Seriously, the title says it all. We were home for a year, and now we’re back in the office — and our backs are in bad shape after sitting on the couch to work. And sitting on the chair at the little kids’ tea party table, and sitting at the kitchen table when someone else had the couch. So then we determined to make a home office — and finally transformed the guest bedroom into an actual office. But our backs still hurt. Why!
The Ergoal Chair is the Goal of Everyone in the Office
Thankfully, at the office, our boss makes sure that we have ergonomically correct desks, chairs and everything else. It’s one reason we can all sit for 8 to 10 hours a day and work. When we received the Ergoal chair to test — we began to fight over it, and we’re all hoping that the boss will choose this chair to replace our worn and outdated chairs.
The Ergoal Chair is a fully ergonomic office chair. The chair was designed to adjust to the natural curve of your spine and give you powerful lumbar support. But the best of this chair is its unique comfort. In addition, this chair really helps your posture. Long hours at the desk encourage poor sitting and slouching options — and the ensuing pain that poor sitting and standing posture causes.
Ergoal has a 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back.
You’ll love how the S-Shape cradles your spine and you can sit for longer amounts of time. Think of the Ergoal Chair as a superior health investment and self-care chair. If you are in a tech business — you are in your chair many hours each day. You can think much more clearly when you aren’t adjusting yourself every minute because your back (or back-side) is in pain.
I really love the Ergoal Chair — and I like that my legs don’t fall asleep while I’m spending long hours in the office, and I can work much longer without fatigue. With the year and a half that we have worried and stressed about the pandemic and now the variant — it’s nice to know that you can depend on your office chair not to cut into your concentration.
You can also lean back and stretch your spine and rest your back a little — this chair is a pleasant surprise and a delight. If you watch you can sometimes find these chairs on sale.
Image Credit: from the ergoal website; thank you!
Top Image Credit: cottonbro; pexels; thank you!
16 Qualities You Need to Be Productive
You may have heard that highly productive people wake up at 4 am, run 10 miles, and attain enlightenment before sunrise. But that’s not always true. Rather, they come in many varieties ranging from late risers, early risers, singles, couples, and family members.
So what are the most common traits of highly productive people? They are constantly working on optimizing themselves, regardless of whether they are entrepreneurs, employees, or both. As part of self-optimization, one of the keys is to build strong habits. By adopting the right habits, you can save time, energy, and willpower.
Listed below are 16 habits highly productive people possess. Whether it’s ways to spend less time on emails or ways to stay focused, these productivity tips can help you maximize your efficiency.
1. Ability to take initiative and make decisions on your own.
A high performer doesn’t need managers or supervisors to tell them what to do. Instead, they seek apt information to finish a project on their own. For example, they could get in touch with the project manager who has worked on a similar assignment.
Even better, they’re willing to attend conferences, enroll in training programs, read enlightening books and even attend night classes if necessary. Why? Because this can develop their careers, they will take on more responsibilities and take on new ways of working.
2. They’re organized and structured.
The majority of productive people maintain some form of organization system throughout the day that helps them stay focused. There’s probably some sort of desktop storage, as having a clean workspace reduces work-related stress and cuts down on time spent finding stuff.
Having an excess of clutter, whether it’s physical or digital, distracts the brain and slows work performance since it’s trying to assess the mess and mitigate the task. A well-organized workspace improves efficiency and creates structure, which improves the quality of work.
They also have a routine in place. It’s critical to follow a routine so you can delegate time and make sure you stay on top of what you need to do. Whether it’s a physical notebook carried around or an online platform, like a calendar app, a productive employee shows this by integrating job resources into one place. While routines might seem confined or rigid, they actually give you the flexibility to figure out what works for you instead of just winging it.
3. They know their priorities and protect them.
According to Laura Stack, MBA, president of The Productivity Pro® and author of The Six Keys to Performing at Your Productive Best, highly productive people are clear on their direction.
