While it might not seem obvious, a writer can gain a great deal from using outsourcing, removing the unskilled tasks that take up their time. This might include hiring a professional virtual assistant or a technical research firm to conduct the legwork of a writing assignment, such as obtaining the contact details of a subject or researching their background. The expertise of the outsourcing firm will serve as a valuable assistance to the writer, especially when the writer has too much on their plate and project deadlines are knocking at the door. By doing rote tasks, such as trawling the web for information or locating contact details on a website, a virtual assistant can save essential time. By allowing the virtual assistant to conduct research, the writer can now better prepare themself for the interview and performing fact-finding duties, to deliver an excellent, error-free article on target.
However, it is very important for the writer to lay down the project details for the virtual assistant regarding the writing assignment requirements so that the latter will be able to fulfill their assigned task. Two-way communication between the writer and the outsourcing firm is the key to making teamwork successful. The writer must fully ensure that he supplies all the necessary details concerning the subject to get the best results, specifying information desired and time limits for tasks.
The end result of this cohesive team effort between the writer and the outsourcing firm is a successfully completed writing assignment. When used effectively an outsourcing firm can make a writer more efficient, more effective and more productive.
Moving between work and home, you can easily pick up two or three e-mail addresses. To add to that you most likely have accounts with a host of social networking sites as well as online banking details to remember and account information stored at online stores. For all of these, user names, passwords and pin numbers are essential. In an age of rampant identity theft, writing out a list of logins and passwords could be extremely dangerous if it fell into the wrong hands. In fact, the very websites that demand a unique user ID and a “strong” password (combining numbers, numerals and capitals eg gHostnacho473XI) implore you to never share your account information with anyone. These essential secrets, then, are to be locked away, in our already overburdened brains? Not if you’ve got eWallet on your iPhone.
eWallet is an application designed to neatly and conveniently store your personal information, from user names to mundane security question answers. You can download it for free and save account information for up to ten websites; a limitless eWallet costs only $9.99. No more trying to memorize the password PayPal assigned you when you reset it, and no more trying to remember which pet you consider your first. Just quick and easy access to an organized list of your various accounts (from eBay to your Mastercard debit account and onwards) and the user information assigned to each one.
In ten minutes time you can log onto your accounts – saving you time and hassle and removing the risks of important details falling into the wrong hands.
Image: Illium Software
The use of computer spreadsheets has revolutionized business. Originally created as a time saver, spreadsheets can accurately calculate data, predict profit and loss, and reveal market trends. However, many users are not aware of the internal shortcuts that can be used to save you time when creating and maintaining spreadsheets. By using these tips you can make better use of the program, while saving yourself time.
1. Use Macros: Macros are small visual basic programs written to repeat common tasks. Macros can be created to move cells, create new rows and merge data, as well as other repetitive functions that need to be repeated quickly in a spreadsheet.
2. Use Keyboard Shortcuts: It is easy to click the mouse, but using keyboard shortcuts for repetitive tasks can help you save more time. Shortcuts are available in every spreadsheet help menu. Quick tasks like find and replace (in Microsoft Excel) are linked to CTRL+F, while CTRL+H will change the data you specify. The command F11 creates a chart from a range of data.
3. Data Validation Forms: Data Validation Forms control the information that can be entered into each cell. A simple drop down list is created with common input values that you regularly use. A choice can be selected from the list instead of typing the same data out numerous times in the same worksheet.
4. Use Colors and Formatting: The visualization of black text can become overwhelming after looking at a computer screen all day. You can format your spreadsheet with colors and arrangements of text and data. It eases the visual strain and keeps your data easy to read.
5. Create Formulas: Use formulas to compare cells, calculate data, find values and more. By using formulas, you can get results faster and perform multiple calculations easily. You can quickly compare cells to check for duplicate content or find quick percentages and averages of numbers.
Adding these tricks to your repertoire will save you time when working with spreadsheets – making your working time more efficient and productive.
While exercise and work performance might seem unrelated, several studies have actually proved that physical activity can improve concentration and productivity. People who exercise on a constant basis work better with their co-workers and have fewer medical and health-related expenses. There’s no better way to refresh your thoughts and clear your mind than by exercising. By taking time out of your day you really do work more effectively and more efficiently.
Exercise helps not only the body, but the brain as well. It has a major impact on the nervous system, increasing the production of serotonin and dopamine. This means that exercise influences your mood and feelings, helping you perform better and think more clearly. Physical activities increase blood flow and improve concentration, making you feel better able to solve problems and make complex decisions.
Studies have shown that about $130 billion a year in health care costs are related to inactivity and weight problems. For this reason, increasingly companies are putting fitness facilities in their corporate headquarters, encouraging people to exercise. In addition to improving work performance, daily activity helps employees work better together and feel more motivated to accomplish their professional goals.
There are many ways to increase motivation and productivity in the workplace. Exercise is one of the best options because it affects not only your health condition, but also your mood and your efficiency at work. More than that, physical activity keeps your body strong and fit, regulates the circadian rhythm and endocrine function, increases quality of sleep and improves brain function. Exercising is also an excellent way to reduce stress and to feel better about yourself. If the company you work for offers onsite exercise facilities, start using them as soon as possible. Taking time to exercise could be the key to an accomplished professional and personal life.
Image: Ed Yourdon
Outsourcing has become a popular option in every business and every industry – because the service can offer huge rewards when used effectively. The use of a professional team of workers beyond standard company employees can significantly increase business productivity and potential profits. However, many companies are afraid of the potential problems that might arise should they take outsourcers on. Here’s how you can get around any problems you might face and make the most of outsourcing!
Language Barriers: Many businesses outsource their customer service and call center operations to foreign countries. However, some outsourcing companies cannot promise workers with an excellent vocabulary or understanding of the client speaking language. This causes delays and unhappy customers. A solution is to restrict outsourced projects to companies that will guarantee an excellent command of your required spoken language, before signing a written contract. Many of these are in fact available and can offer fluent and native speakers.
Specialized Training: Companies that outsource help desk support services require a strong foundation and understanding of their specific software or hardware packages. Finding an outsourcing company that can provide this training for their employees is sometimes difficult. A solution is to provide web video conference training to outsourcing companies that have issues with learning new hardware or software – however, many of the best outsourcing firms will be able to provide a comprehensive portfolio of abilities.
Time Zone Differences: Companies with Western offices that outsource their work to Eastern countries must consider time zone differences. Choosing an outsourcing company that cannot meet required operating hours is harmful to business. A solution is to analyze the time commitment and availability of a contracted outsource firm to be sure that it meets the time constraints of your company. A firm which truly wants to serve the needs of your business will ensure that it can hit targets.
Effective Management: Outsourcing work requires a high level of quality management. The outsourcing company may not understand or operate their management of employees correctly. An easy solution is to ensure that you give detailed, specific instructions and request that outsourced workers explain what they will be doing to confirm understanding and agreement on tasks. For more in depth cross-management, you can provide management training and insist on tough company polices for outsourcing managers. This ensures that the work will be supervised and completed correctly and accurately.
By using simple techniques like these you can ensure that outsourcing is both efficient and effective – the better to inspire your business!