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You're reading 8 Ways A Highly Productive Person’s Weekend is Different, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing.”  Thomas Jefferson  Why does it seem that some people are so much more productive than others? You can boil it down to one thing-- they are more productive. What makes someone a productive person? Let’s dive into some attributes that set a productive person’s weekend apart.  1) Proactively prioritize to have a productive weekend Without trying to be too reductionistic, you can categorize people into two groups-- proactive or reactive. One of the most important attributes of a productive person is being proactive. This proclivity to proactivity doesn't stop on the weekend. Being proactive does not stop on the weekend. A proactive person has already planned out each of his or her events for the weekend with some room for flexibility while a reactive person will allow his or her weekend to happen to them. I spoke recently to a highly respected individual in the Fintech space that color codes his calendar to make sure that he is planning and prioritizing his time effectively. 2) Get up early Productive people realize that time is one of the most valuable assets of the human life and that time is a limited asset. We can always make more money, but we cannot make more time. It’s important to get up early to realize that asset. Sleep is important, but sleeping in is not. As such, getting up early and starting your day off right is an essential component to a productive person’s life. Even parents with young children oftentimes make this a priority since it's the only time they have to themselves before the kids are up. 3) Get the most of their mornings Efficiency with your morning activities is key. What are the chores that you need to get done? Can you group your chores and errands in such a way that it saves you time so you can focus on other things? Without effectively contemplating and strategizing your morning the result can be seen in wasted mornings and lack of activity. I like what Dante said, “He who know most grieves most for wasted time.” 4) Disconnect Disconnecting does not mean sitting and binging in front of a Netflix show for 8 hours. It means time away where you can think and contemplate and disconnect from your busy life.  Disconnecting can be difficult for a productive person because he or she is always trying to do more, but it is very important to rest on the weekend. Rest can allow you to be more productive then if you’re constantly going and depriving yourself of sleep. 5) Spend quality time with loved ones A productive person knows that having the priorities in the correct place is of utmost importance to their productivity. That is why it’s crucial to maximize time with friends and loved ones. These relationships are what give a productive person a clear mind to be able to execute so efficiently throughout the week. 6) Are good to their body Exercising and diet is crucial to a productive weekend. Exercising can relieve stress and will allow you to clear your mind from the work activities. Your diet defines many things in your life, but one of those is your energy level. I like to think of the saying, “Garbage In, Garbage Out”. Feeding yourself poorly results in less energy and less ability to do things that are important. I would recommend Joseph Chukwube's Pick the Brain article on diet and productivity. 7) Plan out the next week Planning and prioritizing your weekend well doesn't stop at the weekend, it carries into planning and prioritizing for your next week. A productive person is always planning and executing, so it’s helpful to take stock of your next week and plan and prioritize. I use Google calendar religiously to keep my week in order, but there are hundreds of tools that can help you plan out your week. 8) Get some rest Sleep is a necessary component to be productive. The Sleep Foundation states that “Sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being. We spend up to one-third of our lives asleep, and the overall state of our "sleep health" remains an essential question throughout our lifespan.” It recommends that you need 7-9 hours from the ages of 18-64 and 7-8 hours ages 65+.  Another rest hack you can try is going to bed and getting up at the same time every day to help your body get into a rhythm. I’d love to hear what you think. What is one productivity weekend hack that has worked for you?  Ben Tejes is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ascend Finance, a platform to help people achieve self improvement in the area of personal finance. He is a writer for the Ascend Blog where he writes on topics such as debt settlement, bankruptcy, collections and creditors to help people get out of debt and experience financial freedom.