Furthermore, they do the right things, not just the things that need to be done. Stack adds that “value determines priority; priority determines goals; and goals determine activities.”
In addition, they delegate. Basically, they don’t waste time on things that can be handled by someone else. Rather, they focus on “where their energy is best spent,” says Sara Caputo, MA, productivity coach, consultant, and trainer at Radiant Organizing.
They also know how to “say no, and maintain healthy boundaries,” says Hillary Rettig, productivity coach and author of the forthcoming book The Seven Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism and Writer’s Block. In Stack’s view, productive “people control their schedules, so they can make time for important activities. They know they can’t be available to everyone every day.”
A person’s ability to say no, set boundaries and delegate are all “nonnegotiable success skills that can be learned and practiced,” Rettig says.
4. Take strategic breaks.
People who are highly productive not only set the right priorities but also schedule breaks accordingly.
You cannot achieve satisfactory results if you work too much and neglect your health. Because of that, you need to keep an eye on your health, as well as your business. What’s more, breaking away from the everyday business can sometimes lead to new opportunities and be eye-opening.
Likewise, you should schedule short breaks every day, to make sure you’re productive. During these breaks, you should move your body, eat nutritious food, and drink a lot of water.
In terms of increasing my productivity, I also have found the Pomodoro Technique to be highly effective.
The Pomodoro Technique involves setting a timer for 25 minutes and focusing on one task without interruption. After that, you take a five-minute break before working without distraction for 25 minutes again.
I would add that you don’t get too hung up on the exact timeframes. The idea is to schedule blocks of time for undisturbed work, followed by a short break.
5. Drive for results.
“Most people are willing to accept responsibility for accomplishing goals and to work at a reasonable pace to achieve expected results,” write Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman for HBR. “But there are a few people who have a great desire to accomplish results sooner and quicker.”
“They are overjoyed to be able to check something off their to-do list,” they add. “They’re competitive — and they compete not only with their colleagues but also with themselves.” Their goal is to set new records in performance and then beat those records.
6. Make deep work a habit.
Occasionally, a task is just too difficult. However, in order to achieve real results, deep work must be done.
All of us have a few daily tasks that can be almost done while we’re sleeping. In fact, it may be difficult to get in the zone with these tasks because they aren’t particularly interesting. That’s probably why you listen to your favorite music to plow through them.
Then again, some tasks are just too challenging. It’s impossible to multitask your way to completion. The best way to accomplish them is to devote a lot of time and mental energy to them. The work described here is known as “deep work.”
This type of work is discussed in Newport’s bestseller Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. According to Newport, those who master intense focus have a huge advantage over others who cannot.
The following are a few of Newport’s recommendations for cultivating deep work:
- Schedule deep work. Make deep work a habit every day, perhaps in the morning when you have the most energy. You can make deep work a habit by setting aside regular time for it.
- Become bored. The idea of being bored as a productive habit may seem counterintuitive. Yet boredom is an important part of life. We seek distractions when bored or frustrated because deep work isn’t always enjoyable. Get more comfortable doing nothing, and avoid social media as much as possible.
- Make yourself harder to reach. People who contact you should do more work upfront to reduce the amount of email and other distractions. Provide as much information in your emails as possible so people can research their questions. For you, it’s important to spend time communicating instead of sending a quick email.
- Be aware of your work habits. Are you more productive in isolation? How about periodic breaks? Is your schedule hectic? Just set aside some time for deep work rather than overhauling your entire schedule.
Overall, people who excel at deep work are highly productive.
7. Use feedback to improve performance.
Being open to feedback and taking it constructively is crucial to personal and professional growth. In fact, feedback is how high performers evaluate their efficiency and find areas where they can improve. Because of that, they’ll always ask for feedback regarding their performance.
Moreover, the feedback received will also provide the opportunity to develop fresh, innovative ideas.
