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How You Can Start Reading More Books Every Week

Thanks to the internet, information is floating around us at levels never experienced before in human history. Despite this fact, picking up a good book to read it is still a very powerful learning experience. Instead of letting books collect on shelves, reading at least one book per week can open up the mind to new possibilities. If you don’t think you have time for reading a real book, here are some ideas to help get your started.

#1. Take an honest look at your time investments.

There’s a good chance that you could carve out at least 30 minutes for reading every day. Between social media investment, television investments, video game investments, and other entertainment options, the average person spends 3-4 hours every day looking at a screen outside of their work responsibilities. Look at where you’re investing time and you’ll be surprised how much you could dedicate to reading.

#2. Pick an author which relates to you.

Reading is more about the author-reader relationship than many realize. Think about your favorite authors right now. What was their background? What are their hobbies? What are their spirituality preferences? We all tend to read authors when we feel like the words they’ve written have a direct impact on us. To encourage more reading, pick an author that could be your best friend.

#3. Get an overview of the book first.

Many times we give up reading a book because the information seems too dense or the argument being made seems nonsensical. Being interested in what a book has to offer is the key to unlocking its potential. Take the time to look over the subtitles, the flaps, and the table of contents before committing to a full read. If you don’t agree with how the thesis of the book seems to be evolving, then put it down and find something more interesting to read.

#4. It’s fine to skim chapters and paragraphs.

Now here’s a fact that authors and publishers don’t like to share: many books have several pages of “filler content.” It’s supportive information, sometimes dialogue, but overall has very little to do with the overall thesis being presented. Skim each chapter to see if it is even worth reading. If it looks like there is some useful information available, then read the introduction and conclusion sentences of each paragraph. If those seem interesting, then read the rest of the information. Don’t waste your time reading something that you’ll forget by breakfast tomorrow.

#5. Spoil the ending.

You might not want to do this for a fiction novel, but for non-fiction books, you can pretty much sum up the entire content being presented in the first and last paragraphs that have been published. Absorb this information and you’ll have a good idea of what supporting facts are included between the beginning and ending of the book. If you find that the thesis or the conclusion are a bit worthless, then you don’t have to waste your time reading the book.

Finding time to read a book each week means finding a book that is interesting to you while carving out the time to actually read it. Follow these steps and you’ll find that the information you do take the time to read will become much more interesting.

6 Ways You Can Spot a Bad Boss During an Interview

2 out of 3 former employees of the average company say that the reason why they left their job was because they had a bad boss. Whether that perception is justified or not, it is just as important to avoid having a bad boss as it is to find a job you are passionate about to reduce the amount of stress your employment places on your life. During an interview, you’re often trying to convince a boss that you’re the best prospect for an open position, right?

But what if you took that interview opportunity to determine if that boss was the right type of supervisor for you? Bad bosses will give you red flags during an interview that can be spotted. If you can see them, then you can avoid a potentially devastating employment situation. Here are the ways you can spot a bad boss during your next interview.

#1. Listen to your gut. Most people know that a boss is going to be a bad one just by their natural instincts. The only problem is that most of us are willing to ignore this instinct because we need to earn a paycheck to support ourselves and our family. There’s a good chance that if you take a job with a bad boss, you’ll be out of work in 6 months or less anyway, so listen to your instincts. Don’t take a job your gut is telling you to avoid.

#2. Be aware of personality conflicts. Certain personalities naturally conflict with each other because of the way information is given and received. People who are more dominant will struggle to work with people who are more controlling. People who are more supportive can struggle to work with people who need tremendous amounts of information to make a decision. Know yourself and then look for cues from the boss about their personality. If you sense conflict, then get out of there because you’ll have a communication gap as long as you report to that boss.

#3. Have the interviewer describe the actual job requirements. If you ask a boss about their leadership style or direct questions about their personality, you probably won’t receive a 100% authentic answer. Interviewers are selling a job opening that they may be desperate to fill. They’ll tell you virtually anything you want to hear if they think you’re a top candidate. Ask instead about what a worker does every day in this position. Think about how you’ll learn the job. By making your questions about the job instead of the boss, you’ll both be able to get a clear picture of what you’d look like in that job.

#4. Know the company. Many candidates fail on one important step of the interviewing process: they don’t research the company. Just about everything you need to know about an open position can be found on a company’s website, through reviews on a site like LinkedIn, or even a couple of targeted Google searches. You should know before going into an interview whether or not you’ll be a good fit on that team or within that organization.

#5. Show up early and ask questions. You should always show up 15-30 minutes for an interview. This will give you the chance to meet a few folks who might be working for the boss in question already. You can ask questions about what they like and don’t like about their job so you get a clearer picture of what to expect going into your interview.

#6. Language says a lot. How a boss treats you during an interview is likely how you’ll be treated when working for them. If the boss is defensive, aggressive, or tries to dominate you during an interview, even if it’s just in body language, then you’re more likely to be treated as an expendable resource. Look for a boss that is relaxed, somewhat conversational, and willing to engage in a dialogue to avoid many common red flags that are overlooked.

By paying attention to the red flags that bad bosses send out during the interview process, you can avoid many future headaches. Keep these tips in mind during your next interview and hopefully you’ll be able to find the dream job you’ve always wanted.

