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How To Nail Down Your Life Plan For The Next 12 Months

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If you’ve ever felt that you’ve been at a crossroads, unsure of which way to go, you’re not alone! Many people face this problem every day in today’s busy world. No one enjoys feeling lost in their life, yet it happens all the time.

Planning out your future is one effective method to tackle the problem of feeling lost and confused about the future. Planning is like a road map for your life. You’re much less likely to get lost with a detailed map. A great place to start is by planning out your next 12 months.

So much can happen between today and this exact day in the next year. But with a map of your future in hand, you’ll have a clearer path for the life you want to experience. What better time than now to plan ahead for your future?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of planning ahead, put your worries to rest. Breaking down the planning process into a list of things to do (and things to avoid) is a helpful step towards a more organized life.

Things to do:
  • Prioritize your plans by putting the bigger, more important plans at the forefront. You increase their visibility not forget about them. The less important plans can take the backseat until after the more important plans are complete.
  • Get specific with your goals and plans. The clearer these are, the better. Clean-cut objectives are easier to accomplish because there is less room for confusion to derail you. If you know exactly what needs to be done, you can confidently take the steps required to complete your goal.
  • Be bold. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone when making plans. By pushing your boundaries, you open yourself up to unforeseen possibilities that you would not encounter otherwise by playing it safe.
  • Pay attention to your resources. You might have some of them to get you started, but you might need to acquire new resources down the line. How will you adapt to these new obstacles?

“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.” – Earl Nightingale

Things to avoid:
  • Don’t be vague with your plans. Your plans and the road to reach them becomes hindered if they include foggy steps and an unclear finish line. An unclear plan leads to confusion and inefficiency. To fix this, be sure to eliminate or limit any distractions such as side projects and other plans that aren’t as prioritized.
  • Don’t sabotage yourself. Making too many unrealistic plans will overwhelm you in the long run and bog you down. This may lead to missed or cancelled plans, which hurts relationships with others and yourself. Respect your limits to avoid running into this problem.
  • Don’t worry if you can do it or not. Setting a plan doesn’t set it in stone. Allow some space for changing plans if needed.
  • Don’t make the plan impersonal. The more impersonal you make your plans, the more difficult it is to see yourself participating in them. If your plans seem unrealistic and uncharacteristic of you, they will seem foreign when you revisit them in the future.
  • Don’t copy other people’s goals. Living up to others’ future aspirations may jeopardize your own. Redirect focus to your life, and find what is most important to you. Sticking to this plan will lead you to achieve more of the goals that you set.
Break the vicious chain

Don’t randomly pass through life. Take a moment and think about your future journey. Take 1 hour (with zero interruptions) to answer the action step questions and write down your plan for the next 12 months. Find a friend you can share your plan with. Ask him or her to be your accountability partner for the next 12 months.

Having a friend involved makes the process more fun and ensures you’ll have motivation to stick to your plans. Having this in writing makes it much more concrete and real in your life. With just this, you are already more prepared to fulfill your future.

What emotions might you experience during the 12 month planning process?
  • Anxiety. You may feel afraid of the uncertainty of the future. This is totally normal. Staying present will help you to avoid worrying too much about what lies ahead.
  • You may feel anger at first, as a result of frustration about planning. While the beginning of the 12 month planning process may seem daunting at first, rest assured that things will become easier the more time you spend on it.
  • Rushed. It my seem that you don’t have the patience to sit down in silence and think of your plans, and you want to jump directly to action. Resist it!
  • Hope should resonate with you as you gain more confidence in your ability to conquer the planning process.
  • Ultimately, it would be best if happiness is felt at some point when you see your effort of bettering yourself is taking shape.

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” – Anatole France

How might you feel after the process?
  • Relief in knowing that you are now in a better place than before you started.
  • You will likely feel more at peace with yourself. The plans about your future are more definitive and in writing.
  • You will likely feel less stressed, because the previously uncertain future for yourself becomes more certain. This allows you to think more clearly about what’s happening now.
  • Productivity in all aspects of your life will increase when you have a solid plan for the future.
Start today with these simple questions:
  1. Where will you put your time and energy in the next 12 months?
  2. What motivates you?
  3. What resources do you have, and don’t have?
  4. What steps (milestones) will you follow?
  5. Who will track your progress?

