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4 Common Mistakes Remote Workers Make

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Remote work is becoming common for freelancers and full-time employees alike. It is also becoming a cause of conflict in the workplace. Here are four common mistakes remote workers make and steps to take to avoid making them yourself.

Ignoring the Legal Issues

If you handle company data on your personal computer and there is a “data spill” with restricted information processed by your computer, will you have to have your personal computer wiped or private internet history reviewed by the company? If this isn’t acceptable, either use a company provided device when working from home or use a computer you would be able to work without if the company confiscates it for a digital brain wipe. Another issue you need to discuss is data retention policies, such as the need to document and store any messages you share with the company or customers. How does the company want you to back up these messages in the manner they are legally required to follow? If your device is bricked, will the company pay for an iPhone data recovery service to recover both personal and corporate data?

Never Disconnecting

Companies are embracing remote work when it results in 24x7x365 support, such as the ability for their best IT staff to work a 10 PM to midnight maintenance window from home and respond to problems on a Saturday afternoon. One of the biggest mistakes remote workers make is never disconnecting from work. Employers and customers will consider you always connected and reach out to you anytime they want to if you don’t set boundaries. A common problem is remote workers putting in more hours than when they worked in the office and having work interrupt family time and down time, increasing stress without resulting in higher pay. Make sure you disconnect from work, silencing the phone, sending emails and instant messages to a folder that you’ll read later. The word for people always on call is servant, not employee.

Relying Only on One Communication Channel

One major mistake remote workers make is relying on one communication channel. Baby Boomers tend to rely on phone calls with some email. The forty and fifty-something workers tend to rely on emails. Those in their twenties and thirties tend to rely on instant messaging and text messaging. This can result in segregation of communications, leaving out whole sections of a team because they don’t follow the conversation in that medium. Remember to shake things up and call a customer to discuss issues too complex for an email or send an instant message to IT for a quick issue instead of a longer email that may take them a few hours to check.

Forgetting a Backup Plan

Remote workers often fail to have a backup plan. What will you do if the power goes out in your apartment? Do you have a backup battery that would allow you to keep working for a few hours or at least a five-minute reserve from a UPS so you can save your work? Do you already know somewhere you could move in case your personal internet connection is down, whether a coworking space or the library?

Conclusion

Determine your legal obligations and risks before you start remote work. Disconnect from work even if connected to the internet personally to protect work-life balance. Don’t rely on a single communication channel and use the medium that works for that person and type of message. Have a backup plan in case utilities or internet goes out at home, but understand how the environment you relocate to impacts your work.

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Post #2 Tools, Tips, Tricks: Elevator Speech, You Time, Networking

Tool: Building your elevator speech does not have to be challenging and the end result does not have to be canned. I recently had Fred Miller on my podcast discussing a No Sweat Elevator Speech and Fred shared an easy to follow elevator speech making template. Click here for a free download of the template.

Tip: Scheduling YOU time is one of the most effective ways to build productivity into your day. For the next 2 days, during your normal work day, add 2 slots of 15 minutes into each day, labeled YOU time. Ground rule: You cannot use this time to work, use technology or multi-task. Walking, napping, exercising, laughing and reading are completely acceptable activities. By adding YOU time to your schedule, you will become more productive, less tired, more patient with the people in your life, and begin to lead a more balanced life, 15 minutes at a time. Next week, see if you can expand to 5 days, adding YOU time to your schedule.

Trick: Networking made easier. If you are like most people, you do not like networking events. I used to find the time I spent networking unproductive. I never knew what to say or what to ask people I met, trying to be spontaneous but at the same time, trying to structured in what I said and did to make the most of this incredibly painful time. Next time, start out your conversations this way. When you approach someone say, "I'm not of fan of networking, can I ask you a question? When you come to events like this, what is your goal?" I think this sets the tone for a conversation that is genuine, open and honest. I have found conversations that begin this way have led to some great discussions about human behavior, personalities and eventually business as well. Build a relationship, the business will come.

People often complain about a lack of time when the lack of direction is the real problem.
— Zig Ziglar

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Life Happens Right Now

Are you stuck in the past, beating yourself up for something you did wrong, worried about things you have no control over in the future or working on someone else's task list? Focus too much on others,  the past, or the future and you are missing out on what is going on in your life right now. Here are a few ways to strengthen your awareness of the present moment.

