4 Signs You Need to Stop Working and Take a 5-Minute Walk Right Now I’m a firm believer that everyone can find five minutes in their workday to take a break. (And by break, I usually mean a dessert break—ice cream anyone?) But as nice as that sounds, there are very few people in my life who would agree with me. In fact, most of my colleagues are convinced that taking a break will derail them for the rest of the day. And even though studies say otherwise , it’s hard to pull them away from their desks. That’s crazy! Five minutes not only won’t derail your day, it’ll actually help you get it moving in the right direction. I’m so convinced of this that I’ve rounded up four flashing signs that you’d be better off taking a walk right now than trying to get any work done. 1. You Keep Getting Distracted by the Internet I’m as guilty of this as anyone else on the planet. As motivated as I am to be productive, I just can’t help myself from indulging in short clips of puppies running around, or my favorite chefs cooking steaks, or the latest news. For me, this is just a fact of life—and also a good sign that I that I’ve gone from “just checking one thing” to being completely distracted. So, even though I’m all for the occasional viral video break, get away from your desk if you notice you can’t stop clicking on things completely unrelated to work. It might not feel like a good use of your time to get up right now, but a few minutes to reset your brain with something other than YouTube’s latest and greatest will help you attack your to-do list with a much clearer mind. 2. You Keep Getting Interrupted by Your Co-workers The reality of many work situations is that it’s easy for people to saunter over to your desk for a “quick” conversation that could easily last for three hours. There’s nothing wrong with a short chat, but you deserve a little breather if your workspace suddenly has a line of people waiting to “pick your brain” about something. If you feel guilty asking someone to wait, think about all the times you’ve gone over to someone’s desk to ask a question. In many of those cases, you probably did it because you had a sudden jolt of inspiration or a reminder that you needed some information. These conversations usually happen on a spur-of-the-moment basis. So, while they might be important, they can also almost always wait. (And if you get back to your desk and still need help fighting distractions, check out these tips on doing so without being a jerk.) 3. You’ve Been Staring at a Blank Document All Afternoon Whether it’s a report you’re trying to finish or even a simple email you’re nervous to send, sometimes the most intimidating part of completing something is starting it. And no matter how sure you are of what you want to say, it’s not always as easy as taking those thoughts and putting them down on paper. In the event that a blinking line is taunting you on a document, don’t be afraid to minimize it and take that short walk. Odds are taking that break could be just what you need to come back and get started. 4. You Keep Telling Yourself You Wish You Could Take a Break Hey, I get how dedicated you are to your work. That’s commendable and you shouldn’t get too down on yourself for wanting to be the very best. But at the same time, if you’re shaking your fist in the air because you “can’t” step away for a while, you probably need a break . This might sound counterproductive, especially if you’re in the middle of something with an urgent deadline. But if all you’re thinking about is the break you wish you could take, your effort will reflect this mindset. Seriously, if you’re only half present, your project will only be half as good as it could’ve been. The easy solution is to grab a snack, take a lap around the block, and return to whatever it is you’re doing with a fresh mind. It’s important to use your judgment whenever you think of taking a quick breather at work. If you have something that’s due in the next few minutes, you’re obviously better off waiting until that task is completed before you step away. But if you notice any signs that you could use a quick walk around the block, don’t be afraid to just do it. You’ll not only give brain a much-needed cat nap, but you’ll set yourself up to crush the rest of your day. Source: Signs You Need to Stop Working and Take a 5-Minute Walk Right Now
4 Simple Ways to End Each Workday Happy (You're Welcome!)   At happy hour with a friend, you innocently start whining about the annoying comment your co-worker made earlier. Hours later, you both realize that the only thing you’ve spoken about the entire night is what you hate about your jobs. Whoops. It’d be quite remiss of me to say this should never happen. No position’s perfect, and you’ll probably need to vent sometimes . But you don’t want to let a so-so or bad day at work bleed into your life outside the office on a regular basis. That’s not good for anyone. And, I admit, it’s an easy trap to fall into. But luckily, it’s much simpler to prevent than you may think. How? By ending on a positive note. Ha, you say. That’s much easier said than done. Maybe. But I suggest you try these four tips before drawing that conclusion.   1. Review Your Accomplishments At the end of each day, set aside time—even if only five minutes—to write down what you achieved in the previous eight (or nine, or 10) hours. “Your team members and clients are too busy to notice your daily victories, so it’s important to take a brief moment for self-congratulations,” says William Arruda, author of Ditch, Dare, Do: 3D Personal Branding for Executives . “It’s a great confidence builder, and it helps you quantify and assess your strengths.” And don’t worry if you only checked minor items off your list. The bigger wins can’t happen without them. This short activity can give you a feel-good boost and help reinforce that you were productive. Even if it was only somewhat productive. Because let’s be real—believing you got nothing done isn’t a warm and fuzzy feeling. Instead, it makes you want to shove your face into your couch and crawl under a blanket of shame. (Or is that just me?) And hey—if you really didn’t do anything, take this time to tell yourself it’s OK. Because it is. Sure, this can’t be a common occurrence, but an occasional lazy day is perfectly fine. Pat yourself on the back for showing up, and go on your way.   2. Get Ready for Tomorrow I spend a lot of my leisure time contemplating my giant to-do list. Rather than relaxing and partaking in activities I enjoy, I let the tasks consume my every thought. It’s not necessary for me—or you—to do this. Before you go home, prepare yourself for tomorrow. Outline your main action items that need to be completed. And review what’s on your schedule, too. Are there any meetings to prep for? Any deadlines to meet? Form your list with those things in mind. Tonight, you’ll feel less burdened because you’ll know exactly what direction you need to head in upon returning. No longer will you have to waste your evenings thinking about it. I’ve started doing this and, let me tell you, it makes me feel better at the beginning and end of each day. My Google doc remembers (and keeps track of) the important things, so I can be fully present when I catch up with those pesky New York housewives.       