You've read 8 Ways A Highly Productive Person’s Weekend is Different, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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You're reading Why Meditation Doesn’t Always Work and What To Do About It, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

How often have you carved out time to meditate, only to squander those twenty to thirty minutes obsessively thinking of what you need to accomplish, or drifting off to sleep from exhaustion only to emerge with your anxieties intact? I can certainly attest to having this type of meditative experience and I’m not the only one. My clients often express that meditation makes them more frustrated and sometimes even erroneously validates their sense of being a failure, simply because they cannot achieve stillness. It would seem that unless you grew up in a Buddhist monastery and learned to still your mind at age eight, meditation is likely more exasperating than refreshing for you. The bottom line is that few of us are meditating well. Yet, rather than judging yourself for what seems like an inadequacy, recognize that quieting the mind is not the only way to reach a state of peace and calm. The biggest reason mastering stillness is difficult is because we approach the process from only one perspective. In reality, there are at least two ways to meditate; both of which you need to practice in order to truly achieve personal enlightenment.  In fact, the best way to alleviate anxiety is to meditate on it rather than avoid it so you can come to understand its message, as well as how to overcome the limitations it poses, and you do this by using a form active meditation. In the end, it is through active meditation that true peace and enlightenment is attained. What you might not know is that meditation can be performed from either a passive or an active perspective. In passive meditation, or traditional reflection, serenity happens when you focus your mind on nothing, freeing yourself of the titles and ideals that define you. Unfortunately, if you are lucky enough to experience peacefulness from your meditation, when you re-emerge from your moment of zen, life resumes with little having changed in regards to your health, relationships, wallet and feelings of living a purposeful life. In that sense, the minute you are entrenched back into the daily grind, your anxieties and stressers plug in like an app, and start running in the background without you even knowing it until it’s too late and you are in desperate need of a re-boot. Except, rather than perpetuating the never-ending cycle of stress and de-stress, I would suggest opting for an active meditation so you can actually eliminate your fears and worries and not have to keep reliving them. Surely you’ve heard athletes and nature lovers describe their workouts and activities as meditative. Even though they are running, or hiking, they are actively focusing their attention on one task for an extended period.  Their focus in turn sends them into a so-called “zone”--the equivalent of a meditative state, where they often receive epiphanies about their goals and desires. In that sense, these individuals are practicing active meditation. When performed consciously, active awareness allows you to obtain understanding and solutions to your anxieties, which ultimately is how you establish a sustainable sense of relief, joy, and tranquility. Thankfully, you don’t have to run a marathon to receive the value of active attentiveness. You can approach it the same way you would passively – sitting comfortably, or lying down. However, this is where conscious focus changes the game. Rather than trying to clear your mind, actively you will allow your mind to contemplate and seek answers regarding one specific thing in your life. For instance, I once wanted to know why I was having trouble staying at a corporate job for longer than three years. After an intense period of inner-focus on my question, and with many words, images and feelings encapsulating my query during that time, I eventually realized that my passion was to work for myself and that I would need to design a career around an entrepreneurial endeavor if I was truly going to be happy and committed to my field. Today, I work independently as an intuitive therapist and have been for the past fifteen years, obviously having found the solution to my career dilemma. Active meditation allows you to find deeper answers to the issues causing your fears or anxieties, resulting in a type of relief that passive meditation never reaches and is why being active in this process is what eventually provides you with the power to sustain peace of mind. To practice active meditation, all you have to do is become hyper-focused on seeking understanding regarding one element of your life, such as, “Why am I unhappy in my relationship?”, “What can I do to improve my health?” or “Why would my soul pick the family I was born into?” Ponder your question while using your intuitive faculties of hearing, seeing, feeling, and knowing to seek understanding.  As you focus, be aware of the images, sounds, ideas, and feelings your intuition is conveying. For instance, you might have a feeling that you need to listen more as a partner rather than speak as this will help your connection, you could witness an image of yourself getting outdoors more, or you could even hear the words ‘because you wanted to learn independence.’ The trick then is to follow your wisdom by either taking action or assuming a new belief, as this is the key to lessening your anxieties and establishing your higher fulfillment. Play with active meditation the next time you want to calm your mind. Even if you don’t get your answers immediately, continue being aware of what your intuition is conveying throughout your day, knowing that you are not only receiving the value and benefit that meditation brings, but that you will also find the cure to your life’s ills, allowing you to truly achieve higher being at all times. Michelle DesPres is a certified clairvoyant medium trained under the Berkeley Psychic Institute program for inner development. She is the author of the books The Clairvoyant Path and Intuitively You: Evolve Your Life and Mend the Word, designed to help others discover personal and collective fulfillment. She also published the Intuitive Ethical Standards establishing guidelines for alternative therapists. Michelle is a frequent speaker and motivational leader, and has been providing individual services and readings to a variety of clients for 15 years. She is the founder of the Intuitive Practitioner Program, where students learn about mind, body, and soul integration–and how to hone these skills to build thriving businesses. Learn more at https://michelledespres.com/.

