Stretch Your Goals: 10 Yoga Moves for Productivity

Tuesday, November 27, 2007 at 3:55am by Site Administrator

Yoga has been around for thousands of years and has enjoyed growing mainstream acceptance in Western society in the past few years, even working its way into the corporate environment. Businesses are increasingly adding free or low cost yoga classes as a productivity booster and perk for employees. While it might seem strange, studies done by the National Institutes of Health have found that yoga and meditation enhance the qualities that are most desired in employees, like an increase in brain waves, enhanced intuition, and better concentration, in addition to the alleviation of common aches and pains. With results like that, it’s hard to find a reason not to add a little yoga into your workday. Here are 10 basic moves to get you started.

  1. Mountain Pose: This pose seems simple, but if done properly it should engage your whole body. Start by standing with feet together, hands at your sides, eyes facing forward. Press your heels into the floor and spread your toes while tilting your pelvis slightly forward. Then, raise your chest up and out, but no so much that you look as though you’re standing at attention for a drill sergeant. Lengthen your neck by stretching the base of your skull towards the ceiling while stretching the pinkies on your hand downward. Push your feet into the floor and raise your legs off of the floor. Hold this posture while you inhale and let go on the exhale. On your next breath, raise your arms over your head and hold for the next several breaths. Repeat this several times. This move should help alleviate some distracting lower back pain by making you more aware of your posture, as well as improving balance and self-awareness.
  2. Boat: Give your abdominal muscles a good stretch with this pose. Start this pose by lying on your stomach with your legs together and arms at your sides. Take a breath and exhale while you press your hipbones and pelvis into the floor, lifting your arms and legs several inches off of the floor. Draw your spine toward the floor and imagine your chest pressing outward. Tuck in your chin slightly and extend your torso and legs away from each other. Hold this pose for a few seconds, then relax. Repeat at your discretion.
  3. Table Balance: Work on your balance and concentration with this pose. Start on all fours with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Look downward and make sure to keep your navel drawn into your spine. Straighten and lift your left leg so that it’s in line with your hips. Get your balance and extend your left arm out so that it’s even with your shoulders. Hold this for 3-10 breaths, then slowly lower your arm and leg. Repeat on the opposite side.
  4. Downward Facing Dog: This posture is great for strengthening wrists, which is helpful for avoiding injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome that can make working painful or even impossible. It can also help reduce lower back pain. You begin this posture by getting on your hands and knees, making sure that your legs are hip width apart and arms are shoulder width apart. Inhale and curl your toes under as you would if you were standing on your toes. Exhale and straighten your legs while pushing up with your arms, lengthening your spine while keeping your feet flat on the floor. If it hurts too much to do this, it’s acceptable to bend your knees a little or allow your heels to lift off the floor. Relax back onto your hands and knees after a few breaths and repeat.
  5. Tree Pose: Get a leg up, literally, on improving your balance and mental concentration with the tree pose. Begin by standing straight and tall with your feet together. Pick up your right foot and balance on your left, placing your right foot on the inside of your left thigh. Once you have your balance, raise your arms above your head so that your palms meet, keeping your shoulders down. Hold this for as long as it’s comfortable, or about 30 seconds. Relax, then repeat on the other side.
  6. Wide Legged Forward Bend: Sitting all day without a break can be hard on the body and can lower energy levels. Help counteract the effects of your desk chair with this pose. Start with your legs twice shoulder width apart with feet forward. Place your hands on your hips and slowly bend at the waist while maintaining a straight back. Place the palms of your hands, or forearms if you’re flexible, on the floor and hold the pose. Slowly unfold out of your pose and return to your original stance.
  7. Bridge Pose: Increase your overall flexibility, strengthen your lower back, and open up your chest with this move. It can also help alleviate those pesky energy sucking tension headaches by helping you relax. You begin this move by lying on the floor with your knees bent and your hands at your side. Your feet should be 6 inches apart and pulled in close to your backside. Begin by slowly raising and lowering your tailbone, then slowly take it up one vertebrae at a time until your entire spine is arched upward. Make sure to push firmly into the floor with your feet as you hold this position and breathe deeply. Hold for a few breaths, release, and repeat.
  8. Warrior Pose: The warrior pose sounds tough, perhaps because it is intended to be a confidence builder. It also can help improve your balance and concentration, making it easier to keep your mind on your work. This pose starts in the mountain pose with your feet together and your hands at your side. Then, step your feet 4-5 feet apart. Begin by turning your right foot 45 degrees to the left and turning your left foot 90 degrees to the left so that it’s pointing straight out to the side. Slowly bend your left knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor while raising your arms over your head. Slowly lower your arms until your left arm is pointing straight ahead and your right arm is pointing straight back. Hold this position while concentrating on a point ahead of you for 5-6 breaths, relax, then reverse the pose.
  9. The Triangle: Improve your balance and concentration by trying out the triangle pose. Begin by spreading your feet 3-4 feet apart and keeping them parallel. Turn your left foot 90 degrees to the left and your right foot 45 degrees inward. Next, take a deep breath while raising your arms straight out from your sides. Then exhale and turn your head to the left so that you’re looking down your arm to your fingers. Reach as far out to the left as you can and once you’ve reached your limit, rotate your arms down so that your left arm rests on your calf and your right arm is pointed straight up. Hold this for a few breaths, straighten up and lower your arms to the side, bringing your feet together. Repeat on the other side.
  10. The Corpse: This pose requires of you just what it sounds like: playing dead. This level of relaxation will helps to refresh your body helping you relieve on the job stress and anxiety. Make sure not to fall asleep while doing this one! Begin by lying on your back with your arms at your side and palms facing upward. Then close your eyes and take several slow, deep breaths, allowing your body to completely relax. If you’re having trouble, start with a specific body part and imagine your muscles and skin in that part relaxing. Do this bit by bit until your whole body is relaxed.

You can start practicing these positions before you leave for work in the morning, or try out these simple moves you can do right from your desk during a break. And remember, just like with any kind of exercise, if you have health problems, recent surgeries, or any injuries consult with your physician before attempting any of these moves.

