A comprehensive collection of self improvement articles focusing on productivity, motivation and confidence. PickTheBrain.com is a website dedicated to self improvement with a focus on personal productivity, motivation, and self education.
There’s a fun quote around productivity that always makes me smile when I read it:
“Drink Coffee - Do stupid things faster, with more energy!”
While I enjoy a good cup of coffee, there are definitely more efficient ways to completing your daily tasks to increase productivity. In my desire to be more productive during my time at work, I have run across some great ideas for strengthening everyday productivity. Here are 10 productivity tips for you, whether you’re tired of your physical surroundings at work, or are looking for some fresh mindsets to enhance your efficiency.
5 Organizational Ideas For Your Work to Increase Productivity
1. Drink More Water
Staying hydrated is an essential part of staying productive. Your body needs water; not pop, or coffee, or an energy drink. If you need to be convinced of this fact, read this article on the benefits of drinking water. Keep a water bottle within arm’s reach at all times and use it. If you are working at a computer, use your stretch break as an opportunity to rehydrate. This habit, once formed will help power your body, keep your mind clear, and provide a great alternative to unnecessary calories.
2. Lose the Phone
This practice is easier for some than for others. If you need access to your smartphone to complete your work, then disable or silence notifications. If you don’t need your phone to work, put it in another room, out of arm’s reach, or at least out of site. Every time you stop what you are working on to glance at your smartphone or send a quick reply, you’re derailing your productivity. Rebecca Benson states in her Pick The Brain article, "It’s also pretty obvious that phones are incredibly distracting – it’s all too tempting to stop what you’re doing to get the instant gratification of scrolling through Facebook or checking that WhatsApp message." I couldn't agree more.
3. Create an Inspiring Workspace
Developing a workspace that promotes healthy habits and helps you focus is a great achievement. Why not add to that environment by developing an atmosphere that boosts your creativity? Print out a handful of quotes that inspire you and display them prominently. An encouraging photo of family or friends can be just the inspiration you need to keep working effectively. Bringing natural light or a houseplant into your office is a great way to stay relaxed as you work. You get the idea. Surround yourself with an exclusive selection of reminders to keep you inspired and productive.
4. Use Music to Aid Your Work
The jury seems to be out on whether or not listening to music while you work is truly beneficial. (Studies have provided varied results) The safe way to apply this idea is personal experimentation. If you are easily distracted by sudden noises, some ambient music might work well to help you stay on task. On a long and difficult project, epic and uplifting music may give you the emotional lift you need. Piano sonatas are a good choice to help minimize stress and keep you relaxed. The key is to leverage music to promote your work, not distract you from your work.
5. Keep a Tidy Workspace
The old saying “A place for everything and everything in its place” has never been more applicable than in your workzone. Start by making a list of the essentials: the tools and resources you need every day to complete your tasks. Then, organize them and make them accessible. This can be applied to physical objects as well as digital information. (using a password protection app can be a great way to put this into practice) The less time you spend searching the more time you can spend working toward your goal.
5 Organizational Ideas For Your Mind
1. Plan Your Day the Night Before
A healthy amount of sleep is crucial to staying productive, but getting your brain to turn off isn’t always easy. Make a habit of writing down your goals for the next day, before you try going to sleep. This approach not only allows you to get your ideas down on paper (and off your mind) it also gives you a chance to reevaluate and edit your goals the next morning - after you’re rested.
2. Focus on Your Big Three
Once your To-Do list has taken form, it’s time to prioritize. Michael Hyatt talks about focussing on your Big 3 for each day: three tasks that are both essential and time sensitive. Identifying your priorities is a huge step toward achieving them, so take the time to single out your top goals for the day. Then, keep them in a conspicuous spot to help you refocus when you’re in danger of being distracted.
3. Find Your Optimal Timespan
How long can you work on a task before you burn out? More importantly, how long does it take before your productivity on a given task begins to wane? 15 minutes of cold calling? 30 minutes of designing? 1 hour of writing? Figure out your optimal timeframe for a given project and stick to it. As long as you can stay ahead of any deadlines, this approach to work allows you to optimize your time. Try to divide up your day into time slots that are most effective for your work style.
4. Encourage Productive Habits
Sometimes I get so excited about trying something new, that I overlook something great that’s already a part of my life. It’s tempting to think that some new method is going to immediately and drastically improve my life. (I call this Selective Optimism) Before you go crazy trying to revamp your work day, take a look at habits you’ve already formed. Ask a friend, coworker, or your spouse to help you identify strengths you’ve already formed. Then, find ways to establish those habits; let’s keep a good thing going.
5. Appreciate Variety
This last tip is about living life to the fullest, whether you are working, playing, resting or just trying to stay sane. Realizing the importance of routine is vital to staying productive throughout the day. If you can find purpose in whatever you are doing, you’ll be one step closer to thoroughly enjoying each day. Work is great, so is rest. Appreciate them both and know when to stop one and start the other.
Before you dive into your pile of tasks this next week, take another look at how you get things done. Is there a time of day when you tend to drag? Do you feel disorganized and overwhelmed by the clutter surrounding your computer? Are you having trouble getting your mind to relax after you’ve “clocked out”? My hope is that at least one of these 10 tips will enhance your work day and help you achieve greater productivity. Have fun experimenting!
The roses are in bloom and gardens scintillating. But you cannot stop to smell and enjoy the lovely scent because you are already on Claritin allergy medication. When spring beckons, allergic sneezes, skin peeling, flaking, and itching become the order of the day. But allergies are not just common in springs. Some people experience allergic reactions even in summer, falls, and winter.
Though the common remedy for allergies is antihistamines, they only relieve up to 80% of the symptoms. Besides, some have also been associated with drowsiness, rapid heartbeat, and headaches. To avoid these side effects, it is better to try natural remedies to defeat seasonal allergies. That said, before we look at top ten natural remedies to defeat allergies, let’s have an understanding of what causes allergies. Shall we?
