3 Tips to Help You Stay on Track with Your Online Degree Program

These days, a great many students are turning away from the more traditional university setting and opting for an online degree program in order to pursue higher education. Among the variety of reasons for this trend is the fact that such a degree tends to be more affordable and that it is possible to earn a degree at your own pace. However, just because there are so many advantages to earning a degree in this manner, that doesn’t mean that doing so is the easiest thing that you will ever do.

Earning your degree online will present several challenges. Most notably will be that of trying to stay motivated throughout your degree program and learning how to be a self-starter in many ways. While the best degree programs offer students plenty of resources and support, it is still ultimately up to you to learn the material and earn the grades that you want.

If you are about to embark on the path to earning a degree online, here are three tips that should help you to stay on track:

1. Choose the Right School

When someone is interested in attending a four-year university in a more traditional capacity, they will take the time to tour university campuses and gather as much information as possible about the schools they are considering. This is because every university is different and unique. This same principle applies to online degree programs as well.

Instead of just signing up for the first online university that you come across, take the time to research your options and find the school that is right for you. Start by looking into the websites of all the schools that you are considering. Schools like Excelsior College (https://www.excelsior.edu/) will offer a great deal of information online to prospective students. Follow up by reaching out to admissions advisors with any questions that you have. By choosing the right school, you can preemptively set yourself up for success in your online education pursuits.

2. Create a Learning Space

One of the disadvantages to online education is that you don’t have the ability to head to the library or be in a classroom in order to get your work completed. The lack of a dedicated learning space can get in the way for many students. Before you start your degree, create the ideal learning space for yourself that is free from distractions. This should be where you seek to complete all of your coursework and listen to lectures without interruption throughout the semester.

3. Know Your Goals

It is crucial that every student who is looking to complete an online degree knows why they are pursuing higher education in the first place. Take some time to evaluate your motivations and lay out your goals. You might even find it helpful to write out your goals by hand so that you can always reference it whenever you feel that your motivation is lacking.

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Remote Work: 7 Tips for Managing a Larger Team

To compare the world today to what it was only a few months ago would be like comparing apples and oranges. It’s not the same place. Fortunately, businesses have found some workarounds in remote workforces, but that presents challenges of its own. Making matters worse, as a workforce grows, the problem is compounded.

What’s a leader to do? Several solutions, ranging from those made possible by technology, such as online notes, to those that are more visceral, such as balancing structure with flexibility are possible. Regardless, the goal is the same. What follows are a few suggestions for better managing a large team remotely.

Make Health and Wellness a Priority

Without a doubt, protecting your employees’ health and welfare must be a leader’s priority right now. After all, if employees aren’t taking care of themselves, they can’t focus on business. More importantly, it’s the right thing to do.

This is not to say that making sure someone else’s health is taken care of is easy. It can be hard enough to focus on your health, much less someone else’s.

Balance Structure and Flexibility

When people have structure in their lives, it’s easier to balance work and life. The way things are now, however, everything gets shuffled together, with very little structure. Despite this, structure does provide a sense of normalcy, easing anxiety.

While structure is important, business leaders also need to be flexible. For example, if you have employees who are homeschooling their children, you can’t expect them to drop everything so you can have a staff meeting. This isn’t easy, so find a middle ground.

Make Sure Employees Can Do Their Jobs

The pandemic has caught many businesses unprepared. In addition, although a March Gallup survey found that 55 percent of employees believe they are prepared to do their jobs, that leaves many who think they’re not. Employees can rectify this by ensuring employees have access to technology such as Evernote, Dropbox, Zoom, and other programs that create a virtual office anytime and anywhere.

Help Employees Overcome Distractions

It really can be difficult to work from a “virtual office” when there are distractions such as children and other elements of day-to-day life intruding in the background. Fortunately, following many time management tips could help a lot. Remember to automate, delegate, and outsource as much as you can.

Offer Incentives

Offering incentives can be an easy and simple way to make employees more productive and improve their mental health. Offering unexpected gift cards, extra vacation days, and shoutouts can work wonders for morale.

