Staying on top of your A-game and maintaining a healthy work-life balance can feel like an oxymoron. Most of us experience an uneven pull between our social lives and work commitments, which isn't surprising considering the current economy and fact that employees everywhere are working overtime to show they're an indispensable part of the team. Nevertheless, it's important to establish a healthy harmony between your job and personal life. This doesn't just mean working overtime to please your boss and boyfriend, it means creating a balance of time spent working, playing, and pleasing yourself.
Scientific research has shown that humans can pay attention to one thing for up to 20 minutes. After that period, it gets harder and harder to focus on it. If you feel your attention span has reached its limit, perhaps you should take a notepad out to doodle.
A study in the Applied Cognitive Psychology Journal tested the doodling theory on a group of participants. Half were instructed to listen to a phone call that recited a list of names of people and places, and the other half were told to doodle when listening to the message. Those who doodled were able to remember 29 percent more than those who didn't. Psychology Today says:
In the study, the phone message was intentionally designed to be boring. One possibility is that doodling distracted participants from their boredom. Yet it demanded less concentration than drifting off into a daydream, so the doodlers may actually have been more focused than non-doodlers.
Do you doodle at meetings or on phone calls?
Today's National Boss Day and to celebrate this holiday, consider showing your boss some appreciation. If you're really grateful to your boss and how she's been managing the office, don't be afraid to just come out and say it. Sometimes we forget that the positive feedback goes both ways.
Getting encouragement and support from your boss definitely is incentivizing, but did you ever think to give your boss positive feedback to incentivize them in return? Simple phrases like, "Hey boss, thanks for looking out for me," or, "Thanks for taking a chance on me, I really appreciate it," can really go a long way. Another idea is to have the whole office chip in for a small gift when a gift-giving occasion like Christmas comes up.
A happy boss is a good thing for the both of you, and always keep in mind that your manager is human and needs some positive reinforcement once in a while, too!
We're always curious to see what other people are making, but less so about disclosing our own. Salary transparency is more common among CEOs at public companies who are required to disclose what they make, but not really among everyday employees working the daily grind.
It's easy to see why firms shy away from revealing what their employees make — salary is the biggest source of discontent among workers. A study by Berkeley and Princeton economists tested out salary transparency on a group of workers, and it turns out those who found out they were receiving less than the median were dissatisfied and were more inclined to leave. Those who discovered they were making more did not see a change in job satisfaction or retention. Although revealing salaries may cause some workers to leave, it might create more equality among workers.
What do you think of salary transparency — would you want your company to disclose what everyone's making?
Don't fret about your upcoming performance review; see it as a chance for you to speak up and shine. Remember it's always more productive to focus on the positive instead of lingering on the negative. Some prep beforehand will ease your anxiety, so here are some tips to succeed at your performance review:
- Make a list of talking points. A good performance review is a two-sided discussion. Don't go into the meeting without anything prepared, expecting your manager to lead the conversation. Write down some topics and important highlights you want to bring up during the conversation and prepare some answers for potential questions.
- Read your old notes. If you had a performance review last year, read over your old notes to prep for your upcoming one. See what your goals were, what you are continuing to do well, and note any improvements.
- Ask for a heads-up. If you're new and this is your first review, ask your boss about what kind of questions you should be expecting and what you're going to be evaluated on. You can even ask your co-workers on what the process is like.
- Journal your work achievements. If you haven't already started taking record of your big wins somewhere, start now. Refresh your memory by going over old emails, data, and saved files. Even if your performance review is a while away, begin your list, so you're not scrambling to put it together at the last moment. You might forget something if you're rushing.
- Prep before you request a raise. The prospect of asking for a raise may cause you to panic, but it shouldn't be scary. In fact, experts think the reason women earn less is because they don't ask for more. Read these tips on how to negotiate the raise you deserve.
Time passes so quickly, doesn't it? Before you know it, it's performance evaluation time again. Here's a tip for you: write down your big wins as they happen over the year. It doesn't matter if it's in Excel, Google Docs, or a plain notebook, start keeping track of your accomplishments. That way when you're pushing a raise, you'll be able to easily whip out the detailed facts and be able to make a stronger case of why you deserve one. After all, memories can fail, and it's easy to forget certain achievements over the course of a year.
You can pick your friends, but just like family, you can't pick your co-workers. A recent survey by LinkedIn found that professionals all over the world have a bone to pick with their colleagues. Here are some of the top office pet peeves cited by participants:
- People who don't own up to their actions.
- Co-workers who keep on complaining.
- People who make a mess of the fridge, microwave, or other common areas.
- Meetings that start late or drag on for way too long.
- People who don't respond to emails.
If your colleague has a habit that you just can't stand, Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s connection director, advises to have a calm conversation with a colleague. It's worse to let the problem gnaw away at you and have the frustration build, she says. What are some of your office pet peeves?
The work week can feel like a total drag if you don't have habits to make your job feel a little less like work. Make work less laborious with my six ideas.
Labor Day is a United States federal holiday that was developed in the 19th century to acknowledge the social and economic achievements of working Americans. According to the US Department of Labor, the holiday "constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."
There's nothing not to love about holidays that cause our employers to lock the office doors. Hopefully all of you hard-working girls are spending the day with your feet up and not catching up on work during your day off. Are you taking time for yourself today or will you be attending to some work issues?
Although it's recommended to take a short walk to unwind from work, what you're surrounded by during your walk actually matters a lot. For example, if you're walking through a busy street filled with flashing lights and loud noises, the stroll won't really be an effective time-out.
University of Michigan researchers found that subjects who strolled through a nature setting saw a 20 percent improvement in attention and focus tests. However, participants who took a brief walk in a busy city did not see any cognitive benefits. Even spending time in a quiet room with a picture depicting nature was more effective than a city stroll. Here are more tips from The Wall Street Journal to rev up your mind during work:
- Believe in your willpower. People who have a positive view about their willpower and believe they have an unlimited amount of it are able to work longer without a decrease in performance quality versus those who believe they have a limited amount, Stanford University researchers found. The WSJ says, "Both groups reported feeling tired. But researchers subtly suggested in questionnaires to some participants that they had stamina that could be replenished, and this group appeared to overcome the fatigue."
- Don't drink more caffeine than necessary. If you intake more coffee than your usual amount, it might make you more stressed if you're already feeling some tension, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Bristol. Stick to your regular cup of joe, and if you think the taste of coffee will calm you down, try opting for a decaf coffee instead.