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

Customer Service Skills Opens Doors in Your Job Search

Customer Service Skills Opens Doors in Your Job Search

If you bypass all how-to articles about customer service because your current/future/dream job isn’t “in” customer service, stop right there.

It’s true not everyone works the front counter or receptionist desk or answers the telephone, but that doesn’t mean all other positions are void of customer service aspects.

Regardless of the title or job responsibilities, nearly every job involves some element of customer service.

The intern serves the entry-level guy who answers to a supervisor who reports to a director. And the directors report to the president who serves the board of directors or stockholders. Sure, the titles of those jobs evolve, but the game stays the same. There’s no way you can get around customer service, and business couldn’t exist without it,” says Seth J. Carr.

Because having a team of employees well-versed in the “whys” and “ways” of customer service is crucial to businesses across the board, job seekers who excel in customer service-related characteristics will rise to the top of the candidate pool.

What customer service skills will serve you well in any job? A concerted effort in these specific areas will set you apart from the average job seeker.

  1. The commitment to value and appreciate people

Who enjoys being treated like a number? Umm, that would be no one. People everywhere expect and deserve to be treated with respect and given personalized attention. Don’t opt for false enthusiasm which is much easier to spot than a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill. And those “magic words” your mom and your kindergarten teacher insisted you use? Make them a regular part of your everyday vocabulary.

  1. The willingness to admit to and resolve mistakes 

When handling complaints, whether the errors were yours personally or involved the company in general, it always pays to take responsibility and offer to resolve the situation. Do not resort to the “blame game.” Issue a sincere apology and immediately resolve the issue. Everyone has goofed at some point, and most people will appreciate a genuine effort to make things right.

  1. An awareness of body language is key

Many people are unaware of frequent or even “pet” gestures or expressions that have become a normal part of their persona. Ask a close friend or family member to point out looks, motions or posture that could have a negative connotation. Consider recording yourself during a conversation to get a feel for the other person’s view of you.

One particularly difficult emotion to mask is boredom. To appear genuinely interested in a long, drawn-out exchange can be quite a challenge, yet very much worth the effort. A sincere smile, eye contact, the occasional, meaningful head nod—each of these gestures will not only convey interest, but they will also help to keep you engaged.

  1. Be a man or woman of your word

Who hasn’t been promised the moon by a smooth-talking customer service type only to receive absolutely nothing that he/she promised? Whether to end the encounter quickly or to appear to be more helpful than was the reality, the result is the same. The customer who walks away (or hangs up) relieved a resolution has been reached, will be furious later when the “dropped ball” is discovered. Shortcuts and false promises cheat the customer out of a deserved positive outcome. Lazy customer service always equals bad customer service.

  1. Treat co-workers the same as you would a valued employee

It’s no surprise the Gallup organization has found a “direct correlation between employee and customer satisfaction.” When co-workers treat each other with respect and kindness and are willing to lend a helping hand, it’s easy to see how that behavior would translate into an atmosphere of treating the consumer in the same manner. It’s difficult to be surrounded by an every-man-for-himself environment and yet maintain a high level of positive customer interaction. Employees who argue amongst themselves are much more likely to engage in disputes with customers.

The first step in being the customer-service oriented employee every business wants to hire is an understanding of the role customer service plays in the business world. And then, with a concentrated effort, anyone can improve their people interaction skills.

B Loehr Staffing is always seeking candidates with exceptional customer service skills as we strive to meet the staffing needs in the Greater St. Louis area. As our employee, we will put your people interaction skills to use in a career that fits your lifestyle needs. Contact one of our staffing specialists today.

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.

 

Which Job Offer do I Accept?  

b-loehr-offerYour hard work has paid off. All that time spent researching and filing out applications and those nerve-wracking interviews have led to a job offer. Time to celebrate, right?

Not just yet. Now may be the toughest part of all. Deciding if the job is right for you. I mean, really right. After all, this isn’t a summer gig at the corner convenience store. This major life decision requires major consideration.

And then your phone rings, and now you have two offers.

