5 Time Management Tips

Are you usually punctual? Do you get your work done on time? Are you good with deadlines? Are you satisfied with the timeframe it takes you to finish things?

Bottom line: Are you a good time manager?

If we’re completely honest, most of us would admit that a little help in the time management department couldn’t hurt. And there are those among us who are not afraid to admit to needing considerably more than a little assistance in getting a grip on the productive use of time.

These 5 tips can put you on the road to consistently better time management.

  1. Prioritize

Take to heart habit # 3 in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: First Things First. With only twenty-four hours in each day and a plethora of “things” vying for our attention, it’s crucial that we distinguish the most important tasks from those that are less significant, and especially from those that barely qualify as trivial. First things first, lesser stuff later, if there’s time.

  1. Clear The Clutter

Distractions in the form of piles of stuff, general disorganization, or – dare we say it – downright filth will do a number on efficiency every time. It’s tough to focus when your eye is drawn to a mountain of junk or pulled toward the boxes of files waiting not-so-patiently to be filed. Set aside time to clean-up, then vow to make orderliness a priority.

  1. Focus, focus and then focus some more

Nothing promotes efficiency more than complete attention to a task. Close your door, window or whatever else will minimize background noise. Immerse yourself in the task at hand. If music increases your focus, go for it, but if it’s just another distraction, be mature enough to skip it.

In our “always on” world, the thought of disconnecting is almost hard to imagine. It’s so easy to become a slave to your inbox and other forms of instant messaging. Log out of all social media. Stash your phone and silence it too. It won’t kill you, your friends or colleagues to be out of contact for a time. If the Internet is too much of a temptation, disconnect from Wi-Fi while you give concentrated effort to a project. Make a habit of allotting one or more specific chunks of time each day for “checking in.” Resisting the urge to stay connected 24/7 will free up your brain power for accomplishing more in less time.

  1. You deserve a break

Allow for some downtime between tasks. Rushing from one intense period of focus to another is stressful for mind, body, and spirit. Fatigue and productivity are not pals, and it’s emotionally draining to even think about a long stretch of work without a break.

Allow for a moment to pat yourself on the back for finishing on time, then get some fresh air, take a walk through the halls, grab a light snack, and just chill. A few deep cleansing breaths can get the blood and oxygen pumping again before you forge ahead to the next task.

  1. Use downtime to your advantage

Turn those minutes spent waiting for your turn in the lunch line or even at the copier into thinking time. Rather than stare mindlessly at the back of the person in front of you, let your mind delve into the details of the upcoming task or revisit the last assignment.

Use those chunks of time when your body is active, but your mind is free – like when exercising or while commuting – to engage in “thought productivity” sessions. If it’s been a long, stressful day already, use the downtime to purge your mind and regroup for the next project.

And one more piece of advice. One of the fastest ways to zap productivity is to allow the prospect of a busy schedule to overwhelm you. Yes, there’s a lot to do. Welcome to today’s adult life! But in the same way the adage advises that the best way to eat an elephant is one piece at a time, a hectic schedule can be managed in the same way:  one task/activity/project at a time.

Focus. Complete. Break. Breathe. Repeat.

As a comprehensive source for staffing and human resource management, B. Loehr Staffing will save you time while increasing the effectiveness of your search for employment. Allow our Staffing Specialists to assist you in obtaining a position that fits your skills and career goals. Contact our office today.

Phone: 314-567-6500   Website: blstaffing.com

Clean Your Schedule for Better Time Management

The first outdoor hints of spring often bring with it the urge to purge house and home of winter; to do a thorough cleaning, toss out the clutter, and let a fresh breeze blow away the stuffiness.

Houses aren’t the only thing that can benefit from a good ol’ spring cleaning. It’s likely that your schedule could use a thorough scrubbing as well.

“Nothing gets filled up with useless odds and ends like a calendar,” shares Michael Hyatt. “You know the story: past commitments that don’t fit our present circumstances; too many yeses to other people’s projects; breakfast meetings, lunch dates, and dinners with clients, colleagues, and old friends you were never close with, to begin with.”