How You Can Stop Passive Aggressive Behavior At Work For Good

“Are you a team player?”

It’s a question that is commonly asked during the interview process for almost every job on the planet. Hiring managers want to make sure that you’re not going to create conflict and reduce productivity. The only problem with this is that it has led to a lack of needed conflict on teams. We need to be able to openly air disagreements on ideas so the cream of the crop can rise to the surface. Conflict can actually foster better productivity.

When that conflict is not allowed, the result is team members stuffing their dissatisfaction internally. It begins to fester there, growing into a massive beast of hatred over time. Eventually these negative feelings must come out, which is when your team begins to see passive-aggressive behaviors. When you’ve reached the point of sarcastic comments and sabotage, then you’re in the danger zone of losing everything.

The good news is that it is never too late to solve the problem of passive-aggressiveness. Here’s how you can begin to stop it from rearing its ugly head starting today.

#1. Put a light on the elephant in the room. Acknowledge the feelings of dissatisfaction and hatred that people on the team are having. Take time out of your schedule, go to a neutral site, and then set ground rules about how to discuss dissension without being hurtful. Everyone on the team is valuable – otherwise they wouldn’t be there in the first place. You want all of their opinions. Make this fact known and be very clear about it.

#2. Make time for dissent in every conversation. Don’t allow dissatisfaction to be stuffed so it can fester. Ask team members in every conversation if there is some level of dissent about what is going on. You can do this by turning it into a devil’s advocate discussion. “How might someone want to criticize this idea?” or “What problems would someone potentially see if we implement this idea today?” This gives people a safe way to express their dissent without necessarily taking ownership of it, reliving the feelings of dissatisfaction.

#3. Give equal time to all opinions. Feedback is critical for a team to be consistently successful. Just because there is a dissenting opinion doesn’t mean that the dissent is incorrect. Explore that feedback and take whatever value you find out of it and use it to everyone’s advantage. You’ll always have people who want to disagree because that’s how they have fun at work, but even these folks have moments of inspiration that can be gleaned from their dissenting feedback. Take this seriously and your production levels will soar.

#4. Identify passive-aggressive behavior and confront it every time you see it. This is where many team members get into trouble. They have no problem calling out passive-aggressive behavior, but they’re not willing to offer solutions to fix the issue. When you confront this behavior, practice alternatives that are healthier for the team. Then give people a chance to express their dissent.

#5. Stop the back-channel sarcasm. This is where most efforts to reduce passive-aggressiveness tend to fail. Team members may gather for drinks after work, talk during a lunch break, or IM each other on Facebook over the weekend to feed their passive aggression. If you hear complaints outside of a team meeting, ask people to bring up their concerns there. Ask for new information. A team doesn’t have to 100% agree on everything, but they do need to be on the same page.

Passive-aggressiveness can be very costly. Not only does it cause a team to reduce their overall production, but it also creates high amounts of anxiety and stress for everyone involved. Be open, be honest, and most of all be direct about dissent and conflict when you see it and you’ll begin to reduce the passive-aggressive tendencies of your team over time.

How You Can Stop Your Bad Habits at Work Today?

 

We all have certain things that we do at work that kind of get us into trouble. It might be procrastination, or an aversion to checking voicemail, or the no-filter approach with the boss. These habits feel great in the present moment, yet seem to cause regret or even guilt when we reflect back upon them. Instead of dealing with this repetitive cycle of joy and regret, consider using these tricks to stop those bad habits that might be holding you back in your career.

#1. Use visual tactics as an advantage.

When things are closer to us, then they feel more important as a need that must be met. This is why we work harder when deadlines are close, but procrastinate when a due date is a week away. Use this trick to prioritize what needs to be done at work so distractions can be minimized. Put documents that must be read on your home page or bookmark items on a news feed so you mentally note their higher priority.

#2. Set firm boundaries with friendships.

It’s important to have a friend at work. If that friendship is getting in the way of a job that needs to get done, however, then there need to be some boundaries put into place. Your career shapes you just as much as your friends do. If they’re not willing to support these changes you feel are necessary, then some firm lines must be drawn that you will not cross.

#3. Create a schedule.

We feel good when we’re able to check stuff off of our to-do lists every day. Instead of seeing what happens each day at work, try to plan it out the evening before. Set your task priorities, schedule time for that voicemail, and stay committed to what you’ve created. This will soon become the default program for your brain’s operating system.

#4. Stick to the new habit.

Most of the issues which occur at work tend to be because of our personal choices instead of an actual lack of skill. Without skills, we wouldn’t be employed in the first place, right? If you can be consistent with the choices you make, then instead of feeling like you don’t belong at work because you aren’t getting any opportunities, you’ll feel like you’ve empowered yourself to take on the next challenge.

#5. Eliminate the four letter words from your vocabulary.

It’s the word “can’t” which you must eliminate. When you believe you won’t be able to accomplish something, then you’re setting a course toward a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s not arrogant to believe that you will succeed, especially if you’re backing up your perspective with your values, experience, and goals. What do you want to get out of each project? Decide to make things happen and they will.

You can make good things happen for your career every day at work. All you’ve got to do is identify the bad habits that could be holding you back. 

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