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How to Become an Essay Writing Guru Using These 15 Websites

How to Become an Essay Writing Guru Using These 15 Websites

It doesn’t matter whether you’re the most ambitious student in class or you simply want to get the degree and pass your classes as quickly as possible– you’ll have to improve your essay writing skills whether you like it or not.

The starting point is a shift in your attitude. You shouldn’t perceive essays as burdening assignments on boring topics. This type of project gives you a chance to explore, elevate your knowledge, think creatively, and present unique ideas. Once you realize how important it is for you to boost your writing skills, you’ll easily achieve that goal thanks to these 15 websites that can turn you into an essay writing guru.

1. AskPetersen

Julie Petersen, an English language teacher and freelance writer, has created a great website to support all students willing to learn how to write. You’ll find study guides, essay samples, educational articles, and helpful tools that will enable you to approach the assignment with ease.

In the blog section, you’ll find instructions on how to cover each stage of the writing process, as well as inspirational articles that will make you excited about writing something of your own.

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2. Harvard College Writing Center – Strategies for Essay Writing

You cannot develop great writing skills if you lack a solid foundation to build on. It’s always best to start from the basics. Harvard College Writing Center offers detailed instructions for proper academic writing. You’ll start by learning how to read an assignment, how to develop the essay’s structure, and how to cover all other stages of the process.

3. Essay Map

An academic essay requires diligent planning. An outline is necessary, since it keeps you focused on the essay question and enables you to develop strong thesis and arguments.

Essay Map is a free online tool that requires you to input the main details about the introduction, main ideas, supporting details, and conclusion of your paper. Then, you’ll get an appealing outline that will encourage you to follow the plan.

4. A Step-by-Step Guide: “How to Write My Essay Due Tomorrow

Essay writing can be really stressful when you’re limited by a looming deadline. You don’t have enough space to cover all stages properly, so you need to work faster and more effectively. EssayMama provides effective guidelines that will put you on the right track. If you follow the recommended steps, you’ll be able to complete a decent paper within few hours.

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5. Guide to Writing a Basic Essay

Before you can progress to more complex academic assignments, you need to become a master of the basic essay structure. At this website, you’ll find a sample essay that demonstrates all principles of basic academic writing. Instead of reading rules and recommendations, you see an actual paper tailored in accordance with the standards you need to meet.

6. College Essay Guy

Ethan Sawyer, better known as the College Essay Guy, helps students tell their stories. He remembers his college experience vividly, so he is willing to share his tips and experience in order to teach students how to write properly. You’ll find great sample essays, articles, and tutorials in the Blog section. Sawyer also offers a “Complete Guide to Writing the Personal Statement”, so you can rely on that resource when completing college or scholarship applications.

7. Persuasive Essay Thesis Builder

Take a moment to think: what stage of the essay development process is the most challenging one? It’s probably the thesis statement, which should be unique, believable, and authoritative. This statement will set the course of the entire paper. The Thesis Builder tool enables you to tailor a strong thesis statement, which you can then develop into a clean outline. The tool is automated, but the result will be based upon your own input.

8. University of Toronto: Some General Advice on Academic Essay-Writing

College and university teachers are not usually willing to explain how a student should develop an essay stage-by-stage. They just give you the essay question and expect you to complete the paper with excellence. The University of Toronto fills in that gap with a useful guide that teaches you how to come up with an argument, formulate questions and hypothesis, and compose the paper while keeping the overall purpose and form in mind.

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9. EssayPunch

When you need in-depth support on your way towards becoming an essay writing guru, this is the online resource you can count on. You’ll find preset writing prompts that will challenge you to practice more frequently. In addition, the program offers interactive online exercises that help you understand the pre-writing, writing, structuring, editing, and publishing phases.

10. Hemingway Editor

You do not want to complicate your style too much. You might think you would impress your teachers by using big words and writing complex sentences, but that won’t be the case. Hemingway Editor will help you get back to simplicity and clarity. Simply paste your text in the designated field, and try to get rid of the highlighted sections that feature complicated sentences, complex phrases, passive voice, and more.

11. PlagTracker

Plagiarism is a serious sin in academic writing. Even when you do your best to come up with your own ideas and arguments, it’s easy to forget referencing a particular source you used. That’s why you need to run every single essay through PlagTracker before submitting it. Thanks to this free tool, you can be confident that your papers are entirely unique.

12. 18 Simple Essay Hacks Every Student Needs to Know

The highest achievers in your class are able to learn and write more within a shorter period of time. They know how to make the writing process easier by relying on tricks that always work. Thanks to this online resource, you can start doing the same things. The 18 suggested essay hacks cover focusing techniques, research methods, effective typing, editing, and everything in between.

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13. 365 College Essay Writing Tips and Life Hacks

You need a huge collection of tips and tricks to get yourself into writing mode? This is the right online destination for you! You’ll find great tips, tricks and hacks that are easy to understand and implement into practice. Julia Reed, the creator of this list, does not waste your time with abstract explanations about the essay’s type and structure. You’ll get practical tips regarding the proper font, format, persuasive style, and much more.

14. Infographic: What Makes a Strong College Essay

You need to start with the research stage ASAP? Then you don’t want to get tired before you even start going through resources relevant for your paper. That’s why you need to shorten the process and read this guide, which won’t take a lot of your time.

15. Revision Checklist for Essays

The revision stage involves much more than proofreading and fixing basic mistakes. This checklist will guide you through all steps you need to cover in order to make your essay ready for submission.

Remember: you have to do your best to surpass all obstacles you face during the essay writing process. You can always rely on appropriate online resources to help you get the work done!

Featured photo credit: Green Chameleon via stocksnap.io

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Jessica Millis

An experienced writer, editor and educator who shares about tips on effective learning.

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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