How to Nap at Work

how-to-nap-at-workDo you nap at the office?  What are your best tips for napping at the office (possibly without getting caught)?  We took a poll on office naps a thousand years ago, but haven’t really discussed since then, and I thought it might be an interesting topic.

First, some factoids from the Internet — according to Inc., researchers concluded in 2010 that “napping can improve the brain’s ability to retain information, noting that a middle-of-the-day reprieve ‘not only rights the wrong of prolonged wakefulness but, at a neurocognitive level, it moves you beyond where you were before.'”  More and more offices are adding nap rooms (or buying “sleep capsules,” which give you a bit more privacy).  (On the flip side, as Salary.com notes, some companies still consider it grounds for firing – know your office!)  For the DIY-nappers, there’s even a fully funded Kickstarter campaign for a pillow that gives you a “micro environment in which to take a comfortable power nap” (pictured — you can now buy the pillow for $99). Apparently, in Japan napping is so popular among top executives that there’s an entire culture around it.  It’s important to note that napping is not necessarily “sleeping” — and even if you normally take 30+ minutes to fall asleep at night you can reap the benefits.  According to Lifehacker, Pzizz is a new tool that can help you “learn” to power nap (and help with nighttime insomnia too).

So, ladies — do you nap at the office?  Is there a nap room or other space available for napping, and do you actually use it?  Have you picked up any tips or tricks (signs on the door, special messages for your secretary, etc) that makes napping at work easier? [Read more...]

Medications and Your Job

Pills, originally uploaded to Flickr by GenBug.If a change in your medication affects your job performance, how do you handle it?  Reader K writes in with an interesting question, specifically about pregnancy and ADD medications:

I am interested in how women who have been on ADD meds for years have handled going off of the meds before and during pregnancy (and nursing for that matter), while keeping (and continuing doing great work) in their job. The docs all say I can do it, and I think I can, but figured others might be in the same dilemma and it may be worthy of a discussion!

I think this is a great question, as there are a slew of reasons that people go on or off medications, and there are also times when doctors need to experiment with the dosage, medicine, or even the cocktail of medicine that people can get. And all of that can affect your energy levels, your focus, and ultimately your job performance. (Pills, originally uploaded to Flickr by GenBug.)

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Wakey Wakey! The Business End of 4 AM

Sunrise, originally uploaded to Flickr by killthebird.There was an interesting article in Forbes the other week about how power women wake up early, and commenters seemed interested in talking about it more, so I thought we should explore in an open thread. How early do you get up? What do you do with the time? Any tips that make it easier to get up then? For those of you who don’t rise that early, do you have another special time of the day? (Sunrise, originally uploaded to Flickr by killthebird.)

For my $.02: I was always a night owl when I was younger. Term papers and graduation speeches alike got written in the hours between 12 and 3. I realized this was a problem sometime around high school when, reading a college admissions essay I had thought brilliant the night before, I realized a good two sentences were devoted to “finding a piece of licorice on the floor.” And not even in a metaphor way, just a “Kat had a dream while typing” way. Still, the habit perpetuated until after law school, I think. By then — working crazy long hours — I realized that my best time truly was first thing upon waking. So I started getting up earlier. [Read more...]

Looking Great The Day After the All Nighter

IMG_9636, originally uploaded to Flickr by mikebitton.How do you function the day after an all-nighter, let alone looking competent and vaguely human? We covered this a looong time ago, back in the dark days of 2008 — but considering that Corporette has so many more readers now, I thought I’d update the Corporette coverage of the subject, and I can’t wait to hear what commenters say.

We’ve all been there — stuff needs to get done, and stuff needs to get done now. In the high-stress job, the all-nighter (sometimes several nights in a row!) is par for the course. One of my former bosses once said she reveled in looking like crap the next day — that she wore it as a badge of honor. Me: not so much.  If you look sloppy and tired and incoherent, well, that’s how you tend to get treated (and sometimes the treatment lasts far longer than the sleep deprivation).  (Pictured: IMG_9636, originally uploaded to Flickr by mikebitton.) So, that said, here are my tips for how to avoid looking and acting like the walking dead:

1. Get as much quality sleep as you can. Your goal on these nights is to complete as many sleep cycles as possible. There are four stages to sleep; the final stage is REM sleep. It generally takes 90 minutes to finish a full cycle, but it can vary, so play around with it.  (A new product, the WakeMate wristband and smartphone App “optimizes your waking hours by automatically analyzing your sleep and illuminating personal habits that affect your sleep.”  Lifehacker just rounded up some other helpful sleep tech, also.) My point here is that once you get home from the office, figure out how many 90-minute cycles you can get in. Go for solid numbers of sleep cycles, because it’s a little like doing your laundry: if you’re interrupted halfway through you’re worse than you were before. Note that a sleeping pill will interrupt your sleep cycles (as will other chemical aids). In general, if you remember your dreams, you’re waking up in the middle of a cycle.

