Archive | August, 2018

How to Handle Conflict at Work

August 30, 2018


“Well, this is awkward…” That thought has probably passed your mind when faced with conflict. Especially at work. There will be many times throughout your career where you will disagree on how to tackle a project, move forward with a timeline, or resolve an issue. How do you express your opinion without offending someone? And how do you vocalize those thoughts when you’re too nervous to do so? Even when you know that not speaking up could be worse?

Keep this in mind: business is business. Work conflicts are different than life conflicts. They don’t have to be awkward. Instead of being awkward, be assertive. But how does one do that? There are a few small tips that can help you address the issue at hand without feeling like you’re attacking someone else’s idea.

  1. Stick to the facts: State the problem. State your concerns. Be sure to listen to their response before you chime in again. Also avoid using phrases like “always” or “never.” This isn’t an attack.
  2. Ask questions: Feel like you’re walking on eggshells around this person? Ask important questions that may help that person see where problems could arise, or can at least help you understand where they are coming from in this thought process.
  3. Present a solution: Instead of just shooting down an idea, bring another option to the table. Avoid using “but…” Instead, try “and.” Instead of saying, “I see your point, but I think…” try, “I see how that could work and I’d like to also consider…”

Image via Tom MacWright/Flickr.

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How to Find Work-Life Balance…While You’re Still at Work

August 28, 2018


The struggle for work-life balance is real. There is no clear answer–it’s different for everyone and yet seemingly difficult for everyone to achieve. However, the focus often comes on how to find time for life after work. Work hours become the non-negotiable and after work becomes the time for living. But what about trying to fit in “life” while at work? Here are a few ways to do it:

  1. Eat lunch away from your desk: Not only is it good to step away from your computer and give your eyes–and your brain–a rest, it’s good to socialize with your coworkers. Set up a lunch date on or off site at least once a week, and encourage your coworkers to take a lunch break with you every other day.
  2. Squeeze in a workout: If your office has a gym–or even if it doesn’t–there’s likely a way to incorporate a workout into your day. Try using the office gym before work or right after. Or go for a run over the lunch hour. Or why not try biking to and from work?
  3. Take a 15-minute break: Mid-morning and mid-afternoon are the perfect times to take some time for yourself. Call your spouse, pay a bill, go for a short walk, or read an article you’ve been meaning to tackle.

How to you incorporate “life” into your workday? Comment below!

Image via Eric Ward/Flickr.

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5 Ways to Get Over the Afternoon Slump (Without Caffeine)

August 23, 2018


You can count on the dreaded afternoon slump almost as much as death and taxes. Right? But there are more than a few ways to get over that sluggish feeling without reaching for a coffee. You’re likely feeling burned out from the long work day and you need a few minutes to recharge. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Try a standing desk: It takes some getting used to, but a standing desk (preferably an adjustable stand-sit desk) can be incredibly energizing. The constant small movements and better posture that comes with standing can keep you “on your toes”–literally!
  2. Go for an afternoon walk: This is a no-brainer but it really does work wonders. Getting a breath of fresh air (even if it’s cold!) and sunshine can be even more energizing than a cup of joe–and you won’t feel a crash afterward.
  3. Talk with a friend: Either strike up a conversation with a coworker or pick up the phone and call a friend or family member. A short five to ten minute talk can do wonders to your mood. It’s easier to tackle the remaining few hours with a smile on your face.
  4. Take a Sodoku break: Or any other kind of puzzle from crosswords to mazes. Heck, even an adult coloring book can work. Sometimes you just need to shift your mind away from your to-do list and challenge a different part of your brain.
  5. Treat yourself: But not to a sugary snack or a caffeinated drink. Visit your favorite blog, read a chapter of your book, or put on your favorite scented hand lotion. A little five minute “me” break allows you to refocus before you get back to work.

Image via Oliver Chesler/Flickr.

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Add Some Oomph to Your Resume With These Words

August 21, 2018


You have one goal during the job search process: stand out from the rest. How do you do that? It starts with your resume. It’s probably currently filled with the same cliche phrases that fill everyone else’s profile like “team player,” “hard worker,” and “detail-oriented.”

If tired wording like “problem solver” or “results oriented,” appear on your resume, try to sub them out and rephrase them with something more creative. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • redesigned
  • negotiated
  • launched
  • modernized
  • orchestrated
  • spearheaded
  • influenced
  • committed
  • propelled
  • shaped
  • advocated
  • invested
  • reduced
  • improved
  • achieved

What are your favorite resume buzzwords? Comment below!

Image via Juliie Gon Námestie/Flickr.

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How to End Procrastination Once and For All

August 18, 2018


Sometimes procrastination feels like a disease with no cure. In fact, some of the worst procrastinators may suffer from a lifelong infection! But there has to be a way to overcome this bad habit. What is the secret?! This Harvard Business Review article really struck a note with a procrastinator like me. “The skill we really need to develop—and it is a skill—is transitioning,” the author Peter Bregman says.

It’s so true. When we procrastinate on a task we must do, it’s because it’s going to make us feel uncomfortable. It might cause us stress or anxiety, or we might not even know where to begin so we feel overwhelmed. We’d rather stay in the comfortable zone–the zone of checking emails, doing the busy work, and finding pretty much anything else to do but the task at hand.

The “transition” skill we must develop is simply that of starting. If we can start the task at hand and move from that comfortable to uncomfortable zone, we will be more productive. All it takes is recognizing our attempts at procrastination, and then taking that first step. The more we do it, the more easily the transition will happen in the future. Before you know it, you might have the ability to overcome procrastination once and for all!

