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Do You Have What it Takes to Write from Home?

Write From Home

Write From Home

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post written by Sally Keys, a freelance writer in the fields of business and finance.


In my decade as first a writer and then a content manager, I have seen many people who think they can be writers. They love the idea of calling themselves a writer, bigging themselves up, and working from home. Many are stay-at-home parents, English literature students, and the long-term unemployed looking for a quick buck.

However, there are several aspects which mark out a good writer from a bad one, and it’s not all down to skill. A large part is actually down to attitude and mentality. If you have what it takes to survive as a freelance writer, then you need both of these.

The Writer’s Work Life

Most newbie writers underestimate the amount of work that goes into writing and the diversity of the writing jobs they must complete. They also fail to anticipate the time pressure put on many writers to get work done.

This is not just in terms of deadlines but also the amount of work necessary to make an decent living from writing. In some cases, this can mean pumping out multiple 400-word articles in an hour, including research and editing time.

The biggest challenge of for those who write from home is discipline. This means setting aside time and distractions, being well organized, and keeping to a strict schedule to bring the work in on time and on quality.

On the plus side, if you have that discipline, you will have the flexibility to work half days, to change from day-to-day when you work and how you work. As you write, you will gain more knowledge and more experience in each type of writing, and you will naturally speed up.

This brings in another con to consider: complacency. Shortcuts, cheats, copying, and accidentally writing the same thing again and again are common errors alongside not reading job briefs properly and being bland. These are all things Inklyo will teach you how to avoid.

The Work-From-Home Lifestyle

Most online writers today work from home. This can be in a designated office, a dining room, a bedroom, or, like Roald Dahl, a shed at the bottom of the garden. As noted above, working from home has its own distractions. Bosses will be on chat and email instead of in your face, as will colleagues, but you can tune them out more easily.

However, now you have a TV in the house, as well as a phone, Internet access, a fridge, and maybe a noisy family. Working from home can also be lonely, as it’s difficult to build new professional relationships and you won’t have colleagues to go out with.

Despite these drawbacks, the drawbacks of writing from home are offset by the many benefits: you can work in comfort, wear what you want, take the kids to school, and go out for lunch without a time limit.

Image source: Gabriel Beaudry/Unsplash.com

How to Write a Blog

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22 Tools and Blogs for the Savvy HR Professional

HR Professional

HR Professional

As an HR professional, you wear many different hats—especially when you are operating within a small business.

Your daily tasks probably include things like managing schedules, resolving disputes, sorting through mountains of resumes, and running interference between management and employees, all while ensuring that your company is a great place to work.

As more Baby Boomers retire and the skills gap increases, finding the right employees and talent is becoming harder and more competitive. HR is no longer a backend operation; it is central to the overall strategy and success of the business.

With so many responsibilities and so little time, we thought we would streamline the process by compiling a list of tools that will make your life as an HR professional easier.

Email Organization Software

First things first: organizing that overflowing inbox. There are tons of great tools to help you get your inbox under control.

  1. Google Inbox: If your business uses Gmail as its primary email system, this tool is a must. It is an email organization system that can be integrated on both your phone and computer so that everything is easily accessible. Watch this video to learn more about what it can do for you.

Price: Free

  1. SimplyFile: If your business uses Outlook as its primary email software, then SimplyFile is the tool for you. It acts as your own personal email filing assistant. Its advanced algorithm learns your filing habits and can file emails automatically after a training period.

Price: Free

Employee Training Courses

Making sure employees are properly trained can be daunting. Standardize the process with some helpful courses that are applicable to professionals in every field.

  1. ProofreadingCamp: Whether your employees are communicating within the office or with suppliers and clients, they must be able to communicate clearly and accurately to avoid causing confusion or seeming unprofessional. The expert editors at Scribendi.com designed the course, so you know that what you are learning is correct and the best quality.

Price: $199

  1. Microsoft Office Training: Make sure everyone is working as efficiently as possible by utilizing the many features of Microsoft Office. This Ultimate Microsoft Office 2016 Training Bundle is a comprehensive guide to Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Access, sold through Udemy. Udemy also offers in-depth courses for specific software in the Microsoft Office Suite.

Price: $205

Scheduling Software

Depending on the size of your organization or the typical hours your employees work, Excel spreadsheets might not be cutting it. Luckily for you, there is some great scheduling software available.

  1. Setmore: This scheduling tool is great for scheduling employees within a small business. With widgets that you can integrate onto your Facebook page and website, it can also be used for booking appointments.

Price: Free

  1. Sling: Scheduling shift work is a challenge for HR professionals. Sling allows you to craft schedules faster, notifying you of double bookings and time-off requests and allowing you to communicate with employees through the app.

Price: Free

Payroll Software

Make payroll much simpler with a tool that tracks employee hours, benefits, time off, taxes, and more. Not only will a payroll software streamline your processes but it will also ensure your employees get paid on time.

  1. Wagepoint: This payroll software is great for small businesses that need to automate their payroll system. Employees get paid on time, every time.

Price: ($20 + $2/employee)/payroll

  1. Employee Based Systems (EBS) Payroll: This flexible and intuitive system makes payroll easier by helping you manage all the tasks associated with processing payroll.

Price: Custom

Communication

Depending on the structure of your organization, communicating through email might not be cutting it. Whether you are managing independent contractors or remote employees, a more advanced system may need to be put in place. Here are some great options.

  1. Slack: Slack is a communication tool that can be used on your phone or computer. It allows you to organize people into groups, message other users, and send entire files. Slack integrates disparate platforms—from phone to text message to email—into one streamlined tool.

