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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

You Can Create Whatever Life You Want So Stop Talking Yourself Out of Your Destiny

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There’s never been a time like right now in human history for entrepreneurship. We have access to virtually limitless knowledge thanks to the advent of the internet, and you can reach anyone on this planet literally at the click of a button.

However, despite the massive amount of opportunity out there, there are still time-tested principles that every wanna-be entrepreneur needs to know in order to truly succeed. Knowing these principles can spell the difference between achieving your dreams and talking yourself out of your destiny.

There is Such a Thing as Preparing Too Much

While it’s certainly necessary to prepare in life, a just as devastating problem many people face in life is being too prepared. Way too often, people believe they’re actually working by spending hours “preparing” when all they’re doing is thinking about working while their actual work goes untouched.

As Gary Vaynerchuk put it bluntly in one of his livestream Q&A videos, “There are just so many ways to build your business, but lack of action is not one of them.” Basically, we are both blessed and cursed by our access to virtually limitless knowledge. We can turn on the faucet of knowledge and grab a quick swig when we need it, but if we leave it on for too long we’ll be drowning in information and be stuck trying to process everything.

If you spend too much time processing, you’ll be more likely to talk yourself out of taking the risks necessary to build a successful business. The solution is simple: stop processing and start taking action.

A phrase I find myself repeating a lot when I get into a bind is, “How did successful people do it before the age of internet?” The answer is they did it by not talking themselves off of the ledge of destiny and instead diving into their project headfirst.

“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.” – Simone de Beauvoir

Our Feelings Often Lie to Us

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like throwing in the towel when trying to build my web design business. I remember one day in particular I had a massive headache and was on the verge of quitting everything due to the frustration I felt while dealing with a problematic client.

I looked at my watch and realized I hadn’t eaten yet that morning, so I went and made myself breakfast. After eating a bowl of scrambled eggs and toast, my headache magically vanished along with my thoughts of wanting to quit. I quickly realized what needed to be done and fixed the client’s issue without much thought. The problem wasn’t with the client, the problem was with my stomach.

Can you imagine how ridiculous I would have looked had I fired my client all because I hadn’t eaten that day? This is why our feelings sometimes need to take a backseat when it comes to making wise, calculated decisions for our success.

Intuition is important, obviously, but it’s best utilized with years of reliable experience to back it up. So go with your gut when it’s wise to do so, but always make sure your gut is fed otherwise you may regret what it has to say.

Perfectionism Can Halt All Progress

You will never have everything figured out. Let that sink in. It’s become such a trope in our society that it’s surprising how easily we tend to forget it. There isn’t a single business out there that has all the answers on how to do things right, so why do we feel the need to stop moving forward if things aren’t perfect?

I remember a friend of mine spent years trying to compose music on his synthesizer but never released anything because it “wasn’t good enough” by his standards. I gave him the simple proposition to “put out crappy music”, since no matter what he would always think his music was crappy due to his perfectionist mindset. Within a day, he finally put something out on SoundCloud and his song “#Selfie” became a hit worldwide while his band The ChainSmokers continues to put out hits to this day.

OK, I’m kidding about that last part, but hopefully you get my point. My friend finally had a song out that he could have had out years ago but was too caught up on making everything “perfect” to do anything. He had, in effect, talked himself out of taking action. The same thing applies with business, even if you don’t have everything figured out it’s best to just start something and learn as you go.

“Imperfection is perfection.” – Flume

Whenever that annoying, perfectionist voice in your head tries to get you to quit because you’ll never have the “perfect” product or service to sell, tell it to shut up and put out your product or service anyway. As you gain experience in your field and receive valuable feedback from customers, you’ll be able to continually improve things with your business.

Had you not taken action to begin with, you would never have attained either of these two valuable assets. Never settle for mediocrity, but at the same time recognize your need to be in motion even if the thing that sets you in motion is initially subpar.

How do you push yourself and keep motivated? Let us know your thoughts below!

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3 Mental Tricks to Help You Become a More Productive Person

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Whether you’re a career salesman, a student, or a software engineer, you can’t move an inch in your career if you produce less. Productivity is the key that will unlock your success. Unfortunately, not all of us are productive. And some of it is not our problem. Our Internet-empowered world is bloated with too many social media tools, too many emails and notifications, too many SMS and short messages, too many YouTube videos and Netflix movies. The distractions are at an all time high.

