nav-left cat-right

How To Make a Good Day Out of a Bad Day

Stress happens.

The boss might want you to come in on Saturday when you’ve planned a family outing. The spouse might suddenly be working late and forget to call you. The kids are running around with friends who aren’t the best of influences.

You just spilled coffee on your favorite jeans. It’s not coming out.

Bad days can start from the moment you roll out of bed and realize you’ve overslept by 45 minutes… or you’ve gotten up 45 minutes too early and can’t get back to sleep. How do you move on from this and make a good day out of a bad one?

Happiness Is Always a Choice

When bad things happen, it is easy to fall into the traps of despair. We feel like we’re out of control, moving on the currents which just take us from one bad event to the next. It’s easy to forget that we do have a choice.

We can choose to be happy.

It doesn’t matter what negative event happens. There is something positive that can be found in every moment. What you’ve got to do is figure out what has caused your bad day, why it makes you think of the day as being “bad,” and then begin dealing with that situation.

You can tell the boss you’re not coming in on Saturday, but you’d be happy to work a few hours on Sunday. You can send a text to your spouse to check-in on them instead of waiting for them to call. You can play with your kids to set a good example for them that they’ll eventually seek out in their friends.

Just don’t take off your pants until you get home unless you’ve got a spare pair somewhere at work.

Gratefulness Unlocks Your Happiness

What do you think about when you think of happiness? Whatever comes to mind, at the root of that thought is gratefulness. We are grateful for our families, our jobs, and the fact that we can afford to get coffee that we sometimes spill in our laps. Just because something not-so-great happens doesn’t mean the world is going to end. It just means that it is time to take action.

The human mind loves to support a winner. It wants to create great victories. This is why it seems like you gain time when you’re showing others some appreciation. There are a number of ways you can give yourself a personal victory as well. Eat a granola bar instead of a candy bar. Clear out your inbox for the first time ever. Make it through the day without spilling coffee.

You are in control. You decide what constitutes a victory. Experience one and the bad feelings begin to fade away.

Get Out of Your Routine

We all love a good routine. We do the same things every morning. Maybe you eat tacos on Tuesday and spaghetti on Friday. When there’s a bad day happening, we also have a routine for this. You likely hunker down at work to avoid more stress. You eat something you probably shouldn’t when you get home. Maybe you watch a favorite movie while you’re “coping” with the bad day.

You’re not coping. You’re distracting yourself.

Change this routine. Make the conscious choice to set a realistic expectation for each action you choose to take. Set goals. Maybe you can’t replace your favorite jeans this week because money is tight, but you can do it on the next paycheck. Look forward to the good and that makes the bad begin to disappear.

A bad day is going to stick around if you allow it to be your companion. Stop giving the negative energy the attention it wants and choose to be positive. Choose happiness. When you do that, you’ll find a bad day really isn’t so bad – even if you end up sporting a coffee stain all day.

5 Ways To Make Every Day Feel Like a Friday

Don’t you wish every day could be like how you feel on a Friday afternoon? The anticipation for two days off from work creates a certain giddiness that can last the entire day. It makes Friday fly by like it wasn’t even there. On Monday, we’re often filled with dread and despair and the day seems to plod along forever.

You can give every new day a chance for success. You can make every day feel like it’s Friday afternoon. Here are some ideas to help get you started.

#1. Give Yourself a Clean Start

So yeah… maybe you shouldn’t have called your boss a bad name under your breath loud enough for it to be heard. And maybe you forgot your child’s birthday. And maybe you forgot about that important sales deadline. That’s a bad day. The good news is that every day is a new day to create amazing things. Give yourself permission to have a clean start every day and it will change how you view everything.

#2. Remember Your Best Ideas

How many great ideas have come to you just as you’re about to fall asleep? Or while you’re sitting in a long meeting where there’s only fellow droning on and on about something? Capture those ideas before they escape. Apps like Evernote can help you keep track of your ideas and turn them into something profitable. A paper and pen can even work. Pretty soon you’ll notice something else beginning to happen: remembering your creative ideas spawns even more creativity.

