Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: time management

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to time management.

Are You Addicted to Work? (Infographic)

As much as clients and recruiters love to know they’re working with a hard-working IT contractor, it is possible to work too hard, to the point where you may be addicted to work. The result can lead to overall unhappiness in life, an unhealthy body, and, ironically, lower productivity.

What can you do about a work addiction? The first step is to find out if you really are addicted. From there, work at breaking that addiction. This infographic from The Business Backer provides advice on both of those, making it the perfect tool for an independent contractor to review. Take control of your work in 2017, before it takes control of you.

Courtesy of: The Business Backer

2016 in Review: The Softer Skills of Work

2016 in Review: The Softer Skills of WorkYesterday we shared some of 2016’s top articles and tools about training and development so you can start setting your technical skills development goals this year. While these skills make it so you can successfully complete a project, recruiters and clients alike are looking for more than your abilities. They want to know how personable you are and how advanced your “soft skills” are.

How important is it to keep these skills refreshed? Every member of Eagle’s Executive Team touched on it in 2016:

These skills include everything from basic workplace etiquette…

…to proper communication in various situations.

Finally, and possibly most importantly for a busy IT contractor, is time management. Everybody can always improve in this area, so we encourage you to check out at least one of these posts:

Every Independent Contractor Can Be More Productive

Clients love productive contractors. It means they get IT projects done faster, save money, and look good in front of their peers.

When a client loves you, that means you will get more work. If not with that client, then the glowing feedback received by the recruiter will ensure that recruitment agency keeps sending gigs your way.

More gigs mean a steady flow of income and less stress.

When you do the math (productive contractor = happy client = more work = more money), being productive is a pretty awesome thing for an independent contractor.

If you’ve set some goals to be more productive but it isn’t happening, then review this quick video from Entrepreneur. It not only provides some advice on how to get more done in a day, but it also touches on some common habits that you may think are helping, but are actually wasting time.

Getting Started If You’re Overwhelmed & Disorganised

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on August 25th, 2016

Getting Started If You are Overwhelmed and DisorganisedMany people find themselves in this situation … overwhelmed and unsure about how to dig out from under the pile!

I could talk all day about good time management practices but when you are in this position you just need some help.

“Time is what we want most, but what we spend worst.”  William Penn

  1. Make something happen.  Inertia is addictive, and the more you become paralyzed by your situation the worse it gets.  So pick something that is important and just get it done!  Focus entirely on getting that one thing done and ignore the other things on your plate.
  2. Once you have one thing off your plate … remind yourself that you did it!  You had a success.  Do NOT get overwhelmed again … pick another thing. and get that done.
  3. Choosing the things to get done can also be paralyzing … so don’t overthink it.  Remember you were getting nothing done before, so this is significant progress.
  4. Complex tasks can be tiring, and completing them one after the other can be draining.  Mix things up a bit by adding in smaller (still important tasks) in between the larger ones.

Completing work gives a sense of accomplishment, and provides a little relief to that “overwhelmed” feeling.  However, it is only by taking control of your day that you will feel in control, and relieve that stress.

“Procrastination is the foundation of all disasters.”  Pandora Poikilos

So … the long term solution is to get organised!

  1. Create  a To Do List (or several To Do lists … all the tasks you NEED to do.
  2. Prioritise your work … what is important and what is urgent!
  3. Organise your calendar so that you have time set aside for the work to be done.  Create meetings with yourself so you won’t be interrupted.
  4. Delegate what you can … if possible.
  5. Ignore what you can … not everything is important.
  6. Be very focused on getting stuff done … rather than worrying about how you will get it ALL done..
  7. Use the triage method of organising  your work, just like the hospital.  The most urgent (and important) items get done first.
  8. Get help!  Whether it could be advice and guidance from your management, ideas and tips from your colleagues, or training on time management from wherever you can get it!

Life is too short to be living under such stress.  If you apply your skills in an organised manner you may well surprise yourself at how much you can achieve AND how good you feel about those achievements.

“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”  George Patton

Good time management practices could probably reduce workplace stress significantly!

Focused People Find Success

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on July 26th, 2016

Focused People Find SuccessMost people want to enjoy some success in their life.

Perhaps they might define success as having a balanced life, enough money, a challenging job, good relationships and a manageable amount of stress.

NOTHING comes without a price.  You need to EARN that success.

It IS worth it!

