11 Great Jobs for Introverts

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Myths about introverts abound. For example, not all introverts are quiet, avoid social interaction, or would classify themselves as “shy.”

In fact, many introverts are quite sociable and have excellent people skills. However, after an experience of socializing, an introvert will often need alone time to recharge. While an extrovert might feel energized by heading up a meeting or working in a group, an introvert might thrive in the moment, but need a lot more time alone to regenerate.

Professionally speaking, while introverts are equally as capable as extroverts of doing the same tasks (running meetings, giving presentations, etc.), they may be more fulfilled and feel much more at ease in a career that matches their strengths.

The best jobs for introverts will:

  • Involve more one-on-one interaction rather than with large groups
  • Offer quiet workspaces rather than large, open spaces with a lot of noise and energy
  • Involve independent work, rather than large collaboration sessions with a lot of people

Here are 11 jobs that are good fits for introverts:

1. Accountant

A lot of accounting is done solo, and involves creating financial reports, analyzing data, and developing quality policies policies. As an accountant moves into a managerial role, they can also start to oversee the work of junior accounts, which can provide more connection at work, but still in a one-on-one way.

2. Landscape Designer

A creative career, landscape designers create a horticultural plan for a particular space, then execute on the vision they agree upon with their client. They can incorporate things like ponds, bridges, walkways, and solar lighting to create a magical outdoor space. It involves a lot of time alone, but can also involve interacting with contractors to execute on a large scale.

3. Behavioral Therapist

This career involves supporting people through mental illnesses and disorders like depression, anxiety, ADHD, and addiction. Behavioral therapists do a lot of active listening, interacting with people one-on-one to help. It can be a very rewarding career, and a good fit for many introverts.

4. Editor

Both writing and editing can be great professions for introverts–especially those with a strong attention to detail. In addition to combing through copy for grammar and spelling errors, editors may also need to fact-check, a satisfying and often intellectually engaging task. Bonus: depending on the position, you can often do the bulk of your work from home (in your PJs if you want).

5. Graphic Designer

Quality graphic designers become highly skilled at software like Photoshop to create beautiful, custom visuals that really say something. It is a highly creative profession that takes advantage of an introvert’s skills without being overwhelmingly full of large-group meetings, etc. (Can also be done in PJs.)

6. Commercial pilot

Pilots spend plenty of time alone or in one-on-one situations. An important job that helps keep people safe, being a pilot also (obviously) comes with excellent travel perks. After completing your flight instructor certificate, you need 1500 hours to work for an airline in the U.S. If you’re diligent, you can get that done in a year, making your total time from zero to commercial pilot three years.

7. IT Manager

IT managers handle operation and security of an organization’s information systems. This often involves managing the technical budget; taking care of both software and hardware upgrades; and (depending on the size of the organization) directing junior members of the IT team. It can be both a challenging and rewarding profession.

8. Research Scientist

A research scientist may work for a for-profit company (like a pharmaceutical company), or the government; educational institution; or even an environmental organization. Researchers design and perform laboratory experiments and tests, gather and analyze data, and determine outcomes. It often involves a lot of strictly solo work, or in small teams.

9. Social Media Manager

While it may seem counterintuitive (a “social” position for an introvert), managing an organization’s social media accounts involves a lot of time alone. Outstanding social media managers are both creative and perceptive, with excellent writing skills and a sense of how to curate content to match the audience and brand.

10. HVAC mechanic

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and HVAC mechanics that know what they’re doing are always in demand. Given how ubiquitous HVAC systems are and how devastating it can be if they go down, HVAC mechanics have a lot of job security. They spend a lot of time solo fixing systems, for which clients are very grateful.

11. Software Engineer

While advancements like artificial intelligence will make huge changes in many industries including software engineering, currently software engineers are still very much in demand. They use computer programming languages like Java, Python, and Ruby to build networks, operating systems, databases, and/or mobile apps.

How To Spend The First Hour Of Your Work Day On High-Value Tasks

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Don’t begin the activities of your day until you know exactly what you plan to accomplish. Don’t start your day until you have it planned. — Jim RohnEvery morning, get one most important thing done immediately.There is nothing more satisfying than feeling like you’re already in the flow.And the easiest way to trigger this feeling is to work on your most important task in the first hour.Use your mornings for high-value workLean to avoid the busy work that adds no real value to your work, vision or long-term goal.

Low-value activities, including responding to notifications, or reacting to emails keep you busy and stop you from getting real work done. Make time for work that matters.

In his book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen says, “If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”

Research shows that it takes, on average, more than 23 minutes to fully recover your concentration after a trivial interruption.

Productive mornings start with early wake-up calls

“In a poll of 20 executives cited by Vanderkam, 90% said they wake up before 6 a.m. on weekdays.

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, for example, wakes at 4 a.m. and is in the office no later than 7 a.m.

Meanwhile, Disney CEO Bob Iger gets up at 4:30 to read, and Square CEO Jack Dorsey is up at 5:30 to jog.”

The first quiet hour of the morning can be the ideal time to focus on an important work project without being interrupted.

Don’t plan your day in the first hour of your morning

Cut the planning and start doing real work. You are most active on a Monday Morning.

Think about it. After a weekend of recovery, you have the most energy, focus and discipline to work on your priorities.

Don’t waste all that mental clarity and energy planning what to do in the next eight hours.

