Staying Alert When You’re Working Late

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Hey there, night owl!

Yeah, you!

The one who stays up past midnight on any given day to get work done so they can sleep in a bit the next day.  The one who gets his/her second wind around 10:00pm and will actually have a coffee to keep going. The one who just has so much work to do that you have no choice. The one who hates mornings so they stay up late instead.

This blog post is for you.

Here are our top 5 tips for staying productive when you’re staying up:

  • Do the big tasks first: It’s pretty self-explanatory. You use your brain power at its greatest peak before it starts fogging up and dwindling down.
  • Make your workspace as distraction-free as possible: No cell phones, no social media, no washroom breaks (just kidding). The more focused you are the better.

 

  • Brighten your workspace: Dim lighting may cause you to become drowsy which will lessen your focus and drive to continue your tasks. If you are already feeling sleepy? Darkness won’t help.

 

  • Get your blood flowing: Jumping Jacks, a few push-ups, maybe a brisk jog around your house? It should up your energy level and give you an added boost.

 

  • COFFEE- or a caffeinated beverage: They say not to just chug the drink though. Taking small amounts in periodically throughout your late-night work mission will keep you afloat.

 

These tips should help but the most important thing that you have to understand is when to know when to stop. Don’t push yourself into a canyon of “I am going to have to redo this work, because I am exhausted and when I read it tomorrow? It is going to be CRAP”.  It’s a slippery slope into that hole… so just know your limits.

What I have learned being an entrepreneur… so far.

CEO Crystal Lengua

Making the decision to become an entrepreneur wasn’t easy. There is a lot of risk involved, you lose the comfort net of corporate and I wasn’t sure how I was going to balance it all properly. Two kids, a house and a husband PLUS a company sounded like a lot of work but the flexibility I was going to have ultimately made me take the leap.

Entrepreneurship is EXACTLY what I thought it would be in some ways and NOTHING like I thought it would be in others. It really is an adventure and I thought I would share the top 10 things that I have learned in my (almost) first year of entrepreneurship.

  1. You need to keep a schedule

If you think that you can manage your own social media, blogging, marketing, sales, business development, life and anything thing else that comes along WITHOUT a schedule? You are in for a treat. It won’t be easy. I am luckily very much a “schedule” person but I had no idea that I would eventually have to schedule in housework to ensure it gets done on a weekly basis.

  1. You need to follow your gut

You know what the right move is deep down. If you are sitting across from a potential client and you don’t feel good about it/them? Walk away. You don’t have to take that job. Another one will come. It’s better to walk away (professionally) than to regret not doing it later.

  1. Don’t sell yourself short

You will hear on more than one occasion when you are just starting out “I have a job for you, it isn’t paid BUT it is GREAT exposure!”

Trust me. Work hard enough and the exposure will come organically. You don’t need to work for free- exposure doesn’t pay the bills. If you feel the need to discount for a charity or friend? That’s fine! That’s up to you but value your time and your work.

  1. Be productive- Not busy

It is easy to get caught up in “being your own boss”. Lunch meetings, day freedom, getting lost on the web. Yeah, you FEEL busy but what have you produced? Set goals for yourself and achieve them. Make sure that you can measure your productivity so that you can feed your success.

  1. Keep your finances in order

If you can’t afford an accountant off the hop? Invest in a program to help you with your accounting! Losing track of your finances is frustrating and when it comes down to tax time you don’t want to be in the red. Stay diligent and take your company seriously regardless of its size or income when you are just starting off.

  1. Keep learning

Stay on top of your industry trends and news. It will help make your sales meetings flow naturally with great conversation, it will help inspire your next moves and help you grow as an entrepreneur. It isn’t easy but when I first started I always had a business oriented book I would pick up a couple times a week. When I got busier I didn’t even notice that I had stopped until I got into a mental entrepreneur rut (it happens) and picked a new book up. I instantly noticed a difference in not only my creative self but my confidence grew as a business professional.

