Posts tagged with "productivity"

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Meya Platform Announces Partnership with Artists Jamie Jones and Lee Burridge

Music and Meditation Platform MEYA Announces Jamie Jones and Lee Burridge as New Partner

Artist Partners to Contribute Exclusive Productions Fusing Electronic Music, Psychoacoustics, and Meditation to Bridge the Gap Between Music and Mindfulness

Download the MEYA App to Experience the Exclusive Music Mind Journey via the App Store and Google Play Store

Well-being, music, and meditation platform MEYA has announced electronic music’s leading artists Jamie Jones and Lee Burridge as new equity partners. Jones and Burridge will contribute exclusive tracks and meditation remixes to the app as part of their Music Mind Journey series, which bridges the gap between music, meditation, and mental health.

The collaborative project aims to transcend the typical confines of meditation, interweaving multi-level brainwave entrainment and vocal guidance with the deeply immersive experiences and psychoacoustic effects achieved through music. This unique fusion allows users to make meditation as empowering as an unforgettable experience on the dancefloor or as deep and emotional as listening to your favorite songs.

Download MEYA to Hear Exclusive Music from Jamie Jones and Lee Burridge via Apple and Google Play

Fans of electronic music know the genre has an ability to trigger states of deep presence, elevation, and connectedness, similar to those achieved through meditation. MEYA harnesses and infuses specific sound frequencies and rhythmic arrangements in its meditation practices in order to trigger the same peak moments that Jamie and Lee are renowned for.

MEYA’s new partners bring their own experience with both meditation and the stresses they’ve faced in the world of dance music to the platform, helping others overcome the hurdles of mental health felt around the industry and beyond.

Speaking on the MAYA platform, Jamie Jones stated What I like about MEYA is that I’ve always found the different frequencies that are used to record music very interesting. I came across 432 a few years before I discovered the MEYA app. I was really intrigued to find out whether your body did feel differently listening to music tuned to this frequency. I noticed I only had to meditate for half as long to get the same feeling. I felt that the combination of mediation and the sounds available made it much easier and more effective in a shorter period of time. I was gaining the same benefits in half the amount of meditation time. In my opinion, it definitely feels like you get more out of it without having to be as advanced or meditate for as long.

Jamie’s first exclusive MEYA production sets the stage for a special Music Mind Journey titled Choice. It’s a dreamlike track featuring delicate piano and relaxing synth work that is perfect for letting go and giving yourself a moment of calm. This feeling is enhanced by embedded vocal guidance that, like a guided meditation, invites listeners to breathe and achieve a deep state of presence, acceptance, and self-love. Its empowering lyrics remind listeners that you always have a choice to love yourself while building on your strengths.  

Lee Burridge’s first contribution to the platform is a unique remix of his iconic track Float On from the collaborative 2019 album Melt on Lost Desert. The song pulls listeners into the melodic and entrancing world that All Day I Dream has fostered over the past decade at events around the world. Now, a meditation remix of the song is available to MEYA users looking to dig deeper and understand the concept of awakening and achievement more fully, featuring vocals inviting listeners to change your perspective on life…from a victim mentality to a victorious reality. 

The revolutionary MEYA platform harnesses the human affinity for rhythm and connectivity through dance to help users reduce stress, quieten the mind, and reach meditative states more easily and deeply. The peak experiences and flow states felt on the dance floor can be translated into science-backed practice, bringing moments of awakening into everyday life.  

Each stage of the MEYA journey – Music, Mind, and Awakening – is enriched with binaural beats and is recorded in 432hz, a healing frequency used in ancient traditions that facilitates relaxation and alleviates physical and emotional stress. Each meditation session is available with a wide selection of music genres: from ambient soundscapes to organic downtempo shamanic rhythms and uplifting electronic beats in order to assist with focus, sleep, meditation, movement, motivation, relaxation, and inspiration.

In MEYA founder Raffaele Ricci’s own words, We are very excited to have Lee and Jamie on board, sharing the same vision to create electronic music to help more people with their mental and spiritual wellbeing. Our aim is to make meditation as easy and enjoyable as listening to a song and extend “beyond meditation” by sharing practices and insights to help unleash the inner power that we all have inside. Our mission is to help our users achieve an empowered and awakened mindset, equipping them with the tools to transform any life challenge into an opportunity.

With clubs and festivals having been impacted globally, MEYA and their artists believe there has never been a more pivotal time to remember the unifying power of music and its quantifiable psychological and physiological benefits. In this way, MEYA also provides a way forward for music industry professionals to overcome the stresses and anxieties surrounding the uncertainties of the field and around the clock commitments.  

A recent study from a Help Musicians UK commissioned survey found that 71% of musicians experienced anxiety and/or panic attacks, while 68.5% experienced one or more episodes of depression during the course of their career. In response to this and the issues that impact mental health regardless of industry or location, MEYA aims to bring training into everyday life to relieve anxiety and give users control of their minds with the help of bespoke music content.  

With over 15,000 users, 200 specially crafted tracks, and 100 guided meditation courses, MEYA offers a complete toolbox for those looking to maximize their mental and emotional potential in a turbulent world. 

Download MEYA today to begin your mindfulness, meditation, and awakening journey. 

More About MEYA

Why does MEYA combine Music, Dance, and Meditation?

Music has the ability to shift our state of mind – from mood enhancement and relaxation to a sense of connection with others in a shared space. Similarly, meditation reduces the stress hormone cortisol, improves sleep, and rewires the brain.

Those who have attended dance music events and concerts know the feeling of connectivity shared between crowds, creating a single entity made from many unique participants. MEYA harnesses this idea of a vibe in a quantifiable psychological and physiological method.

Combining music and meditation is not a traditional way to meditate, but it has proven to work. When we are lost in music we get a taste of nirvana naturally without any rigorous training. MEYA leverages the power of music to switch off the mind, making meditation easier and more enjoyable than ever.

