Increase Productivity: Five Powerful Actions

How can you make the best use of your energy to increase productivity each day? Here are five actions that can increase productivity and leave energy to spare. They will also help you to achieve more balance between your work and personal life.The key to increased productivity is to focus on managing actions and energy rather than time. I am going to refer to time as energy because using time always involves energy expenditure. Investing your energy wisely will provide you with additional energy in return.1. Manage actions and priorities.Time management is action-management. Think of time as physical and mental energy that you expend through actions. The feeling of “no time” can arise from too many priorities or unclear priorities. Neglected self-care can also leave one feeling unable to complete necessary tasks. Begin your day knowing exactly what you intend to do. Outlining the day on paper each morning is a great action-management technique.What must you do before you can use your time-energy more efficiently?2. Keep skills sharpened.Keeping your skills sharpened will result in more productivity. A client complained that he did not have time to complete his college reading assignments. I soon learned that it took this student 10 minutes to read something that his 15-year old sister could read in 3 minutes! His problem was not time; it was the need to improve reading skills.”I don’t have time,” is a common phrase that we’ve all used without giving it much thought. But what does it really mean? Time excuses signal (1) other priorities, (2) the need for action management, (3) the need for organization, (4) the need for physical or mental energy, or (5) the need to sharpen a skill.Sharp skills allow completion of more actions with less effort. Sharpen fundamental skills frequently. Take courses that will keep you up to date with the latest information in your career. Routine skill sharpening in all aspects of life is a wise energy-management choice. Personal skills and career skills will often overlap, affecting productivity in both these areas.What skills could you sharpen that would create more time-energy and productivity?3. Focus purposefully.Feelings of time scarcity crop up when thoughts or actions do not pertain to the purpose at hand. Actions that are off purpose do not support one’s values or goals. Up goes stress; down goes productivity. Purposeful focus allows a sense of urgency without creating negative stress.Create daily reminders to check your focus and action-priorities. Many reminder services are available without cost. Establish firm boundaries to prevent energy-consuming distractions. Be assertive to maintain those boundaries.What distractions could you remove that would help to maintain a purposeful focus?4. Stay flexible and ask for help.Urgency is not inflexibility. Flexible plans allow for interruptions, schedule changes, and unforeseen events that you cannot control.Flexibility also allows you to accept help from others. Attempting to do everything alone can create an energy imbalance in both your personal life and career. Act on your strengths and ask for qualified help with those things you cannot handle alone.What thoughts or attitudes can you change to become more flexible, balanced, and productive?5. Act decisively.Act decisively on the commitments you make to your goals. All the pieces are rarely in place when starting something new. There will always be more to learn. Over-analysis and waiting for the perfect moment can obstruct a successful launch. Fears of either success or failure can hold you back.Acknowledge fears and look past them to see the rewards of your actions. Move through fear by the power of faith in your purpose. Build momentum and keep learning as you move forward.What could you accomplish if you made the commitment to begin today?An Exercise to Increase ProductivityBegin by writing each productivity tip on a sheet of paper. Under each one, write down ways you have used this or a similar idea in the past. What were the results, and what would you do differently this time?Keep these questions in mind also: “What shows up when I manage my actions appropriately? Where do I waste the most time-energy, and why? What is the payoff when I waste energy and perceive a lack of time? What has robbed me of productive energy in the past?”Increase ProductivityNext, you will be thinking of five ways you can become more productive. Write your best answer to the question at the end of each productivity tip. Then write down a way you could apply each of the five actions to your current situation.Keep these questions in mind also: “When I become as productive as I would like to be, what will be my reward? How could I increase my level of self-care to increase my productivity? What things need less attention and more attention in my life at this time?”The five actions in this article will require ongoing effort. The way you answer these questions will change over time. However, you will find the results worthwhile. Begin taking action now, and you will increase productivity with extra time-energy to spare.

