Blog Archive

Excel: Another Nice Chart

This chart shows the progression of by year as summary and by city as in detail. Color usage is also quite nice and makes this chart a beautiful one.
To replicate this chart in Excel, we will need to make two charts. A line chart and a column chart. For the line chart, most obvious choice for a tool is Conditional Formatting. To start, we need to have a dataset to apply conditional formatting. Create the dataset shown below on an empty sheet:WSJ Uber Chart 2
Select all numbers and apply conditional formatting as shown below (since conditional formatting doesn't have much of a color option on shapes, we are going to use closest colors available):WSJ Uber Chart 3
Then set cell color to light gray and dark gray as shown below (I also set font size to 14 for city names and set vertical alignment to center):WSJ Uber Chart 4
Now we are going to draw borders. Set border color to same light gray of the background and select line style as the thickest (last option). Then click Draw Lines button and draw borders manually. It is not as time-consuming as it sounds. Here is our chart with borders drawn:WSJ Uber Chart 6
Now it is the column chart's turn. We need a dataset for this chart too. Create the dataset shown below in the cells that are not around the chart (on another sheet).WSJ Uber Chart 7
Select this data and insert a Clustered Column Chart. Do following adjustments:
  • Select series named "Orange" and set is as "secondary axis".
  • Set Gap Width option for both series to 20%.
  • Click on primary axis (left one) and delete it.
  • Set max value for right axis to 300.
  • Change series colors to match with colors of the line chart (dots).
  • Delete chart title and legend.
  • Click on gridlines, set color to black, set dashes to "round dot" and set weight to 1pt.
  • Set chart background color to "No Fill" and shape outline to "No Outline".
  • Add/Delete/Format labels to match with the original.
Let's check where we are at, at this point:WSJ Uber Chart 8
Now we are going to insert two textboxes to finalize our chart. Insert one textbox and set fill color to same gray of the background and shape outline to "No Outline", then make a copy of it. Fill them with chart title and detail as seen in the original chart and place them as seen in the picture below (I made the lower box transparent after it blocked the gridline):WSJ Uber Chart 9
Now you can fill the text parts above the charts and mission is completed. You can insert circles to the beginning of last two lines and color them accordingly to act as bullets. Here is the finished product:WSJ Uber Chart 10
For this exercise, we used conditional formatting, chart formatting and general formatting tricks like painting background, hiding stuff with shapes, etc.
If you want this chart to behave as a whole and cannot be editable, you can use Linked Picture trick to have a one piece and solid WSJ Uber Chart.
If you like to download this chart: Download WSJ Uber Chart

