Categories
Business

SMART Assessment: Reclaim Your Business Goals

June has come to a close and the year is still as interesting as it was a few months ago. Although Covid-19 may have thrown off some of your goals for the year, it is time to get back on the saddle, tighten the leash on your plans, and head off to the races. Whether it’s a business or personal goal, you can reevaluate where you are now to stay on track. Many of us have been able to adjust to this season but some goals have inevitably slipped through the cracks. The SMART assessment is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely, and it will help you examine where you are to help you get where you want to be! Read below to see how you navigate each SMART step:

Specific

This section provides space to ask the question, “what do you want to accomplish?” Then you follow the answer to this question with who, what, when, where, why, and how. Answering all of these questions creates the groundwork for the rest of the assessment.

Measurable

Here, you’ll categorize what you want to see, hear, feel, touch, and experience when you reach your goal. Think of this as the tangible manifestation of your goal’s outcome and who it impacts, whether it’s you or your customer.

Attainable

This step is simple but not always easy to accept. Your question here is “do I have the resources to make this possible?” If you are limited on time, money, or employees, then this goal may be one to save for a later date. But it also allows you to see the reality of what’s in front of you!

Relevant

Think of the end goal and whether it is relevant to you now, when it’s done, and later down the road. You may this is not the right direction to take your goals, or you can see ways to make it better for you and/or your customers!

Timely

Don’t forget the importance and value of your time! Consider the amount of money (and time) you’ll spend accomplishing the goal. Is it worth it? Here, you’ll want to create a realistic timeline and set deadlines for you and your team.

 

To see an example of this assessment, click here!

You can also change a few of the questions, while keeping the concept, to make this your own.

 

Categories
Event

Thank Gin it’s Virtual: 5 Cocktail Recipes for Virtual Events

Sometimes, virtual events/meetings are made fun with a cocktail or two! Shake up your next virtual event by rounding up your friends and hosting a virtual mixer they won’t forget!

Blackberry Mojito 

 Ingredients:

  • – 2 oz. white rum
  • – 1/2 oz. lime juice (squeezed fresh)
  • – 1 tsp. superfine sugar
  • – 3 mint leaves
  • – ½ cup blackberries
  • – club soda or seltzer

Directions:

  • – In a small bowl, muddle blackberries. Set aside.
  • – Place mint leaves in the bottom of the glasses. Divide and spoon blackberry mixture on top. Add rum, sugar, and lime juice and stir to combine. Top with crushed ice.
  • – Add club soda and garnish with mint leaves and more blackberries.

Rosemary Gin Fizz 

Ingredients: 

For the Rosemary simple syrup–

  • – 1 c. water 
  • – 1 c. granulated sugar
  • – 3 sprigs fresh rosemary

For the drink–

  • – 2 oz. gin
  • – 1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • – 1 oz. rosemary simple syrup
  • – 1 large egg white
  • – Ice
  • – 2 oz. seltzer
  • – Lemon round, for garnish
  • – Rosemary, for garnish

Directions:

  • – Make rosemary simple syrup: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water, sugar, and rosemary. Bring to a boil and stir until all sugar is dissolved, pressing rosemary against the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to release its oils. Let cool to room temperature, then strain into an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • – Make drink: Combine gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white in a cocktail shaker. Shake for 10 to 15 seconds to combine all ingredients. Fill shaker with ice and shake 10 to 15 seconds more, or until chilled.
  • – Strain into serving glass, top with seltzer, and garnish with lemon and rosemary.

 

Frozen Sangria Margarita 

Ingredients:

For the Sangria swirl– 

  • – 1 c. red wine
  • – Juice of 1 orange
  • – Juice of 1 lime
  • – 2 c. ice

For the Margarita Swirl–

  • – 1 can frozen limeade concentrate
  • – 2 shots tequila
  • – 2 c. ice

Directions:

  • – Blend sangria mixture. Transfer mixture to the freezer while you blend margarita mixture.
  • – Rinse blender and blend margarita mixture.
  • – On a small plate combine sugar and salt. Run a wedge of lime around the rim of a glass and dip in sugar and salt. Alternate layers of sangria and margarita.
  • – Garnish with lime and serve.