“For the employer, it’s a commercial decision,” says Kim Seeling Smith, founder, and CEO of Ignite Global. “For you, it’s a life decision, so you have to put a lot of thought into taking the next opportunity.”

With the job market stronger across the board, it’s become a candidate’s marketplace, especially for those with sought-after skills. So, winding up with two appealing offers can happen easily.

The next step is to delve deep into the specifics of each offer. To get started, answer these basic questions:

  • What are the business hours and the schedule you’ll be expected to work?
  • Do you have a solid understanding of the day-to-day tasks?
  • What is the start date?
  • When does the company need your decision?

Next, move on to the benefits package. Here’s where a spreadsheet will come in handy. It’s difficult to compare two benefits packages without seeing them side by side as the individual benefits may vary widely.

  • Consider the out-of-pocket expense for health care by calculating premiums, deductibles, co-pays, prescription coverage, etc.
  • Are dental and vision coverage included? Again, get out the calculator.
  • Review the vacation/personal time/sick days’ policies.
  • What paid holidays are standard at this company?

Now for a moment, put all of this information aside and revisit your values, priorities, and career goals. How do each of these offers compliment these goals? How do each work against these goals? Which job is a better fit for where you want to be in two years? Five or ten years?

Use additional columns on the spreadsheet or a good ol’ pros vs. cons list to note the answers to these important questions. By now, one offer probably is shining a little brighter – may even be a clear leader. Or it could be a dead heat. Before you disqualify or accept either offer, there are two more ways you can gather valuable intel.

  1. Ask to meet the team
  2. Ask for a copy of the employee handbook

Such a request shows genuine interest on your part and should be met with a willingness to make it happen . . . unless the employer has something to hide. Both will net vast amounts of information to assist your decision.

Did you notice salary isn’t getting a mention until the end? Money is by far not the only thing to consider when choosing between two job offers.

Whether you are looking for short term, long term, temp-to-hire, part-time or a full-time position, B. Loehr Staffing is your connection to offers. Since 1898, we have been matching companies and candidates. We are your opportunity. Contact our team today and discover best-fit positions for personal and professional growth.

Planning for Retirement – Part II

With the average American spending roughly 20 years in retirement, creating adequate retirement income is a challenge some folks begin to plan for as early as their 20’s. While that’s the ideal scenario, too often retirement planning gets pushed aside by seemingly more pressing matters, like keeping the kids fed and in respectably clean clothes. Not to mention the mortgage, soaring utility bills, and that four-wheeled money pit in the drive.

If retirement is coming sooner rather than later, and you’re regretting not focusing more attention on the financial aspect of how you’ll spend those golden years, don’t panic. There’s still time to put some plans into place with these practical how-to’s:

  1. Become a pro on the ins-and-outs of Social Security

While you may begin receiving payments as early as 62, in many cases it’s wise to delay benefits until you reach full retirement age at 66 or 67. Postponing benefits until age 70 will yield a bigger monthly payout. A Social Security calculator can assist you in determining the most advantageous time for you and your spouse to begin receiving benefits.

While you’re storing away Social Security knowledge, don’t forget to get acquainted with the sign-up process and determine the timeline for receiving that first check. 

  1. Contemplate health insurance options

It’s likely your decisions were few when covered under the company’s group policy, but once you enter retirement, healthcare coverage becomes a much more complicated matter.

 

Should you be fortunate enough to retire before age 65, when Medicare takes effect, plan to seek the assistance of those well-versed in the complexities of private health insurance.  Allow yourself plenty of time to sift through the many plans and options before choosing the coverage that will best meet your needs. And remember that once you qualify for Medicare, it won’t pick up all of your medical expenses so plan to choose supplemental coverage to fill in the gaps.

 

  1. Build up a rainy day/emergency fund

 

It’s wise to have a minimum of three months’ worth of living expenses tucked away for the unexpected. Like the red tape that may delay your pension checks. Or any other emergency that could take a chunk out of the amount you’ve planned for routine monthly expenses. You’ll rest easier, knowing this little nest egg is there.

