You walk into a meeting room with an interviewer. From that moment, the person is unconsciously noticing the expression on your face, whether you are slouching or standing tall, what you are carrying in your hands and what you are wearing.
While we rarely consciously think about body language cues, we recognize when someone is demonstrating positive business etiquette, showing confidence or communicating weakness. Carrying yourself well in interviews, business presentations and other professional conversations gives you an advantage in how you are perceived.
The Handshake Is Your First and Last Impression
The first and last contact you have with an interviewer is the handshake. What you convey in that handshake is vital to creating a positive lasting impression. A handshake, when it is done well, conveys a sense of trust. A firm grip conveys confidence, while a weak handshake conveys weakness.
Ironically, a painfully firm grip conveys that you are compensating for a lack of confidence. Combine a firm handshake with a smile, and look directly into the other person’s eyes. Altogether, this gives a sense of a confident, likeable, trustworthy person.
Use Mirroring to Rapidly Create Rapport
Psychology tells us that we tend to like people who like us and share similar beliefs and attitudes. Two people who are sharing a similar emotion will tend to mirror each other’s gestures and postures. When you intentionally mirror the body language of the person you are talking to, you create an unconscious assumption in the other person that you agree with them and are “in sync” with what they are saying. This creates a positive feeling for you.
Another benefit is that the effect also works in reverse. When you mirror an interviewer, manager or colleague’s body language, you come to experience the same emotions he or she is experiencing, thus deepening the unconscious bond between you. If you both are seated, sit at a slight angle from the individual so you both aren’t directly facing each other, which can get uncomfortable. You’ll also want to make sure to situate yourself at a comfortable speaking distance from him or her.
The key to using mirroring in a professional conversation is to avoid crossing the line into mimicry. Your mirroring should be a sincere expression of the fact you are in agreement and share similar thoughts on a subject. When used well, mirroring rapidly creates a sense of rapport between you and an interviewer.
Hand Gestures Facilitate Convincing Speech
Many of us are prone to fidget when we’re nervous. We may play with our hair, click on a pen or crack our knuckles. Nervousness also shows in our speech with the “um’s” and “uh’s” we insert without thinking about them.
Incorporating hand gestures into your speech not only gives you something productive to do with your hands, but it also facilitates the area of the brain responsible for speech. This helps eliminate many of the empty filler words we say while searching for the right phrase to say.
Make sure your gestures aren’t wild. Keep your hands close to your body and don’t overuse them in conversation. When the other person is talking, place your hands flat on the desk or in your lap if you have a tendency to fidget.
Finally, don’t overuse gestures, or rely on them as a substitute for having something useful to say. In general, making positive use of body language opens up a new channel of communication to convey positive feelings, create rapport and build professional relationships.
Body Language Tips: What NOT to Do
Now that you have ideas on how to carry yourself in a business environment, please peruse the following infographic for body language habits to avoid in interviews and other professional conversations. The infographic comes courtesy of The Website Group and Swiss Canadian Capital.
Read How Rudeness in the Workplace Can Sabotage Company Culture
In comparison to the “golden age” of advertising in the 1960s, when the best creative and strategic brand initiatives came from men (because women were only perceived as adequate for secretarial work and bringing coffee to the big guns), today’s women in marketing are a force to be reckoned with. How we got from then to now took a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I should know. I’ve been in the business since 1980.
While my early days fell long after those represented in the hit television series “Mad Men,” some of the misconceptions about women’s abilities back then are still evident today, yet tucked under the whispers of men and women at the office Keurig machine. This is what gives rise to the mad women of marketing, and it goes well beyond the #MeToo movement.
Perception of Feminism vs. Actual Roles
“Business is business.” It’s a common philosophy among the successful. But if you are a woman who has been passed over on a promotion or accolade due to gender, it’s hard not to take it personally.
Sure, there are situations when a man has more experience, more formal education, more talent, more entries in his book of business. In this instance, I am speaking to an apples-to-apples scenario. Why then, would a man get the advantage and is that still the case?
While working as an on-air talent, producer and marketing writer at a No. 5 U.S. market FM radio broadcast company, I was an integral part of a team saddled with going through the ratings reports when they came in.
During one intense session that took us in to the wee hours of the morning, we broke to stretch our legs. Nonetheless, I stayed at the conference room table, as did our boss who sat across from me.
I mused to myself for a moment, taking note of how everyone in the group, except for the boss, was a female. So I asked, “Why is everyone in here a woman?” He smiled and without hesitation responded, “Because if you want something done and you want it done right, ask a woman.”
At that moment, I thought it was an empowering thing to say. Over the years, I’ve changed my mind. It took me a while, and with more career disappointments under my belt, some sexual assaults on the job, a divorce and a real understanding about how strong women in marketing threaten an entire vocational culture, I finally get it. And if you don’t just yet, let me help.
“Marketing requires intricate attention to detail and organized processes to
execute a strategic campaign…because it’s evolving by the minute. It’s about telling
a story, building a brand with compassion and reaching business goals as an empowered team.” Lacey Bertnick, SEO Director, Eminent SEO
Women in Marketing Experience Sexism
Back to what my old boss said about his favored choice in hiring women. The following facts illustrate the truths that led to his hiring preference:
Single moms make up a large portion of the workforce.
Many single moms must work.
They can take a pay cut due to item No. 2 above.
I fit the profile. Many of my coworkers over the years have fit the profile as well. If you don’t, you probably know someone who does.
Aggressive or Driven?
When a corporation looks to promote from within, the one awarded with the title can be a result of a singular characteristic or a myriad of them. Seniority, ability, an internal reorganization or the infuriating “it’s who you know” offer some of the reasoning.
Though when it comes to a woman in the position of a possible promotion, the following factors are taken into account:
The effect on others within the company
Industry and public perception (if it’s a high-profile opportunity)
How the candidate will respond
Oh yeah, and there’s that important subject known as pay rate. Are these also the terms of consideration when a male is contemplated for hire? It depends.
According to MarketingWeek.com, the “pay gap between male and female marketers
has widened from 20.8% in 2016 to 22.4% in 2017,” favoring men.
You’ve probably heard that a man with wisps of gray hair is distinguished, while a woman is old. When a woman is in a position of power, she is often viewed as a bitch. For a man, he is simply driven.
“A woman who is outspoken and assertive in the workplace would be perceived as overly demanding, whereas a man exhibiting the same characteristics would be praised for his passion or tenacity.”
Nicola Yap, Organic Marketing Strategist, Eminent SEO
Unfortunately, this isn’t the intellectual skew beholden to men only. Some women share this ideology, which is self-defeating in the quest to climb the corporate ladder in marketing. But times are changing.
“Women are changing the way consumers feel about
brands with more cause marketing and less sex appeal.” Jessica Feldman, Digital Marketing Specialist, Eminent SEO
The Good Ol’ Boys Club Is Dead
Nothing can be more frustrating to a woman in sales, marketing or creative than coming up with a great promotion, product positioning or ad campaign and then presenting it to a male supervisor only to get it passed on to the decision maker as if the idea came from him – the man.
“When I first started working in digital marketing, it was an ‘old boys club’ and
they weren’t too happy to see a girl step in. My male coworkers wanted me to fail,
left me out of important meetings and memos. I was ridiculed, harassed and talked down to,
paid less and given fewer opportunities than the men. It’s part of why I started my own company.
No one should put up with daily sexism just to earn a buck. I hope to help change that.” Jenny Stradling, Founder and CEO, Eminent SEO
Some women got tired of the disrespect and mistreatment. Instead, they broke the rules and formed their own marketing agencies, tipping the uneven scales of an industry to make a decades-long wrong, right. In Arizona, I’ve had the privilege of working with two great female business owners in marketing communications, Carrie Martz of the Martz Agency and Jenny Stradling of Eminent SEO.
The Tide Is Turning
The “Mad Men” show was engaging with solid storylines and on-target acting. Perhaps part of its allure and strong audience following is that it served to remind us where we (women) started in marketing and how far we’ve come. In fact, we have arrived.
“If you want to create a successful multi-channel campaign, get a woman to help you.
She can use her insight to attract many others from the female realm. It’s like using the ‘Girl Code.’” Danielle Knox, Creative Director, Eminent SEO
Now that there is immense public outcry regarding racism, gender-bashing, safe spaces and equality in all forms, the mad women of marketing can take a load off, put their feet up and bask in the glory of our force in the business community. A fun example is a new TV ad campaign for Overstock.com that pits a man against a woman.
Mad Women of Eminent SEO and Others Represent Well
Creative business industries such as advertising, design and marketing have been known for bucking tradition with more flexible guidelines in where we work and how we work. Ours is an industry that can easily connect the most intriguing and successful initiatives with a truly collaborative environment. For example, Thrive Marketing just opened its doors to a new, women-focused working space in Gilbert, Arizona.
The end of silo office environments, strict organizational hierarchies, and the 8-to-5 business models have shifted across many industries, but started in marketing. Remote work, shared work shifts, and team achievements have much to do with women in marketing, because to survive, we had to be flexible.
