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10 smart ways to rise above your boring work pattern

10 smart ways to rise above your boring work pattern

Do you ever feel like your life is dominated by work? It’s boring, you do the same thing everyday, and if it keeps up like this you’re going to quit. This feeling is kryptonite for companies. Appnovation, a company that is growing rapidly, puts it like this: “The ‘revolving door’ syndrome of people in and people out sends shivers down our collective corporate spine. It’s an ‘avoid at all costs’ situation, which erodes the quality of the company.” If the company you work for is worth it, and you have a chance of going somewhere with them, try these ten hacks to help you rise above a boring routine. You’ll be more happy, less depressed, and more ready to make the big changes that will take your life to new and better places.

1. Start the day with exercise

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    Regular exercise is good for your brain. It improves your memory and overall thinking skills by increasing the size of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the region of the brain responsible for verbal memory and learning. Particularly, aerobic exercise does the trick, the kind of exercise that really gets your heart pumping and blood flowing. You’ll find yourself remembering little details at work, especially the conversational details. Improved social skills will improve your overall work performance, too.

    2. Take a different route to and from work

    new-modern-car-dashboard-with-speedometer-and-tachometer-picjumbo-com

      Your brain’s positioning system, your internal GPS, does more than help you find your way around. It also plays a role in memory, providing the abstract, higher-intellect input that helps shape the hippocampus. Taking a different route to work is just one quick way to exercise your brain’s memory-building skill. Try a route you’ve never taken before, one that forces you to find your way through a different part of town. Try it on the way home, too. As you build new landmarks in your brain, your memory and problem-solving skills will improve.

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      3. Hack your desk

      desk

        Yes it would be nice to take an ax to your desk and hack it into firewood. Talk about a way to release anger! But since you can’t exactly do that, there are some things you can do to optimize the use you get out of your desk. Try these simple, awesome desk hacks:

        • Add storage–Create a new desk out of bookshelves and a door, then store essentials on the shelves
        • L-evate–Add a table or other desk to what you’ve got and create an L-shaped station for more workspace
        • Stand it–Studies show excessive sitting is the new smoking; place your monitor on top of a sturdy stack of books or a low stool for a DIY standing desk
        • Personalize–Get creative with knick-knacks and little touches that showcase your personality
        • Get ergonomic–Check out this workspace planning tool to help make your desk more ergonomically friendly

        Nothing is too small when it comes to productive changes. Changing how your desk is set up may just be the difference between good work and awesome work.

        4. Adjust your station’s lighting and colors

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          There is definitely something to be said for the way light and color affect your psyche. Among the many effects light has on you, blue light makes you more alert and productive. Green light, on the other hand, makes you more relaxed, even sleepy. The color blue is also associated with logic, rationality, and alertness. That’s because midday sun with a clear sky lets the most blue through. Evolutionarily speaking, we’re used to getting things done while the sun is high. See what adding a little blue can do for you.

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          5. Talk to someone you’ve never talked to

          talkpeeps

            Of course, this one depends on where you work and how introverted you are. But even if your place of work is small and you’ve talked to everyone, there will still be a point during your workday when you’ll have the chance to talk to someone different. Seize it. Here’s why: being uncertain about your social ranking is bad for your health. It’s not that having a low social ranking is bad. It’s uncertainty that’s unhealthy. Even if you get rejected in your attempt to make conversation, at least you tried, and at least you’re certain of where you stand. The more you try, the more your social horizons will expand.

            6. Eat something different

            salad-healthy-diet-spinach

              Dr. Taylor Krick has a very interesting podcast on how variation in diet is the key to long-term health. If you’re eating the same thing at work everyday, you won’t be healthy in the long-term, especially if you’re eating processed foods. Make a point of going out of your way for variety. Yes this is more expensive. But what better thing to motivate you to make more money than a little extra kick in your diet and a healthier life to boot?

              7. Try a pleasant scent

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                Your olfactory sense–your sense of smell–is connected to emotions and memory. This sense has direct access to the amygdala section of the brain, which processes emotions, and the hippocampus, that good ol’ memory center. Trying a pleasant scent out at work, in the form of a candle, balm, plant, or other agent, basically means creating a new, pleasant work-related memory. Just make sure the scent isn’t one your coworkers hate!

                8. Learn a new word

                word

                  To learn new vocabulary words, you have to use parts of the brain responsible for movement and hearing. So, if you make an effort to learn a new word, that means you exercised these parts of the brain. You wouldn’t normally exercise these parts by just staring at a computer screen. Involve a coworker. Look up a new word and then use it in conversation with them while you’re going to lunch or taking a walk on your break. You’ll be smarter when you get back.

                  9. Take a walk

                  walk

                    Here again, walking is a great way to promote brain health–especially walking in nature. When researchers studied people who walked for 40 minutes, three times a week, the results were similar to aerobic exercise. It’s tough to get out and run while you’re at work. But if you can get out and walk, your hippocampus will be healthier, and your circulation will thank you too.