3. Organize Your Space In college, I usually couldn’t sleep unless I’d tidied up my room. The desk needed to be cleared, and all clothing had to be in drawers, the hamper, or at least hidden under my bed. Doing this made me feel more in control, less scattered, and like I was tying up the loose ends of my day into a nice little bow. The same goes for my office. When it’s more visually put together, so is my mind. I can head out the door feeling confident that I’ve taken care of anything that may have popped up spontaneously. (Plus, cleaning always makes me feel like I’m “adulting” a little bit better, which makes me feel relatively successful.) I’m not saying to whip out the magic erasers and go all Mr. Clean here, but at least put things into piles and throw away any lingering trash. (If you’re the laziest, these tips will be right up your alley) You won’t leave feeling like you’ve forgotten something, and tomorrow you won’t be taunted by the mess you walk into.   4. Have Something to Look Forward To Happiness isn’t something that just comes to you. You have to put in the effort. You have to set yourself up for “happiness success.” And one way of doing that is by scheduling things that you’ll look forward to. When you do this, “you bring happiness into your life well before the event actually takes place,” explains Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project (Revised Edition): Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun . “In fact, sometimes the happiness in anticipation is greater than the happiness actually experienced in the moment.” Meet up with a friend or family member. Start taking a class, such as improv (like me!) or ceramics. It could even be diving into a good book . It doesn’t have to be anything big, and you don’t have to spend money. Just be intentional about consistently taking time to do something you’ll truly enjoy. When you schedule time for fun activities into your calendar, you’ll think about that rather than work.   We have much more ownership over how our days play out than we think. Sure, there are going to be off ones where you’re thrown super random and sometimes downright discouraging curveballs. But for the most part, you’re in charge. When you take back control of the wheel, you can start to steer it in a more positive direction and end each day on a happy note . Good luck! Source: Simple Ways to End Each Workday Happy (You're Welcome!)
Here’s How I Finally Found a Fulfilling Career After 10 Miserable Years All of my professional activities as a recruiter align toward one common goal: I’m on a mission to empower people to find career fulfillment. On any given day that may include working with a startup to find a new digital marketing manager, coaching a client on networking techniques, or composing job- hunting tips to share with readers. Based on feedback I’ve received, I’d say my strengths are the energy and passion I put into my work. But if I’m being completely honest, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, it took 10 years and five relocations to cities across the country before I even gained a glimpse as to what I truly desired in a career. It all started when I took a job right out of college that wasn’t right for me. I was motivated by the starting salary, the signing bonus, the company car, and the comprehensive benefits package. And while I definitely appreciated all of those things, in the end, they weren’t enough to make up for how miserable I was. Yet I stuck it out for 10 whole years, enduring multiple moves always with the hope that the next transfer would be the one. It never was. And even though I was regularly promoted throughout my tenure, I wasn’t fulfilled. Finally, after a corporate restructuring, I got laid off. I was thrilled. That may sound crazy, but I saw it as my chance to really figure out what I wanted to do with my life. So rather than rushing right back into a different job in the same field, I forced myself to figure out what kind of work would lead to a fulfilling career . This is how I made it happen: I Engaged Lots of Different People I felt completely lost after getting laid off, yet I was also so excited to have a second chance. My first move was to brainstorm with people that had absolutely nothing to do with my previous line of work. I needed fresh ideas. I sat and listened to retirees, to coffee shop baristas, to family members that owned businesses, to college students, basically anyone who’d give me some advice on how to discover the type of work that could bring satisfaction. Three pieces of advice stood out: It’s easy to do the exact same thing; don’t fall into that trap. You deserve the job you want; don’t settle for just any company that extends an invitation. Write down three job descriptions that look like the perfect job, then go out and find it.   Write Down the Picture-Perfect Position Writing down my vision of the perfect role was a game-changer. It pushed me to think through the type of environment I perform best in, the industries that get me pumped, and what I envision to be rewarding day-to-day tasks. The answer lay in the details: collaborates with a small close-knit team, utilizes blogging and social media, promotes a meaningful experience or service, interacts with clients one-on-one toward a mutual goal, aids individuals in reaching their personal potential and so on. I took my list and searched online, typing in the keywords that got me the most excited in hopes of identifying job titles that closely matched my vision. The results came back—recruiter, nonprofit fundraiser, and salesperson for a socially-responsible company. Recruiter was the one that made the light bulb go off.   Do the Research Now that I had a focus, it was time to gather information. I wanted to learn all that I could about recruiting. I read article after article online to get a feel for the industry. Doing that led to finding recruiters to talk to, whether they were business contacts of a friend or random profiles that I came across on LinkedIn. I’d simply reach out with a quick message detailing my current transition and ask for a five-minute call to learn a little bit about what they do. Contacting strangers can make some people uneasy, but most folks that I reached out to were open to chat. I figured the worst-case scenario was people not responding. No big deal.   Test it Out The more I understood my career track, the more eager I became to get things going. That’s when I reached out to a nonprofit organization who helped refugees find work. I became a volunteer and focused on building out my recruiting skills, skills I could put on my resume. I’d found a creative way to exchange my time for an opportunity to gain experience and perspective. It was a great way to see if this new path was in fact as good a fit as it seemed. Volunteering worked for me—and you can read about my experience here —but I’ve seen people test the waters in a number of ways including: advertising online to provide dirt cheap services, participating in industry events, teaching or research assistantships, or simply shadowing someone for a few days. Because it took me over 10 years to find a fulfilling career, sometimes I feel a little behind. But at least I’m on the right path. I tell people all the time that it’s never too late to stop, to evaluate your situation and to ultimately change your career journey to one that suits you. From career coaches to online courses, there are resources out there to help you get on track and to discover your passion. And, look, I know that’s an overused word these days, but you’re going to spend a lot of your life working—doesn’t it just make sense to find something you love? Source:’s How I Finally Found a Fulfilling Career After 10 Miserable Years
