Without Flexibility Most Plans Fail

Can you find the opportunities?

When flights are canceled, travel bans are declared, and all of the toilet paper has been claimed—how prepared are you to change your plans? Things may seem stressful and that’s because they actually are. Yet, you are sharing this experience with the rest of the word.


Other people are struggling and because of that, you can find solace in the fact that you can connect with others who are experiencing similar problems. Now is the time to reach out and connect, with family, friends, and strangers.


If you’re forced to stay home, take advantage of it. Redecorate the house, play board games with your kids, and start up a new hobby. There is an abundance of opportunity during these trying times. The hard part is figuring out what these opportunities are.


I was planning on traveling to South Africa to wait out the spread of the virus but, now I have to stay in SouthEast Asia. Instead of staying sad, I’ve decided to take advantage of my situation and start reaching out to hotels in the area to gain extra work.


I’m going to use this moment to try and get new clients, that’s the approach I’ve decided to take. What is something you can do right now to make this moment better?


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What Are The Risks Involved?

Our strategies for risk management are tested at every moment

There are always unforeseen risks in any decision we make. The decision to commute outside during a global pandemic is one example. We also take risks when we sit down to eat at a new restaurant, when we invest in assets, and when we put our faith in our friends and family to always be there for us.


People create systems for risk management once they are given full autonomy over their lives, around the same time when they are able to move out of their homes and make a name for themselves.


We can (and should) consciously create these systems to make decisions faster and with less effort. Trusting our instincts is important yet, not having clear guidelines to follow can lead to unnecessary mistakes in life. Creating simple rules such as not going outside after 10:00PM to save money or not swimming in open waters due to a lack of training can help to mitigate risk.


Every decision has known and unknown risks

Risks don’t only relate to your health or wealth, they can also relate to your reputation. The risk we take when accepting a job we’re not qualified for so, that we can advance in our career is a common example. We also take a risk whenever we post something on social media, whether we are aware of this risk or not is another matter.


Perhaps the most vital aspect of risk management is considering when to not take any risks. There will always be unknown risks in every decision we make.


I tend to only make a decision after taking into account at least three potential risks. If you make a decision and think that there aren’t any risks involved, you haven’t thought about it enough. Consider the decision one more time. What are the risks involved?


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TikTok Isn’t Going Away Yet, I Also May Never Use It

Some very early thoughts about TikTok

TikTok reminds of Vine and Musical.ly not because they have similar features but, because it is another application that takes time away from my day. There is already a lot of effort and thought that needs to go into promoting my brand on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Adding a fifth platform to juggle just gives me anxiety (I recently tried adding Youtube to my mix and it didn’t work out).


I’m certain I will get on TikTok eventually, I already have a profile. However, as with every other platform, it will take a large portion of my personal network adopting the app for me to use it daily. TikTok is certainly entertaining and it provides an enjoyable experience but, I don’t find a need to post on the platform right now.


There is a gold rush of attention on the platform. Unprecedented numbers of organic reach and views can be made if you leverage the daily hashtag challenges and songs correctly. There is no need to spend money on ads to grow, yet.


Simple dances and funny skits can get you over ten million followers if you are creative enough. The problem is that there isn’t enough time throughout the day to juggle all the marketing tasks I already have.


I know my audience is on the platform but, I don’t know how to integrate it into my schedule. TikTok’s advantage is that it’s new and being new to a platform can help you be the first brand in the mind of your target audience.


It doesn’t seem like it will go away any time soon and when I think about this, I ask myself, “What will I need to sacrifice so I can use this app?” Also, another question that comes to mind when I think about the platform is, “How do I promote my writing on TikTok?”


These are just some early thoughts I have and maybe they will change in a year once my friends and family start using it. Until then I think my focus will continue to be primarily growing my audience on LinkedIn.


Photo Credit: Kon Karampelas | Unsplash


Don’t Forget To Rest

When is the last time you took a day off?

When we become deeply obsessed with our work we can sometimes neglect our health. Working seven days a week can only be sustained for so long before the effort to get up in the morning becomes insurmountable. It is a necessity to schedule a time for rest, not only weekly but daily.