The same “spring cleaning” strategies that leave your home feeling fresh and light and breezy can do wonders for your schedule. After all, no matter who you are, no matter how you try to slice it up, there are only twenty-four hours in each day.

Use these strategies to purge the sludge and put a little “spring” back into your schedule

  1. Consolidate your calendar

An I’ve-got-it-all-up-here, finger tapping convincingly on one’s temple, approach simply won’t cut it. The most fundamental step to corralling your schedule is a calendar – whether it’s a hard copy on your desk or in your pocket, a component of your mail software, or an online version such as Google Calendar. Whatever best fits you and your lifestyle. Many folks opt for a format that will sync with their phone and other devices which puts their daily schedule literally at the tip of their fingers.

The most effective calendar time-management tip? Combine work/personal/family/leisure activities in one place. Why hassle with two, three, or four separate calendars just to see if you can spare an hour a week from Tuesday? Include everything you must remember whether it be an appointment, a deadline, or something fun. Especially don’t forget to schedule in the “fun” stuff.

  1. Consolidate tasks and locations

More hopping back and forth, either from one task to another OR from one location to another, may be happening than you realize. In our hurry-hurry world, we become accustomed to a certain degree of chaos, believing that it’s inevitable. Such a frenzied, survival-mode mentality squashes moments of reality that try to advise, “Hey, there’s a better way to do this.”

Serious, unhurried scrutinization of your schedule is likely to find tasks and activities that when consolidated will save time—not to mention stressful wear and tear on body, mind, and spirit. This goes for both work and home life.

  1. Tame technology habits

What would an in-depth look at your technology habits reveal? An obsession with checking your inbox? An over-zealous attachment to texting? Habitual, almost unconscious fascination with social media?

Sure, email is an efficient means of communication. The same goes for texting.  And social media has opened wide, promising doors for promoting anything and everything. But too much of any good thing can spoil the porridge . . . or however the saying goes. With discipline and self-monitoring, these technology-related marvels can drive your success. But when boundaries aren’t established, enormous amounts of time can be eaten up by these modern day wonders of twenty-first-century life.

Reign in the potential for technology to gobble up valuable chunks of your day by allotting specific times to check emails, check and reply to texts, and get caught up on social media.

  1. Delegate

One of the surest ways to put the “spring” back in your schedule is to pass off less important tasks to someone on your staff. Type “A” persons, however, and those bent toward perfectionism, in particular, have a rough time sharing work because “No one else can do it the way I can . . . well enough . . . to suit me.”

Begin small – delegate a twenty-minute-a-day task – and let yourself get used to accepting assistance. Next hand off a one-to-two-hour a week job. Already you’ve carved from your schedule 160 to 220 minutes each week, time that can be better spent reaching toward an important goal.

  1. Learn to say no

Even a quick glance at your schedule is likely to reveal some weak moments when, “Sure, no problem, I can handle it,” slipped from your mouth, when everything inside you was screaming, “NO! Not one more thing!”

Before you say “yes” to more work, more responsibility, more volunteer or community commitments, more time away from the family, ask yourself these questions suggested by Kristie Notto,

  • Do you have the time or energy to do that extra task?
  • Does it invade on your personal time?
  • Does it involve doing something you enjoy?
  • Does it fit in with your list of priorities and goals?

More words of wisdom from Hyatt. “To honor your existing commitments, you have to learn to say no.”

Revisit these strategies every month to keep your spring-cleaned schedule from getting bogged down – because better time management leads to a more relaxed, less stressed you. It also makes the work day more pleasant and allows for more time to do the things you enjoy.

A relationship with B. Loehr Staffing will result in you getting faster solutions to your staffing needs. Free up your time by allowing our team of Staffing Specialists do the legwork for you. Contact our office today.

