Category Archives: Knowledge Base

5 Ways to Be More Thankful

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Ways to Be More Thankful

As the calendar turns to the year’s penultimate month, all eyes are on the upcoming holidays. Thanksgiving is up next, full of hearty meals, parade floats, and American football games. This is an exciting time for everyone, and it’s a season we all look forward to.

Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for what you have, but sometimes being grateful is easier said than done. Life is full of hardships, many of which have been magnified by Covid-19 and other present-day calamities. Not to mention the growing rate of depression and anxiety forming among both children and adults today.

Being thankful in 2021 doesn’t have to be so difficult. With just a few steps, you can change your entire outlook on life and really be able to stop and smell the roses on your way to 2022. Here are some of the things you can do to be more appreciative:

1. Keep a Gratitude Journal

One of the simplest things you can do to become more thankful is to keep a gratitude journal. All you need is a notebook and a pen. Then, each day, write down at least one thing that you were thankful for before bed. Keep up this habit for at least a couple of weeks.

Some days you might struggle to find a single thing to write down. So do your best to write down at least one thing, even if it’s just thankful for oxygen. Over time, you’ll be able to pick out more and more things that you’re grateful for, which will gradually improve your outlook on life.

Use your Calendar to stay on top of your gratitude journal for as long as you need it. Creating an evening habit is your best bet so you can reflect on the day you’ve had. Consistency is critical here, so try not to miss a single day if you can help it.

2. Lend a Hand

Giving service to others is one of the best ways to be more positive and thankful regarding your own life. For starters, witnessing the struggles of others can be eye-opening to your life where your problems pale in comparison. Second, there are few feelings as heart-warming as hearing someone be thankful for you and your time and effort to help another human being.

With the holiday season starting to get underway, there are sure to be several community events where your services will be beneficial. Don an apron at a soup kitchen, volunteer at a nursing home, or deliver presents to an orphanage. Pay attention to the smile you’ll have on your drive home and think about how much more thankful you are for things now than you were starting the day.

Every time you plan to volunteer and serve, add the event to your Calendar. Feel free to send calendar invitations to friends and family members you think would enjoy the outing as well.

3. Make a Change

In addition to looking outside of yourself, take some time to do some introspection. Are there aspects about yourself or your situation that you can improve? It’s easy to blame the world when things aren’t going your way, but more often than not, there are steps you can take to improve your situation. In addition, you’ll find it much easier to be thankful after you’ve made the necessary changes.

Start by cleaning up your room. We’ve all put off this task for longer than we should, so there’s no shame in admitting it now. You’ll feel much better once your laundry pile is put away and your bedroom floor is finally clear once again. Isn’t it easier now to be thankful for where you live and the things you own now that everything is tidy?

Other changes will be more profound, such as breaking a smoking habit or getting back into shape. It will take a lot of hard work, but after making those changes, you’ll be so glad you did. You’ll be more thankful for your health and for the activities you can now participate in.

4. Say Thank You More Often

Need another simple solution to lift up your spirits? Say thank you more often! These two words can be powerful when used in repetition, significantly if you’ve fallen out of the habit.

Let’s say you forgot to bring your lunch to work, and that’s soured your mood a little. Of course, you might only be at Taco Bell for that reason, but still, take the time to say thank you to everyone who serves you. Doesn’t that make you feel a little better? You might even make the day of a food service worker who’s having an even more challenging day.

5. Surround Yourself With Loved Ones

Sure, people can ruin your day by being rude and inconsiderate. But, forget them for a second. Instead, you’ll find it much easier to be thankful when you surround yourself with supportive, loving individuals. Family and friends are so important if you want gratitude to abound in your life.

A social experiment showed that individuals increased their happiness levels by considerable amounts when they took time out of their day to call a loved one and express their gratitude to them. Now imagine if you made an effort to express such feelings regularly. Then, your family and friends will reciprocate your gratitude and fill your life with so much joy and kindness.

With Covid-19 regulations being lowered, make time in your Calendar to hang out with these essential people more often. Take an old friend out to lunch, go visit your grandparents, or go to the movies with your in-laws. These little activities will give you so much to be thankful for.

This Thanksgiving, make an effort to find more gratitude than ever. The holiday season will be much more enjoyable as you put these simple steps to the test to end the year.

Increase Your Energy for a Happier Life Balance

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Increase Your Energy for a Happier Life Balance

It wasn’t all that long ago that the term “work-life balance” was all the rage. But, how exactly did the business world view the concept?

For many, it’s recognizing that an employee’s work experience is only one aspect of their lives? The other consisted of family, friends, hobbies, and overall health. The objective of work-life balance is to ensure that work doesn’t interfere with life outside of work too much. When this goal is met, employees will be happier and more productive.

“Work-life balance” may seem like a relatively new concept, but it first became popular during the 1970s and 1980s. It was actually stressed by baby boomers who attempted to achieve a balance between work, family, and other areas of their lives. The changing experiences of generational groups, however, have led HR leaders to reassess the term. Generation X, according to Forbes, has placed a high emphasis on achieving a balance between work and family. It also uses PTO to focus on family life and non-work activities.

But, as millennials have entered the workforce with gusto, Forbes adds that “they are more interested in finding a career path that will support their’ lifestyle,’ which in this context means their life outside of work.” In other words, younger age groups have focused on pursuing jobs and employers that support the lifestyle they desire. Rather than securing a job and then creating a life around its hours, income, and other aspects, this approach inverts the conventional approach more associated with Boomers.

As a consequence, concepts like “work-life integration” have become increasingly popular. But, maybe we’re overthinking this. “Rather, we simply must manage our energy,” asserts Gila Vadnai-Tolub for McKinsey.

“We must learn critical skills to balance our energy levels to ensure we alternate high-performance periods with resourcing times,” adds Vadnai-Tolub. “Athletes do this by alternating training with resourcing activities, and we must do the same via activities that give us energy.”

The Primary Types of Energy

“There are four primary types of energy: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual,” states Vadnai-Tolu.

  • Physical energy. Most of us are familiar with this type. Generally speaking, it provides us with an indication of how tired we feel and how well our bodies feel. It’s for this reason that we understand we need to walk occasionally. However, it is not only long-term fitness plans that matter, but also daily refreshment moments.
  • Mental energy. This is often obtained from tasks that require analytical and cognitive abilities. For example, you may be physically fine but mentally exhausted after spending a long time concentrating. Each of us has specific mental tasks that drain or lift us.
  • Emotional energy. To achieve this, one must have connections with others – from giving and receiving love to helping a friend or colleague deal with a problem. Consequently, negative emotions such as fear, frustration, and anger drain energy and damage performance, she says.
  • Spiritual energy. When we do something we love, something that speaks to our spirit, we receive wisdom, compassion, integrity, joy, love, creativity, or peace as a result. For instance, it’s a common experience to become mentally and physically tired while working on a project. Nevertheless, we’re able to keep going because it is something of fundamental importance.

Being aware of these can help you better manage your energy throughout the day. For example, when you recognize that you’re physically or mentally zapped, you would take a break to recharge.

What’s more, you can find ways to give yourself an energy boost. For example, let’s say that you’re frustrated with how long a project has taken you to complete. Reminding yourself of the meaning behind your work or collaborating with a supportive college could reduce those negative feelings and give you a jot.

