Professional Development, Stress Relief, Team Building, Technology, Training / No Comments
Our lives are hectic. Picking up kids, friends, family members; running errands between work and dinner; managing a personal life while leveraging a career.
Live is by no means simple. BUT you can ease the stress in the office with a few modifications. Here’s how:
- Create Calendars (Outlook) No one can remember everything all the time. That’s why Outlook has the marvelous Calendar tool. With the simple click of a button you can create an event, invite attendees and send out updates if things change. It’s important to understand that this tool isn’t just for big meetings. You can use it for everything from a doctor’s appointment after work to a reminder to ask Jane about that deposit.
- Use Formulas (Excel) Why do the math when it can be done for you? The Excel formula tool can be one of the most useful, yet complicated features out there. Knowing how to quickly find the sum, average, difference or percentage of a set of numbers will cut down on hours of paper work. Formulas can be added under the “Formula” task at the top of your excel sheet. Just select the cell where you want the information displayed and the type of math you want done e.g. sum, average, etc. Make sure the appropriate row or column is highlighted and press enter. It’s that simple!
- Run Merges (Word) Why type letter after letter when you can run a mail merge! The only catch is that the raw data (address, name, etc.) must be in an excel database. To begin, type your letter. Select “Start Mail Merge” under “Mailings” at the top of your Word doc and choose “step by step mail merge wizard.” Once you’re there just follow the prompts and you’ll have an entire mailing done in no time! Be sure to format your excel sheet with the right headers e.g. Address, Zip code, City, State, First Name, Last Name. Dividing the information out will save you time in the merge.
- Love Templates (PowerPoint) Why re-create the wheel when it’s already been done? PowerPoint is loaded with backgrounds perfect for your next presentation. This gives you several options for a cool, classy or funky fun presentation.
- Work Together (Excel & Word). Sometimes you need to create a template that has the components of an excel sheet but requires the consistency and design capabilities of a word doc. So why not combine them? For example, if you need to create a pricing sheet but want to include graphics and textual information try importing it from excel to a word doc. Just create your template in Word e.g. header, footer. Then take your pricing information from excel and import it into the document. To do this, simply highlight and copy the cells in Excel and right click in the word doc >> Paste Options, and choose the table style.
- Master Distribution Lists (Outlook). Don’t manually type in everyone’s name in Outlook when you can create a distribution list in a few easy steps. By grouping people in lists you can disseminate information quickly and efficiently. Just go to File >> New >> Distribution List. Name your list and select who you want included. Now you can email the office, sales force or just your group of friends in one easy click!
- Highlight Graphics (ALL) Pictures are a great way to translate information quickly or just support data already displayed. Images can be inserted in every Microsoft Office program including data heavy Excel. No matter where you are, the “Insert” option will get the image where you want it. Just remember to use jpegs that have larger copy and brighter colors. Both can get lost in the data.
These points are just the tip of a wealth of knowledge that will simply your life. The Institute for Corporate & Continuing Education at Hillsborough Community College offers several courses in Microsoft Office program like Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Most run for less than $40! To get on the fast track to efficiency today, go to www.TampaTraining.com.
The holidays… the time of year for giving and receiving, joy and laughter, family and friends.
Pfft… who are we kidding. The holidays puts loads of unsolicited stress on everyone. From fighting the crowds on Black Friday to all the cooking, cleaning, gift wrapping and organizing; The holidays are never easy and on some days, far from enjoyable.
But there’s light at the end of the tunnel! With help from the 12 days of Holiday Workshops at ICCE, you can simplify your year end lifestyle while creating that storybook holiday. Here’s how:
- Make Your Own Gift. You may not be the next Martha Stewart, but in a world of over marketed, made-in-china merchandize, a homemade gift can go a long way. Simple items made from wood, papier-mâché or other crafts allow you to skip the long lines, save a little money and create a memory that will last longer than this year’s latest snuggie design.
- Know What to Look For. Research is the most important part of any project. When it comes to electronics the options can be overwhelming and misleading. Learning a few key concepts like battery life, ease of use, life expectancy, performance and general specs (screen resolution, pixels, etc.) can make the difference between a deal and a “you just paid way too much for that.”
- Find your Happy Place. When you’re caught in the middle of screaming kids, angry in-laws and the disaster that used to be your house, finding your happy place is vital. Our brains are capable of amazing things and learning to access those joy centers through mediation and concentration can make your holiday life a whole lot happier. Life goes by too fast to not enjoy it.