#3. Get Ready For Tomorrow

One of the biggest energy drains that happen to all of us is our rushing to work or rushing out of work. Rushing causes us to miss important stuff because we have tunnel vision on the end result. Set yourself up for tomorrow by preparing what you’ll need right now. Clean off you desk before leaving for work. Pack your lunch before going to bed. Have any office supplies ready to go. By removing these common barriers, you’ll feel more productive and productivity makes time go by in a more positive way.

#4. Keep To Your Routine

Now that you’re thinking about changing some things up to help every day feel like Friday, make sure you stick to whatever routine you decide to try for awhile. Our routines, no matter how small they are, define who we are as people. We feel different if our normal routine is disrupted. Just try brushing your teeth in a different way and see how you feel… it doesn’t feel good. Give these new routines a chance and you might just be amazed at the results.

#5. Give Yourself Permission To Rest

Sure – you could finish that project right now. You could also take a break right now for a few minutes and feel refreshed as you complete your project 30 minutes from now. Rewards help us to work better. Give yourself the reward of a favorite book, some video game time, a favorite show, or even time on Facebook after working for awhile, but make sure the breaks don’t become an addiction that rob you of your focus.

Making every day feel like Friday takes some work, but it can be done. Consider adding these 5 ideas to your daily routine and you may rediscover why you’re so passionate about what you do. At the very least, the weekend will always feel like it is right around the corner.

7 Ways to Increase Your Happiness

1   Get physical.

Physical activity is a great way to reduce our stress levels and pump up the endorphins. Sometimes the best way to increase our happiness level is to have a good workout. If you are feeling lacking in the happiness area think about the last time you worked up a sweat. Physical activity boosts your confidence and your mood.

2   Outweigh negative thoughts with the positive.

Give your negative thoughts a spanking and slap on three positives to outweigh the negative. Figure out where your negative thoughts are coming from by trying to find three positive things about the topic. If you find more positives than negatives keep the source around. If you don’t, it is time to toss it out and start thinking instead about the positive effects of moving away from the source of your unhappiness. Take action towards the positive instead of letting the negative thoughts consume you.

3   Drop the worries—focus on what you can control

If you can’t control it don’t worry about it. So many of us get wrapped up in what-if land that we start feeling at home in it. Figuring out solutions to worst-case scenario gives us a false truth that we are somehow more prepared or more control of things that we have no effect on. It is better to focus your energy on things you can control and things that can make you happier.

4   Do a happy activity every day. Give yourself small acts of kindness.

Consider a time you were really, truly happy. How did you feel in that moment? Don’t you want more of that? Figure out what things make you happy and do one thing that makes you happy every day. This way, when things are not going as well as we hope they would we can find ways to lighten our mood and change the direction of our lives back to happy land.

5   Smile—a smile attracts happiness of others! It is a magnet that lights up the world.

One of the most unique things each person has is their smile. The shape of our teeth are actually pretty interesting and I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who looked better frowning than they do with a big ol’ smiley face! I honestly believe that we are each here to make a positive impact on others in our own unique way. One way to do that is to smile at others let them smile back and enjoy the unique energy flow that comes from a smile exchange.

6   Accept your life.

When we focus on our dreams we are more likely to achieve our dreams and as a result feel more content with the direction our lives have taken. To do this most effectively we have to push past the life un-acceptance speeches that start with “What if?” “If only? or “Someday” and rewrite our mentality with action verbs towards our dreams. Like Chris Prentiss says in Zen And the Art of Happiness “Everything that happens to me is the best possible thing that could happen to me”. Be the author of your moments and do what you can with your resources to reach your dreams but also accept life for what it is. You can’t change the past nor should you try. You are exactly who you are for a beautiful reason. Each of our happiness really depends on doing the work required to allow that reason to be expressed to the world.

7   Live in the present.

It is happy time all the time! Every moment is a new opportunity for us to be more alive and more in tune with the sounds, actions, and feelings of each moment. When we are present or “in the moment” we once again take our happiness away from its dependency on the happiness prescribed

Defeat Workplace Stress Using Mindfulness Meditation

Stress is a major health problem for many workers and the issue only continues to grow. One of the primary reasons why stress levels are going up today is because many workers are only distracting themselves from the issues at hand. Listening to music, watching TV, eating a favorite food… these are call distractions.

