Archive for February, 2017

5 Quick and Easy Stress-Relief Strategies

February 22, 2017

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We have all experienced stress—it is unavoidable. Common stressors include family, friends, work, significant others, finances…and the list goes on. For college and graduate students, one significant stressor is often school.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 80 percent of students say that they experience stress on a daily basis. Obviously, this is not healthy. Stress has been known to lead to nervousness, loneliness, sadness, headaches, upset stomachs and fatigue. Severe levels of continuing stress can even cause depression.

Because you cannot avoid stress, you must learn to manage it in order to live a healthy and enjoyable life. Below, thanks to the American Psychological Association, the ADAA and healthline, we were able to compile a list of the five quick and easy stress relief strategies that you can use every day.

  1. Talk it out

Call, email or text someone that you trust. Simply expressing your feelings and concerns to someone else will automatically help to relieve some of your stress.

  1. Listen to Music

Listening to music has a myriad of soothing effects. In addition to calming your nerves, listening to music can “slow the pulse and heartrate, lower blood pressure and decrease levels of stress hormones.” This is especially true of classical music.

  1. Exercise

When exercising, the pituitary gland releases endorphins, which are proven to improve your mood. Exercising also prevents “excessive neuronal firing,” which helps you feel more calm. These effects can be felt even after exercising for only one minute.

  1. Stay positive

Always look at the glass half-full. By replacing negative thoughts with more positive ones, you will be able to better manage your stress. Staying positive can also lead to a longer life, a stronger immune system, and “better psychological and physical well-being.”

  1. Breathe

When you are calm, your breathing is slow and originates in the diaphragm. When you are stressed, your breathing is quicker and shallower. To reduce stress levels, focus your attention on deep and concentrated breathing—it will allow more oxygen to reach the brain, which, in turn, will help you relax.

Remember, stress is not something that can be avoided. Everyone deals with stress at some point in their lives, and everyone handles stressful situations in a different manner; however, these five quick and easy stress relief strategies are sure to work for anyone! So, next time you are stressed, give them a try!

To learn more about coping with and reducing stress, follow any one of the links provided above.

 

February 16, 2017

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Analytics involves a lot of difficult numbers,  but the information you gain from those numbers is worthwhile. Analytics give you a chance to find out if you are effective at reaching your target audience. Analytics provides a roadmap to show you where your brand has been and figure out where to go from here. This roadmap shows the reason behind what posts work, when you should post, and why you should post effective content.

Website Analytics
Analytics give us information about how your public is reacting to the information you are giving them. Website analytics will tell you what kind of content that your online visitors are seeking when they visit your site.  Analytics will show you how long people spend on each page.

Do you have a lot of people leaving your website without a purchase? Analytics will help you discover how people use your website and when they leave, as well as potential indicators of trouble like spending too little or too much time in one place.  These indicators can show you the root of your website’s problems.

Social Media Analytics
Social media analytics can tell you how well you are reaching your target audience. Are you posting content that your followers want to see, or are you posting content that you think they want to see?  Analytics will allow you to track how well certain types of posts are doing.  Unsure if posting another product picture will be a good strategy?  Look at the analytics from the past and see how well your followers liked previous posts. Unsure about posting something a little out of the ordinary?  See how your followers responded in the past.  The results may surprise you.

Overall, analytics is exciting for marketers.  Analytics will tell you about the people you are reaching – their likes and dislikes, their interests, their hobbies, and their locations.  You may see opportunities through analytics you had not before.

Three Challenges of Transitioning from College to Career (And How to Crush Them)

February 9, 2017

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One of the toughest things college students face is the transition from university life to full-time work. The hours are different; the expectations are more challenging, and you often don’t have your best friends around anymore to help ease the stress.

Here are the top three challenges you’ll face in your transition to the work world and how to combat them.

Working 9 to 5

Having to be somewhere five days a week, eight hours a day is a big adjustment. You’re used to making your own schedule, blowing off class when you feel like it, and having a week off for spring break. No such luxuries in the work world. It’s a different schedule altogether.

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I’ve had new grads come to work for me who confessed that sitting in front of a computer all day was hard for them. They just weren’t used to having to stay in one place all day. It’s understandable, but you don’t want to look like a slacker who can’t handle a desk job. So how can you maintain your sanity?

Take a Walk

Get out at lunch and walk. Ditch your cell phone and go electronics-free for thirty minutes. Take micro-breaks and walk the stairs in the building. Just getting your heart beat up and a change of surroundings will help.

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Run Errands

Tell your boss you need a change of pace now and then. If there’s errands to run, parking meters to plug, lunch for the employee meeting to pick up, offer to do it. Not because you’re the lowly recent grad, but because you need to get out.

Smartphone Withdrawl

Unless your gig is to be on Snapchat all day, you’re going to have to curtail your texting and social media on the job. Yes, you can probably get away with a fair amount of online connecting throughout the day, but the price you pay is that you’re never completely engaged at work. It creates a never-ending bad feedback loop.

