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5 Powerful ‘Brain Hacks’ That Will Rocket Your Daily Productivity & Focus

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If you’re like most people, you likely find yourself frequently wishing there were more hours in the day to accomplish all the important things on your To-Do list.  It seems like no matter what you do there’s always more and more in life that calls for your attention, while many of the truly important things get put on the back burner when we run out of time in the day.

Does any of this ring a bell?

If so, then I’d like to offer you a few of the most powerful ‘mind tricks’ I know that can help you dramatically increase your daily productivity and focus so you can get more done in less time.

Read the rest of this article only if you’d love to learn how to sharpen your focus, be more motivated, and blast through your daily tasks so you have more time available to do whatever else you enjoy in life.

 

Brain Hack #1:  Shrink Your Mental Deadlines

If you think something is going to take you an hour, give yourself 40 minutes instead. By shrinking your mental deadlines, you’ll be able to work much faster and with greater focus.

You should also schedule time on your calendar every week for focused, quiet concentrated “Golden Hours” or “Power Time” where you only work on your most important activities for a designated amount of time. To do this effectively, it’s important to close your email, silence your phone, and unplug from social media during these timeframes. That is, unless your most productive task happens to include any one of those mediums.

 

Brain Hack #2:  Create a “Stop Doing” List

A “Stop Doing” list is as important as a “To Do” list. We use a To Do list to help us gets things done, but how many counter-productive habits, rituals and routines are we allowing in our lives to continue robbing us of the results and lifestyle we truly desire?

By creating a “Stop Doing” list, and committing to it, we can systematically purge out negative habits and replace them with better, more productive ones.

An easy way to do this is to get out a piece of paper and make a list of any/all the habits, routines or people in your life that are actually making you less productive and taking you farther away from your intended goals or desired quality of life.

Now, this requires you to be totally honest, truthful and transparent with yourself about what’s in your life that could be holding you back or stealing happiness in some way. But when you’re willing to step back and look at your own life and situation objectively, it becomes much easier to see the reality of our situation and be able to make rational decisions about what needs to be done in light of the bigger picture. Thus progress can be made where it otherwise couldn’t.

 

Brain Hack #3: Review Your Productivity at the End of the Day

Try this: Every night before going to bed, take the time to write down the top 3-5 highest priority items that you resolve to complete the following day. These should be tasks that directly move you or your business closer to your goals.

Then at the end of each day, before you create your new list for the next day, take some time to review your list from the current day and ask yourself what went well and what you could’ve done better. Celebrate in your mind what you did accomplish, but also apply a little constructive criticism to yourself for anything you may have slacked on.  Then just rollover your uncompleted tasks to the next day’s list.

The most difficult aspect of being ultra-productive is you driving your day instead of your day driving you. Start your day by looking through your tasks each morning and making a conscious decision to allocate your time and focus on the most important and highly leveraged tasks before anything else. Then review your progress at the end of the day and make adjustments where necessary.

 

Brain Hack #4:  Avoid Multitasking

Don’t multitask. Multitasking is something we all do these days. The problem though is that our brains just aren’t cut out for it. When you multitask, you’re actually interfering with your brain’s ability to perform at it’s full-capacity.

Yeah sure, we can all walk and chew gum at the same time. We can can fold laundry while talking to a friend on the phone. Clowns can also ride a unicycle while juggling brightly colored balls.

These are all role tasks that don’t demand a lot of brain power. But in most cases where brainpower and creativity are critical, multitasking is really lesstasking. When you make shifts in your activity from one context to another, you risk dropping things from your short-term memory. You also disrupt the mental flow needed to perform at top-efficiency.

Do one thing at a time, minimize context shifts, maximize brain power!

 

Brain Hack #5:  Use “Brainwave Entrainment” Audios To Increase Focus & Productivity

Brainwave entrainment is a 100+ year old science that uses special tones and sounds to influence a person’s brainwave patterns, which have been proven scientifically to help change one’s state of mind, such as how focused they are.

Let’s briefly explore how it works.