You've read Why Meditation Doesn’t Always Work and What To Do About It, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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You're reading Prioritization: How Productive People Get Things Done, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

My wife and I recently traveled to Zion National Park where I witnessed a cairn (pictured above) on the trail. Cairns are used as trail markers around the globe to help you realize that you are on the right path. In my life, I have found that the cairn of prioritization has helped me become more productive in the most important areas of my life. If we do not have such “cairns” in our life, we will lose sight of how to prioritize and be productive. This article addresses why I believe productive people prioritize and how they do so. Why do productive people ruthlessly prioritize? I have found that the more productive I become, the more opportunities I have. The reason I prioritize is simple: I have to prioritize because there are far too many things I can be doing and only a few things I should be doing. If I do only a few things, I can do those things well and be very productive in those things. If I attempt to do too many things, I burn myself out, which results in not being productive in anything. I really like how Erin Falconer puts it in her book, “How To Get Sh*t Done, “...Women need to stop doing everything so they can achieve anything.” What areas do you prioritize? My Personal 5 F’s of Prioritization When I worked at Google many years ago, the company had an interesting motto, “Eliminate, Automate or Outsource”. The reasoning behind that is that we should always be working on the right things. Do you have to do it? If not, eliminate it. Can we automate it? If no, then outsource it. In a nutshell, this is ruthless prioritization to make sure that each Googler is working on the highest priorities at hand. Erin Falconer states it in a more fun way in her book where she helps the reader zero in on three areas of your life, and, “off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.” I use the overarching 5 F’s approach for the different areas I prioritize in my life:
  1. Faith (belief system)
  2. Family
  3. Friends
  4. Function (work, job)
  5. Free Time
I have seen that many folks have some of these intertwined (I use my free time to spend with friends or I work with friends in my function). I actually have found that the more I intertwine my “F’s” that the more meaningful that these activities become. How do I keep these in check? I proactively think about how I am utilizing my time against these metrics and make sure that I check-in with myself if these are out of line (i.e. my function is taking too much time away from my family). This article focuses on prioritizing your time, but I’d love to address how to talents and energy, and how you spend your money can affect your productivity at a later date. How can you prioritize? Make a list of the different areas above by function and perform an audit of your time for the past week. Which function have you spent the most time doing during awake hours? Is that the prioritization that you’d like to see? One thing in conclusion: What’s interesting is that what I’ve seen in my life is that when the prioritization of my key areas are right, I am also a much more productive person, and I attribute that to my priorities being in order. I’d love to hear what you think. Which of the 5 F’s do you want to prioritize? Which are you currently prioritizing? Do you agree that priorities and productivity are friends? Why or why not? Ben Tejes is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ascend Finance, a platform to help people achieve self improvement in the area of personal finance. He is a writer for the Ascend Blog where he writes on topics such as debt settlement, bankruptcy and debt consolidation to help people get out of debt and experience financial freedom.

You've read Prioritization: How Productive People Get Things Done, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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You're reading 6 Benefits of Mind-Boggling Games for Child Development, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Games are synonymous with activity. Playing is a basic human need and practically all humans enjoy to play. Playing games is not just an activity used to pass time, for leisure or relaxation but psychologists recommend playing mind-boggling games since they are an important part of the learning experience especially in children. All parents and caregivers should not only encourage and value their children’s play but also join in the play activities while guiding them. The gameplay is a brilliant way of helping a child to develop their growing brain. Puzzles and crosswords are able to help strengthen specific abilities like cognition, memory, and even improve concentration.  According to a study conducted and published in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, limiting children's screen time linked to better cognition. Potential benefits of games in child development
  • Improvement of Problem Solving Abilities
Usually, the goal of completing most puzzles and crosswords is to come up with a solution to a problem. One can only ‘win’ the game with an appropriate solution and correct implementation. Therefore, these games assist in the improvement of the critical thinking ability of a child. The child acquires tolerance, persistence and determination. In playing mind-boggling games, they will learn how to break down huge and compound problems into smaller parts logically and these can, therefore, be easily solved. Additionally, the child achieves a sense of accomplishment when she successfully solves a puzzle. This results in a boost of the confidence level of the child in their problem-solving skills.
  • Enhancement of Fine Motor Skills
The enhancement of motor skills is an important development phase in children that usually begins even before the ability to hold items in hand is achieved. Games can help speed up the learning process. When a child holds avatars and uses them to play a game, this ultimately improves their ability to grasp and to let go of objects. Additionally, it enhances their eye-hand coordination. Puzzles and crosswords played using avatars have a positive influence on fine motor skills, such as swiftness, precision, dexterity and positioning.
  • Improvement in Concentration
In order to complete a mind-boggling game successfully, brain concentration is needed. These games, therefore, can help enhance the attention span in a child. By changing the difficulty level of the game, the desired level of attention can be monitored and controlled. Once a child plays at ease on a certain level, the difficulty can then be increased to arouse the brain to build attention skills. Memory games exercise the brain, leading to one being more sharp and alert. Playing memory stimulation games for at least thirty minutes each day improves your concentration and brain focus. They also help in the enhancement of other brain functions, such as attention level, comprehension, creativity, and wits.
  • Social Skills Improvement
There are many different kinds of games from which an individual can choose to enjoy. There are games that are played alone, in groups, and with teams. Crosswords and puzzles that involve partners help children in learning how to share, tolerate, coordinate, take lead and follow. Most puzzle games, especially multi-player ones, are designed to test an individual’s social skills. The games can be used to monitor and improve children's social and emotional skills and could enable parents and caregivers to spot issues in the behavior of children early enough giving them ample time to improve their behavior. Additionally, games with challenging problems help children learn how to deal with the frustration that builds up as one tries to crack a level.
  • Improvement in Cognitive Abilities and IQ
Education basically will involve the enhancement of skills such as developing research skills, language skills, improving cognitive abilities, and creativity. Some games can actually make you smarter. According to a study conducted by scientists from Queen Mary University of London and University College London, some of the puzzle games will be of great help in training the brain to become more agile and enhance strategic thinking. Two groups of volunteers were selected to play different versions of a mind-boggling game. The third group of volunteers played a simple game. The researchers discovered that the members of the group that played the complex crosswords and puzzles were quicker and more accurate in execution of cognitive flexibility tasks than those who played the simple puzzles.
