Being more productive at work means working smarter, not harder (or longer) and getting the most out of the hours you spend in the office. Sometimes, however, people find their workdays spiral out of control even when they start each morning with a set plan and to-do list. Consider these tips and tricks to help maximize the minutes of your workday for optimal productivity and efficiency.
You spend a good portion of your life at work. You need a job to live and thrive. Over time, you may realize that your current employment is not working for you. While it is nicer to be on vacation than to be at work, no one should dread going to a job. There are several important indicators that it is time for a new career.
There Is No More Opportunity to Grow
It can be frustrating when it seems like your colleagues are advancing while you are sitting still. It may be that you do not have the education to go beyond your current level at work. It may be that management likes you where you are. No matter how hard you try, you remain in the same position. If you keep getting passed up for promotion, it may be time to take your life in a new direction.
Your Workplace Culture Is Toxic
One of the challenges of a workplace is the variety of personalities you must interact with. There will always be difficult people. However, some workplaces have troubling relationship dynamics. There may be cliques or other unhealthy groupings. Poor management may have given more authority to domineering personalities. The place may have developed a culture where gossip and disrespect are tolerated. Your workmates may not be your best friends, but you should be able to work together to accomplish what is best for the company.
Your Unique Skills Are Wasted
Every person brings a different skill set to the table. However, your current position may not use some of the gifts that give you the most fulfillment. If you love to code but spend your days filing paperwork, both you and your company are missing out on your skills. If you love interacting with people but spend all your time in a cubicle, it is natural to be frustrated by your work. Look for a career that uses your unique skills and gifts.
Your Commute Makes You Contemplate Vehicular Homicide
Even if you have a great job, getting to and from work can be a real burden. That time you spend in the car is time you could be doing something more productive. Your commute can also be a source of heavy stress that can have serious long-term health consequences. Your commute gets even more dangerous if you're traveling through town, as intersections are famously prone to car accidents. Unless you have the perfect position at work, consider looking for a job a little closer to home.
You’re Only There for the Paycheck
With the amount of time you spend at work, it should be more fulfilling. You are going to spend years working. While the paycheck is important, you also should be looking to do something that gives you purpose. Think about your personal goals in life. If this job is not working towards those goals, it may be time to look for something else.
Seeking a new career can be a risk. You may not love your current position, but at least you know what you are getting. Instead of settling for a mediocre job, find a career that gives you joy. As the saying goes, “If you are not doing what you love, you are wasting your time.”
While TV makes it seem as though everyone goes straight from high school into college and only enter the working world after getting a degree, most people actually enter the workforce around the completion of high school, taking whatever early work they can receive with no formal education or training. From there, people work up (if possible), or wind up only making lateral changes as they change jobs (leaving a cashier job at a clothing store for a cashier job at a pet store). Fortunately, there are careers that you can break into without a four-year degree that pay livable wages.
For those interested in criminal justice, there are many paths that can offer a satisfactory living with no degree and are not only police officers or related jobs. Positions such as police dispatch are often given the same city employment titles and benefits as the officers, but with a much safer environment with a more set schedule. Police stations and courts also need clerks and a variety of administrative roles filled.
Though there are highs and lows in the market, real estate prices only go up over the long-term. Because of this, there is a long term need for people familiar with this industry. In addition to general sales, house flipping shows have brought to many people’s attention that there is great money in buying and renovating properties. While the market has changed, house flipping can still be profitable. Neither sales, nor flipping, require a college degree; both can be learned through apprenticeship. Apartment complexes are often seeking roles in managing a large rental environment. You don’t have to own property to work in this field.
Beauty and Wellness
People love to pamper themselves and spend small fortunes to make themselves look better. While many jobs in this industry may require a diploma or certification, those are fairly quick to obtain rather than a BS degree. In addition to selling cosmetics (a system that is already established and often comes with a customer base), careers can include hair, nail and makeup artists, massage therapists, and dietitians. With enough knowledge of the industry, you could even go on to own your own salon or spa.
Completely changing the field, you work in may seem like starting from the beginning, but soft skills (such as customer service) are transferable. Starting new doesn’t mean starting at the bottom.
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Although women are making strides in the corporate world, there is still work that can be done to level the landscape. If you’re looking for ways to promote change in your workplace, explore these five steps that can help build a work environment where everyone can advance and succeed.
5 Ways to Promote Gender Equality in the Workplace
(Family Features) Although women are making strides in the corporate world, there is still work that can be done to level the landscape.
Research from Catalyst, a global nonprofit focused on empowering and accelerating women in business, shows the needle is moving, albeit slowly. In nearly 10 years, the number of women in senior roles in the United States increased just 1 percent. At Standard & Poor's 500 index companies, overall women’s representation is far behind: 5.2 percent CEOs, 11 percent top earners and 26.5 percent senior-level officials and managers. Less than 5 percent of senior level positions are held by women of color. Men still lead more than 95 percent of the most powerful companies in the United States.
