Get more out of your work day

42268004_SWe all want to get more out of our time at work, right? It all comes down to the right habits. Here are some ways that research tells us you can be more efficient at the office.

Focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking is the kiss of death to quality and productivity. Studies show that multitasking has a host of disadvantages and that focusing on one thing at a time can produce better results than trying to get more than one thing done at a time. Our brains simply weren’t wired for multitasking!

Ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but one of effective leadership. Delegating can be a powerful way to get more done each day and empower those around you. For many people, though, it doesn’t come naturally. Here’s a great guide from Harvard Business Review to successful delegating.

Communicate clearly. Make sure your texts, emails and documents are clear and thorough. Think of any unanswered questions that you can proactively answer as well. Also, be open to follow-up questions and concerns.

Develop routines. Rituals and routines can keep you motivated and focused. Here are some important things to work into — and re-energize — your daily routine.

Take breaks. No one is a bionic man or woman, You need downtime to allow yourself to enjoy something else, and you need mental and physical breaks, including real vacations. Take a vacation — and unplug for the sake of your health.

Seize the day!

Work holiday parties that work

48255884_SWe’re in the midst of the holiday season, and if you’re a company that prides itself on the culture—you will want to host a party for your employees.

Your company’s culture is one of the biggest points of difference between you and your competitors, and a holiday party is the perfect time to show off. Even employees who may skip out on other company-wide events are likely to attend the holiday party, so it’s one of the best opportunities to get in front of your most valuable asset–your staff.

For example, if you want to emphasize the importance of individual employee efforts, consider ways to recognize employee achievements. One way to do this is to acknowledge employees who showed high performance throughout the year with an award or a corporate branded item. Another way is to hand out thank you cards allowing employees to thank each other for the hard work.

The holidays are also a great time to establish philanthropic efforts, which add to your company culture. Employees generally love a chance to give back, and take pride in a company that loves to give back as well. This is a great time to spread seasonal cheer and happiness, while getting your name out there at the same time.

Holiday parties also encourage networking and relationships. A lot of times there aren’t very many opportunities for employees to talk, especially if they are in different departments. Christmas parties allow your employees to interact with each other and build friendships. This will help your employees have more positive feelings toward your company.

Whether you opt for karaoke, board games or a more traditional holiday celebration, one thing’s for certain, if you want to boost company morale, a holiday part is a must!

Boost employee morale with recognition

43617982_SToo often, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture at work. We tend to value people on the job for the volume of work they produce rather than their commitment, work ethic and the intangible value they bring to the organization.

However, you can change the corporate culture by adding an element of appreciation. Remember, most people aren’t simply motivated by a paycheck. It extends beyond that. They want to work hard and contribute and be noticed and respected for their efforts. It’s really an innate human desire.

Here are several reasons recognition can ensure the long-standing health of your organization and improve employee retention:

Reason #1: Recognition results in happier people. When was the last time someone you respect paid you a compliment? How did it make you feel? Chances are good it brought a smile to your face and made you feel great. By honoring the hard work of staff, you are boosting confidence and making them feel positive about the work they contribute.

Reason #2: Recognition is public acknowledgement. Most employees’ efforts go unnoticed because they aren’t calling attention to themselves or their work. But regular public recognition—in front of a peer group of volunteers at a staff meeting, for example—validates how you as a leader feel about their work. That’s truly special and meaningful.

Reason #3: Recognition tends to replicate. When you recognize hard-working folks, chances are high that goodwill will spread. Team members who have been honored can be encouraged to report back on co-workers who are also making a difference—and deserve similar recognition. By creating a kind of virtuous circle of positive feedback, people will enjoy working together more and, thus, get more done for the organization.

If you haven’t made an effort in the employee recognition department, now is a great time to start. We can help you handpick branded items as tokens of appreciation. It’s just one of the many ways we help you put your best foot forward!

