Open Work Space

THE BENEFITS OF WORKING REMOTELY

By: Tony Logan 

It is no longer news that almost half the population of full-time employees, depending on the nature of their jobs, now work remotely. Over the years, working in an office space has evolved into working remotely. This is true even for office workers and entrepreneurs alike. The number of people working remotely has witnessed a drastic rise, and the growth rate isn’t slowing down anytime soon. The reason isn’t farfetched. It is simply because working remotely has numerous benefits. Amongst several, some of the most important benefits include…

Increased Productivity:

Working remotely afford workers and a co-working experience more productive input and output than working in a traditional office. Thisis because workers can easily set up a workspace wherever they find comfy and void of distractions. This provides a much more productive environment compared to an office and a highly flexible work life that births better efficiency.

Saves Cost and Time:

This saves workers the stress and cost of commuting rather than the daily routine of getting to a traditional office on a daily basis. As a result, itensures less absenteeism and lateness. Also, time is saved becauseworkers become more inclined to start their workday early—this gifts workers more opportunity to perform more tasks.

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Better Mental Health for Work Capacity:

Stress is often related to anxiety and depression; thus, its reduction is crucial to a productive workforce. It has been acknowledged that remote workers experience lower stress levels to work than office workersand, as a result, produce more efficiency regarding their jobs and tasks.

Get Work Done Around the Clock:

Working remotely affords workers the ability to get work done around theclock rather than being restricted to work hours at a work location. This generally improves the business engagements of organizations to their customers and clients over the world.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Due to the nature of the work ethics surrounding being a successful remote worker, better habits are nurtured working remotely. Some of these essential and healthy habits created include self-control, a high level of self-motivation, brilliant multitasking skills, effective time management, and organizational skills, ability to focus and concentrate, generation of brilliant ideas, and many more. All of this adds to the molding of a better individual in other aspects of life. These habits are habits that working remotely creates as compared to working in traditional offices.Hence, to maximally enjoy the benefits of working remotely, it is imperative to build healthy communication amongst your team members, clarify expectations, be organized, and work effectively with remote working tools. Create a healthy workspace, exercise regularly, have a strong support system, and of course, take breaks!

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Pivoting against the competition

By: Tony Logan

As remote jobs emerged with a new trend in technologies, more people started searching for a suitable space to work and find comfort. With all its distractions, hotels were the closest to a suitable space for remote workers, especially freelancers.

By 1989, Mark Dixon stirred the boat towards a new direction by creating what will soon become a highly competitive industry. He started the idea of a working space by founding Regus, which became a unique idea that would be replicated with modernized technologies. Eleven years after Regus, a major competitor capitalized on the limited scope of Regus. WeWork became the industry’s new face to create a community, rather than simply creating a suitable office.

Despite its innovation, WeWork’s services could only be afforded by those capable of meeting the exorbitant fees.

With the two leading spaces having their flaws, the industry’s closest member to perfection is presently pivoting the competition with a combined and unique feature that makes it exceptional. Here are some distinctive features of Pivot as a rising force in the sector.

1. Establishing Partnerships with Local Small Business Owners

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Beyond having a beautiful office space, Pivot is a beautiful avenue for small businesses to thrive. Aside from the flexibility of their workspace, Pivot has shown great understanding in maintaining an affordable cost. The environment and tools made available are all affordable, making room for small business owners, freelancers, and students to strategically build their businesses.

2. Month-to-Month Membership

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The unavailability of a year-long contract means that Pivot has demonstrated a unique understanding of change, which could affect any contract. The membership fee means clients have access to all Pivot co-working locations and amenities. Unlike other companies, the fee covers electricity, Internet, free snacks, and many other benefits associated with it.

3. 24 Hours Access to Private Office and Dedicated Members

Unlike most companies in the industry, the front desk of Pivot is not just interested in bringing new clients and neglecting old tenants. The convenience of old tenants, to enhance their productivity is a guide to Pivot’s activities. It is the reason why the company grants 24-hour access to private offices. A unique demonstration of the client’s need to boost productivity is a rare attribute of the industry.

