organization productivity programming

Good programming habits

  • volunteer for things you don’t know so you can constantly learn new things
  • ask to pair up because pairing session is a great way to kick off the work on a task; discuss requirements until you understand what is expected, then discuss the solution
  • talk about what you are doing and what you’re not doing
  • write a blog because writing with the intention to teach others (even if it’s just future you) is a great way of learning and growing
  • have a notebook and a system to convince your mind that whatever you put into the notebook will not be lost; create index, review notes and process them
  • have a time slot for important tasks
  • when stuck, take a break
  • don’t chase “silver bullets”


finance organization productivity

How Upwork Determines Your Job Success Score

Upwork determines each freelancer’s Job Success Score based on an average of how work performance is ranked by employers. The Job Success Score is updated every two weeks, but it analyzes your performance over a 24-month period. The goal is to keep your score above 90%; scores that fall below 70% could lead to the possibility of an account suspension.

Several factors help determine your score, including:

  • feedback/complaints from clients
  • responsiveness
  • work completed successfully
  • deadlines
  • long-term relationships with clients
  • disputes
  • jobs that ended without you receiving payment (or with a full refund)

Perfection 100% of the time is impossible, but you should have a history of good performance. The more successful you are, the more you will be recommended for positions. If you have issues meeting deadlines or completing jobs fully, don’t continue that downward trend. Take the time to follow through, and your score will continue to improve. Major negative trends could lead to a review of your account.

Upwork takes freelancer performance very seriously because it reflects the marketplace as a whole. The Job Success Score offers you a way to ensure that you are meeting Upwork’s quality standards with your work. Clients are also monitored, and their history is considered when their input is calculated into your score.

organization productivity

Top Tips in Working as a Freelancer in Upwork

  1. Focus on the client’s SPECIFIC needs. Read each job description carefully, and take a mental note of exactly what the client wants. You need to pay attention to the details of what the client is asking for in their job description, and make your proposal about that. That keeps you from sounding like everyone else, and shows the client you care about helping them win, which is what they really want.
  2. Overcome objections. There are always barriers that can potentially keep clients from hiring you. Some clients may consider you as expensive so in your proposal you should talking about the importance of investing in business. Get them into that mindset of, ‘Okay, this isn’t cheap, but it’s important.’ Also mention the fact that you will edit the work until they’re happy with it. That eliminates the fear of what will happen if your first draft isn’t perfect. You can use this approach to remove any objection. The key is knowing what your ideal client is most concerned about, then using that information to make them feel comfortable. And you can do this right in your proposal.
  3. Start a conversation. Proposals should serve one purpose: To get a response from the client. That’s it. The goal is to get the client interested enough to write back. From there, try and move them to a voice call, either by phone or Skype. Once we’re talking, we can get a better understanding of how we can help them, and if we are even the right person to help them. And then we have a much better chance of closing the deal if it’s a good fit. There’s no replacement for that human connection of just talking with someone.
  4. Under-promise and over-deliver. It can be tempting to promise clients the moon in the hopes of getting their attention. Especially if you’ve sent out a bunch of proposals and haven’t heard anything back. Don’t do it! Stick to realistic timelines, and don’t promise anything you can’t deliver. Good clients are smart. If your proposal sounds ‘too good to be true,’ you’ll come across as desperate. Smart clients will sniff that out and it’s a turnoff to them. It’s better to be more low key in your proposal, and then impress the client by delivering your work better and sooner than they expected. That makes them feel like, ‘wow, this freelancer did a really great job.’
  5. Be consistent. You won’t always get a response to your proposals right away. Clients get busy, and it can take them a few days or even weeks to respond. And not every response will turn into a job. So it’s important to keep sending out those proposals. Pick a number to send out every week, or every day, and stick to it. That way you’ll always have plenty of irons in the fire at any given time. That’s what leads to success on Upwork.
  6. In the absence of any Upwork hours, bank on your corporate or university experience to win clients.
  7. Create a custom and hard to resist Cover Letter that will highlight your skills and why you are fit for the job. Watch out for hidden requirements like catch phrases you need to include on your application.
  8. If you’re not confident with your skills, then learn a new one. There are tons of resources, blogs and webinars online. Or if you are already working as a freelancer, keep updated and enhance your skills. Never stop learning.
  9. Once you get a client, maintain a good track record to gain great feedback that will highlight your profile.
  10. Expand your network to get more referrals. Apart from keeping a good relationship with your old clients, make it a habit to network with your co-freelancers. Both are great sources of client referral.


