Expediting Your Career Success with SMARTER Goals

SMARTER Goals To Make 2022 Your Best Year

Make 2022  the best year yet with SMARTER goals for you or your team.

SMARTER Goals

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HR professionals should have an important objective in mind: make 2022 the best year it can be.

It should be simple to do, right? Work teams can meet and brainstorm on various activities for  goal setting.

But unfortunately, the amount of effort needed to achieve a goal can be much more than you think. It can feel daunting and even overpowering.  Also. teams could instead end up identifying various random objectives. Or worse, with nothing concrete or doable.  Or. they may not even be aligned with the company’s vision for the business.

Frankly, to make it your best year possible, it’s not enough to just have a list of any old goals. You need the right objectives, the actions that will get you there, and, most of all, the consistency that forms these actionable steps into habits everyone can follow.

To do all these, you need SMARTER goals.

Why Are SMARTER Goals Important?

SMART, and its more comprehensive variant, SMARTER, are acronyms. You will learn more about what they stand for shortly.

Michael Hyatt, a  best-selling author, developed the concept. To what purpose?  As a means to make goals a reality by making them into actionable and measurable steps.  In other words, a repeatable process.  With consistency and practice, you can make these steps into habits.

To understand the importance of SMARTER, you only have to look the number of people who make, but fail to keep New Year’s resolutions.  People start off each year brimming with hope and a “can-do” attitude. Here’s the issue, though: by the time February comes around, more than half of them can no longer stick to their list of resolutions and a Franklin Covey survey found only 23% keep their resolutions.

Why?

There are myriad excuses, but they can be summarized into 1 significant reason:  They didn’t plan well when it comes to their goals.

In spite of their well-meaning objectives, they set themselves up for failure..

Creating SMARTER Goals

Using the   SMARTER definition and approach, here are seven goals that may apply to you. They will certainly play a part in making 2022 your great year.

We  also provided some SMARTER goals examples to make each point clearer:

Your Career Success through the S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Project

S.M.A.R.T.E.R is an acronym that stands for:

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Relevant

Time-Bound

Evaluation

Readjust

Your Career Success with Project S.M.A.R.T.E.R.

Here’s a detailed elaboration of this approach and the 7 steps involved:

SMARTER Goals for 2022

1. Specific

Your goal should be specific and crystal clear and identify exactly what you want to achieve.  You should be able to know what success looks like here. The more specific you can get, the better. A good tip here is to ask yourself the 5 W questions below:

What do I want to accomplish?

Why is this goal important?

Who is involved?

Where is it located?

Which resources or limits are involved?

2. Measurable

Useful goals you set for yourself or your team should be measurable and let you quantify the result. This is so you can track your progress and performance properly. Being able to see progress is a great motivator – it gets you excited knowing that you are on your way to success. Not only that, this helps your focus.  Also you want to ensure you are placing your energy behind goals that result in the best returns.  To help clarify a goal that is measurable, here is an example:

BAD:  I will clean up our candidate database.

GOOD:  I will review all the candidates in the file from A to F all next week and discard any that are over 6 months old.

3. Achievable

A successful goals should be one that is realistic and achievable. A goal with no action is wishful thinking.  But lying to yourself and aiming for a goal that is beyond your abilities will only result in failure to reach that goal.  That being said – this is not an excuse for you to be complacent here. You should set goals that will stretch your abilities but also remain possible for you to achieve.

Also, you should consider factors that will affect the achievability of the goal, like financial and time constraints.  A  goal example would be:

BAD:  I want to be more consistent with recruiting.

GOOD:  Spend two hours every morning calling candidates who applied to our Indeed ad.

4. Relevant and Realistic

Your goal should be relevant. It should matter to you, and in line with your priorities and beliefs.  And also be aligned with other company goals and vision. This step keeps you from focusing on the wrong things.  Many  HR professionals fail to achieve their goals because the goals are not consistent with reality.  Most HR personnel don’t have a problem setting big goals.  Experts recommend making your goals realistic, putting them in writing, and keeping track of your progress.

5. Time-Bound

Every goal you set should have a specific deadline – this gives you something to work towards. However, aiming to hit a goal in 5 to 7 years is not considered a proper deadline. Sure, it contains a time element – but it’s not specific enough.

Your plan to reach a goal in 5 years will be quite different from your plan to reach a goal within 7 years.

