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1. Create routines. Make a habit of, well, sticking to habits. Choose actions like writing emails at a certain time or hitting the gym after work, and try to do them daily. Soon that routine will happen on autopilot.

2. Get enough sleepWhoever coined the phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” didn’t have all the facts straight. Not getting enough Zzz’s could hinder productivity at work, so try to get those recommendedseven to nine hours of snooze time [1]!

3. Wake up earlier. If still able to squeeze in enough sleep, try extending the day by getting up an hour earlier — when it’s still quiet and there are fewer distractions.

4. Step away from the inbox. Incoming emails can be a nuisance. Make a habit to only check the inbox at certain times of the day to avoid getting sidetracked with requests and responses.

5. Make a daily to-do list. Stay away from huge to-do lists. Instead, create a daily list of realistic jobs to tackle, like folding laundry, scheduling a doctor’s appointment, or paying the cable bill. Break up big goals into micro-tasks, like going to a yoga class over getting six-pack abs, or writing a page over completing a thesis. Soon, the small things will add up to big accomplishments.

6. Make a to-don’t list: Bad habits are just as significant as good ones. So make a list of things not to do because they make you unproductive. (We’re staring at you, Netflix.)

7. Don’t multitask. Our brains aren’t wired to juggle too much at once, and we can work nearly twice as fast if we do one thing at a time [2]. (And nope, we’re not talking LOST time-travel.) [3]. So remember those childhood manners and finish tasks one at a time.

8. Silence the phone. When it comes to getting stuff done, sometimes silence is key. Turn off the cell phone ringer — that’s what voicemail is for!

9. Take a midday workout break. Can’t fathom cleaning the bathroom? Or having writers’ block? Working out during the day could actually boost productivity, so the time spent exercising could actually help us get more done later [4].

10. Stay healthy. Just like… don’t get sick. (It may be easier said than done.) But health and productivity go hand in hand, so be sure to maintain good health habits, like washing up after hitting the gym [5]!

11. Do those MITs. Nope, this isn’t college talk. MIT stands for most important tasks, and it’s a way to highlight the items that matter most on that to-do list. At the start of each day, write down a few things that must get done.

12. Hit inbox zero. Sort every email once that inbox is open. Respond, file, draft, or delete. Keeping the inbox clean is key to staying organized and on point.

13. Brainstorm. Take some time to sit and get those creative juices flowing. Without distractions, brainstorming may be the way to come up with killer ideas in record time.

14. Keep a pen and pad on hand. Make like Richard Branson and carry something to catch any useful thought that may come to mind. Get really creative and go DIY style.

15. Shut off social media. Sayonara, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Social media can be a huge time-suck. Studies have found that it can take up a significant chunk of time at the office, and may even predict lower grades in school. Let’s unpin that.

16. “Eat the frogs.” We swear it’s a real term. Do the task you’re least looking forward to first to get it out of the way. (No guarantees Prince Charming will emerge.)

17. Slow downRead. This. Slowly. Getting stuff done isn’t always a matter of making it to the finish line first. Take time to reflect, brainstorm, and recharge.

18. Track time. Take a day to record how much time is spent writing emails, reading blogs, texting, etc. We may be surprised at how much time certain activities (ahem, browsing Pinterest) take up every day.

19. Don’t bounce around. Box off a specific amount of time for every task. Assign a chunk of the day for one project, and once that time is up, move on to the next mission.

20. Look back. Schedule some time every week to see what was accomplished and if that schedule needs tweaking for the following week.

21. Tune out. Those headphones will help tune out any distractions. Plus, others may be less likely to interrupt if they see we’re plugged in.

22. Set triggers. Leave reminders around to help remember what needs to get done. Place bills that need to be paid or books to be read out in the open. Stick reminders on the fridge!

23. Eat well. What we scarf down for lunch may do more than satisfy hunger. Certain foods, likesalmon, almonds, and carrots, can give us a much-needed boost of energy. So forgo the take-out and be picky at the cafeteria!

