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Stop, Look and Listen – Sentiment Analysis in eCommerce – ReadWrite

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Motorola uses sentiment analysis


As the owner of an e-commerce store, you’ll no doubt be inundated with advice and tips on how to attract new customers to your store. It is essential to master the art of reeling in those shiny new customers — but that is actually the easy part.

Stop, Look and Listen – Sentiment Analysis in eCommerce

It’s really not that difficult to use the impressive arsenal of tools such as sentiment analysis we have at our disposal to draw people to your site like a kind of digital Pied Piper. However, what you really should be focusing on is keeping those customers once you have them.

As most business veterans will tell you, it’s easier to retain existing customers by keeping them happy than it is to get them back once they’ve moved on. But, how, exactly, is that done?

Loyalty guard

Gaining and retaining customer loyalty in a competitive marketplace is an art that involves keeping a number of balls in the air at all times.

In short, you’re only rewarded with customer loyalty when you’ve done everything possible to keep the customer happy and to make sure that your user experience is second to none. That’s all very well, I hear you cry, but how do I know if the customer is happy or not?

Customer Reviews

In 2021, your e-commerce store is most likely set up to request a review from your customers after every purchase – well done you. Reviews are a brilliant way of gathering feedback from your customers and collecting glowing testimonials for your website and your social media. Problem solved? Not really.

Who will leave you a review?

Unfortunately, only around 60% of e-commerce customers actually get around to leaving reviews for their purchases. This can be due to simple laziness or lack of interest. But, just because they’re not leaving a review, doesn’t mean that they don’t have an opinion on your brand which they may be sharing with others.

For hard-working brands, this means that 40% of your customers might be praising you — or complaining about you — without your knowledge.

Examples of mentions

You can’t, of course, force customers to leave a review (although you can bribe them but, that’s another story).

So, how do you get about finding out what they think? Thankfully, the answer is relatively simple and it comes in the form of sentiment analysis.

Bursting with emotion

Sentiment analysis tools scour the internet to find mentions of your brand, product or service online. Then, the algorithm rates these mentions into one of three categories — Negative, Neutral and Positive. This is super helpful in giving you a broad idea of how people feel about your brand. But, these days, sentiment analysis tools are able to dig much deeper than that.

A Ryanair complaintWith a lot of modern tools, you can drill down to specific messages and, even contact the poster directly to start a dialogue. This is incredibly important for brands to gather useful feedback. Additionally, it also helps to avoid a reputational crisis.

Filtering the mentions

A sentiment analysis journey – How it works

YouTube sentiment analysis

Customer sentiment analysis is all about finding out what customers are saying about your brand and then deciphering the emotion behind it.

In most cases, customers will have an emotional response (good or bad) after making a purchase. They’re more likely to tell their social media followers about it than they are the brand itself. This may seem unfair.

We’ve all seen people complaining on Facebook about a local takeaway restaurant without actually first contacting them. But, this is the digital world that we live in.

Sentiment analysis put to use

Getting started

Various tools on the market are affordable and easy to use and are a great way to get started on your sentiment analysis journey.

You can use these tools to not only check out comments about your brand but that of your competition as well to help you to see what you’re doing right – and what you’re not.

In 2021, you’re able to filter your searches and results in a number of ways. For example, it’s possible to perform an entire search based purely on a heart emoji.

Further examples of mentions

With tools like Brand24, you can wiggle your parameters to your heart’s content in order to produce very simple, broad results or much more in-depth results.

The results give lots of useful facts and figures like these for shopping giants, Amazon and eBay.

“As a software development agency, we’re constantly working to stay ahead of the competition – particularly during the pandemic. We’ve been using Brand 24 for a few years now and, this has proved invaluable in helping us to keep on top of our game.

In 2021, if you’re not listening to your customers, you can guarantee that your competition will be”. Jack Zmudzinski, a senior associate at future-processing.com

Sentiment analysis chart

Amazon and eBay are long-standing competitors in the world of low price e-Commerce. As such, each is constantly looking for ways to get ahead. Collating customer information is, quite literally, the only way to do this in a way that is effective.

As you can see, the results clearly show ups and downs which allow brands to pinpoint specific events and dates for particular ‘emotions’.

