We’ve all been there. That big deadline is rapidly approaching and you’ve got a list of stuff that needs to get done. But you just can’t focus, or have the energy. Maybe you start on it, only to find distractions lurking everywhere…
If you sometimes procrastinate, you’re not alone! It’s a common affliction. There are several simple ways to break the cycle and get the job done on time. Here are a few ideas to help you get started!
- Find Your Flow – Knowing your peak work times, and how you work best is a great way to beat procrastination. Working on a project when you’re most productive and your thoughts are clear is the best way to get it done. Go with the flow! Try to avoid meetings or distractions during your peak productive periods. Stay in the flow and you’ll get the job done.
- Avoid Multitasking – It’s difficult to do two things at once and switching your brain on and off of a task can be mentally exhausting. The best way to approach a big job is to break it down into smaller tasks. Pick one task and work on it through completion, without distractions or interruptions. Focus on each task individually.
- Practice Discipline and Develop Routines – Workloads can sometimes become overwhelming, especially when a major deadline is looming. To avoid procrastination, develop healthy routines and practice discipline. Manage your time and you’ll drive productivity. Also, don’t be afraid to delegate! It’s an important skill. Know when to delegate and make sure you follow-up.
- Tasks Seem Repetitive and Boring – Sometimes small tasks can weigh you down, but they have to get done! Play a game by setting a time limit for each task, and them compete against yourself and try to beat it. Each time you do, reward yourself!
- Focus on Your Top Three Priorities First, Every Day – Pick your top three priorities each day and put them at the top of your to-do list. By prioritizing your tasks, you’ll get them done first each day.
You can beat procrastination. With these tips and some time management, you can eliminate it from your day. Remember to delegate and prioritize. Break big jobs into smaller tasks and focus. In the end, you’ll get more done in a day than you ever thought possible!
Today, we’re all seeking ways to control costs, and better manage information. As a result, many companies are turning to digital document management and automation. With the increase in regulation and compliance issues, along with reports and audits, managing your paper information is more difficult than ever. As businesses manage more information with fewer employees, these tasks can impact your bottom line. Often lost documents, time spent on compliance and bottlenecks are the new normal – all of which can be inhibiting your business growth.
Document management software and automation can manage large volumes of information effectively and increase productivity while cutting your costs.
Here are a few benefits.
- Availability and Accessibility – When documents are digitized they are available 24/7. Documents can be searched and recovered from anywhere at any time, and as a result, are less likely to be misfiled.
- Manage Due Dates, Re-Certifications and Approvals – Thanks to date tracking capabilities, you can manage everything from approvals to re-certifications automatically with no spreadsheets or paper files.
- Eliminate Redundancy – With a digital management system workflows and documents integrate into existing software. That means no more redundant data entry.
- Reliable Routing and Tracking – Documents can be set-up to go through a pre-determined process. Notifications can be automatically sent when action is required. Edits and updates can be tracked with version controls.
- Better Organization – Tasks can remain organized and always in-view. Nothing gets lost in the shuffle. Because notifications are automatic you can eliminate paper reminders, post-it-notes and white boards.
- Make Audits and Compliance Stress Free – When you need to produce compliance audits, record keeping is crucial. When documents can be tracked and accessible 24/7 information is easier to compile and due dates are more manageable. Audits become stress free.
- Grow Your Business While You Cut Costs – Reducing human error, improving communication, and automation can increase productivity, freeing employee time to focus on critical tasks and cut your costs.
The takeaway? Digital document management and automating processes means easier access and management of information. It can free your staff to focus their time on mission critical tasks like growing your business. With benefits like these, implementing a digital document management solution is a smart business decision! Want to learn more? Give us a call today!
Are you in control of the cost of your office printing or is it controlling you?
Earlier this year, I wrote a post about how to ask the right questions before choosing a Managed IT service provider. To continue that discussion on Managed Print Service (MPS), there are a few key features that have stood out as desirable in my conversations with customers that I think are worth sharing today.
Two quick notes, typically devices that print 30 pages per minute or less, such as your desktop printers, would be candidates for a MPS. AOS already manages many different systems, including Brother, Dell, HP, Lexmark, Samsung, and of course .
Now, what are those features our customers really appreciated?
Deciding to partner with a Managed IT Services provider for your small to mid-sized business is a great decision. SMBs can benefit from IT services designed to ensure efficient, consistent operation, and invaluable functions, including security, around the clock system monitoring, data management and more. Finding the right Managed IT Services for your needs can take a bit of time and research, but armed with the right questions to ask, you’ll be able to find the best provider to suit your needs.
Here are some questions to help you get started:
1. What types of support do you offer? Choose a Managed IT provider that offers both onsite and remote support, 24/7/365. Remote support is critical in order to detect minor issues before they can disrupt your business, and a live technician should be available any time of the day or night. Onsite support is equally as important, to ensure your equipment remains operational, provide preventive maintenance, and address any concerns you may have in person.
2. What is your track record? Opt for a provider with a proven record for client retention and longevity, with knowledgeable, experienced staff.
3. Is there anything you would like to know about our organization? The right provider will want to know everything about your business to understand your unique requirements and goals.
