Is the overall energy and output of your office dragging, leading to a loss of output and – of course – profits? If so, you could benefit from changing up your office’s color scheme.
The paint color you choose for your office can make a big difference in your employees’ work performance and, more so, your business’ success. Want to stimulate creativity, productivity, or a sense of balance in the workplace? Then consider painting your office in one of these shades of color:
Yellow to Stimulate Creativity
More and more businesses rely on an “out of the box” way of tackling situations, making creativity a necessary quality for any workforce to possess. Unfortunately, unlike pure manpower, creativity is something of an elusive creature – one which may not always be at your employees’ disposal.
While you can’t simply pull creativity out of thin air, you can make steps to coax it out of the recesses of your staff’s minds. To do that, have your office painted in shades of yellow. Shown to stimulate creativity, this shade of paint will do wonders to keep your employees thinking and performing in innovative ways.
Blue to Stimulate Productivity
What’s the good of a workforce that’s inventive if they can’t produce the output you need? The most creative ideas in the world won’t stuff your business’ coffers if they aren’t getting put out there to make you money. That’s why you also need to maintain a productive workforce.
If you find that your staff’s productivity is lagging, then you could definitely benefit from painting your office in shades of blue. Blue is shown to stimulate employees’ productivity. While it’s not as effective for creativity-driven businesses, blue is great for offices that focus on number-crunching.
Green to Stimulate Mental Balance
You need to be careful about how much of the above-mentioned colors you use for your office. After all, too much of a good thing is just too much, as they say, and the saying certainly applies to colors that stimulate your employees’ productivity and output. Too much of them could quickly lead to mental exhaustion.
If you find that your employees are feeling a bit mentally fatigued, try breaking up these stimulating colors with a much more calming one such as green. Green inspires a sense of mental balance that will give your staff the mental calmness it needs to maintain a consistent output that can be far more effective in the long run than bursts of extreme creativity and productivity.
Color matters. Penny Wise carries a huge selection of colorful office products to help keep your business running smoothly. Visit us today!
I’d choose Option One and I’ll bet you would, too. As we start the new year, and a brand new decade, I thought I would shake things up a bit and write about a different topic that is of interest to us all – reducing stress and avoiding burnout.
Before writing Competitive Selling: The Guidebook to Being Proactive in a Reactive World in 2019, I got about 70% finished with a book focused on nutrition and good health for the super busy professional. Notice I said only “70%” finished. I never completed the book for a number of reasons, but it is still a topic I feel passionate about.
Besides being a writer, I’m also a passionate reader. I’ve read countless books on business and the profession of selling. In my pursuit of living a balanced life, I’ve read an equal number of books on improving nutrition, relieving stress, and strengthening relationships.
On the active side of things, I’m an avid runner and mountain biker. Work-wise, I travel most weeks and put in long hours on the job, as you probably do, too.
Life can be very busy. A busy life can easily lead to burnout, but with focused daily habits, it can largely be avoided. Here is my advice on how to do just that in 2020:
1. Get the list out of your head before you hit the bed.
We’ve all been there. Your mind is racing and you can’t sleep. One strategy that works is to make sure you compile your master list of things to do before you hit the sack. This can be done before you leave the office or even later in the evening. It frees up your mind to truly rest and helps you prioritize tasks much faster in the morning.
One of my all-time favorite books on time management is Brian Tracy’s book, Time Power. The author boldly promises you’ll learn how to get more done than you ever thought possible. It’s a great resource. I think we can all improve in this area!
2. What you track improves.
Just like I would advise a salesperson to track their sales activities, I would also suggest tracking your physical activity and your food intake.
The more conscience you are of your daily habits the better you will do. Life is stressful. Eating the right foods can help. They can truly be medicine to the body and build up your immunity and stress-tolerance. One way to tap into more tracking this year is to try out an app like MyFitnessPal. Other good ones are available, too.
Most nutrition gurus say for an active person, your diet should be made up 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fats. These percentages can shift depending on your fitness goals, health needs and doctor instructions.