25 Ways to Approach A Woman At Work And Not Get Sued

Monday, November 19, 2007 at 4:43pm by Site Administrator

It isn’t any surprise that coworkers often find themselves attracted to one another. After all, you’re working in close proximity, seeing each other regularly, and usually dressed more attractively than you would be in a more casual situation. Yet work romances can create a troubling dilemma. Many businesses  have strict rules about what is acceptable when pursuing a romance with a coworker, and for a good reason. Often, there is a fine line between what is harmless flirting and sexual harassment, and underestimating it can cost you your career. So if you want to ask out that cute girl from marketing, follow these tips to avoid landing yourself in hot water.

  1. Ask her to lunch. Lunch is a relatively harmless request, as business associates often get together for lunch to discuss work related issues. If you’re nervous or want to be extra careful, invite along a few other coworkers.
  2. Send her emails. Sometimes emails can be a low-pressure way to ask out the object of your affection at work, and she won’t feel like she has to give you an immediate response. Just be careful what you write–emails are often monitored, and any inappropriate emails will likely be saved for your dismissal interview.
  3. Include other coworkers. If you’re afraid to risk it all and ask her out one-on-one, try inviting her out with a group of coworkers. You’ll still get to spend some time with her away from work, but there will be other people around to ease any potential awkwardness.
  4. Only ask once. If you’ve asked her out and she said no, don’t press the issue. Repeated attempts at getting her to go out with you will make her uncomfortable and definitely cross the line to harassment.
  5. Give non-threatening compliments. One way to show your interest in a female coworker is to pay her compliments. You just have to be careful about what you say, as there are many things that could be taken in the wrong way and could sound inappropriate. One way to do this is by giving a compliment accompanied by a question such as "That’s a nice University of Whatever scarf. Did you go to school there?" That way, she won’t feel pressured to respond to your compliment, and you’ll get to know a little more about her.
  6. Walk with her to meetings or out of the building. Make the most of your travel time through the building to spend time with the woman you’re interested in asking out. It’s an easy way to approach her and it’s unlikely to make her feel uncomfortable because your walk has a terminal point.
  7. Arrange outside of work outings. You won’t seem like a creep if you ask her to come along on company outings outside of work, and in fact, if she’s new you might even score some points with her for making her feel included in the group.
  8. Keep your distance. While you might get away with getting touchy feely when approaching a woman at a bar, at work you should keep your distance. Don’t invade her personal space. Instead, express your interest through your face and body language.
  9. Tell her jokes. Jokes can be a great way to get her to let down her guard and think of you as a person, not just her coworker. Just be careful to keep the jokes clean to avoid upsetting her or any other coworkers within earshot.
  10. Bring her coffee. Provided she likes coffee, this will be seen as a sweet, non-aggressive gesture. If you’re lucky, you could turn a one time gesture into a daily coffee date.
  11. Only approach those who are not your subordinates. It doesn’t matter how attractive your subordinates might be, they should be off limits if you want to avoid future trouble. Even if you spark a long-term relationship, if it goes sour you could become subject to complaints that you used your status as leverage.
  12. Make excuses to stop by her desk. Walking by her desk every once in awhile or bringing some papers over to her can be a good way to break the ice and give you an opportunity to ask her out.
  13. Keep it casual. If you do ask her to go out, make sure it’s something that isn’t too intimidating. Try asking her to get coffee or dinner before asking her out to come over to watch a movie.
  14. Be her friend first. Before you take the leap to asking out a coworker, get to know her first. You may find out that while you thought she was cute, you two don’t really have much to talk about. Of course, if you do, you’ll have a much easier time asking out someone you’re already friendly with.
  15. Send her a meeting invitation. Why not get cute about it and send her a meeting invitation through her email? You can keep things casual with a simple catch-up lunch meeting if you want to see how interested she is.
  16. Ask for her help on a project. You can often approach a coworker you don’t know particularly well by asking for her help on a project. You’ll get her help and a chance to talk with her that you might not have otherwise had.
  17. Take breaks together. Invite her along on your afternoon snack run or trip to the water cooler. If she says yes, who knows, she might say yes to dinner and movie.
  18. Use work as a conversation starter. An easy way to break the ice with a coworker is to joke around or talk about work. You can share a laugh about how sweaty your boss was at the meeting or how awful the coffee is in the break room. You’ll be bonding, but in a way that’s appropriate for the office.
  19. Leave her outs. If you want to ask out someone from work but you aren’t sure of her interest in you, make sure you leave her an out when you invite her on a date so that she doesn’t feel trapped or made uncomfortable by your request.
  20. Get her opinion. If you work closely with the coworker you’re interested in, try asking her opinion on something you’re working on. It’ll let her know you value what she thinks and later on, you can ask her opinion on more personal matters as well.
  21. Gauge her interest. Whether you ask around the office to see if she might be interested or just read her signals, don’t pursue a woman that doesn’t seem to be into you. While this is a good rule to follow in general, it’s especially true for the office.
  22. Save her a seat. One way you can show interest in a woman at work without being too pushy about it is to save her a seat at your next meeting or conference. It’s a nice gesture and you’ll get to sit by her the whole time.
  23. Ask her questions. You’re unlikely to face any lawsuits for trying to get to know a coworker better, unless of course you start quizzing her about her personal life or dress sizes, so take the opportunity to ask her questions and get to know what makes her tick. It will make it easier to ask her out later.
  24. Maintain eye contact. This is a good approach to dealing with women at work, as it shows that you are interested in what they are saying. It also makes it clear that your eyes aren’t wandering to places that are inappropriate.
  25. Just ask. Sometimes the best way to approach a woman at work is to just do it. That way, you’ll know right off the bat if she’s interested or not, and you won’t be tempted to say or do things that she might find harassing if she’s not interested.

Remember that none of these tips are foolproof–every person has their own comfort threshold and some might take offense at things of which others would think nothing. Stay smart, and who knows? Your office romance might blossom into something more.

Just Do It: 67 Ways to Tame the Procrastination Beast

Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 11:57pm by Site Administrator

Let’s face it: even the most diligent of entrepreneurs can fall victim to the lure of procrastination now and then. It’s hard to blame them: sometimes a TV show, the Internet, or even just staring out the window is more fun than doing the tasks that really need to get done. But being a serial procrastinator is a sure way to direct your business into some pretty dire straits if you’re not careful. How can you learn to tame your short attention span when you really need to get things done? While everyone has their own little tricks, here are 67 ways we’ve come up with to help you concentrate when it counts.