Write down these answers on a dated journal or notebook (so you can have a time and date you can always refer to while you’re progressing) and enjoy your journey.

Are you going to start your 12 month plan today? Leave your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Raluca Comanescu is a Naked Productivity Hacker and the Creator of thefeathers.ink Navigator, the productivity planner to break dreams down to the next step. For accountability support, freebies and ideas join her FREE accountability group: Plan it naked [and make it!] FB group. Raluca has been in the design field for more than 10 years, and worked with hundreds of amazing entrepreneurs around the globe. Now she is using all lessons learned in supporting the world in a completely new way: through planning and accountability.

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Life

Lost Your Mojo? Focus on These 3 Areas to Get Back in the Game

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get back in the game

It’s time for some good news! You’re only ever lacking in three areas and guess what? You can turn those 3 things around relatively easily and quickly!

It’s easy to get caught up thinking, that you’re miles behind, that you can’t find your flow or mojo or that you’re just lazy and unmotivated. The good news is you are only a few decisions, actions and days away from finding your mojo again!

Here are 3 things you need to look at when you’re feeling down and out:

1. Energy levels

The first place to look when you lose your mojo is your energy levels. What are you eating & drinking? Are you eating lean, green and light? If you aren’t already, cut your intake down and focus on hydrating your body with water and eating fresh organic food. Being light on your feet and energizing your body is most important.

Also, take a look at your exercise regime. Are you exercising for energy or are you burning your body out at the gym? Make sure you are getting good consistent rest every night and don’t forget to spend some time alone in nature connecting with your inner most self.

“You just got to wake up with a smile and love every minute of building your dream.” – Joe Duncan

2. Production levels

The second place to look is your production levels or more so, your lack of production! Are you producing enough work or activity to get the results you want? That’s usually the real cause of most of your problems; a lack of work, effort and momentum. In many cases a lack of production stems from a lack of energy – but hey, we’re working on that right?

3. Confidence levels

The third place to look when you’re floundering is your confidence levels. But don’t panic, we all lose our confidence from time to time. When you lose your confidence and your sense of certainty, everything else will be impacted, especially your performance.

The best way to get your confidence back is to go back to basics for a few days and try and build some momentum and get your flow back. You lose your confidence when you lose your self belief, so do the simple things you know you can do well, then you’ll start to believe in your ability again!

“You won’t always get it right, but that doesn’t mean you’re never going to get it right.” – Joe Duncan

It’s time to get your mojo back and get back in the game. Remember next time when you get stuck you only have to make adjustments in these three areas and most likely they will only be small tweaks and changes that need to be implemented. 

Click here if you are having trouble finding your flow, lost motivation and need some help to get back on your feet!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

How Never Giving Up Can Lead You From Pain and Suffering to Ease and Joy

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never give up

I struggled with many aspects of life early on such as growing up in challenging circumstances and getting bullied at school. I read my first self-development book at 13 and attended many courses and workshops, but nothing I encountered made the difference for me. It was only once I found a set of energetic processes and tools which I now use in my life and my work that I was able to turn things around.

Today, I get to write for you about my experiences, run a thriving mentoring and healing practice and travel to attend classes and events.

Here are some of the things I’ve done/learned along the way:

1. I took responsibility for my actions

I believe we attract all our experiences in order to learn from them. It is tough when we go through things we don’t know how to handle and experience pain, fear and anxiety as a result.  

This leaves us many emotions to release and a skill gap to bridge, which if done right, allows us to develop a level of confidence about how to turn experience into awareness and integrate our learning into wisdom for future ease and higher outcomes.

