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Actually, you do have time for family and business

work-life balance

Ever heard the saying that there just aren’t enough hours in the day? Work sucks away all your energy and you’re left deadbeat on the couch after work for an hour, before nodding off and repeating the same day over and over again. You need to seize the day. Some people have all the time in the world but not enough money, while others seem to live the high life with more money than they know what to do with because they don’t even have the time to spend it.

Spending quality time with your family is first prize, but how do you accomplish that?

You can live a balanced life. You can make time for both business and family, getting in that quality time that makes your family unit stronger and more loving. These things don’t just happen overnight though, you need to nurture your relationships, in business and at home. This, however, requires your ultimate dedication and very specific goals.

Make the time to seize the day

It’s true, time waits for no man. In this life you have to take what you want. Stop hitting the “Snooze” button and start jumping at the opportunity to seize the day. You need to make the time for what you want in this life, no one will do it for you.

We all wish we could work from home and have those essential hours of the day to do what we want with. While some have that privilege, many of us are stuck in the same daily grind at work. Perhaps studying an online course at your own pace and on your own time can help you accomplish that goal if that’s what you are aspiring for. MasterStart has an array of exciting online short courses that can help boost your career.

Make the effort to make the time and it will happen in your life. For some people it’s waking up or going to bed an hour earlier and for others it’s getting into a routine of less sleep and more action. Whatever it takes, you must make the time to spend quality time with your family every day.

Define your life

Work a calendar plan into your daily routine and stick to it. Visual representations are very powerful tools that help you see what you are accomplishing in real time. You need to put a calendar up and draft your months plan.

Put small things on your calendar to remind you that you need to do something to seize the day. Write it down and finish the task or complete a goal. It can be something as simple as phoning your mother and having a catch up chat. This process is rewarding and allows you to overcome daily challenges, giving you more positive energy to seize the day at hand.

Not only will a calendar give you structure and a sense of fulfillment but it will also help you get into a routine where your daily tasks seem to run on autopilot. It will eventually become a lifestyle giving you more time in the day to spend quality time with your family and run your business affairs, for that work life balance you’ve been searching for.

The to do list saves lives

A to do list is also a powerful tool that can help you check off daily tasks to ensure that you keep on track with your work. Make use of a to do list app online and you will find that your day has a more structured approach. Useful tools like to do list apps can also increase your overall productivity. A brilliant to do list app like Wunderlist can increase your operational management and keep you engaged with your daily tasks.

Don’t overthink things, keep it simple

Combine these effective techniques to schedule your daily routine. Make time for the family and the business side of your life. Stick to a solid schedule and keep your life simple. It’s not easy to manage your time effectively, but by putting little steps in place you can keep your life organised and on par with your long-term expectations.

Keep checking back on our blog page for more inspiration on how to take control of your life, seizing the day and dominating at work, while still finding the opportunity for quality time at home with your family.  

Bad habits you must break now to be more productive

breaking bad habits

They creep up on you slowly like a silent little whisper in the back of your mind, intertwining with your thoughts and, ultimately, dragging you down. Bad habits are soul destroying, oozing out your thoughts and clouding your judgement with self loathing and guilt. This slows you down, decreases your creativity, which in turn will eventually affect your overall productivity at work and in your personal life.

Break bad habits now and start living a successful life. Strive for career growth. Own your destiny and grab life by the horns, taking that promotion you desire or empowering your life through that all too contemplated career change. Follow us as we explore some of the worst bad habits that could be holding you back in life.

  • Wasting time on the Internet

You may be surprised to learn that engaging in a proper work flow can take up to fifteen minutes to achieve. If you allow yourself to be distracted by the endless amount of content on the internet you may spend an entire day at work completely out of sync with the important tasks at hand. The same goes for your personal life.

If you constantly waste time on the internet you may never achieve the things you want to do around the house or in your personal life. Keep yourself engaged and set time aside for meaningless content surfing for a slight distraction, but don’t let distractions rule your day.

  • Perfectionism and general bad habits

You have to start somewhere. This saying applies to everything in life. If you scrutinize every piece of work then you simply won’t get any work done. A lot of people focus on perfecting their idea or plan so much so, that they only ever end up plotting their plan. You need to take action and resolve glitches in the work later. Cross bridges as you come to them and avoid being a complete perfectionist from the word go to start making progress in your life and avoid bad habits.

  • Hitting the “Snooze” button

This is a tough one as we are all guilty of it. Our brains lie to us and tell us that a small amount of time delayed won’t make the world of difference. In reality by allowing your brain to shift back into sleep mode you only make yourself more tired and groggy than you started your day off with. If you want to be more productive jump up at your alarm and embrace the initial endorphins your brain triggers when it first wakes.

  • Taking on more tasks than you can handle

Tackle one task at a time. Research shows that your brain stops functioning optimally when it is bombarded with too many thought processes. By completing a single task at a time you are more focused and your productivity curve remains around the same loop.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can achieve more by taking on more. Stick to one task at a time and you will deliver quality work consistently rather than producing mediocre work quickly.

  • Delaying tough tasks

We are naturally programmed to deal with tasks that are easy, first and foremost. That is human nature. In life, you need to challenge yourself and stimulate your brain, otherwise your brain pattern becomes comfortable and this in turn will make you lazy.

People love to work through the easy stuff at work first and leave the more complicated tasks for later on in the day. Rather begin your day with a more complex problem and devote all your brain power to difficult tasks. You may even find that the easy tasks have just become a walk in the park and not even seem like tasks at all anymore.

The above bad habits can destroy your progress at work and your personal goals. Cultivate new habits that help you break old traditions and move forward in life. For new and exciting insights into empowering yourself check back on our blog page.

