10 Quick fixes to improve productivity when working remotely

working-remotelyWorking remotely is amazing. Flexibility is a great thing, but working from home, or from venues can lead to procrastination…

However, if done correctly, working remotely can be a great way to be even more productive than working in a boring office, and here are 10 tools you can use to improve your productivity:

  1. Dropbox: Dropbox can keep all your files organised and in sync with colleagues and access all them anywhere and at any time.
  2. Trello: This is a great project management tool, which can help prioritise and streamline your work. And best of all, the basic version is free.
  3. Hootsuite: If social media is something you work with, Hootsuite will make your life easier by syncing your profiles and helping you schedule content.
  4. RescueTime: An app that tracks the time you spend on different apps and sites, and will make sure you stop your procrastination.
  5. Hemingway App: Tells you whether the text you’re writing is too complicated to read, it provides helpful suggestions and makes your writing short and concise.
  6. Workplace by Facebook: This is a new tool, to help teams share files through different communication channels.
  7. Slack: Our personal favourite here at Ellyot. Fantastic team communications platform where we use daily to text, call and file share with our teammates.
  8. Pocket: Helps you to save links, pictures and videos into one place, allowing you to keep things in one easy to access ‘pocket’.
  9. F.lux: This is a screen protection app to reduce blue light from your device, which actually hurts your eyes and can decrease your efficiency and productivity.
  10. Stayfocused: Web app that helps you to block different websites (like Facebook) to keep you focused.

These 10 tools are brilliant at keeping your focus on the task at hand. Working remotely is revolutionising the way we see the traditional office and our workplace. It’s a rewarding way to work, and apps like Ellyot give you the ability to work in loads of different, cool and amazing spaces to enrich your working experiences.

You can read more on these 10 tools here.

The Golden Trio: Potatoes, Bacon and Cheese

tartifletteIt’s cold, cloudy and raining (it is London after all), and out of the oven comes a tartiflette, golden on top and cheesy in the middle… A perfect dish to beat away those winter blues. A traditional tartiflette, made with a combination of reblochon cheese, bacon lardons, potatoes and onions. Originally hailing from the French region of Savoy, close to the Alps, it’s a hearty dish first seen in 1705.

The basic combination of cheese, potatoes and bacon makes it a timeless classic and a dish that not only offers a wow factor, but hits the spot in these cold days. You can customise whichever way you want (from vegetarian to even using sweet potatoes), it’s a dish to try.

While you may not be able to take a quick flight down to Savoy, you can bring a taste of the Alpine region home. Try the recipe today 😉

6 Productivity Hacks to Remote Working

Remote working is on the rise! In-fact Microsoft had partnered with 85 Broads a few years ago, to help them kick off their “Your office, your terms,” campaign. It was primarily focused on women, but saw some great findings such as participants preferring a regular remote working schedule. It also saw that the women who worked remotely saw “their personal productivity improve.” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/85broads/2011/11/01/out-of-the-office-but-still-hard-at-work/#66f5e6de4c96)

According to the TUC, the UK has seen an increase of 19% “over the past decade,” from the years 2005-2015. The analysis from the report also showed that just over 1.5 million people regularly worked remotely from their office, with 241,000 more people working remotely in 2015, than 2005.
4 million workers were found to want to work remotely, but were unable to work from home or remotely because their employers don’t give them the chance (which is a real shame as the benefits are amazing).
(https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/home-working-fifth-over-last-decade-tuc-analysis-reveals)

Benefits of Remote working:

At Ellyot, we love the idea of more freedom and choice. With our app, you can choose to work in any of our amazing co-working spaces and interesting venues, like art galleries and museums. These places all provide a great worker with amazing inspiration and the chance to break the monotony of office life.

It isn’t just inspiration that makes remote working such a great thing with less commuting, you can spend tons of time on the important things, be that work or family. In-fact, cutting out the long commutes is beneficial to you.

