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Communicating Thankfulness at the Office: 5 Reasons Why You’ve Got To Do It

4 out of 5 American office workers say that when someone communicates thankfulness to them about a job well done, it makes them work harder. That same pool of workers also admits a 90% failure rate in communicating that thankfulness on a personal level. There is no denying the fact that the best kind of motivation comes from appreciation. The only problem is that we often assume others know we appreciate them, so we don’t communicate that thankfulness.

Maybe saying “Thank you” feels like a foreign concept, but there are some specific reasons why thankfulness needs to be communicated in the workplace that go beyond the need to feel appreciated. Here is why an emphasis on thankfulness is so important.

#1. Appreciation isn’t an extrinsic motivator. There comes a time for most workers when a raise, a promotion, and other intrinsic rewards just aren’t enough. There are nice titles and plenty of extra money, but that cash gets spent. Appreciation falls outside of these extrinsic rewards that often feel like they’re just dues for a job well done. It speaks to a greater importance in the work that is being accomplished.

#2. It places a point of emphasis on giving. There are three basic types of workers: givers, takers, and exchangers. Takers will try to get everyone else to do the job while they sit back and do nothing. Exchangers will do work if they receive something in return. Givers don’t care. They offer their experiences and skills freely upon asking. Givers don’t always wind up on top, but they do more often than the other two types of workers. Giving thankfulness, therefore, is a way to find yourself getting ahead.

#3. Thankfulness can double the response. Information flows fast and free in today’s modern working environment. What is interesting about the data we consume is that the final line of the content we read or the conversation we have is what sticks with us. If that last line is a note of thankfulness, the positive responses that can be received in return will actually double. This increases the likelihood that more help can be received in the future.

#4. A little time can take you a long way. Communicating thankfulness requires a time investment, but a rather small one. Just a simple note that tells people they are appreciated is all it takes to not only have them work harder, but encourage you to work harder as well. Our creativity tends to fade during times of stress and that thankfulness that gets communicated eliminates the stress that everyone – including you – is experiencing.

#5. Being specific makes the value increase. Relationships are built in the working environment and will either be positive or negative. Positive relationships form when others feel like you care for them. Negative relationships form when it seems like there is a selfish element in play. By being specific about what you’re thankful for, that specificity brings you closer to that other person because your observation has been about them instead of being about you.

Consider these 5 benefits and how you could apply them to your workplace. Communicating thankfulness only takes a few seconds, but the impact it leaves could last for a lifetime.

7 Habits That Will Change Your Life Starting Today

We all have habits. Things that we do without thinking about what we’re doing. Some of these habits form the cornerstone of who we are as a person. They are such a powerful force that they’ll even generate additional habits that are influential.

If you’re feeling life is feeling a little bland and boring, then it could be because you’ve shifted your cornerstone. Here are some of the most important habits to develop because they develop other positive, influential habits that make life great.

#1. Have dinner with the family.

Even if the dinner table is the only place where everyone in the family gets together in the same room every day, having a family dinner nightly is still a great habit to have. This togetherness provides emotional stability, confidence, and focusing habits for everyone in the family.

#2. Daily exercise.

Exercising is a habit that has so many influential benefits that an entire book could be written about it. In basic terms, exercise encourages healthy eating habits, more patience, and more creativity. People who exercise regularly also tend to sleep better and deal with stress in healthy ways.

#3. Making the bed every morning.

This habit is one that is easy to ignore, but it has some remarkable benefits if it happens consistently. Did you know that people who make their bed every day consistently are more likely to own their own home? Making the bed also encourages analytical skills and contentment in life.

#4. Multiple daily routines.

Most people have a morning routine. What about a lunch routine? A dinner routine? A relaxation routine before bedtime that doesn’t involve the internet or the TV? When people can develop routines that take them throughout their day, it is a habit that develops more organizational skills and overall happiness.

#5. Meditation.

This habit is easier to include than you might think. As long as you have a few spare moments, you can develop this habit. In return, your immune system grows stronger, blood pressure goes down, and you can set more effective goals.

#6. Develop your willpower.

