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The latest news on Careers from Business Insider

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    Elon Musk

    It's been three years since I made the leap from successful accountant to entrepreneur.

    Before making the jump I read quotes from successful leaders to motivate myself.

    Here are some of the quotes that inspired me then and some more recent ones that have inspired me since.

    Whether you’ve just started a company or have been running one for awhile, there is a lot you can learn from some of the most successful CEOs.

    This list compiles some of the best advice out there from CEOs on success, working with your team, becoming a CEO, being a CEO and dealing with customers as a CEO.

    Every quote has helped me become a much better leader myself.

    Here's to becoming the best leaders and CEOs that we can be.

    SEE ALSO: 30 inspiring quotes from super-successful people that every professional should read

    On success: Brian Chesky, Airbnb

    “When you start a company, it's more an art than a science because it's totally unknown. Instead of solving high-profile problems, try to solve something that's deeply personal to you. Ideally, if you're an ordinary person and you've just solved your problem, you might have solved the problem for millions of people.”



    On success: John Stumpf, Wells Fargo

    “I never set out to be CEO. I always set out to be a good team member, a good colleague.”



    On success: Ben Horowitz, Andreessen Horowitz

    “Every time you make the hard, correct decision you become a bit more courageous, and every time you make the easy, wrong decision you become a bit more cowardly. If you are CEO, these choices will lead to a courageous or cowardly company.”



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    meeting, coworkers, bossWe all have certain fallback phrases we use at work. But some of them can be seriously annoying to co-workers and alarming to managers.

    Here are eight phrases you might use at work without much thought — but are worth removing from your office vocabulary.

    1. "Are you busy?"

    This one is likely to make your conscientious co-workers cringe. Few people want to say, "Nope, just browsing some celebrity gossip." And someone who is busy may still be available for an interruption, depending on what you need. They might be perfectly willing to make time for something urgent or important but not want to be interrupted to discuss the upcoming employee potluck. Instead say, "Do you have a few minutes to talk to me about X?"

    2. "Can you please come by my office?"

    Like phrase No. 1, this is frustrating because recipients have no idea what you want. Is it important enough to prioritize above other pressing responsibilities? Or can they defer until later in the day if they're busy? Do they need to bring something to take notes with? Are they going to be put on the spot about a project when they would prefer to have a chance to review notes before meeting? If you're the boss, should they be bracing for a serious conversation? Or is it no big deal? Spare people the speculation and explain what you'd like to talk about.

    3. "I'll try."

    You might think this is a reasonable response to an assignment or request if you're not positive that you can do what's being asked or meet a deadline. But it will leave your manager unsure of whether or not you're actually committing to get it done. Of course, you don't want to commit to something that you're too overworked to complete, but in that case, explain what you're thinking. Rather than leaving it at "I'll try," it's better to say something like, "I think X might get in the way of that deadline. But if it starts looking like that will be the case, I'll come back to you well in advance to figure out how to prioritize."

    4. "That's so fattening!"

    Your co-workers don't want to hear you pass judgment on what they're eating. You're not the diet police, and you should avoid any temptation to comment on the calories in co-workers' meals, the number of snacks they've had that day or the unhealthiness of what they eat.

    5. "It's not my fault."

    It's not that you should take blame when you're not at fault. But a more constructive formulation that doesn't focus on who is — or isn't — to blame will reflect better on you. For example, say, "I think what happened was X. And to avoid it, we'd need the marketing department to do Y earlier in the future. I'll talk to Sarah about getting that on our client checklist." However, on the other end of the blame equation. . . 

    6. "Sorry."

    There are indeed times when you should apologize at work, such as if you've inadvertently offended someone or created additional work for a colleague. But some people tend to over-apologize, offering up regrets for everything from needing to ask a question to a project flaw that wasn't anyone's fault. Over-apologizing can make you seem weak and overly deferential. You may inadvertently end up taking responsibility for things that weren't your mistakes.

    7. "I can't keep up with my email."

    This is like saying to your co-workers, "You can't count on me to read and retain even important messages you send to me." It will raise doubts about your ability to keep on top of your workload and make you seem unreliable. If your manager hears you say it, she's likely to wonder if you're letting tasks slip through the cracks or not getting back to clients.

    8. "Gentle reminder."

    If you've ever prefaced a follow-up to a colleague with "just a gentle reminder," there's a good chance that it's making your recipient grind her teeth. The phrase often comes across like you're saying, "I worry that you might be offended by a normal business communication, so I feel I like approach you delicately." You don't need to tiptoe around or patronize your co-workers. It's okay to be direct and say, "I want to remind you about this because of X."

    SEE ALSO: A Stanford professor says eliminating 2 phrases from your vocabulary can make you more successful

    DON'T MISS: The 27 jobs that are most damaging to your health

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's what a hiring manager scans for when reviewing résumés


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    Oprah Winfrey, one of three black females on the Forbes 400 list, is worth an estimated $3 billion. She has earned her wealth through various different avenues, from her talk show to her recent Weight Watchers endorsement. She is well known for her real estate purchases and extravagant lifestyle as well as her donations to causes close to her heart. 

    Produced by Emma Fierberg

    Follow BI Video: On Twitter

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    bored

    Ever since social media and smartphones captured the imagination of a billion people, we've seen a rash of new career fields that never existed before. Many of you, no doubt, have jumped on these opportunities with fad-like fervor. And therein lies the rub. You're far from alone.

    These fields are now flooded. The problem, as many have already learned, is that if it's easy – if the barriers and costs to entry are low – then anyone can do it. And that's exactly what's happening. Not just anyone, but anyone and everyone. And that means heavy competition, no pricing power, slim profit margins and low income.

    If all it takes is some online classes, a certificate, a seminar, a self-help book and a website to proclaim that you're the best darn, award-winning, best-selling, guru, expert, or whatever, you can bet that a flood of other people with no real marketable skill or expertise will go for it. And they have.

    And when it comes to fads, you can always count on one thing: they will come, and they will go. Granted, fads may gain viral traction in the blink of an eye, but once people discover that there's nothing to them – that they really are all hype – they vanish just as quickly as they appeared.

    Don't get me wrong. There are legitimate experts in every field, even some of these, but if you're not a top performer, you might want to reconsider your future in these faddish gigs:

     

    SEE ALSO: The 20 best jobs in business for 2016

    DON'T MISS: The 27 jobs that are most damaging to your health

    1. Professional coaching

    There are coaches for everything: leadership, strengths, performance, career, fitness, family, holistic, happiness and, of course, life. There are even coaches who coach people on becoming coaches. And no, I'm not making that up. The vast majority have three things in common: a worthless certificate, no real expertise and a lousy business.



