Music and Productivity – Part One – Introduction

Written by Amy DeCaussin
Director of Projects & Social Media

This is part one of a new three part series on “Music & Productivity.”

Guess what??  Music helps to improve your productivity…well, usually.  Personally, there are times when I am working when I need absolute quiet.  An example would be if I am doing something business-y and/or financial.  I think that is because I am artsy by trade.  If I am painting, I’m all ears for music.  I think the same typically goes for whatever skill that you excel at.  Some people listen to music while they read.  Others can do their taxes while listening to music.  If you haven’t considered listening to music while you work, check out the infographic at the bottom of this article to see some facts about how it might help your productivity.

Music is a wonderful addition to any experience involving repetitive tasks.  According to Jacki Hollywood Brown, of Unclutterer.com, “If you have a project you have been putting off for some time or if your task involves repetitive work…turn up the volume and listen to your favourite music to get you motivated.” Some repetitive activities to consider could be doing dishes, folding laundry, cutting coupons–well, really anything domestic.  Other tasks that could benefit from music include sorting and organizing receipts, doing a product inventory count, grading papers, installing air conditioners, driving a truck, charting patient records and counting sheep or cracks in the sidewalk.

In the following parts of this series, we will explore how music closely effects artist Joey Salamon and we will hear from an expert in music, Dr. James Gerber, Music Associate at All Saint’s Episcopal Church in Phoenix.  Until then, I leave you with this site where you will find 226 free tracks to help your productivity.

Sources Used/Other links to check out on the subject:

“The Power of Art: Can music help treat children with attention disorders?” BBC News

“Listening to Music at Work–Do’s and Don’ts” CNN.com

“The Power of Music, Tapped in a Cubicle” New York Times

“Music at Work: 3 Real Productivity Benefits” CBS News

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Laboratory5 Inc. is a small business based in Tempe, Arizona

Visit our website: Laboratory5       Follow us on Twitter: @lab5     Become a fan on Facebook: Laboratory5
Contact Us at anytime – we’d love to hear from you

Institutional Design Frontiers Summit

What is IDF?


Higher education is a critical social enterprise facing crisis and opportunity. The roots of both seemingly stem from complex interactions between elements of policies, organizations and individuals. Institutional design thinking in higher education accommodates perspectives that account for all these elements. In examining the frontiers of institutional design in higher education, this summit brings together thought leaders from government, business, industry, higher education and academia.

The IDF Summit was produced by Laboratory 5 Inc. and took place April 8th-April 10th 2015 at the Scottsdale Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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President of Arizona State University, Michael Crow, Kaplan University President, Wade Dyke and Scholar Barry Bozeman discuss issues in higher education.

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At the entrance of the summit, a colorful show using video projection mapping by Fransisco Flores lit up one of the resorts indoor waterfalls.

The event featured a presentation by Lee Gutkind, who is considered “the Godfather creative nonfiction” according to Vanity Fair Magazine.

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Attendees participated in an infographic workshop with designer Sarah Spencer and  where they learned how to transition their scholarly information into in a visual graphics.

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Tamara Christensen guides participants to think creatively.

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Steven Yazzie and his crew conducting interviews.

The participants had an opportunity to discuss their academic works in an interview which was then recorded and made available for publication.  The summit directors were featured in the Boston Globe.

Written by Amy DeCaussin – Director of Projects & Social Media

Laboratory5 Inc. is a small business based in Tempe, Arizona

Visit our website: Laboratory5       Follow us on Twitter: @lab5     Become a fan on Facebook: Laboratory5
Contact Us at anytime – we’d love to hear from you

 

90 Day Company Cleanse: Week 6

We hope you enjoyed last week as much as we did and really took some time to relax a little, in case you missed out here is the link Week 5. Now that your feeling a bit refreshed lets tackle Week 6 which is going to focus on setting your mobile device for better productivity.

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We are all guilty of working from our mobile devices, sometimes it is an emergency for most of us it is simply convenient.  New technology is constantly produced, promising to help us stay connected and productive.  Often it can be more of a distraction, leading to less productivity.  Here are some tips to make the most out of your tech devices.

