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15 Successful Habits To Begin For the New Year

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15 Successful Habits To Begin For the New Year

We have a new year, a new start and an opportunity to improve habits in our daily lives. These 15 successful habits to begin for the New Year can help make your life easier. Many of these habits we know are good for us, but implementing them on a daily basis takes practice.

For myself, managing my time is tricky. They say it takes 21 days to successfully begin a new habit, or to stop a negative one. Many times I am good with the first few days or week and then some of my old habits begin to creep in and before I know it I’ve lost momentum. This list includes small yet significant changes that can provide better balance and emotional health in our lives. If we can truly start to implement and live by them, we will be able to handle anything that may come our way in the coming year. Remember, the success of our lives and how we navigate through each and every day is within our control. The key is to realizing what is our responsibility and what is not. Once we can accept that life is truly what we make of it based on our attitude, the better we can maintain balance and peace on a daily basis.

1. Begin Each Day with Time for Yourself

I used to stay up late and get up just in time to get dressed and go to work. After realizing my day starts off rushed and often ends with me being entirely exhausted, I started making myself get up early. Now my morning time is somewhat sacred to me – my time for silence. I have no children awake and I have time for me to think about my day. I use this time for prayer and meditation, but it can just be quiet time before the rush of your day, or even planning time to sort out your day. Each and every day I do this, my day goes so much better.

2. Question your Motives in All that You Do

I used to run my life based on my feelings. If someone upset me, I gave them a piece of my mind or immediately said the first thing that popped in my head. Those habits didn’t prove successful for me. I have since accepted my sole responsibility in life comes down to my actions and reactions to any situation and the words that come out of my mouth.  Be sure that whatever your response will be in any situation, that your motive behind why you are doing it is true to who you are and what you want. Make sure what you say or do is not something you might regret later because you did it out of anger, spite or revenge.

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Sometimes just taking a moment to ask yourself what your motives are before you say or do something can be a way to keep yourself in check, especially if you are experiencing heightened feelings or emotions.

3. Remind Yourself of What You CAN Control

What can we control in our lives? We cannot control the weather or the company we work for suddenly deciding to lay people off through no fault of our own. We cannot change another human being, only ourselves. Before I tried to control others, and I failed miserably. Once I finally accepted that the only person I can change is me, it became kind of freeing. I can stop worrying about the other person or devising my next plan to try and get them to do this or that. Believe me I wish I could control my children, especially when they are having a meltdown at the grocery store but I cannot. What I can control is how I talk and act around them and the boundaries I set with them.

4. Don’t Take Anything Personally

This one is sometimes so hard to do. The truth is hurting people hurt other people. I have been that person at one point in time that hurt others. We need to accept that some people are in a place in their lives that causes them to lash out in anger or bitterness which means we can get the brunt of it. When we realize other people might be in a bad season in their lives and project their negativity towards others that don’t always deserve it, we can’t own that.

When I started accepting people for who they are and where they are in their life and not taking things personally, my anxiety and worry decreased. I can choose whether or not to have a relationship with that person. I can choose to set healthy boundaries. This can be the same in business as well. Others may get a promotion over you, the company may lay people off and you get the pink slip. It is a business decision that we can’t own or control. All we can do is accept it and move on to the next great adventure.

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5. Embrace the Differences in Others

The world is so diverse. We have so many different people in the world which makes it way less boring. If we all thought the same, if we all believed in the same things, where would passion lie? Where would healthy debate go? There is a huge difference in being passionate about something you believe in and being arrogant or judgmental about your passion. This mainly lies with religion and politics or certain life issues. I have seen some hateful memes and posts when scrolling through my Facebook feed. I am almost saddened to see that some adults think it’s perfectly fine to chide, ridicule and make fun of someone they don’t like or agree with.

If it’s a political figure – go vote that person out of office instead of riling up others that don’t share the same opinion as you. There is a way to have healthy debates and be respectful of another person’s point of view but unfortunately that is not the norm. What happened to the golden rule? How did adults turn so childish in this area? Love and respect people no matter what they believe or whether you agree with them or not. Think before you post!

6. Be Encouraging to Others

We live in a world full of negativity, natural disasters, loss and sometimes plain hatefulness. Terrorism is a reality, race relations are still an issue and most everyday you turn on the news, it seems to get more depressing. We have the power to change what is put out into the world. Tell someone they did a good job today. Ask a co-worker if you can help do anything for them. Call up an old friend and see how they are doing. Tell your waiter or waitress you truly appreciate their service and leave a nice tip. Pay for the coffee of the car behind you in the Starbucks line. Kiss and hug your kids extra today. Meet your neighbors if you haven’t already and offer an open door if they ever need anything. We have the power to bring encouragement and love into this world. Why not start today?

