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Five Tips to Make Your Desk Space More Efficient

Picture 2Day in and day out, many of us spend our time sitting at a desk. This little space consisting of a desk, chair, and perhaps a cubicle wall or two is where we are expected to do our best work; where we are to create, solve problems, and keep ahead of deadlines. Even if you have your own corner office, at the end of the day it’s often the desk area itself where you spend most of your time. Here are a few tips to make your workspace as effective as possible.

Keep it Clean

It’s difficult to get work done when your mind is cluttered, and a desk is often a projection of what’s inside our minds. Cleaning off your desk doesn’t mean magically accomplishing all of the work that’s piling up, but it does neatening up all those piles. Get a filing cabinet or a shelf to sit things on. No matter what it takes, keep your desk area, and your mind, as clean and uncluttered as possible.

Rethink the Desk Chair

While some people may find sitting in a chair ideal, it isn’t the only way to be at your desk. Maybe you would be more alert if your raised your desk higher and stood instead? Maybe sitting on an exercise ball is the best way to get your creative juices flowing. Even if a traditional chair is right for you, make sure you have a comfortable one that gives good back support – there’s nothing like an aching back to take away your focus.

Add Color

Few things add energy like a few bursts of color. Pick colors that inspire you, and add them to your workspace in any way you can. If you aren’t able to do something dramatic like painting the walls, adding some colorful accents to your desk, or a bright painting to a wall. Color will brighten up a boring space and get those creative juices flowing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Daniel H. Cohen: For Argument’s Sake

Is there any benefit to arguing? Are we more successful if we prove our point, or if we learn something in the process? These are the questions that Daniel H. Cohen ponders in his TED Talk, “For Argument’s Sake.” Daniel makes the case for the benefits of argument, but clearly defines the parameters in which disagreements make us better, and when they hurt us. Watch this video, and the next time you find yourself in an argument during a meeting or family reunion, do your part to ensure that everyone comes away winning, or learning, from each other.

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How to Spot a Leader

One of the most critical mistakes made in business is promoting the wrong people into a leadership position. While manager roles are often used as rewards for hard work, those promotions often ends with managers that are working beyond their skill set, and employees frustrated with an uninspiring boss. Leadership roles in a company are not rewards to be offered  to just anyone – they require a certain type of person with specific skills. Here are a few characteristics to look for in a potential leader among your team:

Takes the Initiative

Being a leader often means taking chances and working independently.  Leaders have to make decision and be willing to try different approaches to a problem; the fear of failure cannot stand in the way of action. Employees who take iniative to solve problems without being asked and who aren’t afraid to take a risk are best suited for leadership positions.

Cool, Calm and Collected

When your team is sitting for an hour long meeting, check to see how they handle themselves. Who’s got their leg jiggling under the table, staring off into space and who’s upright and focused? Leaders are present and in the moment, not day-dreaming or itching to get out of the room. Anyone who is focused and committed to the project at hand shouldn’t be able to think about anything else.

Engages with People

A software developer has to be comfortable working with a computer, otherwise they would be considered ill-equipped to do their job. The tool of the trade for a manger is people. A leader needs to be comfortable talking to, engaging, and relating with people. An employee who is more comfortable emailing and rarely initiates actual conversation probably isn’t going to be the best choice to lead a team. In meetings, look to see who is staring into the screens in front of them (laptop, smartphone, etc), and who is actually focused on making eye-to-eye contact with those in the room. Read the rest of this entry »

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Would you like fries (a website) with that?

fry mountain

McDonald’s has not made their fortune only from their hamburgers. While hamburgers are the basic item they sell to everyone that walks in the door,  the real money comes in the form of add-ons: fries, shakes, and extra large sodas. These happen to also be the same items that we often regret ordering. Sure, fries sound good at the time, but we regret it later when we’re popping the Tums and watching our weight creep up on the scale. The technology world is facing a similar problem: in an effort to increase their profits, many companies are now offering websites as an add-on to their services. But are these really helping clients, or just expanding their technology waistline?

Architects of Design

It’s almost impossible to over-emphasize how important a company’s website is in today’s world – they are the face of your brand and reputation in a global market. A website is the storefront that reaches more customers than any brick-and-mortar building ever could.  With the abundance of out-of-work developers and designers, and free templates online, any company can add websites to their offerings for customers. Newspapers, print designers, and accounting software designers are among the trades delving into the web design trade. However, when you put your website in the hands of someone who’s best skills are not in website design, you line yourself up for a less-than-stellar product. You wouldn’t trust your brick-and-mortar storefront design to an accounting software company, so why trust them with your website?

Creators of Content

When a company decides to start or re-design their website, they need to be sure to commission the right architect. At integritive, we specialize in designing websites and developing online marketing strategies. One of the reasons we’ve been in business for 12 years and have outgrown our competition is that we use our defined skills to help our clients grow business and achieve a stated result. Websites aren’t an afterthought for us – they are the primary goal, and it shows in results.

image via Flickr

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David Kelly: How to build your creative confidence

Creativity is often seen as an inherent skill: you either have it or you don’t. David Kelly tells us in this video that simply isn’t true. Anyone can be creative, and more importantly, everyone should be creative. Creativity is how we solve problems and come up with innovations; there is no job so technical or precise that it couldn’t benefit from a little out-of-the box thinking. Whether you consider yourself a “creative” person or not, this is a video you absolutely must see.