- Capture the Moments Online. Technology isn’t just for headaches. Its end goal is to actually make our lives easier. Sites like Shutterfly and programs like Windows Live Movie Maker offer the ability to create professional grade videos and photo collections that are easily sharable.
- Drink. When all else fails drink. Ok, so we don’t condone turning to alcohol in times of duress, but using wine to add a little lubrication to those tense family get-togethers can definitely help. Knowing which wines to serve at functions, which to gift and which to drink by yourself after everyone leaves can be confusing. A class with ICCE will teach you all these and more. That means you can actually impress the in-laws this year.
Perk up your holidays and ease the stress! The Institute for Corporate & Continuing Education’s 12 days of Holiday workshops offers courses in everything above including Holiday Wines, Creative Holiday Gift Making, Accessing your Brain’s Joy Center, Digitized Photography and more.
For more information on these courses go to www.tampatraining.com. Hurry, classes are going on now!
Professional Development, Stress Relief, Team Building / No Comments
Politics can breed hate, heighten stress and lower performance… and I’m not just talking about the presidential race.
Office drama puts a tax on everyone and resolving these issues can be as complicated as a rubic cubic. Unfortunately, the true reasons behind conflict often go unseen and problems persist.
But don’t fret! Here are 5 tips to help you better understand and resolve issues at the office.
- It’s not always a personality clash. The classic line from many managers sounds something like, “they just don’t see eye to eye,” or “she just doesn’t like him.” In reality it’s often so much more than that. Why do these two people conflict? These are often rooted in their role in the company and personal goals.
- Look at the office environment. Are there factors that foster conflict? Get a gauge on what kind of topics may come up during office conversations and the dynamics that exist.
- Be honest and be specific. Let each employee know exactly what behavior is affecting the office and be honest about it. Resolving conflict takes two, but that doesn’t mean it permeates from two. Speaking in generalizations does nothing but create confusion for the parties involved.
- Find Common Goals. Two employees working together towards the same goal can learn to work with each other and foster a better team mentality.
- Practice What You Preach. Show your employees just how conflict should be handled. Consistency and stability permeate from the top down and displaying these traits when dealing with office conflict will lead to a happier office. And now for the obvious, NEVER play favorites.
Office drama affects everyone. It stifles productivity and burdens the human psyche. Finding the roots to these issues can be difficult and frustrating, but is possible. The Institute for Corporate and Continuing Education offers seminars on finding positive solutions to office drama and problem employees. For more information click HERE.
As the old saying goes, “work hard, play hard… and in between get a hobby.”
Having an enjoyable focus outside of the everyday stresses life pummels at us can lead to a much more purposeful and healthy life. However, finding a hobby that fits your lifestyle can become a stressful task.
But don’t fear. Continuing education is here!
There are 5 hobbies to pick from which you can become skilled in or at least gain a basic foundation in two classes or less.
- Chess. This is by no means an easy game, just ask 11th World Chess Champion, Bobby Fischer. However, picking up the basics of the game can be learned in just a couple of hours. The best part about chess is that it’s a game of strategy. It keeps those gears in your brain turning, even when you think they might be getting a little rusty.
- Painting. Man has been fascinated by art since the beginning of time. From cave paintings to Monet, to your grandma’s watercolors; painting is a release of creation, emotion and thought. Learning the basics of canvas, mediums and techniques can be done in just a couple classes. Although you might not be creating still life paintings at a Van Gogh level, art is never wrong.
- Writing. Journals, short stories, dramatic plays… no matter what you put on paper, writing can take you to another world, far away from the doldrums of life. You may realize that all your past experiences can come together and create a novel of epic proportions. Of all the hobbies listed in this blog, writing is the most accessible.
- Budget Travel. Seeing new places keeps your life in perspective. It opens you up to new foods, people and cultures. Sadly, many people assume travel equates to expensive plane tickets and over-priced hotels. Learning the art of budget traveling kills these myths flat and will open up a whole new world (literally) you never thought was at your disposal. With a couple classes, you can learn the techniques and tips that will get you on a plane in no time.
- Digital Photography. Almost the definition of a hobby, photography is as much an art as painting or sculpting. Buying the right equipment can quickly get out of hand in price and suck all the fun out of what’s supposed to be a hobby. Using the resources currently at your disposal, like a camera phone or basic digital camera, can be just as “artistic” as any $10,000 photo lens set… it just take a little more manipulation on the back end. Digital photography classes will teach you how to use basic software to change photos into something that you appreciate as well as take a few inches off those beach pictures.