To relieve stress, it is necessary to cope with the difficult emotions and circumstances that have caused it in the first place. This is where mindfulness meditation can become a powerful tool to use. Instead of running away from the stress to deal with it on another day, it becomes possible to resolve stressful situations as they happen, leading to a healthier body and mind.

Why Is Stress So Bothersome?

Stress is an internal trigger which causes a personal crisis situation. It creates negative emotional energies that start a cycle of anger, bitterness, and/or resentment. As time goes on, a downward spiral forms as these events repeat themselves over and over again. The mind becomes focused only on the past.

To defeat stress, the past must not be allowed to continue operating as an internal trigger. With mindfulness meditation, the perspective shifts from the past to the present. Instead of worrying about what happened to create stress, the focus becomes on what is happening right now, at this one given moment, and to explore what this one given moment contains.

How Does Mindfulness Meditation Work?

Stress is best described as an iceberg. You’ll see a small portion of ice floating at the surface, but underneath lurks a dark and hidden amount of stress that is much larger than what others can see. Mindfulness meditation helps to melt this iceberg because it focuses on recovery instead of the stressful triggers.

After you’ve isolated yourself to begin your meditation, begin to explore your point of view. Why was so much stress created? Summarize the thoughts that come your way that look at your reactions. Then connect the stress to the feelings you’ve experienced.

Mindfulness meditation also offers alternatives to a stressful reaction that can be implemented almost anywhere. Deep breathing to explore your internal feelings can change a perspective. Even experiencing the textures and flavors of a favorite food can become a form of mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness Meditation Requires Practice

Most workers decide to give up on mindfulness meditation because it doesn’t seem to work right away. Like any new habit or skill, this will take time to develop. Instead of giving yourself 2-3 days to experiment with it to control stress and internal triggers, give it 2-3 weeks instead. Keep practicing mindfulness meditation in different situations to discover where it can be the most beneficial.

Then you’ll be ready to go back to work with a focus on the present or the future instead of the stressful events of the past. Stress will always be around thanks to the high pressure professional environments that workers have every day. Using mindfulness meditation to control that stress can help every worker enter this environment prepared for the challenges they may face.

5 Essential Ways To Improve Your Productivity Right Now

Sometimes being able to improve your productivity means following some common sense advice. Everyone has their own list of resources and techniques that works for them on an individual level, but any technique has to come down to certain core changes that must be made. If you want to improve your productivity right now, then here is what you’re going to do.

#1. Put Less On Your Plate

Having a lot of work staring at you can be overwhelming. It can create stress. It can cause you to throw your hands up in the air, utter your favorite expletive, and decide to binge watch your favorite shows on Netflix instead. The journey of a 1,000 miles doesn’t begin with a 1,000 mile road trip. It begins one small step: the decision to go in the first place.

Put fewer things on your to-do lists every day. Focus on just one task at a time, making sure your most important tasks are completed before any others. Put the tough tasks first because your greatest energy reserves are when you start your day. That will help you become more productive.

#2. Plot Your Strategies Early

It can be helpful to plan out your day not as you’re driving to work, but the night before you have to get something important accomplished. This will stop you from worrying about what you’ll do all night. You’ll also have more confidence going into the tasks which need to be completed because you’ve rehearsed what will happen during the plan’s formation.

#3. Be Mindful of the Present

There are two timing traps that kill productivity levels for most people: regret over past decisions or anxiety over future results. You can’t change the past. You can make your future be whatever it is you want it to be. What you have is this moment, right here, where you can get something done. Your choice is pretty simple. You can work or you can choose not to work. Which will it be?

#4. Create a Routine and Stick To It

Humans orientate themselves on structures. This is why we eat meals around the same time every day. We have working hours that are about the same every day [at least hopefully, right?]. We go the same places, do the same things, hang out with the same friends… yet when it comes to work, we try to vary the routine because doing the same tasks in the same way is considered “boring.”

Find your routine at work and then stick to it. Be committed to checking emails at the same time every day. Do your paperwork at the same time. Listen to voicemails at the same time. When you create this structure of routine around how you work, you’ll find that productivity can increase dramatically because you’re focused instead of distracted by the changes you’ve created for yourself.