Type-A personalities have a lot of drive but, this drive can be optimized by creating deliberate space for rest and relaxation. What is the point of hard work if you cannot reward yourself with at least one day of rest?


Working on your hustle is the only way to be successful. Yet, the quality of your work will diminish over time if you don’t hit the reset button and give your mind time to just wander. The best art is made during times of extreme boredom.


You can do more work when your batteries are fully charged. Also, you will slow your team down every time you overwork.


Having big goals and working towards them is commendable but, it is quite sad to see a hardworking person slowly work themselves to an early grave because of an inability to chill. I’d rather reach all of my goals at the age of 70 and still be fit and sane, rather than to achieve them at 30 and then die from a stress-related illness at the age of 34.


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Make Working From Home Easy With These 3 Tips

A recent transition to working from home can be stressful

Due to the recent coronavirus, you may found yourself stuck at home. Working remotely may be new to you and this transition can lead to an unclear work schedule. Even if you have a clear set of goals that need to be accomplished, working from home can be distracting.


If you have kids or pets, share your apartment with a roommate, or have loud neighbors, it can be difficult to be productive at home. However, there are many professionals who have been working remotely for years that have shown that it can be done with the proper systems in place. If one person is able to do it, that means you can too!

Create a space that is only used for your work

The best way to get focused and ready to do your job is to create a space in your home that’s solely dedicated to working. Ideally, this space will have a desk, chair, power outlet, and a glass of water. It should not be in your living room or bedroom, as these two rooms have many distractions (like your comfy bed).


You want your home workspace to be designed for you to only have a laptop, the charging cable, and a spot for a cup of coffee. If you can set it up in your basement or attic, or if you can create an office room, this would be the best choice. If your only option is your bedroom, make sure your back is turned to your bed while at work.


When you sit down in your chair, you’re ready for work. If you need to block out the rest of the people in the house I suggest using a pair of headphones. If you need to be attentive to children, then you can have the headphones on but have no music playing. The headphones are used to prime your mind to do work and to let others know that you’re busy.


Additionally, you want to save time for checking social media and your emails for after all of your tasks are done. Make sure you turn off all your notifications before going to your workspace. You want to avoid as many interruptions as possible, as it takes roughly 23 minutes to refocus your attention.


Don’t bring your phone along with you when going to your home workspace, try to keep it in a separate room and on vibrate. The only screen that should be with you is the one included with your laptop.

Leverage pen and paper for task management

Don’t underestimate the power that a piece of paper has when tracking your progress. Instead of using a task management app or your calendar, write up two to three critical tasks that need to be completed during the day. You can organize these tasks in order of priority or by how fast you believe you can complete them. However you decide to organize your tasks, make sure you don’t add new tasks to this piece of paper.


One of the reasons you have to turn off all notifications on your phone and laptop is because clients and team members will send you urgent tasks that are only urgent at the moment. These tasks, if truly urgent, can come to your attention through a video chat or phone call if necessary but, never through text or email. Most things that are urgent tend not to be urgent after a couple of hours.


Always defer tasks given to you until after the priority items on your paper to-do list are complete. Also, schedule specific times throughout the day to view texts and email. It should be twice a day, once in the morning before your work begins and in the afternoon after lunch.

Limit the number of meetings you attend

One of the benefits of working remotely is you immediately realize how many meetings are actually necessary for you to do your job. A weekly meeting is all that is necessary for you to know what to do. Sometimes a weekly meeting isn’t necessary, sometimes all you need is a quick text exchange to agree on action items.


In the event that you must attend a remote meeting, always make sure there is a clear agenda, a set start time and end time, and that the meeting ends with clear action items. If these criteria are not met, do not schedule the meeting. It will take away from the work that needs to get done.


Your work-from-home situation will be unique and some of these tips will not be applicable. What you have to remember is that there are remote workers in your industry and with your exact job title, that can provide specific advice. These tidbits are for the general newcomer to remote work.


The transition is always hard for the first two to three weeks, but it can be smooth if you create a system to help you focus and contribute to your team and clients.

Image Credit: Unsplash

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