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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




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

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

7 Reasons Why Keeping The Job You Have Might Be Your Smartest Career Move

Leaving your comfort zone is not automatically a brilliant idea.

Tracy Maylett




With U.S. unemployment coming in at a healthy low of 4.10 percent last quarter, and better-than-average employment figures across the globe, job seekers have new choices. “Get a new job!” may be at the top of many resolution lists, but before you push “send” on that employment application, you might want to take a few things into consideration:

1. Finding a new job is not as simple as it appears

The number of people looking to ditch their current jobs and find other employment was estimated by some to be as high as 50 percent in 2017 (although our DecisionWise employee survey results show that figure to be less than 20 percent). Whether it’s 20 percent or 50 percent of the world’s population on the job prowl, competition may be steeper than one might think.

Now, further complicate this with the notion that millennials will make up 50 percent of the workforce in 2020. In the competition for the perfect job, there is a high degree of likelihood that your job-hunting competitor may be very similar to you when it comes to skills, experience or education. And, while you’re actively searching for that ideal job, you may not be giving your current role the attention it (and your employer) deserves.

Related: How To Optimise Your Productivity After Quitting Your Job

2. You will be starting over

While the possibilities of that new job and compensation package may be enticing, that move may be financially taxing. Many companies have benefits policies that do not kick in for a period of time.

The paid time off and vacation time you’ve previously earned won’t transfer across companies. In many areas, you will be starting over.

3. Job switching is stressful

Workplace adjustments like changes to a different line of work, changes in work hours or location or new work responsibilities can significantly impact personal health. The Holmes and Rahe stress scale ranks a change in employment as one of the most significant when it comes to life’s stressors. When the average workweek for many of us is 45-55 hours, some of us spend as many as half our waking hours at the office. That’s a significant chunk of one’s life to disrupt.

4. You’ll be the newbie

Remember those new employees that you were asked to train – all of those questions and mistakes? Well, now that’s you! For the first three months of employment, you’re more of a liability than an asset, regardless of how valuable you think you are. Mastery takes time. Yet, mastery has repeatedly been shown as one of the key factors in job engagement. Institutional knowledge that comes through tenure is highly valued by most organisations.

Are you ready to spend a good part of 2018 as an apprentice again, acting as the learner rather than the expert? Many employees tie a sense of self-identity and worth to the expertise, title and necessity of their job. That change may have more of a psychological impact than you realise.

5. Relationships take time

A new job means a new team, new customers and a new boss or subordinates. Connection to others around you continues to show up as a primary factor in employee engagement, not to mention the ability to get things done. All that effort to build relationships in your current job won’t be transferred to your new role.

Additionally, trust typically must be earned over time, and that absence of trust may impede your short-term effectiveness. Relationships and trust take time to build. Remember, you will likely be starting over.

Related: 10 Things You Must Do Before Quitting Your Job To Start Your Company

6. Growth often involves pain

When professional growth opportunities are absent in an organisation, you get stagnation, boredom and attrition. Those who remain in growth-impaired environments are operating on autopilot. They aren’t mentally present; their minds are not on their work. Errors happen and quality drops. Indifference sets in when work becomes routine. While a no-stress job seems ideal to some, challenges and growth are key components of employee engagement.

Growth most often occurs when we are stretched beyond our comfort zone. Yet, when some people run up against challenges, they take the easy way out by looking outside the organisation. Consequently, they never grow because the grass is always greener elsewhere. Which brings up the next point.

7. Maybe the problem is you

In 2017, employee engagement firm DecisionWise analysed more than 24 million employee survey responses gathered over three years. When it came to disengagement, the findings weren’t completely surprising: fully disengaged employees rarely turned the engagement corner. According to the study, if I’m disengaged in my current job, I’m likely to disengage in my future job.

Why are you thinking of making the switch? Is it the working conditions? Compensation? Bad boss? These are valid reasons. However, often it’s not just this job; it has become a pattern. What’s the common denominator here? Are most team members always doing less work than you do? Are all companies made up of tyrants? Will the people at your new job really value you more than those at your current job? Or, maybe… just possibly…is the problem, you? Look in the mirror. As they say, “wherever you go, there you are.”

