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How The First 20 Minutes Of Your Day Can Set You Up For Success

Engage a positive routine right after waking, and you’ll tap into the power of your subconscious brain.




You all know about that morning-routine thing: Everyone raves that waking up early and sticking to your routine will help you get more done. But whether you get out of bed at 5 a.m. or 3 p.m., it’s the first 20 minutes of your day that can set you up for success.

The brain produces electrical patterns, often referred to as waves. Scientists have found a correlation between the frequency of brain waves and the body’s state.

When you first awake, your brain operates at around 10.5 waves per second. The range from eight to 13 Hz, or cycles per second, is the alpha stage. It’s been called the gateway to the subconscious mind.

Have you ever gone into a semi-daydreaming state while commuting? A few minutes pass, but you don’t remember what happened. It’s likely your brain entered the alpha state.

Without getting too deep into the science of brain activity, it’s safe to say your subconscious mind is most active right when you wake up.

Related: 5 Habits You Should Steal From Other Entrepreneurs’ Morning Routines

You can train your brain to use this subconscious activity to think positively and accomplish more throughout your day. This quick checklist outlines six simple things you can do to make the most of these first 20 minutes:

1. Don’t click the snooze button

Don’t ever click your alarm’s snooze button. This tells your brain it’s OK to procrastinate by putting your day on hold.

2. Do make your bed


Your room will look cleaner and feel more organised – both of which train your mind to want to get things done, right away. It’s a small win, but you can build on it as your day continues.

3. Visualise your life

This is probably the best thing you can do in the alpha state. Visualise your life.

What will it be in five years, when you’ve achieved your goal of building your business? How about your relationships? Concentrate on how they’ll look in the future and what you need to make them real.

Tap into your subconscious mind to request what you want and then make your brain drive your actions.

4. Watch a motivational video

When you’re up, not even a tough day can get you down. If you’re truly motivated, you know you’ll reach your milestones – no matter what.

Related: 5 Ways to Tweak Your Morning Routine for a Better Day

Big achievements are never easy. During the past year, I’ve found inspiration in quick-hit videos that help me refocus when I start to burn out between work and my studies. After you complete your visualisation exercise, watch a video that reinforces the connection between intention and action steps.

5. Repeat your affirmations

Simple affirmations such as “I will make this day the best day in my life” can have a huge impact on your life. It worked for Steve Jobs. First, compile a list of affirmations that fit your beliefs and core values. Repeat them aloud every morning.

6. Keep a journal

During the past year, I intentionally developed several habits to become more mindful. Keeping a journal ranks near the top of the list in terms of impact on my life.

You can use a journal to write down some of your affirmations, spread positive thinking and plan your day through these “morning pages.” Clear your mind of any thoughts that may interrupt your focus.

This article was originally posted here on

Related: 14 Of The Best Morning Routine Hacks Proven To Boost Productivity

Ahmed Safwan is building a freelancing business while studying to be a dentist but still finds time to enjoy with friends.

How to Guides

How Entrepreneurs Can Use Coloured Lights To Stay Productive

Colours in your workspace aren’t just for Christmas anymore. They actually have a surprising impact on focus and creativity.

James Parsons




Colours drive the world around us. Plants use colour to absorb the energy of the sun. Animals use colour to hide from predators or to attract mates.  Humans use colour in an infinite variety of ways that are cultural, social, positive – and negative. It should come as no surprise, then, that colour impacts our lives in a million little ways.

Nor is the impact of colour in your business always just about branding or advertising. The colour of your office space, for instance, can have a big impact on productivity. Cool greens and blues, and natural hues, tend to improve our focus and efficiency while instilling a sense of well-being.

Warmer hues, like red, can indicate something the viewer should be passionate about – or something worthy of concern. That’s why red is the colour of valentines and of warnings against fire. Yellow, meanwhile, is energetic and refreshing, helpful for innovation.

Updating the “idea” bulb

There has been a trend in recent years to infuse an office or workspace with colours appropriate for the tasks at hand. Think: A new age, psychology-backed Feng Shui. Yet this notion of decorating has drawbacks: For example, if you paint the walls of your office, you’ll find it difficult to shift colours as your business shifts gears. Choosing one colour over another can result in a feeling of staleness, and changing up decorations is certainly a chore.

