Coming Soon – Last Three Best Workdays of the Year, Improve #cubiclelife #worklife , #Career and #productivity

December 2014 Calendar highlighting last three days
Standard

Happy Holidays to all of my readers! Congratulations – you made it through the work year and accomplished your goals.  Given how Christmas and Hanukah fall on the 2014 calendar, it is tempting to extend winter break from now until January 5th. However, opportunity and award awaits those who save their paid time off for the months ahead and trek down to the office.

Let’s look at the top five productivity metrics for the last three workdays of the year:

  1. Less traffic lightens the commute. If you typically leave at 7:30am and return home at 6:00, this 10.5 hour day can likely shrink to 9.5 hour day with a 10% gain in your personal life.
  2. Few or No Meetings – do you celebrate when a meeting ends 15 minutes early because you just gained back 3% of your workday? Your calendar will be refreshingly clear and calm – offering more time to organize, clean up your work area and clear your head for the new year.
  3. Your employer will likely gift you with an opportunity to leave early on New Years Eve.  You can get paid for 100% of the workday with 75% of the effort.
  4. Reduce your unread or unanswered emails by 100%. Create a folder in Outlook named “Respond Soon” and add any issues to Task lists that can’t be resolved because your coworkers are out.  You can address them after January 5th.
  5. If you receive 100 emails a day, and 25% are daily email subscriptions, you can cut out 9,125 clicks in 2015 by taking an extra moment to unsubscribe from email notifications. Removal of these unhelpful distractions will allow you to concentrate on what matters going forward.

If these three performance-enhancing days can improve your overall well-being, then fill the new coffee mug up with a jolt of caffeine, pack a light lunch (not a bad time to start that diet), and immerse yourself into the serenity of your quiet work world.

Joyce Jarek Mihalik is a business leader in the real estate industry, creator of HlpSum1, Inc., and author of First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates. To purchase, visit www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html

Can I Shop on #CyberMonday during #Worklife ? Advice about #jobs & #IT policies

computer screen image
Standard

With Thanksgiving and Black Friday behind us, most of us will be picking up coffee on the way into work Monday morning with five days of work in front of us.   However, the Monday after Thanksgiving can also have a “holiday-feel” as retailers hype up Cyber Monday – supposedly THE DAY to shop online.  If you are tempted to browse in between meetings, have you considered whether it is OK to shop online at work?

Every workplace has different norms and policies.  What is your company’s IT policy?  Using company hardware or the web  interface for personal use is often strictly prohibited, or at best, it can only be used for a limited time during the day.  Most companies will have the capability to monitor every email, every website visited, and all documents created and stored on your computer.  One time I called the help desk and the service representative asked me if I owned a Harley (which I do). He had tracked the websites I visited where I was looking for new shocks for the bike. Cyber attacks are on the rise and the company has every right to protect their equipment, their information and intellectual property.  Company security is everyone’s responsibility – not just the IT department, and your mobile device, tablet or laptop may become a gateway for hackers.

In addition to the cyber security issues, we need to be mindful of keeping up our productivity as the holiday season kicks off.  What do you need to accomplish before the work year ends?  Most work place activity slows down to a crawl during the last two weeks of December, so this is your time to kick it in high gear and wrap up some projects.

I suggest making your Cyber Monday wish list tonight, and hitting the GO button when you get home.  The good news about Cyber Monday is that it lasts until 11:59 p.m.  I wish you a great start to the holidays, and if you decide to shop online on Cyber Monday, here is a quick link to get you started!  www.cybermonday.com

 

 

#Career Thanksgiving Therapy for #postgradlife & #cubiclelife dwellers

Standard

Having Black Friday off without having to take a personal day is one of the many things in corporate life that I am grateful for. Please “Like” this post and raise your thumb if you need a four day weekend – RIGHT NOW!

First Job book Jacket in red and green

Get ready, Launch, Gain Momentum, Pull Ahead

In my book First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates, I dedicated a section on keeping fresh at work.  In the self-help world, many will refer to this as work-life balance.  Many of us with competing priorities are frantically trying to live up to this standard and believing that it must be possible since so many refer to it.

Truth exposed – there rarely is harmonized balance between work life and personal life.  At any given point, work will win, family will win, or you will win!  And something will lose.  Thanksgiving weekend is when work loses.  The six million people that will board planes, trains and automobiles today are fleeing quickly, while “work”  awaits Monday in darkness, cold and stillness.  Don’t you feel better already with that imagery in mind?  Relax – you aren’t getting any farther behind and no one is  getting ahead of you this weekend since everyone is gone!

You can’t do everything well all at once.  This weekend is Thanksgiving Therapy for you and your family, but work or school must be prioritized next week.  You will need  to think about wrapping up year-end goals and hit it hard for the next two weeks before holiday joy sets in again.  Your personal life may lose for awhile.  Work isn’t a coast to the year end finish line – there will be a slight up hill climb to December 31, so give it a little thought today as you depart – commit to the sprint over the next two weeks before you begin to coast.

Here are some ways to make work lose this holiday weekend.

Wednesday – quiet catch up with your closest family members whom you haven’t seen for awhile.  Take someone aside for a coffee or a beer, be sincere, be loving, be real about what you are dealing with and anxious to learn about them.

Thursday – on this meat-filled holiday, absorb yourself into family and friends, and veg out on the couch.  After cooking and cleaning up – try doing nothing.

Friday – SHOP!   Give in to the madness!  But buy at least one thing that will center you as you sprint the next two weeks.  Some new tunes, a new coffee mug, a tablet?  Work is still losing – but there is just a hint of focus coming on.

Saturday – plan today something fun and different for Saturday.  What is the one thing you will talk about Monday over the cubicle wall when your coworker asks the ritualistic Monday Question – “What did you do this weekend?”

Sunday – Safe travels everyone, get home early, get quiet, get ready.

I wish you a blessed and safe holiday weekend and for the workforce who doesn’t receive time off because you are needed to make the world hum and buzz – I am thankful for you!

Joyce Jarek is the author of First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.  Pick up a copy as an early holiday gift for you through the link www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html

Summer is slipping by…are you keeping up with your work?

Standard

IMG_1415During the summer it is difficult to stay motivated. After Memorial Day, coworkers with families begin to disappear. Both parents ands kids are anxious to escape the routine of school and all of their extra curricular activiites. From June to midJuly, work productivity can slow way down. New employees, who may not have yet accumulated significant vacation time are left behind. The buzz in the office slows down and motivation to keep up the pace disappears. Summer feels like a good time to slip out early and enjoy friends, family and fun. So what’s the worry?

The summer teaser can turn into trauma if you find yourself way behind on meeting goals for the year when up north, the leaves start to fall.  From September to December, the year feels unbelievably short. Hard to count December as a full work month since many people are out once again enjoying the holidays. It becomes a short work month. Projects and deliveries are hard to accomplish after Halloween because frankly, you just run out of time to properly wrap things up.

The best thing to do is to recognize the potential for a work slow down midyear with a little extra effort in the Spring. But if you find yourself after the baseball All-Star break concerned about how the year is passing you by – from a work perspective, it is time to begin climbing out of the hole now, instead of waiting till Labor Day. Think of your summer as a valley. If activity at work declines from Memorial Day to Independence Day, then through each week in July and August, increase your productivity by 10-15% through Labor Day, so you can be at your best during early Fall. You won’t be cheating your summer fun, but you will start climbing back into the full swing of things and be positioned to hit your targets for year end goals.