Pomegranate Grapefruit Frose 

Ingredients: 

  • – 1 ounce pomegranate vodka (Van Gogh)
  • – 3 ounces rosé wine
  • – 1 ounce grapefruit juice (ruby red)
  • – 1/4 ounce lemon juice (fresh)
  • – 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • – 1 cup ice
  • – Garnish: mint or thyme sprig
  • – Garnish: strawberry slice

Directions:

  • – Gather all the ingredients and pour the liquids into a blender and quickly blend them together. Add the ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled cocktail or margarita glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint or thyme and a slice of strawberry.
  • – Serve and enjoy!

Indian Summer Bourbon Cocktail 

Ingredients: 

  • – 2 ounces good bourbon
  • – 1/4 ounce limoncello
  • – 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • – 1 tablespoon apricot jam heaping
  • – 8-12 fresh sage leaves

Directions:

  • – Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill the shaker with ice. Cover and shake vigorously 12-15 times. Fill a small tumbler with ice and double-strain into the cocktail into the glass.
  • – Garnish with a fresh sage leaf.

 

Categories
Family

Summer Events with Social Distancing in Mind

Written by Skyy DeAngelo

Summer is on the horizon! As COVID restrictions begin to lift, we can press play on our summer gatherings and begin enjoying time with our community without Zoom–thank goodness! However, it’s important we still maintain a sense of caution when gathering together with those we care for. Here are a few socially distanced party ideas to enjoy while keeping safety in mind, but without compromising on fun! 

  •  > Flower Arranging Party: Flowers are an integral part of life. They lift the spirit and improve the overall mood on any given day. But what’s even more therapeutic than looking at flowers, is playing with flowers! You don’t have to have an excuse to ever play with flowers, but if you are hosting a bridal shower, baby shower, or even a birthday party consider adding this as an entertainment piece. Find a flower expert in your local area and gather a small group of your gals for an afternoon of flower arranging! You’ll be able to share your stories and experiences as you create something beautiful. Find an open, shaded, outdoor space where you can host your party. If you decide to have it at a venue or inside your home, be mindful of the number of guests you invite and where everyone will be sitting. After you complete your gorgeous arrangements, find the perfect place for them in your home, or gift them to bring a smile to someone’s face. Flowers By Yona hosts fantastic Flower Arranging parties, providing all of the essentials needed for you to create beautiful arrangements through the art of storytelling.

 

  • > Paint Party: Replace your computer screen with a canvas and release your inner artist! A socially distanced paint party can be enjoyed in the comforts of your home with friends or the kiddos. Transform the largest space in your home into an art studio where guests can spend time creating beautiful masterpieces. Paint With a Twist has Twist at Home Kits that can be ordered and picked up. Included in the kit is a canvas, all the paint colors needed to create your selected masterpiece, paint brushes (for keeps!), other essentials, and written instructions along with a video link to follow along with your instructor to complete your painting.

 

  • > Pop-Up Pool Party: Bummed you’re having to spend your summer away from the poolside? Well, having a pool party isn’t completely out of the question! Throw a backyard pool party with giant inflatables, cocktails (or juice boxes), and some summer tunes. Minnidip has a stylish line of adult-friendly kiddie pools! Space out a few of these in your backyard for a pop-up pool party to keep yourself and others cooled off and entertained this summer. Add a couple of loungers for those who want to soak in the sun, but don’t forget to bring out the Super Soakers and water balloons for a contactless game of tag! No pool party is complete without burgers and hot dogs on the grill.

 

Categories
Business

Balancing Life & Working Remote

Articles on work-life balance may seem like white noise to most at this point, but it’s important not to lose focus! As I was sitting at home yesterday, I noticed a couple of trends: 1) I was putting fewer tasks on my to-do list and 2) it was taking longer to accomplish each one. My time in the office was easily becoming the most productive time of my week. If you’re finding this to be your case and habits while at home, then check out the article below. It reiterates many of the tips we’ve heard before with a refreshing perspective.

“3 Tips on Resiliency to Help You Avoid Remote-Work Burnout” | Alain Hunkins, May 21, 2020

 

 

Categories
Family

Zoom Trivia Nights

As we are still encouraging and practicing social distance, it’s important we find new ways to stay connected, socialized, and entertained. Which means, all your trivia and game nights do not have to come to an end!