Juggling family obligations, meeting client deadlines and staying current with industry trends requires a flexible and scalable business model, especially for women. Now many companies have adopted these pathways, supporting women more than ever before.
In final thought, remember: A scorned woman hath no fury (laughing), but we do a hell of a job!
Comment Time: Discuss How You’ve Seen Women Change the Face of Marketing and Business for the Better.
Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.
Whether your company consists of thousands of employees or a handful of team members, it’s important to foster a strong company culture where your people can produce great results.
Most owners and managers think that the way to boost company morale and build a strong culture is through fancy perks and team builders. But what they often overlook is the damage that is caused by small problems that over time eat away at a company’s culture, and ultimately its bottom line.
Rudeness in the workplace is becoming increasingly common, and it is taking a big toll on businesses large and small. Let’s look at what you need to know to rid your company of this pernicious monster.
Causes of Workplace Rudeness (Hint: It’s Not Just the Big Jerks)
A poll on workplace civility in 2016 found that in 62 percent of employees were treated rudely at work at least once a month. That’s up significantly from 49 percent in 1998 when the annual poll was first conducted.
While overt rudeness is obviously a problem, it’s often the more subtle forms of rudeness that go unchecked and wear on people over time.
Types of rudeness commonly seen in the workplace include:
Replying to comments, emails or texts in a condescending or hostile tone
Ignoring communications altogether
Interrupting the person who’s talking
Belittling a person’s ideas, skills or contributions
Hostility in response to reasonable, constructive feedback
Taking credit for someone’s work or ideas, or minimizing that person’s contributions
Checking phone or working on the computer while others are talking
Left unchecked, these small but grating offenses wear down employee morale and motivation, especially as this type of behavior becomes the norm within an organization.
Stress at work also plays a big role. Being the victim of rudeness can cause stress, and so can difficult work circumstances.
And let’s face it – some people seem to have just never learned how to behave in socially appropriate ways. As with a physical illness, these few socially underdeveloped individuals can quickly spread the rudeness plague far and wide within your organization.
The Consequences of Workplace Incivility
Incivility in the workplace affects employees in the following ways:
Decline in work performance
Choosing to spend less time at work
Reduced commitment to the organization
Taking frustrations out on customers, colleagues, vendors, etc.
Both the quality and quantity of an employee’s work can suffer either deliberately (as the employee’s revenge for being mistreated), subconsciously (due to low motivation), or due to loss of focus on work as the person spends time and effort trying to avoid or appease antagonizing colleagues.
This, in turn, leads to consequences for the organization, such as:
Increased employee turnover
Losing the best and brightest in the organization, who have many options and don’t have to put up with such nonsense
Greater occurrences of stress-related illness and sick leave
Damage to the company’s reputation and brand when rudeness is experienced by employees, vendors or customers
Workplace Aggravation Is Literally a Brain Drain
The prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain responsible for concentration, self-control and decision-making: These are known as “executive functions.” Basically, it’s the CEO of the brain.
While extremely powerful, this part of the brain is a limited resource in the sense that it can only function at peak performance for a limited amount of time. This is why people can usually concentrate better at the beginning of the day, need rest and breaks to regain focus, and become more emotionally sensitive to antagonizing situations as the day wears on.
When people use up their executive-function brainpower in exercising the self-control needed to deal with rudeness, the amount of energy they have left to focus on doing their job well decreases.
And when that self-control dries up altogether, they lash out at whoever is in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is one way that the cycle of rudeness perpetuates itself.
7 Ways to Cultivate Civility in Your Workplace
Overall, there are two types of strategies for reducing rudeness in the workplace:
Establish a culture of professionalism
Reducing stress allows people to focus on what’s important: doing their job well. Establishing a culture of professionalism means putting policies into practice that quickly correct unacceptable behavior, which in turn helps prevent it in the future.
Here are some specific steps you can take to establish a culture of professionalism and reduce stress in your workplace.
1. Call out unacceptable behavior – even the little stuff. Especially the little stuff.
Ironically, because people prefer to avoid conflict, they often don’t call out rudeness when it happens. And the few who do call out rudeness are often accused of being rude themselves and are likely to be targets for retaliation.
This has got to change. The only way to address inappropriate behavior is to recognize it – and for everyone to know that certain behaviors will get called out. This can’t just be a policy; it has to be put into practice and modeled at every level of the organization.
2. Model the kind of behavior you want in your workplace.
Owners and managers set the tone for everyone else. One rude or insensitive manager can damage an entire department.
A person’s direct supervisor has the most influence over their work satisfaction, both because of how they are treated and because of what kind of behavior the manager tolerates in his or her peers. Even within a great organization, a bad boss can ruin an employee’s experience of the company culture.
3. Make civility in the workplace equally important to achieving results.
Yes, results are important, but the results come from people living daily in your company culture. If you culture starts to sour, so will your results. It’s important to reward processes and behaviors that will lead to the results you want.
If you have a merit-based pay or bonus structure, do results trump all other considerations?
If other factors aren’t taken into account, like civility, then there’s a good chance people will do whatever it takes to get the results, including:
Dismissing the ideas and contributions of others
Taking credit for others’ work
Publicly belittling others
Cheating or shortcutting important processes
4. Look for ways to reduce stress in your organization.
Treat habitual stress like public enemy No. 1 in your workplace. Sure, a certain amount of stress is inevitable in business and in life. Things happen.
But your team should only experience stress when the unexpected happens. If stress is a daily part of life, look for ways to eliminate stress and conflict.
If you know a certain situation is a constant source of anxiety for your people, then make it your mission to find a way to eliminate, or at least reduce, the stress that this circumstance causes.
Common causes of workplace stress – that managers have control over – include:
Unrealistically aggressive timelines
Workload or performance metrics that are too high
Internal competition for limited resources and manager approval
Long work hours (especially when combined with not taking adequate breaks and neglecting proper nutrition)
External factors, like the competitiveness of an industry or a demanding client, can also increase stress. While management has less control over these sources of stress, they can control policies on how they are handled internally, including:
Firing difficult-to-work-with clients
Standing up for employees to vendors and clients
Focus on personal-best performance rather than beating industry measures
5. Create systems that support your employees every single day.
Quarterly team builders are nice, but they won’t make up for the fact your people have to come into a toxic environment day after day. And if there’s bad blood between your employees, a team builder won’t make it go away. It will actually highlight the hypocrisy of such an exercise.
As an example, a friend of mine worked as a customer service rep at a company that had a billing policy that upset customers, so she had to deal with angry customers all day, while being expected to hit unrealistic call quotas. Meanwhile, her management thought they had a good culture because they had a game room in the employee lounge and other such perks. They talked about wanting to have a positive company culture, but their billing policies and performance metrics counteracted their supposedly good intentions.
Bottom line: If your employees are unhappy every day, then you don’t have a strong company culture, regardless of the “cool” benefits you provide.
6. Pay your people better.
This also falls into the reducing stress category. People come to work already unhappy when they feel they are working hard for not very much compensation. Or they may simply reduce how hard they are working to match their compensation.
Wages in the U.S. have not kept pace with inflation for many people, so stress from financial difficulties at home can bleed into the workplace.
Pay is also a sign of respect from employer to employee. Paying at or above market rate can go a long way to make people feel valued. As the saying goes: Put your money where your mouth is. You say you value your team members, but does their paycheck reflect that?
And if your company truly can’t afford to pay more at this time, then factors like the quality of the work environment are even more important to reducing employee turnover.
7. Encourage employees to take vacation and sick time.
People need time to recuperate physically, mentally and emotionally. You’ll be rewarded with more patient, focused, happy employees.
That’s assuming they actually use that time to relax. Some people might need help learning how to do that, since many people are so used to the constant stress of life that they don’t know how to break out of the cycle and really relax.
People often are afraid to ask to take time off. Making it a policy will make it easier for them, and it will force your company to figure out how to shift work around when people are out – which is bound to happen anyway due to unexpected circumstances.
Employee Rudeness Hurts Everyone: Make it Stop!
Workplace incivility can slowly eat away at your company culture, reputation and effectiveness. As a leader in your organization, it’s up to you to be an advocate for greater courtesy in the workplace. The rewards are worth it: a boost in employee morale, greater productivity and a more cooperative company culture.
Employees and Managers Could All Benefit from a Little More Mindfulness on the Job
The holiday season can bring a nice boost in sales, but it can take a lot of work and extra expense to make it happen. We’ve compiled this guide to help you get the most sales possible from the time and money you invest in your marketing this season.
First, let’s look briefly at what last year’s holiday season sales stats can tell us about the market, and what to expect this year.
A Look Back and Ahead at Holiday Spending
It’s hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. Before we tell you how to make a holiday season marketing push, let’s take a quick look back at last year’s sales numbers as well as some projections for this year’s November-December rush.
