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5 Counterintuitive Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Time

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Do you think you’ll accomplish everything you want to before you die? Do you sometimes worry you won’t reach your goals? Do you have a plan to get what you want? If you’re like most people, you often have trouble squeezing in everything you want to do during the day, week or month, let alone everything you might want to accomplish in a lifetime. Updates from friends on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat come in to your phone at all hours of the day and night. Invites to activities, events, festivals, etc. blow up your phone on a regular basis.

At the office, things aren’t much better. Your Outlook inbox explodes with messages from clients, colleagues, or your boss, and everyone wants something different. You use multiple tools for managing your tasks, and every month something new seems to come out which promises to save you time and reduce the number of distractions in your life. Let me break the bad news, it won’t.

The truth is, you have more time than you think to accomplish what you want out of life. As of 2016, men tend to live on average 69 years, versus 72 years for women. If most people start work at 18 and continue on until retirement around 65, this means you spend 47 years of your life working. You have, most likely, more time than you think to accomplish all that you want to do in this life. I urge you to slow down and take a few of these suggestions to heart as you think about how to get the most out of your days in the future.

Here are 5 ways to make the most out of your time here on earth:

1. Take personal days

The idea of taking a personal day has been around for a long time, but few people really consider the value of taking one on a regular basis. Whether this means leaving work early on the third Friday of every month to do some “life-admin” or taking an entire day off in the middle of the week once a month to rigorously outline your plans and objectives for the future, the value of a personal day dedicated to reflection and personal development is completely underrated in today’s go-go society. I would urge you to set aside an entire day (half-days won’t work, as they are likely to be encroached upon) and make a concerted effort to spend that time reflecting about what you want to accomplish and the steps you will take to get there.

 “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that other throw at him.” – David Brinkley

2. Structure in blank space for distraction free work

While taking time off to plan out your life and checking your personal progress is great, it is also important to structure small blocks of personal “switch off” time to let your mind wander during the typical work week. This may mean structuring in “strategic blocks” of one to two hours as suggested by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington in their book The 12 Week Year, or it may mean making a regular habit of doing “30 before 7:30” (30 minutes of concentrated work before 7:30am each morning) as suggested by Mel Robbins in her book The 5 Second Rule. Whatever you do, make sure you allow yourself some distraction free work time so that you can get into the flow.

3. Leave technology behind

We are tethered to our devices like never before, and we are rarely out of arm’s reach of something that can connect us to anyone (or any piece of information) in the world. I say this with some trepidation, because I am not entirely pleased about it. Sure, it is fantastic to have access to a device that can allow us to order food, call a car, create a professional looking video clip or photo, and post updates online all in the space of a few seconds, but it comes at a price.

Despite having the freedom to connect with anyone and do nearly anything from behind a touch screen device, we have effectively become servants for the same network of interconnected apps and platforms. So, at the risk of having you stop reading this article, I urge you to put down your device for at least 1 day a week and connect with people in more humanistic (face to face) ways.

4. Spend time with others not like you

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Think hard about that, because it will help define how you spend the rest of your life. If you believe that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with, you will need to be careful that you spend time with people that add to your life, rather than detract from it.

The more time you spend with people that come from similar backgrounds and share similar views as you, the more you will become closed off to the world around you. This is an easy habit to fall into, but it is one that can have dire consequences if you are serious about stretching yourself and reaching lofty goals. Go out and explore, and spend time with people that push you in new and exciting ways.

“I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.” – Estee Lauder

5. Have more fun

I have noticed more and more that people tend to take pride in how stressed out they are and how much they work when they’re in the office. They then swing to the opposite extreme during the weekends, getting belligerently drunk and partying or staying in and watching Netflix for 48 hours straight. This is no way to live. It’s easy for me to call out because, truth be told, I used to be this way.

Too often, people find themselves caught up in a world that promotes stress, anxiety and long-hours as a badge of honor. Rather than promote and support this type of behavior by falling into the trap of stress and anxiety caused by overwork, look for ways to have fun in the moment. Talk to colleagues, give compliments, make connections, learn new things, and just try to connect with others.

Remember, you’ve likely got around 65-80 years on this planet, you don’t want to spend the majority of that time stressed out, waiting for the weekend. Instead, take to heart a few of these counterintuitive tricks and embrace every day with newfound appreciation. You won’t regret it, I promise.

How do you maximize your time? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

McVal Osborne is the author of Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. rajuram

    Jun 11, 2018 at 3:45 am

    This is exactly why it’s so powerful to engage children in positive, creative and meaningful media! Great selection of quotes!

  2. Gian-Carlo Remini

    Jun 10, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    Great stuff. the Steps are really simple and easy to achieve. I found making goals and sticking to them very helpful. As many I lacked time and motivation. I started balancing my work, play and personal life and starting to feel much less stressed out.

  3. Gianna LaMaina

    May 31, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    I am so glad you called this out, why are people more inclined to “brag” about how stressed they are rather than what they did over the weekend with their families. It is so important to put mental health first above anything, and to not glorify the workaholic lifestyle. Great read, thank you.

