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4 Small Adjustments that Bring 5-Star Customer Service

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4 Small Adjustments that Bring 5-Star Customer Service

Did you know it only takes seven seconds to make a lasting impression on new people that you meet?

If this is true in personal relationships, how significant are the impressions your business makes with customers? Great entrepreneurs know that if you want long-lasting, loyal clients (who spend AND who voluntarily advertise your excellent service by word of mouth), then you must prioritize customer relationships and consistently offer superior service.

Going From Good to Great

What does five-star service look like from a patron’s perspective?

Here is a snapshot of where a business moves from average to above-average:

3 — Service is average, fair, "the usual" satisfactory, expected, etc.

4 — Customer is very satisfied. Service is average, above average, exceeded expectations, etc.

5 — The client is delighted and amazed. Service is extraordinary because employees "walk on water" for customers.

To elevate your customer experience, you have to be proactive, not reactive. Five-star customer service gives extra attention to the smallest of details and does this with an authentic care for each individual you serve.

Here are four areas of focus to grow a culture of excellent service in your team:

1. Be Visible

Whether you respond to clients through e-mail, phone, or live service, be accessible and prompt in every response.

Let clients know they can always reach out to you and where you can be reached if they need anything. Never break communication – whether clients are pleased, waiting, or upset, don’t leave any attempt to communicate unanswered. Acknowledge the feelings behind the communication, and – in difficult situations – offer creative customer reparations (refunds, replacements, bonus items, etc.) if possible.

2. Anticipate Unexpressed Needs

Five-star service providers seek to surprise and delight their clients.

Here employees deliver not only “at” the level expected, but above and beyond what is promised. When you check in with a client, what do you expect they MIGHT need (i.e., help to navigate your new software)? Can you have the solution ready before they ask (i.e., a tutorial video attached to your check-in e-mail)? Seek to bring solutions, even if the client is at fault, and your business will be more memorable and responsive.

Anticipating needs is a way you tangibly care for people, and when you do this, it touches emotions. One general manager with five-star hotel experience put it perfectly:

“It is the small, simple, special moments that we create through personal engagement with each guest that they will recall when they return home. To accomplish this type of sustainability, we carefully and methodically select our employees, and then continuously train. It’s not about the tactical as much as it is about speaking the language of the guest.”

3. Train Your Team to Employ Creative Problem-Solving Skills

Five-star service includes the ability to think outside the box and create unique solutions to problems.

Customer service is primarily about problem-solving, so train your team to embrace problems rather than dreading them, and you will shift the culture in your business. A great team member isn’t afraid to come up with creative solutions. Give them the authority to do this and see what happens!

Publicly commend employees who do, and you’ll reinforce this attitude for everyone.

4. Use the Feedback You Receive

Five-star teams are never satisfied with the status quo.

Teams that excel in service are ruthless about gathering feedback and doing something with it. Do you collect customer comments? If so, how do you review it and identify areas for improvement? Companies that make specific changes in response to feedback are strategic, dynamic, and are genuinely customer-focused.

Build “Every Day” Excellence

Excellent service is something that happens consistently, so challenge your team to create memorable experiences that are repeatable every day.

Be visible, creative, and proactive, and challenge everyone on your team to take ownership as they follow through on guest requests every time.

How Successful Entrepreneurs Overcome Self-Doubt Each Day

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How Successful Entrepreneurs Overcome Self-Doubt Each Day

Diane von Furstenberg is a Belgian fashion designer who has built her namesake company into one of the most recognizable in the world.

Furstenberg has been listed as the world’s 68th most powerful, received an honorary doctorate, and been president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America for years.

Confidence should come easily to someone like this, wouldn’t you think?

But Furstenberg does not see herself this simply. She believes she’s a constant work in progress and says successful people (like herself) probably feel like losers at least once a week.

Furstenberg said she feels self-doubt continually. What does that look like in her life?

“Oh, just, you know. You feel like a loser, you wake up and you doubt. So my trick is, I look in the mirror and say, “If you doubt your power, then you give power to your doubts.”

Squash Doubt to Bring Your Best Work to Life

Can you relate to Furstenberg?

You’re not alone. Even successful business owners grapple with self-doubt. Sometimes this can be a good thing, keeping you humble and helping you soberly evaluate limitations.

But for the most part, self-doubt is a form of sabotage that keeps you from fulfilling your potential. Successful people aren’t immune to uncertainty, but they refuse to let it derail their goals. Want to overcome doubt and achieve what you’ve set out to accomplish?

