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10 Ways Blogging Can Improve Your Life

10 Ways Blogging Can Improve Your Life

    Have you ever read a blog and thought about starting one yourself because you could do as good a job? Most of us could benefit from keeping one. Especially those with small business aspirations! I’ve got over 10 blogs but only one of them is public. The rest are kept private and used as a way for me to organise information, access it from anywhere and search my data fast.

    You don’t have to share your blog with the world or anyone at all for that matter. You can keep it private, share it only with a few trusted people or just keep everything as a draft so no one can see your work.

    10 Ways Blogging Can Improve Your Life

    1. Boost your confidence

    Blogging’s easy and anyone can do it. With WordPress or one of the other free blogging platforms and you can have your blog up and running in a few minutes. Anyone who thinks they don’t have the technical or writing skills will gain confidence once they set up a blog and see how easy it is to get started.

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    2. Have fun

    People make jokes about bloggers like this one but I’m not ashamed to say I actually enjoy planning, researching, writing and maintaining my blog. It’s my baby and I can do anything with it I like. It’s not just me who enjoys it either, Chris Brogan wrote a post called I Love My Blog. Blogging really is fun and that’s probably why so many people are getting into it.

    3. Be creative

    We all need a creative outlet and blogging will allow you to explore, expand and experiment with your creative side. Keeping a blog isn’t just for writers either. You can use it to showcase your home improvement projects, paintings or herb garden and record and publish information via podcasts or video if those mediums hold more appeal for you.

    4. Make friends

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    I didn’t start a blog to make friends and never expected to meet people through blogging but it just happens. Some blog visitors naturally relate to your blog content, they identify with you because of it and contact you. Thanks to my blog I’m in touch with people who I’d never have been in contact with otherwise. It still surprises me and the network of people you can engage with through blogging is a global one.

    5. Improve your search engine ranking

    If you have your own website adding a blog and updating it regularly could give you the edge over your competitors because the search engines prefer sites with new content. Of course you need to be writing about the topics your target audience will look for with the search engines to experience this benefit and you the more you write and the longer you keep updating your blog the greater the benefits.

    6. Gain expert status

    If you’re trying to establish a career or launch a new one maintaining a blog can position you as an expert. Having a website and blog is part of the package these days. Even if you want to get featured in the print press the first thing any journalist who wants to find out about you does is use the Internet. You want people who Google you to find your blog and not another website with information you have no control over.

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    7. Earn money

    If you build up a sizeable readership you might be able to create a second income stream from your blog. Don’t give up your day job but if you’re passionate about your topic and believe it’s possible you may well be able to make it happen.

    8. Plan better

    A blog is a brilliant way to plan anything from a business to a book, a wedding to a wake. You could even use one a blog to plan a blog. Here’s how. Most WordPress blogs have a categories section so if you’re collating information you can easily divide it into sections which make it easy for you to browse and locate information. You can then access that information any time from any place as long as you have access to a computer and the Internet. For example, a keen cook could use a blog to organise all her favourite recipes or a teacher could use it to keep ideas for lessons, organise lesson plans and keep notes on students. As a simple system for content management, blogs are invaluable.

    9. Keep your mind active

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    Although you can easily start blogging right now by setting up a simple blog and telling people to visit it, most bloggers take a while to get good at blogging. There’s lots to learn and because the Internet is constantly evolving even professional bloggers who’ve been blogging for five years or longer are still learning new things about it. The good thing is that the learning curve isn’t too steep so you can set up a blog and learn as you go. The skills blogging will teach you such as writing, marketing, networking and computer literacy will come in useful in other areas of your life and constantly learning new things keeps your mind active and engaged.

    10. Share your story

    We all have a story to tell. At the very least blogging is a fabulous way of keeping a journal of your life, art, family, travels, hobbies or studies. It creates a permanent record you can look back on any time. Your kids might even find it interesting to look back on one day. Who knows, maybe the whole world will?