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Life

How to Fight Off Burnout With a Workout

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A lot of entrepreneurs complain about burnout and its buddies; migraines, lack of sleep, uneasiness, anxiety, and clouded thinking. When we are under stress and fatigue, almost to a point when we would just like to fall into a deep sleep and skip work for 48 hours, our mind does not function properly. In fact, here’s an experiment – think about your latest bad decisions in business, and think about your last friction with a co-worker, employee, or a boss.

Don’t you credit that experience to “a bad day”? And most likely, you were really tired or stressed that day, right? Now, it doesn’t matter if we only slept two hours that day or we woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning, some days are just bad. You feel tired, you don’t have time for self-reflection, there’s just so many things that need to be done.

However, what if there’s a little hack you can do so that you can increase the probability of a good work day? Would you do it? Well, here it is – get moving. You’re tired? Go hit the pool. Stressed out? Book a yoga class. Need a break from the concrete jungle? Invite your friends for a round of beach volleyball this weekend. The thing is, for you to beat burnout and exhaustion, you can tap into your reserve energy, and use it to produce more. Sound counterintuitive? We don’t blame you for thinking that, but several studies have proven that this works.

Tackling the science

A study done at the University of British Columbia found that cardio exercises like aerobics, dance, or martial arts boosts your hippocampus size. This is the part of the brain that facilitates knowledge transfer, memory, and emotional regulation. So whatever it is that you do for work or whatever business you’re in, exercise will absolutely improve your mind’s disposition while you’re doing it.

Regular exercise also encourages better sleep, which leads to a clearer mind and a healthier disposition. As you know, when you’re sleep deprived, you are prone to mistakes, bad judgment, and overly sensitive feelings. Reduced stress and anxiety have also been reported to be a positive effect of regular exercise and good sleep.

“Strength does not come from the physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Ghandi

Real life business action stars weigh in

Richard Branson, a known entrepreneur, enjoys a wide range of activities for his daily exercise. From kitesurfing, to tennis, to yoga, he makes sure he inserts ample exercise hours to his days. He varies his daily activities and claims that it adds hours of productivity to him.

Jack Dorsey, CEO and co-founder of Twitter and Square, admits to following a tight schedule for exercise. He clocks in gym time, runs at least five kilometers daily, and also practices yoga. He believes it’s integral to how he does business and how he can function as a high performance entrepreneur. And since he owns two high – profile tech businesses, we can only imagine how busy his days get, yet, there’s really no excuse to not get active!

Where you can start

According to experts, the key here is to pick a physical activity that you actually enjoy. Something that you will look forward to doing. The first few days of your new lifestyle will be dedicated to building the habit rather than trying to lose weight or build muscle.

Another easy technique is including your loved ones or your colleagues in these activities. Since you are also looking forward to spending time with them and helping them become healthier, this is a good plus.

“Strive for progress, not perfection.”

Lastly, record and chart your experience. Keep track of the time you spend exercising; how soon you feel tired at work, whether you still get migraines, difficulty of sleeping, or find yourself bingeing…whatever your bad habits are before, see how exercise can change a lot of things for you.

Then, also keep a separate record or diary for how it helped your business. Did you see a drastic jump in productivity? Better time management? Better mood? Better decision making? Monitor it so you can appreciate it better. This way, you feel motivated to keep the habit and can even share your experience to your fellow entrepreneurs!

To many people, exercise is a way to get the body they want so they can look good and feel good at the same time. The thing is, constant correct physical activity, is just another way for you to reward yourself for building positive habits. Plus, now that you know it’s also a key factor to being successful in business, we’re pretty sure you’re never second-guessing this anymore. Now, are you ready to build a real empire? Then build the strength to create it first.

How do you cool off after a stressful experience? Comment below!

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Life

6 Positive Side Effects of Being Grateful

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Unless you’ve been living on a remote tropical island (and during recent turbulent times you may have been tempted to escape there), you have seen the growing evidence about the huge positive impact gratitude has on your health. As little as five minutes a day of focused gratitude, the no-cost quality of life booster, contributes to impressive improvements not only in emotional health, but also in physical, social, and spiritual health.

Some may ask, “what is gratitude?” Gratitude is a different emotion from happiness because it is most often a reaction to another individual’s generosity. The trigger, according to science, is to receive a message from someone else, interpret it as beneficial to yourself, and experience thankfulness.

Repeatedly, studies have shown that performing simple gratitude exercises, like keeping a gratitude diary or writing letters of thanks, can produce a range of impressive health benefits that often continue well after the expressions of gratitude are finished.

Ready to boost all your dimensions with some thank you’s? Here are 6 positive side effects of being grateful:

1. Physical Benefits

People who experience and express gratitude report feeling healthier than other people and report fewer aches and pains. This positive attitude creates a generous snowball of good health since thankful people are also more likely to exercise more often and visit their doctor regularly, which is likely to contribute to further longevity. The health benefits of a daily gratitude journal have been proven to decrease depression and anxiety, as well as improve cardiovascular function in heart patients.

