Take a Break, Improve Your Performance

Allen School Online Students know what it means to be multi-taskers.  Between studying medical billing and coding, many have full time jobs, households to run and many other challenging commitments to honor every day.  This is why some of us tend to be wound tightly, stressed and feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish all we are responsible for.  Here’s the answer to this condition:  TAKE A BREAK!  Yes, you heard me right.  And I am not being snarky either.  It has been proven that taking well planned breaks throughout your day can really help alleviate the stressful conditions that lead to anxiety, insomnia and other productivity-sapping ailments.  It seems counter-intuitive, but investing a little time in your own emotional well being can pay dividends in your job performance, demeanor and attitude.  All of which are crucial to success in business and in life.  Click here to read more about the details and science behind taking a break in this excellent article from LifeHacker.com.

Antibiotics in Food – Stopping the Rise of Superbugs

The Allen School Online blog has long covered the subject of MRSA and other so-called “superbugs” which are virulent strains of pathogens highly resistant to antibiotic treatment.  The long suspected culprit behind the rise of MRSA and other superbugs is the abuse of antibiotics by agri-business which continues to routinely include antibiotics in the feed used on poultry, cattle and hog farms.  The overuse of antibiotics is thought to promote the mutation of bacteria as all but the most resistant strains are eliminated.  Unfortunately, farm lobbies have effectively thwarted any attempts to regulate or eliminate this dangerous practice.  However, the public is ahead of Congress (as usual) in their support for such regulations.  Follow over the fold for some truly terrifying data.  Continue reading…

New Year, New Goals

Welcome back Allen School Online students.  The new year is now upon us and it holds exceptional promise for growth and advancement.  Especially if you’re preparing to enter the career force as a medical billing and coding professional.  It is also a time to refocus our energies on the goals we set forth for ourselves.  So after great reflection, what have you resolved to accomplish this year?  Share your resolutions, plans and goals with your fellow Allen School Online students in the comments section below.  Sharing your perspectives is a great contribution to your fellow students and a wonderful way to help articulate your plans.

Stories of Holiday Good Will

Sometimes this world can seem downright cruel.  All year long, the news is dominated by story after story of people doing horrible things each unto the other.  From large scale wars and crimes against humanity to the exploitation of the weak, old and infirm, there is much wickedness in these times.  It can almost make one throw their hands into the air and decide, disgustedly, to simply not care any more.But then, each December, as the holiday season really gets into swing, it seems as though people stop to think a bit more about how to exercise good will and increased kindness toward their fellow man.  Take for example this heartwarming story here.Then consider the man in Colorado who returned an unmarked casino envelope containing $10,000 in cash he found in the airport.Whether these stories exist because of a jaded media’s attempt to sow the illusion of good will toward men to capitalize on the holidays or because people truly do soften their hearts at the holidays, the net effect is to restore a bit of faith in humanity.  This is sorely needed as one’s faith in humanity, these days, is rightly shaken on a regular enough basis that it hardly shocks us anymore.This holiday season, remember to love your fellow travelers in this life and try to treat all you encounter with the kindness you’d wish to be treated with.

A New Beginning Rises out of Lower Manhattan

The shadows of the Twin Towers Stretch Over Lower Manhattan

Although some of you may be studying online from places very far away from New York, the Allen School ground campuses and administrative offices are all located in the greater New York City metro area.  As such, we all have a local connection to the events of 9/11.  This blogger traveled from his home about an hour upstate into Manhattan over the last weekend to attend a birthday party and noticed, for the first time, the looming superstructure of the new Freedom Tower rising up in the gaping hole left in the skyline of lower Manhattan by the fallen World Trade Center towers.  It was both a visceral shock and an emotional moment.  It felt as though something that had long been missing, something stolen, had been returned to city and my view.So I was pretty jazzed to see this story on the cool-beans website, Gizmodo.com. Have a look at the killer view the new tower will sport.  Can’t wait until it opens so I can go to the top and look down.

Get Your Resume Past the Electronic Screeners

With so many people looking for jobs in this tough economy, hiring authorities are getting buried under mountains of resumes.  Many have turned to automation software to scan and screen paper resumes and sort out the relevant ones from the rest.  As a result, most resumes aren’t reviewed by a human being until they have been selected by the algorithm of a sophisticated “applicant tracking system” software.  Wanna know how to game that system and make sure that your resume is actually viewed by the hiring manager?  I BET you do.  Let me hook you up with some pretty savvy, tech-based, Human Resources secret knowledge.  Visit this awesome article from the cool nerds over at Lifehacker.com.  It tells you the whole story on how to use keywords and other techniques for getting past the robot screener.

Boost Concentration and Memory

Being an Online Student at Allen School Online (or really being a student of medical billing and coding anywhere) requires great levels of concentration and memory.  There are many specifics to learn, commit to memory and recall, as needed once you enter the fast paced work world.  For this reason, I think nearly all our readers could benefit from some tips on how to keep your brain fresh and operating at optimal levels.  |Some of these things are intuitive like, “Don’t deprive yourself of sleep if it can be helped” and “Eat more foods with Omega 3 fatty acids which help boost brain activity”.  But there are alot of other techniques too like “Making sure to find laughter and laugh often” and “Enjoy a glass of wine several times each week” which don’t seem like the standard, run of the mill suggestions.Here and here are some links to several sites offering more orthodox and unorthodox ideas for keeping your mind sharp.

Productivity Boosting Sites for Students

Being an online student at Allen School means you’re already someone inclined to multi-task and to find innovative ways of getting work done more quickly and efficiently.  So you’ll probably be stoked with this list of nearly 30 websites designed to help students optimize their activities in such student-centric areas as online research, homework composition, buying/selling of textbooks, handy tools and academic social networking.  Find easy PDF converters, textbook exchanges, professor reviews and many other tools, services and products to help optimize your productivity as a student.  Visit this Student Productivity Guide for the details.  You can thank me later!

Top Job Locations for 2012 – Hope You Like the Desert

Forbes magazine is out with its list of top states for job growth in 2012.  Four of the top 5 on the Forbes list of 10 are desert states.  Texas, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico are numbers one through four.  Before you pull up stakes though, pack your freshly minted Allen School Online medical billing and coding certificate and head West, consider this important caveat.  All the states on Forbes’ list are so-called “right to work” states.  These are states that have instituted laws making it more difficult for unions to organize.  As a result, lots of large companies, particularly manufacturers, have made the move into these states to take advantage of lower wage standards in the absence of collective bargaining.  This may explain the jump in available positions and new hiring in these states.  While medical billing and coding jobs are generally not candidates for unionized workforces (except maybe in large healthcare organizations), it is worth noting that workers  “right to work” states generally suffer lower overall earning power than their counterparts in other states.   So unless you’re super fond of painted desert landscapes, native American artwork and motifs or warm winter months, you may be better off staying coastal.  After all both Oregon and Georgia made the list too!