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Ask the Entrepreneurs: How Do You Take a Relaxing Break From Work?

Ask the Entrepreneurs: How Do You Take a Relaxing Break From Work?

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in an area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

What’s your most effective tip for taking a midday, relaxing break from work?

1. Take a (Bike) Ride

    Hop on your bike and go for an easy 30-minute ride around the city. It takes you away from the chair, gets your blood flowing, and allows you to explore where you live and work. Side effects may include clearer mind, healthier body, happier mood — and sometimes, epiphany.

    W. Michael Hsu, DeepSky

    2. Meditate

      When I am having a stressful day and seem to be hitting roadblocks left and right I like to close the door to my office, turn off my cell phone, and meditate for 15-30 minutes. There is no better way of unwinding and starting over fresh. You can’t believe what a 15-30 minute meditation session can do for you. Ideas come to you faster and you can execute things on your list much faster.

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      Jonathan Shokrian, MeUndies Inc.

      3. Walk the Dog

        I happen to work from my home office, so taking my dog for a walk is easy. It’s also a great way to get some extra exercise in, not to mention lots of fresh air. I also think there’s something uplifting about spending time with a furry friend.

        Nathalie Lussier, The Website Checkup Tool

        4. Order Group Lunch

          Order lunch in, and have a group lunch where everybody takes a break from work and relaxes with other co-workers. It keeps everyone connected and motivated.

          John Hall, Digital Talent Agents

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          5. Chat With Local Vendors

            I live in China, and given the pollution, sometimes walking the dog isn’t the best option for relaxing in the middle of the day. What I do is visit the nearby small business shops and local street vendors and talk about their life, their business and any random topic in Chinese. This not only allows me to relax my brain, but lets me take a step back and see life in a different perspective.

            Derek Capo, Next Step China

            6. Read a Novel

              I’ve sworn off business books. Instead, I read fiction novels to relax and take my mind away from work. I usually read before bed (helps me fall asleep,) but I occasionally take a break during the afternoon and read my book at the nearby park. Fresh air and a good story helps clear my head and get ready for some more work!

              Jay Wu, Best Drug Rehabilitation

              7. Have a Walking Meeting

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                I schedule midday meetings that are intentionally set up as a walk and talk instead of sitting in a coffee shop. They’re very energizing and help avoid the temptation to rely on caffeine in a meeting. Being in a beautiful city like San Francisco, it’s also a great excuse to soak in the great weather that you can only see out the window most of the day.

                Jason Evanish, Greenhorn Connect

                8. Fantasy Football

                  Update your Fantasy Football team sometime in the middle of the day. During football season, I can’t think of a more relaxing activity than figuring out who to start for your next week’s matchup! Running backs are hard to come by, so pay as much attention as you can to the waiver wire/weekly injury list :).

                  Sunil Rajaraman, Scripted.com

                  9. Read the Sports Page

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                    I used to try to grind through the days with purely work. We take team walks and lunches outside of the office, but I finally realized that allowing my mind to “shut down” by reading sports news was as effective of a break as anything. Take time to do things you are excited about, and you will come back refreshed and ready to go.

                    Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

                    10. Whatever It Is, Be Consistent!

                      I try to keep my schedule open at 1 p.m. every day so that I can use that time for a walking meditation, some yoga, or another activity that allows me to disconnect from work. Consistency is key!

                      Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World

                      Featured photo credit:  businessman relaxing via Shutterstock

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                      1 How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work 2 20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs) 3 The Best Interview Questions to Hire Only the Elites 4 How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed 5 15 Smart Ways to Approach Interpersonal Relationships at Work

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                      Last Updated on August 20, 2019

                      How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

                      How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

                      Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

                      You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

                      Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

                      “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

                      It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

                      Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

                      As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

                      As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

                      Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

                      Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

                      1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

                      When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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                      Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

                      2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

                      Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

                      But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

                      If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

                      Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

                      3. Go to All Office Networking Events

                      Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

                      If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

                      Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

                      Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

                      The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

                      Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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                      4. Show Initiative

                      Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

                      Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

                      Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

                      5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

                      Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

                      Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

                      6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

                      A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

                      Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

                      Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

                      A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

                      Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

                      Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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                      These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

                      Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

                      7. Find a Mentor

                      With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

                      Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

                      Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

                      Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

                      8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

                      After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

                      What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

                      Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

                      Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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                      You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

                      9. Set Your Professional Bar High

                      Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

                      Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

                      Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

                      Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

                      The Bottom Line

                      Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

                      “Half of life is showing up.”

                      The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

                      Remember, your career is your business!

                      More About Continuous Growth

                      Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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