    2. Emotional intelligence consulting

    There is no scientific correlation between emotional quotient and job success. If emotional intelligence was a requirement for business leadership, then Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Mark Cuban and Donald Trump would never have made it big. Besides, the emotional intelligence test is so easy to game, it isn't funny.  



    3. Working in the gig economy

    Driving an Uber cab, renting out a room on Airbnb, selling used stuff on eBay or generating online content for peanuts are definitely not high-paying gigs. While the self-employed make up 17% of the US workforce, they generate just 7% of the nation's gross domestic product. This is why we have a productivity crisis in America — we have a growing slacker economy.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    celia currin

    Figuring out how to get (and stay) ahead in your career can be challenging and overwhelming. 

    But career coach Celia Currin says reading the right books and articles can help significantly.

    At a recent New York Women in Communications, Inc. event, Currin shared her three must-reads for anyone trying to move forward in their career.

    "These are for anyone who's trying to build a long-lasting career and be thoughtful about it," she tells Business Insider. 

    Here's what Currin — who has an MBA from Harvard; was the first female editor of Harvard's weekly newspaper Harbus; and has held senior roles at Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal —  thinks all ambitious career builders should be reading:

    SEE ALSO: 10 books every new manager should read

    'Lean In' by Sheryl Sandberg

    Currin says she finally took the time to read the 2013 book "Lean In" by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, in early February 2016. She thought it was a "fabulous" quick read from a good writer.  

    "I thought it was a very interesting view of career issues from the woman's perspective, and I thought it was a very candid and personal approach," she says. 

    While the book is more relevant to women and how they are sometimes their own worst enemy in the workplace, Currin says she'd recommend it to men, as well, because it talks about different styles of work, such as direct versus non-direct.

    "People need to be pretty conscious of their own style and the style of their colleagues and that's not just a woman's thing," she advises. 

    Synopsis: "Lean Inby Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg focuses on how women unintentionally hold themselves back in the workplace, and what they can do to fix it. Sandberg includes compelling research, as well as personal anecdotes, to explore negotiation tactics, mentorship, and how to build a fulfilling career.



    'Who Gets Promoted, Who Doesn't, and Why' by Donald Asher

    Currin says the 2007 book "Who Gets Promoted, Who Doesn't, and Why" by career expert Donald Asher is a great book for someone starting a new job because it gives "real common sense approaches" on how you can set yourself up for success at your new company. 

    The book advises you to work smarter to get ahead, not harder.

    For example, Currin says ambitious people often get a nice pay increase when they switch jobs, but they have to be sure their timing is right. "You need to move when you're still hot, not when you're cold," she advises.  

    Synopsis: 

    "Who Gets Promoted, Who Doesn't, and Why"explains "exactly what puts one employee on the fast track to an exceptional career, while another stays on the treadmill to mediocrity," according to the book summary. 

    Asher organizes his advice around ten things everyone should be doing to get ahead, including these three tips: "timing is as important as performance or talent,""always make your boss look good," and "find guardian angels and benefactors." 



    'The Brand Called You' by Tom Peters

    Currin says the 1997 Fast Company cover story "The Brand Called You" by Tom Peters revolutionized the world and is still timely 19 years later. "Everything in it is still very much on target," she says. 

    The article "was way ahead of it's time," Currin explains, because it views all workers as free agents. In other words, you're the head marketer for a brand called you. "In a sense you're contacting your work and your time and your efforts to a company," she says. 

    The article is especially applicable to job seekers and climbers today because it tells you to think of your career as a chess game where you need to make strategic moves rather than a ladder where you just need to keep climbing, she says.

    For example, Currin only worked for two companies — Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal — over a 25-year period, but admits that most people don't want to do that anymore. Today, she says, people stay with an employer for about four years before moving on to a different company or industry. 

    Synopsis: 

    "The Brand Called You" by Tom Peters tells readers to think of themselves as a brand — just like Nike or Coke — that they are in charge of marketing. He says you should never let your company or job title define you because no matter who you are working for, you are ultimately working for yourself. 

    "We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc.," Peters writes.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Larry Page

    It's common wisdom that most modern workplaces rely on teamwork, but some teams are simply better than others.

    In recent years, Google set out to build the "perfect team," as Charles Duhigg writes in The New York Times Magazine this weekend.

    The tech behemoth launched a venture in 2012 called Project Aristotle, which gathered data by analyzing many studies and actually observing the way people interacted in a group, according to The New York Times.

    Down the line Project Aristotle landed on the most fundamental component that ultimately makes a team successful: psychological safety.

    Psychological safety enables employees to be comfortable opening up to their colleagues and taking risks.

    The New York Times points to a study written by Amy Edmondson in 1999 which discusses the term. She writes that it's a "shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking." Additionally, it's "a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up."

    In other words, that could mean feeling comfortable telling your boss that someone in your family is sick, or revealing what's truly bugging you outside — and inside — of the office.

    The Times points to an example of one mid-level manager who confided in his employees that he had Stage 4 cancer. The team — which originally didn't work particularly well together — then continued to open up to each other about their own personal issues, and ultimately felt more comfortable discussing a survey about how the team worked together.

    From The Times:

    What Project Aristotle has taught people within Google is that no one wants to put on a ‘‘work face’’ when they get to the office. No one wants to leave part of their personality and inner life at home. But to be fully present at work, to feel ‘‘psychologically safe,’’ we must know that we can be free enough, sometimes, to share the things that scare us without fear of recriminations. We must be able to talk about what is messy or sad, to have hard conversations with colleagues who are driving us crazy. We can’t be focused just on efficiency.

    Read the full article here.

     

     

    SEE ALSO: Why this tech startup CEO listed all of his employees' salaries online for anyone to see

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here are the 10 best places to work in 2016


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    Working Late Messy Desk

    Picture this. I was at a networking event last winter. It was cold outside, but quite warm in the room. Most of us balanced winter coats and heavy bags. I made small talk with a few other people, when a new guy approached the group.

    "Damn, you guys are carrying a ton of sh*t," he said. "You know, you can check your sh*t for free at the coat check."

    Boom! Instant credibility suck. I get that he was trying to help us, but none of us paid him any mind after that introduction.

    It's not really just that the guy swore; most of us are pretty immune to that these days. It's that three of his first 22 words were curses (assuming you count "damn" as a curse). That's just lazy, as if he couldn't be bothered to come up with better descriptions of all the things we were carrying. Instead, he went with the barnyard default, and that made him seem unserious and unprofessional.

