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Challenge Yourself: Just Ask!

May 25, 2017

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As Wayne Gretzky says, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” This could also be interpreted as “If you don’t ask, you’ll never know” or even with the addendum: “…and the answer will always be no.”

So here’s a challenge for you this month: just ask! Here is some inspiration to get you started. Ask…

  • what it will take to get that promotion.
  • someone you look up to if they will be your mentor.
  • if you can take on a project that you are highly interested in.
  • for a recommendation on LinkedIn.
  • yourself if it’s time for a new job.
  • for some time off.
  • when you’ll get your next raise.
  • if you can take a relevant class on the company’s dime.
  • for help on a project.
  • yourself if you’re happy.
  • why something is the way it is.
  • if you can go to a conference you’ve been dying to go to.

Image via Rajiv Patel (Rajiv’s View)/Flickr.

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Is There Such a Thing as a “Dream Job?”

May 23, 2017

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Do you love to read career success stories? Do you look up to successful entrepreneurs? Do you see internet superstars who seem like they’ve got it all figured out — traveling the world while doing what they love?

It’s easy to read stories like this and begin dreaming about the perfect job and the perfect life and what your pitch on Shark Tank should look like…It’s easy to think that you’re the only person who doesn’t have this career thing quite figured out. But what if the idea of a “dream job” is a fallacy?

Think about it: your life is always changing. New interests or hobbies. New partners or kids. New challenges or places. That means your ideal job may always be different too. Instead of searching for your dream job, search inside yourself for a few of these answers that can help guide you down a more clear career path:

1.What are my strengths?
Think of what you’re known for at work and for what task people turn to you.Revisiting annual reviews from your boss may help. Now think outside of work — your home life and your personal history — and brainstorm a few more ideas.

2. What inspires me?
Keep a running list of the things that invigorate you on a daily basis. These could be work related or not as well as things you know well or things you want to learn more about.

3. What are my core values?
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People can help with this one. Boiling down your life to a few guiding principles can help you make decisions at home and at work that make you happier.

It could take decades to find your “dream job.” It’s not a simple code to crack. But being more familiar with what makes you tick, what increases your happiness, and what you want to prioritize in life is a great place to start.

Image via Levent Ali/Flickr.

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Bill Gates Shares Advice for Grads

May 18, 2017

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In a recent tweet storm, Bill Gates shared some life and career knowledge for recent college graduates. While finding a job and career success are of the utmost importance for those in their 20s, he highlighted an important point: success is about much more than a career. And happiness in your life can inspire happiness at work. Here are our favorite bits of the conversation.

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Would You Join the 5 AM Club?

April 27, 2017

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Benjamin Franklin said, “There will be plenty of time to sleep when you are dead.” He’s right, and it’s no secret that the most successful people in the world are early risers. They swear by those uninterrupted hours before the clock strikes eight. Knowing this, would you be willing to commit to a 5 AM wake up call for the next 30 days?

It may seem a bit extreme, but hopping out of bed earlier could change your life. Think about what you could get done before you head to work:

  • get in a solid exercise session
  • make breakfast and prepare a healthy lunch
  • read a book
  • write in a journal
  • clean or do chores
  • answer emails
  • meditate or do yoga
  • practice a hobby

If you’re not willing to get up at 5 AM–not many people are!–think about what an extra 30 minutes could do to your morning routine. Try it tomorrow morning: set your alarm for just a little bit earlier than usual and see how much more accomplished you feel before heading into work. You may not need to join the 5 AM club to find your bliss.

Image via Image Catalog/Flickr.

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The 10-Minute End of Workday Routine

April 25, 2017

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An end of workday routine is good for many reasons. It can help you mentally decompress and “clock out” at the end of the day. When you arrive tomorrow morning, you’ll be more organized and will be able to hit the ground running, which will lead to a more productive day…and an easier time clocking out at the end of the day. It’s a cycle! Here are a few ideas for a 10-minute end of workday routine that you can enact tonight:

  1. Set an alarm for the end of the day, which will remind you to begin your routine. It will also encourage you to get home so you don’t linger and tire yourself out.
  2. Assess what tasks you’ve completed today, and give yourself a pat on the pack. These small achievements often go unrecognized but it’s important to end your day on a positive note.
  3. Assess what still needs to be finished this week. Update your weekly goals and tasks and decide what is most important.
  4. Write up a to-do list for tomorrow. Prioritize the urgent items that must be tackled first thing tomorrow morning.
  5. Review tomorrow’s schedule. Begin mentally preparing for tomorrow by visualizing how your day will flow.
  6. Clean up your physical desk and the desktop of your computer screen. Clutter is distracting and can inhibit your productivity.
  7. Say goodbye with a smile, and head home!

Image via perzonseo.com/Flickr.

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Why Weekly Schedules are Good For You

April 20, 2017

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We tend to run our lives day by day, making to-do lists each morning, and mentally calculating our successes and failures each night. But what if we thought “weekly” instead of “daily?” Here are a few reasons why thinking week-to-week can help you become more productive and happier.

