Self-Improvement Month: Boost Your Energy and Focus!

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September is “Self-Improvement Month,” so Allied American University is providing some information on topics that we hope you find helpful to become a better student!

Simple Steps to Improve Your Performance

Many of our students work full-time, whether at a paying job, as a parent or caretaker. A common theme that we hear among prospective students is, “How can I finish my schoolwork while having other obligations?” Do you find yourself drained of energy by the time you get home and log onto your computer?  You’re not alone. Feeling tired after a day of work is a challenge that many of us face. Thankfully there are a few simple steps you can take to help counter that voice in your head that says, “Oh, you can get to that project tomorrow…” We know the fact is that if you don’t get to the project today, procrastination will set in and you’ll end up waiting until the eleventh hour. It’s time to break the cycle of exhaustion and procrastination!

You Get Out What You Put In

What is fuel? Fuel is a material that stores “potential energy” that can eventually be released. The type of fuel needed to power a race car is much more potent than what is required to run a Honda Civic. Our bodies are no different. Your body’s form of fuel is food. If you feed your body junk, it’s going to feel sluggish and low on energy. 

Our bodies work similar to how a car functions. As a car gets driven around, miles begin to accumulate, and it begins to experience some regular wear-and-tear. After 3,000 miles (or every three months) it needs to receive an oil change. Not doing so can lead your engine to burn out. Our bodies work the same way. If we don’t take care of them, they too can ultimately burn out!

Your body and brain are interconnected. Have you ever felt “butterflies in your stomach” before a job interview or a big test? That’s one example of how a little bit of nervousness can manifest itself into a physical feeling. In order to help your body and mind work together at their best, it’s vital that you feed your body properly. Here are a few suggestions for some great “brain food”:

·         Blueberries – These berries are packed with antioxidants. According to some lab studies on aging rats, they found that diets rich in blueberries helped improve their learning capacity and motor skills. Try incorporating a cup of blueberries into your daily diet!

·         Salmon – Try having at least 4 ounces a couple times per week to get your brain the benefits of the Omega-3 fatty acids salmon contains.

·         Leafy Greens and Vegetables – Don’t skip the salads… Enjoy daily servings of leafy greens and veggies in order to get your brain the necessary antioxidants it needs to protect it. A study of over 13,000 women conducted at Harvard Medical School found that those who ate more leafy greens and vegetables lowered their brain’s age by 1 to 2 years. (Source: Prevention.com – “The Best Foods For Your Brain”)

Five Minutes to Kick Start Your Brain

Eating right is the first key component to improve your mental performance. The next step is to give yourself a high-octane boost, and best of all, it only takes a few minutes! You don’t have to spend an hour in the gym in order to receive the overwhelming benefits of exercise… Five minutes is all you need to begin. Now, if you’re looking to lose some excess weight – sure, you’ll want to put in some more time. If you’re looking for that mental edge, however, just five minutes of cardio can do some great things for your mental clarity, focus, and memory.

The British Journal of Psychiatry published a study showing that running for only five minutes a day helped to tremendously improve mental function. (Source: http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/203/4/245.short) The study analyzed students who had learning disabilities, and wanted to see if there would be an improvement in their performance by simply adding cardio to their routine. The results were so astounding that schools have begun adding early morning exercise as part of their curriculum to help improve student performance.

 

So, now you've got some action items to implement. What do you do now? The first step is to simply get started! Leave your workout clothes next to your bed, that way as soon as you wake up you can’t miss them! When you start, knock out five minutes of running… That’s it. Are you feeling too out-of-shape to run? Start out by walking at a brisk pace. You’ll still notice an effect on your mental wellbeing. As you gain strength, your endurance will build, and you’ll notice that you can go for longer periods of time. Please be sure to consult a medical doctor before beginning an exercise routine to be sure that you are healthy enough for physical activity. 

 

We hope that these few tips can help you feel better and boost your performance as you pursue your goals through Allied American University

How to fit a certificate program into your busy schedule

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Getting caught up in the daily grind can leave us with little time to do the things we love. It also makes continuing your education a seemingly impossible and distant priority. In this post we will cover ways to help you free up your time so you can make room for the more important tasks in your life – without getting overwhelmed.

The following are some tips to help you get your work done and still have plenty of free time for yourself – and your education. Here’s what we came up with…

5 ways to free up your time and be more productive:

Put it on paper. The first step to clearing the clutter out of your life is to write down your daily habits and find out where most of your free time is going. If you find that most of your time is spent in an unproductive way, write down what you want to accomplish for the day and take care of those items first before turning to your guilty pleasures. Once you start down an unproductive road, it’s hard to steer back on course.

Routine. Routine. Routine. The best way to keep up productivity is to keep the productive process going. Find out what your most productive time of day is and schedule your most important tasks during this time. Most people find they feel most energetic and motivated in the morning – which is ideal because tackling the most important tasks first can relieve stress and allows for your day to only get easier as it goes on, not the other way around.

You need help. If anyone’s ever told you that you need help, maybe they weren’t being mean after all. Some people can get so caught up in mundane busy work that they lose sight of the more important tasks that need to be completed. This is where an online assistant can help. With sites like Elance and oDesk you can find your own personal assistant to lighten your load. People have utilized online assistants for everything from starting a business to helping them search for a job. By using an online assistant a couple hours a week you can free up time to work on more important, more rewarding tasks in your life.