A free health booster for us all? Grab a pen before bed and spend a mere 15 minutes jotting down what you are grateful for that day, and odds are you will sleep better and longer. That increases not only your quality but also potentially the quantity of your life.

2. Adds To Your Emotional Bank Account Balance

The math of your emotional bank account is pretty simple: positive emotions contribute, negative emotions withdraw. More positive + less negative = Higher emotional balance. Research shows that when it comes to your emotional bank account, gratitude is like a generous grandma who just can’t stop giving, and defends her sweet one against all negative withdrawals.

The simple act of writing a thank-you note to someone who has blessed you produces profound good feelings, empathy, and optimism. Remembering the moment that inspired the thank you card, in turn, produces even more positive emotions, a sort of cascading happiness effect.

Not only does gratitude increase well-being and happiness, it also shuts down emotional withdrawals by decreasing toxic emotions such as envy, resentment, frustration, guilt, and regret. No wonder small daily deposits of gratitude can have a compounding effect on your emotional bank account. So, go write grandma that thank you note you’ve been meaning to send. She’s earned your interest!

“Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.” – Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

3. Builds Stronger Relationships

Grateful people appear warm and responsive, which increases their trust in others and influences them to approach and bond with their benefactors. Researchers refer to this as the “broaden-and-build theory” of positive emotions, where positive feelings encourage us to seek out new experiences, people, and activities. This comfort zone expansion increases the odds of finding high-quality relationship partners.

Expressions of thanks can also reinforce the bonds of current relationships, through the give-and-take of mutual gratitude. This immediate effect of greater joy contributes to long-term social success, so much that the person receiving gratitude reaps rewards in personal well-being and relationship satisfaction up to six months after the deliberate gratitude expression. That’s a powerful social benefit!

4. Better Work Environment

The impact of gratitude can even improve your work environment. A simple daily practice of reflecting on the parts of your job you are grateful for has been proven to positively impact your productivity, goal achievement, decision-making and networking skills.

Not only can being thankful help you manage your job responsibilities more effectively, but it also reduces job-related stress and burnout. Knowing this, it’s not hard to see how small doses of thankfulness could result in increased job satisfaction, but also a potential promotion, when you play your thank you cards right!

5. Fills Your Spirit

The spiritual blessings of counting your blessings are profound. Being grateful for what you have improves your self-esteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance and achieving your life purpose.

Recent research on types of gratitude have important significance for not only individuals but society as a whole. Study participants who had reflected on and expressed gratitude for experiences rather than material purchases, were significantly more generous to others and kept less for themselves than did those in the group who reflected on possessions.

One explanation, according to scientists, is that when people feel closer to other humans, they might treat others better. By structuring community experiences and events that promote social and spiritual connection, organizers can encourage more future altruistic behavior, which benefits us all.

“It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” – Naomi Williams

6. Brain Power

Still skeptical? Even brain scans, hard scientific data, are confirming the astonishing impact of gratitude in 3 fascinating ways. A brain experiencing gratitude toward a specific person is flooded with feel-good hormones which makes you more inclined to desire that feeling again and make you feel attached to others at the same time.

Brain scans show gratitude also does something quite peculiar: it activates the hypothalamus.  Being thankful actually makes our metabolism, hunger and other natural bodily functions work more efficiently.

Perhaps most significantly during this high-stress era, gratitude increases mental strength. Remembering all you have to be thankful for, even during the most tragic times of your life, creates resilience and reduces Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

So, there you have it. That “Attitude of Gratitude” isn’t a platitude…it’s a health booster of highest magnitude!

What are you most grateful for today? Let us know in the comments below!

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Life

6 Proven Methods to Help You Take Back Your Daily Power

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Everyday, you wake up ready to take on the world. In your mind, you’re prepared for anything that comes your way, however  there are distractions that come along throughout the day. Each distraction takes away a little bit of your daily power, and eventually, you become numb to your intention of proactively having an awesome day. You’re simply out of mental energy because little negative distractions started to add up and your day goes down the drain by noon.

To stay focused on making your goals happen, here are 6 solutions to help you stop giving away your daily power:

1. Take your attention away from the distraction

It’s not a distraction if you don’t pay attention to it. Normally, when something happens, you automatically turn your focus to what’s going on. You’re now caught up in it and you want to see it through to the end. After 15 minutes, you then realize, “Where did the time go?” If you let daily distractions get the best of you, it will snowball into an unproductive day.

2. Keep moving forward

This is the rule for everything. No matter what happens or what gets in your way, keep moving forward. Your goal is to get things done and it won’t get done if you stop and complain about it. It’s so easy to give away your daily power to something that doesn’t even matter so don’t allow little things to stop you from making big moves. If it’s not helping you with your work, it’s not worth stopping to discuss and criticize. Keep moving forward.

“You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.” – Tony Robbins

3. Leave the arguments to other people

People who argue waste a ton of time. Unless it’s your job to find others to argue with, it’s useless. You build up your emotions, trying to prove you’re right to someone who probably doesn’t really care. After you’re into your feelings, it’s hard to come back down and concentrate on what you were doing.

