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How To Cater To The Introverts In The Office

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Employees are the backbone of a company. Introverts contribute greatly to the business even if you don’t see them clamoring for attention or mingling with investors. If you run a small or big business, there is always a chance of running into an introvert employee. According to research, over 50% of individuals are introverts even though many them force themselves to act as extroverts.

Introverts are usually associated with quiet or reflective personalities. They usually do well in computer programming, software development, consulting and psychology probably because they require a quiet working atmosphere. Here are ways you can create an introvert-friendly office.

Avoid Unnecessary Surprises

Introverts like to have adequate time to prepare for everything work-related. This means that they don’t like unnecessary surprises like last-minute meetings, or being thrown a project on the fly. As much as possible, schedule meetings or presentations ahead of time to give introverted team members time to prepare. You can also invite them to have input on scheduling to make them feel more comfortable. By giving them the ball they will feel confident when it’s their time to shoot it.

Give Face Time

Employees who are introverts are not shy or hesitant to voice their opinion. They just want to do it in a more private setting. A one-on-one setting allows employees to set the agenda which allows introverts to feel more comfortable when it comes to sharing their ideas and concerns.

Introverts should not be mistaken for shy people. Shy people are awkward, worried or tense during social encounters. Introverts are not shy. On the contrary, they can be sociable especially in the right circumstances. An introvert is an individual who gains energy from being alone because they like introspection and solitude.

Allow Them To Personalize Their Workspace

The workspace should be a safe haven for introverts. While many employers allow their employees to personalize their workspace, this is even more important to introverts. By letting them surround their workspace with things they love or find comfortable, you are giving them a safe space where they can escape and maybe pretend that they are in their own safe haven and not in the workplace surrounded by so many people. In case of an open floor plan office, provide quite enclaves where introverts can recharge and be by themselves or a semi-private area for solo work.

Respect their Space

Introverts perform best when they are left alone to work. In this connection, you have to learn to trust them once you’ve set the deadline. However, this does not mean to say that you can’t check on progress from time to time. Instead of dropping on them unannounced or demanding for a progress report on the spot, you can avoid frustration from everybody involved by scheduling check-ins at different intervals. Respecting their space and trusting introverts to do the assigned work to them will make them feel more comfortable and can greatly improve their self confidence which can lead to better productivity.

Challenge With Detail Oriented Projects

According to studies, introverts excel in problem solving and strategizing. Keep them happy and challenged by assigning detailed, analysis-heavy assignments. Give them a time-frame with regular check-ins and autonomy and watch your introverted employees deliver top notch report. However, you also have to remember that in order to achieve the best results; you also have to give your employees the right environment to accomplish this kind of job. If they want peace, seclusion and privacy, you should give it to them so that they can deliver accordingly.

More than anything, it is always best to talk to your introverted employees. Finding out how they prefer to work and incorporating their ideas to your workplace can help them function better, become more efficient and productive. All companies function and perform better when their employees are happy and satisfied with their work.

Taking into account your introverted employees’ ideas can be very beneficial to your organization. Whatever industry you are in, it is in your company’s best interest to play to their strengths instead of overlooking them. Using the above mentioned strategies can be a starting point to creating an introvert-friendly environment in your office.

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How To Journal As An Entrepreneur

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I’ve been journaling around 3-4x a week for the past year or so now. Basically, I focus on asking myself 3 questions every morning.

The first question I write down is: What good will I do for the world today? ( I learned that Ben Franklin used to write this question down every morning, so I took a page out of his book). The purpose of this question is to set the priority for the day. For me, it helps me understand that focusing on how you help others is what matters the most. Typically, my answers include:

–         Be kind

–         Make others smile around you

–         Be empathetic- look beyond people’s actions

–         Help someone!

The second question I ask myself is- what three things am I grateful for today? Usually the answers include my health, care for the people around me, and of course, hearing the birds! (favorite part of my day!) Again, the theme here is perspective- focusing on the basic essentials puts you in the right state of mind to start your day. Being grateful is not innate in everyone, and it takes practice and focus to make this type of thinking instinctive.

The last section I title is called Reflections. This section is a little more open ended. Typically, the topics include:

1.      Lessons I’ve learned from the day before. Usually this involves feedback I got in a conversation, an area where I think I made a mistake, or just an interesting observation that sticks with me.

2.      Giving advice to myself- I try to take a step back, and imagine if I was an observer giving me advice, what I would I tell him? Key phrases usually include “Stay hungry, stay humble”, “Act in a way that you’ll be proud of in five years”, and of course “Have fun!”. I also remind myself to try to be as strategic as possible, and to make sure that each action I take is bringing about the greatest return. I’ve found this also helps because by giving yourself advice in the morning, you no longer have any desire to give other people advice, unless you are asked.  I’ve found that giving people unsolicited advice is something people do not appreciate or like.

3.      Write down any stresses, or worries- then write down motivational lines, or actionable steps to get through it.

That’s it folks- takes about 10-15min, but I’ve noticed it builds my subconscious mind to instinctively be nicer, more positive, and more self-aware. For my company, it’s led to dealing with conflict in a more constructive way, accepting and pivoting faster on things I cannot change, and being a more empathetic leader. I highly recommended business professionals add this to their daily habits!

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How You Know A Co-Working Space Is For You

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Working at home is one of the best reasons to become a freelancer. However, there are people who work better when they need to get up and get dressed or when they are surrounded by co-workers. A group of people doing different jobs but working together in the same space is called co-working. Here are some ways to determine whether it’s time to look for a co-working space.  

You’re Not Getting Work Done

Working from home is great but only if you get work done. This is perhaps the obvious sign that you need to find a co-working space. If you’re snacking every 15 minutes or you spend lots of time on social media instead of getting work done, you seriously need to consider a co-working space.