Why It’s Important to Manage Your Energy

You may be thinking that managing your energy isn’t all that big of a deal. After all, you can just brew a pot of coffee to wake yourself up. While that might give you a temporary boost to wrap up a tedious task, truly managing your energy has the following benefits, according to Karen Kallie R.N., M.A.C.P;

  • Accelerated change. Working energetically gets at the root of problems, makes them easier to resolve, and empowers you to provide positive, quick, and practical solutions, really a change from within.
  • Diminished resistance. Often, our attempts to change are stymied by the struggle, thereby impeding the flow of change. Energy work can aid in eliminating that struggle. When using energy, we can experience ease and grace instead of force and willpower.
  • The discipline of the mind. A more focused mind helps us channel our energy more efficiently towards our goals and fulfill our desires.
  • Enhanced clarity. As a result of eliminating emotional turmoil, negative attitudes, and exhausting thought patterns, one can perceive reality more clearly, oneself and others.
  • Improved intuition, creativity, and spiritual experience. By strengthening and removing old memories, beliefs, and maladaptive patterns from the overall energy system, the entire system functions better, enabling higher levels of function to expand.
  • Clearing energy blocks from our systems creates an opening for positive growth. To prevent ourselves from getting sucked into repetitive cycles filled with what we do not want, we create more of what we want in life. When our minds and bodies are relaxed, we become more open to allowing greater flow, which also helps us to quiet our ego and recognize other energies.

How you Can Increase Your Energy for Happier and More Balance Life

Establish fixed schedules for work.

When will your workday begin and end? Ideally, this should be based around when you’re most productive, aka your biological prime time. While not always possible, when you can establish a work schedule, you can avoid energy-depleting distractions, like emails or office visitors.

“Use technology to your advantage by using the various apps and digital reminders that make it more difficult for you to break your own rules and access things outside of work time,” advises Dr. Beurkens. “Although technology can feel like it’s taking over our lives and infringing on our work-life balance, we can actually use it to our benefit in helping us stick to the boundaries we know are healthy for us.” For example, you may choose to set time limits, turn off your active status, or even set up an auto-responder to let others know you won’t respond outside your regular working hours.

You should also share your calendar with others. Of course, this doesn’t have to be everyone on your contact list. But, letting your co-workers or family members know when you’re on and off the clock prevents work-life lines from getting blurred.

Eat, drink, and be merry.

No, this isn’t a DMB plug. But, if “Tripping Billies” lifts your mood and energy, then go for it. So, instead, this covers the basics of increasing your energy.

You are what you eat.

With the proper diet, you can keep your body healthy, feel energized, and stay optimistic. Plus, healthy food can be tasty. And, personally, I enjoy learning and preparing new recipes.

Additionally, cooking healthy doesn’t have to be a time-consuming endeavor if you try the following;

  • Get your hands on a cookbook featuring quick and tasty dishes, or look for health-conscious recipes online.
  • Take advantage of ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables.
  • You’ll find it easier to resist the temptation to order a pizza f you prepare a weekly menu and freeze meals in advance.

But, what exactly should you eat? As per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, an optimal energy diet should include fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains.

You should also consume various foods from various food groups to get the proper nutrients to help you stay energized throughout the day. You should eat fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, especially dark, leafy vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, which are high in nutrients. For healthy protein options, fish and legumes are available in a variety of forms. In addition, eat three servings of whole-grain cereal, bread, rice, or pasta each day.

Stay hydrated.

Another benefit of eating healthy? You may be consuming water-rich fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, oranges, and strawberries. That’s a simple way to ensure that you stay hydrated throughout the day.

In addition to water, green tea, Yerba maté, and coffee are also drinks that can stimulate energy. Just be careful not to overdo it with the caffeine. When the body withdraws from caffeine after consuming too much coffee, as an example, it can result in energy loss.

Also, it’s alright to have the occasional alcoholic beverage. “Moderate drinking seems to be good for the heart and circulatory system, and probably protects against type 2 diabetes and gallstones,” states the Harvard School of Public Health.

Promote happiness and creativity.

Having a positive attitude toward life enables you to tackle your tasks more effectively. Alternatively, stress can be exhausting and negatively affect your health. In addition, research shows stress can hinder creativity.

You can relieve stress by taking care of yourself and choosing creative outlets that you enjoy;

  • Each week, dedicate some time to de-stressing and relaxing.
  • If possible, enjoy some quiet time in the morning.
  • Consider learning a new hobby or taking art classes if you’ve always wanted to take one.
  • Decrease your exposure to negativity, like avoiding news overdose or hanging out with toxic people.
  • Practice gratitude and do something meaningful daily.
  • Enjoy everyday tasks. Some ideas would be making an ethnic meal for dinner, singing in the shower, learning a language during your commute, or gamification at work.
  • Take walks outside — without your phone.
  • Find ways to laugh, like watching funny videos or playing with your dog.

Get your body moving.

Feeling lethargic by the middle of the day? Have you ever felt exhausted by simple everyday tasks, such as grocery shopping or chores around the house?

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, getting 150 minutes of physical activity each week can add to your energy instead of taking it away. Why? When you exercise, you relieve stress and tension, strengthen your muscles, and boost your endurance, which improves your ability to perform other physical activities more efficiently.

Restrict your sleep.

“If you think you may be sleep-deprived, try getting less sleep,” states Harvard Health Publishing. “This advice may sound odd, but determining how much sleep you actually need can reduce the time you spend in bed not sleeping.”

Sleeping with this process facilitates easier sleep and results in a more restful night’s sleep. And, here’s how you can do it;

  • During the day, do not nap. If you do, keep it short and sweet, preferably under 20-minutes.
  • Try going to bed a little later the first night and getting four hours of sleep.
  • If you feel you slept well during the previous four hours, you may want to add another 15–30 minutes of sleep the following night.
  • Continue to add little by little, as long as you are sleeping soundly on successive nights.

Enter the dream world.

“Dreams play a crucial role in some of our most important emotional and cognitive systems, helping us form memories, solve problems and maintain our psychological health,” writes Alice Robb, in “Why We Dream.” Dreaming has the power to make us fitter, happier, and smarter.

However, how can we harness the power of dreams?

Just remembering can be a huge help to keep your dreams alive. “Reminding yourself of your intention as you fall asleep can yield a bounty of memories in the morning,” Robb writes.

A dream journal, she suggests, should also be kept nearby. Then, upon waking, pause for a few seconds before writing down what you dreamed.

While dreams often affect us automatically, Robb argues that they are amplified when we experience them directly.

It’s possible to improve the quality of our sleep in subtle ways as well, such as avoiding alcohol close to bedtime, exercising regularly, waking up naturally, and limiting screen time. You can also stay in deep sleep mode by meditating before bed and keeping your room cold (between 60 and 68 degrees).

And, we should treat dreams “like the real and profound experiences they are,” Robb writes. “Let’s give them their rightful place in the world.”

Overcome negative bias.

“The negative bias is our tendency not only to register negative stimuli more readily but also to dwell on these events,” explains Kendra Cherry for Verywell Mind. “Also known as positive-negative asymmetry, this negativity bias means that we feel the sting of a rebuke more powerfully than we feel the joy of praise.”

For example, on the way to work, you get into a spat with your significant other. You then dwell on this for the entire day. Consequently, you get short with your co-workers, make poor decisions, or can’t focus on the task at hand.

Our ancient ancestors had to pay “attention to bad, dangerous, and negative threats in the world was literally a matter of life and death,” adds Cherry. “Those who were more attuned to danger and who paid more attention to the bad things around them were more likely to survive.” Today, however, this can strain relationships, harm your reputation, and make it difficult to be optimistic.