But what if there is a system that will help you keep all these distractions aside until you have accomplished your tasks? There is. And it only takes 3 simple steps. Read Below:

Step 1: See your everyday tasks as a gift

Showing up every day to work is anything but fun. You know your life depends on it, but some days are not your best days. No matter how you plan your projects, you can’t show up to do them. You’re tired and bored and uninterested. What’s the way forward? It’s not about planning. It’s not about waking up early. It’s not about lack of exercise or anything like that.

If you want to conquer your to-do list, day in and day out, you need a simple shift in your mindset. Stop thinking of your tasks as work. See those tasks as gifts…as natural endowments exclusively given to you. This simple shift in your mindset will awaken the sleeping giant within you. You’ll start feeling great about yourself, stop seeing your work as burdensome. The tasks will now make you feel proud.

No longer will your showing up early at your desk irritate you—because now you feel comfortable doing the work that matters. The mindset adjustment is not even difficult. Just figure out the value that your tasks will bring to your marketplace.

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss

Step 2: Be conscious of the impeccable values of your tasks

That’s how to shift your thinking. You dissect the unique values that are embedded in your tasks (when you accomplish them, of course). If you’re a web designer, for example, think about the joy and life-changing events that your design job will bring to your client. That landing page that you’ll design, it would mean the world to your client.

It will even change their business and their lives along the way. But that will not happen if you don’t show up every day, roll up your sleeves and work on that landing page. Now if you can visualize that value, it will serve you well. You’ll be motivated. So, how do you become more conscious of the values of your work? Write them down. And read them every day to spark your productivity.

Step 3: Remind yourself of the limited time you have in life

We like to postpone today’s tasks for tomorrow. Often, we’ll schedule a time to work, but when the time is due, we come up with another excuse, “I’ve got to call that client instead; I’ll leave that work till tomorrow.” But we don’t own tomorrow. We don’t have control over it. We don’t even know what it holds. And we have a very limited time.

If you want to improve your productivity, you have got to remind yourself about the scarcity of your time. Here are a few questions to ask yourself (I recommend that you do these exercises every time before you begin to work):

  • If you only have 24 hours left today, how do you want to spend it?
  • If you have 5 projects to complete today, how do you manage your time?
  • Would you rather watch a movie on Netflix or accomplish today’s task and move closer to your vision?

“Do something instead of killing time because time is killing you.” – Paulo Coelho

It’s about making smart choices. I know It’s hard. It’s tough. It requires an impeccable amount of discipline. But with constant practice, these mental tricks will help you become a more productive person, move you closer to realizing your vision.

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Life

7 Simple Tips to Help You Eliminate Negative Thoughts

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Have you been feeling low lately? Are you missing being the person you once used to be? In this fast-paced life of ours, it is not surprising to feel depressed. 15 out of 100 adults in the USA fall prey to depression every year.

As we get more and more detached from reality and bury ourselves into the virtual world of our smartphones, anxiety and stress seep into our brain and make us lose sight of the happy versions of ourselves. It is optimism alone that keeps us going by giving us the will to fight the battle within us. The power to usher in positivity and shoo off the negative thoughts rests with you.

Here’s what you can do to remove the dark cloud of pessimism that hovers over you:

1. Train your mind to think positive

Affirmations can help boost your self-esteem. If you continue to affirm your brain, it will learn to believe in you and will work positively. Positive affirmations are scientifically proven and can make miracles happen. Tell yourself that you are getting better and your subconscious will adapt to it and function accordingly.

Train your brain to give a neutral spin to all your negative thoughts. Since, building a positive mindset isn’t an easy task to do, the neutral thoughts will help you keep the negativity at bay and aid you in paving your path towards positivity.

2. Cultivate self-love

If you have been waiting for a pair of arms to reach out and rescue you, you might just have to wait longer. Instead, be your own messiah. In order to do so, you have to perfect the art of self-love. Nurture your narcissism a bit and learn to appreciate yourself more often.

Learn to turn down offers politely and indulge in some quality Me-time. Bake your favorite cake or shop for the dress that you had been eyeing for quite some time now. Go get a spa treatment and appreciate the daily efforts that you make.

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.” – Brené Brown

3. Keep yourself busy

The key to ward off negativity is to keep your brain busy, so that it does not get the time to breed ill thoughts. Considering how the descent towards the abysmal pit of depression starts at our workstation, I would suggest that you find engagements outside your workplace that helps your mind to relax.

