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Why should I Care About 3D Printing?

Well, let me ask you this.

If the handle on your dresser were to break, and all you had to do to fix it was to go into your office or room in your house and print a new one, wouldn’t that be awesome?

We think so. And we think this is a large part of the continued ‘Smart Home’ transition that will be happening this century. Although 3D Printing is fairly common now in most industrial & production facilities, where 3D printers can be larger than an over-sized home refrigerator, consumer based 3D Printing, or those of us using a printer in our homes in nearly nonexistent.

The folks who do have a 3D Printer in their home are at this point, for the most part, using them more for enjoyment or as a hobby than for an actual beneficial use. You can visit https://www.thingiverse.com/ to view 100,000’s of different objects, products & items that people from all over the world have created. Although there are many useful, purpose driven items available to print, you will notice many of them are more ‘cool’ and for entertainment, not true use.

Recently, however, in particular with the Covis-19 ‘Pandemic’ that swept the nation, we have seen one of the first true large scale use of consumer based 3D Printers for a useful and purpose driven use. Machine owners from all over the Country and World went to work producing Face Masks & Face Guards for members of their local Health Care & Residential communities. This is a prime example of true potential of this technology and where it will most likely be heading in the coming years. This will be a shift from the use of 3D Printers at home mostly by ‘Hobbyists’ to everyday consumers, to solve everyday problems.

So let’s take a step back for a moment to the handle on your dresser.

Imagine it’s 2025, the handle on your dresser just broke (I know, it sucks)
You take the broken handle and go into your home office or room where your 3D Printer is.
You visit the furniture manufacturers website, download the file for the handle for your particular dresser, send it to the printer to print and, Walah! You have your new handle without ever having to leave the house or call customer support!

This is the future of 3D Printing. Everyday consumer solving everyday problems. And its getting closer than you may think!

Want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to 3D Printing? We got you covered – PIVOT offers FREE access to Printers for all of our members. We can even offer 1 on 1 instruction on how to use it!

 

About PIVOT:  
Are you a freelancer coworking or working from home?

PIVOT offers flexible shared office space (co-working space) in the Ellicott City, Catonsville & Clarksville areas of Howard & Baltimore County; with all the amenities & productivity tools you need to succeed and be productive; All at one low price & with no leases or contracts. PIVOT is great for freelancers, business professionals, entrepreneurs, innovators, those who work from home and anyone else who needs modern, flexible office space without the long-term commitment or steep prices of typical office buildings or the hassle of a membership to a downtown co working space 

 

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Why Co-Work & Who Works There?

When you think of or hear about Co-Working, what do you think?

  • A building full of start up business owners?
  • Millennials (Sorry, Generation z) who spend as much time at the free beer tap and they do on their computers working?
  • A bunch of business owners cramped in a shared office to save money?

 

Although this may be how the media and other portray life at a shared office space, none of those descriptions accurately describe or capture the true nature of most co-working spaces. While back in the beginning years of co-working this may have been closer to describing the co-work experience, things, including those who utilize shared space have changed dramatically over time. Now and days you can find everything from Lawyers, Scientists, IT Professionals, Operations Directors, Business Owners and more using co-working in a variety forms for a variety of reasons.  From a businesses home base of operations to a place to work outside of the house or a secondary office location,  those who take advantage of co-working’s great amenities, flexible rental options and amazing community atmosphere don’t ever want to look back on the work from home or traditional office experience!

 

Member Lauren A. Working at PIVOT Work Spaces in Ellicott City

In order to give a clearer picture of the types of people who use co-working space, and to show how wide of a range it really is, we reached out to several co working spaces around the DMV area, as well as including our own members from PIVOT Work Spaces , to get a poll on the types of members are working at their spaces.