The good news? You can overcome the negative bias by;

  • Stop the negative self-talk. Instead of dwelling on past mistakes, you cannot change; consider what you have learned and what you will apply to the future.
  • Reframe the situation. Find a way to reframe the events in a more positive light when you interpret something negatively.
  • Establish new patterns. If you find yourself dwelling on negative things, try to distract yourself with an uplifting activity like listening to uplifting music or going for a walk.
  • Savior positive moments. Take a moment to appreciate the good things that happen in your life. Think about the wonderful feelings the memory evokes several times in your head.

Make work a series of sprints.

Unable to think clearly? You’re overloaded and have the fragmented attention of a distracted person. So how can you remedy this? Sprint into your most essential tasks selectively.

This idea comes from engagement consultant Tony Schwartz. In the New York Times, Schwartz argues that since quality work helps you concentrate, and you can only focus for a short time, you should be aware of how and when you focus on doing your best work.

“… it’s better to work highly focused for short periods of time, with breaks in between, than to be partially focused for long periods of time. Think of it as a sprint, rather than a marathon. You can push yourself to your limits for short periods of time, so long as you have a clear stopping point. And after a rest, you can sprint again.”

That last night is crucial. As a renewable resource, your mental energy does not replenish on its own. You must be responsible for maintaining it. FYI, using your phone isn’t “taking a break,” either. Instead, go for a stroll, daydream, or talk to a colleague,

Take the day off.

Do you have unused vacation time from your job? If so, make sure to take use them up!

The benefit of taking days off regularly is that stress can be reduced, and burnout can be avoided. This will give you a chance to clear your head, reflect, and recharge. It may even be beneficial to take a mental health day where you do nothing except cater to your health and wellbeing — even if it’s just spending the day reading in your PJs.

Reach out for help.

As opposed to neglecting or suppressing negative thoughts or memories, address them by talking to someone. By expressing your feelings out loud to an understanding person, you’ll be able to release what’s unspoken. What’s more, the other party, whether it’s your spouse, co-worker, mentor, or therapist, can help you develop solutions to your problems.

Image credit: Anna Tarazevich; Pexels; Thank you!

10 Entrepreneurs That Will Inspire You to Define Success on Your Own Terms

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Entrepreneurs That Will Inspire You to Define Success on Your Own Terms

Success as an entrepreneur is difficult to explain. While we immediately think of it as making a tremendous amount of wealth, success doesn’t always mean that. Rather it comes down to defining it on your own terms and directing your life to live by those principles.

Below are 10 entrepreneurs who you might not have heard of, but have achieved their own versions of success and inspire you to do the same.

To me, this list of entrepreneurs represents a number of things:

  • Their views of success are very different from traditional views of success.
  • They remove all the glitz and glamour and focus on key values and principles that have pulled them through to the other side.
  • They are honest about their own stories and admit when things weren’t as good or that they made mistakes.

These reasons amongst many others are why I think these are inspiring entrepreneurs.

1. Leon Ho, Founder & CEO of Lifehack

Leon is the CEO and founder of Lifehack. His story is how he went from living a typical lifestyle to running a successful business and helping people re-prioritize life and focus on what’s most important.

For years he spent his life expanding his career thinking that in order to succeed, you’d have to sacrifice certain aspects to live it. After hitting a low point from that way of thinking, he realized what’s so wrong with that logic.

He began re-prioritizing his lifestyle and is living a happier and more successful life on his own terms. He is now even sharing all his experiences and skills he has learned throughout his journey with the Full Life Framework Course.

2. Laurel Egan Kenny, Founder of Turningpoint Communications

Laurel Egan Kenny is the founder of Turningpoint Communications and attributes a lot of her success to the relationships she’s made. While there were definitely some that were bad – such as former employees using her own training material for their own purposes – there were several good ones. Those relationships pushed her business to new heights and has shaped how she approaches clients and her staff.

3. Ameet Khabra, Owner of Hopskipmedia

Ameet Khabra is the owner of Hopskipmedia. He defines success as being able to balance work and life. Many entrepreneurs devote their entire being into a business and that can sometimes backfire. Similar to Leon, before he changed, people spend so much time on one thing that other areas of their life start to slip.

Success to Ameet isn’t always about having a massive and thriving business at the cost of your own sanity. It’s all about balancing everything.

4. Andrei Vasilescu, Founder of DontPayFull

Andrei Vasilescu, founder of DontPayFull, thinks that success is defined by how many ideas you come up with that actually work or exceed expectations. While performance is relative to one person, a simple metric of determining if you’re making a profit or not is a good baseline.

Even though that’s success in essence, looking at the number of ideas that turned profit is a good measurement of whether you’re making it or not.

5. Kevin Tucker, Founder of SOLitude Lake Management

Delving more on the performance-based success, Kevin Tucker believes success comes down to looking after four things well. He is the founder of SOLitude Lake Management and attributes looking after employees, clients, community, and environment as crucial measurements of success.

By looking over those four areas well, his business has been growing over time year after year with no issues.

6. Stephen Alred Jr., Founder of KnowCap IO

According to Stephen Alred Jr., founder of KnowCap IO, success goes beyond the surface level of making enough money to stay in business. Success is defined by the quality of life too. If you’re working long hours and barely making any money, that’s not genuine success.

What’s essential is that the money you’re making is letting you afford to change your lifestyle in such a way that you can live a more ideal life.

7. Tim Brown, Founder of Hook Agency

Founder of Hook Agency, Tim Brown is one of the inspiring entrepreneurs who thinks in a similar fashion to Stephen Alred Jr – being able to do what you wish to do. While Stephen Alred Jr focused on life in general, Tim Brown’s success comes from being able to move his business in the direction he wants to.

That kind of thinking is powerful as even though the journey has ups and downs, he is still thriving thanks to being able to move his business how he wants to without much worry.

8. Sue Duris, Founder of M4 Communications

Sue Duris is the founder of M4 Communications and has built her success around customer retention. Of course, being able to retain and gain more customers will have an increase in your revenue over time.

However it’s still shocking how this concept isn’t always applied. After all, there are some businesses out there that thrive simply because they have carved out most of that market and are the only option.

When you prioritize looking after the clients you do have, success will come and Sue Duris’s company is an example of that.

9. Nate Masterson, Founder of Maple Holistics

Founder of Maple Holistics, Nate Materson has gotten a name for himself by doing what other successful entrepreneurs have done. Taking a page from Kevin Tucker, he too looked after those four key aspects. He kept an eye on himself while looking after his staff, the community, the customers, and the environment.

Even though this success story is similar to others, it goes to show that simple methods are often the answers to thriving and being successful.

10. Erin Paruszewski, Founder & CEO of Alkalign Studios

The final of the inspiring entrepreneurs is Erin Paruszewski. Her success story of Alkalign Studios is a reminder that just putting in the effort doesn’t guarantee success. When working for someone, the payoffs are very clear – exchange your time for money. But when going into business, you’re putting a lot of risk that it might not work out.

That aspect alone drove Erin to grow a business into something that she can be proud of. Behind the scenes, careful planning and taking risks that she considered worth it brought her to a business that’s made her successful.

Final Thoughts

Even though success is about making enough money to make something of it, there are different ways to get there. It’s not always big and flashy but rather success can be something more simple. And these inspiring entrepreneurs show that to us every single day.