Whatever the numbers are, how do you know if you are hitting them if you don’t track them?
Along with tracking nutrition, track your exercise. Let’s get physical…every single day. We have all seen the rise of the sale of standing desks and for good reason. Stand up. Get your body moving!
3. Take your vacation time this year and lose the guilt.
Without regular rest periods, your mind quickly fills up and the hard drive of sound thinking can be disrupted. When I started my business 16 years ago, my father-in-law, a successful business person, told my husband and me to get away every ninety days, whether we had the resources or not. That’s something we’ve stuck to and it has paid huge dividends in avoiding burnout and feeding our marriage.
For me personally, taking a vacation is an act of faith. There is always a long list of tasks to tackle and it never stops. But give yourself permission to rest guilt-free. Come back re-engaged and even more focused. Go ahead. Look at the 2020 calendar and plan your time off. If you don’t, it will be 2021 before you know it!
4. Get off the Complain Train.
There is a great book by Jon Gordon called The Energy Bus. In the book, he describes a great “No Complaining Rule.” Aspire to hold yourself to this rule and encourage others to do the same. Be conscious of this energy and time sucking activity and stop it in its tracks!
As the old hymn says, “Count your blessings, name them one by one.” Work on driving up your awareness of how much there truly is to be grateful for!
5. Find passion in your work.
You have been gifted with certain skills, talents and abilities that are uniquely yours. Do you know what they are? Here’s a quick question to figure out one of your gifts: “What is something you can do almost effortlessly, without much planning, and still perform it with excellence?” The “without much planning” is not advised but it’s still a way to think of your most natural gifts! (The Gallup Poll Strengths Finder is a great tool to use to create a more comprehensive list.)
Recognize those parts of the role you play at work that give you the most joy versus those that drain you. For a salesperson, it is helpful to look at things you do that are proactive vs. reactive (often draining activities). Analyze how much time you are spending in each area. Then make it a point to be more proactive in the areas you are gifted in the most…the areas where you find your passion.
So, reflect on these coping strategies and see which ones make sense for you. Remember, people love to do business with someone who loves what they do.
Are you that person?
Reignite that passion, take good care of yourself, and make it a fantastic 2020!
Marisa Pensa is founder of Methods in Motion, a sales training company that helps businesses execute training concepts and create accountability to see both inside and outside sales initiatives through to success. For more information, visit www.methodsnmotion.com
Now is the perfect time to take a few steps to prepare yourself for a strong start to the New Year (and new decade). You have a much better chance of making positive long-lasting changes when you’ve laid the groundwork ahead of time, rather than waiting until January 1.
Here are a few things you can do today to get ready for a great new year….
Reflect and assess on 2019.
What worked this year in your life? What didn’t work? What could you have done better? And what did you do really well? Sit down this week and actually put pen to paper to take a look back at the entire year to see where you need to make changes and where you need to give yourself a pat on the back. Once you’ve fully reflected and given yourself a real reality check, then you’re ready to keep an open mind and move forward armed with all the knowledge about how to tackle 2020.
Join a gym or hire a personal trainer and book your training sessions through the first two months of the year.
A great way to work on your health and fitness is by joining a gym, hiring a personal trainer or having an accountability buddy to work out with. The beautiful thing about signing on to work with a trainer is that you can actually book, block out and schedule your workouts with your trainer weeks in advance. If those workouts are already in your calendar and your trainer’s calendar before the New Year even starts, you’re much more likely to keep them and commit to them, especially with someone else keeping you in check.
Buy new workout clothes and sneakers, a new gym bag and water bottle.
Just like you want to dress for success at work, you also want to dress for success at the gym. If you’re still hiding in oversized cotton t-shirts and sweatpants that cling to your body and don’t let your sweat breathe, now’s a perfect chance for a wardrobe upgrade. Find some sweat-wicking leggings or shorts, supportive sneakers and even a gym bag that fits all the essentials, along with a big new reusable water bottle to keep with you at all times. You could even add your fitness gear to the Christmas list that you give to others, then fill in the holes based on whatever you don’t receive. Once you’ve invested in the proper attire for your workouts, you’ll be extra excited to make them happen regularly.
