TIPS TO INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY IN THE WORKPLACE

Job responsibilities and time constraints in the workplace calls attention to the importance of productivity. This is essential for individuals in professional roles were company success is co-dependent on leadership performance and accountability. Having more time to accomplish tasks doesn’t necessarily yield better results. On the other hand, using allotted time efficiently and effectively can bring about even greater positive outcomes.

LEADERSHIP TIPS TO INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY IN THE WORKPLACE

1. Focus on one project at a time. It’s difficult to concentrate on any given assignment when your attention is split on numerous tasks. Rather than multitasking, thoroughly complete one project before engaging in another.

2. Schedule times for correspondence. Not all messages and calls need immediate attention. Wait for an opportune time to address correspondence, and then address each message and phone call in order of importance. Being quick to respond to incoming emails and calls can disrupt creativity and workflow.   

3. Take care of important jobs first. It’s easy to procrastinate least enjoyable assignments or those requiring great effort. As the day evolves these projects seem all the more dreadful when a time crunch is in place. Instead, place important tasks on the top of your daily to-do list.  

4. Do what can be done today. If taking care of an assignment today alleviates tomorrows workload, then it’s best to finish the same day. Do take into consideration other work responsibilities and job roles. Don’t overload yourself to the point of exhaustion, which can potential decrease productivity the following day. Use discretion when considering additional assignments.

5. Take breaks. Skipping breaks and lunch time may seem like the best way to get the most out of your workday. Yet, depleting your body of nutrition and rest can have negative impacts on work performance and health. Take a breather from time-to-time throughout the day. Recharging your mind and body promotes creativity and productivity. 

HOW TO STAY CALM & COLLECTED ON YOUR FIRST DAY OF WORK

The first day on your new job has arrived! You’re anxious, scared, and intimidated by more experienced employees. Everyone knows you’re a new graduate and the look of fear on your face clearly spells out “rookie”. There are ways to create an atmosphere that promotes business relationships and a positive first impression. Yes, even if you are fresh out of graduate school!

STRATEGIES TO STAY CALM & COLLECTED ON YOUR FIRST DAY OF WORK:

1. Keep your cool. Literally. No one likes to share an office with a sweaty and stinky co-worker. Although it may be nerve wrecking to start the “job of your dreams”, anticipate all possible scenarios by selecting comfortable and airy attire that fits your job position. This will keep you looking and feeling fresh.

2. Maintain your confidence. There are many employees, which can attest that longevity doesn’t always amount to a qualified employee or to better work performance.  There are new hires including graduates, which are just as skilled and perform better on the job than employees with seniority. Be confident in yourskills and area of expertise, knowing you have much to contribute to the company.

3. Don’t be intimidated to ask questions. Many times new employees want to be self-sufficient from day one, with the idea of not burdening others or delaying the work flow. In all truth, everyone expects new hires to have lots of questions and to go through a period of training. During this time mistakes may occur, but they can serve as a springboard for future success.  I’m not referring to negligence or lack of professional conduct, but rather to a general expectation that new hires are in a process of learning and becoming acquainted with the workplace.

4. Familiarize yourself with the work environment. Arrive a few minutes early and get acquainted with the work setting. For example, locate emergency exits, restrooms, employee lounge, meeting rooms, storage rooms, and employee login area. Becoming acquainted with your job setting is one less stressor that can be addressed early on in your work day. Some employees are privileged to attend orientation prior to the first day of work, yet regardless all employees can arrive a few minutes early and explore the environment.

5.  Greet everyone with a friendly attitude. For the most part people like the company of other positive individuals. There’s a lot to learn and mentally digest on the first day of work, and there may be little time left to interact with co-workers. Break time is a great opportunity to become acquainted with other employees in your workplace. 

Wishing you much success on your first day of work! 

