TIME advice

Hate Your Job? Here’s What to Do

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Focus on what you can control

First of all, you’re not alone. That sinking feeling you get on Sunday nights when you know you’re only 8 hours away from staff-meeting hell is shared by many. But, you can’t just keep whining forever without making a real change. Here are a few tips on what to do next.

1. Think before you quit.

Elene Cafasso of Enerpace, Inc. Executive Coaching, says that though it may be tempting to throw in the towel and tell off those who have made your life miserable while you’re at it, only consider leaving without another job lined up if you’re in one of the following situations.

Do you have six to 12 months living expenses saved? Do you have an employed significant other and can live on one paycheck for at least six to 12 months? Are you rushing to leave because you’re in a physically/emotionally abusive environment?

If not, consider refreshing your perspective on your current situation to make the best of your position while you look for another job. Cafasso offers help with this as well.

“Focus on what you can control,” she says. “ Maybe it’s the marketing plan you’re in charge of that will be a crucial addition to your portfolio in order to get yourself that new job.”

2. It’s not me, it’s you.

If your coworkers or work schedule is what you dislike the most, Robyn McLeod, Principle at Chatsworth Consulting, reminds us that your frustration may be coming from necessary conversations you’re avoiding.

“The old adage, ‘you won’t get it if you don’t ask’ is true. Often we complain about our work life, but do nothing to change it. The best way to change your situation is to be brave enough to have conversations with the people who can help you get what you want.” McLeod said.

“One client of mine was on the verge of quitting his job because he was working very long hours, was frustrated with problems on his team, and unhappy,” McLeod continued.

“He was afraid to talk to his boss about the situation, but I convinced him that, at that point, he really had nothing to lose. He met with his boss and had a productive conversation. It turns out his boss was not aware of the problems my client was facing and thought very highly of him. He was able to get additional resources for his team and a flexible work schedule that gave him the time with his family that he needed.”

3. The work…I can’t.

But, what if your responsibilities are what you hate about your job, not the team, client or managers? How do you figure out what career change you should be pursuing if any? Cafaso says:

“Write down every job you’ve ever had–even going back to your childhood lemonade stand. Make two columns and jot down what you loved in one column and hated in the other. What patterns or commonalities do you see? What does that tell you to look for in your next job? What types of jobs are rich in the things you love?”

This will make your strengths and interests clearer, and help you target the job that’s perfect for you.

Kimberly Ramsawak, founder of Tourism Exposed, an online community that helps students and career changers find their dream jobs in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry, suggests that your best bet in terms of next steps is to develop a targeted list of five to 10 companies that you are interested in based on your desired career niche, job function or job title.

“Then, use social media like LinkedIn and Twitter to research and find current and former employees at those companies, and to see how you’re connected to them and get their email addresses as your first point of contact. Reach out to them too via email to request informal informational interviews (or coffee meetings) in order to learn more about their companies, their jobs, to get the inside scoop on the industry overall and job opportunities that exist before they are made public,” Ramsawak says.

This kind of networking is more effective than just talking to anyone and everyone about how you’re looking for a job or submitting your resume to online job boards and then hoping and praying you’ll get a call for an interview.

Now, you’ve got a guide to determining what you hate about your job, if it’s fixable, and what to do about it if it’s not. Wow, look at how quickly you’ve got it all figured out. Good luck (as if you need it)!

This article originally appeared on Levo.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

To Create a New Habit, First Know You’re Going to Break It

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One of the key parts of building habits might be to know that you will not flawlessly create your habits

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

I’ve been obsessed with thinking about, adjusting and building upon my habits for a long time now, and working on good habits is probably one of the things that’s helped me the most to make progress with my startup. In addition, it seems like habits are now becoming popular again. This is a great thing, and books like The Power of Habit are helping lots of people.

Perhaps one of the things that is rarely discussed with habits is failing with them. How do you keep going with building habits when you fail one day, or you have some kind of momentary setback?

I thought it might be useful for me to share my thoughts on habits, and particularly the aspect of failing with habits.

Building an awesome habit

There are the steps I’ve found that work best to create a new habit:

  1. Start so small you “can’t fail” (more on the reality of that later)
  2. Work on the small habit for as long as it takes to become a ritual (something you’re pulled towards rather than which requires willpower)
  3. Make a very small addition to the habit, ideally anchored to an existing ritual

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How I built my most rewarding habit

The habit I’m happiest with is my morning routine. It gives me a fantastic start to the day and lots of energy. To build it, I took the approach above of starting small and building on top.

