ProductivitySelf-ImprovementUncategorized

Habits to keep you organized at work

A tidy work place not only looks good but actually helps you stay focused and productive. We’ve all spent time looking for things that get lost in the mess, so keeping a tidy desk will help reduce clutter which in turn reduces stress. Did you know that a clean desk actually saves you time, spurs on creativity and communicates professionalism. That’s right, it might actually have more of a benefit than just looking neat. These are some ways I like to stay tidy in the workplace.

What I organize constantly:

My deskDesk

I have a specific place for my bags when I come into the office at the beginning of the day. I keep one water bottle or glass of water on my desk, during the day, there’s no need for more than that really (unless I’m drinking coffee, then you can find my coffee cup as well.) I keep only one pen, and one highlighter along with my daily planner on my desk. Anything that comes out of my desk goes back right after I’m finished with it. My biggest tip is to clean off your desk at the end of the day so you have a fresh start the next morning. Keeping only the things you need on your desk eliminates unnecessary clutter.

 

 

My daily planner

I like my day to be planned out in front of me on paper. Once a task is completed I check it off or highlight it. This helps me balance my work load throughout the day. At the end of the week I make a plan for the next week (so I don’t forget tasks over the weekend) and when I come in on Monday I eliminate the ‘Monday fog’ and have my day already planned for myself. I update my planner frequently during the week and balance out my work load if any new tasks arise.

My Computercomputer

Instead of keeping all tabs and programs open, I like to filter through the things I am absolutely finished with, save and close them. If I have a few things on the go I simply minimize the programs until I am actually working on them. This way I don’t tempt myself to jump back and forth between projects. But can focus on one thing at a time and close projects when they are completed. I go through my emails/voicemails (like most people) at the beginning of the day and throughout the day I reply to the ones that require my attention as well as delete any junk mail that may come through.

 

What I organize occasionally:

Files

My whiteboard

I have a whiteboard on the wall by my desk and this is where I jot down things that I need to look at daily. I don’t update this as often as some things are analytics, strategies and reminders. I do however make sure that when I jot down things on my whiteboard, since they will be there for a while, that I keep it looking neat and legible.

Computer Files

This is something I will admit that I need to be more organized with. I have a tendency to save documents or pictures in the ‘all files’ or ‘all pictures’ category. I do however still go through and move files and pictures into their correct places. Just like your paper documents this keeps the clutter out of your computer files.

Desk Drawers

Desk drawers are sometimes a dangerous place! If you want something off your desk it gets thrown into a drawer as fast as possible, out of sight out of mind right! Cleaning out your drawers may be more rewarding than you think! You may find your favorite pen that you were sure was lost to the darkness behind your desk. I’m curious what the craziest thing was that you found in your desk drawer you didn’t even know was there!

Organization bonus:

Since I am the social media specialist at the office, I definitely organize my social media accounts. Going through your social media and cleaning up old tweets, Facebook posts or Instagram photos is a great habit to get into. Keeps your accounts looking fresh and professional. Once a year I go through the accounts that I follow, and I unfollow accounts that no longer serve purpose to me, are spam, or accounts that hinder my mental well being.

 

Share some things you like to do to keep organized or if you have some tips for me leave a comment below!

BloggingProductivitySelf-Improvement

being productive while working from home

It’s becoming more popular for people to work from home instead, or in addition to the office. But with this freedom, comes some hurdles you may have crossed a few times or will come across as you work from the comfort of your home. It can be easy to over work, or under work when the you bring the office into your home. You don’t have distractions from coworkers stopping by your desk or clients dropping in unexpectedly, but you do have other things that can easily pull you away from your tasks. Here we’ll give you some tips that have worked for highly productive people who work from their kitchen, living room or home office.

Start Early

Alarm clock

The early bird gets the worm, and this also applies in your own home. Wake up, make a coffee and get right down to business. I find the sooner I get started in my work the less distracting other things are throughout the day. The longer you make the transition from your bed to your computer the longer it will take for your morning sluggishness to fade. Waking up early is key to being successful throughout the day and staying on track with your list of things to do.

Recreate Your Office Routine

Work from home

Without a commute to work, you have more time to get a few quick jobs done before you start work. The best thing to do to keep you on track is to create as much of an office space as possible. Work at a desk or your kitchen table instead of the couch. There you won’t have the temptation to turn on the TV. Listen to music while you work, if that’s what you do at the office. If it’s more distracting to work in complete silence turn on a TV in another room or the radio. If you like to sip on coffee or tea at work, do the same at home. I drink a lot of water at work so when I work from home I do the same, but I stay to drinking from a water bottle instead of a glass. This prevents you from leaving your computer so often and getting distracted by something else around your house.