  1. Shut work off for your important relationships

Work isn’t the most important thing. It feels that way sometimes- but it isn’t. Life is too short and kids grow too fast. You really need to make sure you are nurturing your relationships as well as your business because it is too easy to get caught up in the chase and too easy to miss out on memories.

  1. Take ‘YOU’ time

Whatever it is you like to do- do it. Shut off work mode and just be in you mode. Yoga, running, walking, climbing, eating, mani-pedis- WHATEVER IT IS. You owe it to yourself to reward yourself for a job well done. OH and having a husband, house and kids is no excuse. Sorry.

  1. Don’t take criticism to heart

Of course you need to take some constructive criticisms to your head. If you feel that it warrants attention then by all means you need to always be seeking to improve. But not everyone has your best interest at heart. Some people will envy you, some people will be negative by nature and some people won’t really know what they are talking about so their opinion won’t really matter. Learn to decipher constructive from callous.

      10. Failure is only a detour sign pointing you back to the drawing board

Not every idea will work or work right away. I have tried seminars that no one replied to. Videos that no one watched. I have blog posts that no one read and twitter chats that I AM STILL working the kinks out of. But guess what? I tried and I have put some ideas onto the backburner JUST IN CASE the future holds a re-try. You can’t let a little bit of failure stand in your way. There are good weeks and bad weeks, good and bad days and hours… You won’t always succeed and that is ok. Stay focused.

What have you learned since opening your business?

-Crystal Lengua-

CEO of BROCCOLI Consulting

Ten Tips For More Confident Presentations

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A powerful presentation stems from much more than a fancy PowerPoint slide- or even the information on it. In order to deliver a presentation worthy of an engaged audience you will need more than just ‘the facts’.

Here are five top presentation tips to help make your next presentation a success:

  • Be confident: You are the master of this presentation and you need to demand the respect and attention from your peers. Stand up straight, make eye contact and speak clearly at an understandable pace! Speak too fast you will lose them and too slow you will bore them.
  • Outline the purpose of your presentation early on: This will help your audience follow along and come to their own conclusions as you flip through slides. It will help inspire follow up questions and comments.
  • Don’t read your slides: Yes the information is there (and hopefully not jamming up the entire slide) but that doesn’t mean you are there to read it word for word. I am assuming you are presenting to adults and I am assuming they can read. Your slides are there to back up your “speech” not to be it!
  • Longer doesn’t mean better: Time is of the essence and using it wisely is the new black. Take as much time as you need to properly get your point across- but lose the fluff that traditionally was used to extend the length of a presentation.
  • Be aware of your body language: Standing is better than sitting when giving a presentation- it demands attention. You can move- but don’t pace! No one wants to feel like they are on a boat (sea sickness much?) Be aware of your hand movements- are you using them enough? Too much? Also, don’t keep your arms crossed (It comes across more snotty than serious.)
  • Practice your presentation: Even if you only say it aloud to yourself? Go through your slides. Be aware of what information follows what and know your time frame!
  • Leave room for questions and comments: Everyone is busy and has blocked off a set time frame for this presentation- respect their time by ensuring that you’ve worked in ample time for any questions or conversation that will follow.
  • Have handouts ready: Whether or not you choose to hand them out before or after is up to you- but it’s nice to have a summary of information to walk away with. Handing them out before MAY distract your audience so unless you need them to follow along? Make it a surprise extra at the end.
  • Be yourself: Don’t be afraid to add a bit of humor or include a personal experience if it supports your cause. Being yourself will come across as more natural and create a more relaxed atmosphere.
  • Don’t forget to breathe: Take pauses in your presentation when necessary to give everyone time to absorb the information. This follows along with the speaking pace tip in number one but I feel it’s necessary to reiterate how important it is to not sound mechanical.

In the end knowing your information will go a long way and practice makes perfect! Your first one may not go as planned but they more you do? The better you will become!