Do your planning the night before.

Think of Sunday as the first chance to prepare yourself for the week’s tasks.

Monday mornings will feel less dreadful and less overwhelming if you prepare the night before.

If you choose to prioritize …

There are one million things you could choose to do in your first hour awake.

If you choose to start your day with a daily check list/to-do list, make sure that next to every task you have the amount of time it will take to complete them.

The value of the of putting time to tasks is that, every time you check something off, you are able to measure how long it took you to get that task done, and how much progress you are making to better plan next time.

Get the uncomfortable out of the way

You probably know about Brian Tracy’s “eat-a-frog” – technique from his classic time-management book, Eat That Frog?

In the morning, right after getting up, you complete the most unwanted task you can think of for that day (= the frog).

Ideally you’ve defined this task in the evening of the previous day.

Completing an uncomfortable or difficult task not only moves it out of your way, but it gives you great energy because you get the feeling you’ve accomplished something worthwhile.

Do you have a plan from yesterday?

Kenneth Chenault, former CEO and Chairman of American Express, once said in an interview that the last thing he does before leaving the office is to write down the top 3 things to accomplish tomorrow, then using that list to start his day the following morning.

This productivity hack works for me.

It helps me focus and work on key tasks. It also helps me disconnect at the end of the day and allow time for my brain to process and reboot.

Trust me, planning your day the night before will give you back a lot wasted hours in the morning and lower your stress levels.

Try this tonight.

If you’re happy with the results, then commit to trying it for a week.

After a week, you’ll be able to decide whether you want to add “night-before planning” to your life.

Want to get more done in less time?

You need systems not goals. I’m creating a new course, Systems For Getting Work Done to help you create a personal productivity system to get 10X more done in less time. Sign up to be notified when it launches.

This article first appeared on Medium.

To Feel Happier At Work, Share ‘The Real You’

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The study examines 65 studies focusing on what happens after people in a workplace disclose a stigmatized identity, such as sexual orientation, mental illness, physical disability, or pregnancy.

Eden King, a coauthor of the study and an associate professor of psychology at Rice University, calls the decision to express a stigmatized identity highly complicated.

“It has the potential for both positive and negative consequences,” she says.

The research overwhelmingly indicates, however, that people with non-visible stigmas (such as sexual orientation or health problems) who live openly at work are happier with their overall lives and more productive in the workplace. Self-disclosure is typically a positive experience because it allows people to improve connections, form relationships with others, and free their minds of unwanted thoughts, King says.

Workers who expressed their non-visible stigmas experienced decreased job anxiety, decreased role ambiguity, improved job satisfaction, and increased commitment to their position. Outside of work, these people reported decreased psychological stress and increased satisfaction with their lives.

But the study found that the same results did not apply to people with visible traits, such as race, gender, and physical disability.

“Identities that are immediately observable operate differently than those that are concealable,” King says. “The same kinds of difficult decisions about whether or not to disclose the identity—not to mention the questions of to whom, how, when, and where to disclose those identities—are probably less central to their psychological experiences.”

Because most people appreciate gaining new information about others, the expression of visible stigmas is likely to have less of an impact, King says.

“Also, people react negatively to those who express or call attention to stigmas that are clearly visible to others, such as race or gender, as this may be seen as a form of advocacy or heightened pride in one’s identity,” she says.

The researchers say more work will help understand the motivations for expressing different stigmas. They say they hope the meta-analysis will help workplaces and policymakers protect individuals with stigmas from discrimination.

The study appears in the Journal of Business and Psychology. Additional coauthors are from Rice University; Texas A&M University; the University of Memphis; Xavier University; Portland State University; and the University of California, Berkeley.

Source: Rice University

How To Make The 4-Day Work Week Possible, According To Someone Who’s Done It

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Andrew Barnes is a fervent advocate for the four-day work week. And we might want to listen to him, because he knows what he’s talking about.As the head of Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand-based company that provides estate planning, philanthropy and investment advisory, Barnes did a trial run of the shortened schedule in March and April 2018. It was so successful that he adopted the policy full-time last November.


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“We are all recognizing that how we work today is not fit for the 21st century, that the pressures of work-life balance are intense, and that the concept of how we work needs to change,” Barnes told Quartz at Work.

Most people may assume that the four-day work week is all about work-life balance and employee wellbeing, and it may well promote both. But, Barnes cautioned, that can’t be the emphasis when business owners decide to adopt the policy.

Instead, he said, the secret to successfully transitioning to a shorter work week is highlighting something else over wellbeing.

So what is it?

It turns out that, to not lose revenue and be happy with the transition, employers should focus on productivity when announcing the change to their workers.

“We sat down with each team and we said, ‘Right, let’s agree what is the base of productivity that you’re delivering now,’” Barnes told Quartz at Work. “And then the deal was, provided you delivered on the productivity goals, you would be gifted a day off a week.”

That gift could be revoked at any time if a team isn’t doing what they need to keep up their output. For some people, Quartz notes, that can mean increased stress, as “employees tend to police one another’s behavior.”

“It’s almost like a social contract with the team and the rest of the business,” Willem van der Steen, a manager at Perpetual Guardian, told Quartz. “You can’t really hide anymore.”