24. De-clutter. Get rid of anything in the way that may cause distractions. Put away the dishes, fold clothes, and get rid of excess papers on the desk.

25. Say no. Don’t stretch yourself too thin — learning to say no keeps us focused and may even ward off sickness.

26. Take a break. Carve out some quality “you” time to keep a balance between the busy world and the rest of the day. 

27. Download help. Still need to get sh!t done? Luckily, there’s an app for that.

Source: http://www.greatist.com/

 

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Learn how to get more work done in the office with less stress
By Alexandra Gekas

While your co-workers start every day enjoying a cup of coffee together in the break room, you’re barely able to find time to call your doctor. While they’re taking lunches, you’re rushing through another meal at your desk. Sound familiar? Here’s the good news: This apparent discrepancy may not mean you’ve got a bigger workload or that you’re a harder worker. Instead, it may mean that they’ve mastered certain time-saving skills and habits that you haven’t—until now. From prioritizing your workload to learning which projects don’t need to be perfect, read on to discover eight workplace habits that’ll boost your productivity and lower your stress levels.

1. They make it a point to take breaks.
Americans seem to think that constantly working is synonymous with being productive, but unless your brain is functioning at its maximum level, you may not be getting as much work done as you think. “[Taking breaks] is like hitting the reset button. It helps you empty out your ‘brain cache’ so you have room to refill it,” says Christine Hohlbaum, author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World. First and foremost, she recommends taking lunch every day—and leaving your desk to do it. “When you have a ‘working lunch,’ it’s just not very efficient. At some point you’re going to lose attention,” she says. Ultimately, eating while you work will cause you to suffer on two fronts: you won’t be able to pay attention to your food—a surefire way to overeat—and you won’t be giving your work the proper attention it deserves. In addition to a “real” lunch break, Hohlbaum suggests allotting time for other breaks as well. She recommends taking five minutes in the morning, before starting work, and at least a 10- to 15-minute break in the afternoon. Whether you take a short walk, read a book or stare out of the window with a cup of tea, it’ll help you recharge and improve your overall productivity. “It’s really important to take time off because otherwise your brain will reach a saturation point,” Hohlbaum says, explaining that when this happens, it becomes hard to focus on even the simplest task. “At that point, you need to push away from your computer and take a break.”

2. They start their day off on the right foot.
According to a recent study at the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University, if an employee is in a bad mood when they arrive at work—whether because of familial problems or a stressful commute—it can decrease their productivity by as much as 10% that day. So unless you come in to the office every day in a great mood (and who does?), start your day with 5 to 10 minutes of time dedicated to decompressing. “Create a ritual. Maybe it’s meeting in the coffee break room or going around the office to greet everyone. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you foster a sense of connection [with your coworkers],” Says Holhbaum. “Swinging by to say ‘hi’ to your colleagues when you walk in gives you a sense of focus. When you feel you’re part of a bigger effort, you feel more connected to why you’re there and that can make all the difference in the world.” Re-focusing your mind at the beginning of the day will also create a sense of calm, helping you to disregard outside stressors and zero in on your daily tasks. “If we’re actually able to start the day centered, then we’ll have a longer tolerance period before we get off track,” Holhbaum says.

3. They make mindful food choices.
You are what you eat, and eating a heavy mid-day meal will often make you feel lethargic for the rest of the afternoon. “Consider what you’re eating at lunch. If you’re having that post-pasta slump at 2 p.m., and need java or cookies to pep back up, maybe you should try a salad or something a bit lighter so you won’t lag,” suggests Hohlbaum. The key is keeping your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day, according to Kari Kooi, RD, corporate wellness dietician at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, who recommends three light meals and two snacks at regular intervals. “Heavy meals can make you feel sluggish because they require more energy to digest,” Kooi says. “[A quality lunch] will consist of a fiber-rich carbohydrate, like water-rich veggies, and a lean protein, like chicken or fish,” she says. And what does Kooi suggest you avoid? “A highly processed meal, like some of the frozen meals in the grocery store, will not give you the sustainable energy you need. The less processed the better when it comes to keeping your energy levels up.” When you hit that midday slump, Kooi suggests going for proteins like mixed nuts and fruit instead of the usual energy-zapping pretzels, cookies or candy, which cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then drop and may even make you hungrier, according to Kooi.