Phone: 314-567-6500   Website: blstaffing.com

 

Good, Better, Best Part 1:  Choosing the Best Candidate

b-loehr-best-candidateIt’s incredible, in both a good and bad way.

No less than five highly qualified candidates have risen to the top in the search to fill a key position within your organization. And you find yourself with the unenviable task of choosing which candidate to hire.

They would all be good, probably. Some could be, well, better. But you want the best. The best person to fill this crucial opening.

Short of playing eeny, meeny, miny, moe or throwing darts at the row of resumes tacked to the wall, how do you determine the best candidate for the job?

First of all, be mindful of two proven theories:

  • Candidates who interview extremely well don’t always perform well on the job
  • Candidates who are lackluster during the interview may end up being the brightest star on the team

Moving past the roadblocks, which the above theories can throw in your path, means some additional digging into these top candidates is in order. A second round of interviews is a great way to gain further insight about these potential employees.

Yes, that means carving out more time in your schedule for these additional interviews and will likely delay the process of filling the position. And your time is valuable, certainly. But hiring the right candidate is crucial—especially if your aim is not to be going through the entire process again, in the near future, for this same position. In this case, you would be wise to heed the “haste makes waste” idiom as a quick decision could end up being the wrong decision—one that you’ll regret for a long time.

Consider the following ways to glean additional information about the candidates. Choose which ones to include in this second round of meetings based on how each would mesh with this particular job opportunity.

  • An off-site meeting where the chance to observe the candidate in a neutral environment will reveal personality traits
  • A time for hands-on, interactive engagement with others from the company
  • An investigation into the candidate’s skills and qualifications, including those that aren’t directly related to the current opening
  • An inquiry into the “negatives” that can reveal depth of character—or lack thereof

In part two of Good, Better, Best: Choosing the Best Candidate, we’ll look further at these interview components.

At B. Loehr Staffing we understand the importance of matching the candidate’s skill set and personality with not only the job responsibilities but also the company culture. Our staffing specialists are experienced at asking the right questions that lead to a satisfying employment scenario for both the hiring company and the candidate. Contact us today. We’ve been leading the recruiting process in St Louis since 1898.

 

 

 

 

Why Customer Service Always Matters

Anywhere you go, if you ask folks to share a time they experienced poor customer service, the stories will flow like the Mississippi River. Not only are such experiences all too common, but they tend to stick in a person’s mind like two fingers accidently super-glued together. Ouch.

As the stories unfurl, phrases like these will fill the air…

  • “They were soooo rude!”
  • “I was completely ignored!”
  • “They were absolutely no help at all!”
  • “Not one person cared about my situation!”
  • “That was the most unfriendly business ever. I’ll never go back!”

In contrast to the many bad customer service scenarios forever stashed in a person’s mind, most people can only come up with one, two at the most, really exceptional examples of customer service that will be forever etched in their minds.

These retellings will include expressions such as…

  • “They treated me like family!”
  • “I couldn’t be happier with how well my issue was handled!”
  • “Those folks were totally nice and helpful. They fixed me right up.”
  • “I felt as if my needs were their number one priority.”
  • “They’re the best at what they do. You can bet I’ll be back!”

If you think customer service is a concern for the retail sector only, stop that faulty thinking right now. Regardless of the type of business your company engages in, a focus on service is crucial. No business can afford to let customer service take a back seat to what they may deem as more pressing issues, say, product development or marketing.

There are no more pressing issues than delivering a remarkable experience to each and every person who comes in contact with your brand.

The key to excelling in the area of servicing people is to realize that customer service can’t “live” in just one department. Across the entire scope of the company, involve every employee in meeting needs and making lasting positive impressions. This “all hands on deck” approach is one of the best ways to strengthen your brand.

When you train your employees to make positive people interactions a priority, you’ll quickly gain a reputation for delivering satisfaction. These strategies are key to a winning customer service focus.

