Archive for October, 2012

The Biggest Thing to Change to Lower Work Stress

Written by Sam on . Posted in Career Advice, Inspiration. 3494 views.

Work is usually your single biggest source of stress. Here are things to change at work, most importantly starting with…

Your Attitude.  Find yourself criticizing management and coworkers?  Depressed about the due date for your latest project?  Stressed that you could get laid-off today?  Well Stop it.  The sooner you realize that negative stress cannot help you, it can only hurt you, the happier you’ll be.  How do you fix this?  Dig deep to realize that staying positive and productive is the only path to happiness.  Remember that the only difference between a good day and bad day is your attitude.

Here are 5 other things that seem small but will add up to a lower-stress day:

  1. Start your day right.  Your drive to work sets the course for your day.  During the holidays, or on days that I know will be particularly stressful, I spend the couple extra bucks to stop and get a flavored coffee or healthy breakfast.  It works for me to start the day off in a positive manner.  Leaving yourself enough time, taking a less congested route to work or listening to relaxing music are all other ways to start your day off right.  Here’s how financially successful people start their day.
  2. Start-up the Exercise Habit.  The more you can move the better you’ll feel.  A lot of us are stuck in jail cell size cubicles, left to stare at a computer screen for 9 hours a day.  Make it a point to print from the farthest printer, walk to a coworker’s office (instead of emailing them) or take the stairs instead of the elevator.  This physical movement will help stimulate your mind and lower your feelings of stress.  Start right now!
  3. Lunch hour.  Stop eating “lunch” at your desk.  Lunch is a great opportunity to regroup and change your point of view.  If you’re not able to leave the office and interact with other coworkers, at least eat your lunch outside or somewhere more inspiring than your desk.
  4. Escape the “Learning Graveyard“.  Have you’ve quit learning at work and now you’re stuck in a cycle of monotony?  Not only can this be extremely stressful, it’s counter-productive to your career.  It doesn’t matter if it is work related or not, pursue a new hobby or certification.  A busy mind is a happy mind.  What’s something that you’ve been interested in learning about or a work related certification you’ve been pushing off getting?

20 Ways to Simplify Your Work Life

Written by Sam on . Posted in Career Advice, Inspiration. 5152 views.

Ways To Simplify Your Work LifeWe all get a little crazy on the job every now and then.  From moms at home to on-call response teams, there are ways to limit the craziness and typical work day stress.  Once you trade the temporary high of battle scars and constant adrenaline, you may find that you actually enjoy your job more than you realized.

Feeling overwhelmed at work today?  Try some of these 20 Ways to Simplify Your Work Life:

  1. Know what you’re capable of. If you’re confident in your ability to do your job, even emergency meetings can’t stress you out.
  2. Don’t repeat any gossip you hear. If you can detach yourself from the gossip chain, you cut the majority of the drama out of your work days.  This is also one of the 25 Things to Stop Doing Today at Work.
  3. Create an enjoyable lunchtime ritual. Listen to music, read a book, picnic on the grass, or just enjoy your leftovers.  Let your mind calm down and mark the day’s halfway point.
  4. Keep contact information easily accessible. Any phone numbers that could be urgent should be kept close at hand in a single location.  Day planner, cell phone, Outlook contacts, or index card: do whatever works for you, but keep that information available to avoid turning routine calls into desk-tossing panics.
  5. Clear your desk of anything that’s not necessary, like stacks of catalogs, outdated correspondence, and yesterday’s tea mug.  Keep a personal memento or two on your desk, but make sure the items add meaning to your life, like a family picture or an object that makes you smile or reflect.  Read Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.
  6. Always have an update for your supervisor. Always.  Even if it’s something trivial, be ready to answer the “What’s new around here?” or “What’s going on in your department today?” question.  It’s a great way to build trust.
  7. Shorten your task list.  I like to keep two task lists, one for ongoing things that need to be handled at some point and one for what’s on the docket today.

15 Financial Life Lessons Your Parents Forgot To Teach You

Written by Sam on . Posted in Inspiration, Personal Finance. 9038 views.

Whether it’s matters of money, love or health, certain life lessons transcend all boundaries.  Some of us are looking for guidance to follow ourselves – others are searching for advice to pass on to their kids.  By blind luck some of us had parents who instilled most of these life lessons into us as we grew up – unfortunately, others weren’t as lucky.

Regardless of if you’ve heard these before or not, from today on you have the chance to better yourself and those around you.  Here’s a list of life lessons to both follow yourself and to pass on to your kids:

  1. A good reputation is more valuable than money.  Warren Buffet once said: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”  Putting people first is some of the best financial advice you can follow.  It’s people that help you get that promotion or keep customers coming back to your start-up business.  Don’t forget that along your way – it’s one of the Things Successful Entrepreneurs and Executives Do Differently.
  2. Nothing worthwhile comes easy.  Human nature is to take the easy way out – try to fight this.  Why?  Because I guarantee that you’ll only achieve true happiness through accomplishment and realizing your potential.  Anyone who’s inherited or been given money has learned this lesson.  Easy money won’t earn the self-respect you desire – hard work will!
  3. Patience is the best remedy for every trouble.  Like anything worthwhile in life, nothing good happens quickly.  Sometimes it’s the raise you’re looking for at work.  Other times it’s the adoption papers you need finalized.  Recognize (and accept) when events are out of your control – embrace the fact that the marathon of life is made up of thousands of small steps.
  4. Avoid the “unknowledge” trap.  Do your best to avoid ruts of “unknowledge”; where you’ve quit learning within your professional and personal lives (one of the 25 Things to Stop Doing At Work Today).  Keep maximizing learning opportunities within your industry, but also set a personal goal to obtain a new license or skill outside of your profession.  Invest in yourself – I try to think of new knowledge gained as a unique perspective which can serve to further enlighten you!
  5. Debt is the slavery of the free.  Most simply, avoid credit card debt you can’t immediately payoff!  Nowadays it’s so easy to just put it on credit and worry about it later – fight this urge.  The only form of personal debt you should see as acceptable is a Mortgage/Deed of Trust – everything else is financially wasteful.
  6. Persistence pays off.  If ambition is the path to success, persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.  You’ve undertaken this venture, now don’t be discouraged by the lack of immediate results or success.  It’s those who keep with it after the excitement and newness wears off that reap the long-term benefits.  Remember, if it was easy and happened overnight, everyone would be doing it.

12 Essential Apps Every Small Business Owner Must Own

Written by Sam on . Posted in Inspiration, Small Business Owners. 4676 views.

Are you looking to better incorporate technology into your personal finances?  Want to save yourself time and money while looking impressive to your customer?  Your mobile phone/tablet currently offers a wide variety of options to do just that.

There are plenty of apps out there, but these are the top apps any small business owner should have:

  1. TeamViewer HD.  Now this is cool.  TeamViewer allows you to control your desktop computer from your iPad or iPhone.  This is perfect for when you need to access an application or file that is on another computer.  The app lets you easily log into your computer, move the mouse around like you were actually there and launch programs and access documents.  App Cost:  Free.
  2. Line2.  Want to tap your dedicated business line into your iPhone?  Line2 is a VoIP service which adds features like virtual receptionist, call conference/waiting/transfer, SMS text messaging and others to your phone.  This is a very cool feature which competes with other services that require a physical phone at your home or office.  Service Cost:  $10 a month.
  3. Dropbox.  Everyone loves Dropbox – the free cloud service that lets you store, share and backup your files seamlessly.  The Dropbox App serves another function, it provides a solution for the inability to store documents on your iPhone.  Simply save your files to Dropbox and you’ll be able to access them from the Dropbox app.  App Cost: Free.  Not into dropbox? Google offers a similar service/app called GoogleDrive.
  4. HootSuite. HootSuite is a cool service which allows you to manage all of your social media accounts at once.  It’s great for those who want a one-stop-shop to publish posts, status updates, etc. for Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Foursquare.  When you’re on the go you can manage all of these functions with the HootSuite for Twitter App.  App Cost: Free (4 accounts), $6 (for more).
  5. Wi-Fi Finder.  Are you cheap like me and don’t want to pay for cellular service for your iPad?  Wi-Fi Finder is a handy app that uses your phone’s GPS to identify where the closest Wi-Fi hotspots are.  App Cost:  Free.

8 Things Executives and Entrepreneurs Do Differently

Written by Sam on . Posted in Career Advice, Inspiration. 4710 views.

Success is not always about what you’re doing, sometimes it about what you could be doing differently.  Not everyone can run a profitable company.  In fact, it takes a special set of skills to be a true leader.  

Executives and successful entrepreneurs do things differently than you do.  We’re not talking about middle level management here, we’re talking about real decision makers.  Here’s a list of things successful business people do differently:

  1. Put people first.  Climbing the corporate ladder or maintaining a successful business is rarely done alone.  It’s the coworker that tells your boss how you jumped in when people were spread thin, or your assistant manager who works a double shift when your new employee calls in sick, who sets you apart.  These people put themselves out there for you, because you’ve shown them they’re appreciated or valuable.  Do right by the people around you, no matter how “small” they are, and they’ll do right for you.
  2. Work harder.  You probably occasionally get to work early and leave late.  When asked to do a task you do it.  Overall you’re a hard worker.  We’ll here’s a terribly kept secret – your boss’s boss works harder.  It’s those employees who take the initiative, without being asked, who rise through the ranks.  Is there something this week that you could proactively get involved in?
  3. Stay focused.  It can be easy to get distracted by the noise that surrounds your business day – becoming overwhelmed and inefficient.  Most successful higher-ups have the ability to decipher information, discarding the noise, to identify problems and focus on solutions.  When today gets chaotic, slow down and focus on the important tasks – leaving the non-priorities for tomorrow.
  4. Exude confidence.  You don’t have to be an expert for people to think you’re one.  Most positions of leadership require the respect of those around you.  Formulate your plans and ideas, keep the course, and stay confident.
  5. Change it up.  Don’t be afraid to innovate.  Just because the company or industry does it a certain way doesn’t mean you have to.  Look at companies like Virgin, Google, Dyson and Apple, who diverted paths of entire industries simply by trying things a new way.  If it ain’t broke, break it!