    (Just off the top of my head, since I'm sure some of you are about to ask what he could have called the things we carried instead: coats, bags, laptops, stuff, purses, briefcases, jackets, coats, gear, kit, pouch, totes, baggage, portage, luggage, junk, tunics-heck, call my a bag a man-purse, if you want to at least score a C-minus joke).

    The truth is, nobody's perfect. We're all prone to semi-conscious verbal foul-ups that make us look totally unprofessional. That's why we all need a reminder now and then. Here are 10 examples of similar things to avoid.

    1. Lazy profanity

    OK, this one really is at the top of the list. Again, it's not the profanity itself (although that often doesn't help). It's the laziness. If someone constantly uses the F-word as an all-purpose adjective, it makes you wonder whether they're equally uncreative and slothful in everything they do.

    2. Lateness

    I must admit this is a tendency I've had to work hard to combat in my own life. The phrase "Murphy Standard Time" would not be met with blank stares by some of my friends and family. Yet I've learned that being on time is a matter of respect. Show up when you say you will, and you send a message that you're professional enough to care.

    meeting3. Leering

    We're all human. We're mammals. We notice alluring members of whatever gender we're biologically predisposed to be attracted to.

    Yet, that same humanity also means we should have the self-control to keep the "up-and-down look" under control, so to speak. Eyes up here, my friend, or you'll look like a creepy amateur.

    4. Pollyannaishness

    I've always been a bit bothered by the fact that the word "Pollyannaish" suggests the concept of having too much unrealistic optimism. Check out the 1913 book if you don't understand why. Still, when, after a disaster, a colleague or a vendor insists that things are absolutely fine-while simple common-sense tells you they're not-it undermines their professionalism.

    5. Flightiness

    To be flighty is to be fickle and irresponsible. Tell someone you'll be at a certain place, or that you'll accomplish a certain thing-and then never do it? Sorry, you're flighty.

    6. Disorganization

    (Anyone who gets more than 1,000 emails a day probably falls into this category.) As most of us who run businesses understand, clients and customers expect you to reply quickly. They want you to be able to talk about their situations (seemingly) off-the-cuff. If you aren't in control of your own situation, they'll wonder how you can possibly be in control of theirs.

    7. Inarticulateness

    This one is like, so like, obvious — and yet a lot of people like, they don't really, like, get it. And that just, like, totally makes them seem like — well, not really professional, because they, like, can't even get to the point of what they want to say and like, make it clear and stuff.

    'Nuff said. I'd actually throw bad grammar into this category as well-although with the caveat that we've all known some very smart, professional people whose language simply betrayed their lack of formal education, or whose first tongue wasn't ours. (Seriously, if this column were written in French or Spanish, we'd all have a good laugh at my grammar.)

    8. Secrecy

    Sure, we all have private lives, but most of the time our businesses don't truly involve them. If you're hiding important information from employees or clients, you're not doing much for your reputation as a leader, and you're probably making them wonder whether they can trust you.

    9. Overpromising

    A really brilliant salesperson once told me her art of selling was about "making the maximum promise you can, consistent with your ability to deliver." Entrepreneurs often push the envelope on this, but the key is to make sure you're confident you will eventually be able to make good on your promises.

    10. Cheating and lying

    These two are obvious. As President George W. Bush once tried to say, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

    SEE ALSO: 6 short stories that will make you smarter about business

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why we have to give our business partners the power to destroy us


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    kid in suit

    Millennials can be demanding in the workplace.

    They tend to want career mobility and one-on-one attention and do rewarding work that has an impact.

    It's no different on Wall Street, and investment banks are listening.

    Goldman Sachs last fall announced an initiative to fast-track its junior bankers, as well as provide them with more mobility and lessen their workloads. Other banks have followed suit, including JPMorgan, Credit Suisse, and Citi.

    Now Deutsche Bank is taking a new tack.

    That firm, which already has an accelerated career path for analysts, is launching a new leadership program for vice presidents, who will be tasked with overseeing a group of analysts and associates for one year.

    The hope is that the program will give young bankers the one-on-one attention they crave, and help identify vice presidents who have a knack for management.

    The plans are a US initiative, but are expected to roll out globally.

    'Resource managers'

    Vice presidents in the new program will be called "resource managers" and have a hand in things like promotions, career development, and recruiting junior bankers. Previously those responsibilities fell to different people in different groups without much consistency.

    The idea is to train high-performing VPs for leadership roles and elevate their profiles across the firm. On the flip side, junior bankers will get a single point of contact for career-development questions and a direct advocate within the firm.

    Really, though, it's about finding ways to keep people from leaving.

    Deutsche Bank reported a $7.4 billion loss for 2015, and investors have started losing confidence in the firm. Employees might be losing confidence, too.

    For the new program to be successful, though, Deutsche will need to find VPs willing to relinquish most of their client accounts and deals for a year. Resource managers will still work on some transactions, but their primary job will be to manage the young bankers.

    That could be a tough sell.

    SEE ALSO: Senior bankers are doing something unheard of with their bonuses to hold on to junior staff

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The 10 trickiest Goldman Sachs interview questions


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    man and dog sleeping

    Ever have trouble getting to sleep? Or staying asleep? Or you get plenty of shut-eye but you're not refreshed?

    Everyone wants to get better sleep. But sleep trouble is incredibly common.

    And feeling tired the next day isn't the half of it. By not getting enough sleep you're reducing your IQ.

    Via Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School:

    Take an A student used to scoring in the top 10 percent of virtually anything she does. One study showed that if she gets just under seven hours of sleep on weekdays, and about 40 minutes more on weekends, she will begin to score in the bottom 9 percent of non-sleep-deprived individuals.

    And losing "beauty sleep" really does make you less attractive. Seriously.

    Want to be miserable? Being tired actually makes it harder to be happy.

    Via NurtureShock:

    The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories just fine.

    And if that's not enough, lack of sleep could contribute to an early death.

    Via Night School:

    The results, published in 2007, revealed that participants who obtained two hours less sleep a night than they required nearly doubled their risk of death.

    We need answers before sundown. So I figured I'd call somebody who has them.

    Richard Wiseman is professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire and the bestselling author of many books including: Night School: Wake up to the power of sleep.

    On his YouTube channel he has a number of great videos including this one on sleep tips.

    Richard is going to tell you the #1 mistake you make when it comes to sleep, how to take awesome naps, how to get more quality sleep and the surprising secret to why you wake up in the middle of the night. And much more.

