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Unique Ways To Generate Creativity During Meetings

Conducting brainstorming sessions during meetings is easy. It’s the actual brainstorming that’s the challenge — and often ineffective.  When you are the leader, how on earth do you influence your team to come up with excellent ideas on the spot, and then actually follow through with them?  Here are a few ideas.

Think Fast!

Encourage quick, impromptu thinking where every meeting includes a spur of the moment prompt, where each person quickly throws out an idea that comes to mind. Crazy is OK.  This action removes the fear barrier of people being afraid to say something stupid; and you will be surprised what you will find

Display Gratitude

Start off the session with a positive thought, occurrence, accomplishment or life event.  This always starts your meetings off on a positive note, and is the pathway for everyone having an open mind.  The results are spectacular.

Get the Best of the Worst

When creativity is at a standstill or your task is particularly difficult, challenge your team members to come up with the WORST idea possible.  This is a easy way to create fun and laughter instead of what might otherwise be a stressful and dead-end meeting. Usually after a few minutes of hideous ideas, someone will have a breakthrough, because without anyone knowing it, you are still igniting creativity, which was your goal in the first place.

Have a Sense of Humor

Humor is brain fuel.  Dopamine and endorphins keeps tension low, morale high, and will allow for significant engagement.  Everything in a brainstorming session should be fair game; no idea is a bad idea, and set the expectation that everything stated no matter what is fair game for making FUN of.  You may even bring in the class clown for these meetings just to keep the mood fun, even if they are not part of the team.

Relocate your Meetings

Get the creative juices flowing by changing your meeting locations.  People might be tired of starting out the same window or painting on the wall.  Try a new conference room in your office, or try going for a walk.  Maybe the lobby of your office building is a beautiful area that provides comfort and aesthetics that will give your team a different mindset for creativity.

Provide Some Sort of Incentives

If you really want to get people to “think outside the box”, that make sure there is something in it for them.  There is no better motivation than reward, so if your meetings are not yielding worthwhile results, try showing appreciation for their creativity with an award for the best idea.  Gift cards or anything related will surely entice your staff to think hard and compete for an award.

Know When To Stop

Try to stay on target with your topics.  Digressions are often storytelling and get into a more personal tone than the task at hand.  Keep these under control and make sure you stop when you start to see excessive digressions or other body language that dictates boredom.  The last thing you want to do is set the bar for a dreadful meeting that people have to look forward to, instead of an exciting creative atmosphere where everyone walks away with fulfillment and self-worth.

 

15 Little Tips to Increase Your Productivity at Work

With only so many hours in the day, working smart is critical.  Efficiency at work isn’t rocket science, but it certainly does require re-thinking and re-prioritizing how you manage your time. This post will give you 15 simple and effective suggestions for minimizing your distractions and increasing your productivity at the office.

  1. Track & time your tasks

You may think you’re pretty good at measuring how much time you’re spending on various tasks; however, research shows only around 17% of people are able to accurately estimate the passage of time.  A tool like Rescue Time is an effective tool that runs on your PC and tells you how much time you spend on daily tasks and goes as far as social media, email, word processing, and apps.

  1. Take regular breaks

While it sounds counter-intuitive and totally contradictory to this subject, taking scheduled breaks will actually help improve concentration. Some research has shown that taking breaks during heavier tasks helps you maintain a constant level of performance; while executing a task without breaks eventually leads to a steady decline in performance.

  1. Set self-imposed deadlines & watch the clock

While most think of a stress as a negative thing, a manageable level of “self-imposed stress” can actually help you by giving focus and helping meet your goals. For open-ended tasks or projects, try giving yourself a deadline and then stick to it. You may be surprised to discover just how focused and productive you can be when you’re watching the clock.

  1. Follow the “two-minute rule”

Entrepreneur Steve Olenski recommends using the “two-minute rule” to take advantage of small windows of time that you have at work. The idea is this: If you see a task or action item that you know can be knocked out in two minutes or less, then do it immediately. According to Olenski, completing the task immediately takes less time than having to go back to it later. Implementing this has made him one of the most influential content strategists online.

  1. Decline unproductive meetings

Meetings are one of the biggest time-suckers around, yet somehow we continually lets ourselves get sucked into them and, inevitably, complain about them.  According to Atlassian, the average employee spends just over 31 hours per month in unproductive meetings. Before accepting your next meeting invite, ask yourself whether or not you can accomplish the same goals or tasks via email, phone, or Web-based meeting (which may be slightly more productive).

  1. Change up your meeting styles

For those absolutely must-have meetings, incorporating a level of creativity can help generate good ideas.  Discuss different ways to do simple processes that you never thought of that may be more efficient (like times of day you hold meetings, the leadership style of meetings and where you actually hold them) as shifting these simple elements may generate a behavioral change in those who attend.

  1. Stop multitasking

While we tend to think of the ability to multitask as an impressive skill for increasing efficiency, the opposite may in fact be true. Psychologists have found that attempting to multi-task can actually result in lost time and productivity.  Instead, make a habit of committing to a single task before moving on to your next project, and enjoy the simple pleasure of crossing that task off the list.

