The Daily Grind

New Year 101: How to Handle Change

ThinkstockPhotos-510570474Of the few things guaranteed in life, change is one of them. We live in a fast-paced world that is constantly adapting—and chances are, not every change will be a positive one. In January, those changes are especially noticeable as people begin focusing on their resolutions and looking to do better in the new year. So, how do you move forward when faced with unexpected change? These four tips can help you remain focused this year.

Find the Positives

It’s easy to spot the negative aspects of change, but it’s often harder to find the positives. The truth is, most changes have both good and bad elements. Instead of focusing on the speed bumps or road blocks, try to keep the end goal in mind when faced with a new project or process. If a change to the way things are done is implemented, it was likely because a better end result is expected. Keep that in mind as you navigate through the transition.

Make Your Mark

When a change is forced upon you, it can be hard to accept. But, finding a way to become actively involved with the change can help you feel better connected to it. When you’re part of the process, you may be able to offer solutions or explain how the changes may affect your job. Try to find ways to involve yourself, when possible, or offer suggestions to those who are in charge. Chances are, change won’t seem so bad when you’re able to engage with the process.

Stay Ahead of the Game

Trends are important to all industries and are often the first indicators of changes to come. You can help anticipate such changes by staying up-to-date on trends and industry information. If you are an office assistant, for example, take some time to research what new computer programs or office systems may be coming soon. Then, anticipate how those changes might affect your work, as well as the company as a whole. Communicating what you find, as well as providing solutions for adapting to or staying ahead of trends, will help you stand out in the workplace.

Don’t Stress

We all know the importance of eliminating stress from our lives, but it’s not always easy. Often, change can induce stress, making change even more difficult. Looking for the positive aspects will help reduce the stress you may feel when encountering change, as can focusing on the things you can control. Unfortunately, when it comes to change, most things are usually out of our control, and focusing on them will do more harm than good. Learn to let go of things you cannot control, and focus instead on where you can actually make an impact. Improving your diet, establishing an exercise routine, and making time for yourself will also help reduce your stress level.

 

This year, resolve to accept that change is unavoidable. Focus on the positives, anticipate trends, find ways to be involved, and reduce your stress so you’ll be better equipped to deal with changes in your personal life and in the workplace. And remember, change may be scary at first, but it’s not always bad.

 

What tips do you have for dealing with change? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Competition and Productivity: A Balancing Act

Best and Worst Jobs 2013When you think about competition, your first thoughts probably drift to sports arenas and the like. Yet, competition also lives in the workplace. And, while competition can breed productivity, it’s important to know how to balance the two to create the best workplace environment for your company and your career.

Competition Can Increase Productivity
The relationship between competition and productivity has been studied by numerous scholars, and most agree that competition can be beneficial in producing a higher level of productivity and efficiency.

Healthy competition among your co-workers is a natural way of pushing each other toward team goals. When members of a team are competitive in an appropriate way, there’s more focus, drive, and determination to provide quality work.

Along the same lines, competition in the workplace drives efficiency. As this happens, goals are met more quickly, things get done, and the company can see profitable benefits.

Finding the Balance
For competition to create productivity in the workplace, it has to remain healthy. When co-workers become overly competitive, stress levels go up, trust declines, and the overall team can deteriorate. It’s important to find the balance between being competitive enough to drive productivity and being so competitive that you drive away anything beneficial.

Here are a few ways to help you find that balance:

  • Learn from mistakes – You will inevitably make a mistake, but when you do, figure out how to learn from it. Sometimes when competing, you may let your competitive drive overshadow the bigger picture, allowing a mistake to happen. If and when you do make an error, take time before you react. Give yourself a breather, relax, and regroup.
  • Focus on relationships – When competition becomes unhealthy, it could be due to poor relationships. You won’t always get along with everyone you work with, but you have to learn to work well with others and grow relationships with those who can help you put your energy into generating productive outcomes.
  • Be a classy competitor – Unlike the sports world, you have to continue to work with and around those you’re competing against on a daily basis. Avoid putting others down and focus on your long-term growth at that company. Let your work be proof of your determination and skill, and if anyone tries to create an unhealthy environment for competition, maintain your integrity. The reputation you build as a classy competitor will speak volumes to your employer.