So …

Here are some things that will distract you …

  • Your personal life when you are at work.
  • Your work life when you are at home.
  • Video games, pokemon Go, excess TV and other such distractions.
  • Facebook, Twitter and the 101 other social media sites.
  • Your smart phone, with warnings about emails AND texts AND news AND sports scores etc.
  • Your colleagues latest drama.
  • Anything that looks remotely interesting that might distract you from real, hard work.

What do you NEED to do?

Focus on what you should be focused on!

“Never confuse motion with action.”   Ben Franklin

  • When at work … work!
  • When with your family … focus on them.
  • When out playing … play!

It is NOT easy.  It should not BE easy.

It is VERY manageable if you are prepared to put in the work.

It is all in your hands.!

“Work is hard.  Distractions are plentiful.  And time is short.”  Adam Hochschild

Get More Done in a Day with This Infographic

Science-Backed Advice for Independent Contractors to be More Productive

Work smarter, not harder — that’s what this infographic from OfficeVibe preaches, and we agree. Clients often hold independent contractors to a higher standard than they do employees when it comes to productivity. They’re paying what they believe to be premium hourly rates for your IT expertise and want to know they’re getting their money’s worth all of the time. If that’s not a good enough argument, consider that the more productive you are on a tech project, the more time you have for yourself to take it easy or to take on more work and earn extra income.

If we have your attention and you’d like to increase your productivity, review the infographic below. Some of their tips may need some consideration (a client wouldn’t appreciate you billing while you take a nap in their office), but none-the-less, there is some very good advice for independent contractors in here… and it’s all backed by science!

9 Ways To Be More Productive (Infographic)
This infographic was crafted with love by Officevibe, the employee engagement survey software that shows you how to improve employee engagement so that they’re more productive.

50 Productivity Tips to Boost Your Brainpower

At one point or another in your day, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll hit a wall where your mind decides that working is no longer an option and turns off. Instead, you find yourself browsing social media, getting coffee, or chatting with co-workers.

Sometimes the option is to take a break for a couple hours and independent contractors, more than permanent employees, often have that freedom. Other times, though, the work has to get done and you need to get your mind back into the flow of things so you can focus on your project.  To help you stay on track, we found not one, not two, but 50 ways you can boost your brainpower in this infographic from Wrike.

50 Productivity Tips to Boost Your Brainpower (#Infographic)
Infographic brought to you by Wrike

How to Freelance with a Full-Time Job

This post by Elana Gross was originally posted on The Skillcrush Blog on June 2nd, 2015

How to Freelance with a Full-Time JobThe other day I was at dinner with extended family when someone asked me how many jobs I have.

I get it. While I only have one full-time job, I am also a freelance writer and a blogger. And while my “day job” is working as a content strategist, I view my work life as comprised of personal undertakings as well.

Managing my blog and writing freelance articles are projects that I take seriously and, while I love writing, the work itself can take up a lot of time. I have to regularly concept and pitch articles, write articles and posts, and manage brand partnerships and relationships.

It can be tricky to find the balance between working your full-time job and pumping life and energy into your freelance or side work.

First of all, there’s the fact that you only have so many hours to work with, and so much brain power to contribute. Everyone has to rest! And not to mention, you have to watch out for issues like conflicts of interest, non-compete contracts, and colliding deadlines. For example, if you created a special way of setting up a JavaScript menu at your full-time job, you might not be allowed to use that same menu with your private clients. Or if you have a major deadline at your full-time job AND in your freelance work, you’ll have to choose to prioritize one or the other.

I’ve found that the keys to freelancing with a full-time job are transparency, passion, time management, drive, and, perhaps most importantly, coffee.

  1. Be transparent:

I was hired at my current job because of my experience blogging, my writing skills, and my ability to create and cultivate an online presence. The fact that I could do it on my own was a good indication that I could do the same thing for clients.

Throughout the hiring process, and on my first week on the job, I was really transparent about the fact that I was actively growing my blog and freelance writing portfolio. I asked if that would be a problem and learned that it wouldn’t be at this job.

You should also always read the fine print before signing anything. It’s crucial to check if anything you take on could be in violation of a non-compete or similar contract.

I work at an agency where we represent a wide range of clients in multiple industries. I am always careful to evaluate and ask if there is a conflict of interest with one of my articles, blog posts, or brand partnerships. If I think there could be a problem, I ask right away. As a result, I’ve had to stop blog series, say no to a partnership, or go back to the drawing board on a post, but it’s always worth it because I respect the agency and our clients.

The takeaway? If you’re not sure, always bring the question to your employer.

