From Harvard Business Review: Prevent Burnout by Making Compassion a Habit

prevent burnout

“’I am sick to death of the ridiculous situations I have to deal with at work. The pettiness, the politics, the stupidity — it’s out of control. This kind of thing stresses me out to the max.’

Stress is a happiness killer. And life is just too short to be unhappy at work. But we hear this kind of thing all the time from leaders in industries as varied as financial services, education, pharmaceuticals, and health care. In our coaching and consulting, we’re seeing a spike in the number of leaders who used to love their jobs but now say things like, “I’m not sure it’s worth it anymore.” They’re burned out — emotionally exhausted and cynical, as a result of chronic and acute work stress.

Why is stress on the rise? A lot of it has to do with uncertainty in the world and constant changes in our organizations. Many people are overworking, putting in more hours than ever before. The lines between work and home have blurred or disappeared. Add to that persistent (sometimes even toxic) conflicts with bosses and coworkers that put us on guard and make us irritable. Under these circumstances, our performance and well-being suffer. Work feels like a burden. Burnout is just around the corner. And happiness at work is not even a remote possibility.

Here’s the good news: Some people don’t get burned out. They continue to thrive despite the difficult conditions in their workplace.”

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Productivity: Why You Should Work in Clusters

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In the mid 1970s, two American researchers used people’s reactions to words to discover something that we can all apply to using our brains. Your brain is better when it works in clusters. See the research here.

Better Comprehension
The two researchers found that when they showed people words that had similar meanings people were able to actually read the words more quickly than if the words they were shown had no relation to each other.

The takeaway here is that we will be able to understand something and make connections on some topic if our brains are warmed up to thinking about that topic.

Our brains won’t be as capable if we use them to flip between topics every few seconds. Our brains like to think in patterns.

Better Judgement
The researchers also found that our brains can identify falsehoods better when we think in clusters. For example, if we hear a 5 sentences on the same topic, we’ll easily spot the sentence that is untrue but if we hear 5 sentences that all pertain to different topics, we’re less capable of identifying which sentence is false.

So, try to work in clusters. For example, if you need to create one piece of marketing collateral each week, next time try to create all four pieces of marketing collateral for the month on the same day. You’ll likely feel like it’s faster, easier, and more efficient.

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From HubSpot: Are Notifications Driving Us Crazy?

This shared post is part of our Summer Scale Up series. We’re helping you accomplish more, the smart way!

notifications

“As it turns out, there could be a downside to all of the benefits mobile technology provides. We might be able to work from anywhere on our smartphones or tablets, but such mobility and accessibility come at a cost — and too much technology could actually be making us less productive.

In this post, we’ll explore how notifications impact your brain and your mental and physical health, and what you can do with your devices to help minimize the negative impacts of the little red dot.”

notifications

How to Use Your Brain (According to Neuroscience)

This post is part of our Summer Scale Up series. We’re helping you accomplish more.

What do neuroscientists have to say about how we should use our brains? Let’s dive in!

The OG Power Processor
Currently, the top-of-the line Mac Pro (not a MacBook–Apple’s $4,000 desktop machine) tops out at around 7teraflops per second in processing power. The human brain is estimated to be able to process almost 350x faster–closer to 1 Petaflop per second. Our brains are great at evaluating information. See how the Harvard researcher came up with this estimate.

Storage Problems
Our brains aren’t so good at storing information–especially short-term storage. Researcher George Miller showed that when we have more than 7 items in our short-term memories, our ability to make good decisions drops significantly. See his findings and learn about Miller’s Law.

So what does this mean for you and how you use your brain? First, try to delegate memory and project-management like duties to software. Take pressure off yourself to remember everything you’re working on. Instead, spend your brain power processing information and using logic to find pathways forward. You’ll be much better at that than a machine will be.

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Bandwidth Allocation (Productivity) in Theory and Practice

This free video is part of our Summer Scale Up series. We’re helping you accomplish more with a month of helpful content on scaling yourself in July.

In this video, you’re going to learn about why maximum productivity is important.

This video is an excerpt from the Maximizing Your Personal Productivity section of our Advanced Management Training.