3 Signs Your Lack of Confidence Is Getting Out of Hand When it comes to confidence, I am the quintessential example of someone who feels wholly unqualified to do his job. Some people close to me have said that it’s a good way to keep myself humble. But trust me, there are times when the feeling of being an impostor has completely derailed me at work. Based on my very real experience, here are a few signs that your impostor syndrome has crossed the line from being something you should be aware of—and something that’s keeping you from being a functioning member of society. 1. You’re Not Getting Any Work Done It’s easy to wallow in self-pity and assume that you’re just a little too dumb to be doing the job you’re doing. But, when your work is simply not getting done, it’s unfair to blame this on the fact that you don’t feel qualified to do the job. Of course, I can relate to the feeling that at any moment, you’re going to get “found out” and your boss is going to ask you to never show your face again. But if that’s causing you to miss important deadlines and let your teammates down, that’s a completely different story. How to Deal Someone much smarter than me once told me that a bad first attempt is way better than no attempt at all. So when your impostor syndrome has you afraid to take a pass at an important project, just remember—lots of feedback on something you worked on is a much better place for you and anyone else involved to start with. And chances are, that first attempt will be way better than you think it’ll be. 2. You Assume Every Conversation With Your Boss Will Involve Firing You Hey, I get it. It’s really tough when you start hearing whispers about your job—especially when those rumblings are based on rumors you’ve made up yourself. But unless you fear your boss because she’s told you that you’re one mistake away from the unemployment line, there’s nothing productive that can come from waiting around for your manager to walk over to your desk and fire you. Not only is it based on absolutely no truth, it can put you in the type of mindset that makes it impossible to do your job well or even improve where you need to improve. How to Deal If you’re really this nervous about your job status, find some time to talk to your boss about what’s going on. Assuming you have a good (enough) relationship with your manger, it’s as easy as saying, “I’m wondering if you have any feedback about my recent performance.” Even if you don’t like what you hear, at least you’ll have a clearer idea of what you need to improve. But if you can’t get a meeting the second you need one, be honest with yourself. What can you learn to get better at your job? If you’re proactive about improving, trust me—you’ll worry much less about getting the boot, and much more about understanding how you can grow your skills. 3. You Start Frantically Looking for New Jobs When you’re feeling like you can’t do your job, it’s only natural to say, “Hey, I should probably find something new before they tell me that I’m an embarrassment and ask me to leave.” But again, this is a great way to distract yourself from the fact that not only can you improve at your work—but that you’re also pretty qualified to do what you’ve been hired to do anyway. And when you panic and start looking for something you’re “more equipped to do,” chances are you’ll just end up finding something that doesn’t make you feel any more secure. How to Deal If this is you, ask yourself whether you’re searching for a new job because you really want to find something new—or if you’re doing it to avoid being fired. If you really hate what you’re doing, then go for it. But if you’re enjoying your work and are just trying to avoid getting the boot, you should probably take my advice from above, have that chat with your boss, and get that necessary confidence boost that you’re not in danger of becoming unemployed. No really, I spoke to my boss about my insecurities (and wrote about it here ) and it was a gamechanger. There’s a lot to be said about dealing with the feeling that you’re just not good enough. But at much as I can relate, there are times when you need to take a good look in the mirror. How much are you getting in your own way? As someone who deals with it on a daily basis, take it from me—there are plenty of things you’re taking the wrong way, and there are ways you can combat them before it gets completely out of control. Source: Signs Your Lack of Confidence Is Getting Out of Hand
This Is the Email to Send When You're About to Miss a Big Deadline You’re in panic mode right now. You’ve been cramming to meet a deadline , and there’s just no way it’s going to happen. Not to mention, this project you have no shot of completing is due in a few short hours. You contemplate throwing your computer out the window and coming up with an elaborate lie. But a much better (and more professional) option is to send an email explaining the situation. In it, you should do four things:   1. Take Responsibility When you admit you messed up, people are more likely to believe you that you can identify what went wrong and prevent it in the future. If you blame someone or something else, they’ll think you learned nothing.   2. Offer Something Tell the other person what information you can provide in the meantime so you’re not leaving anyone empty-handed. This could be more insight into the direction you’re taking the project or ballpark numbers—something that proves you’re on track to get it done.   3. Set a New Deadline Share when the work will be completed, and—whatever you do—don’t give into the temptation to only ask for one more hour. (You don’t want to send this email twice!) Ask for more time than you think you need, that way you can send a polished final project.   4. Make Assurances it Won’t Happen Again People make mistakes, and so if this is the first time, the other person should understand. That said, you have to follow up and turn everything else in on time (or early).   