Category Archives: Health & Wellness

How to Tackle Big Goals: Pro-Tips from a Black Belt

Do you have a big hairy audacious goal that you are trying to tackle? Figuring out where to start can sometimes be the hardest part. For me, earning my first-degree black belt in Taekwondo was my big, lofty goal. Below you will find a couple tips that helped me to achieve my goal and earn my black belt.How to Set Goals and Achieve Them

Break Your Big Goal into Small, Bite-Size Pieces

  • Break It Into Small Goals: To earn your black belt there is a large amount of material you must master in order to pass your exam. Looking at everything that I had to master all at once was overwhelming. I broke the material into the different sections of the test that I had to know and outlined specific goals for each section of the exam.
  • Outline Milestones: I had 6-months to train prior to black belt testing. In order to make sure that I made the most of my time and focused on the material that I would be graded on, I made major milestones by quarter for each section on the exam and then broke out the work by each month in the quarter. I compiled all of my milestones into a spreadsheet.
  • Make Weekly Goals: Once I had mapped out this larger framework, I got very detailed about the work I needed to do each week in order to hit my quarterly milestones. This allowed me to accurately understand the work that I needed to put in every day to reach my larger goal.

Read more after the jump…

How To Be More Productive at Work During the Holiday Season

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Shopping lists, capturing the perfect holiday card photo, putting up the decorations, last minute Q4 projects and ending the year with a fiscal bang. The fourth quarter can be a chaotic time of year, making it difficult to stay focused on work and negatively impacting productivity.

Thanks to my Emergenetics Profile I’ve discovered that my personality type gravitates towards structure. So what’s a structure lover supposed to do in the ever-changing Q4 climate? Based on my experience balancing multiple clients and projects, here are four tips that have dramatically increased my ability to stay focused regardless of the season. I hope they ho-ho-help you stay more productive during this holiday season too!

1. Write a To Do List and Revisit it Throughout the Day

You’ve probably heard that at the end of each day you should write a to-do list for the next day — this is 100 percent true! But the key is to revisit that to-do list first thing in your day. Don’t check Slack. Don’t check your email. Check in with your to-do list. This will help you set the intention for your day and act as the North Star that keeps you on track.

2. Eat the Frog First

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, more commonly known as Mark Twain, brilliantly authored 28 separate book releases. (Side note: I’m pretty sure we would have been besties if we had been born in the same era). During his writing career, he learned a thing or two about staying productive. His recommendation?  

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

When you’re creating that to-do list, identify which 1-3 items are your “frogs.” What do you have to complete today? Tackle the toughest one first thing in your day to avoid the “I don’t know how to start this project blues.” This will give you the momentum to stay productive for the rest of the day!

3. Practice the OHIO Method

OHIO which stands for Only Handle It Once is the most recent productivity method I’ve been practicing, thanks to Shine. The idea is to tackle and complete those smaller one-off projects as they come up. Instead of overthinking that email response or sending a delayed text message, complete them in the moment. This method has taught me a few things: most things don’t take as long as I tell myself they will and mental to-dos haunt you. The things that aren’t “big enough” to put on the to-do list are the things that take up the most mental space. By completing them in the moment, I have more energy to dedicate to my “frogs.”

4. Tell Time With Tomatoes

For those bigger projects, the ones that take more than 30 minutes, I highly recommend using the Pomodoro (Italian for “tomato”) Technique to help stay focused.

The idea is to dedicate 25 minutes of undivided attention to a project (e.g. creating a digital advertising strategy for a client). At the end of the 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break. After the break jump back into 25 minutes of dedicated project work, then take another 5-minute break. Continue this cycle three to four times. At the end of the fourth cycle, take a 15-minute break, instead of a 5-minute break. Repeat this time management technique as needed until the project is finished. My personal favorite Pomodoro timer is Tomato Timers. Their graphics are cute and the timer sounds like happy rainfall.     

How do you stay focused during the holiday season? Do you have a productivity method that you love? Please share it with us in the comments!

Olivia Ward is a Director of Digital Strategy at CenterTable, where she creates digital marketing strategies that make client dreams come true. She has more than 10 years of experience helping brands find and target their audience IRL and digitally.

The Work-Life Blend – Feat. Andrew W.K.

Your hair grows at work, so go get it cut at work.

On this very first episode of Creating Conversations, we discuss the concept of a work-life blend as one of the core values of many modern workplaces, allowing team members to balance active lifestyles and a hectic work schedules.

Read more after the jump…

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Take On Healthcare

Shaking up the healthcare industry: Amazon, banking giant JP Morgana and holding company Berkshire Hathaway publicly announced they will be taking on the healthcare industry | GroundFloor Media PR Agency

Shaking up the healthcare industry: Amazon, banking giant JP Morgan and holding company Berkshire Hathaway publicly announced they will be taking on the healthcare industry.

Well, “shake it up baby, now” comes to mind when I think of Tuesday’s announcement that Amazon, banking giant JP Morgan and holding company Berkshire Hathaway publicly announced they will be taking on the healthcare industry. CEOs of the three companies say they’re aware of the enormous challenges they face.

In a statement, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, said, “The healthcare system is complex, and we enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty. Hard as it might be, reducing healthcare’s burden on the economy while improving outcomes for employees and their families would be worth the effort.”

Although details on exactly how the new healthcare business would work have not been revealed, the partners plan to form an independent healthcare company for their employees in the United States. The initiative’s goal is to provide new technological solutions to simplify and decrease expenses for consumers.

