hanicker + work   6

"If You're Not Making Mistakes, then You're Not Doing Anything." [Quotables]
This quote belongs to Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden, who was not only well aware that it's okay to regularly make mistakes but that you're doing something wrong if you don't. It's easy to expect perfection from ourselves and/or fear the judgment that comes with screwing things up, but even at its worst we learn from those errors. That's not a new concept by any means, but it's one often forgotten. Mistakes are an indicator that you're actually trying to succeed, so without them you're not doing much of anything at all (and probably making yourself much less happy in the process). More »
quotables  Mistakes  Motivation  Quotes  Work  from google
july 2011 by hanicker
Mandatory Password Changes Costs Billions in Lost Productivity [Passwords]
Big enterprises that force their workers to change their access passwords on a regular basis, and adhere to complex rules when they do, might be their own worst enemy. At least that's how Boston Globe editor Mark Pothier sees it, and he cites a Microsoft research paper as part of his argument against that and other seemingly perfunctory IT rules. We prefer using a solid root password and subtle variations to implement secure passwords, along with easy-but-secure browser tools. What does your own office require of your passwords, and do you think it helps or hurts? [Boston Globe via Gizmodo] More »
Passwords  Annoyances  in_brief  IT_Lockdown  Productivity  Security  Work  from google
april 2010 by hanicker
Improve Meeting Efficiency with a 22-Minute Limit [Meetings]
Meetings don't have to be the bane of the workday existence. Try scheduling them in 22-minute blocks to get more out of them and spend less time hating them. More »
Meetings  Productivity  Productivity_Killers  Time_management  Work  from google
march 2010 by hanicker
Schedule Reply Windows to Minimize Interruptions [Distractions]
If you find your productive periods of work ever shrinking because of email, phone, and other interruptions, it's time to adopt a policy of scheduled replies. More »
Distractions  Distraction  Email  Focus  Office  Office_culture  Scheduling  Voicemail  Work  workflow  from google
march 2010 by hanicker
Make Sure You're Not De-Motivating Your Team [Career]
It should come as no surprise that money is a pretty powerful motivator for workers, but an article by researchers at Harvard Business School says it takes more than cash to keep employees happy and productive.
Photo by crschmidt.

The article suggests that managers spend too much time trying to figure out how to motivate employees—something most workers are perfectly capable of doing themselves. Instead, team leaders need to get out of the way and stop de-motivating employees with mindless policies and poor management strategies.

The authors say people have three main goals at work: 1) to be treated with respect and equity, 2) to take pride in a job well done, and 3) to have good relationships with fellow employees. If even one of these factors are missing, workers are three times as likely to be unhappy at work. Surprisingly, not even a better paycheck will make up for the loss of one of the three biggest motivators.

Inane company policies and procedures often do the most damage to employee motivation, and there's often little middle managers can do about it:

Satisfying the three goals depends both on organizational policies and on the everyday practices of individual managers. If the company has a solid approach to talent management, a bad manager can undermine it in his unit. On the flip side, smart and empathetic managers can overcome a great deal of corporate mismanagement while creating enthusiasm and commitment within their units. While individual managers can't control all leadership decisions, they can still have a profound influence on employee motivation.

The most important thing is to provide employees with a sense of security, one in which they do not fear that their jobs will be in jeopardy if their performance is not perfect and one in which layoffs are considered an extreme last resort, not just another option for dealing with hard times.

Check out the article for a list of ways managers can help workers achieve their goals, feel a sense of pride in their work, and build camaraderie with fellow workers. What keeps you motivated at work? Is it the companionship of your colleagues; cold, hard cash; or something else? Share what revs your motivational motor in the comments.

Why Your Employees Are Losing Motivation [Harvard Business School]
Career  Management  Motivation  Work  from google
february 2010 by hanicker
Top 10 Tips and Tools for Freelancers [Lifehacker Top 10]
Freelancing isn't something you should just jump into, but it makes sense for a good number of workers. If you're looking into, or getting started with, working on your own, here are 10 resources we think every freelancer can learn from.
Photo by Mat Honan, who is himself a freelancer.

10. Make your schedule family-friendly
If you're going to have to entirely ignore your kids and family when you're working at home, you might as well head into the office. Career columnist and Wall Street Journal writer Alexandra Levit offered up six tips for working parents to spend more time parenting. They were aimed at anyone with a job, but freelancers certainly have an easier time of shifting their schedules back and ahead, taking web meetings instead of traveling for in-person summits, and involving their children in their work. Photo by Amit Chattopadhyay.