 

  1. Consider the cost of retirement pursuits

The big bills are most likely paid off because that’s how you planned it. Now it’s time to have fun – buy a boat, trek across the country, or turn the spare room into an art studio. However you plan to spend this much-anticipated downtime, don’t underestimate the cost of these relaxing pursuits.

 

Financial planners often advise you’ll spend less money in retirement than you did while working as you won’t be commuting to work or have other work related expenses. However, golden-years adventures can put a sizable dent in your monthly budget. Before splurging on new experiences, gather cost estimates and make wise decisions.

 

If you hopped on the planning-for-retirement circuit rather late in the game, don’t fret. Your best strategy now is to gather all the info you can get your hands on so you can make the most informed decisions.

 

At B. Loehr Staffing, the satisfaction of our clients and candidates is our number one priority. We work hard to make your working years fulfilling – a best-fit position that ends in a well-planned retirement. Take advantage of our more than one hundred years of experience in bringing employment and staffing solutions to the greater St. Louis area. Contact our team of specialists today.

 

 

 

Keys to the Perfect Mix of Friendly and Professional

A continuing challenge for today’s employees is the effort to strike a balance between professionalism and warmth/friendliness at the workplace.

The goal? Be friendly enough to be an approachable, desired member of the team and yet professional enough to be an effective, respected part of the team.

Who will notice if you fail to arrive at the middle ground between professionalism and friendliness? Umm, everyone. Folks on both sides of the equation, meaning boss and co-workers as well as customers and industry peers.

Let’s take a peek at each of these tenets individually beginning with “friendly”.

Nothing exudes friendliness better than a warm smile and a pleasant disposition. Even better? A smile that “reaches the eyes”. Working relationships get a natural boost when all involved possess a positive attitude and a cheerful demeanor. People whose personality bends toward the other side of the spectrum simply have to put more effort into being pleasant.

Genuinely friendly people are easy to detect. They are interested in others, rather than consume with power and status. It’s almost as if he/she wore a name tag proclaiming in bold, black Sharpie letters, “Friendly, Approachable, Interested. How can I help you?”

When it comes to professionalism, some think of wardrobe selection and an extensive, industry-related vocabulary. While those tenets are components of professionalism, there’s much more to it.  Professionalism is born from a mixture of discretion, credibility, tact, and polish with a liberal dose of common sense thrown in for good measure. It encompasses how a person conducts himself/herself as well as a how he/she deals with others.

Knowing how to respond to a multiple array of situations is a mark of professionalism. If this is a weak area for you, tap into available resources for growth and remember, concentrated effort can certainly bring about improvement. Mentoring and accountability by a colleague or peer can be especially helpful.

Here are few do’s and don’ts to get you started.

DO foster relationships

“It’s much easier to work with folks if you get along,” says Lisa O’Neill, a public relations account executive at Trinity Communications in Boston. Make an effort to find common ground and put aside personal differences for the sake of the working relationship.

A get-the-job-done attitude may earn you the coveted “professional” label. But if you ignore everyone in the office, forego lunch and break time socializing, and then head out at the end of the day without a word to your co-workers, “friendly” will not be a descriptor attached to your name.

DO engage yourself in the job

Get with the program. Bring your A game. Jump in with both feet. Whatever phrase gets you motivated, use it. If you appear disinterested in the position, less than excited to be there or worse yet, a slacker, you won’t be perceived as either professional or friendly.

Get and keep up to speed with the department happenings and the overall business. Not only will this awareness assist you in the area of job performance, but you will also be recognized as a resource and gain the respect of your colleagues.

DO dress appropriately

Most jobs come with at least a basic dress code while others have very specific wardrobe requirements. Pushing the envelope to see what you can get away with simply because you dislike the established parameters creates awkwardness amongst colleagues. On your own time away from the workplace, the choices are yours. When you’re on the clock or at a company function, show professionalism by adhering to the dress code.

Grooming habits count too. If it looks like you slept in it, choose something else. While the stubble-faced look may be “in”, company leadership may frown on this trend. But shower-fresh, with clean hair and nails, never goes out of style.

