A manager who wants to get the most out of her team will learn to recognize the strengths of her workers. Research from Gallup backs up the value of doing work or filling roles based on personal strengths and natural talents. In a survey of just over 1,000 US employees, the organization found a strong connection between those who felt their supervisor focused on their strengths and active engagement in their work. By contrast, of the one quarter of workers who felt their supervisor ignored their strengths, 40 percent were actively disengaged. Interestingly, when supervisors focused on workers' weaknesses, their disengagement was just 22 percent. Apparently, even negative attention is better than no attention at all. Don't just do your job; craft it. That's the insight from a team of researchers who urge employees to reframe their worklife in terms of their own personal strengths and passions. Called "job crafting," the exercise directs a person to "visualize the job, map its elements, and reorganize them to better suit you." Drawing on their research with companies of a wide range of sizes, they found that workers who practice this exercise grow more engaged in their work and deliver a stronger performance. The power of accountability can't be denied. According to a study conducted by the American Society of Training and Development, when you make a goal-related commitment to a friend or coach, the likelihood of completing that goal goes up to 65 percent. And if you make a specific appointment with your accountability partner related to your progress or results, your likelihood of success goes up to 95 percent.[3] When it comes to taking care of your health, how much accountability you want or need will depend on your goals and situation. After all, it may not make sense to have a formal accountability arrangement or daily check-in with someone. Then again, it might, particularly if there is a new daily or weekly behavior you are striving to embrace. An accountability partner can ask you questions such as these: Are you keeping up with your exercise goals? Did you take your vitamin D today? Did you meet your water-intake goal for today? Are you making the health care appointments you said you needed to make? Did you get in touch with that doctor about your depression symptoms like you promised you would? Nervousness is a natural response to an uncomfortable situation.

Consider for a moment what really happens when you meet someone for the first time, on a primal level. You walk up to a stranger and deep in your brain a switch stands at the ready between Fight and Flight - the classic response to a tense situation. Your body grows tense, you start to sweat and your brain starts to race. This will continue until the threat has been analysed and negated or until you retreat from it altogether, neither of which will happen for a few moments - hence nervousness. But, while our bodies may be confused about what meeting a new person means, you shouldn't be. It's an opportunity. Even when meeting someone you know might be difficult, see it as a challenge, not as a potential problem. Realistically, conversation and socialization are tools we use to excel in the world - things that can set us apart - and not threats to analyse and run away from. As your confidence builds and you gain experience in conversation and meeting new people, you'll get a far better understanding of how this works. Part of it is practice and another part is perspective. With time you'll gain both and hopefully blow the people you meet out of the water. The party is an interesting phenomenon. Dozens of people from different backgrounds and interests get together in a neutral setting and celebrate an event that likely only affects a small number of attendees. In short, you'll be tossed into a fishbowl with a lot of other people who also don't know anyone and may feel uncomfortable too. So, the key to successfully meeting people in a party and coming off as the slick new likable guy you've been aiming for is to offer a comforting presence to the people who are in the same boat as you. If it's your party or you know the people for whom the party is being thrown, this is a lot easier, but even if you're a complete stranger, the magnetic party persona works just as well. Use a Pillbox: Simple pillboxes have seven compartments that you can sort your medication into: one for each day of the week. Using one can serve double duty. Not only is the pillbox itself a visual cue to prompt you, it also helps you double check that you took your medication. How many times have you taken your meds while thinking about a thousand other things and then later wondered, "Did I take them?" All you need to do is peek in that day's compartment.

You may be more successful if the pillbox is somewhere that's easy to see. Or you can combine this suggestion with other cues to remind you to take the pillbox out in the first place. Link It with an Activity: Your cue can be another activity that you never forget to do, like brushing your teeth or preparing your morning coffee or tea. Walk into the bathroom, brush your teeth, take your medication. Walk into the kitchen, turn on the kettle, pour water, take your medication. Try to focus on taking it when you're taking it so you don't question yourself later. If you don't combine this suggestion with using a pillbox, you can take your medications out of the containers, set them on the counter, put away the containers, and then take them all. You can also say to yourself, out loud, "Okay, I'm taking my medicine now," which will help you remember and ease the doubting thought you have 5 minutes later. Set an Alarm: It's so easy to set a reminder, which can be an especially useful cue if you are taking your medication while on the go. Online and cell-phone technologies are at your fingertips, offering countless ways to do this. You could set an alarm like you do to wake up, schedule a regularly occurring event in your calendar, have it on your daily schedule, or use a downloaded app. If you take your medication with you to work or out to dinner, you also need a cue that reminds you to carry it with you. A little pill case that you keep in the same place every day can help. Have Someone Remind You: I wouldn't depend on this as your sole way of remembering. The person assigned this task would either start to annoy you or become afraid of becoming too much of a nudge. But it can be helpful to have support--just make sure all parties involved are on the same page. When your routine is temporarily on hold for some reason, like going on vacation, you might want to enlist the help of your vacation partner. That's when I remind my husband to take his antacid because the normal cues in our kitchen aren't there. Long live the coffee break! Researchers at the University of Toronto found that frequent breaks improve creativity.

