Monthly Archives: May 2012

Forget The Fluff. Tips On How To Write Professionally

Everyone reading this I am sure has had numerous 10+ page essays due in their life. It is quite rare in an English class where your essay is just 500 words or less, when in reality, writing a concise, 500 word essay is probably harder than writing that 10+ page essay. One thing that is a bit overlooked in our English classes is the emphasis on being concise and being concise is key to writing professionally. Professionals simply do not have the time to read 10 page memo’s. In order to be successful with writing reports and memos for your boss you need to be able to condense a ton of information into a page or less.

I had a bit of a rude awakening when I started my internship with CampusLIVE. I was handed an assignment where I needed to explain the importance of establishing a blog on a popular website. As the self proclaimed king of “fluff” I wrote up a solid one page memo in my attempt to be concise. With a smile of satisfaction on my face I emailed the memo to my boss and asked him to proofread it. About 10 minutes later I was called over by my boss and was sat down. He told me “Kareem, the memo you sent me was very well written but the only reason why I read it was because I know you worked hard on this. This is much too long for everyone to read. Shorten it into 3 bullets and send it back to me”. 3 bullets??? I couldn’t believe it. I thought I was being concise with a 1 page memo and then being told to reduce it to 3 bullets blew my mind. After reading through my memo over and over again I realized how much “fluff” I had in there just to make the memo sound nice. After slashing away and removing a ton of things I sent the revised memo and was told that this is how I should write everything while at work.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. The style of writing we learn in English class and the style of writing necessary in the fast paced business world is completely different. No 5 paragraph format or any of that. No need to even make the writing sound eloquent. Just get STRAIGHT to the point and make it as informative as possible without it becoming wordy. All of us at one point or another have written “fluff” to either make an essay sound better or make it longer. Once you graduate it’s time to ditch the “fluff” and learn how to write to make everyone around you more productive

3 Simple Tips For A Successful Diet

For anyone who is on a diet (summer is coming everyone) knowing how to read a nutrition label is crucial for a successful diet. Even though it may look confusing there is only a few simple things you need to know about the label. Here are the big 3 things you need to know about nutrition.

1. Stop counting calories. Start counting grams of saturated fat, carbohydrates and protein.
Saturated fat is sticky fat which sticks to your stomach and is harder to lose than regular fat. It also is a major contributor to clogged arteries which causes heart attacks. Anything fried, cheese, ice cream and red meat are all high in saturated fat.
2. Consuming a low amount is carbohydrates is key for a productive diet.
Carbs turn into sugar if you do not use them for energy (any kind of activity which gets you moving) and we all know that a lot of sugar is not good for a beach body.
3. Protein is key for a fast metabolism.
Make sure you consume at least 50 grams of protein a day. Protein is key for muscle growth and a healthy body. Protein that is in chicken and milk is slow digesting so that means your body is working for long periods of time to digest the food which in effect speeds up your metabolism.

I’ll tell you my diet I am currently on for example. I eat roughly 8 grams of saturated fat, 100 grams of carbs and about 150 grams of protein a day. As I said I do not count calories but eating such a low amount of saturated fat guarantees a low amount of calories but eating a low amount of calories does not guarantee low saturated fat. If you have any questions about your diet feel free to tweet at me @aghanomics212.

Would You Date Me?

With the emergence of social media over the past 5 years your image now goes a lot further than how you carry yourself in person. Your whole life now is pretty much on the internet and there is more information freely available about you now than ever. My question is what is more important? Your image on social media or your image in person? Obviously a combination of the two is what is ideal but when looking at the extremes for both it is interesting to think about what affects you more. If you met a person at a bar that seemed incredibly kind that you felt like could be boyfriend/girlfriend material but then looked at their Facebook and saw that they were a party animal and a “free spirit” would you still want to date that person? Even though in person you felt like they were a great person the image they created for themselves online may lead you to think otherwise. Lets look at the opposite situation where you meet a person who seems like a jerk but add them on Facebook anyways to pad your friends count. Then looking through their photos they look like such a great person as they have a million pictures of themselves volunteering at soup kitchens and helping little children. Does that person all of a sudden get a reconsideration just because of their online image?

