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Creating Successful Leaders

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

As we tiptoe into summer in the Upper Midwest, it can become increasingly difficult to concentrate. Who wants to be stuck inside staring at a screen when the weather is mild and sunny? Who wants to enter information into a spreadsheet when you could be riding your bike, barbequing with your family, or simply taking a walk in the fresh air? The procrastination bug can bite hard when you’re resistant to the tasks in front of you! To help beat summertime procrastination, try any or all of the following 6 tips:

1. Take a midday break

Taking a midday break is a great way to recharge your brain and get moving. Take a 30-minute break to go for a walk, ride your bike, or simply sit outside with a good book or cup of tea and enjoy the sunshine. Getting outside can boost your mood and energy, making it easier to focus when you return to work.

2. Work during off-hours

If you’re finding it difficult to concentrate during the day, try working during off-hours. Wake up early and work before the sun rises, or work in the evening when you’re not as tempted to go outside. This way, you can take advantage of the sunshine during the day (at least for a few hours) without feeling guilty for not working.

3. Break tasks into smaller pieces

Breaking tasks into smaller pieces can help make them feel more manageable. Instead of trying to finish a big project in one day, break it into smaller tasks that you can complete over a few days. This way, you’ll feel more accomplished and less overwhelmed.

4. Set a timer

Setting a timer can help you stay focused and avoid distractions. Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on a task without any interruptions. Once the timer goes off, take a 5-minute break to stretch, grab a snack, or check your phone. Repeat this process until you finish the task. Remember, there’s really no such thing as multitasking! Focusing on one project at a time is a better use of your time AND produces better results.

5. Create a summer schedule

Creating a schedule can help you stay on track and make time for both work and play. Set aside specific times each day for work, exercise, and leisure activities. This way, you’ll have a clear idea of what you need to do each day and won’t feel guilty when you take time off to enjoy the summer weather.

6. Find an accountability partner

Having an accountability partner can help you stay motivated and on track. Find someone who shares your goals or is working on a similar project and check in with each other regularly. This way, you can hold each other accountable and offer support and encouragement along the way.

By trying these 6 tips, you can beat summertime procrastination and make the most of your summer. Remember, it’s important to take breaks, stay motivated, and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts. Happy (almost) summer!



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Photo by Danist Soh on Unsplash

Earth Day has come and gone, but sustainability is important all year long, both in and out of the workplace. It’s not too difficult to live an eco-friendly lifestyle at home—buying organic or locally-grown foods, recycling, reducing your energy usage, walking or cycling to nearby places instead of driving. However, it may be a little trickier to apply sustainability efforts to the workplace. You might have to get many people on board with your initiatives, or you might have to make major changes. However, there are steps you can take. Here are seven ideas for promoting sustainability and creating eco-friendly changes in the workplace:

Implement a composting and recycling program

Businesses can reduce waste and their carbon footprint by implementing a composting and recycling program. Composting food waste and plant matter can reduce greenhouse gases in landfills, while recycling can reduce the need for new products to be created, and save energy and natural resources. Educate employees on what can and cannot be composted or recycled, and provide bins and containers in convenient locations around the workplace. Make sure to have a system for regular pick-up and disposal of compost and recycling to keep the workplace clean and free of clutter.

Promote Energy-Saving Practices

Energy-saving practices can reduce the amount of energy used by businesses, and in turn, reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses could consider swapping to energy-saving light bulbs and unplugging electronics (and even chargers) when not in use. Make sure you also encourage employees to turn off their workstations when they are not in use. Consider scheduling maintenance checks for HVAC systems and other appliances to make sure they are running smoothly and efficiently. Or, if your company is willing to upgrade its space, consider advocating for motion sensors or timers for certain lights.

Reduce Paper Usage

While using paper is sometimes necessary, excessive usage is wasteful and can add up quickly! Encourage employees to avoid printing when possible and instead rely on digital copies. When printing is required, use double-sided printing or print on recycled paper. Promote emailing instead of sending physical mail, and encourage employees to recycle paper when they’re done using it.

Encourage Alternative Transportation

Encouraging employees to carpool, walk, bike, or take a commuter train/bus to work can greatly reduce the carbon footprint of your organization. Consider offering incentives such as preferred parking spots, rewards, or recognition programs to promote alternative transportation. Encourage video conferencing and virtual meetings when possible to save on travel costs and to reduce energy usage.