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If you always have part of your mind on your Snapchat feed and your friends’ texts, you’re never 100% committed to your job. The inability to focus will produce lackluster work, and  you won’t fully connect at work so that you can make a difference. There are plenty of studies that prove that the constant distractions and inability to focus will cost you plenty in your career.

Restrict Your Cell Phone Use

Leave your phone in your car when you go to work. I can hear you screaming from here, but just try it for a week and see how your productivity at work improves. Yes, you’ll initially feel naked without it, but the constant need for social media assurance is killing your ability to focus on the job. If you haven’t seen Simon Sineck’s video on millennials and their devices, it’s a must-see. He artfully outlines how the constant interaction with your phone is undermining your ability to relate to others and make an impact at your workplace.

After you’ve successfully weaned off the constant device checking, bring the phone into the office and leave it turned off in a desk drawer. Schedule three times a day when you will check it and stick to the schedule. Turn it off in between those times. Over time, you’ll stress less about what you’re missing and be more successful at work.

Assignment Expectations

When you handed in an assignment at school, you knew if it was an A paper or a this-will-get-me-a-C paper. Moving into the work world is challenging because there are no C’s. You have to hand in A’s all the time, or you’ll soon be branded as the weakest link. If you hand in enough below average work, you’ll be looking for another job in short order.

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Ask For Clarification

When you get a task at work, be sure to ask when it’s due and what the expectations are around it. Who is ultimately going to see the work? The CEO or an intern? Who else is counting on your contribution and how will it affect their ability to do their job? And always, always make sure you understand why this particular assignment is important. If you don’t, you may mistake something critical for busywork and cost the company money and possibly yourself a job.

No Task Is Too Small

I had a recent college grad who was assigned to upload products into a client’s website. She forgot to keep checking on the upload, and the software got stalled at product #300 out of 10,000. She didn’t notice the error all day. To her, it seemed like a boring, menial task but to the client, whose website she was supposed to update, it meant products available in an overcrowded warehouse that couldn’t be sold. It was a big deal to them. When we took her to task for her lack of attention to the assignment, she got offended and handed in her resignation. She saved us the trouble of firing her. What you do at work, no matter how small it seems, it matters. Treat it as such.

It is tough to go from classes to career. It’s a whole different set of rules and expectations. You may find it exhilarating; you may find it overwhelming. Keep in mind that every college grad you’re working with has been there. Be honest about your adjustment worries and ask for help.

Working for Yourself

And if you’re thinking that 9 to 5 and working for someone else isn’t for you, on  April 20th and 27th I’ll be sharing what agency owners around the country and in the UK learned in their first year of running their own marketing firm.

Marilyn Heywood Paige is the Vice President of  FiG Advertising and Marketing in Denver Colorado. She earned her Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University in 2013.

Other articles by Marilyn Heywood Paige

Lessons from Groundhog Day

February 2, 2017

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Groundhog Day is my favorite “non-traditional” holiday. There’s something exciting about a quirky groundhog predicting the weather based in Punxsutawney folklore. In addition to the holiday, there is an excellent 1993 movie Groundhog Day featuring Bill Murray, in which he is covering the Groundhog Day festivities for his local news station and gets stuck repeating Groundhog Day again and again. Here are some practical lessons from Groundhog Day that can be applied to graduate work in the IMC program:

  1. Once you master your school routine the program will become more manageable.

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Bill Murray is initially thrown off-guard when he realizes he is trapped within Groundhog Day. However, his character uses that to his advantage to avoid stepping in a puddle, to perfect his television reporting skills and make the most of his newfound small-town lifestyle. The IMC program runs each class with the same structure as the introductory IMC 610 course. Students can use knowing the class routine to their advantage to work on research, reading, discussion posts, responses, writing and editing. Moral of the story, make the most of your “Groundhog Day” routine course schedule to excel in the graduate program.

2. Strive to make the most out of your word choice.

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As IMC communicators, we tend to be long-winded on paper and in-person. The IMC program aims to make students concise communicators. Although you may have a lot to say on the topic, sometimes less is more.

3. Take advantage of the accelerated 8-week terms.

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Unlike Bill Murray’s take on Groundhog Day, each of your classes will end within the 8-week term. While 8-weeks may seem short, there is a lot of work that goes into the two month span. If you find a course challenging, really lean into it because there are only 8-weeks and you can learn so much from your classmates, professors and colleagues. Plus, switching classes every 8-weeks keeps life interesting and students have the opportunity to learn about many different IMC topics.

4. Remember the end game is graduation!

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While in the program, it may feel like graduation is so far away. However, after you complete your 11 courses you will have your master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications. Remember, you will also have 100% departure once capstone is complete.(You can do it!)

Happy Groundhog Day, everyone!