  1. Take it one step at a time. A huge project can feel overwhelming and make it hard to figure out a place to start, encouraging you to put it off. Instead of trying to tackle all of it at once, break it into smaller, more manageable parts.
  2. Set time limits. Projects have a way of expanding to fill the time allotted, so set a time limit for yourself to finish a project. By focusing your time, you’ll get more done and maybe even end up with a few free minutes for yourself.
  3. Listen to yourself. Do you find yourself often saying that you "must", "have to" or "should" do something? This kind of talk is a recipe for procrastination. Instead, tell yourself that you "choose to" do the things you do. Changing your mind set can have a big impact on your productivity.
  4. Tackle your worst tasks early in the day. Often procrastination at work is due to avoidance of a particularly unpleasant task. If you make it a habit to get your least favorite tasks out of the way in the morning, the rest of your day will be a breeze.
  5. Stay organized. Clutter and disorganization can be big contributors to procrastination. It can seem overwhelming just to sort through all the papers and emails you have, let alone take care of what they discuss, so create a system for yourself to handle any incoming files, emails, and anything else so that it will stay neat and less intimidating when you have time to work on them.
  6. Plan your time. While this may sound a bit authoritarian, planning every hour of your workday can help you get a handle on the tasks you need to get done. Make sure to schedule in time for breaks and less stressful tasks as well.
  7. Prepare for tomorrow. Start your day off right by spending a few minutes at the end of each day planning what you want to get done the next day. This way, you can start working immediately when you get to work rather than spending time gathering your thoughts.
  8. Work around your most productive times of the day. Whether you’re dragging first thing in the morning or have a post lunch slump, don’t schedule important meetings or tasks around these times of day. Work with your natural rhythms to figure out your most productive times to get things done.
  9. Prevent interruptions. Your day shouldn’t be completely without relief, nor can you plan for all interruptions, but do your best to scale back on the number of things that can disrupt you. Shut your door, close your email, and send your calls to voicemail for a few hours to get some things done.
  10. Reward yourself. Give yourself little rewards for getting work done as motivation. After a few hours of uninterrupted work, allow yourself some time to surf the net or take a walk outside to break up your workday.
  11. Arrange for follow-ups. If you can’t keep yourself on task or just want a little outside support, arrange for a work buddy to check in on you periodically to make sure you’re not slacking.
  12. Stick to a routine. Following a routine can help you to get into the habit of not procrastinating. Doing the same activities each day might sound boring, but a routine can help you to prepare your body and mind for concentrating instead of running wild.
  13. Turn on music. While music can be a distraction for some, it can also be a great motivator. Pick out songs that pep you up and get you motivated to work, and you might get more done.
  14. Stop trying to make everything perfect. Procrastinators often feel that if they can’t do something perfectly, then they shouldn’t do it at all. The reality is that perfection is a subjective quality, and what you might consider imperfect might be just fine in reality. So, give yourself a break, do your best, and get done what you can.
  15. Don’t view work as eating up your leisure time. You’re less likely to tackle a large project if you view it as something that will eat up all your personal time, require you to work long hours, and ruin your social life. Instead, schedule time for everything, including fun, and simply don’t allow work to take up time you allot for relaxation. Studies have shown that working like this will actually help you get more done in less time.
  16. Allow some positive procrastination. Not all procrastination is bad. Sometimes we put off tasks by doing other smaller and easier tasks which need to get done as well. So long as you’re not missing deadlines or hurting your bottom line, this kind of procrastination isn’t necessarily a bad thing and you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it.
  17. Set a timer. One way to help reel in a wandering mind is to set a timer for a particular amount of time, whether it’s 5 minutes or an hour. When the timer goes off, stop and take a look at what you’re doing. If you’re off task, the timer can serve as a reminder to get back to what you should be doing. You can also use it to measure out intervals of time in which you’ll work, and when the timer goes off you can reward yourself for a job well done.
  18. Don’t multitask. If you have trouble sticking to one task, chances are you won’t have any easier of a time trying to do several tasks simultaneously. Instead, concentrate on one thing at a time so you won’t become distracted or overwhelmed.
  19. Modify your environment. You don’t have to turn your office into a sterile, unfriendly place to be, but you aren’t doing yourself any favors if you are surrounded by tons of distractions in your work area. Keep your desk and computer desktop simple, organized, and clean, and put away things that could serve as distractions from your work.
  20. Prioritize your activities. It’s very tempting to put off tasks that may not seem particularly important, so set up a priority system for completing tasks. Things with impending deadlines or of great importance should of course take precedence, but don’t let little things go completely by the wayside.
  21. Estimate your time. Before you begin a task, estimate how much time it will take you to complete it. This will help you to more effectively schedule your time throughout your day and keep you from feeling too stressed out or bored.
  22. Keep your mind and body fit. Stress, depression and illness can all play a big part in the decision to procrastinate, so do your best to keep your mind and body as healthy as you can by working out, eating right, and practicing relaxation methods that work for you.
  23. Don’t overdo it. It can be tempting to create a huge to-do list for yourself and overestimate your abilities, but don’t do it. You’ll be discouraged if you don’t finish everything you planned, so create short, manageable to-do lists that will leave you with a sense of accomplishment and a desire to feel just as productive tomorrow.
  24. Limit Internet usage. While the Internet can be a great productivity tool, it can also be a great productivity thief, stealing hours that you could have spent doing much more productive things. If you can’t manage your net time on your own try a program that will help you or simply disconnect your computer for short amounts of time so you can get to work.
  25. Create non-negotiable rules. Battle your procrastination with rules that you must absolutely follow, whether they stipulate that you will respond to emails for only one hour each morning or that you won’t ever leave unfiled papers on your desk. Share them with others and make sure you stick to them without exception.
  26. Consider what it means to do nothing. Have you ever really thought about what it means not to do a particular task? Could it cost you your business or your reputation? Often just thinking about the potentially serious consequences of inaction will be enough to get you up and running.
  27. Make a conscious effort to avoid excuses. Procrastinators are experts at making excuses both for themselves and others as to why they aren’t working. Anytime you hear yourself starting to make an excuse for not staying on task, stop and take a minute to think if you’re really justified in putting tasks off until later.
  28. Make your commitments public. One sure way to get yourself motivated is through fear of letting others down or embarrassing yourself. It sounds terrible, but it works. You’ll be much less likely to put off starting things if you know others are counting on you to come through.
  29. Put money on it. Depending on your level of commitment to procrastination, this could be a foolhardy mistake, but for most of us, the thought of wasting or losing money is motivation enough to step up. For entrepreneurs, many of the things you’re putting off doing are actually costing you money. Thinking about it like that can put things in a whole new perspective and give you motivation you didn’t know you had.
  30. Realize that easy isn’t always the best solution. Sometimes we choose to do things the easy way because it’s faster in the short term and we forget about the long term ramifications. While it might be against your procrastinator’s nature, sometimes putting in a little extra effort in at the front end can save you hours of work later on.
  31. Think less. Don’t over think tasks to the point of mental paralysis. Many people get stuck in the initial phases and fail to move on, but ideally you should be working as much as you are thinking or planning a project.
  32. Commit to five minutes. There are certain tasks that we just can’t avoid but that really are unpleasant. Tackle these by promising yourself that you’ll do at least five minutes of uninterrupted work. If you make it through the five minutes commit to five more until the project is finally completed.