  • Instead of planning out your day each morning, map out your whole week each Sunday night. Make sure there is time for exercise, family and friends, and–of course–work. Doing so can help better mentally prepare you for the week ahead and help you assess how you can best spend your time.
  • Weekly to-do lists are less stressful than daily to-dos. If you don’t accomplish something today, it can be moved to tomorrow. You’ll more easily be able to rearrange your schedule to make time for this task without sacrificing other important obligations or stressing out about your seemingly limited time.
  •  A week-long time frame is a better indicator of success. Assess your goals each Sunday night. Did you make progress during this past week? What changes can you make moving forward? Put those into action next week. Weekly progress checks and tweaks can help you improve drastically by the month’s end.

Image via Marie Coleman/Flickr.

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What To Do When You Get The Interview…but Not the Job

April 18, 2017

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Always a bridesmaid! Is that how you feel on the job search? You’re constantly landing interviews but not landing the job? You may be missing one of these key interview techniques that the pros have mastered. Add the following skills to your interview toolbox and you’ll be signing on the dotted line before you know it.

Strike up a conversation.
At some point during the interview, get a natural, off-the-cuff conversation going that can showcase your friendliness and personality. Try small talk when you first walk in the room. Or, ask an unrehearsed follow-up questions that shows you are really engaged with the interviewer.

Outline why you’re a perfect fit.
You know you’re a perfect fit. You think they know it. But do they? You must outline the unique reasons why you would flourish at this organization. Be sure to put the appropriate spit on it — how you could help the company (not vice versa).

Reiterate why you’re interested.
You wouldn’t be sitting in this interview if you weren’t interested, right? It’s true, but the fact still needs to be stated out loud at the end of your interview. Now is not the time to feel too proud. Lay it all out on the table by saying something like, “I’m really passionate about the work you’re doing here and I would love to be a part of it.”

Image via Image Catalog/Flickr.

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5 Ways to to Be Proactive not Reactive In Your Career

April 13, 2017

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We live in a reactive society where emails, push notifications, and texts constantly interrupt our train of thought, deter us from our goals, and dictate our daily schedules. If you’re serious about furthering your career, you need to take a stand. The following tips can help you stay strong, or proactive, on a day-to-day basis.

  1. Shut off your email notifications on your phone and your computer. Don’t let someone else interrupt your day whenever they please. Only check your email when you have time to tackle your email.
  2.  Attend networking events even if you’re not looking for a job. Building connections now–instead of when you are desperate–will make for a much easier transition if you do ever find yourself unemployed or ready for a new position.
  3. Ask for LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements now, not when you are job searching or recently unemployed. Build up a strong reference pool now and you will feel much more at ease the next time you’re on the hunt.
  4. Log out of all social networks and remove the apps from your phone. These sites can kill your productivity during the day. Reward yourself with a visit at the end of the day if you’ve completed your goals.
  5. Say “No” more often. Every time you say “yes” you are saying “no” to something else in your life. Get clear on your priorities and don’t feel guilty when you turn down something that is not in line with your goals.

Image via PughPugh/Flickr.

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When Work Affects Your Personal Life

April 10, 2017

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If you’re unhappy in your current role, stressed about by your workload, or anxious about a nagging boss, it can be hard to truly clock out at the end of the day. You may find yourself complaining about work all night or dreading going into work all weekend, which is an unhealthy place to be. These tips can help you separate your work and home life, and help you choose happiness during your time off.

Stick to a schedule.
Set an alarm each day (for 5:30 PM, 6 PM, or whatever is appropriate at your place of work) that reminds you when it’s time to leave. Just like a morning alarm, don’t hit the “snooze” and give yourself “15 more minutes” of work.

Leave work at work.
Before you run out the door, write down a to-do list for tomorrow and highlight the most important tasks that need to be completed. We’ve covered the importance of to-do lists before as well as this productivity hack that can help you stay focused and efficient while at work.

Chill out during your commute.
During your walk or drive, take the time to decompress and clear your mind of today’s troubles. Look forward to what awaits you at home. A hobby may help make this process easier because it will give you something to look forward to and act as a stress reliever.

Put the phone away.
If you have a separate work phone, shut it off and leave it in your work bag once you walk in your front door. If your work email is tied to your personal phone, turn off the notifications–permanently if possible. Being reactive instead of proactive is a bad habit that you need to break.

Acknowledge the stress…and release it.
If work-related thoughts are creeping into your mind all night, you may need to start practicing some mindfulness techniques. Acknowledge the thought that has entered your mind and then say, “Thank you, but not now.”

Image via Sander van der Wel/Flickr. 

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To Apply or Not to Apply…

April 4, 2017

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The job search process can be long and demanding, which can cloud your decision-making abilities and at times can make you feel desperate. Let’s say you stumble upon a listing for an available opportunity in your area but you’re not totally excited about it. What should you do?

Practice makes perfect.
With each job application you fill out and every interview you complete, you are sharpening your skills. When the perfect opportunity presents itself, you’ll be better prepared if you’ve been through the process a few times beforehand.

Remember: you can always say no.
Applying for a job is not the same as accepting a job. If there is something within the job listing that intrigued you — a short commute time, an interesting company, a new field — go ahead and apply. You’ll have plenty of time to ask more questions during the interview process.

Don’t apply if there’s an obvious deal breaker.
If you’re not totally excited about the job because you’d never want to deal with a lengthy commute or the salary is not even close to what you’re looking for, move on. Don’t waste your time applying for positions that don’t meet your personal career happiness requirements.

Image via perzonseo.com

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