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Less-Is-More Blog by Pierre Khawand

Melissa Sweat

Recent Posts

Which Drives Your Happiness? High Net Worth or High Net Growth?

Posted by Melissa Sweat on Tue, Aug 30, 2016 @ 09:55 AM

melissa_sweat_100x100.jpgby Melissa Sweat, Customer Relationship & Community Manager

We've all heard the adage that money can't buy you happiness. But this timeworn maxim isn't entirely true.

"Once people surpass $75,00 in annual net income, which would be about $82,000 in today's dollars, they experience no statistically signifiant bump in their day-to-day emotional well-being," states author and speaker Jenny Blake, referencing a 2010 study by Nobel Prize winner in economics, Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, past president of the American Economic Association.

So, once we achieve a certain level of economic security—which can provide things like a comfortable residence, travel funds, and expendable income for pleasure and activities outside work—we reach a point where money no longer contributes to happiness. So what does?

Career goals: net worth versus net growth

In her recent podcast, "Are You High Net Growth", Blake suggests that the driver of purpose and fulfillment isn't about worth, but about growth:

"High net growth individuals love learning, taking action, tackling new projects, and solving problems. They are generous and cooperative, and have a strong desire to make a difference."

Learn more in the podcast, and join us for a FREE webinar Thursday, September 1, 2016 presented by Jenny Blake, "Pivot: The Only Move that Matters Is Your Next One."

(We'll also be giving away 3 copies of her new book!)

Topics: career, business results, time management tips, productivity, leadership

Mindfulness at Work Meets Time Management with “The Perfect 15-Minute Day”

Posted by Melissa Sweat on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 @ 12:27 PM

melissa_sweat_100x100.jpgby Melissa Sweat, Online Community Manager

I have a confession to make: I consider myself pretty darn productive and organized at work, but I have to admit that I do tend to let myself get distracted from time to time… Whether it’s checking social media, my smartphone, or popping back into email. And I feel a bit guilty about it—that I’m not performing at my best.

But, even more than that, on those days when I succumb to the temptations of distraction, I find myself far more tired and stressed out at the end of the day.

Why?

One, because I likely haven’t accomplished all the tasks I intended to by being distracted. And two, because our minds don’t perform at their highest capacity when engaged in constant “multi-tasking,” which is essentially “task-switching.”

As People-OnTheGo Founder Pierre Khawand writes in The Perfect 15-Minute Day, “Multi-taking contributes to stress and overwork. Studies show that those who multi-task feel like time moves more quickly and that their workload is much heavier than those who focus on a single task.”

So, how can we train our distracted brains to focus on a single task and not be tempted by all the various interruptions in the workplace of co-workers, technology, and even our own thoughts and emotions?

 

Sign up for our FREE webinar July 7, 2016, "The Perfect 15-Minute Day Method:  From Scattered to Accomplished and Happy!"

Click now to register!

(At the webinar, we'll also be having a special giveaway!)

 

Getting Focused Just 15-Minutes at a Time

A few months ago when I first experimented with the “The Perfect 15-Minute Day Method” (or PDM), I was amazed at the results I saw in my reducing my stress level and increasing my productivity in just a few days.

With only a journal, a timer, and the method, I was able to drastically reduce my distraction and get much more accomplished each day. The key, I realized, was how the method combined mindfulness at work with strategic time management.

The_Perfect_15_Minute_Day_Method_Time_Management_at_Work_Pierre_Khawand.jpg

Here’s a quick summary about how PDM works:

“PDM helps you a) be always aware of what you’re working on and b) stay focused on the task at hand by working in highly productive bursts of short 15-minute increments. The method includes the use of tags to help you track your tasks, manage interruptions, manage thoughts and emotions along the way, and be able to reconcile and close the loops on unfinished items at the end of the day.”

The most compelling aspects of the method for me were the use of tags to keep me aware of exactly what I was working on, combined with the use of the 15-minute timer. Setting the timer and focusing for just 15 minutes at a time made each “focused session” feel like a success! No longer was I tempted to turn to another distraction at work. I could successfully focus on the task at hand and get so much more done because that task had my full attention.

When I needed to keep working on a task, I would start another 15-minute increment and keep going. If I needed to attend a meeting or was starting to feel overwhelmed or stressed, I’d also mark that in my journal and could easily get back to what I was working on when I returned.