Your brainwave patterns show what’s going on inside your head.  Different brainwave frequencies show that you’re in different states of mind. For example, they may show that you are sleeping, or relaxed, or intently focused.

Brainwave entrainment can be used to tap into the frequencies associated with heightened focus and increased productivity, and brings your brain waves into harmony with them.  The result is more clarity, more creativity, enhanced focus, and increased personal output.

You simply put on your headphones and play a special MP3 audio based on what kind of mindset you want to entrain.  You can even do this while you’re working, writing, reading, doing chores, etc

 

Do you have any ‘brain hacks‘ that help you live better?

If so, share them with us in the comments below!

Nash Ryker is a Breakthrough Accountability Coach for solopreneurs, with a passion for helping them end procrastination, build success habits, and make faster progress on their business or personal goals. His coaching program offers step-by-step daily accountability support to achieve breakthrough results for any important goals you want to achieve.  Book a complimentary 30-minute strategy call with him today at www.Breakthrough.Guru

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Corey Hinde

    Apr 12, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    attack your life with the 80/20 rule, think about it every day, revisit it constantly. Use lists, review them constantly. Develop a 5 year plan

  2. G SCHWEI

    Nov 6, 2014 at 2:33 am

    Wrong attitude prior going to sleep – note your accomplishments, and give credit to those whom helped you.

  3. Claire

    Feb 23, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Brainsync.com is great for audios also. I also use weekly & monthly planning over daily planning as its less stressful

  4. Casandra

    Feb 15, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Great list. I use journalling to keep me on track. Writing down what I’m working or and struggling with help clarify things and focus my mind. Once something is written down and it doesn’t suck up all my mental power because I stop thinking about it. I try to write in my teamspir.it logbook at the end of every day!

  5. Kamron

    Feb 12, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Hey Nash!

    I love the clarity and easy to follow nature of this post 🙂 I’ve actually done up a “Stop doing” list and a “Keep doing” list hahaha. One thing I like to do every single morning is perform a morning ritual which includes a section where I instill beliefs that I will be productive and creative throughout the day. Prominently for school, I enjoy chanting to myself “I am acing school, I am, I am, I am”, it reinforces my brain to actively seek the activities that promote “acing school” and it helps a lot! For example I just received my marks for a PDH assessment task; 100% A +! So yeah hahah

    Number 1 in your list is especially helpful to me because I find if I know I have time to procrastinate – I will. So if I challenge myself to complete homework or a personal project in under 30 minutes or whatever, not only does it make me feel satisfied about completing my work but my brain will become accustomed to these “Mental Deadlines” thus promoting more productivity and a faster brain start.

    Thanks again for an amazingly helpful post!

    Regards, Kamron

  6. Nikola Gjakovski

    Feb 10, 2014 at 12:06 am

    I specially like number four because I do it most of the time! It’s same as “I would rather take 12 bags than taking two trips”. Number 3 I am missing also so I would save this text as a reminder. Thanks Nash

  7. Kosio Angelov

    Feb 6, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Take short breaks every 40 – 50 minutes.

    Exercise on a regular basis. It really helps with energy and concentration overall. And don’t feel like you need to hit the gym. Take a walk. Take the stairs. Do some jumping jacks for 5 minutes next to your desk. Any physical movement is better than none.

  8. Naomi@businessstart-ups

    Feb 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Nash,

    Really good list of tips. Brainwave Entertainment is new to me. I will definitely be looking into it!

    Thanks for the great read.

    Naomi

  9. Bastiaan

    Feb 6, 2014 at 2:49 am

    Some very good tips! I love the one about not multitasking. I now from my personal experience that doing several things at a time is very, very unproductive.

    Doing one thing at a time gives you much more satisfaction and will get you in a flow.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  10. Rudi Middleton

    Feb 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    My productivity nemesis was ToDo ‘Baggage’ The little jobs you put off that mount up, become a chain you keep dragging around until you’re confidence to achieve anything is at gutter level. All of the hacks above should help you avoid this scenario. Great post.

