TIME Careers & Workplace

Revealed: 5 Secrets Recruiters Won’t Normally Tell You

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Learn behind-the-scenes info direct from the source that will help you get a job

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This story was originally published on StartupCollective.

As a talent strategy consultant and career coach, I tell clients all the time: “I get the other side of the equation.” Companies like that I coach job seekers, and job seekers like that I consult with talent acquisition teams at companies.

Having a foot in both worlds means I don’t forget what it’s like on both sides of the aisle. It’s like recruiting bipartisanship. But every once in awhile, I take sides. And job seekers, this is for you.

There are a million nuances to being a recruiter — like many jobs, to an outsider it may seem straightforward. But there are multiple stakeholders, laws and budgets vying for attention that make it really difficult sometimes. And the more you know and understand, the more effective you’ll be. Recruiters may not want you to know their secrets, but here are five tips to help you get both feet in the door and the attention of a recruiter. You’ll thank me now. They’ll thank me later.

1. An important part of a recruiter’s job is inside sales.

Like any job, recruiters are measured, evaluated and lauded (or not) based on how well they perform. But it’s often with strange (to you) metrics like time to fill, or percentage of job postings (called requisitions) that have closed. More rarely are they measured on quality of hire (i.e., how well you’re performing a year after you’re hired). This means recruiters are biased towards selling candidates to the hiring manager. Hard. They want that job to close fast. So make it easy on them to sell you.

Bottom line: Don’t assume they’ll figure out your skills are transferable. Apply for jobs where you’re clearly a fit and supplement any networking, cover letters and phone screens with clear examples they can turn around and use. One time a candidate had a unique technical skill so he called to explain it and tell me why it mattered in our business. I loved that.

2. Weird behavior makes recruiters nervous.

Being on the phone all day can make a recruiter crazy. That means in between interviews, sourcing calls and offer deliveries, they’re sharing tales of insanity — odd calls, strange answers to interview questions and tales of incredulity (such as: “Why did this guy apply to three different jobs? Does he not know I can see all of them?”) There’s nothing wrong with getting a recruiter’s attention, but if you cross a line, they’re just going to ignore you. It’s just like dating. Say “I love you” too soon, call too many times in a row or try too hard and you’re out.

Bottom line: Make an effort to get noticed but don’t border on pathetic. Follow up and check on your candidacy but don’t call every day or start sending LinkedIn invitations to the entire team. If it feels strange, don’t do it. Making the recruiter nervous is a reason for them to focus on someone else. I once had a candidate email me every day. Stalker — you’re out.

3. Sometimes it’s a crapshoot.

A recruiter typically has a collection of requisitions she is responsible for. In most companies, it’s usually an unmanageable number (at least to the recruiter). So in the morning, she may come in and open her ATS (applicant tracking system) and start looking at what resumes came in for what position (requisition) overnight. She’s human, so while scanning resumes, she might be distracted by her boss popping by, a tweet or a phone call. That means some resumes get the six-second glance, some get 30. There’s no guarantee of fairness — it’s absolutely impossible. And if she already has enough candidates interviewing, she might barely glance, if at all, at new resumes.

Bottom line: Sometimes it’s a crapshoot. You might feel like you’re a perfect fit for the job, but the timing of when you apply or simply how busy the recruiter is that day could determine your fate. That’s where networking comes in. Never apply for a job cold. Make a connection in the organization first that can check up on your candidacy with the recruiter. Depending on where she is in the process you might not get a fair shake, but at least you’ll be in the know. As a recruiter, I could ignore resumes in my ATS queue but I couldn’t ignore a colleague at my door asking about a referral.

4. They influence but rarely, if ever, decide…

A hiring decision usually comes from the hiring manager. It may even have to be approved by his boss. The recruiter doesn’t decide. She will contribute to the discussion and provide opinions on interactions with candidates. She’ll provide context like salary ranges or market analyses, but she won’t decide.