TIPS TO BECOMING A MORNING PERSON

Throughout the day we experience fluctuating periods of increased alertness and sleepiness. For some individuals creativity and mental focus intensifies in the early morning, while others are more proficient in the evening. A person’s internal biological clock or circadian rhythm influences periods of wakefulness at various times of the day. Working against one’s internal biological clock can be challenging, particularly for employees who are most productive in the evening and hold daytime positions. Fortunately implementing a few strategies can yield positive results when seeking to increase morning productivity.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) comments further on the role of internal circadian rhythm and wakefulness:

The circadian rhythm dips and rises at different times of the day, so adults’ strongest sleep drive generally occurs between 2:00-4:00 am and in the afternoon between 1:00-3:00 pm, although there is some variation depending on whether you are a “morning person” or “evening person.”

Having adequate sleep each night is a good starting point to increase daytime energy. Allow a period of adjustment as your body adapts to a new sleep schedule. Also, avoid long naps even if the previous evening you slept fewer hours than desired. Limiting hour-long naps contributes to better sleep and increased restfulness at night. As noted by the NSF, “The sleepiness we experience during these circadian dips will be less intense if we have had sufficient sleep, and more intense when we are sleep deprived.” Recommended sleep hours vary depending on the individual’s age, lifestyle, and health needs. In general, adults should get an average of 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

Tips for Adjusting Your Biological Clock:

1. Get a good night’s rest and limit hour-long naps during the day.

2. Adhere to an exercise routine.

3. Limit consumption of caffeinated foods and beverages in the later afternoon and during the evening.

4. Develop a sleep schedule that’s suitable for your lifestyle and health needs.

5. Monitor times of the day when you are most alert and plan your workday accordingly. If possible, plan important work projects during times of the day when energy spikes. On the other hand, tedious tasks can be scheduled when feeling sluggish, as they tend to require little if any mental exertion.

6. Don’t run on empty. Be sure to have a healthy breakfast each morning before heading to work.

7. Incorporate a motivational boost. Mediation, spiritual practice, or preferred activity can be introduced to bring enjoyment to the start of your day.

CONSIDERING RETIREMENT? HERE ARE THE TOP FIVE PLACES TO RETIRE!

You worked diligently for years investing in an occupation or career of choice. Perhaps you’re years away from retirement, or a few months before the clock ticks and it’s time to retire. For most of us, it’s time to start planning for life after our working years! Ideally, retirement planning should begin early in your career. Financial advisors and career coaches can assist with various aspects of retirement.

TOP FIVE PLACES TO RETIRE:

A good starting point is researching different cities that capture your interest. Bankrate outlines the top five best states to retire: Wyoming first place, Colorado second place, Utah third place, Virginia fourth place, and Iowa fifth place. You may wonder, what are the worst places to retire? According to Bankrate, New York and Arkansas would be the worst places to retire, with Arkansas coming in last place.

CBS News outlines the top best places to retire sharing, describing how Wyoming offers many benefits to residents like low cost of living, low crime rate, and light tax burden. Colorado is also top in the list with many positive attributes. CBS News states, “Colorado has several things going for it lately. It’s unemployment rate is lower and its population is more educated than the national average.” Third but not last is Utah, which is known for it’s beautiful mountains and rivers. Many young families are growing found of this state, with 29.7 as the median age. In addition to delicious potatoes, Idaho has much to offer residents. Idaho has the incentive of low cost of living with beautiful nature sights. CBS News notes $176,010 as the median home sale price in Idaho. Lastly, Virginia – the state that offers the best of all worldswith the experience of four-seasons and tolerable climate changes. CBS News shares how cities in Virginia, like Williamsburg, provide a beautiful blend of history and modern culture.

Retirement planning takes time and preparation. It involves goal setting, research, and financial investments. A good place of inspiration is researching different states or countries that interest you. Consider your budget, retirement timeframe, deadlines, support systems, and personal preferences.  Planning for your retirement can be exciting! Outline the top five places that best suit your personal goals and retirement setting. 