2016 Holiday Season Sales Stats
Last holiday season, online sales in the U.S. raked in a total of $80.2 billion, according to marketing data and analytics firm comScore. When broken out by desktop and mobile purchases, the holiday sales came out to:
Desktop purchases: $63.1 billion (12% increase over 2015)
Mobile purchases: $17.1 billion (44% increase)
And worth noting is that the National Retail Federation estimated that nearly 10 million more people shopped online on Black Friday in 2016 than those who shopped in stores that day. The breakdown on Black Friday shoppers last year comes to:
Online shoppers: 108.5 million
In-store shoppers: 99.1 million
Black Friday is usually all the talk when it comes to shopping this time of year, but Cyber Monday has actually emerged as the biggest spending day of the year. More shoppers seem to be avoiding the in-store stampedes in favor of the comfort of buying online from home. In 2016, Cyber Monday accounted for $3 billion in online sales – $2 billion via desktop and $1 billion via mobile.
2017 Projected Holiday Season Stats and Trends
With the economy on the rebound, experts are projecting holiday sales this year to grow substantially. Research marketing firm NetElixir predicts a 10 percent increase over last year, which would take total sales from $80 billion to $88 billion. Projections by Deloitte suggest that retail holiday sales in 2017 could exceed $1 trillion.
Online purchases continue to grow compared to in-store purchases. However, many brands are creating campaigns that integrate the online and in-store experiences for customers.
A higher percentage of online purchases are being made on mobile devices. However, desktop sales continue to account for a larger share of the pie, so it’s important that websites are optimized for both types of online buying experiences.
Know What Works
The first step to creating a successful holiday marketing strategy is to know what works well already – both in terms of year-round sales and holiday sales specifically.
There are a ton of different ways to promote your products during the holidays, so narrowing down your options will help save you time and money and allow you to focus on doing a few reliable things well rather than spreading yourself too thin.
Make a list of best practices in the following areas:
Audience targets– Which audience segment is your best customer? Where and how do they typically do their shopping during the holiday season?
Popular promotions – Which products sell well all year? What promotions do your customers always respond well to?
Previous year’s promotions and sales stats– What worked last year during the holidays, and what didn’t? How can you double down on last year’s successes?
Best traffic sources– Which lead-generation strategies already work well for you? How can you increase your budget in those areas to gain additional traction during the holidays?
Specific Dates to Target
It’s also a good idea to capitalize on industry-wide shopping dates/promotions that shoppers will be actively looking to take advantage of. Start preparing special promos to meet their needs.
The dates to remember are:
Thanksgiving Day (Dec. 23 this year)
Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving)
Cyber Monday (first Monday after Thanksgiving)
Green Monday (second Monday in December)
Free Shipping Day (free shipping with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve – Dec. 15 in 2017)
Holiday weekend (Dec. 22 to 25 in 2017)
Post-Christmas shopping (Dec. 26 to 31)
Do More of What Works
Once you know what works, it’s time to take those strategies and put them on steroids, so to speak.
Rerun Successful Campaigns, with a Twist
Do what you know works, but try to add a new dimension to it or combine it with other techniques that work to give it a fresh feel.
Highlight Your Most Popular Products and Upsell
Lead off with specials on your most popular products, and offer upsells and add-ons that make sense to increase overall order amounts.
Increase Your Budget for Best-Performing Ads and Channels
Be present on multiple platforms and channels, including social media, PPC, banner ads, emails, radio, TV and print ads. You don’t need to do all of them, but pick a few and do them well.
Optimize for Mobile
Make sure your website is optimized for both mobile and desktop viewing, if it isn’t already.
Set Yourself Apart from the eCommerce Competition – Especially During the Holidays
Differentiating yourself from the competition is always important, but especially so during the holidays when the communications channels are saturated with promotions.
It’s a good idea to know where your products stand in terms of price and shipping cost compared to major competitors like Amazon, as well as compared to more direct niche competitors.
With this information, you can find ways to stand out, including:
Offering niche products that aren’t easy to find elsewhere
Combining a service (such as assembly or installation) with certain products
Loyal customer discounts/benefits
Greater shopping convenience
Free or upgraded shipping
Time Is Better Than Money
“Time is money,” the saying goes, but for many busy holiday shoppers, time is even more important than money. As you develop your holiday marketing plans, ask yourself:
How will we make it fast, easy and convenient for customers to make gift choices, complete their purchase, and move on to the next item on their holiday to-do list?
19 Quick Holiday eCommerce Sales Tips
We’ve put together this list of ideas and best practices to help you rejuvenate your holiday marketing plan. Check to see if there’s anything important you haven’t considered yet:
Customize offers as much as possible to the individual.
Consider a special landing page of holiday products and special offers. You may want to A/B test offers – for example: price discount vs. free shipping.
Optimize your content and metadata for holiday keywords and write seasonal blog content.
Consider a holiday gift-giving guide, with recommendations for people new to your products (such as friends and family of existing customers) and special or advanced items for loyal customers looking for something new.
Consider creating a limited-run holiday version of a popular product.
Throw in free shipping or upgrades to faster shipping at certain order price points.
Have relatively short windows on specials in order to promote a sense of urgency. Have multiple specials over the course of the season.
Tease special offers and major shopping days a week ahead of time, a day or two before launch, and send emails at midnight on the day of so that they’re in inboxes when customers wake up.
Have a few amazing price deals, but don’t discount so much that it cuts too far into profits. While shoppers are looking for discounts, they’re also looking for convenience. Look for other ways to stand out and win the sale besides simply discounting.
Create specials that encourage upsells and add-on purchases. Throw in free shipping on larger orders.
Let customers know what is the last day to order and get delivery by Christmas. Display this info prominently in website and in email communications.
Incentivize last-minute shoppers with upgrades to faster shipping on large orders.
Use abandoned cart emails to remind them to come back and complete their order.
Encourage people to order early by offering bigger discounts on orders in November and early December. (You may want to share your entire list of holiday specials to prove that the early birds are truly getting the best deals.)
Consider offering specials that allow people to shop from home on Black Friday and even Thanksgiving so they can skip the lines and hassle of brick-and-mortar shopping.
Since Cyber Monday is the biggest day for online sales, offer significant specials and encourage your customers to “buy local” or “support small businesses,” if these descriptions apply to your business.
For last-minute shoppers who’ve missed the by-Christmas shipping window, offer gift cards that can be delivered digitally or printed at home.
If you’re a small business with limited website traffic and marketing budget, consider listing your products or services on major sites like Amazon, Groupon, etc.
Have a special offer for those looking for post-Christmas deals as well.
Bonus: Tips for Service Businesses
If you’re a B2B service organization, encourage businesses to buy now for 2018, so they can get the tax benefits of purchasing in 2017.
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C service company, considering offering gift cards for future services.
If your services align with things that are typically part of New Year’s resolutions, such as health, love and finances, consider providing a service package that helps them get off to a strong start in the new year and continue their progress through the whole year.
Gift Yourself with Peace of Mind This Holiday Season
Develop a robust marketing plan for the holiday season that will keep you top of mind during this busy buying season while setting you apart from the competition. Don’t leave holiday sales to chance.
For small and mid-sized companies, the key to success during the crowded holiday season is smart marketing and sales strategies that:
Capitalize on your company’s strengths
Target the right prospects
Allow you to get through to the right people with the right offers
You can do all of this even on a limited marketing budget.
Need to get your website ready for what’s left of the holidays? Need help executing a robust holiday campaign? Contact us now to learn how we can help. Time is running out, but it’s not too late to position yourself for success before the year runs out.
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Most people probably assume that office workers have it easier than blue-collar workers. After all, we work in enclosed air-conditioned buildings, get to do our work sitting down and follow safety procedures consists of holding onto the handrail when you go down the stairs – if you take the stairs at all.
But, in fact, working at a desk job can actually be very hazardous to your health. It turns out that some of the very things that make office jobs seem safe and comfortable – like enclosed offices and sitting down all day – can actually be the most detrimental to your health.
5 Ways that Office Jobs Are Bad for Your Health
First, let’s look at how your cushy office job may be slowly killing you.
Light and Technology Pollution
Many office lights are too bright, which can lead to headaches, stress and fatigue, as well as interference with the body’s natural sleep cycle.
Photocopiers emit ozone, which is dangerous to inhale. Even though copiers have a filter to catch it, the filters often aren’t replaced and lose their effectiveness. Laser printers, in addition to emitting ozone, also give off tiny particles of toner that make their way into office workers’ lungs.
Toxic Air in Poorly Ventilated Buildings
Did you know that the air inside office buildings can be up to 100 times dirtier than the air outside? This is due to the fact that modern buildings, in an attempt to be energy efficient, are tightly sealed, preventing proper air circulation.
While some room air purifiers may take hours to clean the air, the LEVOIT air purifier immediately delivers clean air to where you need it most – your breathing zone.
If anyone is sick in your building, the air they’re coughing out is getting recycled to the rest of the office. Those emissions from printers and copiers are getting recycled throughout the building. Even when buildings pull air from outside, they may be pulling it from a parking lot or another less-than-pristine source of air.