For me, learning to let go was hard (we are not taught this and I kept feeling like I had to hold onto things to protect myself). After a while, I came to the decision that “It’s not what’s happened to me, it’s how I deal with it that matters”.

Choosing from this space was empowering and allowed me to move from regret and develop a sense of purpose from my experiences.

2. I jumped off the cliff without a parachute and became inspired and trusting on the way down

I had gotten to the point where if I stayed where I was, I would die. I didn’t know how my life would look or who I would become in the process of changing, yet I knew if I was going to survive I had to become a radically different version of me.

Once I made that decision, I found the tools I was looking for that were relatable, fun and powerful. I began to change my thoughts, feelings and emotions and way of viewing the world.

After a while, instead of using personal development to escape the pain of my life, I became addicted to pursuing the highest version of myself and curious how much change and transformation I could create. I was having fun!

I began to ask what was possible for me I’d never imagined and realized that who I actually am is completely different from who I had thought I wanted to become. I discovered my soul purpose was connected to my inner work and my years of struggle and transformation meant that I had something valuable to offer others.

“What we are waiting for is not as important as what happens to us while we are waiting. Trust the process.” – Mandy Hale

3. I had the unshakeable belief something else was possible

As growth, healing, and expansion became my highest goal, the details filled themselves in. The right people and things showed up to trigger my growth and to support me which helped me be less fearful, and more able to give and receive love from others.

I lost layers of accumulated emotional garbage and started to connect with my power and purpose. I stopped telling my victim story (except to inspire others) and I began to trust myself and have faith in life again to have my back.

4. I made heaps of mistakes and instead of feeling bad about it, I felt determined, courageous and free

This part was tough. There were setbacks, embarrassments, discouragements and challenges but I wasn’t going to give in and quit.  

I had to suck at some things in order to get better. Creating a new life from scratch is a great way to lose ego. There were a few hurdles where I would get super upset, yet giving up was never an option.

There’s no point in being upset so I sucked it up and moved on. This takes courage and feels totally weird at first, but it is so worth it.

5. I became a new version of me

In the course of recreating myself, I began to develop new attributes. I was so focusing on changing, I didn’t notice what was different about me at first.

Every few months I would write my goals and it wasn’t until I would check them that I began to realize how much I’d accomplished in the process of changing me.

This became clearer whenever I would run across someone who I once looked up to because their life suddenly looked smaller than I remembered. While they had been comfortable and barely moving, I had plodded past them like the proverbial tortoise. As I stay on this trajectory, the benefits and changes multiply exponentially over time.

“Every day, you reinvent yourself. You’re always in motion. But you decide every day: forward or backward.” – James Altucher

6. I became open to new ideas and concepts

In the process of being cracked wide open by life, I became curious, accepting and interested in different ideas, concepts and techniques.

Things like manifesting, consciousness, spirituality and other ‘strange’ ideas became my friends.  After years of trying to create change via psychological means, effort, willpower and implementing traditional tools of personal development, I found my wheelhouse in the different.

Today I am grateful for my early adversity and my own persistence and determination. Without them, who I am today would have remained undiscovered and I wouldn’t get to do the cool stuff I do with other people. I am grateful for the amazing tools and information around today, which can make the journey so much easier.

What helps you keep moving when you feel like giving up? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

As Bad As Smoking? 3 Reasons to Occasionally Unplug From Technology

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take a break from technology

A popular meme reads: “I’m having people over to stare at their phones later if you want to come by…” It’s kind of funny in an alarming way since many people would consider walking barefoot across flaming hot coals before parting with their smartphones for a few weeks.

As useful as things like the Internet and mobile devices are, taking time to occasionally unplug is a good habit. Even if for no other reason than to develop your willpower and avoid being too heavily addicted to your wireless toy.

Consider the following three reasons for periodically unplugging from technology and taking a minute to smell the roses:

1. Face-To-Face Interaction

As useful as social media is for things like marketing, maintaining contact with old friends and sending messages across the world in the blink of an eye, there’s no substitute for a friendly meeting and a firm handshake.