I started my habit a few years ago when I was based in Birmingham in the UK. The first thing I started with was to go to the gym 2-3 times per week. That’s all my routine was for a long time. Once I had that habit ingrained, I expanded on it so that I would go swimming the other two days of the week, essentially meaning that I went to the gym every day at the same time. I’d go around 7:30, which meant I awoke at around 7 a.m.

Next, I gradually woke up earlier, first waking up at 6:45 for several weeks, and then 6:30. At the same time, I put in place my evening ritual of going for a walk, which helped me wind down and get to sleep early enough to then awake early. Eventually, I achieved the ability to wake up at 6 a.m. and do an hour of productive work before the gym. This precious early morning time for work when I was the freshest was one of the things that helped me get Buffer off the ground in the early days.

The next thing I made a real habit was to have breakfast after I returned from the gym. I then worked on making this full routine a habit for a number of months. I had times when I moved to a different country and had to work hard to get back to the routine after the initial disruption of settling in. It was whilst in Hong Kong that I achieved being very disciplined with this routine and wrote about it.

My morning routine

Today, I’ve built on top of this habit even further. Here’s what my morning routine looks like now:

  • I awake at 5:05am.
  • At 5:10, I meditate for 6 minutes.
  • I spend until 5:30 having a first breakfast: a bagel and a protein shake.
  • I do 90 minutes of productive work on a most important task from 5:30 until 7am.
  • At 7 a.m., I go to the gym. I do a weights session every morning (different muscle group each day).
  • I arrive home from the gym at 8:30 a.m. and have a second breakfast: chicken, 2 eggs and cottage cheese.

It may seem extremely regimented, and I guess perhaps it is. However, the important thing is the approach. You can start with one simple thing and then work on it over time. I’m now working to build around this current habit even more.

Failing while building your awesome habit

One of the most popular and simultaneously most controversial articles I’ve ever written is probably The Exercise Habit. It’s one that has been mentioned to me many times by people I’ve met to help with their startup challenges. I’ve been humbled to find out that a number of people have been inspired by the article to start a habit of daily exercise.

Whilst in Tel Aviv, I met Eytan Levit, a great startup founder who has since become a good friend. He told me he had read my article and was immediately driven to start a habit of daily exercise. I sat down and had coffee with him while he told me about his experience, and it was fascinating.

He told me that he did daily exercise for four days in a row, and he felt fantastic. He said he felt like he had more energy than ever before, and was ready to conquer the world. Then, on the fifth day Eytan struggled to get to the gym for whatever reason, and essentially the chain was broken. The most revelatory thing he said to me was that the reason he didn’t start the habit again was not that he didn’t enjoy the exercise or benefit greatly from doing it. The reason he failed to create the exercise habit was the feeling of disappointment of not getting to the gym on that fifth day.

Get ready and expect to break your habit

“I deal with procrastination by scheduling for it. I allow it. I expect it.” – Tim Ferriss

What I’ve realized is that one of the key parts of building habits might be to know that you will not flawlessly create your habits. You are going to break your habit at some point. You are going to fail that next day or next gym session sooner or later. The important thing is to avoid a feeling of guilt and disappointment, because that is what will probably stop you from getting up the next day and continuing with the routine.

In a similar way to how Tim Ferriss deals with procrastination, I believe we should not try so hard to avoid breaking our habits. We should instead be calm and expect to break them sometime, let it happen, then regroup and get ready to continue with the habit.

Perhaps we took too much on, and we cut back a little or try to add one less thing to our habit. Or maybe we just had a bad day. That’s fine, and a single failure shouldn’t stop our long-term success with building amazing habits.

This article originally appeared on Buffer.

TIME advice

How to Discover Your Calling in Life

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Use these 6 steps to find your passion and seek the job you love

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This article originally appeared on Live in the Grey.

We’ve all heard it before: “Do what you love.” “Follow your passion.” “Find a job that you would do for free.”

Yet “passion” is one of those concepts that is difficult to explain, hard to find and impossible to measure. It’s something that’s unique to each of us, with no one scale to determine it or map to guide us to it

In a world that is evolving so quickly, a good education no longer guarantees work and a job no longer provides stability. We may be losing the structure and simplicity of the past, but we are exchanging it for the freedom to create our own future.

As exciting as this is, we’re not necessarily ready for that responsibility. As much as we embrace freedom, we also seek the comfort of guidance. In order to discover our passion and unlock that freedom, we need some direction and a better understanding of what we are looking for.

What is Passion?

Your calling in life may be something you are born knowing, but it may also be something you discover over time. We all know the person who knew back in high school they would be a doctor, teacher or a dentist. They were fortunate enough to discover their calling at a young age and carry it with them going forward. For most of us, that understanding is discovered throughout our life.

Passion is something that will stem from your beliefs, be enhanced by your skills and sustained by the value that you are able to provide.

What you are passionate about will depend largely on the particular time it is in your life. Yes, this means we can breathe easy knowing that there is more than one dream job for us out there!

If you have not found your calling yet, don’t worry. When you do recognize it, it will come at the right time. Never wish you had uncovered it sooner, as the passion you discover today is not what you would have desired a decade ago. The knowledge you have acquired over this time is what will enable you to recognize the right opportunity when it comes your way.

Finally, when searching for your passion, understand that it is not the same as a job title or a company. There is a field of work out there connected to a certain mission that will resonate with your beliefs and align with your unique set of skills.

MORE Underutilized & Unappreciated at Work? Here’s What You Can Do

What are Your Beliefs?

Everything that we experience in life from a young age is what determines our belief system. These beliefs shape how we think, how we approach situations and how we see things in life. For instance, if you grew up with frugal parents who worked to make ends meet, you will have a different approach to your finances and career than someone who had a wealthy upbringing. Your beliefs are created from your past and form your opinions of the world. It is important to pursue something that supports these beliefs but also aligns with your current views.

That said, how exactly can you translate your beliefs into the actual thing you want to do professionally?

Here are 6 Steps to Discover Your Passion:

1. Understand Why You Are Unhappy in the First Place

It is critical to understand what you don’t like about your current job, so you can make the appropriate change in your next role.

There are many factors to consider, such as: your position, your manager, salary, professional development opportunities, schedule, colleagues, the industry, product offering, location, growth potential, company size, the overall direction the company is headed and many more. Once you have pinpointed the source(s) of pain, think through if they have been issues in past jobs.

If any of these are significantly off, they can completely disrupt the experience you have with that job. You may be in the right position, but a bad boss can ruin your perception of it all.

2. Make Something out of the Time in Your Current Job

Learn, learn, learn! Take advantage of this time to advance your skills, try new things and attack any fears you have. If you are in sales, try new pitches; if you are in marketing, present new ideas; if you are a developer, take on a completely different project. You have nothing to lose but a lot to gain as you prepare for your next role.

MORE How to Infuse Creativity into a Stale Job

3. Research

What you learn from the above analysis will determine which direction you want to go in next. Discovering your passion will require some trial and error, but it all starts with high level research. If you are planning on changing industries for example, begin to explore different sectors. If something peaks your interest, see if it resonates with your beliefs and who you are. If you love your company but don’t like your current responsibilities, envision how you would fit into the different roles and departments available.

4. Submerse Yourself

When you find a path you want to pursue, kick the research into overdrive. Attend networking events, watch online seminars, connect with contacts who are in that field, job shadow, find ways to volunteer your time for free, ask lots of questions and jump on any opportunity that will get you some exposure. You will never know if this is your passion unless you take risks and dive right in. Take advantage of the free time you have outside of your day job to fully apply yourself.

5. Master a Skill:

Most people are better able to hone in on their passion after they’ve mastered a skill in a particular industry; when you have a high level of competence, it raises your confidence, increases satisfaction and enables you to forge your own path. Mastering a certain skill may be spark you need to get going.

6. Provide Value:

Everyone on this planet has a desire to feel like they matter and have some level of importance. You get this when you provide value to others. When you find a mission that resonates with your beliefs and is supported by your skills, your ability to produce results will only deepen your interest in the field. That will ignite a hunger within you to want to advance your business and share this new found passion with others… who might just turn in to your customers.

MORE A Gap Year Can Refocus Your Life

TIME

These Are the Top 5 Career Regrets

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Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

To live without regrets, first you need to know what the most common ones are.

Over at Harvard Business Review, Daniel Gulati discusses his informal study of people’s biggest regrets about their career.

He talked to professionals who ranged in age and represented a variety of different industries but five ideas came up again and again:

1. I wish I hadn’t taken the job for the money.

“By far the biggest regret of all came from those who opted into high-paying but ultimately dissatisfying careers.”

2. I wish I had quit earlier.

“Almost uniformly, those who had actually quit their jobs to pursue their passions wished they had done so earlier.”

3. I wish I had the confidence to start my own business.

“A recent study found that 70% of workers wished their current job would help them with starting a business in the future, yet only 15% said they had what it takes to actually venture out on their own.”

4. I wish I had used my time at school more productively.

“Although more students are attending college, many of the group’s participants wished they had thoughtfully parlayed their school years into a truly rewarding first job.”

5. I wish I had acted on my career hunches.

“Several individuals recounted windows of opportunity in their careers, or as one professional described, ‘now-or-never moments.’”

What else do we know about regret?

I’ve posted about research into the subject of regret before. So what do we regret the most?

What do people regret the most before they die?

Bronnie Ware worked in palliative care for many years, tending to people during the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. A handful of themes cropped up in the things they regretted during their final days:

1. “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

2. “I wish I didn’t work so hard.”

3. “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”

4. “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”

5. “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

To them, these were regrets. For you, this can be a checklist of what not to do.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

The Most Overlooked Aspects of Creating a Lasting Morning Routine

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Waking up early sets the tone of “making a choice” for the day

“Those that get up at 5 a.m. rule the world.” – Robin Sharma

Those who know me, know that I love my morning routine. I’m always making adjustments to it, and at its core it revolves around waking up early (before sunrise), working on something important for 90 minutes, and then hitting the gym. I recently shared my most recent routine in a blog post about creating new habits.

Today, I want to share a couple of things about my routine that I’ve neglected to mention in previous articles. These two aspects have enabled me to create a morning routine that has lasted several months, and it’s through my morning routine truly becoming habitual that I’ve seen massive benefits. I hope that these two insights can help you, too.

Why wake up early in the first place?

Before I jump into those two key insights that helped me, I want to share some of my thoughts about why you might want to wake up early at all.

Firstly, I’ve observed that many of the most successful people wake up early. In fact, I don’t know anyone who consistently wakes up before 6 a.m. who isn’t doing something interesting with their life. Some of the top CEOs are well known for waking up super early, many of them at 4:30 a.m.

Additionally, I feel that waking up early sets the tone of “making a choice” for my day. If I leave it to fate as to when I roll out of bed, then I feel like that’s the outlook I’m taking in general. On the other hand, if I choose to get up early and do amazing things in those quiet hours, that’s when I feel like I’m grabbing hold of my life and controlling where I go. That’s the choice I want to make.

Finally, I’d like to ask you – are you working for someone else and have the desire to create your own startup? If that’s the case, then do you leave your “startup building time” to the evening? Why do it after 8 hours of work? You’re going to be exhausted and struggle to be motivated.

I advise you to think about what is a higher priority for you—your dream of a startup, or your work for someone else? Perhaps start working harder on yourself than on your job. When I started Buffer whilst working 5 days per week, it was the choice to work an hour first thing in the morning each day when I was freshest that made a huge difference.

So, if you’re thinking about starting an early morning routine, here are two things that took me a while to notice:

1. Craft your evening routine to get enough sleep

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One of the most important things I’ve found when I have attempted to keep up an early morning routine for several days and weeks in a row is that if I let my daily sleep amount get much below 7 hours for too many consecutive days, I will burn out sooner or later.

The best way I have found to counteract this is to decide how much sleep I need (for me it’s about 7.5 hours a night) and then figure out the exact time I need to be in bed. Once I’ve done this, I set up a 30-minute winding down ritual (for me, it’s going for a walk) that allows me to disengage from the day’s work and not have work in my head when I hit the pillow.

The key thing I’ve found is that in order to wake up early over a sustained period of weeks, this evening ritual is just as important as how much I think about my morning routine.

2. Wake up early on weekends, too

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Another key aspect I’ve found to having a consistent early morning routine over a long period of time is to pay particular attention to the weekend as well as the week. I certainly believe that allowing imperfection and some slack at the weekend is important, but I personally made the mistake of having a weekend wake-up time that was too divergent from my week day wake-up time. Only once I started to think about the weekend, I hit a chain of many days of early mornings.

Once you’ve decided when you want to wake up during the week, I recommend that you don’t wake up much more than 1 hour later at the weekend. This also probably means that you still need to go to bed quite early on Friday and Saturday night. The problem arises when you wake up several hours later on Saturday and Sunday, and then want to wake up super early again on Monday.

The most likely thing is that Monday will be a little later, and Tuesday too. Perhaps by Wednesday you are back to your early morning waking time, but you will not feel that magical state of gliding along, having several days in a row of early mornings and productive quiet hours.

If you don’t try to wake up at a similar time at the weekend, it is similar to giving yourself jet lag every weekend. By waking up at a similar time at the weekend, you don’t stretch your body, and therefore you can achieve long term consistency with your morning routine.

This article originally appeared on Buffer.

Read next: 5 Best Morning Rituals for a Super Productive Day

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TIME Careers & Workplace

185 Powerful Verbs That Will Make Your Resume Awesome

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Next time you update your resume, switch up a few of those common words and phrases

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

Led

Handled

Managed…

Responsible for

Most resume bullet points start with the same words. Frankly, the same tired old words hiring managers have heard over and over—to the point where they’ve lost a lot of their meaning and don’t do much to show off your awesome accomplishments.