Conclusion

Working in a suitable environment increases the chances of efficiency, especially for those who deal with creatives, such as freelancing and other remote jobs. The environment and conditions of Pivot work are channeled towards creating a community that presents a good opportunity for your business to thrive. Consider visiting Pivot Co-Working spaces in Catonsville, Ellicott City, and Clark’s view areas of Howard County and Baltimore County to have a view of the suitable workspace

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Three ways to unplug

By: Tony Logan

Technology is a moving train in the 21st century. You either get in, or you’re left out. One huge benefit of technology is the luxury of working from home, connecting with clients, and executing a given task within a particular time frame.

Remote jobs seem to be a viable option for many who can not keep up with the stress and anxiety associated with daily jobs.

Despite its amazing benefits, remote jobs clear the difference between work and home. This factor means that more people are at risk of spending their life trying to please clients without creating room for their development and leisure. The need to frequently unplug, to protect the mental health of remote workers who spend a large part of their days behind the screen becomes imperative.

Here are some creative ways to unplug to increase efficiency, productivity, improve social relations and relieve stress and anxiety.

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1. Create work hours

If you’ve listened to Dolly Parton and let your 9-5 drive you crazy, you may need to adopt a similar approach despite working from your comfort zone. Unplugging begins when you have to define your time off work. While remote jobs like freelancing can be a matter of deadlines, it’s your responsibility to create a gap between your work and life. Although freelancers take a lot of pride in their job and try as much as possible not to say no to a client, there are still reasons to believe that stress and anxiety can only be eased when work hours are defined.

2. Create Time for Your Hobbies

When was the last time you hanged out with friends, picked up a book(hard copy) to read, play golf or football with friends or go hiking in the mountains? Creating time for your hobbies gives you an avenue to shift your attention away from on-screen activities. It helps you concentrate better when you return.

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3. Time out with Friends

Remote workers are at risk of being socially isolated from friends. Since they work at home, they do not have access to colleagues who might provide some necessary form of reliefs, such as displaying a sense of humor and having a good chat with friends. The truth is, your friends may just be tired of hearing ” the busy anthem” all the time. Your intents may be misinterpreted, but why not, social interactions relieve stress, and it’s a huge predictor of efficiency and productivity.Even in the middle of a pandemic virtual happy hours or even a phone call can do wonders!

Conclusion

In discourse like unplugging, personal interest, and a host of other factors may mean that you adopt a different strategy to the ones highlighted. The most important point is not being caught in the trap of equating work with life.

Co Working Blog

How to Increase your Productivity Level

No matter what your profession or job title, everyone can benefit from working more efficiently & productively. Really though, these two feed off each other and are really one in the same. To work efficiently is to work productively, and to work productively is to work efficiently. There are so many benefits both to our work & life of working productively; But some include reducing stress, saving time and ultimately making all of us even better at what we do!
We have decided to put together several tips that may help you to work more productively. So here it goes:

1. Pay Attention to the Details
This is one of the most important tips on the list, which is why we listed it first! Without this tip, all the other tips & suggestions will not matter, because for them to be effective, you must pay attention to every detail, all the time.
With our minds constantly pulled in 100’s of directions, it seems to be getting harder and harder to pay attention to the details in our work & lives. By definition, Detail means: extended treatment of or attention to particular items. Paying attention to detail requires having to spend a few extra seconds or minutes on almost every step of every project.
Doing things like reading documents twice, filing papers/files away as soon as being done with them, keeping desk drawers organized by writing utensil type and more are examples of paying attention to detail that can make a big difference in the long run. You may ask ‘How the heck can organizing my pens make me more productive?’ Well, as you begin to see the positive results of minding the details in everything you do, you will begin to naturally make the details a priority in everything. When you make the details a priority, you save time, thereby increasing your efficiency.

Here is an example:
One time at my office, we had a company call with a question about an invoice. As I went to get the invoice from the file cabinet, I realized it wasn’t there. I spent the next 20+ minutes searching for the file before bringing in another staff member who realized he had filed it in the wrong folder. Not paying attention to the details due to rushing when he originally filed the invoice caused us to waste so much more time then if he had been paying attention to detail when he first filed it.