 

Here is what we learned:

 

Professionals:

Co-Working spaces around Maryland, DC & Virginia, including PIVOT Work Spaces in Catonsville, Ellicott City & Clarksville feature a large amount of what we refer to as ‘Professionals’. These are people who work for a variety of small to medium sized enterprises, contractors and other businesses. For example:

  • Operations Directors
  • Administrative Assistants
  • Financial Analysts
  • IT Professionals
  • Website Designers
  • Human Resource Managers
  • Strategists
  • Accountants

 

Most professional members of co-working spaces utilize their workspace several days a week. About 40% work for a company that is based in another state while appx 55% work from a business local to the DMV Area, but are able and encouraged to work from home the majority of the time. When it comes to how most professionals pay for their work space, some people choose to pay for the space themselves while some choose to have their employer handle the cost (Check out or Ideas To Convince Your Boss to Pay For An Office Space For You)

 

  Business Owners:


Small Business Owners use co-working space for a variety of purposes. Some use it as their primary office where they conduct business from and work at daily. Some use the space as an out of town office for when they travel and others simply to have a creative, innovative space to work outside of their traditional ‘drab’ office space and to have the ability to connect with other businesses and business owners on a more frequent basis.

Small Business Owner Erin C.. relaxing at PIVOT Work Spaces in Catonsville

The types of Business Owners who you will see using co-working spaces varies widely. You may see a 20 something CEO’s and Start up Owners all the way to 50+ year old small business owners and CEO’s of large companies. Everybody these days seems to see the benefits of the collaborative, innovative and beneficial features that co-working spaces offer – as well as the flexibility offered. PIVOT Co-Working even offers month to month rentals so you can cancel anytime should your plans change, or needs be revised!

Some examples of Small Business Owners Include:

  • Marketing Agency Owners
  • Real Estate Brokers
  • Property Management Company Owners
  • Restaurant Owners

Entrepreneurs:

 Entrepreneurs, Business Owners, what’s the difference, right? For this poll, we look at entrepreneurs as those who currently run, own or manage more than one business or job at a time. This could include someone who works a full-time job but owns a small business on the side, to someone who owns multiple enterprises and products.

Freelancers:

Today more than ever before, people are taking their skills & applying them to make money on their own! Some examples of freelancers you will see at a co-working space include:

  • Graphic Designers
  • Consultants
  • Journalists
  • Coaches
  • Artists
  • Writers
  • Video Editors

The list of freelance members of PIVOT Co-Working specifically could go on and on! Freelancers offer their services to individuals & businesses on a contract basis, often at an hourly rate. The biggest difference between a freelancer who offers a service and a company that offers the same service is that freelancers work for themselves; This saves them big money on overhead, allows them to be more picky on who they work with to assure there skills match the customers’ needs and offer more customized and personal service.

The flexibility, amenities & convenience of co-working spaces has made them a great option for various industries & people from all walks of life. As the trend of new business owners, ‘gig workers’ and freelancers continues to rise over the coming years, co-working will not only continue to be a vital & important workspace option, but will continue to grow in availability, options, amenities & styles!

Howard County

Why Shopping Local is good for YOU!

How often do you shop at or visit locally owned businesses in your community or neighborhood? If you are like a growing number of Americans Nationwide, you are spending more time (and money!) at locally owned businesses recently. Why is that?

As we become more health-conscious and focused on knowing where our food and its various ingredients come from, we look to locally owned bars and restaurants to provide a delicious meal and being open and transparent about its components.

 

When shopping from a local pet store, we feel reassured that the owner has already done the difficult work in sourcing products that offer a healthy and nutritious option for our pets. When we shop locally, something is reassuring about knowing the business owners live and have a vested stake in the area where their business is; and where we live and raise our kids.

Ellicott City

PIVOT Work Spaces offers discounts to local shops & restaurants, including Manor Hill Tavern, featuring a host of great items that use fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

All these various aspects of shopping locally satisfy our need as humans of wanting to help each other, to create a sustainable community, and to do what’s best economically and health-wise for our family. Shopping local isn’t just better for the environment and the local community; it’s also better for YOU!

When we are fulfilling this innate drive to foster and grow our surroundings & community, it is possible to see your mood improve, conversations & connections with others become more meaningful and so much more!

 

When we participate in these things that fulfill our very basic human desires, it can affect us on a subconscious level and create change at the root of our behaviors. Let me give you an example:

 

Humans thrive off a need to feel a part of something’ bigger than themselves’. Various research has proven people in the military, Fortune 500 Companies, Fire Department, or other large organizations genuinely appreciate being a part of something’ bigger than themselves. Similarly, when shopping locally, we often fulfill that need to feel a part of something’ more significant than ourselves,’ knowing that we are doing our part in what is a larger community effort to support local businesses, communities, and families. When you can connect with other people over this shared feeling or passion; this is when the deeper & more meaningful relationships and conversations form and thrive!

