Plan To Make Every Week A Productive Week

Plan To Make Every Week A Week Of Accoplishments

 

You look out at the week ahead, an expanse of unfilled time, and imagine all the things you are going to accomplish. Then the week ends and you look back on a pile of things that for one reason or another didn’t get to the finish line. Day after day, week after week you just can’t seem to match your intentions with your accomplishments.

 

The problem is, without taking concrete steps to implement them, plans in your head are too vague to consistently see the light of day. In order to be successful a plan in your head needs to be concretized, somewhere you can actually see it written down every day. That starts with a bit of pre-planning.

 

Plan monthly accomplishments

In the process of working towards weekly goals, it helps to step back and look at the bigger picture. What are your goals for the entire month ahead? Write them down. Now put them in a priority list. Some people like to use planners, some have a white board by their desk, some have stickies on their computer (virtual or actual). The point is they need to stare back at you every day to keep you accountable.

 

Break down each goal

Now that you have your prioritized list of what you are going to accomplish, create an action plan for each one. This is where you get specific. By taking the time to really think this through you are already setting your mind into accomplishment mode.

 

Create a weekly schedule  

Take your action plan for each goal and break it down into a weekly do-to list for the month. This is where plans meet action. It’s overwhelming to think about a large overall goal. It’s much easier when you look at it in digestible weekly bites.

 

Make a daily plan

Productivity is all about specificity. At the beginning of the week set daily timelines for each thing on that week’s plan. That makes it simple. It’s 10:00 time to do X.

 

Adjust your plan accordingly

At the end of the week review your performance. If there’s anything that you didn’t manage to finish reschedule it into the to-do list for the following week. Planning out the week in advance and reviewing your progress is what will keep you on task and productive. In this way you’ll be able to make productivity a habit!

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How To Write A Great Post-Interview Follow Up Letter

How To Write A Great Post-Interview Follow Up Letter

Your interview is done, you think it went well. Before you sit back and wait for a response there’s one more thing you need to do. A post interview follow up letter will remind the interviewer of all the positive things discussed during the interview. It will also  bring you back to the forefront of their mind. Plus it’s always important to thank someone for their time and attention.

 

Start off on a professional note

A professional letter doesn’t start with Hi Jack or Hey Jess, it starts with Dear Ms. Jeffries. Even if there was a casual vibe in the office, until you are ensconced in there as a regular staff member, keep all interactions professional.

 

Grab their attention

Think back over your interview. Did you laugh over anything during the discussion, did you feel particularly welcomed, did you find a common interest with the interviewer? Pick a noteworthy moment from the interview and highlight it at the start of your letter. It was amazing to discover that your daughter and I attended the same university.

 

Reiterate some important things discussed/learned

Touch on something specific you learned during the interview. Your discussion regarding the management structure of the company was informative and helped me visualize my progression through the company.

 

Remind them of a skill/experience of yours

In a quick sentence or two reiterate how you can help them in the role you applied for an as a member of the company.  As I mentioned, in my previous position I helped increase team performance by 30%. With the skills I acquired there I’m certain I can make a great impact with your organization.

 

Reiterate your thanks and ask for follow up

Close off the letter by thanking them again for their time and helpful conversation then ask when you can expect to hear back from them. Thank you again for the interview opportunity. You mentioned you will have a decision by the end of next week. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Characteristics of a Great Leader

Characteristics of a Great Leader

 

Whether you’re in charge of people or not, leadership is an essential characteristic for anyone looking to succeed in their work. No matter the industry or position, managers and bosses are always looking for people who have that special quality that allows them to lead. Your leaders are looking for great leaders to follow them.

But if you’re in an entry-level position, or there’s no one working under you, how can you become a leader? How can you demonstrate leadership to your manager or supervisor?

Character

Leadership doesn’t begin with your followers. It begins with you. Frank Sonnenberg says, “People want to make a difference, they want to do work that matters, and they want to work for people who they admire, and who inspire them and get them excited about their work.”

Can you inspire your co-workers? Can you be someone your co-workers admire? It can start as simply as being positive and encouraging to your fellow employees. It can grow to a place where your co-workers are asking you for help because they know you’ll assist them without judgment. To become a great leader, you have to be someone people want to follow.

