Two Dangerous Downfalls to Slacking Off at Work

Downfallsslacking_April2011_web Let’s be honest – we’ve all had our lazy moments while on the job. Whether your laziness comes in spurts or daily instances, it’s important to realize procrastination actually causes more problems than solutions. We all need a break from time to time, but watch out for these two consequences.

The greatest challenge that comes with procrastination is the stress that partners with it. Putting off a project until the evening before it’s due may seem like a good idea at the time, but it can take quite a toll on your stress level at work – and on your health. Avoid the added stress that comes with stalling by prioritizing your work. Ask yourself what needs to be accomplished and when. By organizing your work, you will find yourself much more in control of your projects and at ease when in the office.

Low Expectations.
If you develop a reputation of putting things off until the last minute, those around you are going to have low expectations. And, low expectations will lead to fewer responsibilities and even fewer opportunities to shine in the office. In order to gain the confidence of your co-workers, and your boss, you must hold yourself to a higher standard and surpass expectations.

Work Smarter.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, resist the urge to procrastinate. Instead, find ways to work smarter. Working smarter means you approach tasks with efficiency in order to avoid more work than necessary. Applying this principle to your daily tasks can radically change your schedule and motivation in the workplace. By incorporating efficiency in your daily routine on the job, you will be able to produce valuable work while saving you time and the company money, which is a win-win for everyone.

Although it is difficult to be productive 100% of the time, it is a worthy goal. By focusing on your work in a timely manner you will increase your independence, responsibilities, and worth in the office.

Ideas Your Boss Will Love and How to Pitch Them

Ideapitch_April2011_web One of the most important lessons a new professional can learn is the benefit of being proactive at work. Employers take notice when an employee is innovative and shares insightful ideas that can boost productivity or streamline processes. If you want to help your team find solutions to problems but don’t know where to start, ask yourself two questions first.

How Can We Make More Money?
Most suggestions that involve your company making more money are going to be well received by your employer. That being said, you needn’t suggest every “get rich quick” scheme you know during office meetings. Share ideas that can truly impact your company in the long run. Ask questions that help you evaluate the company and its competitors.  What can your company provide that other businesses in your market can’t? What special qualities and services make your team stand out? By answering these questions first, you’ll open the floodgates for ideas that will impact the company’s bottom line.

How Can We Save Time?
For many people, time is more valuable, than money. Learning how to save your company time will impress your boss and benefit your career. When it comes to performing daily duties, keep the motto “work smarter, not harder” in mind. This motto does not promote slacking off but rather, efficiency. Realize that time is money, and therefore it’s precious in your employer’s eyes.  Strategize and suggest changes that can save your company time and streamline processes. Remember, even shaving a few minutes off tasks can increase productivity immensely in the long run.

Deliver With Confidence.
Remember, you are in your current position for a reason. Your employer knows your worth, capabilities, and potential. Therefore, deliver your ideas with confidence and give the facts and research to back it up. Not every idea you suggest will be approved, or even liked, but by showing initiative your employer and coworkers will respect your dedication. And remember, if your idea isn’t implemented don’t look at it as a failure, but as an opportunity to grow as an employee.

Coming up with ideas your boss will love is not always easy, but it can be mastered. By concentrating on what’s important to your company and delivering your ideas with confidence and knowledge, you will be well on your way to impressing your boss and proving you are an employee they can’t live without!

Three Things to Do When You Land Your Career Job

Individuals entering the workforce for the first time share similar ideas about what a new job will mean to their life. Most hope for competitive pay, meaningful work, and independence. While all that is obtainable, it is difficult to gain immediately. But by keeping a few thoughts in mind, young professionals can enter their first year in a new career with as much ease, and success, as possible.

Spend Wisely.
First things first, realize that although you may be making more money, you don’t have to act like it. Remember that with your new paycheck comes a great opportunity to spend the money you earn wisely. Work toward paying off loans, investing in a suitable work wardrobe, and saving. Practicing discretion with your cash flow from the beginning is a great step in your future financial planning.