  33. Balance your day. Don’t make your workday all work and no play. Make sure you take breaks and time to get away from your desk and relax.
  34. Decide if something is worth keeping right away. It’s easy to let mail clutter up your workspaces, but you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you decide whether or not something is important enough to keep immediately, then put it in a place where you’ll work on it or file it right then. This keeps stuff from piling up on your desk and keeps you from procrastinating in taking care of it.
  35. Use free time wisely. Have a few minutes waiting for your food to heat up in the microwave? Use that time to catch up on an email or file a few papers instead of just standing around. Those few minutes will add up over the course of the day.
  36. Take responsibility. You’ll never stop procrastinating until you can stand up to yourself and say that you don’t want to procrastinate anymore and mean it. Demonstrate your dedication to ending procrastination through daily action and eventually you’ll start to see a long term change.
  37. Identify where you procrastinate. Sometimes the key to beating your habit of putting things off is simply to figure out what it is you’re putting off. Maybe there are certain small tasks you hate or big projects you’re nervous about. Once you know what you’re avoiding you can start figuring out ways to make doing those tasks easier and more pleasant for you.
  38. Don’t get discouraged. Everyone has days when they’re simply more productive than others, due to lack of sleep, emotional issues or even just natural rhythms, so if you have an off day don’t feel like you’ve ruined your whole week and give up. Just start over tomorrow!
  39. Keep it simple. Don’t make getting things done more complicated than it needs to be. Clear off your desk, pare down the steps it takes to do tasks, and do whatever it takes to make accomplishing things as easy as possible.
  40. Do it now. It might seem overly simplistic, but the easiest way to keep from putting off tasks is just to do them as soon as you think of them. If you know you need to send an email to a client, don’t wait, just get it done. You’ll feel better about accomplishing it and you won’t have to worry about it later.
  41. Don’t put to-dos on your list that take longer than 30 minutes. This doesn’t mean that all your tasks should be quick, but if you have an item on your list that will take longer then you should try breaking it up into smaller chunks. This will keep you from feeling bogged down by one particular project.
  42. Determine your limits. Everyone has a breaking point or limits of what they can or are willing to do. Figure out where yours lie and don’t try to exceed them just to squeeze more into a day. You’ll end up tired and cranky and with less done than if you had respected your working limits.
  43. Alternate the pleasant with the unpleasant. It can be easier to jump into an unpleasant task if you know it will be followed by something you find pleasant. Almost everyone can muddle through an hour or two of more tedious work if they know there will be a period of relief or a reward afterwards.
  44. Make it fun. Something is only a chore if you think about it as a chore. Make your tasks as enjoyable as you can and they’ll be easier to stomach getting through.
  45. Be your own coach. Give yourself a little pep-rally before starting a big task. It might sound cheesy, but a little motivational thought can go a long way.
  46. Maintain perspective. Sometimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day trivialities of our jobs that we forget to think about the big picture. Consider how getting smaller tasks done will affect your long term goals both for yourself and your business.
  47. Remove uncertainty. Are you hesitating to start a task because you are uncertain of how to approach it or you just don’t know where to begin? Start figuring out where to begin as a separate task altogether and one that must be completed before you can move on. Do your research, ask questions, or just sit and think, whatever it takes to get you working.
  48. Give yourself positive feedback. Make a big deal out of checking things off of your to-do list and rewarding yourself for a job well-done. After all, you not only completed the task but conquered your procrastination as well.
  49. Work with others. Sometimes it can be helpful to seek the guidance and support of others to get motivated to work on a task. Use your coworkers and colleagues as inspiration and partners in getting your work accomplished successfully.
  50. Join a support group. For the serious procrastinator, it might be helpful to find a group of like-minded individuals to discuss your problems with motivation with. Often, others can be a great source of ideas and support and can help you get started on the right track.
  51. Stay in your space. If you’re like many people, you have a hard time staying at your desk and you tend to want to wander around to get a drink of water or talk with coworkers or employees. While this is acceptable some of the time, try to keep yourself firmly planted in your seat, as even small departures can send you way off track if you’re not careful.
  52. Let others know when you’re working. Help yourself to limit distractions by letting others know when you don’t want to be disturbed. It might sound rude, but sometimes you really just need to get things done without any interruptions. Put up an away message or hang a sign on your door if you need to.
  53. Create an incentive plan. Create a plan for yourself where certain intervals of work elicit certain rewards. The bigger the task accomplished, the bigger the reward so you have a reason to work hard.
  54. Learn to say no. One form of procrastination is taking on other tasks to avoid doing the ones you already have. Learn to say no when you have work to do.
  55. Be honest with yourself. Do you really need to spend half an hour looking for the perfect font for your presentation? Chances are, unless designing presentations is your only job, you’re simply wasting time. Learn to be honest with yourself about what’s really necessary and you’ll get a lot more done.
  56. Decide what doesn’t need to get done. Sometimes we procrastinate because the things we have on our to-do list aren’t really things that need to get done or are things that someone else could do. Delegate or eliminate these tasks from your to-dos and free up time and energy for more important tasks.
  57. Identify your biggest time eaters. For most people, this is the Internet, but for you it might be daydreaming, taking coffee breaks or talking on the telephone. Whatever it is, create a strategy to manage it so it doesn’t eat up your whole day.
  58. Change your thinking. Stop thinking "How will I finish this?" and start thinking "How can I start this?" After all, starting a project is the hardest part.
  59. Think about how procrastination makes you feel. Chances are pretty good that when you procrastinate you don’t feel good about it nor about yourself. There’s no reason to put yourself through this kind of damaging cycle. When you’re tempted to procrastinate, try imagining how you’ll feel later if you’ve gotten nothing done.
  60. Surround yourself with productive people. No one wants to be the office slacker, so surround yourself with others whose different attitudes towards work might rub off on you.
  61. Get started early. For most people, even those who aren’t great with mornings, accomplishing a lot in the morning can be a great feeling and will help you feel much better about the rest of the day. Remember, once you’ve gotten your work out of the way you can take a nap if you need to.
  62. Take care not to redo work. You can add hours onto your work time by going through files you have already handled or mail you didn’t bother to throw away. Take care of things once and do it well so you won’t have to come back later.
  63. Stop being so hard on yourself. You can work yourself into a rut by beating yourself up for not getting enough done. While it is important to be strict with yourself about time management and getting things done, in reality there is only so much you can get done in one day.
  64. Get some rest. One of the biggest obstacles to productivity is lack of sleep. How can you be expected to concentrate when you’ve only had a few hours of sleep? Whenever possible, try to get a full night’s sleep so you won’t be nodding off at your desk during the day or glued to the coffeepot.
  65. Don’t do the same task for too long. Unless you’re really wrapped up in what you’re working on, try to take breaks or chop up your projects into smaller parts. Doing the same task for too long can lead to feelings of tedium, and you’ll get bored or lose your motivation.
  66. Think of yourself in a positive manner. Keep a small list of things you’ve accomplished throughout the day or the week to help you think about yourself in a positive way. Thinking about all the hard work you’ve already done can help you feel more motivated to complete the rest of the work that you have to do.
  67. Keep it last minute. You can’t procrastinate if there isn’t time to procrastinate in. While you should allow a little cushion time in case of emergencies and unforeseen circumstances, sometimes the best thing a procrastinator can do is force him or herself to work under the gun so there will be no room for excuses.