Don’t Let Communication Suffer

If there is anything that has an opportunity to suffer during this pandemic, it’s communications, including everything from meetings to watercooler chit-chats. It’s imperative, however, that employees be able to communicate regardless of the message. This means more than just enabling methods. It also means making sure everyone is available to everyone else.

Plan for a Post-Crisis Assessment

A recent survey showed that 41 percent of all working adults are afraid to go back to work. And, even if they weren’t afraid, they realize that things won’t be the same. There may even be incentives to stick with the new routine.

Regardless of what happens in the near future, employers not only need to adapt to the now, but prepare for life after the pandemic is over. Don’t be afraid to use metrics to gauge performance and ask lots of questions to do things better in the future.

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Cram Sessions Never Work: Do This instead If You Want to Pass Your CPA Exam

When it comes to studying for the CPA exam, nearly every candidate begins the process by promising themselves they will schedule their time and stick with that schedule to avoid having to cram at the last minute. Unfortunately, procrastination often kicks in along with other bad study habits and many people are left with lots to do before the exam date.

It’s no secret that cramming before any exam isn’t a good idea. It’s been tried and tested countless times, and it doesn’t work. As a CPA candidate, however, you have plenty of opportunities to avoid cramming, including cpa review courses that offer individualized help. What follows are a few ideas to help prevent the last-minute cram sessions.

Increase Your Motivation to Study

You would think that as prestigious as adding a designation like “CPA” to the end of your name almost anyone would have ample motivation to study hard, but it often doesn’t. In fact, after several years of college study and months more of exam study, sometimes basic motivation isn’t enough.

It’s kind of like the old saying, “When you have enough reasons, you can do incredible things.” When you find yourself flailing in your desire to study, think of something more like the prestige, money, and so many other benefits to eating your license.

Start Early

Another common cause of last-minute cramming is the lack of time before the exam. Many people wait until they have an actual exam date to start, but this is a mistake. Instead, start studying just as soon as you can.

Don’t Procrastinate

Of all the causes of cramming, procrastination probably ranks at or near the top. Many candidates swear they will study as soon as possible, but getting started is probably the hardest part. If you make it a point to get started, the chances are good the rest will be much easier.

Work on it Every Day

Many candidates believe that working hard on their exam preparations entitles them to a day off from time to time. This isn’t a very good approach. Instead, try to study every day. This approach not only will keep you studying but will make starting every day more natural.

Plan Everything Around Exam Day

Taking the CPA exam is a major event in any candidate’s life. What could be more natural than to schedule your time to reflect that fact? Instead, many candidates study on anything but a regular schedule. It’s little wonder they have to cram as the exam date gets closer.

A lack of planning and organization can leave a candidate very vulnerable to last-minute cramming. Instead, buy a calendar and a planner to schedule your study time, then stick with it like it was the most important thing in your life, because it is.

Don’t Be Busy, Be Productive

A lot of candidates make the mistake of believing that, if they are busy, they are being productive. Unfortunately, busy does not always mean particularly productive. There’s a difference. Anybody can be busy, but productive means you are learning the lessons well and seeing results for yourself.

Ditch the Cram Session

There are many great study techniques that will help anyone pass the CPA exam. The secret is to learn for yourself what works for you and to incorporate those techniques into a regular study schedule. Remember that all of these techniques are intertwined, so try to practice all of them together to get the best results.

Effective study habits will not only pay great results but will help you avoid the last-minute cram sessions. Yes, it is actually possible to pass the CPA exam without cramming.

Image credit: Kaboompics

How parents can overcome problems they could often face at work

Raising a child when you also have to work can sometimes feel like another full-time job. Some parents fear that the responsibility of having a child and working full-time will lessen their opportunities for progression in the future, leading to financial and mental health issues. Others struggle with their physical wellbeing and are disengaged in the workplace. 

So, what can parents do to overcome the problems they could often face at work? More importantly, what can you (as their boss) do to help? Below, we explore four ways you can help your staff to manage parenthood and a fulfilling career at the same time.

Provide advice on financial and legal topics 

Being a parent is hard – you not only have yourself to look after, you also have one (or more) little people completely dependent on you and your life. As a result of this, financial worries such as budgeting, retirement planning, debts and mortgages may distract your employees from their work. 