Productivity shines in a short work week

Still, the benefits are fairly indisputable. During Perpetual Guardian’s trial last spring, productivity went up by roughly 20%, while far more staff members felt they could “manage work and other commitments,” according to Quartz.

With the program in place for perpetuity, Barnes has set up a system where employees can opt in, but they don’t have to if it’s not their work style. Only about half of the company’s staff chose to take him up on the four-day work week, though he expects those numbers to continue to grow. Those who already went through the change have more time for family or additional training, they say.

For those in leadership positions who are interested in potentially trimming their work hours, Perpetual Guardian is releasing a paper on Feb. 19 with advice on how to move forward.

“We’re saying to companies all over the world: Just try this,” Barnes said. “What’s the worst that can happen? If you do a trial, your staff will love you for it, even if it fails.”

5 Thoughts That Are Making Your Work Day Harder Than It Needs To Be

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PHOTO: ALEXANDER MILS

Whether you work in a traditional office environment or in a more freeform professional atmosphere, the way you personally frame interactions and activities in your mind contributes enormously to your overall career satisfaction. According to Inc. journalist Jessica Stillman, 5 particular thought patterns can interrupt your progress and stifle your ability to find fulfillment in any situation, including in the workplace.

Here, you’ll find the mental scripts to avoid at work and what to do instead.


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1. “It’s about me.”

To a certain extent, we as human beings take every interaction personally. That’s natural and normal. But in the workplace, it’s important to remember that your individual thoughts and feelings aren’t always central to professional discussions. So if your colleague responds to a question more brusquely than you’d like, don’t assume that she dislikes you or that you’ve done something to upset her. She may just be stressed and overworked in ways that have little or nothing to do with you. Keeping perspective on these circumstances will go a long way toward keeping you centered and focused.

2. “This has to be perfect.”

If you constantly strive for excellence at work and feel disappointed if a project turns out less-than-perfect, you may fall victim to an “all or nothing” mentality that can ultimately undermine your professional progress. Remember that there’s no such thing as a flawless triumph, and as long as you’re investing effort and resources in your job-related tasks, you’re setting yourself and your company up for success.

3. “I’m not happy, so it’s not worth it.”

In her piece, Stillman mentions the current cultural fixation on “happiness,” “wellness,” and “joy,” positing that many Americans see these emotions as the be-all-and-end-all of satisfaction and dismiss anything that doesn’t fall into those categories. However, difficult situations and challenging scenarios come with the territory of almost any professional workplace. If you can accept those not-so-fun realities and handle them with aplomb, you’ll be well-positioned for future happiness at work.

4. “Becky is right, this all stinks.”

We’ve all worked in atmospheres populated by dramatic colleagues and tactless managers. These make for a tough office climate, but telling yourself that you won’t fall victim to the negativity of others will keep you motivated and will allow you to focus on the parts of your job that bring you satisfaction.

5. “I’m too stressed to exercise/eat well/sleep more.”

When in the throes of work-related chaos, it’s easy to let your health fall by the wayside. Sleep deprivation, poor eating habits, too much caffeine…that’s all part of the deal, right? Well, it shouldn’t be. Keeping yourself as strong and physically healthy as possible positively affects every aspect of your life, including your work performance. Make these goals the priorities they deserve to be.

A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.

Sleep Deprivation Is Killing You And Your Career

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The next time you tell yourself that you’ll sleep when you’re dead, realize that you’re making a decision that can make that day come much sooner. Pushing late into the night is a health and productivity killer.According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, the short-term productivity gains from skipping sleep to work are quickly washed away by the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation on your mood, ability to focus, and access to higher-level brain functions for days to come. The negative effects of sleep deprivation are so great that people who are drunk outperform those lacking sleep.

Why You Need Adequate Sleep to Perform

We’ve always known that sleep is good for your brain, but research from the University of Rochester provides the first direct evidence for why your brain cells need you to sleep (and sleep the right way—more on that later). The study found that when you sleep your brain removes toxic proteins from its neurons that are by-products of neural activity when you’re awake. Unfortunately, your brain can remove them adequately only while you’re asleep. So when you don’t get enough sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, wreaking havoc by impairing your ability to think—something no amount of caffeine can fix.

Skipping sleep impairs your brain function across the board. It slows your ability to process information and problem solve, kills your creativity, and catapults your stress levels and emotional reactivity.

What Sleep Deprivation Does to Your Health

Sleep deprivation is linked to a variety of serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. It stresses you out because your body overproduces the stress hormone cortisol when it’s sleep deprived. While excess cortisol has a host of negative health effects that come from the havoc it wreaks on your immune system, it also makes you look older, because cortisol breaks down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic. In men specifically, not sleeping enough reduces testosterone levels and lowers sperm count.

Too many studies to list have shown that people who get enough sleep live longer, healthier lives, but I understand that sometimes this isn’t motivation enough. So consider this—not sleeping enough makes you fat. Sleep deprivation compromises your body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates and control food intake. When you sleep less you eat more and have more difficulty burning the calories you consume. Sleep deprivation makes you hungrier by increasing the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin and makes it harder for you to get full by reducing levels of the satiety-inducing hormone leptin. People who sleep less than 6 hours a night are 30% more likely to become obese than those who sleep 7 to 9 hours a night.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

Most people need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night to feel sufficiently rested. Few people are at their best with less than 7 hours, and few require more than 9 without an underlying health condition. And that’s a major problem, since more than half of Americans get less than the necessary 7 hours of sleep each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

For go-getters, it’s even worse.

