Time is the one resource in your life that is neither replenishable nor renewable. Regardless of how you spin it, everyone starts each day on an equal playing field with 24 hours in the time bank. And while people often yearn for more time, what they really need is better time management. Understanding where your time goes, when you are most productive, and why you should protect yourself against distractions are the keys to achieving your max productivity.
Have you had a good look at your desk lately? What do you see? Do you have piles of papers stacked up, dirty coffee cups lying about, or dust gathering? Is last week’s lunch still lurking behind your computer monitor?
Believe it or not, that cluttered desk may be costing you hours of wasted time and could also add to workplace stress.
Whether you share an office, work from home, or have a work area on a counter somewhere, keeping your work space clean, organized, and uncluttered can help you work more efficiently and give you a sense of relaxation.
Monday, Jan. 11, is National Clean Off Your Desk Day in the United States, and we want to help you not only clean your workspace, but also become better organized for the new year. Here are some tips to do just that:
- Start the great purge. Empty your desk’s drawers and throw away or give away anything you don’t use regularly. File those piles of papers into organized folders or recycle them if they are unnecessary.
- Organize the purge. As you remove items from your desk and work area, make piles. Have a pile for papers, a pile for office supplies, a pile for personal items, and a pile for everything else. Go through each pile and purge or organize as needed.
- Time to sanitize. Now that your desk is bare, clean it. Use sanitary wipes or cleaning spray to scrub the entire area. Use cleaners and computer spray to clean your computer as well. According to a study from the University of Arizona, your keyboard is one of the dirtiest things you touch every day, so make sure to give that a good wipe down as well.
- Make your desk make sense. Categorize your items into areas that need immediate attention, things that need follow-up work, and things you can pass along or put on the back burner.
- Presentation matters. Try to put your items back in a way that looks pleasing to you and your co-workers. For example, find nice storage containers or baskets and create labels to help keep your space more organized.
- Make a goal to clean off your desk every week. Friday afternoons are a good time to do a weekly cleaning and organizing so that your desk or workspace are clean and pleasant for the start of the next work week.
Still not convinced that a tidy work area is important? Consider a report issued by OfficeMax in 2011 that found office clutter undermines productivity and motivation. In addition, researchers have found that people who are organized typically eat better and live longer than people who are disorderly. Convinced yet? Go ahead and break out the cleaning supplies, but remember to keep your organization limited to breaks. While cleanliness is important, it’s also important to respect your work time.
What do you think? Any tips on organization you’d like to share? Give us your best desk-cleaning tips in the comments section below!
Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.
Time management is your ability to allocate time to each task you need to accomplish. According to former professional basketball player and motivational speaker Walter Bond, effectively practicing time management is extremely important to your success and mental wellbeing. By not managing your time, you may put yourself in stressful situations in your job search, workplace, or personal life.
“We all have 24 hours in a day, so why are some people more successful than other people? Simple answer: they managed their time better,” Walter says. “It’s not that they’re smarter – they just figured out how to manage their time.”
As part of his year-long series of motivational messages, Walter Bond discusses the importance of tracking your time, managing projects, keeping on track, avoiding stress, and more. Check out the full message below.
When it comes to your job search, how do you manage your time to avoid stress? Let us know 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.
Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.
With our constant tie to devices like tablets, smartphones, and computers, consider downloading more than just entertainment apps. Look into apps that can help you with work and life. The app choices are overwhelming, but here’s a short list of popular apps to help you begin your exploration beyond downloading Fruit Ninja™ and Angry Birds™.
Apps for Organizing Content
For all the data and experiences you take in, Evernote offers a solution to store it. From notes, documents, photos, web pages, and more, Evernote allows you to gather, organize, and access it all. Other app options for storing information and taking notes include Springpad™ and Google Keep. For a quick overview of the three platforms check out this article.
Time Tracking Apps
If you wonder where your time goes, you might consider a tool like timr or Gleeo™, applications that allow you to track your time. Make sure the ways to access the application are compatible for your work environment to make keeping track of tasks and projects simple. Plus, with extended use, you’ll be able to see how long things take and do a better job of managing your workflow.
To-Do List Apps
Using an app for your to-do list can make it easier to categorize, update, and manage your tasks. With apps like Remember the Milk™ and Wunderlist, you can create tasks and visually organize them to your liking as well as set priorities, timelines, and even map your tasks to be more efficient with errands. The applications also offer the ability to share tasks and lists with others, allowing you to share with co-workers and your family.
What apps do you use to help organize your life? Let us know in the comments section below.
Landing a job takes more than just having education, experience, and a good reference. Employers want well-rounded individuals who can add value to the team and be successful in the position, whether it’s an entry-level or senior management position. Employers look beyond the resume and seek personal and professional traits in candidates that set them apart as the best fit for the job.
There are three important job traits that you can use effectively in any job. Demonstrating that you possess these traits will put you ahead of the game and help you land an interview – or even a job. If you don’t feel you have these skills yet, don’t fret. You can learn them with a little practice on the job, just like any other job skill.
This trait is critical because no one wants to work with someone that’s selfish, irresponsible, or unprofessional. Getting along with the people you work with is important, because employers don’t want the added stress of dealing with conflict among team members. Act with integrity, hold yourself accountable for your behavior as well as your assignments, and work with your team – not against them.
If you struggle with being a team player, start now by doing your part and getting your projects completed on time at your current job. Your team is counting on you to pull your weight and offering to help others with their assignments. Also, avoid creating conflict within your team. If conflict arises, handle it with professionalism, discussing the problem and creating a solution without yelling or pointing a finger.
