4 Ways to Get Out of a Productivity Rut

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You can't have an all-star productive day every single day you walk into work. This is what you need to do once you are overloaded with distractions and are up to your neck in work.

 

Get Your Rest

Kristin Wong, a freelance writer and author of Get Money: Live the Life You Want, Not Just the Life You Can Affordwrites about this in Lifehacker (the piece is written with the idea that you’re normally able to get things done, but you experienced a “short-term setback.”

Wong’s first tip is to “get an early start.” - source

"So your binge of unproductivity is over and you’re now on the mend. Great! The first thing you can do is resolve to wake up earlier the following day.

“Let’s say you got jack done Monday. Once you realize the day has been a waste, make it a point to get to bed earlier that night, so you can get a head start on Tuesday (getting up early is hard, but lucky for you, we’ve got a whole list of ways to make it happen),” she writes. “When you get up that morning, don’t dive straight into work, though. Indulge in something you love. This starts your morning on an optimistic note, putting you in the right frame of mind for tackling the day. Instead of approaching it with the stress of having to catch up, stay calm and approach it optimistically and methodically.” 

 

Start all over again

Todd Henry, author of The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice and more, told Fortune about how to do this when things aren’t going as planned in terms of everything you have to get done.

“Forget the original plan. … What would success look like now, given my new constraints? Which problems are the most important? What would be the most valuable use of my now reduced time?” he told the site.

You should get comfortable moving forward in a different way.

 

Go ahead and clean your desk.

Kate Hanley, a mindset coach and author of the forthcoming book A Year of Daily Calm speaks out on the topic to Fortune: “I find one small thing I can easily knock out even in that agitated state, and then I do something indulgent to reward myself.” Maybe it’s a bit of online shopping or a walk to get a coffee, but whatever it is, enjoy it. “The most destructive part of a day that feels off the rails is how much we beat ourselves up for it,” she says.

 

Feel free to switch gears for a moment

Amanda Zantal-Wiener is a writer for the HubSpot Marketing Blog, strategist, editor and owner of creative consultancy Amanda Zantal-Wiener, LLC. She writes on the HubSpot site about helping her mother with computer troubleshooting on her day off, it redirected her brain from her to-do-list to something else but when she was done with her "break" she was ready to go back to work and hit the ground running.

“If you’re feeling stuck, use your brain for something else. Maybe there’s a colleague who you’ve been meaning to get back to on an unrelated project, or maybe you just need to do a quick online puzzle. Keeping your mind active while giving it a break from the dredge of your to-do list might leave you feeling re-energized and ready to hit the ground running, wherever you left off,” she writes.

Don’t be afraid to do this.


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Professional Voicemail 101

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In the modern day and age, it is simpler to email someone in a moment than to pick up the phone and call them . Leaving a proper professional voicemail has become a forgotten art. We have all had that moment of panic after the "BEEP" and rambled and stumbled through our introduction and message on the phone, so we should all recognize the need to master the skill of a proper voicemail.

Whether this is part of your daily workflow, or if this is a once in a while task, here is the breakdown of a great voicemail.

Get to the point and then hang up...

First thing first, you need to pin point the exact reason for leaving a voicemail in the first place - to get a call back. There is no need to fluff here. This is a case of stating who and why and leave the rest for the call back when you're both on the line ready to discuss.

After the "beep" is your moment - state your name and contact number with a, "Hello, this is [NAME], I'm calling you from [YOUR JOB] to [REASON FOR THIS CALL]. My number is 555-555-5555." Restate your name and contact info once more at the end to wrap it up and you've successfully left a concise, professional, to-the-point voicemail worthy of a call back.  

"As Tori Keith wrote for the women lawyer’s advocacy group Ms. JD, “A good rule of thumb is 40 seconds. Anything longer risks getting deleted or ignored. Repeat your name and number at the end of the message too, as sometimes a message will cut out or be hard to hear.” - Source

Smartphones today now have a handy feature that automatically creates a transcription of your call, so avoid awkward "uhhs" and "umms". Practice recording your voicemail message so you can nail it when the time comes. It may be easy to get nervous when it's a one way conversation with no one to cut you off, so it can be helpful to write down your message, practice, and read off your notes. Check the speed of your voice and make sure to speak clearly at a slow pace (but not too slow). 

 *Transcription example 

*Transcription example 

 

Proficiency in the art of the voicemail will be key at any stage of your career and life. The key is being considerate to the receiver of the voicemail. You wouldn't want to receive a voicemail that drags on with no meaning, so be thoughtful when leaving voicemail messages.


