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    Can’t Negotiate To Save Your Life? This Expert’s Tips Will Help

    As a child, I was always quite persuasive. I could charm almost any adult into giving me an ice cream cone or letting me stay at the park for another five minutes. I seemed to have no problem asking for what I wanted, offering something in exchange (usually the promise of good behavior), and getting the goods. Life was good. I felt like I had some kind of superpower, and I loved it. 
    You’d think this skill would have naturally followed me into adulthood, where I became a ruthless lawyer, negotiating anything and everything with ease and confidence. Well, unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I never made it to law school. (Marketing was more my style!) And I definitely wouldn’t consider myself to be a killer negotiator today. One day at work, I was struggling to articulate why I thought I’d be great for a new project. Then, I had a realization: The idea of negotiating anything made my stomach drop—whether negotiating my starting salary at a new job or the restaurant I wanted to go to with girlfriends. What happened to all of my youthful confidence?
    I decided I wanted to get my mojo back and learn how I could get better at the art of persuasion. So, I reached out to Fotini Iconomopoulos, a negotiation expert who has worked with everyone from top-level executives to new graduates. I learned her best negotiation tips, why so many women avoid negotiating, and how we can all become better at it.

    Practice your skills in low-risk situations
    To start off, Iconomopoulos emphasized that while most people think of negotiation in asking for a raise at work or a lower price on a car, it can extend to almost anything. She explained, “You could be negotiating with your partner about where to take your next vacation or who will empty the dishwasher. You could be negotiating for space on public transportation or with a peer about workloads. You negotiate everywhere all the time!”
    This is especially true when it comes to people who interact with children. (Aha! Suddenly my childhood experiences all make sense.) “Anyone who spends time around kids knows the power of negotiating. You navigate situations with them the same way you would navigate any discussion. You go in with an attitude of curiosity and listening while setting expectations for what you need to work together,” Iconomopoulos said. In this case, trying to get a toddler to eat broccoli is not that different from trying to get a colleague to pull his weight at work. Since we’re engaging in these micro-negotiations all the time, we can practice honing our skills in low-stake situations. Therefore, we’re more prepared—and less intimidated—by the bigger things.

    Be strategic
    As much as we wish it weren’t true, negotiations can quickly go off the rails. When I asked Iconomopoulos what could appear in a negotiation, she highlighted that unfortunately, gender bias is sometimes still present. “Women may be perceived as greedy or aggressive when it’s unwarranted,” she said. But don’t fret—it’s not all doom and gloom! There are things you can do to combat this. It all comes down to preparation.
    Approach the conversation in an assertive yet productive way. “This doesn’t mean suppressing emotions or holding back from negotiating, but using productive language and asking pointed questions,” Iconomopoulos said. She explained how asking open-ended questions and giving room for pause after speaking are parts of a master negotiator toolkit. “It also means finding allies wherever possible to help remove obstacles,” she elaborated. Add this to the growing list of reasons why you need a sponsor in your corner. Fostering connections at work is always a good idea. But it is especially key when preparing for things like raises, promotions, and responsibility changes.

    Do your homework
    While negotiating isn’t always about money, it’s usually the first thing that comes to mind. I’ve had some great negotiations where I went in prepared and got a sizable bump in pay—yay! I’ve also had some not-so-great negotiations where I couldn’t think properly and fumbled over my words. (AKA, I felt the opposite of confidence.)
    Fotini Iconomopoulos reinforced that preparation is truly the key to success here. “Knowledge is power, so know what the market is paying, what similar companies are paying, how you compare to other candidates, and so on,” she said. When it comes to presenting a number, Iconomopoulos advocates for shooting for the (research-backed) moon. “Be aspirational in your ask. It’s easy to back off of your opening offer, but it’s harder to go back and increase the ask later if you end up regretting the original number you gave.” Take this as the encouragement you need to add on that extra 10%. You deserve it! 
    Then, there’s the age-old question: Should you anchor the negotiation with your desired salary or let a recruiter or HR set the pace? Iconomopoulos recommends taking the reins. “If you’ve done your homework, don’t be afraid to anchor your expectations first. Most people worry about putting their offer on the table first, but there are advantages that you don’t want to miss,” she said. Those advantages include coming across as knowledgeable and confident. Of course, you’re also setting yourself up for a result you’ll be happy with.
    In terms of how to make your ask, Iconomopoulos shared her go-to language with clients: “Based on [insert reasons why you know you would be valuable to the team] and what similar experience is paid in the market, I would expect [insert the desired salary] compensation for this role.” Then, pause to see what their response is. Try not to fill the silence by offering conditions or justifications for your ask. (That comes later if it’s needed!) I know this is the scary part. But if you’ve done your homework, you’re already in the best possible spot for success!