​​Management of Workplace Stress

Workplace stress occurs when there is a mismatch between the demands of the job and the resources and capabilities of the individual employee to meet those demands. It is the adverse reaction which the employees have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them. There is a clear distinction between pressure, which can create a 'buzz' and be a motivating factor, and workplace stress, which can occur when this pressure becomes excessive.
Workplace stress is a matter of great concern.  Excessive stress can interfere with the employee's productivity and impact the physical and emotional health and the ability of the employee to deal with it. It can mean the difference between success and failure.
Stress has been defined in different ways over the years. Originally, it was conceived of as pressure from the environment, then as strain within the person.
Stress is defined as "the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them".
The generally accepted definition today is one of interaction between the situation and the individual. It is the psychological and physical state that results when the resources of the individual are not sufficient to cope with the demands and pressures of the situation. Thus, stress is more likely in some situations than others and in some individuals than others. Stress can undermine the achievement of goals, both for the individual employee and for the organization.
Earlier the typical response from the management to workplace stress used to be blaming the victim of the stress, rather than its cause. But presently the situation is changing and it is now being recognised that the management has a duty, in many cases enforced by the statutory authorities, to ensure that employees do not become ill due to workplace stress. It is also in the long term economic interests of the organization to prevent workplace stress. Good employment practice includes assessing the risk of the workplace stress amongst employees. This involves the following.
  • Looking for pressures at work which could cause high and long lasting levels of workplace stress
  • Deciding who might be harmed by this stress
  • Deciding whether the management and the employees together are doing enough to prevent the harm associated with the workplace stress
There are six kinds of substantive factors which are identified as potential causes of the workplace stress (Fig 1). These are (i) demands made on employees, (ii) the level of control employees have over their work, (iii) the nature of relationships at work, (iv) the way by which the change is managed, (v) the clarity of the employees' role within the organization, and (vi) the support employees receive from the management and their colleagues.
Potential causes of workplace stress
Fig 1 Potential causes for workplace stress
Workplace stress is the response employees may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which eventually challenge their ability to cope. Excessive and otherwise unmanageable demands and pressures can be caused by poor work design, poor management and unsatisfactory working conditions. Similarly, these things can result in employees not receiving sufficient support from others or not having enough control over their work and its pressures.
The degree of workplace stress experienced by an employee depends on the functioning of the following two protective physiological mechanisms.
  • Alarm reaction – When confronted with a threat to the safety, the first response of the employee is physiological arousal. This results into the muscles becoming tense and increase in the breathing and heart rate. This serves well when the threat is the proverbial bull in the field rushing towards the employee. The employee either fights or flees. Present day threats tend to be more psychological (e.g. unjustified verbal attack by a superior at work). It is usually not socially acceptable to act by 'fight or flight', and an alternative means of expressing the resultant emotional and physical energy is required. This falls in the arena of assertive communication.
  • Adaptation – The second adaptive mechanism allows the employees to cease responding when they learn that stimuli in the environment are no longer a threat to their safety. For example when employees of blast furnace first face the flowing hot metal and slag in the cast house, the response to the molten liquid flowing past is to get alarmed, as described above. Over time, the employees' response dwindles. If this process does not function, then the employees would eventually collapse from physical wear and tear, and mental exhaustion.
Workplace stress is experienced when either of the above two mechanisms are not functioning properly or when the employees find it difficult to switch appropriately from one to another. This forms the basis of individual approaches to stress management.
It is the perception, or appraisal, of the situation which is the key to whether or not it causes stress. This is the basis of the transactional model of stress, whereby the ability of an employee to prevent or reduce workplace stress is determined by that employee's appraisal of (i) the threat within a situation (primary appraisal), and (ii) the appraisal of the employee's coping skills to deal with that threat (secondary appraisal). These appraisals have been shaped by past experiences of confronting stress and, in turn, influence future behaviour and appraisals. Thus, the process of appraisal, behaviour, and stress is continuous, and managing stress can result from changing the way the situation is appraised (cognitive techniques) or responded to (behavioural or cognitive techniques).
Workplace stress takes many forms. As well as leading to anxiety and depression, it can have a significant impact on an employees' physical health. Signs of workplace stress can be seen in the employees' behaviour, especially in changes in their behaviour. Acute responses to stress may be in the areas of feelings (e.g. anxiety, depression, irritation, and fatigue), behaviour (e.g. being withdrawn, aggressive, tearful, and unmotivated), thinking (e.g. difficulties in concentration and problem solving), or physical symptoms (e.g. palpitations, nausea, and headache). If stress persists, there are changes in neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, autonomic and immunological functioning, leading to mental and physical ill health (e.g. anxiety, depression, or heart disease).
The workplace is an important source of both demands and pressures causing stress, and structural and social resources to counteract stress. The workplace factors that have been found to be associated with stress and health risks can be categorized as those to do with the content of work and those to do with the social and organizational context of work. Those that are intrinsic to the job include long hours, work overload, time pressure, difficult or complex tasks, lack of breaks, lack of variety, and poor physical work conditions (e.g. space, temperature, light).
Unclear work or conflicting roles and boundaries can cause workplace stress, as can having responsibility for the employees. The possibilities for job development are important buffers against current stress, with under promotion, lack of training, and job insecurity being stressful. There are two other sources of stress, or buffers against stress. These are (i) relationships at work, and (ii) the organizational culture. Management which is critical, demanding, unsupportive or bullying type creates stress, whereas a positive social dimension of work and good team working reduces it. An organizational culture having top level controls can cause workplace stress. On the other hand, a culture of involving employees in decision making, keeping them informed about what is happening in the organization, and providing good amenities and recreation facilities reduce stress. Organizational change, especially when consultation has been inadequate, is a huge source of workplace stress. Such changes include mergers, relocation, restructuring or downsizing, individual contracts, and redundancies within the organization.
Situations which are likely to cause workplace stress are those which are unpredictable or uncontrollable, uncertain, ambiguous or unfamiliar, or involving conflict, loss or performance expectations. Workplace stress may be caused by time limited events, such as the pressures of inspections or work deadlines, or by ongoing situations, such as family demands, job insecurity, or long commuting journeys. A systematic review of the evidence for work factors associated with psychological ill health and associated absenteeism has found the key factors for the workplace stress. These factors are follows.