You Want Human Interaction

Humans are naturally social beings. Even if you hate some of your old co-workers, there is something about being about other people that can help you work hard throughout the day. You might not like some of your co-workers but sometimes it’s nice to have somebody to complain to or chat with every day. If you find that you’re missing water cooler chats or if chat messaging is not enough, perhaps it’s time to look for a co-working space.

Your House Is Distracting

Your house has a bed, a TV, a fridge full of food and maybe your kids. All of these can be distracting especially if your kids need attention or if there’s noisy construction nearby or when a telemarketer calls. Distractions also keep you from focusing on work and getting it done in a timely manner.

You Need To Meet Clients

Yes you house is cozy and warm, but is it really an ideal place to meet clients? What if your home is a studio apartment? Is there enough space for all of them to discuss matters comfortably? Co-working spaces have common areas like conference room where meetings can take place in a more professional atmosphere.

You Need Space

There are just some types of work where you need a big space. You might need lots of light, big windows or a big table or space for bulky equipment. Not all co-working spaces are big, but there might be something that can accommodate your need for bigger space.

You Need To Get Out Of Your PJs

If you haven’t changed out of your pajamas for a couple of days, perhaps you need to look for a co-working space. Changing into something more professional could help you focus and become more productive.

You Need A Central Location

Your house could be out in the suburbs or somewhere not accessible to public transportation which can create logistics problem not only if you’re meeting clients in their offices but for supplies deliveries too. A central location – which some co-working places have – is not only convenient to clients but for other matters too.

You Need To Grow Your Business

A home business is fine if you only have 1 or 2 employees. But what happens when you need to scale up and need more space? A co-working space can give you the flexibility to scale up or down depending on your needs. Depending on the co-working space, it can be for a small 1-man team or a 10-person team with access to a conference room.

Networking

When you’re in a co-working space, you are surrounded with other goal-oriented people. This is a good opportunity to network with them, learn their business or share thoughts. Having access to people in different industries can open new doors of opportunities.

You Need Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is important but it can be hard to achieve for some people when you work from home. Chores, children and distractions make it hard to focus on work so it creates an imbalance by making it hard for you to work. When you’re in a co-working space, you can forget about your house for a while to focus work. However, you still have the freedom to attend to your child’s PTA, go to the gym or pick up your dry cleaning.

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Things Successful Entrepreneurs Never Say

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Mindset is what separates successful entrepreneurs from the rest of the pack. While many people complain and let their negative thoughts get to them, successful entrepreneurs are steadfast in their thoughts and words. If you’re constantly thinking negative thoughts and saying negative things, it’s time to stop because you will never hear successful entrepreneurs say the following:

Because I Said So

Everybody knows you’re the boss but saying “Because I said so.” shows unnecessary bossiness. Not only is it unnecessary, it is also rude to speak to an employee this way. This statement can humiliate and disrespect an employee because they feel that their ideas are worthless or is not valued. Good leaders know that employees are not puppets with strings to pull. Good leaders know how to give input in a more pleasing way.

I’m Not Good Enough

Everybody experiences self-doubt every once in a while. However, successful entrepreneurs know when to detach themselves from this feeling. Dwelling on this kind of feeling can have a negative effect on your self-esteem and you’re going to need to stay positive especially when you’re running a business.

I’ll Try

I’ll try has a very negative connotation. For recipients of this reply, it sounds like a dismissal or an admission of defeat. Successful entrepreneurs on the other hand get things done.

I don’t have time

Successful entrepreneurs know how to manage time especially if it is about business. They make time for things because they know that it is important to the success of their business.

X Does This Better Than You

If you want to demotivate your employee say these words. However, if you want to keep them motivated and productive, do not compare them to other employees. If you want to give feedback, give it in a constructive manner so that employees gain insight and perspective without losing self-respect.

I Don’t Care

This is another demotivating phrase that can ruin your working relationship with your team. This phrase also breeds mistrust and disbelief. A great leader always, cares, always has ideas and opinions. Successful entrepreneurs praise their employees and know how to give constructive criticism.

We Don’t Need New Ideas

You will never hear successful entrepreneurs say this because they know that companies constantly need new ideas to stay competitive. They know that new ideas can help expand their business, retain their competitive edge or venture into a totally new market.

Don’t Show Up With Bad News

This phrase is demotivating to employees because it leads them to hide issues from their employees which in turn could be dangerous for the company. Good leaders know that receiving bad news from employees is normal because there is no such thing as a perfect business. Instead of this phrase, say “I want to hear good news today”.

That’s Not Fair

Business has nothing to do with fairness. Business is about being prepared and knowing to anticipate developments and keeping up with the competition.

It’s Too Hard

Nobody said going to business is easy. Successful entrepreneurs know it’s hard. However, they don’t see it that way because they see the hardships as a challenge.

I Did It On My Own

Successful entrepreneurs know that they need the support of their employees to become successful. They also know that they are only as good as their employees.

I Don’t Have Time For A Break

Successful entrepreneurs know when it’s time to take a break. They know timeouts are important in order to stay productive. They also know that their employees need periodic breaks and encourage them to do so.

It’s Impossible

Saying something is impossible is like saying that they don’t trust their employees. This phrase is another demotivator because trusting employees helps boost their self-confidence and can help motivate them to try harder.

It’s Too Early/Late

It’s never too early or too late to attend a business meeting or networking opportunity. True entrepreneurs never fail to seize an opportunity especially if it is related to the business.

I Never Read Books

According to Tom Corley of Rich Habits, rich people read more books than other people. What’s more, rich people rich people tell their kids to read 2 or more non-fiction books per month compared to the rest. 63% of rich people also listen to audio books on the way to work compared to 5% of the rest.

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