    Source: Color Joy Stock

    Know how to handle bumps along the way
    Once you get some negotiating experience under your belt, it’ll start becoming more natural. Then, you’ll be able to tell when things are going your way. But in the meantime, it can help to know some common concerns. The fear of damaging relationships is a common concern that Iconomopoulos mentioned. Coming across as demanding or greedy when you’re trying to project confidence is also one of the most common worries.
    “But the truth is, you can conduct negotiations with diplomacy and tact and maintain, if not strengthen, relationships,” Iconomopoulos said. Respecting yourself enough to even have the conversation encourages other people to take you seriously. This is especially true when you come to the table with well-prepared arguments. (If you present yourself well in a negotiation situation, imagine what you can do when presenting to a potential client or investor!)
    But what about when you do your homework, practice your pitch, and wear your best power outfit, only to end up getting the dreaded “it’s just not in the cards right now” response? “Sometimes, despite our best efforts, rejection happens,” shared Iconomopoulos. “It may bruise your ego for a while, but when handled with tact and with a backup plan in place, it’s not so terrible.” Your backup plan can include asking for non-salary perks like more time off or increased working-from-home benefits. It could also include a follow-up conversation in a few months to ask again. Or, perhaps, you ask for a title or responsibility change.
    Ultimately, Iconomopoulos reassured me that the rejection “can actually bring self-confidence from asserting oneself and can help to gain the respect of others,” which doesn’t sound too bad at the end of the day. As someone who has experienced rejection during a salary negotiation before, trust me when I say that what doesn’t kill you makes you—and your future negotiations—stronger. (But some ice cream and retail therapy can help ease the immediate wound.)

    Remember: It all comes down to confidence
    You can have all the research, know the comparables, and have a spreadsheet a mile long with your recent accomplishments. Yet, there’s one thing that people are often missing when they enter a negotiation. “Your mindset has to be in the right place,” shared Iconomopoulos. “You can psych yourself up, or you can psych yourself out.” Now’s the time to blast some Lizzo, wear your favorite heels, and tell yourself that you deserve this. Then, believe it!
    Iconomopoulos advises her clients to ask themselves two questions before they go into the conversation: “If I don’t stand up for myself and go after this, who else will?” and “Don’t I deserve what I’m going after?” These questions are powerful reminders that nobody will advocate for you if you don’t advocate for yourself. You need to believe you are deserving of more money, time off, or the vacation destination of your dreams before you can convince someone else of it.
    Iconomopoulos’s final piece of advice is to channel that nervous energy into enthusiasm. “Instead of telling yourself that you’re nervous, turn that nervous energy into a more productive energy by telling yourself that you’re excited to finally get what you want. Your brain will thank you for it… and so will your bank account!”

    Want a Raise? Here’s Exactly How To Ask Your Boss More

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    Want To Land Your Dream Job? We Asked an Expert How

    I chased the idea of finding my dream job and life for a long time—and changed my mind a lot along the way. Once I finally settled on something, figuring out how to get there was just as overwhelming. All I could find were tips for being efficient at work, setting boundaries, and providing value to your employer. And while all of these are vital for moving forward in our careers, I was looking for tangible steps to help me move closer to my dream. 
    I sat down with Paige Schmidt, a certified life coach for women with 10+ years of experience, to discuss her top tips for moving forward in your career and life in a way that feels aligned with the woman you want to be. She focuses on intuitive eating, mindset and financial coaching, and all-around aligned living. Believe me. You don’t want to miss this. So, how do you move closer to your dream career and life? Let’s dive in.

    1. Explore what you want
    When trying to figure out what your dream career is, you might focus on figuring out your “purpose” or “passion.” They’re the buzzwords we’ve heard our entire lives, but finding them is way easier said than done.
    Schmidt takes a more simplified approach. She recommends we shift the script. The words “purpose” and “passion” can feel daunting. What if we changed those? What if, instead of beating our heads against a wall to find our “true life calling,” we instead focused on what is meaningful and fun? By replacing “purpose” with “meaningful,” and “passion” with “fun,” we open an entirely new world for ourselves to explore.
    By doing this, we are removing the pressure we have put on ourselves to find the one thing we were meant to do. We are removing the pressure to get it “right.” Instead, we can explore what lights us up. Ask yourself: What would you do for free? What would you do until 2 a.m. just because you want to? Then, do that.
    The proof is in the pudding. Paige Schmidt’s coaching business was born from her love of blogging which she stumbled upon while going to school for nursing. By following her joy for blogging and sharing, she started connecting with women and, over time, realized she wanted to do that more by coaching one-on-one.

    2. Visualize what you want
    It’s time to take it a step further. Once you’ve relieved the pressure and allowed yourself to explore, it’s time to visualize. Whether you just figured out what lights you up or you’ve known all along, visualization is a key piece to the puzzle. According to Schmidt, one of the most important steps to your dream career is to visualize who you are as the woman you want to be. 
    Before she became a coach and built her business, Schmidt visualized what that would look like. She saw the exact pens, the computer bag, and folders she would use for her clients. Then, she went out and bought those things so that she could, over time, become the person she wanted to be.
    So, grab your beverage of choice, get cozy, and dive into the world of your dreams. With a pen and paper, get detailed on what it is you want. What is your future self wearing? What does her hair look like? How does she feel? Write it all down. As you’re doing this, let go of the judgment of others and of yourself. (Remember: People will always judge no matter what you do.) Explore without limits. 
    After years of experience and bringing her own visualization to life, Schmidt believes that the reality of what we can achieve is immensely greater than what we can see for ourselves. So, dare to dream big. Remove your limits. If you need somewhere to start, check out this guided visualization which is one of Schmidt’s most highly rated tools!

