10 Easy Ways You Can Be More Productive at Work And they’re all at your desk. By LAURA COHEN


Here’s a quick way to become more efficient at your job: Reorganize your personal space. We spoke with Janet Simpson IIDA, principal at architectural firm TVSDesign with a specialty in workplace design, and got her top tips on how to best adjust your space for maximum productivity. See the details on each pointer, below.

1. Give yourself a “long view.” Simpson finds people work better when they can look up and out at something, rather than into a corner. If possible, try to position your main focal point (likely a computer) so you can see something beyond it — perhaps a window or into the rest of the office.

2. Leave yourself visual cues. Often times people don’t like to let their work literally “pile up,” but organized clutter can be a good thing. Simpson recommends any leaving papers for projects you’re working on in a consistent place on your desk, rather than in a drawer and out of sight

3. Have something inspiring to look to. This could be a photo of friends or family, or just a work of art you like — whatever relaxes you and makes you a little happier. Simpson recommends keeping this near your work phone, since when you’re taking calls your eyes are usually looking around a bit.

4. Get a task light. A desk lamp with an adjustable arm should do the trick — just adjust the light on what you’re working on for extra focus. Extra brightness keeps you engaged and alert.

5. Use a flexible chair. Our posture at work has changed dramatically in recent years due to the many devices we’re using, from our laptops to our iPads to our smartphones. Since you’ll likely be bending at all different angles here, you need a chair with wheels that allows for a variety posture and supports quick movements.

6. Add a pop of color. Simpson’s team encourages most work areas to stay neutral in colors, but a small accent color can be quite pleasing. Some people think having a lot of colors and patterns everywhere will keep you engaged, but it does the opposite – the more you see it, the less special it is. Simpson recommends using a vibrant color, specifically orange.

7. Wear headphones. More offices are being designed with open space, which is great for giving workers and opportunity for that long view (see number 1). But, Simpson says it’s important to have a cue to let people know you’re concentrating. Headphones are universal – they say “don’t bother me now, I’m in the zone.”

8. Go dual. Simpson says it’s becoming more and more common in workspaces to use two computer monitors, as it simply allows you to do more. If possible, try this out — you can have your email up and also be working on another project.

9. Embrace natural light. Sunlight is known to increase work productivity. Sometimes it may be out of our control where our desk is, but if you can work on something in that conference room with the huge windows, do try.

10. Don’t hoard everything at your desk. Simpson’s team has been promoting the notion of well-being at the office, and part of that involves movement throughout the day. Walking down the hall to throw something out, fill up a glass of water, or grab some more paper clips allows you to take a break and stretch — exactly what you need for a burst of energy and to improve your thought process.


Tips to a Successful Phone Interview


There are different ways companies use to interview people. One of those is the phone interview. Companies use phone interviews for several reasons, but the most popular are to cut costs and to screen people better. Companies want to avoid the cost of interviewing everyone face-to-face. They would rather only have to face the best ones.

Due to the popular use of phone interviews, it is important to prepare yourself for one. Preparing for the interview will help you get past the first phase and get a face-to-face interview. Here is a list of tips to help you have a successful phone interview.

1.Physical copies are still in – In today’s digital age, you may think that printing is only a waste when you can have everything on your computer, laptop, or smartphone. These gadgets have truly improved our way of life, but they are still prone to problems. Printing copies of your resume is recommended so that will you have a copy if problems arise. Having a physical copy in front of you during the phone interview will help you go over your strengths and accomplishments.

2.A landline is better – In a time when most people have a cellphone with them 24 hours a day, it may seem like a landline wouldn’t be a good idea to use in a phone interview. Cellphones are fine, but they can also have problems with the network, so unless you are 100% sure that network problems won’t be an issue, a landline is better.


3.Disable extra features – Yes, today’s electronics are so much better, but they can also be the reason why an applicant fails a phone interview. Turn of all of those extra features of your phone 15 minutes before the scheduled time of the call. You don’t want these things sabotaging the interview.

4.Pick a quiet place – During a phone interview, you don’t want any disturbances. Remind yourself of the scheduled time of the call, and make sure that you will be in a quiet place where you feel comfortable. Ideally during a scheduled phone interview you want to be at home, in a room where kids or pets are not allowed inside during the duration of the call.

5.Loud and clear – In the course of a phone interview, speak in a loud, clear voice. You want the interviewer to understand every word you say.

6.Take time – An area in which most applicants fail in a phone interview is not taking the time to think about their answers. Just because you are in a phone interview doesn’t mean that you can’t take a few seconds to collect your thoughts. Taking time in answering questions will help you give better answers.

7.Stand up and smile – Just because the interviewer doesn’t see you, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the interview as seriously. Standing up during the phone interview will help you relax during the interview. Smiling helps you sound friendlier.

8.Be honest – If, during the course of the conversation, there is a major distraction that’s keeping you from being in top form, it is wiser to be honest to the interviewer. She will appreciate your honesty. The interviewer would rather hear the real reason than listen to you trying to cover up the reason you were distracted.

9.Always be prepared – Always have your resume ready. Have documents you’ll need during the interview prepared in a place where you can easily get them.