A recent survey of Inc. 500 CEOs found that half of them are sleeping less than 6 hours a night. And the problem doesn’t stop at the top. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a third of U.S. workers get less than 6 hours of sleep each night, and sleep deprivation costs U.S. businesses more than $63 billion annually in lost productivity.

Doing something about it

Beyond the obvious sleep benefits of thinking clearly and staying healthy, the ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are high in emotional intelligence (EQ). These individuals are skilled at understanding and using emotions to their benefit, and good sleep hygiene is one of the greatest tools at their disposal.

High-EQ individuals know it’s not just how much you sleep that matters, but also how you sleep. When life gets in the way of getting the amount of sleep you need, it’s absolutely essential that you increase the quality of your sleep through good sleep hygiene. There are many hidden killers of quality sleep. The 10 strategies that follow will help you identify these killers and clean up your sleep hygiene. Follow them, and you’ll reap the performance and health benefits that come with getting the right quantity and quality of sleep.

1. Stay Away from Sleeping Pills

When I say sleeping pills, I mean anything you take that sedates you so that you can sleep. Whether it’s alcohol, Nyquil, Benadryl, Valium, Ambien, or what have you, these substances greatly disrupt your brain’s natural sleep process. Have you ever noticed that sedatives can give you some really strange dreams? As you sleep and your brain removes harmful toxins, it cycles through an elaborate series of stages, at times shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams). Sedation interferes with these cycles, altering the brain’s natural process.

Anything that interferes with the brain’s natural sleep process has dire consequences for the quality of your sleep. Many of the strategies that follow eliminate factors that disrupt this recovery process. If getting off sleeping pills proves difficult, make certain you try some of the other strategies (such as cutting down on caffeine) that will make it easier for you to fall asleep naturally and reduce your dependence upon sedatives.

2. Stop Drinking Caffeine (at Least after Lunch)

You can sleep more and vastly improve the quality of the sleep you get by reducing your caffeine intake. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that interferes with sleep by increasing adrenaline production and blocking sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain. Caffeine has a 6-hour half-life, which means it takes a full 24 hours to work its way out of your system. Have a cup of joe at 8 a.m., and you’ll still have 25% of the caffeine in your body at 8 p.m. Anything you drink after noon will still be near 50% strength at bedtime. Any caffeine in your bloodstream—the negative effects increasing with the dose—makes it harder to fall and stay asleep.

When you do finally fall asleep, the worst is yet to come. Caffeine disrupts the quality of your sleep by reducing rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the deep sleep when your body recuperates most. When caffeine disrupts your sleep, you wake up the next day with a cognitive and emotional handicap. You’ll be naturally inclined to grab a cup of coffee or an energy drink to try to make yourself feel more alert, which very quickly creates a vicious cycle.

3. Avoid Blue Light at Night

This is a big one—most people don’t even realize it impacts their sleep. Short-wavelength blue light plays an important role in your mood, energy level, and sleep quality. In the morning, sunlight contains high concentrations of this “blue” light. When your eyes are exposed to it directly (not through a window or while wearing sunglasses), the blue light halts production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and makes you feel more alert. This is great, and exposure to a.m. sunlight can improve your mood and energy levels. If the sun isn’t an option for you, try a blue light device.

In the afternoon, the sun’s rays lose their blue light, which allows your body to produce melatonin and start making you sleepy. By the evening, your brain does not expect any blue light exposure and is very sensitive to it. The problem this creates for sleep is that most of our favorite evening devices—laptops, tablets, televisions, and mobile phones—emit short-wavelength blue light. And in the case of your laptop, tablet, and phone, they do so brightly and right in your face. This exposure impairs melatonin production and interferes with your ability to fall asleep as well as with the quality of your sleep once you do nod off. Remember, the sleep cycle is a daylong process for your brain. When you confuse your brain by exposing it in the evening to what it thinks is a.m. sunlight, this derails the entire process with effects that linger long after you power down. The best thing you can do is avoid these devices after dinner (television is okay for most people as long as they sit far enough away from the set). If you must use one of these devices in the evening, you can limit your exposure with a filter or protective eyewear.

4. Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day

Consistency is key to a good night’s sleep, especially when it comes to waking up. Waking up at the same time every day improves your mood and sleep quality by regulating your circadian rhythm. When you have a consistent wake-up time, your brain acclimates to this and moves through the sleep cycle in preparation for you to feel rested and alert at your wake-up time. Roughly an hour before you wake, hormone levels increase gradually (along with your body temperature and blood pressure), causing you to become more alert. This is why you’ll often find yourself waking up right before your alarm goes off.

When you don’t wake up at the same time every day, your brain doesn’t know when to complete the sleep process and when it should prepare you to be awake. Long ago, sunlight ensured a consistent wake-up time. These days, an alarm is the only way most people can pull this off, and doing this successfully requires resisting the temptation to sleep in when you’re feeling tired because you know you’ll actually feel better by keeping your wake-up time intact.

