Archive for the ‘Professional Development’ Category

Crush Work Chaos by Making Small Changes

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

By Angella Bernal

Does your work life feel out of control? When you get to work, are you hit with feelings of uncertainty, stress and/or anxiety, hindering any proactive or innovative energy you may have felt transitioning into the New Year? It’s daunting enough to make a New Year’s resolution like pledging to be healthier, when chaos at work seems to drain you before you have a chance to get to the gym. (92% of Americans fail to keep New Year’s resolutions according to the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology.)

Whether you want to crush the chaos at work or be part of the 8% who succeed at fulfilling their New Year’s resolutions, with the right tools at your disposal, you can meet these seemingly overwhelming challenges.

Keep Reminders

Before the cycle of chaos continues to get you down, you need to remind yourself of the things that make you feel good about your day, your work, and/or yourself. Just as you would help a friend or coworker look on the bright side of a tough day, you want to establish reminders that stabilize you and help you to focus on the positive.

  • Values - Post a list of your personal/professional values on your wall or in a notebook as a reminder of what’s important to you. The article: What Are Your Values, or the Learn iT! Conquer Chaos class can help you discover your values to keep you grounded during chaos.
  • Mantras – Creating a personalized mantra to repeat can be very effective. For example, if you tend to multitask instead of focusing, have a mantra handy for when you get off-task like, “I am going to focus and work on one thing at a time, so I am going to work on this one task.”

Values lists and mantras are no-nonsense tools to keep you motivated. You can lean on these tools to keep you on track when you feel unsteady or chaos is depleting your energy.

Set at Least One Attainable Goal Each Day

Decide on one task you want to complete; one goal to set for yourself each day that you are able to complete so that you feel successful and productive.

There are two ways to think about goals.

  1. Long Term (ongoing) Goal – This is a routine or consistent goal that you complete daily, like five minutes of planning your to-do list at the beginning of the day, or going for a walk every morning before breakfast. Setting this type of routine helps to build positive habits into your daily life.
  2. Short Term Goal – This can be a daily or hourly goal. “By the end of the day I’m going to do X (something I’m happy to get off my plate),” or “In the next 10 minutes, I’m going to finish Y.” Setting short term goals will help keep you focused and productive.

Two Learn iT! webinar classes that focus on best practices of goal setting are Conquer Chaos and Make a Plan and Stick to It.

Celebrate Along the Way

After setting a goal, the fun part is finishing and/or celebrating when the goal is attained. Just like you would celebrate a friend’s success, you want to reward and cheer for your own successes. Celebrate when a long-term goal is reached or choose to celebrate at points along the way. You may not find it necessary to celebrate after every 10 minute goal is achieved, but allowing yourself a break to refill your coffee cup or take a breather after a job well done makes sense. Last year, I had a goal of walking 500 miles in the year, and I celebrated after 40 miles, 250 miles and all the 100’s. This helped to motivate me to get to 500 by Dec 30th.

If you succeed in getting a “monkey” off your back or are happy about a success, rewards and celebrations can encourage you to keep setting and attaining goals. What’s the easiest way to reward yourself? In the Learn iT! webinar Conquer Chaos, we cover a prioritization method for tasks that have a built in reward system.

Keep What Works

Last, but certainly not least, you want to keep what works for you in your daily life. If anything becomes burdensome, complicated or contrived, you won’t keep doing it. For example, I enjoyed walking my 500 miles, but by December, it felt like a chore. So this year, I will walk the trail near my home as a reward, instead of choosing to make walking a goal.

If you try setting 10-minute goals and they work for you, great! If not, next time try a 5-minute goal or 30-minute goal. Find what works for you and you will be more likely to keep using this tool.

Use these strategies to help crush the chaos at work and start taking control of your day. Think of it as a New Year’s Evolution. How will you evolve out of the chaos?


Angella Bernal pic

Angella Bernal is a Professional Development instructor at Learn iT!. She believes that students learn best through the practical application of technology applied to real-life situations. She achieves this by allowing student questions to guide the class to areas relevant to their environment, thus allowing for the quickest and easiest adaptation of new technology and skills

Free Learn iT! Webinar – “Control your Day: Shift from Reactive to Proactive” – 2/9/15

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Learn iT! is offering a new webinar from Professional Development pro Angella Bernal. In this 45-minute free webinar, we will identify one of the barriers to prioritization and two ways to overcome the reactive approach to work. Join us to get closer to your ideal day!

Control your Day: Shift from Reactive to Proactive
Monday, February 9, 2015
12:00 PM PST – 12:45 PM PST
> Register for Free <



How to be a PowerPoint Rock Star Part II: Keyboard Shortcuts

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Elizabeth Robierockstar

Okay, you’ve made the slide deck. Now it’s time for the presentation! If you want to be the Mick Jagger of PowerPoint, then read on…

Start the Show

To start the show, press the F5 function key. Shift + F5 will begin the presentation at the current slide.

Reign in Your Audience

Remember: you’re the rock star! Use the blackout (B) or whiteout (W) keystrokes to temporarily hide a slide and put the spotlight on you and only you. Be sure to use the latter option if in a dark auditorium (or else panic may ensue!).