A habit of willpower development may be the most important key to individual success. Willpower is essentially the habit of being able to discipline oneself. This means making good eating choices, finding time to exercise, and making it a priority to learn something new every day. It could even be argued that this cornerstone habit could help to develop every other habit on this list.

#7. Keep a diary.

People who have the habit of journaling their eating habits will lose 2x the weight of those who do not. Those who journal about their emotions and stress are generally more content with life. There is something about putting thoughts and feelings into words that is soothing because it allows the mind to process difficult choices more readily. 15 minutes with a diary every day is a small investment, but it is also a habit that can change multiple areas of your life.

You can begin establishing these habits right now. It generally takes 2-3 weeks for a new habit to take hold, so commit to the process. Add these cornerstone habits to your life starting today and you may be surprised at how many other positive habits will develop because of it.

It Is Possible To Love Your Job Once Again

Every job has moments where it feels like you’ve become stuck in a rut. Doing the same thing over and over again becomes boring. There is a lack of fulfillment that causes you to think about finding a new job somewhere else. Instead of looking for greener pastures, it may be possible to fall in love with your current job once again.

How? By shifting your perspective. Instead of looking at all of the negative things about your job, try to find the areas of work that give you joy. If all you’re doing is sitting back and expecting things to change on their own, more often than not you will find yourself being sorely disappointed by the outcome.

Are You Focused On Your Valleys Too Often?

If you looked at the average person’s productivity levels over the course of a day, you will typically find two large peaks of activity. The first is right away in the morning and the second occurs after returning from their lunch break. Smaller peaks may also occur after break periods or when an exciting assignment or task needs to be completed.

Between these peaks are large valleys of low satisfaction. When you’re grinding out the work that needs to get done, your role with the organization can seem like it isn’t as valuable as it could be when you do the same things day after day. Instead of enjoying the fun times at the peaks, you’re mired in the misery of the valleys.

To break this perspective, try volunteering for new projects. Follow your talents and passions to get yourself outside of the monotony. The average boss isn’t going to turn down a pair of willing hands.

It Is Important To Celebrate Yourself

Misery loves company. There’s no getting around this fact. When others are down on themselves, then we all tend to follow the leader and feel down about ourselves as well because we want to get along with everyone. Relationships that are based on negative energy are ones that will rarely succeed. Break the pattern and celebrate yourself. Celebrate your accomplishments.

There’s nothing wrong with being proud about accomplishing a hard day’s work. If you landed a great client, then enjoy the moment. Review your accomplishments instead of your failures and you’ll find it is much easier to love your job once again. Seek out co-workers who are equally passionate about finding the positive things at work to encourage this positive cycle to continue growing.

It is also important to know when the time has come to throw in the towel. Everyone has a bad day. Sometimes those bad days can stretch into bad weeks. Once you start having a bad month or two, however, then it is probably time to look at moving to a new employer. If there is no passion or satisfaction from the work that gets done and no alternative roles are available, then a new path can reinvigorate your passions.

You can find love with your career once again. You don’t have to actively pursue new opportunities to stay energized. Focus on your accomplishments and the positive components of your job, eliminate the negative energy whenever possible, and you’ll set the stage for having more peaks than valleys every day.

Stressed At Work? Here’s 7 Ways Meditation Can Help

It’s easy enough to get stressed out at work. Tight deadlines, micromanaging bosses, or the frustrations of dealing with people are just some of the ways that stress can come about. Many people feel like they’re over-worked and under-paid. Meditation can’t help with your paycheck, but it could help you handle the stress that might be headed your way. Here’s why it can help.

#1. It improves clarity. If you have a difficult decision to make, a clear mind is necessary to lead yourself in the right direction. Meditation eliminates the distractions of body language and co-worker influence so the clear choice can be made.

#2. It balances emotions. There are two basic ways to make a decision: the rational way or the emotional way. It doesn’t take much for our emotions to become unbalanced. An insensitive comment or email can do a surprising amount of damage! Regular meditation at work helps to keep the mind balanced so it can be more rational and less emotional.

#3. It keeps you present in the moment. Ever have one of those moments when you’re at work and you can seems to focus. That lack of focus can be problematic if work needs to get completed or decisions made. Meditating helps to keep you in the moment more often throughout the day, letting you make the most out of every moment.