BOOST PROFESSIONAL GOALS WITH THESE NEW CAREER RESOLUTIONS

The excitement of a new year carries the potential for growth and personal development. Career satisfaction is a continuous effort requiring critical thinking and dedication. Do your professional goals need a boost? Take the opportunity this year to enhance your professional aspirations by implementing new career resolutions.

CAREER RESOLUTIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR:

1. Revamp your resume: Update your resume with current contact information, acquired skills, awards, and new credentials. Although you may not be actively seeking employment, job promotions can arise within the company and having an updated resume can be beneficial.

2. Step out of your comfort zone: If you reached the point of expertize in your profession it may be time to step out and try something new. Explore various job roles available in your workplace. Also, reach out to co-workers who can benefit from your guidance and professional experience. Mentoring new professionals is a great way to sharpen leadership skills, along with doing a good contribution.

3. Maintain healthy work-life balance: Including time for personal hobbies and enjoyable activities helps fuel creativity at work. Take inventory on the amount of time invested in work-related activities and time allotted for personal enjoyment. Keeping balance in work and personal activities is crucial in preventing burnout and work overload.

4. Increase your knowledge and skills: There is always opportunity to learn something new. Explore resources available in your workplace and community for career enhancement. Many employers offer educational in-services, courses, and online lectures.

5. Connect with other professionals: Networking is key in career development. Make an effort to connect with others who share like professional goals and aspirations. Networking with other professionals provides support, motivation, and career direction.

6. Practice stress-reduction: Stress has become part of the daily work routine for many employees. Although some stress can be productive, being overly stressed can contribute to burnout and other health concerns. Practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation, breathing, delegation, communication, and planning.

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR JOBSEEKERS

Your resume captured the employer’s attention and now it’s time to organize for the interview! Reviewing questions and preparing ahead of time enhances confidence on your big day! Don’t be alarmed with unexpected interview questions. Be prepared to give proficient and thought-out responses, highlighting skills required for the job opening.  Do allow room for creativity as you may be asked perplexed questions, and rehearse the questions below with others for constructive feedback. Much success on your interview!

ARE YOU READY FOR YOUR INTERVIEW? CONSIDER THESE QUESTIONS:

1.  What are your career goals this coming year?

Share career goals and the steps you’re taking to achieve them. Having long-term and short-term goals paints a professional picture of your dreams and aspirations. Companies like individuals who are motivated and goal oriented.

2. Did your previous employer need improvement in any area?

The idea is to identify potential problems, while offering positive solutions. This is a great opportunity to highlight leadership skills, as well as strategies implemented that have proven successful in the past.

3.  Can you describe a challenging scenario, and share how you handled it?

Discrepancies on the job happen, yet how we handle circumstances makes all the difference. Think outside the box and get creative when pondering different solutions. For instance, you can share of a scenario when you went beyond your job duties to assist a client who was upset gathering resources, making phone calls, and more. This scenario shows employee flexibility, dedication, and strong leadership skills.

4.  What are looking to gain from our company?

Rather than focusing on pay rate and employee benefits, consider other positive attributes the company offers like longevity and opportunities for career growth.

5.  What are your professional strengths?

The interviewer wants to know what you have to offer to the company. Why should they choose you over other job candidates? Highlight attributes you possess that pertain to the job position at hand. For example, if you are applying for a customer service role, mention your people skills and ability to be a team player. Creating a self-assessment list prior to the interview can also prove beneficial.

6.  What professional areas are you looking to improve?

My recommendation is to share attributes that can be tolerated by other colleagues. These should be traits that can be worked on over time. For example, becoming more proficient in another language, learning a new software program, or getting to know co-workers.

7.  Why are you leaving your current employer?

The company is curious as to why you chose to resign from your current position. Be honest about circumstances causing you to leave or seek for new employment opportunities.  

8.  Why are you applying for this position?

Why did you choose this company over other employment opportunities? This is a great time to express your passion and qualities that make you the perfect candidate for the job. Share features that make the company stand out from other employers. For example, mention the length of time the company has been in business, or the professional assistance you’ve received since day one.  

