Category Archives: January 2016

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5 Productivity Hacks for a Long Commute

5 Productivity Hacks for a Long Commute

Traveling to and from work takes up a lot of our day. According to Waze, Manila has the “worst traffic on Earth,” and according to a survey Americans spend approximately $2,600 annually commuting to work. Because your commute plays a key role in your happiness, here are 5 productivity hacks to make the most of that time.

1. Read a book

Many people read for the pleasure of it, so taking your commute and turning it into an hour or two of reading every day can help you revisit the stories you grew up with, discover new favorites and finish new series. It’s also a great way to learn something new. You could read for the stories, or you could read for the knowledge. There are thousands of new titles coming out every month, so you’ll never be at a loss for which book to read next. If you drive to work or need to pay attention to your surroundings, get an audiobook instead and listen to it on your commute.

2. Listen to a podcast

If books aren’t your thing, you can subscribe to a podcast. There are podcasts on almost any topic you can think of online, from marketing and entrepreneurship to comedy and talk shows. There are a growing number of podcasts coming out on the market, so just do a quick search on a topic you want to learn more about, or that you are interested in, along with the word “podcast” to dig some out.

3. Watch TED Talks

TED Talks are educational and eye-opening mini-lectures on global influencers. As of 2016 in order to gain a regular conference membership it costs $8,500 and you need to apply to get in. Not only that, they sold out in January. Yet, they broadcast all of their talks online for free. Watching these videos can get you caught up with some of the most innovative happenings around the world.

4. Learn a language

Learning anything new is a great investment of your time, but you can learn a language on your commute by listening to tapes, reading books and practicing your writing skills. Since most people commute every weekday, it also provides enough frequency to pick up a language quickly thanks to how often you would study and revise.

5. Catch up or get a head start on work

If you have mobile data on your phones, or a way to get WiFi access during your commute, you can always get a head start on work. If you’re running behind on a project, use your commute wisely to catch up, and if you have a big meeting coming up that morning then use the commute to review the material. Your commute can also be used to address maintenance issues at work like cleaning out your inbox, checking emails, reviewing your memos and running over your to-do list.

Anything to add?

What are your productivity hacks for making the most of your commute? Share them with us in the comments below.


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Public Seminar: Personal Finance Management

Personal Finance Management

On February 2, 2016, we’re holding a workshop for anyone who would like to improve their personal finance management. This one day workshop will help you set personal financial goals, understand the economic market today and outlook, have readily available financial instruments for beginners and match financial goals with the right financial product. Previous financial knowledge is not required.

Register Now

Course Outline

  • Setting Financial goals
  • Philippine Market Overview and outlook
  • Deciding on a Personal Budget
  • Setting up a cash fund
  • Determining the cash fund to set aside before they start investing
  • Cash flow management
  • Cost of money
  • Managing debt – credit cards, loans, using loan sharks
  • When is it okay to borrow money?
  • Time value of money
  • Easiest financial instruments to understand
    • short term – TD, money market instruments
    • medium term – stock market , IPO’s, mutual funds; fund riders
    • long term – real estate, bonds, commodities, mutual funds, trust funds, capital market instruments
      advantages and disadvantages of each
  • Obtaining financial freedom
  • Making your money work for you as opposed to working for money

Register Now

An investment of P4,500 includes instruction by an expert facilitator, small interactive classes, a specialized student workbook and course materials, snacks and lunch, a personalized certificate of completion, and a free eBook; Getting Motivation Right.

About the Facilitator

Ms. Victoria Estacio holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Management from the Ateneo de Manila University. She earned a Certificate of Authority for Insurance Commission, and is a Registered Financial Planner. She has worked in the field of Sales and Marketing and Operations in the following roles: Assistant Vice President of Sales and Marketing Department with Philam Life, Manager, Bancassurance with Grepalife, Senior Sales Manager with Yapster, and Unit Head of Front End Acquisitions with Citibank, N.A. Ms. Estacio is a recipient of various awards including the Philam Life Annual Fast Start award for both Credit and Group Life (an award that has never been given to Group Life), and the “Exceptional Performance Award” from Ciribank N.A. for participation in the credit card launch in Guam, USA. She also conducts personal financial coaching and training, and has received numerous trainings on strategic management, financial planning, and sales.


