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Why Time Management Makes for a Better Employee
Time management is a major issue in the workplace. When time is not utilized efficiently, it leads to sloppy work, missed deadlines, and way too much stress. Employers are constantly seeking ways to teach their employees to manage their time better for a simple reason – a team that manages its time well is a team that is productive and successful.
Everyone has done it. You’ve know that there is a big deadline approaching for weeks on end, and you kept telling yourself that have plenty of time. Then, suddenly, it is the day before the project is due, and you haven’t even begun it. You know you will have to pull an all-nighter, and even then you will be lucky to get everything done in time. Your heart is racing, your head is pounding, and you’re cursing your procrastination yet again, thinking about how much time you wasted surfing the next when you could have been doing a little work on the project every day, so it wouldn’t be so overwhelming.
The end result of a project like this is predictable. You may get it in on time, or at least close to the deadline, but your work is likely to be sloppy. The rush job you did will be evident to everyone, and if your project involved making a pitch to a potential customer, your time management failure may end up costing your company big money (and costing you a job). As if you were not stressed enough already!
If you contrast that performance with one in which you had effectively managed your time, the difference is clear. If you have worked on the project over the entire time span you had to finish it, a little bit at a time, then you would have had time to make sure your work was up to par. You wouldn’t have been scrambling for last minute information to include, and you could have made sure your work was free from little errors like typos or pages that printed incorrectly. Most importantly, you wouldn’t feel like you needed a week long vacation when the project was over, because your stress level never would have hit the roof.
So, how do you become a happier and more effective employee by managing your time better? The first thing you can do to become an effective time manage is simple – write yourself a to-do list everyday. Not only does a to-do list help you think through exactly what you need to accomplish so you don’t forget anything in the rush, but it also helps you feel accountable for everything that needs to get done. If you write “spend 30 minutes on the big project” on your to-do list, it is a lot harder to come up with excuses why you can put it off for another day. Your conscience will make you want to get through everything on that list.
If it seems like you never have enough time in the day, keep a journal of all of your activities. If you spend 20 minutes chatting by the coffee pot, write it down. After a week, look back over your activities. You may be surprised how much time you actually spend doing nothing. Now that you know, you can reinvest that time more wisely.
The last thing is the hardest thing – getting over procrastination. This one is sheer willpower. When those voices in your head start arguing over whether to work on something now or put it off until later, listen to the work now voice. Give yourself manageable goals, like working on something for 15 minutes or 30 minutes, to get started. Once you experience the freedom from stress that time management brings, that procrastination voice will be a thing of the past.
To Enter or Not to Enter Writing Contests (writing contests) If you are a freelance writer, it is because you love to write. Why not put those abilities to use and enter a writing contest? You have nothing to loose and a lot to gain. You can find writing contests by simply searching the Internet. Writing groups and message boards may also have listing for these contests. No matter what you writing genre maybe poetry, fiction, non fiction, there is a contest out there for you. Read about them and choose which ones are right for you. It is not necessarily about winning or loosing but about the experience and knowledge that you gain to get there. Whether you win or not there are still valuable things that can be learned or gained by entering into contests. Entering writing contests will help you hone the skills that you have. Try something new, you may choose to write in a niche that you normally wouldn’t. You get constructive criticism from someone new. Someone that doesn’t have to worry about hurting your feelings and that is unbiased can be a wonderful asset to your career. The feedback you receive can be invaluable to you. It will get your name out there and give you a place to showcase your work. Depending on how good your story, if you make it to the next round your writings could be in front of editors and agents. This feedback and criticism is even more important than the first. Do not your eggs all in one basket. Enter a couple contests to get multiple feedback sources. Not every editor or agent is going to agree. By entering multiple contests and find common points about your writing that need perfecting you will be able to concentrate on a general consensus about your abilities. There are some downsides to entering writing contests, too. Chances are that a simple contest is not going to launch your career into star status. Do your research just as if you were going to write an article about contests. For many contests you give up your rights to your entry whether it wins or not. You need to decide whether or not you are willing to give up all rights to your story. If you win it is not a big deal, but if you loose your giving your work away. Are you willing to do this? Research the contest. You can search the Internet for reports or opinions on contests run by the company. You can find valuable information on if the contest is legitimate, if entering has had any effect of previous entrant’s careers, and if it is really worth it in the long run. The bigger and well-established companies will give credibility to your work if you win. But the bigger and more well know the companies are will also bring in tougher competition with well know authors. Some companies offer contests as a disguise. Yes they will give away prizes and declare winners but their main goal with the contest is advertising. It can be in the form of offering you to buy obscure book featuring your contest submission. Sometimes it is an editing company that offers a discount for its services or a company that will offer you discounts on writing classes. A writing contest is just a possible stepping stone. Whether it helps you or not is the unknown, but it definitely won’t hurt you. It may help you reach the next level of your career. You and only you will be able to make the decision on whether or not writing contests are a good move for your career.
Copyright Law Plagiarism Plagiarism Is Simply Unethical Anyone who is a writer is concerned with plagiarism. Copyright Plagiarism Laws protects copyright holders from having their works plagiarized. Many people think it is ironic that the word plagiarism derives from “kidnapper” in Latin. However, it is true. If a person uses another person’s words without permission, they have indeed stolen or kidnapped something that was owned by another and is in violation of copyright law. Plagiarism is a very bad word in the writing world. Crediting the author of the work will not keep someone immune from being in violation of copyright law. Plagiarism is plagiarism, even if the author is cited if the author did not give permission for the work to be used. One of the most common areas that copyright law plagiarism is violated is in the academic world. Many students will copy and paste the information they need for their research papers and essays straight off the Internet and turn it in to their professors. However, this type of cheating is easily detected now with special programs that professors can use. Plagiarism is unethical, not only in the writing world, but in the academic world, as well. Did you know that you could plagiarism a work but not be in violation of the copyright? Likewise, you can be in violation of a copyright and not have been plagiarizing. It is really not that hard to understand. Let’s say you are using Abraham Lincoln’s exact words in a paper and you did not cite him as the source or give him credit. Well, Lincoln’s words aren’t copyrighted because they are in the public domain. But, you did plagiarize because you tried to pass off his words as your own. Alternatively, if you use a picture in a book and you did not gain permission to use the book, you have violated copyright law because you did not source the artist and you did not get permission from the artist to use the picture. If you are in school, the best way you can get around committing plagiarism is to simply list your sources. If you use someone’s word, list it in an endnote or in a footnote. List the resource you found it in the bibliography. Another way around copyright law plagiarism violations is to take notes when you are reading. Take notes in your own words and put the resource away. Write your paper from your own words. No one wants to be singled out for plagiarism, especially a student who is concerned about their reputation at school and writers who need to keep their credibility in good standing. With today’s technological advances, it is not too hard to pinpoint plagiarized work. Even webmasters who run websites are on to the plagiarism crowd. They can run their entire sites through a special program to see if their content has been stolen and duplicated elsewhere on the Internet. If you are dealing in the written word, either academically or as a profession, it is a good idea that you only use your own words. It was probably easier to get away with plagiarism 100 years ago, but it is not that easy today. The changes are very high that if you are caught violating copyright law plagiarism laws you will be caught. Not only is it embarrassing, but it can cost you a bundle in a lawsuit.