  1. Organize Your Digital Space: Make sure the apps or links you use most often are easy to access and conveniently located on your phone. This means when you need to work you can jump right on your mobile device and get down to business. That may also mean getting rid of apps you don’t use, maybe those free trials you downloaded and didn’t like so much. It can also be something as simple as making sure the links you use most are bookmarked and saved such as online banking websites, vendor sites your order from, Quickbooks, and any page you find yourself visiting often.
  2. Extend Your Battery Life: If you don’t have one already you need to go out and buy an external battery for your smartphone right now! You will thank us later (Your Welcome!). Not only will it give your phone a nice charge when you’re not by an outlet, most of them are pretty inexpensive. If you are using your phone as much as we think you are for work and other business related stuff your battery’s life probably seems shorter and shorter everyday. So forget the days of having your phone die right before your send that very important email, and give your device the gift of immortality (ok not really immortal but definitely long enough to make it home to your charger).
  3. Download This App: Evernote is a great app to use. Not only will you be able to share ideas and information with other people, the app is available on android and iOS devices.
  4. And These Apps Too: For Quickbooks users, you can download the Quickbooks app for free.  It allows you to record your receipts before they get lost in the shuffle of your busy day.

Laboratory5 Inc. is a small business based in Tempe, Arizona

Visit our website: Laboratory5       Follow us on Twitter: @lab5     Become a fan on Facebook: Laboratory5
Contact Us at anytime – we’d love to hear from you

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90 Day Company Cleanse: Week 5

Over the past four weeks we have challenged you with the tedious task of giving your company a “cleanse.” For those of you who have made it this far perhaps you now have a clearer picture of your strengths and weaknesses as a business owner. Some of you may have found that you are extremely organized but maybe lacking the passion or fire you once had for your company. While others of you may have realized that even though your business is successful and you are motivated, you lack decent time management and organization skills. Well whatever the case may be, this week we want to you to take this time to focus on you as a business owner by relaxing with a good book. Break out your kindle or favorite book and make time to read this week.  Not sure what to read? Well here are five of our top picks for business owners like you!

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  1. The Little Spark: 30 Ways To Ignite Your Creativity by Carrie Bloomston 

    Boost creativity and innovation by following these 30 different tips and exercised designed to ignite your inner creative. Its one of our favorite books around here and a great read when you need a little pick me up. For more info visit the following link: Spark Your Creativity

  2. 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class by Steve Siebold: 

    Learn how to change the way you think and react. This book is a great read for those interested in improving your attitude, business, or life. There are some great tips in here that will help you build mental toughness and prepare you for some of the toughest adversities you will face. For more info or to purchase the book click here: http://www.amazon.com/Mental-Toughness-Secrets-World-Class/dp/0975500309

  3. Organizing for Your Brain Type: Finding Your Own Solution to Managing Time, Paper, and Stuff

    Still struggling with getting things organized? Well this book makes it super easy by offering different solutions based on the way you think. Create a time management and organizational system that feels natural for you. More info or if you want to purchase visit:  http://www.changinghands.com/book/9780312339777

  4. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain: 

    Being a great leader doesn’t mean you have to be loud, learn how to use what some may considered a weakness to your advantage. For more info: http://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Power-Introverts-World Talking/dp/0307352153/ref=wl_mb_wl_huc_mrai_25_dp

  5. The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand (Paperback) By Ekaterina Walter, Jessica Giglio

    Having trouble navigating the waters of today’s online world? Here is a great book that explains how, why, and what you need to do to successfully market your brand online and visually. They use some great examples of how other companies and some big brand names were able make them selves stand out.  For more info on this book check out: http://www.changinghands.com/book/9780071823937

Laboratory5 Inc. is a small business based in Tempe, Arizona

Visit our website: Laboratory5       Follow us on Twitter: @lab5     Become a fan on Facebook: Laboratory5
Contact Us at anytime – we’d love to hear from you

90 Day Company Cleanse: Week 4

Wow its week four already! Can you believe we are almost 30 days into this challenge? If you have been following our 90 Day Company Cleanse posts with us then we know you and your company are probably feeling pretty confident right about now. For those of you who are interested in starting the 90 Day Company Cleanse and haven’t already, you can start with this post from Week 1.