4. They keep a flexible to-do list.
Making a daily list of to-dos is a great way to stay on top of your work. However, there is one pitfall—it can make you inflexible. “A lot of people feel their day’s been wrecked if they have to change their plan, but the most effective people understand that’s part of the job,” says Vicki Milazzo, author of Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman. “I always start my day with a plan, but by 9 a.m. I’ve busted that plan.” However, according to Paula Rizzo, a master list-maker and founder of ListProducer.com, it’s important to keep some form of a to-do list, no matter how much your day changes. For example, Rizzo begins her days with a master list, which she continually updates throughout the course of the day to note the items that haven’t been done or to add tasks as they crop up. Before leaving work, Rizzo will make a fresh list for the next day. The key, she says, is referencing the changing list throughout the day to keep herself on course. “Just putting a little extra work into it will keep you on track.”

5. They use technology with intent.
In today’s 24/7 all-access world, it’s hard to get a handle on technology use. While it’s impossible to avoid it altogether, you can be disciplined about how much time you spend perusing the Web. Set aside a specific time, say 15 minutes after lunch, to scroll through your social networking sites or other favorite websites—and stick to it. Or try something like Google Chrome’s website blocker, which allows you to set restrictions to your online time by either totally blocking your favorite websites or just restricting the timeframes within which you are allowed to check them. In addition to surfing the Internet, it’s important to watch your email habits. Whether you give yourself 15 to 30 minutes at a set time each day to check your personal email, or you allow yourself brief intervals between tasks, Holhbaum says the key is to be very mindful of the time you’re spending checking your non-work inbox. “Have a very clear distinction between what’s personal and what’s work. If that’s a part of your ‘OK I need to zone out for a little bit’ time, that’s fine. But you need to be clear and be mindful of what you’re doing.” Even work-related emails can become a distraction if not properly managed. Ask yourself if email is the best method of communication, or if you’re better off calling the person. ”Sending 100 emails isn’t [always] going to be the most productive thing. And as we know, emails beget emails. They’re like little rabbits,” Hohlbaum jokes. “If it’s a one-way communication, for example forwarding an airplane itinerary, you don’t need to have any answer [so email works]. But if you want detail or you know the person won’t respond right away by email, pick up the phone,” she says.

6. They balance their workload.
Different tasks require different levels of concentration, which you can use to your advantage. Start by identifying—and placing—the tasks you have into two categories: weeds and intensive work. Weeds are small, manageable things such as handling email, phone calls and minor organizational tasks. Intensive work is anything that requires an extended period of concentration, such as management tasks, preparing presentations, writing or editing. ”Miscellaneous routine tasks are like weeds in your garden; we all have them, and no matter how often we try to get rid of them, they never go away,” says Milazzo. ”Yet they do have to be handled, and pulling a few weeds can provide a restorative break from more intensive work.” Milazzo recommends splitting up long sessions of intensive work with regular 15- to 30-minute intervals of weed pulling. This way, you’ll accomplish a variety of tasks while not burning out on one type of work.

7. They put perfectionism in its place.
While turning in perfect work has been encouraged since kindergarten, that attitude can be counterproductive if it’s not managed. It’s important to pick your battles. “Women, by nature, are somewhat perfectionist,” says Milazzo. “So we need to distinguish what requires perfectionism,” she says. Of course you want to put your best foot forward in all situations, but if you’re strapped for time, prioritize. If, for example, you’re writing an informal memo or email to a co-worker, give it a quick look and spell-check it, but resist the urge to re-read it three times over. If, on the other hand, you’re creating a brochure for your company or preparing an important presentation, then that’s the time to put all of your perfectionist tendencies to good use.