How to: Outsource Your Entire Life – 20 Professionals Who Can Do Your Dirty Work

Tuesday, November 6, 2007 at 3:37pm by Site Administrator

At work, most of us have figured out how to delegate jobs and outsource responsibility so that we can tackle the fun stuff. But what about in our personal lives? Fortunately, if you’ve got a thick enough wallet, you can pay people to do virtually all of your day-to-day chores for you: grocery shopping, cleaning, watching the kids, and even placing your bet on prime real estate. Put your feet up and read below to learn how to outsource your entire life with the help of 20 professionals who can do your dirty work for you. Just don’t forget to tip.

  1. Maid: Employing a maid can mean anything from having a live-in assistant who sorts the laundry, irons and cleans the bathrooms to hiring a team of professionals to visit your home once a week to do the heavy dusting and vacuuming. Whether you’re simply too busy with fundraising, shuttling your kids from practice to rehearsal or heaven forbid, both, put that mop down and let the maid do it.
  2. Virtual Assistant: What’s better than a personal assistant? A virtual assistant who you never have to meet! Virtual assistants are gaining more and more popularity as the business world continues to outsource employees to minimize overhead costs and accommodate work-at-home types who can manage small offices from home. If you’re an entrepreneur — or just a very busy somebody — you’re probably tired of answering the phones, scheduling appointments and doing the bills. Stop worrying and heap all of those pesky duties onto your virtual assistant, who will happily do your dirty work from the comfort of his or her own home. In a perfect world, the two of you never even have to meet.
  3. Personal Shopper: Who has time to shop for new shoes, a fabulous party dress and Christmas toys for the kids? Not you, that’s for sure. Hire a personal shopper to work down your lengthy list of groceries, holiday shopping and whatever else you might want, er, need.
  4. Driver: Busy bees like you are constantly zipping around town to meetings, consultations, special events, and maybe even home, if you’re lucky. Do yourself — and everyone else on the road — a favor by hiring a driver so that you can dedicate your full attention to your BlackBerry or catching up on some sleep in the backseat.
  5. Personal Chef: Wouldn’t it be nice to come home after a long day to a scrumptious, professionally prepared meal that you didn’t have make yourself or pick up on the way home? A well-trained personal chef will surprise you with delicious dishes that suit your unique tastes and dietary needs. Some personal chefs even bring all of the ingredients with them, so you don’t have to bother your personal shopper with an extra stop.
  6. Car Cleaner: Anyone can drive their car through a gas station car wash, but your baby just won’t get the same attention and sparkly shine as she would with a personal car cleaner. Flip open the phone book and find yourself a professional car cleaner who will pick up your vehicle from your home or office and give it a good cleaning inside and out while you get on with your day. Sure beats the garden hose in the driveway.
  7. Event Planner: If you have a party to throw or a wedding to plan, for heaven’s sake, don’t do it yourself. Event planners are paid the big bucks because they know how to transform an everyday birthday party into the social event of the season. You’ll save yourself from bartering with the florist, chasing down the photographer and trying to book a venue when you enlist the help of these professionals.
  8. Publicist: You don’t have to be an A-list celebrity to require a publicist. Budding entrepreneurs, CEOs and even debutantes need a little help with promotions and branding. Whether you hire one person to book you for events or decide to hire an entire advertising and public relations firm to get your name out, utilizing their professional PR services means less networking for you to worry about.
  9. Security Personnel: Top-notch security comes in all shapes and sizes: a 6’4 bouncer who’s by your side whenever your step outdoors or even a hired security guard outside your business to protect you from sketchy loiterers. However you decide to protect yourself from the common riffraff, just remember that security personnel are responsible for handling the ultimate dirty work, and you don’t need to get involved.
  10. Headhunter: Human resources professionals have enough dirty work on their plates with concerns about avoiding lawsuits, setting pay standards and promoting harmony among employees. That’s why they often need to hire headhunters to actually go out and find new job candidates. Searching through gigantic online databases and sifting through piles of resumes is tedious. If you’re looking to hire a new professional at your office, start with a headhunter.
  11. Dog Walker: Taking your dog for a walk after work might seem like a nice way to spend time with your pet and get a little exercise, but only if the weather is perfect and you didn’t have to pick up after bathroom breaks. Instead of depriving little Fido of his daily walk just because its raining or temperatures are boiling, hire a dog walker who, as long as you pay him, has to indulge your pet.
  12. Nanny: Don’t believe that taking care of kids is considered dirty work? Many parents love taking care of their children, even when they’re sick, messy and need a diaper changing. For those who don’t, nannies are a godsend. Live-in nannies prepare breakfast, take the kids to school, doctors appointments, play dates, and anywhere else they can think of to keep them entertained and out of the parents’ way.
  13. Bill Collector: If someone owes you money but refuses to pay up, it’s time to call the bill collector. Don’t bother yourself with making empty threats or following the perp down a dark alley at night (if you’re really creepy). A bill collector will take care of the messy business of getting you paid so you don’t have to.
  14. Interior Decorator: The wallpaper’s peeling, your carpet is stained, and all you can think about is redoing every bathroom, bedroom and sitting room in the house. Redecorating is an overwhelming job that often takes several months. Stop agonizing over which variation of sage green you want for the dining room, and let the interior decorator handle everything from pillows to candlesticks. When it’s all finished, you may not even recognize the place as your own home.
  15. Real Estate Broker: Moving to a new city can be exciting, but finding a place to live is usually excruciatingly difficult. It’s hard to pick the best neighborhoods, school districts and apartments if you don’t have the time or money to fly back and forth looking at properties. Using the services of an experienced real estate broker will also save you from haggling over prices and fighting for leases in more competitive markets.
  16. The Intern: This poor guy or girl is hardly a professional and often isn’t even paid, but the intern schleps around a lot of dirty work for a lot of people. Even if you work in a smaller office, chances are there’s an intern somewhere near you. Props to you if you can snag the unlucky student before anyone else can. That way, you’ll win his or her loyalty and can delegate your least favorite tasks like licking stamps, sending faxes and fetching coffee.
  17. Gardener: The gardener is a fancy term for anyone you pay to rake your leaves, mow the lawn or plant a few flowers. Thoughts of "the gardener" typically include either the elderly, incoherent British man or a hot young stud a la Desperate Housewives, but the sulky teen across the street will do. Throw him a pair of gardening gloves and go watch football.
  18. Private Investigator: If you suspect a cheating spouse or a drug abusing teenager is lurking away from the house at night, don’t jump in the car and follow them to their secret rendezvous: you’ll surely get caught. Instead, hire a private investigator to chase after them and obtain solid proof of their dodgy behavior.
  19. Wet nurse: If you’d rather not breast feed your infant but know that breast milk has more nutritional benefits than formula, consider asking a wet nurse to feed your baby. The price? In Los Angeles, wet nurses can charge around $1,000 a week.
  20. Excuse Yourself: While you can’t pay someone to go to the doctor for you, you can make it look like you went. Paying $25 to an Oklahoma company will get you a fake doctor’s excuse that is passable in many workplaces.