Put it All Together Here’s what that email will look like: Dear [Boss, Client, or Co-Worker Name], I’m reaching out because, unfortunately, I won’t be able to submit [project] in [number of] hours as promised. I take full responsibility for underestimating how long it would take, and for not reaching out sooner. Attached, I’ve included [notes, a rough draft, ballpark figures, or an outline]. While this is not ready to be shared with [team/clients], I want to give you a sense of where it’s headed. Now that I know how long it takes to [run the numbers/work with this new program/draw conclusions from findings], I feel confident I can have this finished in [extremely realistic amount of time]. I will have the finished project to you by [new time] on [day]. I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and want to assure you this won’t happen again. Best, [Your Name] Your recipient may be annoyed, maybe even angry, and that’s to be expected. You’d probably feel the same way if you were in his shoes. However, once you’ve done a great job and turned it in, it should blow over. Of course, this email only works if this is not a regular occurrence and there aren’t major repercussions. If you’re continually missing deadlines, I’d suggest bumping the conversation from email to a phone call or an in-person meeting. And going forward, instead of addressing it on a project-by-project basis, talk to your boss about your workload or your client about unforeseen obstacles, so you can address the larger problem. Finally, if there will be major repercussions, like you could be responsible for the company losing a high-paying client, you need to deliver the news in person (if at all possible). Along with hitting on the points mentioned above, add “Is there anything I can do to make this better?” and then be prepared for the answer. You may be asked to work overtime until you get it done, or CC your boss on every email and send daily updates for the remainder of the project, or transfer your work-to-date to a co-worker who’ll take over lead. Skip the temptation to give a rebuttal, pointing to everything that’s gone right. Demonstrate a positive attitude as you move forward with the suggested solution. Assuming you’re a hard worker who slipped up once, take a deep breath and remember that you’ll be able to earn back your reputation. The fact you’re worried about the impact of this proves just how much you care about your career.  Source: Is the Email to Send When You're About to Miss a Big Deadline
10 Career Coaches on the 10 Best Ways to Get the Raise You Deserve You know it’s time. You’ve been anticipating this conversation for weeks now. The meeting’s on the calendar, and there’s no backing out now—not that you’d want to. No, you want this raise. You deserve this. You’re ready for this. Deep breath. Your boss isn’t going to bite. Or will she? Not if you’re as prepared as possible, as confident as can be, and as accomplished in your role as anyone deserving of a raise ought to be. Still, it’s not unusual to feel nervous and anxious about the prospect. Even if you’re uber-prepared, perfectly confident, and thoroughly self-aware of how your achievements have helped the company, it’s downright daunting. I reached out to 10 career coaches to get their very best advice on conquering this conversation. 1. Ask on Behalf of Your Organization When you want a raise, frame it in a way that benefits the company, not you. This’ll show that you value the competitiveness of the company more than your personal gain.     Avery Blank   2. Play it Out in Your Head Visualize the conversation. Imagine yourself sharing results-based information. Envision yourself talking to your boss about your ability to proactively problem-solve, explaining the value you’ve added to the business (increased revenue/sales/headcount, driven efficiencies, dollars saved, process improvements, etc.). Draft a proposal, and use it as your script. Practice makes perfect—and doing it will prepare you for the real thing.     Joyel Crawford   3. Practice Your Power Pose Think of a particularly confident and powerful role model. Channel that person—in your posture, tone of voice, and word choice—as you prepare for the meeting. The assurance you demonstrate in your body language is as important as what words you use.     Annie Nogg   4. Connect the Dots You want to show how your achievements have helped the organization on its path to succeed. Did your research help the company expand into a new marketplace? Did a project you led increase your team's efficiency? Did your work help to deepen customer loyalty or enhance internal communication? Having critical data like this will add credibility to your request and give you the necessary support you need to make your case.     Loren Margolis   5. Develop an Alter Ego One slightly unusual yet fun way to get over your anxiety of asking for a raise is to develop a persona or alter ego. Imagine how you would act if you were able to put all of your fears and inhibitions aside in a salary conversation with your boss: How would you carry yourself? What would you say? You can also think about how your favorite career hero or mentor might approach asking for a raise. What would this successful person do or say in a similarly difficult conversation?     Melody Wilding   6. Know the Market The best way to ask for a raise is to validate your request with support based on the market. That means talking to people who’ve done your job at similar companies, people who hire for your role, or even colleagues who you’re close with. It’s the best way to know what the market rate is for your role and to ask for it with confidence.     Alexandra Dickinson   7. Respond Appropriately to Objections Identify every possible objection that could possibly be raised by your manager, then devise responses that eliminate them. This means reviewing past performance evaluations and making sure that any concern or issue has been fixed or remedied. This means knowing the salary range of people in similar positions across your industry so you can ask for what you deserve. This means not putting your head down and sulking if your raise is denied. It means directly asking what would need to happen in the next three to six months for you to get the raise. Once you know, do exactly what you’re told, get results, and them hold them accountable.     Antonio Neves   8. Avoid Being Emotional When walking into your meeting, don't bring in subjective, emotional reasons you deserve a raise. Instead, come forward with measurable results. Think about the dollars, the percentages, and the numbers you have either saved or made for the company. Think about what your measurable performance goals are—how did you stack up? Lay it out there! Finally, avoid saying, “I think.” Infuse your reasons with confidence and get used to the phrase, “I know,” which is far more powerful.     Emily Liou   9. Focus on Data Take some time to walk through the work you’ve achieved on behalf of the company and what impact it’s had. The more results and data focused, the better. If you’ve reduced time-to-hire, that’s money you’ve saved the organization. If you’ve increased followers on social media, that’s another big win worth noting. Arm yourself with information and remind yourself of how badass you truly are. It makes having these conversations a lot easier to give yourself that confidence boost.     Kelly Poulson   10. Think Deserve—Not Need Preparation is the best way to calm your nerves and help you feel pumped up when asking for a raise. In order to do this you’ll need to have a clear understanding of what you ‘deserve’ not what you ‘need’ or would like. Come with the understanding of the value you bring above and beyond the role so that you’ll be able to communicate why exactly you deserve more money.     Ryan Kahn Source: Career Coaches on the 10 Best Ways to Get the Raise You Deserve