DON’T get caught up in office politics or gossip

It’s unfortunate but almost every workplace has its share of drama and/or politicking. Turn a deaf ear to gossip and refuse to be part of it – neither spreading it nor basing decisions on anything less than documented information.

Want to climb the corporate ladder? Focus on giving 110% to the job and don’t worry about the other guy edging you out. If you strive to be professional and incorporate steps 1, 2, and 3, you’ll get noticed for the right reasons.

DON’T be needy or clingy or foster relationships that are

“But I want everyone to like me best.” If this is your mantra, it will be quite an extraordinary battle to maintain professionalism. This isn’t the playground. You and each of your co-workers are here to do a job. There’s nothing wrong with, nor is it uncommon, for people who work together to become friends. But during work hours, the friendship has to take a backseat to the work relationship and the job.

BLoehr Staffing wants to be your career partner. Whatever your professional goals, B. Loehr can offer you a career that fits your unique situation, enhancing your ability to be professional and friendly, with the freedom and flexibility your lifestyle demands. Contact our team of employment specialists today.

 

Preparing for Retirement – Part 1: Life Changes  

b-loehr-retirementMost people spend their lives building a financial plan in order to have the dream of a fulfilling retirement. But too often preparation stops there. As their working days dwindle, the biggest concerns looming over the hearts and minds of many soon-to-be retirees has nothing to do with money.

Questions swirl through their minds. What will life be like after retirement? What will I do every day? What if I’m bored or get depressed? What if I hate retirement?

George Kinder  who has been espousing and refining life-planning programs with clients for several decades, suggests that those considering retirement should ask themselves:

“Who do I want to be? What have I missed? Who did I not get to be?”

He then encourages them to enter their “golden years” with the realization that this time is “an incredible opportunity to have all of these things in front of you.”

These strategies will help you get the “living” side of retirement in order.

  •  Consider what you enjoyed most about working

Maybe it was the people or the gratification of completing a project. Could be you thrived on the structure of a detailed schedule. Many people derive satisfaction from meeting the needs of their clientele.

Once you’ve pinpointed this aspect, consider other places or opportunities where this component could be fulfilled. Many non-profit organizations could benefit from marketing, writing, organizational and a plethora of other skills perfected over the lifetime of a career. If you miss helping others or simply miss being around people, the residents of a local nursing home would certainly be happy for some conversation and attention.

  •  Ease into retirement.

Take small steps to prepare yourself by “practicing” ahead of time. If you plan to move, visit the new location as often as possible. Check out leisure, entertainment and art opportunities as well as associations or interests that you’re involved in currently.

Many folks plan to travel after retirement, maybe because working leaves little time to do it now. So, then take a couple of longs weekends to get a feel for how you and your spouse will do on extended trips.

If you plan to get more involved in a hobby, take purposeful steps in that direction before you close the door on your working days.

  • Be realistic.

If you’ve worked 50-60 hours a week for 30-40 years, full retirement may be too great of a shock to your system! Consider becoming a “lite” version of yourself for, say, six months or so. Maybe remain on as a consultant or a resource person for the next project or two.  Spend some time mentoring your replacement or another employee in the department. Anything even somewhat career-focused can help to bridge the gap.

Next week we’ll tackle the financial preparations needed to enjoy your “dream” retirement.

If you’re considering a seasonal, temp, or part-time position as a way to ease into retirement, B. Loehr Staffing has many such opportunities. Contact one of our staffing specialists to see how your lifetime of skills can translate into a transition opportunity.

The Significance of Labor Day

b loehr - labor dayIt’s more than a Monday PTO from work that makes for a nice long weekend at the end of summer. While Labor Day, the first Monday of September, is commonly celebrated with picnics, water sports, good times at the lake cottage, and family reunions, the official holiday is designated to commemorate the American worker and his/her achievements.

In September 1882, the unions of New York City decided to have a parade to celebrate their members being in unions, and to show support for all unions. At least 20,000 people attended the parade although workers had to give up a day’s pay to attend.

The idea caught on, and other regions began having parades. By 1887, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Colorado declared Labor Day a state holiday. In 1894, Congress passed an act designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day, an annual legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories, officially commemorating the prominent role of the labor movement in American society.

