“How to Be Happier at Home (and Work)”

From Alphamom.com

This is a re-post of Alexandra Levit’s Water Cooler Wisdom Blog. According to her brief biography, Levit is a “former nationally syndicated columnist for the Wall Street Journal and a current writer for the New York Times. [She has also] authored several books.” Furthermore, she does consulting, writing, and exploring of leadership development, career and workplace trends for companies such as Microsoft, American Express, Intuit, and DeVry University. Now here’s some recommendations on how one can be happier at home by “noticing life” more.

“Gretchen Rubin has been a friend of mine since the early days of our blogs.  Her first book, The Happiness Project, became an international bestseller, and I was excited to read her latest effort, Happier at Home.  The new book focuses on ways we can make our homes places of greater simplicity, comfort, and love.

Since I specialize in careers and work, I naturally zeroed in on the part of the book that focuses on work/life balance.  Managing your time well is critical, because, as Gretchen points out, it only passes faster as we get older.  She cites poet Robert Southy, who explained:

“Live as long as you may, the first twenty years are the longest half of your life.  They appear so while they are passing, they seem to have been so when we look back on them, and they take up more room in our memory than all the years that succeed them.”

Since we don’t “notice” life as much once we’re in our twenties, thirties, and beyond, it’s especially important that we make an effort to be mentally present in each moment.  Happier at Home has dozens of recommendations to this effect, but here are a few that directly apply to the subject of work:

  • Do you have kids?  Even though taking care of them can sometimes be boring, resist the urge to check your phone in their presence.  In fact, put the phone away, as it’s admittedly hard to resist.


  • Don’t check e-mail at bedtime.  The stimulation of reading certain messages will energize you and you’ll have trouble falling asleep.


  • Don’t type away on your smartphone when traveling from one place to another.  Instead of forcing yourself to use this time productively, leave yourself open to new thoughts, ideas, and experiences.


  • Do understand when you are most efficient at doing different tasks, and work around that.  I, for example, get better quality writing done if I respect that my mental focus is sharpest in the late afternoon.”

For the full article just click here


Your Personal Brand. Don’t know how to showcase it? LinkedIn is the answer!


Image From Mindjumper.com

Well Here we are with my second blog! This is a big deal, isn’t it? I have recently come across one of Lindsey Pollak’s blogs from her LinkedIn blog page. Pollak is a global spokesperson for LinkedIn, as well as, an expert on career and workplace trends with Generation Y. She actually came and spoke at Illinois Wesleyan in March of 2010. The topic of the blog was about how you can “showcase your personal brand on LinkedIn.” What I’m going to do here is basically just give you my understanding of what a personal brand is and then highlight two of the eight tips showing how LinkedIn can showcase one’s personal brand. If you want to read the other six, I’ll attach the link with this post. Here we go!

According to Pollak’s blog, a man named Tom Peters in 1997 first developed the term “personal brand.” This term “includes your professional reputation, online image and personal characteristics such as your work style, community engagement and worldview.” This is pretty much how you’re seen by others in person and online along with personal qualities that define your work, views, and involvement. Furthermore, “it incorporates the particular skills, talents, and areas of expertise you’ve cultivated.” I like to think of it as your value. What are you bringing to this company or organization that others do not have? What makes you, you! Yet, sometimes this is not the easiest thing to come up with off the top of your head. You might want to sit down, grab a piece of paper and a pen, and start writing your ideas down.

One vital question that allows you to start defining your personal brand is: how would your colleagues describe your strengths? These strengths are your essentials. With the help of LinkedIn, after you discover your personal brand, you can show recruiters, bosses, and others what makes your brand the best. Here were my favorite two tips for improving your brand on LinkedIn.

1. Be Authentic.
She says it so well. The best personal brands are those that are very honest and genuine in person, as well as, online. Use your LinkedIn to really highlight certain skills you have along with your personality. The example Pollak gives is incorporating “a balance between detailed accounting skills and [for instance if you had a] friendly personality. Your LinkedIn profile can include both your technical credentials and the fact that you belong to several networking groups.”

2. Give Generously.
Sometimes you forget about others while trying to constantly improve and better things for yourself. Giving to others is a great way to build your personal brand substantially. There are countless ways to help others: give recommendations, introduce others to potential employers, share advice, or even a simple gesture like saying “congratulations” to someone on a recent success they’ve had. My favorite line of the entire blog comes at the end, “When people know they can rely on you, they remember you and recommend you to others.”

The final statement of the blog may be one of the most overlooked aspects of helping others. Don’t forget to help out others. It’ll be a lot more memorable than you actually think. Now start working on your personal brand and showcase it on LinkedIn!

PS– Don’t have a LinkedIn account yet? Visit grads.linkedin.com to get started!

Go here for the rest of Pollak’s tips

This is a link to an older post back when Pollak visited IWU’s campus