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If you sat down and listed out every single thing you did in one day – everything, from turning off your alarm in the morning, to checking your email at work, to picking up groceries on the way home – how long do you think that list would be?

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So many of your day-to-day actions are cyclical, being done every day, every week, every other week. At work in particular, you probably have somewhat of a Top 10 List of things you do every day. It might not seem like you're spending any unnecessary time going through the motions each day, but if there's a better way, why not embrace it?

We've got some tips, apps, and suggestions for you to make your workday more efficient. Because there's nothing worse than hitting 5pm and realizing you feel like you've completed nothing substantial.

Attack emails.

Don't read an email assuming you'll get to it later. You probably won't. Instead, take charge of your inbox with a tool like Boomerang, which a) allows you to archive messages and return them to your inbox to address at a later date, and b) will show a timer while you go through your inbox, helping you avoid the rabbit hole of email-checking. Can't seem to escape responding if you happen to see an email arrive? Utilize Boomerang's Email Pause, which keeps any new messages from popping up until you are ready to check emails.

Don't type if you don't have to.

Another great solution if you use Gmail for work is Canned Responses. If you find yourself typing out the same blurb for a project over and over, this will save you time! Not a standard Gmail item, you must go into Settings > Labs and turn on the option. Once set up, you can type in several commonly used paragraphs and create a little database for yourself. When the time comes that you need the text, it's a quick click and you've saved yourself typing it all out.

Outsource your spell checking.

Ever heard of Grammarly? It's better than spell check, because it even notices correctly spelled words used in the wrong context (i.e. "your" vs. "you're"). It proposes quick-click fixes to any mistakes you've made typing in an email, social media post, or other documents. Add an extension to your browser and Grammarly will be making you look like a pro in no time.

Have a solid file system.

For creatives, this is a must-do. How many times have you saved past project files intermittently in case the client wants to revert back to version 3? When you refer to a project later, do you ever remember which version is actually final? Set up a system for yourself to name in a way that will ease the stress of searching your hard drive later on, perhaps including the date so archiving is also done easily.

As for archiving? Might as well automate that as well. Time spent arranging, renaming, and organizing files is wasted time – keep it orderly from the start. If you have a Mac, use Time Machine, or try another cloud storage service. You'll never lose files again!

Try Slack.

The dreaded inbox is the everyday cloud darkly looming over productivity. If you're lucky enough to work somewhere that might be open to it, suggest shifting communication to a tool like Slack. It lets you organize team conversations, share archive, and sort files, all searchable and easy to access. Slack reports a reduction of up to 75% of emails, the average company reducing emails by 48.6%. And those painfully inefficient meetings? Kiss those goodbye, too – Slack is bringing company meetings down 25.1% on average.

Take the busywork out of work, and you might enjoy your job a bit more. Even giving one of these suggestions a try could save you some serious time in the long run!

Posted: 10/30/2017 10:56:54 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Scoring an interview when applying for jobs is like hitting the jackpot. It's your initial step in the door, a first impression, and you've already piqued their interest enough for them to want to meet you.

But here's the thing– just shy of 60% of interviewers have made a decision about your suitability within the first 15 minutes of meeting you, 25% deciding within the first 5 minutes. Knowing the time an in-person interview can consume, it's no surprise that many companies are moving the initial meeting to a phone interview. With 250 applications per job listing on average, hiring managers need to slim down their applicant pool, and a phone conversation can do just that in a matter of minutes.

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Those first 5 minutes can make or break your potential relationship with a company, so you'd better rock that phone interview! You should already know that it's important to prepare like you would for a traditional interview, but past that, we've got you covered with tips to win you Interview Number Two.

 

1) Resist the urge to prepare notes.

Anticipating questions and preparing answers is a great process to ready yourself for the interview, but having those answers in front of you during the call won't be helpful or go as smoothly as you hope. Some quick notes of projects you want to mention or questions you want to ask are fine to have, just avoid sounding like you're reading your response.

2) Tell your roommates to be quiet, and feed your pet.

Unexpected things happen! Just ask this BBC guest whose children interrupted his on-air interview. Don't be afraid to be over-prepared on this front - tell anyone you live with to be quiet during the interview time, and feel your dog beforehand. Nobody wants to hear a whining pup in the background of a business phone call.

3) Smile while you talk. 

Believe it or not, smiling while speaking will actually make quite a difference. Your voice tone goes up and you sound more enthusiastic and upbeat. It might feel a little phony at first but trust us, it'll pay off, and they won't even notice.

4) Use headphones.

Think about all those long phone calls with mom – is anyone comfortable holding a phone up to their ear for an extended period of time? If you were interviewing in person you'd have free reign to use your hands, so make this feel as normal as possible and try headphones with a microphone in them.

 

5) Listen carefully.

Since the candor of an in-person conversation is missing from a phone interview, it is more important than ever to listen intently, avoid interrupting, and don't let pauses sit for too long. Body language is obvious when you're sitting across from someone, but too much silence on the phone is uncomfortable.

6) Ask about next steps.

With a phone interview, it can be hard to know what to expect. Is this a pre-interview? Will you be expected to show up for an in-person interview or another phone interview? All companies do things differently, so there's a good chance you'll want to set a plan before hanging up. Ask if they are interviewing other candidates, if you should expect a next interview, or simply, when you should expect to next hear from them.

 

Good luck!

Posted: 10/2/2017 11:46:45 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments