General Advice

Collaborative Innovation: Leverage Your Creative Differences

Written By Andrew Slade

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could just get along? When it comes to creativity, maybe not. According to many experts, constructive conflict and creative tension influenced by a diversity of perspectives can lead to greater creativity and innovation. And this should come as no surprise. If you put together a group of like-minded individuals, it's unlikely that you’ll create something that’s genuinely new.

So why would I tell you something you probably already know? Image you’re throwing together a team for a new project. It’s only natural that you will want to build your team around go-getters like yourself. And chances are you’ll want them to work well with you and each other, so it’s likely you’ll seek to minimize and eliminate conflict whenever given the opportunity. But without even realizing it, you’ve already waved goodbye to your next big idea.

So how should you go about collaborative innovation? First, we recommend putting together a team with a diversity of perspectives. Often times the best teams are comprised of thinkers from varying ends of the creativity spectrum, from artists to engineers. Consider Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, for example.

Next, establish a common goal and embrace your conflicting ideas. One of the greatest barriers to innovation is the belief that conflict should be avoided. Instead, leverage your creative differences by integrating the contrasting ideologies into your project. Make your conflicts constructive and, finally, come to a hybrid conclusion!

How to Deal with a Micromanaging Boss

Written By Fritz Hillegas

Having a boss who is involved in your work and who gives feedback can be a really great thing. While it can really improve the quality of work that you do in the workplace, this constructive criticism and management can be taken to the extreme. I’m sure most of you have had a boss at one point or another who likes to be a little too involved in everything you work on. Here are a few tips how to deal with a micromanaging boss.


The most important aspect of working with a boss who likes to micromanage is the level of trust that you have with them. A lot of the time, this kind of attention to detail stems from personal perfectionism--it may have nothing to do with you; that being said, building up a relationship of trust with your boss can help to alleviate some of their worries. If they have faith in your quality of work and your work ethic, it can decrease the need they feel to check everything that you’re working on.

Don’t resist

Even though it can sometimes get bothersome when your boss is always looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re doing good work, matters will only get worse if you fight against their behavior. Resisting can make it seem as if you’re trying to hide something for them and it can even make it so that they try to control you even more.

Be Proactive

Ensure that you make a concerted effort to understand what your boss expects from you. If you ask targeted questions that makes it clear you know what you’re doing, but that leave room for your boss to make minor suggestions, it can really help to improve your working relationship. Also, if you complete tasks ahead of time and have an ambitious attitude it can improve your bosses overall impression of your work ethic.

While a micromanaging boss can be quite overbearing at times, if you follow this list of tips it will help you to both have a good relationship with them, and make your experience in the workplace more positive.


Laughing Your Way to a Promotion

Written By Andrew Slade

Pleasant humor is a key to success at work, but it’s likely that very few jokes are actually being cracked. It turns out that people are so afraid of bombing jokes and not being taken seriously that they rarely try to use humor in the workplace. And I’ll admit, knowing when to deliver jokes can sometimes be tricky and require a great deal of confidence. We all know the poor soul that once delivered a joke so poorly that they seemed to muster up more winces than they did polite smiles.

And there are other reasons why people decide not to embrace banter other than just a fear of not being funny. Many don’t want to risk accidentally offending someone or fear that their humor might contradict the culture of the company.

However, a survey issued by Robert Half International found that 91% of executives believe that a sense of humor is important for career advancement, while 84% feel that people with a good sense of humor generally do a better job. Another study by Bell Leadership Institute found that the two most desired traits among senior leaders were a strong work ethic and good sense of humor.

I guess the real joke here is that when people decide to tone down their well-placed humor with the intention of being taken more seriously, people actually take them less seriously.

So why is humor a key to success? To begin, people will enjoy working with you more. Wouldn’t you want to work with someone with a great sense of humor? It’s our natural stress reliever, providing us with a cognitive shift on how we view our current situation. It puts us at ease and helps us relax, clear our minds, and become more productive.

Moreover, humor has been shown to generate creativity and boost morale. It can make individuals more approachable for both coworkers and clients, which often times increases trust, elevates team support, and improves client loyalty. You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian, but embracing a tasteful sense of humor might be your ticket to your next career opportunity.

Recognize Your Value; Combating Talent Hoarding

Written By Andrew Slade

Do you feel stuck in your position at work? Hungry for more but not being given the opportunity? You might be one of the many victims of “talent hoarding”—when managers do not promote or transfer their top talent to keep from losing them.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported a survey from the Institute for Corporate Productivity showing that half of the 665 employers polled harbor talent-hoarding managers. And among the lower-performing employers in the survey, 74% have talent-hoarding managers.

The Institute’s lead researcher suggests that the issue persists because managers are rarely rewarded for moving individuals, but rather for the performance of their teams.

And the dangers of talent hoarding are real. It creates a shortage of skills; crippling growth, stunting business development, and causing key players to leave the company. Executives and Human Resource officers are calling it one of biggest management problems faced today.

So how can you combat a talent-hoarding manager? Honestly, there’s not a whole lot you can actually do to fight it internally. You can search through the company’s policies and potentially go to HR, and if that’s unsuccessful, you can try to be transparent with your boss. But at high performing companies, managers are actually rewarded for moving high potential talent through the company. So if that’s not the case where you currently work, and it’s been a reoccurring problem, it’s probably time for a change.

Here’s what we suggest: keeping your CV and LinkedIn profile up to date, keeping in touch with executive search firms, and keeping your eyes open for advertised opportunities.

4 Rules for Drinking with Your Co-Workers

Written By Andrew Slade

There’s no better season than the summer to slip out of work at 5 and head to the nearest happy hour with your coworkers. Outings like these, even with your boss, can build camaraderie and allow you to get to know your professional peers past all of the projects and assignments. Some studies suggest that drinking with coworkers – even a lot – can help you move up the professional ladder… although we think moderation is your best bet. So here’s four tips for mastering the after-work trip to the watering hole.

1. Make an appearance!

Don’t limit your social options at the workplace to just the office. Even if you would prefer not to drink, there’s nothing stopping you from sipping on a tonic and lime. The casual atmosphere is likely to foster better relationships, both personal and professional. Plus, you might miss out on a discussion that leads to a big project for those who were there!

2. “When in Rome” does not apply.

While it is suggested that drinking with coworkers can lead to many positives, this is no time to show off what you learned in college. If your coworkers are going drink for drink, play it cool and stick to your glass, because there is likely to be at least one sober person present; so for their sake, try to keep yourself in check. We want you to enjoy yourself, but suggest using the mantra “have one less” and not treat the outing as your chance to let loose, especially if your superiors are present.

3. Don’t discuss your problems.

No matter how loud your neighbors are at 2am or how badly your cubicle mate smells, happy hours are not meant to turn into complaining sessions. Save your problems – whether personal or professional –for another time and don’t earn yourself the wrong reputation. As cold as it might sound, you didn’t come to hear about others’ problems and others didn't slip away from work to hear about yours.

4. If you’re past your limit, abort!

Know your normal drinking limit ahead of time… and stay far away from it. But if you sense you’re feeling a little top-heavy, get up and leave. Like, right away. The beautiful thing about happy hours is that there will always be another one. And while it might be fun to close down the bar with your friends in Marketing, it’s not worth making a fool of yourself. If you need an excuse, just say you have to call your buddy or feed your dog. You’ll always have another chance to see your coworkers out of the office!


Social Media, It’s More Important Than You Think

Written By Andrew Slade

According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 84% of companies report using social media to recruit job candidates. While that number might seem high, it’s easy to see why. Imagine you need to find an experienced candidate within your budget but have neither the resources nor the experience of a professional recruiter. Why not utilize free social media platforms with access to hundreds of thousands of working professionals?