What Causes Allergies?
An Allergy is a hypersensitive response from your body’s immune system to substances that get into contact or enter the body. These substances mainly include materials like pollen and pet dander. The substances that cause these reactions are found in pets, foods, drinks, plants, insects, and the environment.
If you are allergic to a specific substance, it means that the body’s immune system is reacting to it like a foreign and harmful thing. The goal of the body is to destroy it. Approximately 40% of adults and 30% of children have allergies.
Note that when an allergen is noted, the body takes time to recognize it. Then, it builds antibodies that attack the allergen in a process referred to as sensitization. This is what brings about the symptoms you experience as allergies. The common signs of allergies include:
Itchy and watery eyes.
Tingling in the mouth.
Swollen lips and face.
Ten Natural Remedies to Defeat Seasonal Allergies
If you want to address allergies without suffering the side effects of medication, the following remedies might be the best options:
1) Take Some Stinging Nettle Leaf
The stinging nettle root was used in the medieval era as a diuretic. But it was later discovered that even its leaves had medicinal properties. Taking some leaves of the Stinging Nettle can be very helpful especially if you have hay fever. The plants’ leaves extract helps to lower the level of antihistamines in the body.
2) Use some Butterbur
Butterbur is a plant that is named because of its use in wrap butter. However, its extracts are also used for treating nasal, headaches and fever allergies. Recent studies have demonstrated that Butterbur fights allergies just like histamines do. However, it does not cause drowsiness.
3) Sipping Apple Cedar Vinegar
Sipping Apple Cedar Vinegar helps to increase potassium in the body that helps to reduce a runny nose. The extract helps to break mucus to reduce the impact of nasal congestion and runny nose. Note that apple cedar vinegar is very strong and should be diluted with lemon or water.
4) Bone Broth
Bone broth is a savory liquid prepared using water and bones with connecting tissues and bone marrow. You could also add high fiber vegetables. In addition to being delicious, bone broth also contains anti-inflammation materials that can help to reduce seasonal allergies.
5) Take some Probiotics
Though they are mostly known for helping to balance bacteria in the gut, probiotics especially those found in yogurt support the immune system and provide relief from allergies especially in children. This means that you should simply increase the uptake of yogurt to counter allergies.
6) Take a Hot Shower and Change the Pillow Case
While this method looks obvious, it can make a huge difference in addressing allergies. Animal fur and other allergens can get stuck into your body or pillowcase. You should consider taking a hot shower after visiting an area with allergens. The pillowcase can also hold allergens and should be changed regularly.
7) Breathe some Eucalyptus Oil
The dried leaves of eucalyptus are used for making scented oils that are recommended for relieving allergies. The oil is especially useful for calming nasal congestion, running nose, and coughs. To get more relief from Eucalyptus, consider placing a bowl of Eucalyptus on your work desk.
8) Detox Your Body
Toxins in the body make the problem of allergies worse. Because the liver is a major mediator of inflammation, overworking it to metabolize medication, alcohol and processed foods can cause allergies to flare up. Some of the recommended ways of detoxifying the body include eliminating alcohol, sugars, and processed foods from your diet. It is also important to try foods that support better liver health such as citrus fruits and turmeric.
9) Visit a Chiropractor
Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on the relationship between the spine and nervous system. By helping to relieve stress, chiropractic care assists to strengthen the immune system and ensuring it functions more effectively.
10) Clean the House
Allergens can find their way into the house and settle on the vents, shelves, carpet, and couch. If you can clean the surfaces especially during springs and summer, it is possible to enjoy the seasons without allergies. Consider vacuum cleaning the carpets and purifying the air to remove allergens.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, natural remedies are the best solutions because they are cheap, easy to follow, and have no side effects. Do not let allergies stand on your way, beat them using the above ten natural remedies.
Have you ever
wondered how you could be more courageous?
Have you ever
wondered you could have the guts to take action in difficult situations or how you
could become more at ease to take action when you should?
would like to be more courageous at some point or another. Whether it is to
make the first move on new people, to take control of their health, to build a
solid business, and so on.
needed to take action in a variety of situations. And everybody needs it, since
everybody is afraid at some point or another.
apart the people who go for it from the others is their relationship to
stand still and struggle to make progress in their life usually believe that
they cannot become more courageous. They believe that their lack of courage is
unchangeable. They believe that there’s nothing they can do about it.
As a result,
they struggle to take action.
seems so difficult, they tell themselves that they’re not built for it. They
tell themselves that there should be another way.
And thus, they
rarely take action in such a way as to grow and become stronger.
And it’s a
pity, because those people could take action much more easily and with much more
confidence if they understood that courage is something they can develop.
Because here is
like a muscle.
The more you
train it, the bigger and stronger it becomes.
that the more you take action in stressful and frightening situations,
the more courageous you’ll become, and the more easily you’ll be able to take
action in such situations in the future.
weight lifting, training yourself to being more courageous can take time.
become so strong that you can bench-press 300lbs after only a few months of
practice. It usually takes some years of training.
this performance, you should start with lighter weights, and then progressively
increase the load you’re benching, by adding more weight week after week.
yourself to be courageous follows the same principle:
okay if you feel that for now you can’t take action in a lot of stressful and
In the same
way you would train the muscles of your body, you should train regularly your
courage muscle by taking action in more and more stressful and frightening
By getting into the habit of taking action in
stressful and frightening situations you’re faced with, your courage muscle is
going to grow.
It will get bigger
and bigger. Stronger and stronger. Day after day.
find yourself able to take action in some situations you would have thought
impossible to cope with a few months before.
All of this is
backed up by science:
When you take
action in the face of fear, your body actually produces more testosterone.
In other word,
you get bigger balls ;)
And you can
naturally take action in situations that you would have found very stressful if
you had had lower testosterone levels.