The importance of sentiment analysis

Why is sentiment analysis important?

Most brands will, as a matter of course, experience the occasional high and low when it comes to public opinion and, these are usually relatively minimal.

However, for some unlucky brands, an event such as a faulty product or some negative press can produce much more severe dips. If these are not handled quickly, they can have devastating consequences.

A recent example of this is the budget clothing website, BooHoo. They faced the wrath of the public when the press published a story claiming that the brand was vastly underpaying its employees.

Independent's BooHoo article

Following the news story, it took just one tweet. Loyalty to the brand took a nosedive with many customers vowing to never shop with the brand again because of these appalling practices.

Sentiment Analysis Sentiment analysis metrics

During the crisis, BooHoo lost more than a third of its market value and has been rallying ever since in a bid to win back its customers.

Sentiment analysis helps brands to spot any potential problems the moment that they begin which, in turn, allows them to deploy a crisis management strategy in order to get out ahead of the problem.

“With the best will in the world, most brands will run into the odd customer-related problem at some point or another. That’s not a problem – but how you deal with it, and how quickly, might be. We use sentiment analysis as a regular part of our business to make sure that we’re aware of any potential issues and to engage with our customers in real-time.” Dima Suponau, CEO & Founder at numberforliveperson.com

Reading the signs

As great as it is, sentiment analysis is not yet infallible as it’s not yet brilliant at spotting things like nuance and sarcasm. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to get into the habit of reading comments on a regular basis to ensure that you’re getting the whole picture.

For example, a social media user may post, “I bought a device charger from X brand and it worked for a whole day before conking out. Fantastic – great job, X Brand.”

While this statement is clearly negative, your sentiment analysis tool is unlikely to see it that way and will almost certainly file it in the ‘Positive’ category.

Sentiment analysis has its limitations

How can sentiment analysis boost customer loyalty?

The one thing that you really need to know about your customer is that they need to feel that they are valued. Most people don’t have huge amounts of disposable income. For this reason, how they are treated when they’re spending their hard-earned cash is all-important.

We’ve talked a bit about how sentiment analysis can improve your reputation. In this section, we’ll look at the different ways in which you can use it to improve customer loyalty:

Customer support

One of the most common complaints thrown up by sentiment analysis is that of customer support. These days, customers expect instant responses. When they don’t get them they’re liable to have a good old whinge about it on Facebook.

If this is the case for your brand, sentiment analysis will enable you to contact the complainer directly. The personal connection lets you inform them of your intended improvements as well as making a statement on your social media platforms to the same effect.

Direct contact is probably the most important thing you’ll use your sentiment analysis for as it makes the customer feel “heard,” which breeds loyalty.

Sentiment analysis as a revolution in customer support

Product improvement

Nobody likes to hear that their product or service is ‘proper rubbish’ or ‘useless.’ Still, when this happens, it can be a valuable lesson. If you’re selling a product or service then, chances are, you have a fair amount of competition.

If your offering is under par or not fit for purpose, you need to know about it in order to make improvements.

SEMrush replying to a suggestionIt may be that hearing and responding to the complaint will be fairly simple — in which case you can simply contact customers and release a statement. In other cases, where the problem is more serious, you may have to consider a rebrand (serious issues).

Either way, this could be the make-or-break point for your business. Most likely break if you don’t listen to those customers and react accordingly.

“The art and science of analyzing customer feedback and re-thinking your own product features or business processes is complicated. It requires a deep understanding of the whole customer journey, the accuracy and relevancy of pain-to-solve, and the role of value you’ll bring to customers.

Thus, it’s crucially important to not only collect feedback at the moment but to build a constant and persistent flow of feedback analysis” – Maksym Babych, CEO at SpdLoad, a software development company for early-stage startups.

Example of bad customer relationships

Start a dialogue

As I mentioned early on in this article, sentiment analysis tools allow you to dial directly in terms of contacting the person who is making the comment. This gives you a unique opportunity to grab yourself a brand ambassador by starting a dialogue.

Quick contact is actually simpler than it sounds. For example, a customer has been whinging on social media about the fact that, while your device charging pad is OK, it doesn’t notify you when it’s finished charging.