Not only can social media make the recruitment process easier for the employer, but it also allows them to see past a job seeker’s CV or resume. Don't think they’re only using LinkedIn. Last year, conducted a survey asking 2,000+ hiring managers and HR professionals why they incorporate social media into their hiring process. Here were a few major takeaways:

1) 65% said they check social media to see if a candidate presents himself or herself professionally.

2) About half used social media to gauge whether a job candidate would fit well into the company culture.

3) Over one third admitted to having turned down a job candidate due to content posted on his or her social media profiles.

Moral of the story: if you choose to share content publicly, make sure it’s working to your advantage. So what can you do to leverage recruiters’ social presence?

Make sure it’s clean. Basically, just use common sense. If employers are trying to get a good feel for your personality, make sure you’re providing them with positive material. Moreover, avoid posting controversial or potentially offensive material.

Increase your visibility. Be active on social media. Facebook might have once served as an idle distraction, but it’s now being utilized as a space for amazing potential. Don’t miss out on the opportunity!


Overcoming Self-Doubt, 3 Tips for Combating “Imposter Syndrome”

Overcoming Self-Doubt; 3 Tips for Combatting “Imposter Syndrome”.jpeg

Written By Andrew Slade

How should you feel at the height of your career? Confident, proud, and empowered? Believe it or not, 70-percent of people actually say that they feel like they are not qualified to be in their current roles and are afraid of eventually being exposed as professionally fraudulent. And this fear is not achievement-specific. Actresses Tina Fey and Renee Zellweger, and even Nobel laureate Maya Angelou, have all spoken out about their experiences with feelings of self-fraudulence. So if you’re one of these individuals, you’re in good company.

Imposter Syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. And Imposter Syndrome does not equate to low self-esteem or a lack of self-confidence. In fact, high achieving, highly successful people often suffer from Imposter Syndrome. So here are 3 things you can do to combat these feelings, should they emerge.

Keep Track of Your Achievements. It might seem all too self-absorbing, but keep a journal of your tangible achievements in the workplace. Note the work that was required to accomplish each achievement; even tally off your accomplishments if you have to. Show yourself that your achievements are not the product of luck or chance. As you do so, start listing some of your less tangible achievements as well. These can include personal achievements outside of the workplace, relationships with colleagues, things you did to accelerate a co-worker’s project or career, etc.

Be Kind to Yourself. Imposters often feel a huge pressure to “not fail” and not be “found out,” but you are human and there will be times where you do fail. So rather than harking on self-confidence to combat these feelings, try self-forgiveness. Self-forgiveness allows for mistakes to be made and lessons to be learned.

Use it to your advantage. It’s probably not a coincidence that many high achieving individuals suffer from Imposter Syndrome. Many researchers attribute Imposter Syndrome to perfectionism; and without this need for perfection, many successful individuals would not have reached such a height in their professional career. So when encountering feelings of anxiety driven by Imposter Syndrome, channel the anxiety to focus on the quality of your work and the things you can actually change, as opposed to focusing on yourself and things you cannot immediately affect.

Moral of the story, you’re not alone! And rather than letting self-doubt hold you back, switch your mentality, use it to your advantage, and propel yourself to even greater heights.

Why Leave Your Comfort Zone?

Written By Andrew Slade

Taking calculated risks is a part of life, but when it comes to our career, why are people so reluctant to take risks? Truth be told, there are all sorts of complicated financial and behavioral reasons as to why people shy away from the unknown for the known, even when a change might be beneficial in the long run. Be that as it may, not taking risks can actually be the riskiest career move of them all. Here are 4 steps to leaving your comfort zone for smarter career actions.

Identify your comfort zone. Knowing your comfort zone will help reveal areas in which you aren’t so comfortable -- areas you can potentially improve upon and explore. They can be anything from your working habits, relationships with colleagues, or even your willingness to explore a career change. Perhaps one of the greatest barriers people face is the perception that any career risk has to be all or nothing… but that’s not the case!

