Why you need to unplug every 90-120 minutes

Human Resources, Uncategorized

Since sprints get us to focus in and finish our tasks with crisp consciousness, we know they’re the most effective way of working. But what’s fascinating is why they make us work so well.

For Leo Widrich at Buffer, it’s in human nature: while we often imagine ourselves as machines–which move linearly–we’re actually organisms, which move cyclically. And to do our most creative, productive work, we need to step to that rhythm.

The cycle of doing your best work

Your brain can only focus for 90 to 120 minutes before it needs a break, Widrich reports. Why? It’s the ultradian rhythm, a cycle that’s present in both our sleeping and waking lives.

As Tony Schwartz has reported, this was first discovered by Nathan Kleitman, a groundbreaking sleep researcher. He called it the “basic rest-activity cycle”: the 90-minute cycles during which you progress through the five stages of sleep. Kleitman found the 90-minute pattern in our days, too, as we move from higher to lower alertness–the ultradian rhythm.

What working with the rhythm looks like

The 90-minute cycle works. Schwartz wrote a book in under six months by carving his workday into a trio of 90-minute chunks.

Without ever reading productivity posts (we assume), other fields found the 90-minute rhythm, too. In a widely cited study of prodigious violinists, psychologist Anders Ericsson found that the top performers all had the same practice characteristics:

  • They practiced in the morning
  • They practiced for three sessions
  • Each sessions was 90 minutes or less
  • There was a break between each session

That same pattern is found in other top performers, Schwartz reports: focus then rest, focus then rest.

To be “gotten over”

In an elegant post on Medium, digital strategist Tom Gibson echoes Widrich’s naturalism, observing that these ebbs and flows “make the pattern make the pattern of organic labour” and are not “to be worked around, to be ‘gotten over.’” If you understand them–and work with them–you can do better work, the same way that knowing the mechanics of a truck’s engine enhances performances.

In this way, the time you unplug is a part of, not opposite to, your workday, as Gibson continues:

“We need to incorporate ‘off time’–the outward breath, the ebb–into our working patterns. Not with simple lip-service like ‘you need to sleep better,’ but as an integral, affirmed part of the process of working…

We need to understand that ‘on’ is impossible without ‘off,’ and that the distance between the two needs to be made closer: like the beats of a heart or the steps of a runner.”

The origin of the 8 hour work day and why we should rethink it

https://blog.bufferapp.com/optimal-work-time-how-long-should-we-work-every-day-the-science-of-mental-strength

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5 Minutes Early Is On Time; On Time Is Late; Late Is Unacceptable

Human Resources, Uncategorized

Being late is unacceptable. While that sounds harsh, it’s the truth and something that should be said more often. I don’t care if you’re attending a dinner party, a conference call, or a coffee meeting – your punctuality says a lot about you.

There’s a reason we set meeting times and deadlines. It allows for a coordination of efforts, minimizes time/effort waste, and helps set expectations. Think of how much would get done if everyone just “chilled out” and “went with the flow?” It would be the definition of inefficiency. It’s probably not that hard to imagine, considering just last week I had 13 (yes, I counted) different people blow meeting times, or miss deadlines. It feels like a raging epidemic, seemingly smoothed over by a barrage of “my bads,” “sorry, mans,” and “you know how it goes.” The desired response is “it’s all good,” but the reality is that it’s not okay. Here’s what it is.

  • Disrespectful: Being on time is about respect. It signals that you value and appreciate the other person. If you don’t respect the meeting’s participants, why are you meeting with them in the first place?
  • Inconsiderate: Unintentionally being late demonstrates an overall lack of consideration for the lives of others. You just don’t care.
  • Big-Timing: Intentionally being late is about power. It’s showing the other person, or people that you’re a “big deal” and have the upper-hand in the relationship. It’s also called being a dick.
  • Incredible: No, not in the good way. When you miss meeting times or deadlines, your credibility takes the trajectory of a lead balloon. If you can’t be counted on to be on time, how could you possibly have credibility around far tougher tasks?
  • Unprofitable: Let’s consider a scenario where five people are holding a meeting at 2 p.m. Your sauntering in ten minutes late just wasted 40 minutes of other peoples’ time. Let’s say the organization bills $200/hour. Are you paying the $133 bill? Someone certainly is.
  • Disorganized: If you can’t keep your calendar, what other parts of your life are teetering on the edge of complete disaster?
  • Overly-Busy: Everyone likes to equate busyness with importance, but the truly successful know that’s BS. Having a perpetually hectic schedule just signals that you can’t prioritize, or say “no,” neither of which is an endearing trait.
  • Flaky: Apparently some people just “flake out,” which seems to mean that they arbitrarily decided not to do the thing they committed to at the very last minute.
  • Megalomaniacal: While most grow out of this by the age of eight, some genuinely believe they are the center of the universe. It’s not attractive.