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5 Things Employees Need to Flourish

5 Things Employees Need to Flourish

A high salary and awesome job title do go a long way to keeping employees happy, but there are more things employees need to flourish. Many of these things are intangible, and don’t have a dollar amount attached to them, but they are vital for your employees’ success. We’ve outlined five of the most important things employees need below, but there are many more. Feel free to let us know if we’ve missed any in the comments at the end of the article!

Purpose

More and more professionals these days are looking for more than money from their jobs, they seek purpose. In fact, according to Forbes, Millennials seek purpose, not paycheck. In order to keep your team happy and motivated to do their best, they must believe in the bigger purpose of the company. Make sure your entire team understands the mission and vision of the business, and how their roles contribute to the bigger picture.

Accountability

Accountability is a personal trait of an employee, but it can be facilitated with company structure. If managers trust employees to do their work autonomously, then employees are held accountable for their results. Be sure to give your team everything they need to do their jobs well, then let them know they are responsible for the completion and success of tasks.

Independence

No one likes a micromanager. Micromanagement stifles creativity, growth and innovation, so it’s in your best interest to give your employees the trust independence to make decisions and do their jobs. Allowing your team the freedom to work independently gives them the option to work during their most productive hours, using their most effective methods. These may not be the same for everyone, so having a rigid system in place could lower productivity.

Expectations

Goals and expectations, both on the employer and employee side, are one of the most important things that employees need. Employees need to know what to expect from the company, as well as what is expected of them. It’s also important that leaders and managers have high expectations of their teams, since employees rise to meet them.

Consistency

Finally on this list, employees need consistency. This includes leadership, management and business processes. If your teams are expected to act on the fly without any processes in place, they’ll get burnt out. If your leadership is fickle and constantly changing direction, employees will get burnt out. Consistency is important for the effectiveness of a team’s work, and reliability is important for their output and confidence in the company.

Let us know what else is important for employees to have in the comments below!


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Public Seminar: Critical Thinking

Critical thinking brain

This January 27 to 28, join us for a workshop on critical thinking. The seminar is ideal for professionals who want to enhance their thinking processes to achieve better results in business, as well as individuals who desire to develop critical thinking and problem solving as a core competency.

Critical thinking helps us separate truth from lies in our daily lives, too often bombarded with information and advertisements. The ability to clearly reason through problems and to present arguments in a logical, compelling way has become a key skill for survival in today’s world. This two-day workshop will give you some practical tools and hands-on experience with critical thinking and problem solving.

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Participants will define critical and non-critical thinking skills, identify their thinking styles (as well as areas of strength and improvement) and discuss left/right/whole brain thinking. The workshop will help attendees work through the critical thinking process to build or analyze arguments, develop and evaluate explanations and improve key critical thinking skills to present powerful arguments.

Course Outline

  • Understanding critical thinking
  • Where do other types of thinking fit in? (including whole-brain and left and right brain)
  • Pitfalls to reasoned decision making
  • The critical thinking process
  • A critical thinker’s skill set
  • Creating explanations
  • Dealing with assumptions
  • Common sense
  • Critical and creative thought systems
  • Plenty of hands-on case studies

An investment of P8,500 + vat includes instruction by an expert facilitator, small group workshops that provide “active learning,” a specialized student manual, personalized certificate of participation and a free eBook; Thinking Skills: Using Your Brain in the Information Age.

Register Now

About the Facilitator

Dr. Maria Vida G. Caparas holds a Master’s Degree and Ph.D., Summa Cum Laude, in Psychology. She is an Accredited Trainer of the Philippine Government with invaluable experiences in Organizational Development as a Human Resource, Training and OD practitioner. She authored three books on Psychology/HR Management and was a Trainer Delegate of DFA-Foreign Service Institute in Italy and Singapore in 1999-2000. Dr. Caparas is a recipient of various national awards and also a professor in prestigious universities. She authored three books on Psychology/HR Management namely “Psychological Assessment: Theory and Practice”, “Uses of Psychological Tests”, and “Human Resource Management”.