8. They know how to say “no.”
It’s easy to get distracted or overwhelmed at work. But one of the secrets of highly productive people is that they learn when and how to say “no.” For starters, say “no” to whiners, complainers and distracting people. One way to do that, according to Rizzo, is by wearing headphones. “That sends the message that you’re busy and it drowns out the noise as well,” she says. When it comes time to say “no” to the boss, tread lightly but firmly. You don’t have to spell out n-o per se; rather, ask her to prioritize what’s most important given what’s on your plate. “When an employee does that, the boss usually comes to their senses and they get it,” Milazzo says. “You don’t want to make your boss the enemy; you want your boss to know you’re there for the company, and that you’re there for them. If they know that, they’re more likely to listen to what you say.”

Read more: Career Advice – How to be more productive at WomansDay.com – Woman’s Day

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You’ve got a killer resume and aced the interview, but according to a new survey, your future boss is judging you on your Google search results, too. Here’s how to make sure that what’s on the Web won’t come back to bite you in the butt.

By Mina Azodi

 

Early this summer, Katie Couric delivered the commencement address at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Her advice to graduates? “Clean up your Facebook page.” Okay, so those words aren’t exactly change-your-life inspiring, but she makes a (very) important point. According to a recent survey of HR professionals, 79 percent of employers review online information about job applicants—and 70 percent say they’ve rejected a candidate based on stuff they’ve found. Yikes. And get this: Only 7 percent of job seekers thought their online rep affected their job search. We asked a top career expert for tips on how you can take control of your online info, so you can get the job you deserve.

 

Go Private
You already know you should de-tag any unflattering pics of you on Facebook—that means any that show you drinking excessively, dancing on top of bars…pretty much any photo you wouldn’t print out and show to your boss in real life. But you also need to make sure you’ve set your profile privacy settings to “Friends Only” (the other options are “Friends of Friends,” “Friends and Networks,” and “Everyone”). This minimizes the chances that a potential employer (or your current boss) can take a peek at your profile. The same applies to Twitter—make those tweets for your followers’ eyes only by going to “Settings” and clicking on “Protect my updates.”

Still, you’re not totally in the clear. A Facebook status update or photo upload still can pop up on an employer’s news feed, if they’re friends with someone in your network who comments on your post. And with Twitter, any of your followers can retweet what you say, broadcasting it to a whole new network of people you have no control over. That’s why it’s smart to never post anything you wouldn’t be totally comfortable with a higher-up seeing…because there’s always a chance that they will.

 

Know What’s Being Said About You
It’s pretty much a given that a potential employer may Google you, so it’s crucial that you search for your own name to see what they’re judging. Before you do, be sure to log out of your gmail account if you have one (on the Google homepage, click “sign out” on the top right hand corner). Since Google keeps track of what you click, your results will be different than what an employer sees. By signing out, your results will appear as they would to a stranger who searches your name. Next, you’ll want to create a Google alert for your name to keep tabs via e-mail on any new results that may pop up. You can do this by signing back in and clicking “Settings” in the upper right hand corner of the Google homepage, and then selecting “Google Account Settings.” Next, click on “Alerts” under “My Products” to create one for you. Just type in your name with quotation marks, select how often you want to receive the notifications, and you’re done.

 

Bury the Bad Stuff…
Okay, so when you Googled yourself, you probably saw a link or two that you weren’t exactly thrilled about. And unfortunately, it can be difficult to get them removed. (You have to ask the Webmaster of the specific site, not Google, to delete the info—and since the site likely owns the content, they get the final say. That said, it’s always worth a shot!) For an even more proactive approach, you can hide those search results by creating new stuff that shows up first in a search. The easiest way to do that is to register for your own Website, like http://www.janedoe.com, or sign up for a blog on WordPress or LiveJournal that has your name in the URL. Almost always your site will show up first in a search, pushing anything negative down the list. You can also take advantage of social networking sites like LinkedIn, Flickr, and Vimeo, since their pages rank high in Google and will be at the top of search results of your name. Simply open an account, input the bare minimum amount of info, and set it so that it can be publicly searched—you don’t have to actively use the site.

