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It’s Stress awareness month and I think it’s important if we just stop for a second and take note of the horrible impact stress has on our lives. Right, ready to continue? Good, stress can be important for change and drive but when it reaches a level that is not manageable then, that’s when you need to stop for a minute and evaluate things. So what small changes can you make that will really help?

 

1.Mange your own expectations

 

Expectations is often what drives our stress levels up. This could be us expecting to get a job promotion by a certain date.  It could be expectations to deliver vast quantities of work by a certain deadline or it could even be hitting personal targets you have set.  Take a moment and step back to evaluate what is making you stressed. Ask yourself how much of this, is really in my control? Ask yourself, what can I realistically achieve in this time period?  Once you have established that then begin to manage your own personal expectations better. After that manage the expectations of those around you. Talk to those who are affected by the outcome of your goal and let them know how things are going and how you feel.

 

2. Learn how to relax

 

This may sound relatively simple but you would be surprised how many people struggle to relax when they are stressed. You have probably heard alot about meditation and mindfulness? It’s not just a fad that is on trend, it actually has scientific evidence behind it. So give it a go.

Also find other things that relax you which allow you focus on that activity alone and allow you to be free from intrusive stressful thoughts This could be playing sport, painting, playing an instrument. Try a few things out.

3. Look after your body

 

Now when I say this I mean think about the food you are eating when you are stressed and the level of sleep you get. So when we are stressed we tend to stress eat. Popping out for a muffin from M&S at lunch? or maybe it’s shoving down a galaxy bar and a packet of crisp for dinner because you’re going to be home to late to cook.  Get on those quick health meals – make your lunch the night before. Develop a sleep schedule and stick to it. Make sure you’re going to bed at the same each night and have a relaxing routine before bed. Sleep is often the thing that is most affected when we are stressed but the thing we most need when we are stressed to help us operate.

 

 

 

We’ve all been there on the tube, in the car or maybe walking to work thinking I could do more with this time. Why not make the most of your commute, so you can feel you’ve accomplished a lot before you even get to work. Here’s a handy list of apps to get you on your way to more productive commute – you’re welcome.

1. Listen to a podcast – Stitcher

Although reading a book is great and we don’t want this pastime to die. It’s not always easy to get a book out or indeed fit one in your bag alongside your laptop, gym kit and your snacks for later. Also, Podcasts are great if your driving and don’t have four hands. You’re likely staring at a screen all day so why not give your eyes a break and just plug-in and listen. Some great podcasts: Tim Ferris Show, Stuff You Should Know, Ted Radio Hour to name a few. So what’s the app? Well, Stitcher is free and allows you to create a playlist of your favorite podcasts.

Image of Stitcher app on phone

2.Get some Buddha into your day  – Calm

We all need some head space and some time to just focus on our breath. Meditation is massively on trend and for good reason. There is a lot of research to say that taking time to just focus in the moment has wondrous effects on your health and mentality. So give this one a go. It’s free and has a range of things you can do from guided meditation to just focusing on your breath.

image of calm app on phone

3.Organise your food goals- Jawbone UP

Trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy diet, but always forget about that cheeky brownie at lunch or the extra glass of wine at the pub? Well, this app is great for helping you maintain a healthy diet or track your food to try to lose weight. They have a great feature to be able to watch your goals with friends and challenge them to a duel. Which is a race against your friend to do more steps in a set period such as 3 days. If you’re competitive this could be a great motivator for a lunchtime walk.

image of Jawbone UP app on phone

4.Catch up with what you couldn’t do earlier – Pocket

Ever too busy to read something but bookmark it for later and never actually get round to reading it. Well, all that could change with this handy app from Pocket. You can save articles from google (other search engines are available), twitter, Facebook, email, or almost anywhere else. Then, when you’re stuck on a train for 30 minutes because there is yet another strike; you’ll feel a lot more informed and motivated knowing you have had a productive commute.

Image of Pocket app on phone and tablet

5.Get your to-do list in shape –Wunderlist

Everyone loves a list, don’t they? I don’t know if it’s the numbered/listed thing of knowing you have objectives or maybe the satisfaction in crossing or ticking something off the list. Whatever your reason for making lists; there is a fantastic app called Wunderlist which allows you to make lists, add reminders, share with others ( i.e remind Tash to do her slides for that presentation). It also syncs with your computer – making life just that bit easier. So if you’re a list maker, write this on your to-do list to install.

