Nine Focus-Boosting Ideas To Get You Back On Track

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.”
~Bruce Lee

Whether you are working from home or you are back in the office, distractions happen. Some people find it difficult to regain their focus after getting interrupted, while others can refocus quickly. If you are going to do your best work, you must learn how to keep diversions at bay and stay focused.

Michael S. Hyatt, an author, podcaster, blogger and speaker, notes that in a distraction economy, focus is a rare commodity. He encourages leaders to learn how to alleviate distractions in the workplace and help their team members stay focused on their daily work.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share nine ideas from Hyatt on how to increase your concentration levels and zero in on the task at hand.

1. Schedule time to focus. What gets scheduled gets done, Hyatt notes. If you do your best work in the morning, block off time in your calendar to complete your most important projects.

2. Spend time alone. Sometimes it’s helpful to shut your office door or put on a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to signal to those around you that you do not want to be interrupted. You could also designate a day in the week as a meeting-free day.

3. Get offline. The constant ping from emails, texts and Slack messages can make it near impossible to truly focus. Hyatt recommends turning off notifications or using a tool to block content.

4. Lower the room temperature. To increase your focus, lower the temperature in your office. Hyatt points out a study from Scientific American that found that cooler rooms improve concentration.

5. Get comfortable. Do you like working at a stand-up desk? Like to have a cozy blanket draped over your legs? Find what works for you and you will find it easier to stay focused.

6. Turn on some music. According to Stanford University researchers, the right music can help you stay on track. After studying the effect of music on the brain, they found that music engages areas of the brain involved in paying attention, making predictions and updating memory.

7. Watch how food affects your focus. Hyatt suggests paying attention to what you eat and drink and how it makes you feel when you are working. Does a second cup of coffee help you focus or does it make you jittery? Maybe you need to keep snacks handy or track your water intake to make sure you stay hydrated. Hyatt recommends adding foods thought to increase brain function such as salmon, coffee, blueberries and chocolate.

8. Establish mini goals. According to Hyatt, a mini goal is a small project you can accomplish in a set period of time. For example, he likes to set a mini goal of writing a 500-word blog post in 45 minutes several times a week. He knows his average writing time is 75 minutes per post, so setting a timer helps him stay on track.

9. Take breaks frequently. Remember not to power through your day without working in some breaks. It’s important to pause often, whether you make another cup of coffee, take a quick walk or pause for a few minutes of meditation.

To get the most out of every workday, you must commit to being intentional with how you spend your time. Rather than allowing yourself to get sidetracked by every little disruption, make a point to keep yourself on track. Even by working in a few of the ideas above, you can give yourself a valuable concentration boost.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Michael S. Hyatt is an American author, podcaster, blogger, speaker and the CEO and founder of Michael Hyatt & Company. He has written several books about leadership, productivity and goal setting.

Seven Words To Supercharge Your Emails

“Communication works for those who work at it.” ~John Powell

Sales professionals often spend a good portion of their day crafting emails. While they might be adept at verbal communication, they may not be as skillful when it comes to the written word. Still, emails matter. Sales reps must know how to use the right words in their emails if they want to make a great impression on clients and prospects and increase their chances of landing a meeting.

Steve Adcock, a contributor to CNBC, CBS MarketWatch and The Ladders, says there are seven phrases and words that can help sales professionals communicate their message clearly and decisively. We highlight Adcock’s suggestions in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

No. 1: The recipient’s name.
Adcock says personalizing your emails establishes an immediate connection between you and the recipient. He recommends using recipients’ names when it makes sense. In other words, do not stuff names unnaturally into your email message. This appears spammy and computer-generated.

No. 2: Simple.
By including the word “simple” in your emails, you convey that your message isn’t complicated. People are busy and prefer things that are easy and smooth over things that are complex and difficult to understand.

No. 3: Also.
According to Adcock, words like “also” and “and” are great ways to imply something important. These words are especially valuable when writing sales or marketing emails. By using these words, you demonstrate that the recipient is getting more than just one piece of valuable information. Everybody likes a little something extra if it adds value.

No. 4: Right.
When people see this word, they often think of other related words like “correct” or “appropriate,” says Adcock. “Right” is typically associated with positive feelings—which is how you want people to feel when they read your emails. When you use the word “right” early on in your message, you can set a positive and confirming tone for your email.

No. 5: New.
Most people love the word “new” since it conjures images of clean and high-quality. That’s why we use the phrase “new car smell.” Adcock notes that when something is new, it is also often fresh or never seen before, which people like.

