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Tips to Becoming a Morning Person

Have a hard time getting up in the morning? You’re not alone. When you’re comfortable and warm under the covers, the last thing you want to do is get up and face the day. Here are a few ideas that could get you up and ready without the agonizing feeling of leaving your bed.

Set Your Alarm and Place It as Far from Your Reach as You Can
We all do it. Your alarm goes off and you hit snooze, about 4 or 5 times. If you want to avoid the rush to get ready in the morning because you decided to sleep for another 45 minutes, try placing your phone on the other side of the room. This is going to force you to wake up and get out of bed rather than clicking the snooze button multiple times. Sure the covers are cozy which makes it hard to get out of bed, but that’s not an excuse your boss is going to want to hear.

Drink a Glass of Water
Drinking a glass of water won’t make you want to get up out of bed but it will help you stay awake. Drinking water is healthy and a definite for your body to function properly. Think about it, if you’re sleeping for 7-9 hours every night, that’s how long your body is going without water. Drink up and you’ll be ready to take on the day!

Look Forward to Something
No matter how big or small it is, prepare something that you can look forward to when you wake up in the morning. There are times where you’ll want to treat yourself to a large hazelnut coffee from your favorite coffee shop or make some extra time to do 10-15 minutes of yoga before you start your day. You’ll want to get out of bed if there is something waiting for you that you know is going to make you feel happy and ready for the day.

Turn Your Lights On
If you turn on any light, your brain will automatically wake you up. This is why studies show that playing with your phone, tablet, or any other electronics before bed will keep your brain working and you’ll have a hard time falling asleep. However, in the morning, if you’re looking for a way to stay awake, turn a light on or check your emails on your phone.


Set Your Alarm a Few Minutes Early

If you love to snooze your alarm, try to set it about 10-15 minutes earlier than normal. This way you can choose to snooze for a few minutes or just lay in bed and do something for yourself. Read a couple of pages in your book, check out your Facebook, or watch a few minutes of TV. Anything that makes you feel like you don’t have to rush out of bed, will help your body and mind adjust to the new day.

Prepare Breakfast Ahead of Time
Waking up and knowing you have a delicious breakfast waiting for you can be a motivator to getting out of bed. Stock your fridge with breakfast foods that are easy to prepare in the morning and you’ll start your day with the most important meal of the day.

Plan Nap Time for Later in the Day
Napping isn’t just for babies, adults need naps too. If you wake up early in the morning and think the day will be rough, plan to take a nap when you get home. Don’t make it too long but just enough so you can re-energize yourself. Chances are after getting up in the morning, you’ll stay awake and won’t need a nap later in the day anyway.

Hit the Gym or Pop in Your Favorite Workout DVD
This might be the last thing anyone wants to do especially when you’re not a morning person. But there are a lot of benefits that working out will do to your body before you start your day. Your mood will be lifted, your focus can improve, and any anxieties you have can diminish.

Take a Few Minutes to Meditate
Meditating can help you relax before you get ready to take on your day. Doing this will bring you to a peaceful state and you’ll feel calm and relaxed. Many people who despise waking up in the morning find it to be soothing to sit for a few minutes and become mindful of their breathing and prepare themselves for what the day will bring.

Preparing for a Job Interview

Interviews aren’t easy and at most times they are completely nerve-wrecking. If you get well prepared before an interview and practice on what you plan on saying, you’ll be fine! Below are 10 tips to help nail your interview and possibly help you land your dream job.