  • Long hours of work, work overload and pressure and their effect on the personal lives of the employees.
  • Employees not being free to talk with one another
  • Personal conflicts on the job
  • Employees not being given enough control over their work and lack of participation in decision making
  • Inadequate budget and/or manpower
  • Open communication between management and employees is not there
  • Management perceived as being unsupportive and also there is poor social support
  • Unclear management, unclear work role, and poor management style
  • Below-average sick and vacation benefits
  • Reduction in employee benefits
  • Having to deal with bureaucratic red tape
  • Lack of recognition or reward for doing a good job
Resources that help to meet the pressures and demands faced at work include personal characteristics such as coping skills (e.g. problem solving, assertiveness, time management) and the work situation (such as a good working environment and support from the management and colleagues). These resources can be increased by investment in work infrastructure, training, good management and employment practices, and the way that work is organized.
High levels of stress in the workplace can lead to the following.
  • Poor decision-making
  • Increase in mistakes at work
  • Increased sickness and absence
  • High employee turnover
  • Poor employee/work place relations
Workplace stress has adverse effects for the organizations in terms of the following issues.
  • Employees' commitment to work
  • Employees' performance and productivity
  • Accidents caused by human error
  • Employees' turnover and intention to leave
  • Attendance levels of the employees
  • Employees' recruitment and retention
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Organizational image and reputation
  • Potential litigation
It is also worth thinking about the impact that workplace stress can have on a unit or a team in the organization. For example, losing one colleague for an extended period with a stress-related illness can have a dramatic impact on the workload and morale of the rest of the team.
Presenteeism is the term used to describe the opposite of absenteeism. It is the phenomenon of employees coming to work yet not functioning up to their capabilities on the job. Presenteeism manifests in a host of ways, including making mistakes, more time spent on tasks, poor quality work, impaired social functioning, burnout, anger, resentment, low morale and other detrimental factors. If the stress underlying presenteeism is not addressed, then absenteeism, job resignations, chronic illness, and disability may be the result.
A variety of strategies may be used to prevent workplace stress problems. These strategies can be categorized as (i) primary, (ii) secondary, and (iii) tertiary. Strategies at the primary level directly address the causes of workplace stress. They aim to eradicate or reduce the causes of stress within the organization in order to lessen its negative effects on the health of the employees. Secondary and tertiary strategies mainly deal with the consequences rather than the causes of workplace stress.
Secondary prevention acts on personal factors and helps employees adapt better to their work environment, while tertiary prevention aims to reduce the suffering of the employees who have a workplace stress related health problem.
Strategies at the primary level deals with the causes or sources of stress which are present within the organization in order to reduce or eliminate them completely. The aim is to reduce the possibility of developing health problems by reducing employees' exposure to the risks in their work environment. For example, this type of strategy reduces work overload, improves communication or increase participation of the employees in the decision making processes within the organization.
Secondary prevention strategies are those which deal with the personal characteristics and mechanisms of individual employees. The idea is to give these individual employees the tools needed to deal more effectively with stress. These strategies do not address the causes of the workplace stress, but aim to reduce the effects of stress on the individual. For example, these strategies could involve teaching individual employees how to better manage their stress and time or to make better lifestyle choices.
Tertiary prevention strategies come into play at the point when the individual employees are experiencing workplace related health problems. This level of prevention influences the consequences of exposure to stress. Tertiary prevention strategies result in a reduction of the individual employees' suffering and an improvement in his health. This may include consultations with a psychologist to obtain support and active listening or a policy to allow an individual who is on leave due to a workplace health problem to gradually return to work.
Training of the employees helps prevent workplace stress because of the following.
  • Becoming aware of the signs of stress
  • Using this to interrupt behaviour patterns when the stress reaction is just beginning. Stress usually builds up gradually. The more stress builds up, the more difficult it is to deal with
  • Analyzing the situation and developing an active plan to minimize the stressors
  • Learning skills of active coping and relaxation, developing a lifestyle that creates a buffer against stress
  • Practicing the above in low stress situations first to maximize chances of early success and boost self-confidence and motivation to continue
The prevention and management of workplace stress requires organizational level interventions, because it is the organization that creates the stress. An approach which is limited to helping those already experiencing stress is analogous to administering sticking plaster on wounds, rather than dealing with the causes of the damage. An alternative analogy is trying to run up an escalator that's going down! Organizational interventions can be of many types, ranging from structural (e.g. staffing levels, work schedules, physical environment) to psychological (e.g. social support, control over work, participation).
The emphasis on the organization, rather than the individual, being the problem is well illustrated by the principles used in Scandinavia (given below), where there is an excellent record of creating healthy and safe working environments.
The following are the principles of preventing stress in workplace.
  • Working conditions are adapted to the employee's differing physical and mental aptitudes
  • Employee is given the opportunity to participate in the design of the work situation, and in the processes of change and development affecting the work
  • Technology, work organization, and job content are designed so that the employee is not exposed to physical or mental strains that may lead to illness or accidents. Forms of remuneration and the distribution of working hours are taken into account
  • Closely controlled or restricted work is avoided or limited
  • Work provides opportunities for variety, social contact, and cooperation as well as coherence between different working operations
  • Working conditions provide opportunities for personal and vocational development, as well as for self-determination and professional responsibility
Assessing the risk of stress within the workplace must take into account the following.
  • The likelihood and the extent of ill health which could occur as a result of exposure to a particular hazard
  • The extent to which an individual employee is exposed to the hazard
  • The number of employees exposed to the hazard.
The analysis of stressful hazards at work must consider all aspects of its design and management, and its social and organizational context.  Although the priority is prevention, protective measures can be introduced to control the risk and reduce the effects of a given hazard.
The clear benefits for preventing the workplace stress are as follows
  • Improvement in the quality of work life of the employees. The employees feel happier at work and per
    form better
  • Management of change becomes easier. Introduction of new system or new patterns of work are easier when 'stress' is managed effectively
  • The relationship between employees and management improves and many issues can be sorted out at workplace with mutual understanding.
  • Attendance levels of the employees go up and their sickness absence goes down