Sitting Too Long
Sitting for most of the day is extremely bad for your health. Your body needs to move around to stay fit. Sitting for long periods leads to increased blood pressure and blood sugar, since it is more difficult for your body to metabolize sugar and fat when you aren’t moving around. Your digestive system also doesn’t work as well, which can lead to constipation.
Plus, you burn very few calories sitting at a desk typing all day, which can lead to obesity. Obesity can lead to a whole slew of health problems.
Employers in the U.S. are required to allow 15-minute breaks in the morning and afternoon. People whose jobs require a lot of moving around tend to take their breaks so they have a chance to rest a bit in the middle of their shifts. But office workers routinely skip their breaks – and that’s bad for the workers, whose minds and bodies need the break, regardless of how many pressing deadlines are looming.
In fact, the more stress a person is under, the more important it is to take breaks to recharge. We recommend BackJoy Poster Seats for people like us that have to sit for 8+ hours a day at a desk job. The BackJoy posture support seats are a safe and effective way to relieve lower back pain and help improve posture at the same time. Basically, their back pain relief seats position your body in the correct posture for sitting all-day.
Poor Eating Habits
Due to heavy workloads and high stress, many salaried workers are even skipping their lunch breaks or eating at their desks. Not giving the body a chance to get up and move around is one problem with this habit.
The other problem is that many office workers in a hurry don’t prepare healthy meals, opting for convenience instead. While this is certainly understandable, it further weakens the body by depriving it of vital nutrients.
Working longer than eight hours a day has become increasingly common, especially for salaried employees who don’t get paid overtime for working more than 40 hours a week. This has many negative consequences for both physical and mental health, including:
Lower productivity and ability to focus, especially at the end of the day
Not getting enough sleep at night, which leads to less time for the body to heal
Being more tired at work due to lack of sleep, which reduces energy, focus and productivity even further
Developing a caffeine addiction due to attempting to work long hours on little sleep
Overwork creates a dangerous cycle of stress and fatigue that take a toll on the body and leads to higher rates of disease. Stress is also a major cause of addiction, as people turn to substances and unhealthy behaviors as coping mechanisms.
Employers who try to squeeze more work out of their employees end up paying the price in terms of:
Lower productivity among staff
Reduced creativity among staff
More workplace accidents and conflicts
More sick days
Larger health insurance costs
If you want an easier way to remember the five ways that your desk job harms your health, check out the following image (and feel free to share it with your social media followers):
8 Tips to Keep Your Desk Job from Killing You
Now that you know the many ways a desk job can threaten your long-term health, here are several steps you can take to mitigate the damage.
In an ideal situation, you would have total control your environment. In fact, this is why many professionals are turning to work-from-home jobs that make it easier to prioritize health while working.
But even if you can’t entirely control your work environment, you can at least control how you work in it. Here are some ways to create a healthier situation for yourself, wherever you work.
Take your 15-minute breaks, and take your lunch break – away from your desk. The physical walk – even if it’s just to the break room – is good for your body. Changing the scenery and focus also helps refresh your mind so that you’ll be better able to concentrate when you return to your desk.
An easy way to get up and walk, even when you’re not on break, is to walk to people’s desks to talk to them. Sure, email, phone and IM are quicker, but if you need an excuse to leave your cubicle for five minutes, talking to a co-worker may be just what you need. And you’ll probably find that some discussions happen better in person than in writing anyway.
Leave your desk every couple of hours at least. Your brain can’t focus for more than an hour or two at a time anyway. So when you find your thoughts drifting off to other topics, or realize that you’ve simply been staring off into space for who-knows-how-long, call it quits for a few minutes and recharge.
Even when you’re not leaving your desk, it’s still a good idea to get up and do a few stretches. These can be done right next to your chair.
Just do a web search for “desk stretches” to find simple stretches you can do to help prevent carpel tunnel syndrome, keep your back and neck muscles from getting tense, and generally improve your flexibility and relieve tension.
Using the Pomodoro Technique is a great way to remind yourself to take stretch breaks, while also helping you increase focus and productivity.
Leave Your Desk for Lunch
As tempting as it is to work through lunch to try and tackle the overwhelming amount of work you have, this is a dangerous habit to get into. Your body needs to get up and walk around, eat a solid meal, and take a mental break from work.
Lunch is also a great time to socialize with your co-workers and build work relationships. Or, if you’re not feeling social, put on your headphones and do something fun on your smartphone for a little while.
Walk Around and Get Fresh Air
Find opportunities to get outside and walk. You don’t have to work out and get all sweaty. Just a nice stroll around the office building can be refreshing. If the weather outside isn’t good for walking, try to walk more inside. Take the stairs now and then for a super-quick mini workout.
It’s especially good for your health to take a stroll after eating a meal. This helps your body metabolize your food and keeps things moving in your digestive tract.
Lastly, you can also get a desktop air purifier to help make the air in your immediate vicinity a little healthier while you work.
Avoid Meetings as Much as Possible
Meetings can be a huge waste of time, not to mention boring. When you’re bored, your body thinks it’s time to sleep. This can throw off your natural body rhythms and makes you less productive at work.
And the more time you waste in meetings, the less time you have to get your actual work done, which can lead to longer hours and higher stress. So as much as possible, try to get out of unnecessary and unproductive meetings.
Many people just assume they have to go to meetings they are invited to. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that you can find ways to un-invite yourself.
Get Plenty of Sleep
What’s the No. 1 thing you can do to improve your health right away? Get enough sleep. This allows your body to repair itself, and gives you more energy for the next day.
Getting enough sleep can allow you to do away with your caffeine habit. Or, notice how much more energized the caffeine makes you when you are already rested. To help you sleep better, try OLLY melatonin gummies.
While this advice is simple and effective, many people don’t do it because there’s simply so much to get done, and taking time away from sleep is the easiest way to get more hours in the day. But the truth is you can’t actually get more hours in the day; there’s always 24 hours – no more, no less. When you steal time from sleep to do other things, you are paying for those tasks with your health.
Stop Training Your Boss to Overwork You
One of the reasons that people have too much to do and aren’t prioritizing their health is because they’re not comfortable saying NO right now in order to protect their health in the future.
Unfortunately, many employees have trained their bosses to expect them to not take breaks, to work through lunch, to work long hours, and to respond to work-related emails and texts from home.
Think about it: It’s not like your boss is ever going to say, “You’re working too hard. Stop it!” Most companies prioritize results and productivity over employee health. This means you have to safeguard your health and your rights as an employee.
Stop trying to compete with the workaholics. The race to work longer and harder is one that every employee loses, even when they win. Especially when they win.
Here are things you can start doing now to train your employer to have more realistic expectations of your work availability:
Leave at the end of the workday.
Don’t work over 40 hours a week on a regular basis – only in emergency situations.
Take your full lunch break.
Take your 15-minute breaks.
Don’t work from home or answer work-related messages at home, except in rare cases where it really is urgent.
Take your vacation time.
If doing these things would mean that the work won’t get done, then it’s your employer’s responsibility to hire enough people to do the work that needs to be done.
Have you tried exercising mindfulness at work? Here are 10 ways you can do just that:
Ask your boss to if you can telecommute part-time or full-time. Even one or two days a week working at home instead of in the office can remove you from the many hazards of the office, both physical and mental, including:
Distractions and time-sucking small talk
Being stuck in a cubicle
Toxic recycled office air
Working away from the office has several benefits, including:
Being able to sleep in and commute to your office across the hall in your pajamas
The ease of getting a healthy snack or meal simply by walking into the kitchen
Taking much-needed breaks without worrying about anyone criticizing how long you are away from your desk
The freedom to get done when the work is done, rather than based on the current time on the clock
Peace and quiet
Share Your Workplace Health Hacks
OK, now it’s your turn: What strategies do you use to combat the physical and mental effects of working in an office? Please share in the comments.
A large majority of the violence that takes place during HBO’s mega-hit “Game of Thrones” does not revolve around armies of the undead or wars of succession. In reality, most of the drama that drives the show has less to do with grand battles between good and evil and more to do with people not getting along at work.
Take the early adventures of fan favorite Jon Snow, now King in the North but once an entry level employee at The Wall. It was Jon’s ability to rally his fellow new hires that caught the eye of the C-Suite and eventually catapulted him into management. Ultimately, Jon envisioned a different direction for the company than his board of directors did, and he was unceremoniously let go:
Even in an organization headquartered on a giant wall that is meant to protect all of humanity from a daunting, supernatural threat, the people working there still have time to bicker and be petty with one another. So it’s not that surprising (or a big deal) if you don’t like everybody at work. Your only responsibility is to be civil, play well with others and not let your disagreements become a distraction.
Here’s a few tips on how to do that. We’ll use the very worst that “Game of Thrones” has to offer as examples of co-workers you can’t stand.
The Waif aka The One-Upper
Seasons 5 and 6 of Thrones saw Arya accept an internship in Braavos with The Faceless Men, where she had to work directly under a sour, dour young woman known only as The Waif. Ostensibly, The Waif was assigned to watch over Arya’s assassin training and act as a mentor. Instead, she routinely talked down to Arya about her performance and beat her up after work.