 

…And Pump Up the Good.
When employers search for your name, they’re not just playing online cops—they also want to see evidence that you’re the kind of employee that would be the right fit for their company. So while you don’t have to actively use the personal webpage or LinkedIn profile you created to bury content, those sites are an awesome opportunity to show off what you’ve got. Fill in your LinkedIn profile with details from your resume, publish photos of your hiking trip to Flickr, or post videos from a recent 5K you ran to Vimeo—all of these things let an employer see you as the well-rounded, impressive job candidate they can’t pass up.

Source: Alexandra Levit, career expert and author of New Job, New You and MillennialTweet

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source: www.cosmopolitan.com

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How to balance work, play, and rest.

By Erika Rasmusson Janes

1. FORCE YOUR BRAIN TO DRAW A LINE BETWEEN WORK AND HOME.
"Your ability to do a good job at work depends on whether you have a personal life that refreshes and restores you," says social psychologist Jane Adams. If you can’t stop thinking about work after you leave the office, create a mental filing cabinet. "Sit down in a quiet place, open it, and deal with your work worries. Then, mentally close the cabinet and do something else," she suggests. Try this on Fridays before leaving the office for the weekend — or each night. Mentally lock the cabinet, if necessary.
2. LEAVE MULTITASKING AT THE OFFICE.
You may subconsciously take your office habits — especially multitasking — home with you. You might find yourself washing dishes while phoning your mom, or checking your BlackBerry while in a movie. "We’ve become so used to living in overdrive that we take it as normal, but our bodies don’t," says stress expert Kathleen Hall. To balance work, play, and rest, write down five ways work blends into your playtime. Then, choose one to focus on. If you obsessively check your BlackBerry during your time off, cut back — first by half, then more until you get it down to once a night. By transforming mindless habits into conscious choices, you’ll limit your body’s stress and gain control of your day — and night.
3. MAKE FRIENDS WITH PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF YOUR PROFESSION.
To lead a more fulfilling personal life, expand your exposure to people you don’t work with, says Douglas Rushkoff, author of Get Back in the Box: Innovation from the Inside Out. Otherwise, you’ll constantly be pushed into the role you play at the office. Sign up for an art class, or at yoga, introduce yourself to the woman who’s downward-dogging next to you. Can’t tear yourself away from your desk? Try an Internet-based service like meetup.com that allows people with similar interests to meet and interact online.
4. PUT A TIME LIMIT ON YOUR TALK ABOUT WORK.
If all of your friends work in your industry, set rules when you socialize. Agree to vent, gossip, or strategize for a specific amount of time — say, 10 minutes — and appoint a timekeeper. When the allotted number of minutes is up, deliberately switch the topic — to anything from politics to Paris Hilton.
5. MAKE HOME YOUR SANCTUARY.
To prevent work from invading your home, create a personal project — it will help you recharge and relax but still feel active. Buy canvases and paint, make CDs for friends, or begin a home-improvement project, says Christine Hassler, a life coach for 20-something women. Another tip: Consider cooking. Eating meals in your own kitchen makes your home feel less like a hotel.

source: www.marieclaire.com

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What is Concentration?

Simply put, concentration is a person’s ability to focus his thoughts in a particular direction for a considerable time without getting distracted by other things. Everyone has the ability to concentrate. Some people are quite good with concentrating. There are people though who find it quite difficult to focus their attention in one particular thing without their thoughts wandering. This can be quite frustrating. If you find difficulty concentrating, you need to practice and develop your concentration skills.

Your ability to concentrate may depend on a lot of factors. It can depend on your commitment to your work. It can also depend on your enthusiasm for a project, an assignment, or a work. If you don’t know how to go about doing the job, you might be quite disinterested and end up losing your concentration. If you have problems and you are tired and stressed out, you’d have problems concentrating. If the place is not conducive to concentrating, you might not be able to concentrate on your work at all.

If you want to improve your concentration skills, here are some tips that you can follow:

Concentration is essential to be successful in one’s career. An alert mind is an asset. We need to exercise our brain to improve upon our concentration. Both physical and mental alertness are essential for success in our ventures.

source: www.lifemojo.com

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