Connect with us

Work Life Balance

8 Tiny Changes to Make Your Life 10 Times More Enjoyable

Don’t underestimate the cumulative power of small, steady changes in your daily routines.

John Rampton

Published

on

finding-a-work-life-balance_self-development

I think we are all open to making changes in our lives that make us happier and more successful, but few of us follow-through because committing to something that’s going to change our lives is a daunting and massive undertaking, right?

Not necessarily.

Instead of focusing on huge, radical steps, start moving forward by incorporating these eight changes that are so small and simple that you can implement them immediately.

These eight steps can drastically change your life for the better.

1. Reprogram your mind to stay positive.

Our thoughts and actions are influenced by our feelings. That’s why when you’re just feeling “blah” because the weather is crummy or you had a stressful week all you want to do is stay in bed.

Here’s the problem. Negativity is all around us. There’s nothing we can do about that, either, but what can do is learn how to reprogram our minds to stay positive. You can’t trap every negative thought in the happy-clappy end zone of your mind, but can take charge of your thoughts by:

  • Keeping a gratitude journal. Jot down what you’re thankful for every day instead of worrying what you don’t have. Gratitude will make you happier, increase your productivity and help you sleep better at night.
  • Creating and repeating positive affirmations that acknowledge the progress you are making in the areas where you want to improve.
  • Surrounding yourself with positive people who lift your spirits. Remember, emotions are contagious.
  • Don’t acknowledge negative thoughts.
  • Staying active. Exercise releases endorphins but idleness leads to over-analyzing and overthinking.

Related: Purposeful Work: The Six Barriers To Fulfilment In The Workplace

2. Set your alarm half an hour earlier.

One traits many successful individuals have in common is they get up early. While you don’t have to wake up at the ungodly hour of 3:45 a.m.. like Apple’s Tim Cook, you could start setting your early half an hour earlier. So, if you normally set your alarm for 7 a.m., set it for 6:30 a.m.

The reason?

This will give you some extra time in the morning to exercise, meditate, read, check your emails, have breakfast with your family, plan your day or work on something that you’re passionate about. It saves you from rushing out the door each morning feeling forgetful, unaccomplished and discombobulated. Time tracking is key to self-improvement.

3. Clean up after yourself immediately.

How long does it really take to make your bed or wash your morning dishes? Maybe five minutes? Here’s the thing. If you don’t stay on top of these minor chores, they quickly build-up. That cereal bowl and coffee mug becomes a sink full smelly dishes that take a lot of time to clean. If washed immediately, you wouldn’t have this headache.

What’s more, people who immediately clean-up after themselves, like making their beds every morning, tend to be happier, as well as more successful since it makes you feel accomplished, removes clutter, and gives them a sense of control.

4. Don’t over-commit.

A common theme I notice with self-help advice is how people make goal-setting sound easy. They’ll suggest that you get more exercise or sleep, but that’s easier said than done when you’re working 12 hour days and helping with a newborn.

I’m not making excuses. Far from it. It’s just easier to commit and follow through successfully if you keep your goals simple and clearly defined. Start small and work your way up. Don’t jump into a marathon headfirst if you need more exercise. Start with 10 push-ups a day, a walk down your block after dinner or this seven-minute workout plan that you can do in your room.

If you want to start eating healthier but aren’t much of a cook, try a service like Blue Apron or Sun Basket. They send healthy ingredients to your home and give you step-by-step instructions on how to prepare the meals. If you want to start meditating, start with devoting five minutes a day.

This rings true in the business world as well. When we started my company we tried to be everything to everyone. Now, we focus on being the best invoicing company out there. Don’t overpromise and under deliver.

Related: 5 Vital Keys To Success From The Likes Of Tony Robbins And Gary Vaynerchuk

5. Don’t be so predictable.

Doing the same thing each and every day puts us in a rut. One of the best things that you can do for yourself is to stop being so predictable. Break out of your comfort zone at least once a week and do something new that you’ve never done before. Try that Thai restaurant. Go snowboarding. Purchase a wardrobe from a different store.

You get the point.

