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5 Must-Have Tools for Highly Effective People

5 Must-Have Tools for Highly Effective People

If you don’t consider yourself to be a highly efficient person, you are not getting the most out of everything that you are doing. It is particularly important for business owners to be efficient, and it isn’t always easy because there are always so many things to do. That is why there are apps and tools available that will help anyone to become more efficient and productive. But, which tools are the best to use? To help you become more efficient, we have compiled a list of our top five favorite efficiency tools.

1. XMind

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xmind

    This is the most popular mind mapping tool available today, and now it comes with the Cloud. It is fast and easy to synchronize files across Macs and PC’s. Also, it allows you to view and even edit your mind maps in your browser. XMind has Idea Factory brainstorming mode and over 60,000+ pretty icons to help you clarify thinking and boost your productivity. This is a great tool to use when you want to get input from various groups so all voices can be heard equally. The more you can learn, the more efficient you are going to be, and more will get done. XMind has a free version, and the Pro version only costs $99 now. And, the latest good news is that XMind for iOS will be soon released.

    2. Realtime Board

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    realtime board

      Having to wade through dozens or even hundreds or more emails daily can bog you down, and diminish your effectiveness. This tool will help to change all of that. You will never get lost in endless email chains and many messengers when you are using this tool, and you can gather feedback, give comments, mark things up, and see real-time updates. Basically, it will be taking the place of the traditional office whiteboard, and you will be much more efficient.

      3. MarketCircle

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      marketcircle

        This app is going to greatly increase your productivity as a small business owner, and the productivity of your business. This is a business app that has been specifically created for the Mac, iPhone, and iPad. You can get a free trial, so there is no risk at all, and you will likely end up paying for this service that is going to help you immensely. Use this app to manage customer relations, schedule meetings, sales, projects, opportunities, emails, and a whole lot more. This is going to help improve your efficiency, and improve productivity in your business, which of course leads to improved sales.

        4. Basecamp

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        basecamp

          It can be really difficult to keep a team interested in a project, and have everyone working on the same page. This app makes things a lot easier. You can use this tool to keep everything organized altogether. Use it for managing multiple emails, chats, and more. This tool has been popular for more than 12 years, and more than 100,000 companies are using it because it is proven to work and increase efficiency and productivity. If all of these companies are using this app, what are you waiting for? Try it today and see just how much it can do to improve your efficiency.

          5. Trello

          trello

            Working with a team can be difficult, but it is a lot easier when you are using this awesome tool. The boards, lists, and cards will let you get more organized, faster. It will also let you prioritize all of your projects in a way that is fun, flexible, and ultimately, rewarding. You can sign up for free, so you have nothing to lose. Enjoy being able to drag and drop cards between lists so you can show progress. Add people as needed and drag them to the cards, and add reorder lists when you need them. Everything you need to know about any current project can be seen at a glance, and updates are in real time.

            Featured photo credit: Matthew Dix via unsplash.com

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            Jane Hurst

            Writer, editor

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            Last Updated on July 16, 2019

            7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

            7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

            Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

            In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

            There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

            1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

            The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

            Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

            Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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            2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

            When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

            The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

            It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

            By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

            3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

            At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

            Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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            Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

            You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

            Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

            4. Don’t Take Sides

            In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

            In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

            By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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            5. Don’t Get Personal

            In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

            People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

            To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

            Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

            6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

            The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

            Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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            Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

            7. Think Win-Win

            As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

            In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

            Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

            Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

            People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

            Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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