7 Ways to Boost Productivity at Work

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7 Ways to Boost Productivity at WorkWork can be overwhelming at times – I totally get it. However, it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that you’re making the most of your time. Not only will this make you more productive at work, it will also reduce your stress levels substantially because you won’t feel like you’re scrambling last minute to get everything done.

So, without further ado – 7 Ways to Boost Productivity at Work:

1. Turn your phone off/silence it. If you’re on a roll and really beasting a project, nothing is going to break that concentration quite like the chime of your phone or ding of your email. So if you’re working on an important project – especially if that project has a deadline – mute your devices. Speaking of deadlines…

2. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. If you have a task or project you need completed, set a hard deadline for yourself. Even if your boss or manager hasn’t given you an exact completion date, set one for yourself. Project needs to be completed sometime next week? Cool, tell yourself that you’re going to have it done by 5PM on Wednesday. Having a deadline will force discipline.

3. Get a good night’s rest. A good day is almost always determined long before you get to work. You’ll be less likely to procrastinate and sludge around the office if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and relaxing morning. So get your beauty sleep, homey. That way you’ll have the energy you need to take the world by storm at work.

4. Clean up your office space. When you get to the office (or right before you leave), tidy up your office space and make sure your desk is clean. This is a great way to ensure you won’t fiddle with desk mess when you should be getting work done.

5. Take short breaks. Tell yourself that you’re going to work for 50 minutes straight and then take a 10 minute break to walk around the office, get water, etc. This is especially true if you work at a job where you’re mostly sedentary. Walking around and moving your joints will give your brain a break and also improve your health.

6. If you’re out of work, find some. If you find that you have a lot of time to kill at work because you finished a project early or business is slow, go find something to do! Get a head start on a project that is coming up, help a co-worker manage their workload, leave passive aggressive notes throughout the office, etc.

7. Don’t eat lunch at your desk. If you sit at your desk all day long, eating lunch there is a bad idea. Get out of the office and eat your lunch at a local park. If it’s blistering cold outside, go sit in the break room and snack on your food with a good book. Whatever you need to do. Just make sure you take a break from your desk for the duration of your lunch.

Readers: Anything to add? What helps you stay productive at work?

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How to Be Young and Successful in the Workplace

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How to be young and successful in the workplace

I honestly feel like so many people are talking about Millennials in the workplace nowadays: we’re the “instant gratification” generation, we make the worst employees, blah blah blah. For those of us that were raised to be hard workers and insanely self-sufficient, the stigma attached to the Millennial generation can be obnoxious and seemingly undeserved.

For those who may not know, Millennials are those that were born between the years 1981 and 1999. Other generations believe Millennials are:

  • Entitled, lazy, and exhibit no loyalty whatsoever
  • Unprofessional
  • Constantly in need of feedback and praise
  • Addicted to technology

When you have myths like that working against you, you may discouraged and find it difficult to try to overcome the stereotypes. To help you, here are few ways you can overcome the Millennial stamp and be young AND successful in the workplace:

  1. Always be curious and willing to absorb new information. If your company offers workshops, take them. If they don’t, research free classes/seminars/whatever in your area and bring them to the attention of your boss. If he or she thinks that it might be worthwhile, they may even let you take time off work to attend – especially if you emphasize the fact that you’re growth as a professional will result in growth for the company. [Boom.] They’ll be impressed with your loyalty and dedication to seeing the company succeed.

2. Network and build relationships the old fashioned way. We live in a world where digital communication rules and older generations believe that we have completely lost the art of face-to-face communication. To prove them wrong, I strongly encourage you to go back to the old ways of doing things. This could be anything from sending hand-written thank you notes, inviting a co-worker/boss that you admire out to lunch, or simply asking them how they are doing while you’re both waiting for the Keurig to free up. [“So how about them TIGERS?”] To put it simply: prove to them that you’re not completely useless when it comes to any type of offline communication. Let them see what a beautiful personality you have, sunshine!

3. Try to be as independent as possible. If you’re new to a project or type of work, it’s completely understandable if you need to ask for a little guidance – this is especially true for us recent graduates. However, it’s not okay if you’ve been there for a couple of months and you need to ask a superior for constant feedback and/or more work to do. For example, I am the content lead at my company, which means I write copy for websites we design. If I finish copy for an entire website, I’ll take the time to double check my work, look for SEO workshops online to improve the quality of the work, and/or jump into another project that I know is going to pop up later down the road. If I ran to my superior every single time I finished a project and begged for something else to do, he’d probably think I was completely incapable of taking the lead [i.e., this girl needs to be constantly babysat and will never make a good leader]. If you’re really at a loss as to what you should do next, by all means ask your superior what projects you should put on your to do list – just don’t be afraid to be a little independent when it comes to completing your work!

