Sure, you’ll get a boost, but it’s not as powerful as you think

Coffee can’t help much with challenging assignments. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

If you’re tired and counting on coffee to push through a tough workday, be forewarned.

A caffeine boost can help with simple tasks, but new research from Michigan State University shows it won’t do you much good when confronting more challenging assignments.

Published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, the study was done by researchers at MSU’s Sleep and Learning Lab and led by Psychology Associate Professor Kimberly Fenn.

The 276 research subjects were randomly assigned to either stay awake overnight in the laboratory or to sleep at home, per the study. The next morning, participants…

How the marketing strategy pays off for Costco and Sam’s Club

Shoppers are cheering for the return of free food samples. Photo by Omar Abascal on Unsplash

When Costco announced it was bringing back free food samples, the internet erupted in joy.

“Free Costco Samples are Back, Baby,” trumpeted New York Magazine’s Grub Street.

Once again, you can make a meal of complimentary Ritz crackers with proprietary cheese spread and free miniature hot dogs! Or, as I like to call them, ‘passed apps,’ ” wrote Rachel Sugar.

Mashed was equally enthusiastic: “At long last, we can finally get our hands on some hot samples again.”

For many employees, the pandemic means missing meals, breaks, and vacations

The pressure to perform means many staffers are working long hours during the pandemic. Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

In the “always-on economy,” it’s no wonder people struggle to manage their workloads.

Although many employees report their productivity was the same — or higher — over the past year, it came at a cost, according to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index.

A Work Trend survey of 31,092 employees in 31 markets worldwide was done by independent research company Edelman Data in January.

Fifty-four percent of survey respondents said they were overworked, 39 percent reported they felt exhausted, and 37 percent said their companies were asking too much of them.

One in five survey respondents said their employer doesn’t care about…

A new study shows what you eat tonight can have a big impact

If you’re dragging at work today, it may be because of what you ate last night. Photo by on Unsplash

Did you get off to a slow start today?

As the clock inched forward, did every hour feel endless? Were you tempted to knock off early so you could collapse on the sofa with the remote in your hand?

It may be time to give some thought to what you ate last night.

New research shows that unhealthy eating in the evening can have a negative impact on your work the next day.

For the study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, researchers asked 97 full-time employees to answer several questions three times a day for 10 consecutive workdays…

And other ways to be a valued and trusted confidant

Giving advice is tricky. You want to be helpful without being overbearing. Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

My grandmother, a feisty five-foot fireball born and raised in Missouri’s Ozarks, always said the same thing when I complained about someone who failed to follow my well-meaning advice.

“Tammy,” she’d say, shaking her head, “You can’t tell anybody a damn thing.”

They were wise words, and I think about them every time I’m tempted to lay some uninvited “wisdom” on friends and family members.

When someone seeks your advice, it’s an honor.

They’re making themself vulnerable, giving you a glimpse of their most heartfelt hopes or deepest fears.

If they wanted to crowd-source solutions, they could have logged on…

Planned version of the app for children under 13 galvanizes critics

Critics are concerned about children’s privacy and their vulnerability to online bullies and predators. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Instagram is developing a version of its photo-sharing app for kids, and critics are clamoring for the project to be jettisoned.

BuzzFeed News broke the story that parent company Facebook is building a version of Instagram for kids under 13. The announcement was posted on an internal employee message board and obtained by the online news site.

Both Facebook and Instagram have policies that prohibit children under 13 from joining but have had difficulty enforcing them.

The project stirred considerable controversy, most recently with 44 attorneys general who last week wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg urging him…

How the pandemic shifted shoppers’ grocery preferences

Many shoppers began checking out private-label food brands during the pandemic. Photo by Laura James from Pexels

Once considered second-tier options, private-label food brands are coming on strong.

Shortages and cost concerns prompted many buyers to give store brands a try during the pandemic. Pleased with their purchases, many added private-label products to their shopping lists.

Now, retailers are ramping up production and expanding their private-label portfolios to solidify new buying habits.

Amazon, for example, just launched Aplenty.

Aplenty’s offerings include pita chips, potato chips, cookies, and honey Dijon mustard, Supermarket News reported. Hundreds of additional items are expected over the next year, including candy, crackers, frozen food, condiments, and baking mixes.

New studies support years of research about the damage it does.

Research shows that physical discipline has been linked to anxiety, depression, behavioral problems, and substance abuse. Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

When I was a child, spanking was my mother’s go-to punishment.

That’s the reason I decided — long before I had children — I’d never use physical discipline.

When she lost her temper, my mother grabbed a flyswatter, a hairbrush, a paint stirrer, a paddle, or a switch and started swinging. If nothing was within reach, her open hand left the same lingering sting.

I remember clenching my fists, squeezing my eyes closed, and telling myself, “I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to cry,” over and over when she spanked me.

Despite my feigned defiance, I was scared…

New research shows how to bring your best self to work

Leaders who use this morning reflection were more likely to report helping co-workers and providing strategic vision. Photo by EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA from Pexels

If you’re the boss — or aspire to be — new research shows that reflecting on the kind of leader you want to be could spur your success.

“It’s as simple as taking a few moments in the morning while you’re drinking your coffee to reflect on who you want to be as a leader,” said Remy Jennings, a doctoral student in the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business. Jennings, along with UF professor Klodiana Lanaj, wrote the study published in Personnel Psychology.

Researchers invited students enrolled in a weekend MBA program at a large midwestern university in the…


Former reporter/editor now freelancing from the base of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. I write about business, health and mental health.

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