You can try reading lighthearted literature. A personal favorite, the Chicken Soup for the Soul, can actually nurture your brain with the much-needed optimism to fight away the negative blues. Listen to happy, soulful music or take a stroll in the fresh air.

4. Surround yourself with positivity

People around us have the power to affect us – in both positive and negative ways. Their actions affect us, and we take their words to heart. Quite often, negative thoughts cloud our minds because of a seed that was sown by someone we hold close to our hearts. The people we walk and talk with are capable of influencing our emotions. So, you must choose your company wisely.

Surround yourself with people who care for you and love you. Love is the only magic potion for us muggles, and with the right kind of love and support, we can eliminate the negative thoughts that wreak havoc in our brains. Also, learn to block unwanted people from your lives.

5. Be a social butterfly

In this age of social media, we have more virtual friends than actual friends. So, come out of the virtual world and spend some time with your family and friends. Your family members fall among the ones who love you just as you are. At the end of the day, they are the ones who matter.

Moreover, when you go out of your way to help someone, you feel more positive. Rescuing someone from the same pit of darkness as you are in can help you ward off your own demons. So, don’t shy away from community work.

“Society is like a large piece of frozen water; and skating well is the great art of social life.” – Letitia Elizabeth Landon

6. Lead a healthy life

Exercise and meditation can be of immense help when it comes to overcoming stress and negative thoughts. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin which play an important role in regulating your mood. Mediation helps you to increase your brain power and aligns your thought processes towards optimism.

Other than exercising, you must get enough sleep. Proper sleep helps our bodies to recover from the daily toil and provides it with the time to repair. Also, try to eat healthy food. Avoid gluten, caffeine, and sugar as they make you bitter and depressed. Keep your body healthy, which in turn will tell your brain to be more positive.

7. Make your ambiance teem with positivity

Other than exercising and eating healthy, you can take little steps like drawing yourself a bath or sleeping with a heavier comforter on to make yourself feel more calm and composed. When you feel rejuvenated physically, your mind will automatically feel relaxed.

Get your upholstery in happier shades of light pastels and make sure that your room is adequately lit up. However small these changes might be, they will welcome positivity into your life.

In the end, I would like to emphasize the importance of reducing stress. Train your brain to focus on the brighter side of things, so that depression and negativity cannot take a toll on your mental health. Trust me when I say that you are stronger than you think!

Which one of these 7 tips to eliminate negative thoughts do you need to work on most? Let us know how you’re going to work on it below!

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4 Steps to Accepting and Acting on Negative Feedback

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All feedback is good, but not all feedback is positive. We’re often subject to negative feedback at work for different scenarios such as missing a performance target set by the organization or developing a high-end product idea that flopped after testing.

Regardless of the reason, accepting negative feedback can be difficult—especially if there is pressure across the board to perform in the face of perpetual downsizing, outsourcing, or consolidation.

It can be even harder if you’re just starting out. It’s easy to take the feedback as a personal affront. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Performance feedback isn’t meant to insult or demean, it’s an attempt to rehabilitate.

Think about it, why would your supervisor take the time to talk it out if they’d already given up on you? Because motivating a team also means holding team members accountable for what’s not working. Receiving feedback is a chance to improve and better support those around us.

So next time you’re called into the boss’ office for feedback, consider these four steps below:

1. Detach – Remember that it’s not personal

The first step is to detach, emotionally that is. Before the conversation starts, remind yourself that this feedback is based on job performance and factors that include objective data. It has nothing to do with how nice you are, how fun you are around the office, or how you live your life away from work.

Your supervisor is trying to do their job as well as you’ve been trying to do yours. They feel that talking to you now is vital for your own well-being as a team member and for the team as a whole. If there’s something you’re doing that needs to be better, they have a responsibility to everyone on the team to tell you—and early enough so you can address it and make the end result better for everyone.

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.” – Elon Musk

2. Information – Focus on the data

Your supervisor’s description of your performance should be specific and actionable, so listen first and take careful notes as you pick up on themes. The earlier you try to respond, the more likely you will appear defensive and only out to present your ‘side’.

If you focus on listening and taking down what observations they have, you are more likely to capture what needs improvement. If you’re focused on improving those things, you’ll ultimately grow and be successful in supporting the organization and remaining an asset to those around you.

3. Vision – Create an image of what improvement looks like

The conversation is over. You’ve left the office and are back in your workspace. Review your notes and think about what your supervisor said. It’s time to work on the counter-image—what does improvement look like? This is an exercise in setting and realizing a vision.

