Staying healthy and active all day in the
office is a big challenge for all employees. Especially considering that most
of our modern workday is comprised of sitting for eight hours in front of the computer.
And while this is the reality that we live in,
it is absolutely terrible for your overall health. Everything from your
posture, to eye strain, to neck tension – all of these problems can affect your
By following a few essential tips, you can
stay healthy and active during your working hours. This will improve your
productivity long-term and maintain your focus on important work tasks.
Here are some simple ways that help you to
stay healthy throughout your workday.
The brain needs nourishment to perform
well, especially if you are working longer hours. One of the healthiest things
you can do to ensure you’re getting that vital nutrition is to bring your lunch
Food prepared from home allows you to
stay in control of what you’re eating and can give you the edge you need to get
through the day. And however tempted a resident of Kansas City may be to visit
one of our fine restaurants, packing your lunch helps you avoid the highly
processed foods, and it also gives you the choice to pick your favorite foods
throughout the day.
Just the act of planning and selecting
your groceries with the workweek in mind will prompt you to make healthier
choices about what you want to consume. This effect can then snowball into a
routine that adds massive benefit to your life and overall health.
This is also a great tip for anyone
minding their budget, as you will save a pile of money over time.
The act of sitting in a chair all day and
staring at a computer screen is a slow killer. Some experts even compare the
cumulative hours of sedentary life as being on par
with smoking as a negative impact on your health.
It also makes you sluggish and dull.
To combat this and help keep yourself active
and healthy, you must spend some time away from your desk or chair. It is
essential to take small breaks and leave your chair or desk for a walk just to
refresh your mind.
A mere 5-minute break could make a make a
difference in your overall health. You can also couple your breaks away from
your screen with other tasks that have to be completed – like running that
report over to sales or attending that meeting in-person.
You could even incorporate little fitness
breaks into your day. Stand up and stretch, look away from the screen, practice
proper posture, meditate. Anything to break the habit of sitting in the same
position for hours on end.
Keep in mind how much time you actually spend
sitting down at your desk. You would be surprised how quickly those hours add
Watch Out for Snacks
Tying into nutrition, it is essential to mind
how much convenient snacking that you are doing throughout the day. It can be
very tempting to leave a bag of chips at your desk, but if you’re not careful,
you will find yourself devouring the whole bag before the day is over.
And it’s not just chips that are common in the
workplace. Candy bars, sodas from the vending machine, birthday cakes, and more
are all normal snack foods that people bring to their desk.
Avoid doing this at all cost because the
calories add up quickly and you may not even be aware of it. Combine snacking
with the sedentary sitting of the average workday and you have yourself a
recipe for terrible health.
One way to avoid unhealthy snacking is by
replacing the normal junk food with fruits and calorie-light vegetables like
carrots or celery sticks. This way, you still get to enjoy food at your desk,
but you are using healthy options instead.
Control Your Caffeine Intake
Also be mindful of is just how much caffeine
you consume on a daily basis. It is extremely common for people to begin every
day with a cup or two of coffee. On top of the sheer amount of caffeine, there
is also the cream and sugars that go into our favorite morning drink. I am also
guilty of this, but it does not have to be a bad thing.
A cup of coffee is perfectly fine, but you
should try to limit it to just one. You do not want to become reliant on
caffeine to function at your best. And for those of you who cannot stand
caffeine-free coffee – there are alternative options that you might enjoy.
Hot tea is a popular option, but so is plain
old H2O. Our bodies are mostly made of water and most people do not get enough
of it. In fact, once you start to feel the sensation of thirst, you are already
hydrated to a certain extent. It is recommended that you get 6-8 glasses of
water per day.
This is a good rule of thumb, as it will keep
you hydrated, prevent afternoon caffeine crashes, and will prevent you from
overeating throughout the day.
Your health is essential if you want to work
efficiently and if you want to live an enjoyable life. Since we spend nearly a
quarter of our lives at work, we have to find ways to use that time to improve
or at least maintain our health.
These tips are not an excuse for avoiding
rigorous exercise before/after work – but hopefully they give you starting
point for how to incorporate healthy habits into your workweek.
In a previous blog post we discussed some practical ways that people can manage time and hobbies that anyone could develop to improve productivity throughout their lives. Continuing in that same spirit, I would like to include a couple more ways that you may use to jumpstart your workweek and achieve even more success.
Some of these tips have helped turn Eighteen Capital Group
from a Kansas City investment firm, into a nation-wide enterprise. Feel free to
use them as you see fit!
