1. Write your goals for the year
This doesn’t have to be complicated. Just make a list of what you want to achieve this year. Post it somewhere so you see it every day. Reward yourself when you can cross something off the list. Don’t be afraid to change it throughout the year!
2. Update Your Social Media profiles
Take a look to be sure the information is current, but also do what you can to make it more engaging. (Hint: less about you and more about those you want to reach.) Also review the groups you’re in and those who you follow to see if they’re still relevant.
3. Reach out to anyone you haven’t spoken to in a while
Happy New Year! What’s new with you? is a great conversation starter.
4. Update your email signature
Check that the links to your social media are working properly. Consider a message at the end that expresses your mood for the new year.
5. Change your voicemail message (Land line and mobile)
Bet you haven’t done this in a long time. I know I haven’t.
6. Clean your desktop
Full disclosure. My desktop is always clean, BUT I have an “eek” folder where everything lives in purgatory.
7. Merge and refresh all your contacts
This takes a lot of time, but it’s worth it. Go through your Outlook, gmail, LinkedIn, mobile phone and wherever else you store contacts. Remove old ones, update those that are not current and keep a master list in one place.
8. Update your web site
This could just mean simply checking all the pages to be sure they say what you want to say today, compared with a year ago. You might want to take down any old blog posts that are dated, and of course add new content!
9. Revisit your mission statement
Is your raison d’être the same as a year ago?
10. Update and practice your elevator pitch
Always great to have this top of mind. Have a version that you can put in an email to send to someone who wants to refer you.
Whether it’s on a business or personal level, the amount of distractions we face is overwhelming: email, texts, meetings, kids’ schedules, keeping up with the house chores – and on and on. So here are some thoughts, apps, resources etc. to help define what you want to achieve, how to think about your goals and how to approach the tasks. Last time we focused on starting your day, this post is about maintaining your momentum during the day.
Do a Time Audit
It’s sort of a paradox that a time audit takes up time, but it’s time well spent, which will ultimately make you more efficient. For one week, log your hours in a notebook, spreadsheet or a program like Evernote. At the end of the week look at the record of what you’ve done, and it probably won’t make you happy. For work, I use a time tracking tool called Harvest to keep track of my hours that has a plugin to Asana, our project management software. It can get pretty grim sometimes, but it helps me analyze how I spend my time. So what did your time audit show? I’ve learned that many of us share the same time management challenges. Here are a few… can you relate?
This is an enormous distraction for most of us. News articles, sales at your favorite site, celebrity gossip, politics, etc. all wind up in our inboxes. So the question is… how important are they really? If they’re not important, do yourself a favor and unsubscribe. Keep a record of the unsubscribes and if you REALLY can’t get along without the cutlery sale at Sur la Table, resubscribe when you can’t take it any more. Another strategy is to direct all of the emails that aren’t critical to your day to a separate account that you only check once a day.
Check your email at set times of the day.
Prioritize – If something is urgent, respond to it right away, if not, let it rest until your scheduled email check time.
Schedule your emails to come in every half hour our (or whatever frequency makes sense for you.) That way you won’t be looking for something every five minutes.
Organize your emails – All of the major email clients have ways to create folders, archive emails, etc.
Did the Mets win last night? Who was pitching? Colon ? How old is he? Who is the oldest pitcher in baseball? What pitcher makes more money? Who is the best paid player?
Got it? Your afternoon is gone. Information and web browsing are addictive, but manageable.
If you don’t need the internet, disconnect – turn off wifi, use airplane mode on mobile devices, pull the plug if you’re hard connected.
There are also software programs that will let you schedule and block specific sites or the entire internet for specific periods of time:
Set a timer to limit your online time.
Save articles to view later – If you find an article that you need, but you don’t need it immediately, save it to look at later.
Create a to-do list – I’ve been using Wunderlist and it works great. I have to do lists for phone calls, home stuff, work, etc. Works on my computer, phone, wherever.
Easy stuff – hard stuff – Tough as it is, do the hard stuff first. Will power and self control are limited and decrease as the day goes on. You’re also fresher in the morning so the tasks that might seem overwhelming at 3:00 might seem more manageable at 10:00.
Take breaks – Try working for 25 minutes and taking a five minute break or what ever works for you http://pomodorotechnique.com/; try to meditate for 10-15 minutes; stretch at your desk or go outside. Brief diversions help you focus.
The afternoon slump – When I was a kid, we’d put our heads down on our desks in the afternoon for a rest period. That’s a luxury most of us don’t have anymore. How to avoid getting sleepy at 3:00?
Have a good breakfast (carbs and some protein to get you started, and I don’t mean a Cinnabon!)
Lunch– Have protein with your salad or sandwich. Avoid fatty foods, they’ll sit in your stomach
Take a walk – it will get your heart going, take your mind off what you’re doing and refresh you.
If you have a snack, have one with a protein-carb combination
Check your to-do list – If you didn’t get everything done, set your priorities for the next day and review your schedule.
Complete one small task – there’s always one small thing you can get done to finish the day so you don’t have to think about it.
Do a final email and social check – It’s tough not to look at email, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc at night, but that’s also a path to more evening stress. Try to close out your necessary communications so you don’t have to think about them until the next day.
Dog biscuits have been around a long, long time. Ads appeared for biscuits intended for sporting dogs as early as 1792 but generally sources cite Spratt’s Meat Fibrine Patented Dog Cakes as the first dog biscuits manufactured on a large-scale commercial basis.
The story goes that in about 1860, Ohio electrician and lightning rod salesman James Spratt developed his version of the dog biscuit after he saw dogs on the Liverpool docks eating what’s called hardtack. Hardtack (aka “molar breakers”) was a kind of biscuit that sailors ate when perishable foods weren’t available. Spratt’s doggie version, which contained wheat meals, vegetables, beetroot and meat, was patented in England in 1861.
Spratt’s first consumers were indeed sporting dogs belonging to “English country gentlemen.”
After Spratt died in 1880, the company went public, developed the first dog food line formulated for a given life stage, and went down in advertising history as the first company to put up a billboard in London.
The company’s US operations began in 1870, first in New York City and then Newark, NJ. No stranger to marketing, Spratt’s bought the cover of the first American Kennel Club Journal in 1889 and branched out into other pet products, including “palatial” kennels, collars and other accessories, treatments for canine ills, and various information booklets. Spratt’s US operations were acquired by General Mills during the 1950s. In the UK, Spratt’s was acquired by a company called Spillers, which in turn was acquired by Nestle in 1998.
Spending on pet food in the US today? Almost $23 billion in 2014. Worldwide? An estimated $74.8 billion by 2017.
Feeding Your Pet Right
Spratt’s was the world’s first large-scale manufacturer of dog biscuits.
The History of Pet Food
Pet Industry Market Size And Ownership
Global Pet Food Sales To Approach $75 Billion By 2017
Want to Make Your Own Dog Biscuits?