MEYA App Content

MEYA Music – Productions categorized by focus, chill, sound healing, sleep, and binaural beats. 

MEYA Dance Meditation – A full category dedicated to Dance Meditation journeys: a combination of uplifting dance tracks combined with embedded vocal guidance, well-being practices, insights, positive affirmations, and visualization.

MEYA Mind – A multi-level course to master your mind, overcome your limiting beliefs, and achieve your personal goals. Also included are guided meditations, affirmations, mental coaching, NLP and hypnotic visualization aids to help sleep, and a specialized performance and productivity optimization section.

Music Awakening –  A seven-level course with over 50 Music Mind Journeys aimed to help to trigger an awakened mentality through providing insights and practices which train the mind to find the opportunity in all of life’s challenges.

Follow Meya via their Facebook and Instagram.

illustration by Kaelen Felix for use by 360 Magazine

Benefits of Buying Tailbone Cushion Seat for Your Daily Use

Research shows that many people spend several hours sited. And so, are you among these individuals? Sitting for long periods can hurt you, including tiredness, severe back pain, or lower back pain. To avoid such complications, you should ensure you have an ergonomic seat. One way of having such a seat is by adding a cushion to it. These are the benefits of these cushions.

Helps with Better Digestion

Sitting in some office chairs compresses your abdomen and pelvis. When these areas experience compression, you may suffer digestion problems. This compression can further cause constipation or heartburn. You may develop other severe conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, whose symptoms include abdominal cramps, bloating to mention but a few.

After eating some heavy meal, you should not compress your digestive system by using an office cushion.

Better Concentration at Work

An office cushion gives you better blood circulation and posture. You will be more comfortable and concentrate better at your workplace. The buffer protects you from back pain that hinders your productivity.

Better Productivity

Comfortable employees are more focused and hence productive. The company will also have fewer workers going for sick leave due to back pains. Employees with good health translate to better business performance. The business will also not suffer lawsuits from staff demanding work-related compensation after they suffer injuries.

Available Variety

Do you have a specific office décor theme that you want to maintain? Worry not, for you will find a variety of office cushions that suits you. There are several designs you can select, such as jacquard, plain, or dobby cushions.

You have the option of choosing a gel one, a memorable one, or a mixed one. The gel one transfers heat better while the other lasts longer.

Affordability

Some people avoided seat cushions in the past because of their costs. However, that’s a thing in the past. Currently, the cushions are affordable, and you cannot miss one within your budget from a site like amazon.com/Seat-Cushion-Office-Chair-Desk/dp/B01EBDV9BU/.

More Comfort

Sitting exposes your tailbone to pressure. A good cushion relieves this pressure allowing you to sit longer without experiencing pain. When you are comfortable, you sit upright, thereby maintaining a good posture which translates to better health.

Versatility

Seat cushions are not only applicable at the office. However, you can use them anywhere. You can add cushions to your car seat to improve comfort. If you also love traveling, you can carry one to make your journey more comfortable and enjoyable.

Better Circulation

Sitting for extended periods strains your circulatory system. The blood that’s supposed to flow to your back and legs may also fail to reach such places. Therefore, what happens to your body?

The tissues and muscles located on your back and legs will not have sufficient oxygen, thereby slowing your metabolism. So, you will feel sluggish and regularly tired. You can avoid these by buying a tailbone cushion that improves blood flow to your legs, pelvis, and back.

A tailbone cushion has several benefits. By using it, you will streamline your spine, thereby avoiding many complications because of insufficient blood circulation and digestive problems as you enjoy maximum comfort. Today, you can buy them from platforms like amazon.com/Seat-Cushion-Office-Chair-Desk/dp/B01EBDV9BU/ since they are flexible enough that you can use them in other places, including when driving.

Working From Home illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

The Pandemic x Freelance and Remote Workers

A side-gig in retirement can help pad a nest egg, keep a retiree engaged, and provide wanted structure to days post full-time employment. But rather than settle for part-time work for somebody else, in greater numbers, boomers are using their skills and expertise to earn a side income freelancing online from home, according to a new report from the editors of International Living.

Source: InternationalLiving.com

The “freelance economy” is booming today, and that’s a benefit for expats eager to gain a remote income they could take with them abroad, according to a new report from International Living.

“As we come out of the pandemic, many doors have closed,” says Winton Churchill, founder of Barefoot Consultants, author of the book The “New” Retirement: The Rise of the Gig Economy and How You Can Profit From It, and a contributor to International Living. That poses real challenges to folks who found themselves forced to take an early retirement or laid off a few years shy of a planned retirement, says Churchill.

“But in this sea of bad news, there is the proverbial silver lining,” says Churchill. “The big winner in the post-pandemic world is the freelancer and the remote worker.

“Much has changed for the good, and those who realize it quickly will have an advantage.”

If you’re a baby boomer with some work and life skills, “you’ve never had more options,” Churchill argues.

“Many more companies and organizations are hiring freelancers and remote workers now than they ever had in the past because they are confident that they can successfully have people working remotely” he says.

“Going forward we see a much-increased appetite for freelancers, especially those with deep knowledge, well-honed skills, and lots of experience rebuilding after a big economic shift.

“At the same time, we are seeing millions of job openings go unfilled. Looks like a great opportunity for those age 50+ who learn how to thrive in the world of freelancing and remote work.”

More than 400,000 seniors are now doing gig work through online platforms, according to a recent study by the JPMorgan Chase Institute. Moreover, a recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows the sharpest rise in “alternative work arrangements” was among workers aged 55 to 75.

In the International Living report, Pandemic Boosts Freelancing For Baby Boomers, Winton Churchill identifies three ways the pandemic has changed the freelance climate and three trends for the immediate future.