Paying attention to the details helps to avoid errors such as scheduling a meeting at the wrong time or filing a document in the wrong folder, missing an important piece of information on a letter and so much more; All of which waste untold sums of time & money.

Do you best to slow your mind down enough to look at each and every step of each and every project/task as it’s own important step that must be treated with care and review! Over time, you want to have to try so hard and make such a concerted effort as it will begin to happen naturally!

Some other examples of paying attention to detail are:
– Verifying dates for meetings/appointments
– Filling in all the informational sections in Google Calendar when adding an event (Time, address, anything you need to take with you, brief description of event)
– Re-reading emails and letters for accuracy and punctuation
– Documenting all steps that are taken and their outcome for a task/project you are working on (Keeping these in the folder for that project, see Tip #2)
– Creating an itinerary or summary for meetings to assure you don’t miss anything

2. Create a File System & Use It
As you may be able to tell by now, I like thinking and making decisions based on what I know and what I learn about human behavior/psychology. That is why many of the tips and tricks that I mention are based around the ‘subconscious’ brain, as this is where many of our thoughts start and manifest!

I grew up in the age of true ‘paper’ work, manilla folders, and label makers. Because of that, I may be a bit biased on this tip, but starting & using a filing system no matter how primitive it is, can be a huge step to increased productivity.

With that said, a physical filing system is another trick I have seen (and used myself, as with all these tips) to ease the subconscious brain into feeling a sense of clarity & organization. Being able to visually see all of your paperwork, documents, and files neatly organized and prepared can do wonders for convincing our brain is everything is orderly, in-line and organized.

Now, for some of the more immediate and measurable effects of a good physical filing system:
One of the obvious benefits is having a physical back up of documents & other important information in case something happens to the files saved online, the computer or server.
By keeping a physical filing system, as well as a digital system, it allows us to monitor the details (See #1) and assure the accuracy of all documents & files. Because everything is being filed away in two places, digitally and in a physical file, it gives an opportunity to ‘reconcile’, or verify the accuracy and information on everything. Many people I speak to say that it is much easier for them to read and process information when they have a physical copy in front of them, so by having to file away a piece of paper, this gives you an opportunity to look at the information separate from on a computer screen and to potentially notice something that you missed before!
Some other filing tips/example include:
– Create a Hanging File Folder for all main filing categories (IE Finance, Marketing, Operations)
– Within each Hanging File Folder, keep individual manilla folders for each vendor, project or informational category (IE in the Finance Folder would be: Bank Statements, Deposit Slips, Etc.)
– Use ‘Filing Tabs’ to label each set of paper or documents that you file away in a manilla folder (See example below)
– Keep a File Cabinet Drawer for all current year documents and those in which time plays no role in their relevance (IE Marketing Plan, Operational procedures, etc are all relevant regardless of how much time goes by. Things like invoices and orders that have been places can be moved at the end of the calendar year)

3. Organize your Workspace
Whether working from home or in an office, productivity starts with the space in which we work. Start with making sure that every morning you start work with a completely cleared and organized desk. A large part of our ability to focus is based on the physical environment in which we work. Having a cluttered desk with papers and office supplies all over does not help our brain or our subconscious to get that feeling of organization and clarity, and often adds a sense of frustration or chaos to our time working. Therefore people will sometimes say ‘I don’t even know where to start!’


