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Daily Self-Improvement Exercises That Will Take You 5-10 Minutes

Daily Self-Improvement Exercises That Will Take You 5-10 Minutes

Let’s face it: no matter how busy we are, we could all use some personal time to improve ourselves. Some of us may feel a bit overwhelmed when we try, which is the reason so many goals go unfinished. Whatever good intentions we may have had, there just isn’t enough drive to complete these massive tasks we set for ourselves.

It is often a much better idea to set tiny little tasks that help us over time. Such small goals become habits, and habits become second nature. Before you know it, you have improved yourself with nothing more than a couple of minutes out of every day.

Many experts recommend taking ten to fifteen minutes daily to improve yourself or your life. This could take on literally any form. But here are ten suggestions that you might find helpful, or may at least assist you in thinking up your own.

Calm

    1. Meditation

    One of the best things you can do for yourself is to just slow down and breath, which is essentially what meditation is: the chance to calm your mind, focus on your breathing, and find the quiet within yourself.

    Any time you are feeling stressed, just take a few minutes and meditate. This can be a spiritual action, or not. The important thing is that you are moving past the tensions of the day.

    Featured tool: If you want something guided, try Calm.com.

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    2. Mini Workouts

    Did you know you can burn a couple hundred calories in just ten minutes? There are mini workouts all over the web that help you do it. But there are many more benefits to taking these active breaks.

    Workarounds

      They will help keep you healthy, boost your energy, assist in your sleeping cycle, relieve stress and tension, and improve your mood, all in just ten to fifteen minutes a day. Amazing, isn’t it?

      Featured tools: Sparkpeople has plenty of these short exercise videos, both strength and cardio. So does Tiffany Rothe, PopSugar and many others.

      3. Learn Something New

      Reddit

        Knowledge is power, but it is also fun. Learning something new every day is a great goal to have, and incredibly easy to keep up with. Newsletters, websites and groups are all over the web, just waiting to let you know something you didn’t before.

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        Featured tools: Some great places to start are Reddit’s Today I Learned, How Stuff Works many articles and podcasts, and the Now I Know newsletter. You can even use a site like DuoLingo to learn a new language.

        4. Go For a Walk

        Sometimes a bit of fresh air is all you really need to improve your day. Going for one every day, even a small one, can help habitually clear your mind and eliminate stress.

        It gives you a chance to organize your thoughts, or think through a problem. Plus, it is just an enjoyable pastime that doesn’t cause any strain on the body (for most). Try using one of your breaks at work for a short walk, and see the difference it makes.

        5. Write Down What You Think

        OhLife

          I don’t mean a professional article; that doesn’t improve yourself at all. But write something for yourself, whether it is shared or private. Speak about something you are passionate about, something you enjoy.

          Write a letter you never intend to send, to go back and see later. Write a poem or some prose. Write about something that is bothering you, or that made you laugh. Just write.

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          Featured tool: OhLife is one of the journaling tools that will help you organize your writing by sending friendly email reminders and inviting to write on what happened that day.

          6. Read Something

          Prefer to be on the reading end of words? Then take a few minutes in blocks to read something. Maybe it is half of a chapter of a book. Maybe it is an article or editorial. Maybe it is a couple of poems from your favorite poet. Just read something that enriches you.

          Featured tools: There’s a quick review of Goodreads and how to find friends there. There are a lot of reading FireFox addons to choose from. Here are more quick reading hacks for short time.

          7. Speak to a Friend/Relative

          I don’t mean online. Too much of our communication has become reliant on such technology that hides us behind a computer screen. Take ten minutes instead to speak face to face, or on the phone.

          Connect with your loved ones and make it a priority. Not only will you feel great by the end of it, but it will strengthen your relationship with that person.

          8. Watch TED Talks

          TED Talks
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            TED Talks are amazing, and you probably already know that. They encompass every industry, with leaders in those industries speaking about any topic at all.

            They come in all different lengths, in multiple formats such as podcasts and videos. You will be sure to find truly inspiring and even life-changing lectures here.

            9. Clean and Declutter

            So many things can be improved by having a clean work or living space. Just ten minutes a day can make a lot of difference in a room, no matter what that room might be. Even if the area is a disaster, doing little bits will make an impact over the coming days. Plus, it will improve your mood to be somewhere tidy, as clutter can really mess with your thinking and emotions.

            10. Do Something You Love

            Ultimately, it comes down to this: do something you love. No matter what it might be, engaging in things you enjoy is perhaps the best path to self-improvement. Even if it is only ten to fifteen minutes a day.

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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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