There are few things in life that have more potential to increase our happiness than building good relationships with the people around us. Taking the effort to postpone the reading and answering of your latest text message in order to listen and offer attention to the person in front of you can be a great way to improve relationships and show people you care.

If you want a more practical and success-driven reason, then consider the fact that developing a healthy network is one of the most powerful ways to successfully grow your business or career. Spending a business lunch or golf game glued to your touchscreen is a lousy way to build that network.

2. Creative Thinking

Creativity is another powerful asset in your effort to expand your success, solve your problems and increase your happiness. Getting in the habit of frequent, diligent reading (an activity often performed with mobile devices) is essential in developing your creative capacity. In addition, investing alone time to occasionally take a step back to think, review options and consider possible solutions towards life’s struggles is a great quality.

Making a habit of doing so can be beneficial for planning your career, planning an exciting night out on the town with your spouse, planning how to discipline your teenager and plenty more.

“Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart.” – Mencius

3. Health Concerns

The health risks caused by electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) are numerous and not to be ignored. Health damaging EMFs are emitted by various types of electronic devices including cellphones, tablets and laptops among others. Although pretending these dangers don’t exist may seem convenient, there’s nothing convenient about dealing with the consequences. Some have even suggested that cell phones may eventually prove to be as cancerous as cigarettes. Don’t believe me?

In the book ‘The Non-Tinfoil Guide To EMFs’, Nicolas Pineault writes, “A $25M study performed by the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) studied the effects of exposing rats and mice to an amount of cellphone radiation equivalent to what a human would get by talking for 30 minutes a day, for 36 years.

“As reported by Microwave News: ‘The exposed rats were found to have higher rates of two types of cancers: glioma, a tumor of the glial cells in the brain, and malignant schwannoma of the heart, a very rare tumor. None of the unexposed control rats developed either type of tumor.’

“The irony is the whole reason John Bucher, the senior manager of the NTP study, wanted his agency to run this study is to prove once and for all that cellphones do not cause cancer.”

Swearing off technology is probably not the most practical solution. (Although if that’s your thing, then rock on.) That said, occasionally taking a break from technology and spending some time in nature might help counteract some of the negative effects.

Bonus: Stress Reduction

With so many people in our culture complaining of excessive stress and/or taking antidepressants, it makes sense to proactively take steps to reduce stress before it builds up so much that you experience a nervous breakdown.

I don’t know about you, but when I get away from the computer or turn off my mobile device for a bit, I can feel the difference. If I’ve been working on my laptop or tablet for too long, then getting away and taking a break offers a noticeable relief. I almost immediately feel calmer.

If you’ve been on your phone/tablet/computer for a while, consider taking a few minutes after you finish reading this article to leave technology behind and catch a breath of fresh air.

“The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug.” – Pico Iyer

Are you ready to build stronger relationships? Are you ready to proactively develop creative solutions? Are you ready to start preserving your health? Are you ready to leave some of that stress behind you? If so, then it’s time to fit a periodical unplug into your schedule. You might be surprised by how much this helps.

How many hours of the day do you use your phone? Are you being productive on it? Let us know in the comments below so we can help one another.

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Life

3 Ways to Have More Time by Living More Proactively

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time

We live in a reactive world. We feel compelled to check and respond to digital tools at a moment’s notice. A few minutes here and a few there checking email, responding to Slack messages, and replying to Facebook posts add up to a significant amount of time over the course of a day, week, and month. This precious time could be spent writing a book, training for a race, or being with your kids.

There’s a better way: live proactively. It means starting each day with purpose by taking control of what you do and when you do it. Embrace the proactive habits below and you’ll be amazed at what you accomplish.

1. Know Where Your Time Goes

It’s critical to start every day with a plan that details what you’re going to do and when. Take a few minutes each evening to create a schedule for the day ahead, hour-by-hour. Note your current commitments, like “meeting from 12pm to 1pm.” Then, give yourself large chunks of time to complete your priorities for the day.  

