Tag Archives: productivity

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.

Is Your Morning Routine Hurting Your Career?

My mornings often begin the same way. Timed to Rossini’s William Tell Overture No. 3, I slowly wake to the sun peeking through the window. I sleepily blink my eyes several times to adjust to the light. I yawn. I stretch. I waste at least three minutes contemplating going back to sleep for five more minutes, when I wisely decide to consult my clock. And to my shock and surprise, I discover I’m late! Again! Everything after that is a frantic blur. Rushed and stressed, I get ready in a fury. I inevitably have to hunt for my keys, and at least one misbehaving, runaway shoe.

After a frenzied search, keys triumphantly in hand and matching shoes on feet (You’ll never escape me badly behaving shoe! Never!), I’m out the door. There isn’t time for breakfast, coffee, or even time to pack the healthy lunch I had planned. Exhausted from my morning routine, groggy from a lack of caffeine, and grumpy from hunger, I start my day off on the wrong foot. Everything’s harder after that. It’s difficult to get started. It’s difficult to focus. I feel behind and rushed for the entire day. And on the days I find myself running behind, I can’t help but ask myself, are my bad morning habits hindering my career? Could I be more and do more if I started the day differently?

Maybe your morning routine isn’t plagued by wandering shoes or misplaced keys. Instead, maybe you struggle to get the kids to school or daycare before you head to work. Maybe you have to fight the morning traffic, the weather, or your dog that refuses to go outside, to get to the office on time. Whatever your morning routine, if you’re not energized and ready for the day to start, it may be time for a change.

If you find yourself struggling to get to work on time, break bad habits and create new routines to help make your morning run smoother. Set your alarm to go off a few minutes earlier. If that doesn’t help, try moving it away from the bed to keep from hitting the ever-dangerous snooze button. Pack your – and the kids’ – lunch the night before. Lay the kids clothes out before bedtime. Try to get to bed earlier with a schedule you can stick to. In the morning, open your curtains or blinds first thing to let the light in. Buy a coffeemaker you can program so it’s piping hot and fresh when you wake up.
How you start your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. So, find ways to start your day off on the right foot to keep your career on the track to success. I know that my shoes and I are going to.

A Simple Goal-Setting Guide

Creating goals is a great way to keep yourself motivated, focused, and progressing throughout the year. As we approach the close of the year, goal-setting is a hot topic, especially in business. But you can set goals for yourself any time of year, for any reason. To get started, determine the areas you want to set goals in.

1) Select Goal Types.

Personal – As the most common type of goals, these  may focus on personal enrichment activities, health and fitness objectives, hobbies, spiritual enrichment, etc. Though the new year is a popular time to set these goals, creating short-to-mid-term , measurable personal goals may be more realistic and help you get the results you want. 

Job Search – Looking for a job? The job search can be a long and daunting process, so create weekly and monthly goals to keep yourself on track.

Work – Want to really enjoy your work? Create goals for yourself so you can enjoy the feeling of continual success as you accomplish your daily tasks.

Career – Want to move up in your career or even switch fields? Career goals can be mid-to long- term and help you advance in your profession.

Networking – Whether in social media or in person, creating networking goals can help you expand your network and deepening relationships with important contacts.

Education – Want to pursue a degree, vocational training, or apprenticeship? Educational goals are critical because they can help you make important decisions on coursework, programs, conferences and even career choices.

2) Create SMART Goals.

Once you’ve selected the areas you want to create goals for, use the SMART goals formula to set goals that will help you progress. This formula is a time-tested way to create goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.

Specific – Make sure your goals are clear and well-defined. For example, instead of creating a health goal such as “work out more,” create a goal: “to exercise twice a week.” 

Measurable – How will you know if you’re accomplishing your goals? Make them measurable from the get-go! The goal “ to exercise twice a week” is something you can measure, as long as you can count to two! Let’s try a more complex goal, like an educational process. Instead of “to obtain a college diploma,” which is very vague, “complete 20 hours of coursework towards my bachelor’s degree this year,  is something you can check to ensure progress as time goes by.

Achievable – You don’t want to set your goals so high you can’t reach them. On the other hand, you don’t want to set them so low they don’t mean much. So, make sure you are taking into account personal, financial, and other factors. Make your goals something you can accomplish through diligent effort.

Relevant – This may seem like an odd component of a good goal, but especially when it comes to your work life, it’s important to have relevant goals. For example, if you want to become a manager, setting a goal to get a degree in philosophy might not be the best idea. So, make sure your goals are something relevant to you.