Tick Tock Tick Tock - Whats the Message

Tick..tock.. tick..tock.. tick..tock..
Ever sat in front of a clock and watched the seconds go by?..
It's never ending.. it's never stops..
It might seem like a mundane activity.. yet in those ticks, your life is being spent..and you're losing time!
I read the following somewhere on the internet and I wanted to share it with you..
  • - To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade..
  • - To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a pre-mature baby..
  • - To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper..
  • - To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train..
  • - To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask a person who just avoided an accident..
  • - To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who won a silver medal in the Olympics..
It's very true..time is valued differently by different people
​ ​
and it's a true blessing for someone to understand and internalize that time is the substance of life in which man exists and does either good or bad
​The Scholar, ​
Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim
has a beautiful saying that says "..For the intelligent one is the one who is conscious of his time , and if he loses it then he would lost all his interests, for all interests derive from time, and whenever time is lost it can never be regained!"

5 Golden Rules of Goal Setting

© iStockphoto/SchulteProductions

Have you thought about what you want to be doing in five years' time?
Are you clear about what your main objective at work is at the moment?
Do you know what you want to have achieved by the end of today?
If you want to succeed, you need to set goals. Without goals you lack focus and direction.
Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life's direction; it also provides you a benchmark for determining whether you are actually succeeding. Think about it: Having a million dollars in the bank is only proof of success if one of your goals is to amass riches. If your goal is to practice acts of charity, then keeping the money for yourself is suddenly contrary to how you would define success.
To accomplish your goals, however, you need to know how to set them. You can't simply say, "I want" and expect it to happen. Goal setting is a process that starts with careful consideration of what you want to achieve, and ends with a lot of hard work to actually do it. In between there are some very well defined steps that transcend the specifics of each goal. Knowing these steps will allow you to formulate goals that you can accomplish.
Here are our five golden rules of goal setting:

The Five Golden Rules

1. Set Goals that Motivate You

When you set goals for yourself, it is important that they motivate you: this means making sure that they are important to you, and that there is value in achieving them. If you have little interest in the outcome, or they are irrelevant given the larger picture, then the chances of you putting in the work to make them happen are slim. Motivation is key to achieving goals.
Set goals that relate to the high priorities in your life. Without this type of focus, you can end up with far too many goals, leaving you too little time to devote to each one. Goal achievement requires commitment, so to maximize the likelihood of success, you need to feel a sense of urgency and have an "I must do this" attitude. When you don't have this, you risk putting off what you need to do to make the goal a reality. This in turn leaves you feeling disappointed and frustrated with yourself, both of which are de-motivating. And you can end up in a very destructive "I can't do anything or be successful at anything" frame of mind.


To make sure your goal is motivating, write down why it's valuable and important to you. Ask yourself, "If I were to share my goal with others, what would I tell them to convince them it was a worthwhile goal?" You can use this motivating value statement to help you if you start to doubt yourself or lose confidence in your ability to actually make the goal happen.

2. Set SMART Goals

You have probably heard of "SMART goals" already. But do you always apply the rule? The simple fact is that for goals to be powerful, they should be designed to be SMART. There are many variations of what SMART stands for, but the essence is this – goals should be:
  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Attainable.
  • Relevant.
  • Time Bound.

Set Specific Goals

Your goal must be clear and well defined. Vague or generalized goals are unhelpful because they don't provide sufficient direction. Remember, you need goals to show you the way. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up.

Set Measurable Goals

Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. If your goal is simply defined as "To reduce expenses" how will you know when you have been successful? In one month's time if you have a 1 percent reduction or in two years' time when you have a 10 percent reduction? Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have actually achieved something.

Set Attainable Goals

Make sure that it's possible to achieve the goals you set. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only demoralize yourself and erode your confidence.
However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. Accomplishing a goal that you didn't have to work hard for can be anticlimactic at best, and can also make you fear setting future goals that carry a risk of non-achievement. By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the balance you need. These are the types of goals that require you to "raise the bar" and they bring the greatest personal satisfaction.