A phone interview is the first step in getting a job. You want to be prepared and be at your best during the interview. Don’t let anything get in the way of your opportunity to get the job. Follow the tips above, and give yourself the best chance to land that job.


Houston Employment Economic Update via Greater Houston Parntership

The Partnership sends updates for the six most important economic indicators each month. If you would like to opt-in to receive these updates, please click here. August 19, 2016


Metro Houston lost 8,600 jobs in July, according to data released today by the Texas Workforce Commission. Houston always experiences significant job losses mid-year as educators on 10-month contracts are without work during the summer. This year’s loss fell well below the typical loss of 15,000 jobs for the month. July’s job losses will likely be recouped when school resumes in the fall.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the region has added jobs in three of the past four months, adding 3,700 in July. Seasonally adjusted employment is only 5,700 jobs below Houston’s January ’16 peak.

Of note, the mining and logging sector, which has averaged losses of 1,500 jobs per month since January ’15, lost only 300 jobs in July. From early June to mid-July, crude prices averaged $48 per barrel. Over the same period, the U.S. drilling fleet added 54 rigs. Those two trends suggest the energy industry may have seen the worst of the downturn. As a result, energy-related job losses have begun to moderate.
Sectors recording notable growth in July were professional and business services (+5,100 jobs), construction (+2,100), and trade, transportation and utilities (+1,500). Sectors recording notable job losses included local government education services (-14,400) and health care (-1,200).

Houston’s unemployment rate increased from 4.8 percent in May to 5.8 percent in July. Both the Texas and U.S. unemployment rates are 5.1 percent. Houston’s rate should start to decline again in August as local educators return to the classroom.

A more detailed look at employment will appear in the September issue of The Economy at a Glance.

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Close the Interview Well – By Caitlin Beausoleil



The Real Reason Your Résumé is Being Ignored by Dana Manciagli | Aug 4, 2016

The Real Reason Your Résumé is Being Ignored

Job hunting can be an incredibly frustrating process. You’ve brushed up your résumé, written a solid cover letter, and been applying to roles that seem darn near tailor made for you…

But when your phone is silent and inbox remains empty…

It can be tempting to ask “What’s wrong with me?”

But I’ve got good news.

There’s nothing wrong with YOU. Taking control of your career and winning the right job is serious business. Throughout my career as a manager, hiring manager, and mentor, I have met thousands of job seekers, all of whom fit into three clear categories:

  1. The Seriously Committed: You understand that the hiring game has changed and you are on a committed hunt for the next opportunity. Your drive to change the status quo has carried you this far – but you know you need to learn some additional skills to get real results.
  2. The Plan B-ers: You’re frustrated with your current situation and are searching for Plan-B. Despite your unhappiness you haven’t fully committed to searching for a new role but are keeping your eyes and ears open. You may be faced with a career change as your previous job-searches came up empty.
  3. The Hobbyist: Like occasional guitar players and weekend golfers, you dabble in your job search efforts, conduct R.A.A. (Random Acts of Application) by spraying out résumés, and meet up with people for coffee. If you’re in this category, and you want to stay there, stop reading now. If you want to get serious and find (and win) that new job, stay with me here!

It’s obvious the optimal category to be in is “Seriously Committed Job Hunter.” Why? Well, the truth is the job market has changed. Carefully worded cover letters and a strong résumé aren’t enough to get attention anymore – no matter how relevant your experience might be!

You need the best skills and to execute every step of the job hunting process brilliantly.  Job searching isn’t an application process, it’s a hunt in the truest sense of the word – and you need to be patient, prepared, and hungry.

There are no shortcuts to finding the right role. You’ll need to carve time out of your day to speed up the quest and stay committed to the process.

Where do you start?

Making the shift into the Seriously Committed category can be frustrating, especially when you feel as though your skills are out of date or something you’ve been doing is just NOT working.

As with any goal, your odds of success improve exponentially when you invest time to not only develop your existing skills but also to identify gaps and roadblocks and look for ways to eliminate them.

I’ve developed a 3 Step Action Plan to help you successfully negotiate your transition from a casual job-seeker to a seriously committed one; plus I’ve included my ultimate organization tool for any job search.  Click here to download your free Job Search Tracker.

The 3-Step Action Plan for Finding the Right Job Now

  1. Set Your Goal: Have you taken the time to clearly identify where you want your career to go – and how to get there? Have you thought about what role would be a perfect fit for your career? Sit down and clarify your goal until you can answer the question “What are you looking for?” in 20 words or less.
  2. Develop Your Plan: Now that you know what role you want, develop a schedule of how you will spend your time (and where it will be focused) over the next quarter. Create a detailed list of things you need to get done – and make sure you assign deadlines.
  3. Keep Yourself Organized: How many job applications do you have out there that are still possibilities? If you can’t answer this question then your job search is NOT organized. You need a clear, efficient system that not only keeps track of the opportunities you’re pursuing but also the specific people you need to follow up with.

FREE GIFT: This is the ultimate tool to stay organized, keep you in control, and streamline your job search. My carefully crafted Job Search Tracker is the result of assisting hundreds of job searchers on their journeys and it’s my gift to you – free.  Click here to download now.