5. No Binge Sleeping (In) on the Weekend

Sleeping in on the weekend is a counterproductive way to catch up on your sleep. It messes with your circadian rhythm by giving you an inconsistent wake-up time. When you wake up at the same time during the work week but sleep past this time on the weekend, you end up feeling groggy and tired because your brain hasn’t prepared your body to be awake. This isn’t a big deal on your day off, but it makes you less productive on Monday because it throws your cycle off and makes it hard to get going again on your regular schedule.

6. Learn How Much Sleep You Really Need

The amount of sleep you need is something that you can’t control, and scientists are beginning to discover the genes that dictate it. The problem is, most people sleep much less than they really need and are under-performing because they think they’re getting enough. Some discover this the hard way. Ariana Huffington was one of those frantic types who underslept and overworked, until she collapsed unexpectedly from exhaustion one afternoon. She credits her success and well-being since then to the changes she’s made to her sleep habits. “I began getting 30 minutes more sleep a night, until gradually I got to 7 to 8 hours. The result has been transformational,” Huffington says, adding that, “all the science now demonstrates unequivocally that when we get enough sleep, everything is better: our health; our mental capacity and clarity; our joy at life; and our ability to live life without reacting to every bad thing that happens.”

Huffington isn’t the only one. Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, and Sheryl Sandberg have all touted the virtues of getting enough sleep. Even Bill Gates, an infamous night owl, has affirmed the benefits of figuring out how much sleep you really need: “I like to get 7 hours of sleep a night because that’s what I need to stay sharp and creative and upbeat.” It’s time to bite the bullet and start going to bed earlier until you find the magic number that enables you to perform at your best.

7. Stop Working

When you work in the evening, it puts you into a stimulated, alert state when you should be winding down and relaxing in preparation for sleep. Recent surveys show that roughly 60% of people monitor their smartphones for work emails until they go to sleep. Staying off blue light-emitting devices (discussed above) after a certain time each evening is also a great way to avoid working so you can relax and prepare for sleep, but any type of work before bed should be avoided if you want quality sleep.

8. Eliminate Interruptions

Unfortunately for those with small children, the quality of your sleep does suffer when it is interrupted. The key here is to eliminate all the interruptions that are under your control. If you have loud neighbors, wear earplugs to bed. If your mother likes to call at all hours of the night, make certain you silence your ringer before you go to bed. If you had to wake up extra early in the morning, make sure your alarm clock is back on its regular time when you go to bed. Don’t drink too much water in the evening to avoid a bathroom trip in the middle of the night. If your partner snores . . . well, you get the idea. If you think hard enough, there are lots of little things you can do to eliminate unnecessary interruptions to your sleep.

9. Learn to Meditate

Many people who learn to meditate report that it improves the quality of their sleep and that they can get the rest they need even if they aren’t able to significantly increase the number of hours they sleep. At the Stanford Medical Center, insomniacs participated in a 6-week mindfulness meditation and cognitive-behavioral therapy course. At the end of the study, participants’ average time to fall asleep was cut in half (from 40 to 20 minutes), and 60% of subjects no longer qualified as insomniacs. The subjects retained these gains upon follow-up a full year later. A similar study at the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that 91% of participants either reduced the amount of medication they needed to sleep or stopped taking medication entirely after a mindfulness and sleep therapy course. Give mindfulness a try. At minimum, you’ll fall asleep faster, as it will teach you how to relax and quiet your mind once you hit the pillow.

10. When All Else Fails: Take Naps

One of the biggest peaks in melatonin production happens during the 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. time frame, which explains why most people feel sleepy in the afternoon. Companies like Google and Zappos are capitalizing on this need by giving employees the opportunity to take short afternoon naps. If you aren’t getting enough sleep at night, you’re likely going to feel an overwhelming desire to sleep in the afternoon. When this happens, you’re better off taking a short nap (even as short as 15 minutes) than resorting to caffeine to keep you awake. A short nap will give you the rest you need to get through the rest of the afternoon, and you’ll sleep much better in the evening than if you drink caffeine or take a long afternoon nap.

Bringing it all together

I know many of you reading this piece are thinking something along the lines of “but I know a guy (or gal) who is always up at all hours of the night working or socializing, and he’s the number one performer at our branch.” My answer for you is simple: This guy is underperforming.

We all have innate abilities that we must maximize to reach our full potential. My job is to help people do that—to help the good become great by removing unseen performance barriers. Being number one in your branch is an accomplishment, but I guarantee that this guy has his sights set on bigger things that he isn’t achieving because sleep deprivation has him performing at a fraction of his full potential. You should send him this article. It just might shake something loose.

After all, the only thing worth catching up on at night is your sleep.

This article first appeared on LinkedIn.

How To Get A Job Without Prior Experience

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Here’s the challenge everyone who starts their career faces: You can’t get a job because you don’t have experience, but you can’t get experience without getting a job.It’s called the experience paradox or Catch-22 of getting a job. It’s a real challenge. And if you can’t overcome it, you can easily set your career 3 to 5 years back.


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Worse, I’ve seen young folks and people who switch careers destroy their potential by making the wrong decisions early on.

I don’t want to scare you. You can still overcome the Catch-22; but not with conventional career advice. Because what’s the standard advice for people who want to build a career?

“Create a resume, browse job boards, and respond to job applications.” Sorry to disappoint you. If you take that route, you will end up like most people: Frustrated and underpaid.

Don’t worry, there’s a different way. With the right strategy, you can break into any industry and earn what you’re worth.