8. They possess emotional intelligence.
“Your emotional intelligence is just as important as your street smarts and general knowledge,” writes Hunter Meine in a previous Calendar post. “This is how you’re able to connect with people, build relationships, and express emotions in a healthy manner.” Emotional intelligence consists of five categories:
- Social Skills
As a result of developing emotional intelligence, you can become a better friend, family member, and employee. And, if productive people need to step up their EI game, they strengthen it by:
- Taking up meditation.
- Enrolling in classes for personal growth.
- Adding service to their schedule.
- Asking others for help.
- Unplugging more often.
9. Maintain a positive outlook.
Researchers found that those who wrote positive thoughts after the study were significantly less anxious and stressed over the next four weeks. When people engage in this at work, they will project a more positive environment and become more engaged and team-oriented than those who let challenges discourage them.
When it comes to working efficiently, having a can-do attitude is the key. For example, the negativity of a co-worker has a profound impact on not only the mood of others but the project itself as well. Positive mindsets, on the other hand, are the ones that can instill confidence in themselves and others around them. You’ll have better morale, more willingness to collaborate, and more productivity with a positive attitude.
10. They seek inspiration.
In truth, we all have times when we feel demotivated and need to be inspired. A highly productive person, however, has clear sources of inspiration that are effective for them.
Walking in the fresh air, making a vision board with all their goals and dreams, or talking with a close friend or relative might be helpful. It doesn’t matter. What motivates and inspires you is less important than how you get there. The most important thing, however, is that you have a source of inspiration you can refer to whenever you feel unmotivated.
11. To stay focused, they keep a distraction list.
When you’re trying to be productive, it’s easy to get distracted by emails, social media, and a thousand little tasks. However, there are no escaping distractions when it comes to productivity, whether you’re working on deep tasks or just dealing with smaller things. It’s hard to maintain efficient work habits with distractions around.
One powerful method of minimizing distractions? Creating a “distraction list.”
While you are working, keep this list nearby – whether it is a Google Doc or a physical document. You can write down distractions on the list whenever they occur and get back to work as soon as possible.
The Pomodoro Technique uses this technique because many of your distractions are legitimately requiring attention.
When I’m deep in work and suddenly recall a bill to pay or have an idea for a new blog post, I should pay attention to those thoughts.
It’s not that they deserve my attention. At the moment, they simply don’t deserve it.
Write down your thoughts as they arise during your work. As soon as you’ve taken a break from your work, you can get back to them or add them to your larger task list.
12. The ability to work well with others and network effectively.
Because they tend to seek out like-minded people, high performers value building relationships. By establishing connections with other sources, they develop strong networking skills when it comes to gathering information and knowledge for their organizations. As a result, they are constantly growing their network of contacts within and outside the workplace.
High performers are innovative and are willing to invest in their personal development due to their innovative attitude. In turn, their skills will become more valuable.
13. They don’t make themselves too accessible.
I’ve allotted to this while discussing deep work. But let’s explain this in more detail.
According to Warren Buffett, saying no is the key to success. As Buffett has famously said, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
Being an entrepreneur, especially in the beginning, can be tempting to attend as many events as possible, network, and take advantage of every opportunity. However, highly productive individuals aren’t overly accessible.
The focus is instead on increasing their own performance and focusing on what is relevant.
Certainly, collaborating and saying yes to a project can open doors. The problem is that if you say yes to everything and are too open, you will never be able to reach high levels of productivity.
14. Sharpen the axe.
Abraham Lincoln once said: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
It is debated whether Lincoln actually said this or not. But there is an important lesson here: staying sharp is vital to being productive.
A modern example can be found in the success of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, both of whom credit books for much of their success. They could make faster and more accurate decisions by reading, learning, and getting better at their trade.
“Neither Warren nor I is smart enough to make the decisions with no time to think. We make actual decisions very rapidly, but that’s because we’ve spent so much time preparing ourselves by quietly sitting and reading and thinking.”
Ultimately, you need to take time to improve, and you’ll be able to handle many situations more effectively.