Here are several ways to combat that accusing voice:

1. Stop and Reset

When inner doubts creep in, deal with them immediately.

Don’t let paranoia spin out of control or imagine worst-case scenarios. Talk back to that doubtful voice with phrases like these:

“No. Stop. I’m not listening to this.”

“I know where this train of thought leads, and I’m not getting on!”

“I’ve been successful in the past, and I will be again.”

As Steven Pressfield says in Do The Work! Overcome Resistance And Get Out Of Your Own Way,

"The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do."

2. Deal with Anxiety Triggers

One way to squash doubt is to deal with it straight on.

What personal deficits or situations trigger your insecurity? If it’s a lack of skill, seek specific training. If it’s uncertainty about a decision, get counsel from other experts in your field. If it’s fear of the unknown, find coaches or mentors to walk you through this stage of uncertainty.

3. Avoid Comparisons

If you compare yourself to others, you will usually lose.

In today’s connected generation, usually your perspective of others is only the highlight reel, and certainly not the struggle or discipline it took to build success. Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to YOU. Look at how far you’ve come, the progress you’ve made toward current goals, or how you’ve overcome obstacles in spite of hardship.

4. Don’t Depend on Validation

While the input of others can be helpful, confident leaders trust their own instincts.

We all like a pat on the back, but in seeking continual validation, you erode vision and weaken faith in yourself. When tackling a big project, get input initially, then trust your gut and make decisions that feel right to you.

Move Forward With Confidence

Having confidence in yourself is the best way to sharpen your unique voice.

Say no to accusation, confront anxiety triggers, and avoid putting too much weight in others’ opinions. Overpower doubt so you can maximize your potential.

How Innovative Print Partnerships Save You Time and Money

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How Innovative Print Partnerships Save You Time and Money

Almost every business needs paper products (like brochures, letterhead, and large-scale marketing) to build and strengthen their brand.

Between graphic design, production presets, and regular re-orders, keeping things organized can be a challenge. Consistently partnering with the same printer can make things much more efficient and convenient.

Creative, Collaborative Marketing

Since each company has its own unique needs, a professional printer can work with you on an individual basis to design and print materials that are just right for your business.

Beyond commercial printing, today’s print professionals can make a huge difference through graphic design services, brand building creative elements (like logo and packaging design options), or through securing “extra” promotional products (like magnets, notebooks, or water bottles). Innovative printers serve as true marketing partners, often costing less than you would pay to individually produce or order these items yourself.

Most businesses don’t have the capacity to produce and develop high-quality marketing on their own, so it is vital to consider a collaborative partnership with a print and design company. A professional printer can easily adapt your designs or logos to work for professional booklets and brochures, banners and flags, letterhead and business cards, presentation folders and flyers, and more.

And craftsmanship is paramount in printing, which ensures your projects receive meticulous attention to detail, seamless color matching, and superior finishes. Collaborative printers stand behind their products as they combine an experienced eye, a skillful touch, and unrivaled personal service.

Questions to Ask When Evaluating a Professional Print Partnership

To be successful with graphic print production you need a close working relationship with a quality provider. How do you find the right printer? Here are six questions to consider:

1. What Level of Competence and Quality is Needed?

Competence and quality are often the most important factors in weighing commercial print options.

Although it can be difficult to evaluate skill levels before you’ve worked with someone, there are several indicators to look for. Request to see samples of jobs done for other customers. Inquire about areas of specialization and if bundled pricing or services are included. Also, ask your printer what work steps they see as critical for obtaining good results. If you know in advance how they prefer to manage projects, it helps ensure good workflow and communication along the way.

2. Does This Printer Have a Large Personnel or Production Capacity?

How large is the printing staff? If you need substantial output in a short time, does the printer have the equipment or workforce to handle this?

3. How Will We Optimize Communication?

Is there a key contact person you will always correspond with? What is the preferred method of communication?

4. Does This Printer Offer Concrete Delivery Times or Guarantees?

How dependable is the printer and how quickly can projects be delivered? Is there a timeframe guarantee?

5. What is the Level of Environmental Consciousness?

Is your printer committed to eco-friendly standards or procedures? Some companies may have special requirements in regard to environmental impact issues, and this may influence the printing practices they are able to approve.

6. Are Proximity and Availability Important to Me?

How geographically close do you want your printer to be? If high-quality service and fast delivery times are important, proximity may be more of an issue.

