January 17, 2019


Is This the Ultimate Key to Work-Life Balance?

The Harvard Business Review may have uncovered the key to work-life balance. Ready for it? Get a hobby. It turns out that a hobby is the one thing that allows successful CEOs to completely check out and recharge, which is good for their work life and their home life.

In “Why CEOs Devote So Much Time to Their Hobbies,” the Harvard Business Review identified and analyzed 50+ S&P 500 CEOs who seriously pursue a leisure activity in their free time. These leisure activities range from hobbies like training for a marathon or learning how to fly a plane to passion projects like volunteering for a meaningful cause.

You can probably already tell that these hobbies are no small commitment. (Getting a pilot’s license?! Running a marathon?!) It almost sounds like these activities would bring on more stress! But they actually do the opposite, according to interviews with some of these ambitious CEOs. The hobby provides total detachment from the workplace which is exactly what an overwhelmed employee needs at the end of the day. It’s safe to say that learning to fly would require your full and complete attention! No time to think about your remaining to-do list back at work.

A hobby is also a good practice in personal development. With time and commitment, you get better and better. It’s good inspiration and motivation to take back to your workplace. But it also provides the opposite learning opportunity: sometimes you suck at something. And that’s ok. You can’t be good at everything, which is a humbling experience for any leader or employee.

Read the rest of the article over at the Harvard Business Review.

Image via christoph habel/Flickr.



January 15, 2019


How to Manage Your Energy Instead of Your Time

You probably spend a lot of time obsessing over your phone’s battery during the day. I’m running low on juice, I need a charge stat! But when was the last time you focused on your own depleting energy? Time is a finite resource–there are only 24 hours in a day. But so is your energy, and it’s much harder to measure.

The only way to guarantee that you’ll have enough fuel to power you through the day–and let’s face it, the whole work week–is to incorporate activities into your life that reenergize you. These rituals and behaviors will become part of a new self-care routine that can propel your productivity, your happiness, and your career success forward.

Here are some ideas to reenergize your mind, your body, and your spirit:

  • Walk away from your desk and take a 30 minute lunch break either alone (if that feels most fulfilling to you) or with someone else (if you feed off other’s energy).
  • Cut out habits that interrupt your sleep cycle like drinking caffeine, reading on your phone in bed, or working out too close to your bed time.
  • Start volunteering for an organization that means a lot to you.
  • Sign up for an exciting learning opportunity at work or outside of work that will increase your skills or knowledge.
  • Take a vacation day mid-week.
  • Get up 30 minutes earlier so you can prepare and eat a fulfilling breakfast.
  • Set an earlier bedtime.
  • Take an afternoon walk: outside, inside, on a treadmill, wherever! Just get moving during the afternoon slump.
  • Set a meal plan for the week (including breakfasts, lunches, and healthy snacks!) so your grocery shopping trip can be more efficient and purposeful, and you won’t be grabbing unhealthy food on the go.
  • Mentor a younger coworker or ask someone to become your mentor.
  • Book a much-needed vacation and completely unplug.

What makes you feel recharged? Comment below!

Image via Paralog/Flickr.

January 10, 2019


How to Add a Bit of Personality to Your LinkedIn Profile

These days, applying to job applications online and networking via LinkedIn can make the whole job search experience feel cold. How can one truly connect human-to-human if all we’re doing is clicking and reading? It’s possible, and the effort it takes is well worth your time. Not only will you stand out from the rest, but you’ll leave people wanting more… which means they’ll just have to meet you in person!

  1. Your profile photo. Look at the camera directly as if you’re staring confidently into the eyes of someone you just met for the first time. It’s ok to smile, laugh, and show a bit of personality with a colorful top, an interesting background, or an outdoors setting. If possible, ask a friend with a high quality camera to capture a well-lit shot. Quick photo tip: avoid direct mid-day sun that creates harsh shadows.
  2. Your writing style. If you met someone for the first time, would you talk about your background in the third person? Write using the first person, using words like “I” and “my,” in a conversational and friendly tone. Pretend you’re sitting in a job interview. What would you want the interviewer to know about you?
  3. Your personal life. Weave in a few interesting bits of information about yourself. Whether it’s a sentence at the end of your bio that gives a glimpse into who you are after work or a fun fact dropped within a position description, this information will help people connect with you on a human level. Make them want to meet you.

Image via @rawpixel/Unsplash. 

January 8, 2019


What’s More Important: Experience, Education, or Network?

Ask ten different people this question and you’ll likely get ten different answers. That’s because education, experience, and your network are all valuable assets to everyone’s career success. But are they weighted equally? That’s what’s up for debate.

According to the 70-20-10 model, which was created in the 1980s by three researchers, the “optimal sources of learning” can be broken down as such: 70% from your work experiences, 20% from your “interactions with others”, and 10% from your formal education. So day-to-day hands-on learning by far is the best way to improve your skills and therefore up your career potential.

But don’t dismiss interacting with others. That includes anything from networking to career mentors to insight from coworkers. We can always learn a lot from others. Anyone who’s looking to grow in their careers and progress in their field should be dedicating time to this pursuit.

When it comes to professional development, just 10 percent should be coming from formal training and education. It turns out we just tend to retain information better from hands-on learning on the job. It makes sense because we tend to get feedback–both good and bad–which means we can learn even more and drastically improve our skills. Not bad!