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Busy vs. Productive: How to Optimize a Business

Phone and laptop

It’s easy to be busy at work, but it’s a whole other animal to be productive. When you’re simply busy, you could be working for 8 hours with minimal returns or output. When you’re productive, you could be getting tasks done and doing high-quality work in 2 hours. This blog post will go over what it means to be busy vs. productive, and how to make sure you and your team uses time productivity for business success.

Keep a flexible schedule

If you live in areas with bad rush hour traffic, offering a flexible schedule will make everyone much happier and more likely to stay with the company. Employee retention means less training and orientations, and more productive work being done. Your employees will also be able to choose to work during the hours they are most productive, so if they work better after sleeping in, they can come in later. If they work best early in the mornings, they can come in early.

Unless your business has set hours where everyone must be online, flexible schedules are great for productivity. Just make sure there is at least an hour window when everyone is in the office and working at the same time to help with communication.

Track your time

Understanding where you spend (or waste) most of your time is vital to improving productivity while decreasing “busyness.” Once you and your team begins tracking time, you should be able to see who is spending too much time on non-vital tasks, who is managing their time well, and what the big time-wasters are. Then, you can train and adjust your team accordingly for optimal output. Just remember, it’s almost impossible to be productive for 8 straight hours, so be sure to offer breaks and periods for recharging.

Have a measure for success

How can you tell if one hour of work one day was more productive than one hour of work another day? You look at the output. Three hours of work with low or no ROI should be judged as inferior to one hour of work accomplishing a task with high ROI. Make sure not to waste your time by having a measure for success that you and your teams can strive towards. These should be small, attainable and measurable goals.

Eliminate (most) meetings

Most meetings are a waste of time. Before having one, make sure it’s absolutely necessary. If you can simply send an email or start a discussion in your project management software in lieu of having a meeting, do it. Meetings are dangerous time wasters because they take up the time of every single person in that meeting.

Stay organized

One of the keys to determine being busy vs. productive is to stay organized. With good organization, you don’t have to waste time hunting down information. You also have quick access to your goals and measures, so you can quickly determine whether your time was well spent.

What are your tips on productivity?

Let us know in the comments below.


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Public Seminar: Prospecting for Leads Like a Pro

Public Seminar: Prospecting for Leads Like a Pro

This next installment in our Sales Optimizer Series is titled Prospecting for Leads Like a Pro and covers how to find leads for your business and product. This workshop is ideal for any sales person who wants to ensure their future sales by learning how to prospect effectively. Join us on January 22, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m to learn about

Register Now

Prospecting is the key to your success. Your success today is a result of the leads you got  six months ago. This workshop will help you improve your networking skills, understand the 80/20 rule and build your personal prospecting plan to ensure your future success. You’ll learn who to target and how to target them, and remember to do some prospecting every day through warming up cold calls, following up on leads, or networking.

Participants will understand the importance of expanding a client base through effective prospecting, learn how to use a prospect board to make you more successful, identify target markets and practice networking skills. The workshop will also go over the art of cold calling and regaining lost clients.

Course Outline

  • The importance of prospecting
  • Targeting your market
  • Your customer profile
  • Making the most of trade shows
  • Setting goals
  • Networking
  • The 80/20 rule
  • Developing and using a prospect board
  • Warming up cold calls
  • Public speaking
  • Regaining lost accounts
  • Going above and beyond

An investment of P8,500 + VAT includes instruction by an expert facilitator, small group workshops that provide “active learning,” snacks, lunch, a specialized student manual, personalized certificate of participation and a free eBook; Successful Prospecting in Sales.

Register Now

About the Facilitator

Maria Victoria Estacio holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Management from the Ateneo de Manila University. She earned a Certificate of Authority for Insurance Commission, and is a Registered Financial Planner. She has worked in the field of Sales and Marketing and Operations in the following roles: Assistant Vice President of Sales and Marketing Department with Philam Life, Manager, Bancassurance with Grepalife, Senior Sales Manager with Yapster, and Unit Head of Front End Acquisitions with Citibank, N.A. Ms. Estacio is a recipient of various awards including the Philam Life Annual Fast Start award for both Credit and Group Life (an award that has never been given to Group Life), and the “Exceptional Performance Award” from Citibank N.A. for participation in the credit card launch in Guam, USA. She also conducts personal financial coaching and training, and has received numerous trainings on strategic management, financial planning, and sales.


