Amber Little

Big Business Blog: a guide to work, life and happiness

The importance of vacation for all us little worker bees April 22, 2011

Filed under: Healthy Living Tips — Amber Little @ 1:48 pm
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Vacation time is just plain lovely…there’s no ifs ands or buts about it.  However, it can be quite hard to convince ourselves that it is okay to take some time off once in awhile, because let’s face it:  we have a full plate at work, perhaps schoolwork to deal with, and all of life’s other little tasks that make taking a few days off seem unrealistic.  But the truth is, taking some time for vacation can do wonders for your well being.  Vacations are like a gift that keep on giving…they relieve stress in meaningful and lasting ways.  Even the act of looking forward to a planned vacation can make our days happier.  Getting away from the daily grind is reason enough to get away, but you can also strengthen bonds with family and friends and build memories that will last a lifetime.  Vacations can also keep you healthy.  We all need time to recharge our batteries, and sometimes a two-day weekend just simply won’t do…you know it and I know it, Sundays don’t even count.  All we are really doing is thinking about how we have to go back to work the next day.  Ho, HUM.  Plus, workers that take regular vacations are far less likely to experience any kind of real burnout.  The psychological benefits of taking frequent vacations can dramatically improve the quality of life, which can lead to increased quality of work.  More and more companies are encouraging employees to take their vacations, rather than sell back their time…and they’ve got it right, because that’s what it is there for!

Bottom line is, vacations can dramatically improve our happiness, quality of life and quality of work.  Why not make some plans for a nice little get away? It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, perhaps just a nice long weekend with your four-legged soulmate and family.  Where are you going for your next vacation?


Boost your creativity April 17, 2011

Filed under: Healthy Living Tips — Amber Little @ 7:51 pm

Do you ever find yourself dreadfully stuck in a rut…you just can’t seem to think of new ideas that could improve your work and home life?  It’s always rewarding and exciting to think of ways to improve yourself, so it can be pretty frustrating to merely go through the motions of your day, not keeping your eye on the big picture.  Just the thought of trying to think of positive changes leaves you wanting a nap.  Everyone goes through this from time to time, and we all need a little help recharging our thinking caps.  Next time you feel like the wheel is turnin but the hamster is dead, try one of these tips to get those creative juices flowing again:

Go for a walk.  Walks are a great way to get out of the stuffy office or home and clear your thoughts.  It feels good to get out and about, and walking will leave you feeling refreshed and with a more positive perspective on things.

Read!  Reading books and articles can jump start your noggin.  Read as much as you can about as many things possible.  You will be amazed how many ideas pop pop into your head when you constantly learn new things.

Don’t get stuck in a box.  Always thinking inside the box leaves us doing things the same old way over and over.  Remind yourself that there are always multiple solutions to any problem.

Set some time aside each day to think.  Find a quite place,  and just let your mind wander.  (walks are great for this!)

Play!  Games that force us to think are a great way to keep our brain in shape.  Next time you get a chance, release that inner kid.  Some of my favorites are Mind Trap, Worst Cast Scenario, Trivial Pursuit and Sudoku.

Avoid all of those distractions.  And by distractions I mean TV and Facebook.  I swear, if you make a habbit of logging onto facebook everyday, you are making a habbit of losing hours of your life…it just leaves your brain drained.  Same with TV.   (Except for Modern Family, The Office, TLC and the Discovery Channel.  Those don’t apply of course).

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Build up that self confidence April 16, 2011

Filed under: Healthy Living Tips — Amber Little @ 2:58 pm

Self confidence is a key ingredient of  happiness and success. A lot of people may think that self confidence comes naturally, and if you don’t have it, you just don’t have it.  Well, I’m here to tell you otherwise.  While there are always a few lucky ones that are just born with natural confidence brimming from their little souls, the rest of us need to work on it every now and then.  The good news is that building up your confidence does not require too much effort, and it’s definitely worth the work.  Here are a few easy ways to boost that confidence on days when you are feeling a little less than liony.

Try something different.  If you are feeling a little ho hum and not feeling great about yourself, try and mix it up.  Do something different one day…join the gym, join a book club, go to the beach.  It will definitely brighten your day and give you something to look forward to doing again.

Be yourself.  I always get down when I try and pretend that I’m something I’m not.  It sounds a little corny, but be yourself.  Be weird, be goofy, be klutzy…be whatever it is you are.  It will leave you feeling much better than trying to cover up the true awesome you.

Reach out and socialize.  Sometimes we simply need a friend to talk to.  We are social beings, and if we are feeling down and out, it rarely does us much good to stay in and try and deal with it ourselves.  Talk to a friend, sibling, significant other…and try and get out of the house.  You don’t have to spill your soul if you don’t want to, but just the act of socializing will make your day a little brighter and boost your confidence.

Look your best.  If you are having a tough time, I find an easy way to boost your confidence is to dress up.  Ladies, make yourselves pretty!  Boys, make yourselves pretty too.

Tell yourself you are AWESOME.  This could even involve wearing a shirt that states you are awesome.  Even though you are having a tough day, the truth is you ROCK.  So don’t forget to remind yourself.

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I’m late for a very important date! April 14, 2011

Filed under: Tips for a successful career — Amber Little @ 9:21 pm
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We are all guilty of it once in awhile…some mornings things just don’t like us.  The snooze button inexplicably turns the alarm off, the coffee throws itself on our white pants, someone stole our shoe, every traffic light senses we are late…ya know, basically every morning for me it seems.  However, being late to work is one of my least favorite things.  It’s not that I work for Cruella Deville and get the evil eye when I walk in a few minutes late…it’s the feeling of not being in control that I hate.  Starting out the day stressed out is no way to start any day.  The good news is, there are lots of ways that you can get a better handle on your mornings.

