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Making productive to-do lists

Everyone makes lists – though not everyone does so in the same way. Whether you are the one who makes a list in their head of things to get at the grocery store, or the one who has to-do lists for every aspect of your life, these tips will help you be more productive and efficient in accomplishing the tasks on your list.

Use the right app or medium.

There are a many list apps you can get for your smart phone, and there is also a simple pen and paper.  The first thing you should do is decide which method of keeping track of your list(s) works best for you. Many apps allow you to add due dates, collaborate or share lists, and sort tasks. PC Magazine has list of the best to-do apps, or you can ask friends and relatives for suggestions. If you are a pen and paper type of person, the key to finding the best medium is to make sure it is a list you can easily see and refer to, and something you will not ignore. There are numerous options that include lined pages, calendars, and tabs for sorting lists. The best way to find the right one for you is to make a list (see what we did there?) of the key things you want and then do a google search for those items. Or just use a plain notebook and design your own.  The two most important things to remember are that it must work for you and be one you will actually use.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress

Which bad habits do not belong in the workplace

Everyone has a tendency to pick up some bad habits, after all we are only human. But while a few bad habits may only be mildly annoying to your family and friends, they can carry far worse consequences in the work place. Here is a list of the worst bad habits you should watch out for, to make sure they do not ruin your career.

Tardiness:

Constantly being late to work, especially when you are part of a line or process that requires someone in your position, is definitely a bad habit that can ruin your career. But being late with assignments, to meetings, or returning phone calls can be just as bad. Being timely with attendance and assignments shows you respect your company, your job and your co-workers.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Preparing for an Interview, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee

Soft Skills Can Make or Break You

Soft skills are defined as personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. So how are these skills going to help you land a job or even a promotion? Let's find out!

Creativity.  Collaboration.  Adaptability.

These are just three of the soft skills employers are looking for and showing you have them could be the difference between whether get the job or not. LinkedIn Learning created a list of the top soft skills employers find most valuable. Rounding out the top five are persuasion and time management.

Creativity

When you think of ‘creative’ people usually artists, musicians or authors come to mind. But you can be creative in business as well. Think about how most people can be taught how to do a job. A creative person, however, looks at how to do the job better, perhaps in a way that has not been tried yet. A good example is the number of apps that are available to do so many things. For example, it took a creative person to say, what if we made an app so it would be easier for people to track what they eat? Seeing a need and figuring out a better way to meet the need is creativity at its best. Stefan Mumaw, author of six books on creativity, says creativity can be learned, just like any other skill. So if you are looking for ways to increase your creativity, you can try Mumaw’s Creativity Bootcamp training session.  Or you can just begin to think about innovative and better ways to do the same things you have been doing, challenging your mind to find a more “creative” solution.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Gaining Experience, Resume, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Training, Interviewing

The Do’s and Don’ts of Salary Negotiation

Many people are uncomfortable with negotiating for a salary. Regardless of the reason, there will come a time when you feel the need to negotiate a salary and these tips should help you navigate the process and come to an agreement with an employer.

First, you need to do your research.

There are numerous websites, like Salary.com, Payscale, Glassdoor, which can give you the high, median and low wages for the position you’re considering. They will also narrow down the wage scale to your geographic area. You can then compare your skills and experience and see where your salary ought to be in order to be competitive in your market.

You can also check the Bureau of Labor Statistics for industry-specific wage information.

Next, you should calculate the minimum amount you’re willing to accept.

Remember, this is just a guideline to help you narrow down your options, as salary is not the only consideration when deciding whether or not to accept a position.  Knowing your bottom line will allow you to remove yourself from consideration if you can reasonably calculate that the job offer will not be close to meeting your needs.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Preparing for an Interview, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Interviewing

Tips for maintaining a good work-life balance

The term work-life balance as defined by BusinessDictionary is, “A comfortable state of equilibrium achieved between an employee’s primary priorities of their employment position and their private lifestyle,” and too often it is not achieved, especially in today’s technological world of 24/7 access to voicemail and email, but that does not mean you should not try. Studies show that people who do not have a good balance between work and personal life can be less productive and more stressed. Those who do have a good balance are usually more productive and tend to stay with their employer for a longer time. Here are some tips to help you find a balance between your working and non-working life.