According to an ONS report, for each additional minute of commuting time would make “you feel slightly worse.” Not only that, but it found that those who used things like busses to commute would experience “lower levels of life satisfaction,” and those who used trains experienced “higher anxiety levels.” (https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/feb/12/how-does-commuting-affect-wellbeing).
Cutting out the commute also helps reduce your carbon footprint, leading to a better environment and with the stress of commuting cut out, it also leads to a healthier and better you.

So working remotely is a great way to reduce your commute, but there other great benefits such as
reducing your overall costs (less money spent on travelling, coffee etc.) and perhaps most importantly, it can lead to greater productivity (with less interruptions from colleagues, you can work uninterrupted for longer periods of time).

Negatives of remote working:

However with this increased freedom, it can be easy to get distracted and become unproductive- the complete antithesis of remote working.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the isolation of working remotely which is a real problem as it can lead to you being out of the loop with work, less creativity and ideas and also being alienated from the group- all of which are really bad outcomes for your work.

It’s also easy to overwork and underwork. When you don’t have any separation (such as a home office), you could be at risk of being completely immersed and risking other important aspects of your work and life. The other problem is underworking; self-discipline is key here and without it, you may revert to procrastinating or distracting yourself.

However, in order to stave off these problems and to benefit from remote working, read on for our 6 hacks to help you be a remote working success.

 6 productivity hacks to remote working success are:

1) Set yourself daily goals with deadlines and tick them off as you complete them.

Have a tangible goal for your day which could be in the form of a to-do list which will help you stay on track. Keeping yourself on track with an end goal and a realistic deadline for your tasks will help you stave off procrastination and focus.

Having a goal with a deadline to work towards gives you a sense of momentum as well, ticking of your to-do list gives you a tangible way to know where you are in your working day. If it’s getting close to the end of the day and you’ve procrastinated too much, without completing your work, you now have a tangible way of measuring this and improving.
Now you can start to build a log and work towards getting better each day by increasing your focus and staying on track.

Goals and deadlines need to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) so you can actually complete your to-do list; without a SMART goal and deadline, you will set yourself up to fail as trying to do much (or to little) will undermine you.

Procrastination is a difficult thing to conquer and when remote working you can either end up getting away from distractions or walking into more of them however, using goals/ a to-do list gives you some way to control the urge to procrastinate and work effectively.
TED has a great talk on procrastination and the thought-process behind it- be sure to check it out as it can provide some great advice on how to combat this enemy of remote working success. (https://www.ted.com/talks/tim_urban_inside_the_mind_of_a_master_procrastinator).

2) Set your priorities correctly

It’s all well and good having goals/deadlines and trying to complete all of them, but the world is dynamic and this means that some work is more important than others.
Working away from the office can mean that you never run out of things to do, especially if you work from home; set your to-do list up in a way that completes important work first and urgent work later.

This may sound counter-intuitive to many people however important tasks are ones that will contribute to the long term goals for your company or yourself. These could be things like planning the presentation you need to make for your promotion, or starting on your business proposal. These important tasks help propel you forward and are the number 1 priority when working remotely.
Urgent tasks on the other hand, are tasks which need to be dealt with immediately- these include answering phone calls, responding to emails etc. These tend to be menial activities which can waste time.

The problem that most of us have is that we will place urgent tasks above important tasks which is a mistake; there is a finite amount of time and concentration one has and in order to be effective when working remotely you need to work on the important stuff first.

A great tool you can use is the Eisenhower matrix to help you distinguish between the urgent and important, the non-urgent and non-important tasks- all of which help you succeed in remote working.
(http://www.eisenhower.me/eisenhower-matrix/)

3) Use the short sprint rule (the 25 on/ 5 off rule)

What exactly is the 25 on/ 5 off rule? When working, most people work best in short sprints with a break in between, simply put you work for 25 minutes and take a 5 minute break to do whatever you want (get a coffee, check social media etc.).