As Arya got better at her job, The Waif began to bug out. Her passive-aggressive behavior suggests that her whole demeaning attitude is deeply rooted in insecurity. This is the case for most co-workers who seem obsessed with proving their superiority to everyone around them. Their go-to solution for puffing themselves up is bringing other people down.
How Do I Deal with The One-Upper?
The best way to resolve conflict with The One-Upper is to avoid playing their game. If they feel the need to show you up in a conversation or in a meeting, just ignore it and power through.
The more you feed into their cycle, the more you come off looking like the smaller person. Everybody knows The One-Upper can’t help themselves. You demonstrate your professionalism by not letting their self-promotional ways affect your demeanor. That’s a good look, even for an organization called The Faceless Men.
Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish aka The Hater
If you’re a fan of the show, you were probably waiting to see the enigmatic Littlefinger make an appearance on this list. The All-Star schemer isn’t just on this list because he likes to play politics, however. He represents that co-worker who can’t help interfere when he sees relationships develop without him.
During season 7, Petyr impulsively begins to attack the burgeoning mutual respect formed between the recently reunited sisters Sansa and Arya Stark. After all, any consolidation of power that doesn’t involve him needs to be undermined. Around the office, The Hater can be found popping into your cubicle for a quick chat that starts something like this:
“I’ve noticed you’ve been talking to the boss a lot…”
“I didn’t think you’d have much in common with Karen…”
“Were you having lunch with Jason? Huh…”
Co-workers who trade in these kinds of non-secrets are frustrating to work with because the bonds they see as a threat are actually great for your organization. This is another example of a co-worker whose insecurities drive counterproductive, unprofessional behavior around the office.
How Do I Deal with The Hater?
Just keep doing what you’re doing. The best way to resolve conflict with The Hater at work is to continue to develop the bonds you have that are real. If necessary, emphasize to your co-worker that you’d like to limit your conversation to matters directly related to your work. Start logging incidents and report the behavior to your manager if the behavior continues.
Theon Greyjoy aka The Apology
Over seven whole seasons of Thrones, Theon has proven time and time again that for every occasion, he will find a way to avoid rising to it. Whether it’s crumbling under the pressure of leadership after a poorly executed coup or abandoning his sister on the field of battle, Theon is a constant screw-up with as many excuses and apologies as there are swords in the Iron Throne.
That might be a little harsh. Theon finally seems to be coming around just in time for season 8. Regardless, he gives us a distinct example of a co-worker who consistently drops the ball during collaborative projects. What can be even more frustrating than these individuals’ inability to come through in the clutch is their long list of excuses for why they couldn’t have been successful in the first place.
How Do I Deal with The Apologizer?
The Apology’s self-pitying behavior wouldn’t be so bad if the solution to the problem wasn’t to affirm them as much as possible. It’s hard to be in the mood to keep supporting a co-worker who constantly lets you down, but confronting them too directly may only make it harder to build their confidence the next time you need to rely on their expertise.
Instead, continue to assert that they are a capable contributor to the team and cross your fingers. Maybe also assign them fewer vital tasks.
Samwell Tarly aka The Two-Face
Sam started off as Jon’s pudgy co-worker at The Wall, but these days he’s defeating ancient snow demons, curing diseases and doing important work as a Westerosian history post-graduate. This all to say that Sam is quite the capable individual, even if his cherubic face and ho-hum demeanor might suggest otherwise.
Whether it’s sneaking peeks into The Citadel’s forbidden library or straight-up swiping the family sword from his jerk dad in the middle of the night, Sam has proven he will lie to your face and just do what he wants anyway – if that’s what it takes to get his way.
You may be having flashes of that time a co-worker agreed to your strategy in a meeting before they immediately proceeded to implement their own plan instead. Maybe you know a fellow employee who spoke poorly of you to a supervisor but acts like your pal at lunch. There are plenty of people like that in the workforce, and few of them have as heroic intentions as Sam.
How Do I Deal with The Two-Face?
This one’s tough because people who systematically lie are usually A) pretty good at it and B) know how to work the system. Accusing them of being dishonest straight up won’t work. They’ll claim miscommunication and that they’ll “try to do better” next time.
Instead, anticipate and plan around them. Take advice or input you get from The Two-Face with a grain of salt; get confirmation from fellow co-workers if necessary.
Rickon Stark aka The Guy Who Can’t Run in a Zig-Zag Pattern
You’d think that if your captor had told you to run across a big field to safety, you might suspect something was up. You’d think that running in a straight line is probably foolish, especially in an era where ranged weaponry is limited to arrows of various sizes. You’d think to occasionally change direction, perhaps multiple times, forming a sort of zig-zag pattern, as to protect yourself from any income projectiles.
You’d think that. I’d think that. Rickon didn’t think that. Rickon got shot by an arrow.
At the office, The Guy Who Can’t Run in a Zig-Zag Pattern is the employee who is unfortunately both underqualified for his position and can’t think outside the box enough to compensate. They’re probably great at paperwork? Hopefully.
How Do I Deal with a Non-Zig-Zagger?
I mean, this person is probably a nepotism hire in the first place. Not really much you can do except wait for them to screw up really, really badly. If they can’t figure out how to run in a zig-zag pattern, the problem will sort itself out sooner than you might expect.
M’Lording Your Manager
Most of this advice has revolved around managing peers who get on your nerves around the office. But what about your boss? In many cases, there isn’t much to do when you and your superiors have a personality clash. Mitigating your expectations and looking for ways to become essential to your boss are the most effective responses outside of finding another position.
Here are a few quick tips based on dealing with a frustrating supervisor, based on the show’s trio of kings from House Baratheon.
Stannis aka The Family Man
Stannis would be a great boss if he didn’t let his family drama impact the workplace daily. Who can concentrate on winning a war of succession when the boss’ wife and girlfriend are having an awkward spat in the company kitchen? It’s just not a good way to do business.
Your best bet is to be as firm about setting boundaries as possible. Your boss knows he or she is not supposed to bring their personal life into the office; they just can’t help themselves. They can’t hold it against you for not wanting to deal with it either.
Robert aka The Old Buddy
Eddard Stark found himself in the unfortunate position of being the president of a company owned by his roommate from college, good ol’ Robert Baratheon. Working with friends or family can be a great opportunity, but also invites challenging work dynamics when personal feelings get in the way of the work. Robert could never bring himself to take advice from Eddard, so why empower him to make decisions?
If you find yourself in this type of position, your best bet is to be honest about your feelings. It’s either be open with them when you feel like the personal is interfering with the professional or suffer working in a toxic environment and threatening a friendship. Your friend-boss can’t have you beheaded, so relax and start a conversation.
Joffrey aka The Big Man
Who could forget the short but spicy reign of boy-king Joffrey Baratheon? Prior to being poisoned at his own wedding, Joffers made a habit of having his political rivals murdered in front of their children and turning servants into pin cushions with his trusty crossbow. His famously thin skin also made it easy to get fired from a position at Westeros, LLC. Any perceived sleight could lead to a date with the executioner when Joffrey was CEO.
If you’ve got a boss who’s easily threatened and likes to take it out on subordinates, you probably know what it’s like to work for a Joffrey-type firsthand. The Big Man is only satisfied when his importance is on the top of everyone’s minds. Honestly, the only way to deal with these types of supervisors is to prove your usefulness. They’ll leave you alone if they think your success reflects positively on them.
You Win By Not Playing
At the end of the day, the best way to manage, respond and resolve your conflicts with co-workers is to avoid escalating the problem. You may have to swallow a bit of your pride, but that’s a small price to pay for a peaceful work environment.
Want more advice about managing difficult personalities around the office or other conflict-resolution tips? See our tips on curbing workplace incivility or bookmark our blog for several new updates every month.
As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.
First, let’s start with a quick definition of mindfulness before we get all gung-ho about it:
So, basically, it’s being in the moment, focused on the here and now. That is not an easy feat with deadlines looming over your shoulder like a fasting vampire breathing on your neck. Now that you have that visual in your mind, let’s get back to the topic at hand: mindfulness in the workplace.
Deadlines, emails, phone calls, meetings, more emails, presentations … no, don’t run from your desk! Keep reading!
You must be asking yourself how can you possibly consider applying the principles of mindfulness so that you feel less zombie-like and more alive, as well as becoming more productive. Here are a few ideas to get you started on your journey to being mindful at work:
1. Be Consciously Present
More than anything, mindfulness is about being fully aware and awake (yes, go get ANOTHER cup of coffee), rather than just working on autopilot. When you are consciously present at work, you become aware of two things in your moment-to-moment activities:
You notice what’s going on around you.
You notice what’s going on within you.
Being mindful at work means to be aware of, at all times, in that moment, what you are doing while you are doing it. It also involves managing your mental and emotional state. If you are creating a proposal or a report for the big cheese or the little guy, mindfulness requires that you give it your full attention.