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This is the one and ONLY reason to have a morning routine

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They say the early bird catches the worm, and it seems like people with morning routines are just winning at life.

In our eyes, it appears they had a hearty breakfast of champions with fresh fruit, milk, and juice, dressed professionally with no wrinkles, have a clean cut with perfect hair, and the kids are ready and dropped off to school in time, all neat and tidy before going in to work.


Early Risers Benefits Infograph

- Info graph Source

 

Wake Up With a Mission

If you truly want to have a morning routine that really accomplishes something Laura Vanderkam, time management expert and author of Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done says this is the secret. - Source

“Think about what would make you excited to get out of bed. There’s no reason to have a morning routine just to have a morning routine,” she told Ladders. “The reason to do it is that there’s something cool you want to do in your life that is not fitting in your life otherwise.

“For many people, that’s something like exercise because it is hard to fit it in the rest of the day or creative pursuits like writing a novel. You are probably too tired at the end of the day to write,  but if you get up in the morning, it could work. Or maybe it’s family time and a dinner just doesn’t work so go for family breakfast. This is anything you want to have in your life that you can’t make space for otherwise.”

 

Marie Kondo your morning

It’s similar to Marie Kondo-ing your life, you are just doing it with your morning. You want to be getting up for something that brings joy into your life. If you are just doing it to say you did it, that is just adding more clutter. 

This new mindset can put less pressure on yourself and your day to figure out what you really want to get out of your morning routine. Going to bed early opens up this wide space for a morning routine. “Going to bed early is how grownups sleep in! If you go to bed earlier, you can get up earlier,” she said. 


 

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Sitting at Work is Killing You: The Truth About Your Desk Job

Sitting at Work is Killing You: The Truth About Your Desk Job

When you're at work on the grind it may be the last thing on your mind how your work is affecting your overall heath.

A few hours of overtime here and there is the norm as it takes over time you might spend in the gym or on some active hobbies. Your job may even steal your morning away from you as you dive into stopped traffic early to head to work instead of being able to go on a job or hit an early workout.


Millennials On The Move: What to Know About Relocating for a New Job

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Have you ever been on a job search and found a position that matches your skills and endeavors to the T or received an offer letter from an organization you were really interested in ...then realized this office is in another state? The thought of picking yourself up and moving to a brand new city and state can seem like a crazy idea, but if you take a closer look, you may be in for an amazing opportunity.

"And according to a report from The United States Census Bureau, you are not alone. Millennials accounted for over 40% of all movers between 2007 and 2012, despite making up less than a quarter of the U.S. population." - Source

As young millennials with the probability of no mortgages, spouses, or children, what is holding you back from that new position that can fast track your career to the next level? As long as this new position can keep you financially stable, it may be time to try something new.

Relocating your life to a new city can often lead you down a new road full of opportunities that you would not normally be exposed to back in your home town. A fresh place calls for brand new friendships and memories in a city you've never experienced before. You can stay as long or as short as you'd like and start anew in a new city.

Here are a few tips to consider when deciding to move for a work-related opportunity.

1. Finances

Before diving into that new opportunity, it is key to have your finances in order. Is the position able to cover the cost of living in the area? Will you be living well-off on your new salary or will you have to budget and are you okay with that? Living in New York City has a high cost of living; that same salary in Arizona can get you much more financial freedom and flexibility. Whatever your reason for moving, make sure it makes sense for your pocket. 

2. Finding Sublets & Housing

Finding housing is a lot simpler than it used to be, it can now be as easy as a few clicks on the internet to find your new home. If you have friends or family in the area, this can be a good way to get direction for where to look and what to look out for. Sometimes friend and family can offer a room for rent at a low friendly cost.  If you don't have any connections to the area, there are listings on Facebook, Craigslist, Rentler and Roomster. These are great places to begin your search.

3. Friendships

Making friends in a new location begins with you. "It’s only natural to want to build connections with people who look like you and be able to find services that cater to your background (hair salons, barber shops, churches, etc.). If social life and community building are important to you, as it is in my case, actually consider putting effort into it. Attend company affinity network events, seek out young professional social mixers (quick plug for Jopwell #SummerUnlocked events), reach out to college alumni at your firm, use social media resources – be a friend. More often than not, there are other students and young professionals in your same situation looking to make connections with people just like you." - Source

4. Fun

Every place comes with unique social experiences particular to their city, from the brunch day parties in Washington, D.C. to the live music scene in Austin, TX. Keep an open mind and check out social scenes that you maybe have never experienced before. - Source

Keep an open mind and an eye out for fun activity options, you will experience new social scenes you might have never thought you'd enjoy.