With The Perfect 15-Minute Day Method, I had a clear game plan that enabled me to navigate through all the potential interruptions at work and achieve a whole new level of “workplace Zen.”

To learn more, check out The Perfect 15-Minute Day book or join us at the complimentary webinar on July 7!

Sign up for the FREE webinar!

 

Topics: career, stress management, business results, time management tips, productivity, leadership, managing stress

Moving through ADHD with the Right Exercise

Posted by Melissa Sweat on Thu, May 19, 2016 @ 10:28 AM

Dr_Alicia_Maher_100x100.jpgGuest post by Alicia R. Maher, M.D. 

Being an integrative psychiatrist, I treat patients using western medicine, alternative treatments and a wide variety of lifestyle interventions. When treating ADHD, I find that bringing all of these practices together is the most beneficial approach. One powerful, yet often not implemented practice, is that of exercise.  As someone who has had ADHD myself, I know how difficult it can be to follow through when someone makes a wonderful suggestion such as ‘go exercise’. However, years of exercising and the great effects in my clients who exercise have convinced me that this is essential for those wanting to recover from, and thrive with, ADHD.

We know that symptoms of ADHD include restlessness, decreased concentration, poor follow-through, emotional reactivity, and others. We also know that these symptoms are related to an ineffective processing of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, in the brain. Exercise not only increases the amount of dopamine available to help with concentration and follow-through, but exercise also produces natural endorphins that give one a general sense of calm and well-being. This can help with the restlessness that one with ADHD seems to have, always feeling like they need to be doing something. That sense of well-being can also decrease the emotional reactivity. Throughout the day and especially for the period of time right after exercise, there is calm and a greater ability to focus.

 

Sign up for our free webinar June 2, 2016 with Dr. Maher, From Scattered to Centered: Understanding and Transforming the Distracted Brain

Click now to register!

 

So how can one with ADHD use exercise to help improve their symptoms? Often the temptation is to sleep in as long as possible before work and stay seated throughout the work day, leaving exercise for afterwards, when it might not do the most good. Exercising before work and then doing the high concentration tasks first thing when arriving to work will have this same effect, as will using the lunch hour to work out for those who have trouble concentrating in the afternoons after lunch. It is ideal if adults can work a couple of breaks, or ‘recess’, into their day. This might mean running up and down the stairs of the office building a couple of times, or taking a vigorous walk around a one story building. If you have a private office or are unconcerned with what others think, you can get up and dance at your desk for 5 to 10 minutes of music.

atos-healthcare-employee-health-and-rehabilitation_12.jpg

So what kind of exercise is best? Obviously, any movement is better than nothing. As a ‘prescription’ I would say 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 days a week (preferably the school or work days) is ideal. It is important to experiment with one’s self as to which exercise is the right amount to have increased concentration and an increased sensation of well-being in the brain, without the body being so tired that one just wants to rest afterwards. Usually this involves running or other cardio, that one builds up to 30 minutes as they are able. Joining a class, such as Zumba, where there is someone to follow and a group of people around can help with decreasing the boredom that causes those with ADHD to give up on an activity. Meeting someone to exercise with you can help with motivation and follow through, as will paying a personal trainer to guide you through workouts. The important thing is always to find what works for you and to keep making changes as you go along.

Figure out what makes you feel good, and then how to make it something you will actually do. Given someone with ADHD’s need for novelty, plan to change what you’re doing every month or two, whether that be through your trainer, taking a new exercise class, or just choosing new activities. If you plan to change it, every so often, right from the beginning, there is less chance that you will get bored, habituate to your current exercise effects and then be in risk of not continuing to exercise.                                            

As always, if you are concerned about ADHD, in yourself or a loved one, you are advised to seek treatment with a healthcare professional.     

Alicia R Maher, M.D.  is an Integrative Psychiatrist at the Akasha Center for Integrative Medicine in Santa Monica, CA. She is also the author of the self-help guide for ADHD entitled, From Scattered to Centered: Understanding and Transforming the Distracted Brain. Dr Maher enjoys helping people to understand the neuroscience behind our conditions and transform our lives, rather than just "fix" the disorder. For more information, please visit www.FromScatteredtoCentered.com, or sign up for the webinar on June 2, 2016.

Sign up for the FREE webinar!

