Discrimination Against the Unemployed

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A reader named Susan left an interesting comment on Never Hire an MBA. She doesn't like the article, but what I found interesting was this part of her comment: Are you familiar with discrimination laws, well although there is not currently a discrimination law that would protect individuals from potential employers from discriminating against individuals who are unemployed, I am proud to say that I am one of thousands who have signed a petition against little minded people who discriminate against the unemployed. I hadn't heard of this before, but after a little research I found that some employers are including requirements in their job postings that basically say, "we only consider job … [Read more...]

Getting More Done

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If you want to accomplish more than those around you, you have two options: Spend more time working. Do more in less time. There aren't any other options.  To get more done, you'll have to do one or both of these things, so lets look at them in more detail. Spend more time working This is how most people try to get more done. They work 10 and 12 hour days, work weekends, etc. While this can definitely help you accomplish more, it doesn't scale very well. If you allow 8 hours per day for sleep and eating, you can't go beyond 16 hours of work per day. If you were able to convert all of your extra time into productive work, you'll only be twice as productive as the average … [Read more...]

Making Yourself Indispensable

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Since the economy is now in recession, the current state of affairs is causing many people rethink how they view their job security. Those life-long  jobs we hear our grandparents speak of, unfortunately, do not exist in the numbers they once did. For most people, their best option is to make themselves one of the employees that stands out from the others in terms of willingness to work, enthusiasm and dedication to the business. Here are a few suggestions to help "recession-proof" your job. 1. Keep a positive attitude I once heard a story about a person in nursing school that was considered for a job over others, simply because of their good attitude. While many other students were … [Read more...]

Reader Question – Smarter People

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What makes some people smarter than others? How smart someone is can be measured in many different ways. The most common standard way of measuring intelligence is an IQ test. If you have an IQ of 100 then you are a completely average person. If you IQ is above 100 you are above average. A raw IQ score measures on type of intelligence. However there are many people with modest IQs who have amassed an extremely large amount of knowledge. This pool of knowledge makes them extremely intelligent. Often they will outperform someone with a higher IQ simply because they know so much. In theory, there is very little you can do to improve your raw IQ. However you can very easily expand your … [Read more...]

8 Habit List Usage Ideas

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We've had some great response to the Habit List post. Here are several usage ideas for the Habit List: Negative Items - If there is something you are trying not to do, you can add it to the list as negative item.  For example, "Didn't watch TV" could be one of the items on the list. Different Lists for Different Places - Part of the idea of the Habit List is to let you focus on your tasks with habit type items out of the way.  If your habit list gets long, you might want to use different lists separated by where you will use them.  For example, you might have one list for exercise, another list for work, and a third for your home stuff. Teaching Your Kids - The Habit List also … [Read more...]

12 Tips for an Organized Desk

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Here are twelve quick desk organization tips. These are things that have worked well for me and help me maintain an organized desk (most of the time). Most of them are probably applicable to others as well. If you have any desk organization tip suggestions of items to add please add them to the comments. (Update: If you  are interested in seeing my desk, checkout this post for photos.) Get rid of pens and pencils you don't need. - I have one type of pen I like to use, but every month or so my pencil holder gets filled up with other random writing instruments. If you aren't going to use it, don't feel bad about throwing it out. It is just clutter.  The less clutter you have, the closer … [Read more...]

8 Video Conferencing Tips

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For the past several months I've been working on a project that involves being on a video conference call pretty much 8 hours per day with people all across the US. This has been an interesting experience and I wanted to share some of my tips for making video conferencing work effectively. 1. Good lighting Typical webcams look 100 times better when they have enough light. Adding a few light bulbs can make a huge difference in improving the way you look on the screen. I purchased some large CFL daylight balanced bulbs. They keep me from looking pink or blue and make the quality of my images much better than what it looks like without the lighting. If you can get sunlight from a … [Read more...]

Creative Business – Tie Society

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Some time back I wrote an article called You Are Self-Employed. The premise was that being an employee doesn't really offer any job security and if it doesn't offer job security, you may want to consider starting your own business. I also mentioned that it is probably easier to start a business today than it ever has been. The comments were where things got interesting though. It turns out a lot of people think of starting a business as something that requires huge amounts of capital. But not every company requires millions of dollars to start--particularly if you are willing to be creative. This past week I got a call from a company that is doing just that--being very creative. They … [Read more...]

Paradox of Powerful Tools

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I once worked with an organization that was using two different word processors. They had an old mainframe system with an integrated office suite that been in use for years. The mainframe was accessible from dumb terminals as well as from the newly added PCs. As they added PC's, more and more employees began switching to Microsoft Word. Word was a much more powerful system than the mainframe word processor. The mainframe only offered basic formatting (bold, italics, and underline), a single mono-spaced font, and a few other features like tabs and the ability to center a line of text. It seemed obvious that individuals using Word would be much more productive than those who used the … [Read more...]

How to Make an Insanely Simple Paperless Filing System

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This is a guest post by Arjun Muralidharan, author of The Productive Student, a new blog about productivity for college students and all productivity buffs. Mark's paperless project has always been a favorite of mine to follow. He uses DevonThink to manage incoming documents from his Fujitsu ScanSnap. It's a good system, but for me, it lacks two things: It doesn't handle all my files, such as Word documents, Keynote presentations and other file types well. Third-party software independence. In accordance with GTD, I like to have a comprehensive system that's cross-platform and can live independently from software such as DevonThink. While a system with DevonThink will work … [Read more...]