On Monday evening you plan your day for Tuesday, which could look something like this:

6am – 8am: Write draft of article

8am – 9am: Commute to work

9am – 11am: Write report

11am – 12pm: Attend meeting

You get the idea. Without a plan, it’s too easy to spend your days reacting to others: agreeing to take on a project or deciding to attend a last-minute meeting. This is a sure-fire way to unnecessarily drag out your days, leaving you with little time for anything else.

Planning your day takes a little upfront effort, but the results pay dividends in return. You’ll get a lot done in less time.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

2. Determine When You’re Available to Communicate

You can’t be a hermit all day, every day. You’ll have to respond to people either personally or digitally at some point. That’s why you should determine in advance when you’re available to others to answer questions and discuss issues with friends and colleagues. Experiment and find a block of time that works for you, and include it in your daily schedule.

This proactive approach gives you a block of time to handle communication, instead of here and there throughout the day—a practice that can eat away at your day. Plus, using a block of time to handle correspondence sets the expectation for others: they can’t interrupt and pepper you all day long with questions.

3. Focus, Focus, Focus

Now that you’ve got a plan in place, it’s time to hone in on the details: do one task at a time. This way of working is at odds with the rest of the world, since it’s popular today to multitask. It’s common to see employees working on one monitor and responding to Slack messages on another. But there’s a problem with multitasking: it doesn’t work.

When we “multitask,” we’re not really doing multiple things at once. Rather, we’re doing “individual actions in rapid succession,” as pointed out by the Cleveland Clinic. We are in fact “mono-taskers.”

Eliminating digital distractions helps you to focus completely on the task at hand. Put your smartphone on silent and move it out of sight so you’re not tempted to check it while working. Close your email and Slack tabs. In other words, proactively eliminate digital and physical clutter, and you’ll find you get more quality work done when you focus and do things one at a time.

“What I’ve learned in these 11 years is you just got to stay focused and believe in yourself and trust your own ability and judgment.” – Mark Cuban

Above all, living proactively is a shift in mindset. Instead of saying “let’s see what blows up at the office today” and reacting to every whim, begin the day with purpose and be proactive with your time and attention—both are limited.

How do you make sure you use your time wisely? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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The Best Way to Create a Six-figure Startup From Scratch

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Many solo entrepreneurs make good six-figure income living selling products and services online. If you’re a technical person, it’s even better, as you can create a highly-scalable cloud-based business. For non-technical founders, there are still many ways to make a six-figure or, even, seven-figure annual revenue. (more…)

Jennifer Xue is an award-winning author, business columnist and serial entrepreneur based in Northern California. She is a digital strategist for Oberlo and blogs at JenniferXue.com. Her byline has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and other international publications.

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Life

Lost Your Mojo? Focus on These 3 Areas to Get Back in the Game

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get back in the game

It’s time for some good news! You’re only ever lacking in three areas and guess what? You can turn those 3 things around relatively easily and quickly!

It’s easy to get caught up thinking, that you’re miles behind, that you can’t find your flow or mojo or that you’re just lazy and unmotivated. The good news is you are only a few decisions, actions and days away from finding your mojo again!

Here are 3 things you need to look at when you’re feeling down and out:

1. Energy levels

The first place to look when you lose your mojo is your energy levels. What are you eating & drinking? Are you eating lean, green and light? If you aren’t already, cut your intake down and focus on hydrating your body with water and eating fresh organic food. Being light on your feet and energizing your body is most important.

Also, take a look at your exercise regime. Are you exercising for energy or are you burning your body out at the gym? Make sure you are getting good consistent rest every night and don’t forget to spend some time alone in nature connecting with your inner most self.

“You just got to wake up with a smile and love every minute of building your dream.” – Joe Duncan

2. Production levels

The second place to look is your production levels or more so, your lack of production! Are you producing enough work or activity to get the results you want? That’s usually the real cause of most of your problems; a lack of work, effort and momentum. In many cases a lack of production stems from a lack of energy – but hey, we’re working on that right?