Imagine what it looks like for the opposite of the feedback to be true. Don’t think about the steps to get there yet. Focus on ‘winning’ the situation, accounting for each observation your supervisor provided and experiencing success. Develop a narrative that you can see the same way you can watch a television series play out.

Got the image? Now plan your steps, in reverse from the vision you have to the moment you find yourself in now. You must have a vision of where you’ll end up before you can plan the steps to get there, otherwise you’ll set out on a path that leads nowhere—and therefore never ends.

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein

4. Empathize – Put yourself in the shoes of those around you

This is the most important step. Your supervisor felt it was the best thing for you and the team to tell you where you fell short and afford you a golden opportunity to do better. The truth is the conversation was likely as difficult for them as it was for you. Having to tell a teammate they’re not meeting standards can eat away at a manager, and is challenging because they must now consider what happens if you’re unable to improve.

You both have the organization’s best interest in mind. Feel what it’s like from their side, what it takes to manage the team and support everyone while meeting performance milestones set by senior leadership. Then think about the team around you.

What are they hoping to see from you? What can you do to help them focus elsewhere in the organization where there’s more work to be done? If you can push the envelope of improvement and get your team moving forward, it allows others to worry about the bigger problems ahead that will take everyone’s effort to solve.

Feedback is a tool for improvement, for yourself and those around you. If you’re receptive, you’ll engender trust and remain as an asset to the organization. That goes for managers, too.

Feedback is a two-way street, so if you’re that supervisor, remember to solicit feedback from your employees on a regular basis and rely on these same four steps to improve and look positively to the future.

How do you deal with handling negative feedback? Let us know your tips for others!

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10 Small Startups That You Can Build on Your Own Right Now

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Having a business of our own is a dream that is very obvious and common all throughout. With the rise in startups and funding options, the market is blooming with successful entrepreneurs. And rightly so! But many ambitious people are seen dropping out of their dream of building a business only because of the funds involved in setting up one! We forget to acknowledge that the idea if planned and executed well, is strong enough to pull in all the investments. (more…)

Bronte Price is Australia’s First Certified Gay Wedding Celebrant. He stands strongly for marriage equality and takes immense pleasure in marrying any couples in love. He has also co-founded The Equality Network to help wedding suppliers create a better wedding experience for LGBTI couples. He is a regular volunteer newsreader at Joy 94.9, and a member of GLOBE (Gay and Lesbian Organization for Business and Enterprise). Beyond this you will find him either in his organic backyard vegetable garden or taking walks with his fiancée Clint and their four legged fur baby – Bingo.

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Life

You Can Create Whatever Life You Want So Stop Talking Yourself Out of Your Destiny

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destiny
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There’s never been a time like right now in human history for entrepreneurship. We have access to virtually limitless knowledge thanks to the advent of the internet, and you can reach anyone on this planet literally at the click of a button.

However, despite the massive amount of opportunity out there, there are still time-tested principles that every wanna-be entrepreneur needs to know in order to truly succeed. Knowing these principles can spell the difference between achieving your dreams and talking yourself out of your destiny.

There is Such a Thing as Preparing Too Much

While it’s certainly necessary to prepare in life, a just as devastating problem many people face in life is being too prepared. Way too often, people believe they’re actually working by spending hours “preparing” when all they’re doing is thinking about working while their actual work goes untouched.

As Gary Vaynerchuk put it bluntly in one of his livestream Q&A videos, “There are just so many ways to build your business, but lack of action is not one of them.” Basically, we are both blessed and cursed by our access to virtually limitless knowledge. We can turn on the faucet of knowledge and grab a quick swig when we need it, but if we leave it on for too long we’ll be drowning in information and be stuck trying to process everything.

If you spend too much time processing, you’ll be more likely to talk yourself out of taking the risks necessary to build a successful business. The solution is simple: stop processing and start taking action.

A phrase I find myself repeating a lot when I get into a bind is, “How did successful people do it before the age of internet?” The answer is they did it by not talking themselves off of the ledge of destiny and instead diving into their project headfirst.

“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.” – Simone de Beauvoir

Our Feelings Often Lie to Us

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like throwing in the towel when trying to build my web design business. I remember one day in particular I had a massive headache and was on the verge of quitting everything due to the frustration I felt while dealing with a problematic client.