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How to Get More Done in Your Workday

Colored-post-it-notes493

Being able to get more done isn’t a matter of having more time, it correlates to how well you use the time you’ve got. Doing 2 hours of highly productive work is better than 5 hours of procrastination and weak effort to complete things well.

Set goals for the day

Understanding what has to get done during the day can give your workday structure and purpose. Having a completed list of to-dos at the end of the day is also a fulfilling accomplishment, so keeping a list of goals is a great way to make sure everything important gets taken care of. Waking up to defined goals for the day will help you jump straight into work without spending time gathering data, trying to remember what has to be done, etc.

Prepare the night before

Prepare your set of goals for the next day the evening before. You should do as much as you can to prepare for the next day during the evenings to avoid decision fatigue, which happens as you make more and more decisions throughout the day. Deciding on your outfit, meals and goals the evening before frees up your time and brainpower to focus on work tasks at hand and get more done efficiently.

Do high priority tasks in the morning

Everyone has a different circadian rhythm, but your mornings set the tone for productivity throughout the entire day. Getting your big tasks out of the way in the morning ensures the most important things get done and paves the way for a smoother day ahead. Mark Twain said “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” The same applies to work; get the worst or most high-level priorities over with and the rest of the day will be easier.

Get things right the first time

There’s nothing that wastes time and effort than doing a poor job and having to go back and fix errors. The best way to save time and be more productive overall is to make sure you complete tasks properly, with high-quality work, the first time you do them. Completing a job quickly but poorly is inefficient, as it will cost time and effort later down the road.

Track your time

Last but not least, track how you spend your time in order to get more done. Understanding how you spend time, where you spend it, and when you’re most productive will help you get more done in your workday, more efficiently and more effectively.

Your turn

What are your tips for getting more work done and increasing productivity throughout the day? Let us know in the comments below.


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Public Seminar: Business Writing that Works

Public Seminar: Business Writing that Works

For those who must write as part of their job, being able to write well is a real career boost. Learn how to capture your thoughts on paper so they are strong and persuasive, but at the same time clear, concise, complete, and correct. Our Business Writing that Works seminar will be held January 19 to 20, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This workshop is ideal for business professionals at all levels who want a quick and easy approach to effective business writing. Join us to hone your written communication skills!

Register Now

We can think about writing either as a process or as a product (the finished work). By changing the process of writing, we can alter the outcome. This two-day workshop will concentrate on the nitty-gritty details that writers have to contend with, and give some practical advice on making the job less difficult. participants will also have opportunity to discuss their writing problems and share solutions with others in the workshop.

Course attendees will earn a better grasp of writing basics, from grammar, to spelling and punctuation. They will also learn about the writing process; gathering material, formatting, and conclusions through recommendations or next steps. Participants will practice clear, concise writing that readers will grasp quickly in order to develop an effective writing style similar to experienced writers.

Course Outline

  • The Four C’s
  • Active vs. passive voice
  • Punctuation Tips
  • Sentence and Paragraph Structure
  • Writing Business Letters
  • Writing Reports and Memos
  • Inclusive Language
  • Spelling and Proofreading
  • E-mail Etiquette

An investment of P8,500 + VAT includes instruction by an expert facilitator, small group workshops that provide “active learning,” a specialized student manual, personalized certificate of participation, snacks, lunch and a complimentary eBook; The Smart Guide to Business Writing.

Register Now

About the Facilitator

Ms. Imelda Celestina Lee Monsale has twenty-three years of experience in designing and implementing behavioral training modules, administering psychological assessment, counseling clients with behavioral and emotional disorders, and conducting various research studies in the different fields of psychology. She is an Instructor for Personal Transformation and a consultant of corporate companies where she renders her expertise in training and counseling to address concerns that affect employees’ productivity and well-being. Ms. Monsale has completed all the coursework for a Ph.D. program in Guidance and Counseling at the University of the Philippines Diliman.


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