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                    10. Learn an instrument when you get home

                    guitar

                      This one is huge. Instead of watching TV or surfing the internet after work, pick up a musical instrument. Musical training helps your memory, spatial reasoning, and language skills. It’s better than brain-training apps, and there’s practical use for it, too. Once you know an instrument there’s a whole new social nexus of musicians waiting for you. There’s also a whole new understanding of music when you listen. You can’t think about work when you’re busy plucking an instrument. You’ll return to work refreshed after a night of playing music.

                      Featured photo credit: Froken Fokus via pexels.com

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                      Dan Matthews, CPRP

                      A Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner with an extensive background working with clients on community-based rehabilitation.

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                      Last Updated on September 18, 2019

                      11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

                      11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

                      Are you looking to move up the career ladder? Or maybe you’re tired of having a “job” and want to start looking for a more permanent career?

                      Whatever your motivation, you are going to have to learn some new and different hard skills to broaden your opportunities. After all, there’s a very famous quote that says:

                      “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

                      While the insanity part doesn’t really fit here, the overall message is a good one. If you are looking for a different result (career advancement, more money or even a career instead of a job), it’s up to you to make it happen. This is both the good news and bad news!

                      The good news is that because it’s up to you, you have complete control over it happening. The bad news is that change is hard. Humans are creatures of habit, that’s why we develop routines, and anything that disrupts that routine causes us anxiety. And we will do almost anything to get rid of that anxiety. The overweight person will calm their anxiety by eating that doughnut, the smoker will light up a cigarette to avoid anxiety.

                      What we want to do with this article is to give you the hard skills you’ll need to reduce that anxiety so you can move up that corporate ladder, make more money or have career instead of just a “job.”

                      The following hard skills are essential to learn if you want to advance your career. They may not be easy to take up, but definitely worth your effort of learning:

                      1. Cloud Computing

                      “Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence and more—over the Internet “the cloud” to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You typically pay only for cloud services you use, helping lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs change.” Microsoft[1]

                      There are many different jobs available in the cloud computing world today. They range from architects and developers to data scientists, security pros. Each job is its own specialty and requires a high level of specification for advancement.

                      This is definitely a hard skill that requires education. But if the tech world and computers are your thing you can make cloud computing a lucrative career.

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                      2. Data Mining and Statistical Analysis

                      Again, these are highly specialized fields. Data mining is defined as using large sets of data to look for anomalies and other patterns that can be used to predict future behavior.

                      Amazon is probably the best known company to use data mining. Have you ever noticed that when you buy something at Amazon, you’ll see a little ad at the bottom that says “customers who bought this also bought…”and it lists 2-3 other items? All of that information comes from data mining, by examining the millions of sales amazon makes they can predict that if you buy item #1 there is a high likelihood that you will buy one of the other items too. T

                      his not only increases sales for Amazon, but it also serves as a reminder for you that you may need these additional items for your project. This is very valuable information and has a wide range of uses. Although it has a bad reputation and evil sounding name, it is a very useful tool for maximizing productivity and sales.

                      3. Data Management

                      All companies today deal with a ton of data! Being able to manage that data in an efficient manor is not only highly prized, but a necessity.

                      We all have these things on our desks called computers. Unless there is a need for a paper copy, almost all of our data is computerized. Meaning that, in theory it is all at our fingertips. Being able to organize that data so that it’s easily and quickly retrievable is why computers are replacing filing cabinets!

                      However, just like the old fashion filing cabinet, data management on a computer is only good if it’s well organized. You want to make sure that you are keeping your data well organized so that it’s easy to find when needed. This is a skill that comes easily to some people (are you a person that makes lists? Good!) but with others it will be a skill that needs to be practices. Make sure that this is a discipline you master.

                      4. Scheduling

                      Being able to make and keep to a schedule is a very useful tool in both business and life. Effective scheduling means that you can prioritize projects, understand the tools needed to get the job done on time and that you are organized enough to lead people.

                      An important point here is to write things down! Whether it’s in an old fashion daily or weekly organizer or in a PDA. Have a copy of your schedule available at your fingertips at all times.

                      5. Financial Skills

                      These are especially important when looking for that promotion. The higher up the ladder you go, the more you’ll have to deal with things like accounting, budgeting, financial planning and cash flow management.

                      While you may not need to be an expert at all of these, you should have a good grasp of all of them. This is where taking a few night classes at your local community college is a good idea. You don’t need to become an expert, but brushing up on these skills will help you tremendously.

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                      6. Research Skills

                      These are important in all aspects of life, but especially in your work-life.

                      Are you looking for that first job out of school? Nothing impresses a boss or hiring manager more than someone who has researched the company. Trust me, they deal with people walking in off the street everyday looking for a job, but managers and owners need to see the value in hiring (or promoting) you.