15. They optimize time pockets.
People who are highly productive know how to make the most of their time. After all, there’s so much you can do in your free time.
You can make the most of your time while waiting in a waiting room, driving to work, or doing your groceries, for example. Personally, I use these times to listen to an inspiring podcast, return emails, or evaluate my to-do list.
16. They’re under external pressure.
External pressure can push them beyond what they can normally do because it pushes them to meet deadlines, make sales to earn commissions, or just finish their work in time to pick up their kids.
In other words, the stakes are high for them. And flow is created when that happens.
Create a situation that forces you to produce a result – referred to as a “forcing function” by Dan Martell. For example, not bringing a charger for a laptop so you can work faster.
When you use forcing functions to work, you’ll get more drive than you would in a less-demanding scenario. It is hard to achieve your highest potential when there is no pressure or urgency. If you had everything we needed to succeed, you would probably take forever.
Published First on Calendar. Read Here.
Featured Image Credit: Kevin Malik; Pexels; Thank you!
Application Dependencies: Are They Holding Back Software Innovation?
In software development, a dependency is a piece of software that another piece of software relies on in order to function. An application’s dependencies are the external components that the application needs in order to work. These can include libraries, frameworks, and other software packages that the application uses.
For example, if an application is written in Python and uses the Django web framework, then Django would be a dependency of the application. In order to run the application, the Django library would need to be installed on the system.
Managing Dependencies in Software Development
Managing dependencies is an important part of software development, as it helps to ensure that an application has all the necessary components it needs to run correctly. This can be especially important when deploying an application to a new environment, as all of the dependencies will need to be installed and configured correctly in order for the application to work.
While dependencies make it possible to develop applications faster and add advanced functionality quickly without having to build them from scratch, they also introduce serious risks that can bring software development projects to a halt. I’ll describe what types of dependencies commonly exist in software projects and how they impact software innovation.
Types of Software Dependencies
Functional dependencies are components or resources that are necessary for an application to function. They result from the tasks that enable businesses to achieve their desired outcomes. It is important to identify and map these dependencies to detect and address issues, removing redundant dependencies.
Sometimes, you might need an unavailable dependency, such as one still in development. Mocking is a technique used in software development to create simulated versions of components or dependencies for testing purposes. Mocking allows developers to test the behavior of a piece of code in isolation by replacing its dependencies with mock objects that mimic the behavior of the real dependencies.
Developmental dependencies, on the other hand, are dependencies that are only needed during the development and testing phase of a software application. These dependencies might include tools for testing, debugging, or building the application and are not necessary for the application to run in production.
For example, an application may depend on a testing framework such as JUnit or PyTest during development in order to run automated tests. Still, the testing framework would not be required when the application is deployed.
Similarly, an application may depend on a build tool such as Gradle or Maven during development in order to compile and package the code, but the build tool would not be needed when the application is running.
Non-Functional and Operational
Non-functional dependencies are dependencies that relate to the overall behavior and performance of a software application rather than its specific functionalities. Examples of non-functional dependencies might include dependencies on particular hardware or software configurations or dependencies on system-level services such as networking or security.
Operational requirements can be hidden in functional requirements, so they only become apparent later in the project. To resolve an issue with such dependencies, it is important to establish policies, identify the root cause of the issue, and determine the appropriate resolution.
Dangers and Risks of Application Dependencies
There are several risks associated with application dependencies, and the danger increases with greater reliance on external software components:
- Security vulnerabilities: Dependencies can contain bugs or flaws that can be exploited by attackers. It is important to keep dependencies up-to-date and to regularly check for and install any available security patches.
- Compatibility issues: Dependencies are not always compatible with the version of the software they are being used with, or they might rely on other dependencies that are not present.
- License issues: Dependencies may be subject to different licenses, and using them in an application may create legal issues if the terms of the license are not followed. It is important to carefully review the licenses of any dependencies before using them in an application.