8 Things to Consider Before Launching Your Website

Whether you are developing a website yourself or you are getting a web design agency to build it, you need to make sure you check your website is working perfectly before officially launching it.1. Cross-Browser checksThere are many different browsers which users can use to browse the Internet. All of these browsers render information differently, which can result in your website appearing differently in each browser. Your website doesn’t need to look perfect in every browser, but it should work correctly and the user’s interaction shouldn’t be prohibited. The most common browsers to check are Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8 (MSIE 6, 7 and 8), Firefox 2 and 3, Safari, Opera and Chrome. You can check how your website views in many browsers using BrowserChecks, a free cross-browser checking website.2. Proofread your copyI can not overestimate the importance of reading your content and then re-reading it, and finally getting someone else to read it. It’s amazing how many small errors you will find; even when you think you have proofread it all.Also, if you or your friends are getting bored when reading through the copy, it’s not a great sign about how interesting your copy is. You should look at splitting some of the copy up into more easily digested sections.3. Check all your linksYou must check all your links, it is very easy to misspell a pages URL or forget to include the http:// on external links. Some links you might prefer opening in a new window, have you checked they do?You should ideally check all your links manually, however this may take all day if your site is very large, instead you can use a link checking tool, which will return any broken links it finds, Xenu Link Sleuth is a free link checking tool that I highly recommended.4. Check your forms and shopping basketsHave you checked that all your forms work and the correct information is sent to the correct people? Data capture is an important aspect of any website; the correct user’s information must be sent to the relevant users. Run a test, make a fake enquiry and then check with all the users that they received all the information they required.Can you enter incorrect information into fields in your form? Can you submit your form without entering all the required fields? You should test your form validation to remove any incomplete emails being received.If the site is an eCommerce site, create a 1pence product and purchase the product, did all the required steps proceed as predicted?If you can create an account, can you log in successfully and access the require admin areas?Finally check the user experience of interacting with your website, was the site easy to interact with? Was it obvious when your interaction was complete? Were you taken to a thank you page?5. Installing analytics tracking softwareWould you like to know how many visitors your site is getting? Where these visitors are coming from? And what they do when they are on your site? To track all this information you need to install an analytic tracking software program like Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free tracking packing from Google but unlike the traditional ‘you get what you pay for’ saying, Google Analytics is an extremely advanced and powerful analytics package.6. Adding an XML sitemapIf you are unaware what an XML sitemap is and why you need one, read my ‘XML sitemap walkthrough’ article. If you are aware of what an XML sitemap is, then you must upload one, and then submit it to Google Webmaster Tools.If you are using WordPress you can install the Google XML sitemaps plug-in, which will automatically update your sitemap when you create new posts, categories and pages.7. Customised 404 pagesThe most commonly overlooked aspect of web development is the 404 page. This is the page that the user sees if they try and access a page that doesn’t exist. It is the standard white page with ‘The page cannot be found’ text. This page can be modified to contain your standard layout and navigation, with a personalised ‘page not found’ message. This is useful to retain as many wayward visitors as possible.8. ValidationAlthough making your site validate is not of major importance, approximately 80% of all websites do not pass current validation criteria. However it should still be checked to find out if any major errors could be affecting your site. Some errors could even stop the search engines from accessing your pages, which in turn would stop your site from appearing in the search engines. You can check if your pages validate at the W3C Validator.

New Equity Release Lender More2Life Launches New Products

Signs that the equity release market is beginning to spark into life again, can be evidenced by the re-emergence of a former lender in the market.

More2Life have joined forces with annuity specialist Partnership assurance to re-launch their impaired life roll-up lifetime mortgage plan.

Incorporating an impaired life facility & protected equity guarantee, the More2Life equity release plan can be seen to be opening a niche market for itself. The impaired life facility means that depending on health & lifestyle, a higher than normal tax free lump sum can be achieved, should serious health issues be present.

The More2Life equity release plan has been designed with three scenario’s in mind: -

1. Enhanced plus – industry leading maximum release, impaired life product

2. Enhanced protected – impaired life plan with ‘protected equity guarantee’

3. Protected plan – older applicants looking for a ‘protected equity guarantee’

Pitching the enhanced plus plan at the maximum release end of the market means that should the applicant qualify on medical grounds, they would have the highest lump sum currently available. This would even surpass the current Aviva Lump Sum Max product, although this would be at the expense of a higher interest rate with More2Life.

The following percentages are the maximum releases available on the Enhanced Plus: -

Age 55 23%

Age 60 28%

Age 65 33%

Age 70 38%

Age 80 48%

Age 90+ 54%

For example, an applicant aged 65 with a property valuation of £250,000 & meeting the underwriting criteria, can release a maximum of £82,500 on the enhanced plus plan.

The interest rate for this product will be 7.49% monthly.

The second product – ‘enhanced protected plan’ is also based on health & lifestyle grounds & again can provide an enhanced lump sum. However, to qualify for this equity release scheme the health situation will not be a serious as the enhanced plus. The interest rate for this plan is lower at 6.99% monthly.

Another feature of this plan is the ‘protected equity guarantee’ which is included & guarantees a percentage of the property for the children/beneficiaries on the eventual sale of the property.

The guarantee works as follows: -

Should the overall facility available be £80,000, yet only £40,000 is taken, then 50% of the final sale value will be protected on sale.

This can be an essential tool for applicants who wish to ensure that a guaranteed inheritance is passed onto their children.

The final option is the ‘protected plan’ which has no impaired life facility, but does include the protected equity guarantee. The interest rate is the same as the enhanced protected at 6.99% monthly.

In summary, depending on whether the maximum lump sum is being sourced, or one is looking to take equity release but still guaranteeing an inheritance for their children, then one of the three More2Life schemes can benefit.