The 2 Things You Need to Remember When You’re Burned on the Job Search I’ve had a winding career path, complete with long-distance moves and changing industries. So, I’ve had a lot of experience applying to—and losing out on—roles at various companies. Being turned down is always disappointing. I once had a hiring manager call me—and send a follow-up letter—to explain that I did a great job and only lost out because my competition had 10 more years of experience. While that was thoughtful, I was still upset. On the other side of the spectrum, I’ve also been burned on the job search —big time. Like having a company steal my work then ghost me, or keep me hanging on for months only to decide not to fill the role at all. It probably goes without saying, but the latter two experiences made me want to give up. Yet since I needed to work, that wasn’t an option. So, I had to learn how to keep going, even when I was feeling really disheartened about the whole process. Here’s what I kept in mind to stay motivated:   1. It Could Just Be Part of the Process You accept that some parts of job hunting—like filling out multi-page forms, when you’ll be attaching your resume anyhow—are annoying, but required. It helps to view all of the crappy parts of the process (even the rejections that can feel more personal) this way. Applied for a job and heard nothing back? Normal. Asked someone for an informational interview and heard nothing back? Normal. Received a form letter about not being the best fit, after you thought things went well? Normal. Got ghosted—even after the final round of interviews? Normal. Part of staying positive throughout your search is managing your expectations. If you prepare yourself for rejection, and remember that other candidates experience this too, you can avoid the why am I being treated this way? rabbit hole and stay focused. (And if you’re unsure if what you’re going through is normal read this .) 2. It Could Help You in the Future Then again, there are also times when you’ll be treated in a way that you don’t think is OK. For example, if someone agrees to meet you for an informational interview, and stands you up. Or if the hiring manager tells you have the role verbally—and then ghosts you. In this instance, reflect on everything that was atypical about your experience, so you can assure yourself you’ll avoid it in the future. When my work was stolen, I was working with a consultant who didn’t have an official title with or email address at the company and just told me she was authorized to hire me on their behalf. In retrospect, there’s no way I should’ve sent her pages of ideas at this stage. So, if you get a gut feeling that you’re not being treated the right way, listen to it. Then look back on all of your communication with the company previously. Are there red flags you can be on the lookout for the next time? Sometimes, the best way to move on is to reassure yourself you learned what you needed to so you aren’t burned again. As a job candidate, you’re vulnerable. You’re putting yourself out there because you need a job or because you want something better for yourself. And when in response, someone makes you feel cheated, or led on, or absolutely horrible, it’s hard to dig in and keep going . However, the last thing you want is to let a bad experience keep you from meeting your ultimate goal. Instead, use it as drive to keep going and find a company that’ll make you feel valued from the moment you first apply.  Source: 2 Things You Need to Remember When You’re Burned on the Job Search
43 Simple Habits That'll Improve Your Life (Even if You Just Pick One) It’s sometimes the little things that make all the difference in forming healthy, productive, positive habits. Now, I don’t expect you to do all of these (nor do I do them all myself). But hopefully you find one or two (or more!) that enrich your experiences. Here we go!   1. Do the Gratitude Snooze The key to happiness is to appreciate what you already have (or so I say). So, instead of hitting the snooze button and going back to sleep, spend the first few minutes of your day expressing gratitude . Think about all the blessings in your life, big and small, that you tend to take for granted. This simple practice will help rewire your brain to think more optimistically every day.   2. Reset Your Expectations Begin each day like the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius : “When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil.” Basically, people aren’t perfect, so you shouldn’t expect them to act perfectly. Set your expectations straight every morning, and you’ll be frustrated a lot less during the day.   3. Do a Quick, But High-Intensity Workout Physical exercise isn’t just important for your health. Research has found that it’s also crucial in your brain’s ability to learn and grow (just read Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey, a clinical professor of psychiatry). If you’re a busy person, it doesn’t have to take hours! I highly recommend the seven-minute workout . It’s challenging, but effective and extremely time-efficient.   4. Meditate It’s crazy how many benefits this simple practice has. Among many other things, regular meditators experience less stress and anxiety, better sleep, sharper mental focus, and deeper relationships. Learn how to do basic mindfulness meditation —it’s well worth the time and effort.   5. Set Mindfulness Triggers Decide on a particular set of habits you do every day that trigger moments of mindfulness. These could be, for example, doing the dishes, showering, or brushing your teeth. Allow yourself to be fully present during these activities.   6. Take Cold Showers This is definitely challenging and uncomfortable, but the benefits speak for themselves . Cold showers burn fat, strengthen immunity and circulation, increase mood and alertness, and refine your hair and skin. Plus, it’s an excellent way to boost your mental toughness.   7. Eat Mindfully Turn off your TV and computer, and put away newspapers and magazines. Then, eat your breakfast slowly and mindfully. Not only will your food taste better, but this also helps you absorb the nutrients better and makes it less likely that you’ll overeat .   8. Breathe Deeply Whenever you’re feeling stressed or anxious, pause for a minute and follow this sequence: Inhale for three seconds Pause for one second Exhale for five seconds Repeat this cycle five times, and you’ll feel calmer in less than a minute. It’s that easy.   9. Watch Cute Videos Watching videos of cute animals can make you feel more relaxed in under a minute, says science . So, if you’re not a fan of breathing exercises, you can always watch one of these funny clips .   