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Cleanse Company Finances

 pretty pictures via photopin (license)

Give Your Finances a Makeover: Whether your looking solutions to lower your expenses or better organize your business books, this week we have some great tips to help with your company’s finances.

  1. Organize Your Receipts and Invoices: Incase you didn’t do this the first week, make sure your financial records are properly organized. Take the time to develop a filing system, and make sure you stick to it. We not asking you to create an elaborate color coded binder system, (unless thats your thing) just make sure everything is at least sorted by month or expense type. Not only will this make things easier to navigate in the future, your tax advisor will appreciate it.
  2. Reevaluate Vendor Expenses: It may seem unnecessary to change vendors especially when you have been ordering from the same ones for years, but are you really saving money by sticking with the same vendor? Take the time to compare prices and make sure you are still really getting the best deal. Talk to your vendors about what discounts they can offer you, and research cheaper vendor alternatives.
  3. Keep Track of Bank Spending: If your not doing this already, you should start immediately. This may be difficult to keep track of but you should have an idea of how much you spend weekly or monthly. Using Quickbooks or an expense spreadsheet is a great way record your purchases. Review your expenses, maybe you can cut back on a few things or start investigating some cheaper options for reoccurring expenses. The point is you should know what your business is spending.
  4. Anticipate Big Expenses. We know running a small business can be expensive so do keep in mind all expenses and be prepared when it time to make a big purchase. Need a new office, want to update your computer, or maybe you need to hire another employee, plan ahead for your next big purchase or expense. Create a budget to determine how much are you looking to spend and stick to it. Start putting aside money in advance for these type of expenses, that way you are prepared when it time to make the commitment.
  5. Make Sure You Have An Emergency Fund. Most of us probably have an emergency fund put aside for our personal use but what about starting one for your business? Making sure you have the available funds when times are tough can be just as challenging. A good emergency fund has enough funds to cover six months worth of expenses. Unlike a saving for big purchases this account should only be using in cases of emergency.
  6. Repeat! Schedule weekly time to organize your receipts  and track your expenses. Make time monthly to review your spending and take notes for things to change next month. You should begin seeing some financial changes in no time!

 

Laboratory5 Inc. is a small business based in Tempe, Arizona

Visit our website: Laboratory5       Follow us on Twitter: @lab5     Become a fan on Facebook: Laboratory5
Contact Us at anytime – we’d love to hear from you

90 Day Company Cleanse: Week 3

Welcome to Week 3 of our 90 Day Company Cleanse. If you missed the first two weeks you can take a look here 90 Day Company Cleanse Week 1 and 90 Day Company Cleanse Week 2. By now you and your company should not only look clean and organized but also feel positive and motivated  to move toward success. So with your new found motivation we have some major digital work for you to accomplish this week.

Evaluate and Refresh Your Online Presence: In this digital age if you don’t have a website or some type of social media your business is missing out. This week we want to take the time to evaluate your company’s online presence. Whether it means making some accounts or developing a strategy to better use what you already have, this week we will show you how to get there.

  1. Set Up An Online Presence Do you have a website for your business? Do you have Social Media accounts? If you answered yes to both these questions you can skip to the second step, if you don’t you need to get online ASAP! Not only are you missing out on some free marketing tools, but potential future clients have no idea you exist.
  2. Revamp Your Website, So your business has a website and maybe a few social media accounts. Chances are whatever you already have set up for you your business looks exactly the same since it was first set up. If its been a while since you’ve updated your website now it a great time to put up new pictures, change your online info, and maybe even hire a web designer to give your website a new look.
  3. Create Social Media Accounts, now is the time to set up some social media accounts. Its a great way to provide your company with free inbound marketing. Depending on the audience you are looking to reach, a business can have around 3-4 different accounts. If you work in a professional field having a linked can help you network with others. Not sure where what type of accounts your business needs? Look at the infographic below that breaks down each social media platform.
  4. Update Your Social Media Accounts, thats means taking down that old high school pic on your Facebook profile and using a more professional headshot. If you have moved recently, changed jobs, or are missing important information (work/education history, contact address or phone) nows great time to clean it up. Not only will your accounts stand out, customers will see your business in a more professional manner.
  5. Keep Your Online Presence Active, post things, update your status, keep customers informed and engaged with whats going on with your business. Sometimes that means developing a strategy for content, or hiring someone else to do it for you. We know it may feel like you already have enough on your plate but by investing the time or money into this aspect your are taking advantage of great marketing tool. Need more information? Check out Hootsuite, if your looking to go the more independent route or contact us at Laboratory5 for a customized plan.