9.  Are you willing to relocate for work if needed?

It’s important to show flexibility, but also be realistic in your response. Share work accommodations that fit your schedule and current lifestyle. Perhaps you are flexible and willing to relocate, yet only within the same state or county. Most companies will value your desire for a fair compromise.

10. Do you have any questions for me? 

Be prepared to ask questions. This shows interest in part of the potential job candidate. This is also a good time to inquire on company benefits, scheduling, and job expectations.

HOW TO STAY FOCUSED & RELAXED WHEN LEADING MEETINGS

For some individuals leading presentations comes quite naturally, while others hesitate to express a word in public. With preparation, practice, and use of the strategies listed below your next meeting can be a success! Get ready to capture your audience, while keeping focused and relaxed!

TIPS TO CONSIDER WHEN DIRECTING MEETINGS:

1. Prepare ahead of time. Planning and preparation are key elements for success when conducting business meetings and presentations. Depending on the intent of the meeting you may want to research company information, gather statistical data, collaborate with other professionals, or prepare a PowerPoint presentation to name a few suggestions. Allowing ample time to gather needed information and resources can alleviate stress on the day of your meeting.

2. Explore your surroundings and greet people. Arriving a few minutes early provides an opportunity to explore your surroundings and meet other people. Use this time to introduce yourself in a causal manner and to become acquainted with your audience. It’s also a great opportunity to sit back and relax, while envisioning yourself presenting successfully.

3. Maintain eye contact and smile. Avoid reading directly from PowerPoint slides or notecards, rather concise reading material and explain in your own words. Also, glance at your audience and smile periodically.

4. Involve your audience. Encouraging input from your audience promotes feedback and attentiveness. This is a great way to determine if your audience is grasping your message, and a time to give attention to areas needing clarification.

5. Keep presentations on topic. Stay focused on the message you want your audience to take home at the end of the meeting. If unrelated questions come up, simply redirect your audience to the subject at hand.

6. Pause and breathe. If you begin to feel nervous take a deep breath, pause for a drink of water, and proceed with your meeting. Taking a moment to collect your thoughts can help decrease anxiety and maintain focus. 

TIPS TO MAKING YOUR RESUME SHINE!

You’re optimistic, dedicated, and focused in finding suitable employment opportunities. How do you convey work skills and experience on paper in a manner that captivates potential employers? Perhaps you’re seeking a career venture or steady employment options. In either case it’s crucial to have an updated resume readily available. Employers are bombarded with resumes and potential candidates seeking jobs. Fortunately with simple strategies you can make your resume shine!

Tips to Making Your Resume Shine!

1. Avoid lengthy resumes. Excessive content can be overwhelming leaving the reader perplexed. Keep out superfluous information and focus on essential details like work experience, occupational skills, and other information pertinent to the job opening. List experience from the past three years avoiding drawn-out explanations. Rather highlight what you can share if given the job opportunity. Keeping resumes to no more than two pages fosters reader engagement and attention.

2. Include keywords. Review the company’s job roles and expectations noting words to be used on your resume. For instance, a job opening may read, “Seeking a positive and energetic administrative assistant who is flexible and willing to take on different job roles”. If considering this job your resume should include the keywords “positive”, “energetic”, “flexible”. 

3. Proofread your work. Microsoft Word offers spell check and other features that aid in detecting grammatical errors. In addition, review your contact information ensuring it’s correct and up-to-date.  Also, have other people review your resume for constructive feedback.

4. Be specific in your objective statement. Use this section to leave an impression and share a powerful message. Let’s review two different objective statements. First objective statement example, “Seeking a Full-Time position as a cook in a company where I can grow”. Second objective example, “Motivated to work as a Full-Time cook in a company with growth potentials where I can share my skills and be part of an inspiring team.” The latter example uses vivid language giving the reader clear insight on the jobseeker’s motivation and career goals.