#1: Approach every customer interaction from an “it’s about them, not us” mindset. That means “We’re shorthanded today” or “The manager’s on vacation” sound exactly like what they are, excuses that are not the customer’s problem. Plan in advance to cover all bases, so the customer experience doesn’t suffer.

#2: Try to view the situation from the client’s perspective. How would you want to be treated? What resolution would you hope to come to in the end?

#3: Insist on active listening that incorporates eye contact and a smile. As you allow the customer to relay their questions fully, explain the situation, or to express a complaint, be “present” and monitor facial expressions.

Most companies understand that making customers feel valued is at the very least a good idea. But those who truly “walk the customer service walk,” know the value in extending exceptional treatment to vendors and suppliers, service and repair technicians, the UPS delivery person, the city workers, the businesses who share the hall/building/block/loading dock. I think you get the picture.

But why all the fuss? Will making a positive impression on the guy delivering packages every day matter? Oh, yes, it will. Because whether you experience it personally or witness poor customer service, it leaves a lasting impact. When the repair technician needs the product or services of the company who treated him like he was a bother, said company will not get his business. Neither will he encourage family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers to patronize the place.

Word of mouth will always be a valued marketing tool. People will share their positive experiences and then become loyal customers because of those encounters—that’s just the way it works. The thing is, people will talk even more about negative experiences. And then make a point not to become a repeat customer. That’s just the way it works.

Any efforts put toward servicing and nurturing the people connections associated with your company will pay dividends.

At B. Loehr Staffing we place the highest priority on servicing the needs of our clients. We take the time to understand our clients, provide top quality service and develop innovative solutions. That is how we can consistently refer the right talent to fill your staffing needs. Contact our team of specialists today. Great customer service has kept us in business since 1898.

The Benefits of Hiring the Candidates with Disabilities      

b-loehr-disabledOf course, it’s the right thing to do. To consider a candidate based on his/her ability to do the tasks, which a particular job requires, rather than to discount him/her as a potential employee based on disability. While some accommodations may be required, most employers find the time, effort, and costs are minor in comparison to the net benefits of employing those with disabilities.

As a means to encourage the recruiting and hiring of people with disabilities, a myriad of tax credits and deductions are available to companies who bring persons with a disabling impairment or condition onto their team.

Highlighted here are two of those credits.

A small business that earned under $1 million or had no more than 30 full-time employees in the previous year qualifies for the Disabled Access Credit. This incentive provides a non-refundable credit for expenditures incurred for providing access to persons with disabilities. The credit is offered each and every year the company incurs the access expenditures. Refer to Form 8826, Disabled Access Credit (PDF), for information about eligible expenditures.

Provided the appropriate government agencies have certified the employee as disabled, an employee with a disability qualifies as part of a “targeted group.” The employer is then eligible for a tax credit of up to 40% of the first $6000 of first-year wages through the Work Opportunity Credit. This credit is available to the employer after the employee has worked for at least 120 hours or 90 days. Employers claim the credit on Form 5884, Work Opportunity Credit (PDF).

In addition to the tangible financial incentives, many employers are quick to point out a number of hidden perks they’ve discovered.

  •  The physically challenged provide diversity that fuels ideas, viewpoints, and approaches

From ways to solve everyday company issues to ideas for innovative new products and services, employees with disabilities bring unique experiences and perspectives. Their viewpoint and wealth of understanding can transform a workplace, bringing greater depth to the products and services offered. Seeing the world through the eyes of someone with a disabling condition is bound to open doors for just about any business.

  •  Hiring the physically-challenged results in loyal customers

Candidates with disabilities, along with their families, friends and associates represent a trillion-dollar market segment. For one, just like other segments of the market, they will purchase products and services from the companies they feel best meet their needs. Secondly, they will also show their appreciation to companies who hire the physically challenged by patronizing said businesses and encouraging others to do so also, creating for the company a large, loyal customer base.

  • Several employment components see lasting improvement

 Not only have companies noted an improvement in retention rates, but also a rise in employee loyalty, as well as increased morale and productivity have also been reported by companies who make a point to hire those with disabilities.