#5. Find Your Bad Habits

Maybe you feel the need to check Facebook every 20 minutes. You might be on Twitter constantly. Maybe you just sit in your office chair, twiddle your thumbs, and daydream of winning the lottery so you can purchase a horse farm. We all have bad habits that rob us of productive time. We’re also so accustomed to those habits that they become part of who we are. To find your bad habits, you must either log all of your time and discover what your daily routines are or have someone you trust do this for you.

The benefit of this method is that you will see where your time is being wasted in a useful manner. You can then develop a plan to counter those time-wasters so your productivity levels will begin to rise.

Improving productivity isn’t always easy. It isn’t going to happen on its own. Use these essential methods to begin working on your habits and routines and you may just find that extra push you’ve been needing to find.

Why Having a Boring Manager Is the Best Thing Ever

Many organizations tend to look for managers that are full of flash and pizzazz. They want someone who can make an immediate impact, look good while doing it, and inspire others to follow along with a vision for the future. Instead of looking for a competent manager, the goal is often to find a confident one instead.

Managers are given their title for one basic reason – they manage. It’s not something that provides a lot of excitement. When there is a boring manager in place, in fact, there is a good chance that everyone is going to have the best opportunities possible to succeed. Here are the traits that this group of management professionals have in common.

#1. They are emotionally mature. Boring managers aren’t going to fret about the past because it has already happened. They aren’t going to worry about the future because it hasn’t been written. The only thing they are concerned about is how each present task gets completed. This provides them with more stability and emotional maturity because anxiety is virtually eliminated from the equation.

#2. They encouraged others to be better every day. Boring managers also focus on the people who they are tasked with managing on an individualized basis. The goal is to develop each person in a way that is uniquely suited to that individual so they can be more productive, more experienced, and eventually ready to take on the mantle of being a boring manager themselves one day.

#3. They take criticism as feedback instead of a personal attack. Criticism can be difficult to take sometimes, especially when there is a personal investment in the action being criticized. Boring managers will take this as information they can use in the future to improve themselves and their team. Instead of a negative emotional reaction, they listen for the good that can be taken from that information and then they work to apply it.

#4. They let their people do their own job. Boring managers don’t get involved with the daily tasks that their people need to complete. They also don’t get involved in everyone’s personal drama. That’s because they are proactively solving the people problems on their team so they don’t become a distraction. They can do these because they aren’t reacting to the overwhelming communication cues that surround them every day – they are problem-solving instead.

#5. They have integrity. Boring managers are predictable and that’s a great thing because one always knows what to expect from them. If this type of manager makes a promise, then you know that promise will be fulfilled. They support their team, stand up for what is right, and this encourages negativity to stay away.

A team of employees will slowly adapt their own personal traits to those which they observe from their manager. That’s ultimately why having a boring manager in place is the best thing ever. You can have confidence in the competence this person has in their ability to run their team, even if there is no pizzazz to the process.

9 Habits of Mentally Strong People

Some people power through stressful situations like they are nothing. Others struggle to get beyond the emotional reaction that happens when stress occurs. Being mentally strong isn’t something that only a select group of people is able to be. If you struggle with stress, then begin increasing your strength with the 9 habits of mentally strong people.

#1. Be confident in yourself. The moment that self-doubt appears is the moment you lose mental strength. Reassure yourself. Eliminate the negative thoughts that try to creep in. Tell yourself “I’ve got this,” and then go do it.

#2. Minimize your focus. You don’t need to tackle the entire problem you face at once. Take small problems and focus on those. Step by step, you’ll find yourself solving the big problem by solving the smaller ones along the way.

#3. Don’t exaggerate the issue. Look at the stressful situation factually. Don’t try to imagine different outcomes or how people might react. Keep the problem in perspective and take action where you decide it makes sense. You’re not going to please everyone 100% of the time, so make the decision you think is right and go with it.

#4. Identify the triggers. If you know where your greatest stress generators happen to be, then you can avoid them or manage them more effectively. Identify the warning signs you feel when a trigger may be near so you can be proactive about beating back stress instead of being forced to be reactive.

#5. Develop social supports. Positive energy will always build you up. Negative energy will always tear you down. Spend more time with the people who build you up and you’ll discover that your mental strength will increase as well.

#6. Do the difficult stuff first. Prioritize your tasks based on importance and difficulty. Instead of getting the easiest stuff done first, tackle the most difficult project. That way, when you have low levels of mental energy at the end of the day, you’ll still be able to get some work finished.

