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27 Simple Ways To Improve Your Life

27 Simple Ways To Improve Your Life

In his best-selling book Unlimited Power Tony Robbins write, “If you want to achieve success, all you need to do is find a way to model those who have already succeeded.” If you’re looking for simple ways to improve your life, here are 27 things you can start implementing right away that will make you more productive and awesome!

Plan your day based on your body’s energy cycles

Our body has natural rhythms of energy during the day which. If tracked properly, you can take advantage of the moments where you have most energy. Josh Kaufman, author of “The Personal MBA,” explains that paying attention to your energy cycles and working accordingly will help you get the most out of your time available. To get started, consider the following questions:

  • When do you feel most energetic?
  • What times of the day work best to do certain kinds of work?
  • What do you do to manage your energy during the day?

Take power naps daily

Do you think napping is for lazy people? Think again. Many studies have reported that a nap as brief as 20 minutes can improve alertness, psychomotor performance, and mood. Here are some suggestions to make the most out of your power nap:

  • Plan to take your nap at a good time in your daily sleep-wake cycle; for many people, sometime between noon and 4 p.m. is best.
  • Don’t sleep too long; a 20- to 40-minute nap may refresh your day without keeping you up at night.
  • Give yourself 10 to 15 minutes to wake up fully before you resume a demanding task.

Wake up at the same time every day

Every single time I wake up early and have an active morning, I feel a lot better and have a more productive day. The problem is that some days I hit the snooze button a little too much. Inevitably, I start those days with failure and a late start. Matt Galligan, CEO of Circa, trained himself to wake up at the same time every day by doing this small but effective experiment: Set an alarm for the same time every morning for 30 days and resist the snooze button. I know it sounds hard, but the results are amazing. If you have a consistent waking time, you’ll be more alert, have stress-free mornings, and get to work in a calm and centered state. In today’s hectic world, that goes a long way!

Drink lots of water

Why should we drink more water? If you don’t drink water, you will die. It’s that simple. Your body is composed of roughly 60% water. That means when we are dehydrated, we are affecting the performance of the majority of our body. None of our systems function as well without the proper water intake. Drinking enough water and staying hydrated can help with weight loss, reduce joint pain, flush out waste and bacteria, prevent headaches, make your skin glow, and improve overall performance. One of the best things you can do after you wake up: drink at least 16oz (500mL) of water. Water fires up your metabolism, hydrates you, helps your body flush out toxins, gives your brain fuel, and may even make you eat less.

Avoid energy drinks

Energy drinks are overloaded with caffeine and sugar in amounts that are harmful for your overall health. While energy drinks may give you a rush of energy when you first drink them, in the long run, they usually end up making you more tired and may result in harmful effects such as heart palpitations, dizziness, and even seizures. There are plenty of other beverages to enjoy like green tea or just plain coffee.

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Don’t smoke / quit smoking

One out of every two lifetime smokers will die from the effects of smoking. Nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke increase your blood pressure and heart rate and cause strain on your heart and blood vessels. Smoking increases your chance of having a stroke or heart attack dramatically as compared to the chances of a nonsmoker. Smoking makes you 10 times more likely to have lung cancer than someone who does not smoke. If you don’t smoke, that’s awesome. If you do smoke, quit now. Your life will be more awesome without smoking.

Organize your life

Organization provides a sense of control, reduces stress, and is a great confidence booster. It also allows you to concentrate on the things that really matter avoiding unnecessary clutter. Here are a few tips to help you stay organized:

  • Write things down
  • Give everything a place and put everything back in its place
  • Declutter regularly and keep only what you need
  • Use color coding

Have a protein-packed breakfast

I’m sure you’ve heard it many times before: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Tim Ferriss and many health experts consider having 30 grams of protein with breakfast one of the most effective ways to lose weight. Research shows that a protein-rich breakfast—rather than a carb- and fat-filled one—will rev up your metabolism, keep you fuller longer, and prevent overeating later in the day.

Dress up with vibrant colors

One of the easiest ways to change your mood and mindset is simply by changing the colors you choose to wear. Many of our responses to color are subconscious—we don’t even realize the effect on our mood. But color is so powerful there’s an entire alternative medicine field dedicated to healing through hues. Red, orange and yellow have been shown to evoke a broad range of strong emotions, for example, while colors like blue, purple and green can have a calming effect.

Exercise for 20 minutes after you wake up

When you exercise early in the morning, it jump starts your metabolism and keeps it elevated for hours. That means you’re burning more calories all day long just because you exercised in the morning. If you commit to working out in the morning, you’re way less likely to have the excuse of things just popping up. Plus, you won’t be exhausted from a rough day at the office. In fact, people who work out in the morning have shown to stick to their exercise plans better than people who plan to exercise after work. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Try something simple like going for a walk, jogging, stretching, or body-weight workouts.