    3. Become the manager of your future self
    Once you define what you want your future to look like, it’s time to take serious action. You must make a choice to become the woman you want to be. And you must decide that you are capable of becoming her. 
    It’s not that you must have all the answers to get started, but you must commit to figuring it out along the way. Once you’ve committed to not giving up, you need to be the manager of your future self. Do this by organizing and planning your days to set yourself up for success. So, how do you go about that? Here are the steps Paige Schmidt took in her own journey and what she coaches clients on today:

    Source: Monstera | Pexels

    1. Write out a list of what you need to do. 
    For Schmidt, this list included what exact pens and folders she needed and also the first steps she’d need to take to make her dream happen. This doesn’t have to be insanely detailed. In fact, one of the largest roadblocks she sees with clients is that they think they must know every single detail in order to begin. Write down the first three things you need to do. Then next week, add three more. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

    2. Add the list to your calendar.
    It’s important to physically add these items to whatever form of organization you use. We all know how easily to-dos can get lost when they’re not our main source of income or part of our normal routine. So schedule in time—even if it’s just 15 minutes each week!

    3. Take these commitments seriously.
    Just as she wouldn’t bail on a friend or not show up for a workday, Schmidt honored herself by prioritizing what she wanted. Don’t let yourself down by not prioritizing these tasks. Make the time and stick to it.

    4. Over time, prioritize more of these commitments as you learn to free up your schedule.
    Give your future self the time you deserve. Schmidt started by dedicating three hours one day a week to coaching. As she got more comfortable and was able to free up more of her time, it turned to two days, then three, and so on. It doesn’t have to be all at once. Take it one bite at a time.

    5. Keep your income from your “normal” job—and find the good in it!
    Sometimes, if there is pressure to make your dream career your only income, the creativity that comes from doing what lights you up can get lost. If possible, it’s important to keep income coming in from elsewhere as you build your dream or as you apply for your dream job. This will alleviate some of that pressure and allow you to see where your creativity takes you.
    Equally important is finding gratitude in your day job while you build what you ultimately want. It’s easy for many of us to lose sight of the “good” in our jobs when we know we want something different. But being disengaged causes clutter in your life, and sooner than later, your job will feel like a burden. This can cause negative energy that’s not good for your creativity! In order to continue to engage in your job, Schmidt recommends finding even one thing you enjoy, or that’s helping you for your future. Then, lean into that as much as possible to find that gratitude.

    4. As cheesy as it sounds, believe in yourself
    Hands down, the biggest thing Schmidt sees holding women back is their confidence. You must believe you can become the woman you want to be and step into your dream career in small steps. In other words, you must show up as her as much as you can today. 
    It is easy to see people on social media or elsewhere that have done your dream career or other careers telling you that there is one perfect way to do it. But the truth is, there is no right or wrong way. As long as you move forward into what you want, that is all that matters.
    You must learn to trust your inner self and follow what you want. Coaching was not a “normal” career when Schmidt started. It was not easy to give up pursuing nursing in order to step into the unknown. But she did it, and you can do it too.

    5. Bring it all together
    If you’re ready to take the next step and finally go for what you want or explore what exactly that is, take it one step at a time.

    Explore what lights you up.
    Visualize who you want to be.
    Become the manager of your future self.
    Trust yourself and stay grateful.

    Unsure where to start? Grab a cup of coffee (or wine) and check out Paige Schmidt’s free visualization to see where your imagination takes you. And remember, go toward what makes you feel on fire. Keep going until you get there. Be resourceful and figure it out along the way! 

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    3 Tips These Successful Entrepreneurs Swear By To Prevent Burnout

    Welcome to The Everygirl Podcast. Whether you’re looking for insider secrets from successful women that have your dream job, are interested in expert advice to transform your health and feel your best, or just want to be entertained and laugh along with us on your commute, we’ve got you covered.

    Picture this: You’ve finally taken the big step to start that company you’ve always dreamed of. Maybe it’s a local bakery where you’ll sell the treats your friends have always raved about. Perhaps, it’s a blog where you’ll share your best interior decorating advice. Or maybe–like Anne Read Lattimore and Cassandra Cannon–you’re starting your own clothing line. This week on The Everygirl Podcast, we’re talking to these two badass cofounders to get all the details on how they manage their busy lives.
    Lattimore and Cannon founded LAKE Pajamas in 2014 and found immediate success with their casual pajama designs and baby-soft pima cotton. However, entrepreneurship hasn’t always been a breeze. When they first launched LAKE, they were both balancing different career paths and new babies. They had to work to scale their business, set boundaries between their work and home lives, and consistently grow their brand after such a successful launch. Read on for three tips that Anne Read Lattimore and Cassandra Cannon have for preventing burnout as an entrepreneur. Plus, listen to this week’s episode of The Everygirl Podcast to find out how they grew their business and get more career tips from the power duo.

    1. Hire kind people
    When Lattimore and Cannon first launched LAKE, they were slow to hire. They spent the early days of their business working together at home, babies and all. Once it came time to grow the LAKE Pajamas team, the pair decided to hire jack-of-all-trades workers to help out with their business. “The quality of our internal team here is really what has helped us grow,” Lattimore said. “We have made a conscious decision, both of us, to hire kind people all along the way.” Looking for a team-player mentality in potential employees when hiring has always been a part of the LAKE founders’ business model. As Cannon advised, a great attitude is far more important than a lengthy resume. 
    When it comes to starting your own business, consider the fact that you probably won’t be the only one doing all of the work for long. Think about what values and skills you want your employees to have when you bring them onto the team: What kind of attitude is going to best shape your workplace environment? As Lattimore and Cannon mentioned, building a great team of coworkers can make all of the difference in having a healthy work-life balance as an entrepreneur.