You don’t need a million-dollar idea to kick off. Rather you need a certain mindset and have particular values you can follow through that can drive you to success.

Being Cold Can Hurt Your Productivity

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Being Cold Can Hurt Your Productivity

These final months of the year keep getting colder and colder. Of course, some people love the cold, especially after a blazing hot summer. However, no matter how you feel about the cold, it’s essential to understand that being cold can actually hurt your productivity.

When you’re cold, your body expends more energy trying to keep warm. Unfortunately, this can make it difficult to focus and maintain energy and power throughout a long shift. Cornell University performed a study that showed that employees committed 44% more errors in their work in a cold setting instead of a warmer one.

Here are some tips for warming up your body and your brain so that cooler weather doesn’t compromise your seasonal productivity:

Grab a Space Heater

It’s understandable if you don’t want to crank up the heat throughout the entire building if you’re just a little bit chilly. Not only might this inconvenience others, but it can also run your utility up considerably. A small space heater can do the trick in this scenario.

Space heaters can be set to target temperatures so that they aren’t constantly running but will quickly flip on when things get chilly. However, leaving a space heater on for too long or unattended can be a fire hazard, so be sure to unplug it when you leave the room. Additionally, keep the surrounding area around it clear, and you won’t experience any problems.

If you want a more focused heating experience, try a heated blanket. You can wrap the “blankie” around your legs or shoulders to warm up key areas of your body. Just make sure the heat and comfort don’t make you drowsy, causing you to lose productivity.

Bundle Up

Shorts are so comfortable, but you’re going to need to start bundling up a little bit more. Just look on the bright side; winter layers offer many more opportunities to show off your style and fashion sense. Besides, you can always peel off extra layers when you’re feeling too warm. You can’t conjure up a jacket if you leave it at home.

For at-home workers, bundling up presents an interesting dilemma. The outfit of choice during the latter half of the year often includes a pair of cozy sweatpants. While it’s essential to keep warm, make sure your clothing isn’t putting you in the wrong state of mind for a productive day.

If you get cold hands but need to type all day, try on a pair of fingerless gloves. There are all kinds of typing gloves on the market to keep your digits warm while retaining dexterity.

Do Some Exercise

If you feel the cold making it difficult to focus, get up and do some light exercise. A few small exercises will get your blood pumping to warm up your body and reactivate your mind. Of course, there’s no need to hop on the treadmill to warm up; just do something simple at your desk.

For example, you can set a recurring reminder in your Calendar to stand up and do 15 jumping jacks every hour. The people in our office do all kinds of exercise during work. Jumping jacks, situps, running in place, or going up and down the stairs in the building, stretching, and a variety of other activities to keep the blood flowing and the mind awake.

These short activities won’t make for much of a weight-loss routine, but they will help keep you warm and active during the fall and winter months. In addition, coworkers can join in on exercise fun, leading to a fun office tradition.

Watch What You Eat

What you put into your body can help regulate your temperature or make matters worse. You might love ice cream more than anything in the world, but that’s certainly not going to help you focus on productivity on a chilly day. Your best bet is to try something warmer. Coffee, a little green tea, hot chocolate — there are many options.

Coffee and tea are popular drinks, especially at this time of year. Sipping on a hot drink will warm you inside and out. Not to mention that these drinks also contain properties that are designed to perk you up even on the earliest and chilliest of mornings.

Be wary of the effects of these drinks — and watch to see if they’re helping more than hurting. For example, some people are sensitive to caffeine, so while you might enjoy getting warmed up and energized, your hyperactivity might make it difficult to concentrate on project details. You also need to stay hydrated even when it’s cold, so be wary of drinking too much of something that’s not doing the job.

Get Some Sun

Not only does the sun help warm you up, but it’s also an important ward against seasonal depression. Sometimes the cold and dark affects you more mentally and emotionally than it does physically. Shining some extra light in your life will help on both counts.

During times and regions where the sun doesn’t shine in too often, look at compensating with some artificial light. For example, a small desk lamp can be strategically placed to light up your workspace when outside is nothing but dark and gloomy. You can even alarm clocks that simulate the rising sun, helping you start each morning on a more positive note during the colder months.

Spend Time With Others

Time spend with other people isn’t a suggestion to huddle together with your coworkers like penguins. Instead, try to make time for healthy social interactions. Sharing a laugh with others is a great way to keep seasonal depression at bay and warm up your emotional state.

Different challenges such as Covid-19, remote work, and even social anxiety make this challenging for some. So get to your Zoom calls a minute early and chat with your team or join online groups with people sharing similar interests. A little social interaction can go a long way when the winter woes are pulling you down.

Baby, it’s cold outside,– but that doesn’t mean your productivity has to freeze over. Instead, keep yourself nice and warm, and you won’t have a problem making the next months just as purposeful as the rest of the year.

9 Best Life Hack Sites That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

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Best Life Hack Sites That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

Everyone is looking to make the most out of their time these days and one of the best ways is through life hacks. People are so passionate about these that there are several sites available that document and provide useful pointers on life hacks.

Below I’ve compiled a short list of some of the best sites that can supercharge your productivity if you apply the lessons they offer.

1. Lifehack

As the name suggests, Lifehack is loaded with all kinds of practical tips to help you “hack” your life. It doesn’t just focus on productivity but also tried and true methods including the Full Life Framework to enhance relationships, improve health, and help you live a balanced, fulfilling and successful life.

What’s also nice about this site is unlike others, the design of the site makes it easier to read. It’s comforting and convenient, making it one of the best life hack sites around!

2. Digital Inspiration

Digital Inspiration houses all kinds of helpful – and inspiring – things that are in the tech world. They cover things like website tools, blogging, tech news, computer help, provide online guides and much more. Their premise is to provide you with digital inspiration and practical tips to solve problems that we could run into when doing those things. It’s all around a handy site.

3. MakeUseOf

A self-explanatory name for the site, MakeUseOf is about leveraging items that enhance your productivity. Where it differs from other life hack sites is that it focuses on digital productivity.

We all use digital products in our lives. Being suggested other digital gear or getting tips on technology can help us. Especially if they all help us in being more productive than before.

4. Productivity501

Productivity501 exists to remind us that there are different kinds of productivity. Yes, all productivity works towards the same purpose – results, comfort, and happiness. However, this site breaks down and shows how even the simplest of tasks can be done in a more productive way.

For example, one productivity trope that’s used often is how we can be doing more by simply doing more. Productivity501 provides gentle reminders how things like learning how to prioritize tasks is a much better way to get things done rather than trying to do everything all at once.

5. Dumb Little Man: Tips For Life

Immediately with the name it’s intriguing. The last thing you’d expect is for DumbLittleMan to be another one of the best life hack sites around. But it’s the truth. It’s overflowing with smartness and several useful tips on life.

Even though the site focuses on general happiness, success, and wealth, it’s still a good productivity site. The advice that it offers is short and to the point about what you need to know. It’s not rambling on for minutes about what are the best strategies. This gives you more time to go and apply the things they mention so you can see the results for yourself.

6. HowStuffWorks

As the name suggests, HowStuffWorks is able to cover a wide array of things and explain how it all works. How this ties into productivity is simple. In order to make the most out of certain tactics, it helps to know how things work. Everything from beef jerky to how we are specifically impacting climate change, understanding how these things work allows us to better address those issues.

Paired with the fact the site covers things like adventure, auto, lifestyle, science, tech, culture and many more, it’s a site that comes in handy if you want to figure out how stuff works.