There are some people out there who literally argue for sport. They will pick an argument just to see the other person get worked up. Again, this is a real time waster and can mentally drain you. You could be using that energy towards making more important moves and decisions. Learn to bypass the arguments.

4. Just say no

When you’re doing your work, you will find that people will stop by and start a conversation. It’s like there’s a sign on your head that says, “I’m really deep into what I’m doing – please interrupt me.” Kindly tell that person that you can talk with them later, just not right now.

Also, if you’re invited to a party or a get-together that you really don’t want to go to, just say no. You may have more important things to accomplish and you honestly need that time to focus. Don’t feel like you’re obligated to go, just because they asked. An invitation allows you to say yes or no. Tell them you’ll make it next time.

“Learn to say no without explaining yourself.”

5. Stop worrying about what you can’t control

Things happen out of our control, yet that doesn’t mean you should take the time to complain about it. It means you should figure out a way to get around it and proceed with what you were doing in the first place. Accept the fact that it happened.

Unless you can change what happened, leave it alone and move on with your life. Some people get stuck on what happened and they don’t know how to get over it and move on. Focus your time and energy on what you can control. Make that happen.

6. Get over your emotions

Your emotions can take away a tremendous amount of your daily power. It sounds mean, but there should be a scheduled time when you put your emotions aside in order to work. You will not work effectively if you are emotional. Unless you’re a songwriter and you just broke up with your girlfriend, then it’s fine. That’s actually part of your work, because you’ll end up writing a hit song.

It’s the opposite for just about everything else. It’s not the right time to deal with emotions when your finger is on the red button and your cat just died. Devote some time to it, but not when you’re in the process of saving the world.

There are many ways small things can take away your daily power, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You are in control of your mind and your thoughts. If you are conscious enough to recognize when it’s happening, you can do something about it. Your day will be more productive and your daily power will be infinite.

How do you stay productive throughout the day? Let us know your advice in the comments below!

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Life

10 Simple Ways You Can Bounce Back in Life After Failure

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You’ve just failed to achieve something that you have aspired for. Maybe it’s a test, or a job, or even love. You’re now at a juncture, with two paths for you to consider: Sit and moan about it, but do nothing to change or bounce back. The reason you are reading this itself indicates that you are part of the latter category.

Here are 10 simple ways to bounce back in life no matter the situation:

1. I can do it and I will

This is, beyond doubt, the first thing you need to tell yourself every single day. Maybe even the first thing every single morning. Waking up reinvigorated, reinforce yourself ,“It’s a brand new day. There is so much for me to do, and now is the time. I can neither change my past, nor my future, but I shall act today and shape my future.”

2. Chalk out your plan

For anything that you want to achieve, be it a skill, passing a test, getting a job, losing weight or learning to drive, you need a plan. Chalking out this plan is your next step. It has to be based on your goal. Talk to experts, refer to relevant resources and read books about the goals that you want to accomplish. Come up with a plan as per your timeline and goals, the resources that you possess, and most importantly, your strengths.

“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.” – Colin Powell

3. Modularise your goal

Breaking down a significant task into smaller chunks always helps. It fosters self-belief and keeps the next goal in sight. Keep up your plan for a week and then break it down further to a daily level. Let’s say your goal is running a 5K marathon in the next month. Then your plan could look something like this:

  • 1st week – run 3 times a week.
  • 2nd week – run every day with short water breaks after every 8 /10 minutes.
  • 3rd week – Work on managing my breath.
  • 4th week – Practice and more practice (there’s no substitute for dedication).
  • D Day – Achieve what you’ve worked so hard for!

4. Keep track of your goal

The biggest mistake you could make is to think you have time. Before you realize it, all your time is gone. Unfortunately, time is the one resource we cannot conserve. Procrastination is addictive, and you will get better at it with each day that passes. Your backlog of tasks will keep growing each day, and to such an extent that one day, it seems unachievable and you have to abandon it. Bhagavad Geeta (an ancient scripture on how to live life) says – “your soul is your greatest friend as well as your biggest enemy. The real doer is your mind. Make it a habit to work to finish your target for the day. This becomes the base of building your confidence and belief in self.”

5. Celebrate your small wins

Reward yourself for sticking to your plan and achieving progress day by day. Getting yourself on the track is easier than keeping yourself there. Check your progress on a periodic basis. You may not be exactly where you planned yourself to be but, as long as you are within 10% of your planned progress, you’re good. Rewarding yourself for the progress made gives you the confidence and assurance to say, “I have made it till here and I have been consistent in my progress. I will make it.”

6. Be that deaf frog

Many of you would have heard about the story of the frog which climbed to the treetop while most of the other frogs kept shouting that it was impossible to reach the tree top. The reason it was able to reach the top was that it was deaf. So it couldn’t listen to all the negative comments, it was only focused on reaching its goal.

This applies to anyone, keeping one’s mind clean and positive is very important. If you keep listening to what people around you say and seek their approval, then you will never be able to progress. Our mind uses the sense organs to receive information and process it.