Hobbies get us through tough times. They put a smile on our face after a long, stressful week and lead us to the lighter things in life. Hobbies do not have to be larger than life, expensive investments but instead should be something that you work at over time. Many, like the ones listed above, can be learned in just a couple simple classes. For a full listing of these hobbies go to www.tampatraining.com today.
Healthy Living, Professional Development, Stress Relief / No Comments
Wine is the water of the business world. From mixers to high profile dinners, this ancient libation is everywhere and can make or break a good impression.
Every businessman and woman should at least have a working knowledge of wine. To help you on your next luncheon or sales meeting, here are 3 tips to make you more wine literate.
Red vs. White. Knowing the difference between a classic red and a classic white can make your life a million times easier at the dinner table. Reds generally exhibit a set of rich flavors with spicy, herby and even meaty characteristics. They are better served with heavy meals like steak, lamb or pork. White wines are light in character, with crisp, fruit flavors and aromas. They are better served with seafood, fruit, chocolate and cream based sauces.
Ordering. Never ask the waiter what wine you should order. If you have questions and a sommelier isn’t available, then go with a “safe” choice like a Chardonnay or Pinot. Make sure to have the waiter bring the wine before the food arrives. Alan Richman of GQ Magazine says “Wine without food is fine; food without wine is a disaster.”
Sampling. Once you’ve selected a wine, it’s time to sample (no this doesn’t mean you have to act all pretentious and make a scene). Kathryn Borel, author and avid wine fan, tells us the real reason we sample is to figure out if the wine is corked i.e. it has gone bad. This can be done in 3 easy steps. 1. Grab the bottom of the glass and swirl it. This infuses air into the wine and releases its flavors. 2. Take a sniff. If you smell vinegar, dirt or old laundry then it’s gone bad. 3. Take a good sized sniff and let it flow over your tongue. As Kathryn says, the waiter isn’t waiting for your tasting notes, he just wants to know if he needs to go get another bottle of wine.
You can never know enough about wine. Sommeliers spend their lives learning about new and vintage wines, pouring techniques, etc. What you can do is spare yourself some embarrassment at the next business dinner and know the basics. ICCE offers a Wine 101 course for just $35! Just a couple hours with Tampa wine guru Michael Roberts and you’ll be on your way to impressing the boss in no time. Go to www.tampatraining.com for more information.
3 Ways to Relieve Stress at Work
Stress sucks. Whether it’s a bad client, relentless boss or just an unbearably busy day; office stress affects us all at some point. According to a 2011 workplace study, 1 in 3 employees said they typically feel stressed or tense during the workday citing a lack of opportunities for growth and advancement (43 percent), heavy workload (43percent), unrealistic job expectations (40 percent) and long hours (39 percent) as significant sources.
Not only can stress ruin a perfectly good day, but it can be downright dangerous to your health. High levels of stress can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and obesity, not to mention an overall decrease in quality of life.
So is there light at the end of the tunnel? Can we somehow overcome the stresses of work to live a healthier, happier life?
Yes. And it’s not as difficult as you think. Here are three easy options to a less stressful workplace.
- Stress management skills. It might sound basic but working on coping strengths to manage stress can minimize the negative and accentuate the positive. Eliminating small, daily stresses through recognition, avoidance and resolution along with developing flexibility to change can help to eliminate stress. Taking a class that teaches these skills including enhanced communication, problem-solving abilities and relationship building will put your life in a better state of being.
- Conflict resolution. Many times the workplace can feel no different than high school. There’s the bully, the jokester, the drama queen… all conspiring to make your life more difficult; or so it would seem. Learning to deal with these types of people through conflict resolution will help to reduce stress. Knowing when to appropriately deal with issues and when to back off is challenging, especially when emotions are involved, but can make all the difference.
- Emotional/Physical Outlets. Exercise is a failsafe. No matter how bad your day was at work, exercise chemically de-stresses by releasing endorphins while molding a healthier you. Yoga, running, weight training, dance classes… these are all ways to take your frustrations out. Just 2 -3 days of healthful physical exercise will make your smile bigger and your tummy smaller.
No matter where you work, what you do or who you think you are; stress affects us all. Knowing how to deal with workplace stresses in a healthy, constructive way can make life a much more enjoyable journey. Classes in stress management, conflict resolution and physical outlets like dancing, yoga, weight training or aerobics are all offered at HCC’s Institute for Continuing and Corporate Education at prices that won’t stress you out. Life is too short not to enjoy every minute. Go to www.TampaTraining.com today and de-stress your life.