7. How-To Geek

Being a geek these days isn’t that big of a problem compared to what it was like a few decades ago. At this point, most people have embraced this lifestyle, though haven’t leveraged it. Case and point: How-To Geek is a site created by geeks for geeks that share all kinds of useful tidbits of information like how VPNs work or how to number or label equations in Microsoft Word.

While it’s a tech magazine first and foremost, a geek lifestyle is something more than being interested in technology or gaming as this site suggests.

8. Gizmodo

This site has been recommended many times over from all kinds of other productivity sites so naturally this site makes the list. Gizmodo focuses on technology with more emphasis on gadgets and devices as well as overall technology.

If you’re looking for insider tips on coping with technology today and leveraging it, check out the site.

9. AddictiveTips

The last of the best life hack sites to show off is AddictiveTips. This is not just another tech blog, this site leans more towards free and simple solutions to everyday problems. For example, the site talks about shortcuts in Gmail and what torrent sites are still working.

On top of that, the tips and tricks they mention are true to their name in that they’re highly addictive. They’re addictive due to their simple application and makes you feel like you should be doing these for the rest of your life. There is a surprising number of tips mentioned in the site that can be applied to the world at large.

Final Thoughts

The best life hack sites around are meant to make our lives easier and these sites do live up to that expectation. They cover a wide array of topics and the advice and tips offered are simple to apply and quick to read through and uncover.

If you have some downtime and want to make the most of it, check out any of these sites and see what they have to say about certain aspects.

4 Tips for Revamping Team Synergy Now

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Revamp Your Team Synergy

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Two heads are better than one. Many hands make light work.

There are so many ways we talk about working together, but one word seems to pop up a lot: synergy. However you choose to characterize work, synergy is the way companies get things done. Synergy leads to higher productivity, fewer duplicative efforts, and optimal use of talent. But these days, it’s not always an easy dynamic to achieve.

Remote and hybrid working arrangements can make achieving synergy among teams and across departments challenging. You might once have thought these measures were temporary and things would return to a pre-pandemic normal. But the workplace has changed forever, and your team’s expectations have changed right along with it. Here are four tips for revamping your team’s synergy now.

1. Give the Gift of Time

The pandemic has changed the way we think about time when it comes to work. Normal routines have been altered by closures, safety concerns, and the voluntary cessation of unnecessary activities. The distortion is particularly acute to those working remotely.

Nonetheless, work life goes on. There is still a need to schedule appointments, meetings, and interviews, even if they’re going to be virtual. These interactions still need to occur with customers, with clients, within teams, and across departments.

You can increase synergy by using scheduling software that uncomplicates the entire process. Give everyone 24/7 access to everyone else’s calendar, and anyone can put a meeting in an open slot. It’s also a hassle-free way to accommodate the work schedule for remote workers who may not be clocking in for a traditional 9-to-5 work day.

You can’t cultivate synergy without encouraging people to spend quality time together. If you give your team an easy way to make that happen, they’ll have more opportunities to collaborate. And that is the timeless way to make them measurably productive no matter where they are.

2. Blow Lines of Communication Wide Open

Clear, open, and honest communication is a cornerstone of team synergy. Without that type of communication occurring at all levels, teams become breeding grounds for misinformation. That, in turn, feeds distrust and anxiety, which are completely antithetical to creating positive synergy.

Synergy also relies on the exchange of information and ideas, so communication must be a two-way channel. You may be the person charged with setting goals for your team, but you shouldn’t do so in a vacuum. Remember, you’ve hired some talented people, so give them a shot at weighing in on the discussion.

Many team members may work remotely all or part of the time, so make sure your team has the tech tools they need to keep ideas flowing freely. Messaging, meeting, and collaboration software are essential to synergy.

One-on-one, team, and departmental communication isn’t as easy as walking down the hall anymore. Providing a safe space for frank discussion and expression of ideas, and the tools required to facilitate them, keeps everyone part of the conversation. Remember that many voices make for good synergy.

3. Switch Up the Players on the Field

You can have all the very best talent on your team, but it won’t be a winner without the right chemistry. Given the changes to the work environment, the formula might have changed. If so, you might need to switch it up to get your synergy back on.

Of course, the differences between individual team members are critical. A football team needs slow, fast, beefy, svelte, feet-on-the-ground, and fly-through-the-air players to win. A field full of quarterbacks only will fail miserably.

To foster your team’s success, you need to have the right combination of players in the right positions, using their individual strengths to play as a unit. A pre-pandemic team leader might need to take a supporting role due to work-from-home realities. Another might be stepping up in unexpected ways. Aim to synthesize everyone’s strengths while honoring the new realities of how they work. 

You are the coach in this analogy, which means it’s your job to shake up the lineup if the team’s synergy is waning. It’s OK if you don’t get the combination right the first time. But once you do, make no substitutions as long as your team is on a winning streak.

4. Empower Your People

There’s always the temptation for leaders to micromanage team members, but never more so than when they can’t keep an eye on them. Don’t merely resist the temptation. Do the opposite.

Lead with generosity by giving your team more control and being less of an overlord. You might be disappointed with some results but ridiculously delighted with others. You will be providing your team with some valuable lessons that will encourage them to be better employees.

Among the benefits of empowering team members are increases in creativity, collaboration, and corporate loyalty. This doesn’t mean you hand over total control, since, after all, the proverbial buck will continue to stop with you. Your empowered team will still count on you for input and guidance.

Team members are not unlike students who want to impress the teacher. But what they’ll realize is they can’t complete an assignment without the talent and insight of the other members of the team. For that, they need synergy.

There Is No “I” in Synergy

Synergistic results are unpredictable because you never know for sure what solutions will emerge from the intersection of diverse talents and skills. Not to worry — innovation is unpredictable.

What is predictable is that teams without synergy are lackluster and unproductive. Time, communication, and empowerment were easier deliverables back in the day. Although more challenging, they aren’t impossible to deliver now.

All it takes are the right tools, agile leadership, and a commitment to getting all those moving parts working together. The team may look a little different now, but there’s still no “I” in team — or in synergy.

Just Start — Reducing Anxiety

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Just Start — Reducing Anxiety

Did you know that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S.? In fact, anxiety affects 40 million adults in the United States each year, aged 18 and older. Or, to put it another way, 18.1% of the population each year. And, the COVID-19 pandemic has only further impacted our mental health.

There is some good news, however. And, that’s that anxiety disorders are highly treatable. For some, there may even be strategies that you can use right now that will offer immediate relief. But, for others, you may have to speak to a mental health professional.

In either case, if you want to reduce anxiety, then your first step is just to start. As tennis legend Arthur Ashe once said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

Anxiety; Know your enemy.

Before getting too far ahead of ourselves, let’s quickly run down what anxiety is and why it shouldn’t be ignored.

I don’t like to even talk about mental health — and many people feel the same. My feelings are not because I don’t get anxious — but rather the fact that talking about it makes me feel worse. And — why do we have to use the word “mental?” Seriously, these things are as much physical as anything.

“Anxiety is our body’s normal reaction to stress,” explains the staff at McLean Hospital. “When we’re presented with potential danger, our bodies respond to that stress.”

A similar emotional response is fear. When our body responds to an actual or perceived threat, the result is anxiety. And, this is caused by anticipating what will happen in the future.

Examples include waiting to hear back from your doctor, preparing for a job interview, or speaking in front of a crowd. It’s completely normal to feel anxious. However, this can become a problem when anxiety is more than a temporary fear or worry.