Time-based – Goals that have no deadline are little more than talk. That’s because without deadlines, you’ll find yourself procrastinating on your progress. Timelines are one of the most important parts of goal-setting, but it’s the thing most people leave out of the process. So, give your goals deadlines and stick to them!

3) Commit and Follow Through.

The final step in the goal-setting process is to write your goals down, share them with someone who can hold you accountable, and measure your progress. Also share your goal deadlines with a friend, colleague, family-member, or other trusted person. Have them follow up with you on your timeline to help keep you on track!

Are you setting goals for this month? Are you already planning goals for next year? Share your thoughts on goals in the comments section, and feel free to share a goal with us there, too!

Start Your Workday Right: 7 Silent Tips to Get You Focused

Worday Morning StrongWhether you’re spending your time in an office, on a
construction site, or hitting the pavement looking for work, how you start the
day will set the tone for what you do, and how you handle situations that

That’s why it’s important to take a few minutes
at the start of each day to focus and prepare yourself for what’s ahead.
So, use these seven tips to find focus in the silence of the morning, before
the hubbub of work pulls your attention away.

1. Listen – Turn on your favorite song, or find another
sound you find soothing. Before you begin talking and engaging with the world,
listen to it.

2. Meditate – Before work, chances are your mind is
running over all the tasks, meetings, and projects you need to tackle. It can
be difficult to focus in the morning when your thoughts are all over the place.
So, take a few moments, perhaps on your commute to the office, to pray, think,
or meditate on the things to come. Clear your mind of all the distractions,
worries, and expectations you have, and find a place of calm where you can
settle for a few moments before you get into the activity of the day.

3. Stretch – Taking just a few minutes to stretch before
you start to work is a great way to prepare your body for the day ahead.
Whether you’re active or sitting at a desk, you need a chance to warm up
your muscles and energize your mind. There are many quick and easy stretches
you can do, so take just a few minutes and stretch.

4. Breathe – Simply closing your eyes, relaxing your
neck, shoulders, and face, and taking a few deep breaths is a great way to
clear your mind so you can focus.

5. Smile – It may sound silly, but research shows that
simply smiling can enhance your mood. So smile every morning, and remind
yourself of all the good things the day holds. Smiling in the morning will
energize your face and help you feel happier and keep you smiling you
throughout the day. If you need a little smile inspiration, check out the
Happiness Project, a photo group that’s collecting pictures of a million
unique smiles.


6. Play – Perhaps you have a child or pet you can spend a
few moments of quality time with before you head to work. Or, find a brain
teaser or puzzle you can work on before heading out the door. Get your mind
engaged in a fun activity early in the morning, and wake up your brain.
Don’t wait for your workday to finish before you find time to enjoy life.
Awake your creativity by finding ways to play before you start the daily grind.

7. Plan – Set one goal for yourself daily. A goal you can
reasonably accomplish. Choose the most important contribution you can make at
this moment in time. Of course, you’ll probably accomplish more than that
one thing, but set your focus early by knowing your top priority. This will help
you cut through the clutter and noise of the workday and set you up for
success. Because when you accomplish your day’s goal, you can celebrate
and enjoy the satisfaction of that accomplishment.

Before you start work, be intentional about taking some time
to find your focus. Spend a few minutes engaging your mind and your body so you
can get the most out of the potential in each day. You’ll find yourself
ready to take on the challenge of the day with energy, focus, and purpose.

Do you have a favorite part of your morning routine that
helps you get ready for the workday? Share your ideas and tips in the comments

One Small Change: Instant Workplace Happiness

Research shows that happiness boosts workplace productivity and improves health, so companies have a vested interest in the happiness of their employees. But, because Americans spend most of their time at work – an average of 2,080 hours a year – every employee has a vested interest in their own happiness.

Factors like leadership, salary, benefits, and sense of purpose can improve happiness in the workplace, but they can not produce happiness, and are not factors completely within your control.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” So when you feel unhappy at work, take control and decide to find the silver lining in your current circumstances. Make the choice to have a positive outlook, no matter what. Chances are, you will instantly feel happier.

Having trouble looking on the bright side?  Try these five techniques the next time your outlook’s gloomy:

1. Make a list of three positive things in your life and post it at your workstation. Refer to it when you need a pick-me-up.

2. Make someone else happy. Mark Twain wrote, “The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer somebody else up.” Do something to make someone’s day, and it just might make yours.

3. Take a walk in the sunshine to change your scenery. A change of scenery can help change your perception.

4. Change your stance. Hold your head up high in every circumstance and you will see more clearly.

5. Focus on something that brings you joy. Read a book, play a sport, or volunteer in your community to refocus your outlook on something positive.

Tell us how you improve your outlook in our comments section below.