Allowing you to quickly contact the customer to tell them that your brand has taken his or her comments on board — is important to the customer.

You would then go on to tell them that you would love to discuss things further with them. By doing this, the customer automatically becomes invested in your brand as well as feeling like their opinion matters. The result? You’ve just bagged yourself a loyal customer.

Survey says

Results from sentiment analysis are a great way of collating information to use in customer surveys. People generally love to give their opinion, particularly if an incentive is involved. Quick surveys on social media tend to be really successful for small to medium brands.

Surveys can help you to refine your offering by asking specific questions with specific answers to give you results. Then, these will point your brand in the right direction in terms of future products and features. This means that you can turn sentiment analysis results into surveys which will net you further feedback and contact information.

The data capture

By collating comments gathered from social media, you’ll get a really good idea of who your customer is and, what they want. This information is a treasure trove when it comes to providing more relevant, targeted content for your customers.

In the modern world, people are constantly bombarded with information online. Unless it’s super-relevant, they’ll tend to go scrolling on by.

Asos vs BooHoo sentiment analysis comparison

Sentiment analysis allows you to use even negative comments to your advantage by recognizing pain points and solving them.

Here is one of the wider uses of sentiment analysis and, it goes like this:

You set your sentiment analysis tool to ‘wireless device charger’ rather than your brand or product. This will give you access to all kinds of comments and conversations on the subject. This is a great indicator as to what people do and don’t like. You’ll then be able to put together relevant and fabulous content. The user will think that you’ve been reading their mind (which you have – sort of).

Your competitor searches will also come in handy here. These will help you to identify gaps in the market and inefficiencies in their service or product which you can then address in your own content.

Conclusion

There’s no denying it — business is tough right now. Retaining customers and improving customer loyalty is never a quick fix. In reality, this can often seem like an uphill climb with no end in sight.

While you’ll still have to put in the work to keep your customers happy, sentiment analysis is a fantastic way of getting a head start.

Sentiment analysis allows you to actually be able to listen to your customers firsthand. This, in turn, lets you then react positively and swiftly to any issues.

On top of that, grabbing bragging rights for those all-important positive comments becomes a walk in the park.

Top image credit: andrea piacquadio; pexels

Milosz Krasinski

Managing Director at Chilli Fruit Web Consulting boutique London based digital PR agency. Co-Founder at Sigma Digital Oxford. International SEO consultant, speaker. Sometimes blogging at miloszkrasinski.com

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5 Ways To Grow Your Business With Technology

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Brad Anderson


“I’d like my business to remain stagnant.” No entrepreneur, owner, or CEO ever uttered those words. You can be sure none ever will, either. That’s because corporate growth is always an overarching goal for any organization. Growing your business comes with its challenges, of course, like figuring out which steps will make it easiest for you to scale and expand.

One thing’s clear: You need to develop a clear-cut growth strategy. And technology needs to play a huge part in that strategy. After all, we’re living in a primarily technological world. If you’re not making the most of the tech at your fingertips, you regularly miss opportunities to strengthen your brand’s position.

Where can you start? Below are a handful of ways that you can leverage technology to grow your business’s footprint. Try these recommendations, whether you’re a micro startup or a mid-size corporation headed toward a Fortune 500 future.

1. Automate repetitive manual processes.

Is it worth automating all the mindless to-dos in your business in order to grow? Yes, especially if you do the numbers.

McKinsey research studied the ordinary tasks of several occupations. They concluded that around 33% of the tasks of six out of 10 jobs could be automated. For example, let’s say your company is modestly sized at 50 workers. If your staffers work a traditional 40-hour week, 30 of them are frittering away 13 hours. In other words, you’re losing nearly 400 hours weekly to pay employees to handle repetitive duties.

To be sure, not all tasks can be automated. However, you owe it to yourself to find ones that can. For example, is your finance department team processing payroll or inputting invoices by hand? Then, invest in software to remove the tedium—and reduce the chance of human error.

Check out your sales and services processes next. Do your salespeople or support agents have to cut and paste information? Are they forced to switch between two or more programs that don’t communicate? Look for ways to integrate those systems to free up everyone’s valuable time so they can concentrate on growth-based responsibilities.