2. Force your skin to look young and awake, even if you feel anything but. Almost every skin care line has masks or lotions that use natural acids to exfoliate the skin and promote the skin’s turnover rate. If you’re loyal to one skincare brand, check that line first — look for something like Bliss ‘The Youth As We Know It’ Anti-Aging Cleanser, which is part of a collection that contains “the top ten age-fighting ingredients” and guarantees to “leave skin smoother, brighter, dewier and firmer.”  Another good one:  Clinique 7 Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula No Color One Size, which has won the reader’s choice awards for Allure magazine in 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007.

3. Ward off colds. No, an on-coming cold doesn’t really affect the way you look, but after a sleepless night your immune system will be vulnerable. If you’re a fan of zinc or echinacea, now’s the time to take a preemptory hit.  You may also want to try some Emergen-C packetsicon — you add them to 8 oz of water and the Kool-Aid type concoction gives you more than 1000% of you Vitamin C for the day. (Especially for when the office emergency has passed and you’re now just trying to make it to the end of the day, I prefer an Emergen-C packet to coffee for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up — no caffeine crash.)

4. Depuff your eyes. The adage says the eyes are the window to your soul — so it’s best to avoid that blank, swollen look in your eyes. Before you leave the house, apply something cold to your eye area. Tea bags soaked in cold water will do in a pinch, but a gel mask is far less messy. Second, invest in a good eye cream — let’s face it, this area always needs help. I like Aveeno Eye Brightenericon but, again, recommend you look first to whichever brand of skincare products you use; I’ve also started using Clinique’s All About Eyes.  Also, Visine is handy if your eyes are very red (but avoid using it daily — I’ve heard the ingredient that gets the red out will eventually stop working.)  If your eyes are continuously dry and sore, I luuurve TheraTearsicon — they’re preservative-free and come in both a regular liquid and a super-duper thick and soothing gel.

5. Choose a safe outfit. Trust me, today isn’t the day to experiment with that new trend you just read about in Lucky. Even if it’s going to be a low key day, I suggest going ultra safe here: pull out your interview suit or some other outfit you’ve worn a thousand times, and pull your hair back into a bun or a French twist. The look you’re going for is clean, professional, and most of all, coherent.

Readers, what are your best tips for looking great the day after an all nighter and functioning normally?  What products are your favorites?

(L-8)

Dealing with Anxiety (Post-Interview Or Otherwise)

interview-anxietyReader M had a question about post-interview anxiety, something I notice coming up in the comment threads a lot…

I had a second round interview this week, and I’m waiting to hear back. The job is working in-house for a big company. Their legal team is spread throughout their offices, so my first interview was with HR, then my second interview was with their VP Legal Counsel and another Senior Counsel attorney. I think it went well, but I’m so anxious. My first question is what to do with anxiety while waiting to hear back about a job? My second question is if anyone has stories from successful interviews that might shed light on whether or not it went well.

The wonderful thing about interviewing for jobs outside your own company is that they have no idea what a stressball you may be after the interview. (Of course, for jobs inside the company you have to keep your cool, which is even tougher — but hopefully less stress-inducing given that you can “read” the personalities better and they know you better.) There are two interesting questions here: what to do to ease anxiety, and how to know if an interview went well.  I’ll take the second one first.

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Beauty Wednesday: What’s Your Undereye Routine?

Bags Under The Eyes, originally uploaded to Flickr by DerrickTReader J would like a post on under-eye routines…

I would love to see a post about your (and your readers’) “undereye routine.” After working some long hours, I am more and more frequently starting to notice that I look pretty haggard under the eyes with puffiness and/or dark circles. I have an undereye concealer, but I don’t care for it and really want to find a new one that I like. I could also use recommendations on eye creams or any other products that people like to use to help them appear more “fresh.”

Great question!  Personally, my under-eye area is one of those “beauty musts” for me, as I look slightly ill/dead without concealer. My personal routine generally consists of a special under-eye cream when I get out of the shower, before I put on my general facial moisturizer with SPF — and then before I put my makeup on, I swoop a general concealer on the skin beneath my eyes (and on my brow bones and around my nose if I think about it). If I have evening plans, I generally try to revisit the under-eye area with a highlighter before I leave the office — I prefer YSL’s Touche Eclat, but lost my last container and can’t remember *exactly* what color I had, which is preventing me from ordering it online. In short, I’m kind of on the lookout for new products for all of these steps — so I’m curious to hear what you guys say! (Currently I use Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Ageless Firming Eye Cream and Maybelline Dream Mousse Concealer Corrector, Fair Light 0-1 (both available at Drugstore.com for $19.99 and $8.99, respectively) — both are fine but I’m not agog over either one.  (I think Elle just had a round-up of the best concealers, incidentally.)  Readers, what are your preferred products for the undereye region?

(Pictured: Bags Under The Eyes, originally uploaded to Flickr by DerrickT.)