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Pay attention to first impressions—the ones you’re making on others. Wow people early on, because it’s much harder to reverse an early impression. As Jeffrey Pfeiffer says in HBR’s “The Conversation” blog, “Perceptions are also self-sustaining because, once people have formed an impression of another, they stop actively gathering new information.”

Steel your resolve by clenching a muscle. A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that you can boost your willpower to achieve certain goals or resist a calorie-rich temptation by tightening muscles—hand, finger, calf or bicep. It helps only when the choice matches your goals (such as a healthy lifestyle) and at the moment of the dilemma. Talk about mind-body connection!

Increase productivity by keeping one to-do list. Include everything you want or need to do in one place. Writing it down helps get it off your mind and leaves you free to focus on the task at hand.

Optimists find jobs more easily than their peers and are more likely to be promoted, says a new study reported in MIT Sloan Management Review. Past research has shown that optimists cope with problems well and are better able to shift course.

Avoid bedbugs during upcoming business trips by enabling the new Bed Bug Alert app for Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. It shows a GPS-enabled Google map that indicates nearby bedbug-infested sites as red push pins. You can zoom into a pin for more information.

Keep business writing clear by eliminating, when possible, the words “make” and “made.” You usually don’t need them. Examples: Change “make a decision” to “decide”; “made a recommendation” to “recommended”; “make a copy” to “copy”; “made an error” to “erred.”

Take a “no” in stride by remembering The New York Times best-selling author Emily Giffin. She tells PINK magazine, “I received a dozen rejection letters from publishers. I seriously contemplated giving up ... but instead, I decided to try again.” She has since had five novels on the NYT best-sellers list and 6 million copies of her book printed worldwide.

Stop e-mail from running your work life by fighting the pressure to fire off speedy responses, says Will Schwalbe, co-author with David Shipley of Send: The Essential Guide to E-mail for Office and Home. He tells CNN, “When we answer e-mail too quickly, we set up accelerated expectations and doom ourselves to a lifetime of instant responding.” People need to be honest with themselves, he says. “Is it you who is being compulsive or does your job actually require it?”

Online training: Don’t miss this month’s free podcast, “Getting Unfrustrated With Word 2007,” at www.AdminProToday.com/online-training. Microsoft Certified Trainer Melissa Esquibel will walk you through the world of MS Word.

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