As I said earlier, I’m occasionally late. Sometimes a true emergency happens, or an outlier event transpires. When it happens, I try to give a very detailed account of why I was late, apologize profusely, make sure the other person knows that I take it very seriously, and assure them it won’t happen again.

Paying attention to punctuality is not about being “judgy,” or stressed. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It makes room for the caring, considerate, thoughtful people I want in my life, whether that’s friends or colleagues. Think of how relaxing your life would be if everyone just did what they said they’d do, when they said they’d do it? A good place to start is with yourself and a great motto is something I was taught as a child:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brentbeshore/2015/08/02/5-minutes-early-is-on-time-on-time-is-late-late-is-unacceptable/#3f99586a1b2a

15 Ways To Stand Out As An Intern

Human Resources

1. Do your homework before your first day.
By being prepared, you will feel more confident going into the internship. Start your first day with a general understanding of the industry, its buzzwords, the company, and your boss. This will make you sound more knowledgeable and confident.

2. Dress for success. In general, dressing and acting professionally not only gives a good impression and makes it clear that you’re willing to make an effort, it can be psychologically beneficial.

3. Treat the internship like a real job. If you want the employer to take you seriously, you need to take the job seriously. “To get the most of an internship, regardless of the pay, interns should treat their internship like they would any job. You need to remember that your work will have an impact on the organization. You’re learning in an active, real-world environment, so your contributions (and your mistakes) affect other people.

4. Have a “just in case” outfit in your desk drawer. Always have a tie or pair of heels at your desk because you never know when you need to make a last minute outfit change for a meeting or work event.

5. Practice good time management. Interns have a lot on their plates, so it’s important to be organized, be careful not to take on too much, and to let someone know if you can’t complete a project by the deadline.

6. Socialize (with a filter). Since you’re treating this position like a permanent job, you’ll want to take the time to get to know your new colleagues. It’s great for interns to get to know one another — and their superiors — but be careful of the amount of personal information you share and how you behave while socializing.

7. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and step outside your comfort zone. This shows that you’re willing to learn and have a genuine interest in the job and company.

8. Be flexible. People, and organizations, have different thinking and communication styles and various ways of doing things. If you can learn to be adaptive, you’ll broaden your opportunities considerably.

9. Network. Aside from socializing, you’ll want to network with your new colleagues. The more colleagues know you and what your capable of, the more support you will have once it’s time to turn your internship into a full-time job.

10. Find a mentor. While it may seem intimidating, interns should ask their boss or someone they admire in the company out to lunch to learn about their experience at the company and ask for any words of wisdom.

11. Take initiative, but accept guidance. Volunteer, within reason. Employers will be impressed if you’re eager to help — but don’t simply sign up for everything. A few jobs done well is better than twice as many done badly, or not finished.
You are ultimately there to learn from more experienced individuals. Be sure what you’re doing each day is in line with the organization’s priorities,”

12. Be respectful, but assertive. Interns should expect to both be taken out of their comfort zone and to do boring but necessary tasks with good grace, However, if you feel you’re being taken advantage of, you must speak up.

13. Challenge yourself. Try to challenge yourself by doing something you have never done before, Utilize your coworkers and bosses to learn and develop your industry skills. These skills will enrich your professional portfolio making you more appealing to future employers.

14. Keep tabs on your accomplishments. For the benefit of future job applications, immediately begin keeping track of specific facts and figures about your performance.

15. Ask for feedback. As an intern, you may not have a formal review until the end of the summer — so it’s important to ask for feedback on a regular basis, This shows the employer you’re taking initiative and willing to make the changes necessary in order to succeed.

http://www.businessinsider.com/15-things-interns-do-to-stand-out-2014-5

15 Best Practices for Internship Programs

Human Resources

Best Practice #1: Provide interns with real work assignments.*
Providing interns with real work is number one to ensuring your program’s success. Interns should be doing work related to their major, that is challenging, that is recognized by the organization as valuable, and that fills the entire work term.

Best Practice #2: Hold orientations for all involved.
It’s important that everyone “be on the same page,” so to speak. Make this happen by holding an orientation session for managers and mentors as well as a session for students.