The good news is that modern technology provides a solution to this problem, and that solution lies in upgrading the lighting in your workplace.

Modern innovations are extending our already commonplace knowledge of good lighting practices. Cool versus warm lighting, bright blue-white LEDs versus warmer yellow-white incandescent bulbs: All have their place. Even variations in white lights can affect productivity and creativity when customised for office spaces.

The smart home and home-automation industry has also been growing year over year, and one of the primary innovations it has brought is programmable or controllable light bulbs, including those like the Philips Hue, LIFX A19, Ikea’s Tradfri and the GE C bulbs.

Related: Take Responsibility For Your Company’s Culture To Boost Productivity

Through apps, remote controls, Bluetooth connections and programmable systems, these bulbs can be controlled to deliver thousands of colours in varying intensities, without the need to repaint or redecorate.

Want a productive shade of blue for your office? Set your lights to blue. Done with work and want to relax? Switch those lights to a light green. Entertaining for a party? Rock those Christmas colours.

On top of all of that, lights work just fine in all white, with just a hint of warm or cool colour to bring on the desired psychological effect. You don’t need to plan out which bulbs go in which room of an office; just programme in a few settings for common uses and run one set of bulbs.

Custom-tailored solutions

Perhaps the biggest benefit of using a smart lighting system, be it in a corporate environment or in an individual work-from-home office, is the ability to tailor lighting to your own specific preferences. Sure, blue might work to increase your productivity, but what if the shade of blue in the overhead lights just doesn’t work for you? With smart bulbs, you can pick the exact “hex” value for the shade of blue you prefer.

Entrepreneurs are nothing if not highly opinionated individuals. No two offices are the same. Some people prefer standing desks; others prefer desks with bikes or treadmills attached; and still others just want a room with a view. Everyone has his or her own preferences, so being able to find and select the specific lighting for the specific tasks you’re performing is an enormous boon.

All it requires is a bit of investment into a smart bulb system, some introspection to monitor moods and productivity while experimenting with colour and probably a good firewall.

Natural rhythms

Installing a bunch of smart bulbs is not going to have an immediate 200 percent productivity increase attached. There’s a lot of room still to experiment, and a lot of psychology and biology left to explore. Smart lighting can accentuate a natural workflow, but it won’t allow you to bypass natural circadian rhythms without issue.

Related: 5 Surprising Elements That Boost Your Productivity (One of Them Is Colour)

With this in mind, it’s worthwhile to accompany smart lighting with control over other light sourcesF.lux, an app to adjust the colour temperature of computer screens to follow daylight, is a great companion. As the sun sets, and the bright white-blue of your home computer screen becomes a harsh glare, the app adjusts and dims your screen and adds a warmer hue. You can then follow with similar adjustments in ambient light: The result is you may find it easier to fall asleep.

Using fully colour-adjustable lighting is still a very new field for entrepreneurs. There are no easy-to-follow guides to set up the perfect colours. It’s an investment that requires self-awareness and monitoring personal data to optimise. If that sounds like a worthwhile experiment or even a fun thing to try, smart lighting in the office just might be for you.

This article was originally posted here on

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How to Guides

10 Tips to Turn Your Brain Into an Idea Factory

Our creativity may vary in style, but never in quality.

Andrew Medal




I like to believe that we are all born creative. Our creativity may vary in style, but never in quality. And while you might have lost touch with your idea-generating department, you can always reach it again.

Here are 10 tips on how to start producing ideas on a daily basis.

1Start an idea notebook

Always carry a notebook and write down everything. An idea is like bait, once you get a glimpse of one, you use it to catch bigger and better ideas. Write down everything that you think might be a starting point.

2Hold intense brainstorming sessions

Here is when you go fishing. Let your mind wonder and go from one idea to the other. Brainstorming sessions will get your mind into creative mode.

Related: 8 Creativity Lessons from a Pixar Animator

3Write 10 new ideas every night

Think of this as a plan for tomorrow. Write down ideas before you go to sleep and wake up the next day with the basis for your work. It will give you direction and can prevent a creative block. I do this every night. It’s easy to come up with the first six, and the last four take a little extra brain power. Try it.

4Draw ideas

Let your hand scribble on the paper and your mind will wonder. Try expressing your ideas into drawings and sketches. And remember, you don’t have to be an actual artist to get the most of the benefits picture has to offer. It’s fun. I like to draw out websites I build.