Howard County

Anyway, enough of the psychoanalytic stuff,

Today I wanted to highlight the two amazing towns that are home to PIVOT WorkSpaces, Historic Ellicott City & Catonsville! For those who aren’t familiar with PIVOT and who we are, he is a summary:

PIVOT offers flexible shared office space (co-working space) in the Ellicott City, Catonsville & Clarksville areas of Howard County & Baltimore County.  With all the amenities and productivity tools, you need to succeed and be productive all at one low price and with no leases or contracts. PIVOT is excellent for freelancers, business professionals, entrepreneurs, innovators, those who work from home. And anyone else who needs modern, flexible office space without the long-term commitment or steep prices of typical office buildings or the hassle of a membership to a downtown co-working space.

We strategically chose these locations for our co-working space, Catonsville & Ellicott City, to their ‘small town’ traits, characteristics & vibes! We wanted everyone who works at our co-working spaces to have plenty of available options to enjoy themselves, whether on a break or after work! Whether that be grabbing a bite to eat, getting your phone checked out at the local repair shop, hitting one of the local sports shots for a new golf club, or just checking out one of the super unique clothing stores so you can make a wish list for when you get that next raise or promotion!

Coworking space

PIVOT Work Spaces Catonsville located at the corner of Frederick Road & Ingelside Ave

Ellicott City, with its variety of stores, shops, and services available, offers a real, old-time ‘shop local experience.’ Its historic design & construction, which have been carefully preserved all throughout the town over time, provide an eerily similar feel of how local shoppers would have felt while perusing the town’s various shops and markets over 100 years ago! ‘Main Street’ as most locals refer to it, in Historic Ellicott City, is home to the famous ‘Taylors Department Store.’  Since it was closed in 1915, it has been meticulously maintained over the years and now houses a three-story art gallery featuring artists from all over the region. Another one of the town’s coolest buildings houses Unusual Company, a unique art & gelato shop featuring a truly Unusual Experience for kids and adults alike. Historic Ellicott City is home to a variety of 5 Star restaurants offering cuisine from all over the world; and Cafes/Bakeries like Little Market Café & Old Mill Café offer that perfect place to grab an afternoon coffee, and with free Wi-Fi, the opportunity to get some work done on your computer. Main Street in Ellicott City is also the home to our PIVOT Ellicott City Location. Located at the very top of Main Street, PIVOT sits on the second story of what was once one of the town’s Fire Houses, before being decommissioned in 1997 and converted to commercial use. With a mix of super unique stores and shops that you indeed won’t find anywhere else, Historic Ellicott City is a place the whole family will enjoy exploring, shopping, and learning more about!

clarksville coworking

Nighttime on ‘Main Street’ in Historic Ellicott City, 2019

Catonsville, known as ‘Music City Maryland,’ holds to its name, hosting a variety of music-related stores, drawing musicians from all over Maryland. What Catonsville may lack in charm that Ellicott City has, it makes up for with its massive variety of stores and its warm, family atmosphere. For music lovers, there is Appalachian BlueGrass, which is home to a wide range of guitars, fiddles, and other stringed instruments. At the same time, the famous Bill’s Music House houses over 4,000s of almost every musical instrument that any visitor can try out for themselves! Many times I have walked in Bills to hear young kids creating gorgeous riffs out of the ‘for sale’ pianos and drummers creating captivating beats on the ‘demo’ drum sets; Bills is more than just a music store, it’s an experience!

Catonsville is also home to a wide variety of specialty shops and lifestyle services, such as dentists, lawyers, oil change shops, karate studios & more. Step into any restaurants or bars on Frederick Road, and you are almost guaranteed to leave with a new friend! Catonsville’s dozens of restaurants feature the cuisine of nearly every type and are almost all rated five stars on Yelp!

ellicott city maryland

Nighttime on Frederick Road in Catonsville, 2019

So, what do you think about adding a little more small town, local shopping into your routine? What would that look like or entail? What is a product or service you are currently buying from a large corporation or big box store that can be purchased or supplied by a small business? If you already do a lot of little business shopping, You Rock! Why not try bringing a friend along next time as well so everyone can experience the satisfaction and benefits of shopping locally!?

Remember, there are so many winners when you shop local, your community, your neighbors, and yourself!