So get in the habit of taking action. Especially in stressful and frightening situations. Whether it is to talk to new people, to start a conversation with this person you find attractive, to stand up for yourself in a conversation, to do an extreme sport, to do something unusual that generates a bit of stress, and so on.
It can be
anything. What matters is that it makes you feel a bit of stress.
that you can be more courageous if you want to. It’s your job to do it. So go
When we look at our friend’s profiles on social
media, we see images, updates and posts about one thing; happiness. Very rarely
does someone share when they’ve had a bad day. They tell us about their
graduation, their birthday, their engagement. The problem with this, is that it
raises the bar for the levels of happiness we think we should be experiencing
every single day. Feeling envious of other people’s happiness can also lead us
to project onto other people. You might walk down the street and see everyone
else ‘being happy’ and feel angry that you aren’t experiencing this joy
yourself. The chances are, people look at you or your posts and think the same
thing. They see happiness and success, whereas inside you are feeling like some
of your joy has slipped away. You’ve lost something.
Maybe you feel like you’re stuck in a rut. Maybe you feel like nothing excites you anymore and you’re not sure why. Just like online medical websites, here we are to help you diagnose and treat your current distress. Today, we have brought you some practical solutions to help you change how you are feeling, because the joy still exists in your life; you just have to find it.
1. You are exhausted.
Sometimes when we are running around looking
after other people and completing our daily jobs, we forget to look after
ourselves. We often hear the phrase ‘burning the candle at both ends’ but take
very little notice. We go to work, keep up our social lives, exercise, look
after children and let our own health slowly slip down the list of priorities.
You may be the kind of exhausted where sleep doesn’t seem to cut it and you
wake up each morning yearning for thirty more minutes in bed or an even
stronger cup of coffee.
You don’t have to feel like that.
Take more breaks: Throughout your day there is no reason why you can’t take five minutes for yourself. This could be doing anything; go for a short walk, speak to a friend, play a game or participate in a hobby. Try to take some time for yourself and whatever it is than rejuvenates you, do it; you deserve it.
Look after your body: Believe it or not, your physical health hugely contributes to your mental health. Although you may feel like you don’t have the energy to look after your body (and it ceases to be your priority), looking after yourself and your body is crucial to fostering an energetic lifestyle. You can’t chop wood with a blunt axe!
Find an escape: You may get so tied up in what you are doing that you forget the bigger picture. You always wanted to go surfing and you always wanted to go to Paris. You always wanted to sit on the beach in Fiji or drink wine in the vineyards of Italy. Although these things feel like they will take up time and make your normal life more stressful, it’s important to get away to relax and rejuvenate.
2. You feel lonely.
It is becoming easier and easier to contact
people instantly and in theory we should have more people around us than ever.
But, it’s not always the case. Some people may lack in a close circle of
friends, have a family that is more disconnected and broken apart or have moved
location, meaning friends or family are far away. Over time, losing the
connections that give our lives meaning can leave you feeling isolated and
unhappy. Having someone you feel understands you is important, and it is
crucial that it is added to your list of priorities to inspire happiness.
You don’t have to feel like this.
Reconnect: Chances are, even though you are feeling disconnected, there are people in your life that still love you and would love to be back in touch or get closer. Make sure you find time for them; get a cup of coffee, go around to their house, call them on the phone. Maybe they feel the same as you. Try to deepen your connections by investing quality time into the people you love.
Find a new tribe: It is very possible to feel lonely whilst in a group of friends. This could be because they aren’t really the people you should be friends with. Maybe they don’t share your interests or treat you in the way you should be. Join a club or frequent a place that you enjoy and really try to get to know people. You may be surprised about the results and you will soon find both quality and quantity of friends. (You’re brilliant they just don’t know you yet!)
3. You are bored.
So often people feel down
because they aren’t enjoying the events and tasks of their lives. For some,
this could be because they have lost the love and interest in their jobs. For
others, it could be their routines outside of work that are bringing them down.
Maybe, the excitement has gone, and you need something that is more
stimulating. Boredom is a frustrating emotion that means things we usually love
have become tiring or mundane.
You don’t have to be.
Find a new hobby: There’s probably something that you’ve always wanted to do. Skydive? Paint? Yoga? Surfing? Shake up your life and give it a new breath of excitement, something that you can tell people happily next time you see them and something to look forward to at the end of the day or at the weekend. This could also help you find your tribe and people that you have more in common with.
Pick a goal: Maybe your boredom has come from being unfulfilled. If you don’t have a goal at work or home, it can feel as though you are wandering around listlessly without a purpose. Pick something attainable and something you know you can meet and push towards achieving it.
4. You are doubting yourself.
Quite often, we shut ourselves out of certain
experiences because one this one damaging thing, doubt. Doubt manifests itself
in some strange ways, one being that we don’t want to look silly or stupid in
front of other people. Another way is that it stops us from going for things we
think we aren’t good enough for; a job, a person or an opportunity. Many people
suffer from self-esteem problems, which can make you feel like you aren’t good
enough. But here’s the kicker – you are more than good enough! You just have to
You don’t have to feel like that.
Go for it: The one way to prove to yourself that you can do it is to just go for it. Jump in, throw yourself at it and see what happens. It doesn’t matter if you look silly and it will show you that there is nothing to be afraid of.
Build up your confidence and self-esteem: There are so many ways to do this, that I think it deserves its own article! Here are a few simple methods: seek feedback from people who love you (they will tell you amazing reasons why), find something to be proud of (I’m sure you do so much for so many people) and look after yourself (there’s no better way to develop your self confidence than to feel excellent in your own skin).