  1. Resistance Gone

“For the better part of 20 years that I’ve been on freelance networks, there has always been resistance among hiring managers in companies, non-profits, and governments,” Churchill says.

“They felt as if the freelancer, especially if working remotely, would be much less productive than the employee sharing the same office building as the manager.

“But this was demolished during the lockdown as managers discovered freelancers and remote workers were even more productive when working from home and proved capable of keeping their organizations rolling along.”

  1. Employees Working From Home Are Productive

According to workplace benefits consulting firm Mercer, 94% of 800 employers surveyed indicated that productivity was the same as or higher than it was before the pandemic.

“It is amazing how removing a long commute, removing the distraction of irrelevant meetings and office gossip, bad lunches grabbed on the run, and all the other distractions of office life that your remote worker can be even more productive,” Churchill says.

  1. Cool New Tools

“One of the great things that happened during the pandemic is a number of tools came online for people working remotely,” he says in the report. “Some of them were already out there in the marketplace but they’ve been terrifically enhanced for freelancers and remote workers because of the pandemic and lockdowns and people working from home.”

The four tools Churchill mention in his report are Zoom, Slack, Trello, and Asana.

Trends in Freelancing that Benefit Boomers

His trends for the immediate future:

  1. Employers Will Seek More Freelancers in Their Staffing Plans

“Organizations everywhere want more flexibility in their staffing plans. In the past a company may have had 20 employees. Now they will have 12 to 15 core employees and six to eight freelancers that come in during seasonal peaks or to handle very specialized projects.

“This will give organizations better flexibility in controlling their staffing cost while being better able to afford more specialized talent when needed.”

Baby boomers, Churchill argues, are ideal for this sort of employment because they bring expertise, work experience, and professionalism to the table.

  1. Hiring Trends Favor People That Have More Experience

“The ability to build an organization up after a trauma like the pandemic must rely on people who have experience coming back from economic upsets.

“Baby Boomers (and really anyone over age 50+) have faced these kinds of economic upsets many times in their career and met the demands of rebuilding after any economic crisis,” Churchill says.

“Employers are looking for wisdom beyond what we would call ‘book learning’ experience but practical experience seasoned over those decades.”

  1. No More Late Nights (or Long Days) at the Office

“Organizations are taking a long, hard look at what we call ‘the office,’ Churchill says. “They are rethinking how much they really need it, or at least if they need that much of it.

“Some companies have already informed employees they can work from home for the foreseeable future.”

This increased flexibility can be a benefit to people who are eager to earn part-time in retirement, make their own schedules, and have control over where they live and when they work.

The full report can be found, here: Pandemic Boosts Freelancing For Baby Boomers.

For information on his upcoming Online Portable Income Masterclass with Winton Churchill, see here.

Members of the media have permission to republish the article linked above once credit is given to Internationalliving.com

Popcorn illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Entertainment at Home: How to Spend Lockdown with Benefits?

The lockdown has ended up becoming a blessing in disguise. It is the perfect opportunity for you to be able to pick up a new skill. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. If you are able to use the lockdown wisely, then you can surely benefit from it a lot. Use this to your advantage and spend a little more time with yourself. Who knows? By the end of this lockdown, you might evolve into an even better version of who you are now. Read on to find out all the various ways to spend your time productively during the lockdown.

Spending Time Productively in Lockdown

Learn to Cook

This is the time when you find yourself in close proximity to the kitchen the whole day. Ordering in might be a risky bet considering that it might provoke the spread of COVID. So, instead of ordering food from a delivery app, cook it yourself. Start with the simpler things at first like making tea, boiling eggs, etc. As you learn more every day, you can eventually take up cooking initiatives that you never imagined before.

Try New Things

This lockdown, try something that you normally wouldn’t. Spend your time picking up a new skill. There is an endless world out there. Take online gambling for instance. You can get 100 free spins no deposit in UK if you visit online casinos. In this pandemic, as people spend more time at homes, the popularity of online casinos has skyrocketed. More and more people are exploring the world of online gambling because it is thrilling and fun. So, go ahead and explore.

Read More Books

This is the ideal time to read a book. If you are not an avid reader, you might be depriving yourself of one of the most beautiful experiences in life. We all receive books as gifts on our birthdays. On most occasions, those books end up getting dragged to one corner of our shelf and keep collecting dust. Now is the time to get those books out and experience the beautiful stories they tell.

Bond with Family

We live in an age of preoccupations. Everyone is preoccupied with something or the other. Children are busy studying; parents are busy working. We are hardly able to make time for each other. However, the lockdown has changed it, even though temporarily. In the lockdown, a unique phenomenon has taken place. Every member of the family is under one roof. Children are getting to attend online classes and parents are getting to work from home. So, start spending more time with each other. Begin with the simpler things like eating at the dinner table together or watching a movie.

Exercise

You don’t necessarily have to go to a gym to work on your fitness. A free hand workout is the best form of fitness routine. The best thing about it is that it can simply be done at home. So, this lockdown, use the opportunity to work, on your fitness, from home. Go to the terrace, do some stretching. Do some crunches and push-ups. Use the extra time you get at home to improve your health because it will not only help you physically, but also mentally.

Meditate

A lot of people turn out to be rather skeptical when it comes to meditation. However, experts certify meditation to be a genuinely helpful habit. It can result in profound improvement of your mental health and stability. Even more so, in the stressful situation of the global pandemic, you need to calm yourself down. So, practice meditating. It can do wonders.

Watch TV

In the age of Netflix and Amazon Prime, we have gained access to a seemingly endless plethora of interesting shows on TV or computers. Some of the shows have thousands of episodes, each having a running time of at least an hour. Normally, you don’t get the scope to fully watch your favorite shows in the middle of work. Also, by the time you return home, you get too tired. Nevertheless, this is your chance. Switch on the television and watch something with your family.