  1. Take advantage of your commute

For those driving, get your hands on some audio books that you can listen to on your commute.  Self-help books related to your industry can be quite enlightening.  For those taking other means of transportation that do not involve driving, use that time to pound out some emails, create your daily to-do list, or do some brainstorming.

  1. Give up the pipe-dream of perfection

It’s common for people to get hung up on attempting to perfect a task–the reality is nothing is ever perfect.  Rather than wasting time chasing after this illusion, bang out your task to the best of your ability and move on.  Trust yourself!  After all, you have come this far in life haven’t you?  Give yourself some credit and try not to second-guess yourself on anything outside of proof-reading.  It’s better to complete a task and move it off your plate; if need be, you can always come back and adjust or improve it later.

  1. Take a fitness break

Using office time to exercise may actually help improve productivity, according to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. If your company allows it, build in set times during your work days for taking a walk or going to the gym. Getting your blood pumping could be just what’s needed to clear your head and get your focus back.

  1. Focus on proactive, not reactive.

Becoming a slave to incoming phone calls and emails to dictate how you spend your day will mean you do a great job of putting out fires–but that may be all you get accomplished.  Set aside time for responding to emails, but don’t let them determine what your day is going to look like.  Make sure you don’t try to be the jack of all trades and “punt” tasks to others on your team when you can.  Have a plan of attack at the start of each day, and then do your best to stick to it.

  1. Remove notifications!

This one little item that is thought to be so brilliant can be the death of most of us, especially those with ADD.  No one can resist the allure of an incoming email, voicemail, or text notification.  By human nature, all of us have the desire to be wanted, and these little notifications subconsciously trigger the “Squirrel” distraction.  During work hours, turn off your notifications, and instead build in time to check email and messages. This is all part of being proactive rather than reactive.

  1. Try power-working in 90 minute blocks

Researchers at Florida State University have found elite performers (athletes, chess players, musicians, etc.) who work in intervals of no more than 90 minutes are more productive than those who work 90 minutes-plus. They also found that top performing subjects tend to work no more than 4.5 hours per day. Sounds good to me!

  1. Give yourself a view

It may sound unlikely, but some research shows outfitting an office with aesthetically pleasing elements–like plants—or a poster with a scenic view can increase productivity by up to 15 percent. Jazz up your office space with pictures, candles, flowers, or anything else that puts a smile on your face. For other ideas check out these office décor tips.

  1. Eliminate interruptions (to the best of your ability)

Having colleagues pop in just to say hi may seem innocuous, but even brief interruptions can shift your work pattern and a create a corresponding drop in productivity. Minimizing interruptions may mean setting office hours, keeping your door closed, or working from home for time-sensitive projects.

If you feel the need to increase your productivity at work, resist the temptation put in longer hours or pack more into your already-full calendar. Instead, take a step back, and think about ways you can work smarter, not harder.

 

Janitorial Supplies that are Eco-Friendly

There are several reasons why your business might choose to use eco-friendly or “green” cleaning products for commercial cleaning – but here are a few more. Typically, office cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that can impact your employees. On the surface they may appear to be clean, but the chemicals from harsher cleaning products often result in undetectable fumes by smell, and can lower indoor air quality within your office building. Cleaners that are not eco-friendly have also been known to potentially cause problems such as irritation of the eyes, lethargic behavior and skin irritations. If consistently used, they could eventually lead to diseases or other health conditions.

Some of these issues are dependent upon the type of building or workspace, actual employee job duties, and how long employees occupy the building.  As an example, hospital staff are often exposed to these cleaning chemicals for a much longer duration because the more frequent cleanings, longer hours and different areas of work.  Consider this example when you are evaluating your office environment. In addition to eliminating harsh chemicals, “green” cleaners can improve the health of employees and create a healthier environment for customers as well.

Here are some of our top selling eco-friendly brands:

Seventh Generation Natural Eco-Friendly All-Purpose Cleaner

Seventh Generation Natural All-Purpose Cleaner

Spray – 0.25 gal (32 fl oz) – 1 Each – Clear

  • Nontoxic cleaner leaves nothing behind but a beautiful, streak-free shine
  • Effectively removes grease, grime and dirt without creating harsh fumes
  • VOC-free formula works great on marble, granite, stainless steel and many other surfaces
  • Free and Clear of dyes and synthetic fragrances
  • USDA Certified Bio-based 91%

 Simple Green Clean Building Carpet Cleaner Concentrate

Liquid Solution – 1 gal (128 fl oz) – 1 Each – Sand

  • Specially formulated for government environmentally preferable product purchasing programs and LEED use
  • Meets Green Seal Green GS 37 Standard for Cleaning Products for Industrial and Institutional Use
  • Carpet and Rug Institute certified for use on carpets in pre-spray and extraction cleaning
  • Nontoxic, noncaustic, nonflammable formula
  • No added scent

Spray Nine Earth Soap Bio-Based Cleaner/Degreaser

Spray – 0.25 gal (32 fl oz) – 1 / Each – Clear

  • Washes parts with industrial-strength power
  • Makes up to 5 gallons of cleaning solution
  • Use on machinery, metal parts, tools, AGE equipment, floors, toolboxes and countertops
  • Easily removes dirt, grease, carbon, oil, adhesives, soot, smoke, stains and much more
  • VOC-compliant; contains no solvents, butyl, phosphates or other harsh chemicals
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