10. Reinforce Your Goals Daily If you’re serious about accomplishing your long-term goals, you can’t state them once a year and then forget about them—you need to remind yourself of the direction you want to go every day. You can turn your goals into brain tattoos by writing them down in a journal daily.   11. Use the “Five-Second Rule” Whenever you have an impulse to act on a goal, physically move within five seconds, as suggested in Mel Robbin, a television host and life coach’s, book, The Five Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence With Everyday Courage . Introduce yourself, raise your hand, step into the cold shower, or do whatever else you need to do to get closer to your goal. And do it before your brain kills your good intentions with fear (as it usually does).   12. Try the “Eisenhower Box” Sort your daily tasks into one of the following possibilities: Urgent and important—do these things immediately Important, but not urgent—put these things in your schedule for later Urgent, but not important—delegate these things to someone else Neither urgent nor important—eliminate these things This will help you prioritize what’s important and make you much more productive .   13. Decide Your Three “MIT’s” Each morning (or the night before), choose three of your “most important tasks” you must accomplish during the day to consider it a success. Then, focus all your energy on these before doing anything else.   14. Use the “Two-Minute Rule” This is the only exception to the rule above. If something takes less than two minutes, then do it immediately before moving on to other important things.   15. Say No A lot of people complain about not having enough time. But, it’s not that we don’t have enough time that’s the problem—it’s that we waste so much of it. So, be protective of your time. Either it’s a “Hell yeah!” or it’s a “no.”   16. Do a Weekly Review Set aside a few minutes at the end of each week to reflect on your progress . Celebrate your successes, big or small, and think about what you can improve for the next week.   17. Put Yourself in “Monk Mode” If you want to be highly productive, you need to work for long stretches with deep, undisturbed focus . So, close the door, put your phone on “do not disturb” mode, turn off notifications on your computer, and block distracting websites before diving into your assignments.   18. Make Checking Email Fun Then, once you’ve completed your deep work, you can use email as a reward. The email game will help you move quickly and decisively through each message—and actually have fun in the process.   19. Stand Up Seriously, sitting down all day is terrible for your health . Interrupt your sitting as much as possible. Set an alarm to remind you to get up and move around, and if possible, use a standing desk.   20. Strike a Pose Whenever you’re feeling nervous, strike a powerful posture by taking up space and exuding confidence, says social psychologist Amy Cuddy in her TED Talk about “power poses.” Doing this for just a couple of minutes will significantly increase your testosterone (“the dominance hormone”) while decreasing your levels of cortisol (“the stress hormone”). This will then help you calm down and feel more self-assured .   21. Run the “Doorway Drill” Every time you walk through a door, straighten yourself up, smile, and hold your head high. By doing this, you’ll train yourself to enter rooms with a magnetic confidence, says author Brian M. in The Art of Charm .   22. Give More Hugs Human beings are wired for social connection and intimacy. Hugging releases hormones like oxytocin and dopamine that make us calm down and feel connected. So, choose a hug over a handshake (when appropriate, of course).   23. Practice Being Charismatic Whenever you engage with other people, remember the three core behaviors of charisma: presence, power, and warmth , as stated in the book The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism . Be 100% engaged in the conversation, use powerful body language, and be genuinely concerned with helping the other person.   24. Listen In a world where almost everyone is constantly talking about themselves, people appreciate a good listener. If you want people to like you, more often than not, all you have to do is let them talk .   25. Give Credit Few things motivate people as much as being given credit for good work , says author and psychology professor Dan Ariely. Give credit where credit’s due. If your co-worker created an awesome presentation, send them a congratulatory email. If you listened to a helpful podcast, send a nice tweet to the host. It will encourage others to keep doing great work—and it will make you feel great, too.   26. Be Impeccable With Your Word As says Don Miguel Ruiz in his book The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom , never say anything about someone that you wouldn’t say straight to their face. This is a great way to practice personal integrity.   27. Take One Picture Every Day Pictures have the curious effect that they increase in value with time. A picture with your friends today might not seem that special, but 20 years from now, it’ll be a treasure. So, start building your visual autobiography today and take one picture every day. In a couple of years, you’ll be glad you did—and so will your friends and family.   28. Savor Your Experiences Eating something good? Say “yum.” Stretching out in bed? Say “ah.” Seriously—allow yourself to indulge in the small, daily miracles of your life and they’ll become much more pleasurable.   29. Ban “Victim Speech” From Your Vocabulary Your words become your reality, so choose them wisely . Instead of saying “I can’t,” say “I won’t.” Instead of “I have to,” say “I’m going to.” Instead of “I don’t know,” say “I’ll figure it out.” Never speak of yourself as a victim, or else you’ll become one.   30. Have an End-of-Workday Routine At the end of your workday, take a few minutes to get any lingering tasks out of your head and down on paper, and schedule your most important stuff for the next day. Try to truly finish up so you can be completely present when you get home.   31. Put Your Phone Away The average smartphone user checks their phone 221 times a day . That behavior has become a significant problem in modern relationships as people feel neglected by their peers. Scientists even have a name for it: “phubbing,” which is a combination of the words “phone” and “snubbing.” Put your phone away when you’re at social gatherings—your relationships will benefit from it.   32. Practice “Stop, Look, Go” Steal this tip from Brother David Steindl-Rast , a Benedictine monk, and take the time to soak in the small miracles of life. If you come across a beautiful night sky, a bird singing beautifully, or someone doing an act of kindness, let it touch you. Take a minute, or a couple of seconds if that’s all you have, to experience the moment fully before getting on with your day.   33. Set Up Your Own “Smile Therapy” We all know that when we feel happy, we smile. But, did you know that it works the other way around, too? When you smile, you tell your nervous system that you’re happy , and that makes you feel good. So, smile more , even when life gets tough.   