5. Future

Who said this was a permanent decision? Take that leap and if it doesn't work out then you can always try something new, there are hundreds of other beautiful cities waiting for you to explore. 


 

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The One Thing You Should Never Do During a Job Search

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In today's day and age, we use our powerful cell phones to help us with our job search. We scroll through app and website job listings and we may have even applied to a job right from the comfort of our phones. We've called and scheduled interviews, checked and sent emails to see if we have heard from any potential employers. In a nutshell, we've used a lot of features on our phone to search for our next opportunity in the the workforce -- except for maybe one: texting.

"Texting during your job search is still a grey area. Is text an acceptable job search tool? Not really, says Jackie Ducci, CEO and founder of Ducci & Associates, a talent acquisition agency in Washington, DC. “It is rarely, if ever, a good idea for a candidate to text a potential employer during the job search process,” says Ducci." - Source

Here are some reasons why you should skip sending that text — unless you’re explicitly asked to do so — and what you should do instead:

Texting is too informal

You text your friends daily in your group chat. You text your partner to bring home food. You text your kids to find out when football practice is over. Texting is generally used as a quick - and very informal - way to communicate. If you decide on your own to text an employer, “it could give the impression that the candidate is too flippant, which is not an attractive trait!” says Ducci.

It’s a missed opportunity

Texting limits your connection to your potential employers. Texts can be misinterpreted, be dry of emotions, and take away your personality, all of which can be factors in the decision making in the hiring process. 

Even if you are shy to hop on a phone call with an employer, you should take that opportunity to showcase who you are. Says Ducci: “Getting on the phone can continue to foster a deeper, more human relationship with the potential employer.” A text-only message conveys a brief bit of information, but speaking on the phone gives you the chance to let an employer hear your voice—and more importantly, what you need to say.

You don’t know how the person feels about texting

You never really know how your potential employer feels about texting. “Even if there is nothing technically wrong with sending a text, why take such an informal route when there is no upside in doing so?” says Ducci. After all, you never know how your text will be perceived, so it may be best to keep to the side of caution.

You can text an employer if …

The only clear ok to text an employer during a job search is if they set the precedent to do so. Ex: The employer texts you for specific information (e.g., confirm interview date, location, reference numbers, etc) then it's completely okay to text back. Anything more than simple information should require a professional form of communication.

 


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Survey: 44% of executives have approached employees about ‘inappropriate attire’

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"We all know that it’s entirely possible to mess up in the personal style department at work. In fact, new research from staffing firm OfficeTeam showed that 44% of top managers have approached an employee because of “inappropriate” clothing.

So it makes sense that style could also have a big influence on moving up the corporate ladder — a staggering 80% of managers and 86% of employees said they think that what you wear to work can impact your chances of scoring a promotion.

Independent research firms surveyed two groups — more than 1,000 American adult office employees, in addition to 300 senior managers and 300 HR managers at U.S. companies with 20 or more employees. Here are some of the points that stood out."

- Source

What happens when you dress inappropriately for work...

The average person spends around 10-13 minutes putting their outfit together before work each morning, but it seems many people are not putting enough thought into their dress - 32% of managers have had to send home their employees for showing up to work in inappropriate dress.

Matthew Randall, executive director of the CPE - source

“How an individual dresses for work can be a powerful extension of his personal brand. Clothes, accessories and even the footwear an employee chooses to wear help to reinforce or diminish his skills and qualities in the eyes of his employer, co-workers and clients.”

So, what’s okay to wear?

 

Universal dress rules can't be set in stone, because what is considered appropriate varies by workplace, field and what is happening on a given day. But if such a set list of rules were to be created, there's a good chance it would include:

Modesty: If your outfit is distracting from your skills and talent then it may be time to keep it simple and covered, whether male or female.

Casual Friday: Keeping it simple and in line on "Casual Friday" is key, there no need to wear your weekend sweats or weekend attire.

The Right Shoes: The wrong pair of shoes can throw off a whole work outfit. Make sure your shoes are nice and clean. The wrong pair of heels can be fashionable but not for work, be a team player and wear flats or a shorter pair of heels. 

If you're worried about your outfit on any day or occasion then it may be best to make a safer choice. Every company and office is different depending on work culture so use common sense and know your boundaries. 


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After Your First 90 Days At A New Job...What's Next?