Bottom line: Don’t rely on the recruiter throughout the entire process. Figure out who else is important in the decision-making process and build relationships. Send follow-up emails that show you did your research and take them up on the offer to ask additional questions. Just don’t go overboard. Weird behavior makes hiring managers nervous too. (See #2).

5. …but they have a tremendous amount of insider information.

Recruiters know what the hiring managers are like, what matters most to them and what interview strategies succeed. So don’t ignore them. It’s really important to have the recruiter on your side. You want to make their job easier and set them up for success. In turn, the recruiter can share that valuable insider information if you just ask: “As I prepare for the interview later this week, any suggestions you have on what matters to the hiring manager are greatly appreciated — I really value your advice.” The worst they can say is no.

Bottom line: A strong relationship with the recruiter is part of the equation. Recognize that she’s busy and may have a million priorities (while the job you want is your only one right now). Respect her time and help her help you. In return, she may be able to help you prepare, understand and strengthen your candidacy over others who don’t even bother to ask or care. As a recruiter I often felt under-appreciated. Thanks from a candidate and recognition that I played an important role in the process went a long way.

MONEY managing

4 Ways to Make Millennials Happier at Work

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A new survey from Payscale and branding expert Dan Schawbel offers insights into what managers can do to retain Gen Y employees.

Managers, get ready: By 2030, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And a new survey from Payscale, led by Dan Schawbel of Millennial Branding, finds this generation to be more ambitious than those who came before them. Nearly three quarters of Millennials say that an ideal job would offer some career advancement, more than Gen X and boomers. The report also pinpoints the specific types of conditions and leadership Gen Y’ers crave at work.

Play to those needs and your business may also be able to boost retention, Schawbel says.

His report finds that 26% of Gen Y workers believe employees should only be expected to stay in a job for a year or less before seeking a new role elsewhere. As an employer, that kind of turnover can be pricey. “It costs about $20,000 to replace each Millennial,” says Schawbel.

And considering the time it takes to fill that position and the stress workers take on to cover for the job in that time, it’s worth keeping a talented Millennial happy at work, he says.

As managers, here are four ways to give in to this demographic—while still getting what you need out of them.

1. Lead with the Positive

Remember, this is the generation that still got trophies when they lost a little league game. Their parents flashed bumper stickers stating that “Junior Made the Honor Roll.”

For this cohort, it’s more effective to give constructive feedback that points out what they’re doing right ahead of what they’re doing wrong. “Millennials want feedback, but they don’t want criticism,” says Schawbel.

An effective manager sets up expectations from the beginning, and offers compliments before giving negative feedback. “The tone is really important,” he says.

2. Treat them like Family

Gen Y thinks of their boss as their “work parent” and coworkers as “work relatives,” notes Schawbel.

In fact 72% want a manager who’s friendly and inviting. That compares to 63% of Gen Xers and 61% of Baby Boomers.

Reciprocate and play to those needs via team-building exercises, office happy-hour outings, volunteering opportunities and mentorship programs. The goal is to make it so there’s a real cost to them for quitting, says Schawbel. “They lose that family and they lose that culture for leaving.”

3. Promote from Within

Millennials want to lead. Therefore, demonstrating to your staff—particularly the 20-something set—that there’s a strong chance for upward mobility is imperative. If you constantly hire externally for advanced positions, how can you expect them to want to stay?

Besides engendering loyalty, raising up someone internally is a lot cheaper. Bringing in an outsider is “1.7 times the cost of internal hiring,” says Schawbel.

4. Give Them Ownership

This is not to say that you should give them a fat equity stake or a seat on the board.

The majority of Millennials say they want the opportunity to learn new skills and freedom from their managers. They want to own their projects from start to finish. To that end, an “intapreneurship” program—where you encourage workers to develop ideas for new products and services in an in-house incubator—can go a long way in keeping Millennials happy.

LinkedIn, Google and Lockheed Martin have their own versions of this kind of program.

How it works: Employees to come up with a business plan and pitch it to executives. For Millennials such projects offer the best of both worlds—they get to experiment freely like entrepreneurs but within the comforting structure of a 9 to 5 (dental included).