#4. It improves memory. Do you feel like you’ve got to write everything down at work or you’ll forget it? Meditation won’t fix this issue, but it will improve it. In return, you’ll be able to access information from your mind to make better instant decisions when consultation with your notes just isn’t possible.

#5. It creates a desire to actively listen. Meditation requires people to listen to the rhythms and patterns of their body. One must actively listen to their inner being to understand their outer being. This point of emphasis translates into the professional environment by encouraging the development of an active listening skill. Instead of being anxious to comment, those who meditate often at work find themselves listening and providing feedback more than trying to offer an opinion.

#6. It provides a certain sense of purpose. Why do you go to work every day? Why do you deal with all of that stress? Meditation can help to show you the meaningful answers to this question. It’s not just about the money. There is something you get from doing what you do. If it’s been lost, meditation will help you find that passion once again.

#7. It creates the foundations of leadership. Meditation ultimately helps people be able to take control over their own destinies. Instead of always being reactionary to the problems at hand, a more proactive approach can be developed. This is what makes people better leaders. They anticipate issues, have strategies developed to deal with those issues, and encourage others to build themselves up along the way.

The benefits of meditation can be quite profound, especially when they are regularly practiced at work. Find a quiet place for a few minutes, even if that just means kicking your shoes off at your desk. In return, you’ll begin shifting from a reactive to a proactive approach for that work-related stress.

7 Proven Methods to Get Someone’s Attention

If people don’t know who you are or what you do, then there’s no way to advance in the business world today. You don’t get promotions by being the faithful person in the background who quietly goes about their business. Sometimes you’ve got to purposely get someone’s attention. Here’s how you can do it.

#1. Create an automatic trigger. Certain things automatically grab someone’s attention. It might be a loud noise, the smell of someone grilling, or the confidence to wear a red business suit. If you want people to pay attention to you, then you’ve got to make some noise. Instead of randomly yelling at work, however, try giving someone an interesting book that you like.

#2. Frame your message. Our individualized experiences mean that we all see and hear things a little differently. Instead of framing your message based on what you’d want to hear, learn how the person who needs to notice you communicates. Frame your message for that communication style and you’ll definitely get noticed.

#3. Be disruptive… but in a good way. Why do so many people leave negative online reviews, but rarely leave positive ones? It is because their experience was disrupted. We notice disruption. We pay more attention to the things that disrupt us the most. How can you do this at work in a positive way? Beat a deadline by a massive amount of time. Come under your budget by a huge amount. Ask unexpected questions.

#4. Provide a reward. All of us are reward-based in some way. We all work toward individual rewards, whether that is money to spend with our families or the reward of being noticed for a job well done. Sometimes a huge reward that you fund can get yourself noticed right away. Visual incentives are often great rewards because people can see themselves experiencing the reward, thus noticing you in the process.

#5. Know your reputation. Sometimes the reason why people go unnoticed is because they’ve developed a reputation of being unnoticed. People may not be approaching you because you give off a vibe that you don’t want to be approached. Change the vibe and you’ll get someone’s attention.

#6. Be mysterious. If people know what to expect from you, then the only way to get noticed is if you fall outside of those expectations. That’s another reason why negative impressions are often those that are documented. If a janitor fails to clean a toilet, it’s going to generate a complaint, right? If it is clean, then that’s their job and it was expected. To change this, you’ve got to be mysterious. This means creating uncertainty, but in a positive way.

#7. Acknowledge the good work of others first. If you notice people first for what they’re doing, there’s a good chance that others will do the same thing in return. It’s the art of reciprocity. People feel guilty if they’ve been noticed by someone, but haven’t been noticing that person in return.

It does take work to get someone’s attention, but it is an effort that is often worthwhile. Once that attention comes your way, then you’ve got a chance to begin crafting your own success. Focus on these 7 proven points and you’ll be able to achieve your goals.

5 Ways You Know It’s Time To Find a New Job

More than half of the current workforce are passive job seekers. It means that although there aren’t active efforts to find a new job, these folks are going to consider a reasonable offer that comes their way. Another 25% of people are active job seekers while being currently employed. Only 15-25% of the current job force isn’t considering a change right now when it comes to their employment.