Opening ourselves up to new experiences makes us happier, changes our perspectives, helps us recognize new opportunities, boosts energy and makes us more receptive to change. This cycle circles back. New experiences will make you happier.

6. Swap complaining for expressing gratitude.

Even during my darkest times, I always tried to remain optimistic by reminding myself that despite the failure of my business, I still had the support of my family and friends. That helped me make the best of an otherwise dire situation.

One of the best ways to feel better when you need it most is by showing your gratitude. Be thankful for the best thing that happened to you today. I already mentioned keeping a daily gratitude journal, but I want to stress this can change your lifeResearchers have found that;

  • Those who keep a weekly gratitude journal tend to exercise more, have fewer physical symptoms and are more optimistic about their futures.
  • Daily discussion of gratitude can increase alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, energy and sleep duration, as well lower reports of depression.
  • Individuals who think about, talk about or write about gratitude daily are more likely to help someone with a personal problem or offer emotional support.
  • Those who are grateful place less importance on material goods, are less envious of others and are more likely to share their possessions with others.
  • Daily gratitude practices may help prevent coronary artery disease.

Show your gratitude to friends, family, clients and colleagues. Sincerely thanking people is one of the best ways to strengthen relationships. After all, doesn’t it feel awesome when someone thanks you for your hard work, doing a chore, or just listening when they need to vent?

7. Stop comparing yourself to others.

Stop losing sleep over what others have and what you don’t. Here’s the truth: there is always going to be someone who has a better paying job, lives in a nicer house, drives a fancier car and goes on more exotic vacations. Your friends may start families before you. Some might get to retire early.

Comparing yourself just makes you miserable and unhappily preoccupied about what others consider success. Instead, worry about what you define as success. When I started freelancing, I had friends who mocked me because I wasn’t making as much money as they were. The way I saw it, I had a flexible schedule, got to work wherever I wanted and never complained about work since I enjoyed what I was doing. My friends that gave me a rough time complained constantly about their jobs, colleagues, waking-up so early, etc.

Who do you think was happier?

Related: 10 Ways To Stay Inspired For Life

8. Tackle the one thing that you’ve been putting off.

We all put off that one thing: the phone call to your insurance company, cleaning up your desk, changing the batteries in the smoke alarms. Just like those dirty dishes I discussed earlier, setting priorities includes making certain seemingly small tasks don’t build-up until you have to spend an entire day catching up.

If you have unfinished tasks, you are carrying a heavy weight around with you all the time, no matter how small each task is. You have to remember it. If possible, when you think of it, do it right then.

After you’ve listed your priorities for the day, add a long-standing chore to your to-do-list. For example, at the end of the workday, you’ll make that phone call or organize your workplace since you’ve already gotten all of your most important, and energy-draining, tasks done for the day.

You’ll be surprised at how much better, and productive, you’ll feel once you’ve crossed these items off your list — even if it’s just a mental list.

Free yourself.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru and startup enthusiast. He is founder of the online invoicing company Due. John is best known as an entrepreneur and connector. He was recently named #2 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and has been one of the Top 10 Most Influential PPC Experts in the World for the past three years. He currently advises several companies in the San Francisco Bay area.

Work Life Balance

How To Work 10 Hours Less Each Week

We often equate working hard, long hours with being successful, when in fact, you’re just heading for a burnout. Here’s how to work less, while getting more done.

Pieter Scholtz

Published

on

work-life-balance-less-work

“The key to increasing profits is to convert unprofitable interactions into profitable ones.”

John D Rockefeller, a man who commanded incredible amounts of money, once said: “Those who have leisure time to spend pursuing their passions and dreams experience the real wealth in life.”

Knowing how to spend time is a more valuable skill than knowing how to make, manage, invest and spend money. It’s wise for entrepreneurs who want to be truly successful to master the use of their precious and irreplaceable time. What I have found most interesting is that those who know how to manage, budget and save time — rather than letting it manage them — will always find it easier to make money.

Learning how to lop ten hours off a typical work week without sacrificing any income may take practice, but it’s easier and faster to accomplish than most people think with these three steps.