  • An Awesome Way To Pass Time
Playing crosswords and puzzles is also an awesome way to pass time. When a child is playing these games in the comfort of their home, the parent can be assured of the safety of the child while at the same time monitoring the types of games the child is engaging in. Puzzle games have for a long time now been an important element in the lives of many children. Since now the puzzles and crosswords are available in software form and applications, children are spending much more time playing games now than they did in the past. In recent years, children worldwide have been spending more time playing games on mobile apps than they have been spending watching television. In general, too much of television has a negative impact on education as it competes for a student’s attention and time. Crosswords and puzzles on software applications have widely reduced time spent on watching television by children. Conclusion While the benefits of playing puzzles and crosswords are evident, it is still important to control the amount of time a child indulges in gameplay. Also of importance is to control the type of games the child plays. Crosswords and puzzles are the best and the easy availability of Crossword Answers 911  makes it even more fun. The fact that puzzle and crossword games are also cheap to buy and can be used for a long time does not hurt either.

You've read 6 Benefits of Mind-Boggling Games for Child Development, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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You're reading 7 Daily Habits to Practice at Work, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Aristotle once said that we are products of what we repeatedly do. He continued to say that excellence is not an act but a habit. Many people hate routines because routines are often monotonous and feel like you are living by rules set by someone else. However, lack of an organized structure at work, or only having no routine, will drain you physically, mentally and emotionally. Imagine going to work every morning without a schedule? You wouldn't know what to tackle first and what to put aside. With daily habits such as exercise and reading, you recharge your mind and enjoy what you do even more. You can accomplish more in a day than you would if you forego daily routines. Below are seven every-day habits to try at work. 1. Eat Healthily Most people know the importance of a healthy diet but rarely eat healthy meals while at work. According to WebMD, more than 70 percent of Americans eat from their desks three or four times a week; a habit that is not advisable. The desk was designed for work and not as a dining table. While at work, it is essential to take tea and lunch breaks and eat your food at peace with a friend or with other colleagues. Fruits and vegetables, lean meat, a lot of water and roughages, and enough carbs should make up your daily diet. Forget fast foods and instead make your meals at home where you can regulate the ingredients. Besides eating healthy, get healthy and natural supplements such as nootropics to boost your energy, enhance cognitive function, better your mood and your concentration and enhance your memory. 2. Read a Book, Keep Learning A person whose mindset is focused on growth will view daily challenges as opportunities. When you focus on personal growth, you will always be ready to take on challenging tasks, you will remain optimistic, and this propels your career progression. If you put your mind to it, you can learn anything. According to Benjamin Franklin, an investment in knowledge gives the best interest. Today, there are hundreds of books accessible on Kindle, others on your computer and others as hard copies. Access and read these books, enroll for online courses, attend seminars and learn from industry influencers. Reading a few hours every day will make you grow personally and professionally. 3. Keep a Journal Have you ever kept a journal? Probably you haven't, but there are several reasons why you should. First off, a journal helps you clear your mind; it is a way of expressing yourself to remove the clutter that blocks your creativity. A journal helps you understand your past, present, and future. When you note down your thoughts every day, your objectives, goals, and ambitions become clear. It offers you a way to consolidate lessons you learn, be grateful and keep records. Start by noting down small accomplishments, things you are grateful for and issues you are struggling with. Write your journal, and you will see a difference. 4. Meditate Meditating is a way of personal observation. It helps you develop better concentration, develop a positive mindset and see the true nature of your surrounding including people you work with and the work environment. Charles Duhigg, in his book "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business" observes that the small habits people introduce into their daily routine will unintentionally carry over to all aspects of life. Meditation should be part of your daily habit. You can meditate between 10 and 15 minutes in the morning or evening. Meditation will improve your relationships with other people, your mood, productivity, personal development and relieve you of stress. 5. Work Out Regularly Exercise is linked to good health. Today, most corporations have installed workout facilities to help workers work out. This is in the hopes that working out will, in turn, enhance the mood of the employees, make them happy and increase their productivity. Exercise has enormous benefits for your body and mind. First off, it increases your energy levels and boosts your confidence. With regular practice, you can beat stress and become calmer. Even better, you will sleep better. Schedule exercise on your calendar if you want to make it a habit. This way, you will not forget. However, do not make the mistake of going to the gym for your entire lunch hour and lifting weights until you cannot lift a finger anymore. Instead, start by running or jogging for a few kilometers and proceed to strenuous exercises as your body energy develops. Make exercise enjoyable by engaging only in workouts you love. 6. Take Frequent Breaks Have you ever been stuck on a task at work then took a break and the solution popped up in your mind? That's the power of a break. Breaks reduce mental fatigue, help you relax and see issues clearly. A movement break is vital for your physical and emotional wellbeing. Too much sitting increases your risk of getting heart diseases, depression, obesity, and diabetes. Take a break and walk for five minutes; you will beat depression and other conditions. When you concentrate on a single task for long, your performance will be hindered as your brain becomes fatigued. This means that you will accomplish less in a day than if you took a break. It is during a break that you consolidate ideas and memories to enhance learning. 7. Keep Your Attitude in Check The mood you bring to work influences your productivity; One of the healthiest habits you can practice every day is to keep your mental attitude in check. Your state of mind dictates your happiness. When a negative attitude dominates your life, you will depress your mind and spirit and your productivity at work will dwindle with each passing day. To enjoy and feel satisfied with your work, you need a positive mindset. One way to keep your work attitude positive is to ensure that your thoughts concentrate on what you are doing. If you are physically at work, but your mind is elsewhere, then your attitude towards work will suffer. Conclusion: Start Small Before switching off your computer and going home in the evening, review your activities during the day. What went well and what went amiss? What changes do you need for a smoother routine? What did you learn? This ritual will help make your days better and your routines perfect. When introducing new habits, say something like meditation or exercise, start small and make changes as you go.

