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Category: Quick Tips

How to Boost Productivity During the Dog Days of Summer

Filed under: Attitude, Behavior in the Workplace, Distractions, Focus, Good Habits, Organization, Productivity, Quick Tips, Strategy

You may have loved your job when you started, but it’s not unusual to get in a rut. If you’re experiencing burnout, changing your mindset can bypass it, says Daniel M. Cable, author of Alive aWork: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do, during his interview with Stephanie Vozza of Fast Company.

“Our brains are not wired for routine and repetition at work,” he says. “Disengagement isn’t a motivation problem; it’s a biological one.”

Cable was a professor at the University of North Carolina when he says he lost his zest for his own job and slowly descended into boredom. After being diagnosed and treated for Hodgkin lymphoma, his perspective changed, and he found a sense of gratitude for his job. He stumbled on research about the part of the brain called the ventral striatum, also called the “seeking system,” and its role in being your best self.

“This part of our brain urges us from the time we’re babies to explore what we don’t know,” he says. “Little kids can be given an awesome toy with noises and buttons and they’ll be really into it for a week or few days. Then they find something else that hadn’t seen before, like car keys, and they find that way more interesting. It wasn’t because the thing is cool; it’s because the thing is new.”

When we succumb to these urges, our brain delivers dopamine to reward us and that makes us feel more alive, and the same thing can happen at work, says Cable, currently a professor of organizational behavior at London Business School.

“When we’re in the rut of routine for the 502nd time, this part of the brain shuts off,” says Cable. “Your brain is saying, ‘You’re better than this. We’re not built of this. We’re built for bigger things.’ Then the brain stops the release of dopamine, which makes it seem not only boring but that it takes forever.”

There are three ways you can trigger your brain release dopamine, and get out of your rut, says Cable.

1. Play to your strengths

Identify your signature strengths and the impact you can have by using them on a daily basis. “How can you bring value to the team by using your unique strength?” asks Cable.

When he started tapping into his strength—humor—Cable says he regained an appreciation for his job. “It made me feel good and I saw my students lean in when I used humor,” he says. “As a professor, it was something unique to me. I decided to bring it when I teach class instead of leaving it at home.”

Think of your job as a flexible vehicle and determine how you can bring your strength to it.

2. Be willing to experiment

Avoid the risk of routine by shaking things up. Cable decided to develop new classes instead of teaching the same class over and over.

“A sales manager who was promoted and never got a chance to get out in the field might start going into the field again to talk to clients,” suggests Cable. “It’s just a way to refresh and learn new things.”

Activate that seeking system by going outside of your comfort zone, suggests Cable.

3. Tap into purpose

Finally, analyze cause and effect in your role. We all want to see the impact of our actions, says Cable. Leaders can help employees personalize the purpose of work by providing direct conversations with the people who use work as well as internal decision makers.

“Try to think about the story you want to tell yourself about why you do your job,” says Cable.

You can read the rest of the article on Fast Company.

How to Introduce Yourself in a Way That’ll Make People Care Who You Are

Filed under: Behavior in the Workplace, Communication, Confidence, Quick Tips

Like you, I attend my fair share of meetings. As a consultant, I’m often meeting with people I’ve only laid eyes on for the first time just moments before and, almost always, I’m asked to introduce myself to them.

“Lisa, tell us a little bit about yourself.”

Ugh.

Why is this little question so hard to answer? Perhaps because we are complicated and we’re being asked—usually on the spot—to make ourselves sound simple. Or maybe because there’s an element about it that always makes me feel like I’m supposed to be selling myself.

Meeting introductions are easy to master, though, so today we’re talking about how to do it well.

Tip #1: Communicate Your Contribution

 

Click here to read the rest on The Muse >>

11 Smarter Ways to Tackle Mondays for an Awesome Week

Filed under: Good Habits, Quick Tips

If you dread getting up bright and early and returning to the office every Monday morning, you’re not alone. Luckily, there are better ways to wake up, get energized, and set yourself up for a productive and exciting start to your week.

Here are 11 smarter ways to tackle that dreaded case of the Mondays. Trust me, you’ll be thanking yourself later.