4. Do you have experience within our industry? Your Managed IT Services provider should understand the specifics of your particular industry, in order to provide insight for improvements beyond the scope of your hardware.
5. Do you have a dedicated monitoring system in place? Around the clock, remote monitoring is the best way to detect and solve issues before they shut down your operation. Choose a provider that offers complete monitoring for all network devices, servers, firewalls, routers and more.
Are you considering partnering with a Managed IT Services provider but aren’t sure where to start? Why not give us a call and we’d be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
How secure are the printers in your office? Take our quick printer security assessment and find out if your office printers are putting your business at risk. You could win one of three Google Assistants!
Although the cloud has been readily available for public use for over 20 years, not everyone realizes the extent that it can benefit their organization.
The term was coined in the late 90’s and is essentially a metaphor for the Internet, referencing the location of data, services, and applications not found on a local hard drive. By storing and accessing information in the cloud businesses can experience a number of benefits, but before you consider making the move it’s important to learn the basics in order to maximize your investment and your profits.
Benefits of the Cloud
In a more traditional environment individual organizations host their applications and data on an internal server, resulting in significant expenditures for the costs associated with installation, maintenance, staffing, replacement and infrastructure. Cloud computing reduces or eliminates many of these costs with external hosting often based on a pay-as-you-go model, where you only pay for what you use.
With the cloud, long gone are the days of having to worry about having enough computing power and capacity. The cloud evolves as your business evolves, helping to minimize the list of speed bumps that your businesses faces through growth periods.
Information, services, or applications which are cloud based can be accessed on any Internet-enabled device such as a smartphone, laptop, or tablet, whether in or out of the workplace. This enhanced flexibility can help to increase productivity and employee satisfaction, while strengthening collaborative efforts through the secure sharing of documents and other files among team members.
The two major threats to the integrity and safety of your sensitive data are theft and damage, both of which can be addressed with cloud computing. Hardware failure due to system malfunction or disaster such as fire or flooding is avoided as multiple backups and redundancies are integrated into cloud services. Threats from hackers or thieves are impeded by teams of industry professionals dedicated to the implementation of the most up to date security solutions for added peace of mind.
Data storage is a key element in any business plan, and cloud computing provides many significant benefits which can help propel your business forward and stay ahead of the competition.
Every meeting has a common flaw: interruption. One of the common mistakes you may face is being so eager to be in the presence of the person you’re meeting with, you feel as though you can anticipate their responses and answer them before they ask.
The following are some of the lessons I’ve learned (the hard way) about interrupting:
- Silence is not bad
- Write your thoughts
1) W.A.I.T. (or as my brother-in-law has taught me) Why Am I Talking?
To add your two cents to the conversation, you may have caught yourself adding a point that was not relevant just for the sake of being a part of the dialogue. Sometimes this addition doesn’t add any substance to the discussion and interrupts a significant train of thought. Instead of speaking out, W.A.I.T. and consider if what you have to say is really adding to the meeting or if it’s just you blurting out how sunny it is outside.
2) Silence is not bad
Although sometimes a five second pause may seem like five hours, silence is not always bad. After knowing how to read different personalities, it will be easier to spot when a customer is marinating on a thought. Again, interrupting about the weather is still not relevant.
3) Write your thoughts
The prospect/customer is excited about what you have to offer and goes on and on about their problems. Beautiful!
Do you have all the answers in the world? Yes? Perfect (no you still shouldn’t interrupt).
Write down any questions they have and bring them up after they’ve finished their point. Interrupting the potential customer may cause you to miss important points.
Interrupting is a bad habit and may show whoever you’re speaking with that you’re not listening. This has been a key lesson for me in my two years at AOS. Try these suggestions out and let me know what you think.
Most small and medium sized businesses don’t have an accurate picture of what they’re spending on print. Operating in an inefficient print environment hinders productivity, slows down workflows, and drives up costs. Fortunately, if you can identify the inefficiencies and eliminate them, you can realize significant cost savings.
Here are the most common symptoms of inefficiencies in the print environment to be on the lookout for:
- Your workplace has acquired a collection of cheap desktop printers. A telltale sign of an inefficient print environment is the proliferation of inexpensive desktop printers. While these printers may seem cost-effective on the front-end, the long-term costs to operate these devices are astronomical and do not make financial sense. Even worse, the purchase of supplies to keep desktop printers in operation often goes untracked, making it almost impossible to figure out how much your organization is spending.
- Documents are frequently left on print output trays. Documents that are left on print output trays are an obvious sign of waste. Also, abandoned documents create a serious security threat for your business, especially if these documents contain sensitive information. In fact, 90 percent of businesses have experienced a security breach due to unsecured printing.
- The acquisition of print supplies is not handled centrally. When you don’t have someone actively monitoring and approving the purchase of print-related supplies, you’re at the mercy of your employees. When print supplies are purchased on an ad-hoc basis by various employees, the costs can skyrocket, and you’ll very quickly reach a point of ungoverned waste.
- There are no guidelines in place for printing in colour. Printing in colour costs considerably more than printing in black-and-white. If you don’t make black-and-white the default choice, employees will often print in colour, regardless of how the document will be used.