5. You feel like you are stuck in the past.
In your life there may have been events that
have upset you or brought you pain. There are moments that all of us will
remember as being too painful –
Because of the lessons we have learnt from
these upsetting occurrences, we avoid things and isolate ourselves from events
that might make us happy. We may recall our teenage years when somebody told us
we weren’t good enough, or smart enough or cool enough and it brings us down
even now. Something may not have gone right before and we are convinced that it
can’t go right again; a relationship, a job or an activity.
It doesn’t have to be like this.
Live for now: This may seem obvious, but it is so easy to get stuck in worry about something that has already happened, that we can’t change. Try to find something that makes you happy every single day.
Think about what you want in the future: You are a different person than you once were, and you will no longer want all of the same things. Analyse what it is you want
Your vast life experience will have changed
how successful you are in certain situations and chances are, you will have
learnt from any mistakes. Try to work out what it is you want now and go for
it, despite what has happened in the past. You are a braver and better person
than you were then.
6. You feel overwhelmed.
Everyone knows the feeling of
being so overwhelmed by our everyday activities, that we feel like nothing we
do is successful. There are so many plates that you are spinning, that it feels
like you can’t keep them all going at once and at some point they feel like
they will all come crashing to the ground. This can become frustrating, because
it feels like you aren’t accomplishing anything because the tasks are too
large. The feeling of stress that comes from being overwhelmed is incredibly
unpleasant and can reduce the happiness that we find in our day to day.
You don’t have to feel like this.
Take time to practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is becoming something that people are much more aware of. The basic principle of mindfulness is to be aware of your own body and all of the things going on around you. Contemplating why you might be feeling overwhelmed, will most likely lead you to pinpointing why. You might have overpacked your schedule, or you aren’t leaving anytime in your schedule to distress. There are many small mindfulness activities that you can do each day to open your eyes and calm your spirit – they are just a quick google away.
Priorities: There may be some activities that you complete each day that might just be taking up time and don’t need to be done. Sit down and work out what could make the chop so that you have more time to spend on things you care about.
There are always going to be times when you are upset, hurt, or feel like the walls are closing in. In order for there to be light there has to be shadow and it is important that we recognize that you won’t always be blissfully happy. In difficult times, it’s important to try and increase your mindfulness about what is happening. Take a look at what might be going wrong in your life and then utilize some of these solutions to improve how you are feeling. Once we understand the root cause, it is much easier to bring back your excitement and joy. Take practical steps, don’t take it lying down and experience life to its fullest.
In Everybody’s Life, there Comes A Phase When We Ask God, “ Why Me, God?”. Right?
Everybody faces bad times, there’s nothing abnormal about it. They teach you new lessons. You can’t blame God for developing you, nor you should!!!
comes a time when we start to think,” What am I doing with my life?” or “Why
I’m lacking behind others?”
kinds of thoughts come when we get stuck in life and are depressed. It is OK to
have these kinds of thoughts but, the thing which important is, when you don’t
let them affect you. You should be positive and focus on developing yourself.
If you think you’re going through that “bad phase”, then we have come to rescue
you. How? We’re sharing here 13 techniques which will help you in
self-development. These tips will develop a new and positive mindset in you.
Check them out.
Techniques for Self Development
from Other People:
Start learning from the success stories as well as failure stories of other
people. Analyze their mistakes and learn a lesson from them because your own
experience can be harsh, it’s better to learn by observing than by experiencing
biographies and case studies.
Healthy Diet: One of
the most important aspects of self-improvement is eating healthy food. You
start to become what you eat, a true saying. Eating healthy helps you mentally,
physically, and emotionally. Eat vegetables, nuts, fruits, and other natural
food products. Avoid eating fast food.
is called an exercise of the brain. It allows us to get relief from critical
stress and tension. Meditation is an amazing process which makes you feel more
relaxed and happy. It aids in anxiety, negative thoughts, and many other health
compare yourself and your improvements with anyone else, everyone has their own
pace. Try to focus on your result only and you’ll start to see how effectively
you have improved yourself. Comparison not only affects your success but also
Bad Habits: Start a
new life by quitting habits which are harming you in any way. First, know all
your bad habits and make a list of them. Then write down the benefits you’ll
get after quitting them. For example, when you’ll quit smoking, you’ll save a
big portion of your pocket money.
Everyday: You should
never belittle the power of positive affirmations. It literally will modify
your whole personality, character, and attitude towards life. Affirm every day
before going to bed in the night or after waking up in the morning. You’ll
start noticing results once you start practicing it daily.
Exercise: When we
exercise, our body exerts more efforts and thus produce more endorphin into the
system. Endorphin is a
chemical which makes us feel better, happy, and improves our mood. Apart from
this, exercising also builds confidence and develops a positive mindset.
Accept: You should
accept that there are certain things which you can’t change. There will be
times when you will fail, Failure Is OK. Accept the negative thoughts, accept
your past, accept other people’s emotions but just start accepting things. You
can’t be always in your comfort zone if you want to grow.
Something New: Keep
learning something new, be it any hobby, language, or any skill. Learning
breeds excitement in us and we become more eager to learn. This increases our
self-confidence and we want to learn more. And the cycle continues.
Kind: Always be kind
to others if you want to self develop. By being kind you’re showing to others
that the world is a decent place to live. Start showing gratitude and give
things without any obligations. When you give up anything, be it food, money,
time or effort, you start feeling good and your self-esteem increases.
Goals: When you want
to develop yourself, you have to set goals for yourself. Don’t just write your
goals, visualize them, make them a part of you. The aim is to direct you in the
right direction and towards a wonderful life.
There is no better
way of learning or enhancing your knowledge than to read about different
things. Reading improves creativity, writing skills, language skills, and
reduces stress and anxiety. You can read different articles and blogs at Quora, Medium, Hubspot,
Business Insider, etc.
the Fears: There
will be many things you have to do for the first time, face them rather than
fearing from them. If you’ll be hesitant in doing these things, you’ll never be
able to grow and succeed. In no time, when you start doing these things, you’ll
start feeling comfortable.
just have to be motivated and enthusiastic like you are now after reading this
article. Adopt these techniques and make them your habits. After some time
you’ll start to see significant changes in yourself and your surroundings.