Stop complaining about all of your day-to-day chores and start outsourcing. These 20 professionals can help you with virtually everything, from planning a party, cooking your meals, gathering evidence against wayward family members, and even nursing your baby so you’ll have more time to work on your tan or catch up on your reading.

The Headhunting Toolbox: 50 Freebie Tools to Find Your Next All-Star Employee

Monday, October 29, 2007 at 1:35pm by Site Administrator

The job market isn’t just tough on would-be employees: headhunters and recruiters must also work hard to promote their clients’ companies, weed through hundreds of applicants and online job sites, and face rejection during the fight to recruit (and keep) the most loyal, dependent, and capable job candidates. In order to help you locate all-start employees, we’ve come up with this list of 50 freebie tools and resources that are frequented by prime job searchers. Online Job Boards

Visit these online job sites to search for reputable applicants, or to post a job notification and let them come to you.

  1. Google Base: This widely popular site will grant you access to well-qualified job searchers. You can choose to upload job descriptions one by one or as an entire spreadsheet file.
  2. Simply Hired: Simply Hired connects to employer websites to provide job seekers with new opportunities.
  3. Fuuze.com: Fuuze.com allows employers to post an unlimited number of jobs on their site for free. Job postings will appear for up to 60 days.
  4. Post a Job USA: Post a Job USA narrows down your search by linking your post with job seekers who are looking for a job in your state.
  5. The Job Spider: Search the resume database or post a job for millions of job seekers to see. This site also allows employers to edit and delete job posts whenever they want.
  6. LuckyDogJobs: Post your jobs and search resumes for free on LuckyDogJobs.com.
  7. DegreedJobs.com: This site connects recruiters with only the job searchers that hold degrees. Post as many jobs as you want for free.
  8. Niche Classifieds: Job postings on this site’s new job boards are totally free. Search by industry to get more information.
  9. Post Job Free: This job board is still relatively new, it’s definitely worth checking out. Send them your job notification, and they’ll post it on several different job sites at no charge.
  10. Hire Fire: Job seekers are attracted to this site because of its custom-designed search options. Search the resume database or post, edit and delete your company’s job opportunities.
  11. WorkTree.com: Check out the Recruiter Zone on WorkTree.com to create a profile and obtain advertising benefits, job search tools, and access to resumes that are e-mailed directly to your inbox.

Tools for Finding Freelancers

Hiring freelancers and contractors is becoming more and more popular among employers. Consider these job sites aimed at freelancers to save your company from spending extra money in overhead. Companies can also start off an employee as a freelancer, and then decide to hire him or her as a full-time employee if they prove to be compatible.

  1. All Freelance: All Freelance is one of the most popular employment resources among freelancers. Post a job on this site for free, and instantly find yourself connected with thousands of professionals.
  2. Workaholics4Hire.com: This site connects employers with highly professional, pre-screened freelancers. Payment for the job first goes through Workaholics4Hire to ensure completion, security, and satisfaction.
  3. FreelanceSwitch: Post jobs for free on this all-inclusive freelancer resource site. Categories include: design/illustration, writing/blogging, programming, and more.
  4. Go Freelance: GoFreelancer is known on the Web as "the freelance work exchange." Post jobs for free and read articles about the freelancing industry to understand where your future emplyoees are coming from.
  5. Guru.com: Guru.com, "The world’s largest online marketplace for freelance talent," is the place to find capable freelance professionals. Choose to post a job listing or to conduct your own search to find the perfect candidate.
  6. Freelance BBS: Browse through the resumes of qualified freelancers or post contract jobs on Freelance BBS free of charge.
  7. Media Bistro: Search the freelance marketplace for serious individuals who want to work with you.

