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How to Create a Productive Home Office Anywhere You Go

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Traveling is a big part of life for most entrepreneurs. As an artist and owner of a business that specializes in niche marketing and PR, I need to be presentable no matter where I am. Traveling is a huge part of what I do, both for business and pleasure. I do work from anywhere and everywhere: Whether it’s in a camper or a fancy hotel lobby, on a ski lift, at a bar or even when I’m at my grandma’s house for a family dinner.

I’d like to share a few tips that have helped me eliminate challenges and enabled me to focus no matter where I am. As we like to say in German, udbung macht den Meister, which means “exercise makes a master” — learning by doing is surely the way to go. Here are some insider tips to make your life easier:

Related: The Pros and Cons of Working From Anywhere

1. Stay organized

Keep your things clean and organized. This will allow you to find exactly what you’re looking for faster, so you can keep focused on the task at hand instead of getting distracted by searching for something you’ve lost. Reorganize your travel bag, backpack or computer bag every day. It will take only a few minutes if you do it regularly.

2. Create a short but solid to-do list

Airports, business meetings, packing, unpacking, scheduling calls, trying to get some sleep and still look decent can get chaotic. Make a to-do list of things that must be done in just the next 12 hours, not more. Don’t overdo it. Create that list every night, and put it out next to your phone or laptop so that it is the first thing in the morning that you see. Keep it around you all day until you are done with it. For example, your daily list might look something like this:

Unwanted mail, advertisements and things of that nature can be an annoying challenge and create clutter. You can make a daily contribution to sustainability by using the opened envelopes from the mail you receive to create your to-do lists each day. I like to use orange or purple ink to write my lists — there’s more on the reason behind that in the next section.

3. Understand the environmental impacts on your brain while working

An understanding of colors and how the overall environment subconsciously affects your mood and wellness is crucial if you want to be able to work more efficiently anywhere, at any time. Regarding colors and their typical effects, some of the most uplifting and motivating, yet not overstimulating colors include green, purple and orange — hence, my choice of ink colors referenced above. Blue is known to calm the senses but can perhaps make you too calm and possibly trigger depression. Red is often associated with anger or aggression. The precise effects of color on each individual depend on their personal circumstances, so it’s best to conduct some research based on your own needs.

Related: 8 of the Best Travel Spots to Work Remotely

4. Choose a view

Studies have shown that exposure to nature benefits mental health and reduces stress. Depending on where you find yourself, put yourself in a position where you have a view of something that is either relaxing or neutral, not overstimulating. For example, a mellow restaurant or coffee shop with an outdoor patio area (preferably) that has a view of the majestic Pacific Ocean would be relaxing (as long as the surf does not look too scary that day!) When I was recently on the exotic island of Kauai in Hawaii, I chose a view of the volcano canyon which encompassed the beautiful rain forest with an entire color palette of greens.

When in New York City, there are many designer boutique hotels with great décor and colorful art in the lobbies. You don’t need to stay there to work there. The surroundings have a mood-elevating effect. Or you could bring the work to a museum; for example, a place such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art inspires me to be more creative.

5. Find the right environment for you

Art has a huge impact on mental health and stress reduction. Different images, paintings, photographs or sculptures can affect you in multiple ways. Once again, the colors play a very important role as well. If you are in a tight spot, facing a time constraint or an imminent deadline, try to stay away from the color red as it tends to bring up negative feelings. On the other hand, if you feel down or are experiencing low energy, the color red can help in a smaller dose. For example, you could wear a red t-shirt or set up a red screen protector. Choose blue or purple for more creativity and mellowness. Purple also helps enhance problem-solving skills, orange supports optimism, and green fosters a sense of harmony. Avoid images that could trigger stress or those that might bring up bad memories. If the art or the color in your immediate environment is creating issues for you, set yourself up elsewhere in the room.

6. Use reminders to improve your focus

Use a tool as a gentle reminder to keep you in a focused working mode. It could be anything, such as a sticker on your laptop that shares a positive message or even some uplifting words on the mug that’s by your side. A nice little notebook that could also be used for the above-mentioned to-do list can be easy to consult. Additionally, you can write down some thoughts and reminders to “tune out” from all that surrounds you. Sometimes it can be good to put yourself into working mode by creating a pleasant bubble and keeping the outside world out of it.