We work best when we have the option of a reward to work for and with a short sprint, it means that our prescribed time never feels too long or too short. Working in this way is very effective as you can refresh your mind quite a bit in 5 minutes. Having this short break acts as the carrot on the stick, releasing dopamine as you hit your 25 minutes of uninterrupted work.

In fact, with some training and carefully placed breaks, you can adapt this rule to fit your tasks, giving you the ability to complete a task fully and feel an even greater rush of dopamine as you complete your important tasks and feel more motivation to stay on track.

Take it from us, this little hack is a gem.

4) Disable your email and social network alerts and if you can, go offline.

As we all know, social media is huge distraction to workers and working remotely means no boss watching you, making sure you’re working. However social media use can lead to efficiency and wellbeing, being negatively affected.

A study conducted by Middle Tennessee state university found that people who tried to multitask by using social media when they working, performed worse off than those who could focus on their task. They found that the interruptions from changing tasks (work to social and back) led to inefficiencies and a mental challenge.  (https://www.ft.com/content/4f5d0404-de90-11e4-b9ec-00144feab7de)

Being connected all the time isn’t a helpful thing to do, so tuning out of social media during work hours can really improve efficiency and keep you on track to remote working success. And besides, it’s good to disconnect from all the clutter on social media and a digital detox is always a great way to improve your mental wellbeing.

5) Find out when you work productively and work then

This hack ties into scheduling, but simply put, people are either night owls or early birds. If you work with your natural body clock and don’t try to fight it, you can achieve a huge amount productivity with your work.
Turning this natural body clock schedule into a productivity hack is the easiest thing you can do to naturally become more productive when working remotely. Having a schedule that can fit you is a great benefit of working away from the office and the ordinary corporate structure of things. Work in your own time and when you feel most productive, repeat this and you’ll end up with huge amounts of work done.

6) Make remote working less remote

Let’s face it, working alone can be very boring. Isolation is a dangerous thing, especially for creative types- the lack of inspiration and intermingling of ideas and people leads to less enjoyment in your work. For that reason, it can pay to make remote working, less remote.
Finding a community of people you can work with (like those on Ellyot) can help you find the motivation, accountability and inspiration to break through plateaus and ruts.

While sometimes you will need to lock yourself away in order to complete some work, there will be just as many times that’ll you need to find yourself working with people in order to obtain the best results. Each type of work you do will differ in the approach you should take, but figuring out which approach (solo or group work) works best, will exponentially increase your productivity.

Meeting new people leads to different ideas and opportunities’ being created, while helping you solve problems in new ways opens us up to inspiration to use in our work. This symbiotic relationship gives any remote worker the chance to look objectively something and incorporate new views and techniques into their work, adding to your tool belt of expertise and skills- which aids productivity in future problem solving.

So there you have it, 6 easy hacks to be more productive when you work remotely

But there’s one more tip we can provide to anyone looking into this new mode of working: Try out Ellyot for your next foray into remote working; working from home leads to many distractions, be that the TV or your phone. Cutting out the distractions, limits your temptation to indulge in them and lose precious time and productivity.
Ellyot also offers you the chance to join their community of workers all looking to push the boundaries of what can be done and bring to life brilliant ideas. This is a great way to help you use hack number 6.
We have a great number of co-working spaces, from more traditional offices to innovation driven tech hubs (Like Work Hub Made Simple, a great co-working space near Old Street, the tech hub centre in London). Ellyot also lists interesting venues (Like The Archivist, an art gallery in Haggerston in East London) that you can work from, gain some inspiration and most importantly succeed from.

We have even got locations listed in Los Angeles and New York, so there’s no excuse not to try Ellyot when you’re next looking for a work space.
So whether you’re working in LA, London or New York, Ellyot has you covered.

Check Ellyot out for yourself 😉

 

Creative, Vibrant and Colourful Ice Cream

haagen_thumb3Cookies and Cream, Strawberry cheesecake, Belgian Chocolate, all classic flavours from Hagen-Dazs, probably our favourite ice cream company (sorry Ben and Jerry’s!). But over recent years, we got the feeling that the old burgundy colour and branding made it feel old and dull, definitely not what you taste though!