Get enough sleep

A lot of people brag about working on projects until 4:00 a.m. But what they fail to realize is that lack of sleep leads to depression, ages your skin, can make you forgetful, and even cause weight gain. Remember, it’s not the amount of hours you spend on a particular task, but the quality of those hours.

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Define your top three most important tasks for the day

What are the three most important things you can do today to move you toward achieving your goals? Write them down before you start your day or even the night before and get them done first thing in the morning. It will help you stay focused so you don’t waste time on tasks of low importance. If you manage to complete these tasks, you’ll feel productive even if you do nothing else on your list.

The 60/10 rule

A very effective productivity hack. Set up a timer for 60 minutes and concentrate on the task at hand. After the 60 minutes are up, take a break for 10 minutes and do something to re-energize you like going for a walk, calling a good friend, or having a cup of tea.

Meditate and express gratitude

We live in a world of instant gratification. We want things and we want them now. A lot of this attitude can be to attributed to all the latest technological advances in the last 20 years. But instant gratification can cloud our ability to be present and appreciate the small things. Gratitude is all about shifting your focus from what your life lacks to all the things you currently have. Gratitude makes people more resilient, improves health, and reduces stress. Meditation helps in noticing all different emotions and let them be for what they are. Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, says that one of the best—and cheapest—ways to become healthier and happier is through mindfulness exercises like meditation. According to Mark Williams, a professor of clinical psychology at Oxford and co-author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World, meditation helps increase your sense of purpose and reduces feelings of isolation and depression.

Have accountability partners

When you’re the only one accountable, you’re much more likely to procrastinate, delay working on tasks or simply never complete items on your list. Accountability is all about creating real consequences and guaranteeing you follow through with your goals. Creating incentives and assigning accountability are the two most important keys to achieving a goal. Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, suggests using sites like StickK, where you make your commitments public and incur financial consequences if you fail to meet them.

Don’t compare yourself to others

Everyone is going through their own challenges, struggles, and setbacks. Comparisons are useless and detrimental to our own self-esteem. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus your energy on being the very best version of yourself. Focus your energy and attention on your own goals and what is required to achieve them.

Cut out people who drag you down

Life is just too short to be surrounded by negative people who do nothing but to bring you down. The quickest way to make a change in your life is to change who you surround yourself with—and it’s totally within your control.

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Introduce music or white noise to improve focus

Low-level background noise helps muffle any distracting sounds that could interrupt your work and has been shown to improve creativity and focus for many people. Calming music, ambient nature sounds, and simple background noise may help you concentrate and stay focused on your tasks.

Do the hardest or most unappealing tasks first

When you look at your list of tasks, it’s tempting to choose the smaller, easier tasks to do first. If you have a big project that fills you with dread, you’re much more likely to procrastinate and put if off until later. However, if you get that task out of the way first, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing it’s crossed off your list and the rest of your tasks will feel like a breeze in comparison.

Write things down and capture every idea

It’s impossible not to think about something. Most people get distracted from the task at hand by wandering ideas and having thoughts about other projects. The best thing to do is to capture those ideas in a physical or electronic notepad. Once they’re out of your head and down on paper (or a screen), your brain will forget about them so you can get back to work.

Put loose change in a jar

A quarter here and a nickel there doesn’t seem like anything substantial, but when you collect all your change and keep it in one place, you’ll see how quickly it adds up! Every time you add more change to your change jar, you are essentially adding to a savings account that is growing over time.

Write down yesterday’s expenses

Tracking your expenses is the smartest way to manage your personal finances. Writing down everything you buy as well as how much it costs will give you great insight into your spending habits. Over time, you will notice trends in your spending and be able to easily decide where cuts can be made to save money.

Unsubscribe from junk email and catalogs

Receiving emails and print catalogs with discounts and promotions often leads to unnecessary spending. Saving 20% on a purchase isn’t saving any money at all if you first have to spend $100 to save $20. Getting rid of these communications can help you avoid impulse buys and save money.

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Pack a meal, coffee, or snack

Making your lunch at home and bringing it to work or making coffee at home instead of buying it at the drive-through is not only healthier for you, but cheaper as well. Going out for lunch or coffee each day quickly adds up. You can make coffee and lunch at home for a fraction of the cost.

Speak words of affirmation

A few good thoughts can change the entire course of your day for the better. If you’re having problems with confidence, then this could be a simple solution for feeling happier about the upcoming day.

Listen to your favorite song

It’s amazing what listening to your favorite song can do for your mind and body. Not only will the upbeat music stimulate the release of happy hormones, but the recollection of happy times will influence your mood. Without realizing it, you will be dancing around and singing along, which will leave you feeling happy and ready to take on the day.