- Maintenance and updates: These are essential in order to stay current and secure. If a dependency is no longer maintained or supported, it can become a liability for the application that relies on it.
- Complexity: An application with a large number of dependencies can be more complex to maintain and deploy, as all of the dependencies will need to be managed and kept up-to-date. This can result in something called dependency hell.
How Application Dependencies Impact Software Projects
Application dependencies are an important aspect of software development that can significantly impact the success of a software project. Understanding and managing these dependencies is crucial for building and maintaining high-quality software systems that are resilient, scalable, and easy to maintain:
Application dependencies can make the software more complex to build and maintain.
For example, if a software system has many dependencies on external libraries or frameworks, it may require more coordination between different teams and systems to ensure that these dependencies are properly managed. This can increase the time and effort required to deliver the project, and it can make it more difficult to make changes to the system in the future.
Application dependencies can affect software stability and reliability
If a change is made to a dependent component of the system, it can have unintended consequences on other parts of the system that rely on that component. This can make it more difficult to ensure that new features or changes are safe and reliable, and it can increase the risk of regressions or other issues.
Application dependencies can impact the scalability and performance of a software system
If dependencies are not properly managed or optimized, they can become bottlenecks or points of failure that limit the ability of the system to handle high levels of traffic or workload. This can impact the usability and reliability of the system, and it can reduce the value that it delivers to stakeholders.
Therefore, it is important for software teams to carefully understand and manage application dependencies in order to ensure that their projects are successful. This may require using tools and practices such as dependency mapping, automated testing, and continuous monitoring to track and manage dependencies effectively.
In conclusion, application dependencies can have a significant impact on software development projects. While dependencies can provide valuable functionality and save developers time and effort, they can also increase the complexity of a project, introduce security vulnerabilities, impact performance, and cause conflicts.
It’s important for developers to carefully consider the dependencies that their applications rely on and to try to minimize the number of dependencies as much as possible in order to keep the project simple and maintainable.
By keeping your project simple and maintainable — developers can help ensure that their applications are able to take advantage of the latest innovations and technologies and are able to adapt and evolve over time.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Mikhail Nilov; Pexels; Thank you!
Leveraging Social Media To Grow Your Career In 2023
Employees are ready to change their jobs, with nearly half of American workers planning to look for a new job in the coming six months. According to a new Robert Half report, which surveyed 2,500 professionals, around 46% of them said they plan on making a career or job change in the first half of the year.
Job-hopping has become a workplace trend among young working professionals in the post-pandemic labor market. A recent Gallup study found that 60% of surveyed millennials – ages 27 to 40 years – are more likely to look for different opportunities this year. The percentage of non-millennials workers looking to switch jobs is roughly 15% lower.
A majority of Generation Z candidates have also claimed that they are likely to make a job change this year. In a 2022 Lever Great Resignation report, around 65% of Gen Z professionals said that they are likely to leave their job by the end of the year. Moreover, 13% of them are twice as likely to quit their jobs in the next month.
Job-hopping has become almost synonymous in the post-COVID workforce, and younger professionals are fueling this trend by leaving unfulfilling roles and moving on to greener pastures.
Yet, with so many professionals changing jobs, or looking to switch careers, even against the backdrop of a looming recession, many of them have geared themselves towards social media as a way to build a professional brand and market themselves to potential employers.
Using Social Media For Career Growth
Keeping your social media professional can be a hard ball to juggle. In a 2020 Harris Poll survey, around 70% of employers said that every company should screen candidates’ social media throughout the hiring process. Additionally, the majority of employers – 78% – believe that all their current employees should adhere to a work–appropriate social media profile.
Employees should care about what they share and post on social media. Although the debate over whether social media screening during the hiring process is ethical is still ongoing, candidates willing to leverage social media to develop or boost their careers will need to set up a social media strategy that can help them land the job they want.
Much of our digital identity is pinned to our social media accounts, and a lot of what we share, like and the people we interact with via these channels can speak a great deal of the types of person we are outside of the workplace.