 

Topics: wellness, stress management, business results, time management tips, productivity, Lunch & Learn Webinars, managing stress

How Mobile Makes Life Better and Easier

Posted by Melissa Sweat on Wed, Apr 27, 2016 @ 12:10 PM

SC_Moatti_100x100.jpgGuest post by SC Moatti

We are all wired with anxieties that get triggered when we least expect them. In fact, psychology professor Roy Baumeister explains that it takes a lot of energy to keep this stress under control. He calls that energy willpower, which is also the title of his best-selling book.

“Some people imagine that willpower is something you only use once in awhile, such as when you are tempted to do something wrong. The opposite is true,” he says. “Most people use their willpower many times a day, all day.”

It all adds up to depletion of energy. That’s when we most feel that we lose control. “Depletion seems to be like turning up the volume on your life as a whole,” Baumeister says.

Great mobile products turn the volume down on our life, and they do it by knowing a lot about us. The more they know about us, the more personalized they get. The more personalized they get, the better able they are to cater to our individual wants and needs.

Sign up for our free webinar May 5, 2016 with SC Moatti, "Human First: How Mobile is Becoming an Extension of Ourselves"

Click now to register!

(At the webinar, we'll also be giving away 5 copies of SC's new book, Mobilized!)

By being constantly connected to our environment, mobile products sort through the millions of information bits we are bombarded with to show us only the ones that matter right here, right now. We give them permission to make these decisions on our behalf because they know enough about us to personalize everything.

This personalization is essential to what makes mobile products successful. It puts us in complete control of the experience.

Sometimes, the experience we get from mobile is so personalized that we wouldn’t be able to reproduce it otherwise. Life suddenly gets easier, because we are no longer hampered by circumstances beyond our control. Our stress level goes down, as in this example.

Mobile personalization success

Not too long ago, I had an important meeting with a major partner, and as I was leaving my apartment it started raining. I decided to hail a cab.

Of course, there was no cab in sight. It took me a while to finally find one and by then, I was soaked and already late for my meeting. On top of this, when it came time to pay the fare, I didn’t have enough cash so we had to stop by an ATM.

All I could think about was that I was going to lose my client. I blamed myself for not planning enough. I was upset at the rain for messing up the traffic. But really, I was afraid of losing a significant source of income. All because I couldn’t find a cab.                                               

Now that I started using Lyft and Uber, I no longer get stressed when I need a ride. All I need to do is pull up the service on my phone when I’m getting ready to go somewhere, get in the car when I’m notified that it’s here to pick me up, and get out when I’ve arrived. It optimizes my itinerary in real time by routing around delays that before would have left me stuck in traffic. It even tells me ahead of time how much the fare will be. I no longer even need to “pay” in the traditional sense, because the fare is automatically charged to my credit card. I feel cared for, even pampered, because the service eliminates all the previous hassle of getting from point A to point B. It feels good.

Feeling taken care of in ways we cannot provide to ourselves is a reflection of what is important to us, of what has inner meaning to us. A bond naturally develops from this extreme personalization, similar to any relationship. This connection lifts our spirit, not unlike intense feelings such as love. And what gives us more meaning than being in love?

To learn more about the formula for mobile success, including how to apply it to your own company, read my book, mobilized: an insider’s guide to the business and future of connected technology, visit scmoatti.com, or join us at the free webinar May 5!

Sign up for the FREE webinar!

Topics: emerging technology, giveaway, Technology, business results, productivity, Lunch & Learn Webinars, collaboration

More Rules or More Freedom for Greater Employee Productivity?

Posted by Melissa Sweat on Mon, Apr 04, 2016 @ 09:57 AM

Heard about our summary+commentary (s+c*d) format? Learn more!

Summary

bigstock-Productivity-Doodles-25491734.jpgIn his recent post, “What really hurts productivity?,” on his Recognize This! blog, Derek Irvine makes a compelling case for how too many rules can lead to a decrease in employee productivity. His argument is geared toward employee recognition programs, which he says can have an inadvertently negative effect on productivity and engagement—particularly for programs that focus on creating strict eligibility criteria.

“It is not a stretch to assume that many employees—particularly those already showing up on time—would perceive these criteria as unnecessary rules placed on how and when work is accomplished,” he writes. “These employees most likely value their autonomy at work, and consequently, will be more reactive toward any perceived restriction in freedom.” So these types of program, in Derek’s view, can essentially backfire.

