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3 Morning Habits that Create Productive Days

3 Morning Habits that Create Productive Days

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3 Morning Habits that Create Productive Days

Benjamin Franklin once said, “The early morning has gold in its mouth.” Coming from a Founding Father known for rising early with purpose, the quote speaks to the importance of starting your day the right way. Unfortunately for high-powered business leaders, our days tend to evaporate quickly into puffs of emails, meetings and long to-do lists; the maintenance work of leadership has a pesky habit of devouring days and weeks, leaving little time left for “golden” opportunities.

However, in the information age, innovation happens in split-second intervals and the competition moves even faster. Those hours slipping through your fingers are precious. What’s more, recent research has indicated a connection between flow – a term created by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi for a state of total immersion in a job – and innovation. The catch? Flow’s main requirement is focused time.

In order to remain ahead of the pack, time for innovation and creativity is crucial, and starting your day off right is the first step to freeing up precious space for flow. Below are three proven techniques you can begin to create productive days.

Wake Early … Seriously

If you’ve ever perused (or consumed) productivity articles, you’ve likely been encouraged to start your day earlier. Assuredly, you’ve read story after story where successful people (individuals like Michelle Obama, Richard Branson and Howard Schultz) laud the early morning hours as critical parts of their day. If you’re like many Americans, you’ve probably vowed to start the habit, set your alarm for 5:30 a.m. … and hit “snooze” until 7:08.

Waking up before the sun is difficult, even for those who call themselves “morning people.” It takes discipline and commitment, but there’s a reason that a good chunk of the most successful people in business all possess this habit: Mornings are gifts. They’re normally quiet and often free from responsibilities; in other words, they’re the perfect time for flow.

Moreover, studies have shown a connection between individuals who wake up early and achieving high success. A Harvard Business Review article found that “people whose performance peaks in the morning are better positioned for career success, because they’re more proactive than people who are at their best in the evening.”

Think back to any important event in your life — your wedding, a huge test, the birth of your child – for each of these moments: You prepared, often months in advance, making sure you had everything you needed to succeed. Why would you treat your workday any differently?

Waking up early gives you time to thoroughly plan out your day. It provides an uninterrupted stretch for strategizing, concentrating or meditating — you’re in the zone from the get-go.

Focus on a Daily Gratitude

When you sit at your desk first thing, you’re likely bombarded both with the day’s expectations and yesterday’s tasks. It’s easy to simply dive in without really considering which jobs are the most beneficial. Often we toggle between tasks, feeling productive at the onset, but producing unfocused work.

In order to get the most out of your day, it’s important to begin at the most productive place: a place of gratitude. Several happiness psychologists have shown a clear connection between gratitude, productivity and creative problem-solving.

In fact, a study found that participants who kept a weekly gratitude list were “more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.”

Gratitude doesn’t have to be an ordeal; each morning, take one minute to think about one thing you’re grateful for. Focus intensely on that single blessing and actually allow yourself to feel the natural happiness that comes with the thought. This jolt of pleasure allows your brain to function better than when it’s stressed or even neutral. Then, reap the benefits for the rest of your day.

 Find a Winning Ritual

Have you ever noticed how many famous athletes are superstitious?

Michael Jordan reportedly wore his University of North Carolina shorts under his uniform during every game he played for the Chicago Bulls. Tennis superstar Serena Williams has a specific way she ties her shoelaces, bounces the ball and carries her shower sandals onto the court.

These rituals may seem bizarre and unnecessary, but there is a reason so many high-performing athletes succumb to the power of superstitions: They often work. Or more accurately, athletes think that they work, so they work.

Studies have shown a link between routine superstitions and performance. An article published in the journal Psychological Science noted that superstition typically leads to increased self-efficacy, which in turn can lead to improved performance. There is real value in finding a motivational mantra or activity that you can control and practice every day. As a leader in your industry, it’s easy to feel like you’re constantly spinning different plates — that at any moment, everything can crash at your feet. However, starting your day with a simple, small ritual you can control actually helps you address the things you can change and accept the things you cannot.

Before you grab that lucky rabbit’s foot, consider making the ritual unassuming and something you would be comfortable doing in public. Perhaps take four deep breaths before you open your email or pour in a specific “lucky” creamer for your coffee each morning; whatever the quirk, use it to build valuable confidence that propels you to where you want to be: in the winner’s circle.