  1. Before you come in for your interview, research the company you want to work for and who you are interviewing with. If you haven’t the slightest clue of what the company does, you don’t have much of a chance getting hired. Go into the interview with a well-formed understanding of the company and what they do as well as whoever you will be interviewing with. Check out their website, there is always an “about us” category that will give you enough information to know what this specific company does and its purpose. If you do know the name of the interviewer, check the company’s website for their biography.
  2. Dress for the job and make yourself look ready and confident to take this interview head on. Base it on the type of job you are interviewing for and make sure you dress appropriately.
  3. Bring extra copies of your resume to the interview. Even if the interviewer doesn’t ask for your resume and you just printed off copies for no reason. It will look much better if you are over-prepared than under-prepared. Sometimes you’ll walk into an interview and find out that there are two interviewers. This way if you have multiple copies, you should hand out a copy of your resume to each interviewer in the room. It will show how well prepared you were to begin the interview.
  4. Leave the weak handshake at home. Practice shaking hands with someone and make sure you have a firm, confident handshake to show you are here to bring the best of you to this job.
  5. Be sure to turn your phone off before you even walk into the interview and also arrive at least 10 minutes early. If something happened and you are running late, just call the interviewer ahead of time and be honest with them. Sometimes you might run into unexpected traffic, or you’re stuck behind a school bus. It does happen, so don’t get nervous, keep calm and give them a heads up. Life happens, most interviewers will understand that.
  6. Smile, engage, and have a positive attitude. If you’re too stiff and come off as less than excited to be in this interview, you’ll most likely walk out with no chance of getting hired. Employers want to see happy, positive people that they can recruit to their company.
  7. Eye contact is important. If you have a hard time maintaining eye contact, the interviewer will have a hard time trusting you. Having strong eye contact will only benefit you. It shows you are confident and persuasive which is a necessary skill to have.
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask when they plan to make a decision and ask who you should follow up with. You can sometimes tell by their response whether the interview went well or not.
  9. Be sure to send a follow-up email simply saying thank you. It just needs to be a brief, personalized thank you to anyone you met and interviewed with. Adding a mutual interest or personal touch to the email may help your chance of getting a call back that you got the job.
  10. Follow-up if you don’t hear back from them within a week. You aren’t going to sound pushy, you’ll just sound very interested. This will only benefit you, and your name will be on their mind knowing you have contacted them and showed your interest in the job.

Winterizing Your Home

Have you prepared your home for winter yet? If not, then it’s time to do so! Living in New England, we all have to prepare for the cold months ahead. Follow these steps below to help lower your utility bills and keep your home warm for the winter.

Contact a technician to inspect your furnace and heat pump system to make sure it is clean and doesn’t need any repairs before the brutal cold hits.

Many ceiling fans have the option of a reverse switch. This is especially useful when your heat is on. Hot air rises and if you want to heat up a room with high ceilings, just click on the reverse switch so that the entire room will warm up.

In order to prevent icicles and ice dams to form in your gutters, make sure you clean them out before they freeze up. You can do it on your own and not spend any extra cash to get this done.

Your water heater can sometimes collect dust particles and sediment, but you can clean this out through the drain valve by flushing water right through.

Be sure to replace any filters in your cooling and heating system. New filters are inexpensive and will improve the systems efficiency and longevity.

Window insulation film helps keep heat inside the home. Many windows can cause drafts from the cold air outside and take heat away from the inside of your home. Draft guards under your door are also great ways to keep warm air from escaping your room.

Caulking your windows can also prevent any leaks of cold air to come into your home. Check corners and sides of windows where the window and wall meets and try to feel for any cold air that might seem to slip through the cracks.

Turning down your thermostat when you leave the house can save you on your heating bill. Even if you lower the heat down one degree, it can help save about 1-3% on your bill.

Insulating your pipes may help decrease the chances for the pipes to freeze in the winter. If your pipes are warm to the touch, you can insulate them with pre-slit pipe foam.

This might be surprising to hear but about 10-30% of heating and cooling air can escape from the ducts in your home. It’s recommended that you have a technician come out to test your system and be sure to fix any issues that may appear. If you properly seal the ducts, you may save about $150 a year as well as protecting you and your family from mold and dust.

Winterizing your home doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Most projects, whether big or small, will help save you money and keep you and your family warm for the winter. Call an expert for the larger tasks that you shouldn’t do on your own, and fix the little things that you can do yourself at home. It will be well worth it in the long run and you’ll be saving money in no time.

Commute to a Better You

How long is your commute to work? On average, Americans spend a little over 25 minutes on their commute to work, with some, even longer. There are cases where commuting can have detrimental effects on your mental and physical health. However, there are ways to improve your commute and your health all at once.

Commuting to work can add stress, so it’s best to try to relax and make a plan for yourself before you head out. Practice mindful breathing exercises such as taking one hand and holding it on your chest and the other on your belly. Take a deep breath through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Do this about 8-10 times within 10 minutes. It will cause your heart rate and your blood pressure to reduce immediately and you’ll feel much more relaxed before you begin your drive to work.

The long drive to work can be a learning opportunity. This doesn’t mean you should read a book while you’re driving, but you can download your favorite books and listen to them on your way to work. Audible.com is a great site for downloading a large selection of your favorite books. If you don’t feel like you want to listen to a story, you can also try to learn a new language. Duolingo is an app that teaches you a language of your choice and bonus: it’s a free app!