But I have to warn you. It takes at least twice as much work. However, that shouldn’t be a surprise to you. If you want to have a better career than most folks, guess what; you have to BE better than most folks.

When you do the following 2 things, you will become better—that will significantly increase your odds of getting a job without prior experience.

1. Be The Person You Would Hire

Why is it that companies prefer to hire experienced people for a role? When I started my career, I didn’t understand it.

The reality is that there’s a massive difference between someone who doesn’t have experience at a particular job and someone who has two years under their belt.

Even though two years might not sound like a lot of time, it’s actually a lot of time to learn the ins and outs of a job. And especially when you recently got out of college; because your first two to three years are all about learning to be a professional.

Some people never become serious about their careers. They wake up at a time so they can come to the office just in time. They prefer to sleep in. And they are the first to leave at 5 pm. They don’t ask questions, don’t seek out mentors, LOVE their lunch break, and chit-chat with their co-workers every chance they get.

Imagine you would be the CEO of a company. Would you want a person like that on your team? Of course not.

I must be honest; I used to be like that too. But I realized that attitude will not bring you far. If you want career success, you need to take it seriously. You only get rewarded for results. And what brings results? Skills.

Now, the good news is that increasingly more companies are putting emphasis on the skills of the people they want to hire—not their experience.

In his book, The Virgin Way, I read that Richard Branson, the famous founder of Virgin (that employs approximately 71,000 people), hires for character and skills. He prefers to actually get to know applicants instead of asking them a bunch of boring questions.

If you seek out companies who hire for experience and skills, you have a good chance of getting hired—even if you don’t have experience.

There’s only one condition: You must be a person YOU would hire. Someone who’s not only a professional but also has the skills to do a good job. If you feel like your skills are not that good yet, spend more time on your craft.

So how do you find a company that hires for skills and character? You ask.

Look, getting a job is NOT easy. It requires a lot of manual labor. Sometimes you need to reach out to hundreds of people to even get an interview. So that’s what you do. Be ready to do whatever it takes.

You reach out to people in HR of companies you’d like to work for. And you ask them about their interview process. How does the application process work? What are the characteristics you’re looking for in candidates?

You can use that information to apply for jobs you’re interested in. But unlike people who blindly apply, you know what they are looking for.

2. Do Free Work

Often, being good at your job and having information about the application process won’t cut it.

I’m a big fan of demonstrating your skills instead of talking about it. During the interview, we only talk. But when you offer to do free work for a company, you actually demonstrate your skills in a real-life setting.

So how can you do free work? Larry Stybel, a clinical psychologist, wrote an article for HBR about his experience launching his career. He shares 3 great tips:

  1. Look for a company you’d love to work for and then be specific about what value you will provide—What will you exactly do for the company? No need to overpromise. It’s better to be honest about what you can. Identify a person you want to work for, and reach out to them directly. Also send your resume along (watch my video on how to create a graphic resume with Canva for tips).
  2. Be specific about what value you will receive—Start with the end in mind. What do you want to get out of it? A reference? A potential job? Experience?
  3. Be specific about the time frame—You don’t want to keep working for free forever. In Stybel’s example, he said: “I promised to work two days a week for two months.” Often, you can’t even work full-time for free. Nor is it something I recommend. Use your time to keep searching for a job.

One of the key lessons for everyone launching their career is to consider yourself as a learning machine. When you feel too proud to learn or work for free, you will be stuck sooner than later.

But when you keep improving yourself and reaching out to people in the industry you want to work in, it will ultimately lead to a real job.

This article first appeared on Darius Foroux

Why Being Wrong Will Make You A Better Leader

Author Article

Being right is not a badge of honor, but a temporary status. Our brain is wired for self-deception — we become immune to facts.If you hold a position of power, it’s even worse. Leaders are more prone to suffer from ‘Confirmation Bias’ or ‘Error Blindness.” They filter the information that supports their beliefs. Or don’t realize their mistakes until it’s too late.


By being okay with being wrong, you keep your mind open. Rather than trying to win every argument, you pay attention to facts, not to what will help you defeat others.

Andy Grove, Intel’s co-founder, summarized this approach as the courage and confidence to act on what you know right now, along with the humility to course correct when new information comes along.

Read on to discover the keys reasons why you might think you are always right — and what happens when you lead as if you’re right and listen as if you’re not.

1. You think ‘being right’ gains you respect

Most leaders confuse infallibility with power — they feel pressured to have all the answers.

Our reputation is what we are known for; credibility is reputation impacting our ability to be believed. Being brave to admit you don’t know everything protects your reputation; trying to win every argument can risk your credibility.

To drive change requires integrating all types of ‘authority,’ not just the formal one. Great leaders tap truly listen to subject matter experts, those who are closer to the problem, bring an outsider perspective or have a strong influence within the team.

Do you confuse infallibility with authority?

You are not supposed to know it all. Wise leaders lead with questions, not perfect answers. They provoke and inspire their teams to discover new solutions. Also, leaders who acknowledge their limitations, are less likely to make mistakes that put their teams and organizations in danger.

As French philosopher, Voltaire wrote, “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”

2. You always want to have the last cookie

“Infallibility battles” are pointless — everyone loses in the end.

A study at UC Berkeley broke students into groups of three, and one person was named the team leader. At some point, the researchers would bring in a plate of four cookies.