Dedicated Desk at PIVOT Work Spaces in Catonsville

Notice that we mentioned making sure your desk is organized BEFORE you start work in the morning. It is important to assure this is done the night before (if possible), as the significance of this tip really lies in walking into or starting the day with a clean and organized workspace every morning, and the effect, both consciously and subconsciously, that this has on our brain. I relate it to the feeling we get when walking into the bedroom after a long day and seeing a nice clean room with a well-made bed. It gives us a sense of peace and calm that allows the rest of our night (ideally) to maintain that say feel and vibe. I think we can all agree it is not as relaxing to walk into your bedroom with pillows slew on the floor and things all over the place!
See, being simple humans, our brains find it difficult to complete more than one task at a time. Therefore, we so often hear the phrase ‘I’m not good at multi-tasking’. When we have unfiled paperwork, unopened mail & other unreconciled tasks, whether we know it or not, our brain is spending some amount of mental energy trying, where happening subconsciously or not, to organize and reconcile those tasks so that it (the brain) can build whatever you are working on now or next into the current picture it has of your tasks and work plan. Our brain, and more precisely our consciousness naturally operates in a very orderly fashion; The brain likes order and efficiency, and it likes it to be this way all the time. By keeping all our ‘administrative duties’ in constant up-keep, we are allowing the brain and subconscious to spend 100% of its power on our current task at hand, not wondering or feeling like there is something else that needs to be done!
Try saving 10-15 minutes at the end of each day to file papers, send documents, or whatever is needed to assure everything is in order and set for a fresh start in the morning. Make sure all your pens, highlighters and other office supplies are neatly stored away and that the only thing on your desk is what you will need for your work the next day!

4. Plan Your Work/Day
Planning is a huge part of being productive. Some people like to plan details of events or projects out more than others (some plan each day down to the hour and minute). Regardless of how much you like to plan things out, a certain level of planning is required for optimal productivity.

If planning out your day down to the exact time each project should be worked on is too stressful or unattainable for you, start with trying to simply plan out the order in which you will complete tasks. For Example: Work on Project A first, then Project D, then C, Etc. Even though this is not overly specific, it gives you a general guideline for the day & the order in which you should work on your tasks/projects. It is urgent to note that just as important as creating this plan is; If you don’t FOLLOW IT, its absolutely useless!
Planning out your day also allows you to coordinate and effectively plan out any stops or places that you may need to go for work. You may notice that on your to-do list tomorrow is to get stamps to send out some mail, stop by the accountant’s office and drop off a document to a co-worker. By planning your day out in advance, you may realize that the post office is directly across the street from the accountant’s office and that instead of stopping at the post office on the way into work, you could knock all of this out in one shot during your drive to the accountant!

It takes discipline to stay hyper-focused on one task at a time, but like anything, with time and effort, it will begin to feel more and more natural & will have a huge effect on your mental and ‘subconscious’ organization!

Some other planning tips:
– Use Google Calendar to plan out your day 24 hours in advance (If you don’t have a Google Calendar, you can access it if you have a google account, if not you can simply setup a Google or Gmail account and you will have access to Google Calendar)
– Keep your daily plan on your desk as one of the few first things you see in the morning (See tip #3)

 

5. Use a Project/Task Management Software
One of the great things about technology these days is the amazing business/organizational apps and software that is available! Platforms such as Asana, Basecamp & Monday.com allow you to digitally track the status, set deadlines, get notifications, and more about your projects/tasks. These programs are great whether you are working as part of a team or just want to have a way to track your own individual information. Either way, having somewhere to effectively organize everything you must do in one place helps to bring the mental clarity and organization I have been speaking so much about!

Some good applications/software includes:
– Monday.com
– Asana.com
– Trello
– LiquidPlanner
– Basecamp

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38 Tools to Enhance Your Productivity.

When it comes to being productive it’s all about having the right tools at your fingertips. To help you achieve your goals we laid out 38 apps to help make work smoother and easier.

Trello
Keeping things in order and ranking your list of priorities can quickly eat up your time without structure. Reclaim your time and peace of mind with Trello. Trello allows users to organize team tasks, create different boards for assignments, and projects, and the best part is you can integrate Trello with other apps you may already use. This app is a team player.

Asana
Just saying the word Asana makes you feel a little more relaxed, and with its features, it will help ease your workload. What makes Asana standout from the rest is the smooth, easy to use interface. The layout makes it easy to navigate to a different task without getting confused and going down a deep rabbit hole. The app comes equipped with built-in forms, custom templates to create for project assignments, and milestone checkpoints to measure you and your team progress. It’s a great project management app.

Assembla
Designing and creating code is tedious, which makes security a top priority for protecting your work. Nothing is worse than putting your blood, sweat, and tears into source code to have that code compromised and into the wrong hands. Assembla can update and leave comments on your system directly on the app for other co-workers to review. If that’s not enough, the app even runs an automated code scan to prevent any vulnerabilities before the code is deployed. Crack the code and download Assembla for all your coding needs.