Yet it might be time to start looking for a new job. Have you noticed any of these 5 specific indicators that let you know it might be time to go?

#1. There is no opportunity to expand your learning. A job shouldn’t be a dead-end experience. It should be exciting because there is something new to learn every day. If you are feeling like your creativity is being suppressed and you aren’t encouraged to look at new ideas, then a new job can help to restore that love of learning that you may have lost.

#2. You never perform at your highest potential. There are two ways to underperform. You either aren’t experienced enough to get the job done quickly enough or you purposely slow yourself down so that your output meets expectations. If you can fulfill your job expectations in a couple of hours, but it takes the rest of the team a full 8 hours to do the same thing, then you won’t be happy or engaged with your team. It’s time to find a job that challenges you instead.

#3. You don’t feel valued. If you can complete a job in 2 hours and get told to stay busy even though other workers can’t get the job done in 8 hours, then there’s a good chance you’ll feel undervalued. Maybe your contributions are part of the foundation of success the company experiences, yet you don’t even get half a “thank you” in return. If you don’t feel valued, then you aren’t valued. If you’re a leader who doesn’t feel valued, then that negativity filters down to the team. It’s time to find a job where you will be valued.

#4. You’re in it for the cash. Working to meet financial needs is important, but it shouldn’t be the only reason why you’re currently employed. There should be a certain joy in being able to get a job completed. You should be curious every day, challenged every day, and engaged in what you do. If you get up to go to work because all you want is a paycheck, then just about any job you take is going to eventually seem pointless. Find a job that you have a passion about, even if that means changing your career path.

#5. You hate your boss more than the average person. Just about everyone hates their boss at some point in time. If you constantly hate your boss, however, and you dread going to work because you don’t want to interact with that individual, then it’s time to transfer or find a new place to work. 3 out of 4 working professionals say that the most stressful component of their job is the interactions they have with their boss.

Jobs that aren’t stimulating or cause emotional stress are jobs that could eventually be harmful to your health. If you’re

8 Ways To Begin Improving Yourself

Have you noticed that some people seem to catch all the breaks? You can be one of those people too as long as you have a mindset to always improve yourself in some way. Here are the ways you can begin giving yourself more opportunities for success starting right now.

 #1. Get up 30 minutes early.

When you are fresh and beginning your day, your brain is at its most efficient. This means you’ve also got a small window of productivity that is at its best. Getting up early also gives you more time to plan for the day in the quiet and stillness that comes with the anticipation of a new day.

#2. Make time for exercise and stay active.

You don’t have to join a gym to get some exercise. You don’t need a personal coach. You do need to make sure you get a good walk in, take a jog in the park, or do your preferred exercises every day in some way. When you are active, your brain begins to kick into overdrive with innovative, creative ideas that could literally change the world.

#3. There’s always a plan.

It’s been said that the most important person in the world is the common person. The one who works hard, goes home, spends time with their family and friends, and repeats. Don’t underestimate the importance of a common chore because just like common people, this is what builds the foundation of everything we know.

#4. Keep on learning.

There’s always something new to learn every day. We never truly know everything. Always look for something interesting to enhance the way you can communicate with others. It can come from reading blogs, looking at research journals, or even something as simple as trying out a new hobby. When you keep learning, you keep expanding the reach of your mind.

#5. Mistakes and criticism are feedback.

It’s difficult to handle a disagreement. It’s even worse if we make a mistake. Yet in every moment, even the negative ones, what we receive from others is feedback. This can help you to avoid those mistakes in the future by learning not from your perspective, but from what others see. Take this information, analyze it, and then apply it.

#6. Meditation is a must.

You can make 20 minutes to meditate. Maybe take those early morning minutes to do so if nothing else. Try to find two sessions of 20 minutes at the beginning and ending of your day if you can. By doing so, you’ll keep yourself centered and shift away from the negative feelings that could be dragging you down.

#7. Family is important.

Working hard is a good thing. Making time for your family is a better thing. Your family is your support network. If you ignore them for too long, they’ll leave. It really is that simple. Always strive to make your family be a top priority and you’ll feel more alive.