So, let’s get a little more creative, shall we? Next time you update your resume, switch up a few of those common words and phrases with strong, compelling action verbs that will catch hiring managers’ eyes.

No matter what duty or accomplishment you’re trying to show off, we’ve got just the verb for you. Check out the list below, and get ready to make your resume way more exciting.

You Led a Project

If you were in charge of a project or initiative from start to finish, skip “led” and instead try:

1. Chaired

2. Controlled

3. Coordinated

4. Executed

5. Headed

6. Operated

7. Orchestrated

8. Organized

9. Oversaw

10. Planned

11. Produced

12. Programmed

You Envisioned and Brought to Life a Project

And if you actually developed, created, or introduced that project into your company? Try:

13. Administered

14. Built

15. Charted

16. Created

17. Designed

18. Developed

19. Devised

20. Founded

21. Engineered

22. Established

23. Formalized

24. Formed

25. Formulated

26. Implemented

27. Incorporated

28. Initiated

29. Instituted

30. Introduced

31. Launched

32. Pioneered

33. Spearheaded

You Saved the Company Time or Money

Hiring managers love candidates who’ve helped a team operate more efficiently or cost-effectively. To show just how much you saved, try:

34. Conserved

35. Consolidated

36. Decreased

37. Deducted

38. Diagnosed

39. Lessened

40. Reconciled

41. Reduced

42. Yielded

You Increased Efficiency, Sales, Revenue, or Customer Satisfaction

Along similar lines, if you can show that your work boosted the company’s numbers in some way, you’re bound to impress. In these cases, consider:

43. Accelerated

44. Achieved

45. Advanced

46. Amplified

47. Boosted

48. Capitalized

49. Delivered

50. Enhanced

51. Expanded

52. Expedited

53. Furthered

54. Gained

55. Generated

56. Improved

57. Lifted

58. Maximized

59. Outpaced

60. Stimulated

61. Sustained

You Changed or Improved Something

So, you brought your department’s invoicing system out of the Stone Age and onto the interwebs? Talk about the amazing changes you made at your office with these words:

62. Centralized

63. Clarified

64. Converted

65. Customized

66. Influenced

67. Integrated

68. Merged

69. Modified

70. Overhauled

71. Redesigned

72. Refined

73. Refocused

74. Rehabilitated

75. Remodeled

76. Reorganized

77. Replaced

78. Restructured

79. Revamped

80. Revitalized

81. Simplified

82. Standardized

83. Streamlined

84. Strengthened

85. Updated

86. Upgraded

87. Transformed

You Managed a Team

Instead of reciting your management duties, like “Led a team…” or “Managed employees…” show what an inspirational leader you were, with terms like:

88. Aligned

89. Cultivated

90. Directed

91. Enabled

92. Facilitated

93. Fostered

94. Guided

95. Hired

96. Inspired

97. Mentored

98. Mobilized

99. Motivated

100. Recruited

101. Regulated

102. Shaped

103. Supervised

104. Taught

105. Trained

106. Unified

107. United

You Brought in Partners, Funding, or Resources

Were you “responsible for” a great new partner, sponsor, or source of funding? Try:

108. Acquired

109. Forged

110. Navigated

111. Negotiated

112. Partnered

113. Secured

You Supported Customers

Because manning the phones or answering questions really means you’re advising customers and meeting their needs, use:

114. Advised

115. Advocated

116. Arbitrated

117. Coached

118. Consulted

119. Educated

120. Fielded

121. Informed

122. Resolved

You Were a Research Machine

Did your job include research, analysis, or fact-finding? Mix up your verbiage with these words:

123. Analyzed

124. Assembled

125. Assessed

126. Audited

127. Calculated

128. Discovered

129. Evaluated

130. Examined

131. Explored

132. Forecasted

133. Identified

134. Interpreted

135. Investigated

136. Mapped

137. Measured

138. Qualified

139. Quantified

140. Surveyed

141. Tested

142. Tracked

You Wrote or Communicated

Was writing, speaking, lobbying, or otherwise communicating part of your gig? You can explain just how compelling you were with words like:

143. Authored

144. Briefed

145. Campaigned

146. Co-authored

147. Composed

148. Conveyed

149. Convinced

150. Corresponded

151. Counseled

152. Critiqued

153. Defined

154. Documented

155. Edited

156. Illustrated

157. Lobbied

158. Persuaded

159. Promoted

160. Publicized

161. Reviewed

You Oversaw or Regulated

Whether you enforced protocol or managed your department’s requests, describe what you really did, better, with these words:

162. Authorized

163. Blocked

164. Delegated

165. Dispatched

166. Enforced

167. Ensured

168. Inspected

169. Itemized

170. Monitored

171. Screened

172. Scrutinized

173. Verified

You Achieved Something

Did you hit your goals? Win a coveted department award? Don’t forget to include that on your resume, with words like:

174. Attained

175. Awarded

176. Completed

177. Demonstrated

178. Earned

179. Exceeded

180. Outperformed

181. Reached

182. Showcased

183. Succeeded

184. Surpassed

185. Targeted

More from the Muse:

Read next: 4 Changes That Will Make Your Resume Incredibly Powerful

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TIME advice

Career Advice You Should Never Follow

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"Don’t be a job hopper"

With so much career advice floating around the interwebs, some of it is bound to be total bollocks. (It’s Christmas season, of course I have Love, Actually quotes on the brain.) Luckily we here at Levo don’t just trust the haphazardly doled-out opinions of self-appointed “leadership experts” and other dubious characters. We go straight to the top—men and women who have worked their way to massive career success—and ask them. What strategies actually worked for them? Which career buzz phrases should be ignored completely? Here are a few pieces of career advice that you should never follow.

1. “Always have a five-year plan.”

Haven’t you heard? Five-year plans are out, pivoting is in. Having tangible goals is awesome and necessary, but trying to plan out the next five years of your life is neither. The best opportunities are often those that you don’t see coming. Being too stuck to your “five-year plan” inhibits you from taking opportunities as they arise, and pivoting in new directions.

2. “Don’t be a job hopper.”

There are worse things to be. Namely, the quiet loyal workhorse who never leaves or makes the money she deserves. It’s a new economy people, job hopping is becoming the norm. These days, employees who stay in companies for longer than two years earn 50% less over their lifetimes. So yes, be gracious and respectful to each and every one of your employers, but certainly don’t stay in a position for fear of being labeled “a job hopper.”

(MORE: Career Lessons from Your Favorite Kevin Spacey Characters)

3. “Follow the money.” / “Just do what you love and the money will follow.”

Equally bad advice, from opposite ends of the spectrum. Following the money with complete disregard for your interests is a surefire path toward a soul-sucking career doing something you hate. It may not even be the best financial move in the long term. On the other side of that coin, doing what you love with the expectation that financial success will miraculously follow is naive and ridiculous. As Kate White always says, think about where your interests and talents intersect with the greatest potential for financial success, and head toward those points of intersection.

4. “Don’t be too grabby. Let your work speak for itself.”

This is the kind of advice your Middle Eastern grandfather who owned a small business 40 years ago might give you (not from personal experience or anything). Even if it means well, it is just not true. Remember that episode of New Girl? Jess wants to be vice principal of her school: “I’m just hoping, you know in a few years, I’ll have enough experience that Dr. Foster will consider me for Vice Principal.” Coach asks, “Why don’t you just ask for it?” Jess says, “You can’t just ask for a promotion, you know, you have to earn the promotion with years of hard work.” Coach laughs. Please, don’t be Jess.

5. “Don’t waste time applying to jobs you know you won’t get.”

We just published a great piece from the Personal Branding Blog that addresses this very topic. Just because you think a particular job is a reach or you’re not the ideal fit, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply. Within limits of course—don’t start applying for wedding photographer assistant positions if you want to be a pharmacist (unless you’ve always cultivated a secret passion for photography of course). Every job you apply to is an opportunity to tighten up your resume, hone your interview skills, and build confidence, which is never a waste of time.

(MORE: One Piece of Career Advice You Always Should Ignore)

This article originally appeared on Levo.com.

TIME Mental Health/Psychology

5 Email Habits of Very Productive People

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Here's how to practice good email hygiene

Ping! Check email. Ping. Check email again. Ping. Check. Ping. Check. Ping. Check.

If you’re like most people who sit in front of a computer all day, this probably sounds like you: When you’re not currently replying to an email, you’re looking to see if you have any new ones. Then when something new does come in, you read it, debate how to respond, then deem it too time-consuming for the moment. “I’ll get to that later,” you think. And if there’s nothing new, you’re nervously wondering why. “Is it because my inbox is full?!” So you keep checking back every 15 seconds until something pops up—in the meantime deleting all the junk mail that has since clogged your inbox.

HEALTH.COM: 12 Reasons to Stop Multitasking Now!

But a life tethered to your email means those other projects you want and need to do—be they big reports or personal tasks—can get postponed by days, weeks, or months. Not to mention, a new Canadian study found hyperchecking your email can make you (surprise!) more stressed. So we asked five people who have a barrage of emails to answer to tell us how they tame their inbox.

Read on for their strategies to deal with the deep, dark email crevasse.