Set Relevant Goals

Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you'll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want. Set widely scattered and inconsistent goals, and you'll fritter your time – and your life – away.

Set Time-Bound Goals

You goals must have a deadline. Again, this means that you know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker.

3. Set Goals in Writing

The physical act of writing down a goal makes it real and tangible. You have no excuse for forgetting about it. As you write, use the word "will" instead of "would like to" or "might." For example, "I will reduce my operating expenses by 10 percent this year," not "I would like to reduce my operating expenses by 10 percent this year." The first goal statement has power and you can "see" yourself reducing expenses, the second lacks passion and gives you an excuse if you get sidetracked.

Tip 1:

Frame your goal statement positively. If you want to improve your retention rates say, "I will hold on to all existing employees for the next quarter" rather than "I will reduce employee turnover." The first one is motivating; the second one still has a get-out clause "allowing" you to succeed even if some employees leave.

Tip 2:

If you use a To-Do List  , make yourself a To-Do List template that has your goals at the top of it. If you use an Action Program  , then your goals should be at the top of your Project Catalog.
Post your goals in visible places to remind yourself every day of what it is you intend to do. Put them on your walls, desk, computer monitor, bathroom mirror or refrigerator as a constant reminder.

4. Make an Action Plan

This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way. By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you'll realize that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal. This is especially important if your goal is big and demanding, or long-term. Read our article on Action Plans   for more on how to do this.

5. Stick With It!

Remember, goal setting is an ongoing activity not just a means to an end. Build in reminders to keep yourself on track, and make regular time-slots available to review your goals. Your end destination may remain quite similar over the long term, but the action plan you set for yourself along the way can change significantly. Make sure the relevance, value, and necessity remain high.

Key Points

Goal setting is much more than simply saying you want something to happen. Unless you clearly define exactly what you want and understand why you want it the first place, your odds of success are considerably reduced. By following the Five Golden Rules of Goal Setting you can set goals with confidence and enjoy the satisfaction that comes along with knowing you achieved what you set out to do.
So, what will you decide to accomplish today?
This site teaches you the skills you need for a happy and successful career; and this is just one of many tools and resources that you'll find here at Mind Tools.

Trapped In Lift ? Follow This


What to do when you are trapped in a lift ???

We never know when and where accidents will happen to us OR people around us. Read on and hope this piece of information may help any of us when things do happen to yourself, our friends and our loved ones.
One day, while in a lift, it suddenly broke down and it was falling from level 13 at a fast speed. Fortunately, I remembered watching a TV program that taught you must quickly press all the buttons for all the levels.
Finally, the lift stopped at the 5th level.
When you are facing life and death situations, whatever decisions or actions you make decides your survival. If you are caught in a lift breakdown, first thought in mind may be 'waiting to die'...
But after reading below, things will definitely be different the next time you are caught in a lift.
First - Quickly press all the different levels of buttons in the lift.
When the emergency electricity supply is being activated, it will stop the lift from falling further.
Second - Hold on tight to the handle (if there is any).. It is to support your position and prevent you from falling or getting hurt when you loose your balance.
Third - Lean your back and head against the wall forming a straight line.
Leaning against the wall is to use it as a support for your back/spine as protection.
Fourth - Bend your knees
Ligament is a flexible, connective tissue. Thus, the impact of fractured bones will be minimised during fall.
For everyone, kindly do share this piece of information with your near and dear ones !!

37 Email Marketing Tips

Image of Typewriter Keys
We've all been there …
You've carefully crafted an email. You've polished each sentence. You've racked your brain for the very best subject line.
You hit publish with a sigh of relief. That's done.
But when you look at your email stats, you notice that the opens aren't as good as you'd hoped, and the click-throughs are disappointing. It's depressing.
Does it feel like a big challenge to get people to open and read your emails? And then to go on to click through?
It doesn't really need to be so hard. You're about to learn the most important advice I've found for writing emails that get opened, read, and clicked.