- Your organization relies on paper-intensive processes. Although we live in a digital world, 40 percent of businesses still rely on paper documents. Moving to digital processes will speed up workflows, increase productivity, and benefit your bottom line.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms of an inefficient print environment, a Managed Print Services (MPS) provider can help. Contact us today to uncover your actual printing costs and more ways to optimize your print environment.
Starting a new job can be accompanied with a variety of emotions for plenty of different reasons. You’re excited to tackle new challenge and learning the ins and outs of the product and/or services your organization offers. Meeting your co-workers opens the tunnel for new friendships but may bring on the thoughts of whether you’ll fit in and be accepted. Is your boss going to align with your preferred leadership style or will you have to adapt to align with their needs without sacrificing your performance?
You’ve been offered and accepted a position but perhaps questions may linger if you made the right choice – especially if you don’t get off on the right track. If there’s one thing I’ve brought along in my young life is that confidence can do you wonders in the short run. However, it is your mentality that ascends your motivation and attitude that will determine how well you perform in the long run. This blog will take you through the entrance of a new employee with AOS and Xerox and an inside view of what it feels like to be a part of their culture and organizations.
Let’s start with Xerox and the comprehensive five phases, ten-week training module they enroll new sales reps in. Reps in different agencies from around the country train together offering a collaborative and interactive training schedule while also offering a competitive resource. We’ll call the training expert Taylor, for confidentiality purposes. Taylor, as everyone does, deserves a holiday and it happens to be the first two weeks of the Phase 1 training in which they instruct and coordinate. So, what occurs?
Insert different Sales Development Coaches and other experts from around the country to facilitate the daily conference calls. You can view the pros and cons with this presented situation and how you decide to handle it may influence how you feel about it. Some pros include the ability to get a new perspective each day, meet influential individuals within Xerox (you never know when a move East or West may be in your future), and an increase in flexibility and independence in controlling your training.
Cons include aspects that come with having your training typically hosted through this one person. Taylor knows how they want to control each call, understands their slides, and the system that has been set up. However, when you take a step back though and look at the bigger picture, you realize some important points that need to be included with this blog:
1) Those stepping in for Taylor are now having the opportunity to share their experiences and expertise with the newest batch of sales reps
2) These coaches get to try something new – even the smallest change in one’s routine may be accepted, enjoyed, and encouraged.
3) Xerox has the ability and the confidence to allow others to showcase the training and mentor. I’m sure there are more reasons that could be cumulated in round table fashion but it’s a highlight that needs to mentioned and provides confidence in myself moving forward with Xerox.
At AOS, it’s apparent that the world we live in is a result driven business and that your motivation and attitude will follow you through your failures and successes. In a short four weeks, I’ve seen the highs and parts of lows, but the composure needs to be there to realize that highs are not forever and lows aren’t that low if you have the right attitude to motivate yourself to change. There’s a locker room mentality with chirps and laughter throughout.
It’s clear AOS has high expectations of itself and has risen to the occasion. However, what’s most important is that within the bullpen there is a true team atmosphere – these guys (and girls) are here to win, improve individually every day, and support each other.
To conclude, it’s been a fun, challenging, and fast first month. Let’s be clear – It’s not just the sales team at AOS- it’s the entire agency. Everyone embraces their role in the company and is a positive team member. Enough can’t be said when you walk in feeling welcomed and want to be part of a success story. Happy selling, friends.
It seems that every day, more companies are falling prey to cybercriminals. Reaping a record $24 million last year, ransomware attacks are on the rise, locking companies out of their computers unless they pay a fee. Fortunately, you can take steps to avoid becoming a victim and to ease your recovery if you do get attacked.
An Ounce of Prevention
Preventing ransomware attacks involves both software and human intervention. First off, your software systems should always be kept up to date. As security threats are recognized, manufacturers will release patches to secure your system. Installing these patches reduces your risk of becoming infected with ransomware or other malicious software. Anti-virus software also provides a valuable barrier against attacks.
Additionally, many attacks are done via phishing emails or malicious ads. It’s important to train employees to not automatically click on attachments, links, pop-ups, or banner ads, but rather to look for signs that they may not be legitimate. Hovering over URLs, checking return addresses and other techniques take only seconds, but can save your company the time and money associated with a ransomware attack.
A Pound of Cure
No matter how diligent you are, you could still become the victim of a ransomware attack, so it’s essential to take steps to ease the recovery. Experts recommend that you do not pay the ransom – instead, you should unplug your system and restore it to factory settings, deleting everything – including the ransomware.
To ensure a smooth recovery, you should make backups of all of your data frequently; every day if possible. Backup copies should be stored offline or on a cloud server, to insulate them from your network. While it will still take time to recover, all your data will be safe. Storing essential data separately from other data may help you speed the recovery process.
Ransomware attacks are extremely profitable and are becoming one of the most frequent types of malware attacks. Taking the time to secure your system and to prepare for an attack can help you avoid becoming a victim or recover more easily if you do.
To learn more, ask us about our no-obligation technology assessment service.