Tag Archives: stress

Celebrate “Clean Off Your Desk Day” With These Tips

clean_off_desk_day_webHave 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.

Staying Healthy During a Stressful Job Search

staying_healthy_stressful_job_search_webLet’s be honest – we’re all a bit stressed. Whether it’s in the job search, at work, or at home, almost everyone feels overwhelmed from time to time. Stress is a natural part of life, but even the smallest of stressors can have a negative effect on your health.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, stress affects both your body and your mind, and it can lead to depression, headaches, heart disease, stroke, and stomach disorders. April is Stress Awareness Month, so there’s no better time to start managing the stressors in your daily life, especially when it comes to your job search.

Know the facts.
When we feel threatened or anxious, the stress hormone cortisol is released into our bodies. This is also known as the “fight or flight” response,” which signals the body to free up energy so it can respond to a perceived threat. The problem with this reaction is that the body’s focus shifts to fighting the stressor instead of protecting your immune system. This can lead to the symptoms of a common cold, loss of appetite, fear, anxiety, nightmares, mental uneasiness, tension, lack of focus, poor sleep, memory loss, and exhaustion.

Let it go.
As one of the world’s most beloved animated princesses begs, “Let it go.” It’s easy to let a stressful situation take up permanent residence in your mind, but you should try to avoid it. Rehashing stressful situations, like a less-than-perfect job interview or a typo in your cover letter, can cause your body to relive the stress over and over again and bring on the same negative bodily reactions every time. Instead of replaying these situations in your mind, try to alter the way you think about what happened. Replace negative thoughts with affirmative ones, like statements of self-confidence. Another way to say goodbye to stressful thoughts is to meditate or focus on your breathing, which helps you calm down.

Set attainable goals.
At some point, everyone procrastinates. What can start as a harmless way to put off tasks can turn into a habit that leaves you feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and stressed. To avoid these unwanted emotions, try setting a long-term goal with smaller goals along the way. If your long-term goal is finding a job, your smaller goals may include sending 10 resumes, landing two interviews, or attending a networking event. Breaking your goal into smaller steps can help you see the bigger picture and the ways you can achieve it. And don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments along the way. Positive reinforcement can act as a motivator to help you reach your goal, so it’s important to be proud of the work you’ve done.

Don’t give up.
When you’re experiencing something stressful, it’s easy to automatically assume the worst. You may find your mind slipping into worst-case-scenario mode when you don’t hear back from a recruiter, you miss an important telephone call, or you forget to send a follow-up email. But, it’s important to remember that negative thoughts will only make your stress even worse. Consider whether the thing that’s stressing you out is something that will bother you a month or two from now. Ask yourself if you have any control over the stressful situation. Once you start seeing your stressors a little more clearly, you may find that they’re easier to handle in the long run. Take a moment to stop, re-evaluate the situation, and find some perspective. Oftentimes, the outcome is out of your hands and spending time stressing about it will only make matters worse.

Take care of yourself.
It’s no secret that job searches can drain you, both of time and energy. But forgetting to take time for yourself will only enhance your level of stress. Make sure you set aside time in your day to relax, enjoy a hobby, go for a walk, work in the garden, read a book, or do something that will help you recharge your mind and keep you both happy and relaxed. You may also consider de-cluttering your home or workspace to help put your mind at ease. Knowing what your stress triggers are, prioritizing your goals, and eliminating those stressors, can help you stay healthy during your job search.

How do you keep your cool during a stressful job search? Share your tips in the comments section below.

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

4 Tips for a Stress-Free Interview

stress_free_interview_webNo matter how experienced or confident you are in your professional life, when you’re approaching a job interview, you feel the pressure. It’s stressful knowing that you have just a short while to impress an employer and convince them that you’re the best fit for the position. There are ways, though, to alleviate your stress. In fact, these four tips can put you on the path to a stress-free interview.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
You may have heard it a million times, but preparation is absolutely key for a successful interview. And, if you know you’ve done everything you can possibly do to set yourself up for a positive interview experience, then you’ll feel less pressure. So make sure you check-off each item on your interview to-do list and take time to think through some of the interview questions you expect to be asked. It’s also good to review what not to do during an interview so you can avoid the top three interview sins.

Burn Off the Jitters
Nothing blasts stress away like working up a sweat. The morning of your interview, schedule time to do at least 30 minutes of some form of exercise. Whether it’s taking a brisk walk, lifting weights, or doing yoga, this physical activity will burn off your jitters and help you relax. A recent article from Huffington Post revealed that exercise is not only good for your heart, but also boosts your mood, self-confidence, ability to cope with future stress, and brain function. If you don’t have time in the morning, then fit a workout in the evening before. This can also have the added benefit of helping you sleep better.