You've read 7 Daily Habits to Practice at Work, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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You're reading The Missing Piece: How To Choose A Career That’s Right For You, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

When discovering a more fulfilling career direction, there are several actions I advise my clients to embrace. This includes taking action rather than just thinking, following your curiosity rather than waiting for passion to fall into your lap, and thinking differently about failure. In this article I’ll talk about the ONE MISSING PIECE, which is key if you really want to experience the joy of fulfilment and the joy of knowing you have made the right career decision for yourself. I have just recently discovered this piece, and now that I’ve found it, I can see how it was missing from the way I approached many major earlier career decisions. Had I used it, the effect of my words and my actions at the time would have not only been far more impactful, but also more enjoyable. The missing piece I’m talking about is vulnerability. Vulnerability means that you are willing and open to tell the story of who you really are, with your whole being. It means you have the courage to admit that you are not perfect, and to embrace opportunities and situations that have the potential to enrich your life or inflict pain on you. This could mean being open to opportunities such as taking a big career gamble, with no guarantee of the outcome. This really hit home when I watched the TED talk by Brene Brown, who spent 6 years studying the topic of vulnerability. She found that the people who experienced love, belonging and connection, were the ones that really believed they were worthy of experiencing love, belonging and connection. The other thing these people had in common was a sense of courage, to show the world who they actually are, and letting go of who they ‘should be’. Why does this matter? The people who led the most meaningful and connected lives, were the ones who accepted that being vulnerable is the only way to be truly authentic. Vulnerability leads to authenticity, and authenticity leads to experiencing your life as meaningful and fulfilling. This finding leads us back to the beginning, where I talked about the importance of finding out what authentic means to YOU, as authenticity looks different for everyone. What does it look like to you? Does it mean you finally accept that writing is your passion, or that you always wanted to take up drawing or gardening? Or maybe, you still don’t know what ‘your thing’ is, but now you have the courage to explore and find out? I believe every person has been given unique gifts and abilities, but many of us are afraid to really use them to their full potential, as receiving criticism on something that is close to our heart, can be scary and painful. And the truth it, yes it can be scary (but fear is literally an imaginary stream of consciousness), and yes it can be painful (but it’s never as bad as you think it will be, and it’s through experiencing setbacks that we grow). I sincerely hope that you have been moved to think about the life you’re currently living, and the life you’d genuinely like to live. I’m a transformational coach, and if you feel you’d like some help to make some big changes in your life and career, then hit reply and let’s talk. Helping people realise what they want to do and create an actionable plan to achieve more excitement and meaning in their lives, is what I do, and I’d be delighted to help you. I believe the best investment you could ever make is in yourself, so with that said, To your success and happiness, Christine Christine is a Career Business Coach and works with driven professionals who are stuck on a career path without excitement and purpose. She takes a big picture approach and helps people figure out what they’d love to do, and how to make it happen. www.christinecoaching.co.uk

You've read The Missing Piece: How To Choose A Career That’s Right For You, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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You're reading 9 Facts That Exercise Helps Reduce Depression and Anxiety, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

It's a disheartening fact that an estimated twenty per cent of Australians will suffer from depression and anxiety at some stage of their lives. With a population of approximately twenty-five million that's around five million people. Although there's often a belief that the two conditions are the same there are distinct differences between them but exercise can be a remedy for both. 1. Sense of Purpose Depression includes an inescapable feeling of despair and hopelessness. Sufferers perceive ordinary daily issues as insurmountable obstacles and have difficulty maintaining personal relationships leading to isolation and loneliness. Exercise instils a sense of purpose as you reach for targets while improving your fitness levels, counteracting low self-esteem and boosting your energy levels. 2. Calming Influence Anxiety is a sustained form of fear and apprehension which eventually infiltrates even the most pleasurable aspects of life. Panic attacks occur for no apparent reason and prevent people from leaving their homes. Dealing with anxiety through an exercise has a calming effect as it channels surplus nervous energy into a positive force. Exercise relieves tension in both your muscles and nervous system. 3. Natural Medicine Treatment for anxiety and depression usually involves lengthy bouts of medication with anti-depressants or tranquillizers. These are actually highly addictive and it can be difficult to stop taking them. But using exercise as alternative medicine has been scientifically proven to be far more effective and it won't harm the natural balance of your system. It's a well-known fact that exercise and mental health combined bring positive results. Around 150 minutes each week enjoying an activity such as swimming, walking, jogging or yoga is an exercise for depression and anxiety. The physical activity prompts your metabolism to increase in speed gradually releasing into your brain chemicals known as endorphins. These have a calming influence and produce a feeling of optimism. Concentrating on exercise transports your mind beyond the confines set by anxiety and depression and brings numerous long-term benefits. 