2. Strive to make customer first impressions stickier with tech tools

Tons of articles highlight the importance of growing your business by retaining customers. It’s true that retention tends to be less expensive than acquisition. Nevertheless, you can’t hold onto your customers until you get them in the door. So put a premium on delivering impeccable first impressions that urge people to stick around.

The right type of technology can assist you in wowing your best leads via an unforgettable customer experience. Take first-time logins, for instance. Okta reports that asking a visitor to set up an account turns off 37% of prospects. So what can you do to overcome this friction point? First, you can rely on social logins to streamline the process. From the customer’s viewpoint, being able to login via already-existing Facebook, Google, or credentials is effortless. From your company’s viewpoint, you can begin marketing to yet another buyer or potential buyer.

A strong CRM can be equally beneficial to moving leads into and down your sales funnel. Once you’ve captured prospects’ data through a social sign-in, personalize future communications like emails, texts, and DMs. Only two years ago, McKinsey found that 80% of retail buyers valued the personal touch. So whether you’re in retail or not, strive for individualization to keep new buyers coming back.

3. Bring a virtual assistant to your team.

You may not have the funds to hire live customer service representatives 24/7. That’s okay. Chatbots can give your organization the ability to offer visitors self-service, even during non-business hours. And they can do it for a fraction of what you’d pay a live agent.

Not sure you’re ready to put your faith in a chatbot? A New York Times article explains that today’s AI-fueled chatbots are only getting smarter. They’re also gaining widespread acceptance, with chatbot growth poised to hit around 15% in 2022. One Gartner executive even predicts that a genuinely conversational AI chatbot program is just around the corner.

Already, some chatbots are inching toward humanlike responses. A University of Florida experiment found that about a third of people could not tell a chatbot from a real person. Consequently, there’s little harm in exploring the wide world of chatbots for your company. Your chatbot doesn’t have to be perfect to be appreciated by customers with questions who want fast answers.

4. Investigate tech solutions to tap into your data.

Tremendous amounts of data flow into your company. Yet it would be impossible for you and your team to make sense of it all. Does that mean you have to give up on finding a way to unearth your data’s insights? Not at all. You just need a tech-based data mining solution.

You have plenty of choices regarding software that can analyze data and find trends. First, though, determine where your data exists. Is it in your CRM? Or a legacy piece of software? Once you know where to find your data, you can search for highly-rated data mining systems.

Be aware that some data mining programs have been developed with specific industries in mind. These can include healthcare, finance, e-commerce, or manufacturing. It never hurts to see if something’s already been created for your sector.

5. Invest in a branded mobile app.

Mobile app use continues to rise. By 2025, one Forbes writer notes that the app market will approach $1 trillion. So why, then, doesn’t your brand have an app of its own?

This is the question a lot of business leaders are asking themselves. Offering customers the chance to interact with your company through an app makes sense. Not only does it give them an immediate connection to your organization, but it simplifies the purchasing process. At the same time, it helps buyers feel that they’re getting special treatment as you deploy push notifications and exclusive offers.

How can you make the most of your app once it’s been developed? First, make sure your customers know it exists. Lots of brands have apps that get very few downloads. The issue isn’t necessarily the app itself. It’s that they don’t know the app is available. Therefore, be diligent and consistent about talking up your app to drive higher usage and conversions.

You’re not alone if you feel that growing your business isn’t happening as fast as you like. Most leaders wish that they could get to the next plateau faster. One method to add a little speed to the process is to lean into the technologies you’re not using yet. Then, with the right combination of tech tools, you should begin to see a positive difference in your numbers.

Image Credit: Artem Podrez; Pexels; Thank you!

Brad Anderson

Editor In Chief at ReadWrite

Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.

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The Developer’s Guide to Mobile Authentication

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Deepak Gupta


Mobile app developers must ensure that the mobile app is effortless while keeping internal information protected and secure. Complex or repeated authentications can be frustrating for your mobile app users.

This article discusses various means of simple and secure mobile authentication, ensuring frictionless UI and UX of mobile authentication screens and data security.

What is Mobile Authentication?

Mobile authentication is a security method to verify a user’s identity through mobile devices and mobile apps. It caters to one or more authentication methods to provide secure access to any particular app, resource, or service.