Farnoosh Torabi is a contributing editor at MONEY and the author of the book When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women. More of her columns and videos for MONEY.com:

TIME Careers & Workplace

The Most Important 20 Minutes of the Day

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Want to have a better life? Do this for 20 minutes—or less

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

What are the most important moments of the day? The 20 minutes you commit to planning.

You’re thinking, Planning? Yuck.

I know for some people it’s a dreaded word, but don’t worry. I’m not talking about writing a business plan or setting annual goals. I’m simply talking about dedicating 20 minutes to prioritizing and organizing your day.

The 20 minutes you spend today can save hours tomorrow and turn a good day into a great day.

Related: Be Strategic. Set Aside Time to Select Daily and Weekly Goals.

Everyone knows that the most valuable resource entrepreneurs have is time. So stop giving it away to people and spending it on activities you don’t care about. People say if only there were more hours in the day, they could get everything done. But what about those two hours spent watching The Bachelor? Or that hour-long meeting with a vendor trying to sell you something that you know you aren’t going to buy? Been there? I know I have.

It’s crucial that entrepreneurs protect their time like the Night’s Watch guards the wall in the Game of Thrones. This means declining interesting opportunities. This means choosing one person over another to schedule that long meeting with. This means saying no without worrying about hurting someone’s feelings. This means realizing that saying no today allows you to say yes tomorrow to something that means more.

Related: How to Not Waste Your Windfall of Time

My daily plan.

Today I completed my morning planning for the 504th time. It’s a daily routine of mine that is now a programmed habit. I started this habit on Dec. 4, 2012, and I call it my “8 for the Day.” The process is simple:

1. I write down the eight goals I want to accomplish that day. I figure if I can’t get eight things done in an eight-hour day, then I’m doing the wrong things.

2. Six of those goals are professional and two are personal. Personal goals include things like going for a run or having a date night with my wife.

3. The next morning, I check off the goals I accomplished, see how I did, reassess and then create a new list for the day.

4. On Saturdays, I flip the ratio and set six personal goals and two professional goals, which may be as simple as paying the bills. This is an effort to encourage weekend fun and discourage weekend work.

On Sundays, there is no list making. I need time to rest and a day free of lists.

Related: 2 Habits Most Entrepreneurs Don’t Develop But Should

Committing 20 minutes a day (sometimes less) to setting daily goals and organizing priorities has been so beneficial to my work, personal life, and overall health and well-being. The “8 for the Day” exercise is something I created that works for me, but there are other great tactics for planning your day.

Tim Ferriss suggests writing three to five things down and then choosing one task to commit time to completing. Gina Trapani chooses her most important thing or MIT. Choose or create a system that works for you.

The point is not when you plan your day, just that you do it. I love to start my day with dedicated time to focus on and visualize how my day will unfold, and what I can do to make it successful. Others like to spend the last 20 minutes before they go to bed thinking about tomorrow and making a game plan.

You choose your most important 20 minutes of your day. The question is, How will you spend them?

Related: How Fortune 500 Leaders Spend Every Minute of the Day (Infographic)

MONEY Health Care

The Hidden Financial Benefits of Keeping Yourself Fit

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Investing in fitness can generate financial rewards as well as health benefits.

You know exercise is good for you. What you may not know is that working out can have financial benefits too.

Plenty of research suggests that overweight people spend more on health care, but it’s not just the thin who stand to save. Fact is, regardless of your weight, if you’re a couch potato you’re likely missing out on earning and saving opportunities.

The Payoff in Your Paycheck

Health care costs aren’t the only way physical activity is a benefit. People who work out regularly, as in at least three times per week, are more productive at work than those who don’t, according to research published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Those who get sufficient exercise also miss fewer workdays, according to the same study. Those absences can translate to lost income and lost opportunities for advancement.

Another study published in the Journal of Labor Research found that men who work out regularly can expect to make 6% more than their sedentary counterparts, on average. For women, the pay boost is higher: Fitness-savvy females make 10% more, on average.

A Nudge From the Boss

If you’re not already working out, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to start.