    If you're not too tired to keep reading, let's get to it…

    The #1 Mistake That's Screwing Up Your Sleep

    If you're already exhausted, here's the main takeaway you need from this interview:

    Your smartphone is the devil. Your iPad is Lucifer. Your TV cackles with glee when you have insomnia.

    They all give off blue light that your brain mistakes for sunshine. And that tells your grey blob it's time to wake up, not go to bed.

    Stay away from them during the hour before you try to nod off. Here's Richard:

    Ten minutes of a smartphone in front of your nose is about the equivalent of an hour long walk in bright daylight. Imagine going for an hour long walk in bright daylight and then thinking, "Now I'll get some sleep." It ain't going to happen. In the middle of the night you wake up and think, "Aw, I'll just check Twitter, email or Facebook," and, of course, you're being flooded with that blue light. You're not going to be getting back to sleep very easily for the next hour or so.

    So your smartphone is the devil? Okay, not really. In fact, sometimes it can be the best friend your sleep schedule has. Huh?

    When you're dealing with jet lag, I encourage you to indulge in all the blue light device bliss you so urgently crave.

    They can help shift your circadian rhythm forward. Awesome, right? Your phone has a new feature you didn't even know about. Here's Richard:

    You can use that blue light to your advantage, because when you're bathed in blue light you become more alert. To get your circadian rhythm where it needs to be in the new time zone you can stimulate yourself with the blue light from smartphones and iPads.

    (To learn the 4 things astronauts can teach you about a good night's sleep, click here.)

    Okay, modern technology is a double-edged sword. What else are you doing wrong?

    A Good Nightly Routine Is Key

    Just like a good morning routine is incredibly powerful, one before bed is a game changer as well. First step?

    No booze. It seems like it helps but it's actually a big no-no. Here's Richard:

    Drinking alcohol an hour or two before you go to bed is not a good idea. You'll fall asleep quicker, but it keeps you out of deep sleep. In the morning you wake up feeling pretty terrible.

    Richard says thinking positive thoughts before you go to bed is helpful and can promote good dreams. One of the biggest things that causes insomnia is that anxiety about getting to bed.

    When those awful thoughts start running through your head at night, try this little game. Here's Richard:

    Just think about a country or a vegetable or a fruit for each letter of the alphabet. You just slowly work your way through and that can take your mind off negative thoughts.

    Worrying keeping you awake? Richard says to keep a pad and pen by the bed and write those thoughts down to dismiss them. Mindfulness training can help with this too so give meditation a try. (Here's how.)

    Still can't sleep? Get up. Don't accidentally make a Pavlov-style association between your bed and *not* sleeping. Here's Richard:

    The issue is often they're staying in bed awake for ten minutes or more and they start to associate bed with being awake instead of being asleep. Get up, do something which is not stimulating, and then get back to bed.

    (For more science-backed tips on a nightly routine that will bring you amazing sleep, click here.)

    So your winding down ritual is in order. What about naps? (Yes, I know they're amazing.) How can you and I make them *more* amazing?

    How To Nap Like A Pro

    napping, sleep, reading, park, grassDon't go down for more than an hour. 20-30 minutes is great — but even five minutes can give you a big boost. Here's Richard:

    Anything over an hour is probably not a great idea, but twenty or thirty minutes of napping is incredibly good for creativity and focus. Naps can make a massive, massive difference. Even five minutes increases reaction time and focus.

    NASA found pilots who take a 25 minute nap are 35% more alert and twice as focused.

    Via Night School:

    Research by NASA revealed that pilots who take a twenty-five-minute nap in the cockpit – hopefully with a co-pilot taking over the controls – are subsequently 35 per cent more alert, and twice as focused, than their non-napping colleagues.

    NASA found that naps made you smarter — even in the absence of a good night's sleep.

    Via Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep:

    If you can't get in a full night's sleep, you can still improve the ability of your brain to synthesize new information by taking a nap. In a study funded by NASA, David Dinges, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and a team of researchers found that letting astronauts sleep for as little as fifteen minutes markedly improved their cognitive performance, even when the nap didn't lead to an increase in alertness or the ability to pay more attention to a boring task.

    Worried you won't wake up in time for something important? Richard recommends drinking a cup of coffee immediately before laying down. The caffeine will kick in after about 25 minutes.

    (To learn the 5 scientific secrets to naps that will make you smarter and happier, click here.)

    All this is great for getting some sleep… but what about when you can't stay asleep? Not a problem. Literally.

    Waking Up In The Middle Of The Night Is Natural

    Research shows we evolved to sleep in two distinct phases. So don't worry. Do something for a little while and then head back to bed for round 2. Here's Richard:

    We've evolved to have what's called segregated sleeping. If you wake up in the middle of the night that's perfectly natural. Before electric light people would talk about "first sleep" and "second sleep." In between they'd go and visit their friends or play games. So if you do wake up in the middle of the night, that's fine. Get out of bed for twenty minutes and do something. Don't lay there feeling anxious.

    Is this fragmented sleep bad? Far from it. Bloodwork showed that the time between the two sleeping periods was incredibly relaxing and blissful.

    Via Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep:

    The results showed that the hour humans once spent awake in the middle of the night was probably the most relaxing block of time in their lives. Chemically, the body was in a state equivalent to what you might feel after spending a day at a spa…

    (For more on the science of why we sleep in two chunks, click here.)

    But here's a problem everyone has had: ever sleep for over eight hours and you still feel groggy and awful? Here's why.

    Want To Get Better Sleep? Remember "The 90 Minute Rule"

    Your body goes through sleep cycles of 90 minutes. Wake up in the middle of one and you'll feel lousy no matter how long you've been in bed. So plan your sleep schedule in increments of an hour and a half. Here's Richard:

    Sleep scientists all use the "90-minute rule" which is basically a sleep cycle which is moving from light sleep, to deep sleep to dreaming and repeating that again and again. That cycle is roughly ninety minutes. You're best off waking up at the end of a cycle. Plan your sleep in ninety minute blocks to tell you the best time to be falling asleep. Then you go to bed about ten, twelve minutes before that because that's how long it should be taking you to fall asleep.

    (For more on how to have the best night's sleep of your life, click here.)

    I could use a nap now, frankly. But before any of us nod off, let's round up what Richard had to say so tonight is a restful one. (And we'll get one more tip that can help make sure your nighttime habits don't backfire.) 