A Wise Long-Term Investment

Your time is valuable, so making wise choices is of utmost importance. Taking time to enter a print partnership that maximizes your investment is well worth your consideration. Often, choosing the right printer means you are beginning a relationship that will last for years.

3 January, 2020 08:04

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How Re-Purposed Malls Can Teach Entrepreneurs a Lesson

Have you been to a dying mall lately?

It can be pretty depressing. Empty storefronts litter the hallways like missing teeth in a hockey player’s mouth. Dim lighting seems to permeate each corner, and mall walkers bring more energy than any hint of retail activity. What was booming 30 years ago now feels like a bust.

With consumers shifting more of their shopping from physical to online spaces, young generations have a different perspective on what a buying experience should bring. This explains why some malls are dying, while others are thriving. What’s the difference?

In Maryland, one mall is renting space to a theater company while, in Michigan, one mall is now home to a cultural association that sponsors Chinese festivals. Some malls have transformed parts of their space to offer thriving art schools for walk-in shoppers. Others have created customer-centric experiences, like combining fashion consultants with on-site purchasing options.

Like most other sales venues, there is still a future for brick-and-mortar businesses. But this requires companies to sell strategically to young generations through methods that resonate.

What lessons can we learn from our friends in the mall?

Engaging, Experiential Shopping

There are numerous definitions of experiential purchasing.

Generally, this idea refers to stores where “extra” things happen in addition to selling, and where shoppers do more than just buying. As an entrepreneur, how can you offer people a chance to buy an experience or a memory rather than just an object or service? This may include massage chairs at the gym, in-store skills classes, or lifestyle opportunities (like art galleries in malls) that can be combined with a shopping experience.

Added Online Convenience

If you want people to visit your business, can you ease their journey by adding online convenience?

Like store pickups for pre-ordered groceries, merchants that simplify the purchasing experience will have more success. One business took orders for online samples then had three options ready and waiting when the customer came to preview them in the store.

Digital Campaigns with On-Site Flash Sales

One benefit of physical stores is strengthening emotional connections between consumers and brands.

While it is nice to order things online, sometimes swooping in to nab a deal brings a huge adrenaline rush (think Black Friday!). Can your business combine timely print or digital ads to promote 24-hour flash sales on the hottest items in your store? This creates the opportunity to lock in a client while potentially up-selling other products when people visit in person.

Lively, Professional Environments

People don’t just crave convenience; they crave connections.

When asked why people choose physical stores over online retailers, the number one response was a “need to see, touch, feel, and try out items.” How can you offer people better opportunities to interact directly with your products? When you do this, the physical shopping experience provides a tactile experience that simply can’t be matched online.

Your displays are a huge part of this. From oversized banners and full-panel window displays to music, lighting, and even scents, the environment you create must be better than ever. And with today’s print and digital technology, everything can be customized to immerse your clients in the most authentic brand experience possible!

The Definition of Success

While online shopping has re-written the rules of purchasing, buyers still crave experiences that can only be delivered in person. Remember, a successful space is one that people want to visit, so give people a reason to be there.

When they’re spending their time somewhere, they’re more likely to spend their money as well.

4 “No Fail” Strategies for Organizing Your Next Big Event

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

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4 "No Fail" Strategies for Organizing Your Next Big Event

Do you have any “nightmare” trade show experiences?

Maybe you worry that an impending disaster is ahead. Everyone who manages a big event knows the feeling.

You know . . . the nagging sense that you’ve forgotten something crucial (but have no idea what).

Or . . . one of several million things is about to go wrong (but there is no way to prevent it).

4 "No-Fail" Strategies for Organizing Your Next Big Event

Large events can be stressful, but most large-scale events can be managed with confidence if you have a plan.

Here are four “no-fail” strategies for navigating your next conference, convention, or trade show.

1. Generate an Event Checklist

Early planning and great organization are the keys to a stress-free event.

Make a master list of marketing and print deadlines, reservation dates, and travel coordination details. Months in advance, nail down every date possible and organize your task list in chronological order. Then you can work from a checklist with physical guidelines that keep your team grounded.

2. Create Beautiful Displays

Your exhibits are often the fulcrum of your entire event.

Don’t skimp! Take the time (or get help) to arrange the backdrops, banners, and lighting so a fabulous display of your brand and personality takes center stage. Depending on your budget, you may have anything from a small pop-up booth to a grand multi-sensory exhibit.

