20 Ways to Simplify Your Work Life

Written by Sam on . Posted in Career Advice, Inspiration. 6104 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 Clear your desk of anything that’s not necessary, like stacks of catalogs, outdated correspondence, and yesterday’s tea mug.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.

8 Things Executives and Entrepreneurs Do Differently

Written by Sam on . Posted in Career Advice, Inspiration. 5494 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!  

25 Things to Stop Doing Today at Work

Written by Sam on . Posted in Career Advice, Inspiration. 37629 views.

Often times we can fall in a rut at work.  We start accepting unhappiness as our destiny and quit fighting it like we did in our twenties.  Make it a point today to identify some of the hindrances you’re facing with your company or position and take a step to get past them.

Personal growth should be something you’re looking to accomplish each and every day. No one likes change, but how many of these 25 things can you stop doing at work today?

  1. Stop bottling up your talent.  The 21st century is perhaps the most exciting time in history to possess unique knowledge and talent.  There are so many outlets for you to showcase your talent.  Whether it’s a blog, eBook, podcast or other form of expression,  get your knowledge out there – it’s one of the 7 ways to be seen as an expert in your industry.
  2. Stop being afraid to fail.  I know it’s become a cliche, but failure can be extremely valuable.  Do you really think that successful people never fail?  Of course this is not the case, they’ve just worked through failure and ended with success.  No one should strive for failure, but I’d rather swing and miss than never be in the game.
  3. Stop being unorganized.  Start making lists and setting goals for yourself.  It’s easy to lose sight of what you want to accomplish if you don’t keep in front of you.  Try to organize the tasks you must complete today as well as those which are not priorities – your day will be more efficient and less stressful, guaranteed!
  4. Stop shrugging responsibility.  You should be the first to volunteer for a new project.  Not only will you probably learn something new, you’ll gain the respect of those around you.
  5. Stop being afraid to socialize with upper management.  Manager’s want to promote and hire well rounded, likable people.  While it’s always important to be respectful, don’t wait around for executives to notice you, put yourself out there to be noticed.  Take the initiative to setup a happy hour or group lunch – it will be noticed.

6 Effective Ways to Ask For a Pay Raise

Written by Sam on . Posted in Career Advice. 6711 views.

How to ask for a raiseKnowing how to ask for a raise is a skill that can be perfected.  Like other forms of negotiation, having a set plan is essential to a favorable outcome – so get prepared.

Now that the economy has started to stabilize, most of us should realize two important things.  First, you’re still here, so you must be valuable to the company.  Second, you haven’t received a pay raise in at least 3 years.  Depending on your situation, now may be a great time to ask for a pay raise.  Take the following six steps into consideration when formulating your plan on how to ask for a pay raise:

  1. Evaluate the situation.  Ask yourself: Is this a good time to ask for a raise?  Obviously if your company is in the middle of layoffs, it may not be a good time.  However, a lot of companies are now back in the black and reporting good quarterly earnings.  Know that these earnings are available to be paid out to valuable employees, like yourself.
  2. Frame the conversation/request.  Never ask for a pay raise because you need it, rather because you’ve earned it.  Framing the conversation by setting up a review or evaluation to discuss your accomplishments since your last pay increase is a very effective way to start the conversation.  Be prepared to answer questions on why you deserve it and if you’re willing to take on additional responsibilities.
  3. Stay confident.  The downturn in the economy lead to layoffs and hiring freezes.  Chances are if you’re still at your company, you’re valuable and would be missed.  Your competitors, who are also now making money, would love to lure away under appreciated (but valuable) employees.  Have confidence that your company realizes your value and does not want to lose you over a (deserved) pay raise – don’t be afraid to ask for something you deserve!

12 Reasons Your Boss Should Be Begging You To Work From Home

Written by Sam on . Posted in Career Advice. 13651 views.

Just the fact that you came to work today means you’re going to get less done than you could have.  That’s right I said it, you’re less efficient working at the office than at home.  More and more businesses are coming to the realization that it’s not just a great fringe benefit, it’s in everyone’s best interest to allow an employee to work remotely.

Both employers and employees should consider these 12 reasons to cut loose from the company office building:

  1. Add time to your day.  The average employee commutes 1 hour per day to and from work.  That’s 20 hours a month of wasted time.  Just think what else you could accomplish if you had an extra hour per day added to your life!
  2. Increased creativity from better surroundings.  Having the choice to work in a park, coffee house, library or from the comfort of your own home helps to relax and inspire you.  Most design firms have already realized this and encourage their employees to experience new surroundings.  Working from your deck is a lot more stimulating than your cubicle.
  3. Avoid distractions.  Escaping chatty coworkers and office politics will help you to recapture a significant portion of your work time.  Most of us have become so used to distractions that we don’t realize how debilitating these constant interruptions can be.  Anyone who has had the opportunity to work remotely knows just how much more they get done in a shorter time.
  4. Work harder and smarter.  Those who work remotely have to make it a point to show their productively.  Now ‘working’ is transparent.  There’s no room for manipulating perception by simply showing up early, leaving late or running around with your hair on fire – now your accomplishments/actions/results will define you.  This is a good thing and one of the 7 Ways to Be Seen As An Expert In Your Industry.
  5. Global Reach. Now even small businesses are able to have ‘offices’ worldwide. Forget about just the local potential, imagine the perspectives (and resources) that employees located throughout the state, county or globe could bring to the company.  Pretty neat if you think about it.