1.) There are scientific reasons why that first day of the working week always feels terrible. So it’s not you; it’s Mondays. (Mental Floss)

2.) Brace yourself by taking extra measures on Sunday to set yourself up for success.(Fast Company)

3.) Groggy at the start of the week? Sleeping earlier the day beforehand could make a huge difference in your energy levels. (Sleep Foundation)

4.) Another way to get yourself psyched for the week is by listening to music. So put on your favorite playlists and get going! (BBC)

 

Click here to read the rest on The Muse >>

How to Overcome Perfectionism: 6 Powerful Habits

Filed under: Goals, Perfection, Productivity, Quick Tips, Strategy

One of the most common challenges that people email me about – and I myself have had quite a bit of trouble with – is perfectionism.

It’s an issue that can hold you back in life. Not only from achieving and finishing what you want.

But sometimes from even getting started. While at the same time draining your self-esteem and getting you stuck in a negative spiral where it can become harder and harder to start moving forward.

So today I’d like to share 6 things that have helped me – and still helps me to this day – with this destructive and distracting thought habit.

 

1. Go for good enough.

Aiming for perfection usually winds up in a project or something else never being finished. So go for good enough instead.

Don’t use it as an excuse to slack off. But simply realize that there is something called good enough and when you are there then you are finished with whatever you are doing.

Click here to read the rest on The Positivity Blog >>

10 Ways to Become a More Confident Person

Filed under: Attitude, Behavior in the Workplace, Confidence, Good Habits, Quick Tips, Success

With confidence, the world just seems like a better place, a sunny day where anything is possible. Without it, the darkness slowly creeps in and your mood begins to decline.

Just like the sun provides crucial vitamin D, confidence provides the “juice” necessary to succeed in both your personal and professional life. Whether it’s fear of the unknown or the scars of past failures, low confidence can occur for many reasons. Below are 10 ways to become a more confident person that should help you in all aspects of your life.

1. Fake it until you make it.
This is a common term for a reason. Clearly, if you are reading this, you are seeking ways to improve your confidence, so faking it may be a good way to start. Eventually, even you may start to believe all the great things about you!

2. Dress the part.
Nothing makes you feel better than looking in the mirror and liking what you see. I consider myself a very casual person, but even I cannot enjoy comfort if it isn’t sometimes contrasted with style and effort. This also applies to grooming.

Click here to read the rest on Inc. >>

Sorry: Work Stress is Just as Bad for You as Secondhand Smoke

Filed under: Behavior in the Workplace, Quick Tips, Stress, Time Management, Work-Life Balance, worry

It’s far from breaking news that stress is bad for you, but new research from the Harvard Business School and Stanford University has outed exactly how damaging it can be to your body and mind, and it’s not pretty: Workplace stress is just as harmful to your health as secondhand smoke.

In a meta-analysis of 228 studies, researchers looked at how 10 common workplace stressors—including long work hours, poor social support in the office and work-family conflict—affected four health outcomes: having a diagnosed condition, the perception of poor physical health, the perception of poor mental health, and, finally, death.

Those suffering from job insecurity are 50 percent more likely to rate their health as poor, which are the same odds reported by people exposed to secondhand smoke.

Additionally, similar to the effects of secondhand smoke, high job demands raise the odds of having a diagnosed illness by 35 percent, and long work hours increase odds of death by 20 percent. You read that right: 20 percent.

Click here to read the rest on Marie Claire >>

5 Best Practices for Handling Conference Calls like a Boss

Filed under: Communication, Good Habits, Professional Development, Quick Tips, Strategy, Technology

The art of conference calling… Wait, you didn’t know it was an art? It’s definitely a skill worth building if you’re running a modern business and as much an art as any other form of presenting. Whether you want to blame it on technology and the Internet, the costs associated with flying, etc., the conference call has become a huge part of doing business and you can’t escape it.

Here are the top five ways to be the best at conference calls.

1. Smile

The way you deliver information is the key to capturing your audience’s attention. How you talk on the phone is no different from how you present yourself on stage when speaking to an audience.

In reality, your conference call is very similar to being on stage where the lights are so bright you can’t see anyone’s face. Smile while you speak and your positive energy will come through — the people on the other end of the phone will be able to sense it.

Click here to read the rest on Mashable >>