At B. Loehr Staffing, we welcome physically challenged candidates amongst our talent pool as we strive to meet the staffing needs of our client companies in the timeliest fashion with the most qualified individuals. Contact our team of specialists and let us assist your company with your greatest staffing challenges. After all, we’ve been doing it for more than 100 years!

The Joys of Autumn

b-loehr-autumn-joyWinter boasts the sparkle of a snow-covered landscape and the excitement of Christmas.

The beauty of spring bursts in a rainbow of color as the plant world comes to life again.

Summer is replete with long, carefree, fun-in-the-sun days.

And then there’s fall. It’s true every season is special and unique, but a lot of people admit to being partial to fall.

The way the routine of daily life settles back down after the spontaneous days of summer is comforting. The bountiful harvest of late-season produce and the impressive variety of pumpkins and gourds. The crispness in the evening air. The gorgeous colors as the leaves trade their lush greenness for hues of red and yellow, orange and brown.

Let’s not forget football, roasting marshmallows around a campfire, hayrides, and sipping hot chocolate while watching the sunset.

There is an abundance of things to love about fall.

Around our place, we get into fall in a big way. From the fall scented candle that surrounds us with the aroma of autumn, to the bright splashes of orange that adorn the front landscaping—and the fireplace mantle and many other flat surfaces within our home—to the sampling of every pumpkin-flavored recipe we can dig up. Oh, and let’s not forget pumpkin-shaped finger Jell-O, pumpkin-shaped and decorated sugar cookies as well as every variety of candy corn we can scrounge up. Fall colored candies are a must too.

And so as not to miss a second of immersing ourselves in everything autumn, we honor this favorite season from mid-September through Thanksgiving.

One of the recipes we make no less than three times each fall is Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. This delectable dessert also works well in the form of cupcakes.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake  

Preheat oven to 350˚.

Combine and mix:

  • 1 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin (not pie mix)
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • ½ t. salt
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 c. nuts (optional)

Pour into greased jelly roll pan (15x10x1). Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool and frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting  

Blend well:

  • 1 – 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick of margarine, softened
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • ½ c. nuts, sprinkled on top (optional)

Spread frosting over the cooled cake (or cupcakes!). Cut into pieces and enjoy.

BLoehr Staffing As the seasons change, so does life. For employees, it might bring desires for new job opportunities. B Loehr has positions. For companies, it can impact your staffing needs. Our quick response system can effectively meet the variations in your workforce needs with qualified candidates from our large pool of employees. No matter where you stand,   Contact our team of specialists – we’ve been helping talent and companies connect more than 100 years.

 

Positive Reinforcement Part 2: Is Your Strategy Working?

b loehr - positiveDo you want highly engaged employees who help drive the company’s profitability? Of course, you do! A company’s greatest asset is its workforce. And one of the best ways to build a phenomenal team and motivate them to assist you in striving for success is to reward and acknowledge their individual and team accomplishments.

It’s a safe bet that you have high expectations of your employees. You want, need and expect them to do their best, to be at the top of their game. Your acknowledgment of their past, present and future successes is crucial to creating the employer/employee bonds that will drive the business forward and propel the entire team toward future success.

Failure to acknowledge, reward and celebrate individual and team accomplishments will not get you where you want to go. Not even close.

Bill Sims Jr., president of the Bill Sims Co., a leadership consulting firm, cautions against “Leave Alone/Zap” management. “Simply put, it means that we leave employees alone and say nothing when they do something right, but we are quick to ‘zap’ or to punish them when they make a mistake.”