Commentary

While we agree that more freedom can be a positive, in our findings and work with organizations for over a decade, we’ve found that many employees struggle managing day-to-day tasks without stress and lower productivity. Combining structure and freedom for focused work, collaboration, and play can lead to much greater productivity overall. This is particularly so with structuring one’s workday, taking breaks, not requiring instant email responses, and using alternative tools like webinars and cloud-based documents, instead of just email.

Discussion

What do you think about the balance between freedom and structure at work when it comes to employee productivity? Do organizations need a combination of both? Do you yourself find that you’re more productive with either more or less structure? What about your department or team? Please share your thoughts below.

Sign up for our Productivity Webathon on  April 12, 2016! Just $12.95 for a full day of webinar-based training! Find out more.

Topics: human resources, summary-plus-commentary, time management tips, productivity, leadership

5 Free Social Media Tools You Can't Live Without

Posted by Melissa Sweat on Mon, Oct 19, 2015 @ 09:26 AM

People-OnTheGo_socialmediatools_timesaving_productivity

When it comes to social media tools, it pays to know the difference from the "nice-to-haves" and the essentials. Of course, if you're managing social media for a larger organization or at an agency, you're going to need more robust, enterprise-level tools and software to truly maximize your efforts at a higher level -- tools like Simply Measured, Sprout Social, and SocialBro, to name a few.

But if you're looking for the right tools to save time and effort while managing your personal social media channels or for a smaller business, you can accomplish so much with just a handful of free tools. And although they're free, it doesn't mean they're not powerful. Any professional social media marketer will be using either some or all of the tools on this list.

And once you start using them, you'll probably wonder how to ever managed your social media without them.


The five essentials for your social media toolkit

1. Hootsuite

Want to seamlessly manage all your personal social media profiles across channels, so that you don't need to have each and every dashboard up for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the like? Well, that's exactly what Hootsuite enables you to do, and it works like a charm.

What's even better is that you don't need to write a new social media post for each channel, you can simply send the same post -- at the same time -- across all your profiles at once. Hallelujah! As for productivity, you can even batch your posts by creating them all at once, say on Monday morning so you can have all your posts ready for the week. You can then "set it and forget it" by scheduling the posts to publish throughout the week. An amazing time saver!

2. Buffer

Buffer's browser extension will be your new favorite buddy that follows you all around the internet and is ready to help you share any interesting article or blog post you come across with your social networks at the click of a button. Just install the extension into your browser's toolbar, then click the Buffer icon when you find something you want to share. It's that simple.

You can adjust the pre-populated text if you like, add a comment, or hashtags. And you can easily share across channels, as well, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.

3. Feedly

Don't want to fumble around the internet searching for fresh content to share? Miss your Google Reader much? Well, Feedly is a much-improved and fantastic solution for getting all your RSS feeds from your favorite websites, media outlets, and blogs all in one place. As a side benefit, Feedly can also help you cut back on your email subscriptions so your inbox doesn't become overcrowded!

4. Canva

Social media has become increasingly visual -- and using click-worthy images in your posts is not just for Pinterest and Instagram. Even Facebook and Twitter have become more image-reliant, and statistics show that visual content will really help your posts stand out and increase engagement.

But if you're not a fully fledged graphic designer, it can be daunting to keep up with the production of visual content for you social networks. Enter Canva to the rescue! With easy-to-use templates, and a bevy of free backgrounds and professional quality text design options, you'll be amazed at how easy it can be to create eye-catching social content.

5. Hashtagify

With social media, sometimes it's hard to keep up with the trends, but first and foremost you have to clue into the conversation. Hashtagify can help. As you likely know, hashtags are what unite conversation and social media posts in each channel around a certain topic. #SocialMediaTools, for example.

Well, if you don't know the right hashtags to use, or are in need of diving deeper into your niche so you can better hone in on the topics and discussions you care about, then Hashtagify is a great solution. Type a keyword or tag into the platform and Hashtagify will create a beautiful hub chart of popular hashtags related to this topic (just like the image at the start of this post). Then add two to three relevant hashtags to your posts to increase reach, engagement, and click-through, and to also help you stand out in your area of expertise.


We hope you enjoy exploring and benefitting from these essential social media tools -- while saving time, money, and stress in the process!

Topics: social media, productivity, time on social media

Play in the Workplace? Three Radical Reasons For More Play at Work

Posted by Melissa Sweat on Mon, May 25, 2015 @ 01:25 PM

If having lots of levity and play in the workplace points to signs of happiness and longevity and work, look no further than the tenures of the longest running late-night show hosts as a guide.

