Happiness quotient- The Art of doing less and gaining more

Achieving happiness by doing less and gaining more

(Image source: blog.bayt.com)

 

Our lives are so hectic and you think that your ‘To-do’ List is never ending; your workload is piling up, as are your chores at home.

 

How do people, other entrepreneurs, achieve so much in a single day, you work 10-14 hours while they work 8-10 hours productively; have time to pursue their interests and get 8 hours of sleep. Are you wondering how they do it? How do they achieve that work life balance that so many of us crave for?

 

Well, you’re not alone. Our team recently had a session on the single most important productivity hack- achieving more in a day in half the time!

 

Putting in long hours at work and then attempting to take some time off for yourself is sometimes hard if not impossible for some of us. You have to be careful of not pushing yourself to the brink of burning out.

So here are a few tips we think will help you:

One of the classic laws of physics is theLaw of Least Action’ that says (In a simplified form) that whatever the end goal is, nature takes the quickest, most efficient route to help accomplish it. Whatever is the least action needed to accomplish that goal is the amount of energy consumed. Which also says that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line (Source: Based on an excerpt by Deepak Chopra)

 

In other words, this law advises us to do less of the unimportant, the unnecessary stuff and more of the things that have the greatest advantage for us. Now you might say, but that’s what I’m already doing! While some of us might begin with the most important activity on our to-do list, during the day, we might either get distracted, overwhelmed with the workload or lose sight of what’s more important than the others.

 

So how do we go about doing that?

Information Overload 1.Define your time: Create a calendar showing the days of your meetings with others; days where you work on your own; days that can be made flexible and days that are off. Defining your days will help plan your activities and have greater control of the time spent on each activity. Plus it allows you to have the mental mindset required for the task at hand.

 

2. Focus: Use the Do LESS ‘ Attitude to ‘Do MOREof what is important. This means clearing the clutter of which activity is important and which ones can wait in your ‘To-Do’ list. Also prune the things that take up too much of your time, whether at home or at the office. Do you spend too much time planning? Or too much time on social media? Waiting in queue or on the phone a lot? Trim it down to the essentials.

 

3. Eliminate unnecessary steps: Delegate some activities or tasks; create a framework where you check your emails only 2-3 times a day and not every time a new one comes. Let people know that emails are not meant for urgent issues, have them call you instead. They can however, send you a follow up email later. Keep meetings short and mostly for decision making only unless there are more pressing matters to discuss. Also ensure that meetings always have an agenda and that all attendees of the meeting are informed a day in advance.

 

  1. Work with fewer distractions: If you’re spending time with the family or you’re on a break- do just that! Don’t use that time to complete unfinished work. And when you’re at work use the 80/20 rule to get most out of your day. That way you are focused when you need to be and you have a break spread across the day.

The 80/20 principle

(Image source http://www.photocrati.com)

5. Break down larger goals into smaller tasks: This makes it more manageable and increases your efficiency.

 

 

 Break your goals into smaller tasks

 

(Image source: http://rayedwards.com)

 

6. Have a positive outlook- Be aware of what you’re doing and don’t be discouraged if your task isn’t completed as yet. Don’t rush through them just to cross it off your list but do them with the intention of making it perfect. Love what you do because that adds to how you do the task and to what the outcome is.

Think, do, be positive

 

(Image source http://www.care2.com)

 

7. Say NO when necessary: It’s all well and good to be the best person for the job but sometimes you need to draw the line at doing everything. Don’t overload yourself and don’t do things that will detract you from your current objective. Before you know it, you will start hitting of targets in your to-do list!

 

8. Allow free communication across all levels at home and at work: Be open and honest. You’d be surprised at how much time you’re saving by not having misunderstandings, dissipating fights but rather focusing on the now.

 

9. Sleep well and eat healthy: You can’t give a 100% if you’re not a 100%. So be healthy to allow your body and mind to work in harmony.

 

Keep Calm relax and enjoy

(Image source: keepcalm-o-matic)

 

10. Be open to change: Letting go of old, familiar ways is hard to do. But in today’s time of quick paced technological and lifestyle changes; you need to be open to adapting change into your life.