About PIVOT:  
Are you a freelancer coworking or working from home?

PIVOT offers flexible shared office space (co-working space) in the Ellicott City, Catonsville & Clarksville areas of Howard & Baltimore County; with all the amenities & productivity tools you need to succeed and be productive; All at one low price & with no leases or contracts. PIVOT is great for freelancers, business professionals, entrepreneurs, innovators, those who work from home and anyone else who needs modern, flexible office space without the long-term commitment or steep prices of typical office buildings or the hassle of a membership to a downtown co working space 

Interested in trying out PIVOT?
Grab a free day pass here
Check out our other blogs

Organize 3

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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What exactly is comfort?

In life, we all seem to want to be ‘comfortable’.  When asking the average person what is important to them in life, you will usually get ‘just making sure I have enough to be comfortable’, in one modified form of that statement or another.

Comfortable seems like a simple enough answer. Being the analytical thinker I am, however, and having life experiences that have shown me first-hand comfort can mean different things to different people, this got me thinking, why is It these days that we still never seem to be ‘comfortable’?

Everybody probably knows the old saying that money can mean more to one person than another. For example, giving $5,000 to someone who makes $50,000/year would probably invoke a different reaction than giving $5,000 to someone making $250,000/year. That is not to say the person making 250k/year wouldn’t be appreciative, but it’s logical to say the person making 50k/year may have a financial situation in which that 5k would have a greater impact.

I have met many people in my life making 250k/year or more who still feel they need more to be comfortable. I have also met people making 50k/year or less who still feel they need more to be comfortable.

So, why is that no matter how much we seem to make, we never seem to be ‘comfortable?
Many of the people making 50k/year want more because they feel having that extra bathroom for the kid’s would just relieve so much stress, or because of the glamorized, ‘happy’ lives that TV shows portray of everyone with a large home and a choice of cars to drive. Not to mention the growing cost of basic goods and services.

Many of the people making $250,000 year want more because they feel that you just never know what could happen these days and that an even larger savings account would make them feel better in case anything arises. Some of them feel that if they had a house that was even a bit larger than they would be comfortable.

Both people want more because they feel with more, they would feel better about their situation.
My thought was, maybe we should all think about what ‘comfortable’ truly means to us?

I spoke with a gentleman recently who lost his job during the Corona Virus Pandemic. Because he burned through his savings so quick with bills before getting his job back, he and his family of four moved from a 3,100sf single-family home in Howard County to a 1,700sf townhome.

At first, he said, he was always stressed thinking about “Ok, how do I start saving so I can move the family back into our dream home?” he said. Over time, however, as their smaller home began to feel more and more like home, he started to think to himself “Alright, I honestly feel just as happy as I was in the bigger house”. It seems having the smaller home creates less stress and allows more time for the things I enjoy” The yard is smaller, so it required less upkeep and the inside much easier to manage and keep clean. As a result, this created more time for him to spend with his family, the true purpose of the home in the first place!

Working outside with the kids – Catonsville 2020

“Of course, we missed the things like having an extra separate bathroom and the guest bedroom for guests, but we also realized not having those things wasn’t the end of the world, and they definitely weren’t what made us happy. In retrospect, I am truly grateful for the experience because it caused each of us to have to look inside and find the strength we never we had, and we all grew closer because of it”, he said, “Which was worth it all in the long run”.

So let me ask you, what does comfortable mean to you?
Does it mean feeling secure that you & your family have a roof over your head & food to eat? A secure income? Or does it mean more time to spend with your family on Friday night, learning more about yourself and growing?

There is a famous saying that goes like this
‘When we don’t have money, we are worried about getting it. When we get money, we are worried about not losing it’

I think each of us has a natural desire to want ‘more’, But let’s all take time to be happy for what we have as well! Let’s all find comfort, in any situation we are in!

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Handling Failure

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
Written by Tony Logan

Let’s be honest, failure teaches us far more than success ever will. So how come we don’t know how to handle failure? With social media capturing all of our successful moments it’s very rare that you will see anyone showcasing or speaking about their private or public failures, but it happens to everyone. Failure is uncomfortable and can haunt us like a bad breakup we didn’t see coming. First, we’re in denial. Next, we start to blame ourselves. And finally, we lose faith in ever trying again. But how we handle failure will inform us if we’re ready to handle success because in order to be successful we have to be failures for a short while. Dealing with the results will never be easy, but learning how to deal with them gives us the hope, discipline, and focus we need to get back on the road of success.