4. Relaxation Your mind needs exercising as much as your body when you're dealing with depression. Practising a relaxation technique such as mindfulness meditation encourages you to focus only on the present while blocking out unwanted thoughts. It's an effective strategy that you can use at any time and prepares you to find the motivation for physical exercise. Even simple stretching exercises are a good starting point before building up to walking short distances. Practised daily you'll soon notice how relaxed you feel whenever you're active. 5. Confidence It's estimated that 160,000 young Australians aged between sixteen and twenty-four are suffering from anxiety and depression. Fear of failure, perhaps in gaining qualifications, is often blamed resulting in a chronic lack of confidence and motivation. Enrolling in a wilderness therapy course in the natural landscape of the Outback combines exercise with self-improvement skills and you'll quickly gain confidence. Team effort is encouraged as sufferers of anxiety and depression join forces to overcome panic attacks. There's a great deal of fun to be had while you're trying to build shelters, light fires with sticks and learn bushcraft survival skills. 6. Responsibility and Companionship Acquiring a pet is a recognised method of dealing with depression. Therapy dogs, in particular, are recognised for the value they add to the lives of those suffering from depression and anxiety. They provide companionship and also help their owners to have a purpose as the dogs need to be fed and cared for. In return, they provide the motivation for taking regular exercise by going on daily walks and with their instantly recognisable yellow coats with a blue trim they are allowed access to shops, public areas and transport reducing the feeling of isolation and loneliness. 7. Feeling Good It's a scientific fact that sunshine encourages the production of a chemical called serotonin in the brain. It encourages a clear feeling of well-being and relaxation, a feel-good factor. Getting outside to enjoy the sunshine while admiring the beautiful scenery is an important part of dealing with anxiety and depression. Exercise in any form from walking or practising Tai Chi to surfing or playing tennis is a perfect way to harness the effects of serotonin and when combined with the endorphins that are produced by the activity you can understand how exercise helps depression and anxiety. 8. Looking Good Sufferers of anxiety and depression often comfort eat and make their problems worse by piling on weight through a poor diet that's lacking in vitamins and nutrients. The vitamin B complexes are particularly beneficial to the body's nervous system so eating foods such as broccoli and green leafy vegetables will help. Combined with exercise for depression and anxiety eating a nourishing diet and reaching an ideal weight can help enormously. And looking good will boost your confidence and self-esteem while improving your physical health. 9. Fun and Laughter Laughter is one of nature's best medicines for dealing with anxiety and depression. Attending one of Australia's many boot camps is one way to enjoy exercise and have some fun at the same time. There's a fantastic choice of exercises on offer including Zumba dance that's not only sociable but great fun. Connecting with other people and making new friends is beneficial as you exercise for depression and anxiety. While at boot camp you also get personal tuition from an experienced physical training instructor who makes sure your exercise programme is suitable for your age. With their encouragement, you'll find it easier to reach targets while exercising and enjoying yourself.  

You've read 9 Facts That Exercise Helps Reduce Depression and Anxiety, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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You're reading Why Motivation Is Bullshit: 5 Better Ways To Get Things Done, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Do you often find yourself waiting for motivation to kick in? When it comes to tackling your to-do list, there’s nothing better than feeling that surge of energy to get you pumped. Your mind is focused, your energy is at its peak and your enthusiasm is at an all-time high. When you’re in that zone, it feels like you can accomplish anything. The problem with this is: motivation is inconsistent and unreliable. Unless it’s something we absolutely love, many of us would much rather put off working. We tell ourselves that we’ll find the motivation later but, more often than not, later never comes or it comes in sporadic bursts that disappear as quickly as it appears. So, rather than sit there idly waiting for something that may or may not happen, here’s a better approach to getting things done. Prioritize your tasks Does your to-do list only grow with each passing day? Does it feel like there’s never enough time to finish everything you need to get done? Then prioritizing is essential. Think about the important goals you want to accomplish. Are the tasks on your to-do list bringing you closer to achieving those goals? If not, audit your time and find out where you can do less of the things that don’t bring you closer to your goals and more of the things that you do. Break your goals down into smaller steps and make those tasks a priority so you can be sure you’re using your time in the best way possible. Make a commitment and stick to it How often do you add tasks to your to-do list and end up not doing them? That’s why, once you’ve prioritized, it’s important to schedule the tasks you want to accomplish for that day. If you operate better scheduling a task at a specific time, go with that. Otherwise give yourself some flexibility by scheduling them at a general time—for example, first thing in the morning, before lunch or immediately after work. After setting a time, make sure that you actually commit to doing it. Block out that time, get rid of distractions and do whatever it takes to make sure you get it done. This is about knowing what works for you and having the discipline to follow through. Don’t think, do Tasks can be painful, and most of us will use whatever means necessary to avoid that pain. When you think about a task for long enough, it’s easy to talk