“A person who has an anxiety disorder may always be anxious or may easily become anxious about many things,” explains McLean. “Temporary fear or worry is normal, but if the feelings associated with anxiety disorders linger, they can continue to get worse over time.”

Research has found that anxiety disorders can be caused by genetic and environmental factors. For example, being exposed to stressful events as a child. When left untreated, this can lead to a wide range of symptoms, including;

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Restlessness
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Feeling easily fatigued
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Difficulty contracting
  • Substance abuse

Overall, anxiety can have a negative impact on all areas of your life. As such, it should be addressed ASAP. And, you can use the following eleven techniques to get started.

1. Stay in your time zone.

Anxiety is a future-oriented emotion. To combat the worry of what might happen, “reel yourself back to the present,” says Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety. Ask yourself the following questions;

  • What’s happening right now?
  • Am I safe?
  • Is there something I need to do right now?

What helps me the most is asking, “What are you saying to yourself.” When I first learned about this technique, I had to tune into my inner voice. When I tuned in — I found I was feeling “imposter syndrome” and saying terrible things to myself. The inner convo was something like this: “You’re a piece of shit and don’t forget it,” and “you are nothing and never will be,” “you can’t do this job; you always let people down.”

You wouldn’t say any of those things to your worst enemy — so WHY would you say that to yourself?? Be aware of what you say to yourself.

If there is something you need to do for yourself — schedule another time to revisit your worries. Preferably, your revisiting plan and what you can do should be later in the day so those distant scenarios won’t throw you off track too much.

2. Just breathe.

Slow, deliberate belly breathing can help you calm your body almost instantly. What’s more, it’s easy to implement, free, and can be done anywhere. To get started, follow these five steps:

  • Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and breathe naturally
  • Put one hand on your belly, the other on your chest. As you breathe in deeply, count to four. Count to three as you hold your breath and four as you exhale. As you inhale, move your hand inward; while exhaling, move it outward.
  • Focus only on the sensation of your breath.
  • If your mind begins to wander, refocus on your breathing.
  • Repeat as necessary.

The reason why this is so effective is that breathing exercises encourage you to focus on the present. And it has the ability to slow down your heart rate.

Think about getting better at breathing and maybe turn this into a meditation.

3. Try the 5-4-3-2-1 coping technique.

The 5-4-3-2-1 coping technique is another easy and fast way to help calm your anxiety whenever you feel overwhelmed.

It works like this:

  • Five. Name five things that you see. It can be anything from a bird outside your window to the artwork on your wall.
  • Four. Next, name four objects that you’re able to touch. Everything from a knickknack on your desk, hair, or the floor that your feet are touching is fair game.
  • Three. Pick out three things that you can hear. This could be birds chirping, a running air conditioner, or your breathing.
  • Two. Notice two things that you can smell, like the brewing coffee or your perfume or cologne.
  • One. Finally, take note of a taste, like the flavor of the gum you’re chewing.

When paired with deep, slow breathing, this technique works best.

4. Use power language.

“Mind-body research shows that the words you use can have a powerful effect on how you feel,” says Deanne Repich, Director: National Institute of Anxiety and Stress. “Most anxiety sufferers use negative words that destroy their self-esteem and promote a sense of loss of control,” aka “victim” words.

“Victim words perpetuate your anxiety and fear,” adds Repich. “They create a negative self-fulfilling prophecy that results in anxious thoughts and physical symptoms.”

How can you defeat victim words? Replace them with “power” language. These are words that promote your sense of self-worth.

As an example, converting “I can’t control my anxiety” into “I can control my anxiety, and I’m learning skills to conquer it.” Another would be rephasing “I shouldn’t be late for dinner” to “I may be late for dinner. It’s unfortunate, but it’s OK.”

“Think of your inner power like a muscle, just like any other muscle,” Repich says. “The more you use it, the more toned it becomes and the more you can accomplish.” And, with practice, you’ll be able to eliminate anxiety.

5. The throwback hack.

Georgia Foster and Virginia Alexandra, co-authors of “The 3 Minute Anxiety Fix.” suggest that you look at photos whenever you feel anxious or have anxiety. Ideally, it’s stored on your phone or the cloud so that it can be accessed whenever you need it. This is effective since it sparks a great memory.

They also say that your favorite songs and inspirational quotes can help transport you to a better place.

6. Download a relaxation app.

Mindfulness apps, such as Headspace and Calm, offer guided meditations to help release tension, focus, and sleep. Best of all? Most of these apps feature meditations that last only one to five minutes.

Believe it or not, it only takes a couple of minutes of mindfulness to reduce anxiety. I use Calm religiously because of the wide range of offerings on the app for varying moods and situations (yo! even storytime to listen to while you go to sleep).

7. File it.

Have you ever lied awake at night worrying about everything that needs to get done? If so, you can use the “File It” technique to keep track of these items while putting your mind to ease.

To perform this exercise, follow these steps:

  • Close your eyes and imagine folders on a table. But, there’s also a file cabinet on it.
  • Next, pick up each file and label it. For example, if you need to make a phone call put that in the right folder.
  • After naming the file, acknowledge the racing, why it’s important, and then file it away.
  • Repeat this process whenever a thought pops into your mind.

The idea behind this is that you’re acknowledging and naming your triggers. More importantly, you’re examining them, filing them by importance. As a result, you’re not ignoring your feelings. Instead, you’re developing a plan to deal with them at a better time.

8. Be mindful of what you’re eating and drinking.

If you consume too much caffeine, you may experience heart palpitations. Additionally, caffeine can trigger panic or anxiety attacks — especially if you suffer from an anxiety disorder. Palpitations can also be caused by hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.

Furthermore, it can also cause anxiety or panic attacks because sugar is an adrenal stimulant. For some — it’s paying attention to foods containing refined flour products and even wheat that may cause inflammation as well. And aside from caffeine and sugar, food allergies can also contribute to an overactive nervous system.

Basically, don’t worry too much about anything. My mantra — Eat right, sleep right, and exercise; and most things in your life will go much better. You’ll be better able to handle things.

9. Bring laughter into your life.

“It’s true: laughter is strong medicine. It draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body,” writes Lawrence Robinson, Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. “Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress.”

Also, there’s nothing that “works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh,” they add. “Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner.”

When you feel a wave of anxiety, the authors recommend that you find opportunities to laugh, such as;

  • Watching a funny movie, sitcom, or YouTube video.
  • Reading the funny pages.
  • Remembering a moment that made you laugh.
  • Spending time with people who make you smile.
  • Playing with children or a pet.
  • Engaging in fun activities like mini-golf.

10. Get your body moving.

A study from 2017 showed that 77 percent of the participants were inactive for 12 hours a day. In addition to being physically unhealthy, being sedentary most of the day can also affect your mental health. And, thanks to the pandemic, this has only gotten worse.

If you begin to feel anxious, get up and move. Preferably, you want to elevate your heart rate for five minutes through vigorous exercises. I’ve gotten out of bed and zoomed around and around the block — fast, and it kicks off the anxiety — gone. Like the restless leg thing — with an around the block two or three times — gone –. Better if you can exercise well enough during the day, but hey, “we can’t always get what we want, right?”

11. Do something.

Do something, anything. Clean or organize your workspace. Grab a glass of water. Talk a short stroll outside. Start working. Just diving in and working (even if it’s working again at night is helpful for me).

