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How Successful People Plan Their Week

How Successful People Plan Their Week
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Achieving success requires a set of weekly habits and practices. By implementing these ideas consistently, you will become proactive and set yourself apart from people who simply drag themselves through each day. As you read this article, ask yourself which ideas you could put into action this week. Reading an article about success is a start but it is not enough to achieve your goals.

1. They Complete A Weekly Review

It is easy to be swept away by the stress of daily living. That’s why successful people use the Weekly Review to put their work and life back into perspective. Once you learn how to do a Weekly Review, you can master this success habit in a matter of weeks. At first, use the Weekly Review to review your calendar, email accounts and other information sources. Over time, you may want to add further steps to your Weekly Review. Once you establish the habit, an effective Weekly Review will take about an hour to complete.

2. They Review Big Goals

Successful people are excited by their goals. They not only have a bucket list – they take action to achieve those goals on a weekly basis. In order to keep your motivation at a high level, it is vital to set challenging goals. For example, author Jack Canfield recently published his 101 Lifetime Goals which included go on a safari in Africa, give a university commencement address and sell 1 million books. To make the process easier on yourself, choose 2-4 big goals from the list for the year and work through them.

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3. They Plan Your Family Requirements With A Family Meeting

Successful people understand that family life matters. After all, what’s the point of making a fortune if you are alone and miserable? When it comes to running their week, successful people take note of their family responsibilities. That means sorting out school schedules, reviewing upcoming travel and planning dates with their spouse. In fact, you may even want to have a “family meeting” once a week to coordinate plans and make sure nothing important is forgotten.

4. They Put Their Priorities On The Calendar

Successful people live through their calendars. At first glance, a calendar may not appear to be a powerful tool However, successful people realize that a blank calendar represents a major opportunity to make progress. For example, I set aside time on my calendar for reviews, following up on management requests and writing projects. It may feel a little odd to create a “meeting with yourself” at first but it is well worth it, especially when you look back on all that you have achieved.

5. Plan Your Leisure and Relaxation

Successful people are driven to achieve demanding goals and take care of their responsibilities. They also realize that leisure and relaxation matter – without these activities, life will feel like an a never ending to-do list. Many high achieving people have hobbies and sometimes work so much that they forget to pursue them. For example, those who enjoy wine may do a Google search for upcoming wine tastings in their city and register for an event that suits their calendar.

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6. They Think Through The Weekend

Weekends are important for successful people looking to refresh and recharge after a difficult week. Author Laura Vanderkam explored this topic at length in her book “What the Most Successful People Do On the Weekend.” It all starts with a proactive attitude – a good and refreshing weekend does not simply happen. Planning one or two “anchor events” (e.g. go to a sports game or visit an interesting restaurant) is a great way to make sure you have a pleasant activity to look forward to.

7. They Plan Fitness

Fitness is a great element to living a successful and full life. In fact, entrepreneur Michael Hyatt recently discussed the mental and physical benefits of strength training. Fitness is an excellent way to reduce stress and maintain high energy levels. Many successful people have an established morning routine where they fit in an exercise session before they start work. Cutting exercise is rarely a wise decision for those who care about their long term success.

8. They Practice Gratitude Each Day

Successful people often reflect on their success and the wonderful aspects of life. Simply acknowledging all the good things in life is a key insight that authors Tony Robbins and James Altucher practice to maintain a clear mind and a happy attitude. One highly effective way to practice gratitude is to use the Five Minute Journal. Writing about what you are grateful for is a great way to end the day.

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9. They Schedule Time For Follow Up

Successful people know that reminders and follow up are essential habits to get work done. Like it or not, sending a single email is rarely enough to get a job done in the corporate world. Successful people often schedule 15-30 minutes on their calendar at least once per week to follow up on requests, problems and other important matters. For guidance on following up professionally, use the following resource: 7 Tactics of Following Up Without Being Annoying. The follow up skill also applies outside of the business world – following up on vacation plans, orders and planning important events such as wedding anniversaries.

10. They Know The Limits of Planning

As successful people approach their week, they understand the limits of planning. From time to time, emergencies will happen. You may walk into the office on Monday morning and learn that an important customer is angry about a late delivery. That’s why flexibility remains important. Fortunately, planning and taking a proactive approach to work tends to minimize the number of problems and emergencies you will face in life.

Featured photo credit: Large Clock/AndreaTasselli via pixabay.com

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Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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