Setting a more specific date for your goals allows you to develop a clearer plan to achieve it. This also prevents you from letting other everyday matters take priority over your goals.  If you don’t set a deadline for your goals you won’t be able to measure milestones or how close you are to achieving your goal.  Look at these examples:

BAD:  I am going to rewrite our company Employee Handbook.

GOOD:  I will write an updated draft, edit and finalize our Employee Handbook by June 30th.

6. Evaluate

The only way to be better is to learn from past experiences, mistakes, and successes..  Over time, things happen and goals change. Look over your goals from time to time and evaluate them ; check if they need changing to fit your current situation. Constant evaluation of you goals is essential for you to reach your goals.  Be sure to congratulate yourself on the small wins. After all, you accomplished them and that should fuel your motivation.

7. Revise

Upon evaluation, if you find that your goals need readjusting, revise them accordingly.

The most important thing to do is to make revisions to your goals where you see opportunities for growth. This will also help you stay focused.

Even if you are confident with how things are going, there’s always room for improvement. Take this opportunity to analyze your performance or that of your team and make changes where needed!

Setting SMARTER team goals effectively

Finally

Stating your goals in the SMARTER way can make them easy to understand. What is measurable can be improved and compared, and the SMARTER methodology helps HR leaders align their critical decisions to the overall company goal.

How to Achieve Your Career Success – Skip at your Risk

Your career success goals highway
Expediting Your Career Success – a Necessary Blueprint

Consider your career success as a worklife journey.  To embark on a major journey, you should first have a real idea of your destination.

This way, you’ll be able to plan adequately for your journey – directions, mode of transport, estimated costs, time, etc.

Skip that, and you’d end up wandering aimlessly. Or find yourself lost somewhere in middle of Timbuktu. Sure, you’re on a journey alright…but where?

Similarly, when it comes to planning for your career success, you will need a “destination” and a “roadmap”. That would be a clear vision of what you want, and specific goals to help you on your way to achieve your idea of success.

Creating A Vision of Your Career Success

Vision of your career success

To be truly effective in your pursuit of career success, you should first be able to visualize your “destination” – a clear vision of where you want to be in the future. It’s what you desire, your passion, your purpose in doing something.

Creating a vision is important. That gives you direction, a compass to direct you in making the best decisions, and taking the right actions that will propel you towards success. It’s what gets you excited and motivated to push beyond your self-imposed boundaries. It’s what keeps you focused and on top of the game.

At the start, take some time to envision how you see your career in your ideal future. Reflect on your passions, core principles and values you live by, and your purpose in working.

Remember to define your vision – make sure your vision is specific and clear. That becomes your starting point – the very foundation you will be building on. It is the ideal you will be striving for, to get close to.

It should be something that is in line with your values and principles, as well as your view of the future. Simply coming up with a vague vision of wanting to be “promoted” or “get ahead in your career” is not enough; it should be something more solid, tangible, and specific.

Examples of Your Career Success and tie to Mentorship

An example here would be:

Get financially free by age 30.

To work only 30 hours a week.

Become a healthier individual – both mentally and physically.

You can also think of the people in your company or in your industry that you admire and look up to – the kind of characteristics or habits you wish to emulate yourself. In fact, you can even ask them to be your mentor, to help you think things through on certain areas and advise you on what has worked for them.

Again, don’t restrain yourself too much when creating your own vision. Your vision is personal and unique – there is no right or wrong. It’s something that only you can decide for yourself, and this also is dependent on what you want to achieve in your career.

Remember, the point of creating a vision is to know your reason for doing something, and to help you be more focused and motivated.

Setting Your Goals for Your Career Success

Setting your career success

But simply envisioning the future is not enough – that just reduces your vision to little more than a pleasant wish or dream.

Visions will remain unattainable when not coupled with goals. And this is where goals come in.

Goals are more specific and quantifiable targets – it’s the “roadmap” to your journey of career success. They act as benchmarks or milestones, aiding you in laying the path for the proper achievement of your vision. This also includes the tactics as well as strategies you use to work towards your vision.

To explain it simply, goals are a tool to help you take conscious steps each day to help you realize your vision of your career success.

Again, we have to emphasize here that a solid, clear vision first is important. The goals you set and work towards achieving should be in line with your vision. This keeps you focused on the big picture as to why you should complete your goals.

And a good approach to use when it comes to setting your work goals is the S.M.A.R.T.E.R approach to goal setting.  We will review the S.M.A.R.T.E.R. approach to goal setting in the next article.