Best Practice #3: Provide interns with a handbook and/or website.
Whether in paper booklet format, or presented as a special section on your website, a handbook serves as a guide for students, answering frequently asked questions and communicating the “rules” in a warm and welcoming way.

Best Practice #4: Provide housing and relocation assistance.
Few employers can afford to provide fully paid housing for interns, but you’ll find that you get a lot of appreciation if you offer any kind of assistance toward housing expenses. If that’s not possible, provide assistance in locating affordable housing:

Best Practice #5: Offer scholarships.
Pairing a scholarship with your internship is a great way to recruit for your internship program—and this is especially true if you are having difficulty attracting a particular type of student or student with a specific skill set to your program.

Best Practice #6: Offer flex-time and/or other unusual work arrangements.
Students mention flex-time as one of their most-desired features in a job. (A flexible time schedule during their internship eases their transition to the workplace.)

Best Practice #7: Have an intern manager.
Having a dedicated manager for your intern program is the best way to ensure that it runs smoothly and stays focused on your criteria for success.

Best Practice #8: Encourage team involvement.
Involve your college recruiting teams in your intern program. They can sponsor social or professional development events, and help to orient the interns to your company culture.

Best Practice #9: Invite career center staff and faculty to visit interns on site.
In general, career center staff and faculty members have relatively few opportunities to visit employer work sites to see firsthand the types of experiences that their students are getting.

Best Practice #10: Hold new-hire panels.
New-hire panels are one of the best ways to showcase an organization to interns as a great place to work.

Best Practice #11: Bring in speakers from your company’s executive ranks.
One of the greatest advantages to students in having internships is the access they get to accomplished professionals in their field.

Best Practice #12: Offer training/encourage outside classes.
Providing students with access to in-house training—both in work-skills-related areas, such as a computer language, and in general skills areas, such as time management—is a tangible way to show students you are interested in their development.

Best Practice #13: Conduct focus groups/surveys.
Conducting focus groups and feedback surveys with these representatives of your target group is a great way to see your organization as the students see it.

Best Practice #14: Showcase intern work through presentations/expo.
Setting up a venue for them to do presentations (formal presentations or in a fair-type setting such as an expo) not only allows them to demonstrate their achievements, but also showcases the internship program to all employees.

Best Practice #15: Conduct exit interviews.
Whether face-to-face or over the telephone, a real-time exit interview done by a member of the college relations team is an excellent way to gather feedback on the student’s experience and to assess their interest in coming back.

http://www.naceweb.org/internships/15-best-practices.aspx

Erasmus+ Programme Guide (2016)

Human Resources

Erasmus+ is the EU Programme in the fields of education, training, youth and sport for the period 2014-2020. Education, training, youth and sport can make a major contribution to help tackle socio-economic changes, the key challenges that Europe will be facing until the end of the decade and to support the implementation of the European policy agenda for growth, jobs, equity and social inclusion.

Fighting rising levels of unemployment – particularly among young people -has become one of the most urgent tasks for European governments. Too many young people leave school prematurely running a high risk of being unemployed and socially marginalised. The same risk threatens many adults with low skills. Technologies are changing the way in which society operates, and there is a need to ensure the best use is made of them. EU businesses need to become more competitive through talent and innovation.

Europe needs more cohesive and inclusive societies which allow citizens to play an active role in democratic life. Education and youth work are key to prevent violent radicalisation by promoting common European values, fostering social integration, enhancing intercultural understanding and a sense of belonging to a community. Erasmus+ is an important instrument to promote the inclusion of people with disadvantaged backgrounds, especially newly arrived migrants, in response to critical events affecting European countries.

Another challenge relates to the development of social capital among young people, the empowerment of young people and their ability to participate actively in society, in line with the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty to “encourage the participation of young people in democratic life in Europe”. Moreover, there is a need to provide youth organisations and youth workers with training and cooperation opportunities, to develop their professionalism and the European dimension of youth work.

Well-performing education and training systems and youth policies can help to tackle these challenges by providing people with the skills required by the labour market and the economy, while allowing them to play an active role in society and achieve personal fulfilment. Reforms in education, training and youth can strengthen progress towards these goals, on the basis of a shared vision between policy makers and stakeholders, sound evidence and cooperation across different fields and levels.