9. Do it without quitting your day job
Why freelance on the side instead of full time? The taxes are a lot more simple, the income a bit more stable, and, best of all, your day-to-day job provides you with countless opportunities to meet and greet future clients and referral helpers. That's assuming your side gig is kosher with your boss, of course, but if you want to test the waters of selling yourself on the freelance market, do it without quitting your job.

8. Use discounts to get paid on time
Becoming your own Accounts Payable department is new to most freelancers, and not very fun. If you run into clients who are hesitant to pay on time, or leave you on the hook waiting for their next order, try offering a discount or repeat business incentives, as suggested by Web Worker Daily. Give clients a 5 percent discount if they pay within, say, 24 or 48 hours of invoice shipment, or whatever you consider prompt—the cash value is almost certainly worth the time you'll spend tracking it down and worrying. If clients make you wait forever for their next order, offer a coupon or discount after receiving payment on a gig, giving them a small bit off if they place another order within a certain time frame. It's easy for small businesses to lose track of freelance people, but they tend to pay attention to dollars and cents. (Original post)

7. Track your work and generate invoices simultaneously
The web is full of freelancers and contractors, and many of them have created better systems for tracking time and sending bills. There are too many free or "freemium" services to try and compile into one list, but, hey, let's throw out a few. MakeSomeTime is simple, CurdBee handles everything up to the Google Checkout/PayPal payment screen for clients, FreshBooks covers a lot of different aspects of billing, Toggl is a great second-by-second live tracker, and BlinkSale has been generating crisp-looking invoices for years. Any of them are worth checking out, and probably fit the bill better than a gigundo spreadsheet. (Original post)

6. Know what you can write off
If you're starting to get actual, notable income from your freelance work, the first thing you should do is find someone who knows how to handle the taxes of independent contractors. Gina proved the value of a good accountant in her human versus TurboTax.com showdown, but noted that an experienced filer could probably make due with the tax software solution. The Freelance Switch blog also offers 10 easy-to-miss freelancer deductions, like coffeeshop meetings, unpaid invoices, and gig hunting expenses, that any independent worker would do well to look into. (Original post)

5. Find more work
Cold calling is not fun, and if you think it might be, watch Glengarry Glen Ross again. A good lead comes from knowing where people are looking. FreelanceSwitch has compiled a monster list of freelance job sites, though some of them are going to be hired-gun-type, low-paying grunt work. On the other hand, a 10-minute call to your clients can get you all kinds of results you weren't even looking for. (Original post)

4. Track your pitches with a custom spreadsheet
Who should you call with a reminder that you're available, and who needs a quick follow-up on a pitch? Those are questions you should have answers for. Web Worker Daily's Celine Rogue explains how to set up a spreadsheet with drop-down choosers, collated data, and other tools to become a great pitch, client, and job tracker. Half of life is just showing up, after all, and some extra percentage is knowing exactly where and when to be present with an offer. (Original post)

3. Get into the estimated tax groove
If you don't cover the tax burden throughout the year of not having an employer to deduct social security, unemployment, and other taxes for you, the month of April will truly be the cruelest. Read how our own self-employed readers set aside money for estimated tax payments four times each year (or in other installments), and read how Gina automates her finances to always have the money on hand, even when her income is very variable.

2. Learn your legalese
Besides having to learn the basics of contracts and work rules, freelancers should try to grab the basics of selling and regulating resalable (and different) stock work, as well as know how to stand their ground on copyright, fair use, and Creative Commons. It is, in short, not enough to simply create cool things—you have to know how to shepherd them through the cloudy worlds of commerce and the web these days. Photo by MikeBlogs. (Original posts: legal resources, stock work).

1. Determine your hourly rate
Not every contract will rely on hourly rates, but you'd best be prepared to offer a price if someone asks. The general advice is to aim slightly higher than you figure you should really charge, because you will always, always aim low when you're determining the time and administrative costs of getting the job done. If you want a more concrete number to base your rate on, try FreelanceSwitch's hourly rate calculator, which takes your office and supply costs, experience, and other factors into account. (Original post)

If you're an established freelancer, what apps, tools, or advice did you find truly helpful when starting out? If you're still green at working for yourself, what do you need the most help with? Swap the tips and stories in the comments.
Lifehacker_Top_10  Career  freelancer  Freelancing  Job  Job_search  Jobs  Money  Salary  Taxes  Top  Work  Work_at_home  from google
january 2010 by hanicker

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