    2. Set boundaries between work and home
    As Lattimore and Cannon experienced when they first launched LAKE, working from home can throw a wrench in your work-life balance. “In the beginning, we were a little too ambitious in thinking that we could work with babies around us,” Lattimore said. Now, both cofounders are much more conscious of having totally separate work and home lives in order to prevent burnout. They maintain flexible schedules, but they prioritize setting aside time blocks for both work and family. “After working with kids at home, I now appreciate so much having separated time,” Cannon said. “That means being able to get everything done at work so that when I come home to my kids, I can fully focus on them.”
    Setting strong boundaries between your work life and home life is essential for preventing unproductive days and long nights as an entrepreneur. As Lattimore and Cannon emphasized in the interview, this doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on big moments in either area. However, it does mean that you’ll feel the benefits of drawing those boundaries and blocking out your time. Additionally, your business will likely benefit from your ability to turn off work mode from time to time.

    3. Stay confident in your product
    As an entrepreneur, impostor syndrome can be intense. Lattimore and Cannon credit a huge portion of their success as a brand to their ability to stay confident in their designs, even when they had little prior experience in the clothing industry. They knew that they were filling a demand in the market, which helped them stay on track with their vision for their company. “Our initial sets had some recognizability. They were different than other pajamas that were on the market, and they were a good giftable item,” Lattimore said. The pair knew that the quality of their pajamas would be a huge draw for consumers. Cannon credits their confidence in the product as a critical factor in their low-stress mindset about LAKE.
    Entrepreneurship may feel intimidating at times, but as Anne Read Lattimore and Cassandra Cannon emphasize, being confident in your business can go a long way. When you know how great your brand is capable of becoming, you can avoid the impostor syndrome that often leads to burnout when you’re first starting out. Treat each new business venture as if it’s going to sell like 2014 LAKE pajamas, and maybe it will. More

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    How To Refresh Your Work Routine for Fall, According to a Time Management Coach

    As we head into the fall, you might find that it’s the perfect time to revamp your work routine. Around this time of year, many of us swap PTO and summer vacations for meeting-heavy days and crunched deadlines as we strive to meet our year-long goals. When you add sending the kids back to school or kicking off a new college semester, it’s no surprise we might feel in need of a new, refreshing routine. 
    Here’s the good news: With the help of time management coach Anna Dearmon Kornick, you can craft a productive and fulfilling fall work routine. Kornick told us that workers are the most productive during the last four months of the year—but how do you manage that level of production without crashing and burning? Here are Kornick’s best tips for resetting after a vacation-filled summer and finishing the year off strong.

    1. Head into fall with a fresh perspective on your routine
    Fall tends to signal the start of a busy work season across industries and roles. With only four months left in the year, the pressure is on to get through daily to-do lists and year-long goals before the holiday season. “One of the first things that come to mind about heading back to work in the fall is Parkinson’s Law which states that work expands to fill the time allotted,” Kornick shared. We enter a bustling season to make up for the slowness of summer. We adopt a sense of urgency at work, which can be overwhelming and exhausting.
    Kornick’s advice: “Go into this busy season with a fresh perspective on your routine. What served you well in the spring and summer may not necessarily set you up for success in the fall.” Some areas to start thinking about improved routines in are your pre-work routine, your lunch break, and your recurring meeting schedules.

    Source: Vlada Karpovich | Pexels

    2. Adjust your workday around the time change
    It’s easy to dread the time change—unless you’re lucky enough to live in a place that doesn’t practice daylight savings. An easy way to combat feelings of dread and anxiety is to use the change to your advantage. “Turn the change into something positive. ‘Fall back’ is a good time to transition to an earlier bedtime because of the light shift. Consider letting natural light in through your windows in the mornings,” Kornick said.
    As you adjust your personal routines around the time change, think about how to navigate it at work. The reality is that it’s a tough time for everyone. What can you do to help your coworkers and yourself adjust? “During the week surrounding the time change, be mindful that the change is coming. Shift your meetings later in the day to be kind to your team and yourself,” Kornick suggested. (I’m making a mental note to shift all my meetings by at least one hour that week.)

    3. Plan your schedule around your chronotype
    If you Google “chronotype,” you’ll stumble upon different biological chronotype models, all of which speak to each person’s unique circadian rhythms. For every season, but particularly as work picks up in the fall, Kornick said knowing your chronotype is a game changer.  “Knowing which chronotype you are can help you decide how you spend your time during the day and what you put into your work schedule. It also helps managers and team members know not everyone feels the same way at the same time of day,” Kornick said.
    Not sure which chronotype you are? We covered Daniel Pink’s chronotype model in a recent article. Find out if you’re a morning lark, third bird, or night owl. Then, revamp your fall workday routine accordingly.

    4. Understand what you need versus want in your routine
    Fall is an excellent opportunity to shift into a new routine. Before making any changes, Kornick recommends identifying your needs and wants. Then, reverse-engineer your schedule. Below are some questions to ask yourself:

    What do I need to do every morning?
    Kornick said to think of these actions as the “non-negotiables” for a successful morning. For example, do you need to get up and have a cup of coffee to function throughout your workday? Do you need to wear real clothes for your Zoom calls to avoid uncomfortable conversations with your manager about your attire? Do you need to send your kids off to school each day?

    What do I want to do every morning?
    After you’ve determined what you need to do every morning, consider what you want to incorporate into your routine. Adding 10 minutes of reading, a visual meditation, a light workout, or a morning walk can be invigorating ways to start the day. 