Here’s a complete guide to hosting a fun and engaging Zoom Trivia Night with friends, family, or coworkers:

Heads Up! – Have all participants download Heads Up on either their Apple or Android Devices. Allow players to choose from the various decks, as each deck is based on a specific topic.The game will display a word or phrase on your phone that you place on your forehead for everyone to see.  Don’t forget to select the “Hide Self View” option in Zoom so that you aren’t seeing the answers on your phone.The other players must try and convey to you what is on the phone, without saying the actual word or phrase. Tilt your phone down for correct answers, and tilt up to pass!

Kahoot! – Create a free personal account on Kahoot! and choose from a large selection of Trivia topics that are fun and educational. This game system is perfect for school age kids, as its bright colors and great topics encourage learning and engagement. You also have the option of creating your own questions!

Trivia Bingo – Head over to Sporcle where you can get a classic game of BINGO going, as you test your knowledge on Pop Culture. You can start a personal room and share your unique link with friends to play together over Zoom.

DIY Trivia  –  Completely build your Trivia Game your way! Trivia Maker allows you to choose your grid, color, and questions. You’ll be running your own game show in no time for the enjoyment of all your attendees.

Jeopardy – Jeopardy Lab has Jeopardy games for all ages and difficulty levels. You also have the option of creating your own board! Divide into 2 teams, allowing each person a shot at answering the Jeopardy questions. Make sure you utilize the breakout room option on Zoom to chat within your team if you need help with the answer to a question. For the full game show experience, set your virtual stage on Zoom Backgrounds to recreate the set of Jeopardy.

Family Feud – This is a family favorite trivia game show! Designate your host and choose your teams. To make a clear distinction as to who’s on which team, have everyone on the teams wear the same color, just like they do on the show! Simply download the game on your device, and share your screen on Zoom.

How to set your game up on Zoom

Now that you’ve selected your game, follow this simple guide to start a trivia game in a Zoom meeting:

Step 1: After you’ve chosen your trivia game of choice, make sure you understand it for yourself and that those you’re playing with will enjoy the one you’ve selected!

Step 2: Create a meeting on Zoom, and send the link to participants, along with the game you’ll be playing and its instructions. If you want to jazz up your virtual event, head over to evite to create your invitation. You can select the option to make this a virtual event, and include your zoom link there!

Remember, if your game lasts for more than 40 minutes, you will need to start a new meeting. Follow this link to upgrade your zoom account to continue the same meeting uninterrupted. Good planning will help!

Step 3:  Plan your game well so your fun will start without delay! Determine who your participants are, and who will host the game (if required), etc. Be sure that everyone has the items needed in order to play the game before getting started! Providing a list with all of the needed items will be very helpful for all the participants. Once everyone has joined your meeting and is ready, explain the game to everyone and begin!

Step 4: If the game requires screen sharing, Click the ‘Share screen’ option at the bottom of your Zoom meeting’s screen. You’ll then see a pop-up asking you which window you would like to share. Select the browser on which the game is currently running. Or, if you need a drawing board for keeping scores, drawing, or writing a trivia question, you can choose the whiteboard option after clicking the ‘Share Screen’ button.

Step 5: Have a blast! By selecting the record button on your dashboard in the beginning of the game, you can look back on the success of your trivia night. It’s a great way to capture all of the laughs and memories that you will make throughout the night!

 

Categories
Family

Quarantine Fun: DIY Movie Projector

As the weather begins to warm up and the days get longer, you’ll have more time to spend enjoying the outdoors with family and friends. Now’s the time to begin planning your backyard outings. Create a backyard movie theater for outdoor entertainment this summer! This guide will show you in 5 easy steps how to get started in creating your own movie projector!

Materials needed for your DIY Projector:
  • – Shoe box 
  • – Magnifying Glass that is 5x magnification (NOTE: When purchasing your magnifying glass be sure it does not contain a smaller lens inside. This will distort your picture)
  • – Pen/Marker
  • – Velcro strips (These can be found on Walmart, Amazon, or Home Depot
  • – Box Cutter
  • – Black Tape
  • – Black Paint 
  • – Smartphone 

 

STEP I: 

You’ll start by taking the magnifying glass out of the frame. Once that’s out, place the glass on one end of the box and trace a circle with your pen or marker; making sure that the circle gets traced on part of the lid as well. With your box cutter, carefully cut the circle out. 