How do you think these three variables have affected your career success? Comment below!

Image via Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash.

January 4, 2019


Do You Manage Yourself?

Maybe you’re a manager. Or maybe you’re managed by someone else. But have you really considering how you manage yourself? Say what?

Sure, there’s likely someone you report into who is guiding your career in some shape or form. That person may be giving you an annual review or keeping track of your weekly or monthly goals. However, truly successful people don’t let others take the reins–they manage themselves.

It’s up to you to manage your day-to-day schedule from your wake-up call to your bedtime. It’s up to you to consider how you will best get your work done today, this week, and this month. And it’s up to you to take a look at your career trajectory and decide which step is next.

So, how would you say you’re doing? Are you a good manager? Give yourself the same amount of respect and attention that you believe you deserve from someone else. These not-urgent-but-important tasks like learning new skills, getting your life organized, and prioritizing your goals easily get pushed to the wayside. But a good manager carves out time for the things that will yield big results. So what are you waiting for?

Image via Laurenz Kleinheider/Unsplash.

January 2, 2019


Forget the To-Do List. Get More Productive with This Trick.

You know those not-urgent-but-super-important tasks on your to-do list? They likely have sat on your to-do list for, well, an eternity. They’re constantly overshadowed by the urgent-but-not-important tasks as well as whatever easy tasks can get crossed off quickly. Because when we cross things off our to-do lists, well, we feel productive! Yet somehow we’re still behind on life and not achieving our goals. What gives?

Perhaps the issue is the time-old to-do list. Maybe it just doesn’t work the way we want it to, at least that’s what the Harvard Business Review suggests. But thankfully they have a solution, and it’s called time-boxing. It’s essentially migrating your to-do list to your calendar. You calculate how much time you need for a task and then you schedule it into your calendar. Hour by hour. Box by box. Day by day. Week by week.

There are a lot of reasons why this practice will make you more productive. For one, you’ll have a record of your time (no more “Where did the time go?” excuse!). When you plan ahead like this, there’s little chance of majorly missing a big deadline. And we all know that we tend to drag out work to fit within the time that is available to us instead of the time we really need. (Which can be both good and bad!) Giving yourself a limit and a restraint can help you stay focused and dedicate the proper amount of time to our projects.

Interested in learning more? Read about time boxing at the Harvard Business Review.

Image via @rawpixel.

December 28, 2018


How to Get Organized at Work in the New Year

Looking to be more productive and less stressed in the new year? Take an afternoon to get organized–for real–at work. Clearing the clutter will not only help you look like you’re more in control. You’ll also feel more in control. And you’ll work more efficiently because of it.

  1. Get rid of it. The first step in getting organized is to simplify. Clear out the obvious clutter but go one step beyond that. When it comes to various office supplies and unimportant files, if you haven’t used it in a year get rid of it. Make this step a part of your monthly routine.
  2. Find a place for everything. The idea is that when everything has a perfect place, you’ll be able to put it back in that place every time. No more mess! And no more time spent stressing out about where things need to go. Instead, come up with a system that works for you and that you can realistically and easily follow.
  3. Don’t forget the digital stuff. Clear your desktop of the clutter. It’s okay to keep a current project folder or two in plain sight, but file away the rest. And be strategic about how you name your files as well as what you put inside of each one.
  4. Do the end-of-the-night clean-up. Before you leave the office, spend just five minutes tidying up both your digital and physical space. Your future self will thank you tomorrow morning.

Image via Mary Cullen/Flickr.

December 26, 2018


Spectrum Brands 2018 Year in Review!

2018 was a great year for Spectrum Brands. But we wouldn’t be where we are without our wonderful employees! Here are just some of their amazing highlights from the past 12 months:

  • Our employees got active during Bike to Work Week and Global Running Day, especially at our World HQ in Middleton, which is located steps away from a bike path.
  • Our employees put others first over the holidays, and we couldn’t be prouder about the way they choose to spend their time.
  • Our employees win awards. Tammy Chaffee Tecklenberg earned an All-Star Award for her work as VP, Global Sales and Marketing Operations at Global Auto Care.
  • Our employees give back. Our nationwide day of service was a huge success this year with employees helping their communities in WI, OH, VA, CA, MO, TX, FL, and CT.
  • Our employees take the world by storm. We can’t believe that Olympic Gold Medalist and curling hero Matt Hamilton is one of our own.
  • Our employees speak out! Patty Glines-Kotecki, our Organizational Effectiveness Leader, often speaks as an expert in her field.
  • Our employees get promoted. We’re proud to announce that Randy Lewis is our new SVP and COO. Congrats, Randy!

December 20, 2018


15 Motivational Quotes About Taking Charge of Your Career

“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” — Sir Edmund Hillary

“Do or do not. There is no try.”  —  Yoda

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”  —  Henry Ford

“Nothing will work unless you do.” — Maya Angelou

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” — Arthur Ashe

“The successful warrior is the average man with laser-like focus.” — Bruce Lee

“Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.”  —  Chris Grosser

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” — Abraham Lincoln

“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” — George Addair

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”  —  Alice Walker

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” — Theodore Roosevelt

“You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up the belief that you can’t have it.” — Dr. Robert Anthony

“Fortune does favor the bold and you’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t try.” ― Sheryl Sandberg,

“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.” — John Maxwell

Image via Ruin Raider/Flickr.