Networking

Sometimes finding your next employee is as easy as hiring someone you already know. Start networking to branch out and meet new contacts who can help you with your search by recommending candidates to your office.

  1. ecademy: ecademy is a popular networking site for "connecting business people" all over the world. Logging in as a Basic Member is free.
  2. Company of Friends: This business network is sponsored by Fast Company magazine. Connect with thousands of other business people to "collaborate, solve problems, and develop skills."
  3. hi5: Meet new people when you create a profile on hi5. Search new college grads to attract applicants with degrees, advertise your company’s perks and benefits on your profile, or just link up with other headhunters to share advice.
  4. MyWorkster: Employers are allowed to sign up separately from students and alumni to distinguish themselves as in-demand recruiters. Network with potential employees or custom create job postings in which you "can target geographic demographics, specific colleges, and or industry preferences."
  5. Meetup: Organize job fairs, mixers, or industry meetings when you network with the other members of Meetup.
  6. PowerMingle.com: With the help of PowerMingle.com, you can "extend your professional network" by meeting new contacts and organizing events and conferences.
  7. Networking for Professionals: Networking for Professionals is a large, well-respected networking community aimed at connecting business people and strengthening their professional relationships. Check here to find out if you are eligible for a free membership offer.
  8. Ziggs: Create and nurture business relationships with the help of Ziggs, a "one-stop source for creating and managing your online brand" or company. Membership is free.
  9. Ryze: The award-winning business networking site Ryze allows you to set up a member homepage, meet other recruiters and potential candidates, and solidify important deals.
  10. LinkedIn: Strict privacy settings ensure that your contacts and personal information are only shared with your friends. Sign up for a free account in order to post jobs or just meet other professionals in your industry.
  11. YorZ: Post job postings for free, accessible only to serious, professional YorZ members.
  12. Net Party: Want to meet the newest crop of talented young professionals? Find out about Net Party’s happy hour and networking events in your city.

Other Tools

Find employees, organize applications, and manage your client contacts with these useful tools.

  1. The Recruiter’s Toolkit: This comprehensive toolkit comes with lots of valuable tips for finding employees, researching the company you’re headhunting for, and deciphering resumes.
  2. 11 Web-based Project Management, Collaboration and Communication Tools: Read this article for more easy tools and tips for managing your files and contacts online.
  3. CareerBuilder.com for Employers: This resource is full of articles and ideas for helping you find the best employees. Browse titles like "9 Secrets to Hiring Seasonal Workers" or check out fast facts that shed light on the most current job market trends.
  4. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Access important employment information supplied by the U.S. Department of Labor, like the Compensation and Working Conditions Online and the Occupational Outlook Quarterly.
  5. Salary Calculator: In order to remain competitive in today’s recuriting industry, you have to be aware of what job candidates expect to make. They’ll overlook your post if your offer isn’t at least at the average scale.
  6. National Association of Colleges and Employers: Download free articles and statistics that will help you pinpoint which students and colleges you need to meet with.
  7. Recruiters Network: This Web site is the official "association for Internet recruiting." Meet new contacts on the recruiting forums, get tips for reaching more candidates, and search resumes.
  8. The Riley Guide: Enter the recuriters and employers section to find free tools and guides for finding the best employees.
  9. HR.BLR.com: Start a free trial to access gret recruitment tools like calculators, job description examples, and others.
  10. Recruiters Online Network: Post jobs, find support, and connect with future clients on the Recruiters Online Network.

News and Information

Check out these Web sites, blogs and other resources for tips on how to better your headhunting skills by staying on top of all the news and trends in the recruiting industry.

  1. Job Board Reviews: This excellent Web site has a section just for employers, where you can access the latest in industry news.
  2. Ask The Headhunter: This popular headhunting Web site includes great articles like "Top Ten Stupid Hiring Mistakes," that will help guide you through the recruiting process.
  3. Freelance Jobs News: This Web site posts articles about the changing landscape of freelance work. Educate yourself about new recruitment trends and what freelancers now expect from their future employers.
  4. The Virtual Handshake: Visit the official Web site for The Virtual Handshake to find out how you can access a free copy of this guide to business networking.
  5. Interview with a Headhunter: Take the advice that headhunter Nick A. Corcodilos offers in this interview from the Fast Company Web site to hone your recruiting and interviewing skills.
  6. RecruiterTools.com: The training tips and recruiting advice on Bill Radin’s Web site include articles on the purpose of recruiters, preparing for interviews, and much more. Plus, they’re all free!
  7. Hiring Online? 5 Tips for Maximum Reach: Scroll down to read this summary of innovative ways to advertise jobs online.
  8. Recruiter.com: Read about industry news, recruiting and headhunting training opportunities, and more.
  9. HR.com: While headhunters don’t often communicate with a company’s human resources department frequently, this site offers valuable tips and advice especially for recruiters. Use the free forums to swap stories and make new contacts.
  10. Interbiznet.com: Browse through blog postings and articles to find information about the electronic recruiting industry. Special reports include "Top Job Site Rankings," "Demographic Surprises Report," and "Risks & Benefits of Recruiting Blogs."

Arming yourself with the right tools will help you stand apart from other recruiters and employers who are all vying for the attention of qualified job candidates. These 50 freebies will help you understand what job seekers expect from their potential employers, giving you an added edge in the already competitive market.

12 Creative Ways to Monetize Your Body

Wednesday, October 3, 2007 at 2:49pm by Site Administrator

Raising extra money for you or your business can be tricky. You’ve exhausted your investors, you’re fresh out of ideas for fundraisers, and you probably shouldn’t ask to borrow any more money from your neighbors. What can you do, then, to earn enough dough to keep yourself afloat? Use your most basic natural resource– your body! We’ve come up with 12 creative but effective ways to monetize your body, from earning extra cash to maximizing unlikely advertising opportunities.