Step One: Fire extraneous customers

The first rule of any time management system is to utilise the time we are allotted most wisely. As the saying goes; Time is money. The thief to be most wary of, is the one who steals our time.

Related: Work Less, Work Better. Use These 5 Steps to Design Your Perfect Week

So the rather controversial first step is to eliminate wasted time on customers who tie up sales representatives with inconsequential sales, steal your valuable time with constant complaining and waste your accountant’s time chasing them for payment. You need to either get rid of them or transform them into customers who proactively feed the bottom line. While this approach may sound radical, it makes practical sense to only focus on customers who respond with profitable transactions.

Firing customers may involve deleting dead-end leads from the client database. Or it may mean sending customers or clients to a business that more appropriately matches their price demands. Or you could adjust the magnets that are attracting those unwanted customers in the first place. Examples of this are discounts, freebies or products in the business that are not related to the core business model. Concentrate solely on products and services that produce the most profit and cull the dead weight ones that don’t contribute their share to the bottom line.

You could spin those lines off as stand-alone businesses and sell them to another entrepreneur or upgrade to premium versions that offer higher profit margins. Profit is always the goal and is the most important barometer of success.

Step Two: Double the conversion rates of transactions

conversion-rateMoney is a fabulous timesaver and those who know how to make money more efficiently can leverage it to carve out more time for themselves. The key to increasing profits is to convert unprofitable interactions into profitable ones. This is a fool-proof formula for saving more hours each day without compromising on productivity or earnings.

Most people crawl toward retirement. Innovative entrepreneurs sprint there in record time. If you invest in a mutual fund or pension plan it may take decades to get enough of a nest egg to make it possible to semi-retire and take ten hours off each week to play golf or spend time with family. However, increasing profits in a business can be done in a matter of days or weeks.

To prepare for your profit-boosting initiative, gather accounting data and metrics to get a clear picture of where your profits come from, how many contacts are made with customers each month and how many customers make actual purchases. An easy way to harvest such information is by using software connected to point-of-sale terminals or cash registers.

Next, launch a marketing and advertising push to generate new customer leads, to encourage existing customers to buy more and to promote the most profitable products or services.

Related: How To Work Less And Still Get More Done

Part of this effort should involve a new way of looking at the business model. Most entrepreneurs see the future of their companies in terms of products and services that fill a particular market need or niche. Find the right merchandise and the customers will come. Build the best resort and it will be booked a year in advance. Another way to view the marketplace of opportunity is to reverse that point of view. Instead of looking for the ideal items to sell, invest in purchasing the loyalty of the perfect customer. Rather than chasing market share, chase ‘wallet share’ or more profitable customer-based transactions. No matter what a business sells, it’s ultimately the customers and how many times they spend money that generates the profits. Invest in attracting and retaining good customers and the rest will take care of itself automatically.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, find out who is buying wheels and make them your steady customers. Then sell them a premium wheel with a wider profit margin. Finally, ask clients to bring in their friends so that you can sell them a set of wheels too.

Once an expanding customer base is established, use incentives such as superior customer service, in-house financing, exclusive product lines and preferential customer perks to inspire clients to double the number of their monthly transactions.

Try up-selling customers to premium products. Cross-sell them to accessories or add-on features. Even down-sell to them by offering a more economical version of the product they can’t yet afford so that they don’t take their business to a competitor. At the same time, continually make a choreographed effort to generate fresh leads for potential new customers.

Step Three: Run your businesses on auto-pilot

Now the business owner has enviable options. One possibility is to close down the business for ten hours each week, take time off and settle for making the same amount of money monthly that was generated before boosting profits by 25%.

Another alternative is to leverage that newfound success for progressive changes and forward momentum. You can maintain the same hours of operation, capture the extra 25% in profits and then wisely reinvest those profits in greater timesaving initiatives.

By working smarter — not harder — through organised systems, cutting-edge technology, innovative advertising and dynamic employee training, you can prepare to put the business into the hands of capable others — which is the next step toward personal freedom. If somebody else is running the store — without any loss of productivity — it is possible for you to literally play golf all day without loss of income.