Set designated “reply times”

“I do many quick checks of email throughout the day to see if there’s something high priority and urgent that has come in, but I only allocate two times a day to fully deal with the email that has accumulated. By batching all of the heavy duty email processing into bigger chunks, I can be much more efficient and reduce the feeling of constantly switching tasks.”

—Jacob Bank, computer scientist and co-founder and CEO of the Timeful calendar app

HEALTH.COM: 12 Unexpected Things That Mess With Your Memory

Pick and choose what’s key

“I respond to priorities as soon as possible, and keep correspondence clear and super positive. Knowing that I’ll still never get through all the emails, I prioritize people who are asking for help and opportunities that support my intention. I’m also not afraid to use the “!” for high priorities or dramatic effect.”

—Tara Stiles, yoga instructor, author of the Make Your Own Rules Diet ($25, amazon.com), and W Hotels’ fitness partner

Email only the quick things

“Email works for quick day-to-day correspondence, but when I have something important to discuss or decisions to be made, I pick up the phone. It is always better to hear the person on the other end—the inflection in their voice. Emails can often be misunderstood.”

Bobbi Brown, makeup artist and Health‘s contributing beauty and lifestyle editor

HEALTH.COM: 13 Ways to Beat Stress in 15 Minutes or Less

Sort all your stuff

“I have found that treating my online mail just like post office mail works wonders. I created folders: Everything from mom folder, workout class folder, celebrity clientele folder, house folder, summer cottage folder, medical folder, kid folders, etc. With emails organized into categories, I can easily do my three steps…find, take action, or delete. You’ll also need to unsubscribe from junk. The volume of junk email is tremendous and spending time deleting each one is taking precious time away from you. Finally, prioritize emails that need attention that particular day. I hit reply and drag them to the corner of my desktop if I can’t get to them at that moment, otherwise I use my other rule, don’t leave an email request—answer asap.”

—Kathy Kaehler, celebrity trainer, author, and founder of Sunday Set-Up, a healthy eating club

Respond—don’t mull

“I try to respond to emails as soon as I see them because otherwise they can get pushed further down the inbox and may be ignored. I recommend you be responsive but not superfluous. By responding quickly and writing short, non-flowery emails, you can create an image of efficiency and attentiveness. Even short words like “Thanks” or “Got it” will help you build a culture of trust and signal that you are on top of your inbox.”

—Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine, Health’s contributing medical editor, and cofounder of Tula Skincare

HEALTH.COM: 10 Nervous Habits That Hurt Your Health

This article originally appeared on Health.com

TIME Careers

Get Motivated With 2014’s Inspiring, Unforgettable Quotes

2014 has been inspired, from Maya Angelou to Robin Williams to Sheryl Sandberg

With the year coming to a close, there’s no better time to look back at the words that moved us, made us laugh and inspired us to do more. From the encouragement of big name graduation speakers, to sound TED Talk advice and remembering those who are no longer with us, here are 11 examples of words of wisdom from the pages of Entrepreneur.

  • “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” Maya Angelou, Author and Activist


    Read more:
    10 Inspirational Quotes From Literary Legend Maya Angelou

  • “And some of you – and now I’m talking to anyone who has been dumped – have not gotten the job you really wanted or have received those horrible rejection letters from grad school. You know the disappointment of losing or not getting something you badly want. When that happens, show what you are made of.” – Jill Abramson, Journalist


    Read more:
    Ex-NYT Editor Jill Abramson on Resilience

  • “You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” - Robin Williams, Actor and Comedian


    Read more:
    10 Inspirational Robin Williams Quotes

  • “Getting from point A to point Z can be daunting unless you remember that you don’t have to get from A to Z. You just have to get from A to B. Breaking big dreams into small steps is the way to move forward.” – Sheryl Sandberg, Author, Activist, COO of Facebook


    Read more:
    Sheryl Sandberg’s Advice to Grads: Banish Self-Doubt, Dream Bigger and Lean In, Always

  • “Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, because you know what you can do if you grab the wrong one? Drop it and pick up another one!” – Steve Ballmer, Former Microsoft CEO and current owner of the LA Clippers


    Read more:
    3 Life Lessons From Steve Ballmer’s Rousing Graduation Speech

  • “I will always be safe from the random hurricanes of outcome as long as I never forget where I rightfully live.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Writer


    Read more:

  • “If you aren’t making a difference in other people’s lives, you shouldn’t be in business — it’s that simple. Companies have a responsibility to make a difference in the world: They owe this to their community, their staff, their customers, everyone. The amazing part is that doing good is also good for business — what are you waiting for?” – Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group