Image of Wunderlist app on phone

6. Get everything connected – IFTTT

Ever get so confused by all the apps you have and wish everything could just be more synced and together? Well, this nifty bit of tech does this for you. IFTTT ‘gets all your apps and devices talking to each other’. The platform has a range of what they call ‘Applets’ which can bring services together to give you new options for making life easier.Image of IFTTT app on phone.

7. Zone out and concentrate more – Noisli

This app is fantastic at helping you zone out and focus which will inevitably increase productivity. You can create a custom sound scape to suit you by choosing a range of natural sound as well as brown, white and pink noise generators. Phone are used for lots of things and some apps stop running as soon you close them, however, this one keeps going meaning you can use other apps at the same time. Give it a try.

Image of Noisli app on phone

8. Personalise your typing – Swiftkey

We all do things a little differently. We have different preferences when using devices. This app allows you to custom your keyboard to suit the way in which you use your phone. It has the predictive abilities of Darren Brown. If this doesn’t make for a productive commute when you are getting through emails, I don’t know what will.

Image of someone using Swiftkey on their phone

 

 

 

 

‘Business’ and ‘inspiration’ are often not words that people would expect to see together. Oh, how wrong they are. It takes a lot to build something from scratch and develop it to the point where you’re not only living, but living comfortably while doing something you love. Below, you’ll find a list of resources which we think could help you to build your business into something truly special.

XOSarah

Sarah’s blog is specifically aimed at people who want to make money out of their blogs. It might seem like the lessons don’t apply to people with a very different business idea. However, blogs are a great thing to have for pretty much any business, so Sarah’s super-informative site is a great place to start. We especially love this post about how best to handle a really busy day.

Two Scots Abroad

While Two Scots abroad is a travel blog, we came across this post and we love it. It gives some great info that works for people who are just starting out, or for those who want to step up their game. Fine, you might not be promoting your own travel blog, but if you’re trying to sell anything online the tips they offer would be a great way to start.

Adore Creative Studio

Chloe is a freelance designer. She runs a beautiful website, as you would expect from a designer. However, we want to talk about her blog. It’s a fantastic example of how a business can use a blog to showcase their work, as well as creating a ton of business-related content which people will want to share. If people share your content, they spread the word about you. This post gives some great ideas for what to post on social media when you get stuck. And you will get stuck eventually. It happens to us all.

Living For Naptime

Living for Naptime is designed for mums who want to start a blog in their free time. But if you’re starting a business while dealing with something else that takes up a lot of time and attention (ie. that full time job you want to get rid of some day) we think there’s a lot to be learned from the brilliant time-saving tips on there. We particularly love this post about growing your Instagram. Give it a try!

Snap Creativity

Tauni Everett has an amazing ‘Blogging + Entrepreneur Tips’ section on her website, which is packed full of information which is really useful whatever your business. For those looking to increase their social media following, we particularly love this post about organically upping your Facebook likes. But, really, the whole blog is a treasure trove.

Nesha Woolery

Once you’ve got yourself set up and your website looking great, you’re on the right track. But it’s not enough to just sit there and wait for your clients to roll in. This post on Nesha’s blog is especially great. It provides a run-down of loads of ways you can go about attracting clients. It’s all about putting yourself out there, and that post will show you how.

Now. Real talk time. Did we miss any amazing sources of business inpiration that you think we should know about? Where do you turn when you need a kick up the backside? If you take away one tip from all of this, what will it be?

 

It’s brilliant that you’ve decided you want to turn your passion into profit. You’ve even gone ahead and listed your class. But how do you go about it if you’ve never taught an official class before? Writing a lesson plan is a really good place to begin. You might be totally new to the whole process, or just in need of a refresher now that you’ve decided to teach on the regular. Either way, we’ve got your back.

1. Know what people will need in good time

If you’re planning to teach a class, start your lesson plan with a list of everything a student might need. That could just be a pen and paper. If you’re leading a cookery session you’ll need to know the ingredients. If you’re teaching an instrument and your student needs to provide their own, make that clear too. There’s a section in your HowNow class listing to let students know what they’ll need, so make sure you use it.

2. Have an overall objective

Before you go into too much detail in your lesson plan, decide what a student should come away having learned. This will give you a goal to keep in mind while you’re planning. Once you know what you’re aiming for you can break it down into steps. For one-to-one sessions, this might be dictated by the needs to your student. For group sessions where ability levels may be mixed, you’ll need to decide in advance what you want students to learn.