Everybody’s attitude towards you will change. And at the end, the thing is that
people around you have not changed, your inner self has improved.
Good Bye And Have a Good Day!!!
Author’s Bio: Henry Wilson is a motivational speaker and an assignment writer at Instant Assignment Help Australia. Apart from this, he runs an NGO for specially-abled children. In his free time, he likes to educate his NGO children.
Do your evenings tend to slip by too quickly? If you want to maximize and become productive in the last hours of your day without burning yourself out, then choose to view your evening as the launch pad of your tomorrow. What you do in the evening sets the stage for what you do tomorrow and how successful you will be. Here are five keys to help you optimize, and enjoy each evening.
1. Tidy your work space
It’s a good idea to make your work area tidy and keep it that way. Before you leave work behind for the day, spend a few minutes cleaning up. Find loose material that you can eliminate and dispose of it. If you work with tools or utensils, make sure they are all present and accounted for. While you may not feel like organizing your paperwork or putting your tools away and the end of the day, you will appreciate arriving to a clean work area the next morning. Eliminate the clutter now and you’ll be one step closer to a productive work day tomorrow.
2. Organize Tomorrow
If you choose to compile your To-Do list in the early evening, you free-up your mind to enjoy the rest of the evening. Write down your goals for the next day before you leave your office or work space. If you have coworkers or employees, try organizing a short meeting at the end of the day to outline tomorrow’s priorities. Bring closure to your day by wrapping up things with your team. While this may not always be easy, it helps everyone leave on the same page. It can also go a long way towards limiting miscommunication about goals and deadlines.
3. Celebrate an Achievement
Something good happened today. Believe it. Hunt for it. Find it. Then, celebrate it. You can write out the positive outcomes of the day, or reward the individuals who were responsible for the achievements. Be thankful for the goals that were accomplished and the positive outcomes that were achieved. Maybe you missed every goal today. That’s alright. Be excited for the progress you did make. Some days, this can be challenging, but when you focus on the “good”, the “bad” becomes less overwhelming and less debilitating.
4. Unplug and Unwind
You’ve finally arrived at that time of day when you can begin to relax, but Look Out! Using your electronic devices to wind down may not be as productive as you think. Since blue light from computers and smartphones has been proven to reduce melatonin levels, screen time in the evening could negatively affect your ability to fall asleep later on. Being able to get adequate sleep each night (7- 9 hours for working-age adults) is a crucial part of being healthy and productive. So, consider setting a time each evening when you say “Lights Out” to all your electronic devices. Instead of checking social media or watching an hour of TV, start a habit of engaging in calming activities like playing a board game, going for a walk, or enjoying a cup of tea. Focus on what helps your mind relax and prepares your body for a good night’s rest. For more information, we cover this in another Pick the Brain article titled, "6 Less Obvious Ways to Increase Your Productivity".
5. Engage with People
Relationships don’t run on a schedule; they take consistent and careful attention. As you step away from your responsibilities for the day, realize that you are stepping into your opportunity to invest in lasting relationships. This is the time of day when most of us can be present with our families and it’s important to capitalize on that time. Maybe it’s sitting down to dinner as a family, chatting on the patio with your wife, taking a walk with your significant other, or calling up an old college buddy. The possibilities are endless. The time you have is not! Don’t over-prioritize work productivity at the expense of the people in your life. It’s not worth it.
After a long day, the evening can provide a welcome relief. It also presents an excellent opportunity to prime yourself for the next day. If you use a portion of the time to prepare for tomorrow, you set yourself up to enjoy the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying the people around you. You also give yourself a jumpstart on tomorrow’s productivity.
For most people the answer is probably “No.” Maybe it’s “No, not quite, but I’m getting there,” or maybe it’s more like “No way, I’m not even close!” Maybe you’d like a job you could enjoy more, or a bigger house, or a newer car. Maybe you’re single and you want a relationship, or maybe your bank account could be a little healthier. Maybe you could be a little healthier. Maybe you could be a little happier.
It’s okay to want more.
Actually, it’s important to want more. Wanting more is not the same as discontent. Wanting more is what spurs growth and progress. You can be perfectly content and comfortable with your present circumstances without them being your ultimate destination. You can have just eaten the most decadently delicious meal of your life… and still want dessert.
Acceptance is the key.
Not the kind of acceptance that conjures images of kneeling in deference or throwing up hands in defeat. Not the kind that melts you into helplessness or apathy or surrender. You don’t have to accept that your current state of affairs is your final fate. I’m talking about the simple acceptance that this is where you are. Right here. Right now.
This is your pivot point.
If you are experiencing discontent rather than acceptance, listen up:
When you accept where you are Right Now, you harness your power.
Moving from discontent to acceptance is like pulling a map out of your pocket when you are lost. Without consulting your map – having forgotten it is even in your possession – you are bound to wander and remain lost, never getting where you want to go. When you accept where you are, you can see the bigger picture and figure out how to get from Here to There. Then and only then can you decide what to make of your time Here, before you get to There.
You can’t avoid your circumstances.
You’re here. Now. And you can’t just poof yourself into a new life. That shift is bound to take some time and some effort, so you might as well make the best of what you’ve got. For example, I didn’t really want to be running a gas station in a tiny town like I was doing a few years ago. Hardly. But I was content. It was just around the corner from my home, it was decent pay, and I thrive in the service industry.
I called my assistant manager and myself “The Gas Station Gurus.”
