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Last Updated on June 26, 2020

3 Simple Ways to Invest in Yourself And Change Your Life

3 Simple Ways to Invest in Yourself And Change Your Life

Investing in yourself may be the most profitable investment you ever make. It yields not only future returns, but often a current pay-off as well.

The surest way to achieve a better quality life, to be successful, productive, and satisfied is to place a priority on investing in both personal and professional growth. The effort you put into consistently investing in yourself plays a large role in determining the quality of your life now and in the future.

1. Develop Your Skills

Improving your skills doesn’t always mean investing in higher education, though that’s surely an option, and perhaps a necessary one depending upon your career field. Investing in your knowledge and skills can take many forms.

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In addition, expanding your level of knowledge and skill isn’t limited to the business arena and doesn’t necessarily need to be formal. There are many “skill investment” avenues.

  • Advance your education –  extra classes, advanced degrees, relevant certifications, are all valuable investments. Take classes, either in person or online. (Lifehack also offers different online courses that help you to break free from your limits.)
  • Utilize available training – enroll in workshops, attend conferences or participate in webinars.
  • Expand your knowledge – there’s a lot of information available on nearly any subject imaginable. Read books, articles, white papers, anything related to the talent or skill you want to work on.
  • Keep current – stay abreast of the latest trends or advancements. Subscribe to publications, read blogs of experts, and follow the latest news.

2. Explore Your Creative Side

There is a fountain of creativity within most of us that has never been tapped or certainly hasn’t been used to its highest potential. We may need to unearth, and hone our individual creativity.

Creativity, in any form, helps us to grow personally and professionally, to view problems and solutions in different ways and to utilize other parts of our mind that may have been previously untapped. It’s important to keep in mind that creativity has many faces. It’s far broader than being a painter or sculptor; it’s also about trying new things.

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  • Learn a new language –  take a class or use language training software.
  • Try gourmet cooking – enroll in a formal class, by a new cookbook, or ask someone you know who enjoys cooking in a different way.
  • Write something – a book, short stories, poetry, anything.
  • Explore the outside world – try gardening, bird watching, or landscape photography.
  • Enjoy music – play an instrument, learn a new one or join a music group of some kind.
  • Create something tangible – paint, sculpt, make pottery, make jewelry or design your own clothes.

Choose some form of activity that you have never tried, haven’t practiced in years, or have never explored fully.

3. Nurture Your Mind and Body

Nurturing both your mind and body allows you to have more to give now and in the future — more energy, more knowledge, more compassion, more ideas, greater strength, physical and mental endurance.

Expand your mind. Learning new things and keeping your mind active even in simple ways helps to grow and maintain your mental ability.

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  • Read – anything and everything.
  • Explore culture – attend performances, listen to different style of music, travel, or join an organization or group comprised of people from different backgrounds.
  • Open your mind – engage in conversations with those who disagree with you. Look at an argument and try to make a case for the opposing point of view.
  • Keep your mind active – play word games, (yes, even Words with Friends counts,) board games that include strategy, or try using your brain to perform simple calculations rather than relying on a calculator.

Care for your body. Your body is like a well-oiled machine. If you care for it in the way that you might maintain an expensive car, it will perform marvelously and last for a very long time. Remember the basics:

  • Give it high quality fuel – meaning to make healthy food choices as often as possible. What you eat does play a large role in your energy and ability to perform. You truly are what you eat.
  • Don’t push it too hard – meaning to rest and relax often, slow down and don’t overload your system. Also, don’t shift gears too quickly; it causes stress and damage to “your machine,” A.K.A. your body.
  • Get regular and necessary maintenance – meaning to go to the doctor when you’re sick – don’t put it off until you totally break down. Better yet, use preventative maintenance; get check-ups, take appropriate vitamins and pay attention to irregular or erratic behavior.
  • Polish the exterior – meaning to take care of the outside too. Many people dismiss this as frivolous and self-indulgent, but it’s not as long as you don’t go overboard. We’re not talking about facelifts and Botox, we’re talking about getting a fabulous haircut, and wearing clothes that make you feel confident and attractive.

More you can do to take good care of your body and mind: 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit

Final Thoughts

Investing in yourself truly makes a difference in your life, your well-being, and your ability to thrive and perform to the best of your ability. The extent to which you invest in yourself, mind and body, not only shapes the way you interact with the outside world, it often reflects the opinion you have of yourself.

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Your future is in large part determined by your willingness and ability to invest in yourself now.

More to Help You Upgrade Yourself

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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Royale Scuderi

A creative strategist, consultant and writer who specializes in cultivating human potential for happiness, health and fulfillment.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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