How do you beat procrastination? Share your tips below!

Image via Vic/Flickr.


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InBusiness Magazine Features Spectrum Brands’ Own

August 16, 2018


This month’s In Business magazine features Spectrum Brands’ own Patty Glines-Kotecki and her appearance at Madison’s CultureCon event. CultureCon is a two-day event “on a mission to impact the workplace by connecting humans to spread positive change around organizational culture.” Glines-Kotecki led a breakout session and shared her thoughts on managing change in the workplace.

“Patty Glines-Kotecki’s title with Spectrum Brands is Organizational Effectiveness Leader, but she’s a social scientist at heart. As such, she likens the 15,000-employee organization she works for to a laboratory.

During the recent CultureCon event at the Madison Concourse Hotel, she spoke on building a change-adept culture and, in so doing, offered lessons from a change manager. Her basic message is an oft-repeated one: change is inevitable. Are you ready to manage it, especially as it becomes more and more complex?

Another part of her message is that while change is inevitable, well-managed change is not. She offers a simple model for change management that is heavily dependent on continuous learning for managers, which might meet with more resistance than the actual change itself, and she offers ways to do battle with the inevitable barriers to change.”

Read the rest of the story here.

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Why You Should Tell Everyone You Lost Your Job

August 14, 2018


You got laid off. The last thing you want to do is shout it from the rooftops. You’re hurt and stressed out no doubt. But seriously, it’s time to push your feelings aside and tell everyone–and I mean everyone–that you lost your job. Huh?

Let’s be honest: if you’re unemployed, you need help. And your network can give that to you. Friends, family, and strangers that you meet at industry events or connect with online are all potential job leads. When it comes down to it, you’ll probably be surprised how many people want to help.

Don’t turn down any opportunities. And treat them with the same professional manner in which you would treat a job interview. Come up with a bit of a revised elevator pitch that focuses on what you want to do next. Briefly mention the fact that you got laid off, but then move on to bigger and better things.

What do you miss about your old position that you’d like to pursue in a new position? What don’t you miss that may inspire you to pursue a different path? Are you taking a class or reading a book that is expanding your potential? Create a story surrounding your journey, one that will inspire others to help you. And remember the golden rule: be sure to return the favor in the future.

Image via hedera.baltica/Flickr.


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How to Reenergize Yourself

August 9, 2018


We focus a lot of managing our time, but what about managing our energy? It’s no secret that you’re more productive during certain parts of the day. And that burning the wick at both ends affects your productivity–and your happiness. Here are a few ways you can manage your energy during the work week, and use your energy to your advantage:

  • Pay attention: When are you naturally most productive? If the answer is early in the morning, schedule your most important task for the day at that time. Save email checking or meetings for later in the day.
  • Get up earlier: This may sound counterintuitive at first. But having plenty of time in the morning can lead to a more restful day. An earlier wake up call might mean you have time to do something majorly beneficial such as working out, eating a healthy breakfast, making a lunch to-go, or spending some time with your family.
  • Reassess your (negative) habits: If you’re feeling burned out at the end of each day, get down to the root of the problem and make a change. Do you stay up too late watching TV? Do you depend too heavily on caffeine? Do you eat an unhealthy lunch or sugary snacks every afternoon?

These small changes can not only make you feel better, but can make you more productive. That means more time do the things you love, which is energizing in itself. And who doesn’t want that?

Image via Shawn Carpenter/Flickr. 

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Three Magic Tips to Help You Get Stuff Done

August 7, 2018


Is your to-do list growing instead of shrinking? Don’t you wish you could just make it *poof!* disappear? The reality is that we’ll never reach the bottom of our list–there will always be something else calling for our time. But surely your to-dos include a few items that have been holding space on your list for weeks, months, or even years. If you’re hoping to tackle those unavoidable big ticket items, there are a few strategies you can take to get stuff done:

  1. Break it down: Cut your to-do item in half, or even in thirds. Outline smaller steps that will help you reach the final goal. Pencil in a specific day and time for each step. Heck, you can even ask for help along the way. Don’t be above admitting when you need assistance.
  2. Clear your schedule: Something has been nagging at you for months? But you’ve been avoiding it at all costs? It’s probably because you knew it would take a lot of time. So commit one entire day to the task. When your mind can be completely focused on the task at hand, it will make it seem less overwhelming.
  3. Re-prioritize your list: We spend a majority of our time on urgent but unimportant tasks, like checking email. These kinds of tasks are easier to accomplish and make us feel like we made a dent in our list. Instead, tackle the items that will make the biggest impact in your life.

Image via ThaQeLa/Flickr.

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How to Get Back on the (Career) Wagon

August 2, 2018


Missed out on a promotion? Didn’t land that job opportunity? Got laid off? It’s easy to feel angry, as if you were treated unfairly, that you’re unlucky, or like you’re not good enough. But letting your inner critic send you into a spiral of shame is completely unproductive. What can you do? Exactly. That’s exactly the question you need to ask yourself.

When things don’t go your way, there is only one thing you can do: focus on the things you can control. You can update your resume. You can apply for another job. You can ask for feedback. You can do your best until the next opportunity arises. What new goals can you pursue?

Instead of focusing on your weaknesses, focus on your strengths. Instead of focusing on what you did wrong, focus on what you did right. And what you’ve done right throughout your entire career. Surely this isn’t the first time you’ve had a setback. How did you overcome it last time?

The sooner you snap out of your negative mindset and shift into a positive one, the faster you can get back on track. You’ve got this!

Image via Angry Idol/Flickr. 

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