Know your potential. What are you most uncomfortable doing and how could overcoming these trepidations open new career opportunities? Break down your career problems into small actions and recognize your potential. Write these things down and let them serve as motivation for what you can accomplish.

Gradually leave your comfort zone. The best way to start is with small, day-to-day tasks. For example, take a different route to work, change an eating habit, or try a new workout. Get comfortable with change and start exposing yourself to the unexpected. Gradually swap these daily tasks for weekly work challenges that might normally make you uncomfortable. Eventually transition these weekly challenges into career goals, and open yourself to opportunities that will allow you to accomplish these goals.

Build your network. The connections we rely on in a stable, steady job are rarely the ones that open new doors. This is why it’s so important to build your network because more times than not it’s your professional network that presents you with new career opportunities. So build your network and start taking some smart risks. You’ll be a better and happier person for it!

Networking Tips for the Emerging Professional

Written By Andrew Slade

Regardless of where you are in your professional life, networking is an essential part of advancing your career. And while it can be tough forcing yourself to go meet new people after a long work week, just think back to your professional infancy and recall your parents telling you “it’s not about what you know, but who you know.” And I’d like to remind you that the “who” started from the bottom just like yourself before achieving some degree of success.

So why does networking deserve all of this attention? Besides the obvious, it’s the only professional setting with no hierarchy; where the driving force is generosity rather than greed. And every professional remembers the one individual who helped accelerate their career. So in order to best build your network, follow these 5 networking tips and you’ll be well on your way to your next career opportunity!

#1: Be intentional.

Like many things in life, networking is an investment paid for in time. As such, you should take full advantage of your limited opportunities. Last year the Harvard Business Review published a study concluding that professionals who approach networking with an opportunistic mindset almost always professionally outperform those who perceive networking as a necessary evil (1). So we suggest approaching networking opportunistically and strategically, and you can start by creating a means to measure your success. For instance, set networking goals ahead of time and be prepared to deliver your own value when the opportunity arises. And while the impact of making a new contacts might not be immediate, the compound effects of networking over time are significant and long lasting.

#2 But don’t pitch the whole room.

The last person you want to be is be the guy or girl hijacking every conversation, dealing out business cards like they’re playing cards. The purpose of networking is to create new professional relationships, and like any relationship, it’s a two-way street. It’s important that you listen to your professional peers, their stories and experiences, and let them know that they’re more than just another business avenue. And even though you’d like to meet everyone in the room, if you can’t remember a person’s name after meeting them, it’s unlikely that your professional network actually grew.

#3 Align common interests.

How can your interests and goals help forge a more meaningful relationship? What is it that you have to contribute? Even if you’re junior compared to the rest of the room, you can always find something valuable to offer by thinking beyond the obvious. It might not always be easy, but given that you have the most to gain, pitching an open mind and work ethic can sometimes be enough to open the right door.

#4 Find a higher motivation.

Included in the HBR’s networking study was a finding that suggested that those who accredited some sort of altruistic motivation behind their work were perceived as more authentic and acquired more business while networking (2). It’s important to keep in mind that you’re engaging in conversation with a person, not a title. So don’t be afraid to be personable and engage your philanthropic side!

#5 Remember to follow up.

If you’ve had a great conversion, ask how to best keep in touch. Get back to them within 24 hours and reference something you talked discussed to help put the face to the name. This is especially important if you find yourself networking over a few drinks; let your conversation partner(s) know you’re serious about potential opportunities. Do these things and you’ll be set up for success… may even make a few friends along the way.



(1, 2) Casciaro, Tiziana, Francesca Gino, and Maryam Kouchaki. "The Contaminating Effects of Building Instrumental Ties: How Networking Can Make Us Feel Dirty." Administrative Science Quarterly 59, no. 4 (January 13, 2015): 705-35. Accessed July 6, 2017. Gino Kouchaki ASQ 2014.pdf.