Any key will bring back your presentation.

Steal the Show

For a memorable performance, use PowerPoint’s various annotation tools to highlight key facts and figures.

Right-click and hover over “Pointer Options” for a full pen, highlighter, and ink color menu (see below).


To go stealth mode, use ctrl + p (pen) and ctrl + e (eraser) for quick, slick annotation. Hitting the e key will erase all marks while ctrl + m enables you to show/hide annotations.

Reorder the Set List

Reordering the set list and looking to improvise? To jump between nonconsecutive slides in slide show mode, press the target slide’s order number and then ‘Enter’. In 2010, right-clicking the slide will generate a menu of slide numbers and titles for navigation purposes. (See below.)



In 2013, select “See All Slides” to show a visual map:


The Backstage Pass

There’s more! To access a complete list of presentation short cuts, hit the F1 key in slide show mode.

Encore: “The Show Must Go On…”

Hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and tricks! Stay tuned for more on How to be a PowerPoint Rock Star. Up next: Part III: Easy Animation Tricks.


Lissy RobieA former college track star (boasting a sub 5 minute mile) and high school science teacher, Elizabeth Robie is passionate about education and technology. In her spare time, she enjoys running, playing with her dog Seamus, and watching Duke basketball religiously. At Learn iT! Elizabeth teaches the entire MS Office Suite.

How to be a PowerPoint Rock Star — Part I

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

By Elizabeth Robiepower

Do PowerPoint presentations make you anxious? Never fear. Use the following tips and tricks to become a rock star presenter.

The Hook

Did you know the first 30 seconds of a presentation make or break a speaker?

Did that capture your attention? If so, then the hook served its purpose—to “reel” you in! A hook is a popular presentation tool designed to “catch” the audience. At the start of a presentation, audience members will always ask, “What’s in it for me?” Exposing a startling revelation can help answer that question.

Hooks come in many guises; they can be astonishing facts, personal anecdotes, or open-ended questions, to name a few.

Hooks should be delivered within the first 30 seconds of a presentation. After one minute, audience attention begins to plummet.

PowerPoint as Supporting Actor

First rule of PowerPoint: Never talk about PowerPoint.

Just kidding. Never read from your slides.

Reading from your slides always results in an awkward barrage of facts instead of a captivating storyline. Audience retention dramatically increases if presentations are delivered like stories with speech that’s seemingly contemporaneous (even if it’s not!). On presentation day, you should be so prepared that if your file were to suddenly vanish, you would not be missing much (except for maybe a few key visuals).

What’s more…you may want to consider limiting or excluding text altogether. Use PowerPoint as a visual aid to deliver the most effective presentation. For more information, see PowerPoint: A Great Vehicle for Visual Communication.

Always Remember: You are the actor or actress and PowerPoint plays the supporting role.

Use Presenter View

Sometimes, whether it’s due to time constraints or insufficient notification, we can’t be 100% prepared. In this case, you might just need a security blanket. Well, abandon those note cards and presentation outlines. Instead opt for PowerPoint’s revolutionary Presenter View.

As long as your computer supports the use of multiple monitors, you can view your presentation with notes on one monitor while the audience views the notes-free presentation on the other. All in one glance, Presenter View allows the presenter to see:

  • Speaker notes
  • The upcoming slide
  • Slide count
  • Time and presentation time
  • And more!


Above: PowerPoint 2013 Presenter View

Prevent an Embarrassing Slide Show Exit

Ever engage in one too many clicks at the end of a slide show? If so, then you are all-too-familiar with the following view:


Uh-oh! Your speaker notes are available for the world to see!

Don’t be a PowerPoint noob. To prevent embarrassment, add extra slides at the tail end of your presentation.

Stay Tuned

Hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and tricks! Stay tuned for more on How to be a PowerPoint Rock Star. Up next: Part II: Keyboard Shortcuts.


Lissy RobieA former college track star (boasting a sub 5 minute mile) and high school science teacher, Elizabeth Robie is passionate about education and technology. In her spare time, she enjoys running, playing with her dog Seamus, and watching Duke basketball religiously. At Learn iT! Elizabeth teaches the entire MS Office Suite.





Limited Time Offer! Professional Development Training ONLY $95 (retail $450)

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013


Don’t miss this limited time offer!

Attend one of these fantastic Professional Development classes for only $95. (Retail price: $450.)

Act now! We are giving this deal to the first 3 people that contact us.

To register, please contact Nicole Pelky | or (415) 946-6479

December 11:  Women and Leadership
Learn iT!’s one day Women and Leadership seminar enables participants to cultivate self-awareness, interpersonal skills, strategic thinking and personal influence that provide a foundation for effective leadership.  Using interactive, engaging, tool-based exercises we develop leadership competencies that every woman needs to achieve professional and personal success. Read more…
December 27:  Business Writing
Effective writing is not a natural talent. On the contrary, it is a relatively simple skill that no businessperson should be without. In this class, you’ll learn practical and useful techniques. You’ll be able to write from the readers’ point of view, organize information clearly and logically, and present a professional image of yourself and your organization.Read more…