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4 Ways to Prioritize Time Management at Work

Time management is the ability to use your time productively, effectively, and efficiently to achieve the desired outcome. When you learn how to prioritize time management you become the key to achieve the best results out of your daily responsibilities. Time never changes. Everyone has 24 hours in a day; no one has more than that and no one has less than that. Why is it that so many people struggle to manage their time and achieve so little?  Conversely others manage to achieve so much in one single day. Those who achieve the most out of their days attain that because they simply learned how to prioritize time management! It is therefore important to learn ‘whyit’s essential to prioritize time management and most importantly how you prioritize time management.

Benefits of Time Management

Accomplish greater results at work in a short period with the help of good time management. You have more free time available to take on more opportunities to do other activities you may want to do for career growth or other activities. Prioritize time management to enhance focus, lower your stress, and deliver work on time.  When you prioritize time management you provide a better quality of work, capably handle more responsibility, procrastinate less and enjoy work life better.

.Prioritize time management and bolster productivity

How to Prioritize Time Management:
1.Identify your Time-Wasters

Time wasters are people, habits, or activities that distract you from achieving your desired goals within a specific time. These time-wasters could be too much socializing, poor planning, perfectionism, lack of skills, trying to do everything yourself.  They also include poor delegation, not valuing your own time, being indecisive, saying yes to everyone’s needs, interruptions and distractions.

Once supervisors identify time-wasters they must simply train workers to delete or at least defer them.  That is, workers should complete lower priorities only after they accomplish the most important and urgent tasks first. Habits are other time-wasters which result from personality flaws.  Hence. you must learn how to overcome bad habits.  That will help you to know how to prioritize time much better.

2. Follow Pareto’s Principle: the 80/20 Rule

Pareto’s 80-20 rule is an aphorism that asserts that 80% of outcomes (or outputs) result from 20% of all causes (or inputs) for any given event. So this means you can identify and put your efforts (20% actions) where they will make the most difference (give you 80% results). This is certainly a very effective method to save time.  And you must invest your efforts only in things that foster greater results than the amount of time you spent  accomplishing that work.

3. Avoid Procrastination

Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of the less pleasurable ones. It also entails carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones. This results in putting off impending tasks to a later   Not wise!

Ways to Overcome Procrastination:

Depending on the nature of what needs to be done, to overcome procrastination, these are options to consider:

  • either delete the task if it’s not that important
  • delegate
  • set a reward for yourself for motivating you to complete the task
  • remove distractions
  • set a deadline to get it done and practice discipline in completing it
  • break it down into smaller manageable tasks to avoid being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task.
4. Create your Productivity Time Log

Prioritizing time management is almost impossible without having effective ways to plan well and be organized. A productivity time log is simply a record for the day-to-day work activities you have to do until the time you’re finished work for the day. It’s actually best to have a professional journal and a personal journal. Use these two daily to achieve the best results. Include the date, time, and day before writing what the time log consists of. Always prioritize at least the first three most important tasks each day. When you don’t prioritize important tasks, they become unnecessarily urgent tasks.  They will end up stressing you as you try to rush to complete them.

To maximize the power of your productivity log, always plan it the night before. This way you also help your subconscious mind to prepare you to get it done soon the following day. Next, never forget to prioritize your tasks. After completing each task, cross it off. This is very motivating as it helps you to see your progress and have the energy to complete the rest. Carryover unfinished tasks and complete them before tackling new ones for a new day.

Tips for Making a to-do List:
  1.  Capture everything you need to do.
  2.  Prioritize the most important and urgent tasks first.
  3.  Determine how long each task or activity takes.
  4.  Cross-off the action when done.
Conclusion

“Time management is a misnomer – the challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves. The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.” Stephen Covey

Find Positive Role Models to Enhance Your Career – 4 Benefits

How to Find Positive Role Models to Improve Your Work

When you find positive role models they can make a big difference in your outlook toward your job.  When they give you good advice it doesn’t matter who they are.  Neither does it matter whether it’s one person or several. The important thing is they motivate and inspire you to do better and work harder.

The value when you find positive role models for a better you is much more than having someone to look up to. It helps you accomplish a more rewarding, fulfilling career.

Find positive role models for your career

In this article, we’ll talk about the benefits of having role models. We’ll also tell you what makes a good role model and how they can help you build a successful career.

Find Positive Role Models – Why it’s Important

The novelist, Oliver Goldsmith, once said, “People seldom improve when they have no other role model but themselves to copy.” He was right-on.

You know you have a good role model when they have a strong set of core values. They’re also willing to accept their mistakes and learn from them.