Price: Free (with paid premium plans)

  1. Skype: Although it’s not new, Skype is a tried-and-true video conferencing platform that is especially useful when working with remote employees (think performance reviews, meetings, conferences, etc.). It is also a great tool for conducting long-distance interviews, as many people already have accounts (and if not, they can sign up for free).

Price: Free

Brainstorming and Note Taking

Ever have a great idea that you somehow manage to forget 10 minutes later? These tools help you to preserve your brilliant ideas as you think of them.

  1. Mindly: Trying to organize an event or project? It can be hard to set priorities, goals, and plans. Luckily, the people at Mindly created an easy-to-use mind-mapping tool that enables you to visually organize your thoughts by color and task.

Price: Free

  1. Google Keep: Google Keep is an app that you can also download onto your computer. Jot down notes, ideas, and to-do lists quickly and efficiently. It has several systems of organization and connects with Ask Google for Android users, letting you take notes verbally.

Price: Free

  1. MindMeister: This mind-mapping software helps you create stunning visuals, assign tasks, and collaborate with other employees to create beautiful presentations.

Price: $15/month (business version)

Recruitment

Recruitment can be a long process, especially if your industry has a high turnover rate. Recruitment software can increase your chances of finding the perfect candidate.

  1. iCIMS Recruitment Software: This software has “Hire Expectations” for your company, allowing you to share job openings and find the best candidates more easily.

Price: Custom

  1. Workable: Streamline the recruitment process with Workable. It utilizes job board advertising, social media, sourcing tools, and referrals to find job candidates. It also helps you to schedule interviews, rate interviewees, and share information with your team.

Price: $50/job/month

  1. Zoho Recruit: This tool is great for HR professionals who have to sift through a lot of applicants. It allows you to format resumes, send emails, make calls, manage groups, and post to multiple job boards. You can also customize the layout to your liking.

Price: $25/month

The All-in-One

If your HR department is a one-person operation, as is the case in many small businesses, then it may be worth investing in an all-in-one automated HR solution.

  1. BambooHR: This Human Resources Information System (HRIS) streamlines HR tasks so you can focus on other aspects of your business. It ditches traditional spreadsheets, makes hiring easier, reduces the amount of paperwork you need to do, and has built-in scheduling software.

Price: Custom

  1. SutiHR: This all-inclusive HRIS program manages recruitment, benefits, training, scheduling, payroll, and performance reviews.

Price: $2–$8.50/user/month

  1. EffortlessHR: This HR management system includes an employee portal, a time clock, an applicant tracking system, file storage, and more.

Price: $39/month

HR Blogs

Stay up to date with news, laws, and industry information with the help of these blogs.

  1. The HR Bartender: Need to find information quickly? The HR bartender’s resource list answers many hard questions HR professionals face every day.
  2. Workology: This blog offers HR advice based on your position in a company, from interns to executives.
  3. The HR Daily Advisor: Here, you can find HR news, technology, advice columns, and resources to answer pressing questions you might not have realized you had.

We hope these tools will help you navigate the day-to-day HR activities that are so vital to your organization. Which HR tools do you already use that you can’t live without? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

Image source: Nosnibor137/BigStockPhoto.com Incoming keywords: HR professionals, HR tools. HR resources

ProofreadingCamp

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How to Write a Novel in Just One Year

How to Write a Novel

How to Write a Novel

The first of the year can be a disheartening time for writers.

The zeal brought on by ambitious resolutions has worn off, and, with each passing day that you don’t write, the sting of failure grows less acute as you sink back into your regular, creativity-free routine.

You don’t have to settle for failure. If you didn’t follow through on your writing resolutions, perhaps you simply need a new approach.

For all you aspiring authors out there, sticking to a writing schedule in the new year can help you achieve your goal to start (and even finish) that book you’ve been planning to write.

Maybe you’re the kind of author who experiences sudden bursts of inspiration, or maybe you’ve had an idea percolating for a while. Whether you’re starting from scratch or dusting off a rough draft, writing a book is hard work that requires dedication from start to finish.

Researching, writing, revising, editing, and proofreading your manuscript may sound like a daunting task, but harnessing the power of a writing schedule can help you create and achieve attainable writing goals, whether you’re starting January 1st or right now.

Prioritize Your Writing

The best way to incorporate writing into your daily schedule is to find out when you do your best writing, when you’re free to write, and how to keep yourself motivated. It’s also important to have a dedicated work environment to stay on task using methods that allow your creative juices to flow.

Every individual author has a different writing process, and understanding yours will help you write efficiently. Be sure to consider the following:

  • Time of Day: Are you a night owl who finds your sweet spot around 2 a.m.? Or do you function best early in the morning, before the kids wake up? Regardless of when you’re most loquacious, try writing at a consistent time of day. This will strengthen your writing routine.
  • Location: Do you work best in a quiet room, free of distractions? Or do you like the bustle of a coffee shop or music playing softly in the background to help you focus? Finding a compatible writing environment is essential for many authors to enhance their productivity.
  • Writing Tools: Do you type, write in cursive, or print in block letters? For some, ideas might flow more easily from rapid strokes on a keyboard than from a pad and pencil, while others prefer the feeling of a pen against paper to really get their creative juices flowing. Even famous writers use unconventional means of writing to meet their deadlines.
  • Motivation: While writing, do you respond better to positive or negative reinforcement? That is, do you stay motivated by rewarding yourself (e.g., with breaks, snacks, activities, or cute pictures of kittens) or by working under pressure? Motivating yourself with rewards or stressors can help give you that extra push to stick to your writing schedule.
  • Routines: What is your daily routine? Writing is unlikely to become your go-to activity in every spare moment unless you make the conscious decision to form a writing habit. Author Bryan Hutchinson recommends that you commit to writing “at the same time every day so that it becomes a natural, automatic part of your day, regardless of whether you feel inspired or motivated.”