Do you have any tips for balancing competition with productivity? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Apps to Keep You Organized

Mobile AppsKeeping organized is a trait that many professionals struggle with daily. Between hundreds of emails and texts, meeting requests, and last-minute assignments, it can be hard to remember to keep on top of important tasks, meet deadlines, or even finish projects.

Luckily, technology is on our side. Thousands of smart solutions exist to help you stay organized in your busy life. From organizing finances to note-taking, apps for smart phones, tablets, and desktops offer unique and easy ways to compartmentalize your life and make prioritizing less painful.

Many of the apps are free or inexpensive, and having the ability to track expenses, tasks, or projects is worth its weight in gold.

Here are a few of our favorite apps:

Evernote
Evernote is perfect for taking notes in meetings or calls. This app also allows you to attach documents, relevant information and more to keep everything consolidated for future reference. Additionally, Evernote lets you record speech right into the note, so you don’t have to worry about writing down information during meetings. It also syncs the desktop version to your smartphone or tablet.

Dropbox
If you keep work in multiple folders, Dropbox is a must. Because it’s online storage, you have the ability to work on projects from anywhere on any device. The upload feature for documents and pictures is easy to use, and you don’t have to worry about losing important information if a computer crashes or is lost. Basically, you can use any device to log into the Dropbox account to access your files.

HabitList
We all have habits we could improve on, and HabitList helps you to do just that. Whether you want to set habits like eating more vegetables or meeting deadlines, HabitList keeps you motivated by showing your trends, progress, and streaks. It reminds you of your habits with positive reinforcement and can make dull or mundane tasks a bit more fun with progress charts.

Google Now
Google Now, the “intelligent personal assistant” for iOS, Android, and desktop, organizes everything you can think of and is available 24/7. All of your work, personal information, and tasks are organized into “cards” that put your important stuff into one place without having to search around. 

Quip
This popular new virtual office app is used by giants like Facebook, Quora, and Instagram, and works as a virtual office space. You can collaborate with others on spreadsheets, checklists, and documents, as well as check in with team members or other people in your network. You can create and import documents, allow others to edit, and log on to review edits as well.

EasilyDo
This free iPhone app serves as your personal assistant by connecting your online services, like email, calendar, Facebook account and others. EasilyDo uses an algorithm to help you find things it can help you with, like add details of contacts or notify you of important dates and birthdays. Designed as a productivity app, EasilyDo helps you tackle a variety of tasks quickly.

Venmo
Need an app to help track money and spending? Venmo is a new app that allows you to transfer money and keep track of what you’ve paid. It not only reminds you to pay a client, it also shows which clients owe you a payment. This app lets you pay anyone with a Venmo account instantly using money you have in Venmo, or you can link your bank account or debit card quickly.

What are your favorite productivity apps? Share your favorite productivity and organization apps with us in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Try These Snacks to Keep You Focused

snacks_to_keep_focus_webAt some point during the day, nearly everyone has a hard time focusing. If you’re faced with distractions, didn’t get enough sleep, or just keep zoning out, you may need a little help staying focused on your work. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to increase your ability to focus, and all it takes is a little snack. In fact, when it comes to increasing your alertness, there are several foods you can eat to feel the difference.

Tea
If you’re not a coffee drinker, consider adding green tea to your morning routine. Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that increases alpha brain waves. These brain waves are similar to the ones that happen when you spend time meditating, so your body responds by becoming more relaxed and calm. In turn, you are more focused. For a tea with more flavor, go for peppermint tea. Studies have found that the smell of peppermint can perk up your brain by reducing anxiety and fatigue. Try sipping on these brews in the afternoon if you’re trying to avoid the higher caffeine content of coffee.

Coffee and Spices
Of course, coffee is another option for increasing your alertness. The drink is famous for its ability to perk you up and help you focus and has also been linked to other health benefits. If you don’t mind the caffeine jolt, go for a cup of coffee when you find yourself in a slump. And for an extra boost, add a few sprinkles of cinnamon to your coffee. A recent study found that the smell of cinnamon can make you feel more alert and decrease frustration.