Basecamp
You may still be browsing for the right project management app but still on the fence, with all the different options after while they can seem to become redundant. But, before you throw in the towel, I suggest you try Basecamp. One major pro about Basecamp is that the focus is geared on collaboration, and their features are ingrained in that. With options that allow you to set up schedules, to-do lists, and chat-enabled, it makes communicating efficient and comfortable. The interface is one of the best out of all project management options, and the pricing is simple, with only two options free and paid with a 30-day free trial. It’s simple and straight to the point.

Monday
Going back to work from a short weekend may give you the Monday blues, but the Monday app can certainly make it less painful. If you’re familiar with Asana, Monday shouldn’t be a stretch since both are very similar. What separates Monday from Asaana is your preference for how you view templates, assignments, etc and how they are displayed. I think Monday is an easy to use app.

Podio app
Another app that’s great for teams to stay organized and track their work is Podio app. Podio allows you to minimize the need to use multiple systems by integrating one app that does it all. Podio offers a free version that allows up to five employees, and from there is their basic plan that’s $9 a month where you can have unlimited external users.

Taskworld
Taskworld app helps teams to manage and keep track of their work, but unlike the others, it comes with a hefty price tag. This app comes equipped with visual boards, team messaging, and an interactive dashboard.

Smartsheet
Smartsheet features customizable sheets and forms and allows you to manage users, groups, and projects from the system Administration feature.

Work Management Tools

Airtable
Airtable is a spreadsheet, meet database app. Airtable lets you break free from the traditional grid view layout and offers options such as the calendar view and gallery view. Airtable also comes with a database of pre-loaded templates to use for various projects and beautiful designs.

Paymo
Paymo is a team management app that focuses on task management, time tracking, timesheets reporting, and invoicing. This app comes fully loaded with features that not only help with organization and structure components but also the financial aspect. Unfortunately, there are no free versions of this program, but it offers three price options. The Small Office version is priced at $8.95 a month, The Business Version is priced at $14.25 per month and is designed for larger teams. But before you decide which option is best for you, Paymo does offer a 30-day free trial.

Kissflow
Do you need an app to help automate the process? Then Kissflow is the app for you! Kissflow comes with pre-built project templates. Kissflow has an onboarding employee tracking along with a help desk ticket. With Access Control, you can monitor unauthorized users from accessing confidential fields and data. The plans for Kissflow starts at $480 a month for 30 users.

Team Collaboration and Communication Tools

Slack app
If you ever worked on any team project, online chances are you used or heard of Slack. It’s an app that keeps everyone’s thoughts, ideas, and tasks all under wraps in one app. If you use to navigate group chats, then Slack should super easy transitions but just more features to play with. For small teams, Slacks standard version is priced at $6.07 a month, and their plus version is $12.50 for larger businesses.

Dropbox
We all need a little more room when it comes to storage, and Dropbox helps with that. If you’re a photographer or videographer, I’m sure you use or heard of Dropbox before. This storage app houses all of your large files safely and makes it easy to share with other when needed. Dropbox backs up all files that are uploaded and removes data remotely from lost and stole devices. If you’re looking to clear up space on your SD card or hard drive, consider Dropbox

Skype
Before video calling was considered cool and hip Skype was at the forefront. Skype allows you to make video calls from your phone and devices with one click of a button. Skype also allows you to hold virtual meetings and chat on the app. One of the pioneers of the game Skype is an essential app to have.

Zoom
Zoom is an app that single handily keeping everything together as we all navigate Covid-19. In case you’ve been under a rock and aren’t familiar with Zoom, it’s a virtual video app that allows you to host virtual meetings with family members, friends, and co-workers. Aside from pandemics, Zoom is still necessary to have, primarily If you work remotely.

Float
Have a problem managing cash flow? Float can be the solution to your business needs. Float gives you a clear, precise view of what’s going on with your business cash and takes the guessing out of it. The app provides a cash flow forecast and sums to your accounting software while pulling information from your bank account. It’s safe to say this app is worth every penny.