Read more after the jump…

Holiday Balancing Act

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” Or is it? Holiday cheer is no doubt contagious and everyone at work has an extra groove, but the holidays also usher in a bit of anxiety around the office work schedule. Holiday Balancing Act | GroundFloor Media PR AgencyWho’s on vacation? What work has to get done before year’s end? What about budgets for 2018? How will you manage family time and providing extra care to clients?

For those like me, who are self-proclaimed “planners,” the holidays can also be a great time to reflect and prioritize projects. While you may not be able to avoid working late the nights leading up to the holiday break, there are a few things you can do to achieve work-life balance and combat stress during the holidays. Below are a few of my own suggestions:

  1. Put in extra hours before the holiday to build a buffer & complete projects
    As I said, I am a planner and one tool I implement during the holiday season is scheduling ahead to add one extra hour of work to my day, each day leading up to the end of the year. If you are like me, this will allow you to get more work done and hopefully put you ahead of projects.
  1. Determine “must-do” items versus “would like to do” items on your list
    Part of living a balanced professional and personal life is planning and setting clear expectations with team members. I generally have two lists of priorities. The first list is my general “to-dos” and the second list is my priority “to-dos” that I re-write each day. Making these lists of what has to get done, versus what can wait until the new year, helps keep me on track when last-minute projects arise. Prioritizing and thinking ahead helps me ensure I am creating the right deliverables. While it is almost certain you will have last-minute fires to put out, staying organized helps to keep these fires more manageable.
  1. Give yourself time to mediate and reflect
    Between holiday parties, gift shopping and prepping for family to arrive from out of town, it is easy to get caught up in this crazy time of year. That said, it also a great time to hit pause once a day and take time for yourself to reflect and recharge. Recently, I have been practicing meditation and using an app on my phone called Calm to guide me through my practice. The app offers tools to become more present and often provides perspective on the many things we can appreciate about each day.

While all of the above contribute to reducing stress around the holiday season, the most important thing to me is to stay present and enjoy this magical time of year.

Travel Tips from a Roaming Video Crew

Travel: that evasive concept we so eagerly pursue and yet sporadically get to experience, unless you have a job like mine as a video producer. I recently embarked on an eight-day video shoot that took me to seven different states over the course of 18 flights. Because of the intense and rigorous nature of our trip, our crew took some calculated measures to anticipate any difficulties that we might encounter along the way. It should be noted that although this post focuses on video/photo production, a lot of these tips can be helpful for any business or personal travel.
Read more after the jump…

Meal Planning as a Metaphor

Meal Planning As a Metaphor | GroundFloor Media PR Agency

Photo credit: Tracy Benjamin via Flickr

You won’t be surprised to learn that at GFM and CenterTable our team members share a lot of similarities. This goes so far as to include how we work (collaboration, big ideas and strategic thinking are tops), how we play (outdoors, in the gym and definitely with friends and family) and even how we eat.

Food in The Office

As a group of hardworking professionals, you’re as likely to find a frozen lunch in our office freezer as you are to find a homemade organic salad in the fridge – it all depends on who’s got what going on that week. In the last few years, however, the consumption of soda has gone down while the intake of soda water has gone up. There are more bags of apples and raw nuts around the office than bags of chocolate or chips. As we’ve matured as a team and continued to work with natural food companies, our approach to food has matured as well, and I’d wager the intake of healthier food during the workday is on the rise.

Food at Home

At GFM and CenterTable our jobs – just like those of our working colleagues in so many other industries – demand flexibility, which means our meals outside the office sometimes have to be flexible, too. Whether we’re rushing to get kids from school after work, squeezing in a workout before heading home, or driving to the mountains in the evening to avoid traffic – our team is often left with little time to get something healthy on the table. That said, on any given day you’ll hear dreamy descriptions of the dinner someone left simmering in their crock pot or the veggies fresh from the garden ready to go on their grill after work. Read more after the jump…

Energy Management Cont’d: Making New Habits Stick

Back in March, I wrote about my attempts to become better at managing my energy (vs. focusing simply on managing my time). My results have been mixed, at best, largely because I find that it’s hard to a) break old habits and b) make new habits stick. Our agency recently participated in an Organization and Efficiency Workshop, facilitated by GG Johnston, and she turned us on to an interesting quiz by Gretchen Rubin that looks at how individuals respond to expectations. Called The Four Tendencies, the theory is that how you respond to expectations directly impacts how you form new habits – thus the connection to my energy management project.

Read more after the jump…

(Trying to) Manage Energy vs. Time

GroundFloor Media (GFM) is truly incredible when it comes to encouraging employees to find a work/life blend. They absolutely walk the talk of allowing team members to work whenever and wherever – as long as they get their work done. That being said, as a working mom, I still find that “the juggle” is very real and, at times, overwhelming. I start strong at the beginning of every week, but am typically exhausted and dragging myself across the finish line by Friday. So, I recently embarked on a personal journey to try to find a way to remedy that – so that I can be better at both of my jobs (PR and mom).

Read more after the jump…

Small Idea, Big Movement

bohsw-zcuaavuieI love great ideas! Especially the ones that start out small but then revolutionize an industry. In 2007, a like-minded group of individuals, including Pam Warhurst and Mary Clear, wanted to find a way in which everyone could help improve their own community. Their solution: They taught their local residents to take control of their community through gardening and eating.

“The answer was food,” said Warhurst in her TED Talk. “Everyone understands food. Food gets people talking; even better, it inspires people to take action.” They started with small herb gardens and community plots in a Northern England town called Todmorden. Then they planted corn in front of a police station, fruit trees on the sides of roads, vegetables in front of the senior center, and even planted gardens in the cemetery, where “things grow really well because the soil is really good!” Read more after the jump…