Let’s look at the various mobile authentication methods developers can utilize depending on their business use case.

Mobile Authentication Methods

Password-based Authentication

Email-Password and Username-Password are common types of password-based authentication. While utilizing these methods, developers should consider setting secure and robust password policies in their authentication mechanism, such as:

  • Mandatory use of symbols and numbers
  • Restricting the use of common passwords
  • Blocking the use of profile information in passwords

These measures ensure better quality passwords and prevent user accounts from brute force and dictionary password attacks.

Limitation: Passwords are hard to remember, and typing in passwords on a small mobile screen degrades the user experience. Hence, developers must use authentication that does not compromise the security postures yet provide an appropriate user experience.

Patterns and Digit-based Authentication

The user must set a pattern or a digit-based PIN (typically 4 or 6 digits). Developers can utilize this as an authentication factor for their mobile application, as this authentication method is faster and more comfortable than entering passwords on a mobile screen.

Limitation: Both patterns and 4 or 6 digits PINs are limited. Also, users tend to use simple patterns and PINs like L or S patterns and 1234, 987654, date of birth as their password.

OTP-based Login

Users use an OTP received via SMS or email to authenticate themself. Thus, users do not have to remember a password, pattern, or PIN to access their account. At the same time, developers don’t have to implement password-based security mechanisms.

Biometric Authentication

Biometric authentication uses unique biological traits of users for mobile authentication. Some common examples of biometric authentication are fingerprint scanning, face unlocks, retina scans, and vocal cadence.

Developers can implement pre-coded libraries and modules to enable authentication through mobile components like the finger scanner, camera (for facial recognition), and microphone (for voice-based identification).

Social Login

It acts as a single sign-on authentication mechanism. Developers can implement this in mobile apps to use users’ login tokens from other social networking sites to allow access to the app.

Also, with social login, developers don’t need to worry about storing passwords securely and managing the password recovery option. It helps the user sign in to the mobile app without creating a separate account from within the app, hence increasing the user experience (UX).

User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) in Mobile Authentication

Login and registration screens are a gateway to your mobile applications; if they are a hassle, the user might not bother using the application. Thus, developers should pay a lot of attention to these screens regarding user experience and usage.

Here are some quick tips for mobile authentication screens:

  • Simple Registration Process: Lengthy registration forms are a big no-no. Brainstorm essential information for creating an account via mobile application and only include those fields.
  • External or Social Login: Allow users to log in via external or social accounts. This way, users don’t have to remember another password or credentials for your app.
  • Facilitate Resetting: Include forget password on the login screen for good visibility and reach if the app provides password-based login. Also, setting the new password should be seamless and fast.
  • Keep Users Logged In: Not logging out users on app close is helpful in a good experience. However, this depends on the type of app you offer. Developers should include MFA for better security if the app stores sensitive information or skip the stay logged-in feature altogether.
  • Meaningful Error Messages: Errors and how they are handled directly impact user experience. Thus, developers should keep error messages meaningful and clearly state what went wrong and how to fix it.

Tip: Customize the mobile app keyboard for the type of input field. For example – display a numeric keyboard when asking for a PIN and include @ button when asking for an email address.

Conclusion

Considering the above points would result in a great and secure user experience for your mobile app users. However, if you feel executing these guidelines would take ample time, be informed that CIAM solutions are available in the market to handle all these requirements for you.

Deepak Gupta

Co-founder and CTO @LoginRadius

Founder and CTO @LoginRadius, Software Entrepreneur. I love to write about Cyber Security, AI, Blockchain, Infrastructure Architecture, Software Development, Cyberspace Vulnerabilities, Product Management, Consumer IAM, and Digital Identities.

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10 Practical Ways to Maximize Your After-Work Time

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Calendar


After‌ ‌work, you probably want a relaxing, stress-free night. And that makes sense. Planning activities like reading or meditating can help relieve stress when things get tough at work.

In addition, you can use this time to expand your knowledge or develop your skills. Additionally, you can engage in new experiences or pursue a passion.

The benefits of participating in these activities can range from increasing your productivity to improving your health and general well-being.

With that said, here are 10 practical ways to maximize your after-work time.