Read 10% of a non-fiction book every day

Reading is a simple task that can provide you with multiple benefits. Regular reading gives your brain a workout, which improves concentration and slows down age-related mental decline. Nonfiction books have the added bonus of increasing your general knowledge, improving your analytic thinking skills, and giving you the opportunity to learn something new in just a few minutes a day.

Learn a new word every day

Expanding your vocabulary comes with a wide range of benefits. You’ll improve your ability to communicate, give your brain a mini workout and improve your confidence in social situations. You can either get a dictionary in the language of your choice and choose new words at random, or subscribe to one of the “word a day” mailing lists that are available on language-learning websites.

What other things do you do on a daily basis that significantly contribute towards improving your life?

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

How to Spot Job Burnout and Cope with It

How to Spot Job Burnout and Cope with It

Job burnout has become an epidemic in the last 10 years, and this shouldn’t be taken lightly. In the modern era, the pressure to measure up and lead a busy, jet-set lifestyle comes with a hefty fine.

The aftermath of burnout is a costly one and you don’t want to sweep it under the rug or mislabel it. I’ve been there—thinking I was managing well and slaying not one but two careers. I thought I had it all in the bag, not realizing it, in fact, had tipped upside down and in little time.

I’ve witnessed entrepreneurs, corporate workers and creative industry professionals run themselves into the ground. They overwork, over-commit and pack on the pressure to perform at their highest level. Countless times, I’ve heard, “I love my career, it fulfills me, but I think I’m developing stomach ulcers.”

If you dug a little deeper, you’d recognize that though you may love your work and what you do, it could also be draining you and putting your health at risk. I know people who work themselves until they collapse into bed or pull all nighters to catch up on deadlines.

Remember those college days when you had to complete eighteen or twenty credits and do so with flying colors while trying to balance a personal and social life? People with demanding careers are on the same boat—pulling all-nighters to add extra hours to their day to finish time-consuming projects and believing they can live like a twenty-something. Creative individuals are like 24/7 manufacturers cranking out whatever they’re making but, are neglecting self-care to an extreme degree.

I kid you not, I am guilty of doing the same thing: working myself to near death and not stopping to even use the washroom. On one occasion, I wound up sewing for 7 hours straight because a client changed the due date for her dress last minute. I had to do that for 2 clients in the same wedding party.

Punishing yourself and powering through without as much as stopping for a break is just one subtle sign of job burnout.

You get into a groove and are accomplishing mounds of projects each day unaware of the damage it’s doing to your health. Somewhere down the line, your sense of happiness, stability and enjoyment slowly fades. It’s a tragic down spiral, and burnout surely can strip the passion from your heart, leaving you drained and potentially ill.

Managing a career is stressful enough, and if you’re an entrepreneur, the stress can feel like a thousand-pound brick on your back if you’re constantly functioning on overdrive.

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Earliest Signs of Burnout

Whether you work at a corporation or are an entrepreneur working from home, burnout can be difficult to identify.

Groundhog Day Syndrome

Groundhog Day syndrome is just one subtle sign that you’re overtaxing yourself. I call it Groundhog Day syndrome because every day starts to feel the same, despite all the jobs you may be doing. That sense of dread dictates how much or little you accomplish.

Your enjoyment and fulfillment begin to dwindle. You start to ask yourself if you’re doing what you love or for all the wrong reasons. It’s a rough place to be.

When I was actively pursuing fashion, I didn’t even notice early on that my enjoyment for creating transitioned to immense pressure to ‘make it big.’ It landed me in a continuous state of exhaustion to the point where I couldn’t focus on one task. I started new projects before finishing others, engrossed in producing high quantities of garments.

Focusing on the Wrong Things

To spot the early signs of burnout, you need to pay attention to your mindset:

Are you about quality or quantity? Are you about money and accomplishing your wildest dreams or do you believe your work is also your calling?

It’s easy to confuse your true goals with dreams or unrealistic wants. Burnout can arise from the mindset of strenuous mass quantities, thus slipping into that Groundhog routine to reach that goal.

The worst thing to do is ignore or deny this vicious cycle in your pursuit of success. I did ignore these early signs of burnout and the consequences for me were substantial. I stopped loving my hours spent sewing. I stopped loving the creative process of which I’d devoted my 10,000 hours to.

It’s all right to want to be successful, but it’s not all right to neglect your mental, emotional and physical health.

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People were liking and seeing value in what I was creating and pushing me to achieve New York status in the fashion industry. I found myself pulling all-nighters to build inventory while simultaneously running a tailoring and alterations business. Even if you’re in a career you love, the demands may eventually spread you too thin.

Unusual Fatigue and Lost of Motivation

Early signs of burnout include unusual fatigue and gradually escalating exhaustion. This fatigue may then merge into lack of motivation. The consequences of ignoring the subtle signs might lead to an inability to focus or work as efficiently as you used to, dozing off in meetings or outings with colleagues. Lost hours and nights of sleep are another burnout warning sign.