What we see, hear and whom we choose to be around is a major contributor to our thoughts. Hence, observing who you spend time with, is very important to keep you on your path. It’s always good to have friends whose company keeps you motivated.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

7. Avoid distractions, keep your eyes set on the goal

The formula for success in this age is the ability to focus and cut down on distractions, since all of us are force fed information every minute via social media and all the other channels. However, the authenticity and relevance of all this information are a huge question mark. All the media have very catchy or sensational titles to grab your attention.

This reduces our attention and memory span hugely. Continuing from the previous point, what you take inside determines your thoughts. Keep a watch on how you are spending your extra time. Keeping one limited on social media and Whatsapp is essential for success. Better not to be there at all, but the next best option is to limit yourself.

The question then arises, how else do I relax? Go for a walk, talk to your friends, or even go play outdoors. Do something that gives you happiness. You may feel left out, not knowing what’s happening in the world outside during the initial days, but there is nothing worth knowing that appears exclusively on social media. Eventually, you will get to know what’s important to you.

8. Don’t compare yourself to others

Your life is yours and you can never swap it with anyone else. Remember, the best of resources may not necessarily bring the best results, it’s the ones with the best attitude, and motivated minds that come up with the best results. You are the master of your life and no one else can make it better other than you.

9. Work on your weaknesses don’t run away from them

Everyone is unique and has their own set of strengths. Some may know how to portray their strengths in a better way, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have any strengths. See what you are good at and leverage on that. Work on your weak areas with more dedication to improve it. Running away from the problem will only make it bigger, and it is better to confront it and deal with it once and for all.

10. Reflect on where you started and how far have you come

Finally, reflect on where you started and how far you have come. It’s amazing to see what hurdles you have crossed to get where you are today. It’s by your determination and dedicated effort you have come here, and it doesn’t happen by luck or accident. Waiting for things to happen hasn’t brought you here, your efforts have. Ultimately, you will achieve your goal and your dream will become a positive reality. There is no better day than today to start your journey. Stay happy and positive, that’s a great vitamin for your mind.

How do you best recover from failure? Comment below!

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5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself to Stay Cool in Difficult Situations

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We all face challenging situations at work and in our personal lives, yet few of us deal with these experiences in a systematic way. We encounter obnoxious bosses, rude customers, and infuriating family members on a daily basis, yet we often don’t articulate the best way of dealing with these situations. Over time, these strains on our emotions and our mental resources take their toll, so it’s important to find ways to deal with challenging experiences efficiently and with the least about of work. (more…)

McVal Osborne is the author of Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. rajuram

    Jun 11, 2018 at 3:45 am

    This is exactly why it’s so powerful to engage children in positive, creative and meaningful media! Great selection of quotes!

  2. Gian-Carlo Remini

    Jun 10, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    Great stuff. the Steps are really simple and easy to achieve. I found making goals and sticking to them very helpful. As many I lacked time and motivation. I started balancing my work, play and personal life and starting to feel much less stressed out.

  3. Gianna LaMaina

    May 31, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    I am so glad you called this out, why are people more inclined to “brag” about how stressed they are rather than what they did over the weekend with their families. It is so important to put mental health first above anything, and to not glorify the workaholic lifestyle. Great read, thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

How to Fight Off Burnout With a Workout

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working out
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

A lot of entrepreneurs complain about burnout and its buddies; migraines, lack of sleep, uneasiness, anxiety, and clouded thinking. When we are under stress and fatigue, almost to a point when we would just like to fall into a deep sleep and skip work for 48 hours, our mind does not function properly. In fact, here’s an experiment – think about your latest bad decisions in business, and think about your last friction with a co-worker, employee, or a boss.

Don’t you credit that experience to “a bad day”? And most likely, you were really tired or stressed that day, right? Now, it doesn’t matter if we only slept two hours that day or we woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning, some days are just bad. You feel tired, you don’t have time for self-reflection, there’s just so many things that need to be done.

However, what if there’s a little hack you can do so that you can increase the probability of a good work day? Would you do it? Well, here it is – get moving. You’re tired? Go hit the pool. Stressed out? Book a yoga class. Need a break from the concrete jungle? Invite your friends for a round of beach volleyball this weekend. The thing is, for you to beat burnout and exhaustion, you can tap into your reserve energy, and use it to produce more. Sound counterintuitive? We don’t blame you for thinking that, but several studies have proven that this works.

Tackling the science

A study done at the University of British Columbia found that cardio exercises like aerobics, dance, or martial arts boosts your hippocampus size. This is the part of the brain that facilitates knowledge transfer, memory, and emotional regulation. So whatever it is that you do for work or whatever business you’re in, exercise will absolutely improve your mind’s disposition while you’re doing it.

Regular exercise also encourages better sleep, which leads to a clearer mind and a healthier disposition. As you know, when you’re sleep deprived, you are prone to mistakes, bad judgment, and overly sensitive feelings. Reduced stress and anxiety have also been reported to be a positive effect of regular exercise and good sleep.

“Strength does not come from the physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Ghandi

Real life business action stars weigh in

Richard Branson, a known entrepreneur, enjoys a wide range of activities for his daily exercise. From kitesurfing, to tennis, to yoga, he makes sure he inserts ample exercise hours to his days. He varies his daily activities and claims that it adds hours of productivity to him.