The Erasmus+ Programme is designed to support Programme countries’ efforts to efficiently use the potential of Europe’s talent and social assets in a lifelong learning perspective, linking support to formal, non-formal and informal learning throughout the education, training and youth fields. The Programme also enhances the opportunities for cooperation and mobility with Partner Countries, notably in the fields of higher education and youth.

In accordance with one of the new elements introduced in the Lisbon Treaty, Erasmus+ also supports sport activities, by promoting cooperation between bodies responsible for sports. The Programme promotes the creation and development of European networks, providing opportunities for cooperation among stakeholders and the exchange and transfer of knowledge and know-how in different areas relating to sport and physical activity. This reinforced cooperation will notably have positive effects in developing the potential of Europe’s human capital by helping reduce the social and economic costs of physical inactivity.

This investment in knowledge, skills and competences will benefit individuals, institutions, organisations and society as a whole by contributing to growth and ensuring equity, prosperity and social inclusion in Europe and beyond.

http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/documents/erasmus-plus-programme-guide_en.pdf

8 Reasons Why You Should Work in a Foreign Country

Human Resources

1. You are in a Foreign Country!
You are having new experiences, seeing new things, meeting new people, learning more about the world and yourself. Who cares about the job, enjoy the opportunity to live in new surroundings.

2. You are Working
You get all the benefits of being in a new country but you also have the security of a regular paycheck. You don’t need too much savings to travel if you are going to work.

3. You Can Travel More
Living in a distant foreign country opens up a whole new world of inexpensive travel opportunities.

4. New Insights
Living in a foreign country opens you up to an entirely novel way of living. All those old customs and habits we have in our home countries are just that, habits. New countries help you question your assumptions of what life is about and ultimately makes you a better person, if you let it.

5. Escape Old Baggage
We all get into self-defeating routines that can rob us of our dreams and passions. For better and for worse, being abroad allows you to escape your inhibitions and do things you might not have considered.

6. Get Out of the Consumption Cycle
There is an incredible amount of peer and societal pressure to keep purchasing material possessions. As an outsider in a foreign country you completely by-pass that consumerism. Travelers are expected to have minimal possessions

7. It is a new job
A different job, even if it is not so great, is a welcome change. You will be doing different things with different people so there will be a lot to learn.

8. Did I mention, You are in a Foreign Country!
By all means quit your job and start working abroad. You will be much better for it.

http://jetsetcitizen.com/work-anywhere/8-reasons-why-you-should-work-in-a-foreign-country/

Erasmus Student Network

Human Resources

Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is the biggest student association in Europe. It was born on the 16th October 1989 and legally registered in 1990 for supporting and developing student exchange.

We are present in more than 480 Higher Education Institutions from 37 countries. The network is constantly developing and expanding. We have around 14.500 active members that are in many sections supported by so called buddies mainly taking care of international students. Thus, ESN involves around 34.000 young people offering its services to around 190.000 international students every year.

ESN is working in Higher Education (HE):
· offering services to 190.000 students
· 14.500 active members (34.000 with the buddies included)
· mainly on a volunteer basis
· with an average annual growth rate of 12% since 2005

ESN is operating on three levels: local, national, and international.

ESN works for the creation of a more mobile and flexible education environment by supporting and developing the student exchange from different levels, and providing an intercultural experience also to those students who cannot access a period abroad (“internationalisation at home”).

Aims & Principles

In synthesis, ESN:
· works in the interest of international students
· works to improve the social and practical integration of international students
· represents the needs and rights of international students on the local, national, and international level
· provides relevant information about mobility programmes
· motivates students to study abroad
· works with the reintegration of homecoming students
· contributes to the improvement and accessibility of student mobility
· cares about its members
· values volunteering and active citizenship

Who are we for?

·Homecoming students:
The students who are returning from exchange are being supported in reintegration process in their home countries by keeping contact with an international environment. Many local sections are set up by former exchange students, often because they have had good experiences from their exchange period or because they felt a lack of help during their exchange. They also understand better the issues and challenges in a foreign environment.

·Exchange students:
However, the main focus of ESN is placed on current exchange students, who often face problems (and feel abandoned) in their new environments. Therefore, ESN offers help in academic, social and practical integration process. This is mainly done through activities in the local sections, which include cultural and social events such as trips to various places within the country, film nights, language projects, international food festivals and last, but not least, parties. In addition to that, many sections have introduced mentor systems, which help the international students mainly in academic and practical integration.

ESN also provides relevant information and encourages the future exchange students to gain the international experience and gain relevant insight to different cultures.

http://www.esn-spain.org
http://esn.org/