Self-Improvement Tips

Even with a long list of credentials, your day-to-day work life comes down to you and how you manage yourself. See what new ideas you can add to your own.

This site relies on peer-reviewed submissions, so we are counting on you to share the best and most up-to-date ideas you have. If you have anything to add or change, please send it to the Director of Professional and Education Development.

Inbox Zero

Ever wonder how to manage all the email you get? In this video, Merlin Mann, a well known productivity guru and creator of the popular 43 folders website talks about the importance of getting your inbox to zero and strategies for dealing with high volume email.

I must say that the idea behind “Inbox Zero” is really an effective and simple one! It allows you to split up a sometimes seemingly insurmountable task thanks to a few important action steps. The main idea is making sure you get everything off your plate as soon as you can. The main actions to process email include:

1) Delete: These are emails you will never need, they only take up space. If you realize that a majority of deletable emails comes from a specific source, try unsubscribing from its listserv to help make the organization process easier! Another option is archiving all deletable email into one folder – just keep it simple.

2) Delegate: This is forwarding email to people who may be in a better position to respond to the query at hand or anything of similar sorts. It’s important to give yourself a deadline in order to not forget to delegate any email.

3) Respond: Keep the ball rolling on your side and respond as quick as you can. A rule of thumb is that if you can send a reply of within 5 lines, do so, otherwise you may want to place the email into your “defer” pile.

4) Defer: Email that you want to defer can be kept in a separate folder and you can work at whittling it down throughout the day.

5) Do it now: If there’s something you can do at the moment, just do it! Don’t let the email just sit there! As much as possible, liberate email out of your inbox through whatever way best works for you, otherwise, it’ll just add to your work later.

There you go, it’s just that simple! Good luck on organizing that inbox and don’t forget: “Inbox Zero!”
– Paul Champaloux

Watch on Youtube

Business Etiquette Tips

Ah, another day at the job—you step into the office, say “hello” to your colleagues, and as you sit down for the morning meeting you get the odd feeling that everyone is staring at you. You look up and realize it’s not just a feeling. You’re confused and think “I know I’m good-looking, but wow this is a lot of attention. Everyone must be really impressed with these new bright-orange Bermuda shorts I’m wearing!” when really the issue at hand is…

Business etiquette. Whether you’re fresh out of college or have been working a career for years, proper business etiquette is key to any job. Business etiquette, as opposed to social etiquette, is based around hierarchy. As such, you must understand where you fit into your company so that you’re not acting out of line. The Art of Manliness lists some “Do’s” and “Don’ts” to instruct you on workplace etiquette so you can stand out as a model employee, not an irritating and expendable one.

Read on the Art of Manliness Blog


JETwit was created as an important networking channel for the worldwide JET alumni community. On its pages, you can find a library of information and links created by JET alums, a career page for job seekers and employers alike, and an area for alums to list their professional profiles, among other services. Current JETs are also encouraged to view and participate on JETwit! Below you can find some quick links to the different sections listed:

1. Library of JET alumni information and profiles: contains links to JET Alumni Chapters, books, blogs, websites, articles, and much more that have all been authored by JET alums.

2. Professional Profiles: JETs can send in their professional profiles to be posted. Allows easy viewing for potential employers and also permits job-seekers to contact alums and establish some networking foundations.

3. JET Alumni Groups: A list of various Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn groups. A great way to network with other JET alumni and learn about job openings as well as alumni events going on in your area. JETwit has also organized a list of JET Alumni groups by prefecture so don’t forget to join your respective group!

4. JETLinks: Includes a list of links to JET Alumni Chapters around the world, Alumni Chapter newsletters, JET Prefectural websites, and the JET Alumni Association International (JETAA) website.

5. Traveling to Japan: Looking for group or individual travel options to Japan? JETwit has provided a list of Japanese travel agencies for the wayward traveler seeking to go to the “Land of the Rising Sun.”

Visit JETwit Homepage

Presentation Zen

Do you remember the last time you went to a dull and boring presentation? Do you feel lacking in your own skills and want to make certain that your next presentation doesn’t become a scene out of the fairytale “Sleeping Beauty?” Well fear no more! Garr Reynolds, creator of the most popular website and blog on presentation design and delivery called “Presentation Zen“, provides inspirational and proven advice on improving your presentation.

As the title of his website evokes, Mr. Reynolds is heavily influenced by the idea of Japanese zen, specifically in attaining simplicity vis-à-vis content, design, and delivery. He also heavily advocates the human factor in any presentation. As a presenter, remember that you are the presentation! Powerpoint, or whatever system you use, is just a tool to augment your message and story, so don’t lose yourself in it!

Watch Mr. Reynolds on Youtube