I looked at my watch and realized I hadn’t eaten yet that morning, so I went and made myself breakfast. After eating a bowl of scrambled eggs and toast, my headache magically vanished along with my thoughts of wanting to quit. I quickly realized what needed to be done and fixed the client’s issue without much thought. The problem wasn’t with the client, the problem was with my stomach.

Can you imagine how ridiculous I would have looked had I fired my client all because I hadn’t eaten that day? This is why our feelings sometimes need to take a backseat when it comes to making wise, calculated decisions for our success.

Intuition is important, obviously, but it’s best utilized with years of reliable experience to back it up. So go with your gut when it’s wise to do so, but always make sure your gut is fed otherwise you may regret what it has to say.

Perfectionism Can Halt All Progress

You will never have everything figured out. Let that sink in. It’s become such a trope in our society that it’s surprising how easily we tend to forget it. There isn’t a single business out there that has all the answers on how to do things right, so why do we feel the need to stop moving forward if things aren’t perfect?

I remember a friend of mine spent years trying to compose music on his synthesizer but never released anything because it “wasn’t good enough” by his standards. I gave him the simple proposition to “put out crappy music”, since no matter what he would always think his music was crappy due to his perfectionist mindset. Within a day, he finally put something out on SoundCloud and his song “#Selfie” became a hit worldwide while his band The ChainSmokers continues to put out hits to this day.

OK, I’m kidding about that last part, but hopefully you get my point. My friend finally had a song out that he could have had out years ago but was too caught up on making everything “perfect” to do anything. He had, in effect, talked himself out of taking action. The same thing applies with business, even if you don’t have everything figured out it’s best to just start something and learn as you go.

“Imperfection is perfection.” – Flume

Whenever that annoying, perfectionist voice in your head tries to get you to quit because you’ll never have the “perfect” product or service to sell, tell it to shut up and put out your product or service anyway. As you gain experience in your field and receive valuable feedback from customers, you’ll be able to continually improve things with your business.

Had you not taken action to begin with, you would never have attained either of these two valuable assets. Never settle for mediocrity, but at the same time recognize your need to be in motion even if the thing that sets you in motion is initially subpar.

How do you push yourself and keep motivated? Let us know your thoughts below!

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Life

3 Mental Tricks to Help You Become a More Productive Person

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how to become more productive
Image Credit: Unsplash

Whether you’re a career salesman, a student, or a software engineer, you can’t move an inch in your career if you produce less. Productivity is the key that will unlock your success. Unfortunately, not all of us are productive. And some of it is not our problem. Our Internet-empowered world is bloated with too many social media tools, too many emails and notifications, too many SMS and short messages, too many YouTube videos and Netflix movies. The distractions are at an all time high.

But what if there is a system that will help you keep all these distractions aside until you have accomplished your tasks? There is. And it only takes 3 simple steps. Read Below:

Step 1: See your everyday tasks as a gift

Showing up every day to work is anything but fun. You know your life depends on it, but some days are not your best days. No matter how you plan your projects, you can’t show up to do them. You’re tired and bored and uninterested. What’s the way forward? It’s not about planning. It’s not about waking up early. It’s not about lack of exercise or anything like that.

If you want to conquer your to-do list, day in and day out, you need a simple shift in your mindset. Stop thinking of your tasks as work. See those tasks as gifts…as natural endowments exclusively given to you. This simple shift in your mindset will awaken the sleeping giant within you. You’ll start feeling great about yourself, stop seeing your work as burdensome. The tasks will now make you feel proud.

No longer will your showing up early at your desk irritate you—because now you feel comfortable doing the work that matters. The mindset adjustment is not even difficult. Just figure out the value that your tasks will bring to your marketplace.

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss

Step 2: Be conscious of the impeccable values of your tasks

That’s how to shift your thinking. You dissect the unique values that are embedded in your tasks (when you accomplish them, of course). If you’re a web designer, for example, think about the joy and life-changing events that your design job will bring to your client. That landing page that you’ll design, it would mean the world to your client.

It will even change their business and their lives along the way. But that will not happen if you don’t show up every day, roll up your sleeves and work on that landing page. Now if you can visualize that value, it will serve you well. You’ll be motivated. So, how do you become more conscious of the values of your work? Write them down. And read them every day to spark your productivity.

Step 3: Remind yourself of the limited time you have in life

We like to postpone today’s tasks for tomorrow. Often, we’ll schedule a time to work, but when the time is due, we come up with another excuse, “I’ve got to call that client instead; I’ll leave that work till tomorrow.” But we don’t own tomorrow. We don’t have control over it. We don’t even know what it holds. And we have a very limited time.