  • Jon Stewart: 17 total years
  • Jay Leno: 21 total years
  • Conan O’Brien: 21 total years
  • Johnny Carson: 30 total years
  • Dave Letterman: 33 total years!

Source: Vocativ.com

Dave_Letterman_late-night_career_Michelle_Obama

Now, we all know that hosting a late-night comedy and entertainment show is not exactly the nine-to-five—but isn’t that the point? Don’t most of us office and knowledge workers come home feeling burnt out and wanting more from our day? And for managers, aren't your teams and employees lacking a certain cohesion and spark?

The data tells us the average worker is just plain burnt out.

And senior management is not immune. A May 2014 New York Times article, “Why You Hate Work," cited a recent survey of 72 senior leaders by Srinivasan S. Pillay, a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist and professor studying burnout. The survey reports that nearly all of the senior leaders polled are experiencing some form of burnout at work.

It’s a growing problem in the modern workplace spurring studies and headlines everywhere from major international publications to niche industry blogs—like this one from the HR-focused TLNT: “Will 2015 Be the Year of Worrying About Employee Burnout?"

Clearly, we should be worried. The overall wellness and productivity of our employees and organizations are at stake. So, what to do about it?

"Unleashing the Power of Play" with
Emmy award winner Gwen Gordon
June 4, 2015, 12-12:40pm PT
Sign up for the FREE webinar! Fortunately, there are many forward-thinking experts leading the movement for more play and joy in the workplace, helping to illuminate the many benefits of a work-play balance.

Here are three reasons why we need more play at work—now, more than ever:

Reason #1:  Happiness inspires productivity.

Shawn Achor, CEO of GoodThink Inc. and bestselling author of Before Happiness and The Happiness Advantage, doesn’t want you to be average. In his research in the field of positive psychology, Achor focuses on the outliers: those who exhibit exemplary levels of happiness, productivity, and success, and what we can learn from them.

We need to raise this average up in our workplaces and escape “the cult of the average,” Achors states in his 2011 TEDxBloomington talk, “The Happy Secret to Better Work." We can do this by reversing the formula for happiness and success from, If I work hard and gain success, I’ll be happy to the much-more sustaining, If I’m happy, I’ll be more productive and successful.

Reason #2:  Play is essential to our well-being.

Gwen Gordon knows a lot about play. The Emmy-winning writer and creative director began her career in a world of play on none other than Sesame Street, building muppets for the landmark show. She then went on to bring her insights to the business world at an Apple research group at MIT Media Lab, and later at Xerox PARC, IDEO, and PepsiCo.

In a 2013 Huffington Post article, Gordon writes about the need for “restoring the playground,” our well-being, and bringing us adults back to our naturally playful natures.

“The playground is our true habitat,” she writes. “Within it we become truly human, without it we perish... Perhaps the most important project of our time is to restore our own habitat, to wake up to our deep need for the unbridled joy, freedom, and fullness of play... and take it seriously.”

Gordon is currently producing a PBS special about the need for play in our modern lives and workplaces called Now Playing. Watch the trailer below.



Join Gwen Gordon as she presents at our
free webinar, "Unleasing the Power of Play"
June 4, 2015, 12-12:40pm PT

Click now to register!

Reason #3:  Play makes us more creative.

In his talk at the 2008 Serious Play Conference, CEO of powerhouse design firm IDEO, Tim Brown, shared some revealing truths about adults and play. We’re embarrassed about sharing our ideas to our peers as adults, he says—we’re reluctant, in a sense, to go out on a creative or playful limb.

But exploring in this way actually leads to greater quantities of idea generation and much better ideas. Openness leads to play, and play leads to creativity and innovation.

“Playful exploration, playful building, and role play. Those are some of the ways that designers use play in their work,” says Brown.

But play is not anarchy, he cautions. Play has rules that help lead to productive and constructive play. In the adult work, he asserts, we need to learn that we can do and be both. We can transition from play to work, divergence to convergence, and achieve markedly successful outcomes.

Play in the workplace clearly has some huge potential to achieve practical, real-world results—and dramatically transform the success of our organizations at large. Are you game?

What are your thoughts about bringing more play into the workplace? Do you think play will help improve your work performance, teams, or employee engagement? Share your comments below.

Learn more about the free webinar, "Unleasing the Power of Play," taking place June 4, 2015, 12pm PT.

Topics: wellness, human resources, business results, productivity, collaboration, managing stress