Prove Yourself.
Secondly, understand that although you are now in the workforce, you still have a long way to go. Young professionals must continue to prove themselves to employers and coworkers, even after they’ve been given a job. Persevere despite others questioning your ability. Challenge yourself, and your coworkers, by sharing ideas, being proactive, and offering others help when you can. Once you show your boss you are reliable, you will be well on your way to gaining more respect and responsibility from those around you.

The biggest surprise many young professionals face is the amount of time a new career can take. If your job has traditional 8 to 5 business hours this can be quite a change from a flexible retail or school schedule. The first year in a career often demands more time and energy than your schoolwork or entry-level jobs required. Learning to prioritize can be a challenge. You must learn your own limits and not be afraid to share those boundaries with your leader. Although it is important to be dedicated to work, it is also important to take time for yourself.  Finding a balance between work and life outside of it will take some time, but is important to keep you from burning out. 

The first year in the real world is undoubtedly tough. Learning how to manage money, balance time, and prove yourself is no easy feat. However, the first year can be pivotal to your career’s journey. Remember that we’ve all made mistakes, especially during our first year, and that every wrong move provides ample opportunities to learn valuable lessons for the future.

A Good Night’s Sleep Does a Body Good

Agoodnightssleep4-6-2011 How many hours of sleep do you get in a night? Eight hours? Five hours? Less than that? You’ve probably heard that the more sleep you get, the more refreshed and energized you will feel. But, with workplace related stress on the rise, many people are reporting they’re not getting enough shut eye.

Throughout history, studies have shown that the average amount of sleep an individual gets each night has been declining. In 2010, the National Health Survey examined the sleep habits of workers across several industries and found that, compared to findings over the last 20 years, there was a 6% increase in the number who reported getting less than six hours of sleep each night. 

According to a 2011 poll by the National Sleep Foundation, almost 63% of Americans surveyed said their sleep needs are lacking. On average, it was found that many respondents are only getting about six hours and 55 minutes of sleep each night during the week.

Although the “normal” amount of sleep is defined as seven to eight hours a night, these amounts can vary from person to person based on age, gender, what tasks are performed by that person throughout the day, and how much energy is needed to perform those tasks. Some people may require more sleep while others seem to require less.

So, how much sleep do you really need? The National Sleep foundation defines an adequate amount of sleep as being able to wake up unprompted, feeling rested and alert, rather than drowsy. When you don’t get enough rest, you not only feel drowsy, but you can also experience poor performance, decreased alertness, and increased chances for high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

So here are a few ways to ensure you catch some good Z’s each night

  • Turn off electronics close to bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine in the evening.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Establish a sleep schedule and stick to it.
  • Avoid daytime napping.
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal late at night.

These are just a few tips to help you get the rest your body needs. Make it a goal to start counting more sheep at night. The more sleep you get, the less stressed you will feel. And that will not only help you be more productive throughout the day, but also help you feel happier and healthier too.

Is Employee Morale Getting Better or Worse? You Tell Us

Employee morale took a big hit during the recession when workers faced difficult pay freezes, layoffs, and cutbacks. Downsizing forced remaining employees to take on heavier workloads, all of which as impacted employee morale further still.

But with the economy seeing some improvement, employers are now taking steps to improve employee engagement and morale to help keep their top talent from job hopping in 2011. Whether it’s reinstating benefits or offering pay raises, employers have made some strides in the first quarter of this year to reengage their workforce.

So we want to know,

7 Perks to Embracing a Positive Attitude

Perkstopositivity Enjoy your job, feel healthier, and improve your relationships. These goals aren’t out of reach. In fact, the power to achieve each one lies with you.

Your outlook on life impacts the way you see the world and how the world sees you. Revamp your attitude, and reap the rewards of greater personal and professional satisfaction.

Come on, get happy.
When you focus on what’s good in your life – instead of what’s missing – you’re more thankful and fulfilled. Need help looking on the bright side? Try spending more time with positive people, listening to upbeat music, and reading motivational books. Whenever it’s up to you, avoid situations and individuals who bring you down. Even small tweaks to your routine can lift your spirits. 

Beat stress.
When you commit to a positive outlook, the worries of the day don’t seem nearly as overwhelming. Focusing on the silver lining keeps daily nuisances like traffic jams and computer problems from ruining your day. If you start feeling frustrated, take a quick time out to close your eyes, count to 10, and take a few deep breaths.