How to Tell Someone Is About to Quit Their Job

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, a pair of researchers share 13 subtle signs, narrowed from a list of 116, which was itself culled from more than 900 “tells” gathered from interviews with hundreds of employees and managers. Those 13 signs are:

  1. Their work productivity has decreased more than usual
  2. They have acted less like a team player than usual
  3. They have been doing the minimum amount of work more frequently than usual
  4. They have been less interested in pleasing their manager than usual
  5. They have been less willing to commit to long-term timelines than usual
  6. They have exhibited a negative change in attitude
  7. They have exhibited less effort and work motivation than usual
  8. They have exhibited less focus on job-related matters than usual
  9. They have expressed dissatisfaction with their current job more frequently than usual
  10. They have expressed dissatisfaction with their supervisor more frequently than usual
  11. They have left early from work more frequently than usual
  12. They have lost enthusiasm for the mission of the organization
  13. They have shown less interest in working with customers than usual

Science of Us


101 ways to cope with stress

  1. Get up 15 minutes earlier
  2. Prepare for the morning the night before
  3. Avoid tight fitting clothes
  4. Avoid relying on chemical aids
  5. Set appointments ahead
  6. Don’t rely on your memory write it down
  7. Practice preventive maintenance
  8. Make duplicate keys
  9. Say “no” more often
  10. Set priorities in your life
  11. Avoid negative people
  12. Use time wisely
  13. Simplify meal times
  14. Always make copies of important papers
  15. Anticipate your needs
  16. Repair anything that doesn’t work properly
  17. Ask for help with the jobs you dislike
  18. Break large tasks into bite size portions
  19. Look at problems as challenges
  20. Look at challenges differently
  21. Unclutter your life
  22. Smile
  23. Be prepared for rain
  24. Tickle a baby
  25. Pet a friendly dog/cat
  26. Don’t know all the answers
  27. Look for a silver lining
  28. Say something nice to someone
  29. Teach a kid to fly a kite
  30. Walk in the rain
  31. Schedule play time into every day
  32. Take a bubble bath
  33. Be aware of the decisions you make
  34. Believe in yourself
  35. Stop saying negative things to yourself
  36. Visualize yourself winning
  37. Develop your sense of humor
  38. Stop thinking tomorrow will be a better today
  39. Have goals for yourself
  40. Dance a jig
  41. Say “hello” to a stranger
  42. Ask a friend for a hug
  43. Look up at the stars
  44. Practice breathing slowly
  45. Learn to whistle a tune
  46. Read a poem
  47. Listen to a symphony
  48. Watch a ballet
  49. Read a story curled up in bed
  50. Do a brand new thing
  51. Stop a bad habit
  52. Buy yourself a flower
  53. Take time to smell the flowers
  54. Find support from others
  55. Ask someone to be your “vent-partner”
  56. Do it today
  57. Work at being cheerful and optimistic
  58. Put safety first
  59. Do everything in moderation
  60. Pay attention to your appearance
  61. Strive for Excellence NOT perfection
  62. Stretch your limits a little each day
  63. Look at a work of art
  64. Hum a jingle
  65. Maintain your weight
  66. Plant a tree
  67. Feed the birds
  68. Practice grace under pressure
  69. Stand up and stretch
  70. Always have a plan “B”
  71. Learn a new doodle
  72. Memorize a joke
  73. Be responsible for your feelings
  74. Learn to meet your own needs
  75. Become a better listener
  76. Know your limitations and let others know them, too
  77. Tell someone to have a good day in pig Latin
  78. Throw a paper airplane
  79. Exercise every day
  80. Learn the words to a new song
  81. Get to work early
  82. Clean out one closet
  83. Play patty cake with a toddler
  84. Go on a picnic
  85. Take a different route to work
  86. Leave work early (with permission)
  87. Put air freshener in your car
  88. Watch a movie and eat popcorn
  89. Write a note to a faraway friend
  90. Go to a ball game and scream
  91. Cook a meal and eat it by candlelight
  92. Recognize the importance of unconditional love
  93. Remember that stress is an attitude
  94. Keep a journal
  95. Practice a monster smile
  96. Remember you always have options
  97. Have a support network of people, places and things
  98. Quit trying to fix other people
  99. Get enough sleep
  100. Talk less and listen more
  101. Freely praise other people

BONUS: Relax, take each day at a time you have the rest of your life to live!

Graves’ Disease


One email rule to rule them all

If you have trouble prioritizing the tsunami of email in your inbox, Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman has a trick: divide your inbox up into three simple categories: Inbox, CC, and External.

Scott uses filters to send incoming emails into three different inboxes: one for external emails (anyone outside his company), another for any emails he’s CC’d on, and a last one for all internal company emails sent directly to Scott.

  • Inbox
  • Inbox – CC
  • Inbox – External

This is a really good way to manage the time and energy you put into processing emails, because you can prioritize external emails if you want to (as Scott does) without wasting time looking for them in your inbox – or getting distracted by internal emails instead.


Get more responses to your emails

Whether you’re writing to complain to customer service, or just want to hear back from a coworker at the office, these six email rules will increase your chances of hearing back.

  1. Use shorter sentences with simpler words. A 3rd grade reading level works best.
  2. Include 1-3 questions in your email.
  3. Make sure you include a subject line! Aim for 3-4 words.
  4. Use a slightly positive or slightly negative tone. Both outperform a completely neutral tone.
  5. Take a stand! Opinionated messages see higher response rates than objective ones.
  6. Write enough, but not too much. Try to keep messages between 50-125 words.