Do Chores

Use the free time in your hand to perform household chores. Usually, we see the mothers and daughters of the house taking up this crucial responsibility, but why should the men be left out? Pick up the mop and duster. Go ahead and clean your place up. Get into all those remote corners of the room that you have never even looked at before. Reorganize the furniture. Give your humble abode a refreshing new look.

Make a Garden

Gardening can be an extraordinarily soothing way of passing the time. Plants take time to grow and flourish, but when they do, they teach you so much about how delicate life is. Gardening has proven to have hugely positive effects on mental health. An added benefit of doing this is not having to shop for fruits and vegetables outside. After all, you are locked down. You can’t visit the marketplace for buying your cooking ingredients. So, rather grow them at home.

Plan for Future

Since you have more time in your hand, you can concentrate on drafting a course of action for your future. Our lives revolve around various aspects. We have a family to take care of. We have careers to build. We have our own dreams to fulfil. This is the perfect chance of working them all out through meticulous planning.

Try Art

Have you ever explored the artistic side of your personality before? This is the ideal occasion for that. Pick up a paint brush and go ahead. It is also a highly beneficial mental exercise because it helps you work on your precision and focus. There are so many things to take inspiration from. Maybe, try your hand at some glass painting too while you’re at it.

Detox

Enough of indulging in vices, let this lockdown be a detox phase. Rid your body of all the toxins. No smoking and no drinking because, after all, you can’t even if you want to. All the stores are closed. So, might as well use this as a way of benefiting yourself. Use this lockdown to quit your bad habits.

Conclusion

So, we told you about many different ways of using your time productively in the lockdown. However, we saved the best for last. Here it is. As we said earlier, this lockdown offers you the chance to spend some time with yourself. That is very important. So, use this time to write a letter to your future self. When you spend time with yourself, there are thoughts and ideas that you stumble upon which you would normally never even comprehend. Before you end up forgetting them, write them down as a letter for reminding yourself in the future. Make yourself promises. Make your memories immortal. Get a pen and a piece of paper. Then, write your heart out. You will cherish it when the time comes.

How To Maximize Productivity In Music Production

Technology continues to change the face of music, affecting how it’s created, produced and recorded.

But whether all musicians working in their studios are getting the most out of the opportunities technology affords them is another question altogether. In many cases, they may be missing out on technological tips – or at least technological shortcuts – that could help them increase their productivity.

“There are so many ways these days that musicians can increase the amount of quality work they are doing, but people sometimes miss basic shortcuts that can significantly improve their workflow,” says Deborah Fairchild, president of Nashville-based VEVA Sound (www.vevasound.com), which verifies and archives projects for clients in the music industry.

But with the right tools, instead of getting bogged down by minutiae, the musician (or producer) can concentrate on the more creative aspects of the work by taking advantage of methods for doing things more directly and more quickly than would be the ordinary procedure without the technological help.

Fairchild says the engineers at VEVA Sound have provided a few tips to increase productivity in creators’ music workflow:

  • Create, and then work from, custom templates. Within a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), users have the option to create templates that can help speed up the workflow and eliminate repetitive tasks that can drain the creativity out of you. “By creating templates, you gain the ability to start each project from a familiar setup that best accommodates your individual workflow, while keeping best practices in mind,” Fairchild says. “This also fosters continuity between projects so that they will be easier to revisit in the future.”
  • Create custom keyboard shortcuts.  Most DAWs give musicians the ability to create custom keyboard shortcuts.These shortcuts can increase your efficiency exponentially, Fairchild says. “Because there is so much functionality in each of these platforms, creating custom shortcuts will give you quicker access to the functions you use most,” she says. “The result will be that you can produce your desired results with little or no wasted time and effort.”
  • Label everything accurately. Make sure that every track in your project is labeled correctly, Fairchild says. “Is that line an acoustic guitar? Note it,” she says. “The same goes for project files.” Instead of naming something “final mix final final edits 2,” come up with a naming convention that accommodates each improved version of a project in your workflow, such as “My Song_Final Mix_Ready for Master.” Correct labeling can be especially important when you are collaborating because you want everyone involved to know what a track contains without having to guess.

“Ultimately, the right workflow can give musicians a break from fretting over all the little details that slow them down, and allow them to put their imaginations and original ideas front and center in the production process,” Fairchild says. “The result is musicians can be more productive and more creative all at the same time.”

About Deborah Fairchild

Deborah Fairchild, president of VEVA Sound (www.vevasound.com), started her career with the company as an archival engineer in 2004. In the past 16 years she has risen to lead the company in all facets of the business. She has grown VEVA into a global entity servicing major labels in North America and Europe, establishing offices in New York, Los Angeles, and London in addition to the company’s headquarters in Nashville. Fairchild has kept VEVA at the forefront of technology and continues to evolve and adapt VEVA’s services and technology to assist the needs of their extensive client base. She advises many label executives, producers, engineers and artists seeking archival and asset management solutions.

360 Magazine, Business

COVID-19 Shifted Modern Business

COVID-19 and the global pandemic has presented a significant and unforeseen challenge to many businesses. The government and public health restrictions have meant closures for some, and the economic impacts have meant customers are more nervous than ever before. As a business, managing through this pandemic means shifting the fundamental way you see your business. To better understand how COVID-19 has shifted the perspective of modern business, consider these points.

Managing the books

Prior to the pandemic, businesses could be excused for not being across the minutia of detail when it came to their day to day finances. Managing inventories, purchasing and other key accounting tasks may have been considered handled in a lot of circumstances. With the pandemic taking force, it’s been crucial to shift that perspective and consider online accounting software. As businesses shift operations away from bricks and mortar style offices, to working from home, online software is key. Businesses need to be able to manage and keep an eye on all finances in real-time. Making critical accounting decisions remotely could make or break the business, so your business needs to be agile in the way it operates. Traditional businesses could get away with quarterly reporting or even monthly, but the modern business will need to be much more focused on the numbers week to week or even day-to-day. Online software can keep you up-to-date with the accounting details you need to make smarter decisions.