Jack Dorsey, CEO and co-founder of Twitter and Square, admits to following a tight schedule for exercise. He clocks in gym time, runs at least five kilometers daily, and also practices yoga. He believes it’s integral to how he does business and how he can function as a high performance entrepreneur. And since he owns two high – profile tech businesses, we can only imagine how busy his days get, yet, there’s really no excuse to not get active!

Where you can start

According to experts, the key here is to pick a physical activity that you actually enjoy. Something that you will look forward to doing. The first few days of your new lifestyle will be dedicated to building the habit rather than trying to lose weight or build muscle.

Another easy technique is including your loved ones or your colleagues in these activities. Since you are also looking forward to spending time with them and helping them become healthier, this is a good plus.

“Strive for progress, not perfection.”

Lastly, record and chart your experience. Keep track of the time you spend exercising; how soon you feel tired at work, whether you still get migraines, difficulty of sleeping, or find yourself bingeing…whatever your bad habits are before, see how exercise can change a lot of things for you.

Then, also keep a separate record or diary for how it helped your business. Did you see a drastic jump in productivity? Better time management? Better mood? Better decision making? Monitor it so you can appreciate it better. This way, you feel motivated to keep the habit and can even share your experience to your fellow entrepreneurs!

To many people, exercise is a way to get the body they want so they can look good and feel good at the same time. The thing is, constant correct physical activity, is just another way for you to reward yourself for building positive habits. Plus, now that you know it’s also a key factor to being successful in business, we’re pretty sure you’re never second-guessing this anymore. Now, are you ready to build a real empire? Then build the strength to create it first.

How do you cool off after a stressful experience? Comment below!

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Life

6 Positive Side Effects of Being Grateful

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Unless you’ve been living on a remote tropical island (and during recent turbulent times you may have been tempted to escape there), you have seen the growing evidence about the huge positive impact gratitude has on your health. As little as five minutes a day of focused gratitude, the no-cost quality of life booster, contributes to impressive improvements not only in emotional health, but also in physical, social, and spiritual health.

Some may ask, “what is gratitude?” Gratitude is a different emotion from happiness because it is most often a reaction to another individual’s generosity. The trigger, according to science, is to receive a message from someone else, interpret it as beneficial to yourself, and experience thankfulness.

Repeatedly, studies have shown that performing simple gratitude exercises, like keeping a gratitude diary or writing letters of thanks, can produce a range of impressive health benefits that often continue well after the expressions of gratitude are finished.

Ready to boost all your dimensions with some thank you’s? Here are 6 positive side effects of being grateful:

1. Physical Benefits

People who experience and express gratitude report feeling healthier than other people and report fewer aches and pains. This positive attitude creates a generous snowball of good health since thankful people are also more likely to exercise more often and visit their doctor regularly, which is likely to contribute to further longevity. The health benefits of a daily gratitude journal have been proven to decrease depression and anxiety, as well as improve cardiovascular function in heart patients.

A free health booster for us all? Grab a pen before bed and spend a mere 15 minutes jotting down what you are grateful for that day, and odds are you will sleep better and longer. That increases not only your quality but also potentially the quantity of your life.

2. Adds To Your Emotional Bank Account Balance

The math of your emotional bank account is pretty simple: positive emotions contribute, negative emotions withdraw. More positive + less negative = Higher emotional balance. Research shows that when it comes to your emotional bank account, gratitude is like a generous grandma who just can’t stop giving, and defends her sweet one against all negative withdrawals.

The simple act of writing a thank-you note to someone who has blessed you produces profound good feelings, empathy, and optimism. Remembering the moment that inspired the thank you card, in turn, produces even more positive emotions, a sort of cascading happiness effect.

Not only does gratitude increase well-being and happiness, it also shuts down emotional withdrawals by decreasing toxic emotions such as envy, resentment, frustration, guilt, and regret. No wonder small daily deposits of gratitude can have a compounding effect on your emotional bank account. So, go write grandma that thank you note you’ve been meaning to send. She’s earned your interest!

“Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.” – Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

3. Builds Stronger Relationships

Grateful people appear warm and responsive, which increases their trust in others and influences them to approach and bond with their benefactors. Researchers refer to this as the “broaden-and-build theory” of positive emotions, where positive feelings encourage us to seek out new experiences, people, and activities. This comfort zone expansion increases the odds of finding high-quality relationship partners.

Expressions of thanks can also reinforce the bonds of current relationships, through the give-and-take of mutual gratitude. This immediate effect of greater joy contributes to long-term social success, so much that the person receiving gratitude reaps rewards in personal well-being and relationship satisfaction up to six months after the deliberate gratitude expression. That’s a powerful social benefit!

4. Better Work Environment

The impact of gratitude can even improve your work environment. A simple daily practice of reflecting on the parts of your job you are grateful for has been proven to positively impact your productivity, goal achievement, decision-making and networking skills.