    Source: ANTONI SHKRABA | Pexels

    Once you’ve made a list of your needs and wants, reverse-engineer your schedule to determine when you should wake up. Suppose you must be at work (in-person or online) at precisely 8:00 a.m., and you plan to shower, make breakfast, read for 20 minutes, and do yoga before your workday. Then, you’d figure out what time you need to wake up to accomplish all of those items by 8:00 a.m. Additionally, ask yourself if there are any tasks you can cut, condense, or move to another point in the day. 
    Exercise is a priority for me, especially during busy seasons at work. In my pre-pandemic life, I woke up at 5:00 a.m. and went to Pure Barre before heading to work for the day. My workdays look different now that I work from home, but initially, I tried to force that same 5:00 a.m. exercise schedule. However, after doing Kornick’s reverse-engineering exercise,  I realized I could adjust my schedule. I bumped my workouts to 4:30 p.m. (immediately after work) and built a new routine.

    5. Set goals for Q4 and try quarterly planning
    We tend to think about our year in terms of the 12-month calendar. It’s not uncommon to set yearly goals at work as businesses work toward company objectives. However, Kornick said, “It can be easy to lose sight of our goals when we think about the year as a whole. We lose things in the ebbs and flows over a year.” 
    Since fall is a fast-paced work season, Kornick recommends shortening your goal-setting timeframe. Lean into quarterly planning when shaping your routines. “Shortening your timeframe and thinking about your work, life, and goals every quarter is a game changer. The three-month quarters coincide with the changing seasons of the year, which makes it easier to reset your routines with the changing seasons,” Kornick shared. 
    We build our routines around our goals and priorities. Therefore, it can be challenging to commit to a routine when our goals feel unclear. I recently adjusted my work routine to set aside focused work time every other Friday and avoid attending meetings unless I have to. Had I not been clear on what I planned to use this time for—which is deep work for my active projects—I likely wouldn’t have stayed committed to my no-meeting schedule.
    When revamping your routine this season, identify and understand what you need to accomplish before the holiday season. Be realistic with the amount of time you have and what you need to get done. Consider moving non-urgent goals and priorities to the first quarter of next year. 

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    Is It Possible to Be Too Productive at Work?

    I consider myself a human doing rather than a human being. I’m much better at constant movement and productivity than rest. Most of the time, this type of productive lifestyle is beneficial. The clothes are always clean, the work is always being worked on, and the to-do list is consistently managed. But, there comes a point when too much of a good thing is indeed too much. 
    This begs the question, “is it possible to be too productive?” And the answer is yes. It’s called toxic productivity. So, what is toxic productivity and what can you do about it? Let’s dig in.

    What is Toxic Productivity?
    First, let’s set one thing straight. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being productive. Productivity makes the world go round. It’s what allows us to get things done. But productivity becomes toxic when what once was healthy and helpful becomes hurtful. Let me explain.
    Toxic productivity is when the constant need to “do” negatively impacts your physical, mental, and emotional health. It’s the dark side of the mindset to always be doing something, and it can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and even burnout.

    Source: Color Joy Stock

    How to Identify Toxic Productivity
    If you’re wondering what this looks like in everyday life, picture this. You’re vying for a promotion at work. You’ve been diligently working to exceed expectations for the past six months. You’ve volunteered to take on extra projects and responsibilities to hone your skills and show your commitment to your career. 
    But, because you’ve been so focused on your work, you’ve let some things slide. You’ve started missing workouts so you can log on early. You work an extra hour or two and have to cancel your evening plans. You skip lunch breaks and catch up on work on weekends. At the moment, these seem like small sacrifices to help you achieve your goal of a promotion. But now, six months in, you’re exhausted, overwhelmed, and on the verge of burnout because your focus has been on being productive and being the best employee, not being a rested, healthy, and happy professional.
    This is an example of how toxic productivity can present itself at work. But toxic productivity doesn’t only apply in the workplace, it can show up in many facets of your life, like on your fitness journey, in your relationships, and even while you rest. 
    If you’re wondering how to identify toxic productivity, here are four signs of how it may present itself in your life.

    1. You constantly feel the need to be doing.
    If you feel the pull to be productive at all times, even when you don’t want to be, you may be experiencing toxic productivity. Say you’ve had a busy day and you’re finally starting to wind down for the night. You tell yourself you’re going to go to sleep in one hour, so you want to use that hour to decompress. Toxic productivity could look like choosing to read a professional development book to help learn skills to further your career or turning on the tv to watch your favorite show but only half paying attention and catching up on emails on your phone. In neither of those scenarios are you truly unwinding because you’re focused on still using your time productively. Doing this for one night may not be an issue, but if this becomes your norm and you never allow yourself time to rest, you’re going to be on the road to burnout.

    2. You feel guilty for not being productive.
    You’re out to dinner to celebrate your friend’s birthday, but you feel awful that you didn’t knock out your to-do list first. Or you finally book that vacation you’ve wanted to take but you can’t help but bring your laptop with you just in case something work-related pops up. That guilt you feel is toxic productivity. We all feel accomplished barreling through our to-do list and we may even be lucky enough to have a career that energizes us, but when you start to feel the negative emotion of guilt and feel like you’re doing something wrong by not being productive, it becomes a problem.