Stay Connected

Stay connected

Keep close contact with your office, so if your coworkers need something from you they can easily reach you. The best way is to use a messaging program like Microsoft Teams or WhatsApp for the office. At Panda Rose the office is connected to Microsoft Teams so when one person works remotely you can easily contact them. It’s a great way to keep updated on whats going on in the office and still feel like a part of the team.

Keep a Schedule

Schedule

Either electronically or on paper. Keep track of your to-do list for the day. This will help you keep track of how productive you are. Actually, the busier you are the more productive you are. Once you are going it’s easy to keep going. And when you rest it’s easy to keep resting. Try to keep the downtime to a minimum and take on more tasks during the day even if they are small. It also helps make the day go by faster!

Set a Quitting Time

Quitting time

Working from home also means you can easily over work. It’s just as important to set a time that you log off as it is to take breaks from work during the day. To be the most productive during the day, take a break from screens and papers. Go for a walk, interact with other people instead of simply watching a few minutes of your favorite show. Setting a time to quit for the day ensures you are rested up for the next day. Try shutting off your computer, and closing your daily planner. Otherwise you will end up starting a task when you should be resting. Rest is just as important as work.

Enjoy Working From Home

Enjoy working from home

At the end of the day, enjoy having the freedom to work from your home. You get to drink your own coffee from your favorite mug, and wear slippers all day. You can come across just as many distractions in an office as you can at home. Learning to manage the distractions at home can be more difficult but once you get into a routine it will be just like working at the office, but better!

BloggingMarketingSelf-ImprovementSocial MediaTechnologyUncategorized

Social media engagement

Instagram is a visual platform, its important to catch a persons eye and quickly. Having a cohesive feed and a impressive bio is great, but you may need more than just that to make people stick around. So here’s some tips on how to get more engagement on your account.

Post consistently

Schedule

Its difficult for your followers to appreciate your content if they never see it. Make a schedule of when you are going to post, and plan your content. Include captions as well as the time, because posting at the right times is a game changer for your engagement. You can use apps like Buffer to schedule your content, this includes your image, caption, time and location. Posting regularly increases the legitimacy of your account. Many times users will bounce if the last post you shared was December 2017.

Respond to all comments

Comments

Yes, even (especially) the negative ones. Instagram has added a nice feature that you can now like comments, this is the least you can do to show appreciation for a comment. Try to make time to authentically respond to comments it makes your followers feel heard, and valued. Think how you feel when you comment on an account you admire or inspires you and they comment back. It’s a good feeling, you feel like you were important enough for them to read and respond to your comment no matter how busy they may be. Give that love back to your fans! In order to increase your engagement you need to be social too, leave comments on accounts other than your own.

Always use images

Pictures

This applies to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, as Instagram won’t let you post without a photo. Tweets with images get 150% more engagement than those without. Images capture more attention than just text or a link. Don’t just add any picture, post ones that are relevant to increase your engagement.

Ask questions

Questions

Include questions in your captions, it’s a fun way to encourage your followers to leave a comment. Ask fun and simple questions, for example ask about which they prefer, Apple or Android, if they are early risers or like to sleep in. These questions are super easy to ask, people can answer without really having to think about the answer. Where as a question that requires a long thought out detailed response, or that is too complicated to answer in just a short comment may not be the ones you want to start with. If your audience is really good with engaging, you can occasionally ask more detailed questions!

Use Emojis

Emoji

Using emojis on your social media accounts will result in higher engagement, but don’t use just any random emojis. Using certain ones will also increase your engagement. The smiley face can boost interaction by 25% whereas the grimacing emoji can boost it by 138%. Using emojis you will see an increase in your likes, comments and shares. This trick is really simple to experiment with and doesn’t require much extra work.

Get more followers

Followers

The more followers you have the more engagement you will most likely get from them. All things leading up will help you get more followers but an account with 100 followers compared to an account with 10,000 will get more interactions. Social media can be a numbers game but the quality of your content is the most important aspect of your posts.

 

Social media platforms are incredibly useful tools to help increase visibility for your business. It can although be challenging to get yourself noticed, these tips will help you become more legitimate on social media platforms so that your audience will begin to be more social.

Uncategorized

Do you ever feel at the end of the day you were super unproductive? That you really could’ve done more? More tasks could’ve been completed, more words written or you just didn’t feel entirely present that day. Don’t feel too bad, we’ve all been there. Here’s some hacks that will help you beat those days and become even more productive during the day.