Smart tooling

Previously, businesses considered tools which would allow their employees, customers and competitors to connect a nice service to have. Since COVID took hold, it’s been crucial for the modern business to adapt and offer a range of tools to help create those connections. In lieu of seeing people face-to-face, businesses needed to find ways to create virtual collaboration and avoid an over-reliance on traditional communication methods, like email. 

The modern business has shifted its perspective on these tools and some are now even seeking to find ways to create these virtual connections, similar to the water cooler type conversations you’d see in a physical office. This pandemic has created a divide in project teams, product teams and many other teams where close collaboration was a key to success. Modern businesses, rather than abandoning these ways of working, have adapted and found tools that help them connect better in a separated world.

Productive home workers

Prior to the pandemic taking hold, a lot of traditional business managers held the belief that working from home was unproductive. With public health advice all but demanding businesses have employees work from home, this perspective has certainly changed. Many businesses experienced a changing of the guard, albeit through a transition period. But as time goes by, the modern business is realising that expensive leases and large tenancy are simply not necessary. Employees have proven that productivity will go on, and that business output doesn’t suffer simply because staff are at home. 

Without commutes, some staff even prefer to work longer hours. The pandemic has offered the modern business an advantage to be taken. Allowing staff to become flexible with work arrangements both now and into the future can help build a more engaged and focused workforce. The caveat to this is ensuring staff have the appropriate setups and systems access to do their jobs effectively.

~

COVID-19 has challenged many widely held beliefs about the way a traditional business needs to run. From managing the day to day to allowing staff the freedom to work from wherever they are most productive. Modern business perspectives have changed and a lot of managers would argue it’s about time too.

Cash and wallet illustration for 360 Magazine

The Business Comeback After COVID-19

Business Turnaround Expert Cites Keys to a COVID-19 Comeback

By Merilee Kern, MBA ‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor

The September 11th attacks. The Great Recession. The COVID-19 pandemic.

All three of these seismic and tragic events have resulted in heartbreak to humanity, including loss of life and our emotional well-being – both individually and collectively. Of course, accompanying these global crises were monetary meltdowns reminiscent of the Great Depression that commenced in 1929 and lingered until the late 1930s.

After a “relatively” calm 70 years, the United States economy has suffered three devastating developments inside the last two decades, alone. There have been wars fought throughout the world and inflation escalations along the way, to be sure, but the start to the 21st century has suffered escalating and unusually concentrated economic calamities – some that have profoundly altered the very fabric of our lives, both personally and professionally.

Indeed, on the business front, such periods have been among the most – perhaps the unequivocal most – trying of times. Amid current circumstances as the coronavirus rages on around the globe, I recently connected with internationally-renowned business restructuring executive James “Jim” Martin, founder of ACM Capital Partners with offices in Charlotte, Denver and Miami. Having spent the last three decades leading international middle-market companies through periods of distress and transition to actualize stability and growth, Martin is uniquely well-positioned to share insights on how business can rally to best assure a “COVID comeback.” Here’s what he had to say.

MK: First, before addressing the current coronavirus situation, what can you tell us about how you’ve helped companies navigate previous “rough waters?”

JM: Relative to the September 11th attacks back in 2001, I’ll share a representative example of a strategic pivot that didn’t just help a company survive, but actually drove profit. After that horrendous event, I stepped in to assist a large aviation maintenance repair-and-overhaul facility whose revenue had been cut fully in half immediately following the attacks – the result of many carriers permanently parking older aircraft (including the 727 fleet). The sizable challenge presented was to maintain a 1000-person labor force while allowing the industry the necessary time to recover. To do so, we created a captive subcontracting company to which we transferred one-third of our labor force. During our troughs, we contracted this labor to our competitors and, during peak periods, we utilized this labor for ourselves. Thus, not only were we able to retain our skilled, well-oriented labor force during the recovery, but that very staff actually provided additional, supplemental profit. The end result was that we sold the business for $138 million, which provided our new investors with a 33 percent internal rate of return (IRR).

Less than a decade after 9/11, amid The Great Recession in 2008, I entered another industry that proved to be among the most brutalized by a global economic downturn: automotive supply. My client was a key supplier to the “Big 3” U.S. auto manufacturers.

At the start of 2008, the industry forecast was the production of 18 million vehicles in North America. Come summer, however, it was clear the automakers would not come near reaching that forecast due to the financial crisis. This did not come as a complete surprise to us, though, because – amid our firm’s protocols – we had had already fully immersed ourselves in our client’s industry and employed forecasting tools alerting us of trends … this one in the wrong direction. So, we were privy to the situation well before management and others within the industry. By late June 2008, we instituted cost-cutting maneuvers and furloughs that enabled the company to withstand the industry’s brutal second half of ’08 that would result in two of the “Big 3” automakers filing for Chapter 11. Despite the industry producing less than half – as much as eight million – of its original vehicle-production forecast, our client not only survived, but ultimately grew and prospered.

MK: Turning attentions to COVID-19, what do you feel is integral for businesses to survive and recover?

JM: For businesses to recover from the coronavirus shutdown, it’s going to take a two-pronged approach: both financial and human capital. Starting with the financial, it will be a “loan-ly” world for those not well-versed in the intricacies of SBA, PPP and other “economic disaster” lending. Consider how expeditiously those programs were rolled out. Then consider how even more quickly they were scooped up. Did anyone really read those loan documents in full, or even halfway through, initially – or even to this day?

My guess is at least half of the companies receiving COVID-related loans took a very “CliffsNotes” approach to these agreements. The result is there’s a solid chance funds were used incorrectly, which is going to make a lot of the loans, shall we say, less “forgivable.” For example, if your company’s payroll roster is shorter today than it was pre-virus, the portion of the loans forgiven is likely to be less.