Group ordering just got easier

11352404 - hand pushing the buttonThe Internet has made our lives easier and simpler in a lot of ways. Indeed the business world depends on it to keep moving. It’s now easier than ever to order your favorite branded apparel–with the click of a mouse! Yes, online stores are the best kept secret–but we’re hoping to change that! Here are a few reasons why you should consider setting one up today:

  • Maintain and elevate your organizations’ brand and image
  • Reward employees
  • Access built-in fundraising opportunities for your teams and the school
  • Ship custom branded apparel with no minimums
  • Consolidate multiple promotional product vendors
  • Maximize the best volume discounts
  • Save valuable time and money
  • Manage and control corporate logo usage per brand guidelines
  • Manage inventory at your fingertips–regardless of device
  • Manage multiple vendors with one source
  • Have merchandise available 24/7
  • Access easy-to-use reporting to help manage your program
  • Submit and receive orders securely–no more paper order forms or checks

We have partnered with OrderMyGear to deliver such a solution. Get started by building a custom, secure, online account that effortlessly handles all your apparel needs.

Join us in supporting the Special Olympics movement

IFAt T.R. McTaggart, we pride ourselves in being community-minded. That’s why we support organizations like Special Olympics Michigan. The mission of this worthy organization is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Michigan has been part of the Special Olympics movement since 1968.

According to the organization, athletes develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy while participating in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendship among their families, Special Olympics athletes and the community. Caring volunteers, coaches, family members and staff all make this possible. Donations from Michigan citizens and businesses (like T.R. McTaggart) provide funding for the programs. In fact, we just had our 30th annual golf outing, which benefited Special Olympics Michigan. We are happy to share that we raised over $29,500 for the cause this year.

Speaking of programs, competitions are how the mission really comes alive. Athletes are placed into divisions based on age, gender and ability. Competitions take place at local, regional, state, national and world levels. Special Olympics also promotes athletes’ integration into society. For example, in the U.S., 52 percent of Special Olympics athletes are employed; approximately half of these athletes are “competitively employed” – employed alongside people without intellectual disabilities.

But that’s not all. The impact of this organization is significant. Consider these facts provided by the organization:

• 23,317 athletes participate in Special Olympics Michigan with programs provided at no cost to athletes or their families

• 24 sports are offered

• 6 state-level competitions, 4 district basketball tournaments and more than 600 competitions statewide

• More than 29,000 volunteers

• Special Olympics Michigan is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supported almost entirely through corporate funding and individual gifts

We are proud to partner with such an amazing organization. If you would like to get involved, there are plenty of ways to volunteer. 

Tackling burnout at the office

21384546_SBurnout is an often inevitable part of life. We are working longer and harder at the office. But you don’t have to let it be a constant. These tips can help you take control of your life:

Indulge a little. Maybe you like to meditate in the morning, sip a cup of tea over breakfast or read before bedtime. Allow yourself to have such moments, which can free up your brain’s capacity to sort out problems and be more creative.

Regain control of your schedule. Sometimes that calls for going off the grid. Consider turning off notifications on your devices and only checking email or social accounts every few hours. If something is really urgent, the person will call you. Electronic communication can wait. Also, try to limit unnecessary meetings. If something can be agreed on in an email or via a short conversation, save yourself the trouble.

Respect work-life balance. You don’t live to work. Try to shut off email after work and on weekends. When you don’t get adequate down time, your stress level never has a chance to return to normal before morning rolls around again—creating a never-ending cycle of anxiety.

Delegate. You don’t have to do it all. Lean on your employees or outside vendors to lighten the load. Don’t forget we can help take the load off with our corporate products.

Be good to you. Eat well, exercise and prioritize sleep. Take a vacation at least once a year. The mind-body connection is real. Honor your limitations and don’t be afraid to set boundaries. You’ll be more effective at work when you’re refreshed.

Follow these tips and you’re less likely to let yourself reach the point of burnout. Your employees and family will thank you.

Online Store

We make your design come alive

37289119 - t shirt icon.vector illustration.When we say “custom,” we really mean it. You won’t find cookie cutter products here. That’s not how we do business. Instead, we approach each order as a unique project. Here’s a look at our process.

Every business has its own personality and brand, and we do our best to capture that. When it comes to designing your next t-shirt campaign, we make it easy to turn a concept into reality. Whether it’s tweaking an original hand-drawn concept, or creating an original and dynamic shirt design from scratch, our experts can help take a design concept and upgrade it to the next level. Your company benefits from an in-house design team. Customers can choose between editing a pre-existing design, submitting a design form for the design team to modify, or creating a completely new shirt design. It’s really up to you.

Another element to our process is innovation. Traveling from coast to coast, we stay current on best practices and apply it to your project. From exclusive designs nowhere else in the marketplace to a custom logo, great apparel starts with great design and great design is our passion.