Join Me
Another great option to host your virtual meetings is Join Me. Join Me allows users to video conference and has a whiteboard option for jot-down notes in real-time. If that’s not cool enough, Join Me also has a presenter swap feature that allows you to switch presenters during a presentation. With virtual meetings become more vital to how we do business, Join Me is here to help and serve.

Microsoft Team
Microsoft Team is a central hub for team members to come together and work. The app allows team members to host meetings, share conversations, and manage team projects. Truly a one-stop-shop, but then again, that’s usually how Microsoft products are designed.

Productivity and Reporting Tools

Evernote
Need a place to write down your thoughts and ideas? Then Evernote is the app you need. Evernote allows users to document their work and add audio, and pictures to docs and keeps it saved in stored in one place.

Focus Booster
Can we all use more focus? Of course. With every app fighting for our attention, I’m happy to see that Focus Booster is an app we should be paying attention to. Focus Booster helps users keep track of recording time to review and improve our productivity. In the dashboard, Focus Booster provides a visual dashboard to help us see and monitor our progress. If you need an accountability partner, this app can help with that. Once you set the goals you want to achieve, Focus Booster provides insight into how much time you dedicated to each goal.

Todolist
If organization isn’t your strong suit and you need assistance, no worries theirs an app for that. To do list is an app that’s here to help organize your worked life.

Weekdone
Weekdone is an app that helps team members plan their weekly tasks. The app has a dashboard to give you an overview of long-term goals and your progress. The app also enables you to stay up to date with your team’s weekly plans and activities. Week done has a free version for its users and then upgrades to a $9 a month for 4-16 users.

Mindmeister
Do you remember writing out your ideas and visually brainstorming in school? Come to find out there are huge benefits to writing and mapping out our thoughts and there’s an app for that. Mindmeister is an online mind mapping tool that helps capture, organize, and share your ideas. The cool part is that with this app, you can use it to collaborate with others from anywhere! Mindmeister has a free version that comes with three mind maps. An upgrade version starts at $4.99 per month.

Noisli
Sometimes we have to tune out the noise and have the right noise to get the juices flowing. With Noisli it provides a good kind of noise, noise that helps us be productive. Noisli comes with different sounds you can match with to create the perfect sound environment. The Noise app comes with 28 high-quality background sounds that you can play individually or combine. If picking sounds sound like a challenge, the app also comes with a curated playlist. How do you like the sound of that? Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

I Done This
If you need a quick, easy way to tell your teammates you done something? Get the app that says it, “I Done This.” I Done This is a collaborative app that tracks teams progress on what they done and provides robust reports that provide a high-level overview of your whole team and organization progress. Get things done by downloading ‘I Done This.’

Time Management Apps

Rescue Time
Rescue and restore your time with the app Rescue Time. It’s no secret that scrolling online can sometimes lead us down a rabbit hole that we never intended. Rescue Time provides a solution by automatically tracking time that we spend on our mobile devices by allowing us to set and track goals for screen time. Time Management will help you build better habits to more productive with it tools.

Toogle
One app that won’t take time to learn is Toogle, thanks to its easy-to-use interface. Toogle is a time tracking app that can be used both online and offline and from an app or desktop. With the click of the “start” button, the app begins to track your time and ends once you click the “stop” button. It’s that easy.

Doodle
While working remotely, it can be hard to keep up with the day of the week. Every day that doesn’t start with “F” seems the same, but Doodle is here to help you keep your days on track. Doodles is an app to help you create events, schedule meetings and book appointments. One cool feature that Doodle provides is the “Meet Me” feature that allows others to see what days and times you are free by sharing your calendar with theirs. Once someone selects a timeslot you will be noticed. That’s planning made easy.

Calendly
Scheduling Zoom meetings back to back can get tricky and hard to keep track of if you’re just relying on a traditional calendar. Luckily, we can work from a smart calendar because of technology, and Calendly is one of them. Calendly can connect with up to six of your calendars to automatically check availability and connect with your best contacts, prospects, and clients. The app has features that include daily limits where you can cap the number of meetings per day and add buffers between events and team pages to keep a schedule with your team. Upgrade your planner with Calendly.