The common reasons why most startup businesses fail to grow

why start ups fail

You probably don’t want to be reminded – especially at this stage of your entrepreneurial endeavour, about the possibility of failure or early stagnation. As grim as the subject is; hearing the reasons why most small/startup businesses fail to grow, gives you, the aspiration for the best head start.

According to statistics published in 2017, the Small Business Administration (SBA), discovered that around one-fifth of startups fail within the first year. Interestingly enough, after investigating further, they found that there were a few common denominators/areas within the business’s which were being managed poorly, or neglected by the new business owners. These were likely the cause of the business’ deterioration.

Here are just some of the common ‘mistakes’ they uncovered which are the possible reason why so many startups fail to grow and in some cases, collapse.

1. Building a strong team is not prioritised

Many new business owners and amateur entrepreneurs fail to see the importance of building a strong team, especially during the start-up phase. They often think they can do it all on their own – and perhaps are incentivised by the cost-effectiveness.
Building a strong, competent team is crucial to the success of a business and, in fact, is most important during a business’s infancy years. This is because new ventures face many challenges; for example, limited capital and resources, as well as the challenge of breaking into the market. Without a strong team who have the skills and experience in building businesses from the ground up, the venture may be at risk of early stagnation.

2. Poor management and leadership

Poor management and leadership are one of the main reasons why startup businesses fail to grow. Most new business owners take on the role of a manager as they perform the management function in the beginning, however, they often struggle with the leadership aspect. With that being said, it is possible to get by on a good management approach even if the leadership aspect is not refined; however, if both areas are weak it is a major cause for concern. Some entrepreneurs are great visionaries and have exceptional business smarts, but are not strong managers or leaders. For the sake of the business, it’s important that they refine their skills in these areas. Luckily one can be taught how to be a great manager and an inspirational leader!

3. Budget allocations are managed insensibly

Startups often have limited capital and monetary resources which is why it’s imperative that money is handled sensibly. Certain important functions which will propel the business forward should be prioritised in the budget. These include areas such as marketing and staff for example – but this depends on the nature of the business. Many unsuccessful startups have allocated capital to the wrong areas and spent money on less important business functions. It’s critical that you identify your businesses fundamental needs and allocate money to these first.

4. Lack of business knowledge

This is an all too common ‘mistake’ in the startup sphere. While anyone can be an entrepreneur – it takes some business smarts to be a successful one. It’s, of course, impossible to know everything well – but that’s why hiring people who have strengths in certain areas where you may have weaknesses is incredibly important. However, if this is not possible, it’s imperative that you learn fundamental business skills so that you are able to carry the business forward. For example; marketing is one of the most important functions, but if you’re not aware of this, and are unable to execute successful marketing techniques due to your limited marketing knowledge, the business will surely suffer. Invest in yourself – in your skills and your business knowledge, so that you are able to give your business the best shot at success.

5. Poor customer relations

Your customer is your bread and butter. If you or your team fail to identify the importance of treating your customer well; communicating with them effectively, and listening to their needs and wants, you will have a hard time building customer loyalty and your sales will likely decline drastically. As a startup breaking into the market, you need to find ways to get the customer on your side. You need to give them a reason to leave what they know, and instead use your services or buy your product. Too many startups are caught up in the operations and keeping the business afloat, that they often forget the reason for what they are doing. The reason is: solving a problem – for who? The customer.

Inside the mind of a master procrastinator

master procrastinator

Tim Urban, co-founder of Wait but Why blog, explains why procrastinators procrastinate.
Tim takes us on an amusing yet engaging talk on procrastination and the many inevitable “YouTube binges, Wikipedia rabbit holes and bouts of staring out the window”.

Procrastination As Second Nature

Like Beauty and the Beast, delaying, avoiding, and procrastinating on issues that matter to us is a tale as old as time and really the perfect analogy. The beauty of procrastination can be summed up by Tim’s depiction of the Dark Playground. A place he says that “all of you procrastinators out there know very well’. It’s a place where leisure activities happen at times when leisure activities are not supposed to be happening. However, it’s completely unearned, and the air is filled with guilt, dread, anxiety, self-hatred Tim explains or in the case of this analogy “The Beast” of procrastination.

Many, may we say all of us, have at some point experienced that deadline-induced panic. Some of us thrive on this and often produce our best work but these people often prove to be the exception, rather than the rule.

Watch this insightful Ted talk and get to know the different characters or role players in your mind. The instant gratification monkey, the panic monster and the mistreated and often booed rational thinker.

Meet the faculty: MC Botha

Who is MC Botha?

MC Botha is the Director of the Centre for Business Management of Projects at USB-ED, and holds an MBA with a specialisation in project management, and has over three decades of experience across the private, government and academic sectors. He is also the programme coordinator of the Postgraduate Diploma in Project Management, which is hosted by University of Stellenbosch Business School.

“This is the point of departure…”

How is Project Management different in start-ups vs well- established companies?

Let me answer in the inverse. Established companies will typically have a higher project management maturity level and have established methodologies. Start-ups will most probably embrace progressive elaboration in their project execution, hence the increase in the popularity of Agile as a methodology. The latter alternative is exciting and dynamic

Any tips or advice for those looking to study Project Management?

My immediate advice is to start with your studies as soon as possible. I agree with a statement by Fortune Magazine when they reported that Project Management is the number one career choice. Project management is more than a skill set, it is a frame of mind and a paradigm. Good project managers have the ability to see the holistic picture and to contextualise, and must be systematic thinkers. Therefore, if you can further your studies in project management, embrace the opportunity. Studies are not always easy, but always rewarding!