So, who would take the last cookie? We all know the social norm is not to do so.

But, as Robert Sutton, author of Good Boss, Bad Boss explains, “The research showed consistently that the person in power would take that fourth cookie. They even tended to eat with their mouths open and leave more crumbs. And this is just in the laboratory. Imagine that you’re a CEO and everywhere you go you’re empowered, and everyone is kissing your ass. You can start to see why it’s so hard to be good.”

Infallibility battles are destructive — we want to defend our position at all costs. Having the last word might end an argument, but won’t solve the problem. Trusting your team is more important than who eats the last cookie.

As William Coyne, a former VP at 3M, said, “After you plant a seed in the ground, you don’t don’t dig it up every week to see how it’s doing.”

Power makes people selfish

3. You think like a soldier, not like a scout

Your mindset affects your judgment, analysis, and decision-making.

Julia Galef, the co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality, explains why some information or ideas feel like our allies — we want them to win. But we think of opposing views as our enemies — we want to shoot them down.

Our judgment is strongly influenced, unconsciously, by which side we want to win. The “soldier mindset,” as Galef calls it, is rooted in the need to defend ourselves — we want to win every argument. This phenomenon is even more evident among people that hold formal authority.

The “scout mindset” on the other hand, is about understanding, not defending a position. A scout goes out and identifies the real challenge — he wants to know what’s really there.

Are you trying the make the best decision? Or to win a battle?

Leading requires balancing both mindsets — having the courage and confidence to act on what you know is right, along with the openness and humility to course correct when new information is presented.

As organizational theorist Karl Weick said, “Fight as if you’re right. Listen as if you’re wrong.”

4. You get more credit (or blame) than deserved

Being in a position of leadership is anything but neutral — you are always under a spotlight.

Regardless of your leadership style, the perception of your achievements will always be distorted. People pay too much attention to their leaders. There’s evidence that, if you are in a position of authority over others, you will get more blame and more credit than you deserve.

Bob Sutton call it the “magnification effect.” As he explains on this talk, leaders are responsible for about 15% of their team/organizational performance, but they get about 50% of the blame or credit.

Is your self-perception blinding you?

We become arrogant when we succeed, and ignorant when we fail. There’s plenty of evidence that, when a company is performing great, leaders become more clueless and self-absorbed. Or that failure drives blaming others rather than self-reflection.

Don’t let the magnification effect distract your attention from learning from mistakes.

As Ed Catmull, the co-founder of Pixar, said, “If you aren’t experiencing failure, then you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it.”

5. You are in denial (and so is your team)

Leaders are more unaware than self-aware — most believe they know themselves better than they actually do.

Studies show that 80% of people think they are better-than-average leaders. Unaware leaders deceive both themselves and others. For example, deluded leaders may come across as charismatic and talented, but their overconfidence puts their credibility at risk in the long run.

Research shows that, when there is no effective process to gather decision makers into honest conversations about tough issues, organizations are three times more likely to have people withhold or distort information.

A similar study by Milliken & Morrison shows that 85% of employees feel unable to raise a concern with their bosses. Truth is forced underground, leaving the organization to rely on rumors, gossip or insincerity.

Do you promote a safe environment for people to speak up?

The emotional culture of an organization is as powerful as its cognitive counterpart. Pay attention. Silence is not the absence of fear but a consequence of it. Create a safe space where people feel confident to speak up without the fear of being ridiculed or punished.

As Wharton professor Sigal Barsade said, “Every organization has an emotional culture, even if it’s one of suppression.”

6. You are not being challenged

The more successful we become, the more at risk we are to error blindness. Even worse, narcissism rates have been rising steadily for decades.

A study on fraud found that narcissism can make CEOs behave unethically — they want to achieve their goals and receive praise at any cost. Highly narcissistic CEOs may help achieve bigger ambitions for their companies. However, too much narcissism may jeopardize the interests of their companies — they don’t listen to their team’s feedback.

The majority of us overestimate how good we are at listening, as a study by Accenture shows.

Are people afraid of challenging you?

Encourage your team to provide candid feedback and to address tensions in a space of mutual respect. A Gallup study shows that 7 in 10 employees strongly agree that their opinions don’t count at work. Listening will help you gain an understanding of why someone thinks differently. Be open to change your mind.

As Pixar’s director Brad Bird said, “during constructive feedback, everyone will get humiliated and encouraged together.”

7. Your Salary Distorts Your Reality

A highly-paid CEO may actually hurt an organization, according to research from the University of Cambridge.

Higher salaries do not guarantee that a leader will turn in a strong performance. Firms that pay their CEOs in the top ten percent of excess pay earn negative abnormal returns over the next three years, the researchers found.

A higher pay makes leaders believe they’re always right — that’s why they are paid so much. It unconsciously clouds their judgment. They become overconfident on their plans and ideas.

Do you believe those who earn less are not as competent as you are?

I’m not trying to make you feel bad about your salary. But, to become more aware of how your position can distort your perception. We tend to correlate salaries or titles with smarts. Thus, stop paying attention to people that are at our ‘same level.’

As Simon Sinek said, “Great Leaders don’t need to act tough. Their confidence and humility serve to underscore their toughness.”

Becoming vulnerable is hard. But when you don’t have to pretend you know it all, you won’t feel the need to win all the battles — you’ll focus on unleashing your team’s potential.