STEP 2: 

Paint the inside of the box black, and allow it to dry! 

STEP 3: 

Once your paint is dry, you’ll take the lens and securely fit it inside the circle you’ve previously cut. You’ll then take your black tape and use it to secure the lens around the edges so that it is nice and snug, making sure there are no gaps. 

STEP 4: 

On the back of your smartphone, you’ll attach two velcro strips. Inside the back of the box, you’ll attach two more velcro strips. These will help your phone stay sturdy and in place when you put your phone inside the box.

STEP 5:

Before placing your phone inside the box, be sure to lock the screen orientation and insert it with the picture displayed upside down. The magnifying glass will flip the image and project it on whatever surface you play it on! 

 

A perfect movie night isn’t complete without the essentials! Make sure you have your snacks, drinks, and blankets to get ready for a summer full of fun spent under the stars; enjoying your favorite movies with the ones you love!

Categories
Leadership

Maintaining Work Culture in Uncertain Times

No matter what role we play in our respective business or workplace, we are all shaping our work environment and culture. Because we are living in a primarily virtual world, it is now more important than ever to have intentionality in maintaining, growing, developing, and shaping our environment. Burke Allen, CEO of Cornerstone Coworking and Novologic, often says, “regardless of titles, everyone is a leader, you are either a good one or a bad one.”

Luckily, as leaders, we all have a role we can play in taking care of our work culture. It begins with a fairly simple task: caring. We need to make sure the people we work with know we care about them professionally and personally. The only way to make this happen is through caring for the health of our culture. Because it’s not a tangible object, we have to be mindful and intentional in how it’s created. We believe focusing on four concepts: compassion, trust, stability, and hope will help create the environment our teams need to thrive. 

Compassion—

Compassion is recognizing and sympathizing with the needs and experiences of another person. During Covid-19, we are all making adjustments. Whether you’ve recently become a remote employee, full-time teacher, and/or caretaker we are all covering new territory. In this season, and to create a positive and understanding work culture, we have to show compassion. When an employee doesn’t immediately answer a phone call or has to help their child with an assignment or lesson, show you understand their time. As long as we’re able to work together, you’ll help create a stronger team. 

Trust—

Building trust takes time, but as we are all working from a distance it is important our coworkers and employees know they have a place to turn to. As we are in an uncertain time, we need to remain open and honest with our teams and ourselves. Sharing what we do and do not know will help communication and understanding. It also allows the opportunity to create and stick to expectations. When we understand why, how, and when a task is to be done, it is more likely our teams will accomplish it. Over communicating helps to clarify and remove any possible barriers of a task or goal.

 Stability—

As we deal with Covid-19 and all of its side effects, stability is key to creating a safe environment. Through being present for our teams, standing up for them whenever you can, and helping to identify where they can step in are all ways you can lead this word out. 

Hope—

In the midst of Covid-19 and not knowing what our future will hold, we need to come together as a team to offer a sense of hope. It’s what many of us cling to in difficult seasons, and we can do a lot when we come together. Whether you are creating short devotionals or words of encouragement, saying thank you, sharing good news, and celebrating one another, there are reasons to find joy with and in your team.

 

 

Categories
Business COVID-19

Skills to Develop for Post-Coronavirus

In the midst of Covid-19, we are experiencing adjustments in our everyday work flow, getting on numerous video calls and searching for new software. We all have a sneaking suspicion that life after this pandemic will not resemble what we were used to. In this time as we’re learning new skills, we may see some of them shift into new, normal skills. Below, you’ll find an article from Forbes outlining expected skills.

8 Job Skills to Succeed in a Post-Coronavirus World | Bernard Marr, April 2020

 

Categories
COVID-19

Communicating Across the Cyberspace

There is a reason the phase communication is key has been relevant for so long. It’s hardly ever an easy task and has only increased in difficulty during Covid-19. Between text messages and emails, tones are mishandled and wording isn’t always clear. Although many of you who use coworking spaces have adjusted to remote communication, it is new for many of us. Approaching conflict, having difficult conversations, and clearly sharing ideas isn’t as easy as expected. Hopefully, these tidbits of information below are helpful to you and your team! And if you have any additional thoughts on this topic, make sure to share them at the bottom of this page.

