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5 Minute Refreshers (For Those Who Need to Reboot)

5 Minute Refreshers (For Those Who Need to Reboot)

When you normally think of the word “refresh” a number of things might come to mind, as in refreshing a webpage, drinking a glass of orange juice, or stepping outside for some air. As each of us go throughout our day, we’re faced with many propositions, decisions, and even obstacles that sometimes twist us up so much that we just need…to…breathe.

With that being said, refreshers are never meant to be complete shutdowns (like turning off your computer), they’re intended for brief pauses in our busy schedules to help us return to a calmer state and be more productive at work. Here are ten 5 minute refreshers that you can try today:

1. Meditate to clear your mind and refocus.

Man Sitting

    Something that I’ve recently tried is meditating during which I just close my eyes and focus on my breathing while trying to keep my mind clear. When you find yourself needing to refocus, take 5 minutes to close your eyes and clear your mind. Focus on your breathing and even try taking in one great breath and then expelling the air from your lungs 3 times. Try this refresher when you need to refocus.

    2. Have a sip of your favorite tea.

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      Any kind of tea that suits your fancy! Personally, I find jasmine green tea to be soothing and energizing. Certain teas can provide clarity, stress relief, be helpful for losing weight, energy, and digestion. Try this package deal for a brief boost in the afternoons.

      3. Read inspirational or motivational messages.

        Reading inspirational or motivational messages are especially helpful when you find yourself feeling low, overwhelmed, or out of sync. You can download a mobile app to read scriptures, check a website for famous quotes, or even complete daily or weekly guidance plans– any of these options are helpful. You might even stumble upon motivational messages from individuals who have experienced, or are experiencing, similar situations as yourself. As always, as long as there is life, there is hope and a chance to learn and grow. Spend 5 minutes reading an inspirational or motivational message for encouragement.

        4. Go for a brisk walk.

          Walking it out can help, especially with a change in scenery and fresh air. Fill in 5 minutes on your online calendar for a brisk walk by taking the long way around your office building or stepping outside for a brief stroll down the street. Exercising helps to release the hormone serotonin that contributes to our happiness. You might even consider jogging, but just a little movement can help to shift the mental weight from your brain.

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          5. Talk it out with a friend, family member, or colleague.

            It can be amazing sometimes what talking to a friend, family member, or colleague can do. Socializing is important, and when we have many issues flooding our brains, sometimes to the point of overwhelm, we often need to talk to someone. If you have a close friend or colleague in your office, you might consider stopping by to check on them and see how they are doing. Reversing the point-of-view can help to lighten your mood and steer your mind away from negative feelings. Even a few text messages with that special someone may help to brighten your day.

            6. Add glee with some Vitamin C.

              Have you had your glass of OJ today? Vitamin C is vital and important to our bodies for immunity, concentration, and improving our mood. Surprisingly, you might also find yourself feeling refreshed, more focused, and ready to be more productive at work by having a glass of a fruit drink like grapefruit juice, grape juice, apple juice, or even by taking this vitamin in supplement form. Also, try out these meals for lunch instead of the old ham sandwich and soup.

              7. Go on a brief ride.

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                Getting away from the office or your desk while on break might be the refresher you need–just don’t leave and not come back! Consider a 5 minute ride away from the office, and if you’re in a scenic area, you might be able to take in different sights and sounds. With spring approaching us, this is one of the best times to take a ride around the block with trees, flowers, and shrubbery beginning to bloom.

                8. Tell your colleagues “Game on!”

                  Ping pong, darts, or a bean toss throwing contest anyone? Get your game on for 5 minutes to refresh yourself so that you can be more productive at work afterwards. If a colleague is also on break, challenge them to a round and double up with conversation. During the day, we all need several moments to chill and regroup. Plus, you’ll also boost those serotonin levels by stepping up your activity!

                  9. Try a change of environment.

                    Don’t literally move your desk or chair, but temporarily migrate to a different location. If you’re seeking peace and quiet, consider a break-room that’s typically empty or a quiet lounge. If you’re looking for entertainment to help take your mind off of your situation, head for a more lively area such as a dining area, basketball court, tennis court, or park where you could find someone to chat with.

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                    10. Sing to lighten your spirit.

                      Exercise your vocal cords to a favorite song to help shift the mental weight. Even if you’re not the best singer or someone who’s just signed a record deal, you can still use your voice for comfort and happiness. Anyone can become a better singer– all you need to do is practice, and what better way to find a harmony than by practicing for 5 minutes?

                      And there you have it–ten 5 minute refreshers for your midday recharge! Stay productive, but don’t wear yourself too thin. If your monitor needs a break by shutting off its screen every now and then, then you know that we need breaks too. So instead of shutting yourself down or quitting completely, try one of these tips to reboot and get back in sync.

                      Featured photo credit: VisualHunt via visualhunt.com

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                      Jalesa Campbell

                      All-Star Generalist

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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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