Go to our post to see why you need to adapt to changes.  https://socialpandora.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/adapt-and-soar-dont-adapt-and-get-left-behind/ 

So there you have it ! 10 easy tips to help you do more of what you love and have the perfect work-life balance.

 

What are your tips to have a perfect work life balance? let us know !

What you need to know to be a successful entrepreneur

Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you “ – Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO

 

Mark Zucherberg, Richard Branson, Reggie Brown, Evan Spiegel are all names you’ve heard of or even people who you’ve looked up to. Entrepreneurs come in different shapes and sizes, educational and economic backgrounds but there’s not many things that are common except for the passion, perseverance, never say die attitude and the ability to take risks that comes with the job.

In order to get to where they are, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ve faced hardships, made numerous mistakes, and tried various things before they perfected their business.

 

The difference between most entrepreneurs, you will notice is their attitude. Either to persevere or to give up when faced with adversity, to not let competition pull you down or shut shop when there are a few bad reviews. It takes a lot more to be a good entrepreneur.

 

What makes them successful?

 They:

  1. Figure out what they want to do; and take baby steps towards their goal
  2. Pause in-between steps to see how far they’ve come and reassess their next step. It’s more a routine of Act.Pause.Learn.Pause.Build.Pause.Repeat
  3. Deal with uncertainty and contingency by experience and not just theoretical plans that have been put in place.
  4. Put yourself out there and try new things and at some point you will figure out what you’re good at and stick to it.
  5. See over every detail of your business. It’s good to look at the big picture but also the smaller details. Especially the case when you’re just starting out.
  6. Never give up-No matter what! They’ll always be moments that bring you down, leave you faithless and competitors will try to cut you off. But, remember why you started your business and stick to it.
  7. Get out of your comfort zone– It’s important to stay scared in the beginning. Some call it staying hungry and some call it staying scared. Either way, the sentiment’s bottom line is the same. Which is to use it as an important motivator.  Go outside of your comfort zone, learn to survive, grow and evolve.
  8. Create what the market needs: This is an important thing you will find most entrepreneurs doing. There are a lot of people with a lot of ideas out there but not every idea is a lucrative business to pursue. If you begin with a current market need, you have a market that is already present with the people who need what you have.
  9. Don’t begin by thinking you will be rich and famous: Believe it or not, entrepreneurs don’t’ have money, success or fame as their goal but rather the by-product.  They begin by working on their product or service, perfecting it until they’re the best at it. The fame, fortune and success will follow on it’s own.
  10. Push yourself harder
  11.                   Learn to finance your business well: Begin with sufficient financing before you move on
  12.        Manage your time well: Remember that time is money
  13.               Learn to function as teams and play to everyone’s strengths
  14.                   Turn Obstacles into assets
  15.                 Learn to say ‘NO’ when the need arises. It’s essential to say no to some great ideas in order to get to the brilliant ones.

 

“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.”—Thomas Edison, General Electric Co-founder

 

 We hope that these 15 tips from successful entrepreneurs and business owners will help motivate you and give you  the ideas you need to keep surging ahead.

 

“Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.” —Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder

There’s nothing wrong with staying small. You can do big things with a small team.” —Jason Fried, 37signals founder

What tips do you use for your business? Let us know!

-Social Pandora

 

15 TIPS TO KEEP YOU INSPIRED AND PRODUCTIVE WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE GIVING UP

a dream is never big unless you make it happen

Some days are good days at work, and some days are downright hard. We read about the many success stories of entrepreneurs and what motivates them ,gets them to be so productive all the time. Unfortunately success does not come easily for everyone. Chances are you will soon be giving up on your venture before you can even fully experience the success you’ve been aspiring for. But you never know, tomorrow might be your lucky day! And you would have wished you hadn’t given up today.

To keep yourself motivated or inspired when the Going get’s tough. Here are our top tips.

TIP 1:  “Begin your day Early’:  Sounds cliched but it’s true and works every time. Entrepreneurs wake up early and begin their day healthy. Drink plenty of water and stay fit to help you throughout the day.