Related: How To Make More Money By Doing Less Work

Continue Reading

Work Life Balance

Distractions Are Hurting You More Than You Realise: Here’s Why

Research shows that returning to your original focus, following a distraction, takes, on average, a full 23 minutes and 15 seconds.

Jayson Demers

Published

on

focus-distractions

For most American professionals, distractions are a normal part of life. You’ll get an email notification in the middle of a project, or a text during a meeting, or you’ll notice an interesting article on social media when you’re trying to focus on a solo task.

Then you’ll dive down that rabbit hole to learn more about it.

On a surface level, distractions range from the pleasant and barely noticeable to the mildly annoying, but they may be affecting you more than you realise.

Building and getting back your focus

For some people, passing distractions never seem to cost much time. They’ll take 30 seconds or a minute to look at their phone, or even two minutes to scroll through their Facebook news feed; then they’ll return to work. But, if this doesn’t sound like you, you may be in the extreme minority, considering that 90 percent of employees self-report using social media during work hours.

Related: For Vusi Thembekwayo, Focus Leads To Big Wins

Unfortunately, those minutes-long expenditures are only the tip of the iceberg. The time you spend on the distraction itself is trivial in most cases, but you also have to incorporate, in that “lost” time, the minutes it takes your brain to regain its focus on your initial task. And according to a study from the University of California-Irvine, that return to your original focus, following a distraction, takes, on average, a full 23 minutes and 15 seconds.

In other words, if you’re distracted at least once every 23 minutes, there’s a good chance you’ll never ramp up to your fully focused potential.

The dangers of multitasking

As if that weren’t bad enough, getting distracted also forces your brain to multitask; you won’t bring a project neatly to a close, so you’ll keep working on it to some degree while you attempt to shift your attention to another task competing for your attention.

This is bad for several reasons. According to Stanford neuroscientist Russ Poldrack, if you learn new information while multitasking, that information can get sent to the wrong part of the brain. You may feel that you’re paying attention in a meeting and reading up about a new creative brief at the same time, but chances are you won’t retain information from either source.

On top of that, the brain isn’t designed for multitasking; there are steeper metabolic costs to shifting your attention, which means the brain consumes far more oxygenated glucose during the changeover. If you switch back and forth between tasks often enough, you could feel disoriented, or even exhausted.

In addition, your brain will produce more cortisol, a stress hormone that often leads to irritability, aggression and impulsive behaviour.

The gateway distraction

It’s also important to consider the fact that most of our modern distractions have the potential to occupy far more than just a few minutes of our time. Most social media apps, for example, are designed to be addictive; they give you just enough of a reward to keep you using them; they provide no sense of completeness because of their infinite-scrolling potential and they constantly give you notifications so you can see what’s new.

If you aren’t careful, a quick look at your newsfeed can turn into a 30-minute long dive into the digital world.

Related: This Isn’t The Army: Why It’s Important To Focus On Teaching Instead Of Punishment

When distractions are good

All that being said, there is a case for arguing that distractions can be beneficial. For example, there’s evidence to suggest that mental distractions can aid in pain relief, especially for sufferers of chronic pain. They may also provide short-term relief for anxiety and distress.

In addition, pulling yourself away from a task can give your brain some much-needed time to decompress and refocus. There’s a reason we tend to come up with our best ideas when we’re bored or otherwise unoccupied; the brain has more freedom and leisure to wander to new places and tinker with problems that exist in the background.

If you’re specifically using a distraction to help your brain refocus (and possibly de-stress for a moment), you can actually get some value from your distractions.

Despite some potential benefits (when your distractions are fully under your control), though, for the most part, distractions are damaging your productivity – and in multiple ways.

If you want to improve your overall output and de-stress in the meantime, your best option is to limit your distractions by turning off notifications, scheduling your breaks, staying more disciplined with sites and apps likely to steal your attention and communicating to your coworkers about your need to focus throughout the day.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Continue Reading

Work Life Balance

Are You A Procrastinator? Don’t Be By Doing These 3 Things

Take control of your time and super-charge your day, making the most of your most valuable resource: Time.