    Source: Vlada Karpovich | Pexels

    3. You’re deprioritizing your physical, mental, or emotional health.
    If you’re choosing work over workouts or meetings with your manager over meeting with your therapist, this is a huge red flag of toxic productivity. You’ve heard the expression, “you can’t pour from an empty cup,” right? Well, toxic productivity is known to drain your cup and then some, and when your cup is empty, everything else is impacted. When you schedule a workout or another form of self-care, you’re making a commitment to yourself. Missing one barre class or meditation session is completely normal. Deprioritizing your health over an extended period of time because of work commitments, that’s a recipe for disaster.

    4. You only focus on tasks with a clear objective
    When’s the last time you did something solely for enjoyment? Like taking a walk in silence without forcing yourself to listen to a career-related podcast or taking on a hobby just for fun without trying to monetize it. People who suffer from toxic productivity often have unrealistic expectations about what needs to be accomplished. Sometimes what needs to be done is nothing. It’s okay if not everything you do has a clear purpose. Rest and relaxation are productive because they allow you to come back refreshed and ready to tackle your next project.

    How to Avoid Toxic Productivity
    Now that you know what toxic productivity is and how to identify it, what can you do to avoid it? Like I said before, productivity is a good thing. But, everything in moderation. It’s more than possible to maintain healthy productivity levels, get everything important done, and also protect your health and rest along the way. Here are three ways to do just that.

    1. Set boundaries
    Setting boundaries can be easier said than done, but when it comes to avoiding toxic productivity, it’s critically important. Plan for zero productivity time during the week. Things will pop up during the day, so it’s OK to set the expectation that you may not have non-productive time every day. But a few times a week, plan for a non-productive activity. Take a walk with a friend or family member simply because you want to enjoy their company. Watch a movie and actually watch the movie instead of scrolling through your phone. Read a book for fun. You owe it to yourself to have sacred time where nothing needs to be accomplished.

    Source: Social Squares

    2. Commit to rest
    How many times have you planned to rest and relax only to begin making a mental list of everything you need to do and then you end up feeling more exhausted? The next time you plan to rest and take time to reset, actually do it. It’s simple in theory but more difficult in practice. It’s easy to think, “Oh, I’ll just do one more thing and then I’ll sit down.” But to maintain healthy productivity levels, you need to find a balance between doing and being. If you booked that day off of work to enjoy your time with friends and family, actually do it. Be present at the moment and relish the time when the only thing to be done is nothing at all.

    3. Be mindful
    There will always be tasks to do, people to see, and conversations to be had. But before you stress yourself out trying to power through everything at once, stop and think about what you actually need to get done. Will working through lunch help knock things off your plate or will you benefit more from taking a 30-minute break to clear your head so you can dive in refreshed in the afternoon? Do you really need to listen to a professional development podcast that you know will add more items to your career checklist or can you drive or walk in silence or listen to music instead? Be thoughtful about what’s actually productive for your stress levels and mental health. 
    No one is going to hand you a trophy for being the most productive person. There is no prize for checking everything off your to-do list. The only thing you earn from toxic productivity is stress, burnout, and overdue time off. Finding a healthy mix of productive and non-productive time will always be a balancing act. There will be ebbs and flows throughout your work day (and week) and your career. But being aware of when you need to be productive and when you can chill is an invaluable skill that will serve you well throughout your career.

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    8 Desk Essentials That Will Help You Actually Get Things Done

    Staying focused is a skill most of us have worked on our entire lives. We learn to read and write at a desk. We receive lectures and ponder new information at a desk. Yet, once it’s time for most of us to stay on track at our jobs, we often struggle. At my first out-of-college desk job, my excitement quickly turned sour when I realized I was in charge of keeping myself on track. I vividly remember thinking that there was no way I would ever be able to get through the day while staying focused. Since then, I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, and I’ve had a lot of trial-and-error experiences. Finally, I have a system that works for me, and I’m excited to share that system with you all. Let’s dive into the eight desk essentials that actually help me stay focused.

    1. Blank Notepad
    When inspiration strikes, you need a place to jot down your ideas. I often get distracted if I have to get up and search for a piece of paper. But the process of putting pen to paper and sketching out a concept, or listing out a to-do list, is essential for me. If you are not a pen-and-paper girl, then an iPad works wonders for note-taking. No matter your preference, having what you need on your desk is helpful in not disrupting your focus.

    2. Hourglass Timer
    Where are my ADHD girlies at? This one is for you. If you struggle with just “getting started,” then I cannot recommend this one enough. Grab an hourglass timer. Whenever I’m having trouble starting a daunting task, I simply flip this timer over. The sand gradually falling creates a sense of urgency. I often don’t need to flip it again because once I’ve started a task, there is no stopping: I will become completely invested in getting it done.

    3. Productivity Planner
    Productivity planners can be quite helpful if you work from home or work alone. I love being able to see what I have accomplished in real-time. They help set realistic expectations for yourself and help you better communicate your progress with your coworkers or managers. Another benefit to using a productivity planner is the ability to look back over old ideas to help spark creativity in new ones.

    Intelligent Change
    Productivity Planner
    An undated daily and weekly planner that helps you prioritize tasks and make the most of each day.

    Academic Planner
    Students: this academic planner will help you bring order to the chaos that is your school schedule.

    4. Candles
    Everyone loves a good candle. The flickering light and calming scents make us feel good. With fall right around the corner, a candle is essential for my desk. I love the environment it creates, which in turn, makes me want to stay at my desk for as long as possible. See where I’m going with this? Not wanting to leave my desk equals increased productivity!

