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The Unconventional Guide to Work

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18 Inspiring Articles By Empowering Women That Will Change Your Life

Sometimes the internet can be a vast and confusing place. And as a time-poor business owner, busy employee or bustling contractor, ain’t nobody got time for that. So what happens when you’ve hit the dreaded afternoon slump, and need a quick pick-me-up?

Where do you look for inspiration?

Maybe you start scrolling through Reddit or your overwhelming bookmarks bar, finally turning in desperation to your social media channels (bad idea...they’re a dangerous black hole).

But don’t worry, we’ve got your back! To coincide with International Women’s Day, we’ve put together a list of inspiring blog posts and talks by empowering women, across a diverse range of topics and themes. Whatever industry you’re in, I hope these resonate with you, bring a smile to your face and ultimately inspire you to do your best work.

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Business

1 – Unintuitive Things I’ve Learned about Management (Part 1)

And…

2 – Unintuitive Things I’ve Learned about Management (Part 2)

Julie Zhou, VP of design at Facebook, has quickly became one of my favourite writers/bloggers. She writes with a depth and humanness that is highly original and extremely appealing. I’ve already consumed and highlighted my way through most of her writing on Medium but found this 2 part series to be particularly relevant.

Favourite Quote: “Look, nobody’s perfect. In some facets of our lives we’re heroes, and in others we’re shitty.”

Read it for: Inspiration on becoming a better manager or understanding what makes your own manager tick and cutting them some slack! 

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3 – Influencers Aren't Born, They're Built — Here's How

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Annie Chung via Women 2.0

Annie Chung, co-founder of Women 2.0 (one of the largest global communities for women working in technology) has been named one of the most influential women in technology. In this robust interview piece she shares tangible tips on becoming a voice of power and persuasion.

Favourite Quote: “If you speak openly and often, you don’t need to speak loudly”

Read it for: Actionable tips and advice on how to purposefully influence others, and create a strong personal brand in the workplace. 

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4 – 50 Inspirational Leadership Quotes From Women

Maya-Angelou-inspiring-women.gifMaya Angelous via Yes magazine

Favourite Quote: “Leadership should be more participative than directive, more enabling than performing.” - Mary D. Poole (Author)

Read it for: Understanding that there is no one-size-fits all approach to management and leadership and getting a little inspiration to fuel your fire.

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5 – Hit a Profit Plateau? 8 Breakout Ideas for Small Businesses

Favourite Quote: “Taking your business to the next level is going to take hard work, passion and courage. Have you got what it takes?”

Read it for: Ideas on how to accelerate your business growth after hitting a slump.

6 – 10 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings

The self proclaimed “most important business website in the world”, The Cooper Review is the satirical blog of Sarah Cooper. It’s bursting with relevant, funny, HUGELY ACCURATE comics about business, office life and the tech world.

Favourite Quote: “Draw a Venn diagram...in fact the more inaccurate the better”

Read it for: The realisation that EVERYONE in your workplace probably feels the same, that there’s no need for imposter syndrome, that we’re all in the same boat, that you shouldn’t take yourself so seriously, that there are some simple hacks you can incorporate to survive certain business situations.

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Creativity & Design

7 – Should I Work For Free?

Alright, this one isn’t quite a blog post, but I think it’s so clever and addresses a big issue a lot of designers and freelancers struggle with (at whatever stage of their career they are!). In fact it’s such an important topic that we’ve often mentioned it on the WorkflowMax blog.  

Favourite Quote: “Is it for your mom? 22 hours of labor and you can't do ONE goddamn garage sale flyer?? COME ON!”

Read it for: A fun way to gauge whether you should work for free or not in certain situations.  

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8 – Thoughts on writing

be-a-better-writer.jpg 

Elizabeth Gilbert is probably synonymous with Eat Pray Love in your mind, but she’s written several other books, short story collections and memoirs, and continues to champion the way for creatives around the world.

Favourite Quote: “I believe that – if you are serious about a life of writing, or indeed about any creative form of expression – that you should take on this work like a holy calling.”