Gauge your prowess at doling out positive reinforcement with these tips:
1. Sincerity must set the stage. Show appreciation for achievements with genuine actions. Don’t forget the importance of tone of voice, word choice, body language.
2. Be specific. While a generic “Great job!” is better than nothing, go a step further and give the employee concrete, specific information about what he/she did right.
3. Be realistic. Absolute perfection is a tall order that will discourage some workers from even trying. Make expectations clear and reasonable.
4. Acknowledge both effort and improvement. Not all “best efforts” result in stunning results, but consistent, top-notch effort will pay off in the long run.
5. Don’t wait for monumental achievements before recognition is made. Celebrate the small as well as the large victories.
6. Immediate reinforcement is much more effective than the vague, “Hey, that thing you did last month? Yeah, it was good.” Instead, try “Hey, Bob, Great job on the presentation yesterday. You certainly started our project on the right foot. I appreciate the difference you are making in this company.” It will make a significant and lasting impact.

When the situation warrants an actual award, do some behind-the-scenes work to come up with truly motivating rewards. A gas card for the best sales record will do little for the guy who takes the train to work. A family membership to the zoo or the Y won’t be much of a motivator to the singles in the office. Gift cards for the steak house downtown will be shrugged off by the vegans in marketing. You get the picture. Think outside the box to come up with rewards that will truly incentivize.

Boost your employees’ self-confidence with positive reinforcement and watch their eagerness to learn new techniques, take additional training, and accept more responsibility soar.

B. Loehr Staffing’s employees are the highest caliber workers to be found anywhere. Our pool of excellent candidates can quickly meet all of your temporary long and short-term, temp-to-hire, and direct hire needs. Contact our Staffing Specialists today and you’ll find it easy to engage in positive reinforcement because your workers will be the best.

Impact your Diet for the Positive with Small Changes

Little changes can mean a big difference, not only for your waistline but also in a positive impact on your health.

If you’ve been turned off by stricter than strict diets or a list of don’ts longer than your arm, you’re not alone. Dieters who watched a “food police”-style video that bluntly told them “All sugary snacks are bad” ate 39 percent more cookies than those who saw a more positive clip. It seems a gentler approach that combines a balance of negative and positive messages about food has a better effect, researchers say.

Quickly dropping huge amounts of weight is neither healthy nor likely to be permanent. “Baby steps” may result in less drastic weight loss, but losing weight is not the only positive to be gained from adjusting your eating habits. In fact, referring to the changes you want to make as “adjustments” rather than “restrictions” or “rules” is also likely to have a better outcome. It creates a positive outlook which establishes a better foundation and an overall more favorable vibe.

“When you focus on just a couple of small changes at a time, you begin to ingrain some healthy habits that last a lifetime. Better by far than trying an all-or-nothing approach that more often than not fails because it’s too hard to follow,” says Lesley Lutes, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of psychology at East Carolina University.

Choose one or two of these strategies to begin your journey toward a lifetime of better eating habits. After a couple of weeks, incorporate another one or two.

Here are some general “don’ts” – the good kind – to get you started.

  • Don’t skip breakfast. While you may think you’re “skipping” calories, research shows the opposite to be true. Breakfast eaters consume fewer calories throughout the rest of the day, a major factor in both losing weight and keeping it off.
  •  Don’t give up snacking! An in-between-meal snack will help you consume fewer calories at the next meal. Opt for fresh fruits and veggies or whole grains and don’t forget to include some protein.
  •  Don’t banish all your favorite foods. Nothing sidelines a plan to improve eating habits more than the feeling you’re being deprived of your favorites. Allow yourself to savor a small treat daily. The key word here is Aim for no more than 150 calories.

Completely painless “tricks” of the healthier eating trade

  • It’s easy to make the leftovers in the fridge either MORE or LESS tempting. Hide in aluminum foil the calorie-laden options while leaving in full view, by covering with plastic wrap, the healthier selections. You’ll be more likely to reach for the ones you can see.
  •  Brush your teeth or rinse your mouth right after a meal or snack to quell the urge to keep nibbling. “It’s both a physical and a psychological signal to your body that you’re done eating,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Choices that make sense