For starters, some employers just flat-out pay their employees to work out as part of workplace wellness initiatives. For example, IBM offers cash to employees who meet certain fitness goals. Employees at Google and Zappos can use on-site fitness classes and facilities, enabling them to skip membership fees at traditional gyms. Even if your company doesn’t currently offer wellness benefits, it might soon: Under the Affordable Care Act, employers can receive grants to get one started.

Your employer may have a deal worked out with a local gym where employees can get discounted rates. Even if your company doesn’t offer such an incentive, chances are that your health insurance provider does. UnitedHealthcare offers reimbursements of $20 per month to members who use one of many participating gyms, while Blue Cross Blue Shield has worked out a $25 membership fee for their members at over 8,000 gyms nationwide. These insurance giants aren’t the only ones in on the game—most health care insurers offer some type of fitness benefit for members.

Just Do It

On the other hand, skipping the gym altogether may be your biggest money saver. If a participating fitness center isn’t available near you, or you’re just not the gym-going type, there are plenty of ways to get in shape for free. You can use the myriad online videos in the comfort and privacy of your own home, such as those offered on Bodyrock.TV or YouTube’s workout channel. If you like mobile apps, try Daily Workouts free app, or iPump. If you’re close with your co-workers you can start a lunchtime walking group. Your boss may just end up rewarding you for it.

Read more from NerdWallet Health, a website that empowers consumers to find high quality, affordable health care and lower their medical bills.

TIME Careers & Workplace

The 3 Greatest Attributes of Exceptional Leaders

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You can’t be a powerful leader without these three characteristics

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This story was originally published on StartupCollective.

Empowering. Motivating. Inspiring.

The list of characteristics of great leaders is endless. And while they all make for a good read, none of them fully capture the essence of what makes a great leader in a complete way.

Great leaders may possess a myriad of attributes, not the least of which are intelligence, charisma and natural charm. All of these things matter. However, you can be a great leader and not be naturally charming or very intelligent. In my time at PeoplePerHour I’ve learned a lot about leadership. I have come to the conclusion that there are three key attributes a great leader must have.

  1. Vision: The ability to amass a great team, motivate and inspire them is plain useless if you don’t have a clear vision of where you need to go. Leadership is first about seeing the future and then about being able to figure out a feasiblepath to get there. It’s seeing the iceberg before the Titanic hits it and taking fast and decisive action. It’s doing the one right thing rather than doing many things right. It’s being different, not following the herd, being controversial, and seeing what others don’t see. It’s having a nose for what’s coming and the eyes and ears to react before others do. Without vision, you can empower people all you like but you won’t get anywhere. You’ll have a following but no direction. You may make a great motivational coach, but not a leader. Every difficult situation needs a visionary leader to point the way and make a tough decision.
  2. Influence: Once you have a clear vision (but only then), you need a sting following. That requires the power of influence. Whether you are in an existing leadership situation or the creator of a group, this is very hard thing to do. In either case, you are new to the situation and the odds are against you. Why should people trust someone new? The vast majority of people are resistant to change, no matter the odds. In order to fulfill any grand vision, you need to drive change. Otherwise you are just a puppet master holding the strings waiting for the show to end. Influence people across the board — explain to employees the benefit of leaving secure jobs and come join you; convince investors to give you money at the very beginning, get customers and fans to support you, your bank manager to give you an overdraft, your landlord to give you a lease and rent-free period; and your wife to put up with sleepless nights, cold sweats and no pay. Carry that burden of influence with you. If you go down, you take more people with you than yesterday.
  3. Courage: The third element is the most challenging. You’ve clarified a vision and built a following by charming, coercing, schmoozing…ultimately influencingenough people. After all this work, you realize that it’s only day one. Now you have your boat (more like a raft) and your compass. But you still need to cross the ocean. This is the final and true test of great leadership. It ultimately comes down to courage. Intelligence and knowledge are advantages of course, but without courage they are wasted. Courage alone could and would get you there, albeit slower and with more pain. So the key question is: Do you have the courage to keep going when everyone tells you to turn back; to know you’re right when everyone says you’re wrong; to stick to your instincts when people call you crazy; to carry other people’s weight when they fall; to set the tempo and beat the drum despite how tired you may be? It’s your job to keep people together when they are drifting apart and losing faith, to give them courage but not false hope, to let go of some to save many, and to weather the storm but not bask in the sunlight when it ends — because it never does.