#7. Keep your personal space your own. Ever noticed how “drama” can drain you physically and mentally? That’s why it is so important to make sure your personal space stays your own. Keep physical and emotional boundaries intact and up at all times. Don’t be afraid to tell people to respect those boundaries so you don’t get drawn into the time-wasting, energy-draining debates that happen.

#8. Create and use real coping skills. Slapping on some headphones or zoning out in front of the TV are not coping skills. They’re distractions. Keep a journal, implement time for meditation, or speak with a trusted colleague to process the difficult emotions.

#9. Have some fun. This is where watching TV or listening to some favorite tunes comes into play. Spend time with your family. Turn projects into games that keep you competitive with your colleagues, but in a friendly way.

Staying mentally strong may required some lifestyle changes. It takes commitment. The effort to maintain these habits, however, will always pay dividends. Get started today and there will be no limit to what you can accomplish.

8 Key Ways You Can Work Smarter Instead of Harder

Life shouldn’t be difficult. It should be fun and exciting, even when we’re at work. That’s why it is so important to maximize our productivity. There’s a good chance that you’re working harder than you need to be to achieve the results you want. Here are 8 key ways you can start working smarter today instead of harder.

#1. Give yourself time to think. Rushing around during the day is a guarantee that a bad decision or two is going to get made. Make sure you give yourself time to think at strategic points during the day so that you can keep your day on track. Eliminate the distractions and let your mind operate at its peak efficiency.

#2. Give yourself permission to take a break. Most people take a 10-15 minute break about every 2 hours during the working day. Try doubling that whenever possible. People who take a 15 minute break for every hour of productive work they complete see a productivity boost of at least 10% on average.

#3. Give yourself a different job in the afternoon. After a good lunch and an extended break, the last thing you want to do is go back to work. You’re also more tired in the afternoon and more willing to say “Forget this – I’ll do it tomorrow.” Make your afternoon time be when you meet with people, schedule appointments, and shift gears so your fatigue doesn’t get the best of you.

#4. Give yourself permission to take a break. Really. Just do it. Even if you’re just watching cat videos on YouTube, it is important to let your mind rest. That’s why we’re counting this twice.

#5. Give yourself a good plan to get through the day. This might just be the most important thing on this list to include for your day. Having a flow chart of the things that you need to get done can really help you power out some good work. It will also keep you on track, keep you focused, and give you an intense feeling of satisfaction when you meet your goals. Just make sure you plan for emergencies because there is always something that invariably comes up during the day.

#6. Give yourself time with your family. It is important to connect with your family on a daily basis. Have dinner together. Pick the kids up at school if you can. Call your folks on the phone if you live alone. Go out with friends after work. Relationships are the glue that keep us together and let us stay within our sweet spots of productivity.

#7. Give yourself a real bed time. Real sleep means giving your mind time to wind down. Being free of technology can really encourage this. Have some warm milk, a cup of caffeine-free tea, and read a book… or do what works best for you and then stick to that routine.

#8. Give yourself enough time to get a good night of rest. Sleep is essential. If you’re only getting 4-6 hours of sleep every night, then your body is running out of fuel prematurely during the day. Shoot for 7-9 hours instead to see the best results possible.

You don’t need automation or passive income generation to work smarter instead of harder. You just need to have a solid routine that lets you be consistently productive every day. Implement these methods and you may just find that you have a lot more time in your day for fun things to do than you ever realized.

7 Ways You Can Stay Productive During a Bad Day

We all have bad days. The only problem is that work still needs to get done on those bad days. It can be hard to kick yourself into an overdrive gear to keep working, yet those who are consistently productive are able to defeat their bad days all of the time. How do they stay productive when they’d rather be doing something else? Here are their 7 secrets that you can also try.

#1. Plan Ahead

You’ve got to do more than just turn off your distractions. Don’t just close your Facebook page or turn off your phone. Tell people you’ll be out of contact for awhile. Give them an expected time frame for when you’ll be available once again. If there’s an emergency, set up an alternative contact. That way you won’t have to worry about what is happening when you’re working on something important.