yourself out of doing it. You start to imagine the effort you will have to put into it and the time it will take to complete and, before you know it, it’s game over. It’s like waking up in the morning. If you sit in bed thinking about whether or not to get up, chances are you’re already falling back to sleep. But if you hear your alarm in the morning and get out of bed without even thinking about it, you’re ready to start your day. So when it comes to tackling the items on your to-do list, put your mind on autopilot to avoid talking yourself out of it. Oftentimes, the thought of doing something is much worse than actually doing it. Get in the zone Set yourself up for success by creating an environment conducive to concentration. Whether it’s a little nook in the corner of your apartment or a dedicated office in your home, the goal is to work in a space that allows you to focus. So get rid of any and all distractions and have a routine that signals that you’re there to get work done. That could involve making a cup of coffee and enjoying it while on your computer, popping in some noise-canceling headphones or whatever else tickles your fancy. The objective here is to create a routine that signals that it’s time to work and nothing else. Build momentum When you have a mountain of work ahead of you, where you do begin? If the thought of taking on your to-do list leaves you feeling overwhelmed, try building momentum with smaller tasks first. If you can, break down your larger tasks so they are smaller and more manageable. Then check off these smaller tasks first to help get you into a workflow that builds up your confidence and energy. It’s a mental trick. You’re still completing the same tasks that you had set out to do from the beginning, but you’re making them appear easier. This gives you the push you need to get things done. Once you’ve completed several of these small tasks, you’ll feel pumped and ready to take on the bigger tasks ahead of you. Conclusion Imagine how much more you could accomplish if you weren’t sitting there waiting for a stroke of motivation to hit you? While it’s nice to feel those moments of pure energy and inspiration while performing a task, those moments are far and few between. There are always going to be tasks we have to do that we don’t necessarily want to do. Rather than waste time by putting off the inevitable, follow the steps above and take action instead. Through her own spiritual wellness journey, Sonya aspires to help millennials use mindfulness to thrive in today’s world. Sign up for her free guide the Worry Detox for instant access to tips for adding more peace and calm into your daily life.

You've read Why Motivation Is Bullshit: 5 Better Ways To Get Things Done, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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You're reading How to Deal with Isolation and Loneliness When Working from Home, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Working from home can lead to loneliness and isolation, especially if you live alone. This isolation can reduce your creativity and inspiration, and your productivity will eventually suffer. To keep your mind at peak performance, you need to combat loneliness when working from home. Read on to find out how you can reduce isolation.   1. Going to a Coworking Space If you were used to working in a corporate office, you might find it hard to work alone. In such cases, you can consider going to a coworking environment. But how does coworking space work? People simply come together and mutually rent out a working space. They then share the cost and work independently in the same place. Co-working spaces are not just about the physical shared space; many people go to these places to establish working communities. If you travel frequently, you can consider hiring serviced offices on a pay-to-use basis. These offices are fully furnished and available for short-term use. 2. Get a Pet Working from home social isolation can be combated by owning a pet. You will enjoy the love and attention of an animal, and you will also have a rewarding job of caring for him. Cats and dogs are especially great companions because they will keep nagging you for walks. These walks are social activities on their own as they will help you develop a deeper connection with the pet. With a dog or cat, you will also be able to meet other pet owners and engage in small conversations. Besides going for walks, dogs can reduce your loneliness by engaging you in games like Tug of War and Chase the Light.   3. Get a Social Hobby Working from home loneliness can be reduced by engaging in a social hobby. It is important to get an activity that involves a lot of communication and social interaction. You don’t have to stick to the activities you have previously enjoyed- you can cultivate a new hobby, regardless of your age. One advantage of getting an interactive hobby is the fact that you will be able to enjoy interesting experiences. Work from home social isolation can make your life stories quite boring. Some social hobbies you can consider include sports like football, basketball, and tennis. Besides reducing boredom, social bobbies can help you learn a new skill.   4. Go Out with Friends If you are thinking of how to cope with loneliness and isolation when working from home, you should consider going out with your friends. If you are not a fan of nightclubs, you can choose to go to a restaurant or a park. The important thing is to hang out with your friends. Such hangout sessions help you relax and relieve yourself of the stress and tension gathered while working from home. Many people also tend to focus too much on themselves when they are isolated, and hanging out with people can help you think about other people. Your friends are also able to keep you in check. They can frankly tell you where you are going wrong and can also advise you on the best routes to take.   Conclusion It is important to combat loneliness and isolation when working from home. You can do this by working from a coffee shop, working in a library, or getting a shared working space. Finding a social hobby can also help you develop new connections and relationships. If you already have a group of friends, you should organise occasional outings. Reducing isolation and loneliness will help with productivity improvement.