With all these factors in mind, find what works best for you, and make the decision to keep working in the way that suits you best.

Set a Production Schedule

Unlocking the Art of Fiction WritingTo get an accurate idea of how long your book will take to write, you’ve got to set a total word count that’s appropriate for the scope of your project. Are you writing a 10,000-word short story or a 60,000-word novel? Knowing how long your work might be will help you create a realistic writing schedule.

Another thing you need to know is how quickly you can produce new material. How many new words can you write per hour (excluding rewriting)? This might be anywhere from 500 to 1,000 words. It’s totally okay if you’re not very fast; the idea here is to recognize your typical output level and work with it.

You should also consider how much time you have available. For writers who have full-time jobs, it can be hard to commit to a solid writing schedule. You may even have to sacrifice other activities. But, only once you decide to build writing into your daily routine will you start seeing results.

What’s the formula for your daily writing schedule? Here are the two equations you’ll need to solve:

  • Your weekly productivity = the number of words you can write per hour × the number of hours you have available per week
  • The number of weeks it will take to complete a first draft = the work’s approximate number of words ÷ your weekly productivity

So if you need to write an 80,000-word manuscript, but you can only write 10 hours per week at 1,000 words per hour, it’ll take you 8 weeks of writing to complete your first draft:

80,000 ÷ (1000 × 10) = 8

Keep in mind that this is an ideal equation that does not account for interruptions, delays, cases of writer’s block, or sudden waves of inspiration that you ride for 48 hours straight to finish your manuscript.

Set Writing Targets

If you’re not a word-generating machine that can pump out words in a constant, uninterrupted flow (honestly, it would be alarming if you were), don’t worry—writing targets can be either project-based or process-based. In other words, you might set a goal for yourself to finish a chapter by the end of the week or to revise a poem or short story by the end of the day. Whether or not you find having a weekly word count goal appealing, having a daily or weekly target can help you stay on track with your writing schedule.

Set Deadlines for Your Writing Process

Now that you have an idea of what’s involved in creating a writing schedule, let’s look at the step-by-step process that serious writers follow to see their work in print.

To start meeting the demands of your writing schedule, you must have a thorough understanding of the various aspects of writing: outlining, researching, writing a rough draft, rewriting, editing, and proofreading. Every writer will find a timeline that works for him or her, but the following sections outline a writing schedule that’s roughly based on the process I used to write my master’s thesis, which was about 25,000 words. You can either expand or condense it to fit your production schedule.

Month 1: OutliningYearly Writing Schedule

Some writers come up with their best material simply through the act of writing, and not everyone follows all stages of the pre-writing process in succession. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent idea to plan your writing before you launch into writing an ambitious manuscript.

A clear outline will help you avoid wasting time writing paragraphs or chapters that you might eventually just throw out (though you might be forced to do that to some extent in the rewriting stage, anyway).

The basic idea here is to create a skeleton of the key subject matter of your book, including the major plot points of a novel, the order of events of a memoir, or the main topics of a non-fiction work (such as a biography).

Months 1–3: Researching

Once you’ve identified the key topics you want to write about, take some time to get acquainted with them.

Experience and insight are often the best teachers for believable writing (whether fiction or non-fiction), but some topics will require extra research.

However, unless you’re writing an academic research paper or a science-based, realistic portrayal of an intricate process, this prewriting stage might not necessarily involve scholarly articles and monographs.

There are alternative ways to research a topic for writing. If you’re writing a young adult novel set in 2017, you might need to understand the quirks of teenagers’ conversations, whether online or in public, to write believable dialogue. Or maybe you’re writing a memoir, and you want to recapture the sights and sounds of your old school’s playground.

Sometimes, observing phenomena or interviewing individuals from relevant demographics is the best way to incorporate realistic material into your new book. Other times, you might need to dig a little deeper and conduct research online or at the library.

The bottom line is that you’ll write with more authority and precision about topics you know and understand. You don’t want to commit a factual error like some of these famous books and movies did.

Months 4–8: Writing a Rough Draft

You’ve got your outline and the necessary background information, and you’re raring to go! Finally, here comes the fun part: writing your first draft.

There’s a lot I could say here, but the most important advice I can give is to be like Dory: “just keep writing.” Another important maxim is to stay consistent but flexible: if new ideas develop while you’re writing your rough draft, don’t feel bound to your original outline, but you can still refer to it to stay on track.

Don’t sweat the details at this stage. I know it can be tempting to be critical of your mistakes, but your rough draft doesn’t have to be perfect—it’s called rough for a reason.

Month 9–11: Rewriting and Editing

If you’ve ever written a novel or a book in a short time, you might find yourself wondering what to do next. Basically, you want to take time at this stage to step back from your work and look at it through the eyes of your reader. This will allow you to rewrite and edit appropriately.

Rewriting might involve adding, cutting, or rewording passages. Try examining your book chapter by chapter and then re-reading it as a whole. Are there any gaps in continuity? Is the tone consistent throughout? Is there any unnecessary information that could be cut? This stage could take as long (or longer) than writing the initial draft. Examine your manuscript critically in terms of structure, organization, and style.

Once you’ve revised your manuscript and edited it to improve word choice, clarity, flow, and overall readability, you’re almost ready to polish your book for publication (the ultimate goal!).

Month 12: Proofreading

This is the final stage of the writing process. It’s important not to get caught up in the mechanics of language too early, because it won’t matter how you spelled convalescent if you decide to cut the chapter on your character’s recovery from surgery.

Proofreading is meant to fix grammatical, typographical, and spelling mistakes to ensure a perfect final draft. This is especially important if you’re hoping to get your book published, so consider enlisting the help of a professional proofreading service that will review your manuscript with fresh and experienced eyes.