To find positive role models influences our decisions for the better. When we’re going through a difficult period  we look to them for reassurance and encouragement. By copying how they overcome obstacles, we can overcome them as well.

Their advice and backing motivate us to work through challenges. Then, little-by-little we can unlock our genuine potential. We observe we’re achieving results we didn’t think we had in us.

Following are some rationale why it’s valuable to find positive role models:

Learn What Not To Do

No one is ever 100% correct or successful at everything they do. Not even the most fortunate or richest people.

The difference between them and others is they know how to get back up after a fall. They understand that mistakes are just a bump on the road to success.

Positive role models look at their mistakes as learning experiences. They make their mistakes work to their advantage. They become more aware of what to do next time and what not to do.

When you look at what others have done (or not done), it can be a huge motivator. It also gives you a sense of assurance that you’re not alone. Others have been through similar situations. They’ve come out the other side in one piece, and a whole lot wiser.

Become a More Responsible Employee

Each one of us is here for a reason. Comparing yourself to others is a waste of time.

Why not focus on the things you’re good at? These strengths are unique to you. Then, if you come across something you’re not good at, you can do one of two things. You can either learn how to do it or just stop dwelling on it. Either way, it’s more important to put your energy into the things that matter more to you as an individual.

That being said, you have to focus on bringing out the best version of yourself. Make a list of your set of core values. Another good idea is to write down both your short-term and long-term goals. Then, when you achieve one, be proud of your accomplishments.

At the end of the day, you don’t need to prove anything to anyone except you. Show confidence in yourself. Even if you don’t feel it in the beginning. You know, fake it until you make it.

Only then will you be able to let your inner light shine. I believe that’s one of the biggest lessons you can learn from a positive role model.

Practice Perseverance

Even past failures don’t guarantee future successes all of the time. Some days will be positive where everything goes your way. Other days, you’ll feel the anxiety and pressure that work brings.

Finding a positive role model can help you stay grounded during difficult periods. They can help you keep your eyes on the prize and strive to work harder to achieve your goals.

When it comes to your pursuits, it’s better to be tenacious and resolute. A good role model teaches you the importance of never giving up. They also show you the best ways to deal with any future setbacks you can come across in the future.

How do role models achieve that?  They have a sense of purpose and know where they want to go.

A great example of this is Thomas Edison.  People recognize him  for his multiple inventions but also for his multiple failed attempts.

Even though his innovations have altered the way people live, he wasn’t always the important success we now recognize. In fact, his teachers said he wouldn’t amount to much. Then, as an adult, he was even fired several times. The reasons? His bosses said he was a “non-productive” employee.

Not only that, but it took him 1,000 attempts to invent the light bulb. He was even asked how he felt about failing all those times. Edison responded confidently, “I didn’t fail…The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” That’s the power of perseverance and determination!

Cultivate their Inspiration

Professionals suggest you imitate your role model’s positivity, tenacity, and confidence.

The important thing to remember is that a role model is someone to admire and look up to. You should aspire to have a similar outlook to achieve success in your own life.

The next step is to brainstorm their mindset.  Structure your ideas into your future vision. After all, every invention ever made began as someone’s vision of a better future.

Let your imagination be innovative. Use your role models’ accomplishments and setbacks to identify new and better ways to solve a challenge.

Conclusion

When you find positive role models it’s like discovering a hidden treasure. These are people who you may or may not know personally. Still, you sense they have substance. And they deserve your attraction. You look up to them and feel inspired by their skill, confidence, and integrity.

Extract from their experiences.  That can help you manage your own highs and lows. You can channel their self-assurance and determination when you need a morale boost. Then, take everything you’ve learned from them and blaze your own trail in this world.

 

What Is the Pomodoro Technique for Enhanced Productivity?

If you’ve recently tried the short-burst productivity technique, you’ve likely come across something called the Pomodoro Technique. But if you’re unfamiliar with the technique, it can be difficult to use it without first gathering more information.

What Is the Pomodoro Technique?

First off, what is the Pomodoro Technique for enhanced productivity? Well, it is a type of short-burst productivity method which many experts swear has changed their lives. Those who use it tend to experience increased time management skills and productivity—all while having more free time to engage in the activities they choose than they did before.

Technique to boost productivity

How To
  • The Pomodoro Technique first selects the task you wish to focus on, then you seta timer for twenty-five minutes.
  • Work while the timer is ticking, then when it goes off, take a quick two- or three-minute break before setting the timer for another twenty-five minutes.
  • Repeat this three times until you’ve worked for 100 minutes, then take a longer break and start at the beginning if the task is not yet complete.
  • Make sure you don’t give in to any distractions during the twenty-five-minute periods.
Where Did It Come From?

