The end and beginning of a year always bring copious amounts of lists. Whether you believe in New Years Resolutions or not, January is a great time to evaluate what works and doesn’t work for you. As more and more people mobilize their life via smartphones, apps have become an essential part of streamlining your life. Check out these two lists from Inc. to help your productivity and to improve office tasks!

Image from Inc. Magazine article, "10 Apps to Keep You More Organized and Productive" (Original Source: Getty)
Image from Inc. Magazine article, “10 Apps to Keep You More Organized and Productive” (Original Source: Getty)

resolutions-blog-sohosoleil

You know the drill: every year we set unrealistic, life changing New Year’s resolutions, and every year, we quit in February. In order to prevent this never-ending cycle, why not refine your work resolutions now, instead of waiting until January 1? Get together with your team at work and brainstorm on how to start off 2016 on the right foot.

Break it down
Is it really possible that your company is going to come up with a groundbreaking, world-changing solution in a year? Chances are, it will take more research and background work than initially planned. Instead of setting one huge yet vague goal, try and come up with multiple, smaller achievements that can be implemented throughout the year.

Set a timeline
Once you’ve broken down your resolutions into bite size pieces, it’s important to attach deadlines to said goals. Setting a timeline helps your team to visualize the bigger picture and continues to drive them. Small victories along the way will make you feel more productive!

Divide and conquer
Delegating and giving each member of your team a responsibility will foster overall accountability within your group. This can also be used as a chance to develop each member’s personal strengths while achieving a common purpose.

The new normal
Make sure that the “New Year” resolutions are incorporated into your weekly or monthly meeting agendas. Remember, this year, the resolutions are not a one-time thing but a conscious effort to drive and motivate your team.

creative meeting space nyc

SoHoSoleil’s list of 10 fun spots in NYC to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner:

SPICE MARKET 403 West 13th Street

Spice Market is serving up your favorite autumnal plates with a Southeast Asian twist. The restaurant’s family style dining experience truly makes it a feast for everyone.

STRIP HOUSE 13 East 12th Street

This iconic NY steak house is offering a mouthwatering set of Thanksgiving meals alongside its standard a la carte menu. Strip House will take you back to old school New York with its dimly lit, sultry atmosphere.

THE RED CAT 227 10th Avenue

The Red Cat’s fancy yet cozy ambience will be perfect for a lovely meal with your favorite people, without all the kitchen mess.

SAXON + PAROLE 316 Bowery

The restaurant’s turkey day menu is looking just as fierce as its impeccable bar. Plus, they’re serving a “Tower of Treats” for dessert with everything from tarts to cheesecake bites.

DIRTY FRENCH 180 Ludlow Street

Dirty French, located in The Ludlow Hotel, is bold, plush, and boasts serious dinner vibes. Join the Lower East Siders and work up a serious appetite beforehand because this meal is sure to wow you.

THE GANDER 15 West 18th Street

This Flatiron charm lists their all-time favorites on their Thanksgiving prix fixe. It’s the perfect dinner to feast on both the famous sea trout tartare and delicious roast turkey.

NARCISSA 25 Cooper Square

Enjoy the freshest and the trendiest farm to table dinner at Narcissa. All their ingredients are sourced from the restaurant’s private farm upstate!

SANT AMBROEUS 265 Lafayette Street

Whether you are in the Upper East Side, West Village, or SoHo, celebrate a subtly European Thanksgiving with Sant Ambroeus at all three restaurant locations.

GEMMA 335 Bowery

Gemma in The Bowery Hotel is woody and hearty and plenty romantic. Come here for the food, but you’ll want to order another bottle of wine, and stay for the mood.

MAIALINO 2 Lexington Avenue

Maialino won’t give you a key to the Gramercy Park, but it will serve a savory meal overlooking the beautiful neighborhood for a memorable New York City Thanksgiving.

introducing creativity blogs by sohosoleil

Inspiration for creativity could be found anywhere if you look hard enough. But, sometimes we want a one-stop location to refuel our thoughts. Here are four blogs where creativity is abundant and ever present. Check out their blogs, follow them on Twitter, and let your mind run wild.

Brain Pickings
This blog seeks to thoroughly understand life by connecting the dots within the world around us. Maria Popova, the brain behind the operation, curates and researches content that will inspire your mind and your soul. She pulls experiences and stories from past and present authors, inspiring you to dig deeper into your own world.