Conclusion

Deciding to write a book is one thing, but finishing it is another thing entirely. We’d all love it if our ideas could form themselves perfectly in our heads and immediately spill onto the page in well-ordered lines of eloquent text, but alas, that’s not how it works.

Just as bodybuilders must work out to achieve their fitness goals, so too must writers work hard. By adhering to a writing schedule, you can achieve that perfect final draft.

While reading endless advice articles from other authors and every book about writing you can get your hands on is one way to motivate yourself to succeed, the only real way to write a book is to do just that—write, write, and write some more.

Though it’s unlikely that you will write your book from start to finish without rearranging, altering, or rewriting any words, planning out a specific writing schedule will help you make writing part of your daily routine.

Don’t let this be another year of untapped ideas and empty notebooks. Make the commitment to set a writing schedule, and follow it until your ideas manifest from just a plan into writing on a page.

Image source: TRT Photo/BigStockPhoto.com

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How to Get Your Business Email Read Past the Subject Line

Business Email

Learning how to structure and write a business email is vital if you want the recipient to read it and respond. You probably want to come across as assertive but polite, comprehensive but to the point, and urgent but not annoying. Finding such a balance in business writing can be tricky, but it’s by no means impossible. We’re here to help.

To help you master business email writing, we’re providing you with a simple structure to follow. Outlines are an immensely helpful tool to use in any kind of writing because all you have to do is fill in the blanks. Using our eight-step process, your email should generally adhere to the following format:

  1. Subject line
  2. Greeting
  3. Introduction
  4. Reason for contacting the recipient
  5. Call to action
  6. Gratitude
  7. Sign-off
  8. Editing

This clear outline will help you write your email quickly and effectively. With our business email writing process, you’ll get your email read past the subject line and your foot in whichever door you choose.

1. Provide enough information in the subject line

To get your email read past the subject line, the first thing you will need is an engaging subject line. Most important, it should be informational. Make sure your subject line correctly summarizes the email’s message. That means no spammy-sounding clickbait. You want your email to be read, but false advertising in the subject line will result in the loss of your recipients’ respect after the initial read-through.

It’s also important that your subject line isn’t too long. Be succinct! I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to log on to a computer because the sender’s subject line was too long to read on my smartphone. Don’t make the same mistake; some people won’t even go out of their way to read your whole subject line, let alone your email.

2. Be friendly and formal in the greeting

Make sure your greeting is friendly yet formal. It’s important that you address the recipient by name whenever possible. You should hunt for the correct name and verify that you’ve spelled it right. If you don’t know the name, a simple “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Committee” will suffice.

Ensure that you know the person’s gender for certain before you ever use gendered language. Avoiding these embarrassing mistakes is important in business email writing; one small mistake can secure your email a spot in the trash bin with a simple click.

3. Make sure they know who you are immediately

Making a good first impression is a two-step process: impress the person on the other end, and flatter him or her. First, you’ll want to introduce yourself as soon as you possibly can in the email. The introduction step should only need one line containing your name and what you do (but only what you do as it is relevant to the email). You’ll also want to mention any mutual friends or experiences here, if applicable.

You may also wish to employ some flattery early on. If they don’t know you and you have nothing in common, perhaps they can know you as an admirer. You should explain what motivated you to contact them specifically, such as an inspiring paper or an impressive accomplishment listed on LinkedIn. However, if it’s obvious why you’re contacting them (like a call for submissions) or the person on the other end is anonymous, feel free to skip this part.

All this might seem excessive, but remember: write one sentence for the introduction and maybe one to butter them up a bit. That’s it! Don’t completely overwhelm the recipient with paragraphs of information outlining your biography and every little accomplishment. You also shouldn’t drone on and on about how great they are, as people can smell insincerity a mile away! If you’re being honest in your compliments, any flattery you employ should blend in quite nicely.

4. Provide a clear and succinct reason for contacting them

Now you can get to the real meat of the email. Why are you writing? Explain, as concisely as possible, what it is you want or how they can help you. If it helps, outline the reasons for contacting them beforehand to ensure a clear and concise email. Email is generally a short format, so there should be no overwhelming blocks of text.

5. Ensure an obvious call to action

What is it that you want the recipient to do by the end of your email? If it’s a simple response, make an easy call to action (e.g., “Please feel free to reply to this email address with your answer”). If it’s a request for them to look at your webpage or portfolio, provide a link (e.g., “Please click here to view more of my work”). If you would like them to open an attachment, direct the recipient’s attention to its existence (e.g., “Please see the attached file for more information”).

It doesn’t matter if it’s more concrete, like meeting somewhere or performing a specific task. Just make sure that what you want them to do is clear and that your request is polite. Think of business relationships in terms of symbiosis: both parties have something to offer, so ask for what you want but be nice about it. On that same note . . .

6. Be polite and thank them for their time

You know that advertising campaign by Dos Equis, The Most Interesting Man in the World? You need to be The Most Polite Person in the World. Generally, this means being a little less direct. If you want something, you probably shouldn’t just say “I want . . .” Instead, try “I was hoping I could have . . .” or “Would you mind if I had . . .” Because the language is a little bit softer, it sounds more polite.

Remember that recipients cannot see your expressions when reading your email. All they have to go on to determine your demeanor is your words. That’s why even direct language that isn’t intended to be rude at all can come across as abrasive in text format. You need to be aware of that while you’re writing.

You should also thank recipients for their time at the end of your email. If they’ve gotten that far, it means they’ve read your email, and that deserves your gratitude, indeed.

7. Sign off (and don’t forget to include your contact information)

Now it’s time to sign off. There’s a lot of debate about the best way to end an email, so we’ll leave it to you to decide which way best suits your email’s tone and purpose. Consider how formal you want to come across and how friendly you want to sound, and find what you need on the spectrum.