Each time your mind wanders to things like that funny cat video you watched or what you read on Facebook about the Kardashians, acknowledge the thoughts and then bring your mind back to the task at hand.
Here are a few tips to change mindlessness into mindfulness and increase your productivity:
Make a clear decision at the beginning of your workday: Begin with a clear idea of what you wish to accomplish.
Slow and steady wins the race: While you become used to the practice of mindfulness, you may find you work a little slower at first, but it will pay off in the long run.
Remember WHY you are doing this: Keeping the why in mind helps motivate you to keep going.
Give your undivided attention to every task: Yes, even the mundane, everyday tasks such as opening the door, pouring that third cup of coffee, or even breathing while you wait for a meeting to start.
2. Make Use of Short, Mindful Exercises
OK, stop everything. We need 30 minutes of your time to go over some mindfulness exercises. What? No time? Yeah, me neither. But, that doesn’t mean we cannot be mindful, as these exercises can be as short as time allows. Even taking 1 minute to sit back, clear your mind and refocus your attention on your senses is technically a mindfulness exercise. That’s it? Yep, that’s it.
No closing your eyes, no sitting down: just 60 seconds realigning your thoughts. Be creative and find time throughout your day to do these exercises. Have a few more minutes? Fantastic!
Barely have time to breathe between calls? That’s fine, too. These short exercises are important. They help you rebalance your nervous system, reduce your fight-or-flight response, and reinvigorate the “wise” part of your brain so on the next call you will be calm, clear and focused on winning that new client.
3. One Thing at a Time
Oh, you think you are a master tasker. You can multitask like no other? Well, I hate to break it to you, but no one is really a multitasker. Our brains just aren’t made to do it, try as we might.
Multitasking is really just switching back and forth really fast, and in most cases, losing data in the process. Multitasking is inefficient, and yet we continue to do it. In fact, there are studies that have shown the more you multitask, the more addicted to it you become.
So let’s kick that habit and become a mindfulness bad ass. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Try a Time Journal
Track what you are accomplishing in a block of time, and note when you were single-tasking or multitasking. Add what you achieved in that time frame and how mindful you were.
Try Categorizing Tasks
Group together your tasks to accomplish in one block of time. Put emails, phone calls, errands and meetings together. Rather than jumping around, use the dedicated time.
Silence the phone, log off email, remove Facebook pop-ups, mute your work chat. Now, set a timer and work undistracted. At the end of that time, check what you need to – emails, chat, etc. Do what works for you to focus on the single task for the allotted time.
Remember Your Mindfulness Exercises
Between tasks, get up, stretch, take deep breaths, go for a walk or listen to a guided breathing exercise, such as this.
4. Use Reminders and Alerts
Ever driven home and realized you don’t remember the trip? Your brain was on autopilot. This is a state of low energy, one which is almost dreamy – very unmindful. In fact, the word mindful means to remember. Unfortunately, most people who see the benefits of mindfulness and even practice it forget to be mindful!
Autopilot means you are not 100 percent present in the moment, and that you are barely aware that the moment is in front of you. You can’t be creative, plan or respond properly if you are operating on low power. You just can’t do it, Captain. You don’t have the power!
So let’s give you back the power! Try these tips:
Use alarms on your phone: Do this even if your phone is on vibrate so that it’s not driving your coworkers crazy.
Use your calendar: Set appointments with yourself.
Add some art: Keep a small note or a picture on your desk to remind you to be mindful.
5. Slow Down to Speed Up
I’m sure you’ve see the movie “Cars.” Doc Hudson tells Lightning McQueen he has to turn left to go right. Well, I am going to tell you to slow down to speed up.
Here is another way to look at it: You can no longer sleep; you need to work, because sleeping isn’t working and there is too much to do. So, just stop sleeping. After a while, you just don’t function any more and you are no longer living in the moment, but in the hallucinations of your sleep-deprived mind.
So, you can see how you need sleep to work, and sleep is rest. Rest is good. Your brain needs breaks to regroup and become more efficient.
That panicky rush to hit a deadline leads to mistakes, poor decisions and wasted energy. So, stop. Breathe deeply. Now, focus on listening. Walk, don’t run. And take your time to be mindful.
6. Stress Is Your Friend … Really!
If you don’t think it is, you’d better change your mind! Researchers found that individuals with high stress who believed that stress was good for them had some of the lowest mortality rates. This is opposed to their stressed-out counterparts who believed stress would be the death of them – who also had the highest chance of dying. It’s what you put out into the universe!
So, if you are part of the second group, you should be going, “Holy cow, I gotta change my ways!” Mindfulness can help you change your views. When you encounter a stressful situation at work, take a moment to reflect on your reaction, your heart rate, your blood pressure, your attitude.
Having your pulse increase increases the oxygen in your blood, and gears you up for the challenge ahead. Treat it more like getting ready for an Ironman Challenge rather than the Dread Pirate Roberts. You aren’t going to your death: You are rising to the challenge and you will come out on top.
This change of view can LITERALLY add years to your life and improve your productivity in the workplace.
7. Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude
Human nature is not all unicorns and rainbows. We tend to dwell on the negative, the things going wrong. Repeatedly focusing on this will eventually cause you to develop a negative and unbalanced way of thinking.
To counter this, you must develop an attitude of gratitude. Find your silver lining, however small it may be. This will lead to more silver linings, which will give way to silver clouds and then blue skies. To get there, practicing mindfulness in all aspects of life and work helps improve your resilience to the downward spiral that is negativity.
Not happy at work? Find something to be thankful for – maybe your paycheck. It may not be the paycheck you would like, but it’s better than no check. And, I am sure you like at least one person there, one person who makes you smile. If nothing else, the job gives you insight into what you are looking for in a career – things you want and don’t want. So, be grateful for the experiences and lessons the job teaches.
8. More Humble, Less Grumble
Humility comes from the Latin term humilis, meaning grounded. Please don’t go around tooting your own horn over and over. You did it, congratulations. People who make the most noise grabbing our attention is what society seems to live for, but in reality, a humble person is way more attractive.
Don’t confuse humility with meekness or timidity. They are in no way the same thing. To be humble doesn’t mean that you see yourself as inferior, but rather you are aware of your natural dependence and your equity in those around you.
Humility and mindfulness work very closely together. You can even say they are intimate. Mindfulness is accepting who you are and being open to listening and learning from those around you. You are grateful for them and the lessons they share. And someone who is grateful for others is also naturally humble.
Need a little humility in your life? Try these:
Practice your mindful exercises.
Spend a few minutes every day thanking those who have helped you – even if it is silent, in your heart or prayer.
Show appreciation: Say thank you!
Value other people’s opinions.
9. Like the Serenity Prayer, Accept What You Cannot Change
The core belief of mindfulness is to be present in the moment. If you cannot accept yourself as you are right now, then you have some work to do. Acceptance is the driving force behind mindfulness. It doesn’t mean resignation or giving up. You can change. Everything can change. But, right now, accept what is.
At work, if you missed a deadline, accept it. It came and went, and you weren’t ready. As soon as you accept that, you can come to a solution, talk to the team, learn from the mistake and move on. Acceptance leads to change.
Personal acceptance is infinitely more powerful. Embrace your shortcomings, weaknesses, strong points, aspects you do and don’t admire: They make you who you are. This acceptance will lead to confidence, clarity and joy. No longer will you be stuck with energy draining self-criticism, but you will have set the stage for greater peace of mind, productivity and mindful moments.
10. Think ‘Growth’ in Everything
A growth mindset changes the game from “this is all I got” to “I can do more.” People with a fixed mindset tend to believe that their intelligence and talents are stuck – never able to change. Meanwhile, people with a growth mindset believe that they can improve these qualities with effort. These people thrive on learning and trying new things, and they usually have success in the workplace because of this.
Mindfulness is about developing a growth mindset. It’s about giving full attention to the moment right now – with no judgments – and being open to new possibilities. Your new mindfulness outlook will make receiving negative reviews easier: You will see them as an opportunity to grow, instead of as an attack. You will be willing to take on new responsibilities and challenges because you will be curious to see how you can handle it all.
Mindfulness in the Workplace Can Bring About a New You
Through this mindfulness journey, you will discover new things about yourself, your work and your attitude. Take baby steps. Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will you master mindfulness in one go.
Want to Learn More About Boosting Productivity at Work Through Mindfulness?
Technical Project Manager. My day-to-day includes performing technical SEO tasks, managing multiple projects and supporting the website optimization process. I also communicate directly with customers to help them understand their options and implement their customized solutions.
Stress in the workplace is unavoidable. However, you don’t have to let it get the best of you. Instead, take control of it and watch your productivity soar. Find ways to create peace of mind and focus before, during and after each work day. You will find that not only will your work day become more enjoyable, but the balance of your life outside of work will also reap the benefits.
Not Another Meeting
Before you go into another “meeting about meetings,” ask yourself two things:
What do I want to get out of this meeting?
What do I want to contribute to it?