Before you rush out to fulfill that job-change resolution in 2018, consider the above. Maybe that switch isn’t what you want after all.

This article was originally posted here on

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Company Posts

Business Travel Is Alive And Paying Off

The rise of conference calls and video conferencing systems like Skype and Google Hangouts may seem like the end of face-to-face business encounters, but experts don’t agree.

Kulula Work



business travel

A number of business leaders and industrial psychologists reckon that there’s no substitute for meeting someone in person, especially at critical junctures in a business relationship, like introducing yourself or closing a deal.

So how do you make business travel easier and worth your while? Dawn Weir, Head of kulula work, suggests the following:

Maximise the business benefits

Business travel can benefit the individual traveller and their business, whether it’s a small enterprise or a multinational conglomerate. kulula work for example, guarantees you the best fares of the day on and British Airways (operated by Comair), and you won’t pay booking or flight change fees — only the difference in fare and the airport taxes. You can now also earn and redeem Avios loyalty points whilst flying with Not only will earning more Avios graduate you to higher tiers where you can, for example, get cabin upgrades and access to business lounges, but you can also use the points to, say, take your family on a business and leisure holiday
with you.

Related: How To Take The Hassle Out Of Business Travel With Kulula Work

Go paperless

Get rid of unnecessary paperwork that can weigh you down and store your boarding pass on your smartphone wallet app when you check in 24 hours ahead of departure.

Take a breather

Airport lounges provide a haven from the hubbub of departure lounges, but not all are equal by any means. The best ones have space for some work, fast WiFi, a good selection of food, a decent wine list, and facilities to shower and freshen up. The Slow Lounges at a number of South African airports have these facilities. There’s even one at the Radisson Blu Hotel opposite the Sandton Gautrain station, SLOW in the City that provides boardrooms, lounges, and can arrange for quiet areas to do media interviews. A new lounge called SLOW XS, has also opened at Lanseria International Airport and has, among its many attractions, wine tastings offered by local drinks specialists Winesense.

Add some colour

Many business travellers will go to great lengths to ensure they only travel with cabin luggage, but if you do have to check luggage into the hold, take a moment to familiarise yourself with bag-drop arrangements and any restrictions on the size of cabin luggage. Also, many travellers find it helpful to mark their luggage with a brightly-coloured tag of some sort that makes it readily recognisable on the conveyor.

Stash it all

So, you have your boarding pass on your smartphone and you’ve stashed keys, wallet and change in your carry-on baggage, to save you time passing through the metal-detectors at the security checkpoint. If you’re travelling internationally, you may have opted to wear slip-on shoes and to pack your belt in your carry-on luggage to avoid having to take them off and put them back on again at security. We’ve all stood behind fellow travellers who arrive at the checkpoint with coins and keys in every pocket, and electronic devices in the bottom of a suitcase. There’s not much you can do about that, but you can make your own passage through the metal-detectors easier.

Related: Kulula: Erik Venter and Gidon Novick

Remember to rest

Many business travellers tend to put in more working hours when away from the office and home. Rather than thinking that every mail in your inbox must be answered immediately, get some work-life balance by taking a walk or a run, or just a nap.

To make sure you are on time — every time — comfortable, refreshed, organised and stress-free when you seal your next deal, use kulula work to take care of your travel arrangements. Our team includes professionals dedicated to your account who will assess your business travel needs so that you have a healthy combination of work and play, on your road to success.

The following is exclusively available when your next business trip is booked via kulula work:

  • Best fares of the day on and British Airways (operated by Comair)
  • Flexible flight changes (only the difference in fare and taxes will apply)
  • No booking fees
  • Competitive car hire rates with Europcar and Avis
  • Great hotel rates with Protea Hotels and City Lodge Hotel Group
  • Invoicing and reporting
  • Account management
  • Access to our qualified Corporate Reservations team. *

For that work-life balance you’re after contact kulula work on +27 (0)11 285 3050, email or visit

* Legal stuff applies

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Work Life Balance

Managing Your Schedule Like A Boss: Tips The Experts Never Tell You

Time management is at the top of the short list of reasons why some people succeed and most don’t.

John Rampton




Lou Gerstner, the former CEO of IBM, once said, “Never let anyone own your schedule.”

