsessively sets To Do Lists. But those who play at world-class also record what they commit to stop doing. Steve Jobs said that what made Apple Apple was not so much what they chose to build but all the projects they chose to ignore.
  • Use your commute time. If you’re commuting 30 minutes each way every day – get this: at the end of a year, you’ve spent 6 weeks of 8 hour days in your car. I encourage you to use that time to listen to fantastic books on audio + excellent podcasts and valuable learning programs. Remember, the fastest way to double your income is to triple your rate of learning.
  • Be a contrarian. Why buy your groceries at the time the store is busiest? Why go to movies on the most popular nights? Why hit the gym when the gym’s completely full? Do things at off-peak hours and you’ll save so many of them.
  • Get things right the first time. Most people are wildly distracted these days. And so they make mistakes. To unleash your productivity, become one of the special performers who have the mindset of doing what it takes to get it flawless first. This saves you days of having to fix problems.
  • Get lost. Don’t be so available to everyone. I often spend hours at a time in the cafeteria of a university close to our headquarters. I turn off my devices and think, create, plan and write. Zero interruptions. Pure focus. Massive results.

I truly hope these 21 productivity tips have been valuable to you. And that I’ve been of service. Your productivity is your life made visible. Please protect it.

The Future of Work is changing. Are you ready?

Working Nation is one Skylab’s Client. Through the Channels section, you can access to content about leadership and productivity directly on the app. Each Skylab app provides great training and learning section related to the particular business sector. 

Here are a few coping mechanism and 8-step process for maximizing efficacy (doing the right things) from Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-Hour Workweek 

  • Wake up at least 1 hour before you have to be at a computer screen. E-mail is the mind killer.
  • Make a cup of tea (I like pu-erh) and sit down with a pen/pencil and paper.
  • Write down the 3-5 things — and no more — that are making you most anxious or uncomfortable. They’re often things that have been punted from one day’s to-do list to the next, to the next, to the next, and so on. Most important usually = most uncomfortable, with some chance of rejection or conflict.
  • For each item, ask yourself:
    • “If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?”
    • “Will moving this forward make all the other to-do’s unimportant or easier to knock off later?”
  • Look only at the items you’ve answered “yes” to for at least one of these questions.
  • Block out at 2-3 hours to focus on ONE of them for today. Let the rest of the urgent but less important stuff slide. It will still be there tomorrow.
  • TO BE CLEAR: Block out at 2-3 HOURS to focus on ONE of them for today. This is ONE BLOCK OF TIME. Cobbling together 10 minutes here and there to add up to 120 minutes does not work.
  • If you get distracted or start procrastinating, don’t freak out and downward spiral; just gently come back to your ONE to-do.

 

I wrote a previous blog on money management where I shared some tips on how to identify where you are wasting money and then gave my own personal formula (via an downloadable excel spreadsheet found here) the gauge all of your spending. If you are coming from that blog, then you are in the right place. If you are just looking at this blog for the first time, it may be prudent to go back and check out the previous one I wrote or at least download the excel spreadsheet because you will need it for the next step.

Step 2 – Formulating a simple budget that you will actually follow.

It was told to me early on in life by a very wealthy mentor of mine who I respect dearly that if I couldn’t manage $1, then I couldn’t manage $1 Million dollars. This is so true, I meet people all the time who’s personal finances are garbage even when they are making great money in their career.

It all comes down to money management and budgeting. Again, this is another common thread among all wealthy people I have ever met; they all have a budget based on a formula that uses money as a tool never spending it emotionally. Here is what to do.

Take that excel spreadsheet you just downloaded. (or get it here)

The idea here is very simple. Manage any and all money that you get. EVERY SINGLE CENT! If you know what your monthly income is, it becomes very easy to budget, if you are like me and get paid in lump sums sporadically then disciplining yourself to a system like this is crucial!

Ok so here is how it works: For every dollar I take in, it gets split up and put in to different bank accounts. Each bank account represents a different aspect that I am saving for. In my case I have 8 Bank accounts. I explain what I use them for and the benefits.

  1. Wells Fargo Checking / Savings account – This account is used for daily spending, and paying bills. Think of it as your most active account, all money is deposited here before it goes to other accounts.

For daily spending and bill payment, I like Wells Fargo. The important thing to remember here is to bank with a bank that is convenient to for you with lots of locations and low fees across the board. As of right now, I pay NO FEES with Wells. I think B of A is the worst, and Chase Bank is in the middle when it comes to big banks.

  1. Discover Bank # 1 – Taxes (This is where I said aside money for taxes every year)
  2. Discover Bank # 2 – Emergency Fund account (Save for a rainy day)
  3. Discover Bank # 3 – Long Term Savings (Use for large purchases like a house or car etc.)

I use Discover bank because they give you the highest rate of return for a savings account. 0.95% to be exact and…

  • No minimum deposits
  • No Account Fees
  • Open as many accounts as you want
  1. Capital One 360 # 1 – Annual Expenses account (Money set aside for annual expenses like car insurance, property tax etc.)
  2. Capital One 360 # 2 – Vacation Fund (Saved money for Vacations)

I use Capital One 360 because they pay a pretty good rate of return on money in savings and my account doubles over as my top pick for a travel debit card that has

  • No minimum deposits
  • No Account Fees
  • Open as many accounts as you want
  • NO foreign transaction fees
  • No ATM banking fees.

(If you are interested in opening up a Capital1 360 Account and want $20 for free just for doing so, click this link.)

  1. Wealthfront Account – Managed Portfolio Long term investing account

(Click here to learn about wealth front and why I recommend them. Clicking this link will get your first$15,000 managed for FREE!!)

  1. FXCM Account – This is my active foreign currency trading account as I trade currencies daily. If your are interested in learning how to trade I wrote a blog about it here,  otherwise, dedicate the 5% I am setting aside in this account to some other find or investment.