How to Tell if an Office is Right for You

Written By Fritz Hillegas

Often, the office is thought of as a dreaded place where stress levels are high, the level of satisfaction is low, and the hours slowly pass by; however, this doesn’t need to be the case! While title, company and compensation are all factors that seem to be the most important when searching for a new job, company culture can be just as central to not only your happiness, but also to your success. When on the market for a new job, there are a few things that one can look for to determine whether a workplace is right for you!


When looking through different jobs one of the best ways to get an initial impression about the company is to simply look it up online.

  1. Most companies have their own websites which can have a wealth of information about their policies, their mottos, and the different initiatives they’re working on.
  2. In addition to the company website, their social media accounts can give some helpful insight into the goals and focus of the company. The kind of articles, photos, and messages that a company posts can speak volumes—for example, if a company shares a lot about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, it can be a good sign that those are key to the company culture. Also, if the employees are featured from time to time it can show that the company really cares about the people who work there.
  3. Finally, a lot of the time there are blogs online from current and past employees of companies that talk about what the company culture is like.

During the interview

While doing research can be a good way to form an initial impression of a company, one of the most dreaded parts of the job-finding process, can be the most informative about whether or not a workplace is the right fit for you! During an interview, there are 3 important things that you should do.

  1. Take notice of the way people are interacting with you in the office. Are they friendly and open? Also, notice how the employees interact with each other. Do they seem happy? Do they interact with one another?
  2. Figure out who your boss is, and try to meet with them if it’s possible. A boss can have a greater impact on your overall happiness in the workplace than you think. Do you interact with them well? Do they seem genuinely interested in talking with you about this job opportunity?
  3. Ask questions about company culture! There is always a part of the interview where the interviewer asks if you have any questions. This is your time to get more information about the role! Ask about office mixers/activities, what the usual team dynamic is, etc.

During the process

One of the easiest ways to understand a company’s culture is to see how they are running the hiring process. Do they seem to be actively engaged in the search? Does it seem like hiring for this position is a priority? Do they seem excited/enthusiastic about the job?

Final Thoughts

We all know that looking for jobs can be hard, and sometimes there aren’t as many options as we would like; however, it is of the upmost importance to make sure that you are in a workplace where you feel welcome, inspired, and happy. Using these tips and tricks is an easy way to figure out if a workplace is right for you before you even step foot into the office for the first day of work.

The Importance of Your LinkedIn Network

Fritz LinkedIn Photo.jpeg

Written by Fritz Hillegas

When building your professional profile almost everyone thinks about their CV, their references, and their various interviews; however, one of the things that is most often overlooked is a tool that almost all employers and recruiters alike use; LinkedIn has the potential to be rich with information from education details to professional history to the size of one’s professional network. While there have been numerous articles and blogs written across the internet about how to build an impressive professional profile on LinkedIn, one thing that these articles often fail to highlight is the importance of the size of one’s professional network.

Don’t get me wrong, your ability to get a job will not be made or broken by the size of your LinkedIn network. That being said, there are so many benefits to having a larger number of connections that you could be missing out on. First of all, LinkedIn is a great place to network—you never know who could be a potential employer. Additionally, having a larger following increases the amount of traffic on your profile—and that is always a good thing.

While talking about a large network is one thing, achieving and maintaining a large network is totally another. However, fear not because here are some tips and tricks as to how to grow your network on LinkedIn.

1. Complete your profile

Now this might sound like an obvious tip, but you’d be surprised by how many people fail to complete this step. Include everything from your birthdate, to the entirety of your pertinent professional experience. Make sure to fill in the details about your responsibilities and achievements at each of your past jobs. Having a completed profile makes you look legitimate and professional, making people more likely to accept connection requests and connect with you in the first place.

2. Set goals

Set network goals for yourself. This will encourage you to spend time looking through connection suggestions. The ideal goal should be to have a network of at least 500 people because after 500 connections LinkedIn only shows 500+ on your profile. However, for those of you who are just starting out or who have small networks, usually goals of 50 or 100 connections at a time can be more effective and attainable.