Francesco Cirillo invented this technique in Italy in the late 1980s. He was having difficulty completing his tasks and decided to set a timer for 10 minutes and then take a break.

He was so surprised by how much he could accomplish.   So he kept on using the technique. In his original trials, the timer he used was a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato, hence the name ‘Pomodoro Technique.’

Why Does it Work?

The Pomodoro Technique is successful for several reasons. Mostly, it works because it keeps the human mind functioning within its range of focus. Humans weren’t meant to focus on a task for hours on end without breaks, so the technique helps the mind work more efficiently in the state it was meant to work in. The average adult attention span is only about twenty or thirty minutes, which is why Cirillo chose twenty-five minutes for his technique.

Not only that, but the technique also functions, in the same way, breaking a big goal into smaller goals does. It makes the work more attainable and keeps you motivated through the entire process as you conquer each achievement.

Summary

Overall, the Pomodoro Technique is a very specific short-bust productivity method.  You will remain on task effectively with its proven results.   Working, you will learn to split your work into shorter twenty-five-minute bursts.  That can help boost your performance with this simple method.

Ask a Flexpert..What Are 3 Drawbacks Working in Short Bursts

So, what are drawbacks to working in short bursts? Are there any?  Conquering your work by dividing it and completing it in short bursts has long been the favored work method of experts and workers across the country. But, like anything in this environment, there are downsides, but not  as bad as you may think.

3 drawbacks of working in short bursts are:

Working in short bursts is more productive

1.It Doesn’t Work for Every Project

There are some projects or assignments which we can’t break into smaller parts. For example, if you have to transcribe a live lecture, taking a break every twenty-five minutes isn’t feasible, and if you tried, your notes would be inconsistent and incomplete.

Team projects can also be difficult to apply the short burst work method to, because sometimes it can take twenty-five minutes for everyone in the group to reign in their attention and bring the project where it needs to be. Having a timer interrupt this process could be detrimental and slow down the production process.

2. It Doesn’t Work for Everyone

Some people find that having a timer count down as they work makes them too anxious and edgy, and as a result, their work quality will suffer. And experiencing anxiety while you work is never a pleasant experience. If this is you, don’t force the method.

You can still work for short periods and take breaks without the rigid time clock imposed by using a timer. Part of the short burst method of working is to find a work method that helps you get stuff done. If this isn’t that method, that’s okay too.

3. Sometimes You Work Too Fast

The working in short bursts productivity method is praised for its results in the speed with which its users produce work. But sometimes, as someone is working quickly and up against a ticking clock, they may make careless mistakes that they would have caught if they were working at a slower pace.

If mistakes can be detrimental to your work, you can still try the short burst method of completing tasks; just make sure you go back and check your work more slowly later.

Drawing it  all Together

In general, the positives of working in short bursts far outweigh the drawbacks. And even if you find a situation or project the method can’t be employed on, this doesn’t mean you can’t successfully use the tactic to complete a different project later.

5 Tips to Help You Start Being More Productive

Being more productive and staying on task can be very difficult,.  This is especially so if you are in a situation where you work from home without a manager or coworkers looking over your shoulder. The road to productivity isn’t easy, but there are a few minor changes you can easily make to increase your productivity level. Become more productive

1. Make Daily Goals

When you wake up in the morning, write down everything you need to accomplish in the day. This will help bring it all to the front of your mind and make a visual representation of your tasks. You can also cross off tasks as you increase your motivation and sense of accomplishment, which will help you further stay on task.

2. Find The Time You Work Best

Not everyone is up and ready to go at the crack of dawn. If you are lucky enough to choose your work hours, try experimenting with a few different times. You may find you work better in the afternoon, or maybe after you’ve eaten dinner. Either way, find the time that works for you and aim to work during that period.

3.  Try Different Tactics

No one method of working more productive is successful for everyone. Try employing different tactics, like working in short bursts for twenty-five minutes then taking a break. Or maybe having music on in the background may help keep you on task. You never know what may increase your productivity until you try something new.

4. Perfect Your Workspace

Remove distractions from your workspace. If that’s your TV, then perhaps consider working in the kitchen. If your phone is a distraction, leave it in another room. Whatever you have to do, try to make your workspace somewhere where your body knows it is time to work and you aren’t constantly pulled away from your work by distractions.