    Read more: Richard Branson’s Top 10 Tips for Succeeding at Business

  • “Let’s keep it real: most of us, especially most of us entrepreneurs, get caught up in what we perceive to be the highs and lows of our professional lives. We pop champagne, buy fancy toys and celebrate when it seems like one of our ideas has “won,” but we become dark and depressed when it seems like an idea has “lost” or “failed.” The truth is that neither reaction is sustainable. Being an entrepreneur or a business person is a journey that will have inevitable highs and lows, but will never actually end.” – Russell Simmons, fashion and lifestyle entrepreneur and founder of Def Jam Recordings

    Read more: Russell Simmons: 3 Simple Ways Meditation Will Make You a Better Entrepreneur

  • So I guess what I’m saying is you gotta ask yourself, why are you playing the game?– Matthew McConaughey, Actor


    Read more: Low on Drive? Watch Matthew McConaughey Deliver This Rousing Ode to Purpose

  • “Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.” – Joan Rivers, Comedian


    Read more:
    Honoring Joan Rivers: 12 of the Trailblazing Comedian’s Wisest Quotes

  • “Being open and observant of people and the world around you is really important. People have the same desires and needs online as they do offline. The way that people are stays constant. You can change the format, make it easier for them to communicate or use photos instead of words but human necessities never change.” – Caterina Fake, tech entrepreneur, founder of Flickr and Findery.

    Related: Lewis Howes On Being Confident: ‘Own Who You Are’

    This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

TIME advice

How to Use the Holidays to Advance Your Career

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Get clear on what you have to offer

Often during the holidays we have some extra time on our hands. Without work, college, or other distractions, we can take the time to catch up on our year and look ahead to next year.

For me, the most important goals for the coming year are always career oriented. I find when I’m happy with my career, personal development, and overall professional growth, everything else seems to come into place. I see more friends, have more time to exercise and focus on hobbies, and am just happier.

Here’s how everyone can make the most of this holiday season to get ready for our careers in 2015:

1. Get serious about LinkedIn.

LinkedIn, the worlds largest professional network. It’s very easy to be intimidated by this network if you aren’t already using it, but you shouldn’t be intimidated and you should be using it.

I know many people, including myself, who get multiple opportunities a month from LinkedIn. Whether they’re new job openings, freelance contracts, or connecting with other professionals, having a full and complete LinkedIn profile does wonders for your personal brand and can do wonders for you career, too.

When you sit down with your LinkedIn profile start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What’s my biggest career accomplishment to date and how am I highlighting it?
  • What do I like about other people’s profiles and how can I bring those qualities to my own profile?
  • What is my goal with my LinkedIn profile? For potential employers to find me, to bring in new client leads or to keep up with my professional network?

Once you answer those questions be sure to take action and include your biggest accomplishment, include elements you like about other people’s profiles and anything else you think can help your profile stand out. Having an amazing LinkedIn profile is easier than it seems.

2. Write down your ideal career situation.

A lot of us have ideas of what our dream job would be like, who our dream company is, and what it would be like to be there. But have you ever really written it down?

Take a minute to write down your ideal career situation and be very specific. Where are you working, what are you doing, what does an everyday look like, and why does this job make you happy?

Writing it down is different from just thinking about it because it forces you to get really clear on what you want. Once you have your perfect situation written down, you will start to see little steps that you can take in 2015 to slowly, but surely, get there.

(MORE: How to Rock the Job Search During the Holidays)

3. Get clear on what you have to offer.

Have you ever made a big list of all of your skills, knowledge, and other things that you bring to the table when you work somewhere?

Getting clear on this will help you advance your career in many different ways. It helps you figure out which job posting are really for you, it helps you know what you can offer clients, and the skills question always comes up in interviews.

Make sure you have this list on hand when you’re doing career-related things. It keeps you on your path of working on the skills you are best at.

4. Set goals for 2015.

Finally over the new year, I love to set goals and resolutions. Napoleon Hill said, ”A goal is a dream with a deadline.”

Don’t be afraid to give yourself a deadline for these goals. They give you something to work toward. Make sure your goals follow the SMART plan:

  • Specific: Instead of ‘get a job’ try ‘land an entry level position with company in X industry.’
  • Measurable: Make sure you can determine whether or not you’ve accomplished the goal.
  • Actionable: Can you take small steps to get to this goal?
  • Realistic: Taking into account your current situation, how likely is it you will achieve this? Big dreams are amazing–but it takes small accomplishments to get there.
  • Timely: Set a deadline–don’t be scared of the timeframe, let it motivate you.

I’m all for lofty goals that blow your mind when you accomplish them. I would say just start with the really small steps to get there.

(MORE: Merry Stress-mess: How to Not Go Crazy During the Holidays)

This article originally appeared on Levo.com.

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