1. Tie up loose ends.

My mom had a tradition that she followed every evening when I was a child. As soon as we got home from school, we had to clean up the house. It wasn’t a long bit of cleaning — usually, she set a timer for 20-minutes. Obviously, we whined about this and the time trying to get out of it was likely longer than the actual time spent. But this effort and habit kept the house tidy and saved us from major cleanings if the cleaning had waited until the weekend.

After I finish working for the day, I will set a timer for 20-30 minutes and tidy up. ‌Or,‌ ‌I‌ ‌can‌ ‌handle items on my to-do list I couldn’t do during the day. Even though that’s not a lot of time, you’d be surprised at what you can actually accomplish.

You can clean dishes, fold laundry, make a grocery list, clean your calendar, or send‌ an important ‌email. ‌In addition, a timer can be a great way to tie up the day’s loose‌ ‌ends‌ ‌and help your transition from work.

2. Get a weeknight hobby.

Commit to an out-of-the-home activity after work. Some ideas could be an exercise class, volunteering, or a night out with friends. ‌Then, rather than spending your time at home, you’ll have more time to do what you ‌care‌ ‌about.

“By scheduling your time after work, you are more likely to stick to your most important ‘to-do’ items. Many people find that they are most productive when they have more to do,” says Dr. Lisa N. Folden, licensed physical therapist and naturopathic lifestyle coach, owner of Healthy Phit Physical Therapy & Wellness Consultants. “By having a scheduled event after work—especially one that can double as exercise—you have more accountability to avoid sitting around aimlessly scrolling through your phone or watching TV.”

3. Sweat it out.

Yes, I am aware. ‌You’re well aware of the importance of physical activity. ‌However, this still can’t be stressed enough. There is no doubt that a regular exercise program boosts your creativity, confidence, and resilience — whether in the workplace or the home.

In short, moving your body is one of the best things you can do to boost your productivity. ‌After all, exercising relieves stress and relieves mental strain. The result? You’ll sleep better and be more energetic.

So, block out time at the end of the day — to go for a run, ride a bike, or join an exercise class. Other ideas would be playing with your pet or kids, dancing, or getting caught up on a chore.

4‌. ‌Enjoy‌ ‌the‌ ‌company of those‌ ‌you‌ ‌love.

Spend quality time with those who are important to you, such as family, friends, and colleagues. ‌Not only does it make life worthwhile, but it’s good for you too. ‌It releases endorphins and lowers stress when you talk to your spouse, kids, siblings, parents, or friends. Even a simple phone call with a loved one can benefit your well-being.

What’s more, with friends and family, there are lots of fun things to do, such as;

  • Go to a restaurant or host dinner ‌at‌ ‌home.
  • Visit a museum or art gallery.
  • Go for a walk after dinner.
  • Host a game night.
  • Attend a concert or sporting event.
  • Go to the movies.
  • Participate in a group activity, like bowling.
  • Attend classes together.

5. Address your needs.

“This may seem totally out of place in an article about getting a lot done after work, but hear me out,” writes Rachell Buell over The Muse. “While it’s very important to make the most of your time, the only way you will have enough energy to do so is by first attending to your basic needs.” ‌Also, get plenty of sleep, eat, and relax. “By addressing these needs, you allow yourself the quintessential element to productivity: sustainability.”

“A few weeks ago, I had a serious moment of panic,” Buell shares. “Feeling completely overwhelmed by everything on my plate, I lost my cool.” ‌Regaining my composure, I came up with a brilliant idea:‌ ‌a sanity‌ ‌list,” she added.

“The list included things like doing daily yoga and drinking 64 ounces of water every day of water ‌and‌ ‌cuddling‌ ‌with‌ ‌my‌ ‌husband. ‌Whenever I cross everything off my list, I feel like a million bucks, and I’m fired up for more.”

“After a long day of work, most of us need time to switch gears and give ourselves a mental break before we try to accomplish anything else,” Buell says. “Whether that’s plopping in front of the TV to catch up on the day’s news or going for a jog to take the edge off, take a moment and consider what you need to feel recharged during the week, and keep it on your sanity list.”

6. Write out your priorities.

Is there ever a time when you feel like something is a high priority when it’s ‌not? ‌When prioritizing productivity, it can be easy to focus on getting more done rather than considering what is really important.