Accelo
An app that does it all Accelo is an app that comes fully loaded and equipped. Accelo is an app that offers projects managements, time tracking, task management, and budget and expense management. The app offers a 4-day trial and then starts at $39 per month.

Worldtime Buddy
Time is everything, and how we make it determines if we get anything done. World time Buddy is a world clock, a time zone converter, and an online meeting scheduler. World Time Buddy is an app that convenient to have while traveling to compare and glance at different time zoons. Upgrade your clock to a global watch with this app.

Other Remote Tools

Github
While we talked about apps to increase productivity, have you considered designing or building an app? Don’t worry; there’s an app for that. Github allows users to build an app that will enable you to automate and improve workflow. Build the app of your dreams with Github.

Workfrom
While Covid-19 has everyone working at home or remote, the million-dollar question is, how can we still connect? Through an app of course like Workfrom. So how does it work? Work allows you to connect with others who are working remotely nearby. Through the app, you can attend virtual workshops, and have video coffee breaks with co-workers and users. While things are still temporarily closed, it’s cool that we can still connect with friends and other users nearby through this app while social distancing.

Last Pass
How many times have you changed your password only to forget and reset it 20 minutes later? I might be the only one, but with Last Pass, that’s no longer an issue. Last Pass is a program that’s a password manager that handles creating and filling in passwords, so you don’t have to. Once you log into your account for the first time, Last Pass will store your username and password that will fill-in automatically next time you login in. Thanks to Last Pass, your last password will be the last password you have to remember.

1 Pass
If you need another option for your password back up’s, 1 Pass may be an app worth considering. Protect and organize your data and passwords with 1 Pass.

Proofhub
Get work done together under one hub with Proofhub. Managers Poofhub allows managers to oversee teams and projects, and clients have a login that brings up everything that pertains to them. Proofhub has an “Essential” option for $45 per month or an “Ultimate Control” option for $89 a month.

Grammarly
Grammar is a big issue, and it can be the difference between landing a job interview or getting overlooked due to bad syntax. Trust me; it matters, but thanks to Grammarly, bad grammar is a thing of the past thanks to their editing and proofreading software. Grammarly helps edit your papers and post but suggestion corrections, and with the upgrade version, you can get feedback from an editor. Never second guess an email or paper again with Grammarly.

Pivotal Tracker
Managing and keeping track of things is pivotal, which is why Pivotal Tracker comes in handy. Pivot Track Supports an agile workflow and provides structure to facilitate team communication and collaboration.

 

About PIVOT:  
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Check out our other blogs

Open Work Space

Stresses of Being A Freelancer

Written By: Tony Logan

 Being a freelancer is hard work. Waking up whenever you want, getting to hang out in cool cafes during the day, and having the freedom to drop everything to go shopping. I don’t know why anyone thinks being a freelancer is easy!? Ok, in case you didn’t realize I am being sarcastic, but from the outside looking in, this is the image that’s portrayed of being a freelancer, and it couldn’t be further from the truth. Being a freelancer has its challenges, just like working a 9-5, except when you’re a freelancer, there are no guarantees! You eat what you kill, and for the first few months, it can be brutal and lonely. And while there are many upsides of being a freelancer, there are a few stresses that come along with it. So, whether you’re thinking about becoming a full-time freelancer or you’re new to the game, these pointers can help give you a real perspective of what being a freelancer entail. Grab your coffee, pull up your notes app and let’s get started.

You have to build a structure

Once you leave the comforts of your 9-5, you are free! Free to do whatever you want whenever you want! Unfortunately, the downside is that you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, which leaves no room for structure. The hardest part about leaving a job is learning how to build a structure for the considerable amount of available time you now have. At your last job, you were told when to clock in, when to eat, and when to clock out. Now, that responsibility falls on you. This can be tricky at first, but you can use this opportunity as a way to create the ideal schedule that works for you. If your previous job started early in the morning, but you find yourself doing your best work in the afternoons, change your schedule to accommodate that. Don’t feel guilty about taking more breaks if you need them or doing work on the weekends if you feel like it. The goal is to create a structure that will allow you to get work done, and that can be as simple as just creating a checklist of just five things and knocking them out. Don’t be unrealistic in this approach and allow yourself some time to adapt. Your structure creates the foundation you need to be successful.