Now take some time to look it over the excel spreadsheet. If you need to open a couple accounts, don’t worry, this can literally be accomplished in an hour, follow the links above to use my recommendations, or feel free to open up accounts where your want to.

Keep in mind that I am a 1099 independent contractor that means I pay my own income taxes each year. If you are a W-2 employee, then you can zero out the taxes line because your taxes are collected before you get paid. Personally I set aside 18%-20% a year for myself, you may pay less or more depending on how much you make and what your tax liabilities look like.

  • Enter all of your monthly and annual expenses. (You will see some numbers starting to populate)
  • Replace my bank accounts with your banks and match them closely as possible, meaning if you have a normal B of A or Chase Checking and savings account, that should be your main account at the top. If you have an E*TRADE, Schwab or IRA, replace my Wealthfront account with yours etc.
  • If there are some areas where you will need to set up new bank account, leave them blank for now
  • Now enter in your monthly income at the top in the yellow (total monthly Colum)
  • By now you should see some of the boxes populating. I will explain what’s happening here

The Breakdown.

Ok by now you probably have a good idea of what I am driving at here, but I will explain anyway. This formula is partitioning all of your income into different savings columns to give you a well rounded and financially savvy money management system.

The breakdown as seen in my excel sheet looks like this.

  • I earn $100
  • $20 (20%) is saved for taxes and taken right off the top (Skip step if you are a W-2 employee)
  • Now I have $80 Left
  • $40 (50%) Goes to my living expenses, i.e. rent, mortgage, car payment, food, gas etc.
  • $10 (10%) – To the emergency fund, after all shit happens.
  • $10 (10%) – Long-term savings fund. This could be for a future large purchase like a car or house down payment.
  • $8 (8%) – Annual Expenses Account – Like car registration or medical/life insurance. Things that get paid once per year
  • $7 (7%) – Vacation Fund – To broke to take a vacation, do this for a year, and I promise you that you will have enough to take a vacay!
  • $10 (10%) – Long-term investment account – YOU NEVER TOUCH THIS MONEY! This is for your retirement. You may be thinking I’m way to young to start saving for retirement, but the difference between starting this habit at 20 years old compared to 30 years old will mean a difference of hundreds, yes I said hundreds of thousands by the time your retire. So don’t fuck around with this one, set the 10% aside and forget about it.
  • $5 (5%) – For me it goes to an active trading account that I personally trade. If you have no desire to learn how to actively trade, you can simply put this money towards some other kind of investment short term to medium term, but this money is not for bullshit, it’s money set aside for short-Medium term investments with a bigger return on the short side.

Conclusion

This whole idea was adopted after first reading the age old book The Richest Man in Babylon. When done correctly you will learn to pay yourself first and then save and invest the rest of it leaving a little hear and there for having a good quality of life.

My parents generation saved about 20%-30% of there income on average. My generation saves a measly 5%-10% and knowing that we are going to need a least a cool million to retire on (4 times as much as my parents will need) we need to get on this today. There is literally no time to waste.

Again, if you are in debt, or not making a lot of money, apply this formula anyway. Rework the numbers to make them fit your situation. If you are in some serious debt, check out my blog on &^%&^%&*^%&* if you are just not making that much or spend money stupidly, then I challenge you to try this for 90 days. If after 90 days you don’t feel like you have a better handle on your finances and that you are heading in the right direction, comment here and I will jump out of an airplane to promote what ever you want me to.

Money is a tool. It is only emotional when you don’t have enough of it. It controls you, or you control it, simple as that.

****And as a bonus, if you are still not convinced, Acorns is a nifty little app that allows you to invest pocket change from rounded up expenditure in to the market as a long term investment. Follow this link to check it out and get $5 for opening an account.

Did you mis part 1 of this blog? Read it here!

 

I have written many blogs on personal finance, today I am going to speak specifically about investing, but not investing from the standpoint of a 40-something somewhat wealthy person with savings in the bank, a house and a stable career he or she has been in for over a decade.

This blog is aimed towards Millennials. If you a person age 18 to 34 then listen close because applying the small techniques that I am going to share in this blog could mean the difference between your financial success and failure later on in life.

Before I get in to the Nitti gritty of this, I want you to know that if you feel like you are broke at the end of each month, living paycheck to paycheck or simply just not making enough to meet your monthly nut and save a little bit at the end of each month then this blog is for you.

You could also be one of the thousands of recently graduated college students on the job hunt drowning in school loan debt wondering how you are ever going to get ahead.

Or, maybe you are doing ok financially and you are just looking for more ways to become savvier with your money.

Whatever category you fit in, what I am about to share is going to help you tremendously! Enough said, lets jump in to it.

Step 1 Gauging where you are.

I have never met a wealthy person who did not know where they were at financially. People who have built real wealth have some type of formula they use to save, invest, pay taxes and to live. This has been one constant that I have experienced with every wealthy person I have met that didn’t inherit the money or get lucky.

What you need to do is figure out where all your money is going. I think you would be surprised to find out that you probably waste about $20 a day on bullshit. What I mean is you may have a daily Starbucks Frappuccino habit, or maybe you never cook at home and eat out 3 times a day. What ever it is everyone has their vices and they are costing you greatly.

So, first thing is first, write down all of your expenses. Everything. From monthly fixed expenses like Rent, mortgage payments, car payments utilities etc. right down to your varying miscellaneous expenses. This will allow you to see where all of your money is going.

Remember we cannot fix a problem until we can recognize there is one, and this is going to help you gauge where you are at financially.

In part 2, I am going to share with you the simplest budget you have ever seen that anyone can follow even if you think you are to broke to save. In fact, I am going to share with you my own personal excel document that you can use to do this exercise.