How to create emails that are eagerly anticipated

Quick question:
Which email do you look forward to receiving most: an email from your best friend or an email from a massive corporation? And which of those two emails do you prefer to read?
Easy choice, isn't it?
So, when you're emailing your list, what do you do? Do you write as if you're addressing a huge, faceless crowd of people? Do you write just like a massive corporate marketing department would?
If you want your subscribers to look forward to your emails, you should consider behaving more like a friend.
You know, like, and trust your friends … right?
Try toning down that corporate look, and create a more minimalist email design. Write in a conversational, respectful voice.
Follow these 8 essential rules for friendly, eagerly anticipated emails …
  1. Stop talking about your list. Stop talking about subscribers. Write as if you're emailing one person only. It instantly makes your emails more personal.
  2. Quit wasting people's time. Only email when you have something truly valuable or helpful to say.
  3. Be useful. Don't just email when you need something from your readers. Be helpful. Be generous. Be friendly. Be like real friend.
  4. Use your actual name as your from address. Put your name and reputation on the line. That's more personal isn't it?
  5. Be trustworthy. Let people know what to expect. Yes, sales messages should be part of your email marketing, that's fine. Just be clear about it when they sign up.
  6. Don't be creepy. Feel free to personalize emails, but don't repeat people's name too often, because it makes you sound like a call center script.
  7. Be on their side. Remind people that they're not alone. Tell them you understand their struggles. Empathize with them, and ask how you can help.
  8. Give people a reward for reading. Make sure people benefit from reading your emails. How? Share a useful tip. Make them feel better. Inspire them.

How to get your emails opened

Most inboxes are congested — filled to the brim with uninteresting, boring emails.
Your emails are easily drowned out in overflowing, noisy inboxes across the world. And Gmail tabs have made it even more difficult to get noticed.
How do you write appealing subject lines that make you stand out … that seduce people to open your emails?
Email subject lines need to attract attention, just like headlines do. Here are a few tips on that:
  1. Promise something good. If people know specifically what they'll learn or how exactly you'll make them happier, more informed, or better at business, they'll be itching to read more.
  2. Use power words. Sensory and emotional words attract attention, and make your subject lines stand out in crowded inboxes.
  3. Use a number. Because digits — like 4 or 37 — stop wandering eyes.
  4. Pique curiosity. Don't be afraid to occasionally use bizarre words. Tickle the information gap, or violate the information gap. Your readers will be keen to find out more.
  5. Point out common mistakes. Because nobody wants to be perceived as silly.
  6. Quit cleverness. Simple, specific subject lines beat clever alternatives every time.
  7. Experiment. Be a rebel and try something new. Dare to be different. You'll be surprised by what works and what doesn't.
  8. Learn from the masters. Subscribe to excellent email lists and analyze their subject lines. You're guaranteed to learn something.
  9. Stop following meaningless stats like optimal subject line length. No average reader exists. Build a real relationship so your readers anticipate your emails and they'll open them because they recognize your name — even when your subject line sucks.

How to write engaging emails

So, you've got people to open your emails. Now what? How do you keep their attention? How do you keep them reading your emails word for word?
Follow these 11 tips for emails that will captivate your readers:
  1. Write fast. Because that's how your enthusiasm and personality come through.
  2. Keep it short. Edit your emails with rigor. Long and unwieldy emails slaughter your readers' interest. Challenge yourself to cut your text by half next time you edit.
  3. Ask questions. Imagine having a face-to-face conversation with your reader. You'd ask questions in that situation, wouldn't you?
  4. Don't follow a strict formula. Blueprinted emails quickly bore the boots off your readers.
  5. Add a personal touch. Because you're trying to get readers to know, like, and trust you, aren't you?
  6. Don't automate your greeting. Try warm wishes, best regards, or greetings from sunny England. Mixing up your greetings makes you less robotic, and more personal.
  7. Use the word you. Because it's one of the most persuasive words in the English language.
  8. Develop a natural voice. Stop thinking about email marketing. Consider your emails to be a way of talking to your customers or readers.
  9. Add personality. Use words and expressions only you can use. Be human.
  10. Stop being dull. Understand the telltale signs of boring writing. Write short, strong sentences. Be to the point. And break high school rules.
  11. Quit being selfish. Don't be cold-hearted. Genuinely care about your readers.

How to sell in your emails

You're not just writing emails for fun, are you? As a business owner you have to sell to stay in business (whether you like it or not).
So what's the best way to sell without selling your soul?
Follow these 9 tips to convert more email readers into buyers:
  1. Don't sell before the prospect is ready. Become a friend and trusted source of information first; and your readers will more readily buy from you.
  2. Highlight benefits. Don't sell your product. Instead, sell the benefit it offers your customer.
  3. Show what readers will miss. Most people are risk averse. They want to avoid inconveniences, glitches, and complications. Consider rephrasing the benefits of your offer as a problem you'll help to avoid.
  4. Don't follow a strict formula. Because formulaic emails sound robotic and are boring as heck.
  5. Work toward your aim. Tell interesting stories that lead to your sales message.
  6. Present a clear deadline. It prevents people from procrastinating.
  7. Insert multiple links (to the same page). Because it increases your chances of people clicking that link.
  8. Have an impeccably clear call to action. Tell your readers exactly what you expect them to do next, and remind them why it's in their best interest to buy.
  9. Use the power of the PS. Remind people of a deadline. Or repeat what they stand to lose if they don't take up your offer.