5. Don’t Linger On Decisions

If your job relies heavily on decision making, don’t linger on these decisions. The longer you think about these decisions, the more likely you are to over complicate the problem for yourself and draw out the process even more. Experts recommend allowing yourself no more than sixty seconds to make a decision, as your first impulse is usually the right choice anyways.

In Sumary

Overall, remaining productive throughout the workday can be difficult, but if you employ these five tactics, you may find yourself able to accomplish more than you originally thought.

How to Stand Out At Work Without Standing Out

Successful careers start with standing out from the crowd.

But, many workers will contribute only what their job requirements call for and not perform much more. A select few will work really hard at their job and do extremely well.  However, there is a small subset of workers who really put themselves out and chip in in any way possible. To advance with your employer, you must be a member of that group.

So, what are some ways you can stand out at work?

How to stand out at work

If you perform your work duties well, you will be recognized as a worker good at his job. However, when it comes time to promote, the management team looks for leaders. Leaders are those workers who are totally involved with the success of the company. They pay attention to their job and responsibility but also are dedicated to the entire business, its goals and vision.

What other activities must an employee take on in addition to his job to stand out?

Many people do not realize that while they were hired to do a job, Management believes it’s also their responsibility to do whatever it takes for the company to flourish. You need to continuously find ways to save or earn the company money, to be get ahead and to demonstrate your value to the firm.

Here are the top 10 ways you can stand out at work and advance your career:

1.Create Your Own Side-projects

Excelling at an assigned project is expected.  Excelling at a side-project helps you stand out.  Create a project and work on it on your own time at home. Your side project will make you ‘that guy.’

It is especially true if you create something for customers.  Test out your ideas for a special product or deliver a unique service with a particular client in mind.  Management will appreciate you even more especially if it locks-in a customer to your company or if the new product or service idea can then be sold to other customers

2. Do Things Without Being Asked

If you see that something needs to be done and nobody is doing it, DO IT. It’s always surprising how few employees do this.

It’s really quite simple: people who step in and help out stand out.

3. Do MORE Than What Your Job Requires

Go beyond offering “standard help.” I’m always impressed in a supermarket if I ask a stocking clerk where an item is located and s/he takes me directly to it rather that saying, “It’s on aisle 8.”  So, at work, don’t give a standard reply on how to do it.  Do it for them!

No matter your job, going above and beyond your standard job duties will help you grow your career.

4. Take the Lead When You Can

Someone must be the leader. Why shouldn’t it be you? If it’s not you, still contribute at a high level. Provide ideas and suggestions. Challenge things that do not make sense. If you do this respectfully, you will stand out.

Once again, silence does not get you noticed; it gets you overlooked. Engage in your career and try to become the leader where possible, but don’t step on anyone’s toes while you’re trying to take over the lead.

Talk it up and do your job as if you already ARE a leader there. If you do not agree with something, ask questions.

5. Be Proactive

Learn all about the organization and how your role can bring maximize benefit to it.  Learn a skill that will help you stand out.  For example, you might become the person everybody goes to for assistance with developing an important presentation to Management or for help with operating a particular computer software.

Anticipate problems that might arise and think about ways to fix them before they even occur. Do not wait for things to happen and be a “reactive” employee.

Most workers know they could do more if they wanted to. So be that person and come up with a plan.  But plans are not enough.  Put the plan into action and mention what you’re doing to your boss.

6. Always Offer Ideas and Suggestions

Start with your own job and if you have an idea or two about how it can be done more efficiently, suggest it. Even if your manager balks at it, keep making suggestions wherever you can.

Eventually, one of your ideas will gain support and you’ll make a difference at work. Sometimes the smallest ideas can have the greatest impact.

7. Do Not Sit Quietly in Meetings

Every meeting has employees who talk and those who do not. Strengthen the discussion any way you can and contribute at a high level. When management is in meetings with you, they take notice of the contributors.  But don’t talk just for the sake of hearing your voice.  Then you will stand out as a blowhard that managers will want to muzzle.

Leaders are not silent in meetings. Advance in your career by being active in it.

8. Be Dependable and Reliable

Show up on time every day. Let appropriate people know well ahead of time if you must be late or absent.  Be on time, whether you’re arriving for work, returning from lunch, going to staff meetings, or completing tasks.

Be prepared. Come to work willing to pay attention, follow directions, and do the job.

Do what you say you’ll do.

Keep your work area organized. This habit shows your boss and co-workers that you’re in control of what you’re doing.