Get Tech Savvy

It may sound like a challenge, but it gets easy with a little bit of time. The bulk of this work comes through research–which anyone can do! A simple Google search will help you find a good video conferencing platform, a way to manage your new schedule, or a tool to easily converse with your team. It’s important to keep not only an easy tool in mind, but also how your team will adjust to it. Not all platforms and tools are user friendly, but you’re bound to find one that works for everyone. To help you get started with your search, read our blog about Navigating Business in Uncertain Times.

Keep it Simple

Just because you find a tool that says it’ll help you communicate better with your team doesn’t mean it will. When looking for tools, consider the time it takes to onboard everyone involved. Major shifts in your communication style could cause more harm than good. Instead, try to find your current holes in communication and fill them. Your overall goal is to create a clear communication path where shared ideas are easy to understand, find, and reiterate. 

Rely on Face-to-Face Communication

Although you cannot physically meet in person, do not limit your face-to-face interactions. The best way to stay in communication with your team is through video conferences. Check in with everyone, share ideas, and continue conversations as normal. This will help to prevent any frustrations, misinterpreted tones, and will benefit the overall comradery of your team!

We’ll all learn as we go during this time, but we can help make it easier! And remember: dream teams are important now more than ever. So get together with your coworkers and have fun navigating this change together!

Categories
COVID-19

What COVID-19 has Taught me so far

Written by Samantha Proctor

It’s day 62,843 of quarantine, right?  I’d be lying if I said I haven’t worn the same outfit for 3 days in a row…oops.  Most days I can’t even remember if it’s Tuesday or Friday, or if I’ve eaten anything today. What I do know is that this pandemic is something that our generation, heck, even the generation before us, has never seen. I don’t know how to navigate this, and going to my parents for advice is useless. For me, this has been a period where I am in uncharted territory. We are having to figure this out alone. Luckily, we’re 3 weeks in and some very valuable life lessons have been learned! These made a huge impact on my family so far,  and I pray they help you as well! 

 

Family comes first

I am so lucky to work for a company that has always instilled this in their employees. I do have workaholic tendencies, but being a 39 week expectant mom has really made this sink in. At the end of the day, I have to do what’s best for my husband, my unborn son, and myself. The thought of going anywhere that I could bring germs into my house is a scary thought. I am learning each day that regardless of what is going on outside of my house, it isn’t near as important as what is happening and who is inside my house. 

 

Even if you feel alone, you’re not

This time of ‘quarantine’ or isolation, whatever you want to call it, is sad. Especially when your spouse is an ‘essential’ worker, and you find yourself spending all of your time at home alone. The feelings of loneliness tend to creep in during this time. I had to remind myself, and still have to, that this is temporary. Quarantine will not last forever. I am not alone, because hundreds of thousands of people all over Georgia are in the same boat. If they can do it, we can too. Just because you’re alone, doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. 

 

Control what you can

This kinda brings me back to the ‘family comes first’ point. I have learned that I can control what happens in my house, and for the most part, control what my family does. What I can’t control is how the media thrives on our fear and anxiety, and I can’t control how irresponsible other people are. What I can control is how much attention I give the media and I can control my decisions to stay as sanitary as possible. This situation that we’re stuck in has really forced me to let go of the reigns.

 

Let go and let God

A huge part of letting go of control is letting God have it. My faith has really been tested during this pandemic. Jeremiah 29:11 has been playing in my mind for the past 62,843 days (okay, I’m being dramatic, more like 20!): “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  God has us in His hands. He knows how this will all play out, and I have to put my trust in that–even when I don’t want to. Even when I am feeling alone, sad, and like the world is crashing down around me, God has my back (and yours!). 

Moral of the story is we are going to be okay. Our anxieties may be high, we may be seeing business repercussions of this global pandemic, we may be feeling alone and depressed, but write this down: “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.” Read it, write it down, say it aloud. Make it your mantra for this time–and really for every day. We’ve got this, friends! There is a light at the end of the tunnel!