This trait is more than keeping your files in order or your e-mail inbox cleaned out. It includes a variety of skills including time management, multi-tasking, and meeting deadlines. Employers look for individuals who are organized and can be relied on to handle more than one assignment, prioritize tasks, and complete projects on time. With organizational skills, you can handle what’s thrown your way in any job, and your supervisor won’t have to spend their time staying on top of you to get your work done.
To get organized, start by making a list of your assignments. Determine which tasks are most important, and rank them according to deadlines and the time it will take to complete each one. Don’t be afraid to ask your supervisor if you need help deciding which tasks are most important. If you have several small tasks, consider working on them throughout the day to allow time for your bigger tasks to be completed.
Employers want employees who are motivated to not only get the job done, but to get it done right. This type of worker is excited to work, enjoys what they’re doing, and successfully completes their projects every time. Employers like working with motivated individuals because enthusiastic workers give their all to every project and are likely to accomplish more than uninspired workers.
If you find yourself motivated about certain projects but not others, talk with your supervisor. You may be able to switch projects with another co-worker who could also benefit from trading assignments. But remember, there are almost always some parts of any job you won’t love. So, think about the positive aspects of your job, and don’t dwell on the less motivating things. When you think this way, you’ll be more motivated to work toward something positive and be able to do a better job completing your tasks.
Improving your interpersonal skills and time management techniques while on the job will prepare you for your next career move. Providing examples of how you exemplify these traits will make you stand out to employers looking to hire the perfect fit for their team. These traits are just as important as any other job skill, so practice them to become a better employee and a stronger job candidate the next time you’re looking for a new opportunity.
Finding a job can be difficult, especially in today’s work environment with so many job seekers fighting for the limited number of openings. With job hunts lasting anywhere from six to 12 months or longer, it’s easy to get discouraged. But, it’s important to keep a positive attitude and not give up. In fact, since searching for a job is a full-time job in and of itself, here are four tips to help you stay motivated and fight the job hunting blues!
Amid sending out your résumés and cover letters, it’s important to keep track of your efforts so everything doesn’t start running together. Staying organized will help you stay effective and efficient on the job search. So, create a tracking system that includes the names of the companies you’ve contacted, who you talked to, when you talked with them, if you spoke over the phone, in-person, or through email, and what they said. Also, keep track of the results, such as if they said to call back in two months or if they requested a copy of your résumé. This not only helps you with your unemployment requirements, it will also ensure you don’t contact the same employer too often and provide a visual record of how hard you’re working.
Change Your Surroundings
It’s easy to get in a rut when you’re sitting at home scanning the classified ads or online job boards. When you get discouraged and tired, break out of the norm and change up your job search environment by going to a local bookstore or coffee shop to do your job hunting. Libraries are also good places to go, especially if you need a computer for searching job sites or emailing applications. As a bonus, these local meeting places often times have bulletin boards where employers post job openings.
Take a Break
Just like everyone needs to take a vacation now and then, you also need a break from your job search every once in awhile. Give yourself permission to rest. Maybe go outside and work in the yard or go to the park with your family or see a movie. You could also volunteer at a local charity, which is also a great way to build skills and experience. You’ll come back to the job hunt feeling refreshed, less stressed, and with a new outlook.
Ask for Help
Teamwork is an effective tool when you’re on the job hunt. The more people who know you’re looking for work, the more your chances increase of finding job openings. It’s also another way to build your personal referrals. Make sure everyone you have a conversation with knows you’re looking for a job – tell everyone. Also, staffing companies are another great way to multiply your efforts because recruiters help you locate a job that matches your skills and interest. You should never be charged, and you’ll gain access to companies and job openings that you might not have ever known about.
Today’s job hunt is a marathon, not a sprint, so it’s imperative that job seekers stay motivated and not give up. It’s easy to get discouraged, but if you get organized, change up your environment, give yourself a few breaks, and build a team around you, you’ll be well on the way to finding your next great job! So, try these four tips to keep your job search fresh and moving forward.
Americans are stressed out! And the nation’s economy is not helping. According to an annual survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), 80% of Americans polled between April and September of 2009 are stressed about their personal finances and the economy. Top contributors to stress in past surveys include work- and child-related issues. But, no matter what the causes are, stress – in large doses – can be harmful to your mental and physical well being.
To help you simplify your life and relieve some of the overwhelming obstacles that cause you unnecessary stress, I have one simple word of advice…DELETE!
Now, you may be wondering what that means and thinking that you can’t get rid of the things that may cause you the most stress at times, like your bills, your job, or even your children. But, you can delete things from your life that add fuel to the fires of stress so you can focus more on the issues that require more of your attention. So, delete unnecessary e-mails. Delete old, unused contacts from your phone. Recycle expired products in your garage, bathroom, pantry, and refrigerator. From simplifying an overflowing e-mail inbox at work to cleaning a clutter-filled room at home, getting rid of what you don’t need will help simplify and de-stress a hectic, full life.
Before you start tossing out the old and unnecessary, ask yourself these questions. When was the last time I needed this? How old is this? How will my life change for the better if I keep this? If your answers sound like this, “I don’t know; more than a year; and I’m not sure;” then chances are, it’s OK to delete these items from your life. Get rid of the things that cause you to worry, stress, or feel overwhelmed. Things can become an unnecessary burden that we must deal with every day.
Life is stressful. And, for many people, that’s just the way it is. Stress has become a way of life for many. But, it doesn’t have to be your way of life. By deleting what you can and should from your life, you may just start to live and love a life that you control, not one that controls you.