Well, recently Haagen-Dazs had a splash of colour added and vibrant makeover, to help make that transition from the 60’s to now. Letting go of that stuffy, boring design, Haagen-Dazs has now opted for a bright fluid and modern feel, one that resonates with a millennial audience. Now each of the flavours sports its own bespoke and tailored package, each one telling a story of the flavours inside the ice cream.

At Ellyot we think branding is important, take a look at our astronaut who defies gravity, the same way the workers of today aren’t constrained by their offices; this is why we love this new rebranding by Haagen-Dazs. A modern and bright colour aesthetic, which really draws the eye, freshens the brand and resonates with its audience.

You can read more about this re-branding here

Forbes’s 30 cheapest places to travel

pexels-photo-386009.jpeg We all love to travel, and doing so cheaply? Yes please! From Chile to Morocco, there are some amazing exotic places, which you can reach on the cheap.

One of our favourites is Costa Rica. Accommodation from as little as $6 at the best surf beaches? Sounds like a trip not to be missed…

For a place that’s a little off the beaten track, Albania is a great shout; accommodation from $5, and mountainous regions and picturesque medieval towns, Albania is a great place to look out for.

Here are the top 30 cheapest destinations:

  1. Mazatlan, Mexico
  2. South Africa
  3. Puerto Rico
  4. Chile
  5. Crete
  6. Morocco
  7. Belize
  8. Vietnam
  9. Costa Rica
  10. Portugal
  11. Ecuador
  12. Barcelona
  13. Guatemala
  14. Bonaire and Curacao     
  15. Las vegas
  16. Cambodia
  17. Bali
  18. Greece
  19. Albania
  20. Mexico
  21. Canada
  22. Argentina
  23. Haiti
  24. Santa Catalina Island
  25. Indonesia
  26. Bulgaria
  27. Peru
  28. Georgia
  29. Mozambique
  30. Texas

Here at Ellyot we love the idea of being able to go where you want at a moment’s notice, to be free to work everywhere, and travel anywhere! Read on here

Bruno Mars and Kendrick Lamar win big at the Grammys & Kesha steals the show

Sunday night saw the 2018 Grammys awards, with an emphasis on a more diverse group of artists being nominated for awards however, the night belonged to Bruno Mars, who picked up Record and Album of the year, and Kendrick Lamar, who picked up Best rap song and performance (amongst other awards).

Along with the awards was an array of live performances by artists. Kendrick Lamar opened up the awards with an iconic and electrifying performance which saw political undertones and an unconventional set- but one which had huge meaning behind it.

His set, which included songs like “LUST”, “DNA” and “HUMBLE”, were broken into verses with Dave Chappelle interrupting songs to say things like: “I just wanted to remind the audience that the only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America, is being an honest black man in America. Sorry for the interruption. Please continue.” His performance blew many of the audience away however, with Bruno Mars winning in the major categories, the Grammys failure to reflect culture in America was called into question.

The big live performance of the night was the incredible and emotional Kesha performance, which brought the #MeToo movement to the Grammys with a powerful rendition of ‘Praying’.

Her performance, supported by an array of stars all dressed in white, was particularly poignant after her legal battle with former producer Lukasz Gottwald who was alleged to have sexually abused her (He denies these claims).

The 2018 Grammys, like so many events this past year, were marred with some controversy, especially with the failure to reflect culture in the USA. Even more explosive was the inclusion of Hillary Clinton reading ‘Fire and Fury’ which caused huge uproar amongst politicians.

However it also saw the big movements of 2017 gain momentum in the music industry and shift the focus onto women in the workplaces and their safety.