Vision and influence will make you a well equipped captain. But courage is what gets you there. On the other hand, courage alone makes you a fighter without a cause. You may be good at creating lots of noise, but to paraphrase Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”: that’s just “the noise before defeat.”

TIME Careers & Workplace

6 Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job (That No One Will Ever Tell You)

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The way you speak can, surprisingly, be a huge indicator to your interviewer about whether you’re the right fit for the position

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

You dressed the part. You told engaging stories. You asked insightful questions. Frankly, you nailed the interview, but you didn’t get the job. What gives?

You can certainly try to ask for feedback after receiving a rejection, but most employers probably won’t say much. If they do, it’ll be something fairly generic, along the lines of “other qualified candidates.” That, of course, isn’t always the real reason—it’s just that the real reason might be a little too awkward to actually say to someone’s face.

So, what are some of these uncomfortable reasons for not selecting a particular job candidate? Read on for a list of commonly cited deal breakers that are pretty difficult for hiring mangers to admit to.

1. You Spoke Funny

Do you have a habit of making your statements sound like questions? Tend to speak in an overly casual or formal tone?

The way you speak can, surprisingly, be a huge indicator to your interviewer about whether you’re the right fit for the position. Maybe you sound too meek to manage a team of 10 or too aggressive to handle customer complaints. This might not be a fair assessment, but it happens all the time—so it’s definitely worth thinking about and practicing for as you’re doing mock interviews to prepare.

2. You, Um, Smelled Funny

And I don’t just mean that you didn’t shower. That could be it—or it could be that you overdid it on the cologne. Either way, you don’t want to be that interview candidate who overpowered the conversation with your aroma rather than your charisma.

To combat this, lay off the perfume and make sure your personal hygiene is top notch. Seriously, please don’t let this be the reason you didn’t get the job.

3. You Were Too Eager

Did you show up 45 minutes early to the interview? Did you offer to do the internship unpaid without being prompted? It’s good to be enthusiastic during your interview, but be careful not to be over the top. It can come off as a little much and, like the first example, even inconvenient for the hiring manager. Instead, show your excitement by being exceptionally well versed about the company and position. Top it off with a thank you note, and you’re all set.

4. You Were Too Arrogant

Don’t get me wrong: Confidence in an interview is essential, and apparently it’s even good to be a little narcissistic. But don’t step over the line toward being arrogant. This can really rub people the wrong way and make you seem a little hard to manage.

To make sure you’re not overdoing it, back up your claims and your skills with concrete stories, and show an openness to learn by asking thoughtful questions. And even if you think you have it in the bag, think twice before letting that show.

5. You Didn’t Pass the Airport Test

This reason might be the most awkward of them all: It’s possible that your interviewer just didn’t click with you. You’re not going to get along swimmingly with everyone, and most people are too polite to tell you if you didn’t with him or her.

That’s okay. The most you can do is try to be yourself. Do some mindfulness exercises before you head over to the interview, take a deep breath before you walk into the building, and relax. Don’t let people judge you based just on your nerves. Try to let your interviewer actually get to know you a bit.

6. You Weren’t the Internal Candidate They Wanted All Along

It’s a sad truth of job hunting: At many companies, hiring managers are required to do a few interviews before making a decision, even if they have a strong internal candidate that they probably knew from day one that they were going to hire. There’s pretty much no way to know when you’re interviewing for a position like this and, unfortunately, there’s almost nothing you can do. So, if you didn’t get the job, it could also very well be because it was impossible to get in the first place. Don’t get too hung up on it.

At the end of the day, there are some things you can control about the interview process (like showering and doing your company research), and then there are some things you can’t do anything about (like knowing your interviewer’s pet peeves ahead of time). So, do what you can and understand that interviewing is an incredibly subjective way to evaluate whether someone is a good fit for a position.