5Seek experiences


Lead an experience-driven life. Experiencing new things will widen your perspective and will give you a bigger “inspiration pool.” People with full lives are better at being open, creative and producing new ideas.

Related: Strategic Creativity Drives Growth

6Turn off your electronics

Get away from the computer. Even when brainstorming or taking notes, use good old pen and paper. Turn off your electronics and remove your mind from distractions. You will find that not only you are more awake, but you will be better at directing your attention and maximising the production of new ideas.

7Drink coffee

Coffee wakes up the brain and sparks creativity. Think of it as fuel for your idea generator. Combine it with any of the previous tips, and you’ll feel limitless. I only drink caffeine a couple times per month, so when I drink it, it has a profound effect on me to the point I feel like I can walk through walls and see into the future.

8Surround yourself with creatives

Hang out with creative people, those who can inspire you and give you feedback. Network and bounce off ideas with each other. Get inspiration from people in your social group, and then expand your social group. And if the idea calls for it, by all means, collaborate.

Related: 10 Myths About Creativity You Need to Stop Believing Now

9Finish things

Get in the mode of finishing things. Once you start thinking of an idea, think it through and don’t abandon it. Feeling accomplished will provide a dopamine boost, and help establish a craving that in turn develops a habit. Yay, habit loop!

10Don’t put yourself down

Never think that you are not creative enough or don’t have what it takes. Creative is a mood, not a brain type. Give yourself a break if things don’t come as naturally in the beginning and take it light. Rather than forcing it, create a habit of producing ideas and realise that habits take time.

Whether you need it for your job or want to lead a more creative life, transforming your brain into an idea-generating factory can be life-changing on all levels.

Word of caution: create ideas at your own risk, the effects could be a more focused, enriched, creative way of living. You may find more time and joy in the things you already do, and discover newfound opportunities and experiences. Not everyone will be ready for the profound effects. So “idea” wisely.

This article was originally posted here on

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How to Guides

1 In 4 South Africans Are Unemployed. Here’s How We Reduce Those Numbers

This CV Maker by Retroviral and Wonderland Collective for their client, Clere for Men, just made your life easier.

Mike Sharman




I receive unsolicited mails – weekly – from graduates, matriculants, and experienced industry individuals, vying for a potential role at Retroviral; anything.

The mails are terrible. I’ve seen more attractive, Comic Sans, conference, communication spam. The urge to delete is strong.

Considering the education syllabus has undergone some cosmetic surgery since I was at high school, I’m not sure if L.O (our version of ‘Guidance’) ever tackles the subject of self-promotion, individual PR, or even just plain old how to make friends and influence people.

The ‘intro mail’ – with attached CV – is your opportunity to get your foot in the door. If you screw this up, there is no next part. There is no interview. Do not pass go. Do not collect UIF.

Related: The Key To Hiring The Best Employees

We used the amount of awful CVs we are exposed to, as an insight for our client – Clere for Men. We then worked with Wonderland Collective to create a CV builder for the Clere for Men brand so that we could develop an actual solution for its customers.

We all know men are simple creatures. We are always on the look out for a better job and we are genetically programmed to find a girlfriend / partner. There are a series of steps required to attract said partner and this is where Clere for Men becomes the catalyst for change:

If you start off smelling good, it’s a shorter leap to then feel good, and once you feel good, you’re on your way to looking good (with a few pointers on the style front required). These are the key factors for enhancing your confidence.

Everything in life is about confidence. This brings us full circle to actually stepping foot into the interview situation to land the job you are after. Your paperwork has to be in order, your CV needs to look slick, but the piece of paper isn’t going to win you the job. You – the person – are! has been designed to give you grooming advice, style guidance, while the CV Maker is the third side of the triangle to give you a one up on your future and help you realise your personal vision.

Related: Dr John Demartini On Hiring The Right People

If we could enable 1 million people to become employed or aid them starting businesses and they hire 4 people as a result, that’s 5 million new jobs that have been created – or 10% of our population.

Play with the site, share with your mates who are in desperate need of a man-makeover, and let us know if there are any additions you would like to see. New content will be developed over the next few weeks as well as some video tutorials.

Are you interested? Click the image below and explore the platform.


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