Taking any sort of action will interrupt your thought pattern. And that action will distract you from worrying. Remember, self-care is the most important thing to do for yourself. The AA and NA use another mantra I always use — “Grant me the Serenity” and the NCBI — “HALT” — don’t get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.

Please take care of yourself and you’ll start reducing anxiety — just start!

Are Mandatory Vaccines Legal in the Workplace?

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Are Mandatory Vaccines Legal in the Workplace?

As we ride out yet another COVID-19 wave, returning to the workplace is now in jeopardy. In fact, some businesses are delaying this until next year. Others, however, are still planning on bringing back employees in at least some capacity this fall.

As a result of the spread of the delta variant, physical safety concerns are making some employees reconsider their return to work plans. According to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll, which was on behalf of Glassdoor, nearly 9 in 10 employees, 89%, still worry about returning to the office. In addition to their physical safety, employees are concerned about how they’ll interact with their employers, present themselves, and how they commute to and from work.

How can you address these concerns? Well, you may want to allow your team to work remotely. Or, at the very least, build and manage a hybrid team.

Even with a hybrid team, there will still be concerns about the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. And, one answer might be the controversial topic of requiring your team to get vaccinated. But, is this legal, and how can you have this discussion with your team?

Is There a Legal Precedent for Requiring Vaccines?

“There is Jacobson v. Massachusetts, [a Supreme Court case from 1905]. The case itself was about a vaccination mandate,” Lindsay Wily, a law professor at American University, told NPR.

“In the early 1900s, smallpox outbreaks were fairly frequent, and many people had been vaccinated earlier as children, but needed to be vaccinated as their immunity waned,” adds Professor Wily. “The state of Massachusetts passed a law that gave authority to local boards of health to decide at any given moment in response to an outbreak that smallpox vaccination should be mandatory for all residents of their local area if — in the opinion of the medical experts who were serving on the board — it was necessary to protect the public’s health.”

That decision was made by the city of Cambridge. After that, outreach efforts were undertaken to reach out to everyone in the community. When they approached Henning Jacobson, however, he objected. Vaccines, he said, are ineffective. According to Jacobson, they do not prevent transmission. Moreover, he argued that these practices are harmful.

“The court described those arguments as not seeking a medical exemption, but rather reciting the alternative views that differ from medical consensus and that those arguments did not warrant an exemption from the requirement to be vaccinated,” says Wiley.

But, what about private employers?

Flu shots and other shots are often required by employers in the health care industry. This is a precaution to protect patients, as well as to offer some protection for employees. “So, for example, many require hepatitis vaccinations in addition to flu shots and all of the kind of childhood vaccines that we tend to get as a condition of attending school,” explains Wiley.

“The other kind of common requirement applied to adults who are over the age of 18 has been university requirements — college attendance requirements,” Wily adds. “College students in many states are required by law, not just by the [decision] of the college, to get a meningitis vaccine because of a higher incidence of meningitis outbreaks in the kind of congregate setting on campuses.” So as far as vaccination requirements for COVID go, we’ve seen this group lead the charge.

Can Employers Make COVID-19 Vaccination Mandatory?

Short answer? Yes.

If you’re an employer, you can require your employees to be vaccinated. However, this is considered a “condition of employment,” which is equivalent to job qualification. And, while employees can refuse to get vaccinated, they don’t have much legal protection.

“Employers generally have wide scope” to create rules for their workplace, said Dorit Reiss, a law professor who specializes in vaccine policies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. “It’s their business.”

But, wait a minute? Isn’t asking your team about their vaccination status a HIPPA violation? Despite what folks like Majorie Tayor Green and Dak Prescott have proclaimed, nope.

At the same time, there are valid exceptions that you certainly should be aware of.

“An employee with a religious objection or a disability may need to be excused from the mandate or otherwise accommodated,” clarifies John Lomax, an attorney with Snell & Wilmer in Phoenix. “Additionally, if an objecting employee is a union-represented employee, the employer may need to bargain and reach an agreement with the union before mandating vaccines.”

If you do have employees who can be exempt from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, try to make reasonable accommodations. The most obvious would be allowing them to work remotely or take a leave of absence. You could also have them sign waivers or work under specific conditions, like wearing masks or practicing social distancing.

“If an employee cannot get vaccinated because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief, and there is no reasonable accommodation possible, an employer could exclude the employee from physically entering the workplace,” said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, the Society for Human Resource Management’s president and chief executive officer. “But this doesn’t mean an individual can be automatically terminated. Employers will need to determine if any other rights apply under the EEO laws or other federal, state, and local authorities.”

Having a Conversation With Your Team About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Because this is such a controversial and polarizing issue, you must sit down with your team and discuss the COVID-19 vaccination. Afterward, the employee can then make a more informed decision.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind if you want to talk with employees about a supportive COVID-19 vaccination.

Set the stage.

You can talk to your team either one-on-one or as a group. You can then let them know why you want them to get vaccinated. Mainly to prevent illness, which is for the greater good of the team.

Address possible concerns.

You will no doubt come across numerous questions and concerns regarding the vaccine. Keep the following in mind to put your team at ease;

  • Consider flexible scheduling options that are not punitive (such as paid sick leave) for employees who experience side effects after vaccination.
  • Remind everyone, even if they’re young and healthy, that the vaccine is effective. While the research is ongoing, COVID-19 vaccines are estimated to be about 95 percent effective in preventing serious illness.
  • Not everyone enjoys getting jabbed. Assure them that the COVID-19 shot isn’t any worse than getting a flu shot.
  • Encourage them to seek out reputable information regarding the vaccine, aka not getting their info from social media. Steer them in the direction of the CDCJohns Hopkins University, or the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC)
  • Host a vaccination clinic at your workplace to make this more convenient for your team. Contact your local health department for assistance.

Closing the conversation.

Finally, if you have team members who aren’t vaccinated, but plan to, find out what’s holding them back. Do they need further information? Or are they just afraid to ask for time off? Finding this out can help you assist them in getting vaccinated.

What if you have employees who still refuse to get vaccinated? Again, you could ask them why. You don’t need to press too much. But, it could be something as simple as them not wanting to take time off for work.

If they have valid reasons, try to accommodate them. If possible, for the time being, allow them to continue working from home. But, if that’s not possible, and they’re in jeopardy of the health and well-being of the rest of the team, you may have to let them go.

6 Tips for Getting a New Job

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6 Tips for Getting a New Job

There is a major labor shortage happening in the United States right now. There are many reasons why this might be the case, but regardless of the circumstance, this could be an excellent opportunity for many working Americans. Thousands of new job openings mean that this could be the perfect window of opportunity to chase a dream job or change careers.

Tips for Getting a New Job

Getting a new job can be just as daunting for seasoned workers as it is for college graduates. There are a lot of factors to consider when applying for a job that could ultimately lead to success. This article aims to guide you through the process so you can take the next step in your professional career no matter where you are now.

1. Review Your Resume

Your job résumé is your first impression when applying for a new position. That being said, it’s one of the most important resources you have when searching for a job. As a result, most candidates are sifted out based on the contents of their résumés.

Different hiring managers look for different things in a résumé. Of course, they’ll want to see relevant experience and a work history that shows you’re reliable. Try and keep your résumé concise no matter what and have the most important information in clear, bold lettering. There are plenty of formatting guides and templates that can aid you in your résumé design.

If you. have a complicated or complex resume — consider hiring a service that can give your resume the polish it deserves.