Commitment

While some of your coworkers count down the clock until it strikes five, your commitment to your work keeps you focused on getting the task done. While some people take an extra smoke break, you’re diligently crossing Ts and dotting Is. A great leader is someone who stays until the job is done.

Openness

As an employee, receiving constructive criticism can put you on the defensive. A great leader however, takes criticism not as an attack, but an opportunity to learn.

Becoming a Great Leader

You don’t have to have a team to be a leader. In fact, you should start honing your leadership skills as soon as possible. Becoming a great leader has more to do with who you are, rather than how you treat others once you’re in a position of authority.

 

Make Mental Strength A Priority

Make Mental Strength A Priority

We all have great days and difficult days. Some people celebrate the great days with sheer and absolute enthusiasm, while others stay more subdued. Then there are the hard days. Some people come through the hard ones with their attitude intact, ready to move on to the next thing while others spend an inordinate amount of time trying to re-center. Some of that is a consequence of natural disposition, but a lot of it is a matter of mental strength.

 

In the article The Best Brain Possible by Debbie Hampton, they say, “To be mentally strong is to become aware of your thoughts and emotions and work with them to consciously choose your actions, which is what mindfulness is all about. It’s about responding rather than reacting. It’s not about saying, ‘I can’t help the way I feel’ or ‘This is just the way I am.’”

 

Create new mental habits

While some people may be born more mentally resilient than others, mental strength, like any other strength can be built on and expanded. By consistently choosing to bounce back and not dwell on the negatives you can create new mental habits. That doesn’t mean every once in a while, it means paying attention to every thought that runs through your head. Then deciding whether or not it is a thought or reaction you would consciously choose if your intention was to be a more centered, in charge type person.

 

Here are ten things you can do to build mental strength:

 

Reflect on your progress

People who are mentally weak, dwell on the negatives and don’t give themselves credit for what they’ve already accomplished. Mentally strong people do the opposite. They keep the positives front and center and choose to consider the negatives as learning experiences.

 

Think productively

Instead of thinking about all the reasons why something isn’t working or you are not getting ahead as fast as you might want to, think about concrete things you can do on a regular basis to keep things moving forward.

 

Pay attention to the underlying thoughts

As we said earlier, everyone has a baseline of satisfaction where they naturally land. However just because you are not generally an overly optimistic person by nature that doesn’t mean you have to be satisfied with being dissatisfied. Watch your emotions, notice when you are leaning toward pessimism and make a conscious decision to see and acknowledge the positives in your situation.

 

Learn to enjoy quiet time

Many people will do anything they can to avoid being alone and quiet. In order to become mentally strong, you need to learn to make friends with yourself in quiet times. It is during those times that you can really reflect on what brings you peace and joy.

Working With Being Shy

Working With Being Shy

Would you describe yourself as shy? Does that make you a little worried about doing well in your new job? Fear not, shy friend, we’ve got some tips to help you navigate your new situation with much more ease.

 

Relax

Stop worrying about being shy. The shyness is less of a problem than worrying about it.

Quiet is who you are, that’s perfectly okay! Accept your inner quite and don’t think you have to be like your louder co-workers.

 

Do what you do best

Even if you are a little shy around groups of people, there’s a good chance you’re really good at one-on-one interactions. And the good news is, most interactions are going to boil down to one-on-one interactions.

 

Unless you’re a university professor or a professional speaker, it’s all one-on-one stuff.

So just concentrate on each person as an individual. Even if you have to talk to a hundred people every day, chances are you’re mostly doing it one at a time. Concentrate on that.

 

Write thank you notes

Many people who feel socially awkward have trouble speaking out loud, but are amazing written communicators. So after interviews, or helpful interactions, get into the habit of writing nice thank you notes

 

Thank you notes can brighten up the day of the recipient, and can also convey how much you appreciate the recipient’s time, even if you can’t quite express it verbally in the moment.

 

Meditate

As a shy person it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the action surrounding you. Meditation is a wonderful way to clear away some of that stress and relax. You don’t need to make a big deal about it. Just find a few minutes to sit at your desk quietly and breath in through the nose and out through the mouth.