TIP 2: Plan your day:  Write down your top 5 tasks that you need to accomplish today.

TIP 3: Set achievable goals: Some entrepreneurs set high goals in the beginning of their venture which sometimes results in disappointments. Set realistic goals with proper timelines. Make use of Gantt charts to help you set smaller more achievable goals. They will then push you to achieve more once each goal is fulfilled.

TIP 4: The 50/10 rule:  It’s easy to get distracted or side tracked at work so try avoiding that by applying the 50/10 rule which is  50 minutes of work with a 10 minute break to refocus.

TIP 5: Keep your mind on the Big Picture:  When you begin your business, no doubt you have pictured yourself basking in the glory of your success after a few years. But if you haven’t gotten there within a few years, don’t give up. Keep that big picture, your dream in your mind and carry on.

TIP 6: Make sure that your work environment is comfortable– Spending a large amount of time in front of the computer can be hard so ensure that your chair is adjusted properly, and that your room is airy and well ventilated and free of distraction.

TIP 7: Change your work environment every now and then: If your work is the kind where you can take it anywhere, then move! Either to a different room at your office, your home, to a library, a nice comfortable public spot with Wi-Fi access or your backyard, anywhere where you’re comfortable because a change in scenery helps with the creative thinking.

TIP 8: Take timely breaks:  If you feel yourself becoming drowsy, low in energy or that you’ve hit a blank spot. Take a break! Get up and take a walk, run an errand maybe, get some coffee or green tea. Each break renews or refreshes you plus gets you to move a bit giving you more energy and a chance to think laterally.

TIP 9: Reflect and self- evaluate: Set aside 10 minutes at the end of your day everyday to just reflect and self evaluate. Rethink your goals, your day. Or meditate. It’s great to calm yourself and get a good night’s rest.

TIP 10: Forecast:  All good entrepreneurs plan and forecast for any glitches that they might come across. Open your minds to the ‘what-if scenario’ even try the marketing warfare strategy with your team.

TIP 11: Keep learning:  Reading, browsing, brainstorming promotes increase in knowledge, increase in capabilities and be the creative gold mine that you’re looking for!

TIP 12: focus on what makes you happy

Focus on what makes you happy Do the things you love to! They keep you happy and productive!

TIP 13: Express gratitude:  Be grateful for what you have and for how far you’ve come. It will help you become a better person and achieve higher levels.

be grateful for what you have

TIP 14: Reward yourself: For every goal achieved, reward yourself with small indulges, or a movie night out or maybe even a spa!

TIP 15: Alternate between projects:- If you find yourself bogged down on  a particular project , switch to something else (if you have the time). It might require a different skill set but it let’s you work with fresh energy and ideas.

Remember that you will fail a few times before you really make it ,especially if you’re a start up. But, It’s in those moments that you truly learn so take it in your stride and carry on.  Once the hardships are over, the business will blossom under your care and passion!

impossible is nothing

What are your go to tips for being inspired and productive?

Write to us!

-Social Pandora

(Images via: WeSEE)

20 + Creative ideas for Social Media Marketing

creativity in social media(Image via WeSEE.com)

 If you’re a small or medium sized enterprise, churning out content everyday can be monotonous and most often, you find that you need to shake things up a bit to get your page noticed.

 

93% of businesses are currently leveraging social media to gain more customers, acquire new businesses deals or to build brand loyalty. So if you need to stand out from the competition and effectively attract customers and other businesses, you need creative social media content. So here are our top tips to get you started!

 

  1. Share your experience:Share your experience

 (Image via @brainwaves-ni.org)

 

While a lot of information can be got over the Internet, you’re more likely to get heard when you share your experience. It could be anything- A problem you solved, an issue you faced, tips etc. It helps to build relationships and find other like minded people to share expert tips with.

2.   Post a Photo and ask your fans what they think it could be- Our Mystery Photo round !
Help create a sense of excitement with your brand.

