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Staying Focused at Work….

The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.

-Robert Frost

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13 Ways to Beat Distractions and Stay Focused at Work

  • Pinpoint the problem. What causes you to lose focus? Is it fatigue, hunger or a Twitter addition? Figuring out the issue is the first step toward trying to fix it.
  • Plan ahead. Envision what the workday will look like before it happens. Write down what things need to get done or what you want to accomplish. Setting goals can help people stay on track.
  • Eat a good breakfast. A bowl of oatmeal may do more than jump start metabolism. Studies have found that eating breakfast can improve attention and concentration, too. Here’s what the experts say you should eat in the morning.
  • Meditate. Scientists have discovered that meditation may enhance certainbrain functions linked to attention. It can’t hurt to try shutting everything off to get more done in the long run.
  • Work offline. One survey found nearly 60% of disruptions at work come from email, social networks and cell phones. So for tasks that don’t involve the Internet, try using old-fashioned paper and pen — perfect for brainstorming! Put your phone on silent and check email only occasionally (try once every hour). Limit time on social media too. You can “like” your friend’s picture of his dog later.
  • Do smaller tasks. Some psychologists suggest that our brain works way too hard to process incredible amounts of information. So working on one large project can be overwhelming — like trying to plan a whole event at work in one afternoon. Split up projects into individual tasks so they’re easier to accomplish.
  • Time box. Work on one project for a specific amount of time, rather than working until something is finished. (Write emails until 2 p.m., instead of stopping at inbox zero.) This way we know we can work hard until a certain time, and then be able to take a break.
  • Clean up. Anything from Post-Its to pretzels and family photos can become a distraction. Clear off the workspace and have out only what’s needed (laptop, notebook, water-bottle — check!) to help stay in the zone.
  • Try an app. Discard anydistractions with a little help from technology. Certain apps can block websites (so long, Pinterest) or black out computer screen backgrounds so only one program is in view at a time. There are web tools that can calculate how much time is spent on websites, too. (Now that could be scary.)
  • Reward yourself. A little motivation can go a long way. Say, “After I finish this page, I’ll go buy a cookie!” (Try these vegan delicacies.) Watch that to-do list vanish in no time.
  • Take little breaks. Getting to the office early, working through lunch and staying late doesn’t necessarily mean getting more stuff done. Short bursts of hard work followed by quick breaks can be more beneficial than never taking a breather, since the brain may just burn out.
  • Wear headphones. At Greatist we practice the “headphone rule”: no one’s allowed to talk to someone who’s wearing ear gear. It’s a great way to show you’re working on something important and don’t have time to chat. (Sometimes I don’t even have music playing — my secret!)
  • Try caffeine. Coffee or tea may help people feel more alert and able to concentrate in the cubicle. If iced coffee isn’t your cup of…coffeetry chewing gum, which may help increase alertness too.

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/07/23/13-ways-to-beat-distractions-and-stay-focused-at-work/#ixzz2IdCsgOf9

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Groundhog Day

According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will persist for six more weeks.

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The most famous of groundhogs to be such a “weather forecaster” is Punxsutawney Phil; however, here in Georgia many of us look to General Beauregard Lee, the famous groundhog who resides at Yellow River Game Ranch in Lilburn, Georgia, to give the prediction of when spring will come to the South.

Groundhog Day is a tradition that inspired a motion picture, named after the holiday and starring Bill Murray, in 1993. The movies main character Phil, continues to live the same day (February 2nd) over and over, until he gets the events of the day right. Often times, work can feel like “Groundhog Day”, if you are continuously repetitive in your actions, motions, and interactions. Maybe you are finding yourself going through the motions, rather than forging ahead and getting things right to be able to end the repetitiveness.

Whether or not the Groundhog saw his shadow today, why not be reminded today to forge ahead, do the best you can/what is right, and maybe even to shake things up?

As a business owner, do you need help forging ahead when it comes to HR policies and payroll? Maybe it’s time to shake things up in your company, and free up your time by using our services.

Call us today at 770-339-0000

It’s Not Too Late: New Year’s Resolutions for Your Business

Yes, so January 1st has already passed, but it’s never too late to make a resolution for positive change.

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So often we begin the New Year making a list of personal resolutions to better ourselves or our circumstances. What about our businesses? Why not resolve to better them and their circumstances? After all they are our livelihood; the very entity that allows us the opportunity to then better ourselves. It’s easy to look at the obvious personal resolutions: exercise, diet, etc. Resolutions for a business may be a bit harder to think of; how about resolving to one or more of the following? After all, even one positive resolution is sure to bring on further positive change.

  1. Review 2015

Look at the past year. What worked? What didn’t? Where did you gain the most profit? Where did you lose the most? Resolve to look at what does and doesn’t work in your line of business, and to learn from it.

  1. Set Goals & Strategize

Resolve to set aside time daily, or at least weekly, to review where your business is at and where you want it to be. Then make a plan to get it there! Reviewing throughout the year will allow you to change course as needed, and by utilizing weekly business planning sessions you can continually keep on track with your goals.

  1. Make Sure Your House is in Order

Resolve to be organized from the start with your books and taxes. Keeping your finances in order from the start, including your taxes, bills, and payroll, will help you to avoid the stress of facing an audit unprepared. In addition, go ahead and replace any equipment or necessary supplies that are in disrepair and making productivity harder.

  1. Invest In & Reward Your Employees

You hire the best, most talented employees in order to grow your business. Now resolve to keep them motivated and morale high by investing in and rewarding them. Offer training to continue their growth within your company. Remember to reward good work and to identify them for going above and beyond. Use positive constructive motivation and your results will be ten-fold.