Design Taxi
Design Taxi is a SoHoSoleil favorite! The “Creativity” tab features stories from Halloween costumes to relatable comic drawings to design inspirations. It also has designer and creative-specific resources, like font pairing suggestions and resume templates, for your benefit.

The Creative Mind
The Creative Mind explores the nature of creativity and creative people through a psychological lens. It will help you understand the mind of an artist or how anxiety factors into creativity. The more informed you are, the better you can express yourself.

Creative Boom
They’re all about “celebrating creativity in both work and play.” This lifestyle approach to creativity lends itself to a wide selection of inspiration. The Creative Boom can fill your idea quota from Art to Travel, and everything in between.

Doodle During Meeting SoHoSoleil

Doodling once had a bad reputation, but research has proven that it could be beneficial, if practiced effectively. Studies have found doodling to spur creativity, promote memory retention, and increase focus. Try and incorporate doodles into your next meeting!

Doodle-friendly agenda
The beauty of doodling is its low-commitment. It can be done on virtually any corner or scrap of paper, notebook, and other paper surface. Why not provide space on your meeting agenda? Set up your handouts to be doodle-friendly by having wider margins and less words. This will allow the creative hands and minds to take notes in ways that will appeal to their memory. Plus, if your members don’t want to doodle, they’ll have room to take traditional notes. It’s a win-win.

Easel pad brainstorms
If your meeting has a breakout brainstorming session, give the groups an easel pad and see how they present their ideas. Having a larger white piece of paper will provide ample room for your team members to get creative with their explanations. Pictures really are worth a thousand words.

Wordless meeting
If you are really pushing for a think-outside-the-box environment, encourage a wordless moment during your meeting where attendees can only express themselves via pictures and doodles. This is a great way to break from traditional, linear thinking. By associating words and feelings with a visual aspect, it will solidify memory. For example, ask attendees to summarize the most important aspect of the meeting with a doodle. This way, they can leave with a visual symbol of the meeting!

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Your boss has asked you to run the next offsite meeting. You could lead a run-of-the-mill, boring meeting at your offsite session, or you could step up your meeting facilitator game. Here are some informative links that will help you learn more about leading a successful meeting.

What is a meeting facilitator?
Mainly, the role of a meeting facilitator is to lead an effective and easy meeting, where the team is engaged and time is respected. This article from MindTools elucidates on the role of a facilitator.

What characteristics does an excellent facilitator exhibit?
Anyone can lead a meeting, but not everyone will make it a successful one. This post from Danny Beckett Jr. outlines some defining characteristics of a great facilitator and provides some outstanding tips on getting started.

How can you improve your meetings?
So you understand what a meeting facilitator is. How can you apply it in real meetings? Here are some tips from ArchPoint Consulting and Jessica Bell that can help you apply it in real time. Both articles seem to agree on one thing: know your audience.

Meeting Trends

As we head into the last few months of 2015, here are four meeting trends that your company must try before the year is over in order to prepare you for the coming year and finish off this one on a high note.

Exquisite catering
With so many healthy food options, meeting hosts are becoming more particular about their dining options. There have been many formal and informal studies on how meals affect the productivity level of meeting attendees. Gone are the days of ordering twenty boxes of pizza and calling it a meal. Now, meeting hosts pay close attention to dietary needs and healthy savories. Green juices optional!

Intimate venues
As more companies seek to create a strong office culture, they are looking for more intimate venues where co-workers can brainstorm and bond together. Instead of looking for monotonous hotel conference spaces, these companies are searching for creative meeting spaces that can adapt to their creativity and specific needs. Meetings in 2015 are about personalization and creating a vibe that fits the company.

Variety in space
Another meeting trend is the option of breakout spaces or adaptable meeting rooms. More companies are looking for varieties in space because it helps them to compartmentalize and better focus on specific projects. The ability to utilize breakout rooms helps to achieve different goals while maintaining team building.

Connectivity
The verdict is split on this: do social media and gadgets help or hurt productivity during meetings? While browsing Instagram during important meetings will probably hurt your productivity, being connected may have its benefits pre and post meeting. Productivity apps like Basecamp can help you organize your teams and set clear goals for a meeting prior to the date. After the meeting, team members can further connect with one another in order to fulfill whatever was established during the meeting. The key to staying connected is finding ways to maximize productivity along the way.