Remove obligations that could get in the way of your goals.
In today’s go-go-go society, we’re trained to think that the busier you are, the better off you are. But truly, that’s not the case. Before the New Year hits, we think you should take some time to review all of your current obligations, commitments and even relationships. Do they bring you joy? Do you look forward to them or dread them? Do you leave them feeling uplifted or drained? Do they support your healthy goals or hinder them? Whatever people or responsibilities are weighing on your time and emotions, consider eliminating them, if at all possible. Not only will you have more time to focus on your workouts, sleep, self-care and healthy eating, but you’ll also feel a weight lifted off your shoulders — and you can’t put a price-tag on that.
A few other honorable mentions …
• Clean out your pantry and fridge of all the unhealthy and expired food you don’t want to eat.
• Start stocking up on fresh produce and frozen produce to have on hand so you can have veggies at every meal.
• Sign up for a healthy meal delivery service for busy weekdays, so you can be sure you’ll have a nutritious and filling meal that supports your health goals.
• Write your goals down on multiple pieces of paper and paste them everywhere, including your mirror, fridge, car and desk.
Aiming for a work-free holiday break this year? Here’s how to realistically make it happen.
You’re working like crazy to tie up all of those necessary loose ends before you officially say goodbye to your desk for the holiday break.
Ideally, you’d spend your time off relaxing and recharging. But, if the past few years are any indication, you’ll more than likely spend a good chunk of your time glued to your computer or phone instead.
Well, no more. You deserve to actually kick back over the holidays. So, here are six tips to help you seriously disconnect and enjoy this merry time of year without work commitments hanging over your head.
1. Be Realistic
While you should definitely make a strong effort to check out of work-mode over the holidays, it’s important that you’re also realistic with your expectations.
Now that we’ve all become so accustomed to being constantly connected, it’s that much tougher to unplug entirely.
So, don’t enter into your break with the assumption that you won’t even glance at your inbox until your time off comes to a close. You’ll likely only wind up disappointed and frustrated. Focus on being better than normal, rather than perfect.
2. Lay Some Ground Rules
When you’re planning to disconnect for some time, it’s important that you set some clear expectations — both for yourself and the people that you work with.
In regards to yourself, will you allow any time to check in on work-related matters? If so, outline those rules now, such as only letting yourself pop into your inbox once per day for no more than fifteen minutes.
Also, make it known to your colleagues that you plan to be out of touch and for how long, so that they know better than to wait on you for any urgent requests.
3. Prioritize and Work Ahead
A key part of truly being able to unplug during your time off is adequate prep work — after all, it’s tough to relax if you feel like there’s a ton of unfinished business looming.
When you’re a few weeks out from your break, make a long list of all of the things that need to get accomplished before you officially check out. Then take a look to see what can be delegated and what can wait until after you return.
Sort the tasks that are left in order of deadline, and then start chipping away at those to-dos far ahead of time. That way, everything should be pretty close to handled by the time you stroll out of the office for your break.
4. Refrain From Setting Goals
This one can seem somewhat counterintuitive, particularly with the popularity of resolutions during this time of year.
However, if you know you’re going to be tempted to work when you really should be enjoying quality time with your loved ones, refrain from setting any professional goals for yourself until you’re back at work.
Why? Well, outlining those career and business ambitions during your time off will likely inspire you to get moving on those goals immediately — which will ultimately put you right back in front of your computer.
5. Set an Out-of-Office Message
This step seems obvious, but it’s one that far too many people neglect.
Setting an out-of-office responder when you’re on your break will remove much of the pressure from your shoulders, as well as keep your colleagues in the loop.
So, make sure to draft one of these messages before you take your time off. Include your return date as well as the contact information for someone else who can help with urgent matters, and you’ll be able to cut that tether that’s constantly connecting you to your inbox.
6. Abandon Your Electronics
Perhaps you’ve implemented all of these tips and you still don’t feel confident that you’ll be able to enjoy the festivities without a screen in front of your face.