3. Confidence levels

The third place to look when you’re floundering is your confidence levels. But don’t panic, we all lose our confidence from time to time. When you lose your confidence and your sense of certainty, everything else will be impacted, especially your performance.

The best way to get your confidence back is to go back to basics for a few days and try and build some momentum and get your flow back. You lose your confidence when you lose your self belief, so do the simple things you know you can do well, then you’ll start to believe in your ability again!

“You won’t always get it right, but that doesn’t mean you’re never going to get it right.” – Joe Duncan

It’s time to get your mojo back and get back in the game. Remember next time when you get stuck you only have to make adjustments in these three areas and most likely they will only be small tweaks and changes that need to be implemented. 

Click here if you are having trouble finding your flow, lost motivation and need some help to get back on your feet!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Continue Reading

Life

How Never Giving Up Can Lead You From Pain and Suffering to Ease and Joy

Published

on

never give up

I struggled with many aspects of life early on such as growing up in challenging circumstances and getting bullied at school. I read my first self-development book at 13 and attended many courses and workshops, but nothing I encountered made the difference for me. It was only once I found a set of energetic processes and tools which I now use in my life and my work that I was able to turn things around.

Today, I get to write for you about my experiences, run a thriving mentoring and healing practice and travel to attend classes and events.

Here are some of the things I’ve done/learned along the way:

1. I took responsibility for my actions

I believe we attract all our experiences in order to learn from them. It is tough when we go through things we don’t know how to handle and experience pain, fear and anxiety as a result.  

This leaves us many emotions to release and a skill gap to bridge, which if done right, allows us to develop a level of confidence about how to turn experience into awareness and integrate our learning into wisdom for future ease and higher outcomes.

For me, learning to let go was hard (we are not taught this and I kept feeling like I had to hold onto things to protect myself). After a while, I came to the decision that “It’s not what’s happened to me, it’s how I deal with it that matters”.

Choosing from this space was empowering and allowed me to move from regret and develop a sense of purpose from my experiences.

2. I jumped off the cliff without a parachute and became inspired and trusting on the way down

I had gotten to the point where if I stayed where I was, I would die. I didn’t know how my life would look or who I would become in the process of changing, yet I knew if I was going to survive I had to become a radically different version of me.

Once I made that decision, I found the tools I was looking for that were relatable, fun and powerful. I began to change my thoughts, feelings and emotions and way of viewing the world.

After a while, instead of using personal development to escape the pain of my life, I became addicted to pursuing the highest version of myself and curious how much change and transformation I could create. I was having fun!

I began to ask what was possible for me I’d never imagined and realized that who I actually am is completely different from who I had thought I wanted to become. I discovered my soul purpose was connected to my inner work and my years of struggle and transformation meant that I had something valuable to offer others.

“What we are waiting for is not as important as what happens to us while we are waiting. Trust the process.” – Mandy Hale

3. I had the unshakeable belief something else was possible

As growth, healing, and expansion became my highest goal, the details filled themselves in. The right people and things showed up to trigger my growth and to support me which helped me be less fearful, and more able to give and receive love from others.

I lost layers of accumulated emotional garbage and started to connect with my power and purpose. I stopped telling my victim story (except to inspire others) and I began to trust myself and have faith in life again to have my back.

4. I made heaps of mistakes and instead of feeling bad about it, I felt determined, courageous and free

This part was tough. There were setbacks, embarrassments, discouragements and challenges but I wasn’t going to give in and quit.  

I had to suck at some things in order to get better. Creating a new life from scratch is a great way to lose ego. There were a few hurdles where I would get super upset, yet giving up was never an option.

There’s no point in being upset so I sucked it up and moved on. This takes courage and feels totally weird at first, but it is so worth it.

5. I became a new version of me

In the course of recreating myself, I began to develop new attributes. I was so focusing on changing, I didn’t notice what was different about me at first.

Every few months I would write my goals and it wasn’t until I would check them that I began to realize how much I’d accomplished in the process of changing me.