34. Adopt the “Walk in the Door” Rule No matter what your day has been like, always tell your family, friends, or even cat about the best thing that happened that day as soon as you walk in the door. This is a powerful little habit, courtesy of one Quora commentator , that can transform the way you communicate with others and observe your own experiences.   35. Use “Temptation Bundling” I used to loath housekeeping chores until I found this simple, scientifically-proven strategy . What you do is couple something you need to do with something you want to do. These days, I actually look forward to doing laundry (something I need to do) because it means I get to listen to an audiobook (something I want to do). Combine your chores with a reward , and they’ll become much easier to do.   36. Do a Five-Minute Declutter Spend just a couple of minutes a day getting rid of clutter. This could be physical clutter like clothes and stuff you never use, or digital clutter like icons and apps that are filling up your phone. Delete them, throw them out, or give them away.   37. Practice “Voluntary Discomfort” According to one Stoic philosophy , do something every day that makes you uncomfortable. Underdress (just a little bit) for cold weather, go without a meal, sleep without a pillow. You’ll get better at doing things you don’t want to do and that, as it happens, could be the key to success.   38. Help Someone The late, great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar used to say, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want.” I’ve found this to be very true in my life. The more people I help, the more opportunities come my way. Reach out and help someone every day. Lend a hand, send an email, answer a Quora question. The good intentions you put out will come back to you.   39. Set an Evening Alarm Clock Have it go off one hour before bed. When it rings, turn off all your screens and read a couple of pages in a book or meditate. Less technology time will help you sleep better.   40. Create a “Jar of Awesome” Whenever something awesome happens to you, big or small, write it down on a piece of paper and put it in a jar, says author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss . Then, whenever you’re feeling down, open the jar and read your notes. You’ll feel so much better.   41. Use “Mini-Actions” to Break Bad Habits Pre-commit to a particular behavior to engage in every time you start craving your bad habit. For example, each time you feel like eating something unhealthy, reach for a stick of gum or apple instead. Cravings usually only last a few minutes, so a “mini-action” can be all you need to overcome them.   42. Create a “Token Economy” to Motivate Yourself Every time you complete some daily goal, suggests psychologist Neil Fiore in his book The Now Habit at Work: Perform Optimally, Maintain Focus, and Ignite Motivation in Yourself and Others , reward yourself with a token , such as a gold star, a coin, or a poker chip. Then, allow yourself to trade your accumulated tokens for prizes related to your goal. If you’re a runner, for example, your tokens could look something like this: Buy a new water bottle—five tokens Buy new running socks—10 tokens Buy a new Fitbit band—20 tokens Buy new running shoes—100 tokens Enter into a Marathon—500 tokens   43. Practice Self-Compassion Finally, whenever you mess up, know that stacking guilt on top of it won’t make things better—it’ll only make it harder to bounce back. So, whenever you have a setback, treat yourself like you would a good friend —with compassion and reassurance. Source:
Job Transition: Why the First Few Months Are Critical     Congratulations! After great effort and focused energy, you’ve finally landed a fabulous new position—one that is sure to advance your career and meet your work and personal goals in a way your old position never could.   But don’t stop there. Getting hired is just the first step.   You’ll need to spend as much effort and energy—and maybe more—preparing for and making the transition. And this is where it really counts, for the first three to six months in any new position is a period of extreme vulnerability.   “It’s the highest-risk period, and the higher up you are, the riskier it is,” says Jeff Gundersen, CEO of Executive Connections, an executive search, coach consultant and placement firm.   During this transitional period, everyone in your new company—boss, direct-reports, other employees—and even suppliers and customers are all forming initial impressions that will shape their expectations and actions. This dynamic is exacerbated when people in your new company expect you to bring about change within the organization.   This transitional period might even be riskier today than in years past. Shrunken budgets have meant less training, reduced staff support, increased workloads and, perhaps most of all, increased expectations for newly hired managers and executives. Should you end up leaving after a short stint, doing so can leave a black mark on your resume, raising questions for future employers about your judgment and ability to assess opportunities before making a career commitment.   “Leaders, regardless of their level, are most vulnerable in their first few months in a new position because they lack detailed knowledge of the challenges they will face and what it will take to succeed in meeting them,” writes Michael Watkins, author of The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels .    So what can you do to assure that your transition is smooth and productive? Here are a few suggestions:   Ask your new company if it will commit to transition support by hiring a coach to work with you. Be bold in your request; you may even choose to make it a point of negotiation. If possible, look to your search firm for coaching support. Gunderson says his company feels so strongly about the need for transition support that it includes six months of it in all its search placements.   Use the period before you actually start at your new position to learn as much as you can about the company, its vision, its strategies and the industry.   Examine the challenges and opportunities of the company, and identify the barriers to success.   Talk to people at the new company. What is the culture, and what are the processes? What kind of a team will you have to work with, and on whom will you be able to depend?   Assess your own strengths and weaknesses, and identify personal vulnerabilities that could come into play in your new position.   “Failure to create momentum during the first few months virtually guarantees an uphill battle for the rest of your tenure in the job,” Watkins writes. “Building credibility and securing some early wins lay a firm foundation for longer-term success.”      Author’s content used under license, © 2010 Claire Communications
