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10 Resolutions For Your Home In the New Year

10 Resolutions For Your Home In the New Year

Every year, the New Year arrives, brimming with possibilities. Promises and resolutions are abundant. You feel this time, it’s really going to be different and nothing will stop you from accomplishing your goals.

Now that January has rolled around, you must be really looking forward to a great 2016. You might have vowed to quit smoking, lose some weight, travel new places or spend some more time with your family. But what about your home – the place where you’ll spend most of your year? Below we present to you ten resolutions for your home this year, in the perfect spirit of new beginnings. They say home is where your heart is but a lovelier, better organized, and more comfortable place to live will surely work wonders.

1. Cut down the use of energy.

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    How about trying to improve the planet as well while you’re improving yourself? Going green could be a great way to make this year truly remarkable. You could start with solar panels or a hybrid car but those are not the only things that can make a difference.

    Learn to properly recycle, remember to turn off lights while you’re not using them and turn the taps off when you’re brushing your teeth. This way, you’ll not only contribute towards a better planet but also cut down your bills significantly.

    You can trim energy use by sealing and insulating your ductwork. This increases the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by almost 20%. It will make your home more comfortable and also extend the life of your furnace, heat pump and air conditioner.

    2. Create a healthy and family-friendly kitchen

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      The kitchen is the place where families gather together in the midst of all of the hassles of everyday life. While each of us are busy in our work and studies throughout the day, the kitchen is what brings us together.

      So why not make as healthy and family-together kitchen as possible? Make your kitchen clean and organized and keep it full of healthy and nutritious ingredients. Look out for some healthy recipes in cookbooks or online. Throw out anything that has overstayed in your kitchen by checking out their expiry dates. And also, transform your kitchen into a place that’s not just about cooking but also about connecting. Make the kitchen more accessible. You could also create a zone for kids in the kitchen. Try to make it multi-purpose and also elegant.

      3. Keep indoor air uncontaminated

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        Indoor air quality is one of the most important indicators of the quality of the environment you are living in. Prolonged exposure to polluted air can lead to complications like chronic respiratory disease, heart disease and lung cancer.

        Indoor air can be full of contaminants like dust, pollen and mold spores. The problem can be even more severe during winter when we prefer to keep our doors and windows shut all the time.

        The harmful irritants in your home can be eliminated by maintaining your HVAC system and changing furnace filters regularly, using low-VOC paints during remodeling of rooms and using localized ventilation in your bathrooms and kitchens to get rid of smoke, cooking fumes and surplus humidity.

        4. Install low-maintenance and durable materials

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          This year, shift your focus towards materials that are low-maintenance and durable. They will provide you a trouble-free service for a long time and since you have to spend minimal time maintaining them, they will spare you from worrying about looking after them. You could use fiber-cement siding which is weather-proof, exceptionally stable and resistant to fire, dents and rot and lasts for as long as 50 years. LED bulbs meanwhile last a phenomenal 18 to 46 years even when they are used for 3 hours every day.

          Seasonal artificial plants can be used to decorate your home if you don’t have time to spend hours every week tending to your flowers and trees in the garden.  Ceramic tiles which look extremely good on floors and walls meanwhile also last for decades.

          5. Make your house safe and sound

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            Your home may look wonderful and it’s properly organized also. How about putting some efforts into making it safe as well? You should ensure you’re not living with a potential fire, health or security risk. Besides installing fire detectors, check your house for gases like radon and carbon monoxide also. The hardware that perform these tests are not particularly expensive either. And, also watch out for dryer lint.

            Make sure your house is properly ventilated. You could also install door and window alarms, that don’t cost much these days. And also, ensure that your house is up to date with latest safety standards.

            6. Get your space organized

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              Getting rid of clutter is a must. In fact, it’s probably the best and cheapest way to feel better about your home. Of course, the act itself however can be quite overwhelming but can you think of a better way to start the year than with a clear and organized home? Keeping your space organized basically comes down to two things if you stick to them. One is to periodically get rid of whatever things you don’t use often or don’t like at all. The other is to only bring in things that you actually need.

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              Creating extra space for storage is another way to keep your home organized. With added space, you can store your possessions easily without your room looking untidy. So this year, how about making use of your imagination at creating a little more space in the most unimaginable places?

              7. Spend some time on home improvement projects together

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                How about trying your hand on some cool home improvement projects this year with your family? Such projects will not only improve your living place but you will also get to spend lots of quality time together as a family. You could try out some DIY projects. They are a fun and creative way to spend time and when finished, you’ll have something elegant to decorate your house with. They come in at all sorts of different budgets. Some of them don’t require much time to complete either.

                You could also try something organic. Plant a tree in your backyard or spend some time in the garden together with your family. Preparing home emergency preparedness kit or making your entrance more inviting is also a great idea.

                8. Get your finances right

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                  This probably could be the year you finally get your finances right. Creating a yearly budget will help you a lot. That way, you know how much you’ll need to spend this year and will also help to avoid overspending.

                  Do not forget to allocate some budget for improvement and maintenance of your house. Cutting down the use of energy will also help a lot. So turn off your air conditioner when you are not at home and dial your heater down to a lower temperature at night. Sound financial health is assured when you make enough money and when you do not overspend the money that you have worked hard to earn. So think of the ways to make enough money this year and also try to cut down costs as much as possible.

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                  9. Work out a system to keep your house clean

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                    Everybody loves to live in a clean house but almost everyone dreads the act of cleaning itself. Coming up with a solid plan to keep your house clean could be the best thing you did this year. Devise a daily, weekly as well as monthly plan to keep your entire house clean.

                    It’s best to focus on one particular type of cleaning at a time. You can wipe windows and mirrors first and then move on to sweeping the floors. And also, keep the cleansing utensils like sponge, scraper, cleaning cloths, plastic bags and apron in a place where you can easily find them.

                    You could also divide the cleaning job among the members of your family. Some of them can do dusting and vacuuming while the others can clean up the bathroom. This way, you can clean the entire house in no time.

                    10. Make your place more welcoming

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                      Every year, we vow to spend more time with family and friends. So why not make your house friendlier to increase the odds of real conversation and connection this year? All it takes is a little bit of rearrangement and a couple of updates.

                      You could start with your living room – the place where you welcome your family and friends. It doesn’t need to be very complicated either. Even adding a few bright cushions or placing down a new rug can make a huge difference. Guest bedrooms constitute the other essential part of the friendly experience. The experience of the guests in the places where they sleep can create lasting memories. So try to make them cozy and comfortable.

                      Featured photo credit: Kitchen Renovation by leyla.a via flickr.com

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                      Nabin Paudyal

                      Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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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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