Dark Chocolate
There’s good news for chocolate lovers! Dark chocolate has been shown to boost blood flow to the brain and stimulate the release of feel-good chemicals called neurotransmitters. That means dark chocolate may increase your alertness while simultaneously putting you in a good mood. Better yet, as little as one-third of an ounce of chocolate may help protect against age-related memory loss.

Leafy Greens
A recent study found that people who ate two or more daily servings of vegetables, especially leafy greens, had an increase in mental performance and focus that matched people five years their junior. This boost in alertness is just another reason to go for that salad at lunch.

Fresh Berries
Studies show that eating berries can boost your concentration and memory up to five hours after consumption. The antioxidants in berries increase blood flow to the brain, which in turn, makes mental tasks easier. In addition to a boost in alertness, the health benefits of berries also include a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, so try adding darkly-pigmented fruits like blueberries to your oatmeal or snack on them in the afternoon.

Water
We all know the health benefits of drinking lots of water. But, did you know that going for a glass of water can help you regain your focus? Studies show that dehydration can negatively affect your memory and brain function, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Adding a few drops of lemon to your water can improve your mental performance even more.

Avocado
Try incorporating avocado into your meals or snacks to help clear a foggy brain. Avocados contain monounsaturated fats that support nerves in the brain and increase mental alertness. Add the healthy food to your burger at lunch, or snack on chips and guacamole when you’re feeling less alert.

Remember to get off to the right start with a healthy breakfast every day. Try eating whole grains, oatmeal, high-protein eggs, or fruit and nut mixes to help you stay focused all morning.

How do you keep your focus on the job? Share with us in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Peak Performer’s Life: Make More Money … Get Focused

walterbond_webIf you want to accomplish a goal, whether it’s to find a job or move up in a company, you have to focus. Staying on track and remaining diligent can help you achieve what you want in your job search or workplace, and Walter Bond has some tips to help you. As part of his series of motivational messages, Walter discusses the importance of focus.

“The only way you can grow your business, the only way you can make more money, the only way you can do something really significant … you have to be focused,” he said.

For more advice from Walter, check out the full message below.

What are some ways you stay focused in your job search, in the workplace, or in your personal life? Share with us in the comments section below.

About Walter Bond
A former professional basketball player, Walter Bond’s NBA career included 153 games with the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, and Detroit Pistons. Now, Walter takes what he learned from his life on the court and translates it into motivational and educational messages for thriving businesses and careers. With entertaining and dynamic messages, Walter has spoken to companies and associations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe.

For more information about Walter Bond, visit WalterBond.com.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Happiness and a Good Job – You Can Have Both

happiness_at_work_webWhat are the keys to happiness in the workplace? While that answer may be different for each person, there are some factors that lead to a more satisfied workplace. According to a Gallup poll, 24% of the global workforce is actively disengaged with their jobs. Additionally, 63% of the worldwide workforce is “checked out, sleepwalking through their day, or putting time but not energy or passion into their work.” This leaves only 13% of people who are happy at work.

People who are happy and satisfied with their personal lives are also more likely to be happy with their jobs. So, how can you make your job something you enjoy? Check out the information below to help you find happiness in the workplace.

Know the Facts
To understand the current state of happiness in the workplace, take a look at these statistics:

  • Forbes states that the people most satisfied with their jobs include database administrators, quality assurance engineers, executive assistants, and recruiters.
  • According to Happify, things that affect our satisfaction at work vary for men and women. For men, it’s compensation and interest in the work. For women, it’s flexibility, workload, advancement, and the people at work.
  • When it comes to Millennials, those born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, 64% say they would choose a job they love that pays $40,000 over a boring job that pays $100,000 a year.
  • 69% of bosses are satisfied with their jobs, while only 48% of workers are. Furthermore, 39% of self-employed workers are satisfied with their jobs, compared with 28% of people who work for others.

Find Your Happiness
Thankfully, there are ways you can find happiness in the workplace. According to author Alexander Kjerulf, the keys to staying happy at work are accomplishing something that’s meaningful to you, knowing your job is important, and being appreciated. You can help others find satisfaction with their work by celebrating their successes, lending a helping hand, and offering recognition for jobs well done.