  1. Become a walking advertisement: The article "Body Billboards" discusses a new trend in body advertising. The author focuses on how large corporations pay regular people to walk around painted, tattooed, or sporting large billboards to advertise their products. If you’re an entrepreneur, you may not be able to afford to pay someone else to advertise for you, but you can do it yourself. Wear a billboard the next time you go to a parade or sporting event and where you know TV cameras will be scouting out interesting, if not odd, characters.
  2. Go logo loco: Fashion designers are constantly throwing couture gowns at celebrities for their walk down the red carpet at shows like the Oscars and Emmys. The number of people those designers can reach through television, magazines, and websites is staggering, and they recognize the investment. No one can buy that kind of advertising. If you’re an entrepreneur, you can also reach a bigger audience than the one you’re currently attracting, by making the most out of your everyday outfits. Print your logo on t-shirts, hats, backpacks, and anything else you can get your hands on. CafePress.com is an excellent resource for creating promotional items. Create enough designs for you and your friends to maximize your company’s exposure.
  3. Sell your plasma: Selling your plasma is an easy way to make money quickly. Plasma, according to eHow.com, is the "clear yellowish fluid portion of the blood that transports water and nutrients to all the cells in the body and is used for transfusions to people who have suffered shock, burns or trauma." You can sell your plasma up to twice a week since your body is constantly producing more plasma. Most medical centers pay between $20 – $35 each time you donate. Visit BloodBanker.com for a list of centers around the country.
  4. Tattoo Advertising: Believe it or not, companies are actually paying consumers to get all tatted up with their designs and logos. The company TatAD connects advertisers, consumers, and tattoo artists, as a way to provide "companies with loyal promoters and providing people with the compensation they deserve for being loyal all these years." LeaseYourBody.com recruits people to wear temporary tattoos, or logos, to advertise for certain companies. According to the TatAD’s company profile, "We’re all walking billboards anyway, so why not get paid to do it?"
  5. Become a sperm donor: In order to donate sperm, men have to undergo a screening process, but if you’re approved, the financial benefits are worth it. AskMen.com estimates that "you’ll earn between $50 to $200 per specimen," but the agency Building Your Family pays $250 – $500 for each sample. Click here to view an official sperm donor checklist.
  6. Have your eggs harvested: Donating your eggs isn’t quite as easy as donating sperm, but it does pay well. If you’re accepted as a donor, you will have to take certain hormones to increase the amount of eggs your body produces. A short, non-surgical procedure will then be conducted to retrieve your eggs. Check out the Integra Med America Web site for more information on egg donation and a link to fill out an application. Payments usually begin at $2,000.
  7. Sign up for a medical study: Participating in clinical research studies is a popular way of earning some extra cash. You can sign up for psychiatric studies, sleep studies, pharmaceutical trials, and even programs that study smoking habits and diabetes. This article discusses different types of clinical studies and how they operate. Visit Clinical Trials Listings to access a directory of all U.S. medical research studies. Search by disease, such as lung cancer, or keyword, like weight loss and migraines.
  8. Sell your platelets: Selling your platelets is a lot like selling your plasma, though you can only go once every two weeks. According to AskMen.com, you will undergo "an initial screening followed by the double-needle aphaeresis, which takes from 90 minutes to two hours." Volunteers usually earn around $50 per visit, so it’s still worth your time.
  9. Roll over and play dead: Who says you have to be able to act to get a TV gig? The popular show CSI is in constant need of new bodies to play their corpses, according to the article "Calling All Corpses for CSI," published on Wired.com. The article claims that "pay is lousy" but if you’re in desperate need of money, $136 isn’t too shabby for kicking back and putting your feet up for a few hours.
  10. Sell Your Hair: In Little Women, Jo nobly sells her hair so that her mother could buy a train ticket to visit her wounded father during the Civil War. Selling your hair nowadays can result in a lot more cash. The Web site TheHairTrader.com operates like a classifieds section for hair: users post the length and type of hair, along with an asking price. Buyers pay anywhere from $100 – $1,500.
  11. Check out Chibi Vision: This marketing concept hasn’t hit the mainstream quite yet, but it’s still worth checking out. Chibi Vision, "a U.S.-patented brand new advertisement method, is a digital walking billboard that you can fashionably wear as a backpack," as described in Japan Today. The idea is that companies will create their own commercials or other marketing footage, broadcast it on the backpack, and pay people to carry it around.
  12. Sell your body parts on eBay: Don’t worry, it’s not as grotesque as it sounds. GossyNews.com published an article which sheds light on another clever, albeit alternative way to monetize the human body. How does it work? According to the article, "Everywhere, people are getting into the act. Charles Hamburg, a software engineer from Dallas, Texas, is going to spend the next month with the Kotex Tampon logo emblazoned boldly across his back, for a reported sum of $48,998…Full-body advertising has arrived."

Making money by maximizing the potential of your own body is, well, priceless. These 12 ideas require little or no startup fees and can help get you back on your feet in no time.

Hiring Online? 5 Tips for Maximum Reach

Sunday, September 30, 2007 at 10:30pm by Site Administrator

Maybe I’m old school but personally, I can’t stand looking for work online. Let me revise that. I didn’t enjoy looking for programming and technical writing work online in the early part of this decade. On the other hand, looking for blogging gigs is infinitely easier online. I’m not sure I can explain why, but Ben Yoskovitz does in 9 Signs the Online Job Market is Broken.

I will say that online jobs are easier to find online. Offline jobs are easier to find in the newspaper. Or were. The Human resources departments of some companies have stopped publishing their ads in the weekend editions of big city papers in favor of jobsites. If I were still looking for offline work, I would much rather grab a newspaper and a red pen and circle or strike out listings.

The primary problem of searching online for work is that there are so many more people to compete with, and you simply cannot filter job listings in the same way as with a newspaper. This might be detracting jobseekers from looking for work online. (Statistics I collected from headhunters suggested that people 40 and over might be having this problem. However, things may have changed in the 5 years since.)

So how does all this fare for companies advertising jobs? This is simply my opinion based on my experiences of hiring or seeking work myself: used a mixed strategy.

  1. Don’t shun newspapers altogether.
  2. Post information on suitable job sites. (See Ben’s article.)
  3. Include a line in your email signature: “Company X now hiring. See our website, http://companyx.com/.”
  4. List information in social networking sites such as LinkedIn.
  5. Utilize your company blog to list jobs or at least link to your main site’s careers section.

When it comes time for you to hire people so that you can delegate work, don’t rely on a single channel for listing your jobs.

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