Read it for: Getting started again when you begin doubting yourself and keeping on going when the going gets tough. Yes, Gilbert writes specifically about writers, but her incredibly astute advice applies across the ball to whatever industry or line of work you’re in.

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9 – Do What You’ve Never Done Before

Renowned designer and artist Paula Scher, discusses four landmark projects over her career where asking questions, pushing the boundaries and ignoring the brief (to an extent) led to great work.

Favourite Quote: “Once you know what you’re doing, it’s not as good.”

Read it for: Knowing when to push back on the client and understanding how to ask the right questions – to ultimately achieve your best work.

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10 – Don’t Complain, Create

Tina Roth Eisenberg, founder of Swiss Miss discusses her 5 rules for creating a fulfilling life.

Favourite Quote: “I have a rule: If I keep complaining about something, I either do something about it or let it go.”

Read it for: The kick in the butt to stop complaining about stuff, to let things go more easily, and to start doing!

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11 – Make time. What You Do Outside Of Work Matters.  

Ximena Vengoechea writes about career pathing, behavioral design and the intersection of technology and society. Her work is highly original and extremely illuminating. Prepare to be massively inspired!

Favourite Quote: “I don’t have more hours in the day than anyone else: I just make time for things that are important to me.”

Read it for: Getting some momentum on that project you were waiting to start, the side gig you always wanted to take up but never did, claiming that extra responsibility at work that you talked yourself out of. After reading this blog post you’ll feel like all of the above can be done!

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Culture/Lifestyle

12 – 8 Best Books For Your Career

Rated “One of the Top 10 Lifestyle Websites for Women" by Forbes, A Cup of Jo covers fashion, beauty, design, food, travel, relationships, motherhood and lifestyle. It's a great place to go when you want to put a smile on your face. Additional benefits: learning something new and indulging in some healthy ogling.

Favourite Quote: “The more you love to do something, the easier you make it look, the faster you are at it, the more VALUABLE you are because of your passion.”

Read it for: Big ideas and career advice, and learning to say no (the right way).

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13 – How and why to do a life audit

Life-audit-graph.png

Original sketch by the author

Sometimes you just need to take a step back and re-examine what the f*ck what you’re doing with your life. In this amazing post, Ximena Vengoechea discusses exactly how to go about architecting the life you want.

Favourite Quote: “Life audit (n, origin unknown): An exercise in self-reflection that helps you clear the cobwebs of noisy, external goals and current distractions, and revisit or uncover the real themes & core values that drive & inspire you. Also known as: spring-cleaning for the soul.”

Read it for: Figuring out what’s important to you in your life. 

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14 – 3 Surprising Ways Journaling Can Help You Lead a Better Life

Favourite Quote: “By putting these deep thoughts and fears down on paper, I ce – and was one step closer to releasing them, along with each of my failed attempts at control.”

Read it for: Uncovering a potentially new and exciting way to help organise all aspects of your life.

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15 – You’re not equal, I’m sorry

Favourite Quote: “But I get it. You don’t want to admit it. You don’t want to be a victim. You think feminism is a dirty word.”

Read it for: Staying up to date with contemporary issues, the current climate in the world regarding gender equality and getting fired up (the right way) about our place in the world.

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16 – The Elusive Work Life Balance: 7 Ways to Avoid Burnout

Favourite Quote: “You need to become an expert at saying ‘no’. It’s one of the hardest words in the English language to get comfortable saying.”

Read it for: Knowing when and how to re-charge and ultimately lead a more fulfilling career and life.

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17 – 6 Books By Inspiring Women To Add To Your Booklist These Holidays

Favourite Quote: “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.” – Sheryl Sandberg

Read it for: A digital detox, feel good vibes and some healthy self-education.

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18 – A story of a fuck off fund

Favourite Quote: “You want to be, no, you will be the kind of woman who can tell anyone to fuck off if a fuck off is deserved, so naturally you start a Fuck Off Fund.”

Read it for: Knowing when to say no and woman empowerment.

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Do you have any blog posts or talks which have inspired you? We’d love to hear and share them!

Also, check out these 10 excellent ways to celebrate international women’s day.