Go Green with Office Supplies

Businesses can take steps to use eco-friendly materials in the office, such as energy-efficient light bulbs, recycled office supplies, and plastic alternatives (bamboo is often a great affordable option). Employees might also take individual actions, such as using products like refillable pens, reusable water bottles, and recycled paper products.

Create a Green Team

Get a group of volunteers together to form a green team. This team can help educate fellow employees, lead sustainability efforts, and host special eco-friendly events in the workplace. Having a green team is a fun way to encourage everyone to participate in sustainable practices.

Offer Telecommuting Options

Consider offering telecommuting options for employees, as it can greatly reduce carbon emissions and save energy (not to mention commuting time!). This can also be a great way to improve work-life balance for your team.

Make sustainability a part of your company culture. Encourage and reward employees who make efforts to be eco-friendly, and consider incorporating sustainable practices into your company’s mission statement. By making sustainability a priority, you can create a positive impact on the environment and inspire others to do the same. Remember, small changes can make a big difference, so start by implementing one or two of these ideas and continue building from there. With a little effort and creativity, your business can work towards a greener future.


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Photo by Kvalifik on Unsplash

In today’s constantly evolving business landscape, innovation and creativity have become essential for organizations to stay ahead of the curve. As a leader, it’s important to create a workplace environment that encourages and fosters creativity, allowing employees to innovate and progress in their work.

It’s easy to stay safely within the status quo, but “business as usual” is a sure recipe for stagnation and, eventually, falling behind. To become a truly innovative workplace, it is vital to take some risks, test the waters, and re-strategize when necessary.

Here are some strategies to encourage innovation and creativity in the workplace:

Welcome Diverse Perspectives

One of the key ingredients to encourage creativity and innovation in the workplace is to welcome diverse perspectives. A team comprised of individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, and skillsets will bring unique ideas to the table. Far too often, we silence or discourage diverse voices and “never been done” ideas. But to achieve innovation, we must encourage employees to speak up and share their ideas. Make sure everyone knows their opinions are valued by truly listening and taking their thoughts, opinions, and ideas seriously.

Encourage Open Communication and Feedback

Another way to encourage creativity in the workplace is to foster an environment that promotes open communication and feedback between team members, and between the team leader and their team. As a leader, it’s essential to encourage your people to share their opinions, ask questions, and collaborate with each other. You may even open a couple avenues for anonymous communication (such as through surveys or anonymous forums). When it comes to generating new ideas and approaches to solving problems, communication is vital.

Accept Mistakes

Innovation is often accompanied by mistakes. Famously, Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” As a leader, it’s important to foster a culture where mistakes are accepted and seen as opportunities for growth and learning. Encourage your employees to experiment, take risks, and not be afraid of failing. Mistakes are a part of the learning process and we can take away valuable lessons and information from them. By accepting mistakes, you create an environment that is more conducive to innovation.

Provide Support and Resources

Innovation requires resources and support. As a leader, it’s essential to provide your team with the tools and resources they need to succeed. This may include time, money, software, hardware, and other resources. You must also actively seek new ideas and processes to support your team’s innovative endeavors. Providing support and resources is a key way to show that you value innovation and creativity in the workplace.

Test a Few Different Routes

Testing different routes can lead to creative solutions. Encourage your team to experiment and try different approaches to problem-solving. Brainstorming sessions, prototyping, and testing different solutions can lead to unexpected yet effective solutions. Remember to keep careful track of your methods, collect as much data as possible, and analyze that data to make informed decisions.

Encourage Continuous Learning

Innovation requires continuous learning, so it’s important to encourage your employees to keep learning and developing new skills. Provide opportunities for training, workshops, and conferences. Also, encourage your team to access online resources and attend webinars. By investing in your team’s education and development, you’ll create a culture that values innovation and is constantly striving for improvement.

Don’t Micromanage the Process!

Finally, one of the most important things a leader can do to encourage innovation and creativity in the workplace is to avoid micromanaging the process. Micromanaging can stifle creativity and prevent your team from exploring new ideas. Instead, give your team the freedom to take calculated risks, experiment, and innovate.

Encouraging innovation and creativity in the workplace is crucial for staying ahead in today’s fast-paced business world. By following these strategies, you can create a workplace where employees feel empowered to take risks, collaborate, and experiment with new ideas. Remember, innovation is a journey and not a destination. By fostering a culture that values innovation and creativity, you can create endless possibilities for your team and your organization.


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