Three Easy Steps To Increased Productivity

Three Easy Steps To Increased Productivity

 

Sometimes in the middle of trying to do all the things you need to attend to, it feels like all you’re doing is treading water while the to-do list floats all around you. We’ve got three small tips to help you get more daily tasks to shore.

 

Take control of your emails

Emails are like tiny time suckers. If you take the time to respond to every single one that floats into your inbox the second it floats in, you lose focus on what you’re doing, and then you have to take the time to yourself back into the swim of it things and the day gets away from you in small beeping chunks.

 

If you decide to respond later and then forget about the waiting emails, then that becomes a problem too.

 

The best thing to do is take control of the emails. Don’t stop what you’re doing every time one comes through, but do respond to them – at a time convenient to you.

 

Unless an email is absolutely urgent, deal with them in bunches at allotted times. That way instead of breaking your concentration every ten minutes, you’re dedicating 15 minutes chunks to emails throughout the day, and dedicating longer uninterrupted chunks to everything else.

 

Make the most of your commute

If you’re someone who has a long train or bus commute to work, that’s a great time to get through small chunks of work. Your commute is a great time to tackle a few emails. You answer them there and then  and save yourself all that time later.

 

No matter what task you tackle on the train, it will be a more productive hour than mindlessly trolling Facebook.

 

Determine your most productive hours

Different people are at their peak efficiency at different times of the day. Some are most productive after lunch when they’re full and happy. Others are most focused first thing in the morning. While others hit their peak efficiency after they’ve settled in and have been at work for an hour or two.

 

Figure out your optimum work time, and set yourself goals of doing larger or more demanding projects at that specific time.

 

Working according to your body’s natural rhythms is useful for getting things finished. Give yourself small easy tasks when you know your brain is on autopilot, and save the more complex things for when you’re at your mental best.

 

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Not Sure What To Do With Your Liberal Arts Degree?

Not Sure What To Do With Your Liberal Arts Degree?

 

So you got a degree in something you are deeply interested in like the humanities or French literature. As much as it  you intellectually and emotionally, it seems that in terms of helping you find a job, it was kind of a waste of time. Well we’re here to tell you that is not true.

 

Emma Williams who went from a degree in Scandinavian mythology to general manager of Bing Studios at Microsoft explains the connection between humanities degrees and jobs in tech (or other fields). “You become very skilled in new subject areas and understanding them deeply….You have a broader understanding (of different subjects) and a better set of capabilities than just having a computer science degree.”

 

Check out these three career inspiring stories from Fast Company

Stop Looking For A Job and Get One

Stop Looking For A Job and Get One

 

Been on the job search for a while? Having trouble transitioning from the searching end of a job quest to the receiving end of an offer? Here are a few tips that will help get you to that offer quicker.

 

Don’t box yourself into small boxes

Some people look at the long list of requirements for job openings and only apply where they have experience in everything.

 

There are plenty of instances where people who don’t have all the qualifications listed are the ones chosen by the hiring manager. Sometimes it comes down to other related experiences, or aptitude in certain areas, or personality type, or potential.

 

If you have the majority of the qualifications they’re looking for go ahead and apply. Wow them with all the reasons they should give you an interview in the cover letter and see what happens. Like Wayne Gretzky says, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

 

Learn to boast

You might not feel comfortable tooting your own horn, but you can be pretty sure the person who steps into that interview after you, or the one who was sitting in your seat before you got there made a point of letting the interviewer know exactly how wonderful they were.

 

Sitting there bragging about what a wonderful human being you are will turn people off, but if you talk about they way you worked so wonderfully with others to achieve great results, it paints the picture of a wonderful human being.

 

Relax and be friendly

Yes you are in a job interview, yes it’s nerve wracking, but in the end you are one person talking to another person. Do your homework. Prepare as well as you can, then relax. Go in there with a big smile, and let that wonderful person you’re going to refer to later in the interview shine through.

Resume Writing 101 – Some Basics

Resume Writing 101 - The Job Window

Keep it updated.

The perfect job has come up! You’re so excited. It matches your qualifications and experiences perfectly. Finally after all your searching here it is! You’re going to send your resume off immediately!! Except – your resume is not up-to-date. Ahhhrrrrgggh.

Note to self and anyone else out there who is looking for a job or planning on a career change: Keep your resume updated. Even if you don’t go in and consistently add to your resume, at least keep a tally of everything you’re doing professionally so you can update it easily when the time comes.   And that doesn’t just mean updating with work experience. It includes volunteering, classes, lectures, relevant personal experiences. If you don’t write things down you might forget. If you’re rushing to update your resume because that perfect job is waving at you from across the street, you might forget. The best way to avoid forgetting or losing track is to make a point of checking in with your resume regularly.

Make sure your resume is easy to understand and straightforward.

 Sometimes when you’re trying to impress the hiring manager you may fatten things up or over-blow your accomplishments or duties. Remember the person reading your resume is also reading a lot of other resumes. Essentially they want to see at a glance where you worked and what you did. You’ll have the chance to go into detail at the interview. HR people:

  1. Don’t want to waste time trying to sift through all the fluff to find the nuggets in the center.   
  2. Are pretty good at spotting exaggeration and may not end up with a very positive impression of elaboration weaving resume writer.

Get someone else to read your resume for you.

 You may think your resume is straightforward, easy to understand and completely free of spelling and/or grammatical errors, but most probably you are wrong. You are reading what you’re expecting to read. Mistakes are hidden right there in front of your eyes. What seems very self-explanatory to you, could mean different things to other people.  A resume always benefits from the view of a set of fresh eyes.

Resumes are not one size fits all.

Use specific resumes for specific roles. Tailor your resume for each you job you apply for.  Highlight specific details that will catch the attention of the HR manager. Bring significant experiences to the forefront. Make sure the person reading your resume sees specifically what you want them to see.

 

What to Do After Your Promotion

Congratulations on your promotion! You’ve worked your butt off and you’ve finally been recognized. But it doesn’t stop there. This is just the beginning. Your bank account may be getting a bit bigger but so are the responsibilities that are about to be splattered on your plate. Here’s five things to expect after you receive the great news.

1. More responsibilities:
Like Peter Parker said: “With more power comes great responsibility” which is essentially what your new role will be about. You get more power but you’ll also have a lot more to deal with as you move higher in the ranks. Expect more tasks and other job-related issues (good and bad) that will come your way. It could be managing a group of employees, training new employees, being part of the hiring process for the company or leading morning meetings.

2. Pay attention to detail:
You’re supposed to do this even if you’re in an entry level position. However, if something goes wrong, you’re the one to blame first before anyone else. Like we mentioned earlier, you’ll be getting more responsibilities so make sure you’re on top of everything. Your boss promoted you for a reason because he trusts that you’re up for bigger tasks – don’t let him/her down!

3. Ease into your new role:
Don’t go on a power-trip right off the bat and start bossing everyone around. Be humble, introduce yourself to other managers/leaders and the people you’ll be working with and ask questions. Get to know everyone and your role by asking about ways to do/deal with certain tasks or situations. Get a brief summary of what your daily job duties will be like and figure out how to handle them. You’ll find the transition a lot easier.

4. Set long-term goals and never stop moving up
Just like every blog entry we have on this site, we are constantly preaching success and rising to the top. After your promotion, think about what you want to achieve in your new position and work towards it. It might not be the best idea to gun for another promotion right away, but you can tell yourself that you plan to be promoted again in the next year or in a few years. Set goals daily, weekly and monthly to help yourself work towards moving as high as you can in the company.

5. Relationships with your peers will change:
Whatever your role is, it’s best to keep some distance between you and others who you have authority over. This is how you keep things professional and it will be a lot easier to manage others whom you don’t have a personal relationship with. It will also allow you to set a good example for everyone else.

Also check out:
3 Keys to Success if You Want to Move Up

 

Tip Tuesday: Intern or Volunteer After Graduation

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Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t found a job after graduation yet. Many recent grads are in the same boat as you. To pass the time and make it worthwhile, intern or volunteer somewhere that will help you gain experience and make connections in the industry you desire. Even if it’s unpaid, at least you are developing the skills and general work experience that will count for something on your resume.