If that’s the case, go ahead and lock away your electronics. Power down your phone and keep it in a drawer for the majority of a day. Put your laptop and your work bag in the back of the closet — where you’ll have to consciously reach for them.
These small changes can make a huge difference in how often you find yourself relying on those devices. When you need to be intentional about their use, you’re much less likely to be attached to them.
You deserve some time to unplug and relax over your holiday break. But, sometimes that’s easier said than done. Put these six tips to use, and you’ll be able to enjoy some (mostly) work-free and guilt-free time off.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
As we enter into the holiday season (yes, brace yourself, it’s that time of year again) we thought this would be a great time to reflect on the importance of kindness.
Kindness in the office, at school, in traffic, or at home, can change a bad situation into a tolerable one.
In a world that moves so fast, and is digitally driven, ironically, we are less connected with one another on a deeper level than ever before. Since we only see the surface (or the highlight reel) we have no idea what another person is going through in their lives. They may have just lost a loved one, or a job, or may be dealing with pain or an illness. Those who treat others poorly or fly off the handle, are more likely to need our kindness than we can possibly imagine.
Being a little kinder than necessary is always a great way to go through life. Even ONE person can make a difference. Will that person be you? Or maybe you will be the recipient of another’s kindness?
We’ve included a few ideas for random acts of kindness here. We’d love to hear some of your ideas.
All of us at Penny Wise wish you a peaceful season filled with goodwill and kindness.
The way your day starts sets the tone for everything that follows. That’s why it’s very important to be intentional about your morning routine. While we know that you don’t have much time to spend on intricate and unrealistic wellness practices, there are a few short and simple things you can do each morning to ensure you find a better footing to take on the rest of the day with ease.
1. Get some natural sunlight first thing in the morning.
Would you believe that there’s something totally free you can do each day to boost your happiness hormones and energy levels? Get sunlight! Natural sunlight, that is. Our bodies and hormones get a lot of information from the light that we’re surrounded with, and that’s why it’s important to spend a little bit of time, anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, in natural sunlight, without sunglasses, within about 30 minutes to an hour of waking up.
This time in the sunlight will signal to your brain to release serotonin, which is a feel-good hormone that also makes you calm and focused. In addition to that, starting your day with some natural sunlight and vitamin D can actually help you sleep better at night, because it resets your circadian rhythm to follow the natural pattern of light and dark, so your body will be ready to power down in the evening time.
2. Drink 16 to 32 ounces of water as soon as you wake up.
During the night-time while you are sleeping, your body is going through a ton of processes, and it also isn’t taking in any liquid. That means that when you wake up, you are technically dehydrated and in need of fluid intake. In addition to that, when you drink water first thing in the morning, it actually helps to flush all of the toxins through your system that were accumulating over night.
Try keeping a bottle of water next to the bed each night, then you can down those 16 to 32 ounces as soon as you wake up. (Quick tip: Room temperature water is actually a lot easier to drink than cold water, so it’s better if it sits out all night.) From that initial drink, you’ll get a boost of energy from the hydration, your brain will feel more focused — as it’s mostly made up of water and always needs fluids to function — and you’ll also feel full, so you don’t have to run to the kitchen for breakfast right away. Hydrating throughout the day is important for everyone, but that first glass of water is perhaps your most beneficial one of the day, so don’t skip it.
3. Spend a few minutes of quiet time meditating or being mindful.
It’s very common to wake up and immediately check our phones for emails, messages and other incoming requests from other people, thus setting us off in a reactive mode. Yet, focusing on other people’s issues can fill us with stress and worry, and this isn’t the best way to begin a day. That’s why, it’s beneficial to take anywhere from 3 to 15 minutes in the morning to sit quietly and be alone with your thoughts before consuming any technology or social media. If you’re not comfortable sitting alone in silence, you can also try out a guided meditation app, like Calm or Headspace, and let the narrator tell you what to do.