2. Brush Up Your Interview Skills

Almost every job you’ll ever apply for will have some sort of interview process. Some smaller companies will hold a single, semi-casual interview, while others have applicants undergo a more extensive screening process. Others still might meet with you over the phone and call that good. So you need to be prepared for anything.

Every interview will be different, so you can’t memorize a list of questions and the answers you’d like to give. You can prepare for basic questions, however, such as “why do you want this job,” “what do you know about this company,” and “why do you feel like you’re a good fit for this position?”

Get a trusted friend to pepper you with questions, hop on YouTube and watch interviews, listen to some podcast interviews, watch a few TedTalks for good speaking with clarity tips, and don’t forget to stand in front of the mirror and ask questions.

Don’t work yourself up too much. You don’t have to be a master negotiator in order to nail a job interview. Most employers just want to ask a few questions and get to know you a little better. Team chemistry and job fit can be a big deal, so coming across as respectful and eager to learn is often better than acting arrogant and overconfident in your abilities.

3. Flood the Mailbox

Don’t just apply for a single job and wait to hear back. Who knows how long this can take. Moreover, while you’re patiently waiting for a single response, you could be missing out on dozens of other opportunities. Instead, take a shot at a position you don’t feel qualified for yet; you might surprise yourself.

Set a goal to send your resume to a variety of different companies.  You could aim to send out one new application each day or a set amount of 10-20 by the end of the month. Job posting website Indeed recommends you send even more than that, up to 10-15 applications a week or 2-3 per day.

Even if they don’t have a job posting listed, send them your resume in an email just to reach out. Then, you might hear back from an organization that is at least willing to guide you in the right direction.

4. Take Advantage of Networking

That segues nicely into this next section. Networking is your best friend when looking for a new job. Having reliable connections can get you to people and places you had no idea existed or couldn’t find independently.

For example, you might inquire at a local hospital if they have any job openings available even though none are posted. Even so, you might be able to connect with someone who has a friend running a local clinic that is hiring. Without networking with the hospital, you might have never found this job opportunity.

Another great way to network is through social media. Websites such as LinkedIn provide a great platform for connecting with industry leaders and professionals from around the world, not just in your local community. You can get great advice from here as well as access to certification courses to advance your education and career.

5. Take an Internship

Sometimes you just need to find a way to get your foot in the door. An internship can do just that, giving you training and networking opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to you. For example, it’s a lot easier to get an internship at Google than to become employed there without a previous relationship.

Unfortunately, many internships are unpaid or pay a lot less than regular employment. This can be a tough situation for someone looking for a job to pay the bills. However, a part-time internship at a more promising company or in a new field you’re interested in might make for a bountiful long-term investment.

6. Steady the Course

Don’t let your job search impact your work performance at your current employer if you do, in fact, have on. Many companies will contact former employers to inquire about you as a worker. But, of course, you want them to say only good things about you, so don’t cut the slack even if you’re planning on making a move.

Also, don’t give up. Job searches can get exhausting quickly when applications are sent back, and doors seem always to be closing. Instead, keep working on improving yourself, networking, and seeking out opportunities and eventually, you’ll find an opening.

Best of luck on your job search now and any time in the future you look for a change of scenery. Keep these tips in mind and bet on yourself. You’ll be amazed by what you’re able to accomplish.

4 Ways to Up Your Social Media Marketing Game

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4 Ways to Up Your Social Media Marketing Game

Let’s get straight to it. Your company’s success relies on social media. Why? Because that’s where the consumers are. Today, there are about 3.78 billion social media users worldwide. And these users have high expectations. 

In today’s ever-changing and demanding world, consumers expect a lot from their social media feeds. They want to be informed, engaged, and entertained. They also want to learn something new from time to time. This puts a lot of pressure on businesses, particularly new ones trying to establish a social presence. 

Building an engaged and involved social media following takes time. Setting your social media goals is a true first step in establishing your social media game. With goals, you have a clear sense of direction for your company’s brand. Not to mention, you also have a plan for you and your team to get behind and work toward. 

Read on for four ways to give your social media marketing a boost. 

1. Post Consistently 

This is arguably the easiest but also the most fruitful way to gain more followers. Posting consistently creates a rhythm to your platform. It helps create a sense of reliability and continuity. Your users will start to expect content at certain times of the day, month, or year. 

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re managing a new restaurant’s social media. Users will be looking for food content at times they are hungry. If you post a special menu photo at 5 p.m. each day, that will resonate with users who want to try the restaurant for dinner. The next time users are looking for a place to eat, they may return to your social channels. 

However, if you only post that menu photo once and then don’t post anything for another week or two, users will quickly forget about your original post. Your audience won’t be engaged and will be unlikely to return to your feed. 

Maintaining a consistent social media schedule may seem daunting at first. Luckily, there are tools such as Hootsuite and Agorapulse that can alleviate the stress of scheduling social media posts. 

Struggling to create content in advance? Seek out special holidays and observances such as Freedom Day (February 1) or Retro Day (February 27) for some inspiration.

2. But Also Post Consciously 

Social media users are constantly sharing and reacting. Sharing and reacting to world events. Sharing and reacting to other posts. Sharing and reacting to a brand’s stances. It’s you and your company’s responsibility to stay up to date on what is happening both on and off social media. 

For example, June 2020 was a monumental month for the social world. The Black Lives Matter movement grew significantly and steadily due to social media. Businesses that reacted sensitively in the moment retained their loyal followers. On the other hand, companies that posted inappropriately worded content or ignored the movement altogether took a major hit. 

So, what does this mean for you? While there isn’t one right way to handle any situation, there are wrong ways. Be conscious of what is happening — even while you’re on vacation — and pivot your planned social tactics accordingly. You don’t necessarily need to be the very first company to react to something. However, you should create a strategy when major events surprise the social world.  

3. Be Flexible and Adaptable

Setting up a new social account or taking one over can be intimidating. What works one day may not work the next. However, think of social media as a world of opportunities. If a company is stuck in the past, it won’t be moving ahead. This opens up the door for newer ones to take up space in a crowded field. 

Consider this example. Just recently, Instagram announced it was no longer just a “photo-sharing app.” The platform will be focusing on video content and entertainment in the months to come. Why? It’s likely because the app is looking to compete with popular video platforms such as TikTok and YouTube.

This news could shock a lot of businesses, particularly those that focused solely on posting photos and copy. Instagram’s algorithm will make it harder for users to see these brands in their feeds. Therefore, companies need to adapt, and so do their social media feeds. By posting Instagram Stories, Reels, and IGTVs, for instance, businesses can better stay ahead of the game. 

4. Tailor Your Posts to the Platform 

What works on Instagram may not necessarily work on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, or LinkedIn. Users adapt their needs to where they are. So a cute cat photo on Instagram won’t really be appropriate for LinkedIn, for example. 

Getting to know your customer is part of tailoring your posts effectively. Keeping an eye on your social metrics can also help you determine what kinds of posts work best for your business. 

Let’s go back to the restaurant example. If a Facebook post introducing a new menu item doesn’t resonate, look at what the call to action is. Could you make it clearer to the audience that this item is “back by popular demand”? Could you say the item is “available only for a limited time”? Using these types of words could help. 

If you’re still not seeing the traction you want, try another platform. The same photo could work better on Instagram and garner more attention if that’s where your foodie audience is. 

These four tips aren’t the only ways to up your social media marketing game. They are, however, strategies you can start to implement today to meet your goals. Be aware, though, that it takes time. Just like your business wasn’t built overnight, neither will your social media presence be.

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