At the beginning of each week, I find it helpful to prioritize everything on my to-do list. Then, during the week, I navigate my time more efficiently by determining how essential a given item is. Personally, I use the Eisenhower Matrix to assist me with this.

By figuring out where each item fits in, you can focus on where to begin. ‌For example, when doing home projects, start with the most essential stuff — then move to the middle and lower priority stuff. ‌With work projects, you can start the next day knowing what needs to happen in what order.

Best of all? Creating a list of priorities can help you feel accomplished even if you don’t start the project yet.

7. Get outside.

Are you familiar with “nature deficit disorder”? ‌Initially, Richard Louv used the phrase in his book Last‌ ‌Child‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌Woods:‌ ‌Saving‌ ‌Our‌ ‌Children‌ ‌From‌ ‌Nature-Deficit‌ ‌Disorder. ‌Louv‌ ‌says our indoor lifestyles are causing a lot of health and behavioral issues.

Even if you think that’s a stretch, studies have found that we spend 92% of time indoors. And that can negatively influence our physical and mental health. Why? Because it’s a simple way to reduce stress, increase happiness, and live healthier.

Moreover, connecting with nature and the outdoors can replenish your energy.

With that in mind, Rachel Hopman, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Northeastern University, suggests that you live by the 20-5-3 rule;

  • 20-minutes. ‌Twenty minutes is how much time you should spend outside, like at ‌a‌ ‌neighborhood‌ ‌park,‌ ‌three‌ ‌times‌ ‌a‌ ‌week.
  • 5-hours. ‌Five hours is the minimum amount of time you should spend each month in semi-wild nature, like a forest‌, city, or state‌ ‌park.
  • 3-days. ‌You should go camping or rent a cabin three times a year to escape it all.

8. Power down.

In today’s culture, many of us are overly attached to social media and our smartphones. In fact, DataReportal estimates the average American looks at a screen for 7 hours and 4 minutes a ‌day. So why’s that a problem? Research has found too much screen time cal lead to digital eye strain, impaired sleep, and ‌diminished mental health.

Furthermore, too much screen time can result in information overload. And it’s also distracting when we’re trying to get things done.

Therefore, setting boundaries around your phone and social media use is vital. For example, set a timer to limit how long you ‌play‌ ‌games‌, watch videos, ‌or‌ ‌scroll ‌on social‌ ‌media. If that doesn’t work, keep your phone in a different room or make sure you shut down all social media at a specific time each night.

Initially, this will be awkward. But you may be surprised how much more alive you feel when you’re away from screens. ‌Eventually, you’ll feel re-energized rather than worn out‌ ‌after‌ ‌work.

9. Invest in yourself.

Did you know that the former CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo, studied improv comedy? Why? ‌Learning improv comedy improved his leadership skills.

Investing in yourself is ‌vital to success, whether that means getting some coaching, participating in psychotherapy, taking a workshop, working on more hours for graduate school, or completing a certification program. You could also learn how to play a musical instrument, join a book club, watch a documentary, or take a language course.

Overall, you’ll succeed in your professional career whether you invest in your mind, body, or spirit.

10. Follow an evening routine.

“It’s clear that you need a specific morning routine to optimize each day and be more efficient,” writes Choncé Maddox in a previous Calendar post. However, “a successful morning routine actually starts the night before,” she adds. “Simply put, you need an effective evening routine to maximize efficiency and productivity the following day.”

So, what should your evening routine consist of? Well, that’s up to you. But, here are some suggestions worth exploring;

  • Plan out your day. ‌Look at your calendar to find out what’s on your agenda for tomorrow. Doing so gets you mentally prepared and makes any adjustments.
  • Pick out your clothes. ‌The task may sound insignificant. But it will save you a lot of time and energy that you could use elsewhere.
  • Eliminate negativity and reflect. ‌You can reflect on your day in the evening and choose‌ ‌gratitude‌ ‌over negativity.
  • Read. ‌Turn off the television and read a book while you wind down for the evening.
  • Prepare meals. Mornings are already hectic. Save your sanity and energy by preparing your meals the night before.

Published First on Calendar. Read Here.

Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska; Pexels; Thank you!

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