 What’s your worth?

A question that is intimidating to any new freelancer can be found in these five words, “How much do you charge?” How you answer that question will set the tone and foundation for that client. If you charge too much, the client might bail, while if you charge too little, you’ll hate yourself, so where’s the middle ground? I hate to say it, but there’s no straight answer for this. However, the first step should be to research what’s the going rate for someone in your industry. This will help you figure what ballpark you should aim for. The better goal is to find a starting rate; this will give you a base. One tool that can assist with this is a questionnaire form for clients to fill-out. A questionnaire will help you to determine a fair price based on the client’s needs, from which you can determine your starting price. As a freelancer, your prices are never written in stone. As you become busier and take on more clients, your time will become more expensive. The opposite can be true in slow seasons–and there will be slow seasons. So, price accordingly and always be open to change, but always know your worth! 

How to get paid on time?

There’s nothing more frustrating and annoying than working with a client who doesn’t pay you on time. It happens quite often, unfortunately, but one way to combat this issue is to provide a contract of agreement before you start anything. Even if the client tries to pressure you to start working immediately because the deadline is urgent, always have your paperwork ready!  Normally when we think about contracts, we assume that the paperwork has to be the size of a high school textbook, which is far from the truth. The agreement should simply layout the work that is being performed, the cost of your service, the deadline, and how the payment will be paid. At the end, you can also mention anything that might void this agreement. For example, if the client decides to change a service that’s not mentioned in the original agreement or if the client decides to abandon the project altogether, they are still held accountable. In this agreement, you can request half up front and the rest once the client approves the work, or you can ask for it all upfront. Either way, the point of the contract is to build trust and to hold you and the client accountable to agreed terms. Even with a contract, the client may still pay you late or try to avoid paying you at all, but at least you have a written and signed agreement to take legal actions. Hopefully, it doesn’t have to go this far.

Burnout is real!

With coffee, anything is possible! But not even a venti latte can stop the inevitable burnout! How we experience and deal with burnout is different for everybody, but the cause of it is pretty common: Taking on too much at one time. For example, at first, juggling two assignments doesn’t interfere with your work because you set times during the day to break up the assignments. But then you take up dog walking for extra cash in the morning, and soon you sign up for a personal trainer at your gym for two days a week, and then you take on a freelance gig for quick cash and now you’re swamped! It can really happen that fast. The best way to avoid a full-blown burnout goes back to one of my initial points of creating structure. In addition to that, decide how much work you are willing to take on per month. If taking on more projects for extra cash is interfering with the quality of your work and is causing you to stress out, it may not be worth it. And that’s ok! Of course, you may lose some extra spending money, but you will walk away with a piece a mind and more control of your time. I know its cliché, but a “peace of mind is priceless.” 

Now that we addressed some of the challenges of a freelancer, I want to end by saying being a freelancer isn’t a lifestyle for everybody. With so many false narratives only showing the lifestyle through a rosy filter, it’s easy to fall for the allure. But, by being mindful of the stressors and challenges that come with being a freelancer you will be better equipped to decide if it’s a lifestyle suitable for you! Remember to give yourself structure, understand your worth and what you bring to the table and always have plenty of coffee on hand. You got this! 

 

 





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About Tony Logan
Where should I begin? How about I give you the brief version? I started my writing career in 2008 from blogging and contributing to several men’s fashion blogs. Gaining experience and small notoriety through my writing later created an opportunity for me to become a fashion contributor for The Stndrd magazine. I had my own column titled “Stndrd Style” that profiled fashion-forward celebrities for print and online. Once I stepped-down from The Stndrd, writing was still a big part of my life, so I decided to focus on it full-time. I currently run a book publishing company with my sister called Lift Bridge Publishing, and I also curate content for brands and companies. Aside from writing, I’m a personal stylist, working with clients for editorial shoots, for public appearances and for rebranding purposes. When I’m not working, you can catch me in a local café sipping a white mocha and stealing Wi-Fi.

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