    Capri Blue
    Volcano Candle
    A citrus and sugary candle to bring a calming, tropical feel to your desk.

    Homesick Store
    City Candle
    A candle based on the city of your choice to help you stay centered throughout your workday.

    Kobo Candles
    Himalayan Candle
    If your happy place is a cozy cabin, this earthy candle will bring you calm as you cross off your to-do list.

    5. Standing Desk
    My space doesn’t allow for a standing desk, but I’ve used one in a previous office, and my goodness, they are so helpful. When I feel myself getting antsy or losing concentration, I raise that desk to its standing height, and my brain starts to recenter immediately. There is something so refreshing about standing on your feet when working–it feels more natural. Standing also often reduces any back pain I get from sitting in one spot for too long.

    Source: Color Joy Stock

    6. Coffee Mug Warmer
    Coffee is essential for me, especially in the morning when I start my day. I am notorious for getting distracted and forgetting about my morning cup, which results in me pouring it out and getting more. This leads me to my point: Get a coffee mug warmer or an insulated coffee cup. Not only does my coffee mug warmer keep my coffee at the perfect temperature, but it also makes such a cute addition to my desk decor.

    7. Whiteboard
    I have always wanted a wall whiteboard to go behind my laptop, so I can quickly write small notes to keep me on track. I currently use sticky notes and have them everywhere around my desk, but a whiteboard will achieve the same function and clean up my workspace. Less clutter equals better focus. Plus, this will make my notes and reminders a lot more fun!

    8. Focus Apps
    I’ve found a few apps that have been helpful for my productivity. The first is Lifeline, which uses a technique—similar to the Pomodoro Technique—on your browser and schedule breaks for you to take to ensure you set healthy boundaries, which will result in increased productivity. The second app that I love to use is this Distraction Dimmer. This dimmer helps you stick to the task at hand and stay on track.

    I Waited 3 Years to Make This Work from Home Investment—Here’s Why I Wish I Made It Sooner More

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    3 Morning Rituals a Real Housewife Swears Set Up Her Day for Success

    Welcome to The Everygirl Podcast. Whether you’re looking for insider secrets from successful women that have your dream job, are interested in expert advice to transform your health and feel your best, or just want to be entertained and laugh along with us on your commute, we’ve got you covered.

    When Real Housewives of Dubai premiered at the beginning of June, Bravo fans discovered a new it-girl and fan-favorite in Lesa Milan Hall. On this week’s episode of The Everygirl Podcast, Josie sits down with Lesa to talk all things Real Housewives, but also to get insight on her inspiring career totally separate from reality TV. Spoiler alert: She has a lot of great tips, advice, and insight one everything from motherhood to fashion to starting a major brand. She is the founder of luxury maternity brand, Mina Roe, which counts stars like Beyoncé and Ciara as fans.
    Living in Dubai with her husband and three sons, running a fashion line, and being on reality TV all mean that Lesa has an extremely busy schedule, so you know we had to grill her on the rituals that set her day up for success. Read on for major morning routine inspo, and check out this week’s episode of The Everygirl Podcast for insight and advice from Lesa Milan Hall.

    1. Start the day with gratitude
    We’ve all heard about the importance of practicing gratitude, so it’s no surprise Lesa’s #1 morning ritual is to feel gratitude immediately after waking. “The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is I thank God for waking me up,” Lesa told us. Gratitude is not only important for putting yourself into a positive headspace and promotes an abundance mindset, but it can reframe your thinking to reflect on all that you do have instead of focusing energy on what you don’t. “When having a bad day, I remember where I’m coming from and where I am today,” Lesa said. “Whenever I’m like, ‘Oh, I don’t have something,’ I always ask myself, ‘Girl, do you remember when you had nothing?’”

    2. Take a shot of apple cider vinegar
    This Real Housewife swears by taking a shot of apple cider vinegar diluted in water every single morning to start her day. The benefits of apple cider vinegar are widely discussed in the wellness space (everything from improving gut health to managing blood sugar), but for Lesa, it’s all about the skin. Apple cider vinegar may have many beauty benefits, including helping to reduce inflammation in the skin (like breakouts or eczema), thanks to its antibacterial properties. Since she grew up with acne-prone skin, Lesa tells us she is committed to keeping her face clear, and prioritizes a daily shot of apple cider vinegar every morning. As she says, “What goes in shows up on the skin.” Whether a shot of ACV at 8 a.m. is your thing or not, prioritize food and drinks that are hydrating and balancing for the skin first thing in the morning. 

    3. Have a go-to skincare routine, but limit makeup
    Aside from her apple cider vinegar ritual, Lesa’s biggest skincare secret is that she never wears makeup during the week. “I used to struggle with really, really bad acne,” Lesa said. “It took me years to find products that work for me.” Now, she limits makeup as much as possible as a way to preserve her skin health, but also as a sense of pride for overcoming skin-related insecurities from her childhood.
    Currently, Lesa’s skincare routine is built around her cleanser, which she considers to be the most important part of taking care of her face. Her favorite is from Shiseido, and she makes a point of washing her face with exclusively cold water in order to keep her pores closed. Since she used to struggle with acne, Lesa rotates between using oil-free moisturizer or the Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Serum after cleansing each morning. She finishes her routine with SPF, and heads out into Dubai makeup-free and full of gratitude. More

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    I Moved Across the Country for a New Job—Here’s How