  1. How smart is your phone? Take any object that is within arm's reach and hold it in your hand (for example, your phone). Do not think about calls you have to make or email that has to be checked, but rather, see it for what it is, metal, glass, electronics. Feel it in your hands, touching the surfaces and corners. See it for what it is, instead of what you use it for.
  2. "No" is not a four letter word.  Do not let someone else's urgency constitute an emergency on your behalf.  While it is human nature to want to help someone you know or love, you have responsibilities of your own. Unless you scheduled crisis management as a line item on your calendar, learn to gently say no to others that have packed their schedules too tight and are looking for a relief valve. 
  3. What's up with that? Without looking at your schedule or your task list, think about what is really important in your life right now. Are you where you want to be with your priorities and your goals? Now, grab your schedule or your to do list for the next few days (if you don't have one, write one down before continuing), and ask yourself the following question, "Does this really matter right now?" We tend to lose touch with the present moment when we spend too much time focused on things that will never help us achieve our future goals. It's much easier to focus on the present moment if we feel like there is absolute purpose to the tasks we are presently working on.
  4. Photographic memory. Put your phone down and resist the urge to take a picture when something eye catching crosses your path. Staging the perfect picture or styling the model shot will only remove you from the present moment. Let your memory of the event be your image. Be fully present and you will enjoy the moment even more. There will be many more perfect plates of food to photograph to take pictures of in the future. In the meantime, put your phone down and enjoy your pancakes before they get cold.
  5. Head games. People, pick up your head. When walking from your car to your next appointment, spend time looking at your surroundings, the beautiful sky, the other people walking by you. Take a moment to breathe, to smile at someone and to say a pleasant, "Good morning." 

Life is fleeting and not to sound macabre but no one gets out of this place alive, so why not live a little while you are here, in the present moment. Worry will do nothing for your future, remorse will do nothing for your past, the greatest gift you can give yourself is the present.

There will be many more perfect plates of food to photograph in the future. In the meantime, put your phone down and enjoy your pancakes before they get cold.

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3 Powerful Apps to Grow Your Business

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3 Powerful Apps to Grow Your Business

Growing your business involves staying on top of the technology curve. And if you are anything like me you are feverishly running just to digest the ever changing landscape. I am constantly reading, downloading, testing, researching and investigating options that will help me grow my business, without losing the personal touch that is so very important in business today. The results of which have given me quite an education. In today's post I am going to review three extremely powerful applications that are working for me to help me maintain an edge while providing me an opportunity to boost my bottom line.  Once installed, these three apps can be used right from your smart phone.


I have yet to find a better website plug-in to help me grow my list than SumoMe. A+ work at an affordable price.
www.SumoMe.com

www.SumoMe.com

SumoMe - One of your most valuable assets in your business today is your list. Grow your list and you will grow your business. I am a fan of apps designed to work while you sleep and SumoMe does that and so much more. If you have a product to sell or service to provide online,  SumoMe helps you maximize your offerings to your website visitors. Even if you run a traditional brick and mortar shop or provide services offline SumoMe's list building features are worth a peek. Creative pop-ups, scroll bars, welcome mats and powerful analytics not only help you build your list, but allow you to analyze what is working and what isn't. Many of the SumoMe offerings are 100% free. Only the advanced/pro features are pay-to-play, but even those features are priced for small businesses to take advantage without feeling the financial pinch. SumoMe.com 


It’s a perfect tool for busy small business owners wanting to build a highly targeted Twitter community...
— Kim Garst
www.SocialQuant.net

www.SocialQuant.net

SocialQuant - If you've kept up with any of my rants about social media via my podcast (The Nice Guys on Business Podcast), you know I am a huge fan of Twitter. I truly feel Twitter is one of the most underutilized marketing platforms today, even though over a half a billion tweets are flown each and every day. Twitter is much more than Kim Kardashian's selfies and what you ate for breakfast. I'll get off my Twitter bandwagon in a moment, but let me stress how effective Twitter is to promote your message, your brand and your offerings. Additionally, if you want your list to grow to mega proportions and your relationships and engagement to boom, learn how to properly use Twitter and get it into gear for your business. SocialQuant has taken Twitter to the next level and made this social channel a list building juggernaut. It's powerful analytics help you drill down to just your target audience, cutting through so much of the social spam and noise, creating a quality following for you and your business. SocialQuant is your automated social media specialist and a perfect option for a small business or organization in need of a specific following at an affordable budget ($25 a month if you use NiceGuy coupon). SocialQuant.net


Turn your car into a university on wheels. Podcasting is a great way to learn how to build your business....big!
Overcast.fm

Overcast.fm

Overcast - Technically, this last app is not actually considered a productivity app, but I would be remiss if I didn't review it as such, simply because I consider education a part of productivity. Without Overcast, my podcast player and manager, I would be missing out on much of the educational content I feed my brain. Great podcasts like Entrepreneur on Fire (John Lee Dumas), The Tim Ferriss Show, NPR's Fresh Air and hundreds more (including my show). One amazing feature it offers is "Recommendations from Twitter" helping me select  shows best aligned with my Twitter community. Podcasts help my car become my university on wheels and even if you don't have a long commute or ride into the office, features like Smart Speed will help eliminate gaps and pauses to give you more show and less waiting. It's amazing to hear more show in less time. Overcast is a great option for you if you are a fan of podcasts. (FREE - Available for iPhone users) Overcast.fm


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