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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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                      Published on October 8, 2019

                      How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

                      How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

                      The late writer William S. Burroughs once said that “When you stop growing, you start dying.” It might have a morbid undertone, but it’s one hundred percent true in terms of one’s career.

                      The days of finding a job with one company that you can stick with for 30 years, and simply relax as you move up its company escalator are few and far between in today’s world. This isn’t necessarily bad news. On the contrary, it means that you’re the one in charge of shaping your career advancement.

                      By putting these principles and behaviors into practice, you’ll begin to see how to advance your career quickly. Ready? Let’s get started…

                      1. Define What Success Is for You

                      There’s no right or wrong definition of what success in your career looks like. The important thing is to figure out what success looks like for YOU. It might, and probably will, change along the way, but if you don’t have some sort of milestone on the horizon, then you won’t know which direction to go in.

                      Think about success in your career in terms of one year, five years, and 10 years. Once you have that, it’s time to lace up your boots and get to work.

                      2. Learn How to Develop and Follow a Plan

                      Nobody just stumbles upon success accidentally. Sure, they may stumble upon breakthroughs or new methods accidentally, but all success stories have one thing in common — a plan.

                      Establish a timeline for the things that you want to achieve in your career in the next year, five years, 10 years, and so on. Consider the skills that you’ll need to learn to make these things happen and work on acquiring them.

                      3. Surround Yourself With Those Better Than You

                      It’s a rule of thumb among musicians that if you want to get better, then you need to get out of the bedroom and play with people who are better than you.

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                      By surrounding yourself with people who are better than you and where you want to be, you’ll not only see how these people climbed to where they are in their respective fields, but you’ll learn from them and naturally want to push yourself to be better in your own job as well.

                      4. Seek Out a Mentor(s)

                      A mentor will not only be able to help you refine and reach your career goals, but will be invaluable in landing promotions and finding unadvertised job openings.

                      One unique approach is to work on fostering a relationship with a mentor both within and outside of your company. This will help in giving you different perspectives as you rise up through the ranks in your company and career overall.

                      5. Stop Wasting Your Mornings

                      You may not think you’re a morning person, but if you can learn to be one, you’ll thank yourself 10 years down the road.

                      Prepare a to-do list of tasks that you want to accomplish the day before and work on knocking them out for at least one hour before you respond to morning emails. The problem with responding to emails first, is you’re giving your attention to somebody else’s agenda, instead of plotting your own course for the day.

                      6. Arrange or Attend a Networking Party

                      If you’re attending networking events simply because you might get a few free drinks, you’re doing them wrong. These events are great for meeting new people and forming relationships. Your goal shouldn’t be to get hired by the end of the night, but to simply make a good impression by being friendly and authentic. So what’s next?

                      Reach out a few days later via email or on social media to follow up and connect!

                      7. Pick Up Some New Skills

                      Nobody wants to be the old dog that can’t learn any new tricks. To move up in your career, you’re going to likely need to pick up new skills along the way. Maybe your company offers on-the-job training or you have the option of taking online classes at night.

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                      By learning new skills, you’ll not only be able to expand upon what you can already do, but you’ll make yourself more valuable to your employer and future employers.

                      8. Exploit the Benefits Already at Your Disposal

                      Remember what we just said about the possibility of your company providing on-the-job training? Take advantage of these sorts of benefits!

                      If you’re working for a company that allows you to job shadow other employees or has company mixers, you should attend these. They not only allow you to develop your skills within the company, but show seasoned executives within your field that you’re interested in more than just clocking in for a paycheck.

                      9. Make Yourself Indispensable

                      Good help is hard to find and employers want to retain outstanding employees. If you can learn to make yourself indispensable to your company, you’ll not only communicate that you’re successful, but will have a lot more job security. What’s this entail though?

                      It’s actually not all that difficult. By being reliable, adapting to new challenges, and holding your own work and performance to a high standard, you’ll stand out among your peers and others will take notice. Easy enough, right?

                      10. Get Off the Fence

                      People who advance in their careers are those who don’t shy away from voicing their opinion and stand up with authority when the opportunity arises.

                      If a problem arises in your company and you think you might have a solution or are willing to work to find one, then let others know. Employers value and promote problem solvers. Start off with something small and work your way up towards tackling more difficult tasks and projects.

                      11. Don’t Wait for More Responsibility, Ask for It

                      If you want more responsibility in your job, then be open about it with your manager. Your manager may be so busy with their own work that they weren’t aware you were looking for more challenges.

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                      Just make sure you can handle it and that you already show strong performance in your current duties. And if your manager doesn’t seem supportive about offering you more responsibility, well, then it could be time to look for new employment.

                      12. Stop Wasting Time on What You Don’t Want

                      If your career goals start with “I should do this…” there could be a problem. This kind of language in referring to goals can doom them to failure because the want isn’t there.

                      Consider using the RUMBA method (Reasonable, Understandable, Measurable, Behavioral and Agreed) when setting your goals. That “agreed” part should really be “want.” By going after career goals that you actually want to accomplish, you’re much more likely to achieve them.

                      13. Seek Out Feedback and Apply It

                      Simply doing your job might not always push you up in your career advancement. Too often, employees just assume that their bosses will notice their performance strides and reach out when the time is right to advance.

                      Don’t be afraid to regularly seek out feedback and ask for constructive criticism. It not only shows that you value your manager’s opinion but demonstrates that you care about your job and want to become better in your chosen field.

                      14. Pick Your Bosses Wisely

                      Advancing in your career can move a lot quicker if you’re working for the right people. If your boss isn’t any good at their job or doesn’t value you, then moving up could become difficult.

                      A great boss though, will be able to help you capitalize on your strengths and be an advocate for your success. If there aren’t any strong developers of talent in your management chain already, then look around for some and seek them out as mentors.

                      15. Learn to Develop Your Sense of Timing

                      The odds of asking for a promotion or raise are in your favor with over 70 percent of respondents to a survey from PayScale reporting some success. One thing to keep in mind that can make all the difference is when you ask.

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                      Some corporate cultures may prefer that employees reach out about advancement during their annual review, but maybe you work for a more free-spirited startup. The best approach may be to take note of when others advance and ask about how the organization handles employee development.

                      16. Work Hard and Promote Yourself

                      Working hard and delivering a solid job performance are the keys to advancing in your career no matter what field you’re in. This doesn’t mean you need to be completely humble about your accomplishments either.

                      Keep a record of your positive impact within the organization and let others both within your company and your field know that you’re enthusiastic about your role and work.

                      17. Don’t Just Build Your Network… Cultivate It

                      It’s way too easy to add new people to your LinkedIn network and then forget about them for all eternity. Rather than just collecting business cards or social media contacts, you should be cultivating relationships with the ones you already have.

                      Follow up with people that you haven’t spoken to in a while, offer to connect them with somebody you know in their field, or ask about a new job title they may have taken on. Doing so could be the spark that leads to a potential job referral.

                      18. Join a Professional Organization

                      The National Association of (insert your industry here) and other professional organizations can still offer a great wealth of advantages from networking to industry insights, and skill development.

                      Even outside of professional organizations dedicated to particular job fields, civic organizations can also be fantastic for making new contacts. After all, so much about career advancement is who you know, and you never know who you’ll meet who knows somebody else who is looking for someone with your skills and experience.

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                      Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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