This became clearer whenever I would run across someone who I once looked up to because their life suddenly looked smaller than I remembered. While they had been comfortable and barely moving, I had plodded past them like the proverbial tortoise. As I stay on this trajectory, the benefits and changes multiply exponentially over time.

“Every day, you reinvent yourself. You’re always in motion. But you decide every day: forward or backward.” – James Altucher

6. I became open to new ideas and concepts

In the process of being cracked wide open by life, I became curious, accepting and interested in different ideas, concepts and techniques.

Things like manifesting, consciousness, spirituality and other ‘strange’ ideas became my friends.  After years of trying to create change via psychological means, effort, willpower and implementing traditional tools of personal development, I found my wheelhouse in the different.

Today I am grateful for my early adversity and my own persistence and determination. Without them, who I am today would have remained undiscovered and I wouldn’t get to do the cool stuff I do with other people. I am grateful for the amazing tools and information around today, which can make the journey so much easier.

What helps you keep moving when you feel like giving up? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Continue Reading

Life

As Bad As Smoking? 3 Reasons to Occasionally Unplug From Technology

Published

on

take a break from technology

A popular meme reads: “I’m having people over to stare at their phones later if you want to come by…” It’s kind of funny in an alarming way since many people would consider walking barefoot across flaming hot coals before parting with their smartphones for a few weeks.

As useful as things like the Internet and mobile devices are, taking time to occasionally unplug is a good habit. Even if for no other reason than to develop your willpower and avoid being too heavily addicted to your wireless toy.

Consider the following three reasons for periodically unplugging from technology and taking a minute to smell the roses:

1. Face-To-Face Interaction

As useful as social media is for things like marketing, maintaining contact with old friends and sending messages across the world in the blink of an eye, there’s no substitute for a friendly meeting and a firm handshake.

There are few things in life that have more potential to increase our happiness than building good relationships with the people around us. Taking the effort to postpone the reading and answering of your latest text message in order to listen and offer attention to the person in front of you can be a great way to improve relationships and show people you care.

If you want a more practical and success-driven reason, then consider the fact that developing a healthy network is one of the most powerful ways to successfully grow your business or career. Spending a business lunch or golf game glued to your touchscreen is a lousy way to build that network.

2. Creative Thinking

Creativity is another powerful asset in your effort to expand your success, solve your problems and increase your happiness. Getting in the habit of frequent, diligent reading (an activity often performed with mobile devices) is essential in developing your creative capacity. In addition, investing alone time to occasionally take a step back to think, review options and consider possible solutions towards life’s struggles is a great quality.

Making a habit of doing so can be beneficial for planning your career, planning an exciting night out on the town with your spouse, planning how to discipline your teenager and plenty more.

“Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart.” – Mencius

3. Health Concerns

The health risks caused by electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) are numerous and not to be ignored. Health damaging EMFs are emitted by various types of electronic devices including cellphones, tablets and laptops among others. Although pretending these dangers don’t exist may seem convenient, there’s nothing convenient about dealing with the consequences. Some have even suggested that cell phones may eventually prove to be as cancerous as cigarettes. Don’t believe me?

In the book ‘The Non-Tinfoil Guide To EMFs’, Nicolas Pineault writes, “A $25M study performed by the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) studied the effects of exposing rats and mice to an amount of cellphone radiation equivalent to what a human would get by talking for 30 minutes a day, for 36 years.

“As reported by Microwave News: ‘The exposed rats were found to have higher rates of two types of cancers: glioma, a tumor of the glial cells in the brain, and malignant schwannoma of the heart, a very rare tumor. None of the unexposed control rats developed either type of tumor.’

“The irony is the whole reason John Bucher, the senior manager of the NTP study, wanted his agency to run this study is to prove once and for all that cellphones do not cause cancer.”

Swearing off technology is probably not the most practical solution. (Although if that’s your thing, then rock on.) That said, occasionally taking a break from technology and spending some time in nature might help counteract some of the negative effects.

