There is no predictable correlation between intelligence and ethics, nor is ruthlessness necessarily an evil thing. And there is nothing like enforced, uninterrupted contemplation to learn to distinguish one from another….
— JAMES H. SCHMITZ
There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.— Colin Powell
… We will have to stay mentally alert and engage during a 50-year work life, which means knowing how and when to change with the work we do.
–HBR’s 10 musut Reads : The Essentials, page 43
Whether you work from home or commute to an office, there are good reasons to start the day early. There are some obvious ones like you are rested, you can get work done before other have an opportunity to interrupt or derail your day, or my all-time favorite, you are more creative because the emotions of the day’s office politics haven’t had time to get in the way.
Most mornings, hitting the snooze button a time or 10 feels a lot more enticing than catching the worm and getting to work early. However, the benefits of doing so far outweigh the drawbacks. Even if you aren’t a morning person, it might be worth considering an earlier start.
Here are a few reasons to consider getting to work early:
You get so much done
Where there are co-workers and clients, there are distractions. You have a full page to-do list for the day, but the digressions abound, (especially in the form of others derailing you), and suddenly it’s lunchtime, and you haven’t settled a single item. Before the official workday starts though, the office is quiet and calm, and the rapid fire emails have not begun, you are free to attend to some of your most pressing agenda items in peace.
You’re ready when the official day starts.
By the time the workday proper begins, you’ll be more than ready to roll. You’ll feel awake, grounded, settled-in, caffeinated. While most are still dragging, you’ll be firing on all cylinders. You’ll get more done, (and feel happier doing it), during those morning hours than usual. Otherwise, those first few appointments or meetings can feel like a bit too much, too fast.
It gives you a feeling of control.
There’s something about feeling like you’re ahead of the day that can really improve your sense of autonomy and control. Instead of trying to keep up, you’re setting the pace. Getting to work early helps you feel more in control of your day — and this boost can go a long way.
It gives you a chance to map out your day
Because the morning is a relatively quiet time, and because at this point of the day you have so many hours ahead of you, mornings are the best time of day to make plans. Taking this opportunity to map out your day, and your priorities can help you accomplish more in a more intentional way.
People will notice.
If you regularly get to work a little early, it’s almost certain that someone will notice. Most likely, it’s someone else who likes to arrive ahead of the standard work day — maybe a manager or even your supervisor. Seeing that you make a point to beat the rush will make an impression for sure. And, there’s no harm in that.
Early to bed and early to rise makes and [person] healthy, wealthy and wise
Consulting and gig engagements are known more for their flexibility than for their consistency. The gig economy thrives on companies and individuals choosing to work with freelancers, part-time contractors, and consultants who will only hang around for weeks or months at a time. The upside is that you get to dip your hand in a lot of professions and can benefit from the promise of higher incomes at a time. However, since you never know when one gig is going to end and how long the ‘layover’ between that and the next is going to be, you need to learn to manage your earning power and stay relevant at all times. To that end, let’s explore a few pointers;
Choose your skills wisely
There are fields out there that have become so saturated with talent that it is hopeless to expect them to keep growing in away that favors the workforce. These fields have a next-to-zero probability of raising their rates, so chances are that you will get stuck in a rut. Go for emerging gigs that require specialized, hands-on skills and esoteric knowledge.For instance, there are is a lot more need for cryptographers, translators, and 3D graphic design specialists than there is for, say, freelance writers or plumbers.
Keep tabs on the hours you work
The general rule here, is not to give away you work..
Do not dabble in any professional work where every single hour is not billed. This is because, at the end of the day, your earnings are going to be spread over the course of your work hours, which stretches your per hour earnings thin and puts you in a bind. Overtime is not a good idea either, because you end up with less money for longer work hours (especially if there is no binding overtime agreement), and don’t even let me get started on the very real potential for a burnout.
Diversify your work streams
A lot of freelancers out there choose to focus on a single revenue stream. That is a dangerous way to live because then, you have nowhere to turn to when work in your niche starts to thin out. Even if you essentially work in one profession, make sure that your sources of income are well distributed in that network. You can also identify your strengths and spread them across a number of manageable income streams. If You have piled up a good amount of money over time, think about investing a little in something that won’t take too much of your time but will earn you an income on the side.