We sat down and had a chat with Lee Shih, a lawyer and author of the best-selling ‘Companies Act 2016: The New Dynamics of Company Law in Malaysia.’  The new Companies Act 2016 seems to place Malaysian company law on par with accepted international best practices, says Lee. Motivations behind the new Companies Act According to Lee Shih, some of the main motivations were to roll out new laws to make Malaysia more business-friendly in the region.  “The new laws are also intended to strengthen corporate governance, and ensure the interests of directors, shareholders and creditors are protected,” Lee said. “Our previous Companies Act 1965 had only seen piecemeal amendments and the new Companies Act 2016 was meant to be a complete revamp of our legal framework.” Fundamental changes under the new regime We now have an easier method of incorporation of companies, says the Co-Founder of legal blog, The Malaysian Lawyer. The new law allows for a private limited company to have a single shareholder and single director. This should make it more attractive for sole proprietors and businessmen to incorporate a company. We also see a more streamlined process of running the company. A private limited company will no longer need to hold an AGM. A lot of the decisions to be made by the shareholders can just be done on paper, through the written resolution procedure. There is no need to hold a physical meeting.  To read more on this: ‘The Companies Act 2016 in force on 31 January 2017: 10 Things To Immediately Prepare For’ And.. Here’s what business owners can do to now to adapt to these changes in the law  Lee told us that a lot of companies are now reviewing their existing Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A). They then have to decide whether there is a need to amend their M&A in case of any conflict with the Companies Act 2016. “Your M&A is almost like a rule book, spelling out the type of business your company can carry out, and sets out the rules, regulations and procedures for your own internal decision-making process,” says the corporate lawyer. For example, how the directors meet and decide on matters, or how shareholders are to hold a meeting and how they can vote. All companies incorporated under the previous Companies Act 1965 would have a M&A. “Under the new regime however, the Companies Act 2016 aims to be the default rule book.” It now has the A-Z of all the rules and regulations for the running of a company. But if you want to opt out of some of these default rules, a company must then adopt a constitution. This constitution now replaces the M&A. So existing businesses will want to have clarity on whether their M&A or constitution has effectively opted out of the default position under the Companies Act 2016. These companies will have to amend their M&A or to adopt a new constitution. What about startups and SMEs? Lee says that the new Act will make it easier to incorporate a company. Startups will find it more attractive to incorporate a company to carry out its business. This is in contrast with merely running their business as a sole proprietor or as a partnership, which would attract the risk of personal liability on the individuals. A company offers the benefit of limited liability and is now coupled with easier incorporation and lower costs of compliance. Potential increase in compliance costs  Moving ahead for private limited companies, the costs of complying with the new Act should be lower. The best-selling author also added that, “I am seeing an increase in compliance costs during this period of transitioning to the new Act. All companies, whether SMEs or public-listed companies, are trying to navigate through the new requirements and also having to adapt to some of the uncertainties in the new laws.” For example, some companies are uncertain in terms of the requirements for the preparation of their audited accounts as we transition over to the new Act. Should they comply with the old Act for their last financial year or should they comply with the new Act? These uncertainties would require professional advice. Potential impact on company directors Lee raised the four areas in which the new Act could affect company directors, they are as below: #1 The payment of dividends will require directors to be satisfied that the company meets a solvency test. This adds an additional duty on the part of directors. If the company does not meet this solvency test, then the directors can potentially attract criminal and civil liability. #2 Directors have to be prepared to be more accountable and transparent. The directors' fees and benefits payable are now subject to shareholder approval. For public companies, the service contracts of the directors are also subject to inspection by the shareholders. #3 Directors now face greater personal liability (heavier penalties) and must ensure compliance of the new laws. #4 Directors are advised  to make use of the wider indemnity and insurance provisions under the new Act (directors and officers (D&O) insurance). Potential impact on company shareholders  As for the shareholders, Lee told us that a significant strengthening of their rights is through a new right of management review. At a shareholders meeting, the shareholders must be given a reasonable opportunity to question, discuss, comment or make recommendations on the management of the company. They can also pass a resolution to make recommendations to the directors on management matters. “This strengthening of rights can also be seen through the shareholders having greater say in the fees and benefits paid to the directors,” Lee added. “The approval of the shareholders is now required.” Malaysia corporate law  on international stage “Our new Act has adopted many of the international best practices. We can see that our law has adopted provisions and concepts from the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore,” says Lee. Some parting thoughts to young lawyers  Commenting on the overwhelming response of the book so far, Lee finds it to be a humbling one.  Practitioners, whether they are lawyers, accountants, or company secretaries find it a useful source in their professional arena.  “I look forward to seeing how the new law is interpreted and continues to develop. New best practices will be developed,” says Lee. As to advice to young lawyers who are thinking of making a mark in their preferred industry, the act of reading and compiling knowledge, even from the early days of practicing carer, is the first step to take.  What got Lee started was when he first tremendous interest in the corporate law reform process. He then began to read up on the developments and cases in other jurisdictions. The initial draft consultation copy of the Companies Bill sparked his journey on becoming a writer. The Q&A sessions during the seminars gave him a clearer view as to how the changes might impact the industry. That led to more research and more reading. All of that experience was distilled into the eventual writing process.   By CanLaw, a BAC affiliate company