 

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Laboratory5 Inc. is a small business based in Tempe, Arizona

Visit our website: Laboratory5       Follow us on Twitter: @lab5     Become a fan on Facebook: Laboratory5
Contact Us at anytime – we’d love to hear from you

90 Day Company Cleanse: Week 2

Congratulations to those that have made it through week one of our 90 Day Company Cleanse. We hope it wasn’t too difficult throwing away all those old recipes. Now that there is no longer a daunting pile of papers covering your desk we can start week two. 14915638817_7696be8270_b

Create A Positive Workspace: This week were going to focus on creating some positive energy for you and your business. Just as it was important to alter the physical environment around you it is just as important to alter the energy that surrounds you. We know sometimes things may feel like they are headed in a downward spiral, but we are here to pull you out and give you some tips that will give you enough positive momentum to set you back on the path to success.

  1. Change Your Mentality,  Get rid of all self doubt and negative thinking. Stop and consider what negative thoughts you have about yourself or your business. How are those thoughts helping you to succeed? Instead of dwelling on the negative think of all the positive things that surround you. Sometimes the biggest thing standing in the way of your success is yourself! This article from Huffington Post that addresses just that:  8 Signs That Your Are Standing In Your Way And What To Do
  2. Positive Affirmations, we just love positive affirmations around here. We can attest they create a positive energy that is contagious and will brighten just about anyone’s day. Tell yourself hundreds of positive affirmations everyday. If you are feeling worried or fearful about something use an affirmation to counter those fears. Perhaps you have a meeting you are just dreading, by simply repeat to yourself, “I love meetings. Meetings are my favorite. I can’t wait to meet with so and so today” your entire outlook will change. After repeating three or four times we are sure you will truly believe it and perhaps feel less anxious. Do this with any situation and your confidence will soar in no time at all.
  3. Set Goals, Write out your goals as a business for the year and work to implement them. There is no point in being more confident if you don’t use your confidence to actively work toward accomplishing your goals. Use the positive energy you have created with your new mentality to reach goals that improve the quality of your life and business.
  4. Change The Energy In Your Work Space, get rid of things that maybe causing negativity in your workspace such as negative people or employees with bad attitudes, broken items such as desks or printers, and throw away that dead plant in your office (we don’t think its coming back). By taking away things that are creating negative energy you are making room for positive energy to grow.  You will be surprised with difference it makes by doing these simple things, even your employees will notice a change they can quite put their finger on.
  5. Inspire Your Employees by adding positive imagery, quotes or affirmations in your work space. Give them recognition, show them that they are appreciated with awards or special incentives. Something as easy as acknowledging their accomplishments can go along way. When your employees see the confidence you have in them they will be inspired to accomplish anything!
  6. Take A Day Off, even when it seems impossible. Sometimes you need to take a step back from the situation to get a clearer picture of whats really going on. Separate yourself from work on your day off, that way when you can truly relax and refresh yourself.
  7. Repeat! Maybe once a month or once a week, repeat whenever you feel the need to get back on track. Some months you may need it more that others.

George Bernard Shaw Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything via photopin (license)

 

Laboratory5 Inc. is a small business based in Tempe, Arizona

Visit our website: Laboratory5       Follow us on Twitter: @lab5     Become a fan on Facebook: Laboratory5
Contact Us at anytime – we’d love to hear from you