3. Don’t be afraid to connect

Usually on social media there are strict rules to follow about following or friending people. On sites like Facebook or Instagram, if you follow people who you barely know you could cause some uncomfortable and quite awkward social scenarios; however, on LinkedIn the barrier to connecting is much lower. Past co-workers, friends from middle/high school, or people that you have ever done any kind of business with are all viable candidates for your professional network. There is much less of a stigma around following people you’re only vaguely acquainted with because on LinkedIn you’re both helping each other out by expanding your networks and influences.

4. Join group pages

LinkedIn has a wonderful section on its website titled Groups. Joining different groups that pertain to your experience, your industry, or your interests can connect you with people in similar fields/situations and will not only help you keep up with what’s going on in these areas of the professional world, but also will help you to make more connections.

5. Post interesting content frequently

Most people barely ever post on their LinkedIn pages, but this is a big mistake if you’re trying to grow your network. Even if you just post a few articles/videos you find interesting, it can increase interaction with your page and grow the number of connections you have.

If you follow these tips and tricks you should be able to grow your professional network in no time on LinkedIn. A larger network means a greater amount of access to jobs, advice, and other professional opportunities.


Por qué no responderle al headhunter

LinkedIn nos enseña valiosas lecciones, pero sólo si se es suficientemente atento.

Por Mariano Rebattini Capurro

Martes, 10:30 a.m. Comienza el día y, después de una intensa negociación, cerramos un contrato con un cliente: buscamos un nuevo director para una de sus áreas. Acto seguido, comenzamos un screening de potenciales candidatos, principalmente vía revisión de CVs para puestos anterior y vía LinkedIn. Esto último no es secreto: hasta Septiembre de este año, LinkedIn tenía 467 millones de perfiles* deseosos de hacerse conocer y de conectarse con otros colegas y potenciales trabajos.

Jueves, 3:45 p.m. Después de haber contactado a múltiples potenciales candidatos (vía LinkedIn), algunas pocas respuestas llegan. Mientras leo un par, me abstraigo y pienso ‘¿por qué mucha gente directamente no responderá los mensajes?’. No es una respuesta tan fácil como parece, pero tal vez nos lleve al próximo dato: de esos 467 millones de perfiles, sólo 106 millones son activos*. Esto significa que, para empezar, sólo un ¼ realmente está más o menos pendiente de lo pasa en LinkedIn.

Nuestro enfoque hace que LinkedIn sea nuestra mano derecha al momento de buscar candidatos. De las respuestas a nuestro mensaje inicial, descubrimos que muchos candidatos no tienen su perfil actualizado, siendo el primer gran obstáculo. Lección #1: mantener actualizado el perfil, nunca se sabe quién o cuándo entrará a ver nuestro perfil.

Si el potencial candidato tiene suficientes puntos en común con nuestras expectativas –y las de nuestros clientes–, lo contactamos vía mensaje interno en la red social. Atención para los desprevenidos: en las versiones de escritorio, en la esquina superior derecha de su pantalla verán algo así:


En este caso, tengo dos mensajes (que leeré en breves minutos). Lección #2: no ignorar el ícono de los mensajes. Nunca se sabe quién nos puede contactar ni cuáles serán sus razones.

Uno creería que lo anterior es completamente obvio, pero es mucho más común de lo que parece. Así que ayúdennos a los headhunters a ayudarlos y cuiden sus perfiles de LinkedIn, ya que son una muestra de quienes somos y a dónde queremos ir. Y quién sabe, tal vez los ayudemos a ir a un nuevo y fantástico puesto.

 (*) Según

Polish Your LinkedIn Profile

By Nancy Wu

Whether you are a seasoned professional looking for career advancement or a young graduate just entering the job market, LinkedIn is a useful tool and a helpful network for your professional needs. At its core, LinkedIn is just a database of professionals, but when paired with the setup of a social network, can be so much more. As with CVs, hiring managers and recruiters often take 30 seconds to scan your profile and make a decision about how to proceed in the process. Thus, it can be challenging to figure out what materials to include and what to highlight.