Think about what you do and try to find the meaning in it. If you work in a retail environment, you may find satisfaction through helping provide people with items they need. Or if you’re an administrative assistant, you may find meaning in the fact that you’re directly influencing the success of others. When you engage in work that feels meaningful to you, you’ll likely experience higher rates of motivation and satisfaction as a result.

The job you currently have may not be the one you want to have forever, and that’s okay. Remember to use the time you have at your job to make important accomplishments and connections with others that can benefit you in your next job.

At work, every day is not going to be easy. When you’re stuck with a challenging situation in the workplace, believe in yourself instead of getting stressed. Think back to a similar task you accomplished and remember that you are capable of accomplishing this one too. Your positivity can impact your work. In fact, according to Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage¸ entry-level accountants who believed they could accomplish what they set out to do ended up with the best job performance ratings.

Making friends at work can also help you stay happy on the job. Studies suggest that if you have three or more good friends at work, you are 96% more likely to be satisfied with your life. To nurture friendly relationships, take some time to greet a co-worker you don’t know very well and practice random acts of kindness in the workplace.

How do you stay happy on the job? Share your tips in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

5 Spring Cleaning Career Tips

spring_cleaning_webSpring has sprung, and with longer days, more sunshine, and warmer weather, it’s time to shake those winter blues! The best way to start embracing the new season is with some spring cleaning. It’s time to de-clutter, throw away, and organize for a more productive and efficient workday.

Whether you’re feeling less engaged with your job, looking for a new career, trying to advance to the next level, or just need a little push when it comes to tidiness, here are some tips everyone can use to add some pep to your step!

  1. Tidy up your workspace.
    Your desk or work environment is where you spend a lot of time, so tackle it first. Feeling swamped with papers? Create a filing system for your current projects, articles to read, invoices, and other documents. Organize them in a way that works best for you and set a day of the week to go through each folder and do maintenance. Also, keep in mind that less is more. Don’t clutter your desk with stuff you don’t use regularly. A clean and simple desk allows you quick and easy access to what you need.
  2. De-clutter your e-mail and desktop.
    Many people feel overwhelmed with their computer and email organization, or lack thereof. Instead of letting your inbox grow to an overwhelming amount, create a digital filing system. Categorize the emails you need to keep, and delete what you don’t. Also, it’s easy for your computer desktop to become a catchall for items you need fast access to. Try to organize these things into a reasonable amount of files. A clean computer will help prevent you from feeling panicked when you need to look for a file or important email.
  3. Pay attention to your calendar.
    Feel like you’re always on the go and never have enough hours in the day? If so, it’s time your calendar becomes a proactive tool in your life rather than an enemy. Look at your calendar daily to see what you’ve got going on. Be sure to not overload yourself to the point of exhaustion or burnout. Learn to say no to some requests that come your way or suggest a time that works better for you. Also, set reminders on your calendar to alert you before an event so you’re not rushing from one thing to the next.
  4. Clean up your social media accounts.
    This is a perfect time to go through your accounts like LinkedIn and Facebook. On LinkedIn, it’s a good idea to keep your profile current, even if you love your current job. Pay attention to any new people you should connect with or groups you should delete. The same rules apply to Facebook. Are there groups that are sending you way too many messages you don’t want? Do you have any pictures or posts you need to remove? Is there anyone you need to connect with? Although many people see social media as tools just for fun, they can have a big impact on your professional life too. Be mindful of what yours says about you.
  5. Perfect your resume.
    Spring is a great time to ensure your resume is up-to-date. Whether you are looking for a job, seeking a promotion, or applying for a volunteer position, it’s important to do regular maintenance on your resume. Add any new skills you’ve learned or projects you’ve taken on, ensure all dates are correct, and update your contact information if necessary. Also, do a quick look over your reference list. Is there someone listed that you haven’t talked to in a while? Give them a call or schedule a lunch to catch up. It’s important to keep these contacts current so you can take advantage of networking.

In addition to these tips, there are many other ways you can spring clean for your career. What are some of your favorites? Share them in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.