Improve your health.
Stress wreaks havoc on your physical and mental well-being. A sunny disposition may not be the cure-all for every ailment, but studies consistently show that a positive attitude promotes better health. If you’re having a difficult time managing your stress, look for ways to get relief. Join a gym, take up a relaxing hobby, or find someone you can talk to about your tension. Make reducing stress and positive thinking a priority in your life, and you’ll see results.

Strengthen relationships.
Upbeat people are easier to get along with and more fun to be around. Strive to make your co-workers’ day brighter and your boss’ job easier. As an added bonus, your efforts will pay off with a more enjoyable workplace filled with happier colleagues. 

Boost your career.
As motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said, “It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.” Another way to say it is: positive people are more likely to get ahead in life. When you’re excited about showing up for work each day, you’ll inspire co-workers and impress your supervisor. Even if it feels insincere at first, resolve to smile, quit grumbling, and encourage others. Soon, you’ll find cheerfulness comes more naturally.

Increase your job satisfaction.
Every job has rough patches. Instead of focusing on what you don’t like, concentrate on what you do enjoy. You may not have the job you’ve always dreamed of, but with a change of perspective, you may find that your current position has a lot to offer. A brighter outlook will allow you to make the most of any situation and improve your overall contentment.

Experience a greater work-life balance.
When you’re constantly complaining about work, it detracts from your personal life. Venting every now and then is okay – just don’t make a habit of it. Try to keep your shop talk limited to topics such as your future goals, interesting projects, or light-hearted events of the day. 

While you can’t control everything in life, your outlook is one thing you do have power over. When you commit to seeing the glass half full, the world suddenly seems brighter. Not only will you experience less, stress and better health, you’ll also benefit from improved relationships and greater career satisfaction.

How to Succeed at Your First “Real” Job

IStock_000005750863XSmall[1] You’ve pulled all nighters studying for mid-terms and finals. You’ve labored over group projects and read dozens of textbooks. Now you’re finally about to graduate and enter the real world. Prepare for your new career by learning what it takes to successfully transition from student to full-time employee.

Arrive for work on time. It sounds simple enough, but punctuality can often be a challenge for younger workers. Set yourself apart by making it a priority to always arrive at least five minutes early. You’ll also score major points by sticking around a few minutes past quitting time each day. 

Come well-rested. Gone are the days where you can roll into class bleary-eyed and half-awake. Getting enough sleep ensures you’ll be alert and ready to contribute your full potential. That means going to bed early enough each night to get at least seven to eight hours of rest.

Dress professionally. Once you start your career, your wardrobe may require a little sprucing up. Remember, a good rule of thumb is to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Take note of how leaders at your organization dress, and follow their example.

Limit your consumption of digital media. While texting and checking Facebook and Twitter are great ways to keep in touch with friends, those habits won’t help you make a good impression at a new job. While you’re at work, keep your focus on the task at hand. Resolve to only text, make personal calls, or check social networking sites during breaks or before and after work. 

Make sure you understand your role. It’s hard to succeed at something if you don’t know the purpose behind what you’re doing. Is the core of your job increasing sales, improving customer relations, or reducing expenditures? Find out why your company needs you and then focus on doing those tasks to the best of your ability. 

Be proactive about requesting additional assignments. Starting out at your new job, you may have periods where you don’t have much to do. Instead of being bored or just trying to look busy, seek out opportunities to help others and learn new things. Let co-workers or your supervisors know that you’re eager to pitch in and take on new challenges.

Be willing to serve others. When you offer your help, be prepared to give it – no matter the task. Don’t be offended if the boss asks you to do seemingly insignificant jobs like make copies or prepare coffee. Instead, consider it an opportunity to show others that you’re a team player.

Find a mentor. To learn the ropes, seek out an individual who excels within your company and ask them if they’d mind sharing a few pointers. They’ll most likely be eager to assist you – people are flattered to be asked for their advice. Co-workers who’ve been around awhile can help you get into the groove at a new job by teaching you the “unwritten rules” at your place of employment.

By preparing yourself for success, you’ll make a great first impression at your new job. Your supervisors will be wowed by your “can do” attitude and professionalism. You may even impress yourself with how much you can achieve when you put your mind to it.