4. Take responsibility for mistakes and give credit where it is due. If you seriously eff up, own up to it. You are going to look a thousand times worse if you try to come up with flimsy excuses [“I’ve just been really distracted lately because I just CAN’T figure out why Solange attacked Jay-Z in the elevator like that!”] or if you try to blame the problem on someone else. If you messed up, admit it to, apologize sincerely, and assure everyone that it won’t happen again [and then legit don’t let it happen again, capisce?]. On the flip side, if you are being praised for a project you completed with another co-worker, make sure they receive praise as well. Or if you receive praise for a project you actually had nothing to do with, make sure you let the person know who actually dunnit. 

5. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. I know you’ve probably heard this phrase a million times [maybe literally, IDK. I don’t know your life.] but hear me out. If you work for a non-traditional company like mine, the dress code is pretty much nonexistent. My boss has no rules when it comes to what you should or should not wear; he simply asks that you be smart about your fashion choices [read between the lines: don’t show up to work dressed in booty shorts.]. If your company has a similar dress code policy, I still want to encourage you to dress to impress. This does not mean you should show up in a full-on pantsuit, but it does mean that you should come up with creative ways to dress cute, comfortably, and still look like you’re about take the [insert profession] world by storm.

Here are two outfits that [I think] are stylish and still acceptable in a relaxed dress code environment:

How to Be Young and Successful in the Workplace

How to Be Young and Successful in the Workplace Readers: What do you think about millennials and the workforce?Any tips you’d like to add to be both young and successful?

How to Get Your Dream Job without Experience

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How to Get Your Dream Job without ExperienceOne of the first things that I like to do in the morning is browse through my Twitter feed and get a feel for what’s going on in the world. [AKA stalk Cosmopolitan online.] Today while reading up on the riveting details of the stock market*, [*fawning over cute puppies] I stumbled across an article from the great people over at Levo: No Experience? No Problem. How 4 Pros Landed Their Dream Gigs.

Having only graduated from the University of Michigan about a year ago, I completely understand how frustrating it can be trying to get a job when you have little to no experience – let alone your DREAM job! Before I graduated, I must have sent out 100+  applications/résumé‎s and received 200+ rejections. [How does that happen? I DON’T KNOW, but apparently it does.] Thankfully, my current employer saw something in my poorly worded résumé, and working here has been an excellent learning experience.

Looking back on when I first started applying, I realize now that 1) my résumé was an EXACT replica of hundreds of other recent graduates, 2) my cover letter had zero personality and did a piss poor job of telling people who I was as a person. [e.g., rapid consumer of large quantities of guacamole.] After seeing how the interview process played out at my current job, and doing extensive research on the subject, I’ve come up with a few ways that you [YES, YOU!] can get your dream job without experience.

In addition to the excellent points made by Levo, [seriously, go read this right meow.] I’d like to add a few of my own:

1.  Don’t have just one résumé. Take a look at what the position your applying for entails and what they are looking for in a candidate. Then, update your résumé and focus on skills/experiences that you have that relate to the job. When it comes to your résumé and cover letter, one size does NOT fit all.

2. Get yourself some solid recommendations. Unless you’re a hermit, [not hating on hermits, you do YOU.] you know individuals that may be willing to vouch for your character, skills, etc. Ask them to write you a recommendation letter or endorse you on your LinkedIn account. [No mom, not you.] If you’ve caught the attention of the potential employer with your résumé/cover letter, strong recommendations may be your ticket to an interview.

3. After the interview is over, thank the interviewer for their time! I recommend sending them a handwritten note, simply because it will make you stand out. An email can be quickly scanned and trashed, while a note is something they’re more likely to linger over. If you’re the type of person to procrastinate and forget, write the note beforehand and pop it in a nearby post box after the interview is finito.

While I definitely don’t have all the answers, hopefully these tips will help you in your quest to score the job of your dreams! If you’re currently applying, I’m sending good vibes your way! [*gOoD vIbEs..OoH mAgIcAl*]

Readers: Have any tips to add? What has worked for you in the past when trying to score an interview?

 

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