TIME Careers & Workplace

11 Perfect Vacation Ideas That Won’t Disappoint

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Working all year round can actually hurt your productivity. Take a break and have a look at these vacation options

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This story was originally published on StartupCollective.

Question: Describe your idea of the perfect entrepreneurial vacation.

Surfing in the Middle of Nowhere

“Part of being an entrepreneur is exploring new industires or shaking up current ones. I like to take a trip to a off the beaten getaway where I can surf or just relax where there aren’t that many tourists and there is an opportunity for me to focus, meditate and enjoy the simple life. This type of vacation gets me to recharge my batteries and look at my life and business in a different way.” — Derek Capo, Next Step China

Gathering With Geniuses

“Being an entrepreneur is about the love for learning and the love for sharing. My dream vacation is spending a few nights in a new city drinking and partying with a bunch of geniuses. Business talk is allowed, but far from serious. South by Southwest Music and Media Conference is a perfect example, and Geeks on a Plane is a dream vacation.” — Brian Curliss, MailLift

Touring Artisan Lands

“In fashion, everyone talks about using artisans from South Asia in their lines, but young designers have no way of accessing those artisans. I would love to be able to go to villages in the North-West Frontier Province or to the Rajasthan desert to develop personal relationships that can lead to a wider, more fair distribution of these dying professions.” — Benish Shah, Before the Label

Engaging With New Communities

“Vacations are not merely about relaxing. They’re about exploration, engaging with new communities and cultures and challenging and inspiring yourself. My perfect vacation would be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, soaking in the beauty of the continent and its people and touring local entrepreneurial ecosystems. I’d also like to go to AfrikaBurn or Burning Man and participate in the giving economy.” — Christopher Pruijsen, Sterio.me

Traveling Without Interruptions

“I’d love to vacation with the smartphone turned off and a qualified individual left in charge at the business. I would take no business phone calls — just a few quick and simple check-ins. I’d spend time at a favorite destination with enough money saved on airfare, food and lodging so that the vacation can be enjoyable and interesting each and every day.” — Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

Finding Inspiration While Relaxing

“I go on what I call innovation vacations. The purpose is to pull myself out of the day-to-day routine and think big. I pick a place of relaxation, unplug and get inspired by a wide range of books. I then plan, think and write.” — Brent Beshore, adventur.es

Golfing With My Inspirations

“Golf is a distant memory at best, but my entrepreneurial dream vacation would be hitting a post-Master’s round with Pete Carroll, Jim Collins and Warren Buffett. Nothing beats passion chatter with your biggest inspirations on a beautiful green.” — Matt Erlichman, Porch

Pushing Your Limits

“Some of my favorite vacations are on dirt bike trails at campgrounds. It’s not always relaxing and fun, but it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something big after coming back from a tough trail ride. Going on a vacation that pushes your limits and lets you accomplish something outside of business is a great ego boost.” — Jennifer Donogh, Ovaleye, LLC

Making Time for Luxury Activities

“The key to a great vacation is doing luxurious activities — things that make you happy but you don’t create time for weekly. I enjoy staying in shape and sleeping, and both suffer during the work week! I also love my job and my team. The vacation part is about not opening a laptop and not creating new work, but I always want to be responsive to help my teammates and our partners.” — Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

Reading and Enjoying the Quiet

“I always feel like I don’t have enough time to read all the books and other materials that are recommended to me as an entrepreneur. I’d love the opportunity to go away for a while and just consume some of those important ideas without an obligation to try to squeeze the effort in between my work.” — Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

Keeping in Touch No Matter Where

“I always have my phone, iPad and computer with me, so I never really take a vacation from work. Why? Because I love what I do, get bored easily and always feel that I must reply to someone within 48 hours (otherwise, it’s rude).” — Trace Cohen, Launch.it

TIME Careers & Workplace

5 Best Morning Rituals for a Super Productive Day

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Here's how to make the most of your morning, and set the tone for a great day

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

Whether or not you’re a morning person, morning rituals set the tone for the rest of the day. You can either stumble out of bed and rush at the Keurig like your life depends on it, or you can take this time to prepare for a productive, less stressful day. “Sleep hygiene” doesn’t end when you doze off–how you start your mornings restarts the cycle and gives you a genuine opportunity to begin fresh.