Try not to overthink it. Use something you might say in real life, and be respectful. Chances are that the person on the other end won’t think about your sign off as much as you do, unless you completely miss the mark. You’ll also want to include your name, once again, and your contact information. Make sure everything is clear and accurate before you hit Send.

8. Edit and proofread

Your email is fully written. You’ve typed your name and contact information, and you’re scrolling up to the top. Your hand is hovering over the Send button. With a simple click, your email will be flying through the Internet, never to be seen again. After you send it, though, you notice a glaring error.

It is absolutely vital that your business email is completely error-free. That goes for grammar, spelling, clarity, sentence structure, and tone. Read over your email a few times to be absolutely sure it is all correct. Scribendi.com president Chandra Clarke suggests changing the font size and color to get a fresh perspective on your words.

However, if you need an objective pair of eyes, or if you want to save yourself the frustration, you could always hire a professional editor or proofreader. It might seem like overkill, but business emails can greatly affect your professional persona; ensuring clarity and accuracy will demonstrate your commitment to professionalism and attention to detail.

Conclusion

Using our simple business email writing process, you’ve written your email from the subject line to the call to action to the sign-off. You’ve had the whole thing professionally edited and proofread, and you’ve employed all the necessary changes. It’s perfect, just perfect! You almost don’t want to send it, because that would mean saying goodbye.

Well, take a deep breath, because it’s finally time to hit Send! I know it’s hard. But before you know it, you’ll have a shiny new email response in your inbox. So pat yourself on the back because you’ve just sharpened your business writing skills, and who knows how far you’ll go now? There’s no email in the world you can’t handle!

Image source: Lia Leslie/Stocksnap.io

Effective Business Communication

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How to Be Productive While Unemployed

How to Be Productive While Unemployed

How to Be Productive While UnemployedIt can be difficult to be productive when you’re employed, but it’s even more difficult when you’re unemployed. It’s hard to find the motivation to do anything constructive when you’re out of a job, especially if you’ve been in that situation for a while. But not to worry—it might just be a blessing in disguise. Although you might not be earning a regular paycheck, you do have the time to do many productive things—other than look for a job—that will keep you on track. In fact, you might even gain a new skill as you learn how to be productive while unemployed.

Read these 20 tips for how you can remain productive, learn new things, and check items off your bucket list while unemployed:

  1. Think about what went wrong at your previous job and why. Assess the situation so you can avoid the same thing happening in the future.
  2. Do you have any habits that may have caused you to lose your job or that are preventing you from landing one, especially in your field? If so, take this time to work on fixing them.
  3. Do you have a passion? Pursue it. Read about the skills and requirements needed to do a job in this field, and work toward obtaining them.
  4. Obtain further training. To brush up on your grammar skills, check out GrammarCamp, a comprehensive grammar training course that you can complete at your own pace.
  5. Read up on world and industry news; be informed about what’s going on and how you (and the industry you want to work in) might be affected by the current global situation.
  6. Make a list and plan goals for each day. Your list and goals need not be extensive, but knowing what you’re going to do on a particular day will help you get it done. Plus, who doesn’t feel good after crossing something off a list?
  7. Update your resume and have it edited and proofread by a professional editing company such as Scribendi.com.
  8. Search for small projects or freelance jobs to get by while you search for something more permanent.
  9. Talk to friends, family, neighbors—anyone you come into contact with who could potentially help you with your job search or connect you to someone who could help.
  10. Pay it forward and do your best to help those around you, even if they’re in the same situation as you are.
  11. Visit a career services or recruitment agency to help you spruce up your resume and get you started on your job search.
  12. Exercise! Make it a point to get out of the house and do something active at least once a day. Whether it’s walking your dog around the neighborhood or going to the gym, make an effort to get some fresh air and move your body. It will help keep stress away as well as break up your day.
  13. On the same note, why not try meditating? Melt stress away and calm your mind through some relaxing meditation.
  14. Stick to a schedule and treat your days as you would regular workdays. This way, it will be much easier to meet your daily and weekly goals.
  15. Get out of your comfort zone and try something different. This can include something you’ve always wanted to do, or something that will make your resume stand out. For example, teach yourself how to code, learn a new language, or start playing an instrument.
  16. Volunteer. This can be something in your desired field of employment or it can be a cause that you’ve always wanted to support. It will feel great to give back to the community, and you’ll be able to meet and interact with a whole new group of people who share your interests.
  17. Join a club or professional organization. Not only will this give you a chance to network and meet people, but it’s always refreshing to get out, learn new things, and indulge your interests.
  18. Create a profile on a career site such as LinkedIn. This is a great way for you to network, get a better understanding of your own skills and experience, and look for jobs in your field.
  19. Read, read, read! Read books and articles about your industry and how to land a job in your field. Read articles about things that productive people do. Read books about how to boost your career. Gather information from credible sources that will help you in your job hunt, and take this opportunity to increase your knowledge (and share it with others).
  20. Finally, spend quality time with family and friends. Relax and spend some time with your loved ones. You might not always have the time to do so, so use it to your advantage. They will appreciate it just as much as you do.

How to Write a Resume

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What Successful People Are Doing While You Are Sleeping In

What Successful People are Doing While You are Sleeping In

What Successful People are Doing While You are Sleeping InThere are few things more delicious than sleeping in, burrowing deeper into a heap of clean sheets and having breakfast brought in on a tray. Reality probably strikes closer to groggy protests and the inevitable panic when you realize you’ve hit the snooze button a few too many times. In either situation­—whether you’re lounging in luxury or running for the dry shampoo in lieu of a shower—people far more successful have already been up for hours. Have early risers caught on to something, or is the relationship between an early start time and success just coincidence? This is what the world’s most successful people—CEOs, self-made millionaires, industry tycoons, and world leaders—are doing while you’re still snoozing.