    Sum Up

    Here's what Richard had to say about getting more quality zzzzzzzz's:

    • Avoid smartphones and devices at night. But they're great when you're dealing with jet lag.
    • A good nightly routine is key. No alcohol before bed, think positive thoughts and play the alphabet game.
    • Naps are awesome. Just keep them under 30 minutes. Drink a cup of coffee before you lay down.
    • Sleeping in two chunks is natural. Get up and do something for a little while and then go back to bed.
    • Remember the "90 minute rule." Think about when you need to be up and count back in increments of 90 minutes so you wake up sharp.

    Sometimes we're our own worst enemy. We stay up surfing the net or watching Netflix. How can we behave better?

    John Durant offers a piece of advice I follow: forget the morning alarm clock; set an alarm to remind you when to go to bed.

    Via The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health:

    A useful technique is setting an alarm clock—not to wake up, but to get ready for bed. Set an alarm for an hour before bedtime. When it goes off, finish up any work on the computer, turn off the TV, turn off any unnecessary lights, and start to wind down for the day.

    I wish you great sleep and blissful dreams.

    And as Anthony Burgess once said:

    Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.

    Join over 260,000 readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

    Related posts:

    5 Scientific Secrets To Naps That Will Make You Happier And Smarter

    4 Things Astronauts Can Teach You About A Good Night’s Sleep

    These Six Things Will Bring You A Great Night’s Sleep

    SEE ALSO: Researchers discovered a psychological trick that will help you stop procrastinating

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    NOW WATCH: 11 ways to avoid distractions and stay focused


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    strengths

    Mental strength is just like any other skill: It takes time to develop.

    In her book "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," psychotherapist Amy Morin writes that your genetics, personality, and life experiences all play a role in your mental strength.

    Since we know what mentally strong people don't do, we asked Morin about the key habits they do follow.

    Here are nine things mentally strong people do every day.

    This is an update of an article originally written by Steven Benna.

    SEE ALSO: 13 things mentally strong people don't do

    DON'T MISS: The 27 jobs that are most damaging to your health

    1. They monitor their emotions.

    People often assume mentally strong people suppress their emotions, Morin says, but they are actually acutely aware of them.

    "They monitor their emotions throughout the day and recognize how their feelings influence their thoughts and behaviors," she says. "They know sometimes reaching their greatest potential requires them to behave contrary to how they feel."



    2. They practice realistic optimism.

    Having a positive outlook all the time is impossible, and too much negativity is counterproductive.

    Mentally strong people "understand that their thoughts aren't always true, and they strive to reframe their negativity," Morin says. "They replace exaggeratedly negative thoughts with a more realistic inner monologue." 

     



    3. They solve problems.

    To put it simply, "mentally strong people refuse to engage in unproductive activities," Morin says. Instead of sitting there complaining about your bad day at work and wishing bad things wouldn't happen, evaluate why something went wrong and fix it. Learn how to calculate risk and move forward from there, she says.

     



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    resume, job interview

    If you're looking for an easy way to make sure your résumé is up to par, look no further. A quick scan for the following two phrases will tell you everything you need to know.

    But before we get to that, let's quickly agree on one key point: A résumé is not about what you can do, what you're supposed to do or what you should do, given your professional title. It's about what you have done – concrete examples of your career achievements.

    Most résumés outline specific employment information and then provide a list of three to five bullet point statements for each position held. These bullets are the real meat of the document. They tell people what you did, how you did it and the impact your actions had. Unfortunately, I see a lot of bad practices in this area.

    The two phrases below are key indicators that your résumé might be working against you. When I see these phrases, I can guess that the résumé in hand will be one of two things: a bland restatement of a job description or a generic list of skills that the writer may or may not possess.

    In either case, these phrases are warnings that revision is probably needed. Take a peek and then check your résumé. If needed, take some time to rework your bullet points.

    1. "Responsible for…"

    This phrase is a neon sign that tells the reader you're listing job duties and not accomplishments. For example, consider this résumé bullet point: "Responsible for completing monthly inventory audits."

    Reading this bullet point, few recruiters or hiring managers would be impressed. In fact, it might have them scratching their heads. You were responsible for it, but did you actually do it?

    Instead of focusing on the task, why not focus on how you did that task in an exceptional way and achieved something special for the organization?

    Perhaps your audits revealed inaccuracies in the tracking systems, for which you were then able to recommend improvements. Maybe you identified some kind of fraud or recognized a problem with over-purchasing.

    It's also possible that you never encountered any abnormalities at all, and the best you can do is point to your record of timely completion and meticulous attention to detail. That's okay, too. Include it. Just rephrase the sentence and start it with a powerful action verb.

    2. "Ability to…"

    This phrase suggests that you can do something but it doesn't actually say you've done it. It's a broad statement that points to a skill but offers no tangible proof. For example, consider the following résumé bullet point: "Ability to gain consensus and work well in collaborative environments."

    It sounds lovely but is essentially meaningless. How does the person reading the résumé know this is true? He doesn't. You're asking the reader to take a leap and just trust you.

    Instead, why not articulate a specific time in which you actually did gain consensus? Or mention a project in which you successfully collaborated with a team. Even better, see if you can identify a specific result that came of that experience – something that positively impacted the organization in some way. Reword the sentence so it starts with a powerful action verb and provides evidence for the skill you claim to have.

    If you can't cite a specific instance in which you successfully used the skill, it's not something that belongs in the bullet point statements on your résumé.

    Remember that when revising a résumé, the vast majority of your time should be spent on making those bullet point statements really pop. It takes time and effort, but the payoff is well worth it. Remove these two phrases and you'll be one step closer.

    SEE ALSO: We took a real resume from a laid-off tech worker and turned it into something fantastic

    DON'T MISS: The 27 jobs that are most damaging to your health

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    In an ideal world, we would be judged by the work we do. Unfortunately, professional success often goes beyond an individual's work ethic and performance; there are lesser known factors that play a role in an employer's decision to offer a promotion.

    According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, there are nine (superficial) factors that may be preventing you from getting that deserved promotion.

    BI_Graphics_9 Appearance mistakes that are holding you back at work

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    A recent study has revealed that children who have a problem with authority make more money later in life. However, those who are studious also generally had more successful careers and made more money as adults.

    Produced by Emma Fierberg

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    Ashley Lutz

    We now spend the majority of our waking hours at work, and it can be a combat zone.

    Making the wrong move can affect the salaries we depend on, the promotions we're considered for, and where we go next in our careers. 

    Luckily, Business Insider is launching a new advice column to help you solve your toughest workplace conundrums

    I'm Ashley Lutz, senior business editor. Over the years, I have become an unofficial advisor to my friends, spending hours deciphering their existential problems. 