Try to loosen up before you take your drive to work. If you work in an office and sit at your desk for most of the 8 hours in your day, then you need to take some time to stretch. The drive to and from work, which is another hour or longer, can make your body start feeling negative physiological effects. The best thing to do is take the time before and even after work to stretch or take a walk. You’ll thank yourself for doing this and you’ll soon begin to feel a lot better both physically and mentally.

Staying Healthy While Sitting

Everyone who works in an office typically sits at a desk all day long. Almost eight hours of your work day are spent sitting in a chair, but how about the rest of the time when you go home? You’re most likely sitting again eating dinner, watching your favorite TV show, or maybe even reading a book. Unfortunately, there are health risks that affect our bodies when we aren’t physically active throughout the day. These health risks are not something to push aside and think about another day. Sitting for a long period of time each and every day can contribute to life-threatening risks which include obesity, heart attacks, strokes, and early death.

Circulation is constricted when your body isn’t moving enough throughout the day. Your metabolism starts to slow itself down and eventually the body gives up. By adopting healthier habits, you can improve your health and prevent your body from getting sick. Here are some tips to help your body avoid the negative impact and ways you can boost your energy levels and keep your body happy and healthy.

unknownSwitch Your Desk Chair to an Exercise Ball

Instead of using your desk chair, try to sit on an exercise ball. The reason this may help our bodies is simply because the ball doesn’t give you an option of sitting in an unhealthy posture. Desk chairs can feel comfortable
because you get to adjust how you sit and lean back if you would like. Exercise balls basically force you to sit upright and they can even help you burn calories throughout the day by working out your abs and back muscles as well as trying to improve your balance while sitting. (Plus, they’re a lot more fun to sit on than a regular old desk chair).

Try a Standing Desk

Try a standing desk, it may not be accessible to everyone but if they are you can really try to see the difference it makes instead of sitting all day long. This helps you become a little more active throughout the day. Did you know that even standing in a line helps burn more calories than sitting does? This is why a standing desk would be a lot healthier on the body and could possibly prevent your body from becoming unhealthy.

Deskercise: Exercising at your Desk

Yes, Deskercise is an actual thing. You’re not lifting weights while trying to type out a report for your boss but you can move your legs to mimic actual walking and you can even move your arms every few minutes. While “walking” at your desk, do this in intervals of 45 seconds, take 10-15 seconds of rest and then repeat. This will get your blood circulating and you’ll start burning some extra calories while working.

Be Sure to take Lunch Breaks

It’s typically required that everyone takes a lunch break, if you are skipping them, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Everyone should take the time to step away from their desk and regain their focus. This tip isn’t just for physical health but mental health as well. Go on a walk around your office building or at a park nearby. If your office includes a gym then take a walk on the treadmill. Anything physically active will help your body. When it comes to mental health, your concentration and energy levels will boost up when you walk away from your work even if it’s for 10-15 minutes.

The negative effects of sitting can really impact your health in the long run. Adopt these healthy habits to help your body both mentally and physically and avoid future medical emergencies. Take care of yourself every day and you’ll see improvements.

How To Relieve Anxiety At Work

Anxiety is something that everybody experiences from time to time. Whether it is because of a heavy workload at your job, or because of something personal, anxiety can impact your life.  Overcoming these stresses can be a challenge; here are some tips to help relieve some of the stress.

bigstock--131289560Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is essential to ensure productivity the next day. It is important for your overall health, as a lack of sleep can contribute to stress and anxiety. This can get tricky due to the fact that an increase in anxiety may also lead to a disruption in a person’s sleep schedule. If you’re feeling anxious, try scheduling a full seven to nine hours of sleep for a few days and see how quickly your anxiety may be relieved.

Eat Right

Eating healthy is important to keep a clear mind. Anxiety can change our appetite, cause us to crave certain foods, or eat more than we normally would. If this happens to you, try eating foods with more nutrients such as vitamin B and Omega-3s. Vitamin B is said to be linked with good mental health and omega-3s can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Plan Ahead

Prepare for your day ahead of time to fight those anxious thoughts. Making schedules and to-do lists are a great way to increase productivity. Having your outfit planned and your lunch made the night before, can save you those few extra minutes you need to get out the door on time and beat that morning traffic.

Just Breathe

There is nothing wrong with taking a few minutes throughout your day to just stop and breathe. Maybe even set an alarm on your phone to remind you to take that, much needed, five-minute break from whatever it is you’re doing. Go find a quiet place, close your eyes and just breathe. Turn off your devices and disconnect for a few minutes. Studies have shown that too much noise and chaos can boost our stress levels. Scheduling some alone time, where you can sit and be with just yourself for a few minutes, can be one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Stay Active

Exercise releases chemicals into your brain that relieve stress and make you feel good. Stretching, running in place, dancing, or even walking around your office building are great ways to get some physical activity, keep that heart rate up and keep the stress away.

