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  • How Successful People Begin and End Their Workdays

    08/22/17 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : News | Leave a Comment
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    Why is the middle of an Oreo so delicious?

    It’s the chocolate cookies on the top and bottom.

    This post isn’t about food (entirely), and we don’t recommend eating a package of cookies to enhance job performance. But the inventor of Oreos (or any sandwich cookie, for that matter), knew this important fact:

    The way you start and end something – whether it’s a cookie or a workday – makes a huge difference in how great it is.

    So, if you’re looking to make the middle of your day more successful, bookend it with these habits:

    Morning Habits

    Exercise

    Great leaders have rigorous fitness routines for a good reason: they understand how important exercise is to being an effective boss. Research provides evidence of a relationship between physical activity and improved cognitive and executive functioning. And in this post, we review the reasons you should exercise before starting your workday.

    Fuel Your Body

    When you wake up, your body has been fasting for several hours. If you want it to perform well for you throughout the day, give it what it needs! This post shares essential nutrition tips to transform your morning (and your entire workday).

    Hold-Off on Checking Email

    Email is vital, but checking it shouldn’t be the first item on your to-do list when you arrive at the office. Diving into your Inbox automatically puts you in reactive mode: putting out yesterday’s fires; responding to others’ requests; and potentially derailing your priorities.

    Resist the Urge to Procrastinate

    Use the list you developed the day before (see below) to guide your activities. Discipline yourself to attend to your highest priorities first.

    End-of-Workday Habits

    Stay Focused

    Productivity typically diminishes late afternoon. Simply knowing that you’re more prone to distraction can help you stay focused, however. During the last hour of your workday, try to resist the temptation to get caught up in nonwork-related activities. An extra ounce of discipline at the day’s end will help you finish stronger.

    Vet “Urgent” Communications

    Successful people know what requires immediate response and what can wait until tomorrow. Review your incoming messages across channels, addressing what you must and deferring what you can. When possible, set a time of day for following up tomorrow on non-urgent matters.

    Reflect

    Consider what, when and why things went right (or wrong) during your day. Learn what you can, and apply those lessons to make tomorrow even better.

    Plan Your Next Day

    Never leave your office without a clear idea of what you need to accomplish the following day:

    • Cross out items on your to-do list you’ve completed. Note what you’ve achieved. The sense of accomplishment you feel will motivate you to aim high tomorrow.
    • Make a new list. Lay out your top three or four priorities, and resolve to tackle your most challenging or unpleasant task first. Why? You’re likely to get distracted with urgent requests and unplanned activities as your morning wears on. If you check-off at least one big “to do” before things get too hectic, you’ll have made great progress by lunch.

    Make Every Workday More Productive – with the Right Staffing Support

    Exact Staff delivers exceptional talent and innovative strategies to meet your local or national requirements. Whether it’s a single temporary for a day or an entire project team, we provide a range of staffing and placement solutions to increase productivity and performance.

    What can we do for you? Contact a staffing expert at your local Exact Staff office today.

Are You Revealing Things You Shouldn’t at Work?

08/21/17 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers | Leave a Comment
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If you’re on the job hunt, you’ve doubtless heard cautionary advice about revealing TMI during an interview:

  • trashing a former boss
  • discussing personal finances
  • dishing about your love life

Yikes – makes us cringe just thinking about it. But once you’ve landed the position, all bets are off – right?

No way!

To ensure your long-term success within an organization, it’s best to leave certain things unsaid. Forever. Because like it or not, coworkers and superiors silently judge everything you reveal about yourself at work. Build and protect your professional reputation by never discussing these taboo topics on the job:

Related post: Words and Phrases Smart People Never Use in Conversation

Religion or Politics

These two issues are a metaphorical jab-punch to your career’s jawline. Everyone has the right to their religious and political beliefs, and to practice them as they see fit. But faith and politics are sensitive, polarizing topics which can fuel tempers and cause unnecessary divisiveness at work. Our advice? Avoid them like the plague. And if someone broaches either subject with you, listen without interjecting your opinion.

Your (ahem) Romantic Escapades

Have you ever wanted to cover your ears and run from a coworker who felt it necessary to share vivid details about last night’s date? Then you understand why your dating/personal life is off-limits at work. The topic may make fellow employees uncomfortable – or worse yet – compel them to file a sexual harassment complaint against you. Obviously, neither is good for your career.

Someone Else’s Incompetence

Every organization has bungling, inefficient employees. And everyone knows who they are – so there’s no need for you to point them out to coworkers. While a fellow employee’s incompetence may frustrate you, remember this: making someone else look bad never makes you look any better; it just makes you look insecure.

Your Glory Days

It can be tempting to chime in about your partying days when the subject comes up at work, but it’s best to bite your tongue. Your past speaks volumes about you, and people make assumptions about your character and judgement based on the stories you share.

Health Problems

If you have a medical issue or chronic condition, be careful not to focus on it too much at work. Over time, continual complaining may irritate coworkers and lead management to wonder if you’re well enough to perform on the job. When you need to take sick leave, discuss it privately with your employer – and remember that you’re not required to provide details.