The harsh truth about your emails

Everyone's inbox is overflowing. Nobody is keen to receive more email.
You should be honored that people have opted into your list and are happy to receive your messages. Each subscriber has given you a hard-earned vote of confidence.
But be careful. Never take anyone's attention for granted. Because everyone's time is precious.
Week in week out, you have to prove your value to your email subscribers. Know your readers so well that you can empathize with their struggles. Ask questions. And offer help.
Write as if you're emailing one good friend, because that's how people will get to know you, like you, and trust you.
When you've earned those three things, you've earned the ability to push send and grow your business.

Amazing Lines with Deep meanings

Someone has written these beautiful LINES. Read and try to understand the deeper meaning of them.
Ơ̴̴͡.̮Ơ̴̴̴͡ 1. Prayer is not a "spare wheel" that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a "steering wheel" that directs the right path throughout life.
Ơ̴̴͡.̮Ơ̴̴̴͡ 2. Why is a car's windshield so large & the rear view mirror so small? Because our PAST is not as important as our FUTURE. So, look ahead and move on.
Ơ̴̴͡.̮Ơ̴̴̴͡ 3. Friendship is like a BOOK. It takes a few seconds to burn, but it takes years to write.
Ơ̴̴͡.̮Ơ̴̴̴͡  4. All things in life are temporary. If they are going well, enjoy them, they will not last forever. If they are going wrong, don't worry, they can't last long either.
Ơ̴̴͡.̮Ơ̴̴̴͡ 5. Old friends are gold! New friends are diamond! If you get a diamond, don't forget the gold! To hold a diamond, you always need a base of gold!
Ơ̴̴͡.̮Ơ̴̴̴͡ 6. Often when we lose hope and think this is the end, 
smiles and says, "Relax, sweetheart; it's just a bend, not the end!"
Ơ̴̴͡.̮Ơ̴̴̴͡ 7. When God solves your problems, you have faith in HIS abilities; when God doesn't solve your problems, He 
YOUR abilities.
Ơ̴̴͡.̮Ơ̴̴̴͡ 8. A blind person asked: "Can there be anything worse than losing eye sight?"
: "Yes, losing your vision!"
Ơ̴̴͡.̮Ơ̴̴̴͡ 9. When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them, and sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.
Ơ̴̴͡.̮Ơ̴̴̴͡ 10. Worrying does not take away tomorrow's troubles; it takes away today's PEACE. 

4 Ways to Collaborate on Projects

Team members should collaborate with each other to optimize the likelihood of project success. However, collaboration does not always come easily to today's busy and in many cases virtual project teams. Here are some tips to help. 
1. Give the team a common purpose
The first step is to set the direction for the project with a Project Charter. This document describes the scope of the project, the goals to be met and the timeframes for delivery. Each team member must understand the purpose of the project and how their work helps achieve success. Then you can ensure that everyone is on the same page. Remember, collaboration is all about bringing individuals together to form a team. By giving them a common direction, you're already on the right track.
2. Pair them up
When you create your schedule, purposely assign multiple people to the same tasks where appropriate, pairing them up to work together. That way, your team are forced to work together on common tasks, helping them to overcome any previous boundaries or communication difficulties. Make sure people only do work that is in the schedule, so you can stay within scope. You need to create "one boat, one team, all rowing in the same direction."
3. Give them the right tools
Make it easy for your team to work together by giving them a toolset that allows them to:
  • Store all their files online in one place.
  • Discuss project tasks, issues and timeframes.
  • Message one-another when they need to see each other's activity so they know what's happening
  • View tasks, calendars and plans online
Technology today can enable collaboration. Use it wisely.
4. Promote collaboration
You also need to promote collaboration within your team personally. Reward and recognize great collaboration behavior when you see it. If you see team members communicating effectively online, reward them for it in front of the team.
By giving your team a solid direction, the right tools at their fingertips and reinforcing great behavior, you can take a fragmented group of individuals and turn them on to the high performing team.
Get your project started quickly with a pre-built set of great project management templates.

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20 Fantastic Benefits for Spending Sometime in Silence

"Silence is a source of great strength." ~Lao Tzu
For over two years I spent one out of every four weeks in silence. At the time I was living at a Zen Monastery and every month we would have a week-long silent retreat.
During this retreat we sat meditation in silence, ate in silence, worked in silence, and only communicated through hand gestures and written notes.
At first living like this was hard, but over time I learned to grow to appreciate silence. By the time I left I learned that silence was my friend and teacher.
What did silence teach me?

1. Satisfaction

I used to think I needed to watch TV every night. But at monastery I went without and discovered I didn't need it.
Silence taught me to be happy with less. Pick something that's weighing you down and let it go. Your life will thank you.