    Blogging hasn’t just changed my life it’s enriched it. It’s changed the lives of well known bloggers like Chris Brogan, Leo Babauta, Brian Clark and Darren Rowse for the better too as well as countless other bloggers both professional and amateur. Are you ready to find out if it can improve your life?

    How do you think blogging could benefit you?

    Image: Leorix

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    Last Updated on June 12, 2019

    Top 10 Ways to Lead More Effectively with Humor

    Top 10 Ways to Lead More Effectively with Humor

    Humor and laughter provide so many rewards. Studies have shown 20 seconds of laughter yield the same benefits as 3 minutes of hard rowing. A Robert Half International study reported 84% of executives believe a worker with a good sense of humor does a better job. Incorporating humor more effectively in the workplace allows you to defuse difficult situations, reduce stress, create attention for new ideas, build rapport, and be a more approachable and memorable leader.

    With those benefits, it behooves you to hone your workplace comedic skills. So in the tradition of David Letterman, here are the top 10 ways to more effectively lead with humor!

    #10. Look for Joy in Life

    An important step is continually looking for joy throughout your life. This happens in a variety of ways:

    • Focus less on yourself and more on helping others. Need help? Read “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” the classic by Dale Carnegie.
    • Laugh more – kids reportedly laugh 400 times per day vs. 15 times for adults. Aim for laughing 40 times daily to be at least 10% of your former self!
    • Regularly read humorous comic strips and look for quips and funny comments in your reading.
    • Even in challenging situations, hunt for something funny or humorous you can take away.

    #9. Learn What Makes You Laugh

    If you’re trying to laugh 40 times daily, it’s important to know what makes you laugh and have ready access to laugh-provokers. Figure out 107 things which make you laugh. Unrealistic? Hardly! Why 107? Because 107 is funnier than 100! Here’s a recipe for listing what makes you laugh by simply identifying:

    • 13 Movies
    • 11 TV Shows
    • 5 Words or Phrases
    • 19 Personal Stories
    • 5 Cartoons
    • 7 Audio or Video Pieces
    • 11 Comedians
    • 7 TV Personalities
    • 7 Funny Photos
    • 7 People You Know
    • 15 of Anything Else
    • TOTAL = 107 Funny Things

    Collect & save these humor starters in a “Smile File” when you quickly need a laugh or comedic inspiration.

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    #8. Use Your Own Comedic Material

    Personal experiences are the most genuine humor sources for effective leadership. Look for humor in situations from your own life:

    • Funny things you have said or others have said to you
    • Pratfalls, be they mental, interpersonal, & physical
    • Embarrassing moments or unexpected happenings
    • Times of change or learning
    • Difficult life events (yes, even these can be humor sources)

    When turning personal situations into comedic material, remember lessons learned from a childhood humor staple: Knock-Knock Jokes. These simple jokes work because the knock-knock structure highlights familiar situations, uses only essential words and phrases, and clearly signals a laughing opportunity. They also demonstrate how humor springs from surprise. The laughs come from not knowing who or what exactly is behind the door based on the initial response to “Who’s there?”

    #7. Adapt Somebody Else’s Material

    Beyond your own experiences, there’s a tradition of “borrowing & adapting” (I didn’t say stealing) funny stuff from others. That’s why old-time comedian Milton Berle was called the “Thief of Bad Gags.”

    Part of borrowing successfully is using easily accessible humor sources in ways many don’t consider. Beyond simply Googling “funny” in front of quotes, one-liners, definitions, pictures, or videos, here are two other common sources you can adapt:

    • Cartoons – You can use cartoons in various ways by showing one in a presentation, telling the cartoon’s story (potentially making yourself a character) without any images, or using its punch line as a starting point for new humor.
    • Comedians – Mainstream comedians’ jokes or catch phrases are another source to modify and adapt to your personality or work situation. Watch lots of comedians and learn how professionals do it so well.

    #6. Understand Your Audience

    Using humor in a leadership position requires understanding boundaries on its proper use. It all starts with really understanding your audience by:

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    • Paying attention to top management’s attitudes toward humor.
    • Knowing the audience’s composition – this directly affects which humor types are appropriate.
    • Loving your audience as much or more than you poke fun at them.
    • Inviting others into humor since you can’t assume they share your same humor sensibilities.