It’s better to be wrong than believing you are right when you are not.

Great leaders integrate diverse thinking; they embrace people who provide different perspectives and ideas. Don’t risk your credibility by trying to have all the answers. Humility promotes honesty — people will want to share candid feedback and their best ideas, instead of trying to deceive you.

This article first appeared on Medium. 

3 Ways Meditation Can Catapult Your Career

Author Article

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Anyone that’s been to a yoga class recently has heard of the concept of meditation. Chances are, in 2019, you will start hearing about it more in the workplace, too. According to a report by the CDC, the number of American adults saying they meditated jumped from 4.1% in 2012 to 14.2% in 2018.

The benefits of meditation can help you in many aspects of your life, but here are three ways in which the practice can benefit your career.

  • It can help you realize what you really want. For the most fortunate of us, the hunt for a job meant finding out what truly makes us happy and turning that into a career. When that dream isn’t realized right away, it can cause depression and complacency, and ultimately result in the death of that dream. Meditation can not only help you practice self-awareness, but acceptance, as well.
  • It reduces stress. Work can be a huge stressor for most people, especially if there is a large sum of money on the line. When it comes time to grind, that stress can be a real hinderance. For example, a survey from EveryDay Health found that 57% of respondents say they are paralyzed by stress. Mindfulness meditation, even done for only a few minutes a day, can help reduce stress and anxiety, as demonstrated in a 2013 Massachusetts General Hospital study.
  • It gets creative juices flowing. If you work in a creative realm, you understand the concept of walking away and revisiting. Sometimes, when you’re stuck on an idea that you can’t seem to work yourself through, it is best to take a walk around the block and come back to it. When you don’t have that much time, however, focusing on your breathing and meditating for a few minutes allows your brain to do a soft reset.

While it may still seem like a foreign concept to some, the importance of meditation cannot be diminished. As I tell many of the entrepreneurs and job seekers I coach, even if it feels strange, what do you have to lose? I invite you to try it today and see how you feel.

Ashley Stahl is a career coach who helps job seekers find their purpose, land more job offers and launch their dream businesses. Visit AshleyStahl.com for free courses, resources and more.

‘Night Owl’ Brains May Not Function As Well for Daytime Work

Author Article

A new study finds that “night owls” — those whose internal body clock dictates they go to bed and wake up very late — appear to have fundamental differences in their brain function compared to “morning larks.”

This suggests that night owls could be disadvantaged by the constraints of a normal working day.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham discovered that night owls, who typically have an average bedtime of 2:30 am and a wake-up time of 10:15 am, have lower resting brain connectivity in many of the brain regions associated with the maintenance of consciousness.

Importantly, this reduced brain connectivity was tied to poorer attention, slower reactions and increased sleepiness throughout the hours of a typical working day.

According to the Office for National Statistics, around 12 percent of employees work night shifts. It is well-established that night-shift workers often face huge negative health consequences due to the constant disruption to sleep and body clocks.

However, this type of disruption can also result from being forced to fit into a societal 9-5 working day if those timings do not align with one’s natural biological rhythms. Since around 40-50 percent of the population identify as having a preference for later bedtimes and for getting up after 8:20 a.m., the researchers say much more work needs to be done to investigate any negative implications for this group.

“A huge number of people struggle to deliver their best performance during work or school hours they are not naturally suited to,” said lead researcher Dr. Elise Facer-Childs, from the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Human Brain Health. “There is a critical need to increase our understanding of these issues in order to minimize health risks in society, as well as maximize productivity.”

For the study, the researchers looked at brain function at rest and linked it to the cognitive abilities of 38 individuals who were identified as either night owls or morning larks using physiological rhythms (melatonin and cortisol), continuous sleep/wake monitoring and questionnaires.

The participants underwent MRI scans and then completed a series of tasks, with testing sessions being undertaken at a range of different times during the day from 8  a.m. to 8 p.m. They were also asked to report on their levels of sleepiness.

Self-identified morning larks reported being least sleepy with their fastest reaction time during the early morning tests, which was significantly better than night owls. Night owls, however, were least sleepy and had their fastest reaction time at 8pm in the evening, although this was not significantly better than the larks, highlighting that night owls are most disadvantaged in the morning.

Interestingly, the brain connectivity in the regions that could predict better performance and lower sleepiness was much higher in larks at all time points, suggesting that the resting state brain connectivity of night owls is impaired throughout the whole day (8 a.m.-8 p.m.).

“This mismatch between a person’s biological time and social time, which most of us have experienced in the form of jet lag, is a common issue for night owls trying to follow a normal working day. Our study is the first to show a potential intrinsic neuronal mechanism behind why ‘night owls’ may face cognitive disadvantages when being forced to fit into these constraints,” said Facer-Childs, who is now based at the Monash Institute for Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences in Melbourne, Australia.

“To manage this, we need to get better at taking an individual’s personal body clock into account — particularly in the world of work. A typical day might last from 9  a.m.-5 p.m., but for a night owl, this could result in diminished performance during the morning, lower brain connectivity in regions linked to consciousness and increased daytime sleepiness.”

“If, as a society, we could be more flexible about how we manage time we could go a long way towards maximizing productivity and minimizing health risks.”

The findings are published in the journal Sleep.

Source: University of Birmingham