    I'm here to provide guidance on all your office issues, occasionally bringing in a panel of experts to help.

    Have you spent hours analyzing how to approach your office crush? Are you losing sleep over a toxic relationship with your boss? Do you debate whether to tell a colleague her provocative outfits have become the talk of the office? 

    Inquiries can be anonymous, and any questions we find especially interesting will be featured in this column.

    Send your questions to asktheinsider@businessinsider.com.

    We look forward to hearing from you.  

    SEE ALSO: The 27 jobs that are most damaging to your health

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    NOW WATCH: Katie Couric learned to be a leader by following this humble advice from her mom


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    laia bee

    At this week's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, a panel of game developers and critics gathered for the fourth annual #1ReasonToBe panel — as in, "the No. 1 reason to be" a woman or person of color who works in games and technology.

    The goal of #1ReasonToBe is to focus on the panelists' accomplishments and amazing experiences in an industry that can sometimes be hostile to people from different backgrounds. 

    In its first year, the panel reduced the audience to tears before concluding in a standing ovation, and it became the talk of the event. In the past, it's focused heavily on women, but this year, #1reasontobe expanded to include people from diverse backgrounds all over the world. 

    Across all seven panelists' stories, a theme emerged.

    It doesn't matter where in the world you're trying to do business — if you don't fit in, it's always an uphill struggle. But if you remember why you're in this to begin with, you can do great things.

    'That's just business as usual'

    First off, it can be hard to make the connections you need to get off the ground. 

    For instance, Tasneem Salim found it really hard to express her love of games where she lives in Saudi Arabia, where gender segregation is the law, and all gaming conferences and conventions were men-only. Later

    "If you're a girl living in Saudi Arabia, that's just business as usual," says Salim. 

    But after meeting a very few likeminded souls, she founded GCon, Saudi Arabia's first-ever video game conference for women, which just celebrated its fourth successful year. It was very much an "if you build it they will come" scenario, Salim says, if only because it didn't have the budget for marketing.

    ilogos elena lobova

    While other countries don't have the same restrictive laws around gender segregation, other panelists said that they had similar issues establishing themselves in the male-dominated tech industry. 

    "Unfortunately, it most Ukrainian countries, programming a computer is still seen as man's work," because it requires a lot of dedication and focus — while women are supposed to be homemakers, says Elena Lobova, the CEO of the Ukraine-based game studio iLogos.

    Sithe Ncube, founder of the Ubongo Game Lab in Zambia and a part-time computer science student, says that there are four career options if you're from Africa: "Doctor, lawyer, engineer, or disappointment to your family."

    And Laia Bee, the cofounder of Uruguay-based Pincer Game Studios, says that she struggled to find investors and business partners who believed in her work. 

    "There is fear due to what they haven't experienced yet," Bee says. 

    'Gaming is kind of an evil thing'

    There are other barriers, too, including growing up away from the reach of technology: Tsitsi Chiumya, a game designer from South Africa, kicked off this year's event with the sheepish admission that "until about two weeks ago, I had never been on a plane. And now I'm here."

    Coming from a rural area, he never saw a line of code until his father accidentally enrolled him in a game development class in 2012 (it was apparently one digit off on the registration form).

    And Sun Park, founder of Seoul-based Turtle Cream (that's "cream for a turtle," not "cream made from a turtle," he clarified), says that he's decided to make a political stance against South Korea's anti-gaming public sentiment by not releasing his acclaimed game "6180 the moon" in his home country.

    6180 the moon

    "In South Korea society, [gaming] is kind of an evil thing," Park says. 

    The problem is that Park, who doesn't speak English as a first language, is struggling to sell his games to the Western market. 

    He can hold a conversation, but negotiating contracts and business deals is way beyond him. Those barriers mean that he can't bring games that reflect his own experiences to the American market.

    "Diversity of language is diversity of games," Park says.

    'It's not my work, it's who I am'

    But something all of the panelists agreed on was that all of these barriers weren't going to stop them, because making games is something that's core to their identity. 

    In his talk, Chiumya emphasized how making games is vital to his sense of self-expression. He says he's trying to make games that express distinctly South African values, especially the notion of "ubuntu," or unity.

    "I wanted to bring that unity and diversity to games, as well," Chiumya says.

    For the Ukraine-based Lobova, she says she's not shy about shattering any stereotype in front of her.

    girls games gdc 2016

    "It is difficult and it is challenging, but it is interesting. And it's not my work, it's who I am," Lobova says.

    Meanwhile, Zambia only appears in video games as a backdrop to open warfare waged by Americans with guns. Ncube says she makes games to show a different side to the country. Her visions, and the short games she's released online, have resonated enough that she was able to raise an IndieGoGo crowdfund to pay for her travel to GDC.

    "I want to see a different story told about where I'm from, and I want it to be told by us," Ncube says.

    And more than anything, the panelists agreed that they stay in games despite the problems because they want to keep working to make it better for everybody else.

    "I just want to give my life to what I love, and I want to keep our scene amazing," Bee says. 

    SEE ALSO: If you want to make video games for a living, get ready for long hours and a lot of unpaid overtime

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: These Afghan women are conquering taboos just by riding bikes


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    Cover letters are still important. Career advice expert for TopResume Amanda Augustine says that in her findings 50% of recruiters still pay attention to them. Be sure to include these things in your letter in order to be considered. 

    Produced by Justin Gmoser

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    bike commute

    Commuting is a drag.

    Every minute spent getting to and from work has been shown to take away from time spent working out, cooking, and sleeping.

    When two economists polled 900 Texans in 2006 about their favorite activities, the morning commute ranked last. Longer commutes make people less healthy, worse at their jobs, and more likely to get divorced—and commutes are only getting longer.

    So what is the deal with the small number of people whom transportation researchers have found to be perfectly fine with their commutes, even—shockingly—enjoying them?

    This is a real thing: When researchers studied the preferences of 1,300 Bay Area commuters in 2004, they found that “about half of the sample were relatively satisfied with the amount they commute, with a small segment actually wanting to increase that amount.”

    And when the Canadian government administered a survey about 10 years ago, they found that the proportion of respondents who liked commuting (38 percent) was larger than that of those who didn’t like it (30 percent). Sixteen percent, strangely, said they really enjoyed the experience.

    Commuting is, at the very least then, a polarizing activity. But what accounts for the broad spectrum of attitudes toward it? What makes it more or less likely that someone will enjoy trudging—or skipping—to work each morning?