As an entrepreneur, you need to be a master at prioritizing. You have to revere drive over multitasking. The pressure of making money from scratch day after day is a lot of responsibility to shoulder. Try out these morning tips to optimize your productivity–and help keep you sane when the pressure starts to mount.

1. Skip the coffee (for now)

Before you go on that tangent about how you can’t possibly live without your coffee, hear me out. You don’t have to give up coffee for good, but try reaching for something else first. A cup of lukewarm water with freshly squeezed lemon gives you a more natural “kick” in the morning. Plus, it has many health benefits such as shifting your metabolism into higher gear, clearing your skin, providing a nonaddictive form of energy, and keeping your mouth healthy. To optimize the benefits, wait at least an hour before eating or drinking anything else.

2. Don’t reach for your phone

Many Americans report that they grab their phone as soon as they wake up. They browse through Facebook feeds (which studies show just make you feel worse about yourself). They groan at the influx of client requests already piling up. They scan through their favorite news app and see heartbreaking coverage of diseases and breaking wars, photos of celebrities in feuds, and other stressful scenarios. Instead, adopt a healthier “first thing in the morning” habit such as light stretching, dancing in front of a mirror, or making the bed (you’ll feel better for it).

3. Adopt a good hygiene ritual

Whether you like to shower first thing or wait until after your morning workout session, a good hygiene ritual is crucial–even if it’s just for your face. This is pampering time, and an easy way to continue looking your best while running a successful business. Entrepreneurs who work from home are especially vulnerable to getting into slob mode. At the very least, care for your face, which isn’t just a beautifying move but also refreshing.

4. Create a triage to-do list

Most entrepreneurs have a smorgasbord of requests to fulfill every day. This can easily be overwhelming, but don’t delve into multitasking. Research shows that nobody is good at it, and when you’re not giving 100 percent to any project, it’ll come back to bite you. Have an evolving task list each day that you check off. It’ll help keep you on track and ensure none of the minor details are missed. Start the business portion of each day updating your list and gauging where you stand.

5. Claim your space

A productive workspace is critical whether you call your home an office or you have to commute. Ideally you neaten up your work area each evening–but if that didn’t happen, do it in the morning. A sharp, clear mind demands a clear space. If you’re into feng shui (or are willing to give it a shot), find out how to better organize your office area. You might be surprised by the results.

Your mornings set the stage for the entire day. Choose wisely, take your time, and don’t forget to prioritize yourself along with your business.

TIME Careers & Workplace

The One Word You Should Basically Never, Ever Say

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Anyone aiming for great success should quit using it immediately

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

Language is powerful. Using the right words can signal you’re part of the group, convey difficult decisions without ruffling feathers, and demonstrate power. Meanwhile, sloppy word choices are often a red flag for sloppy thinking or a company culture with something to hide.

That’s true of firms with impenetrable or pretentious job ads and mission statements, and it’s also true of individuals. How we speak says a lot about our values. That being true, there’s one word you really, really should stay away from if you want to be successful in business, according to Aha! co-founder Brian de Haaff on LinkedIn recently.

What word does he think ambitious entrepreneurs should ban from their vocabulary? The innocuous sounding adverb “honestly.”

What about the rest of the time?

What’s wrong with signaling your intention to be entirely straightforward? That’s a quality that you shouldn’t need to signal, de Haaff insists, because it should be fundamental to your communication style all the time. If you have to highlight that you’re speaking honestly by saying “honestly,” you need to take a hard look at why you’re being less than forthcoming or authentic the rest of the time. Other people are already wondering, he warns.

“A VP of sales who I worked closely with before I co-founded Aha! always said ‘honestly’ when he really wanted something. He thought that it was a way to make a hard point, but we all questioned whether he was lying to us at all other times,” de Haaff writes.