Meditation has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress, enhance self-awareness, improve attention span, as well as a host of other perks. And one thing it definitely does is make sure that you go into the day with a more mindful approach. While it may seem like meditation is a fluffy practice just for those who teach yoga, it’s growing in popularity in the mainstream as more and more people understand its powerful benefits for daily life.
The right morning routine can do wonders for your day, so choose at least one of the above and give it a try tomorrow morning. Good luck!
Our friends at Hammermill have provided a great resource for effective studying, just in time for Back to School season.
When you have many small tidbits of information to memorize, like a list of words and their meanings or a list of dates and events, there are some simple tricks you can use that make remembering easier. We’ve put together some good ideas that can give you an edge when it’s time to study.
Have a test coming up? Check out our Study Guide Templates, and be sure to join our mailing list to receive more tips and ideas.
A Little Understanding; a Big Difference
When it’s time to memorize, knowing a little bit about how our brains work can really help. Our memories are not all stored in the same place. Different kinds of actions are remembered in different parts of the brain. There’s short-term memory, long-term memory, muscle memory and more. Some people remember what they see more easily, while others remember what they’ve heard or what they’ve done.
A good trick to increase your odds of remembering is to use a study method that puts the information in more than one part of your brain. That might sound difficult, but it really isn’t. Here’s the key: don’t just read information and expect to remember; write it down and say it out loud. This simple process ensures that the information is going to several different areas of your brain, making it easier to find later.
Do It Again…and Again…and Again
The next thing to know is that repetition is essential. Repetition is really important. Repetition builds success. To remember ideas or concepts, try rewording them a few different ways to ensure you fully understand them. For simple facts such as names and dates, information that shouldn’t be changed, repetition is the glue that will help them stick in your brain.
You might be lucky and have a super brain that catches everything the first time. But even then, you encounter a ton of information every day, and there are ways to make it easier for you to remember later.
A Simple Method
Here’s one way to get more from your study time. Take a blank sheet of paper. Make a column down the left side of the paper. Now, inside that column, copy down all of the facts you need to remember. The smaller you write, the more information you can fit on a page, BUT the harder it is to read and check later. Write your information down in a size that is efficient but also comfortable to read. As you write the information down, be sure to say it out loud (NOT in the library).
Now, turn the paper over. Make a column down the left side of the paper. Try to write down as much information as you can from memory. Don’t worry if you can only remember a couple of things. Once you’ve written down everything you can remember, fold the paper over so the completed column on the back is next to the incomplete column on the left. Copy down everything that you couldn’t remember.
When you are done, fold that left-hand column back so that you can’t see it anymore. Make another column and try again. You’ll probably remember a little more this time. When you’ve finished writing down everything you can remember, unfold the paper and check the corrected list on the left against the list you just made in the next column over.
Once again, copy down everything you couldn’t remember, saying the information out loud as you write. Now, fold the two columns back so you can’t see them anymore and try again. Keep doing this until you can write the entire column without missing any information. If you really want to be sure you’ve got it, keep going until you can write down all the information without any mistakes three times in a row. It may take a few sheets of paper until you can successfully write everything down from memory. Got it? Cool!
Take a fresh sheet of paper, make a column down the left and write all the information down from memory. Okay. Time for a break.
At the start of your next study session, start with the information you’ve “already memorized”. Take the piece of paper you used at the very end of your last study session, flip it over to its blank side, make a column down the left and try to write down everything from memory. Don’t be surprised if a few facts don’t come to you quickly. Try hard to remember as much as you can, but when you get stuck and can’t remember any more, fold the paper over and check your results, copying down all the missing information. Keep repeating the process until you can do it all correctly three times in a row.
Be sure to use a sturdy paper that is thick enough to hide the answers on the back, something like Hammermill Fore® Multi-Purpose. You can also print out our helpful Study Guide Templates to save you some time!
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Our friends at Hammermill have some great ideas for teachers who are busy decorating their classrooms. Decorating shouldn’t be stressful for teachers. It should be a chance to get creative and show off your personality. DIY classroom decorations are easy to make, and they can help add some fun to your classroom. These classroom decorating tips below will help you get your classroom ready for back-to-school.