Even on the morning shifts that started at 5:00 a.m., we had on bright smiles and we exuded a warm and friendly energy. It didn’t matter that the sun hadn’t come up yet, we brought the sunshine in with us! We greeted our regulars by name, and would often have their beverages or cigarettes ready before they even walked in. We provided inspiration and encouragement to those who needed it. I bought rolls of stickers to hand out to the kids and the kids-at-heart.
I even started posting a Thought for the Week on the front door.
And I kept that up for a whole year. I still have them all in a folder in my desk. Some of them were funny, some were philosophical, some were song lyrics… It might have just been a gas station, but between the two of us we transformed it into the positivity hub of our little town. We had customers who told us that they refused to go to any of the other three gas stations in town. (Yep. Itty bitty town, four gas stations. Don’t ask me to explain it.)
It was all about our attitude.
That store certainly wasn’t where either of us really wanted to be. But we turned it into something bigger, something better. We made it a place full of fun and joy and community. We made it “home” for as long as we were there, until we both moved on to the next leg of our life journeys.
And it wasn’t just good for the two of us.
It was good for everyone around us. Our bosses. Our employees. Our customers. Because of our efforts, everyone benefited. Instead of just fretting over the fact that I had a Bachelor’s degree from a prestigious university and I was managing a gas station in the middle of nowhere, I took what I had and I made something of it.
I wasn’t where I wanted to be. Not even close. But I accepted that, for the time being, that’s where I was. I found a way for it to fill hearts and to feed my soul. And the fact that I chose to shine where I was – instead of waiting until circumstances were perfect – changed the world. Or at least my little corner of it.
"I found that with depression, one of the most important things you could realise is that you're not alone." ~Dwayne Johnson
Did you ever bow down to your mind demons? I have... but that experience taught me the best lifetime-lesson.
My life was not a fairytale. But fortunately, my fight was never for bread and butter.
I had every means to suffice my materialistic desires. I had beautiful people around in the form of friends and family.
But the ironical truth is I was alarmingly sad with no one knowing it. I had droll people around to laugh with but no one to share my gloomy secrets. My outer world was full of light but my inner world was pitch dark.
Unable to recognize the cause, I couldn’t express.
A brute force struck my head hard now and then. The occasional was turning into chronic breathlessness. I was deserted in the crowd continuously losing my feelings.
Life was asking some tough answers, but my restless mind could answer none.
Not that I didn’t think of doc-visit. But which doctor — was always in question as I was unable to classify the category under which my problem falls.
The idea to share with someone would soon raise questions — Which person? What would I explain?
There were many apprehensive dilemmas consuming my head elevating my problem's intensity. I ignored them all for some time but each elapsing moment was not curbing but exasperating my disorientation.
Did I seem so normal to my loved ones or they dumb? Am I over-expecting? Have I become a useless attention seeker?
Yes... all of this was bruising my mind — the bruises no one saw.
Mental health awareness — far away from the educated...
My suffering could have been diagnosed earlier and averted. But for the lack of mental health awareness in many including me, what I only knew was a mentally ill person is mad.
Discussing mental health problems is still a social stigma in most parts of the planet. Moreover, ignorant people use the word depression so often that the ones who are suffering from it cannot address it.
It lays the foundation for a quandary for the one facing it. People are unable to open up about their mental wounds. Even if they try to express, their words are trespassers to people’s ears.
As a result, mind demons never allow the covered wounds to heal.
Even the anti-depressants couldn’t revive my feelings...
The prescribed pills were more of sedatives and the only positive I could extract — there were no more sleepless nights. But again, I dozed off irregularly for an unusually long period, sometimes twelve hours at a stretch.
It was all bleak with no sense of recovery. And in case you don’t know:
Happiness is a feeling. So literally I was losing the feeling of happiness.
I was reduced to mere existence. Whenever I knocked on the sweet-memory door, it never opened. My condition worsened!
A boon in disguise — the road to recovery...
In my days of depression, Jaundice attacked my liver. Thank God it was not a mental problem; it had apparent symptoms.
And what turned out to a big blessing was— A liver infected with jaundice does not allow to take antidepressants.
Nowhere to run, the effects of discontinuing the antidepressants were unbearable in one word. My room was my abandoned world till the time the short-term side effects subsided.
But after then:
Many things changed; but this time for good, for a change.
How did I beat the blues?
When jaundice got cured, one fine morning (without the sedative effects of anti-depressants) led the foundation for my beautiful beginning. The euphoric freshness I had not felt for a long time, stated enough reasons to make me quit those pills forever.
I became curious to find natural ways to unlock the doors of happiness and to revive my lost feelings.
Meditation was my miraculous cure! I started with the traditional approach Mindful Meditation; didn’t know there are other techniques as well.
Not as simple as it sounds, I felt nothing but drowsy, in the initial days.
It was taking a toll on my patience but I knew it’s my last resort. I continued for a week to reach a mind-state I never experienced before.
That positive feeling is difficult to express in words. It was profoundly magical.
And there on... I started reviving as a bigger and better individual. The biggest lesson which meditation taught me is Happiness is nowhere but in the awareness of the present moment.
Having said, it's not my mind is all over from depression but one thing is for sure:
Depression is not all over my mind either. And that's only because my soul is not a captive to my mind anymore. I am a free, blissful being now.
I don't fight with my negative thoughts anymore to provoke remorsefulness. I have realized positivity and negativity are just the two sides of a coin. And we need to accept every feeling gracefully.
Strong advice to people facing mental problems...
People who never faced a mental problem cannot initiate the discussion about your mental health, for a simple reason: They don’t know how it feels.
So let us stop expecting and act by ourselves. Mental health is not a taboo, let us talk about it as normally as viral fever. Let's initiate to create awareness!
Amanpreet Singh is the founder of Happy Realization. From the negatives of depression to the positives of meditation, he loves expressing his experiences and the practical life lessons which he calls his Happy Realizations. He feels privileged sharing space with the writers in esteemed publications like Lifehack, Pick the Brain and Dumb Little Man.