Of course, what better way to celebrate the American workforce than to enjoy those picnics, water sports, and good times. And if you’re one of those families who will fire up the grill this Labor Day weekend, give this tasty recipe adapted from the Allrecipes.com entrée a try.

“Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs”

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 3 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T. minced fresh rosemary (approx. 3 fresh sprigs) OR 1 t. dried rosemary
  • 2 salt
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 1 white vinegar
  • 1/4 t. ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 T. white sugar, or to taste (optional)
  • 5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1-inch cubes

Directions

  1. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Combine olive oil, ranch dressing, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, salt, lemon juice, white vinegar, pepper, and sugar in a medium bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add chicken and stir to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. If you tend to prefer a stronger marinade flavor, reserve several tablespoons of marinade for use while grilling.
  3. Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Thread chicken onto skewers and discard marinade.
  4. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill skewers for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the juices run clear. Drizzle with reserved marinade while grilling, if desired.
  5. Loehr Staffing wishes the entire American labor force and their families a relaxing and safe Labor Day weekend.

 

Cap off Summer Fun Without Breaking the Bank

b loehr -summer funWith hot summer temperatures in St. Louis expected to last well into September, there’s plenty of time to squeeze in a lot more “fun in the sun” before the books are closed on the summer of 2016.

St. Louis boasts a multitude of family-friendly attractions, many of which won’t cost you a dime. Others offer great adventure at little cost. Grab a calendar and make plans to spend time with family and friends enjoying the great outdoors.

Water fun to beat the summer heat

  • The fountain and wading pool at Tower Grove Park provide a cool reprieve from the summer heat. Dozens of pop-jets and a large water bowl in the center of the fountain offer lots of opportunities for children to beat the heat. During the summer, the fountain and jets are on every day while the wading pool is open Tuesday through Sunday. No admission charge.
  • One of the city’s newer downtown attractions is Citygarden. The park is filled with fountains, wading pools, sculpture and more offering kids a great place to enjoy a hot summer day. Located along Market Street between 8th and 10th Streets, the park is open daily from sunrise to 10 p.m. No admission charge.

Who doesn’t love animals?

  • The 281-acre wildlife preserve and family attraction, Grant’s Farm, is located just south of St. Louis, on what was once the property of President Ulysses S. Grant. The farm showcases more than 900 animals from six continents. People of all ages will love the animal shows and petting The farm is open annually from mid-April through October. While general admission is always free, there is a charge for parking and some attractions.
  • The World-Class St. Louis Zoo is home to more than 5000 animals. Located at One Government Drive in Forest Park, this zoo is considered one of the top in the country. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended summer hours; the Zoo offers free admission although some attractions require a small fee.

Who says learning can’t be fun?

  • The Camp River Dubois Lewis & Clark Illinois State Historic Site, just up the Mississippi from St. Louis in Hartford, Illinois, marks Lewis and Clark’s exact point of departure for their famed expedition. Admission is free to everything on the property, including the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, a replica of the 1804 winter encampment, and special reenactment events.
  •  A visit to the World Bird Sanctuary provides an opportunity for an up-close look at bald eagles, owls, falcons, vultures and more. A variety of seasonal shows offer educational programs on the world’s threatened bird species. Admission and parking are free at the 125 Bald Eagle Ridge Road facility in Valley Park. The sanctuary is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except for Thanksgiving and Christmas).
  •  The Delmar Loop Planet Walk offers a unique, scale model of the solar system. It turns the 6100 to 6600 blocks of Delmar Boulevard into a free, three-billion-mile walk from the Sun to Neptune where kids (and mom and dad) can learn about celestial bodies.

St. Louis—it’s a great place to enjoy summer!

B. Loehr Staffing  has proudly served the Greater St. Louis area as a trusted staffing resource since 1898. “We’re not the best because we’re the oldest, we’re the oldest  because we’re the best.” When you’re finished with your days of fun in the sun, Contact us to see how our staffing specialists can provide for all of your employment needs.

 

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.

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