Erik Kruger

Published

on

procrastinator

The more time I spend thinking, writing and coaching about how to combat procrastination, the more I realise how much bigger this problem is than I initially thought. Every person reading this column will at some point have fallen victim to this avoidance behaviour. In fact, many of us fall prey to it daily.

If you’re serious about personal and business success, overcoming procrastination should be top of mind. If you’re able to master the ability to not procrastinate, you’ll supercharge your productivity and performance without the need for any new tools, techniques or information.

By simply doing what you are supposed to do, you become more effective. The most powerful truths are often the simplest ones too. Let’s look at three ideas that will help you create momentum.

One: Know Your Style

Did you know there are six procrastination styles? Thanks to the work of Sapadin and Maguire we have identified certain ‘archetypes’ that we can use to relate to procrastination styles. Going through the list is an interesting exercise for raising awareness. It won’t ‘cure’ procrastination but it gives you an interesting starting point for further exploration.

Related: Why Your Procrastination Excuses Don’t Cut It

  • The Perfectionist does not start or finish in case it is not perfect in the eyes of others or self. Typical for creatives and entrepreneurs.
  • The Dreamer wants life to be smooth. They love to dream big without translating it into action. If their dreams never become reality, then they can never fail.
  • The Worrier is always wondering “what if something goes wrong?” They get caught up in their heads and over-analyse the situation.
  • The Defier is resistant to the instruction of others because they do not want to be told what to do. They procrastinate not because of the task at hand but because of their relationship with the task giver.
  • The Crisis Maker likes living on the edge. They feel that the added pressure of a looming deadline makes them work better.
  • The Over-doer takes on too much without establishing priorities and boundaries. They ultimately realise that they are overcommitted and start losing their grasp on the task.

Two: Time Immersion (TI)

I am currently completing my Master’s degree in Coaching. There have been times when I have found it incredibly difficult to motivate myself to do the work. One effective method that has helped me to progress is to focus on ‘time spent immersed’ instead of focusing on a specific outcome.

Instead of committing to a specific number of words or chapters I commit to just sitting down with the work for a specific amount of time. In my case, 45 minutes. This means that for those 45 minutes I immerse myself in the work. Reading a bit here, writing a bit there, and at the end of the 45 minutes I get up to take a break.

Time Immersion has two very important benefits. Firstly, we often procrastinate because a task is hard, and we don’t want to deal with the pain that comes with working on it. By committing to time immersed, hard things become easier. More importantly, they become easier without the judgement of whether you succeeded or failed. Secondly, it creates momentum. With every 45-minute TI session you will find yourself slowly chipping away at the frustration. We all know what happens when you chip away at a big problem with enough perseverance; it will be conquered.

Three: Let go of judgement

Those who procrastinate are not lazy. This is important to understand. True procrastination is a psychological phenomenon driven by our fear of failure, judgement and low frustration tolerance.

This is why procrastinators will often find other ways of keeping themselves occupied. Again, an avoidance behaviour, not just laziness.

If you identified your procrastination style, then this might have already given you some insight into why you do what you do. Knowing this, you can go beyond and examine the beliefs that you have that maintain your procrastinating behaviours.

Related: 4 Cures for Chronic Procrastination

One way to do this is to listen to your inner dialogue. That voice inside your head that loves to pull you down with negativity. Simply listen to the words that ‘he/she’ is using and then make a concerted effort to examine them. This is exactly what a coach would do.

If your inner voice says that you first need more information before proceeding with a task, stop, and ask yourself if that is really the truth.

If your inner voice says that you are a failure and that completing this task will expose you for the fraud you are, stop, and ask yourself if that is really true.

Usually, these irrational beliefs are easily refuted.

Final thoughts

The truth is that you already know enough. You know what to do. You know how to do it. The thing stopping you is your relationship with yourself and the task at hand. You will find the key to overcoming procrastination inside yourself. Spend some time exploring the ideas that I suggested and see your productivity explode.

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPOTLIGHT

Advertisement

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Entrepreneur-Newsletters
*
We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.
Advertisement

Trending