  11. Daniel

    Feb 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I agree with the multitasking issue. I think we are all guilty of that. Focus on one thing and tear it up!

  12. Aida

    Feb 5, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Writing down a specific goal and putting it up on my work desk always helps me ^^

  13. Linda

    Feb 5, 2014 at 2:04 am

    Concerning Brain Hack #5: Use “Brainwave Entrainment”.. I’ve used Tibetan singing bowl sounds with success when I want to focus on a task.

  14. Anita

    Feb 4, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Great tips. Especially reviewing what you’ve accomplished. Every time I measure my results, my results improve.

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Success Advice

How to Be a Selfless Leader in Your Business

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Leaders are required to make decisions daily that impact the success of the business and its bottom line. Understanding leadership training key terms can offer insight into core values and principles associated with leading people. Leadership training prepares leaders to recognize a variety of leadership styles prevalent in many organizations, the significance of communication, team building, and establishing a vision.

The following 6 key terms are important to building foundational skills in leadership:

1. Leadership style

Leadership style is the process of exploring the methods leaders use to approach guiding human capital in the workplace or on organized projects. It can encompass persuasive presentation skills that inspires trust, integrity, character, positive role modeling and other behaviors useful when working towards a goal.

2. Vision planning

According to leadership experts, a vision is an idealized picture or snapshot of the future, and vision planning is the ability to communicate core values and articulate a sense of direction by implementing a plan as it pertains to this vision. Organizational vision encompasses a strategic plan that generates motivational impact and leads employees to a specific outcome or shared desired goal.

“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” – John Maxwell

3. Team building

Team building is the method a leader chooses to empower a group of people using motivational strategies and guidance to accomplish a specific task. Effective team building must encompass an understanding of organizational culture and the dynamics of teamwork in order to exceed shared goals and objectives.

4. Communication

Communication is the ability to impart and exchange information through the process of listening, writing and speaking. Successful leaders understand that enhancing communication skills not only makes them more effective as leaders, but boosts the company’s success as well.

5. Performance evaluation

An important aspect of leadership training is determining whether the steps taken towards a goal are working. One of the many roles of a successful leader is to appraise or assess the effectiveness of both individual and collective workplace skills and strategies to achieve stated goals.

“A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.” – Jim Rohn

6. Decision making

The term decision making is the process of choosing from several ideas or choices. It’s the practice of targeted determinations that can offer creative problem solving solutions. This is a vital skill in developing potential leaders because it strengthens the use of critical thinking and resourcefulness to make choices on behalf of the company.

How to be a selfless leader in your business organization

Many leaders try to play it safe when leading their business. In other words, they don’t really lead. They are afraid of taking risks and possibly making some people unhappy. It’s important to note that when you own a business, you may make decisions that won’t make everyone happy. Ideally, your culture will be set up so that what you do is transparent and enables people to speak up and share their concerns.

At the same time, people in an organization want their leaders to lead and part of that involves the leader making a passionate commitment to the direction the business needs to go in. When there isn’t clear leadership in a business, then the business is like a ship that is moving in a circle. It’s going nowhere.

A leader must always make it clear that what they are doing is actually serving the best interests of the business as opposed to their own best interests. If people in the organization think that a leader is abusing their position, it can create a toxic situation in the business bringing it down as people leave or sabotage the business.

A leader must be selfless, focused on what will truly benefit the business and the people in it. They must be willing to share the spotlight, instead of taking all the credit and must recognize the value of trusting the talents of the people they work with.

Recently, I was talking with a client of mine. He was having some personnel issues, and I suggested he carefully evaluate the talents of each person involved. After doing that, he made some changes in roles, and the people involved were much happier because they were doing the work that capitalized on their talents.

Throughout this process he was transparent and he made it clear that the changes he was making were for the benefit of the company. Each person involved saw that because the leader was honest and focused on the success of the business. He wasn’t making changes to make it easier for him, but rather making changes that would really help the business succeed. That’s the kind of leadership that is needed when a business undergoes changes or needs to focus on a specific direction.