No. 6: Freebie.
A “freebie” is something that people get in exchange for something else. Maybe you send them a free download or checklist in exchange for their contact information. You should use “freebie” or something like it in your emails since most everyone likes getting something for nothing.

No. 7: Backed.
Adcock says the word “backed” implies authority. For example, if you say that something is “customer-backed” or “research-based,” you can help add credibility to your statement.

If you want more clients and prospects to read and respond to your emails, try incorporating some of the above words and phrases into your copy. You will come across as a smarter communicator and inspire recipients to take action.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Steve Adcock is a regular contributor to The Ladders, CBS MarketWatch and CNBC. He writes about mental toughness, financial independence and how to get the most out of your life and career.

Seven Ways To Turn Your To-Do List Into A Success List

“Focus on being productive instead of being busy.” ~Tim Ferris

Some people love a good to-do list. They like to jot down all the tasks they hope to accomplish in a certain time period and then feel the satisfaction of crossing off various items. The thing is, though, that to-do lists aren’t always effective. Many people use them as parking lots for items they want to get to eventually and they end up getting overwhelmed and not completing the tasks at all.

Naphtali Hoff, Psy.D., president of Impactful Coaching & Consulting, says there are some ways you can turn the traditional to-do list into a list in which you accomplish meaningful tasks, rather than just crossing things off a checklist. 
In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Dr. Hoff’s smart strategies for approaching your to-do items. 
1.    Add the right items. When jotting your to-do list, keep it manageable. If you add too many items you can’t accomplish in a day, you will feel overwhelmed. Dr. Hoff recommends adding only items that are actionable and measurable (such as making 20 sales calls) and that you can finish in one sitting. 
2.    Schedule time for high-priority work. If you do not prioritize items on your to-do list, you may end up wasting time and not getting to the most important items. Look at your list and move the high-priority items to the top. Whether you use a planner, whiteboard or corkboard, pick a format that works for you and stick to it. 
3.    Split projects into smaller tasks. When you have large, looming projects on your to-do list, you might not know where to start. That’s why Dr. Hoff suggests breaking larger tasks into more approachable, quantifiable action steps. 
4.    Begin with the easy tasks. Some people recommend “eating the frog,” or starting with the difficult tasks. Dr. Hoff encourages building momentum by knocking out a few easy two-minute items on your list. This can help you get in the frame of mind for the real work. 
5.    Let others know your plans. Accountability is a big driver when getting things done. When your colleagues or bosses know what you plan to accomplish, you will naturally want to stay on task. 
6.    Enjoy checking off items. There’s a real sense of satisfaction in crossing a line or putting a checkmark next to a completed item on your to-do list. Remember to do this digitally if you use tools such as Trello or Asana. 
7.    Edit your list. Take a look at your to-do list (if you keep one). Are there items that seem to perpetually end up there? Take some time to determine what is getting in the way of accomplishing those tasks. Maybe they do not need to be an action item on your list at all. 
If you have been making to-do lists for years but you do not feel like you’re making any real progress or change, it may be time to take a fresh approach. Just because you make a to-do list does not mean you will be more productive or effective at accomplishing your tasks. Instead, think of your list as a success list by following the tips above. You might be surprised at the sense of accomplishment you feel at the end of the day when you see you made tangible progress on an important project.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Naphtali Hoff, Psy.D. is president of Impactful Coaching & Consulting. He wrote the leadership book, Becoming the New Boss.

Raster vs. Vector Images – What’s the difference and why is it important?

For those of us that aren’t graphic designers, the terminology regarding art files can be confusing. For example, understanding the difference between a vector and raster image. One is crisp and sharp, and the other is barely legible.

To understand the difference, you should first know how each is created. A vector image is a series of curves, lines and shapes all based on mathematical equations like that algebra class you never thought you would use to create an image in the computer. A raster image, on the other hand, is a representation of an image using a variety of pixels.

Vector Art:

Vector art is ideal for all forms of printing. Since the art is based on an equation, the image can be printed in any size and the quality will remain the same. You can use a vector image for a business card and then use the same image for a billboard sized project and the art will still be crisp and clear.

Raster Art:

If a raster image was used this way, it would blur and pixelate beyond recognition. A raster image, also referred to as a bitmap, is better displayed on a screen or computer monitor.

So when creating or sending images, keep in mind the final product. Getting the correct version of your artwork for a project can be tricky and with so many design terms and jargon, it’s very easy to get lost in translation! And remember, Island Media will ALWAYS provide you with several different versions of your artwork, both vector and raster, so you have the right file for the right job!

If you have additional questions or would just rather have our graphic designers create your artwork for you contact us.