Have a plan in place to manage risk
The gig economy exposes you to both legal and income risks. Legal issues such as the provisions in the contracts you sign could put you in a position where there is little, if any, wriggle room. This Limits your chances of getting a few gigs with client B even when still attached to client A. Since you don’t want legal exposure that eats further into your time and money, you need to always have a clear understanding of what you are setting yourself up for before you ink that contract. As for income risks, just have a budget with a saving plan in place and always tuck away about 6 months’ worth of rent and utilities just in case you fall through the cracks
Manage your brand.
Branding is all about perception. You want to keep the outlook of a savvy, modern professional who knows all the nuances in your niche. Focus on developing yourself professionally. Never shy away from any opportunities to learn, and find a way to front yourself as a source of authority in your area of expertise. Keep your brand visible by using the internet in the right way-think blogs, websites and social media.
Building income in the gig economy is easy, but staying afloat even during lean times is tricky. By Adopting freelance work best practices, you get to diversify your streams while at the same time stashing some financial resources away for when work might become hard to find. Whatever you do, just make sure you stay relevant and flexible enough to cope with the changing tides in the freelancing space.
“Depending on what [your habits] are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.” ―Sean Covey
I encountered, what I will admit is a pet peeve today, which is why I’m writing this article. I needed contact someone whom I correspond with regularly, but I have no reason to call or be called by them. So, after checking my phone, went to their email thinking this would be a fast and easy way to gather the contact information. Well, not true. I did eventually gather the information and contact the person, but what a waste of time, which is time they are being billed for one way or another.
Example Signature Block
|Ewing A. BusinessProfessional
Senior, Technical Generalist
Favinger Enterprises, Inc.
100 Spacious Sky, Ice Flats, AZ 85001
Phone: (800) 900-1000 | http://www.favingerentprises.com
Which email should have a signature block?
- The signature block should be on every email (both initiated by you and replied to by you), this was true even before the days of remote work, but for remote workers, contingent works, and works who travel frequently it can be a productive enhancer.
- Plus, it is simply the professional thing to do and saves everyone time and frustration. Not to mention it makes you look unprofessional not having one. do you really want to do that to your personal brand?
- As if that were not enough, including your signature block is free advertising for you and the company you represent.
- Additionally, most email accounts let you build one or more signature block, which can be embedded in your email.
Where to place your Signature Block?
- The signature block should go at the bottom of your email. I still use the five lines below the last line of the body of the email to provide white space before the closing, as I learned when writing business letters decades ago.
What should be in a signature Block?
- The signature block should be compact and informative and at a minimum should include:
- The closing is simply a polite way of saying I’m ending my message now. I usually go with the tried and true ‘Sincerely’, but others go with ‘Thank you’, ‘Best Regards’, or ‘Best Wishes,’. The main points, it should be short, polite, and professional.
- This section should be followed by two lines
- This line is your professional name (First Name, Middle Initial, and Last name) and designations (Ph.D.…etc.)
- This is your chance to say who you are and brand yourself to the reader, in a way which your email address cannot. Especially, when you consider that many of us don’t control what work email address is assigned to us.
Your Business Title
- Including your business title provides some insight into your role and professional expertise.
Your Company Name
- Much like your title, providing the Company Name and Address lets the reader know who you represent and, perhaps, more importantly, it is free advertising for the company.
Your Phone Numbers
- Including your phone numbers, both office and cell (if different) enable people to quickly reach out to you if they need or want to. Not everybody keeps all their infrequent business contacts in the phone directory.
- Putting your phone numbers on your signature block, also, enable the potential caller to verify that the numbers which they may have are still correct.
There are other items are sometimes included, such as:
- A company logo to enhance the appearance and quality of a signature block
- The Company’s website to help customer find out more about the company and to direct business to the company
- The senders email to reinforce the email address in the header of the email.
However, the guidance provided above will make you look a lot more professional in a hurry if you have not been including a signature block in your emails.