How to plant and care for tulips

Each year, we vow to eat healthier and make more conscious eating choices. It works out for a month or so, and before we know it, we’re sucked back into easy and fast options during crowded lunchtimes. There are numerous articles on how food affects our mood, brain, and productivity in the workplace. We’ve all read some of these articles or even actively researched them. However, executing a healthy plan is harder than reading about it. Instead, let little changes accumulate over time.

Healthy hack #1: snack drawer
We all have one of these: the personal drawer/locker/cubby at work that’s like an extension of our home. Snacking during the day will prevent you from overeating during your lunch hour, which could easily lead to the dreaded afternoon slump. So, why not stash some yummy nuts in your drawer? Plus, if you have a refrigerator, the snack options are endless! Bring some Greek yogurt, or fresh fruit that will stave off the hunger pangs and keep you from being “hangry” (when you’re so hungry that it makes you angry). Caution: leave the 10 bars of chocolate at home though.

Healthy hack #2: order ahead
If you live in a city with access to food delivery, then you can order ahead! Don’t wait until your stomach is screaming, “I want burgers and cheese fries because I’m so stressed!” After you have your mid-morning snack, place an order for lunch, when you are less likely to splurge on unhealthy fuel. People say don’t go to the grocery store hungry. By extension, don’t order delivery hungry.

Healthy hack #3: replace the caffeine
By three in the afternoon, you may have had three cups of coffee already and are reaching for your fourth. Stop yourself! Try and replace at least one cup of caffeine with a healthier juice. Green juices are easy to make yourself at home, and are available widely. The coldness will wake you up and the healthy ingredients will energize your brain to push through another productive workday.

While it may be difficult to make drastic changes overnight, implementing little habits can accumulate and make an easier transition to a healthy lifestyle at work. Don’t ruin your productive streak with a heavy meal that will drag you down. Try different methods and tailor your food that will satisfy your hunger and help you maximize your productive day at work!

icebreakers

Icebreakers are meant to create a more comfortable environment during trainings and meetings. More often than not, attendees end up feeling awkward and the interactions feel forced. Sure, trust falls were a corporate hit in the 90’s, but in 2015, at the peak of company culture and strong office environment, icebreakers could seem outdated and ineffective. Trying to enforce an icebreaker activity on a group larger than 10 members may not always pan out as intended. Instead, try and facilitate smaller groups for more effective engagement.

Conversations over food

Meals are an excellent way to bond with people. If different teams are collaborating during a meeting, try mixing up the lunch table. A smaller group can draw out the introverts and make conversations more meaningful and memorable. Plus, it’ll be much easier to remember 5 names rather than 25.

Seating arrangements

The point of icebreakers is to introduce new people and alleviate the awkwardness. This is especially difficult in a large meeting group with limited interactions. It may be helpful to randomly assign seats for the meeting so that each team member can brainstorm ideas with someone new. This will feel like an easy effort to get to know another person.

If you are able to seamlessly facilitate an icebreaker session, then by all means, utilize your method! However, the key focus should be centered on creating significant meetings between people. When it comes to icebreakers, it should be about quality, not quantity, of interactions!

Where to find

Whether you are a professional creative or a for-fun creative, there are days when you feel as though you’ve exhausted all inspiration around you. No amount of brainstorming and doodling excites you to pursue your creative field. Fear not! You are not any less creative because you’ve hit a minor slump – it happens to the best of us. What you might need is a healthy dose of offbeat inspiration.

IN NATURE

Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? Either way, try to find inspiration from nature. Observe the way that the animals move, the sound of the trees rustling, or how the sunlight is reflected off of various surfaces. Could these natural occurrences be incorporated and translated into your latest project? We may often forget, living in a concrete jungle, but we live in sync with the nature around us. Take a cue from the original creative, Mother Earth!

IN OPPOSITE INTERESTS

Do you have a finely curated following on your social media of people who inspire you? Are they the top executives and directors in your field of interest? Branch out and let people from different fields become an inspiration. Sure, entrepreneurs will benefit from listening to TED Talks from other well-established innovators before them. However, seeking stimulation from outside sources may teach a valuable lesson and add a different angle to your project.

Finding inspiration itself shouldn’t be the hardest part. There is so much that we can learn and absorb from everything around us! However, we need to approach it with an open mind and a desire to be inspired.

 

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