And while your mind may rush to claiming ignorance and throwing yourself upon the mercy of the government to which you already pay taxes, realize that third-party capital is likely to participate in this market through securitization. This means that thousands of SBA loans could be bought, then packaged to be sold to the secondary market, at a discounted rate, no less. If this happens, understand that the purchasers will have the full intention of holding their borrowers (i.e. small business owners) to paying back 100 cents on the dollar.

So, those companies who received loans and are required, but unable, to pay them back in full may be exposed to either foreclosure or, worse, a “loan to own” scenario. In other words, much like the agreement that comes with your big-tech user agreements, like those prompting users to “click agree,” the fine print matters.

What this means to recovery is that, once again, cash is king: gather it, preserve it, cease lines of credit, liquidate what you can, negotiate costs down with suppliers. If you’re struggling to pay you suppliers, you can look into purchase order financing options in order to improve your cash flow. And if your company had a healthy bottom line pre-COVID, than a professional familiar with these trenches can help you look to refinance or bring in equity.

With all of that said, the key to a COVID-19 recovery is going to be adhering to the rules of a lender’s road, as well as the ability to navigate the red tape when you veer off that road. If you have read all the fine print and properly managed your loan, congratulations! You’ve acquired some really cheap capital. For those who didn’t do their research, however, this road to recovery likely will need some paving.

MK: What about the human capital you mentioned?

JM: Yes, and then we arrive at the human capital. Lots of companies today are excessively top-heavy. Remember the part about removing emotions from this process? Companies that quickly recognize cuts need to be made will be better positioned to recover than those who dawdle. Again, compiling and preserving cash is going to best position a business for recovery.

This is an instance where it’s especially beneficial to know when to pull triggers (best if earlier than others) and to make decisions that are not based on emotions—a tall order for many CEOs, which is why many turn to turnaround experts. However it’s undertaken, what’s certain is that reducing human capital is painful, but it is also often necessary and almost always beneficial.

The upside is that, when the virus no longer exits, businesses can already be well-positioned for a fairly quick recovery. Maybe not v-shaped sans a vaccine, but quick relatively speaking due to the downturn having been so specific to one singular causing factor.

MK: Tell us a bit about your role as – and general value of – a turnaround expert when turmoil strikes a business.

JM: During times of difficulty, owners and executives can greatly benefit from specialized knowledge that’ll help them best navigate those unchartered waters that are often entangled in a lot of red tape. So, turnaround experts bring to the table a litany of tried-and-true “been there, weathered that” experience and expertise. There’s simply no substitute for engaging with a partner whose entire mandate is ensuring your company’s survival and success during some of the most grim and challenging times it might experience – those professionals who are willing to spend sleepless nights figuring out how to ensure the company meets payroll; who’ll work around the clock to keep the company’s doors open; and who can tackle challenges without being hindered by emotions that understandably weigh on a business owner or manager. It takes this kind of specialized expertise, experience and grit to lead companies through periods of distress and transition, to stability and growth.

No stranger to corporate chaos, during Martin’s own three decades as a globally-regarded turnaround expert, he has reportedly created and restored nearly $1.5 billion in value to lower middle-market companies; raised an additional $1 billion in capital; and managed mergers and acquisitions in excess of $500 million – all collectively representing his company restructuring portfolio valuation in excess of $3 billion.

Today, as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on business operations far and wide, take heed that there are various key strategic and creative tactics that can help businesses not only weather the storm, but even emerge stronger and more financially secure on the other side.

About Merilee Kern:

Forbes Business Council Member Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist and futurist who reports on noteworthy industry change makers, movers, shakers and innovators across all categories, both B2C and B2B. This includes field experts and thought leaders, brands, products, services, destinations and events. Merilee is Founder, Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List” as well as Host of the nationally-syndicated “Savvy Living” TV show. As a prolific consumer and business trends, lifestyle and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, she keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. Her work reaches multi-millions worldwide via broadcast TV (her own shows and copious others on which she appears) as well as a myriad of print and online publications. You can connect with Merilee at www.TheLuxeList.com and www.SavvyLiving.tv

Follow Merilee Kern:  Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIN

Mina Tocalini, 360 magazine

Back-to-College Tips

6 Ways to Make Back-to-College Better

By Merilee Kern, ‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor

It’s about that time for our co-eds to head toward, or back to, university life—whether that be an on-campus dorm or off-campus dwelling. Whichever the case, here are a few lifestyle-enhancing and productivity-boosting finds that can make this upcoming year an A+.

Embroidered Collegiate Pillows

Here’s a wonderful way to get those bright eyed students excited for back to college—whether that’s campus life or taking the fall semester online: embroidered Collegiate Pillows available at catstudio. Working alongside each university, catstudio has created some fabulous, officially licensed hand-drawn artwork celebrating college life and the essence of each college. Their original, licensed art embodies the spirit and uniqueness of each school—the architecture, education, sports, history and traditions. Created on tea-colored background, the 16 x 20-inch pillow is accented with black piping, and finished with a zipper closure. Plus, you can make this already great gift ever even more ideal by personalizing it. Just consult with your local monogram shop and easily add to the back—initials, graduation class, personal note, logo and more. Beyond these spirited and decidedly decorative pillows, catstudio’s collegiate collection also includes zipper pouches, dish towels, glasses, thermal bottles and fine art prints that any co-ed is sure to adore The company’s collegiate gift line is personal, thoughtful and meaningful. What’s also admirable about this company is that a percentage of each purchase is donated back to each respective school, serving to fund scholarships, student activities or recreational programs.