#2. Set Real Deadlines

“If I get this done in the next 3 days, then I’ll be fine.” We all work to the expectations that we set for ourselves. If we allow ourselves 3 days to get something done, then we’ll take all 3 days to get it done. Set a firm deadline instead of a fuzzy deadline to stay productive. Even if work isn’t due for awhile, setting a deadline that is sooner rather than later can let you start working ahead.

#3. Change the Routine

At 4am, the world is very peaceful. Hardly anyone is awake. The late-night parties have wrapped up and the early risers are still an hour or two away from having their alarms wake them up. This is the perfect time to get to work. Once you get used to an earlier start to the day, you will be amazed at how exceptionally productive you can be.

#4. Give Yourself Incentives

Rewards will help you muster up some additional enthusiasm during a bad day. If you put in 4 hard hours of work, then take a lunch at your favorite restaurant. Buy a bottle of your favorite wine after work. Download some new music. Just don’t reward yourself before you get the work done because then you won’t want to be productive.

#5. Recharge

Bad days drain your battery like nothing else. It’s important that you consistently recharge those batteries with healthy options. Avoid high caloric content foods. Sit when you feel tired. Get active if your mind feels dull.

#6. Take a Break

This doesn’t mean you stop working to hop onto Facebook or send out some tweets. Take a real break from the rest of the world. Go for a 10 minute walk. Shut the office door and close your eyes. Being inactive mentally for awhile can really transform a bad day.

#7. Staple Your Legs To the Seat

Push through the pain of a bad day and get the job done. Don’t leave until it gets done because that just makes a bad day seem even worse. Sure – you might be working longer than normal, but the reward is that you won’t be reminded of your bad day tomorrow.

Staying productive during a bad day is a chore. It takes a lot of work. If you can implement these habits, then you will join the ranks of people who are consistently productive every day and you won’t believe how much you can get accomplished on even your worst days at work.

Exploring Mindfulness At Work

Relaxation at work might seem impossible, but it can be done when mindfulness is involved. When the day just doesn’t seem to be going your way, don’t let the stress wear you down. Find a place where you can experience some peace right there in that bad moment. Here are some simple ways that can help you achieve that calm moment that can make all the difference in the world.

#1. Forgive yourself.

You are your own worst critic. It’s true for all of us. We tend to be harder on ourselves than anyone else around. This makes it very difficult to find any sense of peace because all of your free time is being used to beat yourself up with mental mind punches. The most important thing you can do at work is learn to forgive yourself for the mistakes you’re going to make. Look instead at the positive things you’ve done so far that day. It’s an easy way to take away the negative energy.

#2. Explore the moment.

There is perfection in every moment. Sometimes this perfection is difficult, if not impossible, to see, but it is there. As you’re drawing up your to-do list for the day, considered creating a to-be list at the same time. Set goals for yourself on how you’ll react to negative or emotional moments. Don’t just keep this to-be list in your mind either as writing it down or typing it up can reinforce the goals internally that you’re planning on setting.

#3. Learn to listen.

Most of the communication that humans give one another isn’t verbal in nature. Our body language and tone of voice are just as important as the actual words that are being said. Sometimes the stress that gets experienced at work happens because someone has misread your non-verbal communication. At other times, we haven’t realized what our body language is actually communicating. Close your eyes, listen to what your body is telling you, and take a deep breath. Repeat 3x. You may be surprised at what your body is trying to say.

#4. Make your own luck.

We all have superstitions that we follow to bring about good luck. Some people have favorite pants, socks, or a shirt that they believe will bring them luck. Others won’t wash their favorite shirt for luck. At work, it’s probably better to do the former rather than the latter. Putting on your favorite things works because you make yourself believe that something good is going to happen. This is the first step in a journey of mindfulness where you begin to seek out the perfection in each moment of the day.

#5. Disconnect.

This is absolutely required every day in some way. We are all hyper-connected to each other thanks to the internet today and there comes a time when you need to shut down that noise. Social media, business networking, emails, news alerts, and instant messaging give us virtually no free time whatsoever – even if we’re at home. Try to disconnect for 20 minutes to decompress and make this protected time so you get left alone.

There are ways that mindfulness can be explored at work. Consider these options today and you may just find that a sense of calmness and peace won’t be far behind.

Page 1 of 3112345...102030...Last »