Review the quality of your own work.  It shouldn’t take your supervisor to point out your errors or faulty judgement.

9. Work Harder Than Anyone Else

Nothing is an alternative for hard work. Observe the people working around you: How many of them are working as hard as they could?

Very few.

The best way to stand out is to out-work all your co-workers.  It’s also the easiest way because you’ll be the only one trying.

10. Always Offer to Help Others

Become the “go-to” person—the person that can be counted on to help. If you are that person, it will go a long way!

What-if your company announced layoffs. An employee who is the “go-to” person and adds value to the organization will be considerably less likely to be laid off than an employee who just sits quietly and does their job.  A quiet employee that does their job well doesn’t stand out as an indispensable employee.

By offering to help others and having expertise, you’ll stand out as an impressive employee—one most companies wouldn’t want to lose.

Conclusion

When you are at work, always seek out ways to improve the company. Become an integral part of taking your company to the next level.

If you show your interest lies far beyond yourself, your specific job responsibilities, and your salary, you’ll stand out and you’ll be setting yourself up to become a future leader in the company.

4 Simple Ways to Take Charge of Your Work Habits

There’s an old quote that perfectly shows why you need to take charge of your habits – be they work habits or personal. “The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” by Warren Buffet. If you don’t take charge of your habits, even ones that seem harmless, they will easily control you.

While work habits are easily formed and followed through, especially once your brain recognizes them as habits, you can still change them. Always remember that you are in control, not your habits.  So, you can change bad patterns , even those you’ve had for a long time.

C

Habit expert and writer of the book ‘Atomic Habits’ James Clear has four rules for forming habits that can help you take charge of them. Whether the habits are good or bad, you can still use these rules to gain some measure of control. These rules, according to Atomic Habits, are:

1. Make it obvious

2. Make it attractive

3. Make it easy

4. Make it satisfying

Let’s go over them one-by-one.

1.Make it Obvious

To take charge of your habits, you need to make them obvious. For example, let’s say you want to start running. If your running shoes and gear are in the closet, then that habit isn’t apparent. Instead of sifting through your wardrobe for your shoes, your brain will just want to stay in bed.

So, you can put your running shoes by the door and make sure that they are the first thing you see in the morning. Then you’ll be reminded that you should run today. To break bad habits, you want to hide things away – make them less obvious.

2. Make it Attractive

With habits, most people focus on the long-term goals. You might say, “I will go for a run to get my beach body in ten weeks.” While that goal is noble, it does nothing when running in the cold and feeling miserable.

So, make your routines attractive and give yourself a reward or incentive to get it done. Maybe run with a friend or have your running trail pass by a place where you can have breakfast or see the city’s sunrise. For bad patterns , add extra steps or make continuing the tendency very unattractive.

3. Make it Easy

Remember, the brain always takes on the path of least resistance. If that path happens to lead to your habit, then more power to you. It might seem counter-intuitive, but instead of telling yourself. I will run a mile today; say that you will only run a block.

Having smaller micro-habits will make everything easier and will help you do them. Most people go too big, get discouraged, and then get burned out. But running a block, reading one page of a book, or doing one push-up is something that takes no time at all. Plus, if you achieve a  small one, why not do another and another?

For bad habits, add more resistance to them and make them harder to achieve.

4. Make it Satisfying

Reward yourself along the journey toward achieving your desired habits, and you’ll keep doing them. Maybe if you go running for thirty days, give yourself some type of reward. Have a good meal, watch a movie, do something you wouldn’t normally do, and also reflect on how running has made you a better person than you were 30 days ago.

For bad habits, remove the satisfaction from them, and you won’t see them as a reward.

You Are In Control of Your Work Habits

Remember that every habit comes from your own brain, and you are the one in control. If you want to make or break a habit, you are the only one who can do so. Follow these four steps, and you’ll find that it gets easier and easier to take charge and make your work habits work for you.

$1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan Summary

The $1.9 trillion relief bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, has passed Congress and will head to President Joe Biden for a signature. Highlights of the bill include extended unemployment benefits, direct checks to individuals and more.

While some of the bill was changed during its time in the Senate, it’s largely similar to the initial version passed by the House. However, some key provisions, such as a higher minimum wage, were scrapped amid efforts to pass the bill swiftly.

This article defines the most relevant terms included in the bill.