Blue Light Glasses

The human eyes are not designed to be exposed to blue light emitted by computer screens, phones and television constantly. This strong blue light causes eye fatigue, dry eyes, blurred vision and headaches, which are all symptoms of digital eye strain also known as Computer Vision Syndrome. Beyond damaging the eyes, exposure to blue light at night disrupts the circadian rhythm that regulates the release of melatonin, preventing rest and degrading sleep quality. One great way to safeguard your student’s eyes while simultaneously sporting stylish frames from Pixel Eyewear. This company provides breakthrough lens technology that filters at least 50 percent of blue light and up to 95 percent at the strongest wavelengths, without the yellow tint. They provide a clear, surgical protection that allows wearers to focus on their work instead of ensuing migraines. The lenses of the eyewear also have a super-hydrophobic outer layer, which is a nanotechnology that reduces smudges and repels water and dust. This means no more constantly taking the glasses off for cleaning and wiping. The premium anti-reflective coating eliminates computer glare and reduces stress on your eyes all the while. It’s time to experience the world in High-Def. Each model is designed, engineered and built with comfort in mind. The full lens features, among those already mentioned, include glare elimination; UV light blockage; scratch, fingerprint and smudge resistance; water, liquid, dust and particle repellence; and a reduction of color and image distortion.

Wireless Charging Stand

STM Goods, a leading designer of innovative bags, cases and related products for consumer electronic devices, recently announced the latest addition to the company’s growing line of power and cable accessories. Their new ChargeTree wireless charging stand can power up to three different items: an iPhone or other wireless ready smartphone, AirPods/AirPods Pro, and Apple Watch—all simultaneously on one slim stand. It’s a handy, small footprint solution for eliminating wires and the need to use separate charging units to repower these devices individually. The ChargeTree is Qi certified to work with Qi-enabled devices and also plugs into the power source with a USB-A to USB-C cable (a one-meter cable is included). ChargeTree is also compatible with AirPods in a wireless charging case and will function with most phone cases (non-metal) up to 5mm thick. Slim and sleek, the ChargeTree leaves a small footprint that takes up minimal space on a desk or nightstand. If you’re like me, multi-tasking is a way life, so this multi-device charger will help ensure your go-to tech is fully juiced when you need it.

External Hard Drive

No matter the student’s major, rest assured there will be a need to access, store and transport digital data. Ensure they don’t run out of hard drive space with Western Digital’s G-DRIVE Mobile USB-C External Portable Drive that’s available in 1TB, 2TB, 4TB and 5TB capacities. With a plug-and-play USB-C-ready port (that’s USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3 compatible) and with speeds up to 140MB/s for super-fast file transfer and backup, this mobile hard drive offers portable storage in a stylish design to complement any computer. It actually includes both USB-C and USB-A cables to make it universally compatible. Its sleek and beautiful aluminum case provides sturdy, portable storage that’s designed to travel well. And with up to 5TB of storage on-the-go, you’re instantly ready to back up your favorite documents, presentations, videos, photos, music and more, wherever you go. It ships Mac ready, but is easily reformatted for Windows. Plus there’s a 3-Year limited warranty to ensure your student’s productivity will never be stifled.

Copper-Infused Dual Filter Face Mask

Copper Compression, a designer, manufacturer and provider of a wide range of copper-infused recovery wearables and self-care solutions, now boasts anti-bacterial, reusable and washable copper ion-infused face masks. Copper is broadly recognized for its natural ability to destroy bacteria and the mask’s dual filter is among the highest protection available today. The non-medical mask, reportedly embraced by doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians, has also reportedly been favored among fitness, fashion, and foodie elites. The mask features a four-layer structure with a protective copper-infused cotton outer layer. Its middle layers include a high-efficiency bacterial filter and supportive lining creating dual filters, which blocks fine particulate matter over a five-year period. The interior of the mask is made with a soft, 100 percent cotton-lining and provides extra space for ventilation and moisture absorption, making it extremely comfortable for extended wear. The copper protection infused within each fiber maintains its hygienic potency throughout the lifespan of the product and never washes out. Each mask comes with a certificate of conformity, ensuring its standards meet the consumer product and safety commission.

The company’s other helpful copper-infused products that’ll help keep students feeling their best by lessening slumping and realizing better posture. This includes their unisex Full Posture Corrector with Support Bars, which provides comfortable specifically designed to reduce pressure on joints, discs and muscles, while providing the necessary protection. Their Slim Back Brace with Extra Support Bars is also helpful. This non-intrusive design effectively engages your core and lower back muscles, giving you back pain relief without feeling cumbersome. Steady pressure from the brace also stabilizes your lower back muscles, giving you better balance and improved posture.

Allergen Vacuum

Help your college-bound kiddo feel well and stay focused by avoiding those annoying allergies that can infiltrate their dorm or apartment. One highly effective tech solution is RAYCOP, which has advanced its allergen vacuum technology with its new, hand-held RS Pro model. Mattresses, pillows, blankets, upholstered desk chairs and other cloth furniture are the perfect home for allergens like dust mites and pollen. The RS Pro is the reported to be the only allergen vacuum that eliminates 99.99% of these and other allergy-causing irritants. In fact, the RAYCOP RS Pro emits heat of up to 158° Fahrenheit—a temperature that instantly kills dust mites and eliminates pollen—plus it uses the same UVC light that hospitals use to combat bacteria and viruses. Safety measures built into this and other RAYCOP products ensure the UVC sanitizing light and heat can be safely used in a residence. For even more efficacy, the vacuum also includes HEPA filtration and air redirect suction technology to protect fabrics while reducing allergens. The RS Pro is the latest in Raycop’s line of handheld vacuums. With advanced RayClean technology, this model combines a multitude of features–heat, UVC sanitizing light, HEPA filtration and our Air Redirect Suction Technology—to kill dust mites and pollen completely. This can lead to less dependence on medication and a more comfortable, clean environment.