  1. Forge New Partnerships / Networks

Resolve to join a networking or business organization to forge new partnerships and networks. These can be of immeasurable value to your company. Through new contacts you may spark new business ideas, or gain referrals.

  1. Market

Resolve to promote your business regularly and consistently in a variety of ways. Not sure about social media? 2016 is the time to really give it a shot, as it is becoming more and more important in both marketing and research. Also, don’t forget about reaching out to the customers you already have, they can be of great service in referrals and testimonials to use. And lastly don’t forget to keep your website up to date and appealing!

  1. Consult & Serve Your Customers Well

Take the time to listen to your customers. Their insight can really help you identify what you are doing right, and what you need to improve on. Resolve to really take into account their comments and recommendations and to implement change from them.

  1. Delegate

Handing over tasks and relinquishing control can be one of the hardest things to do. However, it can also be just the thing to help spur growth in your company. If you are always consumed with the administrative tasks of payroll, benefits, etc., you are not focusing on bringing in revenue. Why not resolve to hand over some of the burdensome administrative tasks to HR Strategies and focus on why you really went into business?

  1. Schedule YOU Time

Business can be consuming. As the “boss” you must make sure that you find time to schedule in your own down time. After all, who else is going to do it? Not leaving time for you away from the office and running the business is asking for burn-out, and disaster. Resolve to give yourself that pat on the back and some time away for the great job you’re doing. In doing so, you will be more motivated and inspired.

  1. Give Back

Make a difference in your community. Remember that those who give also receive. Take the time to find an organization to help, someone to mentor, serve on a committee, or volunteer. By growing goodwill you will also be growing a name for your business. So make a resolution to find a cause in your community that matters to you, and start making a difference.

HR Strategies enables businesses to reclaim time, stabilize and reduce labor costs, increase employee productivity, and improve morale while increasing employee retention. HR Strategies is dedicated to the success of our clients by providing the latest and best industry resources available as well as constant access to customer support. Want to learn more on how you can obtain the freedom to pursue your passions and focus on your core business? Call us today at 770-339-0000, or visit us at http://www.hr-strategies.com .

Wear Red Day

1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke each year. Celebrate National Wear Red Day with Go Red For Women on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 to help save women’s lives. Join the movement nationwide and learn how you can honor women like you on this important day by clicking the words below. “

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Relay For Life is Next Friday!

Every good act is charity. A man’s true wealth hereafter is the good that he does in this world to his fellows.

Moliere

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Click the Ribbon to Securely Donate Online to Relay For Life! Once on the page, click the orange “Donate Now” button. Then click the next orange “Donate to this Team” button! We appreciate your help in reaching our goal. Every little bit gets us closer to finding a cure!

More IRS Tax Tips

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In today’s world we expect to have immediate answers via the web to questions that arise.When filing our taxes, and needing answers as to how to complete certain questions, find forms, etc., we especially want to find quick answers. Tax time can be a very stressful time of year, it is yet one more thing to add to our “to do” list, and involves our hard earned money. The IRS has embraced the “need it now and easily” culture that we live in, and has redesigned its website to be even more user friendly.  Here are the top 10 reasons to visit the IRS website, which are also the top ten ways to get help from IRS.gov:

  1. Get 24/7 Access:  Whether you do your taxes during the day or burn the midnight oil, IRS.gov has the tax forms and answers you need when you need them. It’s accessible all day, every day. The Interactive Tax Assistant is a helpful tool that will answer many of your tax law questions. Several tax forms, publications and information are also available in Spanish.
  2. Use Free File:  Anyone can prepare and e-file their taxes for free with IRS Free File. Offered exclusively at IRS.gov, Free File’s brand name software or fillable forms do the work for you. If you made $57,000 or less, you qualify to use free tax software. If your income is more than $57,000 or you feel comfortable preparing your own tax return, use Free File Fillable Forms. This option provides the electronic versions of IRS paper forms.
  3. Try IRS e-file:  Whether you do your own taxes or hire a preparer, IRS e-file is the safest, easiest and most popular way to file a complete and accurate tax return. Since 1990, taxpayers have e-filed more than one billion returns. If you owe taxes, e-file gives you options to file early and pay by the tax deadline. If you are due a refund, you should receive it in less than 21 days.
  4. Check Your Refund Status:  You can track your refund using the enhanced “Where’s My Refund?” tool. It’s quick, easy and secure and has a new look this year. You can start checking on the status of your refund within 24 hours after the IRS has received your e-filed return. You can check your refund status four weeks after you mail a paper return. The tool includes a tracker that displays the progress of your return in three stages while it is processed. Once IRS approves your refund, “Where’s My Refund?” will give a date to expect your refund.
  5. Make Payments Electronically:  E-payment options are a convenient, safe and secure way to pay taxes. You can authorize an electronic funds withdrawal, use a credit or debit card or enroll in the U.S. Treasury’s Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.
  6. Use the EITC Assistant:  The Earned Income Tax Credit is a tax credit for working people who earned less than $50,270 in 2012. The credit can be worth as much as $5,891. Check your eligibility using the EITC Assistant tool. You may be among the millions of eligible workers who get the EITC this year.
  7. Get Tax Forms and Publications:  You can view and download tax forms and publications any time. It’s the easiest way to get IRS forms and publications.
  8. Figure the Right Withholding:  The IRS Withholding Calculator will help to ensure you don’t have too much or too little income tax withheld from your pay.
  9. Request a Payment Agreement:  Paying all your taxes on time avoids penalties and interest. However, if you cannot pay your taxes in full you may be eligible to use the Online Payment Agreement Application to request an installment agreement.
  10. Get the Latest Tax Law Changes:  Learn about tax law changes that may affect your tax return. Special sections of the website highlight changes that affect individual and business taxpayers.

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