Wake up earlier

If you haven’t heard it said already you’re hearing it now. Becoming an early riser is probably one of the most popular hacks to become more successful and make the most of your time. Successful people are often early risers. Start your day off the right way in the morning, enjoying the quiet and peacefulness is a great way to charge up for the day. It also ensures you will have time to eat a wholesome breakfast which is the most important meal of the day.

Notebook

Write down the 3 most important tasks for the day

Before you start working on anything in the morning, write down your three most important tasks for the day. Being specific with your description helps you manage your time wisely. Avoid being vague, use more than three words in your description. Saying something like “research printers” can easily allow you to get distracted and your search can become unproductive. Whereas saying something like “find and compare prices on printers” is more specific and clearly states what you are doing.

Use a password manager

Most of us are constantly on the internet during the day, which means that logins and passwords are frequently being used. Trying to remember all of them or digging through papers to find where you may have quickly jotted it down is definitely not time efficient. Use a password manager to keep all your logins and passwords in the same place. This makes them easy to find and input. It may seem like a waste of time transferring all your passwords but it saves time in the long run. You will no longer have to remember all of them or go through the process of resetting a password when you can’t remember one. Simple things like this make you more efficient during your day as well as keeping your information more secure and organized.

Set quarterly goals rather than yearly goals

Setting yearly goals can sometimes be tricky. Your business is changing every few months, thus making your goals tough to reach. Quarterly goals are easier to achieve and ensure you stay on track. Don’t get too carried away with how many goals you set, this can overwhelm you as you reach your “due date.” Instead set a few major or most important goals to keep you focused and preserve your energy for what’s most important as your business grows.

Understand the value of your time

As a business owner you take on a variety of tasks everyday. Some of which are your specialty and some that aren’t. If you have tasks that are better suited for an expert but you’re not prepared to hire an employee to do the job, consider outsourcing to a freelancer, contractor or other professional fitting for the job.

google

Monitor and measure your activities

Keep track of ways you spend your time, limit areas that are not being as profitable or efficient as they could be. By continually analyzing your work you will avoid spending time on things that aren’t as profitable as they once were, and be able to determine which tasks are taking longer than usual. Some examples are:

  • Using Google Analytics – using this tool gives insight to what is effectively driving traffic to your website and what isn’t. If Facebook is generating more traffic than Twitter, more of your time should be spent on Facebook.
  •  Track your time – time yourself to see how long it takes to complete a project and if it could be taking up to much of your time that it’s no longer profitable. Seeing it this way may justify that you pass on the task to an employee, hire an employee or outsource it.

Finding some ways to manage your time will help make you more productive and therefore more profitable, which every business owner is looking for!

MarketingSEOTechnologyUncategorizedWeb Development

Your website if the first impression people have of your business.

They are searching the internet for your services or product and they land on your page! Congratulations they found you! Which even finding you is hard enough with tons of businesses online competing for the same top of the search page spot.

They navigate to your website and are greeted by an unappealing site, irrelevant information or it’s SLOW. *que dramatic music* Consumers attention spans are short and when they are searching for information or products, even shorter when they are stopped by a SLOW moving or difficult to navigate website.

Did you know that 47% of users leave a website if its loading time is more than 3 seconds? So optimization is a vital thing for your website. If it’s well-functioning and the content/ products there are of a high-quality, more visitors will surely come and conversion rates will increase.

Deborah, our in house Web Development Expert says “Your website is an extension of your business. You want your website to match the professionalism of your business.”

Having a clear message you are trying to portray to potential clients and customers right away is what will keep them on your website, navigating and researching who you are and just what it is that you do.

In addition, great websites are showcases for some of your best work. You can show of all the amazing products or jobs you have completed to a potential client/customer before they even have the chance to contact you. This decreases some of the time spent answering questions, making your business just that much more efficient.

Finally, a good website with great content helps get you noticed on search engines. The more time people spend on your site and the more often the visit, the more search engines believe your site and information to be relevant. If you want to learn more about SEO check out our recent blog post What even is SEO? And How To Use It.

 

SEOSocial Media

Search Engine Optimization

What is it? And why do you want it?

Business has changed so much from the traditional model of working with consumers in store fronts from even just 30 years ago. The business world has moved online and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Have you ever been in discussion with someone about a topic, or curious about something and the first thing you do is “Google it”? We use search engines all the time to find answers to our burning questions, source out products and find local businesses.