They’re staying fit

While it’s easy to want to exercise, the follow-through is much more problematic, especially when hectic schedules and innumerable life hiccups get in the way. It makes sense that those most successful get in their workouts in the morning before energy levels and willpower wane. President Obama starts every day with a workout at 6:45 a.m., by which time Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief at Vogue, has already played tennis for an hour. Former Pepsi CEO Steve Reinemund wakes at 5:00 a.m. daily to run four miles, and Condoleezza Rice sets her alarm for 4:30 a.m. to fit in a sweat session. In this Yahoo! Finance study, more than 70 percent of executives exercise in the morning, and as such, benefit from revved up metabolisms, increased energy, better moods, lower stress levels, and higher productivity. A consistent morning exercise plan also brings that sense of control and empowerment so often exhibited by the world’s most powerful.

They’re staying current

According to CNBC, Warren Buffet’s morning reading includes the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the New York Times, USA Today, the Omaha World-Herald, and the American Banker. Bill Gates takes in the national news and various economic and business publications. Others add checking social media feeds to their morning news routines. Whatever the medium, leaders are making sure they are up-to-date on the world before going out into it.

They’re staying sharp

Icons of success use mornings to get a head start on important projects, before the slew of daily distractions, meetings, and interruptions compete for attention. Tim Cook, Apple CEO, is known to send out the day’s important emails at 4:30 a.m. Pre-dawn hours may be the best to tackle difficult projects as not only are you freshly recharged but you’re also primed for creative problem-solving directly after REM sleep. The peak energy levels you experience throughout the day are determined by your personal circadian rhythms, but that’s not to say that night owls should write off their mornings as unproductive. According to this article, your creative potential is actually at its best when you aren’t, so if you’re typically alert at night, you’re most likely to experience problem-solving breakthroughs in the early hours of dawn.

Successful people also take time in the early hours to cultivate mental health through meditation. The billionaire founder of the world’s largest hedge fund said in this interview that he attributes his success to early meditation. Bill Ford of the Ford Motor Company built meditation into his morning routine when he realized he needed a way to bring positivity to the workplace during difficult economic times. If in doubt, ask Oprah; she swears by at least 20 minutes of quiet to set the tone for a successful work day.

They’re staying personal

Demanding family schedules make it more and more difficult to organize evening meals. TV writer Nell Scovell found that her career responsibilities often ate into dinner hours, so she changed her family’s main meal to breakfast instead. Sharing your morning time with loved ones also creates a positive mental space to carry throughout the day. Morning family time for successful figures isn’t just about kids; morning sex triggers a boost from happy hormones that keep moods elevated and stress levels down as the day goes on.

The morning routines of the world’s leaders are absolutely achievable. While that snooze button may be tempting, rejecting excuses and adopting a few habits of the successful can only bring greater physical, mental, and spiritual health to your life. Take it from morning lark Benjamin Franklin: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Set your coffee machine on a timer, unroll the yoga mat, and give up your bed a little earlier for some well-deserved self-improvement.

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10 Things Unhappy People Do Not Do

10 Things Unhappy People Do Not Do

10 Things Unhappy People Do Not Do There are so many self-help books and articles out there for people who seek happiness. They advise their readers to live kind, balanced lives—or so they say. They encourage meditating, and donating to charity, and avoiding gossip at all costs. They tell their readers to wake up, exercise, and eat a well-balanced breakfast, all before eight a.m. They advise kindness, and calmness, and preparedness, and acceptance, and flossing. Basically, these books and articles tell people that the key to happiness is being a flawless superhuman.

But what about those of us who don’t strive to be perfect? What about the people who can honestly find contentment with a bag of Cheetos, a beer, and a golden retriever to snuggle with on a Friday evening? What about the people who just want to go to bed each night with a smile on their faces? What are the really important things a person has to do to be happy?

This isn’t a “how to be happy” list. This is a “how to be a balanced human” list. Because, really, balance is what most people sorely lack in their lives, and it’s what they will never find if they are constantly striving to become “happy.” Here are 10 things that unhappy people don’t do and the reasons why doing these things may just make an unhappy person happier. Not happy, as in perfectly content with everything ever, but happier. Hopefully, you’ll read this list and realize that you’re doing all right. Maybe you’ll learn a few things and decide to make some changes.

1. Unhappy people don’t say thank you

Saying thank you—and, more importantly, meaning it—has actually been proven to make people happier. Feeling and expressing gratitude is a win for everyone involved. The person being thanked feels happy for being appreciated, and the person doing the thanking feels good for making the other person happy. So if you’re ever feeling down, ask yourself: Have I been acting like a jerk lately? If the answer is yes, the odds are pretty good that this behavior is affecting more than just the people you’re being rude to; it’s also making you unhappy.

2. Unhappy people don’t take active roles in their relationships

It’s all well and good to have lots of friends and family members, but if you never make an effort to work on or maintain those relationships, you won’t be getting nearly as much out of them as you could be. This is one of several examples of ways that being nice to others can benefit you.

3. Unhappy people don’t pray or meditate

Don’t get us wrong—prayer and meditation are not for everyone. You don’t have to be a member of an organized religion to be happy. The real issue here is spirituality and finding peace. Maybe you need to write in a journal, or play the violin, or paint. Whatever you need to do to get in touch with something beyond the physical world and to find some peace of mind, do it.

4. Unhappy people don’t change the things that make them unhappy

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” These wise words from a famous fictional high school student couldn’t be truer. Getting stuck in an unwanted situation can be a cause of unhappiness for many people. The solution to this problem is simple: change. Now, we’re not suggesting you skip school, steal your friend’s father’s sports car (now that’s a mouthful of possessives!), and lip sync to the Beatles in a parade. All we’re saying is that change, scary as it may be, can be good for you.