It is sad these days how much importance we put into our social media image. Going Facebook “official” is almost more important than actually asking a person out. Innovation is always necessary and there is no doubt that social media has done a lot of great things for mankind. Being connected to the world is a great feeling and I have been able to reach out to relatives that I would have never been able to have communicate with had social media not existed. Social media also allows me to be more productive as I have my whole network available to me right on one site. However, I use social media strictly as a tool and I do not let it absorb my life. I feel like we all need to stop taking social media so damn seriously. Get off of Facebook chat and meet up with a person. Nothing will ever trump the impact left with face to face interaction and the generations that are rising right now may not have the proper social skills to be able to handle face to face conversations. I feel like the coming generations will be interacting with their friends more through social media than they actually will in person. The problem that arises with this is the phenomenon of online courage and the inability to handle conflict in person. Online you have the safety of being behind a screen and not having to face any immediate repercussions for arguing with someone. You can say whatever you want and people tend to act a lot tougher than they actually are when online. You also have as much time as you want to respond to a message or do not have to respond at all where as in person you do not have this luxury and you have to be able to think on your feet. I feel like kids simply are not going to learn very important social cues and be able to pick up on body language because of the emergence of social media.

Is a person less attractive if they are not photogenic? Is a person less appealing if their Facebook profile was not what you were expecting even if they were what you want in person? Human interaction is slowly dying as the internet is evolving and I think soon enough your image online will be more important than how you carry yourself in real life. The question I have to raise is would Facebook prevent you from getting into a serious relationship with someone if their social image could be detrimental to your social image?

Stop Wasting Time. Turn Down Time Into Value

Every day we all have off time where we are mindlessly scrolling through our Facebook news feed for the hundredth time waiting for a new notification or on StumbleUpon looking for something, ANYTHING to entertain us. After a while it gets to the point where we are just blankly staring at the screen just wondering what to do. After doing this myself for a while I started to brainstorm things I can do in this wasted time that are entertaining and also somewhat productive.

My favorite thing I have been doing as of late in my down time is creating content for this blog. It is a lot of fun writing to an audience and it also looks good on your resume if you are planning on working for a company based on the internet or around social media. Having a blog is also great because it allows you to never forget where you came from as you can always go back and read past posts.

Another thing I like to do in my off time is research the stock market. I am always on www.fool.com, www.seekingalpha.com and yahoo finance. I also take free online classes offered by Stanford about computer programming and another online class about inbound marketing offered by HubSpot which you can find here. This does not mean you have to be researching stocks or marketing in your off time but find something that interests you and research. Psych major? Find a psychologist that you really admire and read their works or better yet begin to develop your own theories. English majors could research ways for their works to gain publicity and find out how other authors they respect gained notoriety. The point is find something specific to your major/career and research.

Try getting to the gym or signing up for some kind of organized sport as well. The saying “look good, feel good” is very true and if you have not been active for a while you will notice a quick difference in your body. You will have more energy throughout the day, you will get a nice confidence boost and you will also make some great friends in the process. I know from personal experience that going to the gym and being fit has opened up a lot of doors for me in my professional career that I would have never have been able to capitalize on if I was a couch potato. Check through all of the daily deal sites (Groupon, Livingsocial, Homerun etc) for deals on a gym membership as they usually will have one.

A great thing to do in your off time is catch up on your sleep! College students hardly ever get enough sleep and if you find yourself not doing anything except wasting time and do not particularly feel like doing anything engaging then get to bed. Sleep is crucial to keeping a sharp and healthy mind so take a nap, wake up and be ready to attack the world.

Do not get me wrong I am not saying you have to be productive every second of every day. It’s ok and completely normal to relax and just chill out. We are not robots and if we never rested we would get burnt out very quickly. However, we can ALL (even me) be a little more productive without harming ourselves so get up! Sign up for a class or the gym! The first step towards something new is ALWAYS the hardest step so if you need help taking that first step feel free to tweet at me @Aghanomics212 or leave a comment asking for my email address and I will give you a hand.