The first day back to school can be nerve-racking for both kids and teachers. You can help make the transition back easier by creating a poster that introduces yourself to your students. Add photos and include interesting facts about yourself. You can include your hobbies, pets and where you went to school. This can help break the ice sooner rather than later.
Encourage the kids in your class to create their own posters that introduce themselves. Put the posters up on the wall so students can get to know one another more quickly. Providing opportunities for you and your students to get to know each other is a great way to create a welcoming environment in your classroom.
Welcome Students Back
One of the easiest ways to decorate your classroom for back-to-school is to welcome your students by hanging a DIY, easy-to-make welcome banner. You can add scholastic imagery to the banner to help add some fun to it. Ready to hang one up in your classroom? Check out our Welcome Banner Template.
Add Some Color to Your Classroom Decorations
Bright colors can help add some pizzazz to your walls. Adding colorful decorations that reinforce your first lesson plans for the year can help introduce students to the subject matter they will be learning. Try printing out a quote and putting it on a bright background to hang on a wall. The quote could be from a novel they will be reading or one from a significant point in history they will be learning about.
Need a colorful paper to post important dates and classroom announcements on? Check out our Colors paper. It comes in an array of fun colors to choose from.
Get Creative with Your Bulletin Board
Bulletin boards provide a place for teachers to display important announcements and dates. They are also a great space in your classroom where you can get creative. You can customize your own border for your bulletin board with paint and glitter. Collaging the backboard of your bulletin board with relevant newspaper or magazine cut outs is an easy way to reuse material you already have. Get creative and have fun with it!
We hope these tips will help you decorate your space for the first day of school. Have fun decorating, and be sure to share pictures of your decorated classrooms on social media using #PaperforSchools. We recommend using Hammermill® Premium Color Copy Cover 100LB for classroom decorations.
Our friends at Smead, are masters of organization. All of their products are available for next day delivery when you order with us! They have just come out with their Top 10 list of Time Wasters, and ways you can avoid them to be more productive.
1. Joining the crowd: According to employees, here are the top 5 ways they waste time at work: Gossip (42%), Social interaction with Co- Workers (32%), Snacks and Breaks (27%), Meetings (23%), In-Office Noise Distractions (24%). (Source: BrianTracy.com) Are you part of this crowd?
2. Checking email often: Limit checking for email, and responding to it, to once or twice per day, in “scheduled” 30-minute increments.
3. Lack of motivation: OK, so maybe your job isn’t the best thing since sliced bread, but it’s bringing in the bacon. So, why not make the most of it? Write up a bunch of 5-minute rewards and enjoy one every time you reach a 30-minute work goal. Another possibility: Challenge yourself to do something you’ve always done better, faster, or cheaper.
4. Allowing interruptions: While some interruptions are necessary, most are nothing more than obstacles to you getting your work done. When you’re working on something important, reduce interruptions: close your door, allow your calls to go to voicemail, and don’t keep checking email and/or text notifications.
5. Waiting for something to happen: While you’re waiting for something to happen (perhaps you’re on telephone hold or are waiting for a file to download), do something else.
6. Not organizing your messy desk and filing system: The messier your space is, the more time you’re going to be wasting searching for things. Remove clutter and get things organized!
7. Going to, or hosting, unproductive meetings: All meetings should have specific goals, only involve key people who will be working on those goals, and ultimately result in positive, measurable changes. If your work meetings are mostly gab sessions (or complaint forums), there’s a lot of time being wasted.
8. Doing things manually: There are so many digital apps that can help you be more productive at work. If you’re doing tons of things manually with paper and pen, research how you can do those same things automatically instead. It may be worth it for you to call in a productivity expert for ideas.
9. Never writing down instructions: When you learn something new, take notes. The next time you have to do it, you won’t have to rely on your memory, and you won’t have to waste time trying to figure out how to do it…or waste someone else’s time asking again.
10. Recreating the wheel: Before you start something “from scratch,” be sure to research first to determine if someone has already done it before. Duplicating work that has already been done is a major time waster, and very common in businesses