Holly Faurot

by Holly Faurot


Author Bio: Faurot, vice president of client relations, has served in a number of roles during her tenure at Paycom, including regional vice president, sales training manager and sales consultant. A born leader and a 2012 honoree in Oklahoma’s 30 Under 30 awards, she has helped a number of individuals and clients achieve success through her energetic spirit. The product of a dairy farm in Kenefic, Okla., Faurot was taught at a young age the importance of working hard, being honest and having a desire to help others.

Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Trump Announces 2 Changes to ACA

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On Oct. 12, President Donald Trump ordered comprehensive changes to the nation’s health insurance system while also, in a separate move, ended health care subsidies for low-income Americans. The White House billed the decisions as relief to those suffering under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while the opposition condemned these changes as actions aimed at undercutting the ACA.

Expansion of association health plans and short-term insurance

The executive order signed by Trump directs federal agencies to make it easier to set up “association health plans,” which are groups of small businesses that pool together to buy insurance. The order also seeks to broaden the definition of short-term insurance from three months to almost a year in duration.

By expanding both these types of plans, the administration expects insurance to be less costly than the plans sold on the state-based insurance exchanges, which provide more extensive coverage options. One concern, however, is healthy customers will jump out of the individual markets for cheaper plans, leaving sicker customers on the underwritten exchanges.

Health care subsidies to end

Trump also will end health care subsidy payments to insurance companies that used them to pay out-of-pocket costs for low-income people receiving coverage through the exchanges. The future of these payments have been in doubt for months – dating back to the Obama administration – because of a lawsuit filed by House Republicans. The lawsuit alleged the Obama administration was paying these subsidies illegally because Congress had never authorized the cost-sharing arrangement.

Until now, the Trump administration had continued the payments on a monthly basis. A group of state attorneys general has indicated it will sue to block the administration from ending these payments, which it claims will cause the individual markets to unravel.

ACA Awaits Repeal or Repair

What this means for employers

Neither of these changes is aimed primarily at employers subject to the ACA employer mandate, so clients using Paycom’s ACA services likely won’t see a direct impact to their obligations under the law. However, the tweaks indirectly could result in higher costs to employer-sponsored plans.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

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Posted in ACA, Blog, Compliance, Employment Law, Featured

Jason Hines

by Jason Hines


Author Bio: Jason Hines is a Paycom compliance attorney. With more than five years’ experience in the legal field, he monitors developments in human resource laws, rules and regulations to ensure any changes are promptly updated in Paycom’s system for our clients. Previously, he was an attorney at the Oklahoma City law firm Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson. Hines earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and his juris doctor degree from the Oklahoma City University School of Law, where he graduated cum laude. A fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Hines also enjoys exploring the great outdoors with his wife and daughter.

EEO-1 Pay Data

EEO-1 Pay Data Requirements on Indefinite Hold

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The EEO-1 report is changing once again. Recently, the new pay data and hours worked requirements announced last year were suspended indefinitely by the Office of Information Regulatory Affairs. While employers will report Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) information in a familiar format, they need to be aware of key date changes.

3 important changes

The biggest change to the report is the suspension of the requirement to report pay data and hours worked. For 2017, employers will report in the prior 2016 format, which only collects data on race, ethnicity and gender by occupational category. When the new EEO-1 requirements were announced by the Obama administration last year, the 2017 reporting deadline was moved from Sept. 30, 2017, to March 31, 2018.

According to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) statement, “the previously approved EEO-1 form which collects data on race, ethnicity and gender by occupational category will remain in effect. Employers should plan to comply with the earlier approved EEO-1 (Component 1) by the previously set filing date of March 2018.” Additionally, the previously approved “workforce snapshot” period of Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 will remain in effect. Therefore, employers must submit reports based on a payroll period within that time frame.

Summary of the changes:

  • The deadline to file EEO-1 reports for 2017 is March 31, 2018;
  • Reports must be based on a payroll period in October, November or December of 2017; and,
  • Employers may use the same EEO-1 form used in 2016.

The EEOC has not yet fully updated its website to reflect this new information, but the home page provides some explanation.

Pay data requirement gone?