Search engine optimization is about putting your businesses webpage at the front of the line. (Well okay actually the top of the page). Creating content relevant to your business and posting about it regularly helps improve your visibility to potential clients and customers. The more content you have on the world wide web relevant to your business, the more search engines think you are relevant to what people are looking for. This puts you closer to the top of the page.

The best part about using SEO strategies is that people are ALREADY looking for you business and content. People have burning questions, are looking to source products or find your business already. That is why they have “googled it”. Putting your content at the front of their views makes them more likely to reach out to you as a customer or client.

How can I improve my SEO?

SEO can be complex and that’s why at Panda Rose we offer SEO services for clients. But some simple tips for improving your SEO are:

  • Write blog posts on your webpage. This helps search engines see your content is relatable to a search.
  • Update your content on a regular or semi regular basis. Search engines are always trying to find the most up-to-date information.
  • Share your content on your social media channels. The more directions people are coming from to your webpage, the more relevant it looks.
  • You can also check out this more in depth blog post of SEO Practices in 2018: The Do’s and Dont’s.

If you want Panda Rose to help your small business get noticed online with our SEO services send us an email. SEO clients of 6 months or more also get free web hosting. 

Panda Rose

MarketingSEOWeb Development

Even yours

I am not one of the web designers at Panda Rose, but I have worked with a couple websites and have visited many over the years. Lately I’ve been noticing that some websites draw me in and others I just scroll on by. Some companies neglect simple website guidelines and unfortunately, they end up missing out on customers they could otherwise do business with. These problems can be fixed so easily. Here are my tips which I hope you already practice.

Photography

One issue that is always interesting to address is the images displayed on a website. Images are a very powerful tool when it comes to your business. But a poor photo quality puts up red flags for potential customers and this should be avoided at any cost.

What qualifies as a poor quality picture?

  • The image is unclear as to what the featured item is.
  • Poorly displayed.
  • A mess in the picture. Or if something is dirty without purpose.
  • Bad lighting or blurry
  • Not trendy

If a photo is not done professionally and obviously so, it is a major distraction to the customers on your site. I find that when a site has beautiful pictures I am easily convinced that the product or service is legit and exceptional without even thinking about it. All because of the great impression.

If the picture on the right was on a bakery website you would be concerned about the quality of the business. (Note the lighting and crumbs.) But if the picture on the left was on the bakery website you wouldn’t even stop to think about the picture.

People notice problems, they don’t notice when things are as they should be. Don’t give your customers a reason to second guess your website.

Poor quality pictures leave me wondering if the company doesn’t have the money to update their pictures, therefore they do not have a good product or service. Now I know that I cannot make that assumption about all companies but it is an honest thought that comes to mind.

Get. A. Professional. Photographer. I know that it sounds like a hassle but trust me, it will allow your website to give a good first impression and everyone knows that first impressions are everything. Please just do it, you won’t regret it.

Navigation

Your website needs to be easy to look through. If someone is on your site looking for something and they cannot find it without clicking through all your of your pages, then your website is set up poorly. Make it very clear what they can find on each page and follow through with that initial description. If customers have to think up specific search terms to find what they are looking for, they will move on to a different site very quickly. I know that I do.

Keeping up with Trends

When was the last time your website had an update on its full appearance? Are the main colours red and white? Or this blue?

Time for a major update.

Black, white and one other accented colour can be a beautiful theme or at least a good start for those switching up their site. Which brings me to my next point.

Simplicity is Beautiful

Clean up the clutter. A site trying to fit all the info about them on their homepage is overwhelming for everyone. Simplify the homepage, not just because it is easier to take in but because it is pleasant to look at. Again, people notice problems, not when things are working well . . .

Organization is favoured by humans in general. Suit the needs of the masses by keeping organized. Use minimalism for not only aesthetic reasons but give people the ability to find the pages they want. Don’t throw everything their way before they have the chance to ask for it.

Mobile Friendly

When I am not at work, I hardly ever use a computer to search the Internet for anything. If I click on a site while I am on my phone and it is impossible to read or operate I move on to a different website. Sadly I am sure that I have missed out on many great products and services because the website did not work well with my phone.


My best advice is to remind you to think like a customer. Try to imagine that you know absolutely nothing about your business and see if it answers all the questions that a customer might have. Your site needs to be easy to navigate and easy to work with. If your website’s purpose is to book appointments, ensure that is an easy task for customers to accomplish. If your site is made for providing information for customers, construct your site so that everything is organized. And remember that aesthetics matter in every aspect of your site. I hope to see your beautiful site very soon!

Let me know how you fixed up a website in the comments!

Tess Houcher 

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