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How to Reenergize Yourself

August 9, 2018

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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

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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

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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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How to Find Time for Vacation…Even When You Can’t

July 31, 2018

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Wouldn’t we all love to take a two week break to recharge every year? From lounging on the beach for the ultimate relaxation or bouncing around Asia for the ultimate adventure, let’s face it: a vacation is a luxury. Not only in money spent but in time spent. So what is one to do when an extended vacation is a pipe dream but you need a break?

  • Take off a day mid-week: A random Wednesday off can work wonders for the soul. Make it a “me day” where you hit up the spa, the gym, the beach or wherever else you find most relaxing and rejuvenating.
  • Take off a Friday or a Monday: Give yourself a long weekend every so often. You’ll instantly feel like you’re on holiday when you know you have an extra 24 hours to yourself this week. Be sure to schedule something fun or relaxing so you’re not just tackling your to-do list.
  • Take a staycation: Not only are staycations more affordable (no flight!) but they can also be less stressful. (No airport! No lines! No crowds!) Ever feel like you needed a vacation from your vacation? That won’t happen this time around.
  • Take a weekend trip: You don’t need a whole week to get out of town and recharge. There are plenty of “48 hours in…” articles that show how you can experience a destination in a short amount of time. Pick a location within a three hour direct flight of your hometown and go explore!

Image via Chris Goldberg/Flickr.

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Recent Study Warns Summer Interns: Don’t Act Entitled

July 26, 2018

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Hoping to land a job offer after your summer internship? It’s no secret that you’re a newbie and you’re there to learn. But while interns can get an occasional free pass thanks to their student status, you still need to be on your best behavior. In fact, many will say that an internship is simply an extended job interview.

There are more than a few deal breakers that you need to avoid during your three-month stint. A recent study by Korn Ferry, a global consulting firm, found the number one performance deal breaker: entitlement. Thirty-seven percent of professionals surveyed were turned off by an intern who acted entitled. Other deal breakers (in order of most to least) included a bad cultural fit, not understanding the company, and showing up to work late or leaving early.

In contrast, about 2/3 of the professions were turned on by an intern with passion. Passion was the top attribute employers looked for in an intern–even over performance. There’s more good news: 99% of the professionals surveyed said they’d hire an intern who performs well. So keep that in mind and put your best foot forward every day on the job.

Read more about the study here.

Image via C YL/Flickr. 

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What To Do the Morning of Your Interview

July 24, 2018

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You wake up knowing today’s the big day. How do you feel? The morning before an interview can be tense. You may be nervous or unsure of yourself, overly excited or totally intimidated. But there are a few easy steps you can take to ensure a smooth interview just hours before it happens.

  1. Eat.
    A well-balanced breakfast will keep your blood sugar stable. Don’t choose this morning to skip it, even though you may be feeling rushed or not as hungry as usual. Try a banana and yogurt or oatmeal with berries.
  2. Work out.
    Get the nerves out by breaking a sweat. If you don’t have time to squeeze in a full-blown workout, try a 15 minute walk around the block. Even a short burst of movement can help you calm down and find clarity.
  3. Talk.
    Have your partner ask you a few generic interview questions or just talk out loud to yourself as you get ready. Speaking out loud will help you dust off those pipes and get your brain in the right mindset.

Image via Susanne Nilsson/Flickr.

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What To Do When You Need More Direction

July 19, 2018

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No one likes feeling stupid. But sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we are completely, well, lost. It may be a project we’ve been tasked with, a meeting we’re feeling unprepared for, or a new initiative we’ve been asked to join.

Instead of wasting time stressing out and making no progress on your own, ask for help–sooner rather than later! There’s a brief window of opportunity where you can ask for clarity without feeling silly. Don’t wait too long or your boss will wonder why you’ve been wasting time in the dark.

Here are some questions to ask when you find yourself in this situation:

  • What’s the overarching goal?
  • Can we set up a meeting to talk through the details?
  • Is this what you were thinking?
  • Where do you see this going?
  • Can I have more clarity on this?
  • Mind giving me a little more direction?
  • Does this sound like I’m on the right path?
  • Can you share an example?
  • What first step would you take?
  • What do you think about this?
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The Power of “Yet”

July 17, 2018

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Throughout your career, it’s easy to feel down. You may be longing for a promotion, or a raise, or a chance to work on a great project. Perhaps you are hoping to switch careers or switch companies. Or maybe you want to become more productive or more outgoing or a better communicator.

While these thoughts are running through your head, there’s one key word that can change your mindset: “yet.” Seth Godin covers “the danger of ‘not good enough’” in a recent blog post. In summary, we’re capable of a lot more…if we try.

Here are some ways to apply this philosophy to any negative thoughts you are having:

  • I can’t imagine giving a speech like that in front of the whole company…yet.
  • My boss won’t consider me for that promotion…yet.
  • I won’t get asked to be a part of that project…yet.
  • I’m not qualified to get a job like that…yet.
  • I’m unable to demand that kind of salary…yet.

“Yet” leads to possibilities. But the work doesn’t stop there. Changing your mindset is one step, and taking action is the next. Now’s the time to map out those possibilities and the steps you can take to get there. You feel better already, right?

Image via Image Catalog/Flickr.

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New Job? You Better Practice This.

July 12, 2018

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As the first day of your new job approaches, you probably have a lot of things on your mind: What will I wear? Should I bring a lunch? Where will I sit? What will my team be like? But I bet there is one question that isn’t on your mind: how will I introduce myself?

Over the course of your first week–and even the first few months–you’ll have to introduce yourself over and over and over again. You shouldn’t assume that everyone has seen a copy of your resume or even knows what new position you’ve been hired for. But if they did it would be great, right? That’s where your practice comes in.

Before the first day, come up with a few sentences that you can repeat to anyone you meet at your new company. Here are some bits of information that are important to include:

  • your first and last name
  • which position you were hired for and what department you’re in
  • who your boss is
  • a basic explanation of your responsibilities
  • what company you came from
  • any other relevant information about your background (Did you just move here? Have you been in the industry for 15 years? Did you just finish a masters degree?)

Bonus Tip: Connecting with the new folks you meet on LinkedIn can help them understand who you are and what you will be doing at the company, as well as–most importantly–how you can best work together.

Image via Aidan Jones/Flickr.

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3 Legitimate Reasons to Leave a Job

June 26, 2018

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Deciding to leave is hard. It means you’re headed into an exhausting job search and starting on a journey into the unknown–after all, what if it doesn’t work out? But sometimes you need a little shove to help you realize that yes, it’s okay to move on from this position. No more excuses. It’s time. Here are a few of those reasons.

  1. You’re not learning anything anymore.
    When you’re not growing, that’s not good. Even a job that you’ve held for five years can teach you something new if you’re working on new projects or with new people. But if you’ve had the same daily grind in and out for two years, it’s time to look elsewhere. You don’t want to stagnate.
  2. There’s no opportunity for promotion.
    Do you feel stuck in your career trajectory? Are your counterparts at other organizations passing you by? Some organizations don’t have the budget or the opportunities to meet everyone’s dreams. Keep gaining those skills and building up your resume, but know that the promotion won’t come until you leave.
  3. It’s affecting your home life.
    It could be stress, dread, too much responsibility, a long commute, a bad boss…the list goes on. If your work life is ruining your home life, it’s time to reassess. Now. Sometimes things get better, but not always. Stop waiting. The “Sunday Scaries” should not be a weekly issue. Be proactive and take control of your career.

Image via deargdoom57/Flickr.

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