If you’re looking for ways to promote change in your workplace, explore these five steps that can help build a work environment where everyone can advance and succeed:
Engage in programs that celebrate women of color. Tap into resources that honor women in leadership and foster growth for aspiring women leaders from racially and ethically diverse backgrounds, such as those available through Catalyst. The nonprofit offers a host of ongoing workshops, programs, trainings and consulting services designed to promote inclusive workplaces, along with events around the world. For example, the “Catalyst Skyline Takeover,” which is a visual realization of the international business community’s commitment to greater diversity, inclusion and gender equality in workplaces around the world, features dozens of global companies “lighting up” their buildings with the female symbol.
Assess and formalize pay scales. As numerous studies indicate, wage disparity is one of the most obvious signs of inequality in the workplace. A fair pay scale outlines specific responsibilities and corresponding compensation rates, and can be applied to roles across the board regardless of race, gender or other potential discriminatory factors.
Ensure growth opportunities exist. Leveling the pay scale is an important step, but ensuring equal access to the positions at the higher end of that scale is an essential supporting move. Simply saying you’ll pay a woman the same as a man in the same job falls short if all candidates, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity are not given the same chance to compete for more senior positions.
Implement mentorship programs. Positive role models can give future leaders the vision to dream big and the guidance to make those dreams a reality. Putting aspiring women leaders in close contact with other women who have attained success in their field helps set a course toward achievement. It also helps men to advance and develop unbiased leadership. Since the majority of business leaders are currently men, change for women can only be accelerated if all those in leadership positions work together.
Support parental involvement. Historically, the issue of parenting and the workforce has been dominated by discussions around maternity leave policies, but more recently that dialogue has evolved. Men, too, desire more time with their families, and through equal parental leave policies, workplaces can allow women and men within all types of family structures to thrive in their careers and at home.
Find more resources and recommendations for promoting workplace equality at catalyst.org.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (woman in conference room)SOURCE:
(BPT) - If you feel like you're working more, but getting less done, you're not alone. Employees are working an average of 44 hours per week, of which only 29 were considered to be productive, according to a new survey of 1,200 full time office workers.
The recent "Productivity in the Workplace" study commissioned by Fellowes found respondents feel the key to productivity is making adjustments within the existing workday versus working more hours. Chatty coworkers top the list of productivity killers, with unnecessary meetings, cell phone disruptions and problems with office equipment also on the list. Respondents identify productivity boosters as cutting back on meetings, having more quiet spaces to work, schedule flexibility and more up-to-date technology.
Laura Stack, also known as "The Productivity Pro," travels the country helping organizations of every size improve their employee and team productivity. She shares the following tips to help people make the most of their hours in the office so they can get back to business.
1. Give disruptions the boot. Resist the urge to constantly check email and turn off email notifications. Put your cell phone on airplane mode, instant messaging on Do Not Disturb, and let calls go to voice-mail.
2. Speak up. Need something new in the office to help your coworkers and you stay more productive? It never hurts to ask. Office equipment, like printers and shredders, are now being made with advanced technologies that can make your job easier and help you get back to work.
3. Cut down on meetings. Ask yourself if you really need to have a meeting. Can you cover agenda items via email? Cancel meetings if face time isn't imperative and give colleagues more time to get their jobs done. Also, try to schedule one day a week on your calendar that is meeting-free.
4. Don't multi-task, single-task. When you do have a meeting, make sure you are 100 percent focused. You don't want to miss crucial updates and next steps on projects, it will only hurt your productivity later on.
5. Practice "on, in, around, or shred." Eighty-eight percent of people use paper in the office. Keep items you work with daily on your desk, those you work with weekly in your desk drawers, and those you work with monthly around your desk, in archives, or filing cabin Use an automatic shredder for everything else, like Fellowes' line of AutoMax shredders, which shred up to 500 sheets of paper at a time with the simple touch of a button -which helps avoid disruptions.
6. Break it down. If you have trouble getting started with a big task, break it into smaller chunks. Ask yourself, "What is the next action step I need to take to see progress on this project?" Then set a timer, leap into action, and focus on the next step.
7. Vary activities. For mental and physical alertness, vary sitting activities with standing ones, mental activities with physical ones. It will help prevent fatigue and keep your efficiency high.
8. Put some fun into your work. Turn boring tasks into a game. Make a deal with yourself that when you complete the activity, you will do something fun afterward - like taking a walk or having a piece of chocolate. By creating internal enthusiasm, you can stay focused longer.
9. Change of scenery. Try to work in a different setting once a week. Whether you work from home, the library, or a nearby park, new surroundings can inspire ideas and give you the energy you need to tackle your to-do list.
To learn more about Laura Stack and the "Productivity in the Workplace" study, visit www.fellowes.com or www.TheProductivityPro.com.
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