Unplug

Unless you are a doctor or emergency responder who needs to be accessible every hour of the day, set aside some time to be away from your smart phone. There is no need to check emails while at your child’s baseball game, for example. Take some time to unwind and disconnect from the stresses of the rest of the world. Enjoy hobby, or some rest and relaxation, whatever it is that helps you get comfortable again.

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Topics: Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress, Work-Life Balance

Tips For Being The New Employee

Most people are a “new” employee when they start a new job or make a career change. Temporary workers are the “new” employee each time they take a new assignment. In fact, as a temporary employee you could experience that new employee feeling several times in a month, depending on the types of assignments you take. Whether you are a new employee just once – or quite often – here are some tips to help you along the way.

Be Dependable

Being dependable means you show up on time, ready to work. Having the right tools and attire is important, but so is having the right attitude of enthusiasm for the tasks you are going to be performing.

Be Friendly

A smile goes a long way towards making a good impression, so remember to smile when seeing or meeting your co-workers. Introduce yourself to others during your breaks or lunches. Repeat their names when you meet to help you remember.

Show interest in others – which applies to life as well as a new job. Ask questions like ‘how long have you worked here?’ and ‘what do you like most about what you do?’ as a way to learn about others, as well as the company.

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Topics: Re-Entering the Workforce, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress

Finding purpose on the job when you’re a temporary employee

Studies have shown that individuals who find purpose in their jobs have higher energy and focus, and less stress, depression, and anxiety. Having a job that provides purpose – and is more like a calling – can also help you live longer. Zach Mercurio, Purpose Expert and Author of The Invisible Leader, says purpose is your usefulness – the unique contribution that you and your job makes on others. But what if you’re a temporary employee who goes to a different job every week?  Does your “purpose” need to change every time you have an assignment? Fortunately, the answer is no.

Know your values

As a temporary employee, you can find purpose and meaning in your work regardless of the assignment. First, you should know your values – what means the most to you. For example, you might feel the most energized when you are helping others, either through good customer service or directing people to the right location or person to meet their need. In this instance, your value could be service. If you can’t live without personal contact and communication with others, your value might be connections. Or perhaps your value is to be a good provider, having the money and means to buy food and housing for your family. Once you know what you value, you can find it in any position you’re assigned.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Temporary, Seasonal, Contract, Being a Great Employee

Customer Service Week, 2019

October 7th, 2019 begins Customer Service Week, a time to celebrate the great customer service you provide and an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of it. Customer service isn’t just you and a buying customer. Even if you don’t have any contact with your company’s clients, or the general buying public, you still have customers. For example, the customers of the Human Resources department are fellow employees at the company. The customers on a factory line are the people at the next station down the line. The customers for the custodian are the people whose areas are cleaned.

We all have “customers” to serve, but how did it become this way and how do we serve them properly to get proper service back?

HISTORY

Customer Service Week is actually an international celebration. In 1992, the U.S. Congress proclaimed that it would be celebrated annually during the first full week in October. From the proclamation:

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Topics: Being a Great Employee, Customer Service Week

Burn-out: an 'occupational phenomenon'

Have you ever felt so tired of a job that you feel you just can’t take it anymore?

Burn-out is an ‘occupational phenomenon’ officially recognized by World Health Organization

We all get stressed in our jobs, but if this is happening every day, you may be experiencing the occupational phenomenon known as “burn-out.”

You’re not alone.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced in May that it was including burn-out in its International Classification of Diseases.

WHO emphasizes that it is not an actual medical condition, but it could be a reason that people contact health providers.

They say that burn-out results from “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

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Topics: Being a Great Employee, Safety, Managing Stress

Just 2 hours a week in nature can work wonders

A new study says that spending two hours a week out in nature can work wonders for your health and wellbeing.

The study, led by the University of Exeter and published in Scientific Reports, found that “people who spend at least 120 minutes each week out in nature are more likely to say they have good health and a higher psychological wellbeing that those who don’t visit nature at all.”

And it didn’t matter if the 120 minutes was in one visit or in multiple shorter visits, it found.

“The current results also suggested that it did not matter how the 'threshold' was achieved. This may be because individuals selected exposures to fit their personal preferences and circumstances. For instance, some may prefer long walks on the weekend in locations further from home; while others may prefer regular shorter visits to parks in the local area,” the study says.

Other factors – such as gender, age, occupation, ethnicity, wealth, illness and disabilities – also did not matter. The 120 minutes applied to everyone in the study.

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Topics: Volunteering, Being a Great Employee, Safety, Managing Stress

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