#8. Don’t underestimate the value of sleep.

How long someone should sleep can be very different because of biological variability. Some people need 4 hours of sleep. Others feel tired after 8 good hours of sleep. Listen to your body, know what it needs, and then provide it. An energy drink or multiple cups of coffee isn’t a substitute for sleep, even if it seems like it at the time.

You can begin improving yourself today. These 8 methods all work in their own unique way. Try the ones that make sense for your lifestyle and then track the improvements you see. In due time, you’ll start catching all the breaks too.

6 Positivity Shifts You Can Do Right Now

Ever find yourself stuck in a negative rut mentally? It happens to the best of us. Even when we’re trying to be happy, we find ourselves feeling discouraged, saddened, or disappointed. Here’s some good news: with a simple positivity shift, we can turn that darkness into light quickly. Then we can choose to leave that light on. Here are 6 simple ways to shift from a negative perspective to a positive one.

#1. Switch off over-thinking mode. Pondering thoughts is a good thing. Pondering negative thoughts continuously can lead to a deeper negative mindset. Instead of trying to look at the “bright side” of things, consider taking a few minutes to explore meditation. This can help take your mind off of the negative thought, clear your head, and begin to relax.

#2. Every opportunity is a chance to become stronger. What doesn’t kill you doesn’t always make you stronger, but it can if you choose to focus those energies on your mental strength. Not every situation is fair. Not every outcome is beneficial. Yet even in those darkest of moments, there is always something to learn. By focusing on the learning moments, there is always a chance to grow stronger.

#3. Create lists. Work can be stressful. Chores at home can be stressful. Even the daily commute between work and home can be stressful. Here’s an easy way to stop dealing with all that stress: create a list. It can even just be a mental list. When we check off things that have been accomplished throughout the day, we’re focusing on what has been done instead of what needs to be done and that turns off the negativity.

#4. You can take a step backward. People today are polarized, sensitive, and aggressive. Disagreement sometimes equates to hate. A different opinion leads to a negative grumpiness like never before. If your friends or just the world at large is dragging you down, then take a moment to step away from the negativity. You are in control. Don’t let others dictate your mood.

#5. Find the contentment in life. There will be struggles every day. Sometimes those struggles are big and they create a lot of fatigue. When you’re at your most tired of moments, that’s when negativity tends to strike. Shift toward positivity by focusing on those perfect little moments that life provides. A few quite moments with a good book, playing games with the kids, or having some tea on your porch can all help to stop the push toward negativity.

#6. There’s always a new chance. Being tired and sick can make it seem like the whole world is against you. It’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves when we don’t feel good. Instead of focusing on this icky feeling, focus on the fact that you’re alive, breathing, and have a hope to feel better soon.

Being thankful and looking for positive moments can help to force negativity out of the mind. Use these simple positivity shifts to shine some light on your personal darkness and the negativity will begin to melt away.

5 Ways You Can Supercharge Your Productivity

Have you ever noticed that some people always seem to have enough time to get everything done? How can they get 30 hours of work to fit into a 24 hour day? Even when they’re switching between multiple tasks, they don’t lose a step in their productivity. Here are the 5 ways you can supercharge your productivity so that you can have a similar experience.

#1. See it now, do it now.

People who are very productive don’t address the same issues on multiple occasions. If they open up an email, then they respond to that email immediately. If a phone message comes in, they take care of the issue right away. When anything is stored to be completed later, that means you’ve got to handle that problem at least twice. Handling anything more than once is one of the easiest ways to waste time during the day.

#2. They get ready before it’s time to get ready.

Those last 20 minutes of any working day tend to be spent talking with others, sitting back to relax in the office chair, or in other unproductive ways. Those who have supercharged productivity tend to prepare for their next working day at the end of the current day. That allows them to come into work in the morning and get started right away instead of taking 20 minutes to prepare their day.

#3. The hardest stuff gets completed first.