I don’t know about you, but I love that quote. It’s so simple, yet true. After all being deliberate with your time is one of the best ways to have a happy life in the business world. Of course, try as hard as you can, that’s not always the reality. Life is kind of known for throwing a monkey wrench into your plans every now and then.

But, it’s still possible to manage your schedule like a boss by following these can’t-beat tips.

Create a routine

Next up you need to create, and stick, to a routine.

Start by blocking times for specific activities, such as checking emails, exercise and spending time with your family. You can then convert your calendar into a series of blocks for you to place activities in the prepared spaces. If something isn’t planned and placed into a block, don’t do it.

Keep in mind that your routine will probably change throughout the year. But, it’s better to have a plan that changes than no plan at all. For example, if you’re launching a start-up, then you should block times for activities like customer discovery, coding and hiring. Next year you may have to block out times for marketing, growing your business and customer service.

Related: Fighting Sleep Is A Losing Management Strategy. Let Your Employees Take Naps

Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week

“This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going,” write Joe Mathews, Don Debolt and Deb Percival on Entrepreneur.

“You’ll see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions.”

Add time buffers to manage your schedule

Have you missed a couple of deadlines because you jumped from project to project? It’s probably because your didn’t add time buffers. A buffer is something like this:

You just landed a new client for your freelance business. They assign you a deadline to complete the task. Instead of entering their exact deadline, your put your own deadline that’s 24-48 earlier. Those hours are the buffer.

Why’s that such a big deal? When you have a buffer, and something happens that you can’t control, you still have those 24-48 hours to meet the deadline.

Schedule your calendar like a to-do-list

If you have things on your schedule that have to be done, I personally like scheduling out time on my calendar for them. Much like a meeting, they have a set and scheduled time for this task to be accomplished.

For some people like myself, this includes blocking out time for working out, eating, walks and other important activities in my life. If I don’t make time for them, other things will always get in the way. I find that when I block out those times on my schedule, I’m much more proactive as well as I feel better about myself.

Use batching and time-blocking

In my early days of freelancing I multitasked like it was going out of style. I eventually realised that doing more than one thing at a time is ineffective and stressful. I was stressed beyond endurance because, as research now shows, the human brain isn’t capable of multitasking.

Related: 5 Time-Management Tools for Small Businesses to Improve Productivity

A study conducted by Microsoft Research, shows that switching from task to task is less productive than staying on the same task, or the same types of tasks, over a block of time. That’s why batching is so awesome.

Batching is basically where you find similar tasks and then lump them all together to make a task-batch. You then sit down, set a timer, and focus only on those similar tasks. For example, setting aside 6 am to 7 am to check emails and then 8 am to 10 am to write blog posts.

Another strategy that you should try is using time-blocks. When you have outside meetings, block two and a half days per week for those meetings. Only attend those outside meetings during those time-blocks. To make blocking more effective, color-code your calendar so that you can visually glance at your calendar.

Chandler Bolt wrote a great book, The Productive Person, that you should read if you want to learn more about time-blocking.

Optimise time for different meeting types

To be honest, 30-minute meetings and 10-minute calls are ideal. A 10-minute phone call with a prospective client is more than enough for me to know what their needs are and if we click. Better yet, Google Hangout or Skype can be used to see the person instead of just hearing them.

If you have a remote team, you can host a virtual meeting via Zoom,RingCentral Business, Zoho Meeting, or GoToMeeting.

Here are some suggestions on the types of meetings that you might want to book and schedule:

  • 45-minute meeting that’s outside of the office. Allow 15 minutes for travel and 30 minutes for the meeting over coffee.
  • 30-minute weekly staff meeting.
  • 30-minute meeting in the office to get to know colleagues or catch up.
  • 15-minute daily standup if you’re a start-up or leading an engineering team.
  • 10-minute phone call to offer someone advice.

Related: Forget Time Management: Why You Should Practice Choice Management Instead

Whatever meetings you decide to hold a meeting, you should group them into blocks. If you think that a particular meeting needs more or less time, then you can adjust the block accordingly.

Still, just remember that it’s impossible to get everything done. “Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results,” say Mathews, Debolt, and Percival.

This article was originally posted here on

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