1.) Get Out of Your Head
Sometimes the best thing we can do to remain productive is
to take a break and come back with a new perspective. In our modern workplaces,
it’s easy to get stuck sitting in front of a computer for hours at a time –
incessantly clicking and typing away. And the more that we sit there, the more
stressed and less efficient we become.
This is not how human beings were designed to live and work.
It’s also not productive.
It’s advisable to break up hours of work with break periods,
to keep you refreshed and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Some people even subscribe
to the Pomodoro Technique – which is the act of timing out twenty-five minutes
to focus purely on work, then switch to a less intense break period.
You do not have to follow this exact timetable, but it
is important to mind how much time you’re sitting and staring at a computer
screen. Every hour or so, stand up, stretch, maybe even go for a walk – just
anything to break up the sitting.
This can be especially helpful when you feel stuck and need
a new perspective on a problem you’re trying to tackle.
2.) Complete the Hardest Tasks First
It is often said that the most productive hours of the day
are the ones before lunch. This does not mean that we should push our lunch
break back to achieve all of our daily tasks. Instead, we should try to tackle
our biggest challenges in the morning hours.
Even if you plan out your day and make a very detailed to-do
list, you will inevitably be waylaid by unforeseen events or have to re-direct
your time towards things that were not on the agenda. Knocking out the most
difficult or most important tasks in the morning allows you to focus all of
your energies into those tasks before the distractions start rolling in.
Once you’ve accomplished the heavy items for the day, you
then have room to shift focus or take on the random things that pop-up in the
afternoon. This strategy ensures that you stay on track as per your original
plans, but even makes you more productive as you cross off additional items
over the course of your week.
Another point to keep in mind is the post-lunch slump.
Structuring your day to address the most important tasks of the day first will
focus all of your momentum and energy into the things that matter before
3.) Periodic Brain Purge
No matter your role or industry, we can get overwhelmed with
all of the different outstanding tasks and thoughts whizzing around in our
heads. It may be difficult to sort out exactly what your priorities should be
at any given moment. This is why it is extremely helpful to do a brain purge
and regain a sense of control and direction.
The first step is to simply write down all of the thoughts
floating through your mind, work-related and otherwise. Upcoming birthdays,
upcoming bills, people you should call, things the kids need for school, things
to pick up from the store – write it all down.
Just getting it all out of your head and down onto a single
document can be a relief in of itself, but then it is time to group these items
into categories and prioritize.
Separate each thought into categories according to their
urgency and their importance. For example, it may be important to call your
mother, but it is more urgent to close the loop on that presentation that is
due next week. Responding to an HR survey may be urgent, but not as important
as touching base with a client. Whatever your to-dos may be – categorize them
in this way until each one is accounted for.
Now you have an immediate compass for tackling the
outstanding tasks in your life, and you have a sense of which ones are most
immediate and most critical to your success.
*. *. *
Hopefully you’ve found these additional tips for improving
productivity helpful and will be able to put them to use to get more out of
It is now up to you to put them into practice. With the
right mentality and know-how, there is no limit to what you can do.
You may have read about the importance of setting goals in my earlier blog entry, but today I wanted to make a special point about why it’s smart to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. It makes all the difference in terms of accomplishing your dreams.
What are S.M.A.R.T. goals?
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for a popular approach to goal
setting that helps ensure that you have the right targets to shoot for and a
feasible way of hitting your mark. The acronym stands for goals that are
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
Make sure that your goals have a specific outcome in mind.
It is not enough to just say, “I’d like to be healthier,” because that is too
broad and could include too many things to actually move the needle forward on
your vision. It leaves too much grey area in terms of whether the goal was met
Instead, state what you will specifically do to get
healthier. Leave no room for in-betweens about what will be undertaken to
achieve your goal. A better approach would be to identify exactly how
you will be healthier. “I will exercise.” “I will eat healthier foods.”
Specific goals help you home in your vision in a clear way.
Following up with specificity, make sure that your goals are
measurable and can be tracked. If you cannot measure a goal, there is still too
much ambiguity surrounding the end-result to actually matter.
To make goals measurable, include a quantitative aspect that
is either achieved or not. Going along with the above example, “I’d like to be
healthier,” should instead look more like, “I will jog around Kansas City
to lose 10 pounds.”