7. Make an Overall Goals List

I did not want to make a goals list previously because I did not want to fail. The truth is, it was not horrible for me if I failed at my goal. It was horrible for me to never even try. Failure is a learning experience and there is no reason to fear failure. Statistics show that 50% of people who write down and set goals achieve them over people who do not set goals. If you write your goals down, you have something tangible and real once you make the list. Post it somewhere visible to remind you. Check back every month or so and celebrate even the small steps you have made towards your goals.

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8. Clearly State your Wants and Needs

I used to expect people to read my mind sometimes, my body language and my attitude too.  I used to believe they were supposed to figure out what I wanted or needed. That attitude got me nowhere and I just ended up frustrated and confused. We have the right to express our wants and needs in any situation. If we do not ask for anything (or ask for someone to stop doing something) and then do not get what we want, that is on us. I used to care so much what other people thought of me, I wouldn’t ask for what I needed because I didn’t want to inconvenience the other person. Then, when my needs weren’t met – I blamed that person.

9. Practice Gratitude

I used to be a “Keeping Up with the Joneses'” person. I was focused on the next material thing that would make me feel better about myself. As time went on, I also started wanting what my friends had and sometimes resenting what I didn’t have in my life. It is a negative place to be, and I later did not feel good at all about myself. Once I started helping others – volunteering and seeing how some people live every single day without the basic comforts of home, my perspective changed. The more I started helping others, the more I realized that I am content and happy with what I do have. There are many online websites that can help you find a cause that is important to you and they will list numerous volunteer opportunities in your area.

10. Quickly Resolve Conflict

For many many years I avoided conflict. I didn’t want to hurt people’s feelings. I wanted everything to be easygoing and I wanted everyone to get along. Sadly, that is not reality. I avoided and ran away from sensitive subjects and internalized many situations because I did not have the guts to ask the hard questions to work out conflict with others. I still struggle in this area. Now, I am not as afraid of asking the hard questions or hearing the hard answers. I would much rather have a relationship based on honesty and truth rather than one with underlying tensions and issues. The sooner the conflict is resolved, the easier it is to maintain a positive relationship.

11. Own Your Actions and Reactions

“My brother made me do it”. These are statements I hear from my children often. They still live in a world where they believe others have the power to make them do something. They have not yet figured out personal responsibility. The sad truth is, as an adult for a long while I still believed others made me do things. I blamed others for my issues and problems and did not own up to my own actions and reactions. Taking responsibility for my part in my life assured that I became more honest about who I was and that I gained integrity in the process.

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“Honesty and Integrity are both essential for success in life – all areas of life. The good news is that anyone can develop honesty and integrity”. – Zig Ziglar

12. Spend Time with Nature

There is something freeing and wonderful about witnessing an amazing sunset or getting up early enough for a unique and beautiful sunset. Just as when you were a kid, it can still be fun to go outside and run around in a summer rain shower. There is something magical about nature and the world around us. It’s easy to sometimes get sucked into the technical world with smart TVs, tablets, PCs and everything else that is electronic. Don’t forget to travel or spend time with nature and remember just how beautiful the world around us can be. It is an instant spirit booster.

13. Dream

Being a responsible adult is boring a lot of the time. It is surrounded by responsibility, work, paying bills and balancing budgets. It is super easy to get wrapped up in the day to day routine and lose your zest for life. When we were younger, we all had dreams of some sort. Don’t lose sight of your dreams. It could be something as simple as taking a trip one year to somewhere you always wanted to visit. It could be learning to play a new instrument or any of your ‘bucket list’ items. Think about some of your dreams, make a list and see if you can make any of them a reality. Not only will you have accomplished realizing that dream, you will be encouraged to dream a little more and to live a truly fulfilled life.

14. Laugh

They say that laughter is the best medicine. My daughter pointed out someone she occasionally saw and said “Mom, why does your friend never smile?” I have in fact seen my friend smile and laugh but not when my daughter was around. I grew up in a household where laughter was a big part of our lives, so I know for a fact it works. Comedic movies can do the trick, as well as close friends who have a great sense of humor. They are ones you do not want to lose. It is easy to laugh with children, as they just want to be silly most of the time. It takes way less energy to smile than frown and the result is much more positive when we laugh and smile.

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15. Dance Like No One is Watching

I might be one of the most horrible dancers on the planet, yes possibly even worse than Elaine Benes from Seinfeld. I rarely used to dance unless I was not exactly sober or if someone put me up to it. Now, I dance often with my daughter because she loves to dance. I love seeing her happy and joyful so in a way I do it for her by overlooking my own insecurities and labeling of myself as  ‘a horrible dancer’. There are numerous videos out there of people getting down at the local wedding or caught on the video cam at a basketball game. Deep down we all want to dance, so why not do it like no one is watching? Who knows– you might actually bring joy to someone else’s day, even if you are a horrible dancer like me. Live your life for yourself, not based on how you think other people want you to live. Just be you. Once I learned that simple yet important fact, life kept getting better each and every day.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Wendy Redden

Digital Advertising Account Manager, Music Blogger, Freelance Writer

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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