If you want to improve your productivity, you have got to remind yourself about the scarcity of your time. Here are a few questions to ask yourself (I recommend that you do these exercises every time before you begin to work):

  • If you only have 24 hours left today, how do you want to spend it?
  • If you have 5 projects to complete today, how do you manage your time?
  • Would you rather watch a movie on Netflix or accomplish today’s task and move closer to your vision?

“Do something instead of killing time because time is killing you.” – Paulo Coelho

It’s about making smart choices. I know It’s hard. It’s tough. It requires an impeccable amount of discipline. But with constant practice, these mental tricks will help you become a more productive person, move you closer to realizing your vision.

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Life

7 Simple Tips to Help You Eliminate Negative Thoughts

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Have you been feeling low lately? Are you missing being the person you once used to be? In this fast-paced life of ours, it is not surprising to feel depressed. 15 out of 100 adults in the USA fall prey to depression every year.

As we get more and more detached from reality and bury ourselves into the virtual world of our smartphones, anxiety and stress seep into our brain and make us lose sight of the happy versions of ourselves. It is optimism alone that keeps us going by giving us the will to fight the battle within us. The power to usher in positivity and shoo off the negative thoughts rests with you.

Here’s what you can do to remove the dark cloud of pessimism that hovers over you:

1. Train your mind to think positive

Affirmations can help boost your self-esteem. If you continue to affirm your brain, it will learn to believe in you and will work positively. Positive affirmations are scientifically proven and can make miracles happen. Tell yourself that you are getting better and your subconscious will adapt to it and function accordingly.

Train your brain to give a neutral spin to all your negative thoughts. Since, building a positive mindset isn’t an easy task to do, the neutral thoughts will help you keep the negativity at bay and aid you in paving your path towards positivity.

2. Cultivate self-love

If you have been waiting for a pair of arms to reach out and rescue you, you might just have to wait longer. Instead, be your own messiah. In order to do so, you have to perfect the art of self-love. Nurture your narcissism a bit and learn to appreciate yourself more often.

Learn to turn down offers politely and indulge in some quality Me-time. Bake your favorite cake or shop for the dress that you had been eyeing for quite some time now. Go get a spa treatment and appreciate the daily efforts that you make.

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.” – Brené Brown

3. Keep yourself busy

The key to ward off negativity is to keep your brain busy, so that it does not get the time to breed ill thoughts. Considering how the descent towards the abysmal pit of depression starts at our workstation, I would suggest that you find engagements outside your workplace that helps your mind to relax.

You can try reading lighthearted literature. A personal favorite, the Chicken Soup for the Soul, can actually nurture your brain with the much-needed optimism to fight away the negative blues. Listen to happy, soulful music or take a stroll in the fresh air.

4. Surround yourself with positivity

People around us have the power to affect us – in both positive and negative ways. Their actions affect us, and we take their words to heart. Quite often, negative thoughts cloud our minds because of a seed that was sown by someone we hold close to our hearts. The people we walk and talk with are capable of influencing our emotions. So, you must choose your company wisely.

Surround yourself with people who care for you and love you. Love is the only magic potion for us muggles, and with the right kind of love and support, we can eliminate the negative thoughts that wreak havoc in our brains. Also, learn to block unwanted people from your lives.

5. Be a social butterfly

In this age of social media, we have more virtual friends than actual friends. So, come out of the virtual world and spend some time with your family and friends. Your family members fall among the ones who love you just as you are. At the end of the day, they are the ones who matter.

Moreover, when you go out of your way to help someone, you feel more positive. Rescuing someone from the same pit of darkness as you are in can help you ward off your own demons. So, don’t shy away from community work.

“Society is like a large piece of frozen water; and skating well is the great art of social life.” – Letitia Elizabeth Landon

6. Lead a healthy life

Exercise and meditation can be of immense help when it comes to overcoming stress and negative thoughts. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin which play an important role in regulating your mood. Mediation helps you to increase your brain power and aligns your thought processes towards optimism.

Other than exercising, you must get enough sleep. Proper sleep helps our bodies to recover from the daily toil and provides it with the time to repair. Also, try to eat healthy food. Avoid gluten, caffeine, and sugar as they make you bitter and depressed. Keep your body healthy, which in turn will tell your brain to be more positive.