Stars wore white roses to symbolise solidarity and there was air of change at the awards, with a performance by U2 highlighting the immigration crisis in America and the set to commemorate those who died in the Las Vegas concert shooting and the Manchester Arena bombings, all having a sobering effect.

For more on the winners and the awards ceremony click here.

How to increase your Instagram followers in a few easy steps

pexels-photo-122383.jpeg Instagram has been so successful over the last few years, that for a business it’s become an invaluable tool. This article takes an in-depth look into how you can curate a great Instagram strategy and help you to target your first 300 real Instagram followers.

Neil Patel breaks this down into 15 steps, all geared towards helping you to leverage this amazing platform for your company and brand.

  1. Determine the overall purpose of your instagram account
  2. Come up with a content strategy
  3. Design your profile for maximum engagement
  4. Post photos that grab attention
  5. Add long image captions to your post
  6. Add strategic hashtags
  7. Create a posting schedule
  8. Locate and follow your target users
  9. Follow 50 users per hour
  10. Become an active member of the community
  11. Partner and cross-promote with relevant users
  12. Run challenges and contests
  13. Run instagram ads
  14. Link your instagram to you offline customer
  15. Keep tabs on what’s working so you can continue to optimize your performance

We here at Ellyot, love Instagram and we’re convinced it will do wonders for your marketing campaign and product! Read more here

Freeconomics. Give your content away and drive your business up by 290%

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Interesting read written by Neil Patel from QuickSprout. This is especially relevant for the Publishing sector. As Print and Newspaper declines, Digital content continues to steal more of the pie. With the likes of The Times and other prestigious news outlets putting up a pay-wall on their Digital content, this is their attempt to preserve the exclusivity of their content as well as compensate for the losses from a Print point of view… Is it the right approach? We agree with the concept of freeconomics so read here to join the debate.

22 Reasons why investors won’t fund you (from an arrogant POV)

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As a team of fond start-uppers, we found this piece especially humorous, sobering and arrogant. Top reasons why investors won’t fund you:

  1. Can’t See the Future
  2. “Quarterly MRR”, 100% Gross Margins, and Other Crazy Metrics
  3. Founder Disalignment / Wrong Founder as CEO
  4. Exit Strategy Slide
  5. Lack of Understanding of the Competition
  6. I Wouldn’t Work For You
  7. Too Slow.  And/or Late
  8. Don’t Want Me
  9. Party Round
  10. Convertible Debt and SAFEs if Round Size is Material
  11. No One on the Board Representing the Investors
  12. Any Inappropriate, Sexist, Locker Room, or other Such Comments
  13. Can’t Get to The Point.  I don’t need 28 slides on how Everything is Going To the Cloud
  14. Want to Have Coffee First
  15. Will Only Send Me Information in “Proprietary” Format
  16. Telling Me the Price is Going Up
  17. Messed Up Cap Table
  18. CEO Doesn’t like Sales — and The Hunt
  19. Don’t Understand How I Can Help
  20. Not Aggressive Enough
  21. Bad Crazy
  22. Too Balanced

To be honest – this is only ONE type of investor and also point number 14 is outrageous… Decide for yourself here

Wise words: A lesson to successful relationships (the romantic kind)

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A guy called Mark Manson was about to get married. Naturally, he asked around for advice and stories on what makes successful relationships successful, here were the top findings:

  1. Be together for the right reasons
  2. Have realistic expectations on relationships and romance
  3. The most important factor in a relationship is not communication, but respect
  4. Talk openly about everything, especially the stuff that hurts
  5. A healthy relationship means two healthy individuals
  6. Give each other space
  7. You and your partner will grow and change in unexpected ways; embrace it
  8. Get good at fighting
  9. Get good at forgiving
  10. The little things add up to big things
  11. Sex matters… a LOT
  12. Be practical, and create relationship rules
  13. Learn to ride the waves

Point 2 is so true… I have a friend who constantly lives in the world of Disney and as a result never crosses the bridge out of the honey-moon period. Also point 11 – AGREED! Read more here 😉