The influence of various intensities of Hz sound waves on the ability to concentrate or focus has been demonstrated in various recent studies. When music was tuned to 432 Hz as opposed to 440 Hz, the subjects of the study showed a marked decrease in heart rate and slight decreases in both the respiratory rate and blood pressure. Experimenting with different wavelengths of music and sound or listening to recordings of the ocean or other natural sounds can relax you and help you to focus on the tasks at hand.

Related: 9 Products That Can Help You Work From Anywhere This Summer

7. Remember to breathe

Studies have shown that taking control of your breath and using meditation can have major positive impacts on your brain and on your entire body. These methods are being employed in schools around the world to elevate the concentration of students before class. What I like to do, throughout the day, is to take three deep breaths to supply the brain with fresh oxygen; if you desire, you can conduct a short meditation session while you are doing the breathing exercises.

Wrap up your day

Remember to cross items off the to-do list as they are completed. This elevates your sense of accomplishment and is also very satisfying. Be sure to write down the next steps for follow-up actions you need to take so that when you next pick up your work, you can start exactly where you left off. These little things can all make a big difference to your productivity at the office, whether at home or away!

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Entrepreneurship

10 Things Every Working Woman Should Do This Year

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Self-care has become an all-encompassing term that has strayed from the importance of everyday commodities that keep us in good health and spirits. Though pampering and “treat yourself” moments still have value, here are ten ways to invest in yourself to produce long-lasting, positive results.

Related: 8 Self-Care Tips From Wildly Successful Entrepreneurs

1. Put money into a 401(k)

It’s never too early (or too late!) to start saving for the future. Depending on your employment status, there are different retirement savings accounts. 401(k)s are the most common since these are employer-sponsored and often come with an employer match. However, freelancers also have options, such as a SEP-IRA or a high-yield savings account, to put away extra, tax-free dollars for retirement.

2. Schedule a health checkup

Self-care first includes taking care of your physical health. It’s easy to discredit regular checkups when you’re feeling healthy, but make this the year to get your blood work done. It creates a baseline for your health to identify areas needing improvement or extra attention.

Also, choose areas in your life where you can make small changes. Improving your health doesn’t always mean a drastic overhaul; it may be as simple as drinking more water or adding an extra 30 minutes of exercise to your day.

Related: 3 Key Tips for Optimizing Your Physical Health as an Entrepreneur

3. Review health insurance benefits

Many people with health insurance aren’t sure exactly what it does and doesn’t cover. If you’re unsure, talk with your HR representative or your health insurance provider to get an overview of deductibles, co-payments and other supplemental benefits you may not be aware of. Then, decide if the health care plan makes sense for your current lifestyle.

Are you paying for benefits you don’t use, or do you need additional benefits that aren’t covered? Selecting the right plan will help ensure you have what you need without paying the extra expense for anything you don’t.

4. Ignite your curiosity

Maintaining healthy cognitive functions through new pursuits gives a boost to the brain. Get curious and find what speaks to you. This can be anything from exploring local museums, embarking on different hiking trails, learning a new language or reading more books.

There’s no limit to what you can do, and these activities can ignite more creativity and motivation in your work. While it may be helpful to look to others for inspiration, make them enjoyable so you’ll want to make them a regular occurrence.

5. Prioritize mental health

Mental health has been at the forefront of people’s lives over the past few years, as many have experienced burnout. We often equate productivity with a value that drives us to go beyond our means and leads to anxiety, stress and depression. Take note of your everyday stressors and see how to reduce or eliminate them. Then, replace them with relaxing outlets that allow you to recharge.

There are various ways to prioritize mental health, from practicing positive self-talk to meditation to scheduling an electronics-free day. You may have to try different solutions before you find one that fits.

Related: 5 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health as an Entrepreneur

6. Implement good sleep habits

Consistent sleep is one of the essential factors of good health but one that is often overlooked. For many, it can be challenging to wind down from the workday. Therefore, you must “train” your body to prepare for sleep by getting into a nighttime routine.