Ease Up On the Caffeine
While it may be tempting to down some caffeinated beverages before your interview, don’t do it! Ken Yeager, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychiatry at Ohio State University, told Huffington Post, “Caffeine is always going to make stress worse.” Plus, it will further compound your feelings of pressure and stress by impacting your sleep quality. So stay away from caffeinated coffee, tea, and soda, as well as chocolate, which is an often-overlooked caffeine source.

Get Some Shut-Eye
In case you haven’t caught on from the previous tips, sleep is important to the success of your interview! Nothing adds pressure to a situation like feeling tired, sleep-deprived, and out-of-sorts. And, as international neuroscientist Dr. Tara Swart explained in a CNN report, “On top of the obvious health risks, when you have any sleep disturbance, your IQ drops by 5-8 points.” That means a good night’s rest can make the difference between impressing a future employer and bombing the interview.

Job interviews can be one of the most stressful situations you face in life. But, it is within your power to decrease your stress and alleviate the pressure so you’re able to walk into your interview ready to impress.

What has helped you cope with the stress of an upcoming interview? How do you ensure you’re at your best? Share your tips in the comments section below.

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

Keep Your Cool: Job Interview Prep Guide

keep_your_cool_webYou’ve scored the big job interview you’ve been waiting for, and now all you have to do is ace all those questions, make a good impression, wow the hiring managers, and keep your cool. No pressure.

Okay, let’s be real. While getting a job interview is good news, it can also be a stressful time. You’re worried you’ll mess it up. The questions might throw you for a loop. You might end up looking like you aren’t a good fit for the job.

Everyone has those fears from time to time, but with a few tips and tricks, you can alleviate those doubts and lessen the stress of going to a job interview.

When Preparation and Opportunity Meet
Great preparation prevents poor performance. Lessen your stress by analyzing the job posting and description. Be clear in your own mind about what the company wants in a potential employee. Make a list of which skills and qualities you have that match the job description.

Why is this important? Preparing beforehand ensures that you’ll be able to discuss your skills confidently, and it also reminds you that you’re a pretty impressive candidate.

Assimilate Your Assets
While you’re at it, create a list of 10 assets and qualities you have that could benefit the company. Include certifications, computer skills, professional accomplishments, and unique abilities. Making this list again reminds you why you’re pretty awesome, but it also helps you prepare to discuss those skills during an interview.

You’ll be ready to answer specific job questions with confidence and flair.

Reconnaissance
Like a spy, gather as much information as you can about the company before the interview. Look to your professional network to see if someone knows a little more about the business and can give you a competitive edge over the other candidates.

Being able to confidently discuss the company shows you are prepared, thorough, and engaged.

Practice Makes Perfect
Take some time to practice common interview questions. When you practice interviewing with a friend or family member, the actual interview becomes a little easier. Think about each question and how you will respond before you even get to the interview.

Practicing a job interview helps calm your nerves and prepares you for tough questions so you aren’t left scrambling and fumbling for a response during the real interview.

Dress It Up
The night before your big interview, pick out what you’ll wear. Put on the outfit and then lay out the clothes so they are readily available. By doing this, you won’t be rushing around trying to find the right clothes and stressing out about how you look. You want to be well groomed and professional in order to project a positive image to the employer, so make sure your clothes are clean and ironed before the big day. Now that you’re looking ready for the interview, your stress level should be decreasing.

Early Bird Gets the Worm
Whatever you do, don’t be late! Be sure to leave early enough for your interview to account for unexpected delays like traffic or construction. Hurrying and worrying about being late can cause your stress level to skyrocket, so be sure to look up the directions to the office and give yourself an extra 30 minutes to get there.

Now, you can relax and practice your interview answers on the way!

Do Your Best
Right before you walk into your interview, take a few deep calming breaths. Smile, pull your shoulders back, and give a confident handshake. You’ve researched, you’ve practiced, you look great, and you arrived on time – you have this in the bag! Be honest, open, engaging, and bright.

By preparing ahead of time and taking these steps, you’ll reduce the stress associated with interviewing. Now, all you need to do is show the interviewer why you’re the best person for the job.

Do you have any tips and tricks for not stressing out before a job interview? Share your best tips in the comments section below!

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

Are You Stressed Out? Tips for Living a Peak Performer’s Life

walterbond_webTime 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.