But calling your credibility into question isn’t the only problem with using “honestly” for emphasis, according to de Haaff. In the full post, he also explains how the expression can highlight your frustration in an unhelpful, passive-aggressive way, and push people away in conversation.

He’s not the only one out there with a very strong and specific verbal pet peeve. Here on Inc.com, we recently rounded up expressions that even well-educated folks use without thinking that make them sound dumb or inconsiderate, for example. Business jargon and inflated diction are another continuous source of complaint as well. No doubt there are lots of other verbal pitfalls out there.

TIME Careers & Workplace

8 Habits of the Most Highly Respected Businesswomen

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The best female leaders provide support, respect and firm guidance in equal measure. Here are 8 habits that differentiate them from the pack

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This story was originally published on StartupCollective.

Women get a bad rap in the work world, and we don’t have to look much further than pop culture for examples. Consider Monica from Showtime’s “House of Lies.” Being an addict, uninterested mother, and demeaning boss somehow makes her incredibly successful at work. Or take, for example, the famous caricature of Anna Wintour in “The Devil Wears Prada.”

Fortunately, executives like Facebook COO and Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg are fostering an important discourse that is reaching female and male executives alike to spark change. And we’ve already come a very long way. Women can be executives who drive results, empathic mentors, and loving mothers all at the same time.

Nevertheless, female CEOs remain subject to intense scrutiny. Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer has been widely criticized for working through her maternity leave and for putting a nursery next to her office, and recently she’s been in the media because “good-looking CEOs get better returns.”

The question is, does this type of scrutiny have a trickle-down effect for other professional women?

There are socioeconomic factors at play that we cannot solve overnight. We need to teach women how to be confident in the workplace so they can succeed on their own merits. I offered some tactics in my previous piece, “Confidence Breeds Success — And It Can Be Taught.” However, individual confidence is only part of the equation. We also need to support and champion women in the workplace, particularly when we, as women, are the executives.

The best mentors I’ve seen are those who do the following:

  1. Relinquish your need to be right. It’s a common adage among CEOs: hire people smarter than you. Assuming you’ve done that, give those smart people an opportunity to do what they do best.
  2. Fix, don’t blame. At an event last year, I heard Sheryl Sandberg offer this advice about good bosses: “A great boss gives credit to everyone else when things are going well. When they are not, she asks, ‘How can I fix it?’” Blame is where solutions go to die. So create an environment that fosters collaborative problem solving.
  3. Disagree respectfully. Disagreement is not synonymous with argument. In the office, love, like and hate should take second chair to respect. Look to drive consensus and action, not stalemate.
  4. Give credit generously. A rising tide lifts all ships. The accompanying economic concept is that general economic improvement will benefit everyone. I use these words to remind employees that the act of giving credit confers its benefits onto you by proxy. If the people who work for you are successful, you will be seen that way too.
  5. Trust your gut. Intuition is real, but it’s something you have to learn to trust. A therapist friend once told me that her patients who’ve suffered physical attacks have one thing in common: they sensed something amiss before the act occurred. This does not mean they could have prevented it, of course. But it demonstrates the existence of instinct. At work, intuition can help us read the room, parse good customer engagements from bad, and identify potential in an unlikely candidate.
  6. Build consensus, not factions. Don’t save your complaints for the secrecy of closed doors. In her book, Woman’s Inhumanity To Woman, Phyllis Chesler writes, “Girls learn that a safe way to attack someone else is behind her back, so that she will not know who started the attack.” Gossip is toxic, so stop it by dealing with issues quickly, calmly and openly.
  7. Never say, “You will understand when…” This reduces a younger woman’s feelings to simple naiveté. Supporting one another means commiseration and support. Judgment only teaches the recipient to seek help elsewhere.
  8. Develop a thick skin. Every leader will be criticized. It’s part of the job, so find a way to take the things that matter seriously and brush off the distractions. It’s an amazing example to set for younger women executives.

Godspeed, Marissa Mayer! May many come after you and because of you.

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