Having clear goals for yourself will help you stay on track and guide your colleagues down the path of achieving the original goal of the meeting. This keeps them short and sweet, so they don’t take up time needed for other projects.
Don’t Get Stuck at Your Desk
We sit far too long from the ride to work, to our desk, back to the car, to the couch … maybe you’ve squeezed in a short walk or a trip to the gym. Therefore, it helps to set aside time for taking mindful walks every day that will increase brain functionality and spark creativity.
Try taking a walk for 10 minutes or turn it in to a “walk and talk” meeting. Keep the meeting to no more than three people. The change of scenery and fresh air will help the creative juices flow.
The best time to schedule these walks is around 2 or 3pm when everyone’s energy levels are dropping. This quick burst of activity will be the perfect pick-me-up to finish out your day.
Check Your Posture
At least three times a day, take notice of how you are sitting at your desk. Are you slumped over your desk? Are both feet on the floor? Or do you tend to sit on one foot?
Make adjustments to how you sit at your desk to reduce neck pain, eye strain and even backaches.Try sitting on a ball or switch to a standing desk.
At minimum, you should stand for five minutes for every hour you sit to boost your energy and productivity, as well as lower your risk for disorders like diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions.
Before you leave write, down three “must-do’s” for the next day. I am sure your inbox is overflowing with things that need to be done yesterday – but narrow the field down to three items. When you come in next day, you will already know exactly what you need to focus on without having to stare blankly at the ever-growing count of unread emails in your inbox.
Clear Your Mind – Not Just Your Inbox
Take two minutes for some mindful meditation. Close your eyes, sit relaxed with both feet on the floor and focus on your breathing – in through your nose (notice how cool the air is) and out through your mouth.
While doing that, try to think, “At this moment, my job is to experience THIS moment as fully as I can. Everything else can wait.”
Yes, the client can wait for two minutes for that email response.
Often times, we have our nose to the grindstone, so focused on work that we forget about essentials like food and water. Set a reminder or a timer to remind you to take those breaks and nourish your body and mind. Be mindful when you do eat: Rate your hunger level on a scale of 1-10 (1 = not hungry; 10 = ravenous). If you are over a 7, try drinking a glass of water. In many cases, our minds confuse hunger with thirst. When you have completed the meal, rate your hunger again and ask yourself:
Did I over do it?
Did I savor the meal?
Did the food get tastier with each bite?
Do I remember the taste?
Don’t forget to savor your drinks as well. Pick one drink a day to savor that isn’t water – maybe a soda or latte or an herbal tea. Then ask yourself:
Was it satisfying?
Did it taste good?
Did it leave me thirsty?
Am I now craving sugar?
Why did I chose that drink?
To Be or Not To Be: That is Your Question
Start a “to-be” list. Focus on who you WANT to be: loving, present, calm, generous, creative, grateful, etc. Choose one quality a day to focus on and then ask yourself:
What is in my life that cultivates these qualities?
What activities bring me joy?
What makes me happy to be alive?
The activity doesn’t have to be work-related. It could be gardening, cooking or baking, playing sports or even listening to music. The goal is to identify what brings you joy and how to incorporate it more into your life both in and out of the workplace. Enjoy gardening? Add a plant to your desk. Enjoy cooking? Pack yourself an amazing lunch to look forward to.
Each morning, set an intention to focus on one quality from your list. Close your eyes and create the feeling of what that quality will feel like. How you will feel. How others will feel.
And make sure to dedicate at least 30 minutes a week to doing something that you love. Take a class. Create a group. Put it in your calendar. Just do it.
Create an Attitude of Gratitude
Begin a gratitude journal: List three things every day that you are thankful for, that went well today or both. This will shift your outlook from, “Is today over yet?” to, “Thank you for today”. Changing your perspective will help you look forward to workday ahead of you. Thus, it will help you focus and increase your overall productivity.
Remember not to just focus on your own gratitude – but to be thankful of those around you. Get into the practice of “random acts of kindness” to your co-workers. If you are headed out for break, offer to pick something up for them or invite them along. And never underestimate the power of a simple “thank you.”
The Little Engine That Could
“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”
In the story of the Little Engine, those words became, “I knew I could, I knew I could, I knew I could.”
Pick an affirmation every day that inspires you and repeat it three times throughout the day. Write it on a Post-it note, jot it on the napkin in your lunch box or set a reminder on your phone – however you can get that affirmation in front of your eyes again and again.
Spruce Up Your Space
Add items to your space that give you joy – pictures of family and friends, trinkets, postcards of travel experiences from the past and yet to be done. If you don’t like clutter on your desk, change out your desktop wallpaper and change your phone or tablet wallpaper too. Swap out your mouse pad or get pens that write in your favorite color. Keep your favorite mug at the office.
Life creates its own stress. The trick is learning how to redirect the bad stress into positive vibes and break through the roadblocks in our way.
Technical Project Manager. My day-to-day includes performing technical SEO tasks, managing multiple projects and supporting the website optimization process. I also communicate directly with customers to help them understand their options and implement their customized solutions.
On this Eminent SEO blog, we generally offer marketing advice, website and social media tips, as well as SEO and tech news. On this go-round, however, we’d like to slightly deviate from our usual offerings and talk about an issue that more closely relates to something many of our clients would usually cover: addiction.
But we’re not here to talk about addiction to drugs, alcohol or other harmful habits that quickly come to mind. Instead, what we’d like to look more into is excessive online surfing, aka internet addiction.
Internet addiction is real, and it’s not spectacular. Studies show that it’s not all too prevalent now, but given the web-usage habits of millennials on down, it will likely become more common in coming years.
In this post, we’ll take a look at:
The characteristics of internet addiction
How common this type of addiction is
The risks and consequences of excessive web usage
How alleviate one’s own internet addiction
What Characterizes Internet Addiction?
Internet addiction isn’t yet considered an official disorder, but it’s listed in the U.S. as a condition that warrants further study. This condition is characterized by spending too much time on a computer or web-enabled device to the point where it starts to affect an individual’s relationships, finances, employment, health and more. People with “addictive personalities” are at-risk for becoming a little too attached to their internet-connected devices.
Like many other forms of addiction, internet addiction can cause excess dopamine in the brain, meaning it can give the user a sort of “high” when online. But once the person goes offline, he or she may feel withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety or depression, when away from the computer. When an internet-addicted individual is not on the computer, he or she may spend most of the time itching to get back online again.
Not only is an internet addict’s relationships and job and school performance suffering, but the individual will likely lose interest in non-online hobbies or pursuits. Additionally, the internet addict may become defensive or angry when someone else comments on his or her behavior. Internet addicts may even go out of their way to hide the extent of their usage.
Which Online Activities Are They Addicted To?
Certain online activities are ripe for becoming a timesuck. If one is not careful, one or more online pastimes may become the centerpiece of a person’s life.
So what are the activities that internet-addicted individuals are spending so much of their time on? It could be one or more of the following:
Online forum and chat room usage
Reading and leaving comments on favorite blog and news websites
Dating site interaction
How Widespread Is Internet Addiction?
Despite the increasing exposure to the internet and the ability to get online from virtually anywhere, internet addiction doesn’t appear to be an epidemic … yet.
It’s hard to gauge how common internet addiction is, and how to measure it, but here are a few stats that attempt to paint the picture:
A 2010 study in “The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse” found that the prevalence rate of internet addiction was as high as 8.2 percent among Americans and Europeans.
“Internet Addiction: A Handbook and Guide to Evaluation and Treatment,” published in 2010, estimated that more than 18 percent of college-aged internet users may be addicted.
In 2010, the University of Leeds in England surveyed people between the ages of 16 and 51 and found only 1.4 percent of respondents were bona fide internet addicts.
According to Daily Mail, data published in late-2014 said that 7.1 percent of the population in Asia is addicted to the internet, a figure which includes 24 million children in China.
According to a 2014-15 survey in Taiwan, the prevalence rate of internet addiction among 1,100 respondents (mostly female) was 10.6 percent.
Drawing from all of the studies above, it’s probably safe to say that internet addiction affects less than 10 percent of people worldwide. However, you can also estimate that a reasonably higher percentage of young people would qualify for being internet addicted.
More on China’s Internet Addiction Problems
China is particularly seeing an affliction of internet addiction, especially among young males. In 2008, the most populated country declared internet addiction a clinical disorder, becoming one of the first nations to do so, according to Voice of America. Three years earlier, China had already begun combating the problem, opening its first of many military-style internet rehabilitation camps.
China’s threshold for what qualifies as internet addiction might seem quite low to some. When it was first categorized as a disorder, internet addiction in China meant someone spent more than six hours online (not work- or study-related) each day and felt bad when unable to access a computer. While that may seem like a low benchmark, China is nonetheless not joking around when it comes to the problem. It is just one of many countries that has been taking steps to curb heavy web usage, with South Korea being another prominent example.
Risks and Consequences of Internet Addiction
Although the internet offers ways to connect with people all over the world, the interactions are often superficial and rarely a substitute for real-life relationships. Besides potentially hurting relationships, finances and job status, internet addiction can negatively affect people in other ways, such as exacerbating or giving rise to mental health issues.