“What did you mean you didn’t know?! I posted it on Facebook!”
How many times have you heard this statement from friends
and family members?
Staying away from social media is not easy.
Everyone you know is on one single platform. Even when you want to switch to an entirely
new one, where would you go!? That is called the network effect. You’re “stuck”
in this one place since everyone you know congregate on that same platform.
I was a phone addict since 2011 when I received my very first mobile the HTC/T-Mobile G1. Around that time, Facebook already took over the social media reign that previously belonged to Myspace. Popular social networking services Twitter and Instagram had also witnessed daylight by then.
This whole concept of posting short updates and commenting instantly on other people’s posts was fantastic at first. I jumped right in, not knowing what kind of implications this would have. Social media looked so innocent back then. It was new, it was a new way of fast communication and it was exciting.
The more I continued my usage, the more I entered the infamous rabbit hole, unconsciously. 30 minutes a day changed to one hour a day. One hour a day changed to 2 hours day. Somehow social media knew how to lure me back in. The more I was using it, the more I was prioritizing this task of staying online and communicating with my online friends.
It got to a point where social media became more important
than communicating with my offline friends. The irony was that some of those
people online, were not living that far away from me. But it was just
convenient to post updates online so I don’t need to repeat myself multiple
times. I noticed this was becoming a problem, since our conversations became
less significant. Our comments to one another were simple and public. Not a
good development, if you want to create meaningful and deep relationships with
My realization that I was spending too much time on social
media, was when my girlfriend demanded my posts constantly on her Facebook
wall. She demanded love quotes, poems and photos from me. She wanted to show
the world how happy we were and how much we were in love. Ironically, that made
us break up, since I refused to post for the sake of showing off. It shouldn’t
be important what people think of us. Our relationship is our business, and our
I continued my search for a solution to this compulsive
behavior. I felt alone, isolated and bored when I was not using social media.
The advantage of this dark time, is that the determination to do something
about it became greater. When you’re in a situation where you are simply “fine”
or “okay", it is harder to maintain a certain level of motivation. However,
when you’re completely fed up with your situation, in my case how social media
and my phone were robbing my time, you are more open and receptive to new ways
of doing things.
A Tony Robbins quote that stands out when I think of my
transformation period is: progress equals
happiness. I realized I wasn’t progressing, but regressing instead. I want
to feel happy and fulfilled in life. I want to do well in life, I want to have something
to be proud of and be someone to be proud of. I realized in order to have I
have to do. I order to do I have to be. It hit me that a lot of suffering that
I felt when exploring my social media feeds such as feelings of jealously and
sadness, was a sign of something missing in my own being. My feelings were
telling a lot about myself, about how I perceive myself and how I talk to my
It was this image that I had of myself that needed to
change. Why was I competing with other people online? Why would I compare my
ups and downs with the constant ups that are being posted online? Why am I
comparing my chapter 2 with someone else’s chapter 9? I realized that instead
of posting a life I want to live and posting a persona I want to be, I need to start
working on living that life, and becoming that person. I realized that if I
don't know how to be alone, I will only know how to be lonely.
To start becoming productive, I started to learn WordPress.
This was in 2013. I wanted to make a website since 2005, so the concept of “it
is hard to start” is fully understood by me. But when you take that first step,
you quickly tell yourself: it wasn’t that hard was it!? But there is no point
of ruminating about the past, what was important is that I finally took that
first step. I created a website about the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. I was super
proud of it and it was a fantastic feeling to share my World Cup passion with
football fans all over the world.
Not only did I realize what a great feeling it was to
finally produce something instead of mindlessly consuming all the time, but
also that social media is not inherently bad. It is not bad and not good, but
it isn’t neutral either. Not only did I work on myself by producing and
developing skills, but also did I learn about the tricks phones and social
media websites use to make us hooked. The endless scroll, the purposely chosen
red icons, the like button, personalized information that algorithms choose for
you to see, notifications, seeing someone has read your IM message etc. These features are all carefully designed to
make us addicted.
One of the biggest lesson I learned is that social media
companies explain to you constantly why you should use their platforms, (and
yes, some advantages are valid), but they purposely don’t tell you how to use their
platforms. It’s okay to use social media, but with limits. Social media was a
great tool to promote my World Cup website for example, and I gained lots of
fans because of it.
So how can you use social media and your phone, and stay in
control while addictive forces are working against you? Well for many, digital
detoxes, tracking apps, blocking apps, Apple’s Screen Time and Google’s Digital
Wellbeing are the solutions. The problem here is, that you are not in control.
Your desire is still there. True, after keeping up with a digital detox the
desire fades away. But it is practically impossible not to be somewhat
connected to the virtual world. When it comes to dumb phones, I agree they can
be helpful. However, I wanted to understand and improve myself in such a way,
that I can use tech for all the right reasons, instead of resorting to a simple
dumb phone just because I don’t believe in myself and my ability to use a
So what I found to really combat your phone and social media
addiction while still using tech for the right reasons, is self-actualization.
I went through a process of introspection, a process of spending more time with
just myself. This is a daunting task, since when you catch yourself telling a
story about yourself when you’re by yourself, it is often not a positive one.
You want to build yourself up and raise your standards. You can do much more
than just sitting around checking social media to see if people may be feeling
sad just like you, so you don’t need to feel jealous. Or being in constant
spectator mode seeing how people are “happy” online while you keep complaining
about your own situation. Build your self-esteem and self-confidence. Work on
yourself and compare yourself with your yesterday’s self. Learn to care more
about yourself than about other people’s opinions about you.
A last advice is to be mindful about your usage and be
constantly aware of your opportunity to choose a specific response to any trick
(e.g. notifications) flying your way. Replace your reactive mode to a mindful
mode. We are not dogs. We have the ability to choose our response. We have
consciousness, which can empower us if we use it. But if we don’t acknowledge
it, then social media can rob this power from you, and as a result your life.