Whatever the scale, your graphics need to be eye-catching, clean, and crisp to make your exhibit as open and welcoming as possible.

3. Empower the Right People

The staff at your exhibits are the face of your company and culture.

As your most visible brand ambassadors, their interaction with potential clients can make or break your big day. Have clearly defined roles for each team member and train them to be friendly, outgoing, and equipped to address diverse audiences.

Pro-tip: Be intentional about including a technically gifted team member to answer in-depth product questions or to handle unexpected display glitches.

4. Prepare Excellent Follow-Up Materials

In some cases, the amount of preparation required for a big event can cause you to overlook the most crucial marketing materials needed for good follow up.

Often the success of an event is not fleshed out for months afterward, so it is essential that you come ready with several printed materials. Your “Big Five” may include:

  1. Professionally Printed Business Cards – Include a hand-written note at the close of your conversations to add a personal touch.
  2. Sell Sheets and Rack Cards – Like a walking billboard for your business, these grab-and-go items can keep your prospects considering after the conversation has concluded.
  3. Eye-catching Notepads or Sticky Notes – Everyone loves a good freebie, and swag items increase the longevity of your name and your impression.
  4. Loyalty Coupons or Cards – Offer exclusive coupon codes or punch cards for your products or services.
  5. Best-Quality Brochures – Events typically offer an introduction to a longer conversation. Brochures are a pocket-friendly advertisement that offers vital product details, informative graphics, and a compelling call to action.

One Final Freebie

Think you’re ready?

If you still have that niggling sense of dread, here’s one last tip — pack duct tape. Beyond great team members, displays, and print materials, duct tape can fix about anything that could go wrong on the side.

5 Pro Tips for Spectacular Sell Sheets

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5 Pro Tips for Spectacular Sell Sheets

Looking to showcase the benefits of your business or idea in a concise, compelling way?

Use sell sheets to connect and close the sale! Like one-page billboards, these grab-and-go promotions can educate prospects, motivate buyers, and offer a point of reference for further review.

What is a Sell Sheet?

Perhaps you’re new to the concept of sell sheets.

Sell sheets are simple. Like a miniature billboard, they showcase the benefits of your idea in a concise, persuasive way. Typically, these documents are just 1-2 pages, and contain all the information about a product or offer that your decision-maker needs. When you’re ready to multiply your message, sell sheets can be delivered by mail or in person.

5 Tips for Head-Turning Sell Sheets

Ready to get started with your sell sheet design? Here a few helpful guidelines.

1. Use High-Quality Photos

One of the most important features of your sell sheet is an image of the product, concept, or the people engaging with your company.

Typically, this “beauty shot” is the focal point of any sell sheet, so be sure your photos or graphics are top-notch.

2. Highlight the Big Benefit

What can your product or idea do for the customer?

Will it save them time? Eliminate fear or reduce spending? Maybe you just want to make them smile. Whatever your pitch, try to reduce it to one sentence and then again to 2-3 words (think, “Eat Fresh,” or “The Quicker Picker-Upper”). Your unique selling proposition should drive the theme of the sell sheet and also be a visual priority on the page.

3. Offer Testimonials or Video Links

To bring your big benefit to life, feature people who have tried your services and love them.

Use real names, cities, or customer photos, or link them to YouTube videos or website landing pages where people can see your product in action. Social proof is a highly effective sales strategy.

4. Include Pertinent Contact Information

Beyond a strong call to action, sell sheets should clarify how clients can get in touch.

Round out your sell sheet with a next step teaser (i.e., “call today for a free estimate”) and include your website, phone, e-mail, etc.

5. Avoid Information Overload

The goal of a sell sheet is to provide enough information to prompt a second look, but not so much detail that you overwhelm readers.

Organize information so that it is easy to read in a glance and to lead viewers to a clear next step.

Put Sell Sheets to Work for Your Business

Are sell sheets the right fit for you?

These simple tools can be used for trade shows, personal sales visits, mailers, and more. Use sell sheets to build awareness and sales for:

  • Presentation folder inserts
  • New product promotions
  • One-time events
  • Take-out menus or special-order items
  • Seasonal sales
  • Travel packages or subscription services
  • VIP or customer-loyalty perks
  • Salon, chiropractic, or health services
  • Handyman, lawn care, cleaning, or consulting

Perfectly Custom

Whether you’d like an uncoated recycled look or a glossy ultra-thick stock, you can make your sell sheet stand out by going creatively custom.