5. Design, color, and style. Resume designs vary depending on the job you are seeking. Graphic designers, stylist, and other artist may wish to include colors, textures, special fonts, and other visual aids to show their creative potential. Do keep in mind a resume is not a portfolio of your work. Other professions require traditional resumes that adhere to standard resume fonts and style. When in doubt use a 12-point font like Times New Romans and avoid cursive or other fancy fonts. Consider the job you are applying for when selecting resume templates, colors, and font styles.

JUMP FOR NEW & EXCITING CAREER OPPORTUNITIES!

Pressures in economic demands cause some individuals to place professional aspirations aside settling for first available job options. Income, passion, purpose, or all of the above are driving forces influencing career decisions. Whether you’re investigating employment opportunities or pursuing your “dream job”, it’s crucial to remain optimistic and not lose sight of your goals. It’s never too late to revamp or initiate a new vocation! With just a few strategies you can ignite professional ambitions.

1. Create a visual aid on how your professional life will look five years from today. Envisioning your future is a good starting point when mapping career paths. Provide as much detailed information as possible and get creative. This is your canvas to explore and create all sorts of professional possibilities.

2. Network with other people. Speak with professionals in your field for direction, career advice, and valuable resources. Human resource personnel can also provide assistance with resume creation and interviewing tips.

3. Take inventory of occupational goals. Career ambitions may change over time depending on life circumstances and personal interests. Make time to examine important factors influencing career choices as often as needed. This can help alleviate stress and narrow career options to those that best fit your lifestyle and financial needs.

4. Research your current salary. Familiarize yourself with standard pay rates for your work industry. The United States Department of Labor Statistics outlines average income per state for various occupations.

5. Investigate job opportunities. Before investing extensive time and energy in any given profession determine job availability. Can you afford being unemployed for some time before earning stable income? Are you pursuing a career that’s in high demand? Will it be easy to get a job in your field of study post graduation? These are some questions to consider when considering career options.

6. Remain optimistic. When career passions start to dwindle take inventory of your professional aspirations. Doing so helps keep dreams alive as you advance in your career or work towards your dream job.

7. Stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and breakthroughs in your field. Keeping informed is fundamental when seeking career advancements. 

TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE PUBLIC SPEAKING

Speaking to large crowds comes easily for some, yet for others just the thought cultivates fear and anxiety. According to Psychology Today three out of four people fear public speaking. This form of anxiety is known as glossophobia or speech anxiety. By incorporating a few strategies you can boost your confidence and become an expert in giving speeches!

TIPS TO BECOME AN EXPERT AT GIVING SPEECHES:

Research and Prepare Ahead of Time: Give yourself ample time to prepare before conducting your speech. Create an outline of data and requirements to be accomplished in a timely fashion. This provides a visual guide with steps to ensure needed information is gathered before the presentation.  Researching beforehand fosters knowledge and confidence on the topic of discussion.

Practice with People You Feel Comfortable Around: Depending on your preference your audience can be friends, family, colleagues, or other people you know. A good strategy is to begin with smaller audiences and gradually increase. A progressive adjustment to larger audiences exposes the individual to the cause of anxiety at a manageable level. This can be more accommodating than the sudden impact of presenting before a large audience.

Focus on Your Message: Concentrate on the message you’re seeking to convey, rather than on the audience. It can be nerve-racking to see numerous people starring at you. Instead focus on your thoughts and the points to be address in an orderly fashion. For instance, plan ahead what you intend to say in the beginning, middle, and end of your speech. This gives room for creativity in between, but also structure in the event your mind wonders. Flashcards, PowerPoint slides with bullet points, or simple mental notes can serve as reminders to keep focused. This may also decrease anxiety being a tool of reference when feeling under pressure.

Stop, Breathe, and Then Continue:  If nervousness sets in stop speaking, take a few deep breathes, and then resume. Taking a few moments to collect your thoughts and balance intense emotions can prove beneficial.

Allow Room for Error: Becoming an expert at giving speeches takes practice and dedication. It may take a few experiences before you feel overly confident. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and be patient as this is a learning process. Remember practice makes perfect, and that requires time and experiences.