Professional financial advice can help alleviate the stress that some parents may feel in regards to not being able to provide for their family. If a staff member is worried, you should arrange some professional advice and guidance – if you’re not in a position to give it yourself. 

Enquire about health and safety concerns 

Health and safety concerns can range from stress, anxiety and depression to substance abuse, gambling and domestic abuse.  Ensuring your employees aren’t in physical danger should be a top priority. If you ever suspect that a staff member is in a position that compromises their health and safety, choose a comfortable and appropriate moment to enquire and lend an open ear.

When you demonstrate that you care for their wellbeing and that you’re serious about how they can overcome their problems, they’ll feel more comfortable about approaching you with any issues they may face in the future. For staff to be happy at work, they need to be happy at home, too. 

Look into the technology that’s available

Problems at work can result in high absenteeism and loss in productivity, both of which have a devastating impact on business. So, what can be done to help tackle the issues parents are facing in and outside of work? Employee wellbeing solutions from LifeWorks could provide you with the answer.

 A modern, proactive Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) tailored to each individual is sure to relieve pressure that many parents are bound to feel. With an EAP based on mobile-first, consumer-based technology, it couldn’t be easier for staff to get in touch with a counsellor or read up on wellbeing information and advice.

Arrange regular teambuilding exercises and staff events 

Everyone needs a break from the stress of the working day! By arranging regular teambuilding exercises and staff events, you’ll be giving your employees opportunities to let their hair down and bond with the rest of the team. 

Just be sure to give enough notice so that childcare arrangements can be made. Parents deserve to have fun and experience some time to themselves, so regular teambuilding exercises and staff events make it easier for you to let this happen. 

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

A Framework to Guide You: 7 Salesforce CPQ Implementation Tips

Sales increases, sales productivity boosts, and shorter sales cycles are things sales managers dream of. Fortunately, for sales executives who use workflow automation tools such as CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) software, these dreams can become realities.

For many companies, pricing and product combinations can be very complicated. For example, it’s one thing to have a product for sale, but quite another to have different bundling options for that product. However, with CPQ software, none of these options presents a problem when it comes time to deliver the products to clients. Having the effect and using it effectively are two different things. This is where good CPQ Training comes in.

Establish Sales Goals

What are your sales goals? Without measurable sales goals, CPQ is practically useless. With them, however, sales managers have a powerful tool to help reach their objectives. By picking the most important goals for an organization, the CPQ process can easily chart a course to achieve those objectives by refining workflow.

Optimize the Organization’s Quote-to-Cash Process

The sales process for every organization is different, which leads to unique needs. Implementing a CPQ program is an excellent way to refine that process and examine every aspect of a product portfolio. This will form the core of a CPQ implementation program.

Prioritize CPQ Features

Implementing a CPQ program can be a very complicated process. This is made even more complicated when users attempt to use all the features all at once. For this reason, sales goals should be prioritized from most critical to the lowest concern.

Data Management

Once the pricing models are set, it’s time to focus on data management. Since CPQ runs on data from different sources, all these systems and documents need to be gathered and incorporated seamlessly into the program.

Run Change Management Initiatives

A company can have the best CPQ available but have its implementation program fail miserably if users struggle to use it or resist using it. For this reason, management must make sure that a CPQ is effectively integrated into the sales program. Once users understand that the CPQ system will improve their ability to do their jobs, resistance should lessen or go away completely.

Evaluate and Measure Adoption

Once a CPQ has been implemented into a sales effort, it’s impact should be monitored continuously by management. This might be done using satisfaction surveys that quantify its ease of use or response times to prospective clients.

These metrics will allow managers to determine if and how well the program’s adoption is being received and implemented. These metrics can also help as elements of the CPQ program are refined or added to.

Translation of CPQ Goals into Reality

Implementing CPQ goals into reality will undoubtedly have a learning curve, but having a sound reporting system will help evaluate progress towards accomplishing goals. This will also help to determine the success of user onboarding. When it comes to the sales business, there can be little doubt that CPQ is one of the latest and greatest buzzwords out there.

Fortunately, as both products and services offered to clients become more complex, so does the need to have systems that allow salespeople to understand their offerings and package them in ways that will enable customers to know what they are buying by faster means. That’s where the real value of CPQ becomes priceless.