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What Can We Learn From the Desks of Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg?

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How a person leaves their office desk can tell you a lot about them.

Is it organized chaos, bursting with new plans and ideas to take the world by storm? Do sentimental photos of family and moments adorn the area surrounding the workspace? Is the desk organized, meticulously cleaned, and orderly?

The structure of a person’s work environment, along with the routines they use for enhancing productivity while at the office, can help give us insight on how they work best – and this becomes especially interesting when we look at the strategies and tactics used by some of the world’s most extraordinary people.

Famous Desks and What We Can Learn

Today’s infographic comes from the Pens.com, and it highlights the work habits, routines, and desks from extraordinary people like Albert Einstein, Ernest Hemingway, Arianna Huffington, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg.

Let’s see what we can take away from these examples:

What Can We Learn From the Desks of Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg?

Each approach above is unique – and each set of tactics helps that extraordinary person in getting closer to reaching their objective.

Lessons from the Greats

Here are some of our favorite lessons that we thought were the most tangible:

Mark Zuckerberg
Consistent with his grey t-shirt and jeans approach to his wardrobe, Zucks also keeps his workspace simple. He doesn’t have an office, and instead works with the same desk setup as every other Facebook employee.

Lesson: As a leader, the way you dress and set up your work environment also communicates your values to the organization and the outside world. Mark Zuckerberg keeps his environment simple to help him focus on the bigger problems, and this vision shines through crystal clear to inspire the people around him.

Elon Musk
At the Tesla office, Elon Musk set his desk up at the end of the Model X assembly line so he could personally inspect each finished vehicle.

Lesson: When doing something bold and visionary, there must be constant attention to detail to ensure that the end product meshes with the vision. Elon could have put his desk somewhere with a nice view, or in a corner office. Instead, by setting up his desk in this strategic position, it gave him assurance that the vehicles coming off the line were going to meet his uncompromising quality standards.

Albert Einstein
Einstein believed that cluttered desks were the sign of a cluttered brain, with lots of things going on. As such, he wondered what was going on in the brains of people with perfectly tidy workspaces!

Einstein also thought that combining unrelated concepts to generate new, creative ideas was a secret of genius.

Lesson: Studies have shown that messy desks are linked to creativity – something that Einstein needed when solving “outside the box” physics problems like relativity.

Arianna Huffington
For anyone that has read her book, Sleep Revolution, it’s clear Arianna Huffington believes that people are generally quite sleep-deprived. For these reasons, she encourages naps to boost productivity in the workplace.

Lesson: Arianna Huffington has “owned” the discussion around sleep, and how proper habits can help with work productivity. It’s no surprise she walks the talk, as well.

Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway thought he did his best work standing up, and he also kept a tally of his daily word count in front of him.

Lesson: While studies show working while standing up can enhance productivity by 10% – more importantly, Hemingway did what works best for him, even though it was unconventional. He also knew that monitoring his most important KPI, and keeping that metric right in front of him, would allow him to best gauge his progress on achieving his vision.

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Business

11 Things Leaders Should Never Say to Teams

Here are 11 common phrases that managers should avoid saying to their teams, and what they should replace them with to get a better result.

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Being a leader comes with great responsibility.

Not only are you accountable for the success of your division or organization, but your team is also constantly reliant on you for feedback, coaching, and guiding personal development.

While juggling these priorities, it’s not always easy for a manager to know the exact right thing to say to employees on the team. To further complicate matters, we all have bad management habits that have compounded over time, and they can be difficult to shed.

Building a New Lexicon

Today’s infographic comes to us from Headway Capital, and it highlights 11 things that leaders should never say to their teams.

More importantly, it breaks down the negative implications of each instance, while also providing suggestions on how we can evolve our managerial skills to ensure that we are approaching each situation far more proactively.

11 Things Managers Should Never Say to Their Team

Life as a leader is busy, and it has many competing priorities.

However, to grow the type of company culture that pays long-term dividends, it’s worth it to try and better develop the way you give feedback to team members.

Typical Mistakes

Using the list of items in the infographic, we can generally categorize these mistakes in a few distinct categories.

1. Gut Reactions

The quick dismissal of someone’s effort (“That’s not important”) or the temptation to play the busy card (“I don’t have time to talk right now”) can send the message that an employee’s time or thoughts are not valued.

Instead, small adjustments can be made to encourage better outcomes. For example, you could make it clear that while you may be busy in the moment, that a time can be scheduled at a later date to discuss the issue in detail.

2. Business Truisms

Likewise, spouting overused, quasi-motivational business phrases (“Failure is not an option”) or using dictative language (“We’ve already tried that before”) can stifle innovation at a company.

It’s better to instead ask questions, such as “What is our backup plan if this idea doesn’t work?” or “What other options do you see?”, to expand the range of opportunities that can be pursued.

3. Generic Feedback

Finally, although phrases like “Keep doing what you’re doing” or “Nice job today” seem to be positive and engaging, they actually are ineffective from a development perspective.

Employees need specific feedback to grow, so all that has to happen here is to mention a specific task or project along with the feedback. Team members can then internalize precisely what made a project or task a success, and apply it to other areas in the workplace.

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Entrepreneurship

The 150 Apps that Power the Gig Economy

You’re likely familiar with companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Craigslist, but here are 100+ other apps that help make the gig economy possible.

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Here are 150 Apps that Power the Gig Economy

Go back in time a decade, and you’d have a tough time convincing anyone that they would be “employed” through an app on their phone.

And yet, in a short period of time, the emergence of the smartphone has enabled the gig economy to flourish into a multi-trillion dollar global market. And by leveraging apps like Uber, Airbnb, and Etsy, it’s estimated that 57 million people in the U.S. now participate in the gig economy each year in some shape or form.

What apps do these people use to turn their time, skills, hobbies, or assets (cars, home, parking spaces, etc.) into additional income streams?

App Examples

Today’s infographic comes to us from TitleMax, and it lists 150 different apps that are used within the gig economy – including many that pay gig workers directly.

Here are just some of the apps that are used in some of the major categories above:

Ridesharing
Uber and Lyft are what many think of when they hear about the gig economy. However, there are now dozens of rideshare apps out there to fill different niches – for example, Wingz offers flat-fee rides to the airport, while Curb connects riders with professional taxi drivers.

Errands
TaskRabbit, which was bought by IKEA, turns errands such as assembling furniture or cleaning a gutter into payable gigs. Meanwhile, apps like Dolly and Bellhops will connect you with movers, and LawnLove is for lawn care.

Art, Design, and Crafting
Etsy, a marketplace for handmade goods, is one the of the best known brands in this category. However, there are many other niche options here as well – for example, UncommonGoods specializes in unique gifts, while Society6 focuses on gallery quality art prints.

Writing and Editing
Lulu and Kindle Direct allow you to publish eBooks online and sell them, while proofreaders and editors can get paid for their copy editing services through Gramlee.

Delivery
Fast and efficient delivery services are a centerpiece to the gig economy, and there are no shortage of options here. DoorDash, UberEats, Caviar, and GrubHub allow users to get food delivered to their doors, while apps like Instacart focus on grocery delivery.

Multimedia
We all know that you can create videos and monetize them on places like YouTube or Twitch, but did you know you can be a voice actor through services like VoiceBunny? You can also sell rights to your photos via Foap, or do freelancing work through Upwork or Fiverr.

Whether you are tapping into the gig economy for an extra income stream or you are incorporating gig economy services into your life for added convenience, there is no shortage of options to choose from.

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