On the Job Hunt?

Searching for Professional, Temporary Employees or New Hires?

For two decades, the Exact Family of Companies has connected talented professionals with leading employers to build successful careers and businesses. We pride ourselves on investing time with our associates and client companies to find the right career and staffing solutions.

What can we do for you? Search jobs or find talent here.

Want to Supercharge Your Success? Quit Doing These Things

08/17/17 2:15 PM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers | Leave a Comment
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In any aspect of your life – your career, fitness, relationships, finances – success really boils down to two things:

  1. Doing the right things.
  2. Not doing the wrong things.

While we’ve written extensively about doing the “right” things to become more successful (like this post on instilling healthy habits), that success won’t materialize if you can’t let go of certain behaviors and mindsets.

So today, we’re taking a different tack. Below, you’ll find five things you need to knock off if you want to thrive personally and professionally:

Quit Doing These Five Things

 Expecting Perfection

Nobody is perfect; striving for perfection just sets you up for failure. Better options? Strive for continual improvement. Strive for excellence. Strive to be the absolute best you can be at doing something.

Procrastinating

Being amazing at something typically requires changing habits and putting in tons of work. Both are hard – and tempting to put off. But adopting an “I’ll get to it tomorrow” mentality will get you nowhere, because “tomorrow” never comes. Procrastinating is just avoidance behavior. If you want to be successful at something, you must put yourself in uncomfortable situations, do things you probably don’t want to do, and face your fears.

Micromanaging Others

You can’t do everything yourself – and you shouldn’t try to, if you’re in management. Delegating responsibilities and empowering your team are essential to accomplishing goals. Loosen the reins a bit. Selectively hand-off non-essential tasks to gain more time for high-priority activities that will make you more successful.

Automatically Saying “Yes”

Obviously, there are demands on your time and attention. True, you may have to make yourself available during off-work hours. Yes, employees, coworkers and managers will try to heap work on your plate. But these pressures are the very reason you must selectively say “no”:

  • Set limits on how and when others may contact you outside work.
  • Be honest with yourself and others about the amount of work you can effectively accomplish in a given timeframe.

Remember that, when you say “yes” to one thing, you’re saying “no” to another. Be sure you keep enough time and energy free to devote to the most important things in your life.

Fighting Fires

Without a clear plan, you’re likely to spend your time reacting to whatever problems others lay at your feet. While a certain amount of fire-fighting may be part of your job, plan your day with intention and focus. Create a prioritized list of specific tasks you need to accomplish. Start with the tasks that are the toughest (but essential to accomplish), and work down to things that would be nice to get done, but aren’t a true priority.

Want to be More Successful? Exact Staff Can Help.

Our national employment agency provides innovative staffing and placement solutions to increase focus. Free-up time for high-priority work. And support your individual and organizational success. What can Exact Staff do for you?

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Have Problems to Solve? Start by Defining Them Differently

08/10/17 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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When you have a tough problem to solve, conventional management wisdom dictates that you gather your team members and collectively “think outside the box.”

But, what is that “box,” anyway?

How, exactly, are people supposed to “think outside” it?

And, most importantly, is “thinking outside the box” truly the best way to develop innovative solutions to work problems?

Nope. At least, not according to Art Markman, author of this Harvard Business Review article. Markman purports that the key to solving a problem lies in the way you define it.

Here’s why:

The human brain contains a network of linked information, and retrieval of memories is sparked by cues. For example, if you ask someone how to change a flat tire, they’d automatically picture a vehicle. That thought would then trigger a cascade of related memories, which could include anything from seeing a family stuck on the side of the highway, to actually changing a flat tire themselves.

According to this logic, groups typically solve problems by tapping the memories of the individuals working on them. The assumption is that someone in the group already knows information that will be the key to solving the problem; they just haven’t accessed that memory yet.

So, the way the group defines a problem greatly impacts their success in solving it. By framing a problem using different words, people elicit novel memory cues which retrieve new information from their collective memory.

It’s simple. It makes perfect sense. And it’s free to try!

To apply this technique in your organization:

  1. Assemble your team as you would for a typical brainstorming session.
  2. Instead of trying to solve the problem, spend your time defining it differently.
  3. Create several variations of the problem’s description:
    1. Some should be specific, and refer to the “object(s)” to be acted on.
    2. Other descriptions should focus on the relationships among the problem’s key elements.
    3. Challenge your team to describe the problem in other ways that are abstract, high-level or novel.
  4. Use the multiple problem descriptions to brainstorm potential solutions. Don’t be afraid to “go down a rabbit hole”; creative insights often come from the most unlikely places!

Looking for more creative problem-solving techniques to implement in your organization?

Check out our earlier post, “Fresh Strategies for Creative Problem Solving.”

Need more problem-solvers on your team?

Exact Staff’s recruiting experts will refer candidates with the creativity, perseverance and other soft skills. Contact our team today for additional insight and information!

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