Not only can being thankful help you manage your job responsibilities more effectively, but it also reduces job-related stress and burnout. Knowing this, it’s not hard to see how small doses of thankfulness could result in increased job satisfaction, but also a potential promotion, when you play your thank you cards right!

5. Fills Your Spirit

The spiritual blessings of counting your blessings are profound. Being grateful for what you have improves your self-esteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance and achieving your life purpose.

Recent research on types of gratitude have important significance for not only individuals but society as a whole. Study participants who had reflected on and expressed gratitude for experiences rather than material purchases, were significantly more generous to others and kept less for themselves than did those in the group who reflected on possessions.

One explanation, according to scientists, is that when people feel closer to other humans, they might treat others better. By structuring community experiences and events that promote social and spiritual connection, organizers can encourage more future altruistic behavior, which benefits us all.

“It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” – Naomi Williams

6. Brain Power

Still skeptical? Even brain scans, hard scientific data, are confirming the astonishing impact of gratitude in 3 fascinating ways. A brain experiencing gratitude toward a specific person is flooded with feel-good hormones which makes you more inclined to desire that feeling again and make you feel attached to others at the same time.

Brain scans show gratitude also does something quite peculiar: it activates the hypothalamus.  Being thankful actually makes our metabolism, hunger and other natural bodily functions work more efficiently.

Perhaps most significantly during this high-stress era, gratitude increases mental strength. Remembering all you have to be thankful for, even during the most tragic times of your life, creates resilience and reduces Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

So, there you have it. That “Attitude of Gratitude” isn’t a platitude…it’s a health booster of highest magnitude!

What are you most grateful for today? Let us know in the comments below!

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Life

6 Proven Methods to Help You Take Back Your Daily Power

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Everyday, you wake up ready to take on the world. In your mind, you’re prepared for anything that comes your way, however  there are distractions that come along throughout the day. Each distraction takes away a little bit of your daily power, and eventually, you become numb to your intention of proactively having an awesome day. You’re simply out of mental energy because little negative distractions started to add up and your day goes down the drain by noon.

To stay focused on making your goals happen, here are 6 solutions to help you stop giving away your daily power:

1. Take your attention away from the distraction

It’s not a distraction if you don’t pay attention to it. Normally, when something happens, you automatically turn your focus to what’s going on. You’re now caught up in it and you want to see it through to the end. After 15 minutes, you then realize, “Where did the time go?” If you let daily distractions get the best of you, it will snowball into an unproductive day.

2. Keep moving forward

This is the rule for everything. No matter what happens or what gets in your way, keep moving forward. Your goal is to get things done and it won’t get done if you stop and complain about it. It’s so easy to give away your daily power to something that doesn’t even matter so don’t allow little things to stop you from making big moves. If it’s not helping you with your work, it’s not worth stopping to discuss and criticize. Keep moving forward.

“You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.” – Tony Robbins

3. Leave the arguments to other people

People who argue waste a ton of time. Unless it’s your job to find others to argue with, it’s useless. You build up your emotions, trying to prove you’re right to someone who probably doesn’t really care. After you’re into your feelings, it’s hard to come back down and concentrate on what you were doing.

There are some people out there who literally argue for sport. They will pick an argument just to see the other person get worked up. Again, this is a real time waster and can mentally drain you. You could be using that energy towards making more important moves and decisions. Learn to bypass the arguments.

4. Just say no

When you’re doing your work, you will find that people will stop by and start a conversation. It’s like there’s a sign on your head that says, “I’m really deep into what I’m doing – please interrupt me.” Kindly tell that person that you can talk with them later, just not right now.

Also, if you’re invited to a party or a get-together that you really don’t want to go to, just say no. You may have more important things to accomplish and you honestly need that time to focus. Don’t feel like you’re obligated to go, just because they asked. An invitation allows you to say yes or no. Tell them you’ll make it next time.

“Learn to say no without explaining yourself.”

5. Stop worrying about what you can’t control

Things happen out of our control, yet that doesn’t mean you should take the time to complain about it. It means you should figure out a way to get around it and proceed with what you were doing in the first place. Accept the fact that it happened.

Unless you can change what happened, leave it alone and move on with your life. Some people get stuck on what happened and they don’t know how to get over it and move on. Focus your time and energy on what you can control. Make that happen.

6. Get over your emotions

Your emotions can take away a tremendous amount of your daily power. It sounds mean, but there should be a scheduled time when you put your emotions aside in order to work. You will not work effectively if you are emotional. Unless you’re a songwriter and you just broke up with your girlfriend, then it’s fine. That’s actually part of your work, because you’ll end up writing a hit song.

It’s the opposite for just about everything else. It’s not the right time to deal with emotions when your finger is on the red button and your cat just died. Devote some time to it, but not when you’re in the process of saving the world.

There are many ways small things can take away your daily power, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You are in control of your mind and your thoughts. If you are conscious enough to recognize when it’s happening, you can do something about it. Your day will be more productive and your daily power will be infinite.

How do you stay productive throughout the day? Let us know your advice in the comments below!