Upload your own file, consult with our team, or rely on our start-to-finish professional design services to attract attention and put the facts in focus. Contact us today to talk about custom design options.

Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label.

Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label.

On May 27, 2016, the FDA published final rules on the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The new label will make it easier for consumers to make better-informed food choices. The new label is already appearing on packages even before it is required to be used. Manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual sales must switch to the new label by January 1, 2020; manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales have until January 1, 2021 to comply. The FDA plans to work cooperatively with manufacturers to meet the new Nutrition Facts label requirements. Manufacturers of most single-ingredient sugars such as honey and maple syrup and certain cranberry products have until July 1, 2021 to make the changes. Manufacturers of certain flavored dried cranberries have until July 1, 2020 to make the changes.

How to Make Performance Reviews More Effective and Enjoyable

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How to Make Performance Reviews More Effective and Enjoyable

Performance reviews don’t have to be something to sweat about.

These conversations offer a valuable feedback loop for people to ask questions, identify needs, and drive professional growth.

Building Conversations that Count

Whether you’re conducting or participating in a review, here are a few strategies to make the most of your next review:

Share Facts and Document Goals

Before a review, make sure you are clear about what is expected.

Review job descriptions and jot down ways success has been achieved or where one person is being overloaded. Include measurable data (i.e., project output, sales goals achieved, etc.) that is understood by all participants. Link any examples (like improvement strategies or success stories) to the facts. Then, conclude by recording time-sensitive, measurable goals that are linked to the objectives discussed in the review.

Questions to Consider:

  • What’s working?
  • What’s not working?
  • What has been your greatest accomplishment or challenge this year?
  • Where do you feel there is room to improve?
  • What’s something you don’t think I see but should know?

Regularly Document Progress

To avoid the “dread” factor, intentionally calendar regular check-ins that are communicated in person or through e-mail.

While many yearly goals end up at the bottom of the drawer, monthly or quarterly updates make space for effective dialogue and regular course corrections. This relieves pressure from the yearly review while keeping everyone on the same page.

Questions to Consider:

  • In what areas are you delivering the best results?
  • What are the biggest challenges you face in your current position?
  • Where has your team been helping or hindering your work?

Build From Personal Strengths

While everyone has particular tasks to accomplish, each person has gifts that can positively impact the company in unique ways.

During reviews, ask this question: “What 20 percent of my contribution generates 80 percent of my impact at work?” Work together to clarify untapped potential and discuss how this could be optimized for greater results. If needed, seek extra support, resources, or alteration of current responsibilities.

Questions to Consider:

  • Do you have everything needed to perform your job?
  • What are the main drivers for success in your position?
  • What skills do you have that could be used more effectively?

A Structure That Builds Success

Want to create a positive environment for good communication?

Structure your reviews around facts, goals, and strengths to make your company as productive as possible.

20 December, 2019 07:56

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Earlier this year, Gerrit Curran and Emily Wessner opened a Jersey Mike’s Subs in Muhlenberg Township, Pennsylvania.

To gain traction in their township of 20,000, these entrepreneurs knew that their new business must be intricately tied to a community connection. Curran and Wessner chose to use print as their primary marketing channel. The Jersey Mike’s staff distributed nearly 7,500 sandwich coupons throughout the community, encouraging patrons to enjoy a free sub and also to donate the cost of that sandwich to the Muhlenberg Township Athletic Association.

In the end, the promotion helped raise over $15,000, and the franchise gained an admirable reputation as a devoted community partner.

Stand Out in Your Community

Print marketing can be especially effective in creating a local marketing presence, especially when combined with integrated campaign efforts.

Smart business owners know that catering to a local market can be a point of power. But how do you leverage this connection? Here are several ways to connect your on- and off-line presence in compelling ways.

Demonstrate Community Connection

Integrate your business into local festivals, sponsorship opportunities, and regional traditions.

Does your community host a lobster festival? Find fun ways to weave this crustacean into your flyers or sales. Share pictures or postcards about your brand participating in local fundraisers, theme weeks, or service drives. Start conversations on things that are happening locally and, whenever possible, relate them to your business.

Personalize Advertisements

When advertising for your business, highlight testimonies or quotes from real, local customers. Try before and after pictures, photos of your customers in well-loved parks, or advertisements featuring your content in front of an area mascot.