Advanced Management Training is an MBA in a box! You’ll learn hiring, mentorship, communication & persuasion, productivity hacks, negotiation & leadership skills, + more.

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From GOTO: Scott Hanselman on Scaling Yourself

This is a shared video from GOTO as a part of our series, Summer Scale Up. We’re helping you scale yourself and accomplish more. 

Scott Hanselman is the Principal Program Manager at Microsoft in Portland, Oregon.

Created for developers, by developers, GOTO Conferences are focused on bringing the best minds in the software community and the most interesting topics to light.

As information workers, we are asked to absorb even more information than ever before. More blogs, more documentation, more patterns, more layers of abstraction. Now Twitter and Facebook compete with Email and Texts for our attention, keeping us up-to-date on our friends dietary details and movie attendance second-by-second.

Does all this information take a toll on your psyche or sharpen the saw? Is it a matter of finding the right tools and filters to capture what you need, or do you just need to unplug. Is ZEB (zero email bounce) a myth or are there substantive techniques for prioritizing your life on the web?

Come see Scott’s famous “Scaling Yourself” talk, adapted to take only 15 minutes of your time!

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Productivity: MIT’s Research on Being More Productive

This weekly Brain Boost is part of our Summer Scale Up series.

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What do the best researchers in the world have to say about productivity? Funny you ask… we found out! Here’s what a team of 3 MIT economists learned will help you be productive:

Increase Your Betweenness Centrality
Betweenness Centrality is a fancy way of saying that you benefit from being in the middle of many discussions. For example, knowing a little bit about a lot of projects benefits you. It also benefits you to have one foot in many different social groups rather than knowing everyone from one social group. Learn more about betweenness centrality here.

Learn to Use People Databases
People who can use people databases like LinkedIn are much more productive. For example, learning how to use Boolean search techniques to navigate your LinkedIn network is a high-value skill that we teach in our Career Hacking course.

Learn to Signal
The MIT research also shows that learning to digitally signal other people about your work enables you to be much more productive. For example, sending automated emails, chat notifications, or social network updates about your work are digital signals. Three great automated signaling tools are: –
BufferApp
MailButler
Yet Another Mail Merge

Here’s a discounted link to Eazl’s Advanced Management Training Program: http://bit.ly/eazlss15yt

Here’s the original research from MIT’s team.

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How to Make a Good Hire on Upwork

This post is part of our series, Summer Scale Up. We’re helping you scale yourself and accomplish more.

working virtually upwork

Outsourcing parts of your business is something that has the potential to completely change your company or freelance practice. It can accelerate your growth and free up your own time for tasks that use your talents if it’s done right.

I’ve found Upwork to be a quality source for freelancers and it’s worth learning how to make a good hire there. A couple of our virtual assistants and project team members were found there and we now have a process for making sure we hire the best person for the job.

  1. Don’t write a crap job description
    The first step to making a good hire on Upwork is making sure your job description reflects exactly what you need well. You’ll attract better candidates that way.

What qualifies as a “crap” job description:

  • Copying and pasting another company’s job posting just because the title of the position is the same. There is NO WAY that you are looking exactly for what another company is looking for. Do the work and really put the time and effort into communicating what YOU need because bringing someone else on, virtual or not, is a big decision.
  • Not putting in the time and neglecting to include enough information. If you only provide a few sentences about what you need and don’t include enough context, you’re going to attract candidates who will submit the same kind of low quality work.
  • Only focusing on personality/work style or skills. You need both hard and soft skills to make this important partnership work.
  • Sounding like a jerk who is looking for a subservient person. Actually, scratch that. If you sound that way, you probably are that way and it’s better for everyone that you don’t take the good candidates’ time so they can work for someone else who is a better manager/human being. Good work relationships are about mutual respect. Get in the mindset that you are looking for a team member.

A good job description includes:

  • A list of the top skills required to perform the job, including any technical skills
  • The length of the engagement
  • Performance expectations
  • Information about your company and/or product
  • How and when you will make your decision
  • What the work dynamic will be (communication via email or phone, teamwork required, whether you prefer someone who can work during the work week*, how you like to work, when the work needs to be completed, weekly time budget, etc.)