    In case you’re contemplating using ad lib humor, completely knowing your audience is even more vital. Ad-libs have the potential for going horribly wrong because audience sensibilities have been misjudged. It’s very beneficial to actually plan and rehearse ad libs. It may sound odd, but identify common work situations you encounter and think through what usually goes wrong or provides a source for potential humor. Work out some “safe” funny comebacks to use as “planned” ad libs.

    #5. Know the Rules and Boundaries

    There are blatant humor no-no’s in the workplace which are quite acceptable for an onstage comedian. At work, avoid harmful practical jokes or pranks, heavily sarcastic comments, and humor rooted in religious, sexual, ethnic, or racial themes. Think you know your work setting well enough to tread on this dangerous ground? Here’s some advice: DON’T. The way questionable humor will be perceived by a workplace audience is too much of an unknown to take big risks when your career is at stake.

    Use this checkpoint to actually see if your intended workplace humor is SAFE. To pass the SAFE test, all of these statements need to be true regarding your joke, comment, or image:

    • I can Say/Show this to my mother.
    • It wouldn’t Anger me if I were the butt of the joke.
    • This wouldn’t trigger an FCC violation
    • Everyone in the audience will be able to get it.

    With even a hint of one false answer, dramatically modify your idea or better yet, abandon it and start over.

    #4. Get over Yourself

    Effective leaders don’t take themselves too seriously. They’re comfortable laughing at themselves and letting others be funny as well. Leaders should become adept at appropriately using self-deprecating humor, i.e., self-directed humor downplaying your own talents, stature, or accomplishments

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    You don’t want to use self-deprecating humor on simply any topic, however. It’s most effectively & appropriately used in:

    • Situations where you’re comfortable & self-confident
    • Areas where your credibility & competence are clearly established
    • Ways that fit your known personality & sensibilities

    Remember – when trying to borrow someone else’s self-deprecating humor, you need to share that person’s perspective & situation. If not, it’s simply deprecating! I once heard a decidedly non-technical Marketing VP call out “data geeks” in the audience. While that’s what they called themselves, she wasn’t a part of their group, and her comment, intended to build affiliation, fell completely flat.

    #3. Need Humor Ideas? Just Look Around

    The workplace is filled with situations lending themselves to comedy. Humor springs from exaggeration, wordplay, misunderstandings, ambiguity, contradictions, paradoxes, pain, and inconsistencies. If you work in any type of business or organizational setting, there are plenty of these situations to go around!

    As a leader, it’s your role to use the proper opptunities to encourage and employ humor successfully by ensuring that:

    • Your humor makes others feel good about themselves.
    • Hurtful fun isn’t made of those less tenured than you in the organization.
    • You don’t use humor when agitated since it can lead to apparent meanness.

    #2. Surround Yourself with Joy

    If you’re looking for more joy and levity in leadership, surround yourself with joyful people. These are people who are funny, easily spur laughter, and routinely cheer people up through their presence.

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    Cultivate relationships with these types of people. Spend time with them, learn from their successful uses of humor, and emulate elements of their approaches that work for you.

    Beyond basking in the joy these people create, select 3 or 4 of them to be an informal comedy team. As your comedy team, solicit their opinions to help you generate and refine humor ideas. They can also provide perspectives on potentially questionable humor material that makes it through the SAFE test, but still feels like it might not be right for a workplace audience.

    #1. Dive into the Fun

    Ultimately, the most important part of successfully using humor as a leader is actually sharing it in the workplace. Here are a few final tips to keep in mind:

    • Practice your humor in appropriate, low-risk settings to find out what works before trying it out with a bigger audience.
    • Signal a laughing opportunity through your words, actions, and tone. It’s also a good practice to give people “permission” to laugh in the workplace.
    • Finally, be earnest in using humor; don’t focus on laughs so much as lightening and adding fun into work settings.

    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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