You've read How to Deal with Isolation and Loneliness When Working from Home, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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You're reading Self-Preservation: How to Work with a Narcissist, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Working with a narcissist is very difficult and given that we are living through a narcissistic epidemic, you probably work alongside one. If you let the behaviour of a full-blown narcissist get to you, it can wear you down, ruin your working life and impact on your mental well-being, both in and outside of work! Self-preservation is key when you are spending long periods of time with someone who is so self-centred, they couldn’t give two hoots about you. The first thing you need to do is understand how a narcissist operates. Then you can work on keeping the behaviours of your narcissistic colleague at arms’ length. You’ll be pleased to learn that while it’s unlikely you will change your colleague’s narcissistic tendencies, there are some things you can do to prevent his or her actions doing you psychological harm. One thing is for sure. If you are working with a narcissist, you are probably working for a business with a toxic culture. Let’s take a look at the behaviours of a narcissist and how they impact on people in the workplace. If you feel powerless to change a toxic culture, looking for a new job might be your only option. What exactly is a narcissistic personality? Firstly, there are varying degrees of narcissism, but you can usually spot a narcissist a mile off. Full-bodied narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is actually rarely diagnosed by trained psychologists or psychiatrists. However, narcissistic personality traits are common and some can be found in many people to a greater or lesser degree. Some narcissists are actually quite fun to hang out with, albeit occasionally. You probably know someone who likes to hold court and tell funny stories. They probably have a few narcissistic tendencies. But when narcissistic tendencies become unhealthy, such a person can become obnoxious to work with. There are lots of tell-tale signs of a narcissistic personality. Here are some of them:
  • A grandiose sense of importance
  • Preoccupation with own success
  • Believe self to be special
  • Strong sense of entitlement
  • A need for excessive praise and admiration
  • Exploit others
  • Lack empathy
  • Arrogant
  • Jealous of others
  • Can’t take criticism, though heavily criticise others
How might narcissistic tendencies show themselves at work? Almost all workplaces have at least one person who is slightly self-obsessed. At first the office narcissist can appear charming and charismatic, but you’ll soon get to grips with the fact that your colleague (or worse, boss) is concerned only with themselves. Incidentally, narcissists are more likely to be leaders and a moderate amount of narcissism can be a positive in business. However, narcissism can easily hurt others and have a negative impact on business culture. At work, extreme narcissists are only concerned with being at the top or being right. They need constant attention and validation and feel superior to their colleagues. Narcissists have a great need for control and take the credit for everything. They will also blame others for their own mistakes and can’t bear criticism. They will hog the spotlight and dominate meetings, reminding the team of their accomplishments. Narcissists are also namedroppers, so they’ll be boosting their prestigious status by telling the whole office who they mingle with. Perhaps the worst character trait of your narcissistic colleague is that they will steal or take disproportional credit for yours and other colleagues hard work and ideas. These are very frustrating people to work alongside, especially when that person is your boss. They will always cut corners and take advantage of the good nature of the people they work with. They truly think they are above the rules. Some narcissists will display passive-aggressive behaviour and may over-accentuate weakness and victimhood to elicit sympathy. They can be gossips, sarcastic and often put others down. One minute you will be your narcissistic colleague’s best friend, the next minute they will hate you (especially if you disappoint them). How to work with a narcissist The first thing you have to do when working with a narcissist is accept is that you are never going to change their personality. That may feel defeatist, but you don’t have to resign yourself to a life of misery at work. There are things you can do to minimise the impact your narcissistic colleague has on you.
  • Don’t be attracted to his or her charisma – they will have no loyalty to you
  • Don’t be drawn into competition with them or be tempted to get even
  • Never react with anger towards this person
  • Avoid challenging a narcissist
  • Have confidence in your own abilities and document your achievements at work
  • Don’t share personal opinions or give personal information to the narcissist
  • Understand your employment rights – harassment is unacceptable under the Equality Act 2010
  • Maintain your own self-esteem
  • Study them and play the game – if you know what the deal- breakers are, you can keep under the radar and predict how they will behave
  • Set your own boundaries and don’t doubt yourself
  • Compliment them
  • Remember narcissistic behaviour is dysfunctional – recognise the toxic dynamics
Dealing with extreme narcissistic behaviour isn’t easy and if you are faced with an unbearable situation at work, it may be time to move on.  An extremely narcissistic boss could cause you a lot of emotional and professional damage if you get on the wrong side of them. Unfortunately, as narcissists will have established a charming relationship with any people in your organisation who have power over them, it is unlikely you will find the support to deal with them appropriately. It’s not impossible to work with a narcissist, but it is challenging. Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent graduate. Annie likes to share her experiences and knowledge through her blog posts and has written for various online and print publications. When she’s not writing Annie likes cooking healthy new recipes and relaxing with a good book'. Twitter: Annie Button

You've read Self-Preservation: How to Work with a Narcissist, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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