Now we have a specific course of action and a
It can be easy to set unattainable goals when we are feeling
our best or are coming off of a massive win. We want to keep the momentum going
and declare that “this year is my year!” And while this is a noble thing and is
exciting in the moment – it may not leave us better off when actually setting
goals for the quarter/year.
Goals should challenge us to move forward, but they have to
be attainable. Make sure your goals are within the realm of possibility;
otherwise, you are setting yourself up for failure when you are actually trying
to do your best.
Another problem we run into is setting irrelevant goals that
hold no real outcome on our lives. This can happen when we want to do too much
at once, or we’re looking for an easy win that doesn’t really contribute to
realizing our dreams.
Make sure your goals are relevant and work with other goals
that you may have set. Furthermore, they should matter and provide tangible
value to your wellbeing – professionally or personally.
It does no good to set a frivolous goal for all of your
effort. Tailor them to improve your life as something worthwhile. For example,
losing 10 pounds is worthwhile because it improves many other factors of your
life and is a great start to a journey of overall improved health. It is also
an attainable goal that can be expanded on with progress.
Lastly, goals should fit within a defined timetable. By
including a time measurement to the goal, it comes with a sense of
accountability. This keeps you on-track and helps ensure success from your
Without a time component to a goal, it can be too easy to
push off into the future. What is the point of setting a goal if you never
really accomplish it or hold yourself to any sort of expectation? Add a
timetable to the goal, while also making sure that it is still attainable.
“I will jog around Kansas City to lose 10 pounds in three
When we sit down to map out goals, it is easy to fall into
the trap of idealistic optimism and to shoot for the stars. This is a good
thing, but as we’ve seen, it isn’t necessarily the smartest way to go about
mapping out your plans.
“I would like to be healthier,” is a goal that is not
specific, is not measurable, and has no timetable to judge it by.
“I will jog around Kansas City to lose 10 pounds
in three months,” is a much stronger goal as it has a specific outcome,
is measurable, and sets a time limit to keep things moving in the forward
direction. It is also an attainable goal that has relevance to one’s life.
The end result of applying the S.M.A.R.T. system is an improved chance of taking your dreams and turning them into a reality. Make sure to incorporate this method into your goal setting to be more productive with your time.
The modern world is a busy place. Reviewing memos, catching
flights, attending meetings, reading endless e-mails – it adds up to a lot.
We’re all looking for ways to make the workday more productive and to accomplish
more of our goals in practical ways.
Today, I’d like to share some of my personal tips and advice
for staying productive and keeping your edge in this busy environment.
1.) Keep Track of Your Time
Sometimes it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day
to accomplish all of the tasks on your radar. Maybe you start out each day with
focus and the intention to mark off everything on your to-do list, but at the
end of the day, you still have many items left undone.
If this scenario seems familiar to you, you should consider
keeping a daily timesheet to keep track of your time. Keeping track of how you
spend your time allows you to get an assessment of your activity and identify
patterns of behavior that aren’t as productive as they could be.
You can use a manual sheet or digital excel sheet and block
off the hours of the day. Use intervals of 15 minutes to prevent things from
becoming overly complicated. Track your time for a whole week to gather enough
data, then review the week to identify how you spent your time. If you use a
digital timesheet, you can place the information into graphs for easy
comparison and additional details.
After a week or two, you will be surprised how much of your
day is spent on activities that are relatively unimportant or could be
delegated to free up more of your valuable attention. From here, you can make
adjustments as needed to improve your performance.
2.) Set Goals, Big and Small
Sometimes we can feel that we are grinding away, but we
don’t necessarily have a clear direction of where we’re going or what we would
like to accomplish with our time. This is where setting goals becomes an
important part of your life.
Whether in business or in life, every highly productive
person takes the time to analyze where they are in a general sense, where they
would like to be and what it would take to get there. Then, they formulate a
plan to achieve specific actions that will move them closer to their end goal.
You too can take advantage of this approach by taking an inventory
of where you are, and by setting goals on a small scope (week-by-week) to large
(quarterly or yearly). This process will naturally keep you on track toward
achieving your dreams.
3.) Avoid Multi-tasking
Multi-tasking is an ability that has become increasingly in
demand in our hyper-connected, rapid-paced world. And while it is certainly a
skill that can come in handy, it is far from perfect when it measures up to
Multi-tasking is the act of performing multiple tasks at one
time. This is useful in situations where you are performing low-level tasks
that do not require a lot of brain power and just need to be checked off.