Another option is to tailor your ads to regional events. Is your city sponsoring a music festival? Offer helpful content like advice on cheap parking, a schedule of places where kids eat for a discount, or print coupons that correspond to a felt need of these visitors. Creating ads with local content will connect with your audience on a very personal level.

Invent Reasons to Make a Difference

Too often, organizations focus on community involvement with a selfish perspective: more profits, more marketing, etc.

Instead, take a “community in the front, business in the rear” approach. Whether you build a nature center with other businesses or create a contest for local charities, genuinely help people, and the benefits will follow. Plus, employees and volunteers will love submitting their photos to your company newsletter or your social media pages.

Tell Your Story

If you’re from the area you’re targeting, do your best to tell the story of how your business came to life.

Make a video, print inserts for your bags or envelopes, or have a brand story display onsite. Customers love to support local businesses, especially those founded or run by a hard-working local resident.

Find, Engage, Repeat

While your brand may serve customers beyond your region, an enormous 85% of business owners depend on word-of-mouth referrals, so it is vital to actively influence your friends and neighbors!

When satisfied local customers are committed to your success, your business can do more with less while continuing to succeed.

Need help giving your brand an extra boost in the community? We’d be happy to help with your local marketing needs. Contact us today to find out more!

How This Successful Entrepreneur Keeps Inspiration Flowing

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How This Successful Entrepreneur Keeps Inspiration Flowing

When you were a kid, what did you love to build?

When Frank Yang was eight, he dreamt of building all kinds of things. One of his first creative concepts was a dog food dispenser with a timer that could feed house pets on demand. Yang used to tell people he wanted to be an inventor, but the adults in his life said he should be an accountant or an attorney instead.

Today, Yang is the founder and CEO of Simplehuman, a privately-owned company that designs and manufactures kitchen, bath, and beauty tools. Simplehuman is devoted to finding ways to streamline daily tasks for efficient living, including touch-free soap pumps, sensor-activated vanity mirrors, and automated trash cans.

Last year Yang’s love for building practical “problem solvers” grew Simplehuman’s revenues by $15% to more than $200 million. Yang says he continues to find joy in the dreaming:

“Even though I’m the CEO of Simplehuman, I spend about 60% of my time on [Research and Development], because that’s what I love – I think about it all day,” said Yang.

Maximize Mental Energy Through Your Weekly Routine

What fuels your inspiration?

Though your job may be full of many “ordinary” tasks, how can you keep creativity alive each day?

Some experts believe grounding yourself in daily rituals can be a foundation for success. In his book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, Mason Currey writes about the habits, routines, and rituals of hundreds of artists, including Frederic Chopin, Benjamin Franklin, Karl Marx, and Ernest Hemingway. Even though their routines varied wildly, each individual had steps they followed to put them in an optimal state of mind. Currey came to this conclusion:

“In the right hands, [a routine] can be a finely calibrated mechanism for taking advantage of a range of limited resources: time (the most limited resource of all) as well as willpower, self-discipline, optimism. A solid routine fosters a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies and helps stave off the tyranny of moods.”

Rituals you might include to fuel your creativity could consist of things like:

  • Rising early
  • Making coffee or making your bed
  • Morning runs or daily stretching
  • Prayer, breathing exercises, personal affirmations, or journaling
  • Lunchtime yoga or sports commitments
  • 10 minutes of browsing Pinterest or your favorite design publications
  • Accessible scratch pads in your car, office, or house (for random idea bursts)
  • Regular times spent visualizing success, writing goals, or brainstorming for future projects
  • Weekly lunch gatherings with friends who inspire you
  • Writing tomorrow’s goals at the end of each workday
  • Wind-down routines like space tidying, piano playing, evening walks, light reading, or “brain dumps” in a journal

Finding Solutions in Unlikely Places

Yang says that, though he has many responsibilities as CEO, he likes to stay focused on his primary passion, which is creating and developing.

And when he’s stuck in a rut, he goes back to simple pleasures:

“I really believe that my mind and body work together. We have a basketball court in the office, and if there’s a problem my team and I can’t solve, we’ll go there and shoot around . . . I [also] love cycling. I have three bikes in my office, and when I need a break, I ride around the parking lot for 15 minutes. I get this sense of freedom when I ride, but I also love the mechanical aspect of bikes, the way the gears shift, the way the frame is made, the geometry of the design. That inspires me.”

What is the “bicycle” in your life? Sometimes taking your mind in a different direction can help you find solutions when you are stuck!

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