  1. Love what you do:

I am incredibly passionate about growing my blog and my freelance writing career. I am also passionate and energized by my job as a content strategist. This passion has been pivotal to my success thus far. When you are freelancing with a full-time job you’re likely to work late nights, early mornings, and weekends. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing you’ll have a much greater likelihood of success, in part because you enjoy what you do, and in part because you are willing to put in the hours. That’s where the coffee comes in handy.

Also, if you truly love your work, you’re likely to find that both your full-time work and your freelance work feed into each other, so growing and putting time into one doesn’t take away from the other. If you are a digital marketer in the day and build websites as a freelancer, chances are you’ll learn skills and get insights from each experience you can apply to the other. So it really pays to love BOTH your full-time job and your freelance work.

I feel fortunate to work at a job that allows me to also pursue my writing and blogging career. I’ve found that my writing and marketing outside of work makes me better at my job. I am constantly learning about new industries, fostering relationships, being creative, and making my writing stronger. My theory has always been that my full-time job comes first but I know that I’m lucky to be somewhere where I can also focus on other things – on my own time.

  1. Stay on schedule:

I write almost all of my blog posts on Sundays and schedule them to go up throughout the week. I like scheduling my content ahead of time so that I can get together with friends, go to networking events, try a fun gym class, go to a museum, and work on pitches, freelance writing, and career profile questions and outreach throughout the week. I also wake up between 6:15 and 6:30 am almost every day so that I can “Wake up an hour early to live an hour more.” It can be really difficult to get into the habit of getting out of bed between 6:15 and 6:30 a.m. every day but it gets easier and, in time, becomes a good habit. Due to my early morning routine, I find I am more focused, happy, and alert when I get into the office. It’s crucial to make time for the people and activities you love – otherwise the hard work isn’t worth it.

If the work you’re doing on the side involves sticking to a strict schedule, like freelance web design, the key will be to plan far in advance, and always let your clients know if you’re going to miss a deadline. It helps if you don’t plan to do more than seems possible, and of course, never plan to work on your own private projects during the hours of your full-time job.

  1. Get after it:

If you’re going to focus on side projects along with your full-time job, you have to make it clear that you will give 110% at work. I think that if you do great work and consistently exceed expectations, your company will be more accepting of your side project. Do great work and show that you’re willing to put in the hours and the effort.

This same drive and ambition will help you be better at your side projects. When you’re freelancing, building a blog, or building a business, you have to be your own boss. As with anything, there are going to be some parts that energize and excite you and some that don’t. Stay motivated by remembering why you started in the first place…then get a big cup of coffee and get back to work.

And if you aren’t sure if you should even TELL your boss about your freelance work? Just download the FREE, 1-page checklist below! It will tell you EXACTLY how to decide when and IF to tell your boss about your freelance work.

But don’t be shy if you want to totally ditch that office gig and go rogue! Download the FREE Ultimate Guide to Transitioning Into Freelance, complete with the 4 phases of becoming a full-time freelancer with step-by-step tips for what to do at each phase.

Elana Lyn Gross is a content strategist, freelance writer, and the author of the career advice and lifestyle blog Elana Lyn. Her work has appeared in Time, Business Insider, and The Huffington Post. When she is not writing, she can be found taking long walks in Central Park.

The Time Management Strategy for Your Personality

Managing your time is a critical key to success in every profession. With all of those articles out there providing “golden rules,” surely you must be a master of it by now, right? Perhaps if you work identically to the authors providing that advice, you would be, but the truth is everybody is different. Depending on your personality type, time management look different for you than it does for others.

This infographic from the University of Pheonix understands that unique time management tactics are needed for different personality types. It starts with five examples of personalities — Social Butterfly, Driver, Professor, Creative and Philosopher — and provides expert advice for each.

Where do you fit in? Perhaps you’re a hybrid of a multiple types? Share your results below.

Infographic - The Right Time Management Strategy for Your Personality

Contractor Quick Poll: Vacations

On Average, How Much Vacation Do You Take Each Year?

With the holiday season approaching, many employees are booking multi-week vacations.  A common downside of being an independent contractor is that you don’t get paid for vacation. When you decide it’s time for a well-earned break, you have to consider that fact that if you’re not working on a client’s project, you’re not invoicing and, therefore, not getting any income.

With all that in mind, it’s still important for everybody, employee or contractor, to unplug and enjoy their lives and the people in them. This month, we’re wondering what that means for independent contractors. Do you find you take less vacation than a typical employee? More?