Break your smartphone habit
If you’ve got a smartphone, chances are you check it compulsively. You may not even be conscious of the habit. Recent studies suggest that, on average, we check our phones between 110 to 150 times a day. That can add up to a huge timewaster and concentration sapper at work and beyond.
Want to cut back? Turn off non-essential notifications in your settings. If that doesn’t help, you may need to uninstall some of the peskier apps. If you want uninterrupted time to concentrate, you might want to activate Airplane Mode rather than simply muting your phone.
Need more help? Several apps, like BreakFree, can monitor your activity and impose caps on it if needed. Set up an auto-reply for text messages, and turn off notifications during set times of the day and night. BreakFree, StayOnTask, and AppDetox are all good options for Android phones.
The writing on the wall
What if the key to success is… failure?
The brain is a “failure engine,” says Internet Entrepreneur Jeff Stibel. “We are making far more failures than successes. But over time, we learn. That’s how we go from infants to babies to children to adults.”
What’s important about failure is remembering how it happened, says Stibel, who created a “Failure Wall” at his Dun & Bradstreet Credibility office. Employees write their failures on the wall for everyone to see. Some of the goof-ups are embarrassing, and some have cost the company money.
Besides serving as prevention against repeating the same mistakes, Stibel says, the confessions show that few failures are really as bad as people think. Getting it out in the open allows staff to collectively draw the lesson, deal with stress, and move onto better things.
Middle-skill health careers boom
It’s no secret that as the baby boomers age, medical care providers are going to need a massively expanded workforce to meet demand. Of the top 25 fastest growing occupations, 17 are related to healthcare, and careers like home health aides and physical therapy assistants are expected to grow by nearly 50 percent by 2022.
While some health professions require many years of higher ed, quite a few healthcare careers are so-called “middle skills jobs,” requiring certificates or two-year degrees. Earnings for these jobs are often upwards of $50,000. At CareerOneStop.org, a Labor Department job search site, search for state wage data, employment trends, and more.
The “happiest” jobs in America
Looking for a better work-life balance, compensation, opportunities for advancement, and fulfilling tasks on the job? Each year, professional resource site CareerBliss.com surveys tens of thousands of workers to find the “happiest” jobs in America.
The 2014 list-toppers might surprise you: Research and teaching assistants. Why? Many are transitional positions between college and career, which accounts for the high marks survey respondents gave to the flexibility and advancement qualities of assistant positions. Average salary for these detail-oriented workers is around $33,600.
New data on community college student success
The average community college graduation rate jumped from 21 to 38 percent in 2014, according to the Department of Education. The increase is due to a change in the way the department tracks students, lengthening the time frame considered “normal” for completion. Many community college students take longer because they attend part-time.
A separate study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that 73 percent of community college students who transferred to public universities completed their degrees. This is far higher than the 63 percent completion rate for students who started at four-year schools.