3.    Caption this- National Geographic on their Facebook channel does this beautifully and it gets high engagement too! Post a photo and ask your fans to caption it or what they think it represents. It’s perfect for increasing engagement and you get an idea what your audience are like.

4.   Share a Video- Videos are the most shared form of content and gets maximum attention in the social media world! So share a video of your own or something that interested you. It’s good to cross promote too !

5.   Where’s Waldo or the picture hunt-  Post a photo and ask your fans to find any of your brand items, raw materials, finished products etc. It’s fun and gets people to participate!

6.   “I spy something with my  little eye”  – Similar to the picture hunt but you can give them specific things to look for in the picture rather than looking for random things in the picture.

7.   Change the Profile picture and Cover photo:  Spice it up with different pictures to keep the page active. Keep coming up with creative images that reflect your brand’s vision.

8.   Share Funny Stuff- Photos of your office fun, videos you stumble upon from the web, funny images etc. Humour always works well on social media and it helps to lighten the posts for the day.

9.   Share 2-3 pictures and ask which of them your fans like best -It garners interesting responses and provides good insights to what your audience likes.

10.                Riddle me this!

 

riddles for creative social media marketing

(Image via Bubbleviews.com)

 Ask a Riddle or ask them to unscramble a word Jumble-Break the monotony of posts with this fun game!

11. Create a teaser campaign: When you want to test a thought that hasn’t quite made it big as yet, create a teaser and keep referring to it in your posts to gather curiosity and to build conversations about the topic or thought. You will know what works , how to change anything or how to make it better.

12.Create a ‘ Behind the Scenes’ video series: Use a smartphone or tablet to record your own ‘behind the scenes’ video to show what you’re working on (outlines, schedules, raw materials and so on). Remember to keep it short and sweet!

13.Share your ideas on a new marketing plan or campaign idea and ask your audience what they think of it. What  better way to find out what they really like?

14.                Did you know’?  Fun fact or Trivia- Each week post a fun fact or trivia, a small way to merge education and entertainment don’t you think?

15.                Share inspirational quotes- Short Inspirational quotes to motivate your fans during the week.

16.                Share Live testimonies: Share the testimonies your clients, fans or friends have of you and your work. Show your fans what you’re like!

17.                Fill in the blanks:

 

I prefer ______________________ to chocolate. A once a week post to build engagement and personalize with your fans.

18.                Provide Expert or Handy tips –

19.Pin it to win it! A contest that works like this. Ask your fans to follow you on Pinterest and repin photos from your board named ‘Brand X’s Pin it to win it Board’ and a #BrandXpinittowinit and get fans to participate from across your social media channels. Choose a winner at the end and offer them a prize.

20.                Offer a Facebook Fan’s only offer

21.                Ask me anything day!- A chance for your fans to ask you questions on that particular day every week. A chance to give them hands on advice, tips, lessons etc

22.                Fact or Myth? Works similar to Did you know? at no 14

23.                Use the ‘Coming Soon’ Message across all your social media channels to let your audience know that something exciting is about to happen!

 

Try these handy tips and get more followers and build relationships with your fans on all your channels!

 

Let us know how it works! What creative ideas do you use on your campaign?

-Social Pandora

 

 

 

 

The Content Marketing Forecast for 2014 that you should know about !

The Content Marketing Forecast for 2014 that you should know about !

 

What you should know for your Business

What you should know for your Business

(Image via submitedge.com)

 Content Marketing has definitely come a long way! Something that began as a niche strategy has quickly grown to become one of the dominant methods of attracting meaningful and good leads. Harnessing the power of words, or images or videos is essential for building long-term success and an online presence.

 

So here’s a gist of what we believe are trends for this year and where it is headed!

content-marketing- has to be Original and valuable

 (Image via siliconangle.com)

 Did you know that 92% of marketers are using content marketing? According to infinigraph.com 2014, is all about going beyond experimenting to full content marketing integration and executions.

 

Instead of arguing about its significance and wondering what strategies to follow and the budgets to go along with it, this will be the year where you will need to have your content marketing strategies organized and in place.