5. Unhappy people don’t give gifts

Remember earlier, when we mentioned that being nice to others is really good for a person’s happiness? Well, here we are again. Being stingy never helped anyone. Being realistically generous makes other people thankful, and making other people thankful makes you happy. Isn’t that great?

6. Unhappy people don’t sleep like normal humans

Okay, so this isn’t exactly true for everyone, but good sleep habits are associated with greater levels of happiness. Even though many university and college students have managed to live the nocturnal life for years on end, this is not how humans are actually wired. Try to sleep at night, and stay awake (and relatively productive) throughout the day.

7. Unhappy people don’t laugh as much

Contrary to popular hipster belief, finding funny things funny actually is cool. You know what else is cool? People who can laugh at themselves. Finding the humor in your own life is a great coping mechanism, and people who can cope are people who can be happy.

8. Unhappy people don’t manage their money well

Ugh, money. Nobody likes to admit that money is related to happiness. We would all like to believe that we are beyond the materialistic joys of life, but let’s be real here: being in debt sucks. The stress of being unable to pay off debt or, you know, to provide yourself with the basic needs of living is obviously a huge happiness-sucker. It’s nearly impossible to concern yourself with happiness when you’re busy trying to figure out how to feed yourself or keep a roof over your head. So while money doesn’t buy happiness, it does allow us to focus on happiness.

9. Unhappy people don’t let things go

At the 2014 Academy Awards, John Travolta absolutely botched Idina Menzel’s name while introducing her performance. The Internet exploded with references to the performer Travolta introduced as “Adele Dazeem.” Now, Idina could have been pretty ticked about that, considering her performance was kind of a big deal and her role in Frozen was kind of her first big Hollywood “moment.” But what did she do? She let it go. (See what we did there?) And you know what? She seems like a pretty happy lady.

10. Unhappy people don’t exercise

We know, we know! Much like you were hoping to lose that winter weight you’ve been meaning to get rid of for the past five years without working out, you were probably also hoping to skip the whole physical exercise thing on your quest to happiness. But the fact of the matter is, your brain is connected to your body; treat one well, and the other will benefit.

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5 Books Every Work-from-Home Businessperson Should Read

5 Books Every Work from Home Businessperson Needs TN

5 Books Every Work from Home Businessperson NeedsTired of the office life? Many people aspire to work from home, but doing so requires a particular set of skills. It’s not all pajamas and cuddling your cat while bringing in the money; successful work-from-home businesspeople are excellent at time management, personal organization, work–life balance, and marketing their unique skills to maintain a livable income. Below, Inklyo has rounded up five books that offer great tips for working from home.

1. My So-Called Freelance Life, by Michelle Goodman

Written for female entrepreneurs, My So-Called Freelance Life has practical tips for working from home for anyone wanting to leave the 9-to-5 grind (not just women). The author, Michelle Goodman, has been a successful freelance writer for 16 years and shares her experiences and tips for working from home, while delivering her advice in a relatable, funny, and highly readable way! Michelle offers a thorough overview of what’s involved in growing a successful freelance career, and, although she is a writer, the basic principles she describes are useful for any freelance creative work.

My So-Called Freelance Life covers how to organize your clients and jobs to optimize your output, plan your own career path, plan your workload based on how much you want to earn, market yourself using a great web presence, network and gain clients through referral, and negotiate projects and contracts. It also covers legal, budgeting, and tax issues. Overall, Michelle offers some great pointers for those wanting to do freelance work and those who are already doing freelance work.

2. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, by Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam’s book on time management, 168 Hours, is one of those reads that people either love or hate. The author advises us to start thinking in 168-hour blocks (i.e., the number of hours in a week), monitor what it is we are actually spending our precious time on, and then cut the time-wasters. She offers sound advice for spending your time mindfully and on pursuits that further your career, relationships, and passions. In 168 Hours, quality is more important than quantity, and living a full life is as easy as out-sourcing the tasks we don’t want to do to make room for the ones we love. This is one principle that many readers have an issue with, but besides a tendency to whitewash the fact that time management may look different to people of various economic means, the core concepts of her book provide realistic tips for working from home.

3. The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr, Dr. James E. Loehr, and Tony Schwartz

A work-from-home businessperson reading.The Power of Full Engagement is a powerful book that aims to help people change their perspectives on time management and their daily routines. The core concept here is that, instead of prioritizing the amount of time you put into your day-to-day actions, you should focus on the energy cost of those actions. An over-packed schedule not only creates stress but is also detrimental to productivity—which is especially important for those who work from home and depend on their own ability to self-manage. The authors explain the cost of spreading yourself too thin and how it affects your happiness, physical state, and engagement with life. These same positive and negative energies also affect how well you do your job. The Power of Full Engagement provides key principles to ensure that you are using your energy efficiently and in the way that is best for you, an important tip for anyone working from home.

4. Creative Personal Branding by Jurgen Salenbacher

Jurgen Salenbacher’s Creative Personal Branding is a great place to start for anyone wanting to learn more about developing their personal brand. In a world so driven by fast information and seemingly endless options, having a dynamic, recognizable personal brand is a must for anyone working from home. In this book, branding is explained in detail, from defining your own marketable skills to how to market those skills creatively in today’s global market. How well you present yourself has a huge impact on your success as a freelance businessperson or entrepreneur.