Just the facts.

When we look at our failures, the first place we have to analyze is the facts that led to the results. What went wrong? This part is critical because the information from the results can better prepare us for the next opportunity. Dealing with the results in the moment can be unbearable and hard to face because so much emotion is still attached to it. In fact, our first reaction may be to avoid looking at the results altogether or just write it off without ever acknowledging it, but that doesn’t mean the facts aren’t still there. Getting all the facts and just the facts will help you avoid the same failures. The more facts you can pull from the results, the better equipped you are to deal with the future.

Create a plan and make it plain.

Getting the facts from a setback does no good if we don’t learn to plan from it. Sure, you can have the ambition to jump right back into the ring after a knockout, but without a new strategy, it shouldn’t be a surprise if you get the same results. Take time to measure your plan against the facts to make adjustments where needed. It may be that the smallest detail overlooked can make the biggest difference. With new information and a new strategy, success is bound to present if you stick with it.

Stop blaming yourself

After you face the facts, come up with a plan of action. Then, the next and final step should be to forgive yourself. The main reason why handling failure is so difficult is that we internalize and relive the moment every time we think about it. It could have been a mistake you made months ago that still plagues your thoughts like it happened yesterday. If it’s a public failure, moving on is twice as hard because our public perception takes a hit and our venerability becomes visible. Taking accountability for your mistakes is honorable and upright but not to the point where you are tearing down your self-esteem and confidence in exchange. Accept the failure and any role you had in it and learn to move on.

An opportunity to be transparent

We live in an age of influencers, trendsetters, and tastemakers and they all seem to live the perfect life. The only problem with perfection is that it’s unrelatable and unrealistic.  To separate yourself from the pack I encourage you to share your personal failures (the ones you feel comfortable with) as a way to build a connection with people. Own, whatever mistake you made and build a conversation around it and what you learned from it. You may be surprised at how many people will respond and personally reach out to you to share their stories. 

Use energy!

Sometimes an extra burst of adrenaline is all we need for an intense workout that can come at the expense of failure. The physical symptoms after experiencing a devastating loss or setback can come in the form of tense shoulders, aching headache, and a boost of energy. What better way to use this energy than put it to good use? This route can be beneficial for people who often bottle up these emotions. We all know that eventually, everything that is built up will come up, so why not redirect it positively? You’ll come up stronger physically and emotionally, and we sleep like a baby afterwards. I’m all in favor of good sleep! 

We live in the age of influencers, trendsetters, and tastemakers who seem to live the perfect life. The only problem with that image is that it’s not real. Everybody life isn’t as perfect as their caption, and living the ideal life isn’t the goal. To live a meaningful life, it takes risk, and risk requires failure. Everyone will experience failure, but how we can handle is what separates us. Failure is never easy, and we all deal with it differently. The goal is not to avoid failure because that’s impossible especially if you’re daring to do something worthwhile. The goal should be to accept failure as a stepping stone that you can use to help you reach success. As long as you’re learning and growing from your past mistakes, then a failure is never a failure only a setback that’s preparing you for a step up.

More About PIVOT

Are you a person who is not afraid of taking a risk and embraces failure? Then you belong at PIVOT Co-Working! At PIVOT, we host quarterly workshops, and monthly events for our members to help educate and inform them how to grow their business. See why local influencers and entrepreneurs call PIVOT home at our two locations in Catonsville and Ellicott City. PIVOT members know that success doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen through collaboration, conversation, and coffee. Ready to join us? Click the link below to book a tour with one of our friendly community managers.

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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! 





About PIVOT:  
Are you a freelancer coworking or working from home?

PIVOT offers flexible shared office space (co-working space) in the Ellicott City, Catonsville & Clarksville areas of Howard & Baltimore County; with all the amenities & productivity tools you need to succeed and be productive; All at one low price & with no leases or contracts. PIVOT is great for freelancers, business professionals, entrepreneurs, innovators, those who work from home and anyone else who needs modern, flexible office space without the long-term commitment or steep prices of typical office buildings or the hassle of a membership to a downtown co working space 

Interested in trying out PIVOT?
Grab a free day pass here
Check out our other blogs

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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