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After Your First 90 Days At A New Job

"Congratulations! You made it past your first 90 days at your new job. Hopefully, it went smooth and now you can focus on building your tenure into something great. Even if your first 90 days was a little rocky, you can still turn it around into something positive. Your first 90 days was a time of acclimation, learning and fighting the jitters. Beyond your first 90 days there is still a lot to learn but now it’s more about performing and contributing." - The Daily MBA

 

WHAT WORKED, WHAT DIDN’T

Time to be honest with yourself, let's review your last 90 days and plan ahead for the next 90. This assessment review is to see what worked and what didn't, with a clear view of how you are meshing into the company culture and how easy it is for you to get your goals accomplished in this environment. It is important to have a good rapport with your new supervisor (which we hope you do), so it's time to sit down and go over how they perceive your performance. This review session will help you dig deeper into what areas you are fantastically performing and what areas need some more work.

"Once you understand how you did, create an action plan for the next 90 days on how you will maintain and improve. This method of evaluating your performance every 90 days is a great way to think about your tenure. Ninety day increments are long enough to get meaningful work done, yet short enough to remember what you did. Make this part of your one-on-one. Doing this will allow you to focus on what’s important and have check in points more often than your annual review." - The Daily MBA

Tip: Create a 90 day plan for yourself. Review the plan with your boss to ensure that you are working on the right tasks

 

TAKING ON MORE RESPONSIBILITY

As you grow into your new role, it's only natural that you immerse yourself more into the company and become involved. This path of taking on more responsibility can lead to senior roles if desired. Taking on new tasks and slowly taking on more can show your supervisors that are a valuable employee with growth potential. More responsibility does come tied with more accountability so make sure you are ready for the challenge when you step up.

"Tip: Perform your assigned tasks well and on schedule. This will naturally lead to more responsibly. Be self-aware as to what you can safely handle while still making your commitments." - The Daily MBA

 

BUILDING STRONGER BONDS

Everyone from the CEO to your coworkers is crucial to your success. These are the people you see and collaborate with daily, the ones you eat lunch with, and the ones you team up with to accomplish company goals. Through long hours of working and problem-solving, you will naturally build professional and personal bonds with people. These relationships and connections will ultimately determine your experience at your company, so it is important to get to know these people on a professional and personal level. Take a closer look at what they do and why they do it, take a look at how they contribute to the overall success of the company. Interacting will naturally lead to building strong bonds with your co-workers. 

In some companies, it can be difficult to build bonds with senior management since you may not interact with them on a daily basis or in the same areas. Even so, with this hurdle, it is important to have your superiors at least know who you are and what you do. 

"Tip: Be curious about what others do so that you understand how everyone fits into the company. Get to know your co-workers at a personal level."

 

BECOMING INDISPENSABLE

Success can be many things to many people. One essential way to succeed is to become the "go-to" person when a major project needs to be done and done well. Getting to this point requires you to understand thoroughly your company culture and to know the strength and weaknesses of your coworkers. Indispensable people are the ones that get pulled into discussions or projects where their expertise can be used to rapidly and effectively solve problems. Keep in mind that indispensable people are highly valued but that does not mean irreplaceable.

"Tip: Find a project or task that gives you the visibility to show that you are indispensable. Strive to always meet commitments and be the go to person for difficult tasks." - The Daily MBA

 

SETTING THE STAGE FOR PROMOTION

If you want to move on to the next level then a key part of this is to understand how your company promotes people. This can be different from boss to boss, from company to company, and even department to department.  Once you know the rules you can now have a clear line of sight to be promoted. 

One thing that many people do not talk about is the importance of mentoring someone to take your old position. You must train and mentor this person to be able to pick up where you left off so you can comfortably be able to move up to your next role. This leaves no room for excuses of who can take over your responsibilities.

"Tip: The best way to get promoted is to train your replacement." - The Daily MBA

 

THE JOURNEY NEVER ENDS

"Your tenure will be a constant revolving of these 90 day plans until you leave or run the place. Thinking in terms of 90 day increments will allow you to focus on what’s important but also allow you to show your boss the value you add at regular increments. This is vital because your yearly review is too infrequent and not a good tool to ensure that you are delivering to you and your bosses expectations. Ninety day plans are also a great way to set expectations so that you and your boss are aligned to what is important." " - The Daily MBA

Tip: Make the 90 day plan a regular part of your career building toolkit.


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10 ways you are destroying your executive presence

10 ways you are destroying your executive presence

"If you enter a room with 15 leaders one of them will stand out. She will have an air of confidence that people notice. Others will stop talking and listen to him. That person will have an overall decorum that exudes the message, “I belong here.”

Executive presence is a blending of mindset, competencies, and delivery that gives the overall impression that this person has dignity and can get the job done. Can executive presence be developed? Yes – if the person has a foundation of self-confidence and a willingness to build their self-awareness and self-regulation."