The bad news is that multi-tasking is widely ineffective when
it comes to more complex tasks and can actually cause you to be less
productive in the long-term. That’s because when someone is
“multi-tasking,” they’re really just switching between tasks at a rapid rate –
cutting down the level of detail and attention that they apply to any given
This is the opposite of productive. Instead of taking this
approach, you should focus on one individual task at a time and complete them
in order from most important to least. This will ensure that you are giving the
fullest level of attention to your work and actually free up time as you knock
them out one-by-one.
4.) Develop a Passion for Reading
It has been well-established that reading is an important habit
to develop for long-term success. It is a fundamental characteristic of
successful people in today’s world, from CEOs to philosophers. In fact,
legendary investor Warren Buffett is famous for his advocacy of reading,
recommending that everyone should read at least 500
pages per day.
Why is it so important to read?
Reading is one of the most powerful tools available to
educate oneself and gain the direct insights and knowledge of others. It allows
the reader to absorb a lifetime of information on any given subject over a period
of hours. Books are a tremendous resource for anyone continuing their
educational efforts and advancing their skillset and knowledge base, especially
in the business world.
It has also been scientifically proven that reading improves
memory and can train the brain for increased focus, making reading a great
activity to keep the brain working optimally.
In addition to the immense educational value provided –
reading is a fun activity and can be a crucial tool for anyone looking to be
Onward and Upward
So, there you have it – a handful of productivity tips that
will hopefully take your days to the next level in terms of what you can
accomplish. If you’re interested in learning even more ways to be productive,
check out some of my additional tips, here.
Also, feel free to leave your own tips in the comments
wife and I are long-time fans of the Kansas City Royals, and we try to hit a
home game whenever we can; it’s one of our favorite family pastimes. Currently,
the Royals are sitting 4th overall in the MLB’s American League Central (AL
Cent), but their performance isn’t the only thing fans are talking about and
sportscasters are reporting on.
much speculation, it’s been confirmed that the Kansas City Royals are being
sold to local businessman John Sherman, for $1 billion. The official
announcement was made by the Royals’ current owner David Glass and his family
on August 30th. While Glass explained to Kansas City fans how difficult this
decision was to make, there are high hopes that John Sherman will make an
excellent addition to the team.
season-ticket holder, minority owner of the Cleveland Indians, and Kansas City
native, John Sherman will be the third owner of the franchise since it was
founded in 1969 by Ewing Kauffman. While the prospect of new ownership is
daunting to fans, teammates, and management, John Sherman is certainly the
right man for the job. This change in ownership could mean a whole new ball
game for the Royals, and one that exudes success.
believe that Sherman will truly be an asset to the Royals, as his experience
speaks for itself. As a former minority owner of the Cleveland Indians, Sherman
has seen the operations of major league baseball–he knows how the system works
and the types of strategies that will evoke prosperity for the team and the
franchise as a whole. However, there has been some speculation that Dayton
Moore steps away from the general manager’s office while Ned Yost might also
make an abrupt departure.
can only wait to see what the final outcome will be, but it’s important to keep
in mind that the Royals have always been a strong and stable franchise–more
than any other franchise within the last decade. As a long-time fan, I have
hope that this new deal will bring forth a new era for the Kansas City Royals.
Some people call it “Paris of the Plains,” – others call it
the BBQ Capital of the World – or simply K.C. There are a lot of different
names for Kansas City, Missouri but I just call it home.
From its early days as a settlement for traders and trappers,
Kansas City has been a burgeoning center piece in the American story. Today, the
metro area is home to over 2 million people, and is a major business sector and
logistical hub in the heartland of the country.
Allow me to give you a short history of this great city.
Founding and Early Days
The area around Kansas City was initially inhabited by
Native American tribes (primarily the Kansa Indians and the Shawnee tribe) in
its early days before its development by French traders and Missouri’s later
inclusion into the United States.
Kansas City itself was founded heavily by the activity of
settlers and pioneers who made their way along the Kansas and Missouri Rivers –
scouting out the land in search of animals, farmland and strategic points for
traders. A prominent merchant and missionary named John Calvin McCoy opened up
a store for fellow travelers, sprouting neighboring settlements and what would
eventually become Kansas City.
By mid-century, Kansas City had emerged as a key port along
the Missouri River, and had established itself as a primary point of interest for
travelers as the great westward expansion was underway. The budding town was
eventually incorporated into Missouri, although half of the metro still remains
in Kansas state to this day.