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10 Simple Ways You Can Bounce Back in Life After Failure

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You’ve just failed to achieve something that you have aspired for. Maybe it’s a test, or a job, or even love. You’re now at a juncture, with two paths for you to consider: Sit and moan about it, but do nothing to change or bounce back. The reason you are reading this itself indicates that you are part of the latter category.

Here are 10 simple ways to bounce back in life no matter the situation:

1. I can do it and I will

This is, beyond doubt, the first thing you need to tell yourself every single day. Maybe even the first thing every single morning. Waking up reinvigorated, reinforce yourself ,“It’s a brand new day. There is so much for me to do, and now is the time. I can neither change my past, nor my future, but I shall act today and shape my future.”

2. Chalk out your plan

For anything that you want to achieve, be it a skill, passing a test, getting a job, losing weight or learning to drive, you need a plan. Chalking out this plan is your next step. It has to be based on your goal. Talk to experts, refer to relevant resources and read books about the goals that you want to accomplish. Come up with a plan as per your timeline and goals, the resources that you possess, and most importantly, your strengths.

“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.” – Colin Powell

3. Modularise your goal

Breaking down a significant task into smaller chunks always helps. It fosters self-belief and keeps the next goal in sight. Keep up your plan for a week and then break it down further to a daily level. Let’s say your goal is running a 5K marathon in the next month. Then your plan could look something like this:

  • 1st week – run 3 times a week.
  • 2nd week – run every day with short water breaks after every 8 /10 minutes.
  • 3rd week – Work on managing my breath.
  • 4th week – Practice and more practice (there’s no substitute for dedication).
  • D Day – Achieve what you’ve worked so hard for!

4. Keep track of your goal

The biggest mistake you could make is to think you have time. Before you realize it, all your time is gone. Unfortunately, time is the one resource we cannot conserve. Procrastination is addictive, and you will get better at it with each day that passes. Your backlog of tasks will keep growing each day, and to such an extent that one day, it seems unachievable and you have to abandon it. Bhagavad Geeta (an ancient scripture on how to live life) says – “your soul is your greatest friend as well as your biggest enemy. The real doer is your mind. Make it a habit to work to finish your target for the day. This becomes the base of building your confidence and belief in self.”

5. Celebrate your small wins

Reward yourself for sticking to your plan and achieving progress day by day. Getting yourself on the track is easier than keeping yourself there. Check your progress on a periodic basis. You may not be exactly where you planned yourself to be but, as long as you are within 10% of your planned progress, you’re good. Rewarding yourself for the progress made gives you the confidence and assurance to say, “I have made it till here and I have been consistent in my progress. I will make it.”

6. Be that deaf frog

Many of you would have heard about the story of the frog which climbed to the treetop while most of the other frogs kept shouting that it was impossible to reach the tree top. The reason it was able to reach the top was that it was deaf. So it couldn’t listen to all the negative comments, it was only focused on reaching its goal.

This applies to anyone, keeping one’s mind clean and positive is very important. If you keep listening to what people around you say and seek their approval, then you will never be able to progress. Our mind uses the sense organs to receive information and process it.

What we see, hear and whom we choose to be around is a major contributor to our thoughts. Hence, observing who you spend time with, is very important to keep you on your path. It’s always good to have friends whose company keeps you motivated.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

7. Avoid distractions, keep your eyes set on the goal

The formula for success in this age is the ability to focus and cut down on distractions, since all of us are force fed information every minute via social media and all the other channels. However, the authenticity and relevance of all this information are a huge question mark. All the media have very catchy or sensational titles to grab your attention.

This reduces our attention and memory span hugely. Continuing from the previous point, what you take inside determines your thoughts. Keep a watch on how you are spending your extra time. Keeping one limited on social media and Whatsapp is essential for success. Better not to be there at all, but the next best option is to limit yourself.

The question then arises, how else do I relax? Go for a walk, talk to your friends, or even go play outdoors. Do something that gives you happiness. You may feel left out, not knowing what’s happening in the world outside during the initial days, but there is nothing worth knowing that appears exclusively on social media. Eventually, you will get to know what’s important to you.

8. Don’t compare yourself to others

Your life is yours and you can never swap it with anyone else. Remember, the best of resources may not necessarily bring the best results, it’s the ones with the best attitude, and motivated minds that come up with the best results. You are the master of your life and no one else can make it better other than you.

9. Work on your weaknesses don’t run away from them

Everyone is unique and has their own set of strengths. Some may know how to portray their strengths in a better way, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have any strengths. See what you are good at and leverage on that. Work on your weak areas with more dedication to improve it. Running away from the problem will only make it bigger, and it is better to confront it and deal with it once and for all.

10. Reflect on where you started and how far have you come

Finally, reflect on where you started and how far you have come. It’s amazing to see what hurdles you have crossed to get where you are today. It’s by your determination and dedicated effort you have come here, and it doesn’t happen by luck or accident. Waiting for things to happen hasn’t brought you here, your efforts have. Ultimately, you will achieve your goal and your dream will become a positive reality. There is no better day than today to start your journey. Stay happy and positive, that’s a great vitamin for your mind.

How do you best recover from failure? Comment below!

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