                      So do your research and have some company specific questions ready to ask. Show that you are interested in working for that company or that position and not just “a” job or the “promotion” because you have seniority or need the money.

                      If it’s a promotion that you are after, never bad mouth the previous occupant. Instead pick out an example that he/she was good at and explain how you would like to use or expand that policy and how it would enhance the policy changes you’d like to make.

                      If it’s a new job you’re going for, then make sure to have some company specific questions ready to show that you have done your homework for the new position.

                      7. Marketing Skills

                      While marketing a companies products or services has always been a highly sought after skill. In today’s world, it can take on several different forms.

                      Some of the marketing skills that are highly sought after today include, SEO, Search Engine Optimization, SEM, Search Engine Marketing and marketing campaign management. Familiarity with Google Analytics as well as Word Press are also valuable.

                      While traditional marketing and branding were focused on advertising and selling. Almost all marketing efforts now a days are focused on the internet.

                      8. Network Security Specialist

                      Again, this is a highly skilled position that requires specialized training. But the amount of data that all companies store is significant, and if that data is leaked or stolen, it can costs them millions of dollars in both lost revenue and lawsuits.

                      So, if you have an interest in network security you will find the field both lucrative and stable.

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                      9. Communication Skills

                      At first glance, communication skills may not look like it fits into the category of “Hard Skills” that can help you succeed. But in this ever shrinking world where companies can do business from almost anywhere, communication is more and more important.

                      Are you bilingual? It really doesn’t matter what language you speak, there’s a company out there looking for someone who speaks that language.

                      10. Computer Programming

                      I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that computers are going to be around for a while! As both the hardware and software get more advanced, the need for computer programming is only going to increase.

                      11. Graphic Design

                      As of 2018, there were 4.37 million new websites launched.[2] A good number of them will fail because they just aren’t interesting enough visually. The use of templates and replicated websites is only making the problem worse.

                      Part of the way Google ranks sites is through originality, this almost ensures that replicated sites will never get ranked through Google. So the more original your site is, the more likely people will visit and actually spend time there.

                      That is what a good graphic designer does. Takes your basic idea and turns it into a website that people actually want to visit.

                      Embrace the Anxiety That Comes with Change

                      You know it’s going to be there, you know that you’ll want to give up as you’re learning these new skills but, you’ll also know that the end result is worth the journey.

                      Here’s a little trick when you’re feeling overwhelmed:

                      Have you ever met an ex-smoker who was sorry they quit? An ex-drinker or drug user that said life was much better before they quit? These people have gone through some of the most difficult challenges humans can go through including weeks, if not, months of intense physical withdrawal symptoms. They did it because they knew that the pain and anxiety they would experience would ultimately get them to a much better life.

                      Now what was that complaint you had about attending night-school?

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                      This is the part everyone hates, everyone thinks night-school, adult education and just generally giving up family and/or spare time. While those are certainly possible ways to develop the necessary skills, they aren’t the only way.

                      You’ll want to check with your human resources department because depending on the company, a certain degree maybe required in order to even be considered for a position. In those cases, night-school, on-line or some other form of adult education maybe your best route.

                      But as long as a degree isn’t required, then your options are wide open.

                      Let’s just say that you’re a sales person interested in becoming the sales manager but, the territory you’ve been given will never produce the sales figures that would make you stand out as a good candidate for sales manager. So how about you start your own side business (don’t compete with your company), but let’s say you enjoy golf.

                      In this day and age, there are plenty of places that will teach you how to sell products on-line and even set you up with your own website. So you start a site selling golf equipment and accessories (don’t worry, you won’t even have to carry inventory or worry about shipping).

                      Now, when that sales manager spot opens up, you can explain that even though other salespeople had better numbers than you, it had nothing to do with your sales ability, it was more of a consequence of the territory your were given.

                      And to prove it, you brought in some information about a side business, you started showing that you’re on target for a sales growth rate of 30% this year. And because you had to do all of the marketing for the business, you came up with some marketing strategies that you can bring to the new job (built-in experience).

                      The Bottom Line

                      We’ve put together these 11 hard skills as a way to give yourself a “leg up” on the competition. We’ve tried to make this a mixture of both skills that require a great deal of training, and also ones that you can work on and develop by yourself.

                      We know that not everyone is cut out to be a cloud computing expert, but we also know that working on and having good scheduling skills will make you a much more desirable candidate for the position!

                      We also don’t want you to discount the idea of a “side hustle“. Especially for people new to the workforce, having a business that you have started and run successfully shows potential employers that you have initiative, scheduling skills and ambition which can put you well ahead of your competition!

                      As usual, we hope you found this article both enjoyable and informative. If you did, may we ask that you share it with your family and friends through social media. It really does help us and is greatly appreciated!

                      More Skill to Help Advance Your Career

                      Featured photo credit: Kyle Sterk via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Microsoft Azure: Cloud Computing
                      [2] Netcraft: December 2018 Web Server Survey

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