What's the first thought in your mind when you wake up? "Ugh. Work."? You might not realize how important a morning routine is to your success and motivation in the workplace, but how you start your day is crucial. Take charge of the A.M.! Put some pep in your step! Power up your productivity for the day with these four tips.
We're not going to tell you how much sleep you need, but a recent study conducted by The Center For Disease Control found that 1 out of 3 adults get less than seven hours of sleep per night (considered sleep deprivation). Catching enough shut eye won't just stop your yawning– sleep is crucial to memory retention and alertness, but the long term effects of late nights and early mornings are startling. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. To counteract weeks of sleep debt (it's a thing), go to sleep when you're tired and wake up without an alarm. It might take a few weeks, but your body and brain will find a sweet spot of sleeping, and your life will benefit.
Drink Lemon Water
A little more on the holistic side of things, starting your morning by drinking the juice of half a lemon dissolved in a glass of room temperature water, has a lot of health benefits. It battles mouth bacteria (hello, morning meeting!), provides a boost of vitamin C and reduces phlegm (for those pollen-filled spring days), gives your brain and nerves a dose of potassium (for alertness), and even cleanses the liver (in case happy hour became a much later hour). Hey, at the very least it'll get you drinking an extra glass of water that day.
Have a Really Awesome Morning Routine
A long shower, 30 minutes with your current book, a commute listening to your favorite podcast– whatever it is, let it kick off your day. Starting your morning routine, well, routinely, is the best assurance of a solid day ahead, but sometimes that first step is the toughest. Play on your own psychology and beat the morning blues by letting yourself enjoy the second step of getting up in the morning. Figure out if you like setting aside time to relax at home before work, or if you prefer a quick start so you can catch your favorite radio show in the car. Maybe your ideal morning includes a latte from a local coffee shop, or ten minutes in bed checking Instagram (limit your time, social media junkie), who knows! We can't say it enough– whatever it is, treat yourself to some happiness first thing in the morning and your attitude, health, and work will majorly benefit.
Sunshine + Stretching
Exposing yourself to sunshine in the morning is one of the most deep-rooted rituals to clue your brain in that a new day has begun. It signals your body to shut down sleep-producing hormones and start producing hormones and substances that increase alertness. Combine that with a quick activation of your muscles, and you're set for the day. You could do a few yoga moves or stretch each part of your body individually. Either way, it's great to get your blood flowing and relieve any stiff muscles.
Growing up, you wrote research papers. Your teacher graded them, maybe went through them with a fine tooth comb, corrected for grammar mistakes and sent you on your way with a toolbox full of the ability to write formal papers. You might have even discussed proper format for writing a letter, or possible salutations (do you use Best Wishes or Sincerely?). You left school with the ability to write well, hopefully.
And then this new format showed up somewhere in there. Long gone is the lost art of letter-writing, reincarnated as the casual plunking of a keyboard– the email.
Constantly fighting between the ease of shortcuts ("lol, anyone?) and the desire to be 'the new letter,' the email has never been held up to the same standards as other forms of communication. Email habits often dictate different language and grammar depending on the recipient, but the brain easily mixes up the two. We're here to tell you that emails matter, and just because they're faster to write than letters doesn't mean mistakes are excusable. Professional emails are a reflection of the... well, professional behind them.
Check your grammar and spelling.
No, seriously. You expect autocorrect to find everything, but sometimes one typo and you've found yourself with a silly mistake. Or an embarrassing one.
Reestablish the reason for the email (especially if it's lengthy).
Start by mentioning that you're writing to inquire about Project A, and finish the email off by stating your interest and availability to collaborate on Project A. Say you're looking forward to hearing from them. The average businessperson reads/sends 121 emails per day, so give them a reason to remember why yours is important. Making them feel a sense of urgency means your email is more likely to float to the top of the 'respond' list.
Narrow down that subject line.
If you're applying for a job, getting your email or application seen is often the biggest hurdle. Think of your subject line as an article title. It need to be succinct, not only for comprehensive reasons but also because 53% of emails are opened on a mobile device, where the subject field shows only 25-30 characters.
The most important thing: mention the job title. After that, stating your name and experience is best. Including the word "Application" may help the hiring manager find your email later (chances are high they won't read it right when they receive it).
Two examples of good subjects:
Marketing Manager Application: John Smith, MBA
Application: Senior Designer with 9 Years Experience
Set up a signature.
If it's a business-business email, you probably have one, but most people don't think a personal email needs a signature. Wrong! A signature linking to your website or other creative platform (Dribbble, Behance, etc.) is a great way to put yet another facet of your personality and skill set in front of the recipient. It doesn't need to be complicated, but a simple name, title, link will do the trick.
You never thought you'd be schooled in the art of a fine email, but we're telling you - it'll make all the difference.
Even with hints of the dreaded “r” word being murmured about in economic back alleys and fretful financial meccas, competition is still fierce for the best and the brightest talent. So, in terms of attracting talent, are you a big fish, or are you just one of the school? We sat down with some of our talent to find out exactly what drives them to want to work with a company, or choose one over another in a job offer battle.
Not surprisingly, workers on average have three top priorities – location, salary, and work environment. In this particular round, salary took first place in importance, with 60% of our respondents indicating that it was their top priority. Work environment and location took second and third place, with 23% and 17% respectively.
Company and work type is also important. Workers might love the frenzy and excitement of a startup, or may prefer the established reputation of a long-standing company. This question ended being a very near tie – 57% of our talent indicated they would like to work for an established company, and 43% indicated a preference towards startup companies. The preference for In-House department work or Agency work was a bit more skewed. 63% of our designers indicated they would be most interested in the varied work and new challenges that may come with working for an Agency. 37% indicated they would like to work for an In-House department.
Is your website showing you to your best advantage? Virtually all of our talent interviewed indicated that they review a company’s website (or online reputation) before applying for a job or interviewing.
Finally, we come to perks – you may have an on-site dry cleaner, or gym, or “Fun Friday”, but if you’re not offering challenging work, work from home options, or flexible hours, you might risk losing talent to the competition. 40% of our respondents said that they looked for challenging work when facing a decision between two companies. An additional 40% indicated that having a work from home option would sway them towards a company, and our final 20% wanted the option of flexible hours.
In closing, every company on the market has their own unique combination of quirks, perks and reputation to attract the talent they need. Just as certain types of work will always appeal depending on the individual, so will certain brands and salaries. To remain competitive, keep your pulse on the market; just as someone wants their perfect job, you want your perfect candidate. It’s worth the wait to find them, but make sure your expectations are realistic, and your offer is genuinely competitive.