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

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

3 Interview Questions That Should Never Stress You Out

interview_questions_stress_webBefore a job interview, it’s common to feel anxious about what you could be asked and wonder what kind of curve-ball questions might be thrown your way. However, as a Forbes article reveals, “it turns out, most companies will ask more common interview questions.” And that means during your prep time the night before your interview, you can prepare yourself for many of the questions that could be asked.

Realistically, it would probably take too much time and effort to practice answering all the common interview questions. But, when Forbes, U.S. News, and Monster published their most common interview questions lists, there were three questions that consistently appeared near the top of all three lists. So, if you want to make a good impression and take some of the stress out interviewing, make sure you’re at least ready to respond to these three questions.

Why are you leaving your current job?
Yes, it may be the all-time most dreaded question, but you better have your answer ready. Monster recommends that your response focuses on what you’re looking for in this new position. For instance, the article suggested, “After two years, I made the decision to look for a company that is team-focused, where I can add my experience.” U.S. News advocates that you can also cite new challenges that you’re seeking, a recent move, financial instability at your former employer, and other true reasons. They suggest avoiding badmouthing employers or complaining about work. The same applies if you’re unemployed and the interviewer is asking why you left your previous job. The number one thing to remember is to stay truthful and positive.

Why do you want to work here?
While this one might seem easy to answer, you want to answer it well. Simply saying you just need a job, paycheck, or health insurance isn’t going to impress the potential employer. “Your answer here should focus on what about the substance of the role most interests you,” U.S. News explains. “Interviewers want to hire people who have carefully considered whether this is a job they’d be glad to work at every day, and that means focusing on the work itself, not what the job can do for you.” So, as you prepare your answer to this question, think back to the key tasks and responsibilities listed in the job description and specifically pinpoint what piqued your interest.

Why should we hire you?
This question is your chance to sell your skills and experience to the employer and to convince them that you will benefit their organization. As U.S. News amply explains, “If you don’t know the answer to that, it’s unlikely that your interviewer will figure it out either.” Of all the questions, this is the one you must be ready to answer. By combining your “elevator speech” with the specific details you know about the employer and position, you should be able to present your abilities and experience as a solution to the company’s needs.

There are plenty of reasons to feel nervous about a job interview, but being anxious because you’re unprepared for the questions shouldn’t be one of them. And, Monster agrees – “Too many job seekers stumble through interviews as if the questions are coming out of left field. But many interview questions are to be expected.” So spend a little time thinking through potential questions and formulating your responses. Not only will you be more likely to impress the interviewer and move on to a second interview, you’ll also be less stressed and better able to spot the signs that the interview has gone well.

How do you prepare for common interview questions? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

American Heart Month: Relieving Stress at Work

reduce_stress_american_heart_month_webFebruary is American Heart Month, and if you don’t think heart disease affects your job or career, think again.

Cardiovascular disease and strokes create an economic burden for employers and employees alike. The American Heart Association (AHA) says that the total economic cost of heart disease in America in 2011 was $320 billion.

Medical costs of heart disease continue to grow, and by 2030 the costs associated with cardiovascular and stroke issues are expected top $918 billion.

What does this mean for you? In 2012, heart patients spent on average $4,349 on medical care due to heart-related issues, according to healthcare research organizations. The average hospital stay for a heart patient costs $20,758.

Staying Healthy
So how can you protect yourself from heart disease and prevent work loss or financial burden? According to the AHA, you can take several steps to improve your health and heart. Getting screened is important, and with health care so easily accessible, there’s no better time to get screened for blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, and more. Eating right also helps cut your risk of cardiovascular disease. Incorporate healthy additions to your meals, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and grill instead of frying when you can.

Cut Out the Stress
While these are steps you can take at home, what can you do at work to help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease? One of the biggest factors in heart disease is stress. Stress not only makes you feel miserable, but it can do incredible damage to your long-term health. Meditation, relaxation techniques, counseling, and 30 to 60 minutes of exercise at least three days a week are proven methods to reduce stress.

Although it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what is causing your stress, there are common elements in our daily lives that may be to blame. Maybe you can’t say no to someone, even if what they are asking is too much for you to take on. Or, perhaps there is someone in your office who is constantly bringing you down with negativity. Learn to spot these stressors and turn them around before they become too much. Know your limits, eliminate stressful relationships, and analyze your list of priorities to distinguish between tasks that are necessary and those that aren’t.

Need more advice or guidance on keeping your heart healthy? Visit the American Heart Association at www.aha.org or the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov.

What are some ways you protect your heart health and de-stress at work? Share your advice in the comments section below.

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