We all have certain tasks that we don’t like to do. For some it’s answer emails. For others it might be writing emails. There are always certain co-workers, clients, or supervisors that we avoid at all costs. The folks who are supercharged will complete the hardest tasks they need to do over the course of any given day first before anything else. By getting rid of the bad stuff first, the rest of the day can be dedicated to things that are fun and exciting. That helps them to become even more productive because they like what they do.

#4. There is a recognition of what is truly urgent.

There are some emergency situations that require an urgent response. Then there are situations that might seem like an emergency on the surface, but it is something that in reality that could wait 24-48 hours. People who have supercharged their productivity have learned to recognize the difference between something that has to be done immediately and something that can wait. The issue with these urgent tasks is that they never seem to go away, so all of your attention winds up going to them in time.  When push comes to shove, the most productive people have also learned that delegation can be their best friend.

#5. They stick to the schedule.

Meetings are notoriously bad for going off-schedule. Sometimes the urge to take a longer lunch kicks in. There’s the roving co-worker who always seems to be drinking coffee and talking to others. Supercharged productivity requires strict schedule adherence for it to work. By staying on task, what you’re really doing is setting limits as to what you’ll accept or not accept when it comes to interference. Maybe you can take a longer lunch because you’re ahead of schedule… or maybe you can tell that roving co-worker to leave you alone because you’ve got a tight deadline to meet.

Supercharging your productivity starts with a commitment to limit procrastination. Deciding not to do something will always cost you time. By implementing these 5 ideas, however, you can get a remarkable amount of work done every day.

5 Ways to Manage Someone You Don’t Like

In a perfect world, we’d all like to manage people that we’d be as comfortable sharing a drink with them as working with them on a professional team. Going beyond the pleasantries and ability to find common ground, when there is general “likeableness,” work is just easier.

Unfortunately not everyone wants to be your friend when you’re the manager. Some are out for blood and want to take your job! Others just hate you for the fact that you’re the one in charge. I once had a direct report try to sabotage a project because he thought that if the job looked bad, then I’d look bad and be replaced.

The reasons why we don’t like someone can vary. What doesn’t vary is how we can effectively manage them. Here are 5 key lessons I’ve learned over the years:

1. Friendships Are Less Important At Work

Having a good friend at work can help the day go by much more quickly. Multiple studies have shown, in fact, that there are higher job satisfaction levels present when people have a best friend at work! When you’re in management, finding friendships is still important, but finding them outside of your team is usually a better idea. When you’re friends with a direct report, it becomes more difficult to discipline them should it become necessary… and if you do, that discipline can end up stopping a friendship cold anyway.

2. Stay Positive In All Things

Those sayings like “find the silver lining” or “look for the sunny side of things” grate on my nerves some days, but the truth in the message is clear. By staying positive in all circumstances, even when you’re around someone you’d rather avoid, you are leading by example as a manager. Every project at work will encounter some sort of difficulty. How you handle it will help show your direct reports where the silver lining can be found.

3. Everyone Contributes Something

I’ve found that the people I tend to dislike the most while working are the people who are the most like me. I find that this dislike stems from the fact that they have the potential to do what I do, only better. As the manager, you’re supposed to be the best right? Not necessarily. As the manager, your role is to be the team leader. That means making sure everyone contributes something based on their best strengths – even if those strengths are similar… or better than your own.

4. Work Closely Together

It’s not about keeping your enemies closer than your friends. It’s about learning what makes a person tick. You don’t have to like a person in order to understand them. Then, when you have managed to understand their perspective, that dislike you have for that person tends to start fading away. It also works in reverse – when those who don’t like you work more closely with you, their understanding of you helps to ease the discomfort.

5. Confront Fast, But Praise Faster

The most common reason to dislike someone is because they don’t contribute like they should. It could be because of laziness, brashness, or even arrogance. If you’re noticing the bad stuff as a manager, your team has known about it for weeks most likely! By fast to confront negative behaviors that could drop your team’s morale, but be faster to praise the good job a person does. Negativity is often brought about because of a lack of recognition, so put the emphasis there.

Just don’t be afraid to be proactive about the bad stuff too.

It’s not always easy to manage someone you don’t like, but it is very doable. Use these tips to work on your own interactions and you just may find that the working relationship is more about respect than it is about how much one is liked.

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