5. Organizing from the Inside Out, by Julie Morgenstern

Organization is not just for Type A personalities. Julie Morgenstern’s book Organizing from the Inside Out covers many areas of life and explains how keeping your surroundings organized can lessen stress, create more positive thinking, and increase productivity—all of which are important when you work from home. The book is laid out in chapters that cover separate areas of life, from your kitchen and your kids’ rooms to your office space and home-based business. Morgenstern’s goal is to help you build an effective strategy for tackling the disorganization issues specific to your life, so that you can forget about mental and physical clutter and focus on your own success and goals. The chapters about using technology to organize projects and resources are especially relevant and packed with tips for working from home.

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When Should You Listen to Music at Work?

Music at work

Everything You Need to Know about Music and Productivity

When Should You Listen to Music at WorkLots of workers rely on music to get through the workday. Whether they’re headbanging to Metallica, grooving along to Arcade Fire, or report writing to the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack, these employees insist that listening to music can increase their productivity. How much truth is there to this claim? Are employees simply using their headphones to escape boredom, or are music and productivity really linked?

Research seems to indicate that listening to music in the workplace has a positive effect on employee productivity because it alleviates boredom—more specifically, music makes people more productive because it makes them happier. Let’s look at some of the research on music and productivity to see how you can best use music to get through your workday.

Why Should You Listen to Music at Work?

Multiple research studies indicate that listening to music positively affects productivity in the workplace. A 2005 study by Teresa Lesiuk showed that computer programmers who listened to music produced better work in a shorter period of time than their coworkers who did not listen to music. The music helped the programmers pace themselves while completing tasks.

This positive effect of music on employee productivity is great news for music-loving workers everywhere. Still, some employers may have their doubts. An enjoyable activity that magically makes employees more productive? For some employers, this seems a bit too good to be true. So, what is it that creates this miraculous link between music and productivity?

A Happy Worker is a Productive Worker

No, there isn’t a “productivity” section of your brain that kicks into high gear when you’re exposed to music. There also isn’t a certain song or music genre that will have you working at five times your normal speed. The principle behind music and productivity is a little less pseudoscientific and a whole lot simpler than this. The simple truth is that music improves employee productivity because music makes people happy.

The field of research pertaining to music and neuroscience is vast and complicated, but when it comes to music and emotion, one central idea is almost universally accepted: music elicits an emotional response in the listener. Even our negative emotions can be experienced in a positive way using music, according to Apter (2001), who states that even those who use music to experience unpleasant emotions do so with the underlying intention of “enjoying” their difficult emotions (as cited in Lesiuk, 2005). Just like watching sad movies can help us process our feelings when we’re feeling down, listening to music that makes us sad can actually work to make us happy in the long run. (Ah, the magic of art!)

Not surprisingly, several studies have found that music improves our moods. People perform higher on measures of emotions after listening to music. During Lesiuk’s 2005 study, for instance, the programmers’ positive moods increased during the weeks of the study when they listened to music, but decreased during the week of the study when the music was discontinued. Additionally, because music is also known to reduce anxiety, it may actually be able to help employees relax, focus, and complete stressful tasks in shorter amounts of time.

Music boosts happiness, which boosts productivity

Can an improved mood really have that big of an impact on employee productivity? Recent research suggests that it can. Of course, music isn’t the be-all and end-all of workplace happiness; bigger, more encompassing issues like personal fulfillment, work–life balance, and a sense of accomplishment also contribute greatly to happiness in the workplace. Still, even the relatively small mood improvements that occur when people listen to music can increase workplace productivity.

Remember: Everyone Is Different

So, music has a positive effect on mood, and elevated mood has a positive effect on employee productivity. Does this mean you should exchange full-time silence for full-time music? Not necessarily. For one thing, according to Furnham and Strbac (2002), certain tasks require more concentration than others; depending on the task you’re working on, music may be too distracting (especially if you’re not used to listening at work). Individual differences should also be taken into account when deciding how often you should listen to music at work, if at all.

Researchers have looked at differences between introverts and extroverts in terms of music’s effects on mood and productivity. The results have not been entirely conclusive, but some of the studies lean toward the assertion that introverts have a harder time listening to music and working than extroverts. (This may have less to do with the music and more to do with the complexity of the task.) Doyle and Furhnam (2012) found that “creative” individuals are less likely to be distracted by music than “non-creative” individuals, but their study does not address whether introverts or extroverts are more likely to be categorized as “creative.” Nor does it address how this might conflict with the results of other studies on the topic.

Correlation versus causationAs Lesiuk (2005) points out, the correlation between music and mood is still somewhat fuzzy. Though her study gave some pretty solid support for music being the cause of improved mood, other research hasn’t been so straightforward. Lots of studies have found that people with more positive outlooks tend to listen to more music at work; however, if you’ve ever taken a social studies or science course, you know that this assertion falls into the dangerous “correlation versus causation” predicament. In this case, it’s possible that the music does not cause positive mood, but that people who are generally happy to begin with tend to listen to music more than those who are not.

As you can see, there is still much to learn about music and productivity. If there is one lesson to be taken from all these different research studies and perspectives, it is this: do what is best for you. One thing that researchers seem to agree on is that, for individuals who do enjoy music while working, the type, duration, and genre of music don’t seem to matter. Individual music preferences are the most important indicators for music’s effect on productivity (Lesiuk, 2005). It doesn’t matter whether you want to listen to classical music, rock, rap, or indie pop—as long as you’re listening to music you enjoy, you’ll be more likely to succeed. You should also keep in mind that familiar music tends to be less distracting than music you’ve never heard before. You may even decide that any music at all is too distracting when you’re at work, and that’s fine too. Everyone is different; just focus on finding what works best for you.

Conclusion

Employee satisfaction is key to employee productivity—and what makes people happier than music? The next time you’re debating the use of headphones in your workplace, whether as an employee or as an employer, take this research into consideration. Happier employees mean better quality work for the company, and more of it—and that, my friends, is what we call music to everybody’s ears.

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