3. Set realistic durations for activities

Your class might be an hour long, but how you use that hour is completely up to you. If you have multiple activities for students to complete during a class, you need to make sure you allocate time to each so that you don’t overrun. These need to be realistic, as well. If you’re teaching craft and people have to glue something together, how long does that take? Don’t be tempted to underestimate, because that’ll mean you feel rushed. Make sure everybody has enough time to complete what they need to. If you complete a plan and realise you need more than an hour, feel free to create a lesson plan that spans multiple classes.

4. Don’t be thrown off if people don’t act how you expect them to

For all that we talk about having a lesson plan, don’t be surprised if things don’t go quite as expected. You might encounter a group of quiet students. Don’t be thrown by that. Maybe you’ll have one super-keen student who shouts down everybody else. Make sure you know what you’ll do in situations where people are unpredictable. It might never happen, but at least this way you can feel confident in the knowledge that you’re prepared.

5. Plan a curriculum while you’re at it

If you really want to maximise the profits you make through HowNow, consider expanding that lesson plan. Set an overall goal for what people should learn across a series of lessons with you. There’s nowhere on the site to publish that, so it doesn’t have to be amazing, but it’s good to have it for yourself. Then, break that “super goal” down into a series of classes. We say ‘curriculum’, but we’re just trying to be fancy. All we really mean is ‘series of more than one class’.

study

We hope this proves that anybody can write a lesson plan. All you really need to do is be a bit organised, and break everything down as much as possible. We can wait to see what your awesomely-planned classes look like!

Time Management is a huge factor when it comes to Getting Shit Done (capitalised because it’s important). The problem is that the world is very distracting these days, which makes it difficult to stay productive. So what do you do when the work is piling up but there’s just one too many Netflix series to be binged at the same time.

Time Management Tip No. 1

Know how you work best. Do you need everything to be dead silent to get through your ‘to do’ list, or do you need a pumping soundtrack of 80s classics in the background. We’re not here to judge. Once you’ve identified what you need to have in order to be able to work, do yourself a favour and provide it. If you need to move, move. If you need earplugs, get earplugs. It’s worth it in the end.

Time Management Tip No. 2

Set work/break times: Realistically, what we’re saying here is ‘bribe yourself’ if you know a task is going to take an hour, promise yourself you can have twenty minutes off afterwards. It’s better that than sitting and staring at your screen for three hours while you half-work and half-skive. Commit to working flat-out for a period of time, and then being lazy for a little while. Maybe there’ll even be cake. Oh yeah, and buy cake.

Time Management Tip No. 3

Be realistic about how long stuff takes: If you say a task will take half an hour, do you really mean it? Most of us underestimate the length of time it takes to do basically anything. It doesn’t mean you’re underachieving, but you need to be realistic. If you’ve got seven tasks that you estimate will take one hour each, but that you know deep down will take at least two, you don’t have one day’s work on your hands, you have two. That isn’t going to work, and it’s likely to make you panic and procrastinate, so make sure you’re giving yourself the time you actually need to the things you actually need to get done.

Time Management Tip No. 4

Don’t take on too much: In the same vein as being realistic, don’t take on too much work. People will understand if you tell them you’ve got too much on (after all, there’s a reason they’re not doing it all for themselves), but if you just don’t deliver without letting people know why you’re going to start giving a really bad impression.

Time Management Tip No. 5

Don’t struggle if it’s not working: We all have bad days. If you’ve been staring at a screen for ages and not concentrating, sometimes it’s worth stepping away for a while and coming back. Sure, if you leave the office for an hour, people might question it. But if the choice is between refreshing your screen for the rest of the day without getting through any work, or taking an hour out and then coming back and smashing it, we all know which one most people would ultimately prefer. Treat yourself.

Time Management Tip No. 6

If you’ve tried everything and you still find yourself sitting on Youtube and watching old blooper reels, get rid of the internet. There are loads of apps you can use to block time wasting websites (i.e. all of the good ones), and many even offer you the option to block all internet access for a certain length of time. If your phone is the issue, put it in another room. You’ll survive without it for a while, and when you’ve finally finished your task you can use it to let all of your friends know how awesome and productive you are.

time management 2

 

These are just a few suggestions which we hope will help you to get shit done when that’s what you need to do. For more help, check out advice from experts on HowNow. What do you do when the tasks are piling up and you need to get through them super-quickly?