Aside from employees using these platforms to grow their network, or search for possible job opportunities, employers and recruiters are using it to look for any possible red or green flags that you might bring to the workplace.
Social media has moved beyond its traditional form, and today it’s become a digital ecosystem that helps to connect like-minded professionals and their potential employers.
How To Use Social Media To Boost Career Opportunities
Searching for a job is more than browsing through recruitment websites and job listings on LinkedIn or Google. The internet, and social media is a vast place, with near-endless possibilities, and when it comes to growing your career through social media, you will need to know a few things first.
Have A Social Strategy
It might sound strange at first, but having a social media strategy will help you come in contact with the right people faster. Your social media strategy should include building an online identity that reflects your professional and personal side.
You can use different platforms for different connections or networks, it’s all about how you present yourself through your brand. Think of the type of content you share regularly, does it reflect who you are as a professional? How often do you post, or reply to comments and messages? Are there any areas where you can improve or update the information to help you grow your network of contacts?
Write some questions down to get you started, and start working on building an online identity that can get noticed by like-minded individuals in the same industry.
Network With Industry Professionals
Nowadays it’s easier than ever before to reach out to a company or recruiter through their social media, and the same goes for connecting with professionals working in the same industry.
Instead of using social media to only share insightful content, or engage with your friends, try to grow your professional network. On top of this, it’s important to engage with these people as well, even if it’s simply exchanging a few words now and again.
Be active in your mission to get to know the people that are out there, and spend a bit of time researching their profiles to better understand the type of skills and qualifications these people may have. Networking is one of the best possible ways to move around your industry without putting in much effort.
Grow Your Skills
Looking at other people’s social media profiles, whether it’s Twitter or Indeed.com, or even Instagram will give a better idea of the type of skills you might need to develop to help grow and make the next big career jump.
Often professionals will share their skills, and what they’re experts in at the top of their social media accounts, this way it is easier for recruiters to know who the person is, and for like-minded professionals to engage with them.
If you compare the skills of several professionals already working in the field you’re interested in, you will get a better idea of where you might need to upskill yourself by completing some courses or doing a bit of reading.
Advertise Your Expertise
When we say advertise, we don’t necessarily mean flashy and colorful digital adverts that you’d hope will get the attention of your potential employer.
Instead try and convey your expertise through the type of content you can share such as blog posts, news articles, industry research, or even projects you’ve worked on. Additionally, you can also share your job title and relevant experience in the bio section of your profile.
The better you are at showing people your expertise in a professional, yet unpretentious way, the faster your feed will fill up with similar content and other experienced individuals.
Update Your Profiles
This is relevant to almost every social media profile you have, regardless of what you use it for. People often neglect social media platforms they don’t use anymore, and while it can be tedious to spend so much time updating photos or replying to messages, decide on a couple of platforms you’d like to use and stick to them.
Make sure that the platforms you end up using have a recent photo, and that all other relevant personal information has been updated such as your job title, industry experience, and your current city. You don’t need to do this every week, only when needed, or when you’ve changed jobs or moved.
The better you curate your social media, the easier it will be for employers and recruiters to notice you as you actively begin to network.
Social media can be a professional tool, despite it receiving so much negative clout in recent years. Although it’s hard to determine whether possible employers or recruiters will screen your social media accounts before or during the hiring process, it’s best to always keep a well-groomed online identity – especially if you’re looking to make progress in your career.
Make well-informed decisions, and think about the type of content you’re sharing. Remember to engage with like-minded professionals, and have conversations online through the information you share with your followers.
The better you are at curating one or two social media platforms for career purposes, the quicker you’ll be able to expand your network, and grow your professional skills. Don’t think too much about it, try and have a balance as much as possible, as this will help you to enjoy your social media experience while maintaining a professional, yet fun digital identity.
Published First on ValueWalk. Read Here.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Fauxels; Pexels; Thank you!