When building your profile, keep in mind that it is intended for business use. When other professionals look at your profile, they want to see someone who is competent and who they would want to work with. Just as a resume is necessary for a job interview, LinkedIn is the online presence for your professional needs. Your profile ensures that the work you do is recognized and helps other people get in touch with you.

You may still be skeptical about the practical uses of an online resume. Keep in mind that some employers find it strange when you don’t have one. In addition, according to Forbes, 98% of recruiters and 85% of hiring managers use LinkedIn to find candidates (1). Views to your LinkedIn page can lead to potential hires, connections, and career opportunities. Professionals use it to keep in touch as well as their networks inevitably grow larger with time.

The first thing to take care of is to make sure that all relevant parts of your profile are filled out. The Experience section is without argument the most important one, at least for most professionals. This is where you can highlight your accomplishments at your previous and current positions. Be sure to write a description of your responsibilities at each position, but keep it succinct-not more than 4 or 5 lines of text.

Build Your Profile

Make sure your profile is filled out, and include Experience, Education, Languages, and Skills. The more you have filled out, the better. Join groups, visit pages, and be as active as your time will allow you. Like most other networks and projects, the more you put in, the more you get back.

Grow Your Network

LinkedIn is primarily a service for connecting with your professional network, so the obvious next step is to connect with other users. It’s not strange to add someone you haven’t met to your network, especially if they are in the same area or industry as you, or if you have mutual connections.

Stay Active

To get the most out of LinkedIn, keep your profile current and continue adding connections. You never know if a recruiter will be interested in your profile. It’s not uncommon for recruiters to find candidates across different industries for positions they had not previously considered. The more active you are, the more engagement you’ll get.


How to Be More Productive at Work

Written by Nancy Wu

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

-Helen Keller

Curb procrastination

Our brains are wired for instant gratification, but work often requires that we sacrifice our current, immediate wants for a better outcome in the future. Our hesitation to move forward is usually rooted in fear and risk aversion. At work, the fear that the result of your product is less than perfect often feeds procrastination. To beat it, visualize the result you want and then act on it. Expect resistance, identify it, and keep moving forward. If the task seems daunting, break it down into smaller pieces so it doesn’t seem so lofty and unachievable.

Do the hardest thing first

Use the morning to do the hardest or most dreaded thing you have to complete that day. The morning sets the tone for the rest of the day, and tackling the hardest things first will make the rest of your day seem a lot easier. The feeling of accomplishment will give you a boost of energy and carry you through the rest of the day.

Be proactive, not reactive

Letting incoming phone calls and emails sidetrack our attention span is a common practice in workplaces, but it is also one of the best ways to kill productivity. Put your laptop and phone on Do Not Disturb mode if you need total concentration, and then set aside a time (in the afternoon) to respond. Communication is important, but it should not dictate what your day looks like.

Work in intervals

Top performers often work in 90 minute intervals with a 10 minute break. To do your best work and hit peak productivity, researchers recommend doing concentrated work for 90 minutes and then unplugging for 10 minutes. Use the break to be active, whether it is taking a lap around the office or going on a coffee run.

Establish routines

The most successful entrepreneurs follow a strict daily routine to maximize productivity. Once you get used to the pattern that your days take on, the essentials become background noise and you have more mental energy to focus on more important things. President Obama wears the same suit everyday in order to minimize the decisions he has to make daily, leaving his decision-making energy for more pressing things, like running a country.

Track your habits

Pay attention to productivity drainers at work, like checking your email more often than necessary or scrolling through Buzzfeed during breaks. Create accountability mechanisms for yourself by setting up a consequence for being distracted. Tell your coworkers about your goals, or set up a habit-tracking app on your phone.