*There are a lot of freelancers who have full time jobs during the week and make extra money on the weekends with Upwork. Keep in mind that these candidates won’t send deliverables until the weekend. In many situations, this could work. Just keep in mind that a full time freelancer is quite different than someone who hasn’t yet made the move to quit their day job. Personally, I prefer someone who can make progress WITH me during the normal work week and I don’t turn my email off on the weekends so I’d rather not see updates from a VA on Saturdays and Sundays.

  1. Use your interactions with the candidate as measurement
    Don’t stop at their portfolio or reviews. Take advantage of the messaging capabilities of the platform and get a little back and forth going before you make a decision to hire or hop on Skype for a short interview. You’ll be surprised on what you can pick up from a texted conversation if you just pay attention.

Ongoing messaging is a great way to assess:

  • Timeliness– If it takes a while for the candidate to get back and you are moving forward with other potential team members, they might not be the most reliable. You need someone who is reasonably responsive and candidates will be the most anxious to get back when they are looking for new work. Not a good sign if they lag in these early stages. I usually look for an Upwork freelancer to get back to me within 24 hours and that’s what I expect once I’ve hired them as well. 
  • Intelligence– Blatant misspellings, sentence structure, and grammar mistakes will help you initially weed out the less talented. It doesn’t matter if what you need them to do doesn’t involve writing. Smart people read and develop writing skills from reading so a person with poor writing skills might not be that interested in learning and that is not a good hire, especially in the virtual world when they will be working independently and will have to figure some things out on their own.
  • Personality– Do they anticipate what you need to make your hiring decision by including details? Do they seem equally concerned about finding a good fit? Are they humble? Does their level of formality fit what you are looking for? Or simply, did you enjoy interacting with them?
  1. Don’t settle for the first applicant
    You’re going to find a better fit for you if you use a pool of applicants, first weeding out the ones you can tell you don’t want to hire based on their initial message to you, their portfolio and/or resume, and their reviews.

Then, after messaging back and forth with the remaining candidates, pick two or three that you 1) feel are the most capable for the job, 2) enjoyed interacting with the most, and 3) were the most timely.

  1. Take advantage of Skype
    Especially if the job will involve some interaction via phone or Skype, schedule a quick Skype call with your top two or three picks. There is a lot you can tell about a candidate in even just ten minutes.

Tip: Even if you will only require correspondence via email or text for the actual, it could also be a good idea to get your candidates on a video call. Once you make that personal connection, your hire will feel like they actually know you and will feel more accountable.

Do you have any tips for hiring freelancers? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

What You Eat at Work Can Make You More Productive

What You Eat at Work Can Make You More Productive

Hi, I’m Ludell and I’m the Marketing Director of an educational publishing company called Eazl. Our channel has all kinds of interesting things, from weekly Brain Boosts (to keep you informed on all things business, marketing, and the labor market) and free mini courses to 20 min. travel shows and interviews with industry experts. On my vlog playlist, you’ll find videos about my day to day marketing experiences and I’ll show you what it’s like to be me -a marketer and entrepreneur. I’m also curious to learn about your own experiences.

RECIPES
Mango Buckwheat Porridge from Simply Quinoa:
Spicy BBQ Chickpea Burgers from Oh She Glows:
Moondeli Recipes

PRODUCTS:
Moondeli Bliss Booster

CONTENT
Brant Wickersham on Emotion and Vulnerability
Yoga with Adriene

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If you’re reading this, tell me how you eat healthy during the work week or what gives you energy to be productive!

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Working from Home is More Productive

Hi, I’m Ludell and I’m the Marketing Director of an educational publishing company called Eazl. Our channel has all kinds of interesting things, from weekly Brain Boosts (to keep you informed on all things business, marketing, and the labor market) and free mini courses to 20 min. travel shows and interviews with industry experts. On my vlog playlist, you’ll find videos about my day to day marketing experiences and I’ll show you what it’s like to be me -a marketer and entrepreneur. I’m also curious to learn about your own experiences.

FIND THE BOOK I MENTIONED
Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson

FEATURED MUSIC
Eastminster by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license
Source
Artist

If you’re reading this, tell me what some of your favorite marketing or entrepreneurship books, blogs, or courses.

Thanks for watching See you tomorrow!

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