 

Practice networking

Networking can be particularly difficult if you’re shy, so that’s why it’s something you can practice doing to alleviate the fear. Even if you feel totally ridiculous, stand in front of the mirror and practice using professional lingo and confidently handing out your business card. That way when a beneficial networking opportunity presents itself, you’ll have the confidence to extend your hand and say hello.

The Job Seeker’s Indispensable To-Do List

The Job Seeker’s Indispensable To-Do List

School’s out and it’s time to get yourself out of the books and into the job market. Whether you’re applying for your first job or you are preparing to make a career change there is a certain to-to list every job seeker must complete to prepare a.

 

Keep your resume up-to-date

When the right job shows up the last thing you want to do is waste time updating your resume or seeker forbid – start one from scratch! If there is anything outdated or irrelevant on there, remove it. If you’ve recently completed any courses or have some motivating statistic about yourself to brag about, add it. You will most likely tailor your resume in some way for each job you apply for, but make sure you’ve got the best possible version as a starting point.

 

Everything we just said about the resume also applies to your cover letter. Except that it must be even more tailored for each specific job. Take the time now before the scramble to review your information so you can figure out exactly how best to highlight your accomplishments and possible contributions to a potential employer.

 

Review your social media presence

Even if you think you’ve done a pretty good job on your LinkedIn profile it’s a good idea to see what other people in a similar field are doing. How does yours compare? Do you have endorsements from colleagues or professors? Do you post relevant information there? Is it inviting and informative?

 

Next on your to-do list, have a look at the rest of your social media presence. If you have a stellar LinkedIn profile but your Facebook page is a mess of party pictures and descriptions of drunken escapades you are probably not sending out the message you want for potential employers. You need to ensure that everything anyone sees or reads about your online adds to the image you want to create.

 

Prepare for upcoming interviews

Once you have a real interview you will spend a lot of time learning everything you can about the company by checking out their online presence. But even if you don’t have an interview coming up, you can still prepare for the inevitable questions, like Tell me about yourself, or What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

 

Network

Some people love networking. Others would rather swim with sharks (partly because that’s how networking feels to them). Even if you are not the schmoosing type, it’s possible to go to a networking event with the intent to speak to just one person. Get through that and next time you could try for two. If you absolutely can’t bring yourself to do that, try a conference. You will most likely learn something pertinent to your search and who knows someone might strike up a conversation with you!

 

Big finish

If you meet someone at a networking event or a conference, follow up with a quick, nice to meet you message. If you’ve had an interview, follow that up with a thank you letter. Always. Someone took the time to meet with you, that time and effort needs to be acknowledged. Remember the person who came in to the interview after you sent a thank you letter. All things being equal, who do you think is going to make the stronger impression?

It’s Your Life. Go Ahead And Create It

It's Your Life. Go Ahead And Create It

An inauspicious start

You are the second child born to an unmarried laundrywoman in 1883. Your father is a street peddler who makes his living selling his wares from town to town. He has to be bribed by your mother’s family to marry her. When you are twelve years old your mother dies of tuberculosis. Your father hires your two brothers out as farm laborers. You and your two sisters are sent to a home for abandoned and orphaned girls. While there you learn to sew.

A story revised

Eventually you go on to establish one of the most iconic fashion houses of the twentieth century. When you describe your early childhood, your story is filled with glamour and drama. At your mother’s death (when you were much younger than twelve), your father sailed off to America to make his fortune and you were sent to live with your aunts. You embellish and create a history fit for the fashion icon you have become. By then your given name, Gabrielle has changed to Coco and according to a review in Harper’s Bazaar, “The woman who hasn’t at least one Chanel is hopelessly out of fashion.”

 

Coco Chanel may have fabricated the history of her life but her achievements were entirely real. The only fashion designer to make TIME magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century Chanel hasn’t been out of fashion for over a hundred years.

 

Your book of life

Each of us starts our life on the first page of an essentially blank book. We don’t have much control over the early chapters, but there comes a point where authorship of our story is handed over to us. We are not encouraging anyone to re-write the early chapters the way Chanel did, but we are endorsing bold, creative story lines full of adventure and daring.