4 Tactics for Improving Punctuality

If you're chronically tardy, then you're probably a bit like the Artful Dodger, mastering ways to sneak past your boss as you roll in late to the office once again.  However, all that sneaking around can be stressful, and it's even more so once your boss, coworkers, spouse, or friends bring your poor punctuality to your attention.  To stop being late, check out our suggestions below:

1. Be Brutally Honest with Yourself.  We tend to underestimate the amount of time certain activities take.  Rather than focusing on the one time you were able to shower and get dressed in just 5 minutes, pay attention to how long things take on a regular basis.  To make this easier, you may want to track the minutes you spend each day doing various activities for an entire week.

2. Prioritize Punctuality.  If being on time is important to you, you'll find a way to do it.  After all, how often do you show up late to job interviews?  Rather than telling yourself that it won't be a big deal if you sneak in late to the office one more day, remind yourself why punctuality is your priority.

3. Set a Timer.  If you've previously determined that it takes you 20 minutes to get ready in the morning, set a timer for that length of time each time you get ready.  By being able to very quickly see how much time you have left on the timer, you won't waste precious minutes by sifting through multiple outfits, for example.

4. Avoid Overcommitment.  If you're frequently late because you're trying to cram as much as possible in your day, it's time to reevaluate your schedule.  Rather than trying to fill your day with as many tasks as possible, we suggest you look over your to-do list and cut out those things that aren't truly important or necessary.

The Right Way to Handle Employees' Mental Health Issues

October 10th is World Mental Health Day, a day created with the objective of raising awareness and support for mental health issues.  In light of that, we decided that this is the perfect time to discuss the best way to handle mental illness in the workplace.

Unfortunately, there's often a stigma associated with mental illness.  As a result, many employers fail to develop a comprehensive plan for addressing the issue.  However, because mental health problems are linked to reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher health care costs, it's important for employers to take this issue seriously.

To that end, here are some suggestions for dealing with mental health issues in the workplace:

  • Educate.  Teach employees about signs and symptoms of mental illness.  People tend to assume that mental illness is rare or unusual, when in fact, it's actually pretty common.  Approximately 1 in 5 Americans have a diagnosable mental illness.  The better educated employees are about mental illness, the more likely they'll be able to recognize—and respond appropriately—to mental health issues in the workplace.

  • Invest.  If possible, offer mental health benefits to employees.  Although this may initially sound cost-prohibitive, mental health and substance abuse issues may be more costly not to treat.  According to the Center for Prevention and Health, these issues cost employers between $79 and $105 billion each year.

  • Encourage.  Some corporate cultures foster “workplace warrior” attitudes where employees are expected to regularly put long hours in, be available around the clock, and are lauded for never taking vacation.  The stress and long hours associated with this type of corporate culture only exacerbates mental health problems.

    Rather than praising your employees for their long hours, promote work-life balance by: developing reasonable expectations for email responses; insisting employees take vacation; and encouraging employees not to put in long hours on a regular basis.

Zzzzz...5 Ways to Get a Good Night's Sleep

Sleep Deficit: The Performance Killer reports that sleep deprivation is associated with slower reaction times, impairment of short-term and long-term memory, inability to focus, and decline in cognitive speed.  As you can see, a lack of sleep can have a detrimental impact on your career performance, so we thought we'd offer you some pointers to help you sleep better:

  1. Set a Sleep Schedule.  Rather than going to bed whenever you feel like it, create a sleep schedule and stick to it, even on the weekends.  Consistency will help to reinforce your body's sleep-wake cycle, reports the Mayo Clinic.

  2. Adopt a Restful State of Mind.  Avoid engaging in activity you find stimulating just before bedtime.  Instead, you might try dimming the lights, reading a book, or taking a bath before turning in for the night.  The more restful your mind is before you lay down to sleep, the more likely you'll drift off quickly.

  3. Exercise but Not Before Bedtime.  Exercising within 4 hours of bedtime will make it more difficult for you to fall asleep.  However, working out earlier in the day —particularly if you do cardio—will improve the length and quality of your sleep, reports Prevention.