The first step is to admit you have a problem.  As with any ailment, you can’t fix a problem unless you admit that there is one and you need to work on it.

Wake up when you are supposed to wake up.  If you love hitting the snooze button (oh snooze button, what WOULD I do without you) set your alarm an hour earlier…you can fool yourself into thinking you are sleeping in.  And don’t bother setting your clocks a few minutes ahead, you’ll always know…

Always be aware of the time.  Try and put clocks in rooms that you frequent in the morning.  Some days it’s easy to assume you have plenty of time but not actually be aware of the time flying by.

Don’t be so optimistic.  I do this all the time…”Oh, I have PLENTY of time”.  And I never do.  Things always take longer than you’d expect, especially without caffeine flowing through your veins.

Think in terms of depart time rather than arrival time.  I always have a set time that I need to be out the door.  If I think in terms of when I need to get there, I’m toast.  “You say I have to be to work at 8 and it’s 7:50?  Pffffff, I can make it!”   Ha.  Sure thing there Amber.

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How to avoid the Office Plague April 11, 2011

Filed under: Healthy Living Tips — Amber Little @ 8:57 pm

Being sick sucks. It’s one thing to be a little sick and catch up on all the wonderful cheesy daytime tv, however actually being full on sick is quite another thing.  The last two weeks I’ve been sicker than a dog (no offense Max).  The Dr says it’s a nasty cold, however I’m convinced it is some medieval plague-like disease.  And can you guess where I probably caught this virus of black death?  Work!  Damn you work.  The fact is, we need to always make healthy cleanliness habits a priority at work so we can stop wasting sick days on being sick.  I know that’s what they are there for, but seriously.  Sick days should be spent skiing.

Here are a few good ways to avoid the bubonic plague (or COLD.  Whatever DOC, I want a second opinion)

Make sure your keyboard and phone are always clean. Think about it, anyone could come along and  and touch your phone and keyboard with their germy hands.  I thought wiping down my stuff once or twice a week was good enough, but it should really be once or twice a day.

Wash your hands.  And wash them a lot.  And then wash them one more time.

Open the windows. If you are lucky enough to work in an office that has windows that open, take advantage.  Typically, offices have a heavy reliance on circulated air.  This can spread germs faster than human contact.

Use a paper towel on door knobs. Especially in the bathroom.  Gross.

Get a full night’s sleep. I don’t know about you, but when I don’t get my beauty rest, I usually end up sick. And also closely resembling Medusa.

Stay Hydrated. Keep a water bottle at your desk and fill it up as much as you can.

Avoid shaking hands.  I know this might rub people the wrong way, but I always try to get around it.  It’s just plain germy when you think about it.  Seriously, who’s idea was that anyways?  It’s just a step up from dogs sniffin butts at the dog park.

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To routine or not to routine? April 9, 2011

Filed under: Healthy Living Tips — Amber Little @ 1:19 pm

Are you a fan of routines?  The truth is, a lot of people may think that routines can take the pizzazz out of life.  We naturally may tend to avoid routines to feel a little more sprightly and alive, because let’s face it: sometimes routines can give you tunnel vision, dull your senses, and make your life seem a little ho hum.  However on the flip side, routines actually have a lot of positive points.  They can help you focus on your goals, keep your appointments straight, and maintain control over your life.  They can also help you to relax, tackle complex issues, and increase your self confidence…and of course it’s always fun to break your routine once in awhile.

The good news is that little to no effort is required to establish a routine in your life.  This week, why not try and add a simple routine to your day?  This could be as simple as waking up a bit early to make yourself some coffee and breakfast, watch the news, take your dog for a walk…you know, give yourself some time to start the day without rushing out the door like a madman on fire.  Why not give it a try?

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Wait…what? April 4, 2011

Filed under: Tips for a successful career — Amber Little @ 8:53 pm
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Listening seems like a pretty basic skill that doesn’t take much thought.  If we can hear, we can listen, right?  Wrong.  Hearing and listening are two very different things.  What gets me about listening is that we’ve had very little formal instruction on effective listening, yet we spend plenty of time training to effectively read, write and speak… and it’s one of the most important skills you will need to be successful.  Poor listening can result in low morale, low productivity, high turnover rates and mistakes left and right.

Do you ever find yourself hearing words, but not really taking in what a person is saying?  Do you find yourself daydreaming that you are not in the office but at the beach with your soulmate?  (I’m talking about your dog of course)  It’s very easy to drift off and focus on other things, we’re human.  However, listening is one of the most important skills you can have in your career, and in your life, so here are some tips to improve your skills:

Make eye contact. It is very difficult for someone to feel as though they are effectively communicating with you if you are not looking at them…it’s not a great feeling to be brushed aside.

Take the time. If you are working on a project that is consuming all of your time, or you have to dash off to a meeting in a few, tell the person that you would like to have more time to talk with them, and schedule a better time.  This shows that they are important to you.


Reflect feeling. If you feel as though a person is sad, say so.  “This seems to be making you a little down.”

Shut up. Stop talking so much, and listen more.

Don’t relate everything back to you. It’s very easy to make the conversation about you, but don’t.  Sometimes it’s about the other person.  Let them talk.

Let there be uncomfortable silences. Don’t feel like you need to needlessly speak to avoid these silences.  Rather, wait and give the person some time to think and speak.

Repeat back a brief summary of what the person has said. This will reassure the person that they have been heard, as well as to make sure you have heard everything correctly.

Ask the person to repeat. I’m at the tail end of my twenties, so my mind naturally wanders a lot in my old age. (the real problem is I get 100% distracted by anything as small as a bird flying by).   I find the best way to handle my condition is to be honest about it.  Tell the person that you had a brief brain fart and to repeat what they just said.  Honesty is better received than guessing games.

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