7. Make your ambiance teem with positivity

Other than exercising and eating healthy, you can take little steps like drawing yourself a bath or sleeping with a heavier comforter on to make yourself feel more calm and composed. When you feel rejuvenated physically, your mind will automatically feel relaxed.

Get your upholstery in happier shades of light pastels and make sure that your room is adequately lit up. However small these changes might be, they will welcome positivity into your life.

In the end, I would like to emphasize the importance of reducing stress. Train your brain to focus on the brighter side of things, so that depression and negativity cannot take a toll on your mental health. Trust me when I say that you are stronger than you think!

Which one of these 7 tips to eliminate negative thoughts do you need to work on most? Let us know how you’re going to work on it below!

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4 Steps to Accepting and Acting on Negative Feedback

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All feedback is good, but not all feedback is positive. We’re often subject to negative feedback at work for different scenarios such as missing a performance target set by the organization or developing a high-end product idea that flopped after testing.

Regardless of the reason, accepting negative feedback can be difficult—especially if there is pressure across the board to perform in the face of perpetual downsizing, outsourcing, or consolidation.

It can be even harder if you’re just starting out. It’s easy to take the feedback as a personal affront. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Performance feedback isn’t meant to insult or demean, it’s an attempt to rehabilitate.

Think about it, why would your supervisor take the time to talk it out if they’d already given up on you? Because motivating a team also means holding team members accountable for what’s not working. Receiving feedback is a chance to improve and better support those around us.

So next time you’re called into the boss’ office for feedback, consider these four steps below:

1. Detach – Remember that it’s not personal

The first step is to detach, emotionally that is. Before the conversation starts, remind yourself that this feedback is based on job performance and factors that include objective data. It has nothing to do with how nice you are, how fun you are around the office, or how you live your life away from work.

Your supervisor is trying to do their job as well as you’ve been trying to do yours. They feel that talking to you now is vital for your own well-being as a team member and for the team as a whole. If there’s something you’re doing that needs to be better, they have a responsibility to everyone on the team to tell you—and early enough so you can address it and make the end result better for everyone.

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.” – Elon Musk

2. Information – Focus on the data

Your supervisor’s description of your performance should be specific and actionable, so listen first and take careful notes as you pick up on themes. The earlier you try to respond, the more likely you will appear defensive and only out to present your ‘side’.

If you focus on listening and taking down what observations they have, you are more likely to capture what needs improvement. If you’re focused on improving those things, you’ll ultimately grow and be successful in supporting the organization and remaining an asset to those around you.

3. Vision – Create an image of what improvement looks like

The conversation is over. You’ve left the office and are back in your workspace. Review your notes and think about what your supervisor said. It’s time to work on the counter-image—what does improvement look like? This is an exercise in setting and realizing a vision.

Imagine what it looks like for the opposite of the feedback to be true. Don’t think about the steps to get there yet. Focus on ‘winning’ the situation, accounting for each observation your supervisor provided and experiencing success. Develop a narrative that you can see the same way you can watch a television series play out.

Got the image? Now plan your steps, in reverse from the vision you have to the moment you find yourself in now. You must have a vision of where you’ll end up before you can plan the steps to get there, otherwise you’ll set out on a path that leads nowhere—and therefore never ends.

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein

4. Empathize – Put yourself in the shoes of those around you

This is the most important step. Your supervisor felt it was the best thing for you and the team to tell you where you fell short and afford you a golden opportunity to do better. The truth is the conversation was likely as difficult for them as it was for you. Having to tell a teammate they’re not meeting standards can eat away at a manager, and is challenging because they must now consider what happens if you’re unable to improve.

You both have the organization’s best interest in mind. Feel what it’s like from their side, what it takes to manage the team and support everyone while meeting performance milestones set by senior leadership. Then think about the team around you.

What are they hoping to see from you? What can you do to help them focus elsewhere in the organization where there’s more work to be done? If you can push the envelope of improvement and get your team moving forward, it allows others to worry about the bigger problems ahead that will take everyone’s effort to solve.

Feedback is a tool for improvement, for yourself and those around you. If you’re receptive, you’ll engender trust and remain as an asset to the organization. That goes for managers, too.

Feedback is a two-way street, so if you’re that supervisor, remember to solicit feedback from your employees on a regular basis and rely on these same four steps to improve and look positively to the future.

How do you deal with handling negative feedback? Let us know your tips for others!

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