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9 Ideas to Get Your Work Organized for the Year Ahead

9 Ideas to Get Your Work Organized for the Year Ahead

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

What’s one thing you’re doing now to get your business organized for the year ahead?

1. Calendar Blocking

Kelly Azevedo

    As often as possible, I’m adding regular business tasks to my weekly calendar on repeat. It has helped to “hold the space” for client work, marketing, networking, family and fun. I take into account the 2013 personal and business goals as I create time to work closer to those outcomes.

    Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

    2. Budgeting for the Year

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    David Ehrenberg

      To prepare for the year ahead, I’m creating a financial plan and budget for 2013. This is an essential activity (that you should have started in 2012) to help you to get organized for the year ahead. Use your financial plan as an opportunity to hone in on your key goals for 2013 and to establish milestones to guide you throughout the year. Plan to update your budget as the year progresses.

      David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

      3. Filing

      Derek Flanzraich

        Believe it or not, I haven’t had a filing cabinet so much as a filing “box” where everything I wanted to file away was placed in, without any rhyme or reason. My plan is to fix that.

        Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

        4. Have Some Perspective

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        Robert J. Moore

          Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the weeds and forget about how far you can come in a year. We’re summarizing accomplishments made in 2012 to share with our company, and motivate the team to continue to do bigger and better things in 2013.

          Robert J. Moore, RJMetrics

          5. Cut the “Fluff”

          Benish Shah

            If it’s not something that is adding to my life in a positive manner, it needs to go. My goal is to surround myself with things that I’m passionate about, that I can learn from, and that will help me focus instead of distract me. It’s like spring cleaning your closet!

            Benish Shah, Vicaire Ny

            6. Get Personal!

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            John Hall

              Hiring a personal assistant. At first I felt like hiring a personal assistant was ridiculous, but the busier I get the less organized I am.

              John Hall, Digital Talent Agents

              7. Review Life Plan

              Peter Nguyen

                Every quarter I review my life plan and business objectives and goals. I try to go somewhere for a whole weekend to do this every three months.

                Peter Nguyen, Literati Institute

                8. Heighten Web Security

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                Logan Lenz

                  I went through a few terrible hacks recently. Even though we were prepared with backups and recovery best practices, cyber attacks are always damaging to an online business. I have spent much personal time and resources building out our security infrastructure in order to ensure that similar attacks never occur again in the future.

                  Logan Lenz, Endagon

                  9. Listening, Better and More Often

                  Mitch Gordon

                    For me, listening to my employees is the solution to many problems. They always have great ideas for how we can make the business, and our time in the office, more efficient and productive. We spent the month of December wrapping up year-end projects, as well as putting a great plan in place for 2013. Always take time for an in-depth review with key employees at the end of the year!

                    Mitch Gordon, Go Overseas

                     

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                    Trending in Productivity

                    1 8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More 2 How Exercising Makes You More Productive 3 10 Practical Ways to Drastically Improve Your Time Management Skills 4 15 Highly Successful People Who Failed On Their Way To Success 5 How to Memorize More and Faster Than Other People

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                    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

                    8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

                    8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

                    You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

                    Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

                    When you train your brain, you will:

                    • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
                    • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
                    • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

                    So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

                    1. Work your memory

                    Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

                    When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

                    If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

                    The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

                    Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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                    Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

                    What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

                    For example, say you just met someone new:

                    “Hi, my name is George”

                    Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

                    Got it? Good.

                    2. Do something different repeatedly

                    By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

                    Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

                    It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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                    And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

                    But how does this apply to your life right now?

                    Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

                    Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

                    Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

                    So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

                    You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

                    That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

                    3. Learn something new

                    It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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                    For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

                    Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

                    You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

                    4. Follow a brain training program

                    The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

                    5. Work your body

                    You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

                    Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

                    Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

                    Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

                    6. Spend time with your loved ones

                    If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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                    If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

                    I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

                    7. Avoid crossword puzzles

                    Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

                    Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

                    Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

                    8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

                    Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

                    When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

                    So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

                    The bottom line

                    Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

                    Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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