    Since I was 14, I wanted to live in Boston. I spent a couple summers there at a young age and fell in love with everything about it. From then on, I dreamed of living in a brownstone on the cobblestone streets and drinking my Dunkin’ coffee on the T (if you know, you know).
    I grew up in the west. For the first 18 years of my life, Montana, and for the next eight years, Nevada. I remember working internship after internship saying to myself “Boston, Boston, Boston” over and over again to manifest this dream into reality. 
    After 12 years of wishing—I made the move.
    Making a change like this can be scary. Take it from me, not only did I uproot my life from Nevada to Massachusetts, I made a big career move too! Relocating for a job is terrifying because what if you fail? My question to you is, what if you don’t? If you’ve had a similar dream but are afraid of everything that comes with a big move, this article is for you. We’ll dive into how I got the job, prepped for the move, and finally took the leap.
    Here’s how I made my dream come true:

    I Wasn’t Afraid to Talk to People
    Prior to applying to jobs across the country, I reached out to anyone and everyone I knew in my current market that had moved to a new city for a job or had connections in Boston specifically. I reached out for coffee, drinks, and anything else I could do to chat with people that would be able to offer some guidance.
    I initially knew of a few people off the top of my head. To take it further, I reached out to past professors, classmates, and colleagues at different internships I had. I wasn’t afraid to tell people around me about my plans and dreams, and the more I talked about it, the more doors opened as people told me they knew someone that knew someone that lived in Boston or had followed a similar path.
    Tip: A great way to do this if you don’t know where to start is to get on LinkedIn and see if any of your connections work at companies you like or live in the market you are interested in!
    By doing this, I was able to fine-tune my resume, build relationships with people in my industry, and even talk to a few people who had worked in my dream market. The best part? Everyone was willing and excited to offer help, and while I didn’t land a job this way, the advice I received was invaluable to help get me there.
    Don’t be afraid to ask questions, ask for help, and make connections with people that may seem out of reach. Chances are, they’d love to assist someone with a similar dream.

    Source: Color Joy Stock

    I Got Real With My Budget
    In order to make this move, I had to get real about how much I would need to have in savings in order to get an apartment and get myself and my belongings over there. I also had to look at my finances and expenses to decide how much I would need to make once I got off the plane.
    I sat down with all of my monthly expenses and created a budget that included my estimations for the city. From there, I was able to go into job interviews knowing exactly what I needed to make in order to live in my dream city.
    Here are a few things I did to get ready:

    I took a look at rent prices for apartments and talked to anyone I knew that had lived in a similar market to gauge how much it would cost. This was important because different cities have different protocols for securing apartments. For example, broker fees and deposits can vary.
    I outlined my “needs” such as my estimated rent, utilities, phone bill, and groceries.
    I researched gyms in the area to get an idea of what they would cost per month.
    I reviewed the subscriptions I had and canceled anything unnecessary (this was a big one).
    I outlined my “wants”—nails, hair—the fun stuff.
    I realized that my lifestyle might have to change for a bit, but I accepted that that was okay because I knew the sacrifice would be worth it in the end.

    Once I got there, I pivoted as needed based on true prices, and I pivoted fast. I cut back on things I couldn’t fit into my budget and set goals for myself for future income in order to get where I wanted to be.

    Source: @Calpak

    I Didn’t Give Up
    Once I felt good about my resume, had talked to others that had taken the same path, and felt confident enough to put myself out there—I started applying. And let me tell you, this part wasn’t easy.
    For over a year and a half, I worked. I took interviews at 5 a.m. to talk to companies on the east coast before my day job. I worked during the day to continue to build my experience and portfolio, and at night, I applied to more jobs. At times, and after being ghosted by company after company, I thought it would never happen.
    And while I will always recommend having another job lined up before making a move, I did get to a point where it was time to take the leap without a set “plan.” Before I was anywhere close to ready, with no future job set-up—I gave my current company notice (a full six months so they could find a replacement and I could get all my ducks in a row).
    As soon as I made my decision and decided I knew this would happen for me, the universe answered. What can I say? Manifestation works. Within a few weeks of giving my company notice, I landed a job in Boston.
    While I had told my current company one timeline (six months), the universe had another timeline in store for me. And while it certainly wasn’t ideal to have to change the timing of my resignation from my employer, I had luckily worked hard to establish a solid relationship (and had AMAZING bosses), so when I had to make the shift, I was able to discuss my new plan and was met with their support.
    I ended up negotiating with my new employer in Boston to give me six weeks prior to starting. Between wanting to give my current role ample time to transition (pro tip: new employers actually like to see your loyalty!) and needing to pack up my entire life, they were more than willing to work with me. And so, I gave my current company a one-month notice and started wrapping things up and planning for my future.

    I Took It All In
    I lived for nearly five years in Boston. I made friends, moved up in my career, and created relationships with colleagues and people on the east coast that I will never take for granted. But after all those years of city life, I decided it was time to move back west to spend time with my family and take advantage of the new remote working world many of us now live in. It wasn’t an easy decision, and there’s a chance I’ll even be back on the east coast someday, but after working my way up at my company and proving to myself that I could do it, I was ultimately ready for a change… again.
    Looking back on my time in Boston, I have little regret. I did the best I could, and I grew in both my professional and personal life more than I could have ever imagined. The only thing I wish is that I had realized I was living my dream while I was in it. The biggest lesson I learned is that we never truly realize how lucky we are in each stage of life until the stage is gone. So once you accomplish your dream, don’t forget to soak it up—don’t forget to breathe it in. 

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