  • Eating in is, on average, better for your waistline. Large portions and indulgent options too tempting to pass up are two of the ways dining out sabotages a commitment to improved eating habits. If the time it takes to cook a meal is an issue, stock the freezer with frozen meals and entrees. Especially helpful for controlling portion size, these convenient meal options are available in many delicious varieties. Look for entrees with fewer than 400 calories.
  •  Blatner continues, “Instead of refined and processed white foods, aim to have whole-grain starches such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread and bran cereals.” Generally speaking, the browner the food, the higher the fiber, and by now, it’s common knowledge that dietary fiber creates a fuller feeling that lasts The consumption of fiber also decreases the absorption of calories from other food sources. Substitute whole-grain options whenever possible. Add fiber such as a sprinkling of high-fiber cereal on yogurt or fruit. Adopt a pro-fiber attitude.

The road to better eating habits is a journey that doesn’t require sprinting. An easy jog will get you there. So take it one “baby step” at a time.

While you’re making smart choices concerning diet, put B. Loehr Staffing to work for you – helping you make smart choices concerning job opportunities. B Loehr Staffing is continually seeking the highest caliber candidates to join our team. We provide the chance to “look before you leap” and experience a position before making a commitment. To sum it up, our employees enjoy one of the most competitive pay and benefit packages in the industry as well as excellent opportunities for personal and professional growth. Contact us today.

Start on the Road to Better Health with these Small Steps  

Lots of people choose an all-or-nothing proposition when it comes to making improvements to their diet.  Thinking the only avenue to achieving better health is a radical revamping of how they eat – they give up before they begin, abandoning even small efforts to make positive changes. Too hard. Too much trouble and bother.

Well, folks, major diet makeovers aren’t necessary to achieve lasting results. In fact, research reveals that “baby steps,” rather than giant leaps, result in lasting, positive changes that impact overall health more than a major diet shift. New routines that incorporated minor adjustments proved more successful over the long haul.

While the aim of most diet modifications is to see a lower number staring back from the scales, the positive impact on overall health, energy, and well-being is every bit as important as a drop in weight – and sometimes, more important.

The key to achieving any and all of these improvements is making changes that are both practical and sustainable; that can be adapted for and adopted into everyday life. Incorporate a couple of these tips at a time into your daily routine.

Choose food wisely

  • Pack in the Protein. Not only are proteins one of the four building blocks of life, “they constitute more of a cell’s dry matter than do lipids, carbohydrates, and all other molecules combined.” Studies have found that doubling up on protein could help you eat less without feeling hungry due to making the brain more sensitive to leptin, a hormone that helps you feel full.
  •  Aim for protein as a part of every meal, with a goal of at least one-third of the calories coming from a source of lean protein.
  • Take advantage of the increasingly popular one-hundred calorie packaging of many snacks from chips to yogurt to nuts to ice cream. While these portion-controlled servings may be costlier than economy sized packages, the convenience, and the lessened temptation are worth the expense.

Monitor shopping habits

  • Never, ever shop on an empty stomach. Even a quick stop to grab just a couple of items can result in a plethora of craving-satisfying foods walking out the door with you.
  •  Shopping without a plan in the form of a specific list? Then expect some indulgent, I-didn’t-plan-to-buy-that items to appear in your cart. Guard against hasty decisions with a commitment to make a list and stick to it.
  •  Because Little Johnnie is too cute to resist, and Susie can be expected to sob until Mom purchases all of her favorites, shopping with the kids is sure to result in unplanned items getting toted home. If at all possible, leave the “beggars” at home. Swap babysitting with another Mom or Dad also striving for solo shopping excursions.

Smart dinnerware and utensil choices

  • A smaller plate at meals will look “full” with a lesser amount of food. Kind of a “mind over matter” situation that will lessen the sense of being deprived.
  •  Insert a smaller serving spoon into higher calorie dishes, a larger spoon into low-cal salads and veggies.