Create a sanctuary for yourself to improve your sleep habits. Enjoy a soothing cup of herbal tea, perform a skincare routine, and snuggle in with a good book rather than scrolling through your phone. Additionally, ensure your bedroom is dark and cool for ideal sleep comfort and turn on soothing sounds if it helps lull you to sleep.

7. Try something new

What have you wanted to try but have always held back? Maybe it’s public speaking or contributing to a blog. Whatever “new” has been on your to-do, make a plan, schedule it on your calendar and go for it. It’s common to hold back from these activities due to fear of the unknown or failure, but trying new things helps create confidence and can be the catalyst you need to push you to the next level.

8. Learn to set boundaries

Boundary setting is crucial to relationships yet can be difficult to master. It doesn’t always involve simply saying no to people’s requests. Instead, it requires protecting your own values when people violate them. Setting boundaries may mean spending less time with certain people, removing yourself from toxic situations, or declining invites to events that don’t improve your life. Explore areas where boundaries will help you grow, and keep in mind growth itself is a work in progress.

Related: How to Set Boundaries to Build Thriving Relationships

9. Spend quality time alone

Learning how to enjoy time spent alone is a valuable gift. We are inundated by a false sense of connection through the internet, which often makes us feel lonelier than ever. Then, we overschedule our calendars to make up for human connections, only to feel drained afterward. Slow it down and plan a few solo dates a month to see how it feels to be truly present with yourself.

For those who aren’t used to spending quality time alone, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable initially, but these stem from your own perceptions. Take in a matinee, sit in a coffee shop and read, or enjoy a concert or event you’ve wanted to attend. Alone time has been linked to improved stress management and greater life satisfaction, so it’s worth trying to give yourself more time.

Related: Turns Out, Those Who Like Being Alone Can Be More Creative

10. Get active

Getting active can take on several directions. It can be physical, emotional or spiritual. The point is to engage with people and pursuits that feed your soul. Whether volunteering within your community, setting yourself an exercise goal, or learning more about personal development, there are endless ways to get active and invest in yourself this year.

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Are You a Winner? How to Truly Define Winning in Your Business

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Businesses gauge their performance typically with dozens of goals and metrics. But you can’t do everything at once. The challenge is to get people focused on the one thing that’s most important right now. If it moved in the right direction, it would eliminate a weakness (or capitalize on an opportunity) and improve financial outcomes. You improve that, and you win.

However, not every company clearly defines winning. A catalog of goals can pull the organization in multiple directions and stretch finite resources. Numerous goals can inherently be at odds, working against each other and for conflicting purposes. For example, a cost reduction goal might undermine an innovation goal requiring a significant investment.

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Gen Z Is Making Ugg Boots Fashionable Again: Report

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Ugg boots, the furry, sheepskin boots that defined the 2000s are back, apparently, with spiking interest and Gen Z cachet, according to data from shopping website, Lyst.

The site’s annual quarterly report that highlights the “hottest” 20 fashion brands was released on Thursday, and, as Insider noted, Ugg is on it for the first time since the index began in 2017.

“Gen Z shoppers are breathing new life into once dormant brands … with over 1.2 billion mentions on TikTok — Ugg’s influence is undeniable,” the report notes.

The boots were also sold out of stores during the holidays, it added.

Generation Z, or people born between 1997 and 2012, has demonstrated a penchant for bringing back old technology and trends, from flip phones to “vintage” headphones with cords.

But Ugg boots go back much further — the word “ugg” is actually a general term in Australia that means boots made from sheepskin and fleece, according to the BBC.

The company that created the “UGG” boot, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, is based in the U.S. and has tried and failed to trademark the word in Australia (where a court decided it was a generic word and thus could not be trademarked), the outlet added.

The company says the boots began to gain popularity in California in the 1980s. They were first featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2000 (a huge brand-maker back then) and became “cherished commodities” early in the decade, according to Vogue.

The boots later gained prominence again with a fashion movement that prioritized “ugly” clothes, and have since become an unironic Gen Z favorite, per Insider. Kylie Jenner was also spotted wearing them in November.

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