Back in 2008, Dr. Jerald J. Block conducted a study that concluded that 86 percent of internet-addicted individuals exhibited other mental health disorders. The mental health conditions that are sometimes linked with internet addiction include:
Impulse control disorder
Substance use disorders, such as abuse of alcohol or prescription and illegal drugs
People who are addicted to the internet may also become malnourished due to poor eating habits, such as not eating often enough or consuming unhealthy snacks and meals that don’t take too much time away from the web and can be eaten while sitting at a computer. As you can imagine, since sitting or lying down is the most common position for internet surfing, someone who spends hours and hours online each day will see their physical health start to slide as well.
More on Depression and Internet Addiction
Medical experts have had trouble determining if depression leads to internet addiction or vice-versa. Either way, the worse the addiction gets, the more one’s depression is exacerbated, in most cases.
This can become a vicious cycle. Depression can tempt someone into retreating to a computer or internet-enabled device and staying there for hours on end. In other cases, the allure of the internet can keep a newer user online for hours to the point where they’re doing it every day, but as their connections and relationships with others start to fade, depression can begin to seep in. If a person’s internet usage is making depression worsen, it’s time to pull them out of the cycle and begin some form of therapy.
More on Suicidal Thoughts and Internet Addiction
You don’t have to search too hard on the web to find stories of people wearing diapers (especially for gaming) to keep their internet usage uninterrupted and others who have physically harmed themselves to try to pull themselves out of the digital timesuck.
These are unfortunate situations, but they hint at something direr than simply depression. Not only does web addiction closely relate to depression, but it gets even more serious: suicidal thoughts and actions.
The aforementioned Taiwanese study looked closely at the link between suicide and internet addiction. When comparing the internet-addicted respondents to the non-addicts, researchers found that internet addicts have:
A 47 percent higher rate of suicidal thoughts within a week
A 23 percent higher rate of lifetime suicide attempts
A 5 percent higher rate of suicides attempt within a year
Unsurprisingly, the same study also found that web-addicted individuals have a 65 percent higher rate of psychiatric morbidity, which means both physical and psychological decoration due to a mental condition.
How to Get Help for Internet Addiction
You’d be surprised at the number of ways you can treat internet addiction now, whether at home or in a professional environment. You don’t even have to fly to China to enter one of its rehabilitation boot camps!
If you know someone who exhibits many of the signs of internet addiction, don’t be shy in trying to redirect their attention to other hobbies or to help them seek professional treatment. As you just read, the consequences can even be fatal, in rare cases.
At-Home Options and Strategies
Software is available to help keep internet usage to a certain time constraint. Most of it is available for download online. It’s usually intended for parents and schools, but it will work for you if you’re trying to help a loved one with his or her web usage. Just do a search for “software to limit internet usage,” and you can read reviews and choose a product that works with your budget.
Also, if you’re a close friend or family member of someone who’s addicted to the web, it helps to model a healthy internet behavior to them. If you are on the web for several hours in a row too, or if you can’t finish a conversation with your loved one without checking your phone, it’s going to be hard to convince him or her to cut back. So, not only model appropriate web-usage behavior, but also try to encourage the person to frequently join you for social events, physical activities, etc.
Depending on the situation, a doctor or psychiatrist might prescribe certain medications to treat web addiction, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs. Prescription drugs such as Lexapro, Vivitrol (an extended-release injection), Wellbutrin, and a Celexa-Seroquel combination all are options for treating internet addiction.
Counseling and Therapy
The internet addict should go through his or her insurance in order to find and start seeing a licensed psychiatrist. The struggling individual could also join a therapy group. Some 12-step programs do accept internet and tech addicts, by the way. Of course, group sessions should take place in person, rather than in chat rooms or other online areas.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has proven to be very effective when treating this type of condition. Led by a therapist, CBT helps replace addictive behaviors with something more positive and healthy. CBT can change thinking and behavior patterns, as well as give the patient some tools that will be useful throughout life.
If the situation is that grim or if group therapy isn’t working, you may want to look into residential treatment. Some hospitals and drug rehab centers offer programs for internet addicts. It’s still a relatively new process, but there should be a residential rehab center that will offer a little getaway from the digital world as well as expert guidance toward a healthier lifestyle.
Please share this article with your friends and loved ones to help spread awareness of the dangers of internet addiction.
You know that we take care of you in every way that we can and with this post we want to highlight a major concern most of you planted at a desk daily deal with…….
“HOW DO I SIT ALL DAY AT WORK AND NOT GAIN WEIGHT?”
Well the answer is simple if you can find the time and discipline to exercise and eat right in your daily routine. Yes, I know that is VERY easy to say (type) and not so easy to do (de-butter). While you may not be able to find the time to do what you would like for yourself, you can avoid certain foods. That’s ideally the best place to start because you can’t exercise your way out of poor nutrition. Yes you know to avoid Cheetos (mmmmm) and soda, so we are going to take some time to tell you about a few foods you probably didn’t know to avoid.
Juice From Concentrate
There was a time when we were informed that orange juice was good for you and we all need a glass every morning. Nowadays things have changed quite a bit and we have gone past the information age and into the age of MISINFORMATION. Concentrated fruit juice has been filtered and extracted to make its form easier to store and ship while greatly extending the shelf life. During the filtration process chemicals and byproducts are added and subtracted to get the condensed version. This new “juice” has lost many of the vitamins and nutrients that made it the healthy choice it was before and worse yet been given additives to maintain the desired color and taste. What’s left is a glass of concentrated sugar water and food coloring that goes straight to your belly. Get natural juices, not from concentrate, which won’t spike your blood sugar to unnatural levels fooling your body in to thinking it needs to increase fat storage.
It has been touted for years that soy is nearly the perfect health food, again proving that MISINFORMATION is the norm. Over 90% of the soy beans from the United States are genetically modified and can cause a host of issues. Malnutrition, immune system breakdown, infertility, heart disease …… the list goes on and on. Everyone knows that genetically tampered foods are bad but even organically grown soy is full of anti-nutrients. The anti-nutrients in soymilk are soyatoxin, phytates, saponin, trypsin inhibitors, phytoestrogens and goitrogens. These all have adverse effects in the long term but there is also an immediate response your body has by releasing the “Hunger Hormone” Ghrelin. When you’re body needs nourishment it releases this hormone which affects the pleasure seeking region of the brain making you crave high calorie foods. Naturally Ghrelin levels fall when food hits your intestines and your body releases Leptin which in turn decreases your appetite and promotes calorie burning. The unfermented soy we consume increases Ghrelin levels making you feel the urge to eat even when you’re full while also diminishing your ability to burn calories.
Whole Wheat Breads
On your next trip to the grocery store look and notice that if wheat is added to any random item it’s highlighted and labeled as a healthy “Whole Wheat” MISINFORMATION product. Before you get those Whole Wheat Nutter Butters let’s think about how these could possibly be healthier. The gluten we get from modern wheat is completely different in structure due to decades of hybridization and selective breeding. The Glycemic Index (GI), which compares our blood sugar effects of carbohydrates, tells us that whole wheat will increase blood glucose more than pure sugar. So eating two slices of wheat bread isn’t so different than having a Snickers bar when you consider the sugar spikes. To add to that wheat is high in amylopectin A and gliadin which is converted to glucose faster than any other carbs and is also an appetite stimulant that can cause prolonged hunger feelings. When people quit eating whole wheat they typically eat 400 fewer calories a day because of the reduced exposure.
Fat Free Flavored Yogurt
Don’t fall for this major MISINFORMATION campaign. Fat free food isn’t health food because fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar makes you fat. Those convenient little yogurt packs contain 15 grams of sugar and it’s usually High Fructose Corn Syrup sweetener. So eating these puts food in your body that 95% of it you can’t do anything with except convert to fat and nearly all the rest is waste. Toss these out and replace them with plain Greek yogurt and add your own fresh fruits and/or honey. Even the flavored yogurts with fruit chunks in them are packed with preservatives and sweeteners to extend the shelf life that in turn extend your waistline. Don’t let the bad information steer you away from real organic full-fat plain yogurt which is packed with positive affects when consumed in its healthier form.
Let’s Get Started on not Getting Incorrectly Started
So we just scratched the surface on some of the foods you should avoid and there are likely many, many others you may not know of. Margarine, dried fruit, trail mix, reduced fat peanut butter, veggie omelets, granola bars, sushi rolls and “Organic” snack foods are all out there and these foods are just some more examples of food that we are given MISINFORMATION on routinely. If you spend some time researching online before you make diet changes you won’t have to ask yourself “Why am I still gaining weight after switching to eating the healthy stuff?”.
President and SEO Strategist
Chris has over a decade and a half of website development, SEO and organic link building experience. He manages the strategy for each client and drives the search engine rankings and traffic Eminent SEO is known for. When you hire Eminent you hire Chris, which means you have a veteran organic search expert on your team. Oh, and he’s funny too!