Tame your Achilles Heel

  • Everyone has those one or two foods they can’t seem to resist. Lesley Lutes, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of psychology at East Carolina University suggests, “If you’re eating six of these foods a week, try to go down to five.” Each week, drop another until you’re at no more than one or two. Substitute better choices like fresh or sautéed veggies, fresh fruits, and whole grains.
  •  Fool your sweet tooth with a piece of hard candy rather than indulging in a calorie-dense dessert. Savor the sweetness as long as possible then pat yourself on the back for settling for a healthier option.

If you thought you’d reach the end of an article about diet improvements without any mention of water intake, sorry. Most people grow weary of the “drink more water!” speeches even while admitting they struggle to consume adequate amounts of water. Even though they realize that drinking more water can increase energy, flush out toxins, and lower overall calorie intake, often that’s not enough motivation. Because let’s face it, water can be boring.

Here are few strategies that can help.

  • Purchase a reusable water bottle that’s handy to tote around.
  • Change things up with flavored or sparkling water options.
  • Have a quantity of cold, flavored water always on hand with a DIY infuser equipped pitcher. Experiment with different flavor combinations to liven up the taste of the ol’ H2

B. Loehr Staffing  is here to cheer you on – and, while you are making wise diet choices, we’ll help you make wise staffing choices too. Whether you have open positions or need extra help for special projects, rolling out new products, or making changes to your service processes, our team at B Loehr will ensure we find the staffing solution that best suits your organization’s specific needs. Contact us today.

The Secret to Enjoying Life

b loehr - enjoyIf the title enticed you because you expected a quick solution to magically make your life enjoyable, well . . . Sorry folks. We hate to burst your bubble, but there is no one secret to enjoying life. There’s no magic pill or formula or even supplement that will trigger an enjoyable life. It just doesn’t work that way.

But before you slink away in despair, consider this. What if the secret to enjoying life is realizing you can’t pin life happiness on any one thing? Or person or circumstance or event. Rather, it seems there’s a number of factors – many within your control – that contribute to an enjoyable life. Of course, some things in life simply are what they are, and there’s not a thing you can do to change them. But it’s also true that a lot of the other stuff that makes up the fabric of our daily lives is most definitely within our power to modify or improve upon.

Consider how working in the following areas could make your life more enjoyable.

  1. Take a chill pill

Not every obstacle has to be a mountain. Not everything is worth fighting over. I used to bristle when folks quipped, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” It seemed, to them, everything I sweat over was small. They didn’t understand my life, my circumstances. My issues were outside of their realm of comprehension. But after I smoothed down my ruffled feathers, I had to admit there were small things that I did sweat. Stuff I could have let go and should have let go.

  1. Make relaxation a priority

Our culture celebrates being busy, living nonstop lives, always trying to fit in one more thing – all to the detriment of both our health and happiness. We feel guilty at the thought of taking a break and ignore the mounting stress our go-go-go lifestyle produces. Taking time to relax, recharge and reconnect with ourselves and our family should not be considered a luxury but rather a necessity. Believe the truth that R & R will leave you better equipped to handle the challenges of your hectic life. If you have to schedule times to recharge, then do it. But no “penciling-in” allowed. Use ink.

  1. Set goals

 Could be you gave up on New Year’s resolutions years ago – so has more than half of the adult population. But why not jot down a couple of things you’d like to accomplish. Something simple like organizing the garage or a more challenging feat such as paying off a debt. Because even the smallest goals, when met, come with a sense of accomplishment that can boost your morale. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back and celebrate. Then set another goal or two.

  1. Adopt an attitude of gratitude

Ever notice how it takes zero thought to come up with something to gripe about but it can take real effort to think of something for which you’re thankful? Another casualty of busy, stressed-out lives.

If you’re serious about upping the enjoyment factor in your life, commit to writing down three things that you are grateful for each day. Such purposeful effort is guaranteed to make you happier because it will shift your focus toward gratitude.

At B. Loehr Staffing, we understand people. And it’s that understanding that has earned our reputation as a premier provider of staffing solutions in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Contact us today to learn more.