What does being a selfless leader mean to you? How do you focus on the welfare of your business and show that to the people involved in the business? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

Things You Need to Know to Succeed as a Life Coach

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Becoming a life coach is one of the biggest choices you will ever make. Your choice in this field will change how you treat your spouse, how you empathize with others, and how you manage your business.

When I decided to make life coaching my goal, I had many steps to take before I reached the finish line and I wasn’t quite sure how to motivate myself to get there. I know that I am not the only one who struggles with staying motivated. That’s why I’m sharing with you the secrets that helped me make my dreams a reality.

Dan Sullivan is the founder of The Strategic Coach, a company that helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Dan is often considered to be the number one entrepreneurship coach on the planet. If there is anyone who can motivate you to make your dreams a reality and go for gold – it’s him.

Here are the 2 life-changing ideas I learned about becoming a life coach:

1. Keep Selling Yourself

Don’t sell yourself short – but keep selling yourself on your future. Dan Sullivan suggests that the reason why we, as entrepreneurs, can’t focus on achieving our goals is that we haven’t actually sold ourselves on our project or endeavor. I believe this wholeheartedly. We may have listed our pros and cons, we have an ideal outcome, and we may even have a backup plan – but we haven’t truly committed to our goal.

In order to properly take advantage of an opportunity, we must be focused. There is no doubt that we live in a new age of multi-tasking. We watch videos while we respond to e-mails, we’re glued to our phones when we’re out on dates with our spouses – we even have the option to have two multi-tasking windows open on our smart devices so that we can do different things at the same time.

But studies show multitasking accomplishes less in the long-run. Multitasking reduces both our performance and efficiency. Dan suggests instead of trying to do everything at once, sell yourself on three tasks a day. The next day, sell yourself on three more. This will help you to have more focus and drive on what you are doing. You will accomplish more and feel better about fulfilling your goals.

2. The 3 Wins are Everything

Dan suggests that positive focus is everything when it comes to succeeding in business. That’s why he developed “The 3 Wins” mindset. After the day is done and you’re getting ready for bed, focus on three wins you had. By focusing on the three things you did right, you practice gratitude in your personal life. You set goals, reach them, and then celebrate them – no matter how small! This can help you have a more positive mindset going forward.

Dan Sullivan explains, “I would look at tomorrow… and I’d say, ‘Well these are gonna be my three biggest wins for tomorrow’. So, I would go to bed feeling good about the day, excited about the next day, and I would get up the next morning excited. So, then I would go out that day and try to have to three wins, but often times what happened is that I had wins that were bigger than the three I imagined the night before.”

The feeling of accomplishment is addictive. Not only does it feel great to get work done and accomplish our goals, but it encourages us to keep working hard in life. We work hard to grow our business, to maintain a healthy marriage, and to give our clients our best. By focusing on The 3 Wins, we view each day as a new opportunity to stay motivated and achieve something great.

How to Succeed in Becoming a Life Coach

Along with these life-changing ideas, here are some other great tips for anyone who is thinking of becoming a life coach.

1. Rapport is Essential

When you are becoming a life coach, you learn that your ability to have a rapport with your clients is just as important as the chemistry you felt with your spouse when you first started dating. Are you good at striking up a conversation? Do you have a knack for getting people to trust you or open up about their problems? If so, then you will be a natural at building your entrepreneurial business because your ability to connect with your clients is important.

2. Ask the Important Questions

As a life coach, it’s your job to ask the hard questions. This means that you must be intuitive about your client and really get to know and understand their thoughts and intentions. Only then can you help them reach their life goals.

3. Get Comfortable with Silence

Silence between two people can be the most uncomfortable, awkward, cringe-worthy experience, but as a life coach, it’s your job to let it happen anyway. When there is silence, your client will be eager to fill the void, which often leads them to show vulnerability and really work through their issues.