Take ownership of your time and your right to enjoy your life. I know I did.
I am much more mindful about every task and very conscious
about my mortality. I realize that this day today and time are never coming
back. Life is an hourglass that keeps running regardless of how you spend your
time. The feeling of producing is so satisfactory, that I can’t envision myself
scrolling for hours anymore, chained to my phone and social media platforms.
Helping others and feeling purposeful and significant are core values that have
stuck with me. One of the most important lessons from my transformation is that
I am able to enjoy being by myself. The story I tell myself about myself when
I’m by myself is a positive one, and no validation is necessary from my online
friends to feel good about myself. I appreciate the people around me and my
loved ones, and I’m very conscious that I remain phoneless when I’m in their
I hope I have inspired you to
become more mindful about your phone and social media usage. Life is short and
finite. Show your phone who is the master and focus on your development and
progress. You won’t believe how much your future self will thank you for that.
Remember that the only person you are destined to become is the person you
decide to be!
I suffered from phone and social media addiction few years ago, and managed to unhook myself from tech. I didn’t just abstain from tech, tech is here to stay. Nevertheless, I learned how to use screens mindfully and I’m very aware of the detrimental effects screens may have on us. My friend and I are life coaches who help individuals to recover from phone and social media addiction. We don’t just help people with stopping “liking and posting” their lives away, but help them to become a better version of themselves as well. Essentially we help people live their lives with purpose and addiction free.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank
Proactiveness in your Personality
Proactiveness is easier defined than practiced. By definition, being proactive is taking initiative regardless of requirements. A person marked by proactivity consistently finds a solution to a potentially negative situation and takes action before it is required. In practice, proactiveness requires awareness, self-discipline, and an eye for the future. You know you’ve found a proactive person if you’ve seen someone who:
1. Practices Awareness
2. Plans Ahead
3. Takes Initiative
Why Choose Proactivity?
What’s so great about being proactive? Why not just react to life as it comes? The nice thing is that these two approaches don’t necessarily exclude one another. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. Your work day is no different. While adaptability is a must, one of the reasons to attempt a proactive lifestyle is the advantages in productivity that it often provides. Adopting a more proactive approach to your everyday life enables you to take control of areas that you can affect, and use that control to promote productivity and decrease stress. I like what Isabella Gura stated in her article, 6 Stages of Personal Growth, that when we choose proactiveness over reactiveness that, "... life happens for us rather than to us."
Another benefit to becoming more proactive is the message it sends to everyone around you: “I desire to succeed and will work hard to get there.” Someone who thoughtfully plans ahead and takes initiative is someone who is in high demand. Just ask your boss. Being proactive is a great way to show thoughtfulness for others as well. When you organize your day in order to actively help the ones you care for, people will sit up and take notice.
If becoming proactive is such a game-changer, then how do you implement that change? There are lots of great tips available to help you in this area. If you know someone personally who exemplifies proactivity, consider asking them for some pointers. In the meantime, here are 4 ways to start practicing proactiveness.
1. Create Routines and Check-ups
When you carefully examine the practice of being proactive, you inevitably end up with concept of time management. So start prioritizing. Develop a schedule that allows you to allot time to what matters most. Do you want to develop a business relationship? Contact that colleague and set up a monthly meeting. Are you wanting to finish a book this year? Start a plan now to write 100 pages/week. This practice of creating routines can function outside of work settings too. Have you been missing out on quality time with your spouse or child? Create a time each day to invest in the people that matter most to you. Then, once your plan is established, set up reminders - periodic check ups to see if you’re staying on task. It is imperative that you keep yourself accountable if your routine is to take shape and become effective long-term.
2. Mentally Prepare for Difficult Situations
It’s Friday, you’re mentally exhausted and you’re scheduled to meet with your “favorite” manager for a monthly report. What do you do? Creating a small chunk of time to mentally gear-up for a difficult meeting is an excellent way to prepare. Find a quiet spot and plan out the meeting in your mind. Writing your thoughts down can be helpful. Make a list of the questions you’d like to ask, the information you need to give, and the answers you’ll likely have to provide. While this practice doesn’t guarantee a successful meeting, (people are people) taking the time to plan ahead and mentally prepare is a proactive step in the right direction.
This is the opposite of procrastinating. To frontload a project, set up a schedule that forces you to do the bulk of your work within the first 50% of the time you have allotted for the project. (If you have 5 days to complete 20 hours of research, schedule 5 hours/day for days 1-3 and leave 5 hours of work for days 4-5.) This can achieve a couple of different results: 1) It gives you the chance to eliminate stress by finishing your task ahead of schedule. 2) If your project does take longer than expected, you have available extra time to make up the difference without missing your deadline. This approach won’t work for everyone, but if you want to practice proactiveness, give it a try.
4. Focus on Communication
Believe it or not, a lot of productivity is lost each day through miscommunication or non-communication. If it’s your responsibility to reach out to someone, don’t delay and don’t distract from the main point. A quick phone call, a concise email, or even a properly-placed sticky note can all achieve the same goal: proactive communication. If someone else is doing the talking, make sure you are listening well. This usually means no double-tasking while the other person is talking. Repeating back a summary of what you just heard is also a great way to make sure you took in the correct message. Make sure you are communicating concisely and clearly to give your work-place productivity a boost.
A proactive mindset is one of the keys to achieving productivity in your day-to-day life. Preparing for an often negative situation before it happens can sometimes help to bring about a positive result and that goes a long way in streamlining your day. Learn to cultivate an awareness of potential derailments and plan ways to avoid them. Then, act before you’re forced to.
As you learn to manage your time well, you’ll begin to achieve a more productive and balanced work day. Enjoy!
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 Chapter 7, Chapter 13, IRAs and creditors to help people get out of debt and experience financial freedom.