Bonus: Stress Reduction

With so many people in our culture complaining of excessive stress and/or taking antidepressants, it makes sense to proactively take steps to reduce stress before it builds up so much that you experience a nervous breakdown.

I don’t know about you, but when I get away from the computer or turn off my mobile device for a bit, I can feel the difference. If I’ve been working on my laptop or tablet for too long, then getting away and taking a break offers a noticeable relief. I almost immediately feel calmer.

If you’ve been on your phone/tablet/computer for a while, consider taking a few minutes after you finish reading this article to leave technology behind and catch a breath of fresh air.

“The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug.” – Pico Iyer

Are you ready to build stronger relationships? Are you ready to proactively develop creative solutions? Are you ready to start preserving your health? Are you ready to leave some of that stress behind you? If so, then it’s time to fit a periodical unplug into your schedule. You might be surprised by how much this helps.

How many hours of the day do you use your phone? Are you being productive on it? Let us know in the comments below so we can help one another.

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3 Ways to Have More Time by Living More Proactively

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We live in a reactive world. We feel compelled to check and respond to digital tools at a moment’s notice. A few minutes here and a few there checking email, responding to Slack messages, and replying to Facebook posts add up to a significant amount of time over the course of a day, week, and month. This precious time could be spent writing a book, training for a race, or being with your kids.

There’s a better way: live proactively. It means starting each day with purpose by taking control of what you do and when you do it. Embrace the proactive habits below and you’ll be amazed at what you accomplish.

1. Know Where Your Time Goes

It’s critical to start every day with a plan that details what you’re going to do and when. Take a few minutes each evening to create a schedule for the day ahead, hour-by-hour. Note your current commitments, like “meeting from 12pm to 1pm.” Then, give yourself large chunks of time to complete your priorities for the day.  

On Monday evening you plan your day for Tuesday, which could look something like this:

6am – 8am: Write draft of article

8am – 9am: Commute to work

9am – 11am: Write report

11am – 12pm: Attend meeting

You get the idea. Without a plan, it’s too easy to spend your days reacting to others: agreeing to take on a project or deciding to attend a last-minute meeting. This is a sure-fire way to unnecessarily drag out your days, leaving you with little time for anything else.

Planning your day takes a little upfront effort, but the results pay dividends in return. You’ll get a lot done in less time.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

2. Determine When You’re Available to Communicate

You can’t be a hermit all day, every day. You’ll have to respond to people either personally or digitally at some point. That’s why you should determine in advance when you’re available to others to answer questions and discuss issues with friends and colleagues. Experiment and find a block of time that works for you, and include it in your daily schedule.

This proactive approach gives you a block of time to handle communication, instead of here and there throughout the day—a practice that can eat away at your day. Plus, using a block of time to handle correspondence sets the expectation for others: they can’t interrupt and pepper you all day long with questions.

3. Focus, Focus, Focus

Now that you’ve got a plan in place, it’s time to hone in on the details: do one task at a time. This way of working is at odds with the rest of the world, since it’s popular today to multitask. It’s common to see employees working on one monitor and responding to Slack messages on another. But there’s a problem with multitasking: it doesn’t work.

When we “multitask,” we’re not really doing multiple things at once. Rather, we’re doing “individual actions in rapid succession,” as pointed out by the Cleveland Clinic. We are in fact “mono-taskers.”

Eliminating digital distractions helps you to focus completely on the task at hand. Put your smartphone on silent and move it out of sight so you’re not tempted to check it while working. Close your email and Slack tabs. In other words, proactively eliminate digital and physical clutter, and you’ll find you get more quality work done when you focus and do things one at a time.

“What I’ve learned in these 11 years is you just got to stay focused and believe in yourself and trust your own ability and judgment.” – Mark Cuban

Above all, living proactively is a shift in mindset. Instead of saying “let’s see what blows up at the office today” and reacting to every whim, begin the day with purpose and be proactive with your time and attention—both are limited.

How do you make sure you use your time wisely? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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