 

58% of B2B and 60% of B2C marketers will increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months. That being said, companies need to become aware of the importance of content marketing so that CFO’s can make investments in solid content strategies; meaning creating more positions and teams that are dedicated to creating great content. Without a good strategy in place, results won’t be as effective for every aspect of content marketing

 

Online Marketers have seen an explosion of how people are accessing the web via their mobile devices. From when they wake up until their heads hit the pillow at night, people are on their phones. So why shouldn’t marketers take advantage of this trend and offer consistent and effective content that is accessible on not just mobiles but also tablets? – Trend to look out for is Multi-screens

 

Marketing needs to be Integrative – it’s not enough to just simply focus on content marketing or social media marketing but to take a holistic view of online marketing in general. Connecting e-mails, content and social media would do a lot to promote the brand and to build relationships.

 

 

New SEO –Google’s new algorithm Hummingbird, delivers better results based on the way we speak, so you will now need better and greater content. This update means better use of grammar, synonyms and words that deliver results.

 

Content Curation:  As more content is being churned out everyday, 2014 will see a greater need of efforts to organize all the information into relevant and better ways for audiences to absorb them- like Custom Timeline in Twitter to tweet about a specific topic or event or LinkedIn Showcase pages that allows brands to segment content for audiences based on different aspects of their business.

 

Providing value and quality content:  The overall quality of content will grow more than ever this year and as more people consume this content; brands and marketers will step up their game by integrating photos, videos, journalism and innovative story telling into their strategies.

 

So it’s time to get your Business on board and incorporate these into your strategy!

What are your content trends for 2014? What do you think people should include into their content strategy?

 

Let us know!

 

-Social Pandora

 

 

 

 

How to use Project Management to create better Social Media Campaigns

social media and project management (Image via blog.bootstraptoday.com)

 

 There’s so much being said about using Social Media with Project management and how many of it’s principles and techniques can be applied to social media marketing campaigns in order to improve their effectiveness.

But there are two approaches:

  1. Project Managing Social Media
  2. Social Media for Project Management

Here are some tips to merge social media and project management. Let’s get started!

Before starting on anything in the social space, you need a clearly defined social media strategy . After you’ve got the strategy in place, it is time to start your campaign or in the parlance of project management ‘ Initiating a project’ with PRINCE 2. This stage is very similar wherein you need to have a good understanding of the desired goals of your campaign before you proceed.

 Also, the tool sets out the necessary resources, the different sources of information, what sort of things you will post, who your target audience is etc from both a logical and a strategy point of view. PRINCE 2 will help you achieve that.

PRINCE 2 directing a project or a social media campaign

(Image by Emerald Insight)

So you have the Starting of the Project or campaign, and Initiating a Project or campaign, which is similar. the next step is:

Defining Scope: Set a budget for your campaign and a time scope for each day. You need to stick to a particular limit if your project has to be both cost and time effective.

Make use of Gantt charts to keep track of your time and your activities on social media. Use it to plan an item, record the time spent on each part of the project, which ones require more focus etc.

Gantt chart

(Image by Linsday-sherwin.co.uk)

PRINCE 2 methodologies have been crafted seamlessly for each stage of the project. It’s very structured and has stages for controlling and managing product delivery too.

You can integrate Social Media and Project Management in:

1)   Blogs– Which is equivalent to a project notebook or a shared project log

2)   Instant Messages: Send quick, short text messages to colleagues on the computer

3)   Webinars: Make use of Webinars for meetings, presentations, seminars all on the web!

4)   Use Podcasts and Vodcasts: For audio and videos on anything in your field, get them downloaded for access anytime

5)    Social Networks: Make use of different networks to get people of similar interests to come together. Connect with people on topics of interest and learn on the go. Or share photos of interest to people in your network.

Benefits of using social media for project management include:

-Collaboration

-Communication

– Networking

-Increased efficiency

– Financial benefits

– Building trust

-Increased transparency

And using project management tools in social media you can:

–       Choose which tasks are important vs urgent

–       Identify resources

–       Choose the platforms needed

–       Choose the timelines for each project

–       Develop content for each project

–       Have monitoring and communications management

–       Measurement and analytics

prince2 project management phases

(Image by Keycomcorporate.co.uk)

We believe that if you apply some of the project management principles to your campaign, you will be looking at a very successful outcome!