The pay data and hours worked requirements simply have been suspended. Until the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) completes its review of the rule, their future is unclear. The OMB is concerned that some aspects of the revised rule “lack practical utility, are unnecessarily burdensome, and do not adequately address privacy and confidentiality issues.” The acting chair of the EEOC, Victoria Lipnic, has been vocal with her opposition to the pay data requirement, which she voted against when it was initially proposed.

Although the EEO-1 report appears to be ditching the pay data requirement, state governments may step in to fill the void. Under a proposal in California, employers in the state with more than 500 employees would be required to submit information to the Secretary of State on gender wage differentials. Although this measure has not been signed by the governor, employers should monitor this legislation, which would go into effect in 2019.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

Tags: , ,
Posted in Blog, Compliance, Employment Law, Featured

Jason Hines

by Jason Hines


Author Bio: Jason Hines is a Paycom compliance attorney. With more than five years’ experience in the legal field, he monitors developments in human resource laws, rules and regulations to ensure any changes are promptly updated in Paycom’s system for our clients. Previously, he was an attorney at the Oklahoma City law firm Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson. Hines earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and his juris doctor degree from the Oklahoma City University School of Law, where he graduated cum laude. A fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Hines also enjoys exploring the great outdoors with his wife and daughter.

Employee Experience

The Winning Workforce Equation

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The term “the employee experience” is thrown around frequently in HR today. It’s not the same as “employee engagement,” another well-known industry buzzword. With trends evolving at such a rapid pace, what is this new concept that’s making waves in the industry?

Looking for a deeper dive into the employee experience? Check out the HR Break Room podcast episode, “Happy Employees = Happy Customers: The Equation for a Winning Workforce” with author Jacob Morgan.

According to the author of The Employee Experience Advantage, Jacob Morgan, the employee experience is the sum of a worker’s experiences, good or bad, during his or her term of employment at an organization. A business can enhance that experience by addressing and influencing the elements of culture, technology and physical space. He calls the combination of these three things, “the employee experience equation.” As Morgan said, “When you invest in the employee experience, you’ll start to notice an engaged workforce. And an engaged workforce will deliver business outcomes.”

Culture – a side effect

A healthy corporate culture is one of the three critical pieces of a great employee experience. Employees spend a significant amount of their lives at work, which makes the atmosphere and community of the organization essential. When people spend 40 hours a week of what Morgan calls “prolonged exposure” in the workplace with their peers, certain company ideas and attitudes are all but contagious. A healthy culture can promote a fun environment, hard work ethic and cohesive teamwork. On the flip side, an unhealthy culture can promote stressful work, toxic drama and a “business first, people second” environment that inevitably will lead to high turnover.

It is important to remember no organization can have a truly “perfect” culture; the trick is to create your ideal culture by ensuring your organization’s core values align with the people you want to see in your organization.

Technology – supports employee growth

As the central nervous system of your organization, technology will continue to power the future of work. The employee experience is only possible because of the communication and collaboration available through today’s technology. Without advances such as applicant tracking systems or messenger apps, a business cannot have an optimal recruitment or talent-tracking process, or real-time feedback or recognition. Technology empowers everything when we think about the future of work: your people and your business needs.

Organizations that don’t invest in technology will find that the human aspects surrounding it will start to break down. Investing in technology ensures your employees have all the tools they need to succeed and grow.

Space – a symbol

Whether a corporate headquarters, coffee shop or home office, everybody works in a physical space, the last critical piece to the equation. The physical workspace is also a symbol that represents your organization, and as technology continues to evolve, leading companies are creating incentives to bring employees back to the office. Creating a vibrant, technological workplace connects your employees’ sense of belonging and purpose to their jobs.

The employee experience is the next future investment for organizations dedicated to workforce happiness. Ensure your employees’ well-being by taking the first steps in your organization by opening communication in these three key areas: culture, technology and physical space.

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Posted in Blog, Employee Experience, Featured, Talent Management

caleb.masters

by Caleb Masters


Author Bio: Caleb is the host of The HR Break Room and a Webinar and Podcast Producer at Paycom. With more than 5 years of experience as a published online writer and content producer, Caleb has produced dozens of podcasts and videos for multiple industries both local and online. Caleb continues to assist organizations creatively communicate their ideas and messages through researched talks, blog posts and new media. Outside of work, Caleb enjoys running, discussing movies and trying new local restaurants.

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