Nobody likes being stressed, but there definitely are ways to cope with it. Using some of these tips will surely help in relieving some of your stress ad anxiety.

Different Management Styles

We have all had those jobs with managers that are difficult to work with. They usually are either far too strict with high expectations or far too lenient and give you no direction. Here are some different management styles and when they are and aren’t effective in the workplace.

Directive ManagerIllustration with a team on puzzle pieces.

A directive manager is the type of person who expects their employees to do exactly as they tell them and controls them closely. They use motivation in the form of threats and punishment. This can be harmful in the development of new employees who are trying to learn, as well as highly skilled employees who can grow resentful and frustrated with their manager. Some may think that this strategy is not very effective, and in some ways they can be right, but the discipline instilled in their employees is very useful in any type of emergency where directions are necessary.

Authoritative Manager

An authoritative manager is a “firm but fair” manager. They make it their goal to provide long-term direction and vision for their employees. They form motivation by feedback on performance of their employees. This type of manager is effective when directions and standards in the workplace are needed. Underdeveloped employees, who need guidance on what to do in order to be efficient may not benefit much from a manager who uses this style of management.

Affiliative Manager

An affiliative manager puts the people first and the task second. They look to create peace among employees, as well as between the manager and his/her employees. Managers that take on this style try to avoid conflict and emphasize good personal relationships among their employees. This style of management is effective when trying to manage conflict and when performing tasks. An affiliate manager does not emphasize performance, causing some performance to be inadequate.

Participative Manager

The participative manager is also known as the “democratic” manager. This type of manager’s main objective is to build commitment and consensus among employees. They always encourage employee input in decision making and motivates by rewarding team effort. This type of management helps employees work together, gives them experience, and creates a steady work environment. Although this type of management can be effective, it also means in a crisis, if there isn’t time for a meeting, inefficiencies and a lack of competency can occur.

Pacesetting Manager

A pacesetting manager makes it their goal to achieve tasks at a high standard of excellence. They are often referred to as a “do it myself” manager. They perform tasks and have an expectation that their employees will follow his/her example. This can be an effective style when employees are highly motivated, but can get difficult when their work load is too large and requires assistance from others.

Coaching Manager

A coaching manager focuses on the long-term development of their employees. They encourage their employees to develop their strengths and improve performance, while also motivating them. Their motivation provides opportunities for professional development. This is an effective form of management when an employee’s skills are in need of development, especially when the employee is motivated and would like to keep developing. Although it may be nice to have a manager who helps to guide you in development, these leaders typically lack expertise and do not perform very well when in crisis.
Working with people can be tough, especially when personalities clash. A mix of a few of these different styles can be an effective way to be more efficient in the workplace.

How To Handle Angry Clients

angryclientsFBWhen working with the public, it’s inevitable that you’d have to handle an angry client at one point or another. Sometimes their anger and frustration is justified, but often times its not. If you’re in a position where you have to serve customers, it’s important to learn how to handle difficult situations like this that could potentially impact you and/or your company.

Here are a few tips on how to handle a difficult situation with an angry client.

Remain Calm. When someone starts yelling and being rude to you, on the phone, in person, or on social media, it’s important to remain a calm and cool demeanor. Getting angry and shouting back does nothing but make you look unprofessional. Remain in control of your emotions and try not to take it personally. The customer likely isn’t mad at you, but the situation, the product, or your performance. It could also be something as little as they had a bad day and are taking it out on you. Remain calm and don’t take it personally.

Listen. Angry people just want to be heard. They want to vent about their problems and have validation that their problem is a valid one. It’s important to listen patiently and acknowledge that you’ve heard and understand their problem. When they are done talking, it’s beneficial to repeat back what they said to show that you do care about what they’ve just said.

Sympathize & Apologize. Show that you understand where he or she may be coming from and apologize for the unpleasant experience that they’ve encountered. If you want to keep a customer, it’s best to apologize gracefully and do what you can to rectify the situation. Being respectful, calm, and showing that you’re doing what you can to make the situation better is key to smoothing things over.

 Take a moment to yourself. After the situation has been resolved, take a moment for yourself to breathe and relax. Frustrating situations can be difficult and it’s important to unwind from the stress the situation had on you. Go for a walk, listen to some music, or talk it out with a friend to distress yourself before you handle other customers.