John Trougakos, associate professor of organizational behavior and HR management who coauthored the study, pointed out that our brains have a limited amount of energy, requiring them to be frequently recharged. But the researchers emphasized that just taking a break is not the solution--it's what you do with it. Specifically, to recover from work, you need to use your break to do activities that "stop the demands associated with work." That means engaging in what they defined as "respite activities"--involving either low effort (napping, relaxing, or sitting quietly) or a preferred choice (reading a book, spending time with friends). But they distinguished these respites from "chores" like running errands or tidying a desk, which don't allow you to fully recharge. Avoid filling your breaks with more work (even if it's different from the work you are paid to do). Use your respite to fully recover and get your energy back for Time-tracking productivity app DeskTime isolated the top 10 percent of the most productive employees, analyzing their computer use over a workday. Those who did the most productive work took an average break of 17 minutes, and worked straight through for 52 minutes. An alternate strategy is the Pomodoro Technique, in which one breaks up the workday into 30-minute sections, working for 25 minutes (1 Pomodoro, so named because the technique's inventor timed these sections on his tomato-shaped timer) at a time and breaking for 5. Put down that sad desk salad! However long your break runs, the key is to make it a true break, getting out of the office and fully relaxing during the time off. So stay away from business lunches when at all possible. Maybe it's all those lawyer jokes, but those who practice law have been found to be particularly unhappy. Researchers point to three main causes of lawyer unhappiness. First, prudence is one of the main qualifications for lawyers, which can often translate into skepticism or pessimism. Second, the high pressure put on and low influence given to young associates are the sort of work conditions that result in low morale in other workplaces. Third, the work--at least in the United States--is often a zero-sum game where your win is someone else's loss, creating a hypercompetitiveness that also drains one's sense of workplace satisfaction. A study by Johns Hopkins University found that lawyers were 3.6 times more likely than nonlawyers to suffer from depression, and other research connected the legal profession to higher levels of substance abuse. An exception: Lawyers in public service jobs. Public defenders, legal aid attorneys, and others in similarly low-paying but personally rewarding lines of work were most likely to report feeling happy in a survey of 6,200 lawyers. No correlation between happiness and high income or prestigious positions was found, and junior partners reported identical levels of well-being as senior associates who made 62 percent more than them.

Don't skip scheduled sessions with your therapist. If you feel great or aren't in the mood to go to sessions, make it your business to be there and talk about your reluctance. If adjustments in the frequency of sessions are warranted, you and your therapist can make changes. Missing sessions on a whim can arouse feelings of guilt, which can set into motion self-defeating thoughts. Personally, the times I skipped sessions with my therapist showed me that I was avoiding profound subjects--or that I was reacting defensively to something in my life. Talking instead of walking showed me how self-defeating patterns were operating and that I needed to address these tendencies. Professionally speaking, when people I work with begin missing sessions or become erratic with taking medication, I immediately shoehorn myself into the situation. Together, we explore the reasons for these behaviors and take steps to address issues. Be consistent with your medication. If you're taking prescription medication for your depression, be diligent about taking doses in a timely manner. Missing doses interrupts the efficiency of your neurobiology, which can impede the therapeutic success of your medication--or cause depressive symptoms to return. Stopping medication suddenly could launch discontinuation syndrome, a most uncomfortable and precarious withdrawal-like experience. It's also good to be watchful of your use of alcohol and other drugs so that they don't interfere with your antidepressant medication. If you feel your depression has lifted and you want to stop your medication, do so with the help of your prescribing healthcare professional. Together, you can look into the possibility of being medication-free on a trial basis and what to do should your depressive symptoms return. I'm very diligent about taking my antidepressants, keeping the prescription flowing month to month. I carry a pillbox with spare doses to use when I forget to take my medication, which happens from time to time. I like to feel safe and in control, so I don't drink, smoke, or engage in risky behaviors. I read over-the-counter labels when taking other medications and maintain a good working relationship with my pharmacist. He's a great go-to guy who clues me in to what medications work best with my antidepressants.