In the late 1800’s to mid 1900’s, Kansas City went through a
boom. Due to its prime location as a crossroads to the west, the city became a
destination for travelers and newly arrived citizens which brought in some of
its most defining qualities.
In 1881, the state of Kansas enacted prohibition laws for
its residents – barring the consumption and selling of alcohol. Luckily for
those residents located on the western side of the Kansas River, they could get
a drink just over the bridge in Missouri where alcohol was still legal. This created
a boom in taverns and saloons throughout Kansas City (especially along our
famous 12th street.)
The explosion of profitability from these saloons brought in
other forms of business (banks, manufacturing, hotels, etc.) and led to the
expansion of Kansas City’s influence. The city soon gave birth to its own
distinct form of Jazz, as well as placing itself on the map for the world’s
After the mid-1900’s Kansas City continued to develop along
with the rest of the United States. Population growth has continued to climb as
the city remains an attractive site for businesses, young professionals and
families in the Midwest.
Today, we are the country’s 29th most populous
metro area. We are home to a multitude of fabulous schools and universities. We
enjoy a multitude of sports teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas
City Royals – and yes, our BBQ is still number one.
We have more boulevards than Paris, filled with places to
see and things to do. If you should be so lucky to find yourself in this part
of the country, make sure to visit some of our most notable locations, like the
National WWI Museum and Memorial or the famous Union Station.
I love learning about the latest trends and seeing where the
market is going at any given time, and you can learn a lot by observing
industry changes on a macro scale. Like all fields of business, real estate is
constantly shifting with the times and the last place you want to end up is
behind the curve.
Plus, it’s just incredibly interesting to see how the latest
tech is being used for the benefit of the owner and seeker. Every year it seems
like there is something new that comes out to potentially revolutionize the
Today, I thought I’d share some of the most exciting things
to keep an eye on in the next year.
1.) Virtual and Augment Reality
Virtual reality (or VR) used to be a fantasy of the
not-so-distant past. I remember several various attempts at producing a viable
concept throughout the 80’s and 90’s, but it seems is if the tech has finally
Maybe you’ve seen the demos at your local mall, or maybe
you’re living an alternate life in the comfort of your home – at either rate,
VR is an emerging technology that could revolutionize real estate as we know
From experiencing a virtual tour of your place prior to
move-in, or seeing your dream home before building – there are several
attractive possibilities for this tool. Sure, there are some digital programs
out there that let you play around with various design concepts, but imagine a
fully realized creative platform that lets you see the end product before your
Property owners and builders can host instant and
always-available walk-throughs for prospective buyers. And buyers will be able
to plan for their future by knowing how their home will look and feel once they
move in. This also opens the door to interior/exterior design.
2.) Drone Photography
Drones came onto the scene just a few short years ago and
multiple industries quickly found use for flying tech. In real estate, the
drone has been adapted primarily to be used for photography and video recording
that would have been impossible in the past.
There are some amazing feats being accomplished with drone
photography, from a bird’s eye view of the property or neighborhood, to gliding
through open rooms. Check out this amazing video, shot with a drone equipped
with slow-motion capture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrlusuwPvcs
These little machines are controlled by manual or digital
remotes and can go upwards of 400 feet – getting amazing footage of land
properties or homes for sale. Some drones can be outfitted with expensive, HD
cameras that capture hyper-detailed images/video. A professional level drone
can cost anywhere between a couple hundred dollars and several thousand –
depending on what specs or quality is needed.
This new tech is certainly a game changer for owners trying
to showcase their properties, but it will also open up a whole area for
business. Costing a couple hundred dollars per flight – drone pilots can make
good money, while also offering a fair price for stellar photos.
3.) Improved Data and Platforms
Since the arrival of platforms like Zillow or Realtor.com,
buying and selling platforms have completely changed the real estate business.
Having properties listed on these platforms has never been more important and
can mean the difference between success and failure.
For buyers and sellers alike, it’s important to tap into the
massive market looking for specific requirements. One of the great features of these various
platforms is the ability to nail down the exact specifications that home buyers
are looking for – allowing them to sort through thousands of listings to
compare the most suitable matches.
Gone are the days of “searching and hoping” to find a home
that you can tolerate. Now, you can get the home of your dreams curated to your
profile and neatly organized by filter options. This dramatically cuts down on
the need for a third-party, and will continue to do so as personalized
algorithms become more advanced.
These are just a few of the latest technological
developments in real estate. It will be interesting to see how these develop
and what other advancements come into the fold, but I would choose these as the
big winners in innovation.