It may take some practice to handle angry clients, as it’s difficult to keep cool in heated situations, but by following these 4 steps you will ensure that you remain professional and a good example in your company.

Open Offices vs. Private Offices: What’s Better?

When it comes to a corporate office layout, there are many ways in which you could go about it structuring it. Some people choose to have mainly private offices, while others prefer to have an open office, or offices with cubicles. Larger companies tend to choose the open office space layout due to the simple fact that it can help to save money in construction costs. If a company is growing, it is much easier to add people into a workplace that have an open floor plan. Let’s examine the pros and cons of each type of structure.

Open Office & Cubicles
Have an open office is, once again, cheaper for companies to maintain. When it comes strictly to the employees, it is an environment that makes it easier for people to interact and engage with one another. People are inherently lazy by nature and don’t want to have to put in the extra effort to meet with someone. Communication can flow easier when people are meeting in person, which they will more likely do with an open floor plan. An open office is perfect for increasing collaboration and interaction between co-workers.

Office-FBWith all of the collaboration, engagement, and interaction comes some drawbacks. While your workers are more easily able to bounce ideas off one another, they are also a lot more likely to become distracted. These areas can get to be a little loud which can make it hard for people to focus on their own work and task at hand. Having an open floor plan also creates a lack of privacy. Phone calls will be overheard, conversations can be eavesdropped on, and nothing can be left on your desk that is confidential. Cubicles can help slightly with some privacy, but it’s not going to do much with noise level or potential distraction. Cubicles and open offices both can help spread illnesses quickly, infecting many workers.

Private Office
Having a private office has plenty of perks that has to do with personal comfort. Distractions from others are limited, you have heightened privacy, and you have more space. You can feel secure in knowing that your work and conversations can remain confidential if necessary. Having your own private office is also generally seen as a symbol of status or importance within a company or business.

The downside to having a private office lies in the lack of ease in communication. While you can send an email, call, or have a meeting – it’s much more formal than in an open office. You have your own workspace, but when it comes to cleaning and organizing, you’re the only one responsible for it. You can feel a little disconnected from the rest of the workers.

The industry or department you work in can have an affect over which kind of office works better for you and/or your company. It is best to weigh the benefits and disadvantages and apply it to your company accordingly.

How To Handle Criticism

In the working world, it is expected that you’re going to deal with some criticism, professional or otherwise, from anyone you regularly come into contact with. This can include your boss, co-workers, clients, friends, family etc. It is generally expected to get constructive criticism from your boss and other people when you ask for their opinion; however, others will still offer their unwanted opinion. While it’s difficult to handle criticism, constructive or otherwise, how you react to it is more important. You can choose to be hurt from it or choose to learn and grow from it.

Handle Criticism Consent Text ConceptWhen receiving criticism, it is best to listen as well as you can to what is being said. Try not to get defensive and take it personally. Being defensive can be a natural instant reaction, but in doing so, you’re missing out on the opportunity to learn and grow from what is being said. Instead, take a deep breath to calm down and try to understand what they are actually saying.

For example, imagine you’ve just been hired as a salesperson and didn’t realize that giving presentations is a big part of the job. Giving presentations isn’t your strong suit, so when you were rehearsing, you were given some constructive criticism on how to get better. Instead of feeling bad about their comments, listen to what they had to say and try to get better from their feedback. When they are giving their comments, they are not attacking you as a person, but instead want to help you improve. Remember – you’re new at this! Nobody is perfect when they first start working on a new skill. Reacting to their feedback positively is important. While it may hurt, remind yourself that they are there to help you, not make you feel bad.

While we can all only hope that the only criticism that would be heading our way is constructive, it doesn’t usually happen that way. Criticism can come unwarranted. When this does happen, it’s important to take a deep breath and remain calm. Becoming emotional will only give the critic more power. Instead, repeat the point they are trying to make in your words to focus on the issue at hand. Once again, try not to get too defensive with this. Just focus on getting to the point of the matter. Once you figure out what the point is, politely give your perspective on the issue. The last step is to move on from the situation gracefully. If you have nothing else to say, simply respond, “I appreciate the feedback.”

Criticism is difficult to handle, even when you are asking for it. Instead of acting emotionally, make sure you listen to what is actually being said. Instead of taking it personally and acting defensively, take criticism as something you can learn from. This lesson can help you improve or it can simply teach you that a certain person’s opinion is nothing but jealously. Either way, you can learn from the situation. The most important thing to remember is to stay calm and try to take away something positive from the situation.