    How Canadians Felt in 2005 About Daily ActivitiesOne major factor is how people feel about what they’re trudging toward.

    When the Canadian government studied its citizens’ commuting habits and preferences closely in the mid-aughts, it found that people’s attitudes toward their jobs mattered a lot.

    The probability that people who liked their work “a great deal” also liked commuting was 64 percent; for those who strongly disliked their work, it was 10 percent. Getting paid well doesn’t hurt either: A Swiss researcher found that people who commute an hour would have to be paid 40 percent more in order to be as happy in life as someone who lives and works in a single neighborhood.

    At first glance, it would seem like mode of transport matters a lot too. The Canadians found that only 23 percent of workers who took public transit enjoyed their commute, while that was true of 39 percent of drivers.

    But for most people something else trumps mode of transport (and nearly everything else) as a predictor of whether someone would enjoy her commute: how long it takes.

    It turns out that public-transit commutes tend to be longer than commutes in cars, and when duration was held constant, commuters seemed just as (dis)pleased with subways and buses as with cars. In a 2006 study, researchers who surveyed 208 suburban New Yorkers who took the train to Manhattan arrived at a pretty clear-cut relationship: The longer the commute, the more stressed-out someone will be. 

    But there was one tiny, peculiar group whom the Canadian government found in its data—3 percent of respondents—who claimed that commuting was the best part of their day—and who didn’t seem as fazed by lengthy commutes. Who on Earth were these people?

    They were bikers, mostly. Nineteen percent of people who rode their bikes to work said commuting was their most delightful daily activity, compared to only 2 percent of drivers who felt the same way. (People who walked to work were also significantly more likely to enjoy commuting than people who drove, but biking was yet a stronger predictor.)

    Unfortunately for many workers, a short commute or biking may not be options. Whether a worker decides to take a train, drive a car, or bike, and how long the trip lasts, are more determined by what’s available (or cost-effective or safe) given the location of their office vis-a-vis their home than it is about what they’d prefer to do under perfect circumstances of their own creation.

    But external factors aren’t everything: Recently, a team of researchers led by Jon Jachimowicz, a doctoral student studying management at Columbia Business School, and Julia Lee, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, identified a personality trait that seems to dictate how much of a toll a commute takes on any given person: self-control.

    In the study, they found that people with lower levels of self-control were more emotionally exhausted by long commutes. “We find … that that then also predicts whether or not they leave the organization six months later,” Jachimowicz told me.

    india crowded hindu train

    The reason why, he theorizes, is that people who have higher levels of self-control use their time in transit differently.

    “Those individuals with higher levels of trait self-control are just naturally more likely to … use their commute to think about their day ahead, what their goals are,” he says, adding that “those with lower levels of trait self-control are more likely to give into the temptation of using the commute in a more fun way.”

    Partaking in those “fun” things—listening to music, reading, and so on—while commuting is not in and of itself negative. But it does introduce the risk that when people arrive at the office, they haven’t fully transitioned into a work mentality and thus might start the day playing catch-up. Apparently, thinking through their days while in transit mitigates this risk.

    Interestingly, though, Jachimowicz, Lee, and their fellow researchers found that prodding commuters to think through their days while in transit made them more satisfied with their jobs. “Being able to set aside a few minutes during commuting for prospection can turn a time period that many employees rate as their least desirable into a slightly less aversive time period—or at least a much more beneficial one,” they write. They add that “this is a behavior that can be learned and adopted by employees regardless of their levels of ... self-control.”

    Subway train crowded

    Commuting today is a bit different than it used to be not very long ago. (And with the rise of working remotely, there is an increasing number of people who don’t commute at all.) Between 2004 and 2010, the number of British commuters who took the train reporting that they were wasting their time traveling fell by a little more than a third—a drop that researchers attributed to a sharp rise in the number of commuters using their phone to check email, browse the Internet, or listen to music or podcasts.

    Today, workers interested in further reducing their angst, then, can at least take solace in the fact that their forebears had it worse.

    SEE ALSO: A visceral portrait of life at the US-Mexico border

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    ashley lutz ask the insiderAsk The Insider columnist Ashley Lutz answers all your work-related questions, including the awkward, sensitive, and real-world ones. Have a question? Email asktheinsider@businessinsider.com.

    Dear Insider, 

    I work at a very corporate company with many creatives in open seating.

    I'm surrounded by 13 people, five days a week, 8-10 hours a day — and I can hear their everything.

    From music to aggressive typing to conversations to videos, I can hear it all. I've learned to cope with most of this noise, zone out, and focus on the work.

    Unfortunately, there's one sound I simply cannot drown out no matter how hard I try: chewing. Others' chewing drives me to something close to insanity.

    Crunchy salads, chips, banana chips, corn nuts, and almonds are the worst offenders. Even a mushy, soft banana that someone rolls around in their mouth absolutely disgusts me.

    It's not that I'm just annoyed — it's that the sound of someone's chewing actually makes me start to not like said coworkers. What should I do to cope with this aside from blasting music in my headphones?

    Sincerely,
    Disgusted By Chewing Sounds

    ***

    Dear Disgusted,

    Oh, the joys of the open workspace! Unfortunately for most of us, aspiring to have an office with a door (or at the very least, a spacious cubicle) that shields us from our colleagues is now a sad relic of a bygone era.

    As I sit in my New York workplace, my desk is jammed against several others. Even the founder and CEO of my company suffers the same plight just a few feet away from me. While all this togetherness can lead to better collaboration and communication, awareness of people's personal habits and quirks is heightened. By Friday, you want to take Anna's cup of corn nuts and chuck it across the room.

    I am a firm believer that overly crunchy snacks should be banned from the office (who thought that Japanese rice cracker mix was a good idea!?), but also acknowledge that a utopia of office kitchens stocked with only odorless and noise-free foods is unattainable. There's little you can do about your coworkers packing the snacks of their choice and eating them in their own unique styles. 

    That being said, there are a few ways you can cope. First and foremost, invest in a good pair of headphones. When I made the switch from earbuds to headphones (Sony makes these great, inexpensive ones), I was amazed at how much they drowned out the sound. Sometimes I wear my headphones without even playing music so I can muffle some of the noise but still hear if someone is trying to get my attention.

    You can also be a little sneaky. A few weeks ago, I tweeted about my desire to publish a book of scentless, silent office foods. This spurred a lively discussion among my coworkers about acceptable and unacceptable foods.

    You could even make a comment like, "I was going to pack baby carrots for lunch, but they're probably too loud for the office. What do you think?" Or make of point of saying you're going to start eating lunch outside so you don't bother anyone. Awareness could lead to change. 