  4. Create the Right Environment.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal temperature to sleep in is between 60 and 67 degrees.  Once you've adjusted the temperature, take care of other factors likely to create sleep disturbances, like light and sound.  To block out light, pull your shades down or wear a sleep mask. If sound is an issue, consider ear plugs or a “white noise” machine.

  5. Distract Yourself.  If you suffer from insomnia, don't lay in bed for hours tossing and turning.  Instead, get out of bed and do something else, rather than continuing to try to fall asleep.  For instance, you could read a book or have a small snack.  After 15-20 minutes, return to bed and try to fall asleep again.  While this may sound counterintuitive, individuals who try it report great results.

Stuck in a Rut? Get Inspired with 3 Amazing Reinvention Stories

Have you been feeling meh about life lately?  Do you wish your life was different but don't feel too motivated to do anything about it?  If so, read on to get inspired.  We have 3 amazing stories of reinvention to get you out of your rut:

1. J.K. Rowling

Unless you've been living under a rock, we're sure you're familiar with the Harry Potter series.  However, did you also know the author, J.K. Rowling, experienced significant personal and professional struggles before publishing her first book?  Although Rowling conceived the idea for the Potter books in 1990, she got divorced, experienced depression, and went on welfare before finishing her first book in 1995.  Then, it was rejected by several publishers before being accepted.  Today, she is the world's richest author with a net worth just under $1 billion.

2. Jo Farkas

In her mid-60s, clinical psychologist Jo Farkas decided she wanted to pursue her passion for the arts so she auditioned for a lead role in the musical “Kudzu.”  She got the part and over the next 20 years, went on to have a very successful acting career.  You may have seen her in such films as “My Best Friend's Wedding” and “Meatballs 4.”  She's also appeared on the TV shows, “Weeds” and “Ellen,” proving that no matter how old you are, you're never too old to reinvent yourself!

3. John Corcoran

Unlike the other people we've profiled, John Corcoran isn't a celebrity, but his reinvention is no less inspiring.  Although he was a college graduate and had even been a teacher for years, he was ashamed that he could only read at an elementary school level.  Corcoran had resigned himself to this until the age of 48 when he overheard two women talking about how proud they were that their older brother was learning to read.  Not long afterward, Corcoran walked into a reading clinic.  Within two years, he was reading at a 12th grade level.  Since then, he's written poetry, authored books, and established a tutoring foundation to help others learn to read.

Feeling inspired to reinvent yourself now?  Check out our post, Reinvent Yourself at Any Age.

How to Handle Your Grief at Work

Everyone experiences grief at some point in their life, whether it's brought on by the death of a loved one, a divorce, or some other tragedy.  And while life does go on after something horrible occurs, it can be especially difficult if you have to deal with your feelings of sadness while continuing to hold down a job.  If you find yourself in this situation, we have some tips to help you handle your job while you're grieving:

  1. Don't Repress Your Feelings Away from Work.  For some people, it's a badge of honor not to shed tears.  However, when we repress our feelings, they express themselves in other ways, often negative.  Rather than trying to ignore or minimize your loss, we suggest that when you're away from work, you allow yourself to cry, to grieve, and if you like, to journal your feelings.  By allowing yourself to express your feelings during your personal time, you'll be less likely to find them sneaking up on you unexpectedly when you're at the office.

  2. Make To-Do Lists.  Grief can be all-encompassing, affecting our ability to concentrate.  Rather than relying on your memory to make sure you get everything done, write to-do lists.  These lists will make it far easier for you to accomplish what you intended to, rather than allowing yourself to be sidetracked.

  3. Be Gentle with Yourself.  There will be difficult days, but rather than berating yourself for not meeting a certain standard, treat yourself with great kindness.  After experiencing any type of loss, it's natural to cry suddenly, forget things, or to ruminate.  Instead of judging yourself harshly for not grieving in the way you feel it should be done, love and appreciate where you are in the moment.  This act of self-care will make your grief easier to bear than had you gotten angry or disappointed with yourself.