Try it out and let us know how it worked!

-Social Pandora

The 10 essential but lesser known social media tools that you should know about

Social media tools that aren't well known but are great (Image via Dreamstime)

 

The social media landscape is changing rapidly and we’re sure that by now, you’ve hopped on the bandwagon too. Every company, agency, or person uses their own set of social media tools to get the most out of their business. But we’ve got a few tools we use and think that they’re great! Although some are in beta or aren’t as well known you might find that they do wonders for your business!

 

Here are our top 10 tools that got our attention and will get yours too!

 

  1. Mention – A tool that replaces Google Alerts for capturing mentions, social media monitoring, it is really easy to use with great functionality. It also has simple controls to turn specific sources off with emails that take you straight to the source!
  2. Editflow– A WordPress plugin that allows you to manage your editorial team seamlessly. It gives you custom statuses, a calendar, editorial comments etc. This tool makes it easy to collaborate with your teams and is especially useful for those with many blogs.  If it’s a single tool you’re looking for to manage your accounts, this one is for you
  3. Tweetreach – Another great tool to see how far your tweets travel and how effective your tweets are. Who doesn’t want that!
  4. Addvocate– A social sharing tool for employees in your company. All you have to do is install a simple browser plugin that allows them to receive recommendations and to recommend content to the marketing or social media team.  You can get detailed statistics showing which employees are sharing content and how many clicks you get.
  5. Argylesocial.com– Perfect for team- based collaboration, publishing and merging social media with your business. A dashboard that allows you to monitor Facebook and Twitter, delegate tasks to your team. It’s easy to use and has easy reporting of your social media efforts. It is your go to tool if you are a social media manager or a client or agency to prove to your management that your social media campaign is paying off.
  6. Crowdbooster– This is a highly recommended tool for many. It offers social media analytics with suggestions to help improve your online presence. You get a bird’s eye view of analytics, audience insights and content schedules.
  7. Swayy – Swayy helps you discover the most engaging content to share with your audience. The articles are right in front of you as a dashboard and you can share articles across multiple platforms. Plus you can schedule them too!
  8. Twitter Search: A lot of people love this , in fact it’s one of Chris Brogan’s favorite tool. Most of us use this tool but here are a few tips on how to make the most of it (Source: Kissmetrics) Use Twitter to uncover top trending topics– by using the  -rt filter:links  code. So if you’re looking for “Social Media –rt filter:links” , the code will remove all retweets.

Find out who’s talking about you– what conversations are you in, or are you not involved in. Just use the search string. X-to:x-from :x-@x  replace x with your name. Ex: CoolEgg-to: CoolEgg-from: CoolEgg-@CoolEgg

 

Track multiple profiles– search using to: plus your twitter handle. For example; to: Patel plus your other Twitter handles.

 

Follow conversations about your competitors- Search with to: competitor or from: competitor. Replace competitor with their Twitter handle.

 

See pictures with trending topic– search for these using the string ‘trending topic twitpic/post.ly/twitgoo filter: links

 

Twitter search is also great for finding topics to blog about.

9. Traackr.com – A simple way to find and follow influential people in your space. Identify the authorities in your industry and watch how they respond and contribute to content that is shared. It’s great for agencies or brands who want to build their campaign.

10.Tagboard We saw Kim Garst talk about it and decided to try it out. It is fantastic! It monitors hashtag searches across multiple social media channels. You can check specific hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Google+ and create a custom board filled with content from across all platforms. It is useful for brand monitoring for your own or your competitor’s brands and content curation for a specific hashtag. You can also reply to the conversations right from within Tagboard.

These are our recommendations for you to try out; integrate them into your plan and see how it works for you!

Tell us your views of the tools and if you use any that is not as well known as the other social media tools.

 

-Social Pandora