About Merilee Kern:

Forbes Business Council Member Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist and futurist who reports on noteworthy industry change makers, movers, shakers and innovators across all categories, both B2C and B2B. This includes field experts and thought leaders, brands, products, services, destinations and events. Merilee is Founder, Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List” as well as Host of the nationally-syndicated “Savvy Living” TV show. As a prolific consumer and business trends, lifestyle and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, she keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. Her work reaches multi-millions worldwide via broadcast TV (her own shows and copious others on which she appears) as well as a myriad of print and online publications. You can connect with Merilee at www.TheLuxeList.com and www.SavvyLiving.tv

Follow Merilee Kern:  InstagramTwitter | Facebook | LinkedIN

Work Productivity

How to Be More Productive at Work in 2018

If you’re surfing the internet looking for ways to be more productive (which led you to this article), chances are you did not finish all the tasks you were planning on yesterday. Or the day before. Or the day before. In some cases, there is just too much work to finish it all. But if you’re spending time on the internet right now, chances are time is not the issue, but productivity.

True, productivity is not something you can pull out of a hat and everyone is prone to productivity slumps once every so often. But there are ways you can get back in the game and make sure you stay as productive as possible.

We’ve compiled a list of the best productivity hacks to help you get excited about work again.

Create a To-Do List Ahead of Every Day

The productivity to time ratio is what often gets us in trouble in the first place. But even if you’re as productive as can be, if you don’t plan your tasks and create a schedule to follow you’ll likely get too swarmed with duties to actually do any of them right.

Just going through all your tasks can take hours, which is why productive people know planning ahead is key. Analyze all the tasks you have and estimate how long finishing them is going to take, then create a to-do list with all the tasks, deadlines and agenda.

Apps like Blink the Bee can even show you reminders every morning before getting down to business.

Split Your Time into Blocks

If you split your workday into blocks and assign them to particular tasks you will be much more effective. Your blocks should range from 15 minutes to an hour. You can take several blocks for one task if needed. For example, start your day with a half-an-hour-long block reserved for checking emails and communicating with clients.

Try to Avoid Distractions

Distractions come in many shapes and levels of annoyance: from coworker chats to ringing cellphones to outdoor noises and that Facebook account you keep open in the next tab. To make sure you eliminate these productivity killers, make sure you close all social media accounts in your browser, switch your phone to silent and disable any notifications that might be distracting you. Of course, no one is immune to checking their Facebook once in a while, which is why you should add a couple of those time blocks dedicated to checking your social media, making phone calls and answering messages.

Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking is so 2016! What once was believed to be the trait of champions is now considered a major distraction. Multitasking can help you tackle many duties at once, but with so many things on your hands at the same time, your productivity can only be spread so thin.

Instead, focus on doing one task at a time and give every task the attention it deserves. You’ll be more productive and finish your work faster.

Make Sure You Have the Necessary Tools

Your employer should supply you with everything you need to do your job unhindered: a proper desk, an ergonomic chair as well as any office supplies you may need. Make sure you also have the software you need installed so you won’t have to deal with that in the middle of work. A professional and well-equipped workplace can make all the difference when it comes to productivity.

Randall Bell x “Me We Do Be”

Why do some people dive, some survive and others thrive? The answer, Randall Bell, Ph.D., reveals, is surprisingly simple: choices. 

 

Bell, a socio-economist and the CEO of Landmark Research Group, has developed an easy-to-follow formula for authentic growth and success based upon 25 years of behavioral research. 

 

In his book, Me We Do Be: The Four Cornerstones of Success, Bell masterfully interweaves stories from his consulting work on high-profile cases — including Chernobyl, the World Trade Center, and O.J. Simpson — with findings from behavioral studies and his own survey of 5,000 people to reveal the daily habits that can make or break both personal and professional growth and success. 

 

In Me We Do Be, Bell explains that all behaviors can be organized into four cornerstones: 

•    Me is quality thinking that builds wisdom.

•    We habits form quality relationships. 

•    Do actions build productivity.

•    Be designs the future. 

 

There is no one-size-fits-all definition of success. For some, it’s making money. For others it’s having a loving family, winning a competition, completing a degree or beating cancer. The power of Me We Do Be is that it connects all the dots and creates a fresh perspective for moving forward, allowing readers to define what success means to them as individuals, while sharing the foundational elements that apply to everyone. 

 

Previously, the author led a national practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the world’s largest consulting firm. He has consulted on hundreds of cases, including the Flight 93 Crash Site, the BP Oil Spill, Hurricane Katrina and the nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll. 

 

Often a guest of the media, Bell has been profiled in The Wall Street Journal, People magazine, The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, 20/20, Entertainment Tonight and by newscasters on every major television network. 

 

Please see Dr. Bell in a recent appearance on The Today Show.

 

Robert G. Allen, New York Times Best-Selling Author of Creating Wealth: “A fascinating blend of personal anecdotes from Dr. Bell’s vast professional experience interspersed with powerful quotes, insights and a timeless list of valuable habits designed to improve any life. There are many golden nuggets in here.” 

 

Jeffrey W. Hayzlett, New York Times Best-Selling Author of The Mirror Test: “Some think that complex problems require complex solutions. This is not always true. The four cornerstones of Me We Do Be are a simple, effective way to ignite passion in any life or business!”

 

Steve Alten, New York Times Best-Selling Author: “Eye-opening … Randall Bell’s Me We Do Be is as inspiring as Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and Grow Rich.” 

 

Bob Proctor, Best-Selling Author of You Were Born Rich: “Me We Do Be shows how the little things we do can have a dramatic impact on our quality of life; it’s that one small adjustment that can make the difference between winning and losing. Read, learn and act on the great information provided in this book.” 

 

For more information on Randall Bell and his motivational book, please visit the website: www.drbell.com.

 

Available online and at fine bookstores everywhere.