Small Business Assistance

The bill invests billions toward small business assistance. Here is the current funding breakdown:

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan program: $15 billion
  • New grant program for bars and restaurants, specifically: $28 billion
  • Paycheck Protection Program: $7.25 billion
Direct Payments

Just like the two other COVID-19 relief bills passed during the pandemic, this version also features direct payments to Americans. This time around, eligible recipients can expect $1,400 per person ($2,800 for couples), including adult dependentsa family of four could receive up to $5,600.

However, payment parameters are stricter this time around than with the previous direct payment. The full amount will go to individuals earning under $75,000 (or $150,000 for couples), with payments cut off entirely for individuals earning over $80,000 (or $160,000 for couples). Individuals earning an amount between those figures will receive a reduced sum.

Unemployment Aid

The bill extends two previously established pandemic unemployment assistance efforts: the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Unemployed gig workers, freelancers, contractors and others who previously qualified for aid will continue to be eligible under these programs. The financial assistance provided by these two programs is currently set to expire in mid-March, which pressured legislators to act quickly.

The bill also provides for enhanced unemployment assistance payments of $300 per week. Under the bill, these programs and their financial aid are extended through Sept. 6.

Housing Assistance

The bill sets aside billions in financial aid to homeowners and renters. Here is the funding breakdown:

  • Aid for emergency rental assistance: $22 billion
  • Aid for mortgages, utilities and property taxes: $10 billion
  • Aid to states and localities to help individuals at risk of becoming homeless: $5 billion
Emergency Paid Leave

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), signed into law on March 18, 2020, required certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. That requirement expired Dec. 31, 2020.

The American Rescue Plan maintains the status quo, in that it does not require employers to offer leave under the FFCRA framework. However, the bill does provide tax credits for employers that voluntarily provide leave under the FFCRA framework through the end of September 2021.

Aid to Schools and Child Care

A significant portion of the relief bill involves aid to states, including schools and child care facilities:

  • Aid for getting K-12 schools ready for in-person learning: $125 billion
    • Money may be used for purchasing protective equipment, improving ventilation systems and hiring support staff, among other things. However, 20% of the money schools receive must be used to address pandemic learning loss—for example, extending learning time into the summer.
    • Aid carved out specifically for private schools: $2.75 billion
  • Aid for colleges: $40 billion
    •  Institutions will be required to spend at least 50% of their allocated funds on emergency financial aid grants to students.
  • Child care provider assistance: $39 billion
    • Funds may be used for payroll, rent, protective equipment and other expenses.
Tax Credits

The relief bill provides an overhaul of the child tax credit for the 2021 tax year. The bill increases the amount of the credit to $3,000 for each child under the age of 18 and $3,600 for children under the age of 6. The credit will also become fully refundable, meaning low-income individuals would receive the benefit.

The bill also expands the earned income tax credit for individuals without children. The maximum credit will be nearly tripled, and eligibility will be expanded as well.

Health Insurance

The bill subsidizes private health insurance premiums for unemployed workers through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). The provision allows individuals eligible for COBRA insurance coverage to maintain their employer-sponsored coverage after losing employment without having to pay any portion of the premiums through the end of September 2021.

Additionally, the bill invests nearly $35 billion in premium subsidy increases for those who buy coverage on the ACA Marketplace. The bill increases the subsidies provided to currently eligible individuals, and removes the 400% federal poverty level cap (equal to approximately $51,000 for an individual) on subsidy eligibility.

Aid to States, Local Governments, Tribes and Territories

The bill provides billions in financial assistance to states, local governments, tribes and territories. Here is the current funding breakdown:

  • Aid to state and local governments: $325.5 billion
  • Aid to tribes and territories: $24.5 billion
  • Creation of the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, to carry out capital projects directly enabling work, education and health monitoring: $10 billion
What’s NOT in the Bill

A minimum wage hike to $15 per hour—one of the most discussed provisions from the initial bill—has been removed from the final version due to strict rules governing budget bills in the Senate. Some Democrats have suggested this provision may be considered as a standalone bill, but any movement on that front remains to be seen.

Additionally, the bill does not include an extension of the eviction moratorium, which is set to expire on March 31, or an expansion of mandated paid sick and family and medical leave. While neither were included in the original House bill, these were popular provisions contained within one of the previous bills.

Summary

While there are many complex provisions in this nearly $2 trillion relief bill, many legal and tax consultants are available to help employers make sense of everything. Please reach out with questions about how this new bill may affect your organization.  And if you need assistance with recruiting or flexible staffing support, please contact Flexicrew.

Come back again to this space to track Flexicrew’s Coronavirus efforts and information for your business and workforce.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.