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Hold more-focused meetings by spending 10 minutes immediately beforehand thinking about what you want to accomplish and what you need from attendees. Put the “transition time” on your calendar.

Keep emoticons out of business communication.
If you’re depending on a smiley face to make the meaning of your words clear, perhaps you shouldn’t be writing the message in the first place. Better to pick up the phone or arrange for a face-to-face meeting.

Find salary information for administrative positions in your area with the handy, new interactive Salary Calculator by OfficeTeam at www.officeteam.com/SalaryCenter. You also can order a free print version of salary information, the 2010 Salary Guide.

Save money on printing by combating excessive ink consumption. Ecofont is a free typeface that promises to reduce ink use by up to 20%. It looks a lot like Arial, except with lots of little holes punched out of it, meaning it uses less ink. Available for Windows, Mac and Linux systems at www.ecofont.com/ecofont_en.html.

Avoid this grammar trap: When speaking, “could’ve” sounds a lot like “could of.” Be careful that the latter, which isn’t correct, stays out of your writing. Stick with “could have,” “should have” or “would have.”

Receive the credit you deserve.
If you’ve been working hard on a joint project, offer to do any presentations to show the group’s work. People often think the person in the front of the room is the leader, or at least one of the more active participants in a project.

Put the break room suggestion box to good use. Some of the best ideas can come from team members who are struggling with a problem firsthand. One company, for example, has a Start, Stop and Keep initiative, which requests feedback from all staff members on internal programs that the company should start, stop or keep doing. — Adapted from “Why going with your gut is not good enough,” Reid Carr, Fast Company.

Add breathing room into your day—or your boss’s—by scheduling meetings for 50 minutes rather than 60. Running from meeting to meeting leaves a person in catch-up mode for the rest of the afternoon. And trying to wedge things between meetings will lead to a tardy arrival. With discipline, it’s possible to wrap up 10 minutes before the hour, leaving plenty of time to transition.

What detracts from your happiness?
Alexandra Levit, a career columnist for The Wall Street Journal, tells Happiness-Project.com that from her experience, people “seem to spend a great deal of time complaining without actually doing anything about an unpleasant situation. And I think that people don’t appreciate what they have, including their own success. Once one goal is met, they immediately move on to the next one without taking the time to celebrate the achievement.”

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