Just say no – to yourself. Self-discipline is key to getting things done. Kind of a no-brainer but still procrastination is the major reason your to-do list is collecting dust. Set aside a certain portion of the day to slack off. Whether it’s watching TV or searching the net, give yourself a set time to relax. This helps to keep your sanity intact. But when playtime’s over, it’s time to get back to work. Keep your priorities your priority.

Let’s get digital. Technology can be your best friend or a ruthless enemy when it comes to getting stuff done. Use apps and other software to keep track of your progress. Use your media devices to help you organize your day instead of using them as distractions. There are hundreds of iPhone and Android apps available for your smart phone to help you stay organized, many of them free. Check your app store for free productivity apps and use the latest technology to stay on top of your daily activities.

What to do with all this free time?

Once you’ve mastered the art of saving time, the question is now, how are you going to use it? With all the disruptions and clutter cleared from your life, it’s time to put that newly found free time to good use. Like finding educational programs that will help you add skills to your resume and increase your worth as an employee or a job seeker.

In recent years, certificate programs have been growing in popularity as an option for people to add specific job skills to their resume. This helps them to hone their craft and become a more valuable employee. Plus most of these programs are a lot quicker and far less expensive than it is to get an advanced degree. Prove to your employer, or future employer, that you are a disciplined and self-motivated worker by adding a professional certificate to your resume.

If you’d like more information on AAU’s professional certificate programs in areas like Business, Healthcare, Criminal Justice, or Computer Information Systems, talk to one of our admissions representatives and put all that free time to good use!  (888) 384-0849.

Why it’s Good to Get a Certificate Even if You Already Have a College Degree

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Do you already have a college degree? Are you looking to enhance your career skills? Today, the answer to build-out your resume and increase your knowledge is to get a certificate. You don’t need to enroll in a lengthy or costly master’s degree program, or even get another bachelor’s degree, to get noticed. A university-level certificate program can meet the needs of what you’re looking for at a pace and cost that is closer to your goals. 

According to the American Institutes for Research®, certificate programs are on the rise in U.S. colleges. The higher costs of a four-year degree and current job market make getting a certificate program a better alternative, because “they are much more focused on the skills and they can be much cheaper than even associates degrees from community colleges."

Why Should You Enroll in a Certificate Program?

There are many reasons to enroll in a certificate program, even if you already have a college degree, from getting a specific skill set to showing potential employers that you stay current with your knowledge. Do any of the following apply to you?

“I have an existing college degree, but… “

·         “I want to enhance my existing skills”

·         “I want to learn entirely new job skills”

·         “I want to build out my resume”

·         “I want to demonstrate to potential employers my ability to stay up-to-date and current with my skills”

 

If you identify with one or more of the aforementioned statements, you may benefit from a short-term, affordable certificate program.

 

How Will You Benefit from a Certificate Program?

 

Now that you’ve determined that a certificate program may be for you, let’s look at the advantages of certificates versus degrees. As a working professional, you‘ll likely identify with these reasons, which range from the completion time to acquisition of specialized knowledge. Here’s how a certificate program can meet your education needs, in a manner that fits with your goals, and outweigh the benefits of graduate degrees:

 

1)      Finish much faster – A certificate program can be a quicker way to learn new skills and takes a fraction of the time needed to obtain a bachelor’s or graduate degree. With anywhere from five to seven courses, a certificate can be completed in as little as six months. Plus, you can often transfer in credits and/or test out of something that you already know making it even quicker!

 

2)      Pay significantly less – With a certificate program costing much less than a degree, you don’t have to spend as much of your hard-earned money on advancing your education. In fact, certificates are a fraction of the cost of degrees programs. It’s a cost-effective way to get more education, while being mindful of your bottom line and without accruing unnecessary debt.

3)      Advance your career – If you’re looking to advance in your current position, you will benefit from a fresh set of skills, which can take your knowledge to the next level. Prove your value to your employer by rounding out your abilities. This can open the door to an opportunity within your existing organization, lead to a promotion, or forge the path to a whole new career. It’s the ideal way to complement what you already know with new, in-demand skills!

 

4)      Build your resume – Is your last academic achievement years ago? Enrolling in a certificate program can provide you with updated skills and credentials. Imagine adding fresh, up-to-date skills to your resume, allowing you to put your best foot forward. This can give you an edge when a potential employer has to decide between you and another candidate for a job.

 

5)      Increase your income potential – When you gain new career skills, you increase your value as an employee. Whether this leads to a new position or added duties within your existing position, you will have the opportunity to explore new opportunities, which may lead to more money.  When you combine the cost of getting a certificate program with the potential payoff, it makes perfect sense to choose this education option!

 

6)      Get specialized education – While a degree covers more general areas of study, a certificate program hones in on specific areas and skills. This means you can pinpoint exactly what you want to learn and gain a specialized skill-set. The education from a certificate program translates directly to on-the-job knowledge, meaning you can directly apply what you learn.

 

As you can see, a certificate program can be an ideal complement to your existing degree when you are looking for career-specific education. When you factor in the money and time spent on a certificate program and the potential result on your career, it makes sense to dedicate your time and money to a solution that will pay off for you. In fact, with the American Institutes for Research® citing that “some short-term, higher education credentials are worth as much as long-term ones,” you should consider this education option if you’re looking for professional advancement.

 

If you already have a degree and want to further pursue your educational endeavors, you should consider a specialized certificate program. Not only will you gain career-specific skills, you will gain a distinct career advantage – a win-win for your future! Call (888) 384-0849 today to learn what certificate programs are available and how they can add in-demand skills to your career.