    Spending long hours in a corporate environment can take its toll on even the most patient person. Perhaps evaluating some of your own work habits will help ease your stress levels. 

    Are you making a point to get up at least once an hour and walk around? You could set an alarm to remind yourself. Regardless of how you keep yourself on track, pick a time and go, if only for a couple of minutes.

    And you really should take a real lunch break, if it's an option. Eating away from your desk and computer will help maintain your sanity and insulate you from coworkers chomping on their reheated fish dinners and crispy kale salads. 

    Focusing on wellness outside the office will also carry over into your time at work. There are guided meditation apps that promise relaxation in just a few minutes.

    If possible, you should also make time for an outlet or hobby. Spending even a few minutes writing in a journal, exercising, or setting some goals can make you happier, according to scientific research.

    If you invest in yourself, the long, deafening hours spent at work will be easier to tolerate. 

    Ashley Lutz is a senior editor at Business Insider answering all your questions about the workplace. Send your queries to asktheinsider@businessinsider.com for publication on Business Insider. Requests for anonymity will be granted, and questions may be edited.

    SEE ALSO: Business Insider is launching a new work advice column!

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    NOW WATCH: These are the worst jobs for your health


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    busy night working late

    The best things in life may be free, but that doesn't mean they won't take time, sweat, and perseverance to acquire.

    That's especially the case when it comes to learning important life skills.

    To ascertain which talents are worth the investment, one Quora reader posed the question: "What are the hardest and most useful skills to learn?"

    We've highlighted our favorite takeaways.

    SEE ALSO: 15 things successful 20-somethings do in their spare time

    DON'T MISS: The 20 cities where Americans work the hardest

    1. Mastering your sleep

    There are so many prescribed sleep hacks out there it's often hard to keep track. But regardless of what you choose, establishing a ritual can help ensure you have restful nights.

    Numerous studies show that being consistent with your sleep schedule makes it easier to fall asleep and wake up, and it helps promote better sleep in general.



    2. Empathy

    "You can be the most disciplined, brilliant, and even wealthy individual in the world, but if you don't care for or empathize with other people, then you are basically nothing but a sociopath," writes Kamia Taylor.

    Empathy, as business owner Jane Wurdwand explains, is a fundamental human ability that has too readily been forsworn by modern business.

    "Empathy — the ability to feel what others feel — is what makes good sales and service people truly great. Empathy as in team spirit — esprit d'corps — motivates people to try harder. Empathy drives employees to push beyond their own apathy, to go bigger, because they feel something bigger than just a paycheck," she writes.



    3. Time management

    Effective time management is one of the most highly valued skills by employers. While there is no one right way, it's important to find a system that works for you and stick to it, Alina Grzegorzewska explains. 

    "The hardest thing to learn for me was how to plan," she writes. "Not to execute what I have planned, but to make so epic a to-do list and to schedule it so thoroughly that I'm really capable of completing all the tasks on the scheduled date."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    ashley lutz ask the insiderAsk The Insider columnist Ashley Lutz answers all your work-related questions, including the awkward, sensitive, and real-world ones. Have a question? Email asktheinsider@businessinsider.com.

    Dear Insider,

    I'm pretty good at my job, from my understanding.

    I've never missed a goal, I'm thorough, and I routinely hear positive feedback from my managers.

    But one problem is keeping me up at night: I feel like everyone in the office is silently judging me because I never stay late and usually leave before 6 p.m.

    The majority of people in my office seem to function on a "the more hours you're here, the better you're doing" mentality, but I inherently believe that as long as I'm getting my work done, that's all that matters.

    I often like to make sure that I can hit the gym for a 7 p.m. class — and having time to work out and take care of myself is crucial to my productivity at work.

    I also pride myself on my ability to manage time and work over the course of an eight- to nine-hour day. I never leave if there's a pressing project or deadline.

    Still, I cannot help but be scared that people think I don't do enough work and that I'm uncommitted. Should I just stay late or come in early to show people that I'm committed, even if my work is done? Should I just stop caring what they think?

    Sincerely,
    Anxious About Clocking Out

    ***

    Dear Anxious,

    I once had a mentor tell me that life is like tending to four dishes on the stove, and you can only really pay attention to two at a time.

    When you're killing it at work and meeting all your family obligations, your social life suffers and your time to work out and sleep evaporates. When you're leaving work early to go to the gym, you fear you'll be passed over for the next promotion.

    Finding the perfect balance is impossible, but achieving peace of mind is not. 

    Obviously, you don't want to leave your coworkers in the lurch in the middle of an important deadline. But it sounds like you're getting your work done and feedback from your managers is positive. Assuming all that, we can talk about the best way to move forward. 

    Business Insider reporter Shana Lebowitz recently experimented with cutting back on her work hours for a story. She found no difference in her productivity and found benefits like having more time for enjoying hobbies outside of work.

    But, like you, she describes intense guilt at leaving earlier than her coworkers. 

    The good news is the guilt you're feeling is probably unwarranted. 

    Modern companies seem to be growing out of assessing people based solely on "face time," endless hours unnecessarily spent in the office in order to appear more productive. Lebowitz cites Nordic countries, where employees who work long hours are viewed as inefficient. 

    I polled senior managers at Business Insider to see how they felt about "face time." Everyone I spoke to said they focus on the quality and quantity of work rather than whether the employee stays at their desk outside of business hours. 

    Everyone is entitled to his or her own priorities. How can you spend your time so you are the maximum level of happy? 

    You know that leaving for the gym is something you need to stay centered and sustain productivity. It's better for you to prioritize what will sustain you in the long run so you don't burn out. 

    Your manager has communicated you're doing a good job, so you likely don't need to worry about it. Even so, it may be worth following up with him or her to discuss expectations and ease your mind. Getting reassurance from above might make you feel better.

    If your boss conveys that staying late is part of the culture, maybe it's time to search for a company that will judge you on your impact and accomplishments rather than just "being there." 

    As for your guilt, I doubt your coworkers are silently judging you. It's more likely their brains are occupied with pressing deadlines, family drama, and what to eat for dinner.

    In the words of David Foster Wallace, "we'd care less what people think of us if we realized how little they really do."

    Set your priorities confidently, and you will go far.

    ***

    Ashley Lutz is a senior editor at Business Insider answering all your questions about the workplace. Send your queries to asktheinsider@businessinsider.com for publication on Business Insider. Requests for anonymity will be granted, and questions may be edited.

    SEE ALSO: Business Insider is launching a new advice column!

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