At first, you might label this onset of exhaustion as stress, a rough patch or a creative block. You may be able to identify the extra effort and lack of endurance to complete your work. The daily hustle, overtime, derails your motivation, divides your attention, and causes restlessness.

If you are doing something for the wrong reasons, it will catch up to you. Burnout made me question why I had such a hot pursuit for fashion. And after much soul searching, I discovered it wasn’t my real passion.

When this extra push and effort feels strenuous and like you’re overexerting yourself, your mental health will be the first to warn you. Facing and accepting the earliest signs of burnout will prevent a full-blown, potentially career-ending or jeopardizing, crash.

Burnout Symptoms

Herbert Freudenberger first coined the term burnout in 1974 and defined it as:[1]

“the extinction of motivation or incentive, especially where one’s devotion to a cause or relationship fails to produce the desired results.”

Now though, burnout has a new definition. We live in an era when measuring up and being a high achiever are vital for happiness. At the stage of burnout, the symptoms will be undeniable and have an intense grip on all facets of your health and life.

The symptoms, which are not widely talked about enough, lead to serious conditions after a period of 2 weeks. By the 2-week mark, the symptoms are chronic:[2]

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  • Hair loss or thinning
  • Suffering chronic skin rashes
  • Irregular heart beats and palpitations
  • Sinusitis or thickening of mucus
  • Decreasing function of the immune system

Severe cases, with sleep-deprivation, will take their toll. Burnout symptoms can be misread as stress. When your body has had enough, the symptoms become indicators that you’ve gone too far and are utterly burnt out.

Other symptoms, most identifiable, are cynicism and loss of motivation, therefore diminishing your job performance. You stop caring about how you perform in a professional environment, and it will show. Functioning in burnout mode depletes your ability to create or work at your level best.

In more serious cases, burnout has caused significant depressions and inability to cope with stress or laborious tasks effectively. It’s not your job that’s to blame; it’s how you navigate and juggle your workload and how you respond to overwhelm (when everything hits the fan or gets chaotic).

There is a balance, mentally and emotionally, you must learn to master to avoid burnout in the future.

Tips for Avoiding Burnout

Burnout is not inevitable and can be avoided. Anybody is at risk and should make avoiding burnout a priority as opposed to the opposite.

One lesson I learned when burnout reared its ugly head was the rule of quantity. By that, I mean, if you’re expected to take on a certain workload or tackle a ridiculous number of tasks in an hour, a day, or a week and it’s not truly feasible, it’s time to press pause or step back.

Granted, we pursue careers and put nearly impossible pressure on our shoulders to reach a destination of some kind—whether it be more money, a bigger promotion, writing more articles, more books, and being the ‘yes’ girl, or guy.

I’ll be honest and say that I was once the ‘yes’ girl, despite my full notebook of to-dos. People pleasing and the desire to stay ahead of the game doesn’t have to mean piling on more than you’re willing to legitimately handle. No matter how consumed with work I’d be, I didn’t realize how difficult I was making my own life by not saying no when necessary.

I was juggling a tailoring and alterations business whilst trying to establish myself as a designer. Additionally, I was managing a writing career and found myself operating in overdrive. Taking on too much has its consequences and it’s different for everyone, how burnout may impact others.

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To avoid burnout in the future, consider asking yourself these questions (before your workload swallows you whole like a snake):

  • Do I need to say yes to this, and if so, what will it cost me?
  • Is this opportunity worth my time and effort?
  • How will my overall well-being be affected if I say yes to this offer or opportunity?
  • What’s more important: working from morning until I collapse or strengthening relationships with family, friends and loved ones?

Final Thoughts

I’ll be honest again and tell you that when my burnout happened, I knew it was approaching and ignored the early warning signs and symptoms. The devastating truth of this was I had stopped enjoying a career I could immerse myself in for hours on end. It was once a hobby, something I didn’t feel the need to post all over social media.

Once I devoted to self-care and finding love in the work I was doing, the enjoyment returned without the added stress and pressure I afflicted upon myself. Engaging in activities such as yoga, swimming, bike riding, meditation and mindfulness gradually brought me back to loving my work again.

Burnout zaps motivation and inspiration, which for me, are major fuel injectors—what keeps me creating and connecting with my work on a deeper level of appreciation.

Mentally, try to look outside of yourself and work. Nothing is wrong with doing your best job, but it’s about how you perform and paying attention to your needs.

Spiritually, mentally, and emotionally exude goodness to others instead of bottling up and overworking. Burnout stems from all kinds of stressors, so it’s important to keep your mindset in the right place, especially in chaotic times.

If you’re not happy with your job, reflect and see what you could change to better cope with the stress and prevent burnout in the future.

Featured photo credit: Adrian Swancar via unsplash.com

Reference

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