So what can we do for you? Your next design is just a call or a click away!

Get more out of your next conference

34238760 - conferenceConferences can be a great way to meet people and get out of your day-to-day routine. But you only get as much out of them as you put it. Here are a few ways to get more mileage out of your time there:

  • Request to speak on a panel. This might sound like an introvert’s worst nightmare, but it can really be a boon to one’s career. After you speak, people tend to come up and find you, so that eliminates any awkwardness. You never know—your next big client could be in the audience!
  • Make the most of dinner. Everyone needs to eat, after all. Invite a few fellow conference goers out and you might discover you have more in common than you thought. Plus, it’s a great way to get to know people outside of a stuffy conference setting.
  • Be open to chance encounters. Sometimes the best conversations occur on a whim. So set yourself up to impress. Make it a point to learn names and capture tidbits of biographical information. Even if the conversation is brief, you’re off to a good start by building on a topic they’re passionate about: him or herself! It won’t always work, but it’s possible they’ll want to connect further maybe on LinkedIn or via email.  You might even consider handing out a branded promotional item.
  • Use wardrobe strategically. Sometimes articles of clothing can be good talking points. For example, as a woman you might pin an antique brooch on your blouse or if you’re a man, you might choose a colorful tie. Don’t be afraid to express yourself!

Great t-shirt design isn’t rocket science

11248553_SWe’ve seen thousands of designs. As a result, we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. The good news is that making a great design for your next campaign really isn’t all that complicated. (It’s not rocket science!) We’ve made it easy and boiled it down to four key elements that you can adopt to make a great design.

1) Think simple. If your design is too involved or busy, at best it’ll be difficult for someone to read and understand your message. At worst, the quality of the final product will suffer.

2) Less is more with color. We recommend using a limited number of colors – ideally two or maybe three at most. That’s because the number of colors largely determines the cost. Each separate color on your design requires more work on our part, so minimizing the number of colors you use helps to keep the cost per unit down.

3) Know your audience. Maybe you run a buttoned down nonprofit. Or maybe you need a design for an edgy rock band. These are polar opposites, so you’ll want to take into account the purpose and context. The season and climate are also factors. You don’t want to order black heavy knit polos in the summer.

That pretty much covers the basics. If you have specific questions, we’d be happy to help guide you as you develop a custom design.

School fundraising done right: A guide for parents

29986284_SFundraising is a way to ensure your child’s school can provide a better experience. If you are part of the school’s PTO or related organization, you might want to consider the approach. The first day of school is just around the corner, after all! To make sure your next fundraiser is a success, we thought we would point out some of the most common fundraising snafus and how you can avoid them.

Lack of planning: There is a lot of work involved in putting on a fundraiser — everything from picking a product or event, to lining up volunteers and other logistical details. All of this takes planning. Compose a checklist of those essential tasks and ensure someone in the group is in charge of ensuring every detail is handled properly.

Lack of school support: Let’s face it, teachers already have a lot to do without also being tasked with raising money. But it would be a mistake not to include them in the fundraising process. While they don’t have to be in the trenches, teachers and administrators should take on a cheerleading role. Be sure to provide a dose of encouragement to motivate those everyday heroes.

Lack of promotion: What if you threw a fundraiser and no one showed up? Well, if you don’t properly get out the word, you may not get the sales you need to reach your goal. Use Facebook, Twitter, Eventbrite and other social channels to promote your event. If your students are tech-savvy, they can even make a YouTube video. And don’t overlook traditional avenues like posters, flyers, and letters sent home to parents in a child’s backpack.

Repeating the same fundraiser: You may have achieved good results with your last candle fundraiser. But just because it was successful the first time doesn’t mean you will get the same results the second time around. After all, your neighbors can only buy so many nuts, magazines and coupon books. Also, try not to duplicate a fundraiser that another school in the area has already planned. Don’t be afraid to try new fundraising ideas.

Don’t forget the kids: It’s great to have adults helping out, but don’t forget to get the students involved. They are a great resource, and it is all about their educational opportunities. Students make great volunteers. Pick a fundraiser that will allow them to learn some great life lessons from fundraising, such as teamwork and how to work toward achieving a common goal.

Don’t forget we are here to help. Custom t-shirts and other promotional items can foster a sense of community. You might even consider selling them as a fundraiser!

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