2. Expression

When you can only talk by writing a note, you only say what's important. Before the monastery I talked a lot but said little.
Silence taught me that a few simple words well spoken have more power than hours of chatter. Think of one simple thing you can say that would help someone feel better and say it.

3. Appreciation

Being able to speak makes life easy, but when I couldn't talk I learned how much I relied on others.
Silence taught me to appreciate the value of relating to others. The next time you see your friends or family, try to really listen. Deep listening expresses deep appreciation.

4. Attention

Several times at my first retreat I thought my phone was vibrating. But then I would remember I didn't have my phone. It showed me how my phone divided my attention.
Silence taught me how important it is to let go of distractions. The next time you are with someone you care about, try turning off your phone and putting it away. It will make paying attention easier.

5. Thoughts

I once sat a retreat next door to a construction project. What amazed me was how easily my thoughts drowned out the noise. I realized if my thoughts were this loud, I'd better make them as wise as possible.
Silence taught me the importance of shaping my thinking. Take time each day to notice your thoughts and let go of thoughts that don't serve you.

6. Nature

Because I sat retreat in every season, I know that the sound of wind in fall is different than it is in winter.
Silence taught me to notice nature. Take a short walk outside in silence and you'll discover the wisdom and peace that nature has to offer.

7. Body

During retreat I noticed that whenever I got lost in thought, I lost track of my body. And when I focused on my body, my thoughts would calm down.
Silence taught me to be in my body. Close your eyes and ask, "What sensations do I feel in my hand?" Learning to feel your body can calm your troubled mind.

8. Overstimulation

Whenever I went into town after retreat, the world seemed so loud and fast. I came to realize how much our senses have to process most of the time.
Silence taught me the importance of reducing the stimulation. Enjoy some quiet time everyday. The less you see and hear, the more settled your mind can become.

9. Sound

People would come to the monastery and remark how quiet it was. But living at the monastery I knew all the noises, from frogs, to owls, to the sound of sandals on the sidewalk.
Silence taught me that the world is a rich texture of sounds. Sit in front of your house and close your eyes. You'll be amazed at what you hear if you listen long enough.

10. Humanity

During retreat I was surrounded by imperfect people who were doing their best. Some were happy, some were sad, but all were wonderfully human.
Silence taught me that people display great beauty. Find a good spot to people watch with an open heart. What you see may inspire you.

11. Space

For a long time anytime something difficult came up, I would just distract myself. But retreat taught me that if I avoided something it would never go away.
Silence taught me that space helps me face hard times. The next time you face something difficult, pause and honor whatever's arising.

12. Love

I used to think love was this big thing. But in retreat I found that I felt love for so many things.
Silence taught me that love can be simple. Think of someone you haven't said I love you to recently and tell them.

13. Courage

I used to think courage was about facing danger, but during retreat I realized that real courage is about facing yourself.
Silence taught me the courage it takes to be still. When we stop moving everything we're running from catches up. The next time you are afraid, stop and wait for it to pass. There is immense courage inside your heart.

14. Perseverance

Every retreat reminded me that speaking is easy, but staying quiet is hard.
Silence isn't flashy, but it has an immense power to endure. The next time someone doubts you, instead of disagreeing, silently vow not to give up. Action speaks volumes.

15. Faith

I often ask for reassurance or feedback. But living in silence meant I had to trust my instincts.
Silence taught me to have faith in myself. The next time you begin to feel anxious, sit in silence and see if you can find the space of deep faith that lives in your heart.

16. Honesty

I used to lie so I wouldn't have to explain myself. But when I couldn't talk I began to notice this impulse and how much it degraded my integrity.
Silence taught me the importance of telling the truth. Notice times where you tell little lies and try telling the truth instead. It isn't always easy but it's the first step to trusting ourselves and others. 

17. Gratitude

During retreat I didn't have a lot of comforts. It helped me see how much I took for granted and how much I had to be grateful for.
At the end of every day sit in silence and ask yourself what am I grateful for. You'll be amazed at the blessings you discover.

18. Simplicity

I used to love drama and conflict. But at retreat I found I was happier when I kept it simple.
Silence taught me that simplicity and joy are close companions. Pick one space in your home you could simplify. Keep it simple for one month and enjoy the ease it offers your life.

19. Connection

I used to think I had to talk in order to feel connected. I realized during retreat that I can feel connected just by being near people I care about.
Silence taught me that words can get in the way. Do something in silence with someone you love. It will be awkward at first but eventually you will see what it means just to be in someone presence.

20. Truth

I studied philosophy in college and I thought I could read about truth. But retreat taught me that truth is found in silence.
Silence has taught me a deeper truth than words ever could. Sit in silence once a week and feel the truth in your heart. It's there whether you can express it in words or not.
Photo by Hartwig HKD