4. Don’t Take Things Personally

Your clients are not always going to gel with you. This may cause them to leave your services. Don’t take it personally. Alternatively, you may have a great rapport with your client, but that doesn’t always mean that they will take your advice. This can be frustrating for you, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to continue building trust between you and your client.

You can make becoming a life coach a reality. Stay motivated by selling yourself on new ideas and strategies every day. It’s also beneficial to remind yourself of your three wins and always strive to keep growing and getting better. By becoming a life coach, you show people that you care, have an excellent rapport, and aren’t afraid of the hard questions – or the silence!

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Success Advice

Consistency Is the Hidden Power to Your Success

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It’s often difficult to start a new habit or change an old behavior. There are enough books and courses online that will teach you about planning your day, planning your night, organizing your home, filtering through paperwork, and on and on it goes.

In the midst of a lot of busywork, though, there lies what I believe is a hidden secret to anyone’s success. Getting into detail about this secret, though, calls for a little reflection on your part. Look at the people you admire, whether alive or dead. Reading about their successes and failures teaches powerful lessons for life.

People will talk about “getting into a groove” and how it feels good. Writing, for me, comes a lot better when I am in a groove or in the flow. Words and phrases come quite easily because I’m sitting down to have a written conversation with you. By the way, it also helps to have a lot of experience as a writer in the back pocket too.

The Answer Lies Within The Question

What’s the secret?” you keep asking. Look at what you are doing in your life today. In business, are you moving forward or stagnant? Connecting with new leads or looking to keep the wolves at bay by taking anything offered? Are you making time to actually do the work while also having some fun?

When you look at the values and practices of successful businesses and entrepreneurs, the one thing that is obvious is that they have developed a level of consistency in their actions. Did it happen overnight after having an awakening experience? Probably not. It was a lot of little things, done over a period of time, and it produced success.

Consistency in business, relationships, friendships, health, wellness, spirituality…you name it. Staying consistent with your actions will lead to results. Here’s a quick caveat: Make sure these consistent habits and behaviors are healthy and nurturing. It does matter in business that you develop a pattern of consistency which reflects a deep level of appreciation for people in your business or on your team.

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne The Rock Johnson

Time and time again, studies have shown how actually being consistent in showing employees appreciation and gratitude can raise the level of work much higher. If you consistently show up as a little tyrant and liar, then you’re going to get burned. If you consistently show up as someone who reflects humility, gratitude and thankfulness for what is going on in your business and life, then you’ll get more of it.

Like attracts like. It’s just that simple. Consistency is one of the most powerful practices and forces that you can add into your business and life.

Here are three specific suggestions that can help you develop a strong core of consistency today:

1. Start out small

Let’s use a restaurant analogy real quick. You walk into a place and you’re hungry. You look at the menu and see a full-course meal that has everything you love in it. Therefore, you order it. The platter comes and you go, “Oh man, that’s a lot of food.” Eat the whole platter in one sitting and you might have a bellyache later on.

If you looked at the platter, took a little bit and ate that, then you’d have some leftovers. You start out small on the meal, not stuff your face with all the food at once. Same concept with consistency. Start out small on what you want to achieve. Just make a little beginning and follow that path.

2. Take your time

What’s the hurry here? Consistency doesn’t pick up right away if you do a total deep dive into it. You have to take your time and go at your own pace. Look, peeking at what Mr. X or Mrs. L is doing will not help you one bit. Patience and persistence are two little powerful motors to help consistency become a part of your life. Even then, though, you have to take your time. Your time, not someone else’s.

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, it’s what we do consistently.” – Tony Robbins

3. Appreciate the journey

While you are on the road to consistency, there are going to be bumps along the way. Just know that going forward. There are two ways to look at this: get frustrated and angry and simply say “nope, this consistency thing isn’t worth it”; or, just continue on the path and appreciate all the stops along the way. Developing a practice of appreciation and gratitude can also play roles in you trusting that level of consistency to appear in your life.

Consistency does equal success. How you define success might be as simple as getting up in the morning and feeling grateful you have a roof over your head, food to eat, and clothes to wear. It might be closing the biggest business deal in your life. It might be looking at your children and knowing they are healthy, well, and happy. It also might be that you survived going through hell in life and made it through just fine.

All it takes is a few consistent actions to change the way you show up in this world. We all need people and examples that remind us about the little secret of consistency. Take your mind off of your phone and out of your laptop sometimes. Look around. You can find these types of success stories all around. They reflect their own results of the power of consistency. Tap into this power today and change your world, along with others too.

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Success Advice

4 Ways You Can Develop Indispensable People as a Business Owner

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In a world where more artificial intelligence, robots and automation are taking over, good employees are beginning to feel less and less indispensable. However, they don’t need to be because robots and AI cannot replace human common sense and authentic, heartfelt engagement. That being said, more and more employers are looking for good employees who want to become great leaders within the organization and are willing to make the investment.

Here are 4 ways organizations can develop indispensable employees:

1. Invest in training & personal development

Personal development is definitely the responsibility of an employee and their own willingness to improve themselves overall. But when you combine that with an employer who is looking to keep quality talent and who sees the tremendous value in assisting their employees growth, the results are incredible.

Statistics show as one of the top three non-financial motivators, 76% of employees want opportunities for career growth. They also show that corporate training has grown to over $70 billion in the United States alone. Companies that do make the investment in their employee’s learning and development tend to lead the way and sustain longevity.

They also become the most sought after places to work for. When you help grow your employees, your employees will help grow your business.

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” – Richard Branson

2. Empower them with decision-making abilities

You will find that many companies try to create a “think like an owner” mentality throughout their organizations. While this is a great strategy to implement, it cannot be fully accomplished when an employee does not have the appropriate decision making capabilities.

Companies that empower their employees to make the proper decisions (within reason and to a certain extent), become more effective and efficient as a whole. They are able to provide support to both their internal and external customers without having to wait for longer than needed timeframes to get responses.

Empowering employees through training and mentoring is one of the best practices a company can make. The more power an employee has to make certain decisions, the more sense of ownership is displayed and taken, making it a win-win for everyone.

3. Keep them informed and up to date

A wise man once said, “knowledge is power” so if you want your organization to be a powerful force in your industry, your employees need to be informed. Companies that have an effective system in place to keep employees informed and up to date usually have a higher rate of productivity and success.

Most communication within organizations is only shared within their respective departments where the information is pertinent. But imagine how much more would be able to get done if everyone was aware of what was going on company wide (again to a certain extent). That’s why interdepartmental communication is vital and in order for that to happen, employees need to be kept abreast.

For example, have you ever spoken to different people at a company and have gotten different information? That’ because they are not on the same page or haven’t been informed properly.

If an employee knew “generally speaking” about the happenings in other departments, they may be able to assist the customer base more effectively and avoid unnecessary transfers.

A good way to start this practice of being informed would be to share the company’s wins and losses, successes and failures, and any other significant changes the company may have made. When this happens, everyone is made aware and everyone is on the same page.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins

4. Develop a true culture of open communication

Honest and open communication is important in the workplace because it affects the ability of everyone being able to work together (as a team). Many employees don’t engage more frequently when asked to because of fear of being ridiculed and even losing their jobs. Why is it that most employees feel more comfortable expressing themselves during normal team meetings but are more reserved in meetings where upper leaders are present?

Could it be that clear lines of open communication have not been established? Studies show that companies who operate in an open forum style atmosphere have higher levels of employee engagement. Engaged employees are more likely to stay with an organization and in return you have less turnovers.

Creating a culture of true and honest communication also develops confidence in the upper leadership team amongst employees. When the leaders of an organization displays proper and safe two-way communication, it also helps the employees feel like their making a difference and their opinions